The Black & Red Swan

The Black & Red Swan

Hello friends,

Todays post is about an amazing swan we saw while touring around the United Kingdom.

The day started off touring around like most days do when you’re in a new place. It was mid-afternoon at this point and it was a bit chilly and windy! We were walking around in a residential neighbourhood and looking at all the old mansion houses – there were a lot of them! haha

Eventually we came across this really cool house. Not a stone mansion like we have been seeing, but probably my favourite house yet. It looked like a house out of the hobbit movies with a thick straw roof!

It intrigued us so we went up to it. The backyard/side of house was full of thicker brush jutting out in all different directions. We saw that there was a pond in the backyard and there was movement in it! We kept trying to poke our heads over the fence and between the fence to see what was back there. That’s when we spotted the swans. There was a couple white ones but then this black beauty appeared.

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This swan was the most gorgeous swan I have ever seen. Beautiful black feathers with a bright red beak. When it rustled its feathers and raised its wings, lush bright white feathers were revealed. This somehow amazed me even more. Such a beautiful animal.

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It was hard getting any clear pictures because the brush was so thick, but I tried my best haha because my mom fell in love with this little guy. All she kept saying was “take a picture take a picture” and I replied with “I’m trying!” haha it was a comedy show to see.

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Have you guys ever seen a swan that looks like this? Or one that isn’t white in colour? I would love to know in the comments below! πŸ™‚

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Until next time,

xoxo

Taking the Tube | London 2018

Taking the Tube | London 2018

Hello friends,

Before I start this story I would just like to say that all the photos used were taken in poor lighting and off my outdated iphone so disregard the quality – I needed some pictures to go along with my story however the tube is so busy and fast paced therefore I did not feel like possibly having my good camera damaged!

Also, if you didn’t know I had a facebook page where I share pictures and links to my blog anytime I a new post goes up! You can click the link to like and follow the page if you want! πŸ™‚Β https://www.facebook.com/phoenixraayphotography/Β 

You can also follow this blog by going to the home page and clicking the 3 dots in the top corner and hitting follow!

Now back to business!


Since I learned about London when I was young, I knew about the tube. I use to always think it was funny people called their bus the tube – little did I know how different it was from what I originally thought.

I assumed it was the same as busses, as some people do, but it is vastly different from that. Sometimes you are above ground and sometimes you are below! The cabs are large, but get filled up very quickly. My sister (who was teaching in Bristol at the time) told us that the tube was not even busy when we went on it and I thought – wow it must be claustrophobic in here when its rush hour!

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On the other side of the gates for the first time about to take the tube!

Once we got to the station, obviously we had to commence the mission on figuring out what ticket to get. Once it was all sorted we put that little ticket to use and ended up on the other side of these gates! I felt as if I were a local taking the tube and I am so happy we ended up doing this for a day instead of an Uber. (Good job sister telling us it was a must!)

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First glimpse of inside the tube!

So this was our first glimpse at the inside! Everyone had gotten off and we were the first on. The stop we were at was at the very end of their tracks so it had filled up more as we hit other stops.

We got off after 3 or 4 stops I think to another station where we had to hop onto a different train. It was quite entertaining trying to get to the other train in time so we wouldn’t have to wait for a long time haha the signs helped but there was a lot of people and it was all so new we became overwhelmed! Thankfully my sister was like – dudes its this way haha

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Mind The Gap! (and the rubbish! haha)

Finally we arrived where we needed to be to board the next train. Obviously I had to take the classic mind the gap picture! Because that gap is real let me tell you! If you don’t know where it is or how wide it is you could definitely get your leg stuck in it – ouch!

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Chilling at the station
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This man looked slightly too tall for the doors …

Within a few minutes the next train arrives and we wait for people to unload but you also have to get on quickly or the doors close! Once we were on we stood for a bit and then as people got off we sat down.

A couple stops after we sat down a lady with a dog came on. This dog was quite well behaved and absolutely loved my sister because she pet it once! Once you pet it, he became your best friend haha she was covered in dog hair for the rest of the day!

The dog was whimpering a bit though because the tube moves at the speed of light! It is extremely fast and loud, especially when you are underground. If you have super sensitive ears I would actually recommend wearing ear plugs! Another thing to keep in mind if you ever do venture onto the tube is give yourself a lot of time to get to the door before your stop. They do not wait for you if you are too slow! My sister would tell us to stand at the door when she knew our stop was the next one so we could get off quickly.

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Cute puppy that sat beside us!

As you can see, the tube was not packed this day, however coming from spacious Canada we all felt like it was! Not sure how you would even be able to get on and off when its busier!

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Proud father moment realizing he successfully took the tube!

At the end of our tube journey we were all relieved haha we made it to the centre of London! Also, if you are going on a long journey on the tube, make sure you have coins… you have to pay to go pee there! (Β£0.20 pence (GBP) to go pee = $0.40 cents (CAD)) Very different then what I am use to haha I had to break a bill so I could pee! The escalators to take you up from underground too are extremely steep so hold on – don’t goof around or you may be falling back to the bottom!

Overall, it was an amazing experience and would highly recommend anyone travelling there to try it out! Live like the locals! πŸ™‚

Have you ever taken the tube in London? If so, do you have any crazy/funny experiences to share?! πŸ™‚

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Until next time,

xoxo

Buckingham Palace | London 2018

Buckingham Palace | London 2018

Hello friends,

Todays post is going to be about my experience seeing Buckingham Palace in a torrential downpour! Not the best way to see it, but it was our only option!

We took the tube to get here which was an experience in itself so I will have a separate blog post on that!

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To get to Buckingham Palace from the tube stop we got off at, you had to walk on a path through this massive field. Everyone was in a bit of a rush considering the weather so we made it there in a timely manner! It was incredible walking up to these golden gates – even if we were getting soaked through to the undies! I remember thinking – how in the world am I going to get any pictures in this weather?! I did not want to get my camera wet!

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My dad and I went to this little food truck stand and I hid under the foot wide canopy by their service window trying to get some pictures. I got a few, but nothing amazing – I wanted to go get a better view! (Spoiler – you can’t get a great shot of the Buckingham Palace in a torrential downpour)

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These gold statues were so vibrant against the dark cloudy sky.

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Here we are now at the front of the palace. I enjoy going to these touristy places however, I don’t like all the people in my pictures! When we arrived at the front of the palace, I thought it was going to be larger to be honest! I was not disappointed or anything though, it was still incredible to see!

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When we moved our way closer I noticed all the curtains were drawn – I do understand that for privacy, but it must be pretty dark and gloomy in there! Also, I wonder if they have updated the inside of the palace to have insulation to keep the heat inside? Otherwise it must take a lot of money to heat that place!

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There were also guards with machine guns at every door! I knew she would have guards, but for some reason the machine guns surprised me – which they shouldn’t of! haha These guys were loaded with weapons!

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Now, this is a funny one. When we were farther away my family was debating whether this guy was real or a doll haha obviously he is real but he never moved an inch so he looked fake! I felt bad for the guy because it was quite cold outside, and he can’t even moved around to warm up! He was also probably getting wet because the rain was blowing around.

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I had to zoom up to the front doors because they were gorgeous! Look at all that detail and gold! I could not even imagine how much work it was to make those doors. The architecture of the Buckingham Palace was absolutely stunning.

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Even the light posts surrounding the palace had gold accents! So much gold and its all kept in amazing shape too where everything else surrounding it has been grown over with moss.

Now below is the famous London Black Taxi! I heard so much about these and seen them in all the movies filmed in the UK so I wanted to capture one on camera for myself! Everyone in London said they are very overpriced so it is better to uber around or take the tube – so we did just that. However, it was still extremely cool to see them driving around the crazy traffic in London!

London Black Taxi looking majestic with its headlights on in the pouring rain.

Have you ever been to Buckingham Palace or is it on your list of places to see? Let me know in the comments below and add in any cool facts you know about it too!

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Until next time,

xoxo

Burger Theory Review | Bristol, UK

Burger Theory Review | Bristol, UK

Hello friends,

Todays post is going to be a food review from my time spent in the United Kingdom! I have only done a few of these on my blog, but I should really start doing more because I love trying out new restaurants. People just give me weird looks when I take pictures!

Anyways, todays food review is of a little burger joint called Burger Theory. We went there on our first night in Bristol with my sister and her boyfriend. Obviously they are the ones who suggested it because they live there!

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First impressions of this place – it looks pretty cool and like there might be good burgers inside. Now I will just tell you all, growing up in Alberta, Canada I have had many amazing burgers – to this day I don’t think I have had any burgers better then the ones I have had in Alberta.

But back to Burger Theory. I absolutely loved the vibe of this place. The inside was so cute and cozy however all the rustic wood made it feel like you were about to get a good/hardy meal in you.

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I absolutely loved the wooden roof and the light fixtures that they chose. I feel as if it complimented the layout of the restaurant and the vibe they were trying to achieve. The atmosphere was incredibly warm and welcoming too.

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They had a cool saying written above the arches – in summary, they make most of the food they serve from scratch including their sauces and pickled vegetables – and let me tell you, their homemade ketchup was bomb.

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So of course, the first thing you order at a restaurant is a drink. Since I was somewhere new in the world, I wanted to try a local favourite (or at least a restaurant favourite). My sister and the waiter said this rhubarb cider was the drink to get, so I did. I had no clue what to expect since I have never had rhubarb and cider combined before, but it was very refreshing and delicious! Definitely no potent alcohol taste at all – I would recommend trying one if you ever visit the UK and just want a light drink!

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By this time, we have ordered and are ravenous. I have drank most of my drink and since I have the smallest bladder in the world I ventured out to find the washroom. Every washroom I encountered on this trip was incredibly tiny, so I kept my eyes peeled for the little door.

Oh also, instead of saying washroom most say toilets, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit haha I felt so British saying toilets instead of washroom.

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Anyways! Do you see how tiny this sink is – its one of the largest sinks I saw on this trip. I could almost wash my hands without hitting the sides of it. Most of the sinks I used, you had to wash one hand at a time or you’d make a mess!

Their taps are also different then I am used to. One is hot and the other is cold … so if you want warm water I believe maybe you plug the sink and then wash your hands in there? If anyone knows the reasoning behind the completely separate temperature taps please let me know!

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Since everything is so tiny in the UK, they have signs everywhere saying “mind your head” and you really have to pay attention to it because you will hit your head if you don’t duck!

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Once I arrived back from my toilet adventure the food was there. All nice and warm ready to be devoured!

The Burger Theory has so many options to choose from, you can basically get whatever kind of burger your little heart desires. I believe I got a bacon cheese burger, which is usually my go to, and it was the best burger I had on my whole trip. I had about three burgers while I was in the UK and its not their strong suit. However, this burger was pretty darn good. My sister, and mom I believe, got the vegan burgers and they also enjoyed them. So this restaurant is great for a range of burger eaters. All are welcome!

We were so stuffed from the meals that we didn’t get desert, which is rare for me, but I think my sister probably told me we could get ice cream or something to get me to leave!

This was in total a great first UK burger experience and I would recommend trying it out if you happen to be strolling past one craving a burger!

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xoxo

Canadians in the UK | 2018

Canadians in the UK | 2018

Hello friends,

We made it. My parents and I got to the United Kingdom from the far away land where maple syrup grows.

We took a taxi from the Heathrow Airport in London, to a small airbnb – more on the outskirts of London. I must say, it was very much what I expected London to look like. If you have ever seen movies based in the United Kingdom they are pretty spot on.

It was extremely terrifying though to be driving on the wrong side of the road – and I will let you know that it didn’t feel any better doing it on day 10 of the trip either! It feels so wrong, just like when someone is walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk! Also, the lanes, oh my gosh, the road lanes are so tiny! They just barley fit the vehicles driving by – it looks like everyone is about to side swipe each other.

Anyways, we finally arrived at the air bnb after my parents and I nearly had a heart attack on the way there! A very nice lady greeted us and showed us around. She also complimented all four of us on our teeth, which we thought was a weird compliment but we took it! I didn’t take any pictures of her air bnb to keep her privacy, but it was lovely!

Everything felt miniature in her house. The kitchen was actually a decent size though compared to other ones we saw. The staircase was extremely narrow, if you didn’t duck half way down too, you’d hit your head! Once we dropped off our bags we decided to head out for a stroll and to grab some dinner.

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My dad always wants to be the photographer!

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I quickly noticed that everything was covered in mould or moss! Obviously this is due to their climate, but it was something that I have never noticed anywhere I went before.

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My 6’3″ father standing besides an average door in London!

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Royal Mail! I guess when you live where the Queen is you have Royal Mail not any old normal mail. No sir.

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So, if you think I was exaggerating about the size of the lanes think again. This was actually a pretty common sign I saw in the UK.

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There were usually cars parked on both side of these roads too, so you can imagine how tight it is for one car to get through let alone two way traffic! All of our drivers drove very fast, but somehow we managed to make it!

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Here is a good example of what most residential roads looked like, as well as, the residential housing. Well, I shouldn’t just say residential because it looked like this everywhere. Little shops were all connected and same with the restaurants. If there were walkways in-between buildings they were tiny!

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Next we came across this very old church. The history in London is absolutely amazing. The tombstones dated back a few hundred years. We tried to find the oldest one, but I can’t remember what the date was on it!

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The red door was beautifully in tact and stood out from a distance against the dull surrounding colours.

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The grass was also very vibrant against the grey sky! There was also flowers everywhere, which brightened the dull day.

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Are you a person who gets creeped out by old churches and graveyards or do you enjoy them?

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Until next time,

xoxo

Surprise! | UK Adventure

Surprise! | UK Adventure

Hello friends,

Todays post will just be a quick one to introduce the series I am starting. If you read my update post a couple months ago, you will know that earlier this year I went to the United Kingdom.

The purpose of this was to surprise my sister (Kennedy) who I hadn’t seen in a long time. She graduated in December with her Education Degree and was offered a million jobs all over the world. She took one in Bristol, UK and that is where her journey began.

My parents were planning a trip to see her and Kennedy wanted me to go so bad, but I kept saying I couldn’t go (which at the time I actually thought I couldn’t) however, things change! One night I was talking with my mom on the phone and she said that if I could get the time off work, they would help out with the expenses.

Literally the next day I went into work and asked for the time off. My amazing boss said yes and I was so happy! I told my parents and that is when we decided to not tell my sister, we were going to surprise her on the other side of the world! This ended up being a lot harder then I expected though. Kennedy and I talk a lot and we were basically planning for me to come down at another time later in the year (with me knowing that she would see me well before this). It was the only way I could get her to stop asking me to come when my parents were going!

I believe we had to keep this secret for at least 2 months, if not longer, and she actually had no idea!

On the flights there, we all had a group chat to keep Kennedy updated, and I was in it but acting like I was so jealous that my parents got to go haha my parents and I were just laughing the whole way there because she still didn’t know!

Once we arrived in London, going through customs took forever. Kennedy had told my parents that she would meet up with them their second day there, but she also lied and had a surprise! She was waiting at the arrival gate for us the whole time! None of us saw her as we walked through the opening and then all of a sudden, BOOM I legit get tackled by her with a hug. She was so surprised and we were too!

One of the best moments ever.

Anyways, this is just a little introduction to the planning and arrival of us in London and the big sister secret surprise! Many many more posts to come from this trip. I already got overwhelmed just trying to sort through the good and bad pictures today!

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SURPRISE!

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Until next time,

xoxo

p.s – love you Ken-D