La La Land – Part Two

Day Five

We booked Universal Studio tickets online for day five to save cash. I think you only save about $10 but every little helps. We explored Universal Studios for the majority of the day. Riding the rides, queuing in long lines and taking the back lot studio tour. The studio tour is so cool, you get to see where so many shows and movies are made whilst relaxing on a tram with a tour guide. It is always worth the wait so don’t be put off with the long queue times. I nearly forgot to mention the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We got early access into this area of the park with our online tickets. So it opens 1 hour before the rest of the park. The detail of the buildings is incredible. They certainly don’t do things by half here. You can sip on butterbeer and buy all the Harry Potter candy and merchandise in the stores. After a lot of walking we went back to Venice Beach. Holly and I had a quick dinner at the Tocoya, I had a fajita burrito with a hibiscus margarita. The food is just something else in America. We couldn’t walk past a busy ice cream shop without trying it. So obviously we had ice cream after our Mexican feast, at Salt & Straw. I can’t remember what flavour I had now but it was good!

 

Day Six

This was another swap over day, we were moving to West Hollywood into another Airbnb. I love Airbnb however it makes it difficult with luggage as you can’t store it anywhere between checking in and out. So another pool day was on the cards. Unfortunately this was probably one of the worst days for weather. It was cloudy all day. It didn’t stop us buying a day pass for the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica through DayAxe. We just chilled by the pool, playing on Tinder, sipping cocktails and iced coffees and munching on fruit and tacos. It didn’t feel like a waste of a day. It was what we needed. After checking into our airbnb we explored our new neighbourhood. We walked to LA Grove, an outdoor shopping area with restaurants, cafes and food market. We went to the Wood Ranch for dinner. I had ribs with mac and cheese. Followed by Oreo cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. No sign of Penny though.

 

Day Seven

Holly flew home on this day. Not before we had one last feast together. This time at Blu Jam Cafe on Melrose Avenue. I had the huevos rancheros with their homemade lemonade. After saying goodbye to Holly, we caught the bus to Downtown LA. I was a bit apprehensive about visiting this area of LA as I had only heard bad things. However it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. We went to the OUE Skyspace to view the city from up above. It wasn’t very busy and the views were amazing. It wasn’t too pricey either. We stopped for milkshakes on our way to the Staples Center. I had a smore milkshake at the Counter. You can’t come to America and not fill up on milkshakes. We had tickets booked to see a basketball game, the Los Angeles Lakers vs Sacramento Kings. Unfortunately the Lakers lost but it was an experience for my first ever basketball game. I also had the funniest fall, in typical Jessica fashion. So I’ll never forget this night.

 

Day Eight

We went to the Petersen Automotive Museum on day eight. It was actually pretty cool considering it was something I wouldn’t normally do. Lots of car history and even famous cars from movies. The architecture of the building was fascinating too. Horrex had a visit planned to a library, kinda close to the automotive museum so we headed there. Trevor and I sat in the sunshine outside, admiring a lizard that we thought was a snake. We spent the afternoon eating our way through the food market at LA Grove. I had pizza, chicken shawarma wrap and donuts. We streamed I, Tonya in our Airbnb flat and had a chilled evening.

 

Day Nine

My last full day in LA. We were staying very close to the Beverly Center which is a shopping mall. However the majority of it was under construction so it was disappointing. No trip to LA is complete without a trip to In n Out so we made that our mission for today. We got an Uber there and eagerly waited for my double double burger, fries and coke. Unfortunately I didn’t know about their “secret” menu so I missed out on animal style fries. I guess I’ll just have to go back. It is just another burger and fries place but better than your average Maccy Ds. We went souvenir shopping down Hollywood Boulevard. So much tack but we love it don’t we. I can’t be the only one who loves a good tourist gift shop. We had dinner at LA Grove at La Piazza. I shared a carbonara and a calzone with Horrex. Sharing is only good when you both get what you want.

 

Day Ten

Not really a full day because I flew back to Kelowna in the afternoon. So we went for one last brunch at the Kings Road cafe, very  close to where we were staying. After stuffing my face, I said my goodbyes to Horrex and Trevor and ubered to the airport. What a trip! I preferred being by the ocean but loved exploring the different areas of LA. I was looking forward to getting back to Canada though, Canada whoops America’s arse (in my eyes anyways). I was flying back to Kelowna via Seattle. In hindsight I wish I paid the extra mullah to get a direct flight but hey ho. I’m living the budget life.

I have a lot to share with you guys since being back in Vancouver. I’m going to try and hammer it out over the next couple of weeks as unfortunately I am moving back to England in the very near future. Super sad times ahead.

 

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La La Land – Part One

After nearly 5 months of snow and minus temperatures I was so ready to hit the beach. I love the feeling of sunshine on my skin and it was much needed after a winter in the snow. So when my good friend Horrex asked me to join her and her lover on a trip to LA, I couldn’t refuse. To make it more awesome I asked my sister to join us. After nearly 2 years apart I was so pleased she booked flights.

I just have one sister, Holly. She’s 24 years old and a beauty therapist. Yes she does my nails, lashes and brows. Thats why I’ve missed her so much. Just kidding. We clash sometimes but we are close. I really wish she could come to Vancouver, I just know how much she would love it. To be honest I was just excited to see her, wherever it was. It’s a long time to be apart from your little sister and I couldn’t wait to see her.

Horrex is my best friend from high school, that’s her last name. She’s known as Doctor Horrex now. I haven’t seen her since I left the UK and I couldn’t wait to catch up. She’s bought a house and finished her PhD whilst I’ve been away. Trevor was actually third wheeling us, not the other way round.

Holly and I arrived on the 25th March and stayed at the Melrose Inn on Melrose Avenue. I was expecting tears when I was reunited with my sister but nothing. I was obviously very excited to see her and I’m usually a very emotional person and cry at anything. No tears shed at this reunion unfortunately. We had a pizza and beer then rested for our first full day.

Day One 

We walked the majority of Melrose Avenue. We ate breakfast bagels and drank iced tea outside at the cutest cafe, Coffee + Food. Very creative name. We passed the famous pink wall at the Paul Smith store and witnessed a lot of Instagram modelling. We walked to Bikes and Hikes LA to do the Beverly Hills and Hollywood Homes tour. Ever since working in a bike rental shop, I will definitely hunt down a bike rental place wherever I travel to. It’s such a good way to explore a city. It was a self guided tour, with an interactive map and speaker. It shouted out the points of interests and which direction to turn. It was a lot of fun and for $45 a great day out. We ended the day at the Staples Center watching the LA Kings vs Calgary Flames with beer and hot dogs.

Day Two 

Our hotel didn’t have a pool and we were moving into an Airbnb later in the day so we wanted a pool day. Google found me a website called DayAxe. You basically pay a fee to use a hotel pool for the day. We spent $15 and headed to the Intercontinental Century City. We arrived in time for breakfast so filled up on the buffet before a chill day by the pool. After soaking up the sunshine we made our way to Venice Beach. We had an Airbnb booked for 4 nights. Horrex and Trevor flew in and met us at our cute little surf shack. It was adorable. We wandered down Venice Beach and munched on vegan burgers from Fala Bar. I had the sweet potato falafel burger with avocado. I’m not vegan but always partial to vegan/vegetarian food.

Day Three

Eggslut was on the menu for breakfast. A small brunch take out place, one block from the beach. It was eggcellent. We walked around the Venice Canals and admired the fancy homes that sit directly on the canal. In the afternoon we biked to Santa Monica and back along the beach. This is a must do if ever visiting this area of LA. Obviously we had to stop for a quench thirsting beverage. I had a watermelon lemonade at Perry’s beach club. After dropping the bikes off and a quick sunbathe on the beach we went to the High Roof Top Bar for overpriced cocktails. The views made it worthwhile. This was followed by a very cheap and tasty Chinese meal at Mao’s. You’ll soon realise this trip revolved all around food.

Day Four

We splashed out a bit today and had brunch at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel. It was the most expensive eggs benedict I’ve ever had but probably the best one too. It was a whopping $30 and I indulged with a glass of prosecco. It was the prettiest outdoor cafe and luckily I didn’t feel out of place. It was a lot more casual than I was expecting. From here we walked down Hollywood Boulevard taking in the Hollwood walk of fame and the Chinese Theatre. This is a super tourist frenzy area so prepare yourself for lots and lots of people. We soon got bored of the many tourist crappy shops and took an uber to the Griffith Observatory. This is a free attraction which my purse was happy about after our expensive brunch. The views were incredible and caught a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. In the evening we walked to Santa Monica from our Venice Beach surf shack. We explored the Santa Monica pier and 3rd street promenade. It is a pedestrianised shopping street. I devoured a Steak and Shake burger, swallowed down with an Oreo mint milkshake. Then causally walked back whilst trying to avoid getting a stitch.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

Working a Ski Season

My time at Big White came to a bitter sweet end on the 25th March, exactly 2 weeks before the resort closed. I had a trip to LA booked and although I was slightly disappointed to be leaving early, I was ready to move on.

It has been a huge dream of mine to work and live in a ski resort. And I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life. As a huge skiing fan, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Well I do wish my house didn’t flood but shit happens. Guess what, my laptop came back to life and my passport arrived in time for LA. So it wasn’t all that bad in the end.

Big White spoiled me with shit tons of snow. I didn’t know it was possible to snow so much, days at a time sometimes. Even when it closed, they had so much snow forecast for the next week. The powder is just on another level. I don’t think I’ll ever see that in Europe but a girl can dream.

I met a lot of great people from all other the world. Who am I kidding, mainly Australians. My first friend was Kerri, my roommate from Toronto and fellow poutine lover. You made sharing a room easy. I was so scared to share a room with a stranger. It wasn’t easy moving out of Whitetail after our flooding incident but I like to think it brought us closer together. Jemma bought me wine when my house flooded and her last name is my hometown. Of course we are friends. Cassie came with me back to Vancouver. Our journey isn’t over just yet. I will forever be entertained with her Snapchat updates.

I wouldn’t rush back to Big White to work another season. To be honest I don’t understand how people do it again and again. You get paid peanuts and pay a fortune in rent. You are basically a slave for 5 months. I’m really selling it to you aren’t I? I did have a good time but it is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. Well for me, anyways. I would live there and not work and just ski the whole time. That would be the dream right? Partying can get boring after going to the same 2 bars every week. Friday’s at Sessions, Sunday’s at Snowshoe Sam’s. I was more than happy to spend my nights in towards the end.

You do get a lift pass for the winter. And incredible snow and runs to explore for 5 months. Does it make it worth it? Yeah I think it does. I really think they could increase the pay though and reduce rent. Come on, everyone is paying around $700 each a month for a shared room. I’m really not sure how that is even legal but people do it, year after year. I was one of those desperate people eager to get set up in a ski resort. They must be make a killing. And it would improve moral across the resort. Staff would be way more happy.

I must have been doing something right anyways because I got Employee of the Month. This surprised me a little because I am so over customer service. I have never encountered so many stupid people in my life since being in my rental jobs. So my patience was wearing thin. I got a free trip down to Kelowna to watch the Kelowna Rockets hockey game. I got to sit in a private box with the other employee’s of the month. We had unlimited free food and drink to work our way through. It was definitely a night to remember.

Talking about hockey, Big White run their very own staff hockey league. So each department play another department once a week on the outside hockey rink. I’m more of cheerleader than a hockey player. So I was more than happy to cheer my team on from the sideline. Go Honey Badgers, Go! We were able to buy a hockey jersey, personalised with our name and number. This is something I’ll keep forever.

As I mentioned before you do get paid next to nothing but you do get plenty of benefits. Discounts in restaurants and shops, free tubing and ice skating, free ski and snowboarding lessons and free and discounted days at different mountains. And you get to ski all winter long for free. What more could you want? The job wasn’t great but I got to meet a lot of cool and interesting people.

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Honey Badgers 2017-2018

It does sound like I’m complaining about the whole thing, well I am English so what do you expect. It was a weird experience for me. As cliche as it sounds it was a rollercoaster. They were days I was so close to quitting and even flying back to England. Towards the end I didn’t really want to leave. You surround yourself with the same people every day and you become a family. You live in a bubble, not the real world. It was the first time I felt alone since my breakup. And lots of big characters to compete with for a quiet person like myself. But I came out the other side a stronger person and I did have a fabulous time.

I’ll be back Big White, see you soon.

Two Mountains in Two Days

Towards the end of my Big White experience (back in March), I went on a road trip with my two new Aussie besties. We squeezed two days skiing/snowboarding at two different mountains; Sun Peaks and Revelstoke. I was pretty pumped to try new mountains and for free too. I mean Sun Peaks could only offer us 50% off but hey I’m not complaining.  Again, I wish I took advantage of the reciprocals however the time goes so quick and it’s difficult without your own car.

Anyways, we had a great time. Big thanks to Cassie’s roommate who let us borrow his vehicle. We set off bright and early to get a full day skiing at Sun Peaks. I have visited Sun Peaks before when my Dad came to visit last winter. We did the snowmobiling tour there, it was a lot of fun. The village is hands down the most prettiest ski resort I’ve seen in Canada so far. And there’s a lot of terrain to explore. It’s apparently the second largest resort in Canada.

I wish I visited early on in the season as it was a bit slushy in places. And I think it could have been a lot better. Unfortunately I’ve been spoilt rotten in Big White with the perfect powder and lots of tree runs. Sun Peaks isn’t about that. However don’t knock it until you try it. It is a great resort with a lot to offer.

After a day on the slopes, we grabbed a coffee and made our way to Revelstoke. Well done to Cassie for driving for the first time on the wrong side of the road and nailing it. We covered a lot of miles in the first day. But at least we were able to wake up in Revelstoke and head straight to the slopes.

After checking into the Backpacker Hostel at Revelstoke, we went in search for tacos at The Taco Club. It did not disappoint, delicious food and drinks. The only way I can describe Revelstoke is quaint but slightly murderous. If I was able to do another winter season in Canada, I would chose Revelstoke (or Silverstar/Sun Peaks). Not for the murderous vibes obviously. The town of Revelstoke is small but a very, very close drive to the slopes. The town has everything you would need during the winter months. And it has some really good food which is most important.

The hostel served us perfectly. We were able to recharge our batteries and good location for a foodie like moi. For breakfast we went to The Modern Bakeshop and Cafe. I cannot talk this place up enough, it was delicious and you should go. Simple as that really. We filled our bellies for a long day of riding.

So Revelstoke is a new ski resort. I had no idea it is only 10 years old. The actual ski resort is quite small, it only has 2 chairs and the main gondola. It is a very steep mountain so it takes a while to get to the top. However once we were there, we didn’t come down until the end of the day. The views were incredible of Upper Arrow Lake. The snow was nearly perfect and I loved every run we did. We covered a lot of it, including the last spike run which is 9 miles long.

This trip was even more special because I finally bought the Blizzard Black Pearl’s which I had been lusting after for the whole season. I got them at a steal of a price and I’m in love. I’ve always skied with short skis, similar to snowblades. Working at the Big White rental shop expanded my horizons and I tried lots of different skis. I realised I could ski with longer skis. I was born with a club foot so I always thought I wouldn’t have enough strength in my left leg for longer skis. I was so wrong. I no longer get judgemental stares and comments with my snowblades because now I’m a big girl with big skis.

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Our road trip was short but sweet. I could never take these Canadian road trips for granted. They are usually very scenic and you pass a lot of pretty lakes. I’m dreaming of living in a van and travelling around Canada one day at a time. Dream big folks!

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I’ll stick to downhill skiing

Working in a rental shop has its advantages, I can rent various equipment for free. I’ve taken full advantage of this renting high performance skis, trying snowboarding multiple times and now cross country skiing. I never thought I’d ever be able to say I cross country skied one time in Canada.

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Feeling optimistic before we got going…

Well it started with a blue bird day and freshly cut hair, I had a drastic hair cut the day before. Short hair, don’t care. Back to the story… Jemma, Cassie and I met at work to get fitted for our cross country adventure. Jemma and Cassie are both snowboarders so I thought I’d have an advantage of being a skier. How wrong was I.

I clipped into my skis, which for those who don’t know are only attached at the toe of your boot. I lined my skis with the special tracks for cross country skiing and began sliding along. It wasn’t long before a downhill bit began. I didn’t even think of the repurcussions, I just let myself go with the tracks. The downhill started to bend round the corner which I was not prepared for. This is when I came flying out the tracks and landed on my arse.

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Check the trees out in the background

This is pretty much how our day began and ended. So many falls and slip ups, lots of giggles and near misses. Some were captured on camera, some will live on in our memory. I’m laughing out loud just thinking about that day right now.

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I wouldn’t rush back to do it but I would encourage anyone of you to take part for pure entertainment. It’s a workout. The up hills are tricky. The downhills were even more tricky. You have to do it with confidence, believe in yourself and let the hill take you. You can’t just pizza (snow plough) to slow down, your skis are stuck in the tracks. Luckily no broken bones or any minor injuries. Just painful abs from laughing our arses off all day long and some pretty photos…

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Thank you Jemma for your GoPro screen grabs!

 

 

The time I went to Silverstar

Remember me? I should stop apologising for the lack of content and just get on with it. I have no excuses, just pure laziness. So let’s cut to the chase I went on a road trip. In February I went to Silverstar, close to Vernon, BC. It takes a couple of hours from Big White so I just went for the day with two girls from work (thanks to Ash for driving). As Big White staff we get free and discounted days at a load of different mountains. It’s something I wish I had taken more advantage of but without a car it’s pretty difficult.

I had to start the day with a McDonald’s breakfast as there’s no sign of a McDonald’s in Big White. After parking up at Silverstar and getting ready to go I was super stoked to be on a different mountain skiing on different runs. I hate to say it but it does get a little repetitive skiing at the same place for 3 months. However it is nice knowing a mountain like the back of your hand.

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It was so quiet which I love when skiing. No one wants or likes busy runs and long lift lines. The visibility wasn’t the best but lots of fresh powder so if you did tumble over, you had a soft landing. I had a great day, I just wish it lasted longer. I would recommend 2 days to explore more. We did the backside before lunch and then stayed on the frontside in the afternoon. I still felt like we barely covered it.

For lunch  we had burgers and beer at Long John’s. It was tasty, it didn’t break the bank and reminded me of an English pub inside. After our day of skiing ended, we browsed a few shops. I bought the obligatory postcard for my collection and chocolate for the ride back. The village at Silverstar is very picturesque and Instagram worthy. I loved the Wild West theme, the buildings were very saloon like and colourful.

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It does get a bit too much stranded at Big White, so I always find it refreshing leaving for the day. I’m currently planning an overnight trip to Sun Peaks and Revelstoke, I’ll keep you posted.

 

2018 so far…

Where do I start? Firstly I apologise for the lack of content. I’ve had visitors and a house disaster so I’ve been a little preoccupied.

My Dad and cousin came to visit mid January for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t have wished for a better time. George learnt to snowboard and he smashed it. I’m sorry George but I genuinely you’d be a klutz on the snow. I take it all back, you did a great job! We did lots of skiing, lots of drinking and lots of eating.

With 4 days before they were due to fly home, we headed to Vancouver. I love Vancouver, I called it home for over a year. It was weird returning after 2 months away. It certainly lived up to its reputation as “Raincouver”. It did not stop raining during the 4 days we were there. Actually I take that back, it stopped raining for 2 hours which was perfect for a bike ride around Stanley Park seawall. We also went to watch the Vancouver Canucks play against the LA Kings. It was the first time I saw them win. Go Canucks!

Dad and George flew home on the 25th January. Who hates goodbyes as much as me? It was kind of relieving to think I’ll be home in 5 or 6 months so it’s not goodbye for long. After having a fun filled 2 weeks though, it’s always hard to return back to reality.

I then spent another night in Vancouver, catching up with friends. It was really lovely. I miss you guys. I went to Deep Cove for doughnuts. I played bingo in Kitsliano and I had breakfast at a 24 hour diner. It was short but sweet.

I took my first Greyhound back to Kelowna. It took roughly 5 hours and it was surprisingly pleasant. Plenty of leg room, comfy seats and power sockets. The only thing I could complain about is lack of WiFi.

Finally made it back to Big White late on the 26th January. Just in time for Australia Day. With so many Australians in Big White, Australia Day is taken very seriously. I met friends for a few drinks, nothing too crazy. I missed my little Big White bubble, it was nice to be back.

Then the unthinkable happened. I returned home after working the morning of the 27th January to water rapidly escaping my back door. My house flooded due to a burst water pipe next door. It was a scene I’ve never seen before in my life. It was two stairs deep. I couldn’t even walk into my bedroom. Luckily the fire department were dealing with the house next door which also flooded. They quickly came to my rescue and helped me move as much as possible upstairs.

I hysterically cried on FaceTime with my Mum. All my belongings were soaked. Things that are replaceable but it certainly didn’t seem like that at the time. I really wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I was mainly worried about my MacBook, which I leave on the floor next to my bed everyday. And also all my postcards and art work I have collected since arriving in Canada. Those are memories I can’t get back. Luckily they dried out and are still intact. On the other hand my MacBook has gone to laptop heaven and my passport is unrecognisable.

It’s been nearly 2 weeks now. I’m living in the kitchen/lounge. Kerri has moved upstairs and Tash has moved out temporarily. It sucks, it’s shitty and it’s certainly taking its toll having 4 fans constantly going to dry the walls out. I just want to go back normal and enjoy the time I have left in Big White. I’m trying my hardest not let it ruin the last couple of months. Positive mind, positive vibes.

I do have a trip to LA booked at the end of March. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I finally get to see my sister after nearly 2 years apart and I’ll be seeing my best friend Horrex and her boyfriend, Trevor. I’m just a little excited, I mean very excited. Can we all just pray I get my new passport in time, thank you.