Gran Canaria Goodness

Ahhhh. There’s nothing like jetting away into the sunshine when the mists descent on the UK! We have just got back from one lovely week in Gran Canaria. Sunshine and sea and absolutely no commitments. Bliss.

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That’s not to say it wasn’t without drama. Our first night there; we got into the room around midnight and wandered out onto the balcony to have a look at the view. James closed the door behind us and…..click. Locked out, 11 floors up. If it hadn’t been for the smokers who had wandered out a couple of balconies along; it could have been a long old night!

We stayed in Playa Taurito; which is on the south west coast of the island. It’s a tiny little resort with perhaps 6 hotels all clinging to the cliff-side looking out over the beach. Aside from a supermarket and a waterpark; that’s pretty much all there is! Puerto Mogan, the next cove along, is a short bus ride away and full of restaurants and bars. It has the added bonus of being a picturesque whitewashed port town – lots of photo opportunities!

The holiday was exactly what we needed. It’s funny how much you can run on autopilot, and for how long; and not realise you need a bit of time off until you actually have some. It took a good couple of days to switch off, but happily I have siesta’d my way back into life 🙂

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Oh Canada……

// We have been feeling very Canada-sick of late. We came back from the most amazing holiday exactly 1 year ago today; fresh out of a full-on 2 weeks of football, ice hockey, sightseeing, Tim Hortons-drinking and kayaking on a beautiful Muskoka lake.

To help me reminisce; here is a little photo diary from our time there 🙂

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Ripley’s Aquarium – Jaws very kindly got in the picture too!
view from CN tower
The view from the top of the CN tower. We picked a very good day to be at the top!

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hockey hall of fame
Some shirts in the Hockey Hall of Fame
Tiffany necklace
A very exciting moment – my first Tiffany’s purchase!
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Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators – our first ice hockey experience and hopefully not the last! 
muskoka lake
Thursday evenings will never be the same again.

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muskoka tree
Beautiful autumn colours creeping into the trees.

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An Inukshuk Garden

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Standard garden pests!
muskoka lake
Amazing reflections in the lake
niagara falls
Niagara Falls…. need I say more!

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Finishing off the holiday with the obligatory Tim Hortons Dark Roast and doughnut!

Oxford Weekender

Another week begins….crazy to think that we are into October on Thursday. When did that happen?!

A couple of weeks back; a friend and I drove down to Oxford to visit my maid of honour for a belated house warming party. We were well overdue a visit and a catch up! In my naive state, I thought that we might spend the Saturday relaxing in a nice pub somewhere before the big event on Saturday evening; however, we were put to work instead! We spent all day prepping for the party and then rewarded ourselves with copious amounts of prosecco, wine, beer, food…..waking up mercifully hangover-free on the Sunday morning!

As it was Open Doors weekend in Oxford, we spent our Sunday wandering around the Bodleian Library and Sheldonian Theatre. The Bodleian has been a library of legal deposit for over 400 years. This means that they receive a copy of every book published in the UK – an immense number! The New Library has been tastefully developed to incorporate the old records of books inside a modern layout, complete with a lecture theatre and exhibition space. The exhibition we saw was called ‘Marks of Genius‘ and was a collection of books and manuscripts by ‘genius’ writers. It included a first edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; a folio cover for ‘The Hobbit’ painted by Tolkien (because he didn’t trust anyone else to accurately convey what he wanted to achieve!) and a Gutenberg bible; among many many other amazing artefacts. Absolutely my kind of Sunday!

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La Vida Madrileña

There are some days when I really love my job. Monday of this week was one such day; as thanks to a meeting just outside of the city on Tuesday, I got to spend Monday afternoon relaxing on a square in beautiful Madrid!

After a 3.15 a.m. alarm on Monday morning, a couple of extra fuerte coffees and a mercifully short taxi ride; we checked into our hotel and wandered down to the nearest plaza to find some food and a traditional lunchtime caña 🙂

For dinner on Monday night we went to a lovely little restaurant on a street near the hotel called La Verónica. Arty, quirky, stylish and amazing food!

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It was the first time I’d been back to Madrid since I finished my year abroad in 2008 – I lived in Toledo, which is about an hour’s drive south of Madrid; and spent the odd afternoon in the capital…nowhere near as much time as I would have liked though! There is so much on my list of sights to see that me and James are going to have to get some Spanish travel time booked in soon 🙂

On the list to visit – just for starters! – are:

Museo del Prado

Museo Reina Sofía  

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (because no way would James allow us to go to MAdrid and not visit the home of Real Madrid!)

Any tips for some Madrid sightseeing from you lovely people?!