Kamloops Wine Trail : The next BC wine destination

Kamloops has a special place in my heart for multiple reasons. Last month, when I discovered award-winning wineries in Kamloops, 20 minutes from downtown, I was ecstatic! Another reason to love this beautiful town, about 3.5 to 4 hours away from Vancouver!

There are 4 wineries in Kamloops, and I was able to visit 3 that were in close proximity to each other. It was actually our 7 year wedding anniversary and what better way to celebrate than sipping on local wine.

Sagewood Winery This was the first winery we visited and it quickly became one of my favorites. This is a family owned estate winery and when we got there the tasting room was packed! Once we got inside, we knew why! We had one of the best Rieslings we have ever had here. My hubby who usually stays away from the sweeter wines was immediately taken aback by the Riesling. Needless to say, it was definitely added to our Must Buy list. They currently do not sell in Vancouver, so you will have to visit them in Kamloops.

Harper’s Trail Winery was the first winery to open up in Kamloops. The setting is a picturesque vineyard, beautiful rolling hills, and open patio, to enjoy a glass or two of vino. They also produce Canada’s double gold award-winning Cabernet Franc! Their Rose’ was also amazing. We definitely grabbed some wine here. We also took advantage of the picnic tables on the property and took some beautiful insta worthy pictures!

Monte Creek Ranch I saved the best for last! Monte Creek Ranch is a working ranch overlooking the mighty Thompson River! The area is rich with history and the views from the patio were spectacular! They also have a restaurant in the patio where we were able to enjoy a delicious meal and the view. There 2017 Sparkling Reserve was one of a kind. It tasted like an expensive champagne, the right amount of bubbles and punch. I would love to grab just a box of that!

So there you have it! If you are looking for a wine tasting experience without driving too far from Vancouver, add Kamloops to your list of wine destinations!

I cannot wait to be back in Kamloops soon!

Please note this is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are based on my experience.

PS: Follow me on Instagram @husna_theaccidentalmommy I take pictures of food, coffee art, my daughter and pretty Vancouver scenery

Family Friendly Things to do in Kamloops, British Columbia

My husband and I have been visiting Kamloops, BC for around 5 years. Over the years a lot of friends and family have always asked me why Kamloops and why not Kelowna or Osoyoos.

Kamloops has always had a special place in my heart. When hubby and I got together, we wanted to do some mini road trips and Kamloops was one of the first places we visited. Surprisingly, we were amazed at how short of a drive it is from Vancouver (3.5 to 4 hours) and how we always had a great time. We also announced our pregnancy to the world while in Kamloops!

Over the year’s, we have found some great activities to do, especially for a family with a toddler. Here is a list of our fav activities to do while in Kamloops:

Hiking: Rj and I are not big hikers but we found a trail with beautiful views that we could take the stroller up to on our last visit. We went to Kenna Cartwright Park with Zara on our last trip and she loved it. It was not a super long hike, but the view was amazing.

Pre-baby we have also been to Peterson park which is a bit more rugged.

Both of these are dog friendly.

Here is a list of all the places to hike.

Kamloops Wine trail: Yes finally Kamloops has wineries! There are 4 wineries in total and the earliest one opened up in 2012. I will be writing a separate post on my experience at the wineries, so watch out for it!

BC Wildlife Park– This was our favorite part of the trip. The BC Wildlife Park is a not for profit park and all the animals are usually rescued or injured and unable to survive in the wild. The animals have large enclosures and looked very well cared for. We saw Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Moose, Camels, and even goats. There is a playground and even a water park. There is also a volunteer-run mini train inside the park that takes you around. You can easily spend a full day here. The cost is around $15 and kids under 3 are free. If you have the Entertainment Coupon book, you can get in for, 2 for 1. This was definitely a highlight of our trip.

Have you been to Kamloops? What is your favorite activity to do in Kamloops?

Please note this is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are based on my experience.

PS: Follow me on Instagram @husna_theaccidentalmommy I take pictures of food, coffee art, my daughter and pretty Vancouver scenery

Why Vacations are good for your soul

When was the last time you laid in a hammock for two hours, sipping a mimosa reflecting on what you are doing with your life?

Are you happy? Do you feel fulfilled or are you going through the motions?

Vacations for me has always been the perfect time to contemplate and reflect on my life. You need to get rid of the distractions of daily life to truly do this.

When you aren’t thinking of dishes, laundry, and planning meals, your mind frees itself to think about what really matters: YOU

Listening to the waves crashing, the seagulls cackling, and the salty wind blowing through your hair, really opens up your heart and your soul. Close your eyes, think of things that make you happy, are you doing any of that in your ’real’ life?

The point here is once you can remove yourself from your daily burdens, the hope is your mind can look for deeper answers to your life’s journey. Because isn’t that what we are all on this earth for? To look for answers. To look for a purpose. To look for happiness.

This part is easier said than done. The even tougher part is making a plan to change things when you get back to reality.

And at the end of the day that might not happen. Change is hard and it’s scary. When you are lying in a hammock everything seems feasible. And that’s ok. When things get tough its time to book another vacation and reflect on what matters most.

When is your next trip?

PS: Follow me on Instagram @husna_theaccidentalmommy I take pictures of food, coffee art, my daughter and pretty Vancouver scenery

Why we vacation as a family and you should too

Traveling with a toddler can be challenging and trying at times. Listening isn’t something my toddler does best. And you never know how she is going to react on a plane ride (I will be writing a post with some tips), or if she is going to refuse to eat any food while we are away.

But I still think traveling as a family is important. It doesn’t matter if it is road trip for the long weekend, or a week long holiday outside the country. Here is why:

  1. Relax as a family– Vacation momma and Dadda are fun and relaxed. It’s good for your child to see you at your best, and you are at your best when you are not worrying about alarms, daycare drop-offs, and what to make for dinner. Stay out late, play in the sand longer and have that ice cream! Let your child see you throw out those rules.
  2. Make memories– Life is busy and day to day all you focus on is getting through the day to bedtime. Is their time to make memories? Not really. You try to cram that into the weekend and even then it’s tough. But on vacation that’s all you focus on- making memories as a family. When you are old and most likely cranky, you aren’t going to want to remember the dinners you cooked every night, but what you will remember is the time your daughter played in the pool all day with you. This is what makes life worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the day to day crap, but I am not going to lie and tell you I enjoy it. Who does?
  3. Travel opens up the world for your child: They become aware that there is whole other world outside of their world. My hope is that this will take her out of her comfort zone, and challenge her to explore. I want my daughter to experience other cultures, languages, and food.
  4. Footage of embarrassing your child as an adult: Take tons of pictures so you can embarrass your child when they get older! Take that naked bum picture in the sand, to hopefully add to the wedding slideshow! Vacations are a great way to capture those embarrassing moments that your child doesn’t want you to take pictures of as an adult.

Do you travel as a family? I would love to hear your reasons for vacationing with kids and tips you have.

Happy Travels!

PS: Follow me on Instagram @husna_theaccidentalmommy I take pictures of food, coffee art, my daughter and pretty Vancouver scenery

My favourite places to go for a Staycation in Vancouver with a baby

The long weekend is coming up pretty soon and the weather forecast calls for SUN! It is very tempting to go away on a road trip during the long weekend, but unfortunately it isn’t always easy or financially possible to go away, especially when you have a little one. And I am sure no one is excited about tackling the dreaded long weekend traffic. Staycations are the next best thing and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Another bonus is you get to sleep in your own bed! Today I am going to share my favourite places in Vancouver that are perfect for Staycations. 

  1. Trout Lake:  Vancouver is a beautiful city and we are blessed with parks and beaches without having to drive too far. Trout lake is an oasis in the middle of the city. They have an amazing farmers market every Saturday that has everything from organic veggies, organic eggs and meat, coffee, food trucks and sometimes wine tastings! If you are not a farmers market kind of person (who isn’t though!), they also have a sandy beach and multiple playgrounds. There is also a dog friendly beach area, where your pooch can take a dip in the lake. If you need to take refuge from the sun, there is a community center at the lake, with a new coffee shop called Carousel that has great coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and gelato that is open till 6pm. And parking is free!
  2. Steveston Village : Steveston Village is located in Richmond, BC and is a short drive from the city. It is one of my favourite places to spend the day. You can grab a bite at one of the multiple restaurants and cafes in Steveston. My favourite is Sockeye City and Pajos Fish and Chips. Recently we visited the The Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum. It was an amazing experience to witness a part of BC history. They have a great little kids play area that Zara loved. Also, as part of Canada’s 150th birthday, entry is free. How great is that!
  3. Queen Elizabeth Park: We got married at Queen Elizabeth park so I am biased, but I love this park. The grounds are breathtaking and perfect for family photo shoots. There are also  beautiful views of the entire city as it is located at the highest point in the city. Another gem is the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth park. It is home to 120 free flying exotic birds and 500 exotic plants. Admission for adults is $6.50 and kids under 3 are free. You can’t beat that price! In addition to the bird conservatory, there is also pitch and putt and a tennis court. If you get hungry, I love the Seasons in the Park restaurant. Get a seat on the patio and grab a drink and take in the views of the city.  You won’t regret it! 

We are very lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. So take advantage of it and plan a staycation in Vancouver this summer. 

Trout Lake
One of the playgrounds at Trout lake. It’s a large sandpit.
We love watching the ducks at Trout Lake

Play area at Cannery Museum
Play area at Cannery Museum
Sockeye City- Drinks on the patio
Steveston Village – walking along the Dyke.

Bloedel Conservatory
Bloedel Conservatory – just taking a walk and admiring the scenery
Watching the birds eat at the Conservatory
View from Seasons in the Park

Vacationing with a baby: Part 4: How to ‘do an all inclusive’ like a pro

All inclusive vacations are awesome when you have a little one. For me the biggest thing I am looking for on vacation is to rest my brain. I don’t want to think about groceries, laundry, breakfast, lunches and drinks. If I did I would just stay home! We have been on three different all inclusive trips to different parts of Mexico since Zara was born. Over the past 2 (almost 2) years of traveling with Zara I have learnt a thing or two about how to ‘do an all inclusive ‘ with a baby.  Here are my tips:

  1. Get direct flights: Yes sometimes it’s cheaper to get connecting flights. And yes sometimes it doesn’t look that bad with an hour or two layover. Trust me when I say it is not worth it. We took one trip, where we had an hours stop over on a return flight. Zara was 9 months. It was pretty stressful. So keep things simple and say no layovers!
  2. Book a resort close to the airport: Out of the three all inclusive resorts we stayed at, the last one was 10 min from the airport. It made a huge difference. When we got to the resort we felt like we didn’t lose a day traveling. We were also able to have a pretty quick and smooth ride back to the airport on our return.
  3. Book a small resort: This is pretty crucial with kids. You don’t want to spend all your time walking to the beach or lunch and dinner. You just want to get there. You also want to be close enough so you can run to the room if you need anything. 
  4. Kids club:This is a must have. The first two resorts we went to had kids clubs, but Zara was too young to go. The last resort had a kids club and babies club. I checked the ages and reviews before we went and parents raved about the care. Zara had a safe fun place to go for a couple of hours, so that mommy and daddy could relax on the beach.
  5. How to eat at the buffet– A lot of people complain about the food at all inclusive resorts. I have a tip for this. Go for the fresh grill stations. Every all inclusive resort I have been to has them. Also, do not be tempted to fill your plate with everything. Pick a couple of items. You are going to be there for at least a week so you don’t want to get bored with the food.
  6. Room with a view and patio: I have mentioned this in my previous post. Pay the extra money and get a room with a view. On the last trip we spent a lot of time hanging out on the patio with a cider/wine at the end of the night while Zara was sleeping. 

I would love to hear what tips worked for you mommas on an all inclusive vacation. Please feel free to share my post and comment below. 

Next week I will be doing a review of the all inclusive resort we stayed at on our last trip. Stay tuned! 

Happy Vacationing! 

Vacationing with a baby Part 3: The 4 must haves to pack when leaving the country with a baby

Last week I talked about how to have a ‘real relaxing’ vacation with kids. This week I am going to share with you what I pack when I am leaving the country. Sometimes being away from home makes it harder to relax because you are away from the comforts of home. I am also a worry wart and tend to play worst case scenarios in my head. So to cope with my anxiety I try to be ‘extra’ prepared. I have had people laugh at me for packing certain things when I travel. But these things have saved me more than once. So today I am sharing with you my top 4 must haves when I travel outside the country. 

  1. Medication– Before I travel I always make a doctors appointment and let them know I am traveling. I ask for prescriptions for any common ailments. When you are traveling with a baby, the number one common ailment is ear infections. I get a prescription for antibiotics for ear infection before I leave. At the pharmacy I let them know that I will be traveling and the medication is for emergency use. The pharmacist is able to give me the medication in powder form as well as a bottle of distilled water. If you need to use it, you just mix it and use it. My doctor recommended that I carry this with me when I fly outside the country. The first couple of times I flew outside the country I did not have to use this. However this last time, I actually ended up using the medication and it was a life saver! In addition to this I also always carry baby Tylenol or baby Advil. 
  2. Pack and play: The first two times we travelled, outside the country we did not take our pack and play with us. We were in Mexico both times and were able to get them at the resorts we stayed at. These pack and plays were pretty worn out. However this last time I brought it with me and it was so much better. Babies like familiar spaces. Zara loved sleeping in her own pack and play. Bonus, you can also check in a pack and play for free as a baby item when you fly. 
  3. Stroller: We have a City mini GT stroller and we love it. It is great on all terrain and folds flat. I have flown with it 4 times. I thought about buying an umbrella stroller just for traveling, but this stroller is so handy and has a little basket which is big enough for a small dog ( my 20 pound pug rides in it). It also has a recline feature and Zara was able to nap in it while we were out for a stroll. So a stroller is definitely a must have for me when I fly outside the country. It is also free to gate check.
  4.  Playtex bottles with liners: If your baby is still taking a bottle, Playtex bottles with liners are great to travel with. The liners are sterilized and  you don’t have to worry about washing bottles. This is especially a concern if you are in a country where tap water is unsafe to drink. This way all you do is rinse the nipple with bottled water and some dish soap. And now you have more time to relax by the pool! 

Tune in next week for Vacationing with a Baby Part 4: How to ‘do’ an all inclusive like a pro. 

I would love to hear what is in your bags mommas. Happy Vacationing! 

Ps- I am posting some vacations pictures below from our most recent trip to Peurto Vallarta. I will be writing a blog post about our trip soon.