This February make time for the simple things

As the days gradually start to get longer (thank goodness 8am and 5pm no longer feel like the middle of the night) and daffodils are on sale in the grocery store, is it too early to start thinking of Spring? Probably...But as we patiently wait for the seasons to change, we have a challenge for you: find beauty in the simple each day this February.

Maybe simple for you is appreciating the first sip of coffee or tea in the morning? Maybe it's acknowledging the smile that your favourite TV show brings to you? Maybe it's catching the sunrise or sunset? Rather than taking for granted the small things we do and see each day, try to slow down and make time to be grateful for those simple things. You could write down a list of these things, and take the month to really appreciate them - even in moments of stress or the days you're in a bad mood, can you still be appreciative?

To help you with this challenge, we've sought out the best spots in the city to catch the sunrise or sunset (something we're particularly grateful for). And the good news is: wherever you are in the city, you're never far from the ocean, mountains and beautiful parks. Nature is nestled in every corner of Vancouver, which means that as Vanouverites, we have access to some of the most beautiful spots to see the sky change from blue to pink to orange as it rises or falls over the city.

Now, our suggestions may not seem that wild on first glimpse, they might even be your local neighbourhood, but with a sunset or sunrise in action nature will put on a spectacular performance and transform these ordinary spots to extraordinary scenery. And if it is on your doorstep, it really is the simplest of pleasures.

So here are some of our favourite spots:

Queen Elizabeth Park

Right next to our wonderful fieldhouse, we are lucky to have one of the highest vantage points in Vancouver. Ideal to look out over the city and into the mountains in the distance, seeing the day begin as the sun comes up or experiencing the day coming to a close as the sun disappears over the mountain tops.

And if you fancy a coffee or a cake to go with your sunrise or sunset, here are some local spots we love:

Matchstick, 4807 Main St (at 32nd Ave)

Coco et Olive, 3707 Main St

Liberty Bakery + Café, 3699 Main St

Photo via @loulouschka Instagram

Lionsgate bridge:

Sunrise or sunset, from this spot you can see Mount Baker in the distance, in all its glory. We think the bridge is extra special with a pink tint first thing in the morning. Amble across the bridge at sunrise, with none of the usual traffic and soak in the start of the day.

If it's a sunset trip you're taking, why not head into Stanley Park after the sun dips below the skyline and try some local craft beer and a bite to eat at Stanley Park Brewing

Photo via John Stewart, Trek Earth

Kitsilano beach or wreck beach:

Both of these beaches have a perfect vantage point for sunset. You can check out the ocean and the mountains in all their glory. Looking for an added bonus, Wreck beach often treats you to some friendly seals bobbing about.

One of the best local coffee shops (which also does the best sweet treats - their GF healthy scone is mind blowing) right by Kitsilano beach is Viva Cafe and Bakery. Maybe this could also be added to your list of simple things you appreciate?

Photo by @lizziehoddy

Cypress Mountain

For a completely different vantage point of the city, far away and high into the mountains, head up to Cypress Mountain and take a ride on the chair lift. From the top of the hill, you have Vancouver at your feet - with a floodlit snowy mountain and the ocean as a bonus.

Probably best to take a thermos and your own baked goods to keep you cozy as the sun sets. Make sure you're appropriately dressed (it gets cold up there) and check out Cypress Mountain website for the weather forecast and parking info.

Photo via Peak Visor

And don't forget that sometimes it’s enough to just step outside at the right time and catch the pink sky. This is real footage from outside an average apartment in the heart of Vancouver. So there really is not excuse! You've got 28 days...