My Trip to the UK

I've been home for a few weeks now and for some reason just never got around to writing this post. I mean I have been working flat out (what else is new?).
 Anyway, Jake and I booked a spontaneous trip to England back in March for the middle of May. We never do things like this and I was oh so excited to see England and Scotland. Fast Forward to May 16th when we boarded the red eye plane to Gatwick Airport. 5 hours later and we were lost, but finally across the pond. Another 3 hours and we were on our first leg of the trip, Bristol.

Here we stayed in a lovely Airbnb owned by a lovely man named John and his family. The place was lovely and perfect for the few days we were staying there. It was a little outside of the main city but for us, Newfoundlanders used to small crowds it was perfect. There was a lovely store nearby and some fantastic restaurants. From this location, we were able to visit Bath through the bus station. Bath was everything I hoped it would be, mind you I wish it had been a little warmer, but still perfect. We explore the Bath Abbey and the Roman Bath House. We dined in a lovely pizza/Italian restaurant and explored the gardens and streets. It was beautiful and oozed of history.

From Bristol, the next leg of our journey was to Edinburgh. Side note, the airport in Bristol is the most confusing airport I have ever been in.  However, we managed to board our EasyJet plane and we arrived in a very wet Scotland. Our check in was much later for the place we had booked for just that night and we managed to get completely drenched. On the bright side, we made the most of the rain and visited Edinburgh Castle, the National Gallery, and had a meal inside the George IV pub. It was nice to cover from the rain. When we finally arrived at our Airbnb we were completely soaked. This place was more of a hostel vibe, but the hosts were lovely.

The actual place we had booked to stay the remainder of our trip was much nicer. It was an Airbnb owned by Margaret and her husband. Margaret was one of the nicest people I have ever met and her place was lovely. She had so many nice touches and she made her place feel like home. Their place was located on a very convenient bus route and was so close to the sea. It was lovely. Over our 4 days with her, we explored Edinburgh some more. We went up the Scott's Tower, explored the graveyard looking for Tom Riddle, listened to people playing Bagpipes in the streets, and Jake even got a tattoo.

One of our days there we decided to take a bus tour up to Loch Ness which was really one of Jake's only requests before we went on the trip. It took us a while to decide because there are literally so many bus tours for that.We decided on the Highland Experience Tour and their Monster Tour to Loch Ness. Russel was our guide and he was so knowledgeable, funny, and also had an awesome playlist for the adventure in between story time. On the tour we got to see Loch Ness up close, stop in a few small villages (one having the best hot chocolate and scones I've ever had), we got to get up close to some Highland cattle, the sisters of Glencoe was breathtaking to see. Not to mention all of the Harry Potter filming locations was also a huge plus.

It was an exhausting long day, but well worth it. This part of our trip was my favourite and I really didn't want to leave. Scotland was beautiful and I loved every minute of it.


We left by plane, as it was a much cheaper alternative at the time and flew into Gatwick once more. Here we had another lovely Airbnb in Chelsea. This part of the trip we were fairly tired and neither of us does well in heat and it was around 30 degrees the entire time we were in London. So, we decided to hit almost all the bigger attractions in one day. We saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Marble Arches, and a bit of Hyde Park. Our remaining few days were spent exploring the park near us, being lazy, and watching the River Thames go by.

I'll be honest here, London wasn't exactly my cup of tea. We're from a pretty small town/province in Canada and I always find big cities drain me just a little if I'm not used to it. However, I enjoyed the weather, the food, and Jake's company as we took in this massive city.

Day Trip to Brighton

As we had grown tired of the city, we decided to spend one of our last days down in Brighton. This was one of the places I thought I would only get to see from the plane and am so happy I got to see it.  It was another hot day when we went and we made the most of it. We explored the pier, the beach, the market area, the pavilion, and a few shops. We also got some Dum Dum Donuts and they were even better than I thought they would be. We got some Ti food for lunch, and a milkshake from a store I can't remember the name of because my blood had gotten low and I was in almost tears. According to my phone, we did the most walking of our entire trip on that day. It was a good day and we headed back into Chelsea once more.

London- Gatwick- Home

The last day of our trip was having one last look at the river and heading on the train to Gatwick. This was to be the only night we didn't stay in an Airbnb. We opted to stay in the Bloc Hotel. It was described as a Japanese Pod meets luxury hotel. It was not what we were expecting, but the bed was soft, the rooms sound proof, and the blackout curtains a plus. Our flight was pretty early in the morning, so it was nice to be able to just get out of bed and pretty much be in the terminal. I also finally got to have a Wagamama and an old English breakfast at the same time when we were waiting for our plane.

Our flight home was close to 6 hours and we landed at noon (Newfoundland time), red eyed and not at all adjusting the time difference.

I am so thankful that I got to experience the country I always wanted to visit with Jake and for all the nice weather we got while we were there. It was so much fun and such a rememberable trip.

Things to do on Newfoundland's Avalon to celebrate Canada's 150th

If you live in Canada, you should already know that 2017 marks 150 years of Canada being Canada. Even though Newfoundland and Labrador only joined confederation in 1949, which means Canada with everyone in it is only 68 years old, but we won't get into that.

Regardless, as a Canadian, I want to make the most of this year of celebration. I'm travelling to Toronto for a week in July, but I thought I'd make a list of things to do to celebrate Canada here at home, specifically on the Avalon Pinesula.

1. Hike the East Coast Trail

The East Coat trail is a combination of 26 paths, making up over 300 kilometres of developed trails for those of the faint and not so faint hearted to explore. The trails go from easy to strenuous and can range from an hour or 12 depending on the trail. Some nice ones if you enjoy a destination are:
   A. The Spout Path - Starting in Bay Bulls and going to the Lighthouse takes about 1.5 hours. This part of the trail is well maintained and you can currently go in the Lighthouse (at your own risk). You can also continue past the Lighthouse towards the Spout itself, but that is a 12-hour hike altogether.
   B. The La Manche Village Path- Probably one of the easiest trails. This one has three different entrance points depending on how long you wish to walk for. One entrance is in Bauline East taking about 2 hours round trip from the village and back. The second is the shortcut just after the La Manche Provincial Park which is only an hour long. The third is in Brigus South and that takes about 6 hours one way. So, a perfect trail to match anyone's skill level. This one is nice because the bridge is to represent the bridge that was once there and you can see foundations of the houses that were once there.

2. Picnic at Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland

This is such a nice afternoon adventure. I always book a picnic once or twice in the summer. It is a fantastic gourmet picnic that you can enjoy while watching bird, boats, and whales go by. Check out their website and make sure to book a reservation. They book up super quick and they're listed as one of the top 10 things to do in Newfoundland. Check out their website here.

3. Take a Boat Tour

What better way to enjoy the sea, the wind in your hair, and the salty air than with a boat tour. There are so many boat tours around the Avalon that it is probably impossible to name them all. However, I'll give it a go and here are some of the many boat tours you could try out this summer (remember July and the beginning of August are good times to see whales):

4. Take in Signal Hill & the Tattoo Performance

Probably one of the best places to get views of all of downtown St. John's is from Signal Hill. It features Cabot Tower, the Signal Hill Tattoo Performance where they reenact battles and set off guns, there's hiking, and also the Johnson Geo Center. Also for Canada's 150th, there is a massive Canada 150 sign that you can take pictures with right now to celebrate with Parks Canada. It is a beautiful location filled with a lot of history and perfect for Newfoundland and Canada. 

5. Have a Bonfire

 Celebrate Canada Day with friends and family with the warmth of a fire and the salty breeze from the sea. The Avalon has so many rocky beaches which are perfect for bonfires.

6. Explore Brigus, the market, & the "old way" to St. John's

Explore the North of the Avalon. Take the old way from St. John's and go to the many coastal towns. Explore Brigus and get some blueberry ice cream or head out on a Sunday to check out Some Good Market, filled with handmade items and goods from locals in the area. Be sure to have a look at their website sometimes they give away a dozen cupcakes by Best Kind Bake Shoppe. If you're also wondering about other things you can get in Brigus check out my Brigus Haul from last year.

7. Check out some Festivals

One thing Newfoundlanders like to do is have festivals all through the summer. Many in St. John's, but there are a few festivals outside the city with local artists or performers from around Canada and beyond. Some festivals you may want to check out this summer are:

8. Take in a Local Gallery

We are the arts. There are many art galleries you can venture through in St. John's. There are also some amazing ones on the Avalon as well, such as the Five Island Art Gallery in Tors Cove and also Chris Pratt's art studio in Mount Carmel. Before you start, no he is not the actor; however, he did create the Newfoundland Flag. Which is still pretty cool. If you don't plan on venturing out of the city the City of St. John's actually has a pretty good list of galleries on their website and you can purchase prints or pieces at most of them. 

9. Fishing Village Exploring

Although the fishery isn't as large as it was, there are still a number of small fishing communities you can explore. For example, right near downtown St. John's you can explore Quidi Vidi. A Very picturesque place with stages, small dories and oozing beautiful vibes. If you want to check out more of them a little further there is also the lovely town of Petty Harbour, which has two places to eat Chafe's Landing and the Watershed Cafe. Both lovely places for a bite to eat. The town showcases much of the fishery, as well as a mini aquarium and zip lining. If you're looking for really small check out Brigus South along the Southern Avalon. 

10. Explore the National Historic Sites & Parks

Take in history, nature, or both. There are a number of historic sites and a number of parks you can explore. Some of these are right here on the Avalon such as the Cape Spear Lighthouse, which is the most eastern point in North America, Castle Hill, Hawthorne Cottage, and Signal Hill. There's also a few national parks, as well as provincial parks that you can explore or spend an evening camping in. 

How will you be celebrating Canada's 150th this summer? Let me know in the comments down below!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day. 

Where have I been?

It's been a bit of a spell. Pretty much over two months. However, I have been working flat out and I have had so much going on that blogging went on the back burner.

Anyway, here I am and hopefully not going anywhere anytime soon. I thought today  I would give you all a little update on how I've been, what I've been up to and what is soon to happen.

For how I've been, well it's been some ups and a number of downs. It's been a bit rocky of a month health wise. I've been feeling a lot of stress from not yet finding a job in my field, while I am okay with this, apparently, no one else is. Family, friends, coworkers, customers, everyone... seem to think that I can't just work at a coffee shop while I save money to travel or to find myself first. I'm doing a lot of behind the scenes. Let's say I'm pretty content, but everyone else is a bit more negative about my situation than I am.

For what I've been up to it varies from planning possible business idea(s) while just making sure I have money to pay for my responsibilities and for the thing that is soon to happen. Other aspects, all I do is work right now and you know see some of my friends, look up cute dogs on rescue sites, and do some online certification courses on the weekends I'm off.  I've also just been frozen during Newfoundland's second winter. We had a beautiful beginning of March. but she's going out like a lion by's. We're possibly getting another 60 cm of snow later this week and it's all just too much.

If you follow me on Twitter you know what the soon to happen is. If you don't, well Jake and I are heading over to England/Scotland for 2 weeks in May. We decided this very spontaneously and essentially why I am working so much is to make sure this and everything else is paid for. We are oh so excited and can't wait to explore. Going to the UK has always been a dream of mine and I can't wait. It's only another 48 days. We are still super underprepared, but we'll get it done. He's also letting me take video clips of all of it so I can make it into a wonderful travel diary or travel "vlog".

Anyway, February and March were a hell of a time. Let's hope April goes by better and get ready for some new posts starting in the next few days!

Thank you all for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful day! :)

Jessie xoxo