London, England- A Gallery

When people ask me "where is the one place you would love to live?", my answer is often London, England!. Sure, it has it's fair share of rainy days, but there is something about England that just gets to me. 

Maybe it's just that my childhood dream of becoming a princess someday has ingrained itself so deeply in my subconscious that England is the place to be (time to move out of the way Megan Markle!). 

In 2012, I went on a Europe trip with my parents and one of the places we visitied was England! I still remember this trip as though it were yesterday, with the photos below to remind me of how beautiful it was.

 

The Big Ben- The famous tower clock located in London, England. A must see for all tourists as it is located in Westminister, London.

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The London Eye- A giant ferris wheel located on the South Bank of the River Thames. Whether you decide to hop on for a ride of take a few photos as keepsakes, it is definitely a must see.

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The Camden Market- An outdoor market filled with fashion, small vendors, pubs, and live music.

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The Cotswolds- Take a step back in time in cottage country. A wonderful area in South central England with breathtaking scenes found in every nook and cranny of this small town. Go horseback riding in the country or have a nice pint at one of the pubs in town.

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- Britt

Orlando Travel Guide

I was very lucky growing up and had many opportunities to travel with my family. Orlando, Florida was one of the destinations where I travelled to quite frequently, and I have gotten to know the city pretty well! I recently just got back from a 4 day getaway to Orlando and thought it was time to share what I believe to be the hottest spots to visit!

Accommodation:

Silver Lake Resort
This resort has all of the essentials that you would want in a resort. Located in Kissimmee, it is just a short drive to all of the biggest attractions in Orlando (Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, etc.). In condo-like rooms, they provide you with your bedroom, kitchenette, television, washing and drying machine, and balcony. And for days when you just want to lay out in the sun, Silver Lake Resort has a fabulous pool area with many lounge chairs and a bar close by for nice refreshments! Other amenities include a gym, sauna, gift shop, tennis court, movie theater, and a large gaming room!

Orange Lake Resort
Another great resort located in Kissimmee! Choose between a studio room or a villa, each equipped with a kitchenette and living room area. The resort offers great amenities as well such as a games room, fitness center, water slide into the pool, racquetball, table tennis, and more!

Hotels
If you're not looking to stay at a resort, check out these greatly reviewed hotels!

  • Best Western Orlando Gateway Hotel -- 4.1 star Google review
  • Crowne Plaza Orlando-Universal Blvd --4.1 star Google review
  • Courtyard by Marriott Orlando Lake Nona --4.7 star Google review
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Orlando Theme Parks --4.6 star Google review
 sILVER LAKE RESORT

sILVER LAKE RESORT

Restaurants:

Cracker Barrel ($$)
A classic go-to whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Cracker Barrel is an affordable restaurant that serves your typical breakfast and comfort foods. There is also a great gift shop before you enter into the restaurant, which may be a great souvenir stop as well!

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. ($$)
Run Forest run! Located in Universal City Walk, BGSC is a fan favourite! Choose from their variety of shrimp dishes or their slow cooked ribs if shrimp isn't you thing. And don't forget to grab yourself a souvenir in their market!

Voodoo Donuts ($$)
Not a restaurant per say, but if you are looking for something sweet to eat Voodoo Donuts is your new pit stop! Located at the Universal City Walk, Voodoo donuts sells outrageously decadent donuts with flavours anywhere from Maple Bacon to a Captain Crunch donut! However, be prepare to stand in line for one of these donuts. 

Attractions:

Universal Studios
This one is a MUST! Whether you love rides or not, Universal Studios is a fantastic park that feels like you are in a movie as you walk down its roads! And if you are a Harry Potter fan, you MUST MUST MUST visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter located within the Universal Studios theme park. You get to see everything from the Hogwarts castle to Daigon Alley, and shop your favourite souvenirs in Hogsmeade. And don't forget to grab yourself a butterbeer while you're there!
Quick Tip- Go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter FIRST thing in the morning before seeing the rest of what Universal has to offer. Otherwise, be prepared to stand in long wait times for the rides, and be shoulder to shoulder as you walk along the Hogsmeade streets.

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Magic Kingdom
Where every child's dream comes true! If you're looking for the true Disney experience, then Magic Kingdom is the place to be. You can visit all of your favourite Disney characters in one place! The amusement park is filled with rides, live shows, and many eateries. 

Epcot
Epcot is definitely cultural expereince that you will not regret. The theme park is set up as if you are doing a World tour in one day! Well, not quite...but it feels like you are! Epcot represents 11 countries. You can stop by Italy and have some Italian pasta and then walk across the street to visit France and have some crepes for dessert! It is defiinitely a worldly experience that you don't want to miss!

Disney Springs
A great stop for a stroll at night or during the day. Disney Springs (AKA Downtown Disney) is a hot destination for shopping, entertainment, and restaurants!

 UnIVERSAL STUDIOS

UnIVERSAL STUDIOS

What are some of YOUR favourite things that you like to do in Orlando? 
Leave a comment below!

-Britt

5 Days in Los Angeles- DAY 5

DAY 5-Burbank

On our very last day in Los Angeles, we decided to make a trip to Warner Brother's Studio for a studio tour. This is what I had been most excited for this whole trip!

We got to the studios and waited for our letter to be called. Once it was called, the excitement began! We had a great tour guide who was very personable and informative. The actual tour lasted around 2 hours, and they drop you off at the gift shop and gallery which included the Friend's set.

During the tour, we got to experience all of the behind the scenes. It was crazy to see how many TV shows and movies were filmed on these sets! Most of the main scenes in Pretty Little Liars were filmed at Warner Brothers, including Ravenwood High school, the girls' homes, and their city. The same area was used to film Gilmore Girls, and of course FRIENDS! We also got to see the "jungle" that was used to film Jurassic Park. 

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Our tour guide was great and had a little surprise for us. He drove us to one of the lots and led us inside. Our minds were blown! It was a showcase of the batmobiles used in the Batman movies. All of the vehicles are driveable too!

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We were in for a special treat this day. We got to enter the set of the Big Bang Theory. Unfortunately, no photos or videos were permitted in the warehouse. But it was definitely a great treat, seeing as I am a big Big Bang Theory fan.

The last stop was the gift shop and gallery. And of course....the Friend's set! This was DEFINITELY my favourite part of the whole tour. Just being able to sit on the couch of the set made me feel like Rachel's best friend.

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Because this day was one of the warmest days of the week, my boyfriend and I decided to check out Runyon Canyon. We didn't quite have our hiking gear with us, but we made do. It was such a beautiful view at the top overlooking L.A.. 

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We were very sad that this was our last day, but I can definitely say that Los Angeles stole our hearts. We absolutely loved it here and will definitely be heading back hopefully sooner rather than later.

-Britt

5 Days in Los Angeles- DAY 4

DAY 4-HOLLYWOOD BLVD

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This day, we headed to Hollywood Blvd to scope out all of the stars. And we found them! Well, their names on the Hollywood Walk of fame.

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The street is full of souvenir shops, the Jimmy Kimmel stage, the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, street performers, and outdoor food stands. 

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Our first stop was Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Filled with wax figures of some of the most popular celebrities. We spotted Will Smith, Jimmy Falon, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Lawrence, and Leonardo Dicaprio, just to name a few. It is definitely a fun stop to take selfies with all of your favourite celebrities. Because let's be honest, it is probably as close as you will get to this many celebrities in one room!

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The next stop was the Griffith Observatory. Here is where you can get a fantastic view of the Hollywood sign by driving up the winding roads that lead to the observatory. At the very top of the hill, there is paid parking available that costs $4 an hour. The observatory was built in 1935 and gives a spectacular view of the entire LA Basin from the top of the southern hills of Mount Hollywood. It is not only the views that are worth seeing, but inside the observatory welcomes you to a wide array of educational displays of everything from the Tesla Coil to the entire solar system.

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The last stop of the day was Greystone Mansion. We decided to go back to Beverley Hills to check it out and I must say, Greystone Mansion is a hidden gem! It was built in the late 1920s for Ned Doheney and his family. Today, the mansion is a lovely park where you can walk around the entire estate and admire the gardens and coblestone walkways. You are not able to go inside the mansion, but you are free to walk around the entire estate. Many movies have been filmed here, such as The Holiday (one of my favourite movies), X-Men, The Mentalist, and many more!

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All in all, day 4 continued to exceed all of our expectations of Los Angeles.

-Britt

 

5 Days in Los Angeles- DAY 3

DAY 3- BEVERLY HILLS

On this day, we decided to glam it up and head to Beverly Hills. Now, if you're a fan of cars then you're in for a treat if you decide to go here! On every block you can find luxury vehicles ranging from Rolls Royce, to Ferraris, and Lamborghinis. 

There was lots of free parking on the surrounding side streets, which made it convenient to check out Beverly Hills. The first stop was Beverly Gardens Park where you can capture yourself in front of the Beverly Hills sign. Within the park are amazing artistic sculptures that are definitely worth a walk by.

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From the park, we headed to Rodeo Drive. Rodeo Drive is an upscale street consisting of many prestigious brands such as Valentino and Versace. We did not dare to even enter any of the stores knowing very well it was way over our price range. However, you do not need to shop to enjoy the amazing street. Parked in front of every other store is a luxury car, and you may even spot some celebrities shopping! (We did not, but we saw a couple filming for a documentary of some sort).

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As it started to rain on us, we decided to head back to our vehicle and drive to Westfield Century City Mall. This mall is a two level outdoor shopping center. We really came here to kill some time and possibly check out some of the stores. As we were walking along the first floor we came across a premiere for Love, Simon! We didn't stay long enough to see the main characters in the movie, but we did happen to catch a peak at some of their costars!

At the end of the day we decided to drive up into the hills of Beverly Hills. We snooped around all of the fancy homes like the tourists we are and happened to drive by Keanu Reeve's home! It was quite the view, not just the homes but the view from the hills down into the city.

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Day 3 came to an end and we continued to fall more in love with this state each day.

-Britt

5 Days in Los Angeles- DAY 2

DAY 2- SANTA MONICA & VENICE BEACH

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Day 2 had arrived and we decided to make the visit down to Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.

Our first stop was Santa Monica pier. Despite our poor luck and the windy weather, Santa Monica Pier was just beautiful. Overlooking the Pacific ocean and filled with a variety of fun filled attractions at Pacific Park. After walking around the beach and strolling the pier, we headed to Third Street Promenade.

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The Third Street Promenade is 3 block main street that was turned into a unique strip that feature many chain stores and restaurants. We stopped to eat at True Food Kitchen. I ordered the fish tacos and my boyfriend ordered the turkey burger. Both were very delicious! We wish they had this restaurant in Canada!

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After lunch we decided to head back to our rental and drive to Venice Beach (AKA Muscle Beach). But before checking out the beach itself, we just HAD to visit Arnold Schwarzenegger's infamous Gold's Gym. If there's one thing my boyfriend and I have in common, it's that we are avid gym goers and have watched many fitness personalities workout at this gym. We didn't walk through the gym, but we peaked inside and visited the gift shop inside the gym.

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Next, we headed to Venice Beach. Talk about skateboarders galore! We walked along the boardwalk and enjoyed the delightful chaos of the skateboarders zig zagging in between the groups of people, street musicians playing some cover songs, and wacky performers showing everyone their talents. There is an outdoor gym along the boardwalk and fitness equipment right on the beach too. It's too bad we forgot our gym clothes!

We ended the day driving to Malibu along the coast for another end of the day drive as the sun set. We grabbed dinner at a restaurant called Ollo where we were sitting beside a music producer and songwriter. Too bad we did not recognize them until they got up and left and we asked the waiter who they were.

All in all, day 2 was another success as we continued to fall in love with this city.

-Britt

 

5 Days in Los Angeles- DAY 1

DAY 1- DOWNTOWN L.A.

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My boyfriend and I decided to take a week of vacation and travel to the beautiful city of Los Angeles, California. We definitely did not think we would fall in love with this city as much as we did.

The first day here, we decided to roam downtown Los Angeles and check out everything from the Grand Central Market to the OUE Skyspace. We were pleasantly surprised with how many available parking garages were available with reasonable pricing. We parked at Pershing Square for about $7 with the early bird special on a Sunday ($10 on weekdays for early bird). 

Our first stop was the Grammy Museum. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of museums. As much as I can appreciate contemporary museums, I am much more inclined to emerge myself into the content of the museum if it is interactive. The Grammy Museum is just that! Filled with a variety of music genres, you can take yourself back in time and groove out to some oldie's or jam out to some current pop music. 

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The next stop on our itinerary was Grand Central Market. If you're not familiar with the Grand Central Market, it is an indoor emporium for food vendors and florists. One of the most popular food vendors is Egg Slut, so we decided to try it out! We got the bacon, cheese, and egg sandwich on a brioche bun. The egg oozed out with each bite. It was delicious and definitely worth the wait in line!

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Our last stop of the day was OUE Skyspace. It was an absolutely phenomenal view at the top. It features a 360 degree view of all of Los Angeles, and if you pay $8 extra you get to ride down their glass slide. The slide takes you from one floor to another while you are completely surrounded by glass! It was a short yet thrilling ride down that's for sure!

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At the end of the day, we decided to take the scenic route back to our hotel and enjoyed the sunset as we drove along the coast!

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It was a great first day in Los Angeles with only more fun to come!

-Britt