Niagara-on-the-Lake Valentines, The Prince Hotel

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With our wedding only 6 months away and planning starting to ramp up, Dan wanted to give me an extra special valentines treat this year. He kept everything a secret (which of course was killing me), and only told me what to pack and how long we were to be gone for. Earlier in the week I got a delivery from out wedding florist. It was a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers. He had sent them early so they could decorate my desk throughout the week as we would be away all weekend for Valentines. And where did we escape to? Niagara-on-the-Lake!

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I have never been to Niagara-on-the-Lake. I had past through many times and gone to the Falls, but never stayed in this enchanting little town. Dan booked our nights stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel. As soon as we pulled in, I could feel tingles of excited but never in a million years did I expect what I saw when we walked in the front doors.

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No exaggeration, this is the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in. Last Fall we stayed in a 5-Star hotel in Beverly Hills and although that was posh beyond belief, this place was MADE for me.

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Prince of Wales stands as a landmark in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. It has stood in this exact spot since 1864! It is a part of a chain of hotels called "Vintage Hotels" that features some of the best preserved hotels that retain their historic charm.

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The hotel is called the Prince of Wales in honour of the 1901 visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, who were later crowned King George V and Queen Mary. And their legacy can be seen all over the hotel. Painting of their reign are hung throughout the hallways and guest rooms and the essence of Victorian charm covers the floors, walls ad even ceilings.

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Its architectural style was that of the Second French Empire, seen most clearly in its mansard roof.

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Everything felt so regal. It was as if you became the same kind of royalty that his hotel was named after when you entered.

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Our suite was in the building the furthest away from reception but I didn't mind. It was a treat walking down all the corridors and exploring every little corner of this place.

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Our hotel room was the cutest little place. Even the rooms are decorated in the Victorian style with Tiffany stained glass lamps on either side of the room and paintings of young girls in frilly petticoats all over the place.

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We even had our own little fireplace that was the perfect thing to curl up in front of after coming in from the cold outdoors.

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One of my favourite things about this place was the corridor into the reception area. It was lined with replica paintings from famous flemish painters and other grand masters. Even the wallpaper was luxuriously embellished!

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The ornate frames seemed to grow and swell with overgrowth, as if they were living within these walls.

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After settling in, we headed off for a dip in the pool. Even the swimming area was decked out with Victorian designs. The shape of the pool reminded me of European bath houses.

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After a dip in the pool and a soak in the hot tub, we were off for our couples massage. Katie and Michael have an anniversary tradition of getting couples massages and I think Dan and I are slowly stealing this tradition for ourselves.

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We changed into our robes and made our way down to the spa. There we sat in lush leather chairs and sipped tea and coffee while we waited.

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Even the bathrooms down here were gorgeous. Delftware inspired porcelain sinks and wall tiles sparkled and real wooden doors with etched glass made up each stall.

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Even the room where we had our massage was as decadent as possible. It was perhaps the largest room I'd even been in for a massage but the opulence of the place simply added to the relaxation.

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After our massage and our little outing, we came back to the hotel for a 4-course Valentine's Dinner. Everything was perfection, but we perhaps had the best time being entertained by a couple fighting with the waiter beside us. We came him our condolences as they were the worst kind of people but it made for a very entertaining dinner.

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After too much wine and indulgence we tottered our way back to the room where there were roses and chocolate covered strawberries awaiting us. We ate them in front of the fire as night poured itself over our eyes.

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The next morning we ordered food to our room, not wanting to escape the warmth of our fireplace.

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I ordered a simple English Breakfast with a side of cinnamon biscuit and Dan chowed down on peanut butter pancakes.

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But like all things, there must be an ending. We begrudgingly packed up our things and headed out. It was no doubt the most romantic and luxurious weekend of my life - and I got to spend it with my favourite person in the world.

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Hello 2015!

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For New Years this year, we decided (as we almost always do) to stay in at the Cottage for a cozy little New Year Eve. To our surprise and excitement Katie, Michael , Zach and Sherri-Lyn all joined us as well! It was a very special New Years. I am lucky enough to have the most amazing extended family and I was so happy to be spending more of the holidays with them!

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Despite staying in, I still wanted to go all out with the decor, dining and deserts. Scrumptious pastries, pounds of cheese and of course, lots of champagne.

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New Year's Day I made my famous baked french toast and we stuffed ourselves to capacity before heading out in the cold for a cross-country ski adventure.

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Dad loves cross-country skiing and we've been doing it sine we were kids. Michael is on the hunt to accomplish as many Canadian things as possible on his trips down here so we thought this would be a nice little treat for him.

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Surprisingly enough it wasn't too cold out but the scenery was gorgeous. Snow covered forests and stone grey skies.

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Poor Dan spent much of the day falling down but he was a trooper.

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After a successful snow hike, we all headed back inside to scoff down a few glasses of hot chocolate.

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The boys watched sports on the TV (football I wanna say) and Dan and I happily played our own sports game (magic cards) beside them. Family time at it's finest :)

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Snapshots from Christmas 2014

I know I'm pretty late posting this but honestly, since it's only March, I feel like it's less behind then usual. So I'm not going to feel too guilty about it. I've actually been really happy with all these posts I've been getting out in the last few weeks. I'm trying to do it more regularly and since I now have a tiny bit more free time, I'm making the most out of it. I've never been someone who can just relax. Even when I get a little extra time on my hands I just end up just throwing myself into a new project. Anyways, here are some snaps from Christmas.

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Started off the Christmas season with an Holiday Afternoon tea party complete with scones, mince pies and tiny finger sandwiches. Plus a live harpist to amp up the sophistication of the afternoon.

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Yummy drinks here had all season long, hot and cold.

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I took 24 pictures of Christmas trees over the 24 days leading up to Christmas. It was the best. So much fun.

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Met a weird Santa, bought a cute new hat.
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Won some awesome prizes at our work Christmas raffle. Dressed up as a 70's diva for the Retro party.

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Had an all out blast with my amazing co-workers!

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Spent the holidays cooped up at the cottage and in Newmarket, cuddling by the fire, reading and relaxing.

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I love my fake tree at the condo but nothing beats the smell of out real tree at the cottage.

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Did a bunch of yummy baking.

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Gave lots of love to poor, sick Chloe.

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Took some hilarious pictures of the same pose from picture taken 20 years ago.

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Cherished seeing our California critters again.

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Opened Christmas presents like we were kids again.

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Wore my favourite Christmas pyjama's and holiday Mickey ears.

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Took pictures of Mila and Tori spending time together again. Reunited at last.
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Enjoyed some downtime with Dan and my old art history books.

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Was treated to the most delicious breakfasts.

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More cuddling.

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Did some yoga with Tori. She rocks.

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Mila, just in general treated us all to her ever more delightful personality.

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I ate the most amazing meals, full of laughter, love, sweets and smiles

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Watched Liam school everyone at chess.

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But best of all, I spent the holidays surrounded by the most loving of families. What more could one ever want? That's what Christmas is all about.

....oh and I had a ton of baths ;) cause this chilly winter requires a certain kind of warmth only that baths can achieve.

A Downton Abbey Christmas Party

The Whelan Family Christmas Party this year was themed all around Downton Abbey. Everyone has a blast dressing up in age appropriate fashion and I had an extra bit of fun doing my hair for once!

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Let's celebrate the 1920's. Ladies are encouraged to abandon their long skirts and join the flapper crowd. Gentlemen may leave their white ties for more formal occasions.

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Zach probably had my favourite outfit of the day with his cricket costume! On point!!!

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I was too busy schmoozing to take any more photos but I wanted to share at least this little smattering of photos from the day!