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Staycation in Vancouver

Sometimes it’s all too easy to become nonchalant about your own city, even when it’s as beautiful as Vancouver.

Last week, I took a few days away from the office to get back to doing all those things I’ve fancied, but never made a priority.

What did I miss? Share your suggestions for must-dos and I’ll be sure to make time. Want to join me? Let’s grab coffee!

Hit the beach!

Explore Main Street

Check out the graffiti

Catch a game at BC Place (England vs Canada, Women’s World Cup)

Afternoon Tea at the Bacchus, Wedgewood Hotel

Aussie style burger at Chaise Restaurant, Main Street

Stay a night at the Wedgewood Hotel

Pop over the border to the Seattle Outlet Mall

Have hand-made pull noodles at Sha-Lin Noodle House on Broadway

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Hiking on the North Shore

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It was the best of times, it was the wettest of times.

Hiking on the North Shore of Vancouver can often be a rainy affair. Luckily, we were covered by the cathedral of towering trees that surrounded our walks in both Lynn Valley and at the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

The dramatic weather made for some fantastically bleak photography. I’ll have to revisit when the days are longer.

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A Richmond Kind of Morning

Every morning, as the train emerges from the tunnel the view is always different. While the sky was perfectly pretty today, when it’s really clear, Mount Baker in Seattle looms over the horizon, covered in bright, white snow. On a clear, frosty morning the steaming rooftops and smokey chimneys decorate the landscape as the tugboats pull the lumber to the sawmill.

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A Canadian Halloween

As someone who’s never really celebrated Halloween, apart from a small gathering with friends at university, I have been amazed at the efforts people go to here for an adopted tradition.

While Halloween celebrations have evolved from being brought here from England, the old Pagan ritual of warding off evil spirits has been marketed and commercialised to an inspiring level.

I admit, I expected it to be an example of gluttony and pre-Christmas sales tactics. But, I forgot to look for the excitement it brought to the kids who embraced it.

Seeing the hordes of children, dressed up in costumes from their favourite films, tv shows and books was heart-warming. I walked around a few streets, taking my young nieces Trick-or-Treating, the level of preparation some people went to was on the level that I aim to achieve at Christmas.

Sure, it’s mostly about candy (and lots of it), but it’s also another chance to bring some light into the darker months.

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A little Autumnal cooking – Roasted Butternut Squash recipe with all the good stuff

I found this recipe while on my way home from the office, two years ago. In the Stylist magazine, handed out to everyone heading out of London, it gave me inspiration for that evening’s meal, after rushing through the rain and toward the warmth of home.

While this isn’t really a travel story, it reminds me of my roots in London and, as it’s getting to be my favourite weather – cold, I’m going to be sharing a little of my winter cooking.

So, here’s my take on The Feta-Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe I found on that dark evening.

Don’t worry about making it super neat, or fancy-looking. When it’s cold outside, this will be fantastic.

Ingredients:
2 butternut squash
About half a small container of feta cheese (it’s salty, so add to taste)
1 big onion
6 sun-dried tomatoes
A small handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
Herbs – the original recipe calls for basil, but I used some rosemary and sage from the garden.
Maple syrup – because it’s amazing and should be on everything.

Directions:
Cut the squash in half, take out the seeds and a bit of the inside with an ice cream scoop. Roast in the oven (400.c) for about 25 mins or until browning.

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Then dice the onion and fry in a little oil for about 4 minutes until soft. Then add everything else, cut roughly and stir until it’s all melty.
I found it pretty salty so I added some frozen peas to break it up.

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Then spoon the mixture onto the squash, drizzle a bit of maple syrup and put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Then eat it. You don’t really need anything with it, but some green beans would be good.

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