Tailgating at Hard Rock Stadium

I’m no sports nut.  I mean, rugby is totally the exception and you’ll catch me cheering the boys on come 6 Nations time just like any other Welsh gal.  But everything else?  Ugh.  And don’t feed me that, “Oh, but it’s so much better watching it live and in person than on the TV” line.  No it bloody well ain’t, alright?  I spent enough Saturday afternoons down at the Valley (Sunny’s a Charlton Athletic fan) when I lived in London freezing in the cold – and yet somehow simultaneously falling asleep – to know that it just isn’t for me.

So when Sunny suggested we catch an American Football Game while we were out in Florida I… wasn’t fussed.  But at least I wasn’t going to freeze, I told myself.  Sunny LOVES American Football – he spent a year in Colorado supporting the Broncos and Tailgated at Mile High Stadium, and insisted that – never mind the actual game – the atmosphere and pre-game is completely different to British Football.  And he was right!  We pulled up early and joined all Tailgaters from both Miami and Detroit (there’s none of that fear of mixing fans like there is in the UK) and spent a couple of hours wandering around sucking in the atmosphere (and sunshine!).  If you’ve never heard of Tailgating, it’s  a sport in its own right and it’s basically one massive barbecue/game of beer pong in the parking lot – and I can definitely get on board with that!  Finally, a sport  that involves hotdogs! 😉



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Have a great weekend! X

12 Hours in Key West

Here come some palm trees, key lime pie and gypsy chickens to brighten up this very gloomy Monday morning!  I can’t believe that this time last month (I’m pretty sure down to the day) I was wandering the streets of beautiful, balmy (and – let’s be totally honest here – a little bit barmy) Key West.  The southernmost city in the USA and the westernmost island of the Florida Keys, it really is a little world all on its own – a stepping stone between the star-spangled mainland and Cuba.  By day it’s a quaint island town full of clapboard houses with shady porches, lazy bars, bakeries and stray chickens… but by night?  As soon as that sun sets over Mallory Square, ANYTHING goes.  Sunny and I were there slap bang in the middle of Fantasy Fest (Key West’s annual 10 Day adults only extravaganza) and we saw… things.





Since we were staying on the middle keys (Islamorada and Marathon), we only had a day to explore Key West – which was more than enough because the island’s tiny and the city even smaller.  We had breakfast at a bar on Front Street, wandered around looking at the pretty houses on Emma and Fleming Streets, and then climbed the old lighthouse for a 360° view of the sea.



When the heat started to hit (it was close to 100 °F out of the shade of the palm and banyan trees) we hit up Ernest Hemingway’s House just off Whitehead Street.  The writer lived there in the thirties and descendants of his lucky polydactl (six-toed) cat Snow White still live there now and pretty much have the run of the house.  I think there are over fifty wandering around the house and gardens, snoozing on the bed and in the shade beside the massive (for Key West, anyway) swimming pool that Pauline Hemingway sneakily had fitted while Ernest was working as a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War.




When lunch swung around we ducked into Moondog Cafe for some fresh limeade and (finally!) some real, homemade Key Lime Pie.  I say “real” because true Key Lime Pie has to be made from Swingle Limes, which are smaller than regular limes with a slightly different flavour and a yellow juice.  Apparently it was first whipped up by the cook of Key West’s first millionaire – but the recipe might have come from local sponge fishermen who took canned milk, limes and eggs out onto their boats.  🙂


We finished the day off on Mallory Square where everyone gathers on the dock to watch the sun set over the water.

Have a lovely week everyone! 💚

 

A Floridian Halloween

I was so excited when I found out that my (very late) summer holiday in Florida was going to clash with Halloween – I mean, come on, America’s pretty much the mothership when it comes to all things Autumn Fall. 

There’s something really weird about visiting a tropical climate around this time of year when everyone’s shivering and slugging around in the drizzle back home.  I mean, I just couldn’t get on board with the Christmas Trees that sprung up between the palm trees on November the 1st, but Halloween was a totally different story.  Floridian Halloweens are weird in the best kind of way.  Because it’s warm in the evenings, everyone sits out on their porch to watch the trick or treaters come and go – grilling, drinking beer and chatting with their neighbours in between. Plus, the costumes are incredible because no one has to worry about bundling coats on top or layers underneath.


Because we were staying in a community full of families rather than a hotel, Sunny and I really got to experience Halloween – from the night itself and the preparations beforehand, including the amazing decorations.  We saw some really creative ones just driving around the neighbourhood; from 6 foot tall inflatable vampire bats and giant spiders, to this crafty pair of skeletons… 😉



Pumpkin Patches sprung up in parking lots everywhere – not just for buying pumpkins but for staging family (and pet!) photoshoots.

Because we were heading to a Halloween party, I decided to bake some holiday appropriate Welshcakes… which turned out to be really, really salty because American butter is way, way saltier than British Butter.  Not the best I’ve ever made, but the Candy Corn ones did look pretty cool!


Oh, and Sunny and I dressed up as Spongebob Squarepants and his Pineapple.  Sunny found the head in Walmart and I just kind of had to fall in line.  I mean sure, eating was almost impossible, doors were a struggle and when I tried to sit down I kind of disappeared into it like a terrified turtle… but I think it’s my favourite thing I’ve ever worn (including the time I dressed up as an egg salad baguette – long story).  Also, because it was inflated by a battery powered fan, I had my own personal air-conditioning, which in Florida is not a bad thing at all.  We were a big hit with the neighbourhood, especially Sunny, who creeped out the older kids just enough to be considered cool, and was completely adored by the smaller kids.  🙂



I was posting on Instagram Stories the whole time I was in Florida, so if you fancy seeing more of what I got up to, swing by my Highlights. Have a great weekend everyone! 🍍

A Day Exploring Capilano and Grouse Mountain

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I thought I’d posted everything from my little trip to Canada back in July, but turns out I had one post left – and here it is.  Officially, Sunny and I spent two whole days in Vancouver before heading off on our road trip towards Jasper and Banff – but because we stomped the city in one day and saw pretty much everything we wanted to see, we decided to spend the second day out of the city in North Vancouver exploring Capilano  Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain. 🙂

Capilano is only around 20 minutes north from downtown Vancouver – and basically reminded me of the evergreen forest from that old 80s cartoon, The Raccoons (Did anyone else watch that!?  I kept singing the theme song to Sunny when we were there and he was clueless!).  It’s a beautiful forest stretched across the Capilano River, which you can cross by walking over a 70 metre high suspesion bridge (which definitely has a wobble to it!).  There’s actually a free shuttle from downtown Vancouver (it leaves from just outside the cruise ship terminal) that runs all the way to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and onwards to the Grouse Mountain Cable Car, and then back again – so getting there was really easy (and free!).





Once we’d explored Capilano, we headed further up the mountain and caught the cable car up to Grouse Mountain – which is winter sports central during the winter, but during the summer is the place to go for amazing views of Vancouver and to get up close and personal with a couple of grizzly bears (safely!).  On the summit there’s a cafe and during the summer there’s a programme of activites – like talks on birds of prey spotted around the summit, and watching loggers do their thing.  You can actually get on the chair lift and go even higher if you’re not scared of heights!






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Vancouver’s Street Art

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Let’s head back to Canada – specifically, Vancouver – for a second, shall we?  I was going through my photographs a couple of weeks ago because I want to put a few of my favourite up on the wall and I came across all these colourful snaps of the murals I spotted whilst strolling around Vancouver.  I’ve already written a whole post about what I got up to during my 48 hours or so spent in the city, but I thought the murals were so incredible that they deserved a whole post of their own.  🙂

When Sunny and I booked our hotel we just went for one of the cheapest we could find (hotels in Vancouver are so expensive!) that wasn’t too far from downtown.  We ended up booking one in Mount Pleasant, which apparently used to be the rough end of town until it went through some regeneration a few years back.  Nowadays it’s full of coffee shops and poke restaurants and some really beautiful street art.  In fact, every year in August Vancouver holds a Mural Festival to celebrate diverse local cultures and their histories as well as issues facing the city through vibrant murals.  If you’re heading to Vancouver and fancy checking out all the murals, there’s a handy map pointing them all out and explaining the meaning behind them here.










Have a lovely weekend everyone! 🙂