Los Angeles | Universal Studios Hollywood

Whoever thinks theme parks are only for kids, or parents with kids are sorely mistaken. If you’ve already read my blog post on our magical days at Paris Disneyland, you” know how much Craig and I enjoyed ourselves, without any kids. In fact, you should preferably do it without kids first.

How to get there:

We travelled by the metro, and you can plan your route here. It was super easy to do; way cheaper than an Uber from Downtown and it bypassed all the morning traffic so I’d highly recommend this.

If you’re travelling by car, you’ll want to check out the parking situation here. Plug this into your GPS, to make sure you don’t get lost: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. I’d also recommend getting there early as the parking fills up quickly!

Plan your Visit:

Park hours depend on the day, and you can double check it here. We won’t went in for one day as we had limited time in Los Angeles. That being said, I doubt we (as adults) would have needed a second day, in any case.

Also, consider which day you go. Usually the waits are shortest in the fall, winter and spring. Obviously, try to avoid public holidays and school holidays. Weekdays are often less crowded than weekends.

You can buy tickets in advance here. If you buy online, it is cheaper by $5 – 15 than at the actual gate to the Park. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line to buy tickets. So, I’d say, online all the way!

You can also buy “Front of the Line” Tickets which allows you to skip the lines on most rides. I would definitely consider this during the busiest seasons.

But if you don’t want to fork out for these extras, there are some other tips in order to maximise your time in the park:

  • Arrive as the park opens! The earlier, the better = the less people. But remember to plan for extra time if you have to park or walk up to the Park.
  • Similarly, eat breakfast before you come so you don’t waste this valuable morning time eating as opposed to making use of short wait times.
  • Hit the Wizarding World first, to get those rides done early, then try the other rides in the Park (while still early, and still empty) and only come back to the Wizarding World later for shopping, exploring and lunch.
  • Check the wait times online at USHWaittimes.com while in the park and try plan accordingly. Bonus, there is free wifi in the park!
  • Go as single riders. When you enter the queue as a single rider, you’re essentially used as fullers in seats of rides which are left open due to odd numbers. We only realised this later in the day and skipped a 120 minute wait at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! Other rides that include single rider lines are: Jurassic Park – The Ride; Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride and Transformers: The Ride 3D.
What to bring?
  • Comfortable shoes. My feet were aching in slops (flip flops) and we didn’t even spend all day there.
  • Sunscreen definitely. And even a hat.
  • Bottled water if you don’t mind carrying it, or else bring a backpack too. And in that case, you could even bring small snacks.
The rides!

The Walking Dead Ride:

I shit you not, this is the scariest thing in the world. You can repeat to yourself all you want that the ‘zombies’ aren’t real, but every time they jump out and try touch you, you will freak out. This was the shortest wait time I saw in the Park so we did this when all the others were peaking. Top tip: Make someone else go in front of you. Don’t be an idiot and be the first one of the group, again, like me.

Despicable Me:

This is a really cute simulator 3-D ride, which if you get really car sick, you might not enjoy. It really throws you around so you might end up leaving with whiplash but it’s still fun.

We didn’t know but you can actually ring the doorbells outside of the ride and grub answers back! This would be a fun ride for the kids.

Jurassic Park – The Ride:

I had been on this ride at the Orlando Park before so I sort of knew what was coming (bear in mind, that was 12 years ago). But I will say this, it involves an 84-foot drop. You will get wet if you are in the front – like we were. You can buy waterproof jackets but we just used the lockers just outside the ride to lock away our phones and then waited in a really long queue. In fact, it was the longest out of the rides we went on. But this was before we knew about single riders.

Tranformers 3-D Ride:

We didn’t do this one, but I wish we had. If we hadn’t been so hungry, and unsure about wait times, we probably would have. So like I said, rather be prepared so you don’t miss out on rides. This ride is in the lower lot – which is a bit of a mission to get to. There are about 4 sets of elevators to go down. On the way up, we took the stairs, with ice creams in hand, because you know, calories.

Harry Potter & the Wizarding World:

The Harry Potter ride called the “Forbidden Journey”. It was by far my favourite ride out of the lot. For a more in-depth look into the Wizarding World, check out this blog post here.

A new spectacle the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is launching June 23rd and is not to be missed! It is exclusive to Universal Studios Hollywood and will run multiple times a night during its summer run. I’m especially excited to return for this – because if you can remember, I turned into an excited little 5-year-old at the Disneyland Fireworks Display in Paris here.

In addition to the above rides, there is also the Simpsons Ride; A Studio Tour; and even a Water Park for kids. But we didn’t have any time for these. Let me know if you went on any of these rides. We definitely would love to return again.

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And check out mine here: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook (If you don’t already follow me, you reeeeeally should).

You might also want to check out my blog post on where we ate in LA here

Love from the child in me,

Leigh

x

10 Tips for Travelling with your Partner

So, Craig and I had only been dating for 3 months when he announced he’d booked a beach holiday for us on our 6 months ‘anniversary’. It was incredibly nerve-racking knowing that: a) we’d never spent more than a weekend together as we were doing long-distance at the time; & b) we were so new that we hadn’t yet fully learnt each other’s quirks. In fact, we hadn’t even taken a local getaway by then as yet. Many people said that this could make or break our relationship. And secretly, I think it was a stress test to see whether I was in fact, wife-material in order to continue our relationship as he was getting to that age when we he needed to start settling down.

It is a story we have all heard – a couple embarks on the trip of a lifetime together convincing both themselves and everybody else that because they are in love they will conquer all and return happier than ever.

Well, we did. And then went on to do a bunch more trips together including London; Paris; a Canada trip; some local ones; Europe again for a whirlwind visit to Berlin; Paris again and Amsterdam; and most recently to Mexico and Los Angeles.

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So many people ask me how Craig and I how we manage together on trips – whether we usually want to pull each other’s hair out or are we one of the lucky ones that actually travel well together?

Travelling with your partner (and surviving) is definitely a skill. A skill that, for some, doesn’t come easy. When else have you had to spend all day, 24/7 with your significant other in your relationship? Unless, you’re working together, probably never. And even then, your social commitments, gym, act as valid excuses to take some very necessary time apart. Not on a holiday though. You’re about to learn how tiresome it can really be to spend every waking hour with someone else – even if that person is the so-called love of your life.

#1: Plan your holiday extremely well. 

My number one tip of all time? Try limit the travel stress as much as possible. When travel plans are going as smoothly as possible, there are less frustrations and inevitably, less reasons to fight or argue. That means, look up train times, ticket queries, double-check confirmations & have directions on hand. Rather be over prepared than not. I always have set itineraries, with opening times, street addresses, directions or a map and possible alternatives and back up plans. This also ensures you maximise your time on holiday rather than feeling rushed or panicked about time.

I also find that this tip applies more to cultural, sight-seeing holidays, rather than beach holidays. For example, our holiday to Mexico was a breeze, but our European holidays, like Paris, are usually more stressful.

#2: Make sure your travel plans line up with what you BOTH want to do.

Sometimes, you’re together because you enjoy doing the same thing, but sometimes, couples who are extremely different, find it difficult to agree on a travel plan of things they BOTH want to do. To an extent, this is also all about compromise, but mainly I think this just requires honest communication. Being upfront about non-negotiable must-do things for each of the partners, as well as a general idea of how you expect the holiday to unfold, is always a good thing to have in mind before you even reach the airport for your departure flight.

For example, Craig and I have, at times, had different ideas about whether a particular trip would be about relaxing, or whether it would be about exploring. These are two very different holidays and can result in frustrations of unmet expectations. This is something I avoid now by vocalising what I envision the holiday to be about, rather than assuming we’re on the same page.

Ask each other:

  • Do we want to relax or explore? Or a little of both?
  • How quick or slow should the pace be?
  • What are non-negotiable must-sees?
  • Are there things while travelling that usually upset one another?
  • What things should each partner be on the look out for, to ensure the other partner will be less stressed?

#3: In the planning stages, agree on a few important things, especially the budget. 

Finances is the cause of most disagreements for couples abroad. When unexpected costs come up, one partner inevitably spends the rest of the trip worrying about the budget. Plan for these.

Agree beforehand on:

  • Who will pay for what & try pre-book & pre-pay accordingly as much as possible.
  • Whether you will be splurging or skimping and on what.
  • How will you pay (Also NOTE that credit cards like American Express aren’t accepted everywhere & some ATMs don’t accept Amex either – prepare for that in Europe).

#4: Have realistic expectations—everything won’t always go according to plan.

Understand that things can and will go wrong and try to roll with the punches. Don’t get caught up in the inconveniences that inevitably plague travel. Everyday won’t be perfect, so don’t expect it to be.

This is where I usually go wrong, and I find Craig has to manage my expectations A LOT. In fact, he does it in our daily life too. For example, where I’m craving a particular meal from a restaurant on a particular day and we make the mission to go get it – he will still talk me down from my expectations in case they don’t have it and sometimes even call ahead in case. Similarly, when I bought my car, he prepared me for the long wait at the registries before I actually got to the exciting part, driving my car out the lot. If you plan for inconveniences, it won’t affect you as much – or you will at least be prepared for them.

#5: Know your partner’s quirks and accommodate them in advance.

Poor Craig finds that ensuring I have gluten-free options at restaurants in a new country, one of the most stressful parts of travelling with me – and I don’t blame him. Hangry is a thing. He now ensures I always have a snack on hand, or that we have a meal plan before hunger sets in, well in advance of meal times, so that we aren’t forced to eat somewhere which provides few options for me to choose from. This to me, is the sweetest thing. So think about what stresses out your partner and try to accommodate them as much as possible (and in advance) and you’ll avoid most of these little upsets.

#6: Don’t try to jam-pack your days.

Don’t try to cram too much into your daily itinerary as things always take longer than expected and trying to make it in time for numerous reservations will only add stress.

#7: Check in with each other often.

Constantly check in with your partner throughout the day. Things change, and so does your mood. Being aware of your partners needs and keeping an open line of communication will prevent any other potential stressors unplanned for. Do you still want to go out for dinner? Would you rather head back to the hotel now for a power nap? How’s your energy? How about a quick coffee to sit and regroup? This also enforces each other to be patient with their partner.

#8: When you do squabble, kiss & make up.

In the moment, it’s hard to be rational, but account of the environment change and outside stressors when giving your partner a hard time while travelling. Fights while travelling are usually as a result of things outside your control, so don’t let it ruin time that could be spent together exploring and making memories.

When you’re being unreasonable, call yourself out on it straight away and then laugh about it.

#9: For some couples, giving your partner space might be key.

Craig and I do generally need space. We both have our “me time” back home so you would think that this would be necessary on holiday, but we usually don’t outright plan for it – it just hasn’t been necessary when we take short trips and work on all of the above.

That being said, I think it is important to allow your partner the space to regroup without you breathing down their neck every second of the dayespecially if it is a particularly long trip. Sometimes this could just be a quick visit to the hotel gym, or leaving for breakfast a little earlier than you partner to give them time alone. Embrace some down time.

#10: Lastly, make a real effort to relax. 

Check yourself at every chance you get. Are you blowing certain things out of proportion? Are you letting silly things upset you? Don’ let yourself get too wounded up about the small stuff. I promise you – it’s more than likely not worth wasting the time on your holiday which you’ve likely spent a lot of money on. At the end of the day, you’re in a new city to explore it while enjoying time with hopefully the love of your life. Relax, and enjoy every moment. 

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10 TIPS TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER

In sum:

Agree on a pace that suits you both, with a budget that allows for some leeway. Do not let unrealistic expectations ruin a holiday and never prolong an unnecessary fight. Acknowledge the difficulties that come with travelling in a different country for what they are – inevitable. And realise, that your partner is the one that can make it a trip of a lifetime full of incredible memories. So, take in every moment and roll with the punches. One day the small inconveniences will be worth the good laugh when you’re reminiscing. Remember, you’re on the same team!

One half of a travel team,

Leigh

x

Los Angeles | Where To Eat in Downtown

Guys. Why did no one tell me that LA is basically foodie heaven?! I ate my weight in food. No jokes. We ate out every meal. But I don’t regret a thing. If you’re heading to the City of Angels, here are a few of my recommendations.

Breakfast:

Bottega Louie (700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017)

Craig had spotted this place on the drive in to downtown towards our hotel. BUT he hadn’t checked the name, he just reckoned it was totally our vibe. Small problem though, Craig sucks at direction, so we had no way of figuring out where this magical place was.

We ended up being recommended this place for breakfast, and as Craig walked up to the street, he realised, as fate would have it, that we had actually found his restaurant! Luck again was on our side when we accidentally found ourselves in line at the waiter’s desk for the actual restaurant section to open at 9am – skipping several other people who then queued behind us.

What we hadn’t realised was that the restaurant was actually a bakery/cafe, with a separate area for meals. We got a table quickly and had impeccable service from our stunning waitress. The menu is french-inspired but varied with quite a list to choose from. In fact, I had difficult choosing! In the end, Craig and I shared the Parfait yoghurt & muesli (which is gluten-free) and then had egg dishes.

If I went again? I’d do that Parfait dish a hundred times over. The Greek yoghurt is fresh, thick and creamy with a hint of lemon zest to cut the bitterness with a tang. The Nuthouse muesli is heavenly, but you can expect no less from a bakery. And the strawberries, heavenly. Craig and I still talk about this dish. Yet, it’s so simple. Stay tuned for a replication.

They’re also open for lunch and dinner, so don’t limit this gem to a breakfast option. Check out the menus below.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Menu

G & B Coffee at Grand Central Market (317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013)

Markets are by far my favourite thing in this world (if you haven’t already seen on previous blogs) and this particular one was an absolute gem. We had walked through the market in the evening just to have a look and it was definitely a lot busier, but instead we popped in our last morning for a quick coffee and breakfast for way more chilled vibes.

We had their muesli with milk (mine, almond milk) but we were immediately food jealous of the two next to us chomping on a freshly baked waffle (which smelt more like a croissant). AH. Food envy was real. Times like these when I hate being gluten-intolerant. But you should do it. Seriously.

And their coffee, 10 out of 10.

There are also plenty other stalls at the Market that will definitely strike your fancy. Follow Grand Central Market on Twitter here.

Website | Instagram | Twitter

Lunch:

Otium (222 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)

Otium, was another restaurant that we happened upon – and by happened upon, I mean we did a Google search of restaurants in the area and this one made the cut. It’s a contemporary restaurant situated beside the Broad Museum. We strolled in at around 2pm on a Saturday to a packed. Instead of waiting on a table, we opted for the bar. Make use of those barmen and grab a cocktail or two – they’re incredible! The Peanut Butter and Jelly Cocktail is mind-blowingly odd but surprisingly great.

This pick was my favourite out of the lot and we would even break my rule of always trying something new: and return a second time! BUT I’d book ahead!

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Menu | Reservations

Kreation Organic (Several locations online found here)

If you want to do like the celebrities, hit up this juice joint for an all-health-errythang. It’s all organic, gluten-free, freshly-made, and raw. If you want a recommendation? Go with the Immortal Transform Smoothie. It’s the best smoothie I’ve ever had! It’s also packed full with nutrients.

Website | Instagram | Menu

Dinner:

Water Grill (Several locations but we went to the Downtown LA location)

To be totally honest, this was the only place Downtown that we could get a last minute booking for Saturday night. We were definitely unprepared for the food scene that awaited us. In future, I’d come armed with pre-booked and pre-planned meal outings but this wasn’t a bad spot to end up either.

The buzzing restaurant was packed at 9pm – and is evidently a popular one with the locals. Craig and I both had seafood, of course, and the food was impeccable. BUT if you only order mains, I’d order an additional side of veg!

Website | Instagram | Menu | Reservations

Broken Spanish (1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015)

Another one of my favourites, the food was divine. This Mexican/Latin restaurant is more of a hip, casual eatery. And again, I’d keep returning to this one.  We each had a starter and shared two of the big mains. There was not one bite left.

Website | Instagram | Menu | Reservations

Bar:

Birds & Bees (207 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012)

This hidden gem (quite literally) is off the beaten path. In fact, we struggled to find it with no signage just a mere bee-hive symbol on the floor-path alongside a building – and just by that, it’s cool factor escalated majorly for me. Not many places survive off little or no outside advertising, so the fact that this place is busy almost every night, must make it worth the initial game of “Where the eff is this bar?!”

If I didn’t think the place was cool enough yet, they go and decorate the bar in full-industrial-basement-retro-chic gear and then I’m one hundred percent sold the cool kids hang out here.

While the cocktails (that we tasted) were not my favourites in LA (Otium takes the cake on that one), they did the job and the atmosphere made it one of the best nights.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Everson Royce (1936 E 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021)

Hidden bars were the theme of the weekend in LA – clearly. But I think this one was my favourite. The jug of margaritas went down too quickly, and the snacky foods filled the spot until dinner. The beautifully lit courtyard buzzing with music and people chatting added to the incredible atmosphere.

Yes, this place didn’t look like much from outside, especially because we felt like it was in a  particularly dodgy area in Downtown LA. Even our Uber driver was worried about us when dropping us off. BUT looks are really deceiving (so much so I snagged the photo below from their website just to show you what you’re in for).

Website | Instagram | Reservations | Menu

I hope you enjoyed reading all about our food adventures in LA. I’m sure your mouth is watering – like mine was while writing this! Please let me know if you visit any of these!

If you liked this, you might also like:

  • Our food travels in Calgary, here and here.
  • What we did in Paris in 5 Days here.

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DOWNTOWN LA FOOD guide (1)

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow along on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook.

Finally back to regular blogging,

Leigh

x

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Audrey Writes Abroad. Thanks so much Audrey for the sweet nomination! Definitely check her blog out – she is travelling around Canada, so I particularly enjoy getting tips on what should be added to my to-do list in Canada.

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With the nomination, comes a few rules & questions to answer.

Rules:
  • Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  • Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • List the rules.
Questions:
  1. What inspired you to start blogging? I have been uploading & sharing photos of my travels; restaurant/coffee-shop visits & any other adventures, so when friends started asking me about suggestions & recommendations I decided that putting it all online would be the best. I, myself, enjoy reading blogs & I thought some people might benefit from our travel stories too!
  2. Favourite book? A Thousand Splendid Suns.
  3. Favourite city? Tough one. Probably, Paris, because we enjoy it every time we go. Like this time.
  4. Favourite song? At the moment? Something Just Like This – Chainsmokers.
  5. If you could ‘Obliviate’ yourself so you could read a book like the first time, without any memory of it, which one would it be? Harry Potter? Does that make me lame? Haha. It’s probably also why we went to Universal Studios in California a few weeks ago. Total Harry nerd.
  6. If you could go back in time to live a trip or a day exactly the same way, where would you go? Oooh. Even tougher. I think it would be a day in Paris on this trip here.
  7. Morning or night person? Um, I’m an early riser, but need “me time” before I can have a proper conversation. “Me time” usually involves a good cup of coffee too.
  8. So we built a time machine & the ripple theory was proven completely false, so we’re letting everyone use it once to choose in what year they want to spend the rest of their lives in. What year do you choose?
  9. What’s your idea of a perfect day? Strolling the streets of Paris like we did here; or going on a coffee date to somewhere new with Craig like this; or lying on a tropical beach in the sun with Craig like in Mexico (probably because I’m sick of Winter now).
  10. A yoga retreat in Bali or a cruise up in the North? Yoga retreat in Bali any day of the week! In fact it’s on my bucket-list here.
  11. In your opinion, what is the best post you wrote on your blog? Um, not sure it’s my ‘best’ blog, but its my favourite because it’s a round-up of all my travel stories so far and it makes me smile just thinking about memories and what’s to come!
I nominate:
  1. Stockholm to London
  2. Debbie from Wanderlust Calls
  3. Chloe vs World
  4. Wanderlust plus one
  5. Glitters and Mayhem
  6. Small Town Blogger
  7. Carla Papa
  8. Cocktails & Highheels
  9. The Local Foreign
  10. My Blonde Bubble
  11. Wanderstay
And Your questions are:
  1. Why do you travel?
  2. What don’t you like about travelling?
  3. Why do you blog?
  4. Favourite city?
  5. A city that you think everyone should visit & why?
  6. The biggest life lesson you have learnt?
  7. What is on the top of your bucket list?
  8. Favourite meal to make?
  9. Favourite blogger?
  10. Your version of a perfect day?
  11. Your favourite blog post on your blog?

Can’t wait to read all of your answers!

Leigh

xx

Mexico | My Sunwing Vacation Experience

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Hola Amigos!

We’re (sadly) back home from our short vacation to Mexico and already missing the sunshine, beach and afternoon naps. That being said, if you’ve stayed north all winter, here’s a bit of encouragement to get you booking that sunny holiday ASAP.

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The booking process:

We booked last minute on the Monday, for a flight departing early on Wednesday morning. As Craig and I were both desperately in need of sun and a hassle-free holiday, it seemed like Sunwing Vacations would be the best option. You pay one price, they organise the rest. Included in our package was an all-inclusive meal and drinks plan; return transfers to & from the airport; and our accommodation. No surprise extras, and no worrying about meals (except maybe at which resort restaurant to eat at). We did, however, have to pay to sit next to each other by pre-booking our seats.

The website is pretty easy to use. We narrowed our search down to adult-only; 4-5 star; all-inclusive hotels leaving on the Wednesday. We didn’t have any particular preferences in terms of whereabout in Mexico we’d like to go, so we just picked from our search results.

To be honest, Craig ended up choosing the hotel we ultimately ended up booking. While the cheapest option looked okay, we felt better booking a mid-range hotel and paying the additional few hundred dollars. I would advise everyone looking for a hotel on Sunwing to check out the hotel sites and TripAdvisor reviews. While I take all reviews with a pinch of salt, you can usually tell which hotels are going to be winners, and which aren’t.

The flight:

Like I said, we had booked an adult-only hotel, but unfortunately for us, that didn’t mean the flight was adult-only. Logistically, I understand why this is the case, but at the time, I really wished “adult-only” flights were a thing.

We forked out to “pre-book” our seats prior to check-in to ensure that we were sitting together. However, if you aren’t concerned about where you sit, then you can save the additional 50 dollars.

Having flown 36 hour journeys (broken up into multiple flights obviously), we dismissed the 5-6 hour flight as “short” and did not come prepared. That was our first mistake. When you’re desperate to get on that beach, the flight time can feel like 5 times longer. Definitely come prepared with entertainment – the flights aren’t equipped with individual screens.

Lastly, there is food available to buy in-flight, but if you’re gluten-free like me, rather come prepared with your own snacks or buy a meal before you board. TIP: On your flight home, get a burrito bowl at the airport for the flight. But also get gum, for your onion breath. Your welcome.

Arrival in Mexico:

The airport is a bit chaotic, but the lines go quickly. Baggage collection, and exiting the airport was all relatively easy. Just after the exit you will find Sunwing reps in bright orange t-shirts – you literally cannot miss them. They will direct you to your mini-bus transfer which will take you to your hotel. Our transfer took about an hour.

The hotel:

We booked at Eldorado Sensimar Seasides Resort & Spa. Craig said it looked more like a tropical holiday resort than some others that we were looking at – that were way more modern and almost, too white. The reviews also were a bit more positive than some other hotels.

The room: 

Craig paid the extra bucks for the swim up room. If there is anything you should take from this, IT IS THIS: IT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT TO UPGRADE TO A SWIM UP ROOM! We really got our monies worth. Not one day did we have to wake up early and fight over chairs that had been booked with other guests’ towels. All we had to do was step out onto our balcony and relax in our loungers.

Caveat: We did have a guest perpetually smoking next to us which I was a bit annoyed about. No where in the room did it state that one could not smoke, so I didn’t want to fight it but it did mean that at times, I didn’t even want to use the balcony (that we had paid for). NOTE: I’ve heard that smoking can be a problem at a lot of resorts for non-smokers.

The beach:

The beach was great to me, but Craig prefers waves. The sitting area is quite small but fits quite a few loungers on. We usually didn’t struggle to get loungers on the beach in the morning. There were canopies as well, but usually those were ‘booked’ by people’s towels by the time we got to the beach.

We did a walk down the beach to the next few hotels just to have a look. It’s actually quite a walk!! But it was nice to see the hotels. In fact, I found one that I might stay at in the future: Unico

The food:

The food was better than average. I dived into the seafood every chance I got and for the most part everything was incredibly fresh and healthy. They even had gluten-free stuff available!

We preferred the beach buffet for breakfast (where you can sit with sand in between your toes) or the Seaside Market, which is the best variety out of the lot.

Lunchtime, we liked the Grill area where you could get burgers etc.

You have to book at the Gourmet Pub & Asian Restaurant on arrival with the concierge to ensure you get a booking for dinner. Both were outstanding but if you like a good portion of food, be sure to order starters and/or (if you’re leaving room for it) desserts.

The Mexican Restaurant was fantastic! And I wish we had returned there instead of the Italian or Seafood Restaurant.

You can also eat at the Seaside Market Restaurant for dinner – which we didn’t – but heard good things.

The drinks:

Obviously all unlimited, the drinks weren’t my favourite. I stuck with the Mojito or vodkas and Craig opted for Coronas.

On the drinking note, there wasn’t much of a big part on the weekend that we were there. In fact, most people seemed to sit and watch. I wouldn’t call this a resort you come to, to party. But that wasn’t on our agenda anyway!

The extras:

The gym on the Seaside Suites side was amazing! Music along with aircon was pumping, equipment was new, and the whole speak was bright and airy so it didn’t feel like you were missing out on much outside.

If you missed your Starbucks fix at all, you could grab a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in the Seaside Suites too!

The Naay Spa was out of this world. We were conned big time with a ‘timeshare type sell/talk’ but we didn’t mind as we politely declined the purchase, but enjoyed the fruits of our labour (time) by taking our voucher straight to the spa to enjoy a sauna; couple’s massage + facial, with a hot tub afterwards. Sometimes, (I think) it’s worth going to those talks – just don’t get sucked in.

Watch out for:

  • Smokers. It’s annoying for non-smokers to have to deal with smoke while you’re relaxing around the resort, but again, it was only a problem for me, on our balcony.
  • Loungers being booked up. Either wake up really really early or book a swim up room.
  • Not booking Restaurants. If you don’t book the Gourmet Pub and the Asian Restaurant as soon as you arrive, you might miss out.
  • The tap water. Only drink bottled water. And keep sanitising your hands. At each restaurant, they will give you hand sanitiser as you walk in.

Would we go back? YES. While I usually like trying new places, knowing that a hotel is going to be a winner does help.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER TO WIN FOUR TICKETS TO THE CANMORE UNCORKED SUNDAY BRUNCH!
UP FOR GRABS! I have FOUR Uncorked Sunday Brunch tickets up for grabs! All you have to do to enter is:
  1. Like the Globe Diary’s Facebook Page here.
  2. Share one of my blog posts on your Facebook & tag the “The Globe Diary” Facebook Page in the post.

LA’s next! Keep checking in!

Leigh

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Round Up | April 2017

So… it’s been one of those months (again), where I haven’t even been able to touch the blog. I know, what kind of blog is this really? Well that’s the problem when you take on too much. Exams are two weeks away and I even feel guilty taking a few minutes to write this blog but I do owe you all a catch up (never mind the backlog of blog posts due).

Blogging just isn’t happening right now. 

I may or may not be pretty distracted with studying, life, and then our continuous travelling we seem to be doing. I feel like it was just the other day that I was moaning about how bored I was, and how much I wanted to travel. Well, believe it or not. I’m kind of wishing for the complete opposite now: to calm down. I want routine and a little more study time than I’ve had recently.

That being said, we cancelled Canmore this weekend (Insert bittersweetness). I am glad that I’ll have the weekend to focus on studying, but I am sad I’ll be missing the Wine Festival this weekend.

UP FOR GRABS!

BUT great news! I have FOUR Uncorked Sunday Brunch tickets up for grabs! All you have to do to enter is:

  1. Like the Globe Diary’s Facebook Page here.
  2. Share one of my blog posts on your Facebook & tag the “The Globe Diary” Facebook Page in the post.
WE TRAVELLED…. LOTS.

Mexico, Los Angeles, Calgary, & Jasper. I know. Way to pack it all into ONE MONTH.

These trips all deserve their own blog posts but here are some sneak peaks:

Mexico, you beauty.

This was a spontaneous, last-minute trip which we booked just after we received our PR cards. It was so good for the soul and I am already planning our return.

Los Angeles, you are more than I expected. 

We were barely back from Mexico, when we jetted off to California. All I can say is WOW. We only touched the surface of this beautiful city (slash state) and I can officially add this to my list of cities I would return to – along with my others on this post here. We also obviously went to Universal Studios to get our Harry Potter on – SO. WORTH. IT.

Calgary, to fetch our new baby.

We only really went to Calgary to fetch our newest family member, Oliver. And we are obsessed with him. No really. We cannot stop. We just love him SO much. So my social media is being dominated by this gorgeous thing.

Craig’s birthday & his dad came to visit!

We returned to Uccellino for a follow up to our favourite meal ever (blog post here). And we weren’t disappointed. We also stopped by for our favourite breakfast at Cafe Linnea too (kind of our usual, with blog posts here).

Craig’s dad only visited for a week but we checked out a few spots while he was here, like Have Mercy. To be completely honest, we only stopped in here because El Cortez was closed but I am kind of glad, because who knows when we would have tried out this undercover gem. While the place appears a little grubby and worn, I think it was the look that they were going for. Nonetheless, all the food we had was amazing. The ribs – the ribs were fantastic!

We also stopped in at MKT Beer Market afterwards and I tried my first beer EVER (Gluten-free of course). And it wasn’t even that bad.

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JASPER! For some south africa time!

This was also kind of spontaneous. Craig had been asked to join some South Africans from Edson in playing a game of sevens rugby in Jasper and we eventually decided that we should do it – and I am so glad that we did!

HIGHLIGHTS: Gees where to start…
  • Getting Oliver. He’s been such a presence in our lives the past two weeks and now I’m not sure how we managed life without him. He makes cuddles that much better,
  • Mexico. You were the best spent money in a long time. No really. After 7 months of winter, the sun in Mexico made me feel like a new person.
  • Universal Studios to go to Harry Potter World.
  • The food in LA. My word. Wait for the blog posts.
  • Spending time with Craig’s dad.
  • Meeting new people (more South Africans).
LOWLIGHTS:
  • Again, not blogging enough. After this set of exams, I really hope to manage time a bit better.
  • NONE. Guess you can call this an amazing month! Blessed.
WHAT’S NEXT IN MAY?

Well, I’ll be coming face-to-face with my first set of exams since I graduated. And I’ll be relieved to see the back of them too. Besides that, we’re hoping to get a little more settled into routine back home and try being “home-bods” this month. While this seems like a good idea at the moment, I’m sure my cabin-fever will flare up again as usual and I’ll be begging for a jam-packed schedule once again.

But until then, we will just be studying, cuddling with Oliver, catching up on a million blog posts, and getting the garden ready for summer fun.

P.S. Check out my updated travel story so far here. Let me know where I should visit next or tell me about you experiences at any of the places I’ve been to! I would love to hear!

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER TO WIN FOUR TICKETS TO THE CANMORE UNCORKED SUNDAY BRUNCH!

Hopefully, blog soon!

Leigh

x

 

 

Round Up | March 2017

March was one of those months that flew by under the radar. Especially on the blogging front. While I could write a whole blog post dedicated to the difficulties of the past month, I’d rather not bore you. Let’s just simplify it: it was tough. I am missing home (South Africa) so much and our ‘travel ban’ with immigration did not help. I’m just SO glad that our Permanent Residency Cards arrived on time and that we didn’t have to cancel our LA trip coming up in a few days. So, things are indeed looking up. There’s a lot in store for us over the next month and I’ll be sure to blog more. 

I BLOGGED.. LIKE ONCE?

I know. Here I’m aiming to blog as much as possible and this month has been one helluva let down. There is no other excuse other than life. With things being uncertain and unsettled with us here in Canada, plus studying as much as possible, it’s been so difficult to blog. So this blog might be packed full of news to update everyone. Bare with me.

WE FOUND ANOTHER COFFEE SPOT IN EDMONTON.

We spent one Snowy Saturday exploring new spots, like Iconoclast on 105 Ave. The garage-style coffee-shop is super cosy, the coffee is great and the view is amazing. We snuggled in with two macchiatos and a game of chess! Yes! Seriously. It was actually so fun.

WHILE EVERYONE WENT TO MEXICO… WE WENT TO WINNIPEG. 

Not joking. Yes, I know “Winterpeg” is not exactly at the top of most people’s to do list. To be honest, the only reason we ventured there was to visit family who were there on business. Any excuse to see family right? Regardless, it was seeing a different city (especially because at this stage, we were still on our travel ban).

We tried Carnaval, an all you can eat meat restaurant and it really hit the spot. The South African in me, missing braais back home, felt a little comfort in tasting all the different grilled meats!

WE WENT TO A DOUGHNUT PARTY.

It’s the latest craze in Edmonton. So if you’re lucky, you’ll get some donuts before they sell out. We had driven into Edmonton early for a well-planned Cafe Linnea breakfast as Craig and I were both craving it, only to realise they have started opening at 10am now! We killed an hour with doughnuts and coffee from Doughnut Party just two doors down.

WE TRIED BAIJIU… AND FELL IN LOVE. 

My word. This little piece of heaven has been on my radar since they teased us with all their “opening soon” social media posts. The food is incredible: I loved the brussels sprouts! And the pork was divine too. We ordered way too much but I don’t regret a thing. The cocktails are just as amazing. This place is a winner and we will be returning!

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WE BOOKED TO GO TO MEXICO. 

After being unable to go for the WHOLE of Winter, we spontaneously decided to book on Monday, leaving this Thursday. You cannot believe how much we are yearning for sunshine and cocktails – after all, we basically grew up on Vitamin D throughout the year in South Africa so I know that 5 days on the beach will do us some good.

We booked through Sunwing as we wanted an all-inclusive, hassle-free holiday – so let’s hope it all goes according to plan! I’ll be sure to do a review when we return but here’s a sneak peak at the hotel we’re staying at!

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Photo: From the El Dorado Sensimar Seaside Suites Website.
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • I got some more online love from 124th Sreet – one of my favourite streets in Edmonton! Check out their Facebook page here. They shared my blog post on my brunch at Canteen, check that out here.
  • Booking a trip to Mexico! Check out the blog on what to pack here. I need the sun so badly!!
  • We found a new coffee spot, Iconoclast. It’s a new favourite.
  • We got our Permanent Residency Cards so we’re officially residents of Canada!
  • We kitted out my study/office a bit more, with a desk and chair from Wayfair. It’s so nice having my own little spot to study. I’ll upload photos when I do a blog post specifically on our Wayfair purchases. 🙂
LOWLIGHTS:
  • Not blogging and keeping up with all that’s on my plate. This is more life a self-reflection on the past month rather than an actual event.
  • Besides being stressed all month that we may have to cancel LA, no other real lowlights.
WHAT’S NEXT IN APRIL?

April is absolute chaos. There isn’t a weekend that is unaccounted for. We will be arriving back from Mexico and a few days later are off again to Los Angeles. Then we arrive back and a few days later head off to Calgary for a one nighter to fetch our new little family member (a kitten). And then, Craig’s dad arrives on Craig’s birthday for a week in Canada, during which we might tack on a quick visit to Jasper. I know, crazy right. It’s funny how everything happens all at once after months of quiet!

So excited for this next month! So stay tuned! 🙂

Leigh

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