I left Canada in 2007 at the age of 26 and just recently returned home. Since I still had the travel bug, the first trip I did was a week ago to Montreal for 4 days. Although it’s freezing cold, I’ve never been to this part of the country before and I was keen to how our French friends compared to the real deal.
This got me thinking about the amazing diversity of scenery and culture that we have here in Canada. I’ve spent 2 weeks in a car driving from London up to a ferry to cross over to Ireland, around Ireland, back on the ferry and up to Scotland, then back down to London and I have to say that much of that time was spent watching green rolling hills go by. By the end I missed the hustle and bustle of London and was sick of seeing green grass and cows.
Here in Canada we have much more of diversity, largely due to the size of our country, but even if we take the western part of the country we still have some different scenery.
As soon as you fly into Vancouver the mountains immediately stand out, and there are many mountains that can be seen from the city itself. From Vancouver you can head up to Whistler for some amazing mountain scenery. Maybe instead of that you could head to Kelowna and see the endless stretches of vineyards and wineries…. oh and some more mountains.
From the green grape vines in the Okanagan valley, you can keep heading north toward the Calgary where you can hang out with some cowboys before heading on to Banff for a taste of the Rocky Mountains. I would then drive up the icefields parkway to Jasper as this has to be one of the most amazing drives on the planet.
Once you get to Jasper you can head west to Edmonton and see a typical North American city, complete with a massive shopping mall. If you feel the need for some more mountains you can just head back down through Red Deer and Calgary back to Banff or you can keep heading west into Saskatoon. I would encourage people to take the latter route as this will take you into the prairies where there are no mountains, but just a flat plain.
Once you get to Saskatoon it’s time to turn around and make your way back to Calgary. One the way there is place called Drumheller which is the land of dinosaurs and is well worth checking out. The surrounding area is known as the “dead lands” and there scenery here is also very unique and well worth seeing.
From Calgary you choose your own adventure but what about some surf? I haven’t even mentioned Vancouver Island yet which is absolutely amazing. You could spend a month just on the island. I would suggest getting the ferry across so you can see what it looks like to float into the harbour in Victoria. From there I would just head up to Tofino and forget about the rest. There are other places to see on the island but if you explore Vitoria and Tofino you will not see anything to different or any more impressive.
So there you have it. Just in one part of Canada alone you can see some amazing mountains, world class wineries, green flat prairies, the dead lands straight from a John Wayne movie and the amazing beaches of Tofino. Where else in the world can you experience anything like that?
As a Canadian I find it hard to shrug off the stereotypical image of overweight North Americans, and I find this interesting because my own perception of Canadians is that we are a very sporty and active bunch. Even in the cities there is massive stream of traffic heading out in all direction on a Friday afternoon or night after work of people looking to get away and into the mountains for a few days of active relaxation.
I found this culture to be totally nonexistent in the UK. Weekends were about socializing and most of the time that meant drinking. It may very well have been the group of people I associated with but I got the impression it was a general reflection of the society.
One major difference for being in London was that I had easy access to places like Ireland and Scotland, and even Europe for short weekend trips so that would have to be the main way I found myself being active as I love to get on foot and explore new places. This was actually the main reason I went to the UK and in particular London in the first place, and it’s something I’ve continued to do since returning to Vancouver. I now realize there are so many places to visit that are only a short drive or flight away. The Rocky Mountains are the best example I can think of for this example.
In Vancouver we have Stanley Park which is a great place to spend an afternoon to get your fix of jungle wandering. Often I will jump on my bike and do a big lap around the city that takes me over to Granville Island and also around Stanley Park. Dealing with the traffic is not ideal but it gets very peaceful around the back of the island. In London I spent a few nice sunny days kicking a ball around in Hyde Park but I wouldn’t say I did any hiking and biking in London.
The final point I have to make is about sport, and the difference between watching and playing. I’ve always played hockey so regardless of how cold it gets, I’m used to getting out there and smacking the puck around. In the UK they live and die for their football or soccer as we like to say. But you won’t find too many people out on a rainy Tuesday night kicking the ball around, but more so in a pub sinking pints and screaming abuse at the bid screen. As a Canadian, I really feel like we get involved in sports and much more active level. We are players of sport, and I even include skiing, hiking and biking in that, where as I found the Londoners to be much more passive towards actually getting out there and playing, but more inclined to head to the pub to watch a game.
So the perception that North Americans are fat and lazy is very interesting coming from English people as we are certainly more active than they are as a nation. Maybe it’s more about the food we eat. If you have ever tried to explain poutine to a foreigner you will know may very well know the mixture of confusion and disgust that often comes across their face as you explain our infamous national dish.
I grew up in eastern suburbs of Vancouver in the suburbs. I had a heap of friends and plenty of room to play. Our houses were small but our backyards were large and we always had a place to kick a ball around or to play hockey on winter. I spent a fair amount of time in the city but never had to go there for school or work so I was basically a suburban kid.
When a friend from London emailed me sometime back asking for some fresh Canadian ideas on kitchen remodeling, I promised to get back to him in a few days. He wanted to sell his house and thought remodeling the kitchen would raise its value somewhat.
I owed him a favor and saw this as an opportunity to pay him back. I consequently spent the next few days visiting friends and relatives hoping a steal a look at their kitchens. In a few days, I had compiled some ideas which we both decided would go a long way in transforming his kitchen and therefore increase the value of his house.
Together, we came up with the following tips on the kitchen remodeling project which can easily be adapted by anyone with a similar project:
- Update the cabinetry – to update the cabinetry, you may reface them or even replace them with new or used cabinets. To reface them, you may replace their old doors with new ones. You might even get lucky enough to be able to resell the old doors if they are still good.
- Change the flooring – flooring options may include laminate, tile, carpet, polished concrete, linoleum or hardwood. Laminates may offer a cheaper option and it is possible to find some that resemble hardwood.
- Update the lighting – lighted ceiling fans, attractive chandeliers, scones and recessed lighting all offer excellent options and also come in a very wide range of options and prices.
- Replace the counter-top materials - you may go for cheaper options like counter-top sheets or granite which can be a bit expensive.
- Replace kitchen faucets – today, there is a wide range of ultra modern kitchen faucets that will completely transform any dull kitchen within minutes. Sharpen up your kitchen here With the best kitchen faucets on the market.
- Buy new or modern kitchen appliances – new appliances can always be installed by the delivery team. Others like dishwashers come with clear instructions and are therefore easy to install. Installing others can be a bit tricky and you might require some help, for example, a refrigerator that comes with an ice maker or a water dispenser.
After you have decided on the remodeling options, you need to start planning the remodeling in the following ways:
- Find out cost estimates – this can easily be done by checking out with a home improvement store or hardware. Compare the cost and most importantly, the quality of the counter-tops, cabinetry, counter-tops or appliances. Compile two lists, one of the must-haves and their prices, and the other one for the nice things that you can do without if need be. Consider labor costs if you intend to hire a professional and or leave it out if you intend to do renovations personally.
- Get the funds – the first step into doing this is to determine how much you can sensibly spend. Do you have savings that can be directed towards the projects or do you intend to fund the project through credit? If you have limited funds, you can always replace one item at a time.
As expected of someone who returns home after spending some quality time abroad, I brought back a few traits from London. One of these traits is the love for luxurious rugs and carpets. The reality is that trait or no trait; nothing beats the soft, comfy feeling of a nice, fat carpet underneath the feet, especially after a long and cold day at work.
Other than the luxury and prestige of a nice rug, carpeting can offer a safe haven for kids to play on and can easily reduce injuries in the unfortunate case of a fall. While it is true that carpets will require more work when compared to flooring like tiles and vinyl, there is no floor that can take in warmth, absorbs sound and provide general comfort like a nice , fat rug.
Choosing the perfect fit for your home can be a bit tricky, especially with the many materials, colors and designs on offer today. Some come in materials that will need frequent cleanings and might not be the best choice for someone who is too busy and hardly finds time to clean. Other materials might be too expensive while others can be toxic and therefore a threat to the entire household
Other carpets will wear and tear very fast, show stains that will not come off no matter how much cleaning effort is directed at them while others will simply fade after a few cleaning attempts.
For a standard sized room, the cost of buying and having a carpet installed with padding can easily surpass a few thousand dollars, it is therefore important to go for a color, style and brand that will comfortably last for five years at least.
The following are some important tips on how to choose a carpet:
- Visit a carpet store personally to get a personal feel of what is available. Talk to the attendants and read and understand all information available on the choices they have to offer.
- Test the samples available by folding them back to test yarn density. Those with loosely-packed yarn will probably not last for long; the best qualities have tightly-packed yarn.
- Choose the fiber or material based on where you intend to place it. Examples of fibers are polyester, nylon, acrylic and wool. Every one of them has advantages and disadvantages due to their texture differences. Some will last longer in high-traffic areas while others will not withstand high traffic for long.
- Twist the fiber to check for bouncing ability. A carpet that will not bounce back is probably of very low quality.
- Look for anti-staining and anti-stack features. Go for a carpet with a warranty, some have limited lifetime warranties while other have shorter warranties. Make sure to understand the terms and conditions of the warranty thoroughly.
- Use the internet to research the choices in detail, you can visit manufacturers websites to see what they have to offer and also to check out various consumer reviews. Finally, make sure you understand the cleaning guidelines before making a buy, for example, can the carpet be steam-mopped or not? The internet happens to be a great source of information on the best steam mops with this site offering a bunch of carpet and steamer reviews.
I have always been an outdoor person and I never allowed my stay in England to overshadow this. In fact, the country offered me so many beautiful places to visit and never did a weekend or holiday find me sitting indoors.
Truth be told, the UK is habitat to some of the most attention-grabbing landscapes on earth. This is where you will find the most romantic parks, the wildest and most rugged wildernesses and many other natural scenes that can sway persons with personalities like mine into abandoning their own motherlands to seek permanent residence in Great Britain.
One of my favorite places in London was, and still is Little Venice, where the Regent canal meets the Grand Union canal amidst picturesque waterways in the prosperous district of South Maida Vale. The colorful houseboats, superb restaurants and waterside pubs offer a mirage-like peaceful oasis in the midst of what is otherwise an exceptionally busy city.
Richmond Park in South West London was also one place that I never failed to visit whenever I could afford the time. This park sits on 2,500 acres of historical and special scientific-interest. It also happens to be a great favorite among Londoners and I never once failed to make a new friend or two whenever I visited. It is actually the place where I first heard of the HCG diet, also known as the pregnancy hormone diet through a fellow visitor who enjoyed the outdoors like me, but was also in the process of cutting a lot of weight.
Until then, I had never imagined that a hormone that women produced naturally during pregnancy could actually aid in weight loss when injected into any other person, pregnant or not, male or female. This new-found friend assured me that the diet was no fad diet like many others he had tried before and that it had helped him cut at least 13 pounds (which was evident in the manner his clothes hanged from his body). More info on the HCG injections can be found here.
I was so fascinated with this diet that I asked him if he would accept my contact and regularly update me on his progress. We exchanged contacts and even met at the park severally for nature walks and deer watching. We have since become very good friends and he has since achieved his ideal weight. To make the long story short, the hcg pellets in this article are what he was using on the HCG Diet.
Hope Valley at Peak District is also a well loved national game park that I regrettably visited just once. This is where you will find extremely wild landscapes, picturesque villages, dark caverns and magnificent, historical houses. This is where you will also find the beautiful village of Castleton, popularly known as the Gem of the Peak. This village boasts of a pretty mountain, a ruined Norman castle, exceptional stone cottages and show caves.
Also, I was fascinated to visit a nearby prehistoric village called Hathersage that claims to be associated with the legendary Robin Hood and Jane Eyre of the famous Charlotte Bronte’s novel.
During my stay in London, I noticed that just like us, Londoners are fighting a losing battle with weight gain and obesity. Londoners want to look good, but despite all the effort they put into their workouts, they still have to battle with cellulite and double chins.
The truth is that a double chin can be a big source of worry and low-self esteem, not only among Londoners but Canadians too, obese or not obese. A flabby tummy or wobbly bottom may all be cleverly disguised under a nice outfit, but a double chin will always be exposed for all to see.
While it is true that there have been exercises designed specifically for that area, they seem to never work. Liposuction is expensive, painful and not very effective in most cases. So wherein lays the answer?
Interestingly, Londoners seem to have come up with the perfect solution. A certain Dr. Jules Nabet seems to have established a non-invasive therapy that will shrink a double chin and lift jowls by use of a vacuum, YES, a vacuum, but it is by no means a normal vacuum like the ones at TheVacuumGuy.
This new procedure works by breaking fat down and tightening the skin through a combination technology known as the MUTIPLE RADIO FREQUENCY WITH VACUUM TECHNOLOGY.
This technology according to Dr Nabet is the only effective treatment option that is non-surgical and penetrates the three layers of the skin. One session lasts for 30 minutes or so and it will cost £180 or thereabouts. Some people may detect a notable change after only one session but the recommended course is six sessions.
The treatment is not painful but cannot be described as total bliss either according to those who have tried it. The first session involves vacuum therapy alone where a suction device is utilized to penetrate deep tissue, increase blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage, while at the same time breaking up pockets of fat.
Many people have reported to have a red and blotchy face/neck immediately after treatment, especially for those who normally have pale or sensitive skin. This condition disappears within an hour or so.
After one week, the second session is performed. This one consists of half-vacuum therapy and half-multiple—radio frequency. During this session, a hand-held device is used to heat up the skin so as to promote production of collagen and to create a lasting tightening outcome. The process is not painful but some people have described it as “not-so-comfortable” The heat is directed at specific areas of the chin, jaw line and neck.
This heat treatment is likely to make the skin redder than the first session (vacuum therapy only) and it might even resemble sunburn but the effect disappears within an hour also.
While it might sound like a scary therapy, it is very effective if the many positive reviews it has received are anything to go by. It is also quite pricey with a whole course adding up to £900 or thereabouts but it is definitely worth a try.
I had never really dived too deep into the cost of living difference between Vancouver and London before I made the move but I knew it would be more expensive. I was not totally focusing on this all the but I did notice there was a difference in the cost of some items but when I actually put some effort into comparing the cost of living differences I was amazed at just how expensive London is compared a city in Canada.
The first thing to deal with is obviously the fact that there is a large difference in the exchange rate. This always fluctuates so I don’t really want to go into this, and besides if you’re living and working in London, it’s easier to just forget about the exchange rate. One piece of advice I was given by an Australian buddy, which I will impart here is simply don’t convert currency, you will just be sad if you do.