Christmas Baking in Salzburg

Salzburg is such a magical place to enjoy the Christmas season! Nestled among the mountains, a blanket of snow over the city, twinkling lights, festive decorations, and the smell of gluhwein and apple strudel float in the air. It is one of my favourite places to visit in December!

In addition to exploring the lovely Christmas markets, charming winding streets, fortress perched on the hilltop overlooking the city, and enjoying the Sound of Music tour, there is a unique and fun thing to do: Christmas baking!

Having been to Salzburg a few times, I wanted to do something a little bit different during our trip. I brought my mum along with me, who is a baker herself. I came across the Edelweiss Cooking School, and signed up for the Apple Strudel and Salzburger Nockerl (christmas cookies) cooking lesson.                     

This cooking school is located inside a cave engraved in the Monchsberg mountain range. Only a ten minute walk from the Mirabell Gardens, it is a historical spot known as the Kaverne which served as the Tollgate to the Old Town, part of the Klausentor (city border) in the 18th century. It is beautifully converted inside, making it feel charming and rustic. It isn’t a large space, so the maximum size of a class is 15 people. All classes are taught in English.

When we walked over for our lunchtime class, we found that we were the only ones signed up for the afternoon, so we got to have a private class! Johann is a wonderful and fun teacher, in addition to being an experienced chef. We had a great time with him during the afternoon.

Johann worked with us to teach us how to make the strudel dough, stretch it out perfectly, create the filling, and put it all together. While the strudel started to bake, he taught us how to make the traditional ‘nockerl’ cookies. Learning to bake both treats was a wonderful way to also learn about the traditions in Salzburg, both their historic origins and how modern day Salzburg families use them now.

While the strudel and cookies were baking away, Johann served us his homemade goulash soup, which was absolutely delicious! Ever attentive, Johann also took photos while my mum and I were baking, which are terrific memories of this fun afternoon!

I highly recommend this cooking school if you are in Salzburg for something different and fun to do! There are a few different classes to enjoy throughout the year as well.

If you’re interested in the Apple Strudel and Salzburger Nockerl class, it runs daily between 11:30am - 1:00pm or 2:00 - 3:30pm, and costs 44,90 Euros per person. Book in advance so you can secure at spot on their website!

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WMW's Gift Guide for Travel Lovers

Looking for some inspiration for the travel obsessed, wanderlust suffering globetrotter in your life? Well, speaking as one of those people, I'm sharing both my favourite things and what's on my wish list this year in hopes to inspire some ideas! Nothing listed here is sponsored in any way. Some things I own and others I covet, and they are all purely things that I love, think are great, and happy to recommend to others! 

 

For the Frequent Flier

Away Suitcases

Photo: Away via Conde Nast Traveler 

Photo: Away via Conde Nast Traveler 

One of the hottest, and most Instagrammable, suitcases on the block, Away is attracting people for its chic, minimalist style and embedded technology. Away makes what they call 'thoughtful' luggage, developed from hundreds of travel stories. Their suitcases feature unbreakable shells, interior compartments - and, one of the coolest elements - built-in USB chargers! The built-in battery can be easily removed, is TSA approved, and is compliant with all airline policies. You can choose from the popular carry-on luggage style through to large checked baggage sizes in a multitude of colours. While I normally pick sleek black, I just love this perfect pink shade. 

Away takes a direct-to-consumer approach. By doing this, the suitcases are made with the same high quality materials as other premium luggage brands but can charge less due to having lower overheads. And, importantly, Away guarantees their quality for life. 

On the other end of the luggage spectrum is the beautiful vintage inspired and designed Steamline Luggage. There are a variety of different collection styles and sizes to pick from. One of my favourites is the Sweetheart Collection, a selection of light-coloured cases (white and tan) on the exterior with a beautifully printed lining inside of foliage, flowers and birds, making a beautiful contrast. In the photos below is another collection I love called the Architect in cream. This collection is inspired by Art Deco prints for its interior lining. 

While the design may be vintage, the cases are modern in function with features like an extendable trolley handle, buckled leather straps, two TSA-approved locks, and silent-glide wheels. Inside, you will find zippered lid pockets and a detachable door-hangar washbag to keep your belongings organized. SteamLine has also included a new ripstop cover to protect the case. The carry-on size also meets the cabin luggage size requirements for most major airlines. 

SteamLine ships all over the world, and also provides a full refund if you are not happy providing the luggage is unused. 

Photo: SteamLine Luggage

Photo: SteamLine Luggage

I received a Coach passport case monogrammed with my initials a few years ago and it is one of my chicest travel accessories. It's a timeless gift and a lovely little luxury to give someone. If you have the time to have it monogrammed, it ups the luxury factor that much more through personalization. The quality of the leather is fantastic, contains multiple slots to carry various travel documents, frequent flier cards, and other important documents, and is durable. 

Photo: Lululemon

Photo: Lululemon

I have used Lululemon's duffel bags for years - purely for travel! I call it my 'Mary Poppins' bag due to its ability to fit an unbelievable amount of things in it and still look chic while carrying it. This bag is perfect for a city break or weekend away somewhere. I have found these bags to be very durable and last a long time. 

This particular bag is water-repellent, contains laptop storage (a padded pocket that fits a 15" laptop), a heat-resistant pocket (helpful for a hair straightener), multiple compartments and pockets, and comes in various colours and patters

Photo: Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Pillow

Photo: Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Pillow

Ok, so a travel pillow may not be the most exciting present but bear with me. After trying many different travel pillows over the years, this is now my most trusted one. This pillow is actually comfortable as it is made with high quality memory foam. When I fall asleep on planes, my head tends to bob all over the place so I put this on and it supports my neck properly with 360 degree support. It's easy to pack as it squishes and folds up neatly into its bag, you can tie it to your carry-on bag to save room, and it is washable. It also comes with a two year satisfaction warranty. Forget blow-up, down, or beanbag style travel pillows - this is a travel winner. 

Capture Memories

Olympus PEN Camera

Photo: Olympus PEN

Photo: Olympus PEN

On my wish list for ages has been the Olympus PEN camera. It is beautiful in design with its vintage style, portable so it is easy to carry around, and has high specs and top quality interchangeable lenses so it can produce beautiful images. I've been looking for a terrific camera that is more easily transportable than my DLSR, but produces better quality images than a standard point-and-shoot or smartphone. It's also got built in wi-fi so you can upload and share your images quickly. The other great thing about it that I love are the stylish accessories that you can pick from including leather neck straps, lens covers, body jackets, and bags. There is a more expensive, higher quality version which is the PEN-F, and a lower cost but still high quality version, which is the PEN-E. 

Photo: Olympus PEN 

Photo: Olympus PEN 

Create Experiences 

Eurostar E-Voucher

Photo: Eurostar

Photo: Eurostar

Is there a better gift than being able to jet someone off to Paris for the weekend? The Eurostar is chic and so easy to use - and often has terrific deals, including on Boxing Day. You can buy e-vouchers from Eurostar in either a pre-selected amount or amount of your choosing in GBP, EUR, or USD. I love this idea because it provides something to look forward to and creates a memory. 

Other Experience Ideas

  • Gift certificate from an airline to put towards airfare for a destination of their dreams, much-needed getaway, or upgrade. 
  • Pre-book tickets if you know they are going to a particular destination and their dates, such as museum tickets, tickets to a special exhibition, a hotel upgrade, special tour, or restaurant. 
  • Currency for the destination they are going so they can buy themselves something special, especially if money is tight or it's been spent on the logistics and accommodation! 

 

Wearable Memories

Jet Set Candy

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I first discovered Jet Set Candy in December 2015 when I visited a Christmas Market at NYC'S Grand Central Station. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful wanderlust inspired jewelry and charms representing all things travel. Launched in October 2014, Jet Set Candy is one of the first premium lines of travel souvenirs which are modern and wearable keepsakes. Many of the pieces are collectible, such as the fun airport code charms that can be put on a necklace or used as a charm on a bracelet.  The line was designed by Nicole Parker King, who wanted to design a thoughtful, stylish, and classic line of travel souvenirs to redefine what is available for travel lovers. The pieces are collectible and made in either sterling silver, 14k vermeil, or solid gold. 

In addition to a YYZ charm, I also picked up a silver ring with a plane on it, which was instructed by Nicole's mom to wear facing out on outbound trips and facing in on inbound trips. The packaging is also so thoughtful from the beautifully printed tissue paper with maps, beautiful navy blue suede jewelry pouches, and travel inspired quotes on the inside of the box. 

One of my all-time favourite shops, Canadian jewelry and lifestyle shop Bluboho, has grown from a lovely shop in downtown Oakville, Ontario to adding two additional shops in Toronto, Canada (on Queen West and Yonge and Eglinton). Everything about these shops is special from the thoughtfully curated pieces which each have a meaning to the warm and welcoming staff led by Cheryl and Maggie who make you feel like an old friend from the first time you meet. The name 'Bluboho' represents a connection to others, nature and unlimited possibility, with references to sea and sky, and evokes a luxurious, free-spirited lifestyle and lust for life. 

Among the treasures you'll find in their beautifully designed shops are pieces symbolizing travel, wanderlust, adventure, and freedom. For example, I love the silver bar bracelets and necklaces with engraved quotes to speak to your present or desired state of mind or feelings. Two of my favourite quotes read 'Not all who wander are lost' and 'Fortune favours the brave'. Or,  choose a beautiful feather bracelet or birds in flight necklace to symbolize freedom, flight, and exploring new places. 

Bluboho has a stunning Instagram account that will have you wanting to buy everything they post, as well as an online shop. If you're in the Toronto area, pop-in and say hi to Maggie, Cheryl, and the team and see their treasures in person!

Photo: Pottery Barn

Photo: Pottery Barn

Think of this as jewelry for your luggage. For a chic, yet inexpensive, gift, jump onto Pottery Barn's website to order a personalized luggage tag. You can choose from a dark brown or black leather strap which holds a silver plated tag. Monogramming is available for a small extra charge with up to 15 characters per line. This is a fantastic gift for a stylish traveler, a colleague or boss, or someone who frequently travels for business to up the professionalism and luxury factor. I chose to do mine and the ones I have given friends with name initials, such as the one shown in the photo above. 

I adore the concept of this jewelry line. Inspired by the line 'Every memory has a place', Coordinates Collection engraves the specific latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of a place special to you or the recipient of your gift. The pieces are modern, chic, and stylish, and are a unique, deeply personal wearable memory. Is there a memorable holiday that you took? Have they lived abroad? Are they an expat and want to wear a piece of home? The possibilities are endless. 

You can choose a selection of bracelets, bangles, cuffs, and necklaces in sterling silver and gold at a range of price points from the very affordable to much more expensive pieces that incorporate precious gems and diamonds. This will be a gift that will delight and touch anyone you give this to. 

The 36 Hours In... series by the New York Times is a classic gift to either inspire ideas for new travels and/or help plan an upcoming trip. You can choose larger guides that cover Europe or USA and Canada, or smaller guides focused on a smaller region or country. It makes a terrific coffee table book as it will no doubt inspire conversation about favourite travel memories or dream destinations. I use it as a critical guide in helping inspire places to go for a city break or what to do while I'm there. 

Home and Lifestyle Inspiration 

Mapiful 

I discovered Mapiful through coming across their beautiful Instagram account and fell in love with their products. Mapiful creates printed map posters of not only the big, usual-suspect world cities, but many smaller cities around the world. Even cooler, you can customize your own map through their online tool of your own city or town (or that of the person you are gifting it to) to really personalize this gift. Posters are printed on museum quality paper and shipping is free worldwide. The hardest part will be trying to choose which location(s) you want!

London Life

What else have I been up to since moving to London three weeks ago? Sharing a few of the places I've visited and explored. Follow along as I post on my Instagram at @woman.meets.world - I'd love to get your London recommendations!

Some of my favourite places featured in the photos below:

Three Weeks in London

It's hard to believe that three weeks have already flown by since I've been in London! But, it has been enough time to (re)learn and remember a few key things:

  • Never trust the weather forecast. Not your iPhone weather app or even the BBC. Just use it as guidance because most of the time, it will be wrong. 
  •  On that point, invest in a small umbrella that you can pop into your bag and carry it with you always because you will need it regularly. And carry sunglasses because I can guarantee that if you forget them and just bring your umbrella, or vice versa, it will be bright and sunny.
  • If you want to leave a restaurant or café, ask for the bill because they won't just bring it to you. This was remembered after sitting at various places for ages and wondering when they might bring it by. It’s considered rude for them to bring it unprompted.
  • With the exception of Starbucks, you need to specifically ask for the barista to put milk in your tea when they give it to you for ‘eat in’ or 'takeaway' (not take out), or you will receive it black. Example: if you want a breakfast tea with skim milk, ask for a 'skinny tea'. 
  • All stores close much earlier than Canadian and American stores do so plan ahead!
  • The joys of free newspapers and magazines: Metro in the morning; Evening Standard in the evening; Time Out magazine to let you know of all the happenings in London for the week; Stylist (my personal fave) every Wednesday; and, Shortlist every Thursday.
  • VAT (tax) is included in the price, so you pay what you see on the tag, unlike Canada, where tax is applied afterwards at the till and often a surprise.
  • British "you ok" = Canadian/American "how's it going"/"what's up"/"how are you". This is a hard one to get used to without thinking you are being asked if something is wrong!
  • On that – be prepared for multiple ‘byes’ on the end of telephone conversations!
  • Walk left, stand right. I repeat – walk left, stand right. This might be the most important thing to remember so that you don’t get trampled on the escalators on the tube.
  • Always have your Oyster card to hand when entering and exiting the tube. Trust me, you don’t want to be that person fumbling to find it and disrupting the flow and order of busy Londoners.
  • Check the streets left and right at least two or three times before crossing to make sure you won't get hit by cars coming in directions you aren't used to. Or cyclists for that matter on a mission.
  • How green it is here all year round!
  • The kindness of the Brits and their willingness to assist you - whether it be with suitcases, directions, or generally helping you navigate life here from taxi drivers, to people in banks, to random people in the street, and my lovely new colleagues!
  • How international London is. London is an incredible, frenetic, fascinating, chaotic, energetic, beautiful place to be and it’s easy to see why it attracts people from all over the world.

 

I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks and months bring!!

Recent Travels to Croatia

Was it all just a dream? That's what I'm asking myself today as I ease myself back into everyday routine after returning back from a wonderful holiday spent in Berlin and Dubrovnik. 

This was the first time I have visited Dubrovnik and completely fell in love with it. It is such a special place and the beautiful surroundings, food, culture, and people took my breath away. It was one of those holidays that makes you forget about everything in your everyday life and inspires creativity, introspection and new perspectives on life. In effect, a bit life-changing and I cannot wait to go back again soon! I promise to post photos and my story soon, but I wanted to give a glimpse of some of the beauty I experienced from my recent Instagram posts that I took along the way (find me on Instagram at @woman.meets.world). 

xo Rheanne 

Coastal Living Magazine

Coastal Living Magazine is a favourite publication of mine. Their magazine and beautiful regular posts on Instagram always provide daily inspiration and a breath of fresh air. The coast - and the ocean/sea/lake/river/any body of water - has always provided me with a sense of calm and serenity. This might be due to growing up in Oakville, ON, which is right on Lake Ontario, but I find peace in watching and listening to the regular rhythm of waves rolling into shore. I have recently purchased my first condo in Toronto and one of my favourite features is the fact that it has a view of the lake. I love to gaze out and watch sailboats float by on the shimmering water in the sunlight. It only made sense to also draw inspiration from the beautiful design inspiration of coastal properties to decorate that the magazine highlights!

So, you can imagine my delight and happiness that the wonderful Coastal Living Magazine shared one of my recent photos taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on their website on Saturday as their 'View of the Day' - and paired it with the most perfect soundtrack! You can find the post here: http://dailycatch.coastalliving.com/2015/07/11/beach-music-beyond-the-sea/

Postcards from Paris: Sunday Morning in Le Marais

Ahhhh, Paris! Paris is beautiful in all seasons, but I truly believe that it is most magical in the springtime. People are out and about again, soaking in the spring sunshine, drinking coffee outside in bistros on boulevards, and riding on bicycles. The city is awakening with the green buds appearing on the trees and shots of colour with tulips appearing in gardens and parks. And perhaps most mesmorizing is when the cherry blossoms burst into bloom in shades of fluffy white and candy floss pink. 

I wanted to take a few days off from work and to have a break between finishing my last course module of my MSc before launching into my dissertation. That, combined with a flight sale from Air Canada, and I couldn't say no to a trip to Paris last minute trip. I booked a lovely flat in Le Marais through Airbnb to try a new arrondissement (I stayed in Saint-Germain des Pres last time and loved it there too) and I was all set.

My flat was located just off Rue Vielle du Temple - a fantastic location as it was close to both the St Paul and Hotel du Ville metro stations on Rue de Rivoli, Place des Vosges, as well as a wide selection of wonderful restaurants, boulangeries, and shopping - including some of my favourites like Le Mary Celeste, Mariages Freres, and L'Eclair de Genie.  

It's a beautiful arrondissement to stay, visit and explore with many nooks and little streets to explore as it is one of the oldest areas of the city with many important historical and architectural sights. Make sure to wander around its winding streets and let yourself get lost - that's always how you make the best discoveries! On my walk, I stumbled across a wonderful little boulangerie called Au Petit Versailles Du Marais, which has the most bread and pastries - but you must try their pain au chocolat as they are to die for! Their bread was also an award winner for the Top 10 baguettes in Paris. It's tiny but beautiful indoors, with all of the meticulously prepared, colourfully pastries that look too lovely to eat (but not quite because they are so delicious!) on display under a glittering chandelier. There is some outdoor seating when it's nice outside, though no indoor seating.

Sharing a few photos with you from a lovely Sunday morning two weeks ago wandering around Le Marais in the beautiful, warm morning spring sunshine. There's nothing like taking a few deeps breaths of the fresh air and turning your face to the sun to feel its warmth after the winter, and taking in all of the sights and the scents around you, like the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries, to make you feel reinvigorated and ready to take on the world!