Spring 2014: Visits, Vacations and Celebrity Stalking

As I finally open wordpress and go to write this post, I see that my last post was published on February 13th. Have I really not written anything in that long? Sorry all, it’s been a hectic couple of months, and the list of posts I have to write is growing by the day. Like most people who work in an office, I often find that when I come home from work the last thing I want to do is get back on the computer. So I go out and do fun things, which I then need to write about, but don’t want to. Thus, the circle continues. It’s hard to do anything creative when you’re not in the mood, but today the sun is shining, I have a spare hour and I remembered that I actually really like writing! So here’s what you missed since February 13th…

My parents came to visit!

At about the time of my last post, I was floating through my days thinking of nothing but seeing my parents come through arrivals at YVR on February 27th. I’m sure I annoyed everyone I spoke to, as most of my sentences started with ‘when my parents are here…’ This year I had someone to wait at the airport with, and my brother and I got there early and made a sign, as is our tradition. I hadn’t seen them since I went home for Christmas 14 months earlier, and this was the longest I’d ever been without seeing them. They stayed for 10 days and I was able to take a fair few days off work to spend time with them. It was their second trip to Vancouver to see me, but the first time they were here to see my brother. This meant we did some of the things that we did the last time they came (Granville Island, walks along the seawall) but also lots of new things too, like driving up to Squamish for lunch, hiking at Lighthouse Park, watching a Canucks game (we lost, obvs) and most exciting of all, skiing! My amazing and very talented ski/snowboard instructor friend gave the entire family ski lessons at Grouse Mountain, which I really enjoyed as I could finally show everyone my winter playground!

Exploring False Creek on the Aquabus

Exploring False Creek on the Aquabus

Olympic Village, False Creek seawall

Olympic Village, False Creek seawall

Extended family brunch @ Cafe Medina

Extended family brunch @ Cafe Medina

When the 10 days were up, I went down to Seattle with my parents for a couple of days, and then they flew from there down to sunny California to finish off their North American adventure. As last time, it was really sad to see them leave, but was helped by knowing I’ll be going back to see them again at some point this year. I just found a great cheap flight with Virgin Atlantic (yes!) for the first week of October, so will hopefully be booking that in the next couple of weeks!

I left British Columbia for the first time

The week after my parents left I had an adventure of my own – I left beautiful British Columbia for cold, cold Alberta! It was a work trip, and a colleague and I went to deliver five community Dialogue Workshops to Edmonton residents and Federal Government employees. We had a crazy schedule and not a lot of free time, but managed to make the most of our evenings by finding some great restaurants for dinner (including the Blue Plate Diner). We also had an afternoon free, and as the sun was out I used it to go for a run across the bridges and into Strathcona, the older, hipster part of the city. I had an unbelievably good vegetarian lunch at Remedy Cafe, followed by coffee at Transcend (thanks Lonely Planet for the recommendations). Edmonton itself was OK…but not that great. Bizarrely it wasn’t the cold that bothered me the most (even though it was freezing!), it was the amount of dust everywhere. Every night I would have to wipe my shoes off as they were filthy just from walking 10 minutes back to the hotel! It made everything seem kind of…brown. Meh. My favourite part about Edmonton was the river, and being there made me realize I would struggle living anywhere that isn’t on a coast line. I’m glad I got to see a tiny part of Alberta, and it was fun travelling for work, but I was happy to get back to the boys at the end of the week!

#nofilter...honestly!

#nofilter…honestly!

Alberta prime rib. Best in the world, apparently!

Alberta prime rib. So-called best in the world…and it was amazing!

Beautiful day for a run

Beautiful day for a run

I stalked Blake Lively…successfully!

Yes, I literally stalked Blake Lively. She’s currently filming Age of Adaline in Vancouver, and it was only a matter of time before the opportunity to see her with my own eyes presented itself. I found out they were filming at a local restaurant, so I took an extended lunch break and headed to Gastown to park myself and my laptop at the Starbucks across the road. Four hours later, she got out of a car and walked into the restaurant. It was magical. I watched her and Ellen Burstyn shoot a scene before it started pouring with rain and my laptop battery died so I gave up. Yes, it was absolutely worth it.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

If you look real, real close...!

If you look real close…!

I went on the most AMAZING vacation

It really was the most amazing vacation. Especially if you’re me and have my interests/tastes. First up on the itinerary was 5 days in New Orleans with James, where we primarily went to go and see WWE Wrestlemania 30 at the Louisiana Superdome. We went to Wrestlemania back in 2010, and this time was just as fun. We did so many other things too, and my favourites were eating beignets (sugary french donuts) from the famous Cafe du Monde, walking round the beautiful Garden District and going on the most amazing culinary cycle tour of local restaurants. I still cannot stop thinking about that brisket. It was THAT GOOD. Anyway, the rest is a separate blog post, which I promise will appear on your News Feed at some point in the next two weeks.

 

The stunning French Quarter

The stunning French Quarter

 

Getting to grips with our cruisers...and back pedalling brakes!

Getting to grips with our cruisers…and back pedalling brakes!

Wrestlemania XXX, Louisiana Superdome

Wrestlemania XXX, Louisiana Superdome

From New Orleans, James came back to Vancouver and I went on to Palm Springs to meet all-round bestie Leah for part II of the trip. The next 8 days involved far more sunshine, pools and a lot of time in the desert. After 2 days in Palm Springs we headed to Indio for Coachella festival, which was definitely a bucket list experience. I found myself comparing it to the UK’s Reading Festival (where I spent many a summer during my teenage years) and am already mentally writing another blog post on that comparison too. It was an eventful but amazing experience!

Pool time in Palm Springs

Pool time in Palm Springs

The iconic Coachella ferris wheel

The iconic Coachella ferris wheel

Muse...my highlight!

Muse…my highlight!

After three days at Coachella we headed south east to Scottsdale where we enjoyed another spectacular pool and the most amazing scallop tacos I’ve ever eaten. Two days later we were on the road again for our final destination, Las Vegas, where we saw Elton John perform live at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, swam in another amazing pool and ate a LOT of delicious buffet food.

Old Town, Scottsdale

Old Town, Scottsdale

It's Elton John!

It’s Elton John!

I survived the New York New York rollercoaster...just!

I survived the New York New York rollercoaster…just!

I was away for a full two weeks and had the most amazing time. The weather was beautiful and I came back very ready for summer. Which was a good job, because…

The ski/snowboard season ended

Today is the last day of winter sports at Grouse Mountain. Sniff. Every year I have grand plans for the season, involving trips to other mountains (and countries) and exploring new terrain. Somehow, I never seem to get around to any of them, and the season is over before I know it! I can’t help but feel disappointed that it’s already the end of April (and that I’m sitting here writing this instead of snowboarding until the last possible second), but when I look back I did achieve a lot. I did my usual Monday night snowboard lessons with the all-amazing Beth throughout January, and really noticed a bit improvement. I finally felt like I could snowboard, which made my time on the mountain in February much more enjoyable! I even started practising riding switch (with my left foot in front, instead of my usual right) and wasn’t too bad either. I also made it to Whistler with James and two other friends who moved out here from the UK in January (I know!) to try out James’ $60 skis, boots and poles from craigslist! They worked fine, so we got him a Y2Play season pass for Grouse which he can use next year (it’s am AMAZING deal by the way. Look it up). March was less busy as I had other plans for my Monday nights, but I did squeeze one last evening up at Grouse in April before I headed off on my trip. Next season Dave will be old enough to leave by himself for a little longer, and I will absolutely get to Mount Baker! For now, I’ll just focus on summer.

bluebird skies!

bluebird skies!

Whistler Mountain

Whistler Mountain

There was definitely more than one wet, foggy Monday night

There was definitely more than one wet, foggy Monday night

I can’t believe it’s May next week…we’re almost half way through 2014! My next milestone is a bachelorette party (hen do) cruise from LA to Mexico in July, then a week on the Oregon coast in August, home in October, and maybe Hawaii again in October/November. I want more sunshine! We haven’t decided what to do for Christmas yet, so there may be even more travel involved. In other news, Dave is now 8 months old and is as crazy as ever. It’s still amazing having him around and I missed him tons while I was away.

Thanks for indulging me in my latest catch up, more vacation posts to follow, I promise!

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About MarmitetoMaple

I'm originally from the UK and have been working and living the dream in Vancouver, BC, since January 2011. I am a firm believer in travel, good cheese, volunteering and community engagement.

14 responses to “Spring 2014: Visits, Vacations and Celebrity Stalking”

  1. bethrebeccawilson says :

    I am seriously jealous of the awesome things you and David Tennant, I mean James (…) do! Snowboarding/skiing, the vacations you go on, can’t pretend to be excited about you stalking Blake Lively as I have no idea who she is, although you are currently only 2,721.5 miles away from a personal hero of mine, Tom Hiddleston in Toronto. Ha ha. I love reading your posts, went back and read a lot recently, even though I do get a bit envious! 😀

  2. Jen says :

    I’ve just travelled to Calgary and Edmonton for work as well and the “not living on the coast” thing really hit me too. And my skin and hair got so dried out!

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      It’s so strange isn’t it, everything was dry and horrible, I didn’t expect that at all! What was Calgary like compared to Edmonton?

      • Jen says :

        Pretty similar – less sprawling though. It just seemed to be highways and industrial areas, then suddenly you were in the city. Edmonton at least appeared to have some residential areas in between.

        Just back from Regina and Saskatoon yesterday – they are much nicer!

  3. Chris says :

    Love reading your blog posts..I just got my POE but only planning to make the move to Vancouver in February 😦 until then I will keep living through your experiences.. I hear the summer weather is already kicking off..enjoy 😀

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hey Chris, thanks so much for the comment, and for reading! Congrats on the POE, and don’t worry about the long wait, you have plenty of time to plan and save! I did the same thing and waited about 10 months before I came out which was so hard, but worth it! 🙂

  4. MarmitetoMaple says :

    Ahhhh…I still have so much of Canada to see!

  5. dboswell1992 says :

    Me and my girlfriend are moving out to Vancouver from the UK in July. Love reading all these posts, overly excited for the summer! Anything outside of the usual touristy stuff, that you would recommend?

    • MarmitetoMaple says :

      Hey, thanks for the comment and congrats on the move! July is a great time to arrive, just in time for the sunshine, free movies in Stanley Park on Tuesdays, and the Celebration of Light fireworks competition! For me just getting to know all the different neighbourhoods was so fun and helpful. I felt like a tourist for a while but when you’re outside of downtown in Kits or Main Street you get to know the ‘real’ Vancouver and it helps you settle in! 🙂

      • dboswell1992 says :

        Thank you! And thanks for following our blog too! The movies in the park idea sounds great will definitely give that a go. And yeah we are really looking forward to the festival of light too. Yeah we will need to get used to all the different neighbourhoods, we are staying in the west end for a month before looking to rent more long term. Would you not class downtown as “real” Van then? We will have to see what suits us best I guess.

      • MarmitetoMaple says :

        All so exciting! I love downtown as I spend most of my time there, and the west end is probably my Dave neighbourhood (I lived there for 18 months before finding a pet friendly place in Yaletown) so great choice! I don’t visit the other neighbourhoods as much as I should but if you’re looking for non-touristy stuff to do then heading for a walk or jumping on a bus to find the ‘hidden gem’ bars and restaurants is a must 🙂

      • dboswell1992 says :

        That’s good to hear, we like the look of downtown, especially having English bay and Stanley park very nearby! Yeah we will definitely try that 🙂

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