A hop over the pond: What to pack for 10 days in the UK

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Vacation Packing 101, or 102 if you consider this the upgrade from my trip this weekend (Cottage Trip)

Hot on the heels of a gorgeous cottage getaway (stay tuned for that), I am packing it up for a vacay to the UK. I’m going with my mum, while my lovely wife stays on the homefront. I managed to pack for 4 days of beach and countryside in a carryon (including all my pregnancy vitamins and meds), so this time, the challenge will be taking all those extras, for more than twice the time away, in a medium sized case and soft-sided carryon. I’m a classic over-packer.

The UK is the perfect not-too-hot, not-too-crowded, great healthcare in case of emergency destination for a pregnant gal on the go. So, as I lay out my look book for the days away, what is the inspiration?

Here you go! For all images, links and credits, check out my Pinterest page, Vacation Lookbook 

Dresses will the the staple of this trip, with some basic black pants (one flowy, one pair of skinny jeans) and two skirts thrown into the mix.

Some hats, a classic bag and comfortable shoes are also making the cut. Simple gold necklaces, a few good bracelets and my wedding ring will be the basics that come along.

Can’t wait to get wheels up… I’ll be posting as I go. Cheerio and see you on the other side!

Have Shoes, Will Travel – Summer Travel Volume 1

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Summer is finally here. It finally feels real. Although it has been hot as hell here, summer never officially starts for me until school is out and I am left to my own devices. At 26 weeks pregnant the heat is not my friend, but I’m making the most of it with low-key pool days, virgin drinks on a patio and time spent nesting (in the a/c), planning my registry and catching up with friends.

I also, fun-fun-fun, have time now to plan my summer trip with my Mum. I’m very excited. We used to travel together when I was in high school (Italy, France, and weekend getaways). This is our first mother-daughter trip in a decade. Being a real planner, I am eager to map out what to pack. Now the criteria is more stringent than ever – I can’t treat vacay as an extended photo shoot (like our trips to Santorini, Portugal and Spain). My growing waistline and easily-triggered emotions won’t stand for a suitcase that is packed to the gills, nor clothes that are cute, but uncomfortable. This isn’t usually an issue, since I’m pretty much comfort-before-style anyways.

Today: SHOES! 

Here are my top picks to travel with – for feet that will be comfy, well-supported and pregnancy-swollen (nice, right?). Let’s start with Soludos – whose shoes are cheeky, adorable and comfortable. They tend to be very classic, with on-trend details.

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Soludos Espadrilles – these are so comfortable and go with anything. I have spent a few days wearing them in and after day two, no rubbing.

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These espadrilles also come in a variety of colours. Oh, boy! (image: Soludos.com)

As we set out for our destination, the South of England, heading to boutique bed and breakfasts in the countryside, I am keeping in mind that we will not be walking more than I can handle at this stage of pregnancy…but I still want my feet to breathe, handle some serious walking up steps, to see ruins, farms, manor houses, and to handle old-timey streets. Plus, the footwear needs to be supportive and versatile enough to match all my outfits (stay tuned for Volume II).

Cole Haan has some wonderful options in driving shoes, loafers and sporty lace-ups. I went to the outlets at Niagara and found these for $50 less per pair than online/in regular stores, plus they offer a 15% off teacher discount (always pays to ask).

The court shoes I found are in a tan, super soft leather. While I love the idea of white runners, not so much in-love with them getting dirty. Bonus, the tan colour extends the leg line, rather than cutting you off at the ankle. To the right, the Weekender LX Loafer with Stitchlite fabric is breathable and featherweight, and the bottom left is a blush loafer with awesome sole cushioning that fits beautifully and is both lightweight and supportive. I went with the two on the left. All images: Cole Haan and available here.

The last great find, after lots of research, is feel-good company Toms (they donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair purchased). My two faves for a summer getaway are the Honey Leather Camilia Sandal ($120), and the Navy Slub Chambray Clara Espadrille slides ($85). Signing up for a mailing list got me a %20 discount off my purchase and they have free shipping (though returns might prove costly). I have seen women schlepping around Toronto wearing the basic version of Toms shoes , or even wearing the lace version for weddings, so the comfort seems to speak for itself.

The Camilia has a bit of a heel, but not enough to mess with posture (left), the Clara (top right) is casual, but boho and cute/practical, while the lace slip-on is the often-chosen ‘fancy’ version of a Toms shoe (though I can’t vouch for the comfort of the lace on the skin after a day of walking). All images: Toms

I cannot wait to whittle this list down as I choose the clothes that will pair with them for my upcoming trip. I will never be a stilettos on the beach kind of woman, or on the cobblestones, or even (truthfully) from the taxi to the restaurant. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look adorable from head to toe.

What are your go-to shoes for vacations or long days out in your own hood, enjoying it like a tourist?

 

Portugal in Moving Pictures

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Is it too late for a #tbt? It’s Thursday, and it’s not so far back, after all… Here is a taste of our delicious Portugal trip. A sweet little movie that captures just the cherry of what it’s like to travel with a lovely lady like Allia (@buttonsmcleod  if you’d like to catch more from her on Insta). Feel free to check out the pictures from each day of our journey here (Day 1-15 of our Portugal journey!). It really is a place that you have to see to believe. Around every turn there was something breathtaking, adorable or hilarious.

I hope that voce gosta muito this little vid. I present: a peek into Portugal, from the perspective of two lesbians in love. Tchau and beijos!

 

Last Day in Lisbon – travels and trip memories

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Our lunch at the Michelin Star-rated restaurant, Cafe Lisboa, was incredible. The best lunch I have had in…as long as I can remember. 

Drinks at Castro. Getting findings and tassels to make some Portugal inspired necklaces. The city is starting to feel familiar, but I keep feeling charmed at every turn. Cafe Tati. 

The only time I would ever go to a place with Trump in the name: Trumps was bustling into the wee hours. 

Tchau to Lisboa, to friends and food and a city that is festive, fun and full of life. Although nothing can prepare you for the full-force smell of bodies and urine in certain sections of the streets, keep your eyes open and plug your nose… Lisbon is brimming with possibilities, and now, full of memories. 

Sintra in the Mist, Lisbon and Experimental Film – Portugal day 12

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It started with croissants and coffee, then an Uber ride to Sintra with a driver who knows the small town, Itumbiara, where I used to live in Brazil, and a ride into the fog-dipped town of Sintra. It was drizzling when we got there and amazing to see what a difference an hour could make, as the fog lifted. Parts of the town had art spaces, deliberately, while others were a little magical all on their own. 


Sunshine and amazing views. 

We took a tuk tuk up to the summit to see Pena Palace and saw a lookout point where all three of Sintra’s castles are visible at once. 

Lots of great, derelict buildings infuse Sintra with a spooky quality. Our guide, Rita, told us she doesn’t go up the mountain at night; Sintra has more than a few ghost stories and legends. 


Taking a break at Lawrence’s Hotel. We also made sure we tried Sintra’s famed pastries, queijadas and travesseiros. Back in Lisbon, after a short train ride we had fig and prosciutto pizza before catching some local art and film.

Cats Amore. Stop Motion by Martha Colburn. At Cais de Sodre. A play on word and reference to the sexy and sordid past of the neighbourhood. A sexual confessional was set up on site. And while ‘Perils of War’ played, people had seven minutes to unburden themselves. Martha introduced some of her lighter films… Which also had trauma and dismemberment, couched in environmental commentary. ‘Fear the vampire’ and ‘my secret shame’ rounded out the program. (Experimental films by Martha Colburn at Cais de Sodre.)

Flying pigs and a world of canned fish. Art in progress at Wozen Studio Gallery. 

Our second last night ended at Tosca Taverna for olives and wine.

Back to Lisbon – Alcantara and Timeout, Day 11 in Portugal 

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From the Algarves to Lisbon, we have put some miles on this rental car. At our new apartment in Rua da Costa we are cozy, nestled into a new neighbourhood. 

We went to a must- try food and drink hub: Timeout Market   


Met up with an old pal from Toronto and checked out cafe Tati, and an installation at Giv Lowe. 

Gin tasting back at the market and croquettes. 

Then off to Tosca for caipirinhas and good tunes. Later we met up with Jess’ friend, Nuno, who is a guide by day showed us the hidden gems of Lisbon – places we would never have found on our own. From late night food to the history of fado, written on the walls of alleyways, we strolled into the wee hours. So grateful to be here in such good company! Thanks to Jess and Nuno for an amazing inside look at Lisboa!

Lagos, Sagres and Praia da Mareta- the Algarves, Portugal Day 9

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We started our day in Lagos, to register for surf school, then explored the streets winding down from the main wall of the city to the marina. 

A short car trip took us to another beach near Sagres. 
Praia da Mareta: cliched slice of heaven Home to relax and get ready for surf school tomorrow. Grilling again for dinner and the low point of the night….sleeping with the mosquitos.