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England Travel Diaries – Part 1

England Travel Diaries - Westminster - www.femmesociety.ca

Hello my sweet friends! I’m finally back from my England holiday and let me tell you, two weeks away from blogging was WAY too long! There are so many exciting things that I want to share with you about my trip, so if you’re planning to travel to England or the UK, you do not want to miss the goods in this post!

England Travel Diaries - Red Phone Booth - www.femmesociety.ca

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’d love to travel, but I just don’t have the time.” or “I really want to go on vacation, but I’m too busy.” I’ve personally said both of these statements and the truth is, there is never a perfect time to travel or go on vacation; you just have to book your flight and go with it. So that’s what we did last September when we found really cheap flights to England with WestJet. It was a “if we don’t do it now, we never will” kind of thing. And, boy am I ever glad we did!

England Travel Diaries - Tower of London - www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - Selfie Style - www.femmesociety.ca

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Trip Summary

The whole reason we picked England in the first place is because it’s actually where Alex was born and grew up as a kid. (Yes, I have a cheeky British boy on my hands). He always wanted to show me the place he called home and visit all the stops along the way. 14 days later, we could have easily called England home forever.

We started our journey in London and spent about 4 days seeing as much as we possibly could before venturing onwards. (FYI: If you’ve never been to London before, the more time you can spend there, the better) From there we took the train into Yorkshire and stayed in Alex’s hometown of Halifax. The next day we rented a car (yes, we braved the mad English roads and survived to tell the tale) and visited a tiny little village called Hebden Bridge, which immediately stole our hearts. From there we hopped back on the train and headed for Manchester. As much as we loved this city, we were unfortunately among the 70,000 people evacuated from the Old Trafford stadium and sadly missed the match. From Manchester we took the train north, all the way into Newcastle and Sunderland. Both cities had the most gorgeous coasts and beaches – we could have stayed there forever. The last leg of our trip took us back to London, this time staying in Wimbledon.

England Travel Diaries - Big Ben -- www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - Big Ben Views - www.femmesociety.ca

Part 1: London

Oh London, where do I start? First off we stayed at the Marriott Hotel County Hall which was basically a dream. I highly recommend this hotel; the staff were incredible, the room and breakfast service were 10/10 and the history of the building really made it special. It was also right next to the London Eye and was walking distance from all the tourist hotspots. Because our time was limited, we had to pick and choose what we wanted to see and leave some things out. We checked out Piccadilly Circus, Downing Street, Regent Street, Oxford Street (BEST shopping ever), Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Covent Garden, took Big Bus Tours to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and lastly East London.

England Travel Diaries - London - www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - Westminster Abbey - www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - www.femmesociety.ca

We also ventured into East London, which is boasting with unique and vibrant culture and is filled to the brim with street markets. Walking around in East London is like switching gears from designer bags and trench coats to a really eclectic yet trendy underground culture with building after building covered in the most amazing street art. We first checked out Old Spitalfields Market on Commercial Street, then Brick Lane where we discovered Dark Sugars truffle shop and Cereal Killer Cafe (also the same area as Jack the Ripper murders – crazy stuff!) then to BOXPARK Market Place in Shoreditch (which has the best Diptique boutique and if it wasn’t for baggage weight, I would have gone candle crazy), and lastly we had the most amazing curry feast at Zaza’s.

England Travel Diaries - www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - London Style - www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - London Style www.femmesociety.ca

England Travel Diaries - Regent Street - www.femmesociety.ca

When we returned to London at the end of our trip, we stayed in Wimbledon and had so much fun exploring there. We highly recommend stopping in for a drink (or to eat if you make a reservation) at the Earl Spencer. Their ½ Pint of Home Smoked Atlantic Prawns were out of this world. They also have quite the impressive collection of British gins. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Wimbledon area.

England Travel Diaries - London Style -- www.femmesociety.caCan you spot my squirrelly friend?

England Travel Diaries - Liberty Love - www.femmesociety.ca

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A Few Tips…

  1. Make friends with the locals. Yes, even if they are squirrels
    (Disclaimer: I’m fully aware this squirrel could have bitten me… but he didn’t because I shared my granola bar with him. Win)

England Travel Diaries - St. James Park - www.femmesociety.ca

2. While in London, one must eat a 99 with a Flake

England Travel Diaries - London Life - www.femmesociety.ca

3. An umbrella should be with you at all times, no exceptions

England Travel Diaries - London Style | www.femmesociety.ca

4. Don’t forget to fall in love with the night

England Travel Diaries - Goodnight London - www.femmesociety.ca

 

Thanks for reading everyone! If you have any questions about my stay in London, I’d love to answer! xo

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Travel Review: 4 Tips for Short-Haul Trips

Okay so who doesn’t love to travel, right? I think we can all agree that a well-deserved trip away from home is one of the best things in life. Especially when it includes a nice hotel, some shopping and good eats. I mean… it doesn’t get much better than that! On a recent trip to Vancouver, Alex and I planned each day from morning until night making sure we got to do ALL the things. And like all plans, they don’t always work out how we expect them to. Thus, here are 4 tips for getting the most out of short haul trips:

 

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1. Always Make Reservations

Okay so this one seems like a no brainer right? Well not always. For me, I get waaaay to excited about first getting to the destination, then the hotel and ALL the activities in between that before you know it… it’s dinnertime and you’re STARVING and you haven’t made any dinner reservations in town. Sure enough, this was exactly what happened. On Saturday night we had plans to meet up with some friends and go to one of our favourite restaurants in Yaletown. When we finally met up after getting super excited (and also pretty hungry) you guessed it… the restaurant was full for the night. Thus we resorted to finding ANY restaurant at this point with the quickest wait list – not the best scenario on a Saturday night with growling stomachs. My advice: do a quick Google search while you’re on the road, or at your hotel, and give the restaurant a quick call to reserve a spot. That 5 minutes will save you later on and will ensure a seamless dinner date with your pals.

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2. Budget, Budget, Budget

Again, a no brainer right? I’ll admit something to you… I have yet to master this thing called budgeting and whenever I rely on paying by debit or credit, I almost always spend more than I should. I could be wrong but I don’t think I’m alone on that one either. From food, to parking, to coffee, to shopping, to snacks, to tips… it’s incredibly difficult to keep track of it your finances on a holiday. So what is my solution? Change jars! Get a plain jar or even a piggy bank and promise yourself to put any loose change and bills into that jar for the months leading up to your trip. The less you put in, the less you can spend on that new Chloé satchel you’ve been eyeing from Nordstrom. Although this tip might be kind of difficult for trips planned on shorter notice, it sure helps the bank in the end.

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3. Luxury Doesn’t Always Win

Like many people, I want to feel a sense of luxury when it comes to staying in hotels. On our trip we ended up booking with the Pan Pacific Vancouver – luxurious right? Wrong. Long story short, we didn’t do our research and booked spontaneously, thinking that the Pan Pacific will be the nicest hotel we’ll ever stay in. The room was outdated, the baseboards were banged up, we hardly saw any hotel staff except for the front desk thus the customer service was minimal to none, parking was $20 more expensive than its competitors, the bathtub was exceptionally small, and the duvet looked quite old/yellow…. Our advice: do your research, read online reviews, and choose wisely. Don’t solely rely on the name of hotel for your booking decisions.

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3. Be Practical

Packing for trips and vacations is one of those subjective topics because everyone has a system that works for them, making packing advice so personal. That being said, when I’m traveling I usually opt for packing practical items for both my beauty routine and my clothes. For makeup and hair I only bring what I need to get the job done. For example, 1 styling tool, 1 styling product (usually hairspray) and that’s it. For makeup, I (try to) limit myself to a small makeup bag. It might be tough but you’ll be glad you kept your chunky eyeshadow palettes at home. For clothing, I plan my outfits for each day and specifically choose items that are versatile and can serve both day and evening looks. Depending on the length of the trip, I’ll usually bring one comfy outfit for traveling and the rest I make sure I can easily mix and match depending on my mood that day. My go-to picks for Vancouver? Waterproof tall black boots, black leggings/pants, oversized top/blouse, trench coat, and an umbrella. Always.

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There you have it! I hope you can apply some of these tips to whatever trips you having coming up this year. Do you have any go-to tricks while traveling? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear!

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