Valentine Hotel Hotlist: 6 Sexy Places To Spend Time With A Special Someone

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Americas, Asia, British Columbia, California, Canada, Continents, England, Europe, London, Malaysia, Mexico, Opinion, Perfect Places To Stay, South Africa, UK Staycation, United Kingdom, USA, Vancouver Island, Wishlists, Worldwide Vacation

Rose at Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Falling in love with hotels for Valentine’s Day…

A romantic weekend away for Valentine’s Day – sounds like a great idea in principle, right?

But as anyone who has tried to book even a simple night away with their partner already knows, the process of finding the perfect hotel for romance isn’t all hearts and flowers.

You’re searching for seclusion and sophistication in a Valentine hotel, but you also need that unquantifiable quality – sex appeal. And just like dating itself, there’s always the worry that hotels which look good on paper could turn out to be a let down when we meet them in person.

So I thought I’d compile a list of  the 6 sexiest places in the entire world I’ve ever stayed. These are tried and tested hotels that I would not hesitate in recommending for romance, so you can kick the research to the kerb…

GIVEAWAY: Snowshoeing on Mount Seymour Gets Sweeter

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, British Columbia, Canada, Competitions, Continents, Vancouver, Worldwide Vacation

Snowshoeing on Mount Seymour

Chocolate fondue & Snowshoeing on Mount Seymour

On the eve of my first ever snowshoeing experience I enjoy dinner at a pub in downtown Vancouver with my girlfriends – who are a mixture of Canadians and British ex-pats.

Talk turns, as it always does at such gatherings, to the benefits of Vancouver as a city and place to call home – and of Canada compared with Europe.

I take one of my BC-born friends as my date the next evening on the romantic Saturday night chocolate fondue-fuelled snowshoeing tour on Mount Seymour – much to both our boyfriends’ amusement.

But there’s still plenty of time for you and your beau to be together amongst the snow this Valentine’s weekend.

Read on to hear why snowshoeing really is sweet – and to win a pair of tickets…

10 Travel Lessons To Transform Your 2016 Trips

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Alberta, Americas, Art & Culture, British Columbia, Camping, Canada, Continents, Costa Rica, Mexico, Photo Journeys, Wishlists, Worldwide Vacation

Travel Lessons

Lesson 1: If you see this sign, you should probably follow it.

I’ve picked my own top 10 travel highlights from the last year and reverse engineered them to calculate just what made them so memorable and share my ultimate list of travel lessons to keep in mind while you plan your 2016 trips.

As travel addicts we want it all and we want it everywhere – but these 10 travel mantras will help you separate the ‘what if I go there?’ wheat from the ‘no, choose this place’ chaff.

See if you agree with my 10 travel lessons for 2016…

The Simple Bear Necessities of Canadian Telly Vs The British Box

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, Canada, Continents, News, Opinion

polar bear town

Image courtesy of OLN’s Polar Bear Town 

As a Brit in Canada, I’m asked the same question every time I get into a taxi.

It goes like this:

Taxi driver: “What part of Australia are you from?”

Me: (Struggles to remain polite, but being British and not Australian, succeeds) “Haha. I’m actually from London.”

Taxi driver: “Where do you like better, there or here?”

The phraseology of this question remains remarkably consistent – just as every waitress asks precisely ‘how the first few bites are tasting’ – as though all Canadians come with a script, and I’m still learning the lines (though ‘sorry’ was already second nature ‘buddy’ was new lingo for sure).

I never quite knew what to say to the question of which is better, Canada or England, because the answer is far too complex to discuss on an $8 cab ride.

Until I realised that the bare necessities of British and Canadian culture can be summed up by simply turning on the TV… 

Classic Canadian Lake Camping At Weaver Lake BC

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, British Columbia, Camping, Canada, Continents, Perfect Places To Stay, Vancouver, Worldwide Vacation

Camping at Weaver Lake BC

Weaver Lake BC

If you’re looking for a scenic yet rustic Canadian camping experience, within a 2 hour drive of downtown Vancouver – and one that doesn’t require a 4×4 to access – this small picturesque lake offering trout fishing, boat rental and hiking near Harrison Mills, is a great option for adventurous locals and holidaymakers alike.

Let me tell you about camping at Weaver Lake BC

Athena Organic Farm – Why I’m Excited to Instagram A Hotel That Doesn’t Exist

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, British Columbia, Canada, Food, Opinion

Athena Organic Farm + Eco Retreat

Athena Organic Farm + Eco Retreat’s design ethos is as lovely as its farming philosophy

When I first moved to BC from central London I had no idea just how different my life would be.

Like most city dwellers (and in this respect Londoners and Vancouverites are one and the same tribe) my idea of The Good Life was buying organic granola, and fair trade coffee, selecting only free range chicken and eggs from the shelves, and shopping at Whole Foods – when my Whole Paycheck allowed it. 

In BC I’ve embraced the #authenticliving we hear so much about in the Pacific Northwest and utilized all the space and greenery available by graduating to my own garden-grown vegetables, free range chickens and home-made fruit pies. And I even have a Hudson’s Bay blanket, like everyone’s favourite Instagram queen, I just don’t take it hiking with me.

So when I heard about a new eco retreat in the Okanagan set to open this summer on the site of an established organic farm, that combines the sustainable farming we all want to encourage with the chic stays we urbanites-at-heart yearn for, I had to find out more.

Because mentally, I’m already instagramming it…

Flash Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Feast On The Fraser River Festival – Enjoy Food & Floating On A Wine & Dine Cruise

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, British Columbia, Continents, Food, Vancouver

All Aborad the Paddlewheeler River Boat on the Fraser River

All Aborad the Paddlewheeler River Boat on the Fraser River

Calling Vancouver readers – would you like to do some sightseeing in your own city?

This week I have partnered with New Westminster’s latest food festival, Feast on the Fraser, to give away 2 tickets to one of their upcoming foodie events.

There are 12 different food-themed evenings coming up between 25th September and October 4th for the inaugural Feast on the Fraser Food Festival – and we want to give you a chance to enjoy one of them absolutely free, as you turn tourist for a night and take a sunset cruise on the beautiful Fraser River.

Enjoy an evening cruise on board the M.V. Native, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat, taking in the beauty of the Fraser River while being wined and dined as you sample Pacific Breeze Urban Winery’s award winning wines, paired with a seafood dinner. 

Sound good?

*Enter below for your chance to win  – but hurry, this flash giveaway ends in 7 days*

24 Hours In Calgary – A Day Horsing Around Cowtown

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Alberta, Americas, Art & Culture, Calgary, Canada, Continents, Food, Opinion, Worldwide Vacation

Stephen Avenue Calgary

Old and new architecture in downtown Calgary

Of all the clothes I own (in case you’re wondering, it’s a lot) those I buy on impulse, in a supermarket-sweep stylee, are the things I end up, if I can employ some Southeast Asian parlance here, loving longtime.

Maybe it’s the fact that when you’re in a hurry pure instinct takes over, but I’ve shopped for an outfit in 30 minutes in Manila and made better boutique choices than with a whole day at my disposal back home.

Sometimes travel works on the same principle; the less time you have to plan, the lower the expectations; the more you let your intuition be your guide, the better the outcome.

So I decide to try out the theory that when it comes to holiday planning less really is more, by heading to the Canadian city of Calgary armed with some Pounds (which get me a lot further now that each is worth $2) but zero plans.

During the world famous Calgary Stampede I would simply head for the 10 day long, 100 year old rodeo like everyone else, but on this smash and grab foray into the place they call Cowtown I decide to make like a horse and follow my nose…

Giveaway! English High Tea In BC – Win Vancouver Ladies Day Out Tickets Valued At Over $200

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, British Columbia, Competitions, Food, Vancouver

Ladies High Tea

Tea for Two, For Free?

We Brits love our tea, you probably knew that.

But did you know England has a unique tea-related electrical phenomena called TV pickup? Yes at the end of popular TV shows the entire nation gets up en masse up to put the kettle on and make a cuppa – creating spikes in demand that require special backup power stations – and we even ask the French to keep some extra electricity on hand in case we run out.

We really are that obsessive about tea.

Of course the concept of High Tea is even more quintessentially British than post-soap-opera power surges – so if you fancy taking your tea with a side order of Champagne and scones, enjoying it with live entertainment instead of plain old telly, and getting dressed to the nines with your girlfriends to be seated in the swish surroundings of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver rather than at home on your sofa, why not grab these tickets to Vancouver’s most quintessentially British High Tea event.

*Enter below for your chance to win a pair of tickets to this year’s event on September 27th*