Solo Female Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Category: North America Page 1 of 6

Banff in the summer

So yesterday I took a day trip to Banff National Park. Just an hour and a half’s drive from Calgary. We picked the perfect day for it – glorious sunshine and blue skies!

For those of you who don’t know too much about Banff, it’s located in Alberta’s rocky mountains (also known as the ‘Canadian Rockies’) and is the oldest national park in Canada. The rocky mountain peaks surround the picture-perfect mountain town of Banff, which is filled with quaint boutiques, gift shops and eateries.

We arrived in Banff around 11am and decided to take the gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain. At the top, we got to enjoy 360° views of the national park. Truly stunning! There was comfy seating and we packed a small picnic to enjoy whilst admiring the views, a good way to avoid paying touristy prices in the restaurant there!

We then spent some time wandering around the tourist shops in the town of Banff, stopping halfway for a beer at a lovely rooftop bar!

Rooftop bar!

After that, we grabbed an early supper at a ‘cheap and cheerful’ diner and then headed over to a cute bakery/candy store for bear claws! What a fabulous day!

White bear claw!

travelwithkay xo

My Decadent Boston Brownies

It took me a long time to perfect this recipe! Even though brownies are one of those baked goods that most people can easily bake, I’ve also come across some bad ones (too dry…too cakey…too dense etc.).

Follow my recipe for easy, extra-chocolatey decadent brownies! Brownies are super versatile. You can play around with what chocolate chips you want to use…semi-sweet, extra dark, white…whatever! Or maybe you want to swirl in some peanut butter? Or M&M’s?! My recipe uses walnuts but you could substitute the walnuts with others nuts, e.g. macadamia nuts.

I find a lot of brownie recipes use a refined caster sugar. I prefer to use a dark soft brown sugar…this gives them a more ‘fudgy’ taste and make them super moist!

For a dinner party, I like to serve them with fresh crème Chantilly and raspberries!

Ingredients; 115g dark chocolate (I like to use a good-quality chocolate that’s 75% or above)
225g unsalted butter
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups soft dark brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips (I like to do half milk and half dark)
Icing sugar (optional)

Grease and line a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 165°c.
Using a large heat-proof bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and add the sugar. Allow to cool slightly.

Using either a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, whisk the eggs and vanilla together until light and pale in colour. Gradually add to the cooled chocolate mix. Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes.

When the brownies are cool, cut into squares and dust with icing sugar.

travelwithkay xo

‘One-way’ ticket: the UK to Calgary, Alberta

Hello to all my readers! Hope you’re all having a fabulous day. I apologize for the lack of posting for the last couple of months. No excuse other than the fact that life got in the way!

So it’s been almost two weeks that I’ve been living in Calgary! For those of you reading who don’t actually know me, I’ll take this as an opportunity to introduce myself again; I’m Kay. 25 year-old travel lover and pastry chef!

Wrapped up warm in the Canadian winter!

Calgary is a city situated in the western province of Alberta, Canada. Nearby is the city of Edmonton, Banff, the Canadian Rockies. Even though Calgary is not the capital of Alberta, it’s the biggest city with a population of over a million.

I was staying in a lovely, spacious self-catering 2 bedroom apartment (similar style to an ‘Air Bnb’). I felt I needed a bit of luxury for the first couple of weeks! Unfortunately, it was far too expensive to stay in for any longer than the initial two weeks so I have just moved in to an apartment downtown (west end) that I share with a lovely couple in their early 30’s.

I could have afforded to rent an apartment by myself but it would have been further away from the city centre and just in general, not a great location.

Instead I chose to pay a little more to rent a spacious room, with a private bathroom in a condo downtown. I’m incredibly lucky that I managed to find a place twice the size of an average apartment here in such a good location. The complex has a 24-hour ‘doorman’ and the amenities include a heated pool, sauna, fitness room and more!

My initial apartment
Hot coffee in this weather is a blessing!

I’ve done a lot of walking since I’ve been here, trying to learn my way around. Like many Canadian (and also American) cites, the streets are on a ‘grid’. So you have numbered streets one way and numbered avenues the other way. So for example, my apartment is located between 8th St SW and 8th Ave SW. Simple! Needless to say, it makes it so easy to learn your way around.

I went to check out the library two days ago. Named ‘Calgary Central Library’. It apparently cost around $250 million to build and it was built by an American-Norwegian architecture. It’s amazing! My only criticism would be that because it’s only a year old, it doesn’t have much character in comparison to older libraries!

Inside the library – very modern!
Library exterior

If you’re ever in Calgary, I would recommend visiting ‘Kawa Espresso Bar’. A lovely coffeehouse located in the South West (just off of 17th Ave). I went there on my first full day here and loved it. Friendly, welcoming staff and recommended some delicious sounding meals to me. The server very kindly let me pick something off the breakfast menu even though it was 3pm! I went for toasted sourdough topped with sliced avocado, poached eggs and tomato concasse…washed down with a cup of good, strong coffee.

My delicious brunch at Kawa!

A couple of days after I arrived, I went to visit ‘Lougheed House’. An historic home in Calgary, built in the late 1800’s! It’s located in the ‘Beltline’ district. Especially great to go and see if you don’t have a lot of time in Calgary, as it only takes around 30-40 mins to walk around the whole house. Senator James Alexander Lougheed built the mansion for his family.

Lougheed House
Lougheed House – the lounge area
Lougheed House – entrance hall

travelwithkay xo

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