Update

What a crazy couple of months its been! So much so, I have neglected a lot of time for myself. This has made me feel somewhat sad.

I often find myself in a whirl wind each day between studying, working, keeping our place nice, looking after our puppy (yes, puppy), and by the time the day is done I am totally dead to the world (this is also called life I believe)! But I guess its also part of this huge transition in my life.

I am lucky to have some time off from my studies this month, so I am going to be dedicating some time to myself and making sure I look after ME a lot more.

Its strange when you spend so long planning to move somewhere and then when you arrive, what you dreamt of all those hours and days doesn’t quite add up to real life.

Despite being in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I feel that I haven’t made the most of it at all and this I’d like to change. Its bloody hard when its raining a lot – I really have found out why they call it Raincouver the last couple of weeks. However this week is looking pretty bright, and I’d like to make the most of it!

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Camping with Kenny and Bex – Harrison Lake

 

This weekend just gone we’ve had such an amazing experience camping at Harrison Lake. Willow knew Kenny from previous travelling, and since being here Kenny and his gorgeous gal Bex have made me feel so welcome and really part of their lovely friendship group. We’d mentioned we wanted to go camping somewhere and within moments we’d planned a trip to Harrison Lake. It’s a favourite spot of theirs and I was so excited to get in their truck with them and head into the mountains!

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Friday evening –

After driving for about 2 hours, with a quick stop at Walmart for some last minute essentials, and for Willow and I to grab a tent (we got an Ozark 3 person tent for $38.99 – too small for us 2, no where to put your stuff at all and can barely put in an inflatable mattress, good for just 2 nights but not more to set up a proper camp for a week) we finally arrived at Harrison Lake.

We’d headed down when Bex and Kenny had finished work so arrived as it was getting dark. There was then a 16km drive up and through the mountains on a very rocky road in the dark! Thank god for the massive truck we were in and Kenny’s skilled driving! We ended up setting up in the dark on the beach. What will the view be like in the morning we wondered? We didn’t even know if we were on a beach or a campsite. It was rather exciting!!!

I had a pretty rough nights sleep. I always find it hard to settle on the first night somewhere new, but I managed to catch a few hours worth of zzz before day light broke and the birds began to sing.

Saturday –

It was about 8am Saturday morning as Willow and I lay in our tent whilst we unzipped the tent door. Wow, what a view!

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Our tent rested on the beautiful Harrison Lake shore line amongst small pebbles, dipping into smaller coves as the lake travelled vastley round. In the distance, there was a long thin island in the middle of the lake with the most beautiful mountainous back drop, even with glaciers and snow capped mountain peeks. I couldn’t actually believe we got to spend a whole 2 days there – not long enough!

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As soon as Kenny and Bex awoke a few minutes after us, the boys cracked a couple of beers and us gals enjoyed Ceasars (similar to Bloody Mary’s if you’re in the UK) whilst waiting for our coffees to heat up – we might as well start the day right we thought. It was a nice surprise that Bex had used Baileys in our coffees instead of milk!

Kenny cooked a smashing breakfast of maple syrup sausages, eggs and potatoes with green peppers – it was fantastic. I’d never had those sausages before and I was so impressed!

We listened to our music on the beach whilst we pumped up the inflatables to go out onto the lake with. We tied ourselves to a self made anchor so we didn’t get too separated or drift out into the lake too far (safety first!). We packed the inflatable fridge with what we needed (beers) to go out onto the lake for a while and enjoyed a superb float around.It was SCORCHING! The weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky! I was in heaven, great company, great scenery – fantastic. I even tried Spitz for the first time (flavoured pumpkin seeds), I’ve still not got the hang of taking the seed out the shell in your mouth, so I’ll just eat the whole thing. No biggie to me.

We watched the sunset from our gorgeous spot on the beach, it was so quite and special. We had our own little beach party all day and it was perfect.

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Sunday – 

I felt so sad waking up that knowing that we had to leave Harrison Lake later not hat day. We were in our happy place in the wilderness. I loved every second of it.

We noticed that there was smoke around the mountains and drifting across the water infront of us. It seemed so eerie at first and we were soon warned by a fire warden going by that there was a forest fire only 7km away (about 5 miles) from our camping spot and we may need to be evacuated.

If you’re interested to read more about the awful BC wild fires take a look here: http://globalnews.ca/news/3585284/b-c-wildfires-map-2017-current-location-of-wildfires-around-the-province/

Specifically about the Harrison Lake fire go here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/harrison-lake-wildfire-1.4254824

After we noticed the smoke we were given our own personal air show! Kenny had mentioned about seeing the fire planes once before and its quite the experience, I didn’t think they’d then turn up out of know where. All of a sudden 3 planes bomb over our camp site and fly into the distance. We couldn’t believe it! They were diving into the Lake in the distance gathering water, round and around they went. We them saw more to our left hand side gathering water!

Time to go home –  😦

After packing up on Sunday and enjoying smokies and burgers (best ever by the way) it was time to head home. We listened to the tunes and were taken through the rickety road we came up viewing Harrison Lake from a different angle at Sunset. We also managed to stop at the most majestic water fall I’d ever seen (probably one of the only ones!) with another airshow of the water planes going over head. We even saw the fire in the mountains too. Devastating to see, but an eye opener at the same time.

Thank you to Bex, Kenny and Willow for making my first BC camping trip so special – here’s to many more in the future!

Em x

Take a look at more photographs of our amazing trip here. All pictures are my own.

 

Apartment Shopping Tips – how NOT to shop in Ikea.

A bit of a life update: 

So on Monday, Willow and I moved into our apartment (pictured above) in Vancouver after staying out of town waiting for it to become available. Thank god Willow was here as I couldn’t lift a thing!

The sun was beaming down and I felt great, however I was so nervous as well. We’ve been waiting to get into this place for so long that I’d built up this picture of what it would be like. I’d been imagining something that was quite spacious, new and clean. I’d been looking at the floor plans umming and ahhing for months about what kind of sofa we’d get, or the size of the bed etc.

We wanted to get our place kitted out pronto, so we went and spent a day in Ikea in Coquitlam getting the basics for our place on the Friday before our move in date. We were like kids in a sweet shop; it was brilliant. Well, it was at first. After 9 hours it was a bit of a drag.

What we learnt – don’t make the same mistake:

We went round and wrote down every single thing we wanted by name and code to make life easier when ordering at the end. From our pots and pans to knives and forks, vases, we really hit it up it there.

When we reached the ordering station at the end of our maHoosive Ikea journey, the cashier said that they only deliver furniture. kfopdhgjhptzhopjzdgphjpdtbjh!

Baring in mind we needed a delivery as we don’t have a vehicle here, it was going to be very difficult to get everything to our place without one. We had 4 booklets worth of items to order, and only 3 of them were furniture. I kindly asked where it says this and whether this was some ‘general knowledge’ about Ikea I’d missed, the lady said it was in the ‘fine print’ somewhere. Fine print my arse. I was not a happy Peach and mentioned to Willow sarcastically that he needed to make sure that we always read the fine print next time we go shopping…

Just to put the icing on the cake, we went to order our furniture at the end and our card got declined. We’d reached a limit for the day on our Scotiabank Cards which we’d never actually used before The limit was set so low we wouldn’t have even been able to just buy our bed and sofa. So we left Ikea, after 9 hours, with – nothing.

When moving away and ordering from Ikea…

  1. Remember Ikea only delivers furniture so don’t waste half your life in there
  2. Don’t rely on ordering everything on the Ikea website as a lot of things you may see are not available online
  3. Make sure you’ve got enough wriggle room on your card
  4. Don’t rush at buying things. Ikea is great for basics, but I’d not recommend their bed sheets or cushions. You can pick up nicer things along the way 🙂

We’ve managed to do some great exploring this week, so keep ya eyes peeled for a post in the next few days!

Em x

We just moved to Vancouver (yay!), and I dislocated my ribs (doh!).

The first and good bit…

If you’ve been following our story so far I’d like to thank you! No doubt, you’ll be friends and family from back home, or someone who’s just amazing and interested! Who ever you are, thank you.

You’ll be pleased to hear that my blog will now begin to get VERY INTERESTING and truly begin because guess what – we finally made it.

On Wednesday 19th July we set off at 4:30am with my Mum and Dad to head on the long journey to Gatwick Airport. I tried to snooze but couldn’t. I really can’t sleep whilst travelling on any form of transport usually and I guess it was a mixture of being excited, apprehensive and also feeling sad about saying goodbye to my lovely Mum and Dad.

I had to say a rather quick goodbye to Mum and Dad as I felt so sad leaving them and didn’t want to drag it out or cry too much. Its very hard saying goodbye to the ones you love, especially when you’re moving so far away so thank god for Skype and WhatsApp!

We flew with WestJet from Gatwick to Vancouver. Our tickets were £388 per person direct, with the flight time being at 10:55am British time, landing in Vancouver at 13:05 Vancouver time. Pretty good times!

We got off the plane and my god it was HOT! The great thing about this area of Canada is that the Summers are so fantastic and most importantly consistent. You can trust the forecast here unlike in the UK – you have to pack for all weather back home!

The bad bit…

I’ve always struggled with my bad back, and unfortunately it got the better of me this week. Over the weekend Willow and I popped on our backpacks and headed for a great weekend in Vancouver (blog post to follow). I was feeling quite a lot of pain over the weekend but thought hey, power on – SILLY ME! Tuesday we went into the Coquitlam Centre Mall to hunt for some cool apartment accessories and essentials to be delivered next week when we move in on the 31st July.

However, the days were ruined as I was suddenly in such pain I couldn’t breath or even talk! I managed to find an Osteopath who helped me, saying I’d done some serious damage to the back left side of my ribs dislocating them. Apparently its the 3rd worse pain in the whole world and I can vouch for that! So, thats why this post probably isn’t the post you’re expecting. I’ve been trying to rest up and feel better as tomorrow we’re going into Vancouver to watch the Festival of Light. So things should get much more exciting as of now…

Em x

 

 

Help me plan our first week in Vancouver!

Firstly, thank you to all my new followers and viewers. I’m so grateful! But maybe now you can help me?

I want to know if you have a favourite hang out in Vancouver or anywhere in BC? Or, is there a place you’d like to visit? Then please let me know and send me there! 

With only 5 days to go until we leave…(5 FRICKIN DAYS OMG) it feels like the days are literally flying by. I keep thinking of our first real ‘exploring month’. This fun won’t start straight away as we’ve got some serious life admin tasks for the first few days, like getting new phones, sin numbers, bank accounts opened etc.

Yes I said it a fun month, as I won’t start uni until the start of September and Willow won’t start work either until then. So, all we can do is get set up in our new pad and explore! We have some great friends in Vancouver already who have been kind enough to put us up for a few days whilst we wait for our apartment to become available. They’re English, so I’m going to be stuffing some classic English delicacies in my suitcase like tea bags and skips.

I can’t wait to embrace our new home city; taking in the surrounding area especially Main Street which is the key location where we’ll be picking up all of our groceries, and hanging out if we fancy a nice evening wonder for a drink or some fresh air.

I think I’ll be blown away, excited, confused maybe, just mentally trying to take it all in will be rather exhausting but in a super good way.

I’ve began to run up a list of places where I think Willow and I should go and visit first. Instead of me discussing them all now, I’ll post my reviews, hints and tips of where my favourite places are for you to explore! But first, wheres your favourite place? Whether its taking in the mind blowing scenery, grabbing a bite to eat and a cheeky cocktail or having a dip in the ocean – I’m keen to get stuck in and give it a go no matter how random.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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A photo of us celebrating with friends a couple of weeks back. 

 

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Vancouver Musings – 1 month until the move

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Now its really starting to settle in (but its not). 

I say that this whole moving abroad thing is settling in, but – is it really? We’ve been working on this plan for 2 years now and with the ever building, ongoing buzz of friends and family asking how excited I am, I feel somewhat numb to the idea of moving away now, and thats the truth.

Following the vast amount of paper work and visa jargon, no offence to Willow but I’ve done most (all) of our ‘visa life admin’ over the past god knows how long, one month today seems to be a huge blur of uncertainty, excitement, apprehension and what the f*ck.

I literally have no idea whats around the corner, in a place where I’ve never been, with people I don’t know (apart from Willow obviously) and its going to be a fantastic fresh start I am sure of it. But still – it doesn’t seem real. When I put it this way and read this post back to myself I feel a flood of excitement and buzz go through me and then I’m brought back to reality again and into the moment.

I feel very sad to leave my lovely family and close friends behind, but I know they’ll always be here and I’m ready to spread my wings.

My amazing Mum and Dad. x

My friends. x

 

I love you.

How To Find the Cheapest Flights

 

It’s hard having Champagne taste and beer money.

Oneself cannot afford Virgin Airways first class beds – I was lucky enough to experience this once, but it’ll be a long time until I get this treatment again! I really wanted to discuss how we found our flights and to offer some tips and tricks and most importantly, share our mistakes so you don’t repeat them.

Who To Fly With And How To Find The Right Airline For You

I swear by Sky Scanner to find cheap flights – http://www.skyscanner.net

This useful site compares prices with all airlines for your desired day of travel to your perfect destination. You can also opt in to be a bit flexible on the dates to help you find the cheapest seats.

If you’re looking for a great budget deal, in our opinion, it doesn’t really matter what airline you go with. For Canada specifically, the cheapest flights we always saw were with Air Canada and WestJet. We ended up going with WestJet in the end and booking it directly through their own website. It’s always worth looking directly on the actual airline sites as we did; sometimes you’ll find flights a bit cheaper if you’re lucky.

Another reason why they’re cheaper is because the entertainment may be stretched with no in flight screens on long hauls…so a Kindle and sharing a lap top for a film sesh will be fun..! Never mind, that money will go elsewhere when we land.

Clean Your Cookies

Cookies hold data about what you’ve been looking at online, so cleaning your cookies out on your computer can truly help you find cheaper tickets. Plane companies are very good at knowing what prices you’ve been browsing and can change the prices so quickly, you’ll miss that best deal in a flash. Clean up those cookies and it may reset the price of your flights to avoid that disappointing price bump up (I feel your pain).

When To Book – don’t make the same mistakes we did!

In this experience, we made a mistake but one which couldn’t really be avoided. I’d highly recommend booking your flights as soon as you begin your plans. I seriously wish we had done so at LEAST 3 months ago, however its hard when you’re waiting for a visa to come through like we were. It’s natural you want to be certain your adventure is actually happening before spending all that money!

Back in March this year, the cheapest tickets were only £300 for our initial lift off date of 24th July. That was one way per person – not bad in my opinion for a 10 hour flight! This was with WestJet again, however when we looked two weeks ago, the price was £750…each..one way. This is where we learnt to be flexible and changed our day to leaving on the 19th July. We saved ourselves roughly £800 by doing this so that’s our bed and sofa paid for on the other end, give or take.

36 Days To Go.

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