Vintage Shopping at the St Lawrence Antique Market, Toronto

When I was home in Toronto over the Easter break, my mum and I decided to head over to the St Lawrence Antique Market. This is a bit of a Sunday tradition for us, for as long as I can remember we have been going to this antique market to pick up rare finds and special pieces. We have found some real gems over the years!

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The St Lawrence Antique Market attracts a variety of people, you will find urban hipsters rubbing elbows with collectors and interior designers. They all know that this is the place to come for one of a kind pieces for your home or wardrobe.

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You just have to do a bit of digging first to find the good stuff!

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And make sure to arrive early, before all the good stuff has been snatched up!

At the market, you can find anything from antique books, vintage jewellery, exceptional home ware and beautiful clothing. Pieces you just won’t find anywhere else.

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Mike and I spent many Sundays at the market collecting UK and Canadian postcards, which people wrote on instead of a guest book at our wedding. It was such a nice touch for our special day, and we had such a great time looking at all the lovely old images!

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Luckily our trip was a successful one! We ended up with a great stash to take home.

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On our trip we picked up a wicker bag, a green glass fruit bowl, two mint vases, some beautiful fabric (Mum was going to use it to make a tablecloth!) and two beaded necklaces.

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The St Lawrence Antique Market is open every Sunday 7 am to 5 pm. If you live in Toronto or are in the area I strongly recommend checking it out!

Steph xoxo

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Seven Sisters & Beachy Head Walk

If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, why not get out of London and head to the South Coast.

Get away from it all, get outside and get walking!

Seven Sisters and Beachy Head are a series of beautiful cliffs by the English Channel, and they make a perfect day trip from London.

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The Seven Sisters County Park  is a two hour drive from London, with parking on site at a small cost.You can also take the train from London to Seaford or Eastbourne and the bus from there.

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Once you arrive you will be taken aback by the amazing scenery, beautiful white cliffs with crystal clear water below.

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Despite being set between two famous seaside resorts, Brighton and Eastborne, it is one of the longest sections of coastline in the South of England to be undeveloped.

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Barbour Jacket, Walking Boots, Leggings, Striped Top, Sunglasses

Seven Sisters is named for its seven cliffs, so the walk is not for the faint hearted or anyone scared of heights.

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But, there is encouraging signage along the way to keep you going!

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The first part of the journey, the Seven Sisters Cliffs, is a two hour walk from the car park. There is a National Trust cafe at the Birling Gap, the divider between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, where you can take a break and fuel up on coffee and cake for the rest of your walk to Beachy Head.

At the Birling Gap you can also walk down to the pebble beach, which I think would be a lovely option in the summer time.

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The second part of the walk, from Birling gap to  Beachy Head, it gets a bit more crowded, being more popular among tourists, but only takes around an hour and a half to walk.

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Beachy Head has a famous lighthouse located  just below the cliff in the water, which draws in the tourists. The lighthouse was built in 1902 to guide sailors in the fog.

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The view is pretty amazing on the ground, but I bet it is even better from up in the air!

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Now, after all this walking you are going to need a pub lunch to rest those sore feet of yours! I would recommend heading to Tiger Inn for some classic British pub dining.

Steph xo

Escaping London’s Grey Skies at the Barbican Conservatory

This past weekend I wanted to pretend that I was on holiday in a tropical paradise, instead of enduring winter in a cold grey city, so I headed to the Barbican Conservatory – an exotic jungle in the heart of London!

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Pea Coat (old), Grey Jumper, Jeans, Chelsea Boots, Tote Bag, Silk Scarf

The Barbican Conservatory is the second biggest in London after Kew Gardens and is a great place to escape the winter blues. The conservatory sits on top of the Barbican Arts Centre and is located at the heart of the city making it much easier to get to than Kew.

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The conservatory has an impressive collection of tropical plants and trees, being home to over 2,000 species. The cacti are my favourite.

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There are also tropical fish and turtles to spot too!

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I have never been to a  conservatory like this before, it is truly unique setting as the plants climb around the urban building in stark contrast to each other.

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Admission to the conservatory is free but it is only open from 12 to 5pm on Sunday.  I would recommend you arrive early, as this place is no longer a hidden gem and it can get a bit crowded.

A fun way to warm up from London’s cold on a Sunday afternoon!

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Steph xo

Nevis Travel Guide

This time last year Mike and I were on our honeymoon in the Caribbean (oh to be back there right now!).

We chose to spend 10 days on the island Nevis because we wanted somewhere that was low key, but with enough going on that we didn’t have to rely on each others conversation for the whole trip! The bonus was that it was easy to get to from London with direct flights to St. Kitts on BA from Gatwick, with a short water taxi ride to Nevis from there.

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Today I wanted to share a bit of travel guide to Nevis in case anyone else is looking for further information on the island. We had a wonderful stay and would recommend the place to others whether looking for a honeymoon or a special week away.

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This small island is safe, friendly and welcoming. It is also very quiet there are no all inclusive resorts or harbours for cruise ships to dock. I would therefore not recommend this island to anyone who is looking for a party scene or who isn’t happy sitting back and watching the world go by.

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Where to stay:

We had the most wonderful time staying at Paradise Beach, a truly luxurious experience! We chose to stay at Paradise beach over some of the other hotels on the island because we liked the idea of having our own villa where we could have our own space and do our own cooking and that we could have direct access to the beach.

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Paradise beach has nine villas from two to four rooms and each with their own swimming pool. The interiors are spacious and done is a lovely Balinese style.

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None of the beaches are private in Nevis, but it feels like they are as the island is so quiet. From the villas it is a very short walk to Pinney’s Beach.

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The hotel has many sun loungers and hammocks along with its very own barman, Martin, who is able to help you with anything you might need.

The resort is very safe with 24 hour-security and concierge services. Upon arrival you are given a butler who will help you will all your needs from making restaurant reservations, arranging snorkelling trips an picking up your groceries in town.

Chefs and spa therapists can be arranged. We had a lovely massage at sunset while staying at Paradise Beach!

Best Restaurants:

We went to quite a few different restaurants while staying at the island. Given the island is so small and only gets food shipped in a few times a week, we were very impressed by the quality and variety of restaurants that we found on the island. Here were some of our favourites:

Golden Rock Hotel:
Golden Rock is an artists paradise! A very hip hillside retreat with amazing gardens filled with monkeys. The hotel restaurant is modern Caribbean and the cocktails are top class. Make sure to try the mojito, you won’t regret it!

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The setting is lovely with the restaurant overlooking reflecting pools and manicured Caribbean gardens.

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If you look close enough you can see the ocean.

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Make sure to save some time after your meal to explore the hotel.

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Golden Rock would also make a great place to stay in Nevis if you don’t mind being a car ride away from the beach.

Sunshines:
A 20 min walk down the beach from Paradise Beach, Sunshines is not one to be missed. A favourite among the locals this beach bar serves up killer cocktails, aptly named the Killer Bee, and delectable BBQ food.

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The monkeys are also frequent visitors.

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Bananas:
Tucked away in the rain forest, Bananas,  is a must visit. The colonial style restaurant in the Hamilton Estate. The food and drink are authentically Nevisian.

Coconut Grove:
Coconut Grove is located on one of Nevis’ most beautiful beach. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere- you are served delicious French and Caribbean under a thatch roof next to the sea.  A truly upscale dining experience.

What to do:

If you aren’t the sunbather type, there are many things you can do to fill your time Nevis.

Hiking:
We booked a four hour hiking trip through the rain forest through Paradise Beach.

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We had a great time learning about the flora and fauna of the region while being guided through the wilderness.

If you plan on doing a hike while in Nevis make sure to pack the correct footwear. I am not sure my keds made the best choice!

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Snorkelling:
Booked with The Four Seasons Hotel, which was next door to Paradise Beach, we spent a lovely morning sailing to the coves near St Kitts to do some snorkelling.

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While, it was a far cry from the coral reefs in Australia, we still managed to see many varieties of colourful fish and a turtle!

Horseback riding:
Although Mike and I did not end up going horseback riding while staying in Nevis, we know that it was available as we saw tours being lead up and down Pinney’s beach.

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Rum Tasting:
You are in the Caribbean so you are going to get some good rum! Whether you do a formal tasting class, Mark’s Rum Tasting Class, or just enjoy a rum punch sundowner or two before dinner, make sure you get your rum in while you are in the heartland.

Picnic at Lovers Beaches:
Pinny’s Beach is by far the most popular beach on this island and was also our favourite, but for a bit of change Lovers Beach makes an excellent choice.

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This sandy chilled out beach has excellent view of St. Kitts and is an ideal spot to have a quiet walk, picnic and swim.

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A visit to Charlestown:
The capital of Nevis, Charlestown is a small friendly historic town. The streets are lined with Georgina buildings and Churches. We spent many a few afternoons checking out the fruit stalls and local craftsman.

Pratical things:

Currency: 
The official currency for St Kitts and Nevis is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$). The dollar is pegged to the US dollar at US$1 to EC$2.70. Bring a mixture of both currencies, rates vary depending on where you are so it is nice to have the option to use one or the other.

Car rental:
If you are planning on spending any significant time on the island you will need a car. Car rentals can easily be  booked through your hotel. You will also need a temporary driving licence, which costs  around $25 per person, and is issued by the car rental service. Driving is on the left hand side.

Groceries:
Given Nevis is such a small island we were quite worried about the availability of fresh food and gluten free products. We ended up being pleasantly surprised. There are two major food, RAMS and IGA, which are well stocked with all the basics, including gluten free goodies, and just a short drive from Charlestown. Most of the fish and meat is frozen, but perfectly edible.

Steph xo

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