Leaving, on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll back again.

When we left for Montreal two and a half years ago it never occurred to me that one day I would end up feeling the same about leaving it as I did then about leaving Scotland. In fact, if anything, I’m struggling with this move much more than I ever did with our initial move from Scotland to Montreal.

These last weeks in Montreal have, for me, been quite difficult. I’ve found the prospect of leaving here much harder than I ever imagined I would.  I’m devastated at the thought of leaving the city that I love. This is no reflection on my feelings around moving to Calgary, because I am also just as equally excited and happy and bursting to see what our new life in Calgary will bring. I may have only had a very flying visit to Calgary but my initial impression was very positive. My feelings around Calgary might be positive but that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel sad at the prospect of leaving here. I knew I would miss Montreal but I actually feel quite bereft now at the thought of it.

When we left Scotland I didn’t know what to expect, but Montreal was everything and more than we could possibly have hoped for. A city that previously I had no desire to even visit, never mind to live in, has ended up being the best thing that could ever have happened to us, so understandably I’m sad to leave it.

While I was devastated about leaving my family behind when we came here, I didn’t feel the same nostalgia about leaving the place itself. I think this could have been because I knew that we would always go back to Scotland. Our family and friends are there so of course we’ll always visit. We also still have a house there meaning that, should we wish to, we can move back to Scotland at any point. Whereas leaving here feels a lot more final. Our families aren’t here so we won’t have the same pull to return each year to spend time with them. Yes I’d like to think that we’ll come back one day to visit friends but many of them too either already have, or are now, moving on, so the Montreal we leave will unlikely be the same place we would return to. This move is final. We may visit but we know we won’t ever live here again. It’s officially the end of that chapter of our lives and that seems quite a daunting thought.

I know that we’ve given Montreal everything we had though, we have literally done everything we wanted to do here and made the absolute most of our time and for that I am very grateful. Our Montreal bucket list is ticked off and we’ve revisited all our favourite places one last time. I know that it’s now time to say goodbye. But I also know that doing so is proving to be much more emotionally challenging than I ever expected it to be. I am so sad to be leaving here, the city that has now became our home. I know that as we board the plane to Calgary on Sunday I’ll likely be in floods of tears, not because of what we’re going to but because of what we’re leaving behind. I also know that in time I’ll move on, though I’ll always be so grateful for the time we had here, the experiences Montreal gave us, the people it made us become and for those that it brought into our lives. Thanks for the memories Montreal, it’s been an absolute pleasure.



The Next Chapter

If you know me personally, or follow me on social media you’ll probably have heard our news by now, but if not, we’ve made the decision to leave Montreal and start anew out west, in Calgary. To say this decision was difficult would be an understatement. We sat up many nights until the small hours weighing up the pros and cons but at the end of the day we just couldn’t argue with the fact that, despite how much we love it here,  Calgary can give us a future in Canada that Montreal never can.

I’m confident that in time I will love Calgary but I know that Montreal will always be my favourite Canadian city, probably now my favourite city anywhere in the world. It was the first place we lived abroad and we have made so many happy memories here that I’ll always think back on our time here so fondly. But despite this, I do believe that we’re doing the right thing.

This has always been my greatest wish; that we would know when the time was right to leave. That we wouldn’t out stay our welcome. That we would never become bitter or start to resent our time here and that we’d leave on our terms, knowing we’d done as much as we could here and yet still with love for the city. Because loveable it is.

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Montreal is unlike any other city I’ve ever visited in my life. It’s vibrant, it’s multicultural, it has more going on in terms of arts and festivals and entertainment than anywhere I’ve ever been. It has more restaurants per capita than any other North American city, other than New York, and it has a thriving nightlife (probably too thriving at times). It has an arrogance about it that on some days I find so frustrating, but that most of the time I love. I feel like Montreal sticks two fingers up to the rest of the world. It really doesn’t care what you think of it; it’s confident, self-assured, and more than a little bit sassy and it definitely doesn’t take any crap. But despite this you can’t help but fall head over heels in love with it. It really is the most beautiful place; North American but with a strong European influence, the architecture is stunning, the parks are tremendous and it takes my breath away regularly. So, why are we leaving? A question that I have to admit right now I ask myself daily.

Well, Montreal is the perfect home for us…. now, but long-term it just won’t be the right fit for us. The language barrier means that unfortunately our life here will always have an expiry date. When the project my husband is working on ends he will undoubtedly have the same issues as I did, meaning he is unlikely to be able to find other work in his field, without being entirely fluent in French and while our French may certainly be a lot better than when we arrived, we will never be fluent. The “Frenchness” of the city, which is partly what makes it so wonderful, is also essentially what means it can never be our forever home.

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I feel, for us, Montreal is like a fling. A short-term, fun relationship that you enjoy immensely but it’s someone you know you can’t have a long-term future with. Despite how much we love it, it is somewhere we can’t remain forever. The fire will eventually, for us, fizzle out. Calgary is different. It has the potential to be marriage material. English being the first language means that my husband has been able to secure a new post and it should give us both better opportunities career wise in the future.

It will also give us the chance to look at the big picture regarding our future and think about whether we wish to stay in Canada long term or not. We may still decide to return to Scotland in a year, or two, or five but if we do at least in Calgary it should be on our terms, because we wanted to and not because we had to, like it would end up being if we remained in Montreal.

People keep asking me if I think this is a forever move. A rather difficult question to answer when my time in Calgary thus far has been limited to around 12 hours. I genuinely don’t know. We may love it, we may hate it, but I know we’ll give it our all just like we have with our life here. However we feel about Calgary in 6 months or a years time and however much we may love our new life there, I do know that I’ll always miss Montreal.

Now that our departure date is looming, I feel like the city is doing everything it can to remind me quite how much I love it here (we had three weeks of 30+ degree weather at the end of September, I mean are you kidding me!) The place has literally never looked more beautiful, basking in the glorious sunshine as the leaves start to change colour and fall. Give me a break, this is hard enough already!

And hard it is; to leave a place you love and people you love, to start fresh somewhere new; where you know nothing and no one but each other. That isn’t easy. But you know what, the last time we did that it worked out pretty bloody great! See you in 3 weeks Calgary!

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What am I doing here?

What am I doing here? The thought that won’t stop running through my head as I sit on the couch and cry my heart out after saying goodbye to my Mum and Dad who have just left for the airport. Why am I here? Why am I choosing to live over 2000 miles away from the people who mean the most to me in the world? Why?

All rational thought is gone right now and I hate my life choices. I hate that it’s my fault that I’m having to say goodbye to them at all. I hate that it’s my fault that they’re upset. I’m the one that made the decision to leave and now the consequences of that decision are what are causing the tears to pour down my face. I know that tomorrow I’ll be more composed, probably still not happy; that will take a few days but by tomorrow I’ll be able to reign my feelings in more and remember why I am here. I’ll remember that living abroad has given me so many amazing opportunities and that I love my life in Canada. But not today.

Today, the day that they leave is awful. I held it together quite well this time. Normally I cry on the day they leave from the second my eyes open that morning but today I managed to hold it together until their Uber was ordered and they were pulling their packed suitcases into the hall before I crumbled and became a sobbing mess.

It’s never long enough. Their two-week holiday should have been plenty of time but it wasn’t, it positively flew past. A sign of what a wonderful time we had. We did and saw so much and spent so much quality time together and I know that they had a great holiday but I guess I’m just greedy because I just wasn’t ready for them to go. I’m never ready for them to go.


“You’ll see them again soon.” The most well-meaning but unhelpful platitude you can be offered at this time. The last time they left it was seven months before I next saw them. Okay, this time I actually will see them again soon, very soon in fact. I’m travelling back to the UK for a wedding in six weeks time and while there I’m planning to go back to Scotland for a few days. A very fleeting four days in which I’ll try to fit in seeing them and also all of the family and friends I haven’t seen in almost a year, but still four days is better than nothing. But right now the fact that I’ll get to see them in six weeks doesn’t help, like i know it should. Because today all I can focus on is the fact that they’re gone. That I won’t see them for the next 6 weeks and when I do it will be only for a brief few days and then I’ll not know when I’ll next see them again. I told you, today I can’t be rational.

I take this hard I know I do. I know friends here who are pretty good at the whole saying goodbye thing. I’m not one of them. I’m terrible at goodbyes,  I always have been. I hate saying goodbye to anyone. I even hate watching other people say goodbye so it’s not unfathomable how much saying bye to this, such important, pair upsets me but I do wish it was easier. I’ve written previously about homesickness and how most of the time I can rationalise my feelings of homesickness but this day, the day they leave, this is the day where the homesickness overwhelms me. Where I can’t eat, I can’t watch TV, I can’t even think straight I’m so overwhelmed by the sadness I feel that they’re gone.

A friend and fellow blogger wrote an excellent post recently about how to manage the sadness you experience as an expat when visitors leave (http://kathrynrelocated.com/stop-feeling-sad-after-visitors-leave/ ) and I will dutifully follow her tips, knowing that she’s right and they do work, and in a few days I’ll be back to my cheery self. But just not yet. Today I will wallow in my sadness (the post says that’s allowed too, I should acknowledge the sadness that I’m feeling).  So today I will cry as much as I want and feel the loss that their absence in my Canadian life, and even just in my apartment leaves. The silence kills me. It feels so quiet and empty without them here. The sadness of my dog Max, who doesn’t have to talk to show how heartbroken he is at their departure, makes it even worse, though at least I know I’m not alone in my feelings.


I have written previously of the rollercoaster of emotions that them visiting brings, tears of happiness to tears of despair in a short two weeks. I know that it is worth it. The time we shared and the memories we made were amazing but today I can’t look at pictures from the last two weeks, they make me too sad and remind me of what I’m missing. Tomorrow though I will look at them again. I will smile at the wonderful memories we made. I will count down the days until I see them again. I will make plans for the coming weeks and months. I will return to my life here, visit my favourite places, meet up with friends, do chores and carry on, making the most of our life here and remembering why we chose to move here and why we choose now more than two years on to continue living abroad. But just not today. Today I will cry and resent myself and my life choices. And hug my dog, who understands.


Two Years On….

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Two years ago; this one, the pup and I, all got on a plane to Montreal with no idea what would be waiting for us on the other side, yet with a naïve hopefulness that it would be something good. We were lucky. Or maybe we weren’t lucky, maybe it was that unfaltering optimism we had that things would be okay which meant that they were. Regardless, in Montreal we found not just a city that we love but a home and wonderful friends but more than anything we found an adventure that brought out the best in each of us and also brought us closer together as a couple. There’s been plenty of bad days too, of course there has, but for the most part they’re still very much outweighed by the good.

Two years has gone by in a heartbeat. When we first landed in Montreal and had that two year visa stapled into our passports I remember thinking that two years felt like an eternity. I suppose in some ways it has been, it’s hard to imagine a life now where we didn’t live here but in other ways it has completely flown by. The fact that today our two years are up seems unbelievable. I was so sure back then that I would be ready to return to Scotland at the end of the two years but it would seem now that that isn’t quite the case.

Our future is still uncertain and I suppose it might always be. We don’t know where we’re going to be in a year, or 5 or 10. At some stage we may just wake up one day and think, “We’re done! It was fun while it lasted but we’re ready to head back home.” Because as I’ve said before Scotland will always be home to us. Whether we return in a year, 10 years or only ever for holidays it will always be home.

For now though, despite how I anticipated two years ago I would feel at this point, we aren’t ready to leave Canada. For now, it is our home, providing us with the opportunities and quality of life that we’re looking for. Despite the difficult days, the homesickness and the days when you wish so badly you could just magic yourself back to your mum and dad’s for a cuppa, we are happy and that’s not something to take for granted in this life.  So for now we’ll be raising a glass to toast the next stage of our Canadian adventure, whatever that may be and for however long it may last.

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Ta Pies, A Little Taste of Home

Living abroad there are many things about Scotland that we miss, other than obviously our friends and family, and I have to say food items are very high up on that list. Some of this is specific items; for me, diluting juice, diet Irn-Bru, potato scones and British chocolate but others are home cooked meals that no one can make quite like family, or favourites from local eateries. Something that is definitely missed by my other half is a pie, primarily a steak pie.

A pie is very much seen as comfort food in the UK, and is something that us Brits eat on a multitude of occasions;  in winter, for Sunday dinner, New Year’s Day, it’s also perfect hangover food and it of course tastes so much better when someone else makes it for you. However it’s something you don’t really get here in Montreal, at least not in the same form as we do back home; or at least so we thought, until we discovered Ta Pies.

Located at 4520 Avenue du Parc, just off the corner of Parc and Mont Royal, Ta Pies has most definitely in recent months filled a void for us and many of our expat friends. It specialises in Australian and New Zealand cuisine but it seems that the Aussie/Kiwi version of a pie is very similar to ours back in the UK. Pie Gods we thank you!

The shop itself is small but there is a couple of tables if you’d prefer to sit in and tuck into your pie there and then. There are options to buy their pies hot, ready to heat or frozen and in small individual form or in a larger family sized pie.

When it comes to variety of pie there are so many different types that there is sure to be one to please everyone – steak, steak and Guinness, steak and cheese, steak and mushroom, butter chicken, lamb rogan josh and for the vegi’s amongst us there are 3 different options – spinach, ricotta, tomato and mushroom;  sweet potato and curried vegetable (my personal favourite) and vegetable chilli.

They also offer all the trimmings – mashed potato, mushy peas, gravy and a variety of sweet treats from Oz including lamingtons, anzac biscuits, afghan cookies, as well as my favourite the Yoyo, a shortbread cookie with a passion fruit buttercream filling.

They also stock some goodies such as Vegemite and Branston Pickle and also some Cadbury’s chocolate (the good stuff not the Canadian version).

Price wise you’re looking between $5-$6.75  for an individual pie or between $15-$18 for a family sized one. A trio of mash, mushy peas and gravy will set you back a very reasonable $4.50. Trust me though it’s all worth every penny. They get extra bonus points because they also deliver through the Just Eat app, or you can call them directly for delivery on 514-277-7437…… hello perfect Sunday dinner with zero effort required. So if like us you’re missing a little bit of British home comfort food I highly recommend you check this place out.

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Get Your Skates on (One Last Time)

The start of March in Montreal has shown us that winter is most definitely coming to an end. It slightly feels like we’re living in the twilight zone as we have very little snow left and the temperature on Wednesday reached 9 degrees! Don’t get too excited though, as if the weather reports are to be believed it could reach as cold as -30 over the next few days. However, whatever the next month may have in store for us weather wise, winter is definitely on its way out, sooner, rather than later. So, before the snow is completely gone it’s time to make the most of the few weeks of winter activities that we have left this season.

Rather controversially for living in Montreal my favourite thing to do in winter is ice skating (I know it’s expected here that this would be skiing but for me skating wins every time). Perhaps because this was a childhood favourite of mine, which despite not having done for 15 years, it turns out I still love. So time to don those skates and have one last shot on the ice, before it melts. The outdoor rinks in Montreal are scheduled to close for the season this Sunday, so this weekend really is your last shot!

There are over 100 outdoor ice rinks in Montreal (wild I know!) but there are 3 which, to me, stand out, and if you haven’t already checked these out I recommend you do so this weekend.

Beaver Lake

beaver lake ice rink 3Beaver lake (or Lac aux Castors) is located at the top of Mont Royal. However, don’t panic if you don’t feel like a walk up the mountain, or the thought of facing those stairs puts you off, (who could blame you) you can always jump on the number 11 bus from Mont Royal metro. However you choose to get there it is beautiful once you’re at the top and you won’t be disappointed seeing it in it’s winter glory. A relatively short walk from the ice rink will also take you to the lookout point giving beautiful views out over Montreal, and killing two birds with one stone (or one climb rather). There is a refrigerated section to the rink, meaning that part of the rink is open, even on the milder days (not a problem I think we’re going to have this weekend but you never know). The rink is open from 9am-10pm Friday and Saturday and from 9am – 9pm on Sunday. Skating itself is free and if you need to hire skates this is $9 for two hours, however if you have your own you can just turn up and head straight on.


Parc La Fontaine

parc la fontaine ice rink 3As my favourite place in Montreal, it’s no surprise that the ice rink in La Fontaine makes it into to the top of my list. It’s a natural rink so it is weather dependant but it was open last weekend so fingers crossed it will also be open for this final weekend (highly likely with the forecasted temperatures). Being able to ice skate in our local park is, for me, something pretty special. I’m sure to those from Montreal it’s such a normal thing to do that they don’t even give it a second thought but the first time I saw people on the ice here I was so excited as it’s so far removed from anything I’d had the opportunity to do before.  La Fontaine is a truly beautiful park in all seasons but in the snow (and despite the thaw La Fontaine is still pretty white) it’s magical and being able to skate there is, for me anyway, a total dream. Like Beaver Lake the skating here is free, and skate hire is $10 for up to 3 hours. The skate hire and rink are open 10am- 10pm while the rink is still usable.

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Old Port

old port ice rink 2The ice rink in the old port is the one that you can guarantee will definitely make it open to its end date of Sunday as it has a relatively decent sized refrigerated rink (the natural rink was closed when we went skating here last weekend and I think it’s quite unlikely, with the weather we’ve been having this week, that it will reopen by the weekend). The setting for this rink, at the Bonsecours end of the Old Port, is quite beautiful, especially at night, or even better if you can catch it as the sun is setting. Unlike the other two rinks though you do have to pay to skate here, though it is pretty reasonable, $6.95 for adults, $4.60 for kids aged 6-12 and under 6’s go free. It is also probably the best option if you are a beginner and want to be able to hold onto the barrier as the other two don’t have any barriers around the edge to cling onto, so if you’re not too sure on the ice you will need a friend/ partner for that purpose. The rink in the old port is also groomed every three hours making it a much smoother skate than the other two options. It will be open all weekend from 10am-10pm.

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Maybe by now you’ve had enough of the winter activities but if not I highly recommend checking out one of these beautiful rinks this weekend before it’s too late.

My Top Tips

  • All three rinks have an on site café where you can buy a bite to eat and a hot drink to heat you up afterwards (or as somewhere to keep the spectators warm)
  • Layering is key, clothes wise; especially if it is a cold one like we’re expecting, as skating is hot work and you’ll be surprised how quickly you heat up when actually on the ice and similarly how quickly you cool down when you come off.
  • All three rinks update their status (if they’re open and what the condition of the ice is) each day online on the sites below so check that before heading so you don’t have a wasted journey. Or call 311 for information on the rinks.

The Ville de Montreal portal page (http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=5977,94954214&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL )


  • La Fontaine’s skate hire takes cash only.
  • Take a padlock with you to store your shoes/boots/bags etc in a locker without having to pay to hire a padlock (the locker rental is free at all three rinks but they will charge you to rent a padlock if you don’t have your own)

Have fun and be sure to let me know if you check any of the rinks out!

Every time a bell rings…

One of my favourite pastimes at Christmas is escaping the cold, and in Montreal the snow; and curling up in my pyjamas, with a hot chocolate  (I have recently developed a great love for Bailey’s hot chocolate which is not remotely diet friendly but is incredibly festive), and watching a Christmas movie. This is one of the activities that I hold off on until December 1st so I am then able to savour it for the whole month of December.

There are some truly wonderful Christmas movies to choose from but I have to say that the old ones are definitely the best. In recent years there just hasn’t been the same calibre of Christmas movie. The most recent ones that I have really enjoyed include ‘Elf’, which graced our screens for the first time in 2003, still some 13 years ago. For me this is Will Ferrell at his best, a giant elf searching for his father in New York City, comedy gold.

Another wonderful Christmas film that came out the same year as ‘Elf’, is the romantic comedy ‘Love Actually’. It’s fairly cheesy but in a good way and it has a stellar cast, portraying the stories of a group of Londoners at Christmas whose stories are all interlinked but which all share the one common theme, love. I’m a sucker for a rom com so ‘The Holiday’ also gets my vote. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet both fed up with their lives and about to spend Christmas alone decide to do a house swap from LA to the English countryside and in doing so find themselves getting more than they bargained for from their agreement. It was slightly more recent, being released in 2006 but in the ten years since it’s release I’m afraid there haven’t been any that have really captured my Christmas spirit.

My all time favourite Christmas film is one of the oldest ones there is, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, telling the story of George Bailey who, falling upon bad times, contemplates suicide; only to be visited by his guardian angel who shows him what life would be like if he had never existed. It may not sound like the happiest of Christmas stories but if you haven’t seen it stick with it, I promise it’s worth it. I absolutely adore it and it’s famous quote “Every time a bell rings an angel somewhere gets their wings”. In Glasgow the GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) shows it in the run up to Christmas and I was delighted to find that a number of the cinemas in Montreal also screen it and I already have my tickets booked to go see it on the 22nd. There’s something about seeing this magical Christmas film up on the big screen that feels so festive and puts you right into the Christmas spirit. It’s also a very good way of reminding yourself of the true message of Christmas.

I didn’t actually watch It’s A Wonderful Life until I was an adult but once I did it became my firm favourite. However my other close contenders for the top spot are all ones that I watched as a child and when watching them I am magically transported back to that age again. Christmas films have a special ability to do this as they’re a little bit of magic. They undoubtedly have a happy ending (I’m the person that turns Titanic off once the boat starts to sink so I love this) and there’s usually a heartfelt, feel good message to them too. You never feel bad after watching a Christmas movie.

‘Home Alone’ and it’s New York sequel are prime examples of what makes a good Christmas film – a cute kid beating the bad guy(s) and ultimately getting their Christmas wish. ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ is another classic which I always love, where Macy’s Santa Claus, Kris Kringle helps little Susan to ‘Believe’ in Santa and the magic of Christmas. I have never actually seen the original 1947 version of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ but it is on my to watch list this year. I can’t quite believe that the remake is 22 years old this year!

There are numerous other Christmas crackers (pardon the pun) worthy of watching. The many variations of ‘A Christmas Carol’ are always worth a watch and ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’ which came out the year I was born will always be one that I watch over the festive period.

Whatever your favourite Christmas film is I hope you get the chance to enjoy it over the holidays and with it, to bring a little Christmas cheer to a cosy afternoon or evening. Don’t forget your Bailey’s hot chocolate!

Christmas Traditions

Every family has Christmas traditions, whether they’re conscious ones or not. What time of day do you open presents? Do you get dressed up on Christmas day (I mean in a nice outfit not as an elf or Santa, though maybe you do that in your family?) or do you spend the day in your jammies? What time do you eat your Christmas dinner? I bet you do these things pretty much the same every year. In my house we open our presents first thing in the morning, we get fairly dressed up and we eat dinner at 3pm…..every year!  I also bet that your family does things that are unique to it too, be it a certain film you watch on Christmas Eve, specific things you eat, the order you do things in on Christmas Day, how you spend Boxing Day; every family has their own Christmas traditions and any change to them can feel a bit unsettling. (The year my mum stopped buying the Sara Lee Double Chocolate Gateaux for Christmas dessert is still a sore point for me).

On their own these little traditions may not seem like much but it’s all these small, apparently silly things, that add up to make Christmas really feel like Christmas. As the years go on though inevitably things change. We lose people we love and with that we find an extra empty seat appearing at our Christmas table, something that can be incredibly difficult to deal with. Especially because the traditions of Christmas mean that someone’s absence is felt so hard when they are no longer there to partake in them with you. Things can change for positive reasons too. People, just like us, find an adventure that takes them away from home. And more often children grow up and get married, have their own families and make traditions of their own but the majority of the traditions we take forward into our adult lives are those that are imbedded from our own childhood.

For me the biggest of these traditions is spending Christmas Day, and in particular having Christmas dinner, with my Mum and Dad. So I am over the moon that they will be arriving here next week as this year for the first time we will be spending Christmas in Canada. This will be the first time ever that we’ve not been in Scotland for Christmas so having them here with us is very important to me. This will also be the first time that I’ve ever cooked a Christmas dinner, though how that will go still remains to be seen! We have two of our closest friends in Montreal also joining us for Christmas and I’m really looking forward to this, normally on Christmas Day we wouldn’t spend time with our friends so to have two of them with us for Christmas will be lovely.

So this year Christmas will be different. We aren’t in Scotland so some of our Christmas traditions just wont be able to happen this year. We can’t visit Mark’s family on Christmas morning and watch our niece open her presents.  I can’t go and place a wreath at my gran’s grave. I won’t get to join my friends for our annual Christmas girls day out. We won’t get to spend Boxing Day doing Christmas all over again with my wee cousin or the evening having dinner with Mark’s family. These things are all part of our yearly Christmas traditions and the fact that we won’t be able to do them this year or spend time with our other family or friends does make me sad. So yes, this year some of our traditions will change. But some will stay the same; the ones that can be transferred across the miles. And the exciting thing is we’ll also make new traditions. Ones that we can carry forward with us into future Christmases, wherever it may be that we spend them.

I know that things wont be the same this year, this will be a different type of Christmas from any we’ve had before but I hope that it will still be amazing. It’s our first Christmas in Canada and we get to celebrate it along with some of our favourite people so that seems like a pretty good start to me.


(Just a little bit in love with my Christmas tree this year!)

May the Christmas Cheer Commence!

Today is the 1st of December which in our house means it is now officially time for the Christmas fun and festivities to begin. Up until this date I purposefully avoid all signs of Christmas. I swallow back down any Christmas thoughts I have, force myself not to smile at any decorations I see and turn the channel if I see a Christmas movie is on TV. I am completely and utterly unwilling to enter into anything Christmas related until 1st December. No Christmas cheer, nothing, zilch, nada… Other than Strabuck’s Christmas drinks, that skinny gingerbread latte should be enjoyed as many times as possible while it’s here!

I’m not Scrooge, far from it; I absolutely love Christmas but I love Christmas in December. I don’t love Christmas in November, and I definitely don’t love Christmas in October….who are you people?! Starting to celebrate early, I feel, causes Christmas to lose some of it’s magic. And it is magical. For the next 25 days I will love throwing myself into everything Christmas related. But if I’d started that a month ago by now I would be losing my excitement for it, and quite possibly the will to live too!

But now that December 1st is here it’s perfectly acceptable for me to get excited and this year I am really excited. This will be our first Christmas in Canada, (we travelled back to Scotland for Christmas last year) and my parents arrive in 15 days…not that I’m counting, to join us for the holidays. Although I’m really sad at the thought of being apart from the other members of our families at Christmas and not seeing our friends over the holidays I am also so excited to spend Christmas in Montreal.


I’m excited to watch the city turn itself into a Christmas wonderland, and to visit all of the wonderful festive activities that the city has to offer over the coming month – Christmas markets, outdoor cinemas, outdoor ice skating rinks, the largest Christmas tree in Canada……I think we’re going to be busy. But most of all I’m excited to make new traditions and create some amazing memories, and maybe, if we’re very lucky, also get a white Christmas 🙂


So for now it’s time to look out the Christmas jumpers, get the mulled wine on the go, buy a tree and decorations, do our Christmas shopping, and of course eat, drink and be merry. That diet can wait till January!


The End of Autumn

Walking around Montreal today and hearing the leaves crunching under my feet there is now no doubting that autumn is packing up it’s bags and preparing to leave the city. It seems no time at all since it arrived; though actually we’ve had a rather long autumn this year, by Montreal standards. The arrival of autumn is always a little bittersweet for me as it of course signals the end of summer. We had a lovely summer and this sun worshipper was extremely sad to see the last of it. But despite this I can’t help but love autumn and what it brings.

Autumn may be one of the shorter seasons here but what it lacks in length it certainly makes up for in beauty. Instagram filters are no longer required come autumn in Montreal, the city does a sterling job of making itself quite stunning enough already. I don’t ever remember appreciating autumn when we were back in the U.K., definitely not in the way I do here. I’m not sure if this is because the seasons are so much more defined here, you can actually pinpoint the days where summer ends and autumn begins whereas back in Scotland our unpredictable weather makes the change of seasons a little more hazy. Regardless of the reasons behind it I have definitely, since moving to Montreal, became a great lover of this season.

I feel the need to constantly have my camera in my bag at the moment and I definitely take more pictures in autumn than I do at any other time of the year, as everything is just so pretty. The colours of the trees are indescribable in their vibrance, making me feel at times like I have stepped right onto a Hollywood movie set. William Cullen Bryant described it as, “Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile.” and I can’t help but agree with him.


Autumn also brings with it a different array of activities, pumpkin carving. apple picking, Halloween and as much as I adore the picnics, pool days and BBQ’s of summer there’s something quite lovely about spending an autumn afternoon wrapped up in a big cosy jumper with a hot mug of tea and your favourite book. I spend the summer months feeling that I need to make the most of every single sunny day (It’s the Scot in me, I still can’t get used to having an actual summer) so autumn for me brings with it a bit of a reprieve – ‘You don’t want to go out today? Well that’s okay you don’t have to, it’s chilly anyway. Why don’t you grab a blanket and put a boxset on?” Oh, okay autumn if you insist 🙂

I don’t spend all of my autumn days in the house though, I promise! I love nothing more on a cool and crisp day than getting wrapped up and taking a long walk, dog and camera in tow. My dog Max loves autumn as well – summer is too warm for him to walk too far and in winter he has to wear snow boots (it’s required in Montreal to protect his little paws, it’s not a fashion statement) but Max detests these boots (in his defence they do make him walk a bit like a camel so I can see his point) but these autumn days are perfect for him to go on long walks and if there’s a big pile of leaves for him to throw himself into, well, even better.

As I watch the leaves fall from the trees now and the temperature slowly start to drop a few degrees (we’ve been very lucky with how mild November has been so far) I am very aware that winter is just around the corner and with it a large dusting of snow and sub zero temperatures will come. Winter is a magical time in Montreal and I’m really excited for it (you can tell I’m still relatively new to the city as the novelty hasn’t worn off yet) but for now I’m going to cling onto autumn as long as possible, as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to it just yet.