Friday, 8 December 2017

Niagara Falls



If there was one thing that was on the top of my 'Canada to-do' list, then it was Niagara Falls.

There was just something about Niagara Falls that interested me. It was the place that everyone asked if I would be visiting and that they were jealous because I could go to one of the most talked about waterfalls in the world.

As soon as the trip was advertised on Facebook for International students, and I received as e-mail about the trip I went straight to the International Office to sign up. $50 later I was on my way to Niagara Falls. A day at the beginning of October, when the horneblower would still be operating so you could go into the falls.


After nearly four hours on the school bus (yes, like the ones you see in the films), a bum that felt like it had been flattened and a bladder that needed emptying, we finally arrived at Niagara Falls. The tourist town that was a mix between Blackpool and Las Vegas, although I haven't been to either so I am just going buy what I have seen on TV and in the films. A brightly coloured town, with all the attractions you could imagine and restaurants to serve a small army. You had everything, from haunted houses, mini golf with a dragon that breathed fire and rides. However, the first thing on our lists, on a very hot October Saturday, was the falls. 


Out came the camera and iPhone, while others did the same, and some got out their go pros as well. We all rushed to take photos of the falls. Although, personally I was not overwhelmed. Perhaps I had something in my mind before hand. Don't get me wrong, it was spectacular, but just not what I imagined. I thought the falls were going to be bigger, but they are actually quite small. However, still a sight to see, and something that I am glad that I have witnessed. 

After we were all taking photos, off we went to get on the boat. We received our red ponchos and we got all got on. Time to see the rainbow, get drenched by the spray and get into the falls. Making sure to protect the phone and camera for when the water really hit you, but the view was amazing. Canada to your left, the United States to your right. 


After the boat ride came food and drink. On an October day that was well into the later 20's, a Niagara Cider seemed to do the trick, but setting off to Niagara Brewery for some lunch. Not my first option, but ya girl ordered a beer and I drunk it all. My Dad said he was proud when I facetimed my parents later in the week. The brewery was slightly overpriced, well for the food anyway, but again, something I can glad I did and went to. 

With only an hour and bit before we had to get back on the yellow school bus to head back to Peterborough, it meant a round of mini golf, which you can clearly tell I haven't played in a while. However, I did get a hole in one, which I guess is something to be proud of. 



Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? Or are thinking about visiting Niagara Falls? 

Love Alicia x 

SHARE:

Monday, 27 November 2017

5 THINGS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS CHRISTMAS



Christmas is just four and a half weeks away, and 2017 has just gone by in the flick of the eye, and I just want time to slow down. This year I am totally feeling Christmas already, maybe it was something to do with the visit to the all year round Christmas shop in Quebec City, or the joy that I am feeling from knowing that I will not be working on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day this year due to my current unemployed status from my study abroad year? Actually, kind of wish I was working because no one tells you just how expensive studying abroad is. Okay, they do and it is probably my fault for spending too much money on food and alcohol. 

I am the basic girl who on the 2nd November went straight into the Starbucks on campus to get the Christmas cup, albeit they did not have any of the Christmas drinks available, so I settled for a green tea so I did not feel quite as basic as what I looked while taking a photo of the cup for Instagram. I have no regrets about that either, even when other students were giving me weird looks. It's a Starbucks Christmas cup and that gets me excited for Christmas. 

Christmas this year is going to be different. I am flying home to England for just over three weeks in December, which means the already busy Christmas season is just going to get busier trying to see everyone before I fly back to Canada for the rest of my study year abroad. However, I am already feeling quite festive, although I have four essays, a presentation, a take home exam and an exam before leaving; it might have been because the snow has already begun and it has not got above 2 degrees in the last four weeks. Anyway, here are the five things that I am looking forward to this Christmas ....



1. Christmas Markets
I was planning on going to the Toronto Christmas Market, but funds are now in short supply, so I will just have to settle with London. Winter Wonderland and the South Bank Christmas market, are the two Christmas markets that I am planning on visiting this Christmas. There will also be some other Christmas shopping, but East Anglia is a tiny bit awful for Christmas Markets.

2. Christmas Films
Might have already watched Love Actually, The Holiday and a tiny bit of Arthur Christmas and it is still a month till Christmas...

3. Going home
Honestly, I can't wait to be flying home for Christmas. My own bed; seeing family and friends; good food; no deadlines. I will just be nice to have a break from university and Canada.

4. Christmas food
When you have been living off basic Canadian University catered food for the last 13 weeks, all you want is decent food. Like please give me all the salmon, avocado, eggs (basic, I know) and all the Christmas food. I just want a mince pie, and in Canada they have no idea what a mince pie is. Also, Christmas Day dinner. Like come to me please!!

5. Friends
It is going to be so nice to go home and have catch ups with friends. I know I have a trip to Cambridge already planned, meals and drinks; and honestly I can not wait.

Love Alicia x 


SHARE:

Friday, 24 November 2017

THE REVERSE BUCKET LIST


As someone who is a huge fan of writing lists, and bucket lists; whether it is to do with place I want to go, things I want to do, or a list of uni deadlines and things that I actually have to do, to somehow complete my degree. I love lists.

The other day I came across Notes from Joana's blog post on reverse bucket list, and it inspired me to think about all the things that I have achieved in my 20 years on this planet. The idea of the reverse bucket list, is to write down everything (or just some things) that you have already accomplished.  It is a great way to reflect on your own life and to start to put things into persepctive and realise that you are pretty great and you can achieve things, even when you fell like you really can't.



M Y  R E V E R S E  B U C K E T  L I S T 

  • I passed my driving test, with four minors.
  • I started university, and moved away from home during my first year of university. 
  • I moved to Canada for my third year of university. 
  • I got my first job in a retail shop and I grew in confidence because of it .
  • I went on a plane by myself.
  • I have visited 10 countries. 
  • I met Justin Bieber, twice. 
  • I started this blog, and somehow have kept it up for nearly three years. 
  • I was in a ballet when I was 10. 
  • I cam second in a dance competition.
  • I completed my ballet exams. 
  • I learnt how to ride a horse, and took part in a few competitions. 
  • I travelled to Cardiff by myself for a concert. 
  • I completed my GCSE's and my A-Levels. 
  • I joined the Lacrosse Team at university. 
  • I joined the University Cheerleading Team, in Canada, and performed in the half time show during Homecoming weekend. 
  • I had my photo taken with dolphins, because I was too young to swim with them.  



Have you ever thought about making a reverse bucket list? 
Love Alicia x 

SHARE:

Monday, 20 November 2017

HOW TO SURVIVE A LONG HAUL FLIGHT



There is nothing worse than having nothing to do on a long haul flight, especially when you are by yourself. Yes I have been there and ticked that off - the flying solo part, the boredom part, well I don't think I actually got bored on the 7 hour 50 minute flight to Toronto.  

Well Alicia, how do you keep yourself from boredom on a long haul flight you ask? Simple, come prepared. 

ENTERTAINMENT 

If you want to survive a long haul flight, then you need to keep yourself entertained somehow. Whether that is by doing the thing most people do; watch a film or TV show on the built in TV's, or creating your own entertainment. 

One of my personal things I love to do is get deep into podcasts. I will download a variety of podcasts from funny things, to real life stories, to the general chit chat of life. A personal favourite is 'How I built this', which is an interview with a range of business owners from the founders of Airbnb to the creators of the Lonely Planet guides. The 'At Home with' series by The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles is also a good shut as well. 

If podcasts aren't your thing, and you checked the guide to what is going to be showing on your flight before hand and nothing floats your boat, then why not download some Netflix programmes on your phone or iPad before.  

There is also nothing than a good book. Whether it is to help you relax and put your mind at rest from flying, or just to simply keep you busy for a few hours.  


BEAUTY 

A flight can make you feel gross simply because you have been sharing the same air with unknown and sitting in the same sit for god knows how long. There is nothing better than removing your make up at the beginning of the flight, applying some moisturiser and getting ready for the rest of the flight. You may even want to do a face mask to help you relax, or at the end of the flight to clean your teeth and get changed in that tiny toilet. 

If a mini facial isn't your thing, if just applying hand cream or writing a list of products you want to buy in your chosen destination may just help. 


WHAT ELSE? 

I know, you can still get bored of a film, your book, or taking so long on your inflight beauty routine and there is still time to kill. Then why not plan out your Instagram feed; edit some photos; go through your photos in general and maybe make a montage of your footage from your trip; or take time to plan exactly what you want to do at your destination. 

And if you really don't know what do, then sleep. Sleeping is just great. 
SHARE:

Friday, 17 November 2017

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE APPLYING FOR STUDY ABROAD



So you are considering applying for your study abroad year - the third year abroad which helps to extend your life in education - then you probably have 101 questions floating in your head right now. I know, because this time last year that was me.

What countries should I look into? - Just be realistic. If you want to go to a country that speaks English then look into Canada, the U.S, Australia or New Zealand. If you want to stay closer to home, think about Europe. If you have ever dreamed of going to a certain country or city, then look into if your home university has a partner university there. Do you research, and you will find somewhere.

How much is it going to cost me? - depends on where you go, what you spend your money on, and do you want to travel when there. The costs for accommodation can vary, but your student finance loan should be more, so it should cover it if there is a good exchange rate. Flights are another thing, but you can get cheap flights by searching the internet. In the US and Canada you will be on a meal plan, so you don't technically have to spend money on food, just alcohol.

Do I need to know a language? - Again that's up to you. For South America then probably, but for Europe, a lot of universities teach in English.

Can everyone speak English? - I'm in Canada, so for me it's a yes.

Will they hate me because I'm British? - No, they will love your accent, no matter where you are from in the country.

Will I be that weird English exchange student? - Possibly ...

Will it be the best year of my life? - It depends on what you do and what you want to get out of it.

Do I want to be close to home, or across the other side of the world? - That one speaks for itself.

What are the university days like? - This is something you will have to look into on each universities websites.

5 T H I N G S  T O  C O N S I D E R ... 


1. Where do you want to be in the world? - I had my heart set on Canada, so I choose five universities in Canada and now I'm here in Canada writing this. 

2. Do you really want to extend your degree? - Some people do, some people want it done and want to start earning asap. It is a great thing to have on your CV though and you get to see other parts of the world, while studying. 

3. Who are you doing it for? - If you want to do it, then do it as you will never get this chance again. However, if you are doing it for your parents or lecturers or because all your friends are doing it, then maybe reconsider it. Write out a list of benefits and weaknesses to doing a year abroad and properly think it through. 

4. Can I afford it? - There's more to studying abroad than just university. You will want to travel and see places; maybe go out out; see a sporting event; do tourist things, which will all add up, but that shouldn't be a reason not to study abroad. 

5. Don't be forced into a country or place where you don't want to go - if you have your heart set somewhere then aim for that. 




SHARE:

Friday, 10 November 2017

THE FOODIE GUIDE TO MONTREAL

If there has been one thing that I have missed since moving to Canada in August, is decent food; brunch, eggs, fruit. Really, university campus meal plan is awful, and all I am craving is fish, avocado and fruit. Oh I sound so basic right now. 


M O N T R E A L knows how to brunch. Across the city you will find small cafes and restaurants serving brunch basically everywhere. Although, we had breakfast included at our hostel, there was something a bit more exciting than eating toast and a banana in the hostel common room.


L'EVIDENCE 
3817 St. Denis, Montreal 

You know sometimes when you are just walking around at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and you are getting hungry and craving brunch and you spot a cute, but busy cafe? Well this is what happened here. For October, the weather was around 20, which meant sitting outside was the best option. In terms of food, I went for the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Now, what I have noticed is that breakfast in Canada, always seems to come with roast potatoes, and these roast potatoes were great. I also got a side of fruit with my scrambled eggs as well. 





Tommy 
200 Notre Dame, Montreal 

Now, I knew about this place before stepping a foot in Montreal. It is a bloggers dream in terms of the decor and the food. You can get all the Instagram photos you wish and more. For brunch I ordered the avocado on toast with smoked salmon, and oh my was it good. It is a big portion, but it easily fills you till dinner, with a few snacks in between. 






L U N C H 


UNIVERSEL DEJEUNER & GRILLADES
2005 Peel Street, Montreal 

Again, the weather served as great for the end of October and we were lucky enough to sit outside in the patio area, watching Montreal life go by. That day we were all feeling pasta and luckily pasta was on the menu. The tomato linguine, was served with a Caesar salad, while the table next to us were talking about how they had friends who had worked for Bush, Obama and Trump. It's a classy place, but actually quite cheap, depending on what you get. 





D I N N E R 


BOHO / VENICE 
436 St. Francois Xavier Street, Montreal 

If you are looking for over priced cocktails with an ice lolly in them and vegetarian food, then this is the place to go. Although, the cocktails are small and over priced for what they are, the good is really good. Whether you want a poke bowl, pizza or sweet potato fries. I personally want for a pizza and it was great. 



IRISH PUBS

Now I can't remember the name of the Irish pub that we went to, but across the city there are loads of Irish pubs. Whether you want more traditional British / Irish food, poutine or nachos, you will probably find something on some menu somewhere in the city. 




F O R  T H E  S W E E T  T O O T H 


PANCAKES 

Know, I really should have got the name of the restaurant that did these pancakes, but it is in Mile End and they do brunch and main meals as well. Personally, I didn't eat them all as I didn't realise how big they were going to be, but it helped with the craving of sugar. I only had one, but they were only $8, plus tax. 





RAW COOKIE DOUGH 

If you are a fan of cookie dough, then you will love this shop on St. Denis Street, where they sell it by the scope. I went for the oatmeal and M&M one, but there is chocolate flavoured ones; peanut butter; and original to keep you go. Bear in mind it is very rich. 





Love Alicia x 

SHARE:

Monday, 6 November 2017

OCTOBER 2017 ROUND UP

It has been a while since I have sat down and reflected on everything that I have loved or enjoyed in a month. October was kinda crazy. I have visited three cities; experienced an overly warm beginning of October in Canada and a somewhat (I need to invest in a winter coat asap) cold weather; thanksgiving; panicked over my first deadlines in a different country and walked in and out of Sephora without buying anything. October has been kinda great.


W H E R E  H A V E  I  B E E N ? 

October brought around three big trips, well two if you count two of the trips as one. The first big trip was to Niagara Falls at the beginning of the month over the thanksgiving weekend. The weather was unusually hot for the beginning of October and sunny, so really it was the perfect day to see the falls, Although the three and half bus journey in a school bus wasn't quite as fun, when you felt like you couldn't feel your bum afterwards. Niagara Falls was incredible. From the boat journey inside, getting completely soaked, to trying my first proper beer (which I did finish) at a brewery. We finished the day playing a round of mini golf, before embarking on the 3 hour trip back to Peterborough before a night out. It really was a great day.





Then reading week happened and the big trip to Montreal and Quebec City was about to happen. Montreal was incredible, from everything from the food; to the artwork; to the sites and the weather was great minus one day when my umbrella broke and it didn't stop pouring down with rain for 24 hours. We did everything from culture to shopping. Visiting the Notre-Dam was worth the $6 entry to see how incredible it was inside. Old Montreal is small, but quant and it doesn't feel like you are in the middle of a busy city. We brunched, we had cocktails at Le Distillera which is the perfect place for friends as they have plenty of games to play. We were only in Quebec for two and a half days, and honestly I preferred Montreal. I liked the vibe of Montreal and how it really did appeal to the young population. 






W H A T  H A V E  I  B E E N  D O I N G? 

Now I know this was technically September, but seeing as I missed August and September and it happened on the 30th September, then I had to include homecoming - Head of the Trent. I took part in my first cheerleading event, where we performed at the Mens soccer (football, it is still football) game. We danced and sung in the beer garden and got involved in the spirit of 'bleed green' the slogan of Trent University. It was rather chilly, but still a great day. Although, was the next day was not as great.



The following Sunday after the trip to Niagara Falls was thanksgiving weekend. The 11 exchange students who hadn't been invited to a Canadians for Thanksgiving, decided to cook a roast dinner for theirselves. It was a great day. I made Yorkshire puddings. We had turkey and chicken; sweet potato mash; roasted vegetables and homemade banoffee pie. Except for nearly setting the accommodation on fire, well the turkey was on fire for a bit, the day was full of memories.



Now for a girl that doesn't get the hype over Halloween and just thinks its another way for shops to make more money. This year I actually went out and dressed up as basic. It was okay, I suppose. 


W H A T  H A V E  I  L O V E D ?

Since being on my exchange year abroad, I have hardly brought anything - except for food and money for trips out. However, I have fell in love with Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and I don't quite know what I did before I owned it. I have been to the gym and got sweaty and my make up has still been in place.

So October meant the return of Riverdale, now I loved the first series. I think I might have watched it in two days in the spring, but this time I am actually watching it as soon as each episode comes onto Netflix. Thursdays are great.


What did you do in October? 

Love Alicia x 


SHARE:

Friday, 3 November 2017

48 HOURS IN QUEBEC CITY


To be able to see and eat your way around a city in 48 hours can be somewhat of a struggle, but for Quebec City it can easily be done, even if you are on a budget.

Quebec City in the province of Quebec has the history, the quant streets, poutine and a good night life. We were staying in a hostel in Old Quebec, right in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage site. The streets are tiny and filled with little privately owned shops; breweries; cafes and the odd tourist shop that somehow seems to blend in with the quant 19th century European feel to the Old City. The Old City can easily be done in a day, if you don't want to go into the Parliament Building or museums; and cheap at that.

O L D  Q U E B E C 

If you are looking for culture then your first stop should be to head for Old Quebec. A good way to start is to see the Parliament building first (which unfortunately the grand front part of the building is under construction). If you want a free tour, make sure you book in advance; we didn't and could not go inside, which is something that we regret.  




After Parliament, head for the plaines d'abraham the site of the battlefield and Canada's first national park. The museum will set you back $16 and takes around an hour and a half, or you can simply go for a walk around the plaines d'abraham, which has been compared as Quebec's Central Park. From here you can see the cliffs; the citadelle and the start of the Old Town. If you walk along the promenade, you will get some incredible views of the St. Lawerence river; the edge of the citadel, before reaching the most photographed hotel in the world - Chateau Frontenac.  






Once you are done taking hundreds of photos of the Chateau and getting the right shot for Instagram, head straight into the Old Town.  You will find everything from statues, churches and even a Christmas shop. Explore what the old town had to offer. Whether that is having a drink at a brewery; or having brunch at one of the numerous restaurants; or stopping for a hot chocolate and a pastry at a local cafe. There is also a horse and carriage ride, although you may have to do some research on to where it picks up and drops off. 






In terms of shopping, head to the all year round Christmas Shop, which will make you think it is just a couple of days before Christmas. If you want clothes shopping, then the Old Town is probably not for you but the main city offers you Mango, Urban Outfitters etc. 


W H E R E  T O  E A T  &  D R I N K ? 

Quebec City has something for everyone; whether you are a brunch person, a classic pub person, looking for something a bit more fancy or just want a Tim Hortons, it has it. 





Bar Ste-Angele is a pub that you would not come across if you did not know about it. It is tiny and the only pub or any type of business down the street. The cocktails are $7 and the choose is good, whether you want something that is long or something that is strong. The pub has live jazz music and the atmosphere is incredible. You feel like you are in the middle of France. If you have the chance, go and have a drink. They don't serve food, but it is a great place just to sit with friends or family and is not a tourist trap. 

Pub Saint Patrick in the Old City will offer you everything from poutine to bangers and mash. As it was right by our hostel, we headed there twice - once when we arrived and all we wanted was food and when we were all slightly hangover after we had checked out of our hostel. The nacho's are pretty good and so is the Fish & Chips. 

Poutineville is the place to go for poutine. Poutine is the national dish, the dish Quebec is famous for. It is basically chips with gravy and cheese curds and it somehow works. Now, I was not a fan of poutine until I tried their poutine. The great thing is you can add whatever you want to it. The first time, I went for fries, mozzarella, mushrooms and normal poutine gravy which was good, but the second time I went for their famous crispy potatoes with Cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, hot pepper and pulled pork but in a small portion and it was amazing. They also have a location in Montreal. 

Cafe La Maison Smith is the place to go for a hot chocolate and whatever cake or pastry you could imagine. I choose the Belgium hot chocolate, which was basically melted chocolate and cream and it was incredible. Others also had the cheesecake which was mouth watering good. 



Bristo L'Atelier outside of the old city is perfect for evening cocktails. Now I can not recommend any, because I did not get one, but some of my friends did. 

Chocolate Shops are everywhere. Well not exactly everywhere, but there is quite a few, so you could easily do a tour of the small chocolate shops in Quebec. 





Have you visited Quebec City? Or thinking of visiting? 

Love Alicia x 
SHARE:

Monday, 30 October 2017

9 WEEKS IN CANADA | STUDY ABROAD





In the midst on a mid-term and an essay due in on Wednesday, I thought now would be a great time to actually write a blog post after nine weeks, yep NINE weeks. Okay, I'm kinda a bad blogger but at least I have been posting on Instagram basically daily, so I guess that counts for something? Maybe, not.

It's has a been a fair while since I last sat down and actually wrote a blog post, but since then I have been living in Canada. Now you probably already know this is you follow me on Instagram or just read my last post, but I am here in Canada on my study abroad year. You know the crazy thing is, is I had this amazing post written about the first 10 days in Canada, then by mistake I deleted it and I just ignored my little space on the internet, but the last nine weeks have been crazy.





9 WEEKS IN CANADA, EH? 


Nine weeks ago I was on a plane, by myself, not knowing anyone about to start this crazy year off. Since then I have met some incredible people; been to UNESCO world heritage sites; sat for hours on  coaches; joined a cheerleading team; and somehow actually done some work. 

Studying abroad is not the easiest thing in the world. Yes, the last nine weeks have been incredible, but it is the company that has helped and the friends that I have made. There has also been times when it has sucked. When all you want is your own bed and proper food not isn't fried and involves some vegetables. We have all had a little cry then and now. Laughed, smiled and experienced things that I would have never had done and been able to see without this opportunity. 




Nine weeks is a pretty long time ... 


Love Alicia x 




SHARE:
© Life Of Alicia Louise. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig