My kids need me, and they need me a LOT. I’m sure it’s no surprise that I don’t get much time to myself, and when I do it’s usually spent catching up on housework, cooking meals, or working on my blog. I hardly ever get time off, but I think we all know that mamas needs some time to ourselves to stay sane!
I was getting pretty desperate for some time for me, so I jumped at the chance to make a long awaited date with my BFF Kristy and enjoy some local tourism, courtesy of Samba Days, a Canadian gift experience website.
Samba Days asked me to choose an experience from one of their local partners. I took a look at the adventures they had listed in my province – everything from dance lessons to handling birds of prey, spa services, a boat rental, wine tasting, skiing/snowboarding lessons, SCUBA diving class, whale watching, a beekeeping class, or horseback riding – wow! I decided to feed my inner foodie and learn more about my hometown at the same time with a Gastown Food Tour.
So last weekend Kristy and I got to spend two and a half hours walking around Gastown, enjoying good food, new friends, and learning some fascinating history about our own city.
We started with a maple macchiato from the first Starbucks opened outside of Seattle, a tiny little place in Waterfront Station. Then we headed over to Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar to sample their signature dish: lobster macaroni and cheese. Oh, my! This was the best stop on the tour for me – the fresh lobster really uplifted the homey comfort of macaroni and cheese. After I licked the bowl clean, we continued on for a glass of Steamworks Coconut Ale and then some cheesy tortellini from Italian restaurant Brioche. (Yes, I know that’s a French pastry; apparently the chef named his restaurant after his favourite childhood food.)
Along the way, our guide Dan regaled us with stories about the colourful characters and history of Gastown, Vancouver’s first downtown area and a national historic site. We had the honour of being Dan’s first tour group (with a little help from experienced tour guide Brent). Our guides were funny, engaging, and made the time fly by.
We tasted 131 Water‘s almost famous beer battered fish and chips (I kind of forgot to take a picture before we ate it all so clearly it was good), and then a piece of traditional steak and Guiness pie from local Irish pub The Blarney Stone. Dessert was chocolate and cherry cheesecake from Trees Organic Coffee (good, but the portion was tiny), handmade chocolate from 130-year-old British Columbia chocolatiers Roger’s Chocolates, and a maple syrup tasting at Canadian Maple Delights.
I did notice that the tour materials and website advertised ten stops, but we actually only made nine. I know that things happen, and attractions may vary, but it would have been nice if the company had arranged for a backup venue to make up the full ten. Regardless, we really enjoyed the tour and would recommend it to locals and visitors alike.
In fact, we were having such a good time on our day out that we decided to get some shopping in after our walking tour ended. You just don’t appreciate how relaxing it is to shop with your girlfriend until you’ve tried to buy a swim suit with a bored toddler and preschooler running amok in the store and trying to snatch the change room curtain open at every opportunity!
We ended our fabulous day out together catching up with each other’s lives over root beer floats (and a little gossip about mutual acquaintances, I won’t lie) until it was time for me to go home and help hubs put the girls to bed.
It’s been at least a year since I’ve had this kind of time to myself and I’ve missed it! I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this outing. As I get older, I find myself less and less in need of more “stuff”. Instead I value experiences more. Experiences like a trip, learning something new, time with my friends and family – the things that create lasting memories.
If you’re looking for a unique gift for Mom this year, check out Samba Days! And hey, if you’re a last minute kind of shopper like me, you can choose to have a printable eGift Card emailed instantly to you or to your gift recipient instead of the physical card. It’s instant, saves on shipping, and less packaging means less waste!
Follow Samba Days on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the fun experiences available and to be first to hear about promotions and contests. Head over to Samba Days to browse the more than 500 gift experiences! The Explore Gift Box I reviewed retails for $89.00, other boxes vary. Samba Days gift boxes are also available at Shoppers Drug Mart so look for them in a store near you.
Win a Samba Days Gift Experience!
Samba Days wants to give one of my readers the chance for a day out too! The winner will be able to choose a Samba Days Explore gift box like mine, or a Rejuvenate box for a 60-90 minute spa experience. Either of these would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day!
Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, 18+. All entries will be verified.
Check out my other open giveaways listed in the sidebar or in the menu (for mobile)!
Disclosure: I received a sample item for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.