The 4th December. My birthday, and officially the best advent calendar door to open, bar none. Getting a year older becomes less of a celebration once you’ve hit and partied away your 21st birthday, but spending it in Toronto really takes the edge off, it has to be said! 😀
First up, I would like to apologise for the lack of blog entries this past week. My laptop decided that it would stop working straight after my last blog, I am not sure that it could take the excitement of all that knitting and BAM, it was gone! So getting in contact with home, skyping, blogging and social media in general have had a bit of a Julie break this week (well, as much as it can while I am armed with my iPhone anyway!)
It wasn’t my birthday until Tuesday, but on Saturday, Phil being Phil spoiling me rotten as he does, decided to take me shopping for a brand spanking new one! Now, I don’t profess to be a computer whizz kid, but I had seen the tablets that have keyboard docking stations that can attach and make them into a laptop, and thought they were wonderful. Luckily for me, Acer had just brought out the Iconia W510 that week, and although it was too new to be out on show in any of the shops we visited, we eventually hit the jackpot finding a shop that had ONE in stock, out back. Phil was in there like swimwear, knowing that this was the one I really wanted he got out his credit card and did the deed. What a guy! He has no idea how many husband points this has earned him! 😀
Being an absolute legend, and deciding we might aswell start the birthday celebrations early now that I had my present, Phil also got the beers in on the way home. We had difficulty choosing what to get, with such a delectable array of choices…
We decided to get some Canadian beers, Moosehead lager and a huge bottle of wine, as lovely as the alternatives sounded! We set up the Acer, which I have to say here, is the smartest bit of kit I have ever owned! You can detach the tablet, which is the screen, and use it touchscreen, or you can attach it to the keyboard, making typing easier. You can even rotate the keyboard all the way round so that you have a stand for the screen if you wanted to watch TV or a film. Amazing! And it is so small and light, perfect to pop in my bag to take out if need be.
We spent the rest of the night messing on with the many gadgets and features on the laplet (our name for the laptop/tablet, as we are not exactly sure what to call it!) while slurping back beers and wine in celebration of my upcoming birthday!
We should have learnt, from years of practice, that this is never a good idea when you have to be up early for more drinking the next day. Waking an hour after the alarm should have gone off but didn’t and an hour before you are meant to be at the pub is the result! After the quickest running around and getting ready in Canadian history, we made it to the pub with only 3 minutes of the match gone! And we weren’t losing yet, which is always a bonus and a surprise when turning up late for a Sunderland match! Mind you, we only just sat down and ordered our drinks before we were losing. Looked like it was gonna be a long match!
We had came to Scallywags to meet up with a friend of Phil’s who he has known for years, but who I had never met due to him living in Toronto. So this was the perfect opportunity! Great bar. Phil’s friend Ken had secured us prime seats at the bar and we had a great view of all the screens. Just a shame we weren’t watching a better Sunderland side, for the first 45 minutes at least.
Ken is a Sunderland fan, originally from the North East and living here for the past 10 years or so, which means his Canadian wife must automatically become an honorary SAFC fan aswell. It is law, and should be written into wedding the vows in my honest opinion! 😉 Along with Ken and his wife Nicole, we also met their friend Kathryn who is a Liverpool supporter, and Kyle, who is a Spurs fan and was just there to watch a bit footy. We had a good laugh and a great afternoon.
The beers were flowing and by the time we left we were rather merry and up for a few more, so me and Phil headed back home on the subway and decided to finish off with a couple more drinks and something to eat in one of the pubs under our apartment block, The Fox.
As it turned out, the couple of drinks ended up being a couple of pitchers, obviously, because anyone who knows us will tell you we forget to stop drinking once we have started!
You wouldn’t think we were both a barman and a barmaid in a past life judging by these pictures, would you?
The big news of the night though, was that Adventurous Julie (otherwise known as ‘Julie After a Few Beers’) decided to try some more new food. Now, when I go for it, I really go for it, and with that in mind we shared some extra hot riblets and wings, with fries, of course. Phew! They were hot, so hot my whole mouth was burning, but it didn’t stop me and I am proud to say I hoovered up a canny few before the heat defeated me and I had to give up! The fries though, they were conquered by me and me alone 😀
Phil was shocked, he said he knows people back home who wouldn’t even be able to eat something this hot. Mentioning no names, Granda Dave and Luke.
Needless to say the next morning we felt it! Poor Phil had to go to work and I had the hangover special of chocolate milk for breakfast and New Girl episodes in bed. I know who got the better deal here!
So with Monday basically written off, my birthday came round quickly!
I woke up to lots of cards and gifts from home, huge thank you to everyone who sent things and were so organised, it was really appreciated! 😀 Also thank you to everyone who sent me a message on Facebook or Twitter, you made my day.
I opened my card from Phil last, and was shocked when I was told I had to check my email for my another present. I wasn’t expecting anything as he had already got me the Acer laptop/tablet, but when I opened my emails I found this…
Yeay!! I love The Killers, and I can’t believe I didn’t even know they were playing Toronto! I think I had stopped looking after a while because I wanted to go to everything and it was impossible to fit all the gigs in there are that many, never mind find the money to actually go to them! So I was absolutely over the moon with this present and it was totally unexpected, which just made it all the more great!
He also told me that tonight, as a birthday treat, we would be going up the CN Tower! Awesome! He never fails to impress does the owld fella!!
With that, he had to go to work for the day, so I spoke to friends and family back home on Skype, and was treated to a very Marilyn Monroe style Happy Birthday song from Dave, minus the blonde hair, dress and good singing. 😉
I spent the majority of the day in the spa, treating myself to some good old fashioned chilling out. It was actually in the steam room that it hit home how very lucky I was to be in such a wonderful place on my birthday. I feel very lucky that we are here at all, but to be here in a fantastic city like Toronto on my birthday, able to spend the day lazing around the pool and spa facilities and the night at the CN Tower just makes me so thankful that we have this fantastic opportunity. If it didn’t last another day I could honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing and we would still choose to come and have the experience.
In summary, I had a glorious day time, I wish every birthday could be spent like this!
I literally just put my feet up for the day!
After a lovely day I was ready to be wowed by the big attraction in Toronto, the CN Tower! So no sooner had Phil got in from work, we were headed straight back out.
The CN Tower is the 2nd tallest building in the world and it is a very impressive sight from the street. We left the apartment and started to walk towards it, watching it changing colour and getting excited to be at the top of it! Standing underneath it looking up is so daunting!
The lift that takes you up to the observation deck is SO fast! It goes up to the top at 15 miles per hour and you feel your tummy being left on the ground below. You get to look out of the windows, the side of the lift is made of glass, as you go up so you see the city getting smaller and smaller and further and further away. Pretty cool! We reached the look out level 1136 feet up in 58 seconds!
Turns out, we had the whole of the CN Tower to ourselves! Apart from the staff and another couple we were literally the only people there. We walked around taking in the brilliant views of the city below us.
There is a glass floor, which I had been very excited to walk on, right till the second I got to it. It took me ages to actually step onto it, and my stomach was flipping all over when I finally did! I had done plenty of research that day about the glass floor, and apparently it can take the weight of 14 large hippos, which is extremely useful information to know considering the lack of exercise I have been able to do after the op, and the love of fries and Canadian beer I have developed! Even Phil admitted that it made his stomach a bit queasy until you got used to it!
To give you a hint at how high we were, this is looking down onto the Rogers Centre, which is a BASEBALL FIELD!!! But looks nothing more than a little circle of lights from way up there!
As we had the place to ourselves, and had all the time in the word to become accustomed to it, the more time i spent on the glass floor and the braver I got…
By the end I was dancing on the thing! I wouldn’t quite go as far as jumping though, don’t wanna test the weight boundaries that much!
Next, we went in another lift to the highest point in the tower. You have to pay a little bit extra to do this, but we didn’t see the point in coming up all this way to not keep going! We are very glad we did. The views from the skypod were amazing. The skypod is the tiny little 360 degree viewing bowl right near the top of the tip on the CN Tower point, a massive 33 storeys above the viewing deck below That took us to an amazing 1465 feet above the city, WOW! The views from here were magnificent, we could see our apartment block, it looked so tiny! We could even see over to Niagara on the other side of Lake Onatrio. I also loved how from so high up you could see how easy Toronto is to navigate around, it is just blocks of lights, the fact that everywhere is set out in squares, or blocks, really stands out from up here. Truly stunning views.
We really do love it here in Toronto. It’s a brilliant place. I am thinking of getting the black and white picture as a print for our new home, wherever that will end up being!
We then went into Horizons, a bar in the lookout area of the CN Tower, and had a drink from the world’s highest wine cellar!
What else could you possibly order when in the world’s highest wine cellar than a lovely wine right? Wrong! Never one to follow trends, Phil ordered his new favourite, bourbon. It was ok though, it had a CN Tower mixing stick thingy, which I kept for my shelves of nick nacks!
After our lovely drinks, we said our goodbyes to the CN Tower and headed into downtown for the night.
We walked up to Kings Street and decided we liked the look of a neighbourhood pub. There are a lot of posh, cool bars in Toronto, and they certainly have their place but sometimes, most times actually, we prefer the grunginess of a proper pub. And so we chose Gabby’s.
We had some beers, which were on special, always good! We had some food, Phil had a Grilled steak fajita and I had a Cookie and Ice cream Sundae! Happy birthday to me! 😀
I had an absolutely wonderful day, so thank you Toronto and thank you Phil! And thank you to everyone who had a hand in making this old gal feel good!
Another year older, another year wis… Well, let’s just say another year older 🙂