Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

[Travel] Grocery Shopping

A selection of food and drink souvenirs from Austria.

One of the things I love to do when we travel is to hit up the local grocery store even if we’re not self-catering. On our recent day trip to Rotterdam, I went into a grocery store and purchased a bunch of foods to try, but my pic of everything turned out too blurry to use for anything (sorry!)

Going to a local grocery store first of all can cut down on food costs while travelling. Even if you’re not self-catered, you can pick up snacks for your visit or in your room – a box of cereal bars that will last for 5 days is going to be cheaper than buying them in singles from the corner shop. Same with a bag of apples. Buying beer or other alcohol to drink in your room can cut down on your bar bills tremendously, and if your room has a kettle, you can stock up on tea, cups of soup, etc. And if you packed a spork and a set of nesting plastic boxes, you can even pack up your own lunches to take with you when you’re on the go.

Second, you get a better feel for the language if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have knowledge of the native language. Everything in a grocery store is labelled and sometimes there are even pictures of the item. For example, with a pile of lemons in Germany, you will see the word “Zitrone”. Now you know when you go out to a restaurant and see the word “Zitrone” on a menu the dish contains lemon.

I bought zitrone wafer cookies in Austria, and other flavours.

Third, it can help to get a flavour for local food. Check out the bakery section to see what breads and pastries the locals buy. Head to the deli section and see what meat (if you’re a meat eater) is popular. Look at the local beer options if you’re a drinker. And check out the chocolate aisle! Don’t forget buying chocolate at the grocery store will be a lot cheaper than buying it at a convenience store.

Our chocolate haul from Austria

Fourth, as you can see from my photos, bringing back food as souvenirs is fun! Feeling glum in the middle of Winter knowing your next holiday is months away? Break into some chocolate or make a bowl of soup. Giving food to friends and family is great too – everyone loves cookies and chocolate! Need a gift for a beer drinker? How about a few bottles of a local brew (space permitting, of course!)?

Fifth, if you’re really feeling homesick, or are travelling with children who might need a dose of “home”, you can always head to the grocery store and look to see if they stock a similar product or if they have an import aisle. Imported items will be expensive, but sometimes, you just need it. As an American now living in the UK, I can vouch for sometimes just needing a dose of “home” and yes, I have paid £2 for a single can of Root Beer.

And lastly, shopping in a grocery store can be fun! Check out this short video I made while Tim and I were shopping in a Billa store in Gmünd and at a MPREIS in Werfen.

Follow along on our Austria trip:

Watch the rest of the videos here:

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from products pictured in my photos or video, nor did I receive compensation from the shops visited.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Troll in the Dungeon

troll LOL, well, look at that. My first troll. I’m so pleased. Since the poster deleted their comment after they posted it (so it showed up in my email but not on the video), I didn’t get the chance to reply so I thought I would do so here:

Thank you. I really do value the feedback of my viewers, so let me take the chance to give you some feedback of your own: On the bottom of the video there’s a little slider you can slide back and forth to adjust the volume of the videos that you are watching which will help with the “loudness” you are experiencing. As for my voice being “annoying”, you’ll find at the top of your screen in the right side corner a button that has an X on it. If you click on that X, it will close out of what you are looking at and eliminate you having to listen to my “annoying voice”. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

Regular posts hopefully will resume soon. I’ve not felt like editing much video lately, but I do want to get through the Austria videos and I now have some packing videos I made 5 months ago that should go up too!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Packing Minimal Toiletries

12037841_10153724681382160_63833692_o I know I previously posted about packing toiletries in my Packing for Autumn in Austria blog post, but I decided to expand on it because I’ve been watching a lot of travel videos on youtube and a lot of “minimalist packing” videos and the amount of toiletries is insane! Someone went down to London for a weekend and they took a massive bag and then a huge train case full of toiletries and make up. Our weekend trip to London? A rucksack and the TSA sized baggie of toiletries. And some of the international travel ones make me laugh too. Americans visiting the UK or the EU, Brits visiting America…..people, none of these places are third world. If you run out of something or forgot something, you can buy it.

I decided to make my own “What’s in my Bag?” video sort of as a rebuttal, and as a way to show people who are looking for ideas on what they could do to pack into smaller bags. When we went to Austria, we each took a backpack and shared a wheeled suitcase. And the toiletries in this video and post are what we took with us and what I’ve taken before when we took backpacks only to Ireland to meet up with my cousins and it’s generally what I even take for a weekend away since it’s all basically what I use on a daily basis, although a single overnight I’ll take a lot less….I’ll detail that below too.

Tim’s Bag

Tim’s bag is the middle size of a three-pack of travel bags I bought at Marks & Spencer’s, but I’ve seen the three packs on Amazon for around £7. I used the big bag on our trip to the US in 2013 and I soon realised I did not need a bag that big. It took up way too much real estate in my suitcase, and half the stuff I had packed I never used. The middle sized is the appropriate size for taking in your carry-on and since it was piped in black, I gave it to Tim. Tim barely has any toiletries to begin with, so packing for him is simple and all his stuff, both liquid and non-liquid, fit in one bag. On longer trips, I sometimes steal space in his bag and put his non liquids in a separate bag! His toiletries are:

-Travel electric razor. I think its a Phillips, I’m not sure. I bought it at Boots when Boots had men’s razors on 1/3 off just before our trip to the states last May and it runs off AA batteries, so no charger to pack.
-Shampoo. He uses a 2 in 1, whatever is on sale usually. I think that might be an old bottle refilled.
-Body Wash. We use a 100ml bottle and I fill it with whatever he’s currently using (again, whatever was on sale)
-Aftershave. It’s in a little (30ml) bottle from Muji* because he really doesn’t use much on a daily basis.
-Deodorant. Whatever is available in the travel size.
-Toothbrush/toothpaste. We have folding toothbrushes where you unfold them and they’re the same size as a regular toothbrush. Toothpaste is, once again, whatever is available (do you see a pattern here? We are totally not brand snobs!)
-Deep Heat. This is in another bottle from Muji. We both use this for sore muscles especially after a long day of walking!
-Nail clippers. Because his bag has room for it 😉
-Tums/Pepto/Lemsip. Again, because his bag has room for it. We just travel with the things we might need if we get ill. Chances are, if we’re on a longer trip, one of us will get a slight cold or an upset tummy.

As you can see, not much. I think that’s pretty much all Tim ever needs even on a daily basis at home. Oh, and if we’re going on a longer trip, he’ll also pack his wet razor and a travel thing of shave gel. If he needs a brush, he just uses mine. Some of Tim’s things are from gift packs he was given for various gift giving occasions. We keep all that stuff in a drawer in the bathroom and pull things out as they’re needed.

For myself, I use one clear plastic bag that is size appropriate for a carry-on and then usually a second bag with my non liquids. I think my liquids bag might have come as part of a kit, either designed for travel, or with other stuff already in it. I had it in a box full of make-up bags (seriously. I have loads of free with purchase bags) and since it was clear and the right size for travel, it got used. My non-liquid bag is a Cath Kidston 20th anniversary wristlet that has served many purposes in it’s life so far**.

My liquids:
-Shampoo/Conditioner. I’m just refilling the bottles I bought ages ago with whatever I’m currently using. I saw on a video someone actually combined their shampoo and conditioner to make a 2 in 1 in a single bottle, and I might give that a trial at home to see if it really works…..if it works, I expect I’ll do that the next time we travel!
-Hibiscrub. It’s for my Hidradenitis Supperotiva. That’s a tiny bit that is enough for 4-5 days. For longer trips, I either pack 2 or a larger container….and when we go on a three week trips, I need about 200ml (but we also usually have checked bags for longer trips thaat I can put it in, and technically, hibiscrub is available without a prescription, it;s just pricey.)
-bodywash. Whatever I currently am using, usually decanted into whatever container I have around. Again, I’m not fussy.
-Deodorant. I prefer the Nivea Pearl stuff as it doesn’t agitate my armpits, but if that’s not available I’ll grab a different brand.
-Facewash. I bought 100ml foam pumping bottles off eBay before our trip to the US in May. I haven’t seen this in a smaller size anywhere yet, but if there was one I’d get it because even on a long trip I only use about 30ml as it’s a foaming pump so it distributes a lot per pump! I use a tea tree oil wash from Boots.
-Moisturisers. I bought the small tube at Muji and it’s filled with Boots Vitamin E face moisturiser. I also take a Nivea cream pot, since that’s good for all over the body. In the same vein, I always take a small pot of vaseline (it’s the lip stuff, but really it’s all the same). And there’s also a pot of Blistex lip balm. I recently discovered Lanacane anti-chafing gel and it’s amazing.
-Tea tree oil spot treatment gel and night cream. Zits happen. Especially when travelling.
-Antibacterial hand gel. I have a whole little drawer full of bath and body works mini hand sanitizers, so I just grab one in a scent appropriate for the season.
-Febreeze. Again, it’s in a bottle from Muji. Always handy if you plan on re-wearing clothing.
-Body Spray. I currently have Mist You Madly by Soap and Glory in a small sprayer I bought off eBay.
-BB Creame. I use this as concealer and foundation when I travel. It’s in a small pot from Muji (again!)
-Under eye brightener. Because I sometimes don’t get a lot of sleep on trips if we have late nights and early mornings.

Non Liquids:
-Travel hairbrush. £1 at Primark, though I just got a tangle teezer, so I might have to rethink this as the teezer is bigger (and I’m now obsessed with brushing my hair!).
-All-in-one Makeup pallet. Keeping it simple. 2 neutral eye shadows, blush, and a mini mascara in one little pallet.
-Face powder/Brush. Self explanatory. I wish they made these in a mini version. I’ll take any brand, so if you know of one, let me know!
-Lip crayon. It was in my advent calendar this year, but basically, I always have some kind of lip colour thing with me.
-Emergency sanitary product (you never know)
-cotton buds/cotton pads
-emery board
-mini first aid kit. just some plasters, blister band-aids, and antiseptic wipes. This goes with me when we’re out and about, too.
-Safety pins, hair grip/bobby pins, and hair ties
-mini medicine cabinet. Or at least, that’s what Tim calls it. It’s a weekly pill organizer I repurposed with all the little OTC things you might need – paracetamol, ibuprofen, kwells, pepto, and enough of my prescription Metformin for 2-3 days (any longer and I’ll add a strip of meds to my bag).

Missing from the video:
-Travel Razor. I got one of those Venus Snap ones and I love it. I’m hoping it’s in the bathroom and not left at Mom’s in PA! I’m not bothered about gel, so I’ll usually pinch a bit of Tim’s. I only take my razor on trips longer than a week because I’m lazy.
-Dry Shampoo. Depending on how long the trip is for, but this is handy especially if we have to be up early in the morning and shower the night before.
-Face wipes. They’re good for everything from their actual purpose to spot treating a stain or cleaning off a dirty table on a train. I usually grab the cucumber scented ones from Boots. They live in an outer pocket of my backpack when we’re out and about along with the first aid kit and pill container.
-Sun cream. Depending on where we’re going and the season. My face cream has SPF15 built in, but if we’re in FL or it’s the Summer, we usually take along a mini size of a sun cream and then buy more when we’re at our destination. Our three week trip to FL and PA last May we went through 3 cans between the two of us because Tim is a pasty British man and when he visited the US in the Summer of 2009 when we were dating I neglected to think about sunblock because I didn’t need any and he blister burned. And if we’re packing sun cream, I’ll probably pack a 100ml bottle filled with some aftersun too.

And, I think that’s everything. Anything else that we need or run out of we can easily pick up at a chemist/Apotheke***/grocery store. I tend to buy us pre-packaged travel sized bottles over refillable ones (And then refill them!) because if we need toss things due to space it’s not a huge loss, but Muji and Superdrug are both great places to get refillable bottles. Obviously, I use refillable bottles for things that either aren’t available in travel sizes or are specific products we need (like my Hibiscrub). And if we’re going to the US, we’ll only pack what we need for the first night in the hotel in London and usually make CVS our first stop (although now I have things at my cousin’s house in FL and my Mom’s in PA). For those trips, we usually take the dregs of a previous trip’s bottles and then we toss them in the morning.

I don’t wear a lot of make-up on a daily basis, so the items I pack is pretty much what I’d use on a day I felt like wearing make-up. When we went to the US in May for Laura’s wedding, I also took a whole bag full of my special occasion make-up.

I don’t pack many “what ifs?” because I think they take up a lot of space and I could probably fill a train case full of things I “might need”. Just about the only what ifs I take are all medical related – medicines, first aid, and creams/balms. And that’s because I know I will need those what if items. I’m accident prone. Chances are, I’ll cut my finger open or bang my knee against a table and need pain relief or plasters. My rule is always if there is something I discover I need, I can probably buy it. If it’s not available where I’m travelling to, well then I probably didn’t need it.

When we go on single overnights, I won’t pack all of this. If we’re spending the night with a local friend and planning on coming home straight away the next morning I might only take deodorant, face wipes, moisturiser, toothbrush/toothpaste, body spray, a hairbrush, and dry shampoo because I’ll shower when we get home. If we’re spending the night down in London and travelling by train, I’ll probably take shampoo, conditioner, hibiscrub, face wash, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, body spray, and a hairbrush. The little Clinique pallet will usually go into my handbag along with a lip gloss and a little concealer if it’s a short trip as my Cath bag might wind up being my purse on those trips! But Boots often does 3 for 2 on the travel toiletries, so it’s super easy to pop into one on our way through King’s Cross or St Pancras.


*Muji is a Japanese store that has a few UK locations. I stumbled onto them when I had one of my “Day of her own”s in London back in August and they have all sorts of travel sized bottles — loads more than they show online.

**It’s been used as a purse, a camera bag, a make-up bag, a cords organiser, a handbag, a pencil case, and probably about a dozen other things. It’s super versatile! The ribbon strap is surprisingly strong and the inside is lined with red spotted fabric and it has a little pocket on the inside too.

***Apotheke is the German word that signifies a chemist. In Austria, it’s a giant A on the outside of the building. We needed one twice on our trip, once for some plasters and once for some additional deep heat.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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YouTube & Vlogs Change

YouTube has apparently joined up with Google. I don’t have a problem with this as I use Google for most thing anyway, but what I DID have a problem with was YouTube/Google deciding to link my YouTube account to my Google account I had listed as my email when I signed up for YouTube. Unfortunately, this was under my old e-mail address I am no longer using. For those of you unfamiliar with Google’s empire, if you’re logged in as one name on gmail, you’re logged in as that name across all of Google. Logging into a service with a different Google account will log you OUT of the other services because Goggle has issues with you being logged in as two at once (unles you have 2 browsers).

I decided to switch my YouTube account to a new one, since I didn’t want to mess with the whole logging in/logging out of every Google service just to upload a video. My new YouTube is beccajanestclair. All NEW vlogs will go on the new account. All OLD vlogs will still be under annaonthemoon79, but I’ve also created a playlist of all of them here:, which will have a link on the sidebar of the blog, too. All old Vlogs embedded will still exist. This is ust the account for all NEW vlogs. If you were subscribed to me on YouTube, you will need to subscribe to the new account.

Confusing, I know. But at least now my YouTube account matches the blog!

I probably won’t have many new vlogs right now, as most of vlogs I took recently are on the video camera Tim took back to the UK with him. I will have a backlog of video (including the wedding!) to upload after I move!

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Cheating a little

There might still be an update for today, but for now I wanted to share a YouTube video Tim sent me. For those who don’t know, Walt Disney was a HUGE train fanatic, and even had a narrow gauge ride-on model railway in his back yard (which inspired the railways at Disneyland/Disney World, but more about that in a later post). Tim said this cartoon is proof that Walt truly was “one of us”:

Direct link:

Ladies and Gentlemen….this is about to become my life 😉

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Touring Dublin by Bus

[This is a recap of a trip taken in September 2009. A post had bot been previously written on the subject]

On a recommendation from Tim’s mum, my mom and I decided to take the Dublin Bus Tour on our first full day. There is more than one bus tour company in Dublin. All stop at mostly the same places, but the tour we took was operated by the Dublin city bus company, and our driver explained to us that they rotate drivers – a driver will be a regular route driver for 2 weeks, then he’ll go and drive the tour bus for 2. Our driver explained this was mostly because they’d lose their voices if they were tour bus drivers constantly, but also told us that all the drivers absolutely LOVE being the tour bus driver.

The bus is “hop on/hop off”, which means that as long as you hang onto your ticket, you can ride the tour bus as many times as you want from 9 in the morning until around 5PM in the evening. The busses go in a continual loop, reaching stops every 10-15 minutes, so if you get off, chances are you’ll have a different bus driver on the next bus. The full length tour is about an hour and a half, not counting stops.

We boarded one of the first buses of the morning and decided to ride it the full loop before making any decisions on where to stop. We rode up on the upper deck so we could see better and it was fantastic. We saw loads of things we had passed on the airport shuttle, but hadn’t paid attention to. On our second loop around Dublin, we got off at the Guinness Storehouse. I purchased a ticket online before we left the US, but Mom wasn’t interested in seeing the brewery. She had a book tucked into her bag though, and planned on finding a bench to sit on while I did the tour. Fortunately, there was a really nice person working at the entrance, and he let Mom through so she could go up to the cafe to sit and wait for me. As it turns out, the cafe was on the third floor of the exhibit, and if we had been dishonest, Mom could have toured the facility for free!

The Guinness Storehouse was incredible and well worth the trip if you’re a fan of the beer! You even get free beer at several stops throughout the tour as you go through a tasting room (where you can have as many as you want), learn how to pull the perfect pint, and finally up at the top where you get a complimentary pint of Guinness and are treated to a 360 degree view of Dublin and the surrounding countryside.

After the Storehouse, we boarded the bus again, and decided to get off at the Writer’s Museum. Our plans didn’t quite go as we thought, however, when our bus driver received a message that there had been a major bus/train accident along the main shopping street in Dublin…which also happened to be the street many of the attractions were on, and where the bus needed to go to get to the rest of the stops! Our bus driver was incredible, and told us that we could all get off at the next stop and do whichever attraction it was and hope the mess was over by the time we were done OR we could stay on the bus and he would do his best to get us around Dublin and promised to show us “areas of Dublin not included on a typical tour”. Mom and I decided to stick it out and see where the driver would take us.

Direct Link:

True to his word, he took us through the more residential areas of Dublin and told us stories about the city and buildings (and about himself!) that we would not have heard otherwise. He finally reached a point where he needed to discharge us, and we were directed to find the next bus that would (hopefully) resume the route and get us back. Unfortunately, we got a little mixed up, but did finally find a tour bus stop in the end.

We never did make it to the Writer’s Museum, but I think our adventure was well worth it. We certainly got our money’s worth out of the tickets!



For more pictures, please see:

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Royal Observatory at Greenwich

[This entry refers to a day trip taken in January 2009. As requested, I will be going back and blogging the trips I only posted vlogs about January – April.]

Back when Tim and I started planning my trip, he asked me to make a list of places I’d like to see. The list was in no way a guarantee that we’d go, but it was a good jumping off point for making plans. I can also proudly say that after 6 months, we did nearly everything on the list!

One of the places on my list, was the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The map geek in me was overjoyed that I was going to be traveling from 100 degrees (when I was in Manitoba last summer) to 0 within a matter of weeks (and, at the beginning of 2008 I was almost at the Equator, too!). When I was doing some research for my UK trip, I discovered that you could go to Greenwich and stand on the Prime Meridian…thus being in both the West and the East at the same time!

When Tim and I planned our weekend to London this past January, we included a trip to Greenwich. We started our trek by taking the Docklands Light Railway, which is a light railway that does not have any drivers on it! (You might remember my vlog I made that day, viewable here.). The DLR doesn’t drop you off right at the observatory, of course, so we had a bit of a walk through Greenwich (though we could have taken the bus, we opted to walk). Once we got there, I also discovered you need to walk uphill to get to the observatory. By this point in our weekend, my legs were really hurting from the prior days, so we took it slow, stopping to sit on benches along the way. Our goal was to get to the Prime Meridian before 1300 GMT, as we wanted to watch the red ball drop at 1300, but we had plenty of time.

Believe it or not, I was actually pretty awe-struck finally getting to see the world clock and getting to stand right on the Prime Meridan. There are few things that can excite a map geek as much as being able to be both East and West at the same time!

We went into the observatory and got to see a huge display about clocks, and learned about the first clocks ever built. After we watched the red ball drop, we decided to head to the Maritime Museum. Tim wound up going through this museum mostly on his own. My legs were just too tired to take it all in, but the museum had a small cafe, so I was able to sit at a table with a drink and I read and listened to music (and I think I might have even fallen asleep at one point!). I felt bad leaving Tim to look at the museum on his own, but I was glad he was able to get the chance to do it.

After closing time, we decided to take a bus back over to the DLR (yay!), and then the Tube back to Victoria Station for the short walk back to the hotel.

The Royal Observatory

I’m standing in the East and the West!

More Photos

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Two Vlogs from London

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Vlog: Stonehenge

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Fast Update

I’ve been awake since 3:30 this morning with a sore throat and I’m about ready to go back to sleep for a bit, but before I go, here’s a few photos and video from the most recent road trip. I’ll have a longer write-up and the rest of the photos later on in the day or week, depending on how I feel!

“best of” photos on facebook:

Videos on YouTube:

Waves crashing

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Rescue Helicopter drill

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