honeymoon road trip Canada

In 2013, we were informed that we were to be posted from Edmonton, Alberta to Ottawa, Ontario. We flew out, scoured real estate and ended up deciding to live in Prescott, Ontario. Upon returning to Edmonton, we entered a whirlwind of packing, organising and planning.
We are not very good at turning down the opportunity to turn any event into an adventure, so we decided to drive the 3,000+ km to Prescott. Ultimately, turning a mundane moving trip into a belated honeymoon-getaway road trip experience. Despite having been told that we could do the drive in 48 hours through the USA, we opted for a comparatively leisurely 9 days through Canada.
Camera in hand, we started our first real adventure since getting married. We took an alternative route, going south from Edmonton and then up through Ontario. We stuck close to water sources and went off the beaten track to find waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails, at one point we found ourselves scaling a rocky edge of a very choppy Lake Superior.
We baked in the hot sun and played catch with storm clouds. The journey was amazing and, although we arrived in Prescott stiff, tired and adrenaline filled, we were delighted to have taken this trip together. Exploring some of the most beautiful areas of Canada with each other has, thus far, been one of the most pleasurable aspects of our married life.
If some countries have too much history we have too much geography w.l. mckenzie king canada quote
I’ve broken our Canada road trip into a series of blog posts, which can be found here:
Canada Road Trip Series
What are your tips for making a mundane trip into an adventure? Do you have any road trip hints and tips for smooth travel?
In 2012, I travelled across 3 Canadian provinces and completed my first major ‘road trip’. Road trips are a new concept to me, so my excitement was intense. Follow the Road Trip Journey and discover places to visit and enjoy in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as hints and tips on the best way to make a road trip romantic, enjoy each others company and find great photo opportunities

Blanket forts are so much fun! You can never be too old to enjoy one. Better yet, there are loads of ways to make your grown up blanket fort work for you.

The Canadian and I recently celebrated two whole years of marriage. Neither of us feel that our anniversaries need extravagant gifts or plans. After we married, we agreed to ensure that our anniversaries would turn into special dates, whereby we would do something together, rather than buy something for each other. In a way that’s similar to our outlook on Valentine’s Day, we are of the opinion that if we need to focus on one day a year, we’re not doing it in a way that works for us.

After scouring and reviewing the North American and British wedding anniversaries, we decided to follow the British traditions. This year marked the second year and, as such, the cotton anniversary of our marriage. We spent the day with immigration Canada – not the best place to spend it! After what was a stressful day, we had a BBQ with some family and, once everyone had left, we built a blanket fort, because blankets are cotton, yup nothing gets past me.
Few people were as excited or as amused by our plan to build a blanket fort for our anniversary but we still loved it. It was juvenile, fun and exciting. The best part about it is that we are both nerdy people, we enjoy building things and its a unique shared experience for the memory bank. We also got to work as a team and building a blanket fort, to us, was a brilliant way to spend a cotton anniversary.
We planned our blanket fort so that we could sleep in it, watch Doctor Who (didn’t I say nerdy already?), and eat our favourite finger foods. We pulled the mattress into the room and set it down next to the sofa, we placed ladders, side tables and chairs around the mattress and pegged the blankets around them, all the fabrics were light weight, and the entire fort was supported by the ceiling fan and the curtain rods, all through the use of handy pegs (be sure that the fabric is not heavy if you are using light fixtures. Secure it very loosely, if you tug on the blankets, it’s better for the fort to collapse rather than the light fixture land on your head!).
We filled the fort with fairy lights and voila! Our fort was complete. It lasted 5 days, until the cats managed to get in and have fun with it!
Here’s some tips on how to build a grown up blanket fort that works for you:
~ collect all your blankets, sheets, spare fabrics, duvets, pillows and scarves in one place.
~ pegs, lots of pegs! And maybe some safety pins.
~ have an idea of what you want your blanket fort to look like: will you need cushions or a mattress? What about fairy lights (those little lights used on Christmas trees the world over)? Do you want to crawl in, walk in or just duck to get in? Do you want to stand up inside the fort? Do you want to keep it up for a few days? (If yes, where can you build it so that pets, children and guests won’t require that the blanket castle be taken down prematurely?)
~ be wary of fire hazards, blanket forts and flames do not mix well.
What so you think, is there a blanket fort in your future? Have you ever built a blanket fort for grown ups?

have been busy recently. Sorting out directions, developing hobbies and working on feeling good.
A few weeks ago, I started working on being creative. This is what I did:
We once bought hideous photographs of Paris, they were printed straight on canvas and weren’t particularly good. So I decided to practice abstract painting. I found left over paint samples and developed these three pieces of art. I’m not completely happy with the results but I’m proud of myself for starting to decorate with my own work and having enough confidence to think that my art should be displayed on a wall. Even if that wall is mine.
A few months ago, I came across a battered sketchbook. The paper inside was excellent AND it was on sale for $4. Usually retailing for around $20, it was a steal and I needed it! The ugliness was hard to get over. So one day I just started throwing paint on it until it developed into this. I love it. It’s the first time I’ve mixed paints since I was in high school. One of my biggest limitations is the fear that I’ll get it wrong. After redecorating this sketchbook, I felt confident. This helped me get over my fear of “ruining” something, getting wrong or being embarrassed.
This was so much fun. I was having a stressful day. I took time out to paint the envelope of an important document being sent to a friend. It was so cathartic. It was the first time I’d played with paints since high school. The envelope developed further but not before I wrote out her full address! Eek! So, consider this a sneak peek until I able to edit the photo.
This developed into this:
It still needs work but I’m loving how it’s turned out.
I have been so busy with work (opening night, tonight!), so having a creative outlet has helped me manage stress (and overeating). What do you do to manage stress?

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My mother in law gave me all of her old camera equipment. It was like an early Christmas present when she brought the boxes over. We were both under the belief that the lenses would automatically fit on my DSLR but that was not the case.

Eventually, I searched on eBay and tracked down a Minolta to Canon adaptor. It arrived today and I immediately popped it on and started testing the lenses. Using film lenses on a DSLR was so much fun.

Sadly, I cannot adjust the aperture easily on the camera as the lens isn’t recognized on my Canon, still, I enjoy the results.

 

I am in England.

Pinching myself because it doesn’t feel very real.

It took so long to get here. It’s been such a crazy visit and trip.

First there was a snow storm in Ottawa, which meant my flight was cancelled, which led to a whole host of events including:

– queuing for an hour to get a taxi

– the taxi driver leaving me at the end of a driveway whilst I pulled one 28kg suitcase and carried two 10kg bags through 2 feet of snow, all while wearing canvas shoes

– I spent more time in an airport and eventually managed to get to Frankfurt where it became evident that someone had forgotten to book me on the connecting flight to England. So, I waited, only to discover that I wasn’t booked on the second connection either.

– There may have been a scary look on my face because I was quickly put on the second connection.

By the time I landed in England I was beyond tired and grumpy but I’m glad to be here! The downside of this is that I haven’t been as attentive as I wanted to be with this blog, my services, and my part time job. I think that eventually that will get back on track. Thanks for being patient.

Afternoon Tea Ideas for Mother's Day

 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner for all those UK folks on the other side of the Atlantic. Being a bit of an expat, it can be quite a hassle to get hold of Mother’s Day cards amongst other things. Canadian’s and American’s aim to please mothers in May. Not cool, if you ask me, which you didn’t. 


This year, I’m actually going to be with my mum on the big day, which is pretty exciting. I’ve still been struggling for cheaper-than-overpaying-at-a-crowded-restaurant idea. 


Then it struck me: Afternoon Tea or High Tea (there is a difference but for this purpose, I’m not particularly interested in differentiating). 


Here’s the HOW TO: 


Follow the links below and gather all the foods you need, follow the recipes and store until the big day.


On the big day, cut the sandwiches into tiny pieces, pile them up on a pretty plate and add a garnish of watercress here and there. 


Cut up the cakes and the shortbread into tiny pieces, add them to a separate plate. 


Put the kettle on and make a big pot of tea. 


Lavish your momma with love, hugs, foods and giggles.

Afternoon Tea Ideas for Mother's Day

Sandwiches 1, 2, and 3. Scones, Lemon Curd, Shortbread, Raspberry Almond Macaroons, Strawberry Cream Tea Cake, Boozy Coffee and Walnut Cake, Elderflower Crunch Cake, Double Chocolate Loaf Cake, Pound Cake, Carrot Cake.

I love afternoon tea, and I am so excited to do this come mother’s day. Ha, I say me but really I am going to utilise the skills of my baking sister, she just doesn’t know it yet.


Has anyone else ever made up an afternoon tea?


Click here for some more mother’s day inspiration

I have only recently become interesting in art journalling. I have scoured Pinterest for drawing inspiration and art journals, from this I have developed an interest in scrapbooking techniques and development. If you want to look at the collection I’ve developed on Pinterest you can find it here.

I’ve spent some time developing a style. I spent ages reading things like ‘the only way to get good at something is to do it’ or ‘practice makes perfect’ etc, and I rolled my eyes and huffed and puffed because I wanted to learn by looking and reading not by doing. Eventually, I had to admit that it was true. I had to just do it, so I did. I found that it’s really hard to know where to start, so I developed this little guide to help you on your journey to ‘just doing it’!

Having recently moved to small Ontarian town, I have spent a lot of time sat with the cats at the window, with a notebook. It is a wonderful way to develop ideas, the only downside is that I spend a lot of time staring out of the window at nothing much whatsoever. The cats quickly notify me when birds are in the garden, and oh-my, such pretty birdies: cardinals, woodpeckers, and other little wonders. It really is the little things that keep me going. 

I wanted to take pictures, but they just didn’t come back (mainly because the temperature dropped to -24 C), so I devised a very cunning plan and opted to make bird feeders.

 

Having collected pine cones at Christmas for decor, I wasn’t sure what to do with them after Christmas. Here is what to do with the left over pinecones:

Directions:

Pinecones – lots of them.

Tie string/ribbon around them (in retrospect, string would have been better than leftover Christmas ribbons – squirrels enjoyed chewing through the ribbon just a bit too much).

Find something to poor the bird seed in, because this bit could get

Move on to the messy part, and smear a good portion of peanut butter on the pinecones, really get the peanut butter in the grooves, gaps and edges.

Roll it in the bird seed, sprinkle the bird seed, press it in there, get as much bird seed in there as possible.

Take them outside and hang them up. We attached the ribbon to paperclips to make it easier to tie them to branches, it meant we weren’t getting peanut butter all over our faces, hair and coats by attempting to tie knots.

I am sure that birds like them, but, erm…the squirrels got to them first. Still, a good effort to feed the wild creatures of our back yard!

I wanted to start keeping sketchbooks. It was a way to keep track of my development artistically.

I bought a battered sketchbook from Michaels during it’s sale for $5 (originally $16!) and painted the front and spine. This was my first real sketchbook since age 16, so I thought I’d make it count. For me, this book represented so much. I didn’t really have a theme at first, but as it’s developed, I’ve seen one come out. It’s really just a place for me to practice skills and explore my ability to create. There are a lot of handwriting samples, sketches of pill bottles and journal entries about my daily experiences. I come across things that I’ve forgotten about or discover things by looking at them from a different perspective. The far right painting was originally just me cleaning my paint brush and using up paint. I looked over it a few weeks later when I was listening to music and felt that the lyrics fit. This started my passion for Emeli Sande’s song and it developed into something more somwhere else (more on that later).

The paper in this sketchbook is far from perfect for paint, but that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most; painting even when it hasn’t been ‘right’. Breaking rules is a big deal for me, so breaking little art rules means more than what it sounds. It has been liberating and I would suggest that everyone have a sketchbook to write/draw and practice anything and everything. There doesn’t have to be an order, there just has to be ‘stuff’.