2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies: Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

Two weeks in the Canadian Rockies has been split into a number of posts as there is just so much to say. However there is also a post of 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies in a Nutshell if you want to read the summary.

Tips:

– We suggest that where you can reserve campsites online on https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/ParksCanada for what you can. Don’t worry if cannot book everywhere as there are walk in campsites available too as detailed in the post below.

– How the walk up campsites work is you turn up and find an empty plot. Plots are reserved with a slip of paper which you pick up from the hut at the entrance, which states your arrival date and how many nights you will be staying. Picky your plot and then put your money in an envelope, which is also provided at the camp entrance and you post into a letter box. We suggest you arrive at about 11 as people have to vacate at 11.

– You will need to buy a parks pass to visit the rockies. You can buy this pass on entrance Banff national park, if coming from Calgary then he place to buy is a couple of km after Canmore. Don’t worry you won’t miss it and will more than likely queue with everyone else! If you are staying more than 6 Days it is cheaper to buy a year long pass.

– Pick up maps from the tourist information, these are so so helpful and you will take it on all your hikes/use them to plan your hikes. The great thing about this trip is that all the walk are signposted and will also tell you how many kms so you will NEVER get lost!

– We flew into Calgary, hired a camper and headed from Calgary to Jasper and back and it took 2 weeks. We hired our Camper through Wicked Campers and couldn’t recommend them enough. They are cheap, cheerful and suited us perfectly for what we want.

Lake Louise:

We suggest staying 2 nights here to make the most of it, which gives you 2 full days if coming straight from Johnston Canyon which is 30 minutes away (leave early!), both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are close to each other so stay in the same campsite.
The couple of campsites to stay in are: Lake Louise Tent Campground or Lake Louise Hardsided

We did the most epic walk here and would suggest doing the same. Again you need to get here early to get a car parking space as it gets full very very quick. We got up at 5am! If you miss the car park then don’t worry there is an overflow with a shuttle bus.

If you get to the lake early you will be able to take a picture without it being surrounded by tourists which is favourable.

The walk we suggest, first head to the Little Beehive. On route stop off at Mirror Lake. This will take about 1 hour to get to Little Beehive and of course is uphill. Here you get amazing views of the lake and can take some pretty stunning pictures.

From Little Beehive head to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, as the name suggests this is a cute little teahouse. To our disappointment they didn’t serve coffee as we were relying on this for a morning coffee!

Next head up to Big Beehive, just follow the signs.This is a steep climb and will take you about 30-45 minutes and is constantly up hill, zigzagging up and up. The views are beautiful and you can see both Lake Louise and Mirror Lake.

After spending hours here admiring the view head back down the other side of the mountain.

Once you get to the bottom follow signs for Lake Louise Trail so you can walk back along the beautiful lakeshore trail. Once you get to another sign you have the choice to head to the lakeshore trail or do the next walk which is the Plain of the Six Glaciers. So to be honest we were not amazed by this. You do walk to another cute tearoom (honestly as if the workers have to walk to this tearoom to do their shift, it was at least 1.5hours to get there!!), and we did see a cool ice cave but didn’t think the whole walk was worth it!

Moraine Lake:

Oh my gosh where do we start with this place, hands down our favourite place on our whole trip. We loved it so much that we visited twice, on the way to Jasper and then again on our way back.
Just a tip you need to get here VERY early, especially in the summer. The Rangers start work at 6am and as soon as they start they shut the road down to the lake and its pretty hard to get down, some cars just keep driving past until the ranger lets them in when a car leaves. Basically you need to be on the road before 6am to get in, we left the campsite at 5am. The road down takes 15 minutes and the car park is pretty small. However there is also a shuttle bus.

There are some walks at Moraine however we decided not to do a long walk, just the lakeshore one and basically just spent our time looking in awe at the lake. Honestly the bluest lake I have ever seen, it was so magical and I wish I could go back right now!

Lake Louise Village:

The town that is close to both the above places is called Lake Louise and its so cute. There isn’t really much here but we had a great time. We visited the Outpost Pub which is part of the hotel for drinks in the evening. It was expensive but the wifi was good!

There was also a bakery which we loved, we bought rolls for our lunches here and also the coffee and pastries were good. You must buy the maple donut as it was dreamy.

The grocery store is kinda expensive has the essentials.

Before leaving to go to the Icefields you must fill up with petrol as there is no petrol between Lake Louise and Jasper, so give yourself a full tank!

Read more about the Canadian Rockies: Icefields Parkway & Jasper and Banff & Johnston Canyon

2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies: Banff & Johnston Canyon

Two weeks in the Canadian Rockies has been split into a number of posts as there is just so much to say. However there is also a post of 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies in a Nutshell if you want to read the summary.

Tips:

– We suggest that where you can reserve campsites online on https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/ParksCanada for what you can. Don’t worry if cannot book everywhere as there are walk in campsites available too as detailed in the post below.

– How the walk up campsites work is you turn up and find an empty plot. Plots are reserved with a slip of paper which you pick up from the hut at the entrance, which states your arrival date and how many nights you will be staying. Picky your plot and then put your money in an envelope, which is also provided at the camp entrance and you post into a letter box. We suggest you arrive at about 11 as people have to vacate at 11.

– You will need to buy a parks pass to visit the rockies. You can buy this pass on entrance Banff national park, if coming from Calgary then he place to buy is a couple of km after Canmore. Don’t worry you won’t miss it and will more than likely queue with everyone else! If you are staying more than 6 Days it is cheaper to buy a year long pass.

– Pick up maps from the tourist information, these are so so helpful and you will take it on all your hikes/use them to plan your hikes. The great thing about this trip is that all the walk are signposted and will also tell you how many kms so you will NEVER get lost!

– We flew into Calgary, hired a camper and headed from Calgary to Jasper and back and it took 2 weeks. We hired our Camper through Wicked Campers and couldn’t recommend them enough. They are cheap, cheerful and suited us perfectly for what we want.

Banff:

We suggest staying 3 nights here to make the most of it, which gives you 2 full days.
The couple of campsites to stay in are: Tunnel mountain (largest With tunnel mountain 1 and 2) or Two Jack (Two Jack and Two Jack Lakeside)

The best way to get around is by bus, there are 5 bus routes in total which take you to the Main places. The bus is free from your campsite to wherever you want to go and then $1 return. Each day work out how many buses you will be taking as you may find it cheaper to get a day pass for $5

The busses do not give change and you can pay with a maximum of $20 However if you need change the bus driver gives you a slip of paper with how much you are owed and you can collect this money in cash from a number of shops on Banff high street. Ask your bus driver and he will give you a slip with all the participating places.

When in Banff we suggest you hike to the top of Sulphur Mountain . You can take the gondola but it will set you back $64 each Which is a little crazy. The walk takes 2-3 Hours and is constantly up hill so make sure you wear hiking boots. However the good news is the views are spectacular and so worth it, also another bonus is that after 7pm the gondola is free to ride down so time your walk so you can take e gondola back down for free.

At the bottom of Sulphur Mountain is Banff Upper Hot Springs. Now we are going to be frank here and we genuinely were disappointed with these springs. We had an idea in our head that there would be a number of different hot pools to visit, hot tubs swimming pools etc. However there is just one swimming pool that’s nice and warm. After a long walk it is nice to relax but if you are pushed for time don’t worry about making visiting here a priority.

A visit to Lake Minnewanke is an absolute must. If you are staying at Two Jack Campsite it is pretty close to here. The lake is simply stunning and you can walk along the edge and take some epic photos. You can also rent a number of different boats, from speed boats to canoes. We also walked to the Lake Minnewanke lookout and picked the bus home up here.

Banff itself is a very busy place and there are many shops, bars and restaurants. Bars we suggest you enjoy an evening drink at are Park Distillery who make their own gin and vodka. This place is very popular and busy especially for food, if going for a drink request to sit on the balcony upstairs. We also really liked Banff Avenue Brewing Company, again this place has gorgeous outside sitting at the front. A little tip is on a Monday they do half price beers which is brewed in Calgary and the local area.

Somewhere to go for delicious ice cream is called Cows and there are soooo many flavours to choose from, they all very unique so it will be hard to pick your flavour! They also make their own waffle cones.

The supermarket to visit here is called IGA, so you can pick up any groceries here, but its always busy so be prepared to queue.

Johnston Canyon:

We suggest staying for 1 night in Johnston Canyon, a couple of campsites to stay in are: Johnston Canyon Campground or Castle Mountain Campground

30 minutes from Banff is Johnston Canyon which is very popular. We suggest trying to get a reservation online for Johnston Canyon Campground however we didn’t manage to so jut did walk in at Castle Mountain. We also recommend getting to the carpark for Johnston Canyon super early to get a car parking space otherwise you could be parking 1-2 miles away from the start of the walk on the road. We got up early and left our campsite and headed straight for Johnston Canyon.

We did the long walk all the way to the Ink Pots passing the Lower and Upper Falls on route. Personally I preferred Lower Falls as they are amazing and you go though a tunnel to see the waterfall. The round trip takes roughly 4 hours. We did the walk and then headed straight to our campsite to get a spot on the first come first serve.

In the afternoon we hiked to the top of Castle Mountain Lookout. This was an epic walk which was constantly up hill and took us also 4 hours return. This walk was not as popular as the others so we hardly saw other people, only a couple of serious hikers (like ourselves, haha!!).

We loved Castle Mountain Campsite as it was so rustic, we had a little fire and our cute little plot. You can share spots if you want to save money as 2 vehicles are allowed per plot. A camper came in late looking for a spot so we kindly offered to share to get some extra dollar!

Read more about visiting the Canadian Rockies: Lake Louise & Moraine Lake and Icefields Parkway & Jasper

Tourist Guide to Covent Garden & Surrounding Neighbourhoods

Covent Garden is one of London’s most well known areas. It is often on every tourists to do list when visiting London and we can totally see why. Covent Garden has a lot to offer from restaurants and bars to history and culture and it is also home to several London theatres including the Lyceum, where the Lion King is performed. Whether you are visiting Covent Garden for a civilised dinner, a night at the theatre or you plan on dancing the night away Covent Garden is the place to be.

If you want to be in the heart of the city during your stay then we would definitely recommend staying in Covent Garden as there are plenty of hotels on offer.

There are so many hidden gems both in Covent Garden and it’s surrounding neighbourhoods. If there is one tip we could give you when exploring London it would be to walk and wonder everywhere. Don’t waste your time on the tube places are far closer than you think! Oh and don’t stick to the main roads go down the side roads that are off the beaten track because that is there that you will stumble across all the quirky and independent places!

Below are some of our favourite places in and around Covent Garden that would make the perfect day out for you and a friend!

Another Space
If you are fitness fanatics like us that like to try out the local fitness scene in whatever city we visit then why not kick start your day at this boutique gym. Another space is located in soho just a few minutes walk from the centre of Covent Garden. Give spinning or boxing a go and it will certainly leave you feeling ready for the day ahead!

Coffee & Brunch
There are coffee shops on every corner you turn in Covent Garden (or just London I fact)!

Ladurée– A must visit if you are a macaroon lover as they are known for their macaroons. Enjoy a macaroon and an English breakfast tea or coffee in their outside seating area.

The Ivy Market Grill- sitting outside on the terrace overlooking Covent Garden Square is a must! They have an all day menu and also a brunch menu so it would be perfect anytime of day.

By CHLOE- One of the coolest vegan restaurants around has recently opened in Covent Garden serving incredible vegan comfort food YUM!

Dishoom- We would advise arriving earlier than you plan on eating to avoid disappoint as it is likely you will have to que for a table, but don’t worry they hand out free coffee in the que whilst you wait! The brunch menu is served daily until 11:45!

Apple market
Apple Market was once home to a well known fruit and veg market. Although it no longer sells fruit and veg they still continue to support market traders selling a range of unique products (on Mondays the market is dedicated to antiques). The market is open form 10-6.

Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is renowned for its outstanding performances of traditional opera. Some of the world most well known opera singers have performed at the Royal Opera House. If you are a fan of the ballet then we would definitely recommend this show.

Street performers
Why not stop and watch some of the street performers in Covent Garden for a chilled after in the Square. You could even go to the Punch and Judy bar and watch whilst enjoying a beverage. Street performers at Covent Garden have to go through auditions in order to perform so they sure do have talent!

Shops
There are so many shops to visit in Covent Garden, some are chains and some are independents so you’ll certainly find some nice goodies. The shops are really quaint so the perfect place to pick up a present for someone.

Dinner
Balthazar- is a US chain that only recently made its way across the pond and to London. The restaurant is in the heart of Covent Garden so the perfect location for some food. Despite being a US restaurant this place is vey French/Parisian with Paris style decor and delicious French food.

The menu is simple but elegant, a variety of starters including selection of artisan bread (which we ordered) and pate de campagne. To drink we went for a cote de Provence (our favourite)!

There is also the dish of the day ranging from duck pie to coq au vin (which was delicious!). Annie went for the fillet of salmon with warm lentil, spinach and walnut salad.

The staff are very friendly and attentive too, which is something we really appreciate.

Theatre
There are plenty of box offices in Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square so if you haven’t pre booked theatre tickets then pop along and choose the show you want to watch! There are so many AMAZING shows! Some we can recommend are: Lion King, Kinky Boots, play that goes wrong, Mamma Mia, Matilda & 42nd Street.

Dessert
In recent years so many dessert places have opened up in London (its incredible). Some people just go out for dessert instead of dinner!

Milk train– this place is loved by all instagrammers as it’s a dream place for a picture. Their signature is ice cream with candy floss around the edge. You pick a cone, a flavour of soft serve ice cream, toppings and then candy floss. It sure does make for a pretty epic picture, and tastes good too!

Bubble wrap– nestled in the heart of china town this place is very popular and quite often there are queues out the door. Despite not being in Covent Garden it is only a short walk away and gives you the opportunity to explore China Town too. The bubble wrap cone is pretty cool and you can watch the staff make them. You pick your flavour ice cream, your topping and your sauce and hey presto your first bubblewrap ice cream!

Yorica – closer to China Town/Soho Yorica serves dairy free frozen yoghurt and ice cream with all the toppings. For those with an allergy but a sweet tooth we highly recommend this place for dessert.

We had such a fab day out exploring Covent Garden and it’s surrounding neighbourhoods. Our spending money was kindly gifted by Hotels.com but all views are our own.

SOLE Insole Review

We were lucky to be sent the Active Footbeds from SOLE Insoles to trial and test (we were sent them a couple of months back) and ever since we have been testing them out. We wanted to make sure we really believed in the product before posting a review about them.

Last month I visited the country of La Palma, and I knew I would want to go running. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase to fit both my walking trainers and my running trainers so I decided to pack my walking trainers as they are super comfy and try out my new SOLE insoles.

I absolutely loved them, they made my runs super comfortable and gave me the extra support I needed with my walking trainers. I was worried that it was going to feel weird running with insoles in my trainers but it was the complete opposite it felt amazing.

So what are SOLE insoles we hear you asking? Good question! SOLE have created custom food beds and footwear that are innovative and adaptable products providing you with cushioning and support. They adapt to your body giving you the support you need (amazing huh).

People live with pain every single day and it can restrict every day activities (not always ideal)! Imagine if you didn’t have to live with that pain every single day that would be amazing right? Well that is exactly what SOLE set out to achieve.

SOLE insoles support your feet no matter what you activity levels are you will benefit from the personalised support and cushioning. Not only did I use the my SOLE insoles for running I also used them when we were hiking up the mountains in La Palma as they gave my feet the extra supported they needed. I am incredibly lucky and do not get any pain when I run or walk but that doesn’t mean my feet don’t need all the love and comfort they can get.

SOLE’s award-winning footbeds are the most effective over-the-counter orthotic insoles on the market and we cannot rave about them enough. Since returning from holiday we have been using our SOLE insoles all the time. I have a few other holidays booked in the next few weeks and you guessed it my insoles will be coming with me!

SOLE products are renowned for being long lasting and their customers are very satisfied with the products. SOLE footbeds have a 9- day guarantee, if you don’t love your insoles for any reason all you have to do is contact the customer service team for a full refund.