Vancouver Island Part II

Part II


A baby Lions Mane Jellyfish. Last year we saw a full sized jelly on Comox, I swear it was bigger than our boat! 

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finish our vacation blog! We have been pretty busy over here with gradual entry to day care and also gearing up to head back to work next week.


Goats on the roof in Coombs, BC

Erika was able to take some time off, so we decided to head to Coombs on Tuesday morning to check out the goats on the roof. We enjoyed donuts, yummy snacks and meandering through the market shops. Thankfully the goats were out grazing so we sat by the tree watching them and listening to some street music. Freya loved every minute of it!


Cute a-frame donut shop

After lunch we headed to Qualicum to do some window shopping and then headed to the beach in Parksville. I spent a good hour trying to get Freya to nap and was completely unsuccessful. She was too pumped to hang out with her Auntie Erika, watch the birdies fly around and listen to the music.


Definitely NOT napping

We ate at Realm that night for dinner, probably one of my favorite restaurants on the island, and meandered through the night market afterwards (more like shuffled along with the herd of hundreds of people).

On Wednesday Erika, Freya and I ventured north to Elk Falls and Strathcona Provincial Park. Although I hadn’t realized how much I missed them, it was so nice to be back in the mountains. The weather was a little dreary, which was a refreshing and welcome change. We went for a little hike to the Elk Falls and walked along the rocky beach in Strathcona Park. On our way home we stopped in Campbell River for some of the best sushi I’ve had in a very long time.


Elk Falls


Group Selfie


Peek – a – boo


On Thursday morning we toured around downtown Courtenay, scoping out the cutest stores! We had some delicious donuts and got some lunch to go. Fully loaded, Freya and I were the very last to board the ferry (of course). We found a nice window seat and ate lunch on the floor, picnic style. Docking and taking a taxi to our AirBnB in North Vancouver was relatively straight forward, which I was very grateful for.  After playing on the swings in the backyard, Freya was happy to go to bed, and Momma had some much needed quiet time.


Ferry ride

On Friday morning, Freya and I (somehow) conquered the Vancouver bus system and made our way to the Park Royal shopping Center in North Vancouver. There are really only a handful of stores that I typically shop at so we were able to get in and out within an hour. Later that afternoon we were finally reunited with Johnny. Freya was so excited to see her daddy. She showered him with kisses and was attached to him all night.

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We went to the Londsale Quay for dinner and had a beautiful view of the Vancouver skyline.




Dinner with a view

On Saturday we were up bright and early, heading to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. Freya had so much fun watching the fish swim around, the dolphins doing flips and the jelly fish floating in their tanks. We finished the day off with a walk around the sea wall, visiting the beaches along the way.


Loving the jellies


Loving the fishes


Petting the rays


She wasn’t too keen on the rough skin of the star fish

We decided to slow things down a bit on Sunday and headed to Grandville Island in the morning. Thankfully, we were outta there when it started to get busy. I finally rented a Car2Go and picked up sushi and pizza for dinner (probably my fav dinner take-out combo!)


Freya loved her new monkey for a whole 2 hours



We headed home early on Sunday morning, and thankfully Freya slept for the first few hours of the drive. She is normally very happy in the car seat, however after 7 hours she was starting to get fussy (which is totally understandable I think). It’s a good thing that we were just entering the city limits when her screaming started… But nothing that a few minutes of Puffin Rock couldn’t calm.


The next few weeks (and months really) are going to get a little crazy over here, lots of exciting things happening!

Freya started half days at day care this week and is doing better than I expected! She loves watching the big kids run around, and is warming up to the day care providers quite well.

Freya cut one of her top teeth this week, with another on the way. Also, she is WALKING!! She started a few weeks ago with one or two steps here and there and will now walk across the room. Crawling is still her preferred mode of transportation, but she’s getting there.

Needless to say that her (& our) sleep hasn’t been the best lately, but we are getting by.


Vancouver Island Part I


Sunset walk in Courtenay

What a whirlwind of a trip! After 10 days away from Nelson we are back to the *smoky* mountains.

We had a few rough days of course, struggling with naps on-the-go and too much car seat time, but we prevailed and learned a few good lessons along the way.

We left last Wednesday, with a full day of travelling ahead of us. We met the most generous and kind strangers along the way who wanted to help with my bags and make Freya smile.


I earned this coffee


FINALLY a (short) nap

Thursday and Friday were nice relaxing days for us. We went to the park around the corner from Jeff & Erika’s house, had some good solid naps and met up with my old friend Darren and his wife for a dog walk. On Friday night we went to Gladstone’s Brewery for dinner and I had my favorite fungi pizza. Both nights were topped with boxed wine and long overdue hang time with one of my bests.


Freya’s first dip in the ocean!


Sleeping baby + sleeping dogs + coffee = perfect afternoon

On Saturday, Erika, Freya and I ventured south to Sooke to visit our friends from Nelson who had just moved to the island. Kevin and Kris purchased a beautiful west coast modern style home that backs onto a little piece of perfectly-wild space. We visited a little town named Shirley for lunch (and yummy cinnamon twists!! Mmm), complete with a rocky coastline and picture perfect lighthouse.


The lighthouse in Shirley, BC


Shirley’s coastline

After lunch we stopped by Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery to taste their honey wines and take a tour around the beautiful property.  During the summer they have 60,000 bees that forage over a 20km radius of the farm, pollinating the berries and fruit trees that are used to make the wines. Before dinner, Kevin and Kris took us on a nice walk to the spit and showed us a bit of their neighborhood.


Tugwell Creek Honey Farm bee hives

Dinner (of course) was incredible; a simple and delicious chicken & veggie bowl that still has me drooling. We celebrated Kevin and Kris’s new home with a bottle of champagne on the back porch and then moved inside to enjoy the most amazing evening light through the huge front windows and stained-glass front door.


Popping champagne

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Evening light through the stained glass door

On Sunday we traveled inland to visit Merridale Ciderworks and the Tea Farm in the Cowichan Valley. We had a delicious lunch and flights of cider, followed by iced lavender black tea and cake at the Tea Farm.


Group shot at Merridale Ciderworks


Merridale Ciderworks apple orchard


The Tea Farm

After the long drive home, Monday was a perfectly timed rest day. We went for a lovely river dip then relaxed in Erika and Jeff’s beautiful backyard all evening.


Puntledge River


Freya loved splashing in the river


More to come later this week! Freya is in daycare on Wednesday morning so I plan to enjoy a quiet morning working on Part II.

our wedding

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It’s still so hard to believe that Johnny and I have been married for 2 whole years! Having just celebrated our anniversary, I wanted to give you a glimpse into our big day.

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Planning a wedding from across the country was no easy feat, and I could not have done it without my family’s help. I spent so many hours on the phone with my Mom planning and organizing, and my Dad spent most of his spare time that summer working on DIY chalk boards, wedding favors, center pieces and portable string lighting (all of which turned out perfectly!).
My mom found our venue and knew right away that it was the one. The interior had wood finishing’s, stone fireplaces, a wrap around balcony and vaulted ceilings which felt very modern and natural. Johnny and I wanted a small ceremony, and had originally planned to elope at City Hall  prior to having a backyard reception. Instead, we held the private ceremony on the back patio with our immediate family.

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The day before the wedding was busy busy! Our flowers arrived and Tessa (Maid of Honor) and Erika (MC) started making the bouquets, table centre pieces and floral arrangements for the altar.  My parents had also hosted our rehearsal dinner that night so the house was packed. Signs were made, name tag-wine glasses were completed and the music playlist was finalized (YES! I still can’t believe I left this until the night before).

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The morning of our big day was even more busy… and HOT!!  It turned out to be the HOTTEST day of the summer.
We headed straight to the salon to have our hair and makeup done. Our photographer met us back at our place while we got dressed and sipped on champagne. In our rush to the alter, we forgot the bouquets. I guess a wedding wouldn’t be a wedding without forgetting something am-i-right?! (I also found out later that Johnny and his Best Man were also late, they lost track of time playing in the sandbox with the kiddos, of course).

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As the music (Shenandoah by Bill Frizell) started, I remember having those wonderful butterflies and was so happy to have both my mom and dad by my side. We timed the walk just right so that and I walked down the isle as the music picked up and faded away when I met Johnny at the alter.

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The ceremony was short and sweet, with a touch of humour thanks to our officiant (I highly recommend him, if you’re looking for one let me know!!).

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We spent the next hour or so taking photos and walking around the property with the photographer. I went to University with Laura and knew from the get-go that I had to have her there for my big day. She definitely did not disappoint (as you can see), and the memories that she captured will be hung on our wall forever.

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Friends and family started to trickle in; the bar was open, the dinner was delicious, our MC was amazing, and everyone was having a great evening.

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AND THEN the band started to play. Having my father-in-laws band play was probably the best decision that we had made for the wedding. It was a hit! We danced all evening, not even playing the music that I had planned out the night before (which was totally fine because it was a rushed job anyway).

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My highlight for the evening entertainment definitely had to be when the band played “Alisha”. This is a song that my father-in-law wrote the year I was born and that Johnny had on repeat the night he met me. Most of the guests knew the chorus and sang along as Johnny and I soaked it all in on the dance floor.

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To say that our wedding day was one of the best days of my life is an understatement. Not only did I get to marry the love of my life, but I also got to party with all of my family and friends under one roof. The venue was full of love and laughter and I cannot wait until the day that we can throw a party like that again!


Hair & Makeup: Eden Salon, London ON
Brides attire: David’s Bridal, Spokane WA | Alterations: MaxSeams, Nelson BC
Groom’s attire: Baker Street Mens Wear, Nelson BC
Wedding Party attire: purchased/rented individually
Flowers: purchased locally & arranged by my beautiful friends Tessa and Erika
Venue & Catering: The Carolinian Winery, Thorndale ON


RAIN! Finally, after months and months of heat and smoke we had a bit of rain. While it didn’t quench the fire as much our community would like, it let the fire fighters get control of some of the fires around Nelson.

A few days ago I found this Facebook post and shared it to my timeline. The original post has since been shared nearly 3000 times throughout the community, and I think that’s because it describes exactly how each one of us has been feeling for the past few months.

Here is the link to the post:

The smoke has lifted (for now), the temperature is tolerable again (for now), and Shambala continued as scheduled.


smokey Nakusp

This past weekend we went to Nakusp for a little R&R and stayed at the most amazing BNB on a farm surrounded by mountains. We spent Saturday at the beach in Nakusp, letting Freya crawl around and explore the park, putting everything in her mouth of course (when does this stage end?!?!).

standing + clapping

standing + clapping

We also ventured up to the Nakusp Hot Springs for a quick dip before heading to the BNB. Freya was mesmerized by the farm animals at the BNB. The horses and goats were friendly and came close enough so that Freya could get a good view. I love how much she loves animals.



Browse Creek BnB + Saddle Mountain

And as if the animals and beautiful scenery weren’t enough, the breakfast on Sunday was incredible. We are excited to go back the Brouse Creek BNB in the fall!


Freya loved these beauties


Freya’s new friends

Freya and I are heading to Vancouver Island next week, so we are sticking close to home until then. Now that the smoke has lifted for a few days, we can hopefully get down to the park to visit with some friends. I look forward to our runs and pool time, lots of sleep, simple healthy dinners, and Game of Thrones.


I have uploaded more photos under the ‘images’ tab. It’s password protected, so send me a message if you don’t already have the password!


xo ali


Welcome to my first blog post!

I guess I should start by telling you why I decided to start this blog. Our lives are about to get pretty crazy around here, and I thought this would be a good way to document all of our happenings. I’ll be heading back to work in a month, which will be a huge transition for me and will probably include many evenings of homework and studying to get back in the game. As well, I’m still trying to finish up my TEFL training, with no end in sight. Freya will be heading to day care, which means endless evening snuggles (fingers crossed), followed with numerous nighttime wakeup calls. So I think now more than ever, I’ll need some ME time. I need to slow down and dedicate time toward self-love and creativity. This will be a great place for me to reflect on our week through words and pictures, sharing our little world with you.

It’s so hard to believe, but this little monkey is already 10 months old. Where has the time gone?!  It seems like just yesterday that I was calling John home from work because my contractions were getting intense, and now look at her, a whopping

18lb, 8oz!!


We’ve been keeping things pretty low key over the past few weeks, trying to get back into our daily and weekly routine and to genuinely enjoy every day together. This has meant saying NO to a lot of people, which is something that I’m still getting used to. Trying to make other momma friends in this small town has been a little difficult, so I have always pushed myself to get out there and have playdates and coffee dates as much as I could, even if it didn’t jive with Freya’s nap schedule. With our summer (and with that, my maternity leave) winding down, I’ve come to the realization that these carefree and lazy one-on-one days with my babe will soon come to an end, and so I need to cherish every single minute.

We are looking forward to spending our three day weekend together, visiting some nearby hot springs and slowing things down a bit in the country.

xo – ali