Rainy Day Things to do in Shrewsbury

Spring is here! While the daffodils and snowdrops are in full bloom here in the UK there is always the chance that your next adventure day is going to be a rainy one.  When those grey clouds descend and rain starts falling its very easy to be tempted by your sofa and Netflix. The lure of a cosy spot binge watching your favourite show can be strong.  But, be strong, resist the urge and you never know what adventure you may have… who knows there may even be a rainbow when the sun shows its face!

In my home town of Shrewsbury there are plenty of rainy day activities to keep you busy. So whether you have never been to Shrewsbury before or a local in need of some new ideas check out my favourite things to do in the birthplace of Darwin on a gloomy day.

The Market Hall

My absolute favourite things to do in Shrewsbury is to visit the Market Hall. I have been a fan for many years, however, during my time in Canada the Market Hall has blossomed into an active part of Shrewsbury life. Inside the cornucopia you’ll find a wide range of stalls boasting everything including groceries, antiques, board games, books, wool, records… the list goes on. It’s a great way to support local independent retailers and get some unique swag to boot.

There is also a range of fantastic food options in the market. I frequent Cafe AleOli for their fantastic tapas ( I would recommend the chorizo and the steak and onion flatbread). But there is so much to choose from such as dumplings, Thai curry, seafood and Indian street food to name a few. On a rainy day why not work your way around them all!

Craft Workshop

Feeling a little crafty then book a workshop and get creative. If it’s raining so much you can’t venture out and stretch your legs then stretch your brain instead and learn a new skill. Another gem that has opened during my time away is the fantastic Workshop.  This independent store not only stocks a beautiful array of goodies for your home but also runs several workshops for embracing your inner creative.  I’ve enjoyed the brush lettering class with Alice Draws the Line and the Macrame plant pot hanger workshop with Romy Designs. Check out upcoming workshops here.

Climb the Walls

The third on my list is another new discovery. Climbing the Walls is an indoor climbing centre which includes 12 metre high tall walls, bouldering and action walls. Completely undercover you can hone your climbing skills on even the greyest day. If you are a beginner then I recommend booking a taster session with an instructor.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

A classic rainy day activity is a trip to a museum or art gallery. If you get a little pensive on a rainy day then why not head to Shrewsbury’s museum and art gallery? Its collections include the Roman Gallery, Medieval, Tudor and Stuart Gallery and a Costume Gallery. Plus with an entrance fee of only £4.50 per adult, so it’s also  kind to the purse!

Theatre Severn

Fancy a bit of culture, then head to Theatre Severn. As the name suggests the the theatre sits on the banks of the river Severn. Boasting two stages- the larger main theatre and the smaller Walker theatre, shows range from musicals and dramas to comedians and guest talks. Check out upcoming shows here.

Old Market Hall Cinema

Right outside the museum is the Old Market Hall cinema. The building itself was built in 1596 and reflects the towns medieval history. Who wouldn’t want to see a film is such a historic setting. What’s better is that the OMH also has a licensed bar which means you can enjoy a glass of wine whilst you enjoy your movie. I recommend booking the sofas seats for extra comfort. Imagine seeing a film in this gorgeous builging??

OMH

Jailhouse Tour

HMP Shrewsbury tour is still on my to-do list but seems quite interesting.  Built in 1793, it ceased to be a functioning prison in 2013 when all inmates were transferred. Now you can have guided tours around the grounds and learn a bit of Shrewsbury history.  There are a variety of tours including night tours, ghost tours and tunnel tours. I’ll report back once I’ve visited.

Puddle Jumping

If you do still fancy getting out and about the pop on those wellington boots and get stomping through those puddles. Admittedly this activity looks less odd when you have a small child with you. If you don’t have one to hand then you could always go puddle hunting instead and look for great reflectionsin the water around the town. My favourite places to go puddle hunting/jumping are the Quarry Park and Attingham Park. 

59693911_601638403649425_1823490449269063680_n

I hope you enjoyed my ideas for rainy day spring activities in my hometown. If you have any other suggestions or try any out please let me know in the comments belowe. As always if you enjoyed reading this post please share and/or give it a little like!

Things I’d forgotten about the UK

It’s funny how quickly you adapt to your surroundings. I never realised just how quickly until I returned home from two years living in Canada. There are the obvious differences  between the two countries such as the accent, or driving on the other side of the road and there were more subtle differences such as the overall happiness and politeness of the people.

However, you find yourself becoming more and more accustomed to the differences without even noticing. In fact you after a while you start forgetting your everyday routine from home and adapting to your new life.  For example, I got into the habit of saying ‘for sure!’ at the end of every sentence or not looking in both directions while crossing the road as I knew that the cars would stop for me!

But over the few months I have been back in Shropshire there have been a few things that make me go.. ‘Oh! I’d completely forgotten about that!’ For example:

Switches on Sockets

black socket on white switch besides white socket converter

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

The amount of times I have put my phone or tablet on charge, walked away for an hour or two and returned to find my tech with even less battery than before is outstanding. All because I keep forgetting to flick the switch on. With North American sockets you simply pop the plug and you are good to go whereas here in the UK you have to turn it on too.

Pennies

cash coins money pattern

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The penny was eliminated in Canada in 2013 and what a good idea it was, the smallest coin is for 5 cents. I went two years without having largely unused coins in my wallet and it was a delight. I’m trying not to amass them now I’m back in the UK but there are already a few jingling away. I would definitely sign a petition to get rid of the 1p and 2p pieces.

Having to pay for carrier bags

The UK introduced the 5p bag charge for plastic bags in 2015. There was about a year of this before I left for Canada where for the most part there is no charge for them. In fact they were quite liberal with giving plastic bags away at the grocery store. In Canadian supermarkets they tend to pack your bags for you (something I never got used to, but did enjoy) and when packing they would often double bag items or only put a few in each bag. I do keep forgetting my bags on the way to the store but am enjoying using less plastic.

People don’t stop for pedestrians

busy downtownThis one has nearly got me run over a few times. I always look both ways before crossing the road but here in the UK I find myself being extra cautious as cars are far less likely to stop and let you cross… even when they legally should. Whereas Canada, for the most part, was extremely pedestrian friendly, stopping even in places they didn’t have to!

There are People everywhere

Birmingham Grand Central

Canada is huge with an area of 9,985 million km²  and a population of 36.71 million  (2017), whereas the UK has an area of 242,495 km² but has 66.02 million people crammed into it. Before moving I never noticed that there were people everywhere and it’s been quite unusual to walk through town now thinking ‘where have all these people come from?’ At first I just thought it was because it was Christmas and everyone was out doing their festive shopping. But it seems to be busy and bustling no matter where I go. 

You can’t buy huge jars of salsa

I just assumed that on my return I could continue to consume salsa in the same volume that I had been in Canada. With fajitas, crisps, tacos, in wraps… it was putting it on everything. In fact I bought a container the same size as a 4 pint milk carton full of the stuff and indulged. If any Brits know where I can bulk buy salsa please let me know!!!

It’s great to be back and rediscovering all the things that have changed and all the things that have remained the same.  I’m hoping that eventually my brain will reconnect that to drive I need to go to the the right hand side of the car. And you never know I many even find a jar of salsa the size of my head!
Have you ever lived away from home and things have changed on your return? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by my blog… if you like it give it a little share, like or comment!

Top Ten Pics of 2018

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last year exploring some more amazing places. From new year to the start of spring Matt and I enjoyed the winter wonderland of Halifax, Nova Scotia, taking in the lighthouses, lobster pots and crashing waves. Moving on to a road trip to Calgary where we spent the summer months exploring the Rocky Mountains some more. Before embarking on a two week holiday with my parents from Toronto round to Boston, Massachusetts.

As we’ve visited some of theses beautiful places we’ve been able to capture some of them on camera to share with you. Throughout the year my favourite snaps have made it onto the Instagram account. If you are not following already you should! Follow this link! There are many more Canadian favourites to share and I’ll be hoping to share more from upcoming trips.

But for now enjoy the top ten from 2018!

10. Autumn Leaves at Mont Royal Park, Montreal

Autumn was a beautiful time of year to visit one of the biggest urban parks in Canada, Mont Royal. With quite a lot of steps to tackle it was wonderful to stop ever now and then and take in all the wonderful colours the park had to offer in October.

9. Ski Fence, Calgary

I came across this fence in a local neighbourhood while pet sitting in Calgary during the summer. It has to be THE most Canadian fence in the whole country! The sweet little neighbourhood also boasted a very welcome retro ice cream store.

8. Lake Louise Shoreline, Banff

One of the many photos from our early rise to tackle the tea rooms and beehive hikes from Lake Louise. By the time we returned to the lake the sun was shining just perfectly along the shore.

7. Stampede, Calgary

At Calgary’s famous Stampede festival I had the opportunity to go inside this gorgeous home. It was a fascinating insight into a part of Canadian culture that is often brushed over. The Indian Village also boasted some very tasty bannock and Saskatoon berry jam!

6. We Can Do It! Mural, Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney was a bit of a dull stop on the cruise ship as our excursion got cancelled and we were unable to sign up to another one that interested us. So we opted to have a stroll around the town. It started off on the boring side but ended with a cluster of street murals which really brightened up a grey day. This one was one of my favourites… and one of yours too!

5. Puddle Hunting at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Catching reflections is always fun and Peggy’s Cove is full of little crevices that get filled up as the waves and tides change. There was a gorgeous blue sky on the day which just made the lighthouse stand out even more in this shot.

4. Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

The longest hike we did throughout the entire two years in Canada was at Waterton Lakes. Voted one of the most thrilling hikes in the world by National Geographic, the Crypt Lake trail did not disappoint. Check out the stories section on my account to see what its all about.

3. Lake Louise Trails, Banff

Another time where the sun shone at just the right time. As we climbed this trail the sun was rising behind so I’m very glad I turned around to capture this moment.

2. Petit Champlain, Quebec City

Like a scene straight out of Beauty and the Beast Petit Champlain had such charm. In fact it was one of my Mum’s favourite places. But I did expect someone to start singing about provincial life at any point!

1. Stiperstones Nature Reserve, Shropshire

I was so surprised that this was my most liked photo of 2018. It’s not that it’s not a beautiful place it really is very stunning but I did expect a Canadian view to top the list. I hope to explore a lot more of Shropshire and the UK over the next year so I hope you enjoy them as much as this one.

Thank you all for your support over 2018, every like and comment is appreciated!!

If you are not following me on Instagram already you can here. There will be plenty of flashbacks to Canada as well as new adventures in 2019.

What is your favourite?? Do you have any recommendations for adventures in 2019? Please let me know in the comments. Happy New Year Everyone!

48 hours in Harry Potter London

In case you were getting bored of my Canada posts I’d thought I’d indulge in a little throwback Thursday blogging. For those of you that don’t know me not only do I love to travel, I’m also a huge Harry Potter nerd. I was late to the game, first reading the books when I was twenty, but from then on, I’ve fully embraced my inner Ravenclaw. (officially sorted through the Pottermore Sorting Hat)

Naturally, I have travelled to London to see many of the Potter wonders that are in the British capital. Whilst I did not do them in one 48-hour trip I have compiled them into a nice little timeline for anyone with only a couple of days to spare in the big city.  Now this is not an exclusive list of everything Harry Potter related in London. I have tried to choose the most accessible ones rather than visiting every single inspiration and filming location across the city as that would need a lot longer than two days. In addition, I have left time for travel and for food as well as general delays. If you are super organised, you could fit even more Potter fun into this time period.

However, I would start by spending the day at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Whilst for me it’s not technically in London, but it is near enough that you can travel from the city centre to it via train. Matt and I stayed with family and drove to the studios for the day. Matt surprised me with tickets for my birthday (along with tickets to see Les Misérables, he got lots of House points for this!) although I know for a fact that he wanted to go as much as I did, if not more.

 

We happily spent an entire afternoon here admiring all the Potter related goodies. You can see many of the costumes, sets and props that they used throughout the films. My favourite was taking a ride in Hagrid’s motorcycle. Which provided us with one of the best photos of us together, even though I Had to fight off some school children to get it! You can see Privet Drive, the Knight Bus and wander down Diagon Alley all in one location, it’s a fab day out.

 

 

Next, make your way back into London and if you are lucky see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part One. Tickets are extremely hard to come by but not impossible so do persevere. The show is at The Palace Theatre in the West End, near many restaurants and cafes so you can grab a bite to eat. Matt and I chose Ed’s Easy Diner as we love a burger and retro inspired diners, even though this one is a chain they do an amazing relish that keeps me going back!

 

I’m not going to go into where to stay in London as there are so many options and so many budgets, so do your research and find what fits you best.

After you are fully rested, make your way to Kings Cross Station.  Its easily accessible via the underground and bus. Or depending on the weather take a stroll through the streets of London. The station is famous for being the home of Platform 9 ¾ and has become quite the pilgrimage for Harry Potter fanatics.

13076_10155353614635716_8561901438869949069_n

Here you will find Harry Potter shop full of merchandise that I’ve been banned from buying. But you can also line up and have your photo taken going through the wall as if heading of to Hogwarts. The staff are incredibly friendly and provide you with a house scarf (you get to choose) to have your photo taken in whatever way you like. It’s entertaining just to watch people jump and run at a brick wall to be honest!  In addition, the station itself has pretty cool architecture that is really interesting to see.

Next get back on the tube, take the Piccadilly Line to Tottenham Court Road. Here is where Harry, Hermione and Ron disapperate to in the Deathly Hallows Part One.

602954_10153303945695716_1253195241_n

Afterwards take a five-minute walk to the colourful House of MinaLima on Greek Street. Here you will find four floors of the most beautiful Potter-related items in the world. Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima created the entire graphic universe for the Potter films as well as the Fantastic Beast franchise. All the newspapers, letters, howlers, posters, packaging and much more was developed by these amazing artists. The exhibition is completely free to visit and there is a wonderful gift shop where you buy your piece of graphic beauty.

15016219_10157705923860716_4667165313056942688_o

End your trip with the second part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The show is fantastic and well worth seeing for the production alone.  We even saw a few celebrities in the audience. When we went to see the show, we travelled by megabus (from Birmingham) and were able to catch the night bus back after the show, saving money rather than paying for another nights accommodation. To block out the noisy Scottish football fans on the coach we listened to Stephen Fry reading us the audio books on the journey home.

1937355_240785580715_4101306_n

Are you a Potter fan? Have you managed to visit any of these sites yet?