Packing for an unplanned trip

Tonight I will board a flight to Stockholm Skavska Airport to meet Adam after three weeks apart. I’m sure he will be extra hairy.

Adam recently built a wood and canvas canoe – a lifelong dream for him – and he drove it out to Sweden to test.

In his car I packed a bag of clothes (3 jumpers, 1 fleece, 4 base layers, one summer playsuit and bikini just in case šŸ˜¬, a pair of shorts, two pairs of leggings, waterproof trousers, 1 towel, underwear and my toiletries) so I wouldn’t need to take them on the flight.

The bonus for me is a cheap Ā£31 flight with just a small bag.

When I say small bag I really mean it. My friends tease me for my small cases but I really can’t be bothered with carting tons of clothes and things around.

We don’t actually have any plan for our trip other than knowing what time and day our Eurotunnel crossing is. Everything else is yet to be decided šŸ¤—

Adam already has our camping equipment so we have what we need wherever we end up;

– two person tent

– double sleeping bag

– camping stove and pots etc

– roll mats

That’s about all we need I reckon. Simple is best. Back packs and jumpers are also pillows don’t you know.

I stuck to the minimal theme when packing my teeny weeny case and day pack.

I loathe going on trips with tons of stuff – it’s just more to organise and more things to lose if you’re anything like me. Adam and I are trying to declutter our lives too so this is all good practice šŸ˜

As I have warm clothes already out there, all I have packed is my favourite boots ever (which I’ll just wear to travel), my Rab Gillet which is so cosy, and my waterproof Mountain Equipment jacket which I got for a real bargain.

Food and drink is just the ‘essentials’ of course

-I love peppermint and liquorice tea and no milk is needed – just add water. Adam will probably also make pine needle tea or something wild.

– Jumbo marshmallows because it’s not camping unless you eat at least five of these toasted to perfection.

Home made fruit leather made from apples and damsons and designed to satisfy our sweet cravings in the middle of nowhere

In terms of bits and bobs, I don’t need a lot.

– A hot water bottle is my treat item in case it gets chilly – for me the most important thing when camping is being warm.

– A head torch is a must for hands free light.

– Sunglasses. I haven’t checked the weather but I’d hope for a little glimmer of sunshine over the next week.

– Power adaptor. Shouldn’t need this as we have portable phone chargers out there but you never know and we might need to charge them when we stop at cafes etc.

– A selfie stick of course, there’s only the two of us so if we want any photos together it’s a must šŸ¤“

– Vaseline because I hate having dry lips but it’s also a useful fire lighting item

– A metal straw cause I certainly won’t be using a plastic one and you never know when a straw may come in handy.

– A whistle because you should always be prepared šŸ˜‡

– Playing cards for when we run out of things to talk about around the campfirešŸ˜

– A brand new 16GB memory card for our camera because I’m trying to learn photography and this trip should provide ample opportunities šŸ¤“

And then the flight. This is actually my first time flying alone so I’ve got to make sure I’m entertained.

– The essentials of course are in my Travel wallet which my lovely friend Amy got me. My passport is hopefully tucked safely inside

– A huge tub of chewing gum cause I might be a little addicted

– Four Chunky Kitkats. I actually only packed one for my hand luggage but I’m sure no one will believe that

z- A book of puzzles and pen to keep my brain active and delay the onset of dementia šŸ˜Ž

– A book on wildlife photography (a birthday gift from Adam) so I can swot up on the plane

– A pair of earphones in case I’m seated next to someone who breathes or eats really loudly!! šŸ˜‚

What would you pack for such a trip? I’d love to know šŸ™‚

The Athabasca Glacier

When Adam and IĀ travelled toĀ Canada we visited the Columbian Icefield Centre along the Icefield Parkway. We were travelling from Banff to Jasper and identified this as a good place to stop for a rest and a cool experience. Our trip to Canada is the only time I’ve needed to pack both my bikini and my hat, scarf and gloves!

The Columbian Icefield is theĀ largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies and spans 25km across the continental divide.Ā The average elevation of the columbian icefieldsĀ is 3,000 metres andĀ the highest point is Mt Columbia. We visited the Athabasca Glacier, one of theĀ most accessible areas,Ā and it was epic.

I booked our Iconic Glacier AdventureĀ tickets in advance online to benefit from a 20% discount (must be booked at least 48 hours in advance). We booked a combination deal which included the GlacierĀ Skywalk (I’ll write about this inĀ another blog soon)Ā and proved cheaper than booking both experiences separately.

Unfortunately, on the morning we were due to visit the centre it was snowing hard and visibility was extremely poor. Looking up at the glacier it wasn’t clear where the snow met the sky and it was a proper white out!

We were a bit disappointed and worried that we were going to have a below average experience. However, after speaking to staff we found out we could change the date of our trip without any additional cost – yey! It turns out you can just turn up on the day and get tickets but then you wouldn’t benefit from the discount.

A couple of days later we returned to the centreĀ amongst glorious sunshine and clear(ish) blue skies. After a short wait we boarded one of the ice explorer buses, one of only 20ish in the world costing millions of dollars each. These buses had huge great big tyres on them and windows on either side providing epic views all around.

P1150416.JPG

We enjoyed a slow and steep ascent along the moraine with some funny narration by our driver and eventually arrived on top of the Athabasca Glacier. We were also told some cool facts such as;

  • once, the Athabasca glacier flowed as far north as the town of Jasper
  • the Columbian icefieldsĀ feed three oceans in the northern hemisphere; the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic which makes it unique
  • the glacier is as thick as the Eiffel tower is high…. whaaat????

When weĀ reached the topĀ ofĀ the glacier it was vast and the snow was shimmering in the sunlight, we didn’t see much ice due to the heavy snowfall days before.

P1150398.JPG

Adam spotted climbers at the top of a peak – it didn’t matter how hard I looked I just couldn’t see them!

P1150383.JPG

P1150382

P1150381

Thank goodness for camera zoom!

We had some time wandering on the glacier (in the safely marked zones of course) and then the guides dug a hole through the snow and ice so we could collect some glacial water to drink – ice cold!

P1150413

P1150412

A walk on the Athabasca Glacier is a tourist trip for sure and its not cheap but I think its worth it šŸ™‚

A 30th birthday gift from the sea

It’s my birthday soon – in a matter of weeks. I mentioned this to Adam yesterday, much to his surprise.

Last year we went to Scotland and with it being such a long drive we broke up the journey by camping halfway up at a quiet little spot. On the morning of my birthday Adam made me a tasty breakfast and even let Tilly have a little bit ā¤ļø

When we finally reached Scotland many hours later we had a few drinks

and stayed at the stunning Glengarry Castle which allowed dogs šŸ™‚ and Tilly slept in a proper hotel room!

The place was beautiful, just on the water and we enjoyed taking Tilly for walks and to drink some proper West Highland water!

It was great except it hammered with rain the entire time! Now I’m ok(ish) about it raining when in a hotel but we’d planned to camp for the rest of our trip. I really didn’t fancy camping in the rain especially with it being my 30th birthday. I was pretty annoyed anyway because we were meant to have spent it in Norway hiking and climbing but my broken arm meant we couldn’t go.

A broken arm won’t stop me camping though and a bit of birthday champagne helps!

That said, showering in campsite facilities with an arm in full plaster and nowhere to hang your clothes or put your toiletries is particularly difficult. Especially when there are no seats to sit on and the lights go out automatically if you take too long. It was an experience!

Anyway, I digress. We checked the weather forecast and headed away from the west coast for a night at Loch Lomond and some afternoon tea overlooking the loch and a beautiful rainbow.

The following day we continued our road trip on to Banburgh Castle inĀ Northumberland where the sun was shining! Ā We hadn’t booked ahead but we had a tent with us and figured we’d find something – which we did šŸ™‚

A great little campsite had a spare pitch for something ridiculous like Ā£7 per night so we booked straight in. Budle Bay – what a cute name!

When we arrived we got some funny comments from a couple of older guys who were staying there, saying that we obviously wanted the ‘posh’ end. We nearly choked on our laughter and then noticed that we were both wearing Hunter wellies and Rab Jackets and probably looked like city kids camping for the first time. What they didn’t know was that these items had all been gifts from family over the years and neither of us ever buy kit or expensive clothing – in fact most of Adam’s clothes he’s made himself!

Our ‘lack of posh’ soon became obvious once we started unpacking the car and putting up our donkey’s years old tiny little two person tent that has been with us all over the place in the last six years. Adam even had to sew the lining together in Sweden after a hole ripped in the mosquito net and ants started crawling in!

We set off to the beach with a bucket and a spade (but not the kind you might be imagining).

Adam fancied a bit of long line fishing so at around 8pm we walked by moonlight down to the mud flats so he could collect some big fat worms for bait.

Tilly and I sat in our little fisherman’s shelter out of the wind and watched!

That night, after we wandered back to camp, Adam put together a ten metre long fishing line which he could carry in his bucket down to the shore in the morning.

Because he was line fishing it was important that we watched the tide go out and come back in so he could scope out where to lay the line and safely make his way back.

It was a sunny day and I had Pringles so I was happy – Tilly had her biscuits and we sat there for hours watching Adam digging for bait and laying his line.

I had his binoculars and watched the kite surfers with awe while Tilly shuffled about in the sand.

It occurred to me that the tide was suddenly coming in pretty quickly and Adam was still out there. The water started coming in between him and us but it was a very shallow and narrow stream and I could see he had spotted it.

Then the stream of water started getting wider and deeper and I wasn’t sure if Adam had noticed and he didn’t have his phone on him for me to call. Eventually he started making his way back towards us and managed to get across with water up to his thighs!

The really funny thing was that the area where Adam laid his line was the last part of the sea bed to cover with water so we named it ‘no fish island’!!!

Later that evening, after the tide went back out, Adam wandered back out to retrieve his line. We didn’t hold out a lot of hope for ‘no fish island’ so I was pleasantly surprised when he arrived back with two big plaice.

Back at our little campsite Adam set about making the most incredible birthday feast.

Tilly and I were instructed to sit by the campfire on a chair with a cosy throw over it and drink our chilled (in the river) prosecco.

Adam went about prepping chips and filleting the fish. He’d bought all the ingredients with him and made lemonade batter for the fish which I was very impressed by. We sat there in the dark with the light from the stove, lamps and head torches while devouring what I can honestly say was the best fish and chips of my life and the best birthday present I could have ever ask for šŸ™‚

The Ravens

The best things in life really are free aren’t they! I think I’ve started to realise that more and more lately.

We were lucky enough to go for a road trip through the Rockies last month and it was beyond our expectations. The mountains were bigger that we could have ever imagined and the vastness of the space was almost overwhelming at times.

Unfortunately, with life the way it is right now we are having to cram our adventures into long weekends or a couple of weeks maximum. As a result, things can seem too scheduled as we want to get from one place to the next. I also wanted us to experience as much of the rockies as we could so we booked into activities and visited everywhere we could squeeze in.

As you’d expect, this was all great fun but quite expensive. Despite all our activities one of my favourite moments of the whole trip came from a chance encounter with a couple of ravens.

We were driving from Sunwapta Falls an hour south along the icefields parkway to the Colombian Icefield Center with the intention of going up onto the Athabasca Glacier (it’s worth noting that they let you reschedule if the visibility is poor or you can’t make it).

Around 20mins into the drive our wet rainy start turned into thick snow (in June – gotta love the Rockies!) and a blanket of white appeared all around us. It literally felt like Christmas!!!

It was so picturesque that we pulled over to take some photos and as we got back in the car, it happened. These beautiful big ravens came and sat on a railing less than a metre from me. They had snowflakes on their faces and a keen look in their eyes – they clearly didn’t mind us being there. I got one of my favourite photographs ever and was so excited about seeing them!

It was a truly memorable moment for both of us and when I think of Canada, it’s the picture that immediately comes to mind. That great experience with the ravens cost us nothing, absolutely nothing. A lesson for me I think….

Bushcraft Romance on the River Wye

1 year married already…. where has that time gone?

For our first wedding anniversary I set Adam a challenge because I always have to arrange everything; trips, days out, meals etc. So… we agreed some time off and a budget and then it was over to him.

I was thinking he might book us a spa break or something luxury and when he told me to catch the train to Gloucester and meet him there I had no idea what to expect.

He’d booked us a nice hotel and surprised me by having our dog Tilly with him (it’s ok the hotel allowed it at an extra charge) which was the best surprise ever! We spent some time in the pool and spa area and then had a nice dinner. So far, so good.

Over our evening meal he revealed the plans for the next 2 days which were…. canoeing the River Wye and camping overnight. Luckily for Adam I was half expecting something outdoorsy and even luckier I was up for it!

We had a good night’s rest and Tilly made the most of the King/queen size bed


Our trip on the Wye was great, Tilly loved it


and Adam even packed us some prosecco and smoked salmon to have on the river. I was truly impressed as we bobbed away eating, drinking (sensibly!) and chatting, feeling that my husband had done well. I then heard the beginning of what I thought was going to be a heart felt and romantic sentence on our one year wedding anniversary…

“For the rest of my life I want to…….study nature”

Haha what did I really expect?!

We all know I wear the trousers…

Adam and I love skiing. We hadn’t been for a few years and we were so excited for some time in the Alps.
Mountains and forests, what more could he want?


And cheese, chocolate and vin chaud what more could I want?!


Adam had something exciting planned for this trip, he’d made his own trousers out of buckskin and was planning to trial them on the slopes in advance of his upcoming trip to Sweden.


He spent hours upon hours making them, scraping the skins, dressing them, softening them etc etc. Then came the patterns, the cutting and the sewing. At least we have kids I know he can make the Halloween and school play costumes!