The Fairmont is a family favourite of ours! From Banff’s majestic Banff Springs to Calgary’s own historical Palliser Hotel to Toronto’s landmark Royal York, Fairmont Hotels continue to be our home away from home when we travel. Even in my native homeland Australia, Fairmont staff treat us like family, which is why we keep coming back year after year.
When you visit Calgary, the Fairmont Palliser is a must-see landmark – especially during the holiday season. The Palliser is one of my FAVE PLACES in Calgary to catch up with friends and family. It’s fabulous and has everything you need to make the right impression 😊 Check out the Hawthorn Dining Room’s Holiday Afternoon Tea (until January 12), try a festive-themed cocktail (until December 31), and splurge on the Veuve Clicquot Brunch. Or try my personal favourite, the “Yule Love It” lunch buffet, a Fairmont Palliser holiday tradition. This seasonal favourite features all the holiday classics and is the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the holiday season with friends, family and coworkers. The “Yule Love It” lunch buffet is a great option for a small office Christmas celebration. Served from December 16 – December 20 from 11 am until 2 pm. $65 per adult. Two seatings available at 11 am and 1 pm.
For the first giveaway of my 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways Instagram contest, the fab peeps at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary are giving one lucky winner the chance to win 2 tickets to the “Yule Love It” lunch buffet for either the 11 am or 1 pm seating in the Gold Floor Lounge! With this lunch comes another special treat – a personal performance by yours truly: ME!
Here’s how you can win lunch for 2 and your own personal performance by me. Head to my Instagram page – sophieplaysviolin – and answer today’s contest question. It’s that easy!
Happy holidays! Sophie xo
*Entries for any of the 12 Days Giveaways can be done anytime between 10am on 4th December until midnight on Sunday 15th December. Winners will be announced at 10am EST on Monday 15th December.
I just had the three most magical, and challenging days here in beautiful Scotland. I should always start to expect the unexpected, because I could never have guessed how this was going to go. I had in my mind, that we were going to film an epic music video…. And I think we did thanks to Ringtail Films… But the experience was so much more!
I landed in Glasgow and went to stay with family, which was awesome. Then on day two, we started filming early in the morning. We started at some famous forest areas (some of which were used in Outlander- I know some of you on social media have asked if it was from Highlander- did you mean Outlander?) and walked down to a waterfall right down in a deep crevice between some rocks called The Devil’s Pulpit. It was amazing to hear how my violin sounded down there on a large speaker! I had planned to host a Facebook Live session down there, but alas, terrible reception! I can see why it’s called the Devil’s Pulpit- you feel like you’re right down underneath the earth in a hidden place…. Hopefully we shone some musical light down there!
In Skye, I wanted to stay right out near the farms, however… we had trouble getting there! Google maps had trouble identifying the location and right out there, the reception was terrible, and…. There were no streetlights out there and it was quite dark by the time we arrived! Anyway, we found each other and all was well. The things you don’t expect! Well, at least, the things I didn’t expect. Once daylight arrived it was just breathtaking. It could have been a scene from 100 years ago. The rolling hills with the small houses and the farms, with very majestic and magnificent coastline everywhere, were just so dreamy! Check it out this picture of one of the very cute little houses and the scenery! Bonus- a double rainbow! It had been a LONG time since I saw a full rainbow let alone a full or double rainbow. It was very pretty, very mystical.
The little white houses with the grey slate roofs were just so cute and the local farmers provided a lot of the local restaurants with fresh bread and dairy, and the landscape like a scene from an old film.
My favorite location was definitely The Fairy Glen (this is a shot from the drone! Ringtail Films totally rocked it!)
Locals tell me that the Fairy Glen was simply the result of what they call a land slip, but that there is some legend floating around that it is home to fairies and magical happenings! It was a awe inspiring location and we found it just fascinating, and beautiful to film. I would have enjoyed being on top of the peaks much more if it hadn’t been so darn cold and windy though! There was the challenge: staying warm on top of very high peaks in the very cold wind. But we did it, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
The single Unvanquished will be out October 8th, and the video clip will follow soon after.
So… this was an interesting shoot you guys! I was so excited to shoot here on the pristine salt flats with the beautiful backdrop of the mountains.
The Bonneville Salt flats are one of the largest salt flats in the world- it is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake, and was about a 90 minute drive out of Salt Lake City. I had a show scheduled there, so I came in a day early to do the shoot! I teamed up with the talented cameraman Markus Aedo, who shot the video, and all went well… until poor Markus’ car got stuck in the flats!
We were VERY lucky that some people stopped to help get him out… it was a little stressful! It was hard to stay stressed for too long with the beauty of our surroundings however, and we got the job done (with a bit of sweat and tears!).
The trip to Salt Lake City was amazing. It was an honour to perform in the Rice Eccles Stadium for a very inspiring corporate event, and I got to visit the famous Salt Lake Temple which was so peaceful, inspiring and beautiful. I left inspired. One recommendation I would make- do NOT drive your car onto the salt flats unless it’s car racing season (apparently August!) when the area is used for races! It’s too muddy before then!
I’ll be traveling to Europe next! Let me know if you have any ideas where we should shoot a video! I hope you’re having a wonderful summer…. or winter for my Aussie family and friends!
As we head into the weekend, I have a little something to share with you. This video is something different! The Water Lantern Festival is a beautiful community event, where I was lucky to be able to perform and also shoot this music video. I chose to shoot my track Kissed by the Moon as it really fit the vibe….. Dionysius and I brought the whole family, and we spent the afternoon making our own lanterns- with drawings and messages of the things important to us, and it was really quite emotional. As I was about to perform, I listened to the stories of those who chose to go up and share their story on the mic. Children, adults, sharing hopes and dreams, and love, fare-welling a loved one… it was quite emotional, and it really brought the crowd together. Then, at 9pm, the lanterns were launched onto the water, with little lights inside where they floated together, representing the hopes and feelings of the crowd. It really connected everyone, and for one peaceful evening, there was a great sense of togetherness at Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Canada. It was incredible!
Water Lantern Festival takes place all over the globe- check it out! Wherever you’re traveling, you may find an event near you. According to One World, “As the sun begins to set on the evening sky, the Water Lantern Festival begins to shine with the launch of the lanterns onto the water as we Light The Water together. Watch your unique lantern drift out into the water as it joins other lanterns carrying hope, love, happiness, healing, peace, and connection. It’s a night that you’ll never forget.” Check it out:
I hope you love the video and that it gives you a little bit of the beautiful energy that was present that night!
I’m so exited to share this video with you shot just two weeks ago! You all know how often I used to travel around the globe, and now, we’re trying this out with three little ones in tow! You know what? It was super busy but it was awesome!
We headed to Vancouver, and took the kids to the Aquarium and Stanley Park, and on the weekend, we headed to one of the most beautiful festivals I have ever been to! The Abbotsford BLOOM Tulip Festival is the stuff that dreams are made of…. our family absolutely loved visiting this stunning field of flowers! With food trucks, games and music, it was a trip to remember for sure! The piece I decided to play, All Things Bright and Beautiful is a selection from my Lullaby Album, Kissed by the Moon. I love this beautiful worship song- we can never be too grateful for the beauty that surrounds us on this earth, and remember it’s our job to protect it. I hope you love it as much as I did making it!
The last few days, Dionysius and I have been planning the next few months, and which gigs to do or not do, and whether we take the entire family… and it started a huge conversation about which cities we’d love to visit with our kids! It also got me reminiscing about all the places I have been. Sometimes as a performer you don’t get to explore new cities much, it’s usually in and out. Sometimes though, I’ve extended my stays and out of all the cities I’ve been so fortunate to have visited (over 30 worldwide!) here are my favorites!
From it’s unusual little neighbourhoods to almost EVERYONE riding bikes everywhere, this dainty city had me in fantasy land! The Tivoli Gardens are a must, The Little Mermaid statue (a reminder of all the works of Hans Christian Andersen) Christiania, the little village of it’s own law, the beautiful architecture especially the Opera House are great spots to explore. I also loved how the Marguerite Daisy popped up all over the place when shopping, from jewelry to linens… they really do have a very particular national identity!
Istanbul was like a fantasy trip for me… I was so inspired by the sounds of the city from the morning prayers to the street musicians, the apple tea, the kind people I met… I loved it! My favorite places include Club 360- described by the New York Times as the hottest place to party in Europe where I was a resident performer, The Blue Mosque, the beautiful ancient hamams, some of which have been there for hundreds of years, Topkapi palace, wandering around the bazaars and, my favorite, venturing out to Canakkale and see the city of Troy, and so much more.
From the little boys offering roses in the busiest areas, the fabulous style and foods to some of the world’s most famous landmarks Rome is one of my absolute favorites! The ancient ruins including The Colosseum, The Forum and of course, the Spanish Steps made famous in the film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck just fascinate me and I can walk around for hours just taking it all in.
I spent many months in this beautiful city. I fell in love… with it all. I must have been at a stage in my life where all I could see was beauty and light, because I just wandered all over the city from the Sacre Coeur to the Palais Royale to the Champs Elysee… went out to the Gardens of Monet and all over the place and I just saw beauty, while some friends visiting just saw how dirty the city was! Paris is a fantastic place of beauty and history, I couldn’t get enough!
Fashion, fashion fashion!!! The people of Milan really know how to dress, probably better than most other cities in the world, and there is more class and style, and less trend following. I was inspired! The Duomo Cathedrale, Lake Como and La Scala are favorites as well…I managed to grab tickets to the Pink Floyd Ballet while I was there and take in the beauty and sheer history seeping out of the walls of the famous La Scala. This trip was a last minute one, and I would LOVE to return and stay longer!
I’m excited to share with you more stories! I’ve been to so many different cities… these definitely rank the highest! Can’t wait to discover more! Now we have a family, I’m sure there’s a whole new world of travel experiences out there just waiting! What are your top places to travel/experience you’ve had while abroad? I’d love to hear them! You know… I have been traveling all my life! I really wish I had started blogging sooner!