How to Recycle Yarn

This is a guest post from Julie Crawford, and previously appeared on knittedbliss.com. We loved it so much we asked to repost it here so that Eucalan fans can learn all these important tricks for recycling yarn!

How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

I don’t often do tutorials, but I have recently learned SO MUCH about how to reuse yarn from a knit that I had to share it with you guys. In particular because I’ve finally decided to turn my Delineate Tank into a Manzanilla Sweater, using the Spirit Trail Fiberworks yarn that I loved so much the first time around. I had almost two full skeins leftover from the original project, so this sweater will be a mix of unused yarn AND recycled yarn, which will have its own considerations. First, let’s recycle the yarn.

Types of yarn- the ‘stickier’ a yarn is, the harder it is to rip back. if there is any mohair or angora in it, it will be cling to the stitches, and not want to be easily undone. It can still be done, but you’ll need to go more slowly.

You will need:

  • the knit
  • wool wash (my favourite is Eucalan)
  • a crochet hook or blunt tapestry needle
  • some waste yarn
  •  a sink
  • a towel

A note about the wool wash, in case you are wondering why I’m declaring Eucalan as my fave: I’ve tried other kinds, but I always come back to Eucalan because I get a lot of product for the price, which means more washes. It’s totally biodegradable and made with natural ingredients, and I also really like that the cap and top of bottle seem to magically stay clean and never get gummed up or sticky. My favourite scents are Pink Grapefruit and Jasmine Wrapture, but I’m using classic Eucalyptus scent for this tutorial.

Step 1

If you look closely at your hems and where you bound off, and pull a bit at the fabric, you will be able to see the tiny tail of where the ends were woven in. You can use a crochet hook or a blunt tapestry needle to begin pulling it loose, until you can then undo the cast off. If at any point prior to this you can’t find the end or the knot you pulled when you cast off was so tight there’s no way you’ll undo it, then you can always get some scissors and snip out the cast on edge.

How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

Step 2

Start pulling. You may need to pause now and then, especially with flat knitting, as the sides tend to be a bit stickier.

How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

As the yarn comes away, you will need to wrap it into a ball. If you have a yarn swift you can attach the loose end to the swift and unwind the sweater that way. But you can also just use your hand, like this:

How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

You will need to make a new ball for each section of yarn that you have. So, as you are winding and come to the end of the skein in the knit, put that ball aside and start a new one with the new end that you find.

Step 3:

Once you have unwound and have all the balls of crinkly, ramen-noodle style yarn, you will need to get it ready for a bath. You can use a swift if you have one, but I used the backs of two chairs, one of which had the high chair on it. And it had so much crusted baby food and weird stains that I couldn’t bear to snap a photo. So, it should look like the photo in this link, where the chairs are clean. Then, using the waste yarn, loosely tie 2-3 sections of it to keep all the strand of yarn corralled together. This will be very important for keeping the yarn from becoming a snarled mess later on. It will look like this:

How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

Step 4:

Bath time! Pour a capful of Eucalan into a sink filled with warm (not hot) water. Immerse the yarn.How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

You want to ensure that the yarn is fully saturated, and not floating on the surface. Push it down until it’s absorbed a fair quantity of water, and let it sit for about half an hour to help the fibers get fully relaxed. After 20 minutes, take a look at the yarn – is it still a bit crinkly? Then it needs more time. Continue soaking. If it’s relaxed, then drain the water (no need to rinse), squeeze out the excess water gently, and roll in a towel to remove more of the water. Hang to dry away from heat or light, a shower is a good place for this.

Step 5:

You can then wind your yarn into a ball, or into a hank, both are shown below. Here is a 1 min video showing how to wind your yarn into a hank (the long one that looks like a pastry), which is ideal if you aren’t going to be using it right away.

How to Recycle Yarn | Eucalan.com

Hedgehog is just for visual interest. I was trying to get one of the cats to lay beside it, but when was the last time a cat did anything you wanted it to do?

Now, before you dive into your knit, if you have a mix of yarn you have recycled AND yarn that hasn’t been used (like me!), then you want to keep the following in mind. I would like to give a big shout out of thanks to Celeste, a previous commentor who emailed with me about this, and had wonderful tips to share.

  1. Cotton and acrylic might not change a lot in the process above, but wool, wool blends (and alpaca) can stretch a little or a lot.
  2. It could also have stretched a bit, if you hung your washed yarn up to dry, rather than laid it flat.
  3. Once a yarn is washed, it plumps up, filling in the space between fibers. Unwashed yarn won’t have done this yet. So you know that this will affect your….
  4. Gauge!! You will need to do a gauge swatch in both your washed yarn AND your unwashed yarn to compare, and see if there is any difference. There could be a very big difference, and you want to know before investing a sweater’s worth of time into a knit.

Then Celeste also suggested this brilliant step:

“Another way to do a quick check is to lay the two yarns parallel to each other. You likely won’t see a difference in thickness. If you do, then it’s a sure sign. What you’d want to look for is the twist of plies of the yarn. If you lay a ruler next to them count the times the plies curve over the yarn in 4″/10cm segment (like a swatch the larger the measurement the greater accuracy). Then do the same for the second yarn. If they match up perfectly you can choose where to go from there.”

Genius, right? So if your yarn is showing a difference, then simplest solution is to wash all of it, both the used and unused yarn. If it is treated the same way and more likely to behave the same from one skein to the next.

There you have it! How to reuse your wonderful, precious yarn. If you’ve invested all that time into creating a knitted piece, it should be something you love to wear. If it isn’t (once you have completed the 6 emotional stages of frogging a project) and you love the yarn, why not give it a new lease on life? You might knit something you can’t live without this time!

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Caring for Vintage Table Linens

 

Caring for Vintage Table Linens | Eucalan.com

It’s that time of year- the leaves are changing and Thanksgiving is coming, both in Canada and the United States. Soon we will begin thinking about pulling out of storage the precious table linens, those heirloom tablecloths and embroidered linen or cotton napkins. Treasured linens don’t do anyone  any good slumbering away in a cupboard or a closet- use them and enjoy them! If you are fortunate to have some vintage pieces, it can be tricky to know how to care for them.  But here we have a step-by-step guide on caring for your vintage pieces so that your table looks lovely and fresh, even when the linens are decades (or possibly a century!) old.

Caring for Vintage Table Linens | Eucalan.com

  • Pull out the pieces and take a close look at them. Sometimes it can be hard to notice food stains until they begin to yellow with age, and sadly those stains have usually been set in quite firmly when ironed.  Some light colouring on vintage linens is normal, and with some dim, candlelit lighting would hardly be noticeable. If you find the stains are too severe, consider tea dying them – they will still be beautiful, and the stains won’t be nearly as noticeable. But if they just need a refresh, keep reading!

Caring for Vintage Table Linens | Eucalan.com

  • Wash the linens – all the table cloths, placemats, and napkins – that you are planning on using. Fill a clean sink with tepid water and a capful of Eucalan in your favourite scent.  If they have some stubborn spots that have not been set with an iron already, let soak for an hour. If the fabric can handle it, gently scrub with a cloth or a soft bristled toothbrush. If the fabric is more delicate, consider using a Eucalan stain treating towelette to help get the marks out.
  • Hang items to dry somewhere away from sunlight (which can cause yellowing). Once dry, inspect closely to see if there are any other marks that need another wash. Repeat washing if you think that they need a bit more work, and you can add full strength Eucalan to the stains and let soak again. Do not iron until you are comfortable with how they look.

Caring for Vintage Table Linens | Eucalan.com

  • Once you feel that they are looking their best, iron them. Make sure the surface of your iron is clean, and use a spray bottle to spray the fabric’s surface to ensure a smooth finish. Adjust heat settings as necessary for moving between cotton, linen, and lace. Be extra careful with lace sections and embroidery. If your piece has any applique, use a light heat setting, in case the applique is made from polyester or other man-made fabrics. We recommend using a white pressing cloth to protect delicate fibers.

Caring for Vintage Table Linens | Eucalan.com

  • Set out your table and enjoy! And remember, once your meal is finished, don’t let the linens sit too long with fresh marks on them before washing them again. Keep some Eucalan stain treating towelettes on hand to spot treat any fresh marks during or immediately after the meal, and wash them as soon as you can to prevent further stains on your vintage linens.

Caring for Vintage Table Linens | Eucalan.com

Looking for inspiration on how dress your table beautifully for Thanksgiving? We have a great Pinterest board full of stunning ideas!

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How to Pack Light When Traveling with Kids

This is a guest post from Julie Crawford, of knittedbliss.com. She recently took a trip and tried out our Getaway Gang!

How to Pack Light Traveling with Kids | Eucalan.comTraveling with small kids can strike fear into the heart of even the most stalwart of travelers, but I recently did just that –  I took a two week trip to England and Spain with my husband, 4-year-old daughter, and 9-month-old son, and we only packed two small suitcases. Spain was hot, and England was chilly – none of the clothes we wore in England were worn in Spain, and vice versa.

The secret? Packing strategically and washing things as we traveled.

Traveling with Kids & Eucalan Getaway Gang | knittedbliss.com

If you are going to do any traveling (especially with kids!), you need Eucalan’s Getaway Gang. It contains 10 packets of no-rinse wash, 6 stain treating towelettes, one emery board, and a little sewing kit for emergencies (even tiny scissors!).

Eucalan Getaway Gang

I took some of the stain treating towelettes, the emery board, and the sewing kit (minus the scissors, as airport security can be pretty strict) in my carry on. And I was glad I did, since I got chocolate milk on me in the departure lounge, before even getting on the plane:

Getaway Gang | eucalan.com

Possibly light grey pants were not the best travel outfit choice. But the stain towelette did the job, and took away the worst of the chocolate milk. All that was left (other than a damp spot, which needed to dry) was the faintest mark, hardly visible during the rest of the journey. Once I took them off and washed them completely, it was like it never even happened.

Packing Your Carry On: Tips

  • Don’t just throw the pouch with all your Eucalan goodies into your checked bag! Take out at least 2 stain treating towelettes (3 if you’ve got kids with you), the emery board, and the sewing kit (if you have to leave the scissors in your checked bag, that’s okay).
  • Pack a lightweight change of clothes in your carry on not only for the kids, but for yourself – take it from my husband, who had the misfortune of being vomited on by another kid (and not one of our own, another little one who didn’t make it to the washroom in time.)
  • Pack a plastic bag for serious messes. Because even if the above hadn’t happened,  the baby had a crazy diaper situation and required a full wardrobe change mid flight.  I just bagged up the offending outfit and washed it when we got to our destination.
  • Antibacterial wipes- this is the only time I use them. When we first get to our seats, I wipe down the armrests, the trays, everything around us. Not just because the baby will inevitably end up chewing on an armrest, but because you know that they don’t ever really wipe down the surfaces of the plane between flights.

As for packing light, I only packed 4 outfits for each country for each person (except the baby – he had some extras ), which meant that me, my husband, and my 4 year old had a total of 8 outfits: 4 for cool weather, and 4 for hot weather. We also packed lightweight waterproof jackets (England was indeed rainy!).  Each outfit was chosen for it’s ability to be worn with everything else packed for that climate  – shirts had to match all the shorts that were packed, light sweaters and cool weather clothes had to be able to mix and match. This meant that you could recombine pieces for a lot of variety, even though very little was brought for each person.

In England we were staying with family, in Spain we stayed in hotels and then a rented apartment in Barcelona.  Having regular access to a washing machine makes it a lot easier to pack less, but having fewer items means that you also don’t have full loads of laundry very often, even with 4 people. Sink washing certain items just made sense, as I could do it in the morning and things would often be dry by the following morning:

Getaway Gang | eucalan.com

The baby sleepers in particular seemed to need far more frequent washing than anything else- not that surprising, as babies are pretty messy!

Getaway Gang | eucalan.com

In England, the laundry detergent they had was so harsh and really overly fragranced that I ended up rewashing the first load in Eucalan. It got out the strong perfume smell of the previous detergent. In Spain, I wasn’t about to go and buy laundry detergent, so I used Eucalan in the washing machine and everything came out perfectly:

Traveling with Kids & Eucalan Getaway Gang | eucalan.com

We are already talking about another trip again next summer- but this time if we go to different places, we will try to choose ones with a similar climate!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tutorial: How to Wash a Yoga Mat

Pop quiz: when was the last time you washed your yoga mat? Even if you only use your mat occasionally, it’s probably been a while – if at all – since you washed it.

How to wash a yoga mat with Eucalan

Now is a great time of year to wash your mat and give a clean start for fall. On today’s blog post, we’ll show you how easy it is to wash your mat with Eucalan, plus give you a handy tip for keeping it sanitized after each use.

Eucaluptus Eucalan is a great choice for cleaning your Eucalan.

First,  gather your supplies. You’ll need your favourite scent of Eucalan (we recommend Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, or our Jasmine scented Wrapture, which all feature essentials oils and are naturally antiseptic). We also recommend using a wash cloth or soft scrub brush if your mat is in need of deep clean.

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Fill your bathtub about 1/3 of the way with tepid water and add 5mL/1 tsp of Eucalan per 4L/1G of water. Place your yoga mat in the water; depending on the size of your yoga mat and bath tub, it may be a bit of a squeeze, but do the best you can! Once you have successfully submerged your mat,  scrub the surface with cloth or brush. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes, flip mat over to scrub other side, and soak for 5-10 minutes more.

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Remove mat from water and gently squeeze to remove excess water – you may be surprised with how much water your mat has absorbed in the process!

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Allow your mat to dry away from sunlight – we prefer to hang ours outdoors to dry naturally.

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In between deep cleans, you can use a spray bottle filled with water and a small amount of Eucalan to wipe down your mat and keep it sanitized after each use.

Namaste!

Season Shift: Transitioning your Knitwear from Summer to Fall

Seasonal shift: Summer to Fall | Eucalan.com

With the changing of seasons, much of our summer wardrobe will be set aside and our fall and winter clothes will make a comeback.  Most people either have their clothes in their closets year round regardless of the weather, while others pack  things away when the seasons shift. Regardless of your storage preference, it’s worth taking some time to properly care for the clothes that you probably won’t wear again for another six months.

Caring for Knits | eucalan.com

Moths are a harsh reality for some. Even if you have never had any, there’s always a chance they could happen. As it’s extremely difficult to get rid of moths once they discover your closet, preventative care is really worth it.  If you store out-of-season clothes somewhere outside of your home (for example,  a garage, shed, or storage locker), you will definitely want to use storage containers that are airtight and cannot easily be opened by temperature shifts or even clever critters.

To Prep your Summer Clothes:

  1. Gather together all the clothes that you are unlikely to wear until next spring.
  2. Wash everything. For your summer dresses, swimsuits, blouses, and any other specialty fabric you might only wear in the summer, wash with Eucalan.  Spot treat any stains or marks.
  3. Make sure everything is dry before returning it to your closet, or store in air-tight storage containers. Vacuum seal storage bags can also be great for this. If hanging items, do not hang any heavy long sleeved items, as the hangers will leave dents in the shoulders when hung for a long period of time.

What about those fall and winter clothes you are about to revisit? Chances are, they are wrinkly and looking tired, possibly even showing food or drink spots you never knew were there, if you forgot to clean them before setting them aside for half of the year.  Sweaters in particular can look rather rumpled after being in storage, and benefit from having their fibers plumped through washing. Time to get them looking fresh and ready to wear for fall!

To Review your Fall/Winter Clothes:

  1. Pull out anything you haven’t worn in the last 6 months from your closet or storage containers.
  2.  If there are any items that don’t fit well or you don’t love anymore, put them aside to donate to a local charity.
  3.  For the remaining sweaters and clothes,  wash gently with your favourite scent of Eucalan. Lay them flat to dry, reshaping your knits if necessary.

Now you are ready to wear your beautiful fall clothes! Knowing that they look their best should help take some of the sting out of the fact that summer is on its way out.

The photos in this post are all from our Eucalan Instagram account. If you haven’t taken a look at what we’re sharing, you’re missing out! We also often repost from other beautiful Instagram accounts when they are using Eucalan, too. You just might find your new favourite feed!

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Tutorial: How to Wash a Stuffed Toy with A Battery Pack

 

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

When your child falls in love with a special toy, they drag it with them wherever they go! They don’t just cuddle and play with their favourite soft toys, they often use their stuffed toy as a napkin or a tissue. If you are lucky enough that the toy is machine washable, you can easily keep it clean by convincing your child that their beloved stuffed animal needs a ‘bath’ now and then, just like they do.  But what do you do when the toy your child loves best has an electronic, non-removable battery pack? How do you wash it?

Stuffed toys with non-removable electronics are increasingly common, so that they can play music or ‘talk’ to your child when certain parts of them are squeezed, like a paw or a foot.  But if you put this kind of toy into a washing machine (or even a tumble dryer), the damage to the electronics is usually swift and permanent.  But today, we’re going to show you exactly how you can clean your child’s favourite singing sheep, or talking puppy, or chatty Elmo!

Our example toy sheep was getting grey with grime. the mittens, slippers, and bow are a particular weave of fabric that seems to magnetize dirt, even more than the white parts of the lamb. There were even a couple of marks on the face from … who knows. Kids, right? Probably better not to know.  Let’s get down to business!

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

You Will Need:

Step 1:

Before beginning, remove the batteries from the stuffed toy and make sure that the fabric of the toy fully covers any access to the battery box.

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

Step 2:

Add about one tablespoon (or one packet, if using individual packets of Eucalan) of Eucalan to the bowl, and then fill the bowl  with warm, clean water.

water

Step 3:

Dip the cloth into the water and, beginning at the head (usually the dirtiest part of the toy), gently scrub the outside of the toy.

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

Step 4:

Repeat as often as necessary, scrubbing gently over the entire surface of the toy.

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

Step 5:

If there are any stubborn areas or stains, scrub them with the Eucalan Stain Treating Towelette.

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

Step 6:

Allow the toy to thoroughly air dry. Do not put it in the dryer (this will damage the electronics inside).

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

 

Step 7:

Watch your child’s face light up with happiness at their wonderfully clean and fresh toy! Well, they would probably light up with happiness even if the toy was still dirty, but you’ll be much happier knowing that singing sheep is now clean.

How to Wash a Toy with a Battery Pack | Eucalan.com

How to Wash A Wedding Dress: Tutorial

How to wash A Wedding Dress | eucalan.com

The wedding day has come and gone and you have a multitude of memories and photos to remind you of that incredible, special day.  How beautiful you looked in your wedding dress, not to mention the memories you have of shopping for it,  looking through magazines, figuring out a style or detail you really wanted, and then finally deciding which dress was the right one for you. It’s all part of the story of your wedding dress.

Once the wedding is behind you, it can come as a bit of surprise  that your beautiful dress has a filthy hem or train, or you find food or stains from either you or an overzealous hugger who might have sloshed a bit of their drink on you.  And while you know you aren’t going to wear the dress again, you want to clean and preserve it in a way that will keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Having your dress professionally dry cleaned and preserved has an average cost of $265 dollars; not to mention the process and harsh chemicals  can damage delicate embroidery, sequins and beadwork.

How to wash A Wedding Dress | eucalan.com

But did you know that you can actually clean and preserve your  wedding dress yourself? Not only will you probably take more care in cleaning your own dress, but by using Eucalan, it’s far cheaper and significantly better for the environment. Eucalan is non-toxic, biodegradable, free of optical brighteners, phosphates, synthetic fragrance and dye – so it’s a perfect choice for ensuring the preservation of your wedding dress for years to come.  Besides, washing your wedding dress is easier than you’d think! We can walk you through the whole process step by step:

  1.  Add Eucalan to your washing machine or bathtub filled with tepid water.
  2. Immerse dress in water and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  3. Add Eucalan full strength (straight from the bottle, not diluted in water) to tough stains and rub gently with a soft bristled toothbrush until stain disappears. Your train and hem will likely need the most effort.
  4. Squeeze dress with your hands to incorporate soap and water through the fabric.
  5. Soak dress for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Eucalan does not require rinsing, but if you wish to, give it a gentle rinse under fresh tepid water.
  7. Remove from water and squeeze or spin out excess water.
  8. You may roll in a towel, but go slowly and be careful not to get any beads stuck on towel fibres.
  9. Hang to dry away from direct sunlight or heat.

That’s it!

How to wash A Wedding Dress | eucalan.com

And if you are still counting down the days to your wedding, it’s worth having a Eucalan stain treating towelette in your emergency bag. It makes it quick to clean up any little bits of make-up, food, or grass and such from outdoor photo shoots. Give one to each member of your wedding party, as well – it’s worth keeping everyone looking their best! here is a short video showing how quick and easy it is to spot clean with one of the towelettes:


If you love all things wedding related, you should check out our Wedding Pinterest Board!

Easy Swimwear Care

Sometimes, you just need a day at the beach (or lounging poolside). But sun, sea salt, and chlorine can wreak havoc on your swimwear if not properly cared for.

Keep your bathing suit looking its best with Eucalan.

The good news is that it’s quite easy to keep your bathing suit in tip-top condition: after every use, wash in your favourite scent of Eucalan. We show you how in this easy tutorial:

As you can see, it takes only a few minutes to remove the oils, chlorine and lotions which can break down the fibres of your swim suit and fade the colours over time. You can even wash your suit in your hotel sink while traveling with our single use pods! We recommend our LavenderGrapefruit or Jasmine scents for their naturally antiseptic properties.

Single Use Pods of Eucalan are great for travel.

Need a little reminder every now and then? Keep this graphic handy for future reference by printing, pinning, or sharing on social media:

How to wash your swimwear with Eucalan.

Now you can have fun in the sun all summer long!

Spa Day for Luxe Lingerie & Active Wear

Luxe lingerie deserves the very best to preserve it for years to come. Just as you would treat yourself to a spa day, why not show your extra special pieces some TLC?

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Marlies Dekkers top and bottom with Lavender Eucalan.

Eucalan brings to mind a “spa-like” atmosphere. The natural formula, free from dyes, optical brighteners, enzymes, bleach and synthetic fragrances, shows well in the natural bottle. The bottle itself is see-through, showing  that we are transparent: there’s nothing to hide. Most people feel refreshed when they use Eucalan, which can be attributed to the light, natural essential oil fragrances which scent the air and your delicate garments as well as the fact that laundering with Eucalan couldn’t possibly be any easier.

Active wear lasts longer when properly cared for; visit the Eucalan blog for easy to follow instructions.

Giving lingerie, swimwear and active wear a quick wash in the basin is not a laborious task. A quick dip and squeeze is all it takes (click here to view our complete care instructions over on our website). Because Eucalan is free from all the harsh stuff other cleaners have, there’s no need to rinse the product out – in fact, our lanolin-enriched formula will condition and soften your luxe and specialty fibres. Better yet, our gentle, natural formula won’t dull colours or break down the elastic. In fact, your stretchy garments need that quick bath to remove body oils, perfumes and lotions so they can go back to their original shape, which will help them to last longer.

We have four great scents, plus a natural fragrance-free option. For the ultimate spa experience, we recommend our Lavender and Jasmine scents. Click each image below to learn more on our website!

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Jen’s Top 10: London Calling

Our CEO Jennifer Edgar will be sharing some of her favourite things in this new blog series. From travel to style and everything in between, nothing is off limits! Jen’s recent trip to London is the inspiration for her first-ever post. Hint: you can click each image below to view a larger size. Enjoy! 

It was a perfect May to take 2 weeks holiday to visit the UK.  The purpose for this holiday?  To celebrate my mum’s 70th birthday and her return to her birthplace for the first time since immigrating to Canada when she was 12.  Although this is a top 10 list of wonderful things I experienced on the trip, the highlight was most definitely watching my mum walk the same steps she took as a child and visit her old homes and to have some time to reminisce with her dear cousin.

Of course, I took my Eucalan with me!  It was so easy to toss a Getaway Gang into my suitcase while packing; in particular, the Wipes saved more than a few outfits throughout our journey! 

1.Harry Potter: The WB Studio Tour was tops on the list.  As a fan of the movies and having a 10 year old daughter who reads the books over and over, this was not to be missed.  I took nearly 400 photos on this excursion alone!  Thank goodness for expandable memory in my phone!

Great Hall

Great Hall

Gringott's Vault Door

Gringott’s Vault Door

Dumbledore's Office

Dumbledore’s Office

Ollivanders

Ollivanders

White Card Model

White Card Model

2. Location: Our hotel was in the heart of Trafalgar Square – we really didn’t realize where we were until we stepped out and walked a short distance.  This is the ideal location for tourists!  Nearly everything we wanted to see was within a 10 minute radius of our hotel.  The underground was a 2 minute walk from our door.  How perfect!

Hotel Wall Map

Hotel Wall Map

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

3. Shopping: Any good list should include a little retail therapy, shouldn’t it? My new favourite spot is Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly. It really is a sight to behold. Everything from the window displays to men in tailcoats and fancy boxes of chocolates had me oohing and aahing.  I managed to find a few lovely tea towels and now have to decide which ones I will part with as gifts for some of my favourite people.

Entrance

Entrance

Inside

Inside

Tea Truck

Tea Truck

Champagne & Chocolate Hamper

Champagne & Chocolate Hamper

4. Food & Drink: Fish and Chips.  Need I say more???  I didn’t eat it as much as I thought I would, but I had my fill.  Along with that was, as expected, the best scones and clotted cream.  The most delicious Earl Grey tea is even better when served in fine china.  There were no shortages of excellent establishments near our hotel but it was a real treat to eat next-door at The Sherlock Holmes pub.  Just behind that was The Ship and Shovell, a most unusual pub split on two sides of the street.  It’s astonishing how busy these pubs were every day after work.  

Pub Sign

Pub Sign

Scone & Clotted Cream

Scone & Clotted Cream

The Sherlock Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes

Traditional Sunday Dinner

Traditional Sunday Dinner

5. Architecture: The buildings are amazing.  It’s hard to take it all in, there’s so much!  It stands to reason that one could take a trip and just focus on architecture and history of the buildings.  Plenty show signs of the war.  We saw many building being rebuilt while the façade was held in place.  Westminster Abbey is one of the greatest.  No photography is allowed inside so I’ll live with my memories.  It truly must be seen to be believed.

Big Ben

Big Ben

Bridge & Buses

Bridge & Buses

Empire Theatre Hackney

Empire Theatre Hackney

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

6. History: One specific highlight for me was visiting the Churchill War Rooms.  What I expected to be a small space and museum is remarkably large.  It’s like a time capsule.  We spent at least 2 hours here and I could have easily stayed another 1 or 2 longer!

Entrance

Entrance

Noiseless Typewriter

Noiseless Typewriter

Number 10

Number 10

Signs

Signs

7. Soho: We had an enjoyable visit to a friend’s workplace in Soho Square.  Not only did we receive a tour of her office but we walked around the streets and saw plenty of half-timbered buildings and then nicely found ourselves inside the most beautiful Liberty.  It was a feast for the eyes with beautiful displays and matching everything!  Carnaby Street was fun and energy in this part of the city was so electric.

Half-timbered Buildings

Half-timbered Buildings

Liberty Floral Entrance

Liberty Floral Entrance

 

Liberty Levels

Liberty Levels

Display

Display

Haberdashery

Haberdashery

Merchant & Mills

Merchant & Mills

Measures

Measures

Rowan Yarns

Rowan Yarns

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street

8. Royalty: We all dream of seeing royalty, don’t we? On our first day of the trip we went down the wrong street from the roundabout in Trafalgar Square.  This was before we had our bearings.   In only a few steps we looked up and saw…Buckingham Palace at the end of…The Mall.  It was down quite a ways but this was such an exciting “turn” that we stopped to enjoy the fact that we were on The Mall.  All of a sudden a motorcade zipped by with Prince William in the back seat!  We then learned that the Queen would be opening Parliament which is one of the most important days of the parliamentary year.  Although it would have been easier to see on tv, we lined up with the other spectators for a glimpse of the Queen in her carriage.  The formality of it all was something to see!  On another day we made our way to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace and learned about the daily lives of those living there and caring for the horses.  The carriages are remarkable.  

The Mall

The Mall

Walkway

Walkway

Horses

Horses

Live Music

Live Music

Gold State Coach

Gold State Coach

Gold State Coach Detail

Gold State Coach Detail

9. Transportation: The underground is a real marvel.  The UK has double the population of Canada, yet people move about in such a seamless manner.  The tube is efficient and clean.  We used it during quieter times as well as rush hour.  There’s no time to dawdle and take pictures at rush hour!  The bus system is rather evident.  The double deckers are everywhere and well routed. We never needed to take a taxi since we managed so well with the tube and buses.  Parking is interesting.  We didn’t actually see anyone get into their space or leave so I don’t know how they actually managed it.  

Bus, Bikes, Cars, & Horses

Bus, Bikes, Cars, & Horses

Parking

Parking

Underground

Underground

10. The Tower of London:This was the final stop on our holiday.  As our Yeoman Warder guide told us, we would learn about all sorts of “bloody deeds”. Not only did we hear fantastic stories but we saw the crown jewels and walked through the White Tower.  It’s a place where you can just imagine stepping back in time.  There is so much to take in here and it’s worth more than one visit.  

Yeoman Warder

Yeoman Warder

Guard

Guard

Steps

Steps

White Tower

White Tower

Panorama

Panorama

So there you have it, my personal favourite 10 things to see or do in London.  We packed a lot into this trip and it was well worth the tired aching feet and jet lag.  It’s so great to be home again but I wonder what new places I’ll discover on my next trip there!