Three Days in Toronto

24 July 2019

As I sit writing this blog post we're currently in the middle of a heatwave here in the UK...I've set up shop in a shady spot in my garden with an ice lolly so for now I'm loving this weather {not so much when trying to sleep or commute!}. All of the heat got me reminiscing on my recent travels and I realised that I'd never shared most of my trip, only the few days we spent in Nashville which you can read about here

Before we headed down to Nashville, we travelled from London to Toronto for two days in the city and one day in Niagara, so today I thought I'd share some of my favourite bits of Toronto. I won't share our entire weekend itinerary as to be honest, we were quite jet lagged, it rained solidly for one of the days so we couldn't see the CNN tower and spent hours trying to retrieve my misplaced these are the good bits 😂

We started off our trip with a little visit to Mildred's Temple Kitchen for Sunday brunch, which had come highly recommended to me. They don't take reservations and it's very popular with the locals, so expect a little queue...but let me tell you, it is so worth the wait. I wen't for the Blueberry Pancakes which have been named as the best pancakes in Toronto, and while I've not tried them all {I'd be the size of a whale!}, I wouldn't disagree with that name - they were divine. They're a cross between a pancake and a scone/cake sort of thing, and come topped with so much fresh cream and blueberry's quite a large portion but the good news is that Midred's have just added a single pancake on as a side dish - so definitely get that if something else on the menu takes your fancy, you won't regret it! 

I didn't find that there was a whole lot to do in Toronto apart from shop, eat and drink...which is exactly what we did! Our hotel was downtown right by the Eton Centre so a little browse around the shops was hard to avoid. We knew we were heading to the USA after Canada and the exchange rate is a little more favourable in Canada, so we did the bulk of our shopping there...hellooooo new leather jacket 👌🏻

If you're in Toronto and looking for a coffee stop, the city is packed with cute brunch spots, but if you're doing it for the 'gram then you can't miss Dineen Outpost...just look at the floor, and the coffee is pretty good too! ☺️

In the evening before dinner, we headed down to the ferry terminal to get on a ferry over to Toronto Island. If you're looking for an amazing view of the Toronto skyline {CNN tower included!}, then Toronto Island is the place to take that snap or just have a stroll around the park and watch the sunset. The ferry can get pretty busy in the summer though, so watch out for that. 

After we'd watched the sunset and it had started to get a little chilly, we headed back into the city for dinner at Hibachi, a Teppanyaki restaurant in the Thompson Hotel. The food was great, and having your dinner cooked and set on fire in front of you added a bit of theatre to the occasion - I'm not normally the biggest fan of Asian food but the scallops and chicken noodles were amazing.

On our final day in Canada, we hired a car and headed down to Niagara Falls, which is about an hour and a half away from the city. After picking up the car from the airport we started the drive which of course involved a little pitstop at Tim Hortons {how Canadian of us!}. When we arrived we hopped out of the car and were blown away by the view - The falls are something I've always wanted to visit and the view was just breathtaking, definitely worth the drive if you find yourself in Toronto! 

We walked along the edge of the falls, stopped for a quick photo and took in the view, before heading down to jump on one of the boats that take you right into the falls which was so exciting! We were given some rather fetching red rain ponchos which caused a lot of giggles...but we were so thankful for them later. Being a little pessimistic, I thought that the boat would take us kind of close but not actually into the falls, and how wrong I was...The boat took us right into the falls and we got absolutely soaked, it was like having someone pour buckets of water over you constantly with no break 😂. It was so worth it though to tick that experience off my bucket list, and it only took 3 days for my denim jacket to dry! 

After we'd been on the boat, we picked up some tourist bits {magnets, keyrings, some ice wine that they make out in Niagara} and headed for lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the falls. The restaurant wasn't anything to write home about, but the view was spectacular! Niagara Falls was my favourite part of Canada and I'm so glad I was lucky enough to see it on this trip! However after we'd been around the falls, we had to head back to Toronto to pick up my misplaced passport...but the less said about that the better! 

xo Becky 

How To Spend 2 Days in Nashville

3 July 2019

If you follow me on Instagram {if you don't - it's @beckyderby} then you'll have seen that I recently took a little trip to Nashville, or music city as it's affectionately known. As a big lover of country music, Nashville has been on my bucket list for quite some time and it did not disappoint. It's such a cool city, and unlike anywhere else I've ever visited, and it's also a city I'd definitely visit again - so not a one hit wonder. 

Where to Stay

If you're heading to Nashville, you're going to want to be fairly close to Broadway or Honkey Tonk Row, it's where all of the nightlife is and worth staying close by so you can walk home after a night in town. We stayed in the Bobby Hotel, and I couldn't have been more impressed - it's probably one of my favourite city hotels I've ever stayed in. 

Everything about the hotel is stunning, as you come in you're greeted by a modern lobby with a country twist, which stems through the entire hotel's decor. The hotel also has Sacha, the hotel dog - the cutest rescue dog who wanders around the lobby to greet the hotels guests. 

The rooms are huge, as is the bathroom {it was probably bigger than my room in London!}, the beds are so comfy and you don't hear a peep from the rest of the hotel or the street outside so you're guaranteed a decent nights sleep. 

The hotel also has an amazing rooftop bar, complete with pool, cabanas for the summer, a live music stage and a 1956 retrofitted Greyhound bus, with lounge seating in the back and a driver’s seat at the edge of the building overlooking 4th Avenue. It's the perfect place to start your night, or spend the whole night there before wandering back to your room. 

Another great option if you're looking for a similar vibe is the Noelle, it's very upmarket, very cool and just a stone's throw away from Broadway.  

What to do - Day 1

On day 1 it's likely that you'll be a little tired and jet lagged if you've travelled as far as we did, so you'll need to fuel up for the day. Cafe Bobby at the Bobby Hotel is amazing {and really instagrammable too!}, I had the best avocado toast I've ever had...if you can even call it that, it was loaded up with so many extras that the avocado wasn't even the show stealer of this dish. They also do great coffee, so the ideal start to the day! 

After breakfast, jump in an Uber and head down to 12th South - one of the Nashville suburbs. 12th South is a lovely area and is perfect for tracking down Nashville's famous murals. Here you'll find the 'Nashville Looks Good On You', 'I Believe in Nashville' and 'Looking Pretty Music City' murals, which make the perfect photo opportunity! It's also a free activity...bonus! There's also the prettiest flower truck, lots of cute shops...including Draper James, a must-visit if you're in Nashville for the weekend. It's very twee, and perfect for picking up a more upmarket souvenir of your time in the city {and they also do amazing sweet tea!}. 

After you're done shopping and mural hunting, you need to head to the Five Daughters Bakery just off 12th South...their donuts are out of this world and the cafe itself is just too cute. I went for the Strawberry Shortcake donut and still think about it to this day. 

After you've visited Five Daughters, you probably won't need lunch {I was honestly full until around 8pm!} so instead head back downtown and take a walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge for a great view of the Nashville skyline...and to walk off your donut!

Photo from Dame Traveler
When you're ready for dinner, head down to the river for a bite to eat at Liberty Common. We unfortunately didn't make it here but it was high on our list. The restaurant is so pretty, and the french-american inspired food looks to die for, as do the cocktails! 

For after dinner drinks, head back downtown to Rare Bird, the rooftop bar on top of the Noelle Hotel. It has the best rooftop views of the city and an ultra cool vibe {and really comfy outdoor sofas}...although a word to the wise, their Pimms Cup is basically an alcoholic Pret Ginger Shot! 

What to do - Day 2 

On day 2 we treated ourselves to a lie in and skipped the bigger breakfast in favour of a pastry from Starbucks, but if you're looking for a great brunch spot, Cafe Roze comes highly recommended...and perfect if you like a little pink decor! 

Day two for us was fully dedicated to country music, although you can't really escape it wherever you are in Nashville! First we headed to the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame. If you're really into your country music and old school country, then you'll find this really interesting. Personally, it focussed too much on the country music roots for me and I'd have preferred a little more on the modern country stars and how they're influencing country music right now, but it was still really interesting to take a look inside Elvis' car and whatnot...I would say however that the museum could benefit from playing a little music! We then visited the Johnny Cash museum, and although it's only about one country singer we found it much more engaging and it had a better atmosphere - so definitely do both if you can! 

After you've finished learning in the museums, head down to Pinewood Social for a spot of lunch, drinks and a little bowling. We never made it here, but it was on our list and comes highly recommended by the locals! 

In the afternoon, we headed back to Broadway where the tourist activities continued...this time trying on cowboy boots and hats! I didn't end up buying any as they were very pricey {and I'd never wear them back in the UK} but I did have my eye on these blue fringed cool! We also popped into some record shops and souvenir shops to pick up a magnet for the fridge - a must on every trip. 

If you're looking for the traditional Nashville experience, for dinner you need to head down to Hattie B's Hot Chicken - the dish Nashville is famous for. After dinner, head back down to Broadway for a night of Honkey Tonk hopping which is so much fun! We spent most of our time in Dierks Bentley's Whisky Row as we heard they had the best band playing, and it didn't disappoint. 

So there you have it, two whole days in Nashville! I had the best time in Nashville, and I'd definitely go back again for a party weekend or even just for another look around, so definitely one to consider for your next American city break! 

xo Becky 

Latest Instagrams

© Sail Away. Design by FCD.