Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Europe 2014 - Day trip to Salisbury, Stonehenge and Bath

24th October..
Today we were heading off on a full day bus tour ... we were all very excited about this.... it was a chance to get out of the hustle and bustle and into the countryside. 

We climbed aboard the coach ...popped in our earphones and headed off.

First stop was the spectacular  Salisbury Cathedral.. in Sailsbury... its an Anglican cathedral built over 38 years 1220 - 1258. 
It instantly reminded me of Ken Follets "Pillars of the Earth" and on a little reading I discovered it was his inspiration in the book and has been used in movie.

 This Cathedral has the tallest spire (123m) in the UK ... and is home to the worlds oldest working clock (AD 1386) and has the best surviving of the four original copies of the Magna Carta. 

Next stop... Stonehenge

We all know about and have have seen the pictures...but it was surreal to actually visit here.
Its a world famous prehistoric monument. 
"Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones. Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000BC to 2000BC. Archaeological evidence indicates that Stonehenge was used as a burial ground from as early as 3000BC." 
My mind just could not comprehend the age of this significant site...and the sheer size of these rocks. The rocks are not local to the area which means they were carted quite some distance before being erected here.

Our trip ended in beautiful historic Bath .. 

Home of the famous "Sally Lunns buns"
 The highlight in Bath was a visit to the historic Roman Baths these 'baths' are in the heart of the city and were constructed around 70AD as a grand bathing and socialising complex. 
It is now one of the most preserved roman remains in the world.1,170,000 litres of steaming spring water reaching 46 °C still fill the bathing site every single day. (source)
 It was a wonderful day trip... it was long.. but the scenery was lovely and we felt we had seen just a little taste of what the English countryside was like. 
The bus driver pointed out the chimney pots on the roof....check out the amount of them...crazy.

We could have spent so much more time in Bath ..and Salisbury.. 
but it was time to go back to London..
we had a lot of packing to do tonight...because it was off to Paris in the morning.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Europe 2014 - London

  21 - 24th October
We flew into London's famous Heathrow Airport...met our transfer and zoomed off to our home away from home for the next 4 days...'The Shaftesbury Hyde Park International Hotel'. 
It was a lovely Motel..very cosy.. clean and close to the park... shops...restaurants and a tube station.
It also conveniently had a red post box out the front ..perfect for postcard posting.

We found ourselves a British pub and shared a traditional fish and chips for lunch.
Took a walk through Hyde Park for a bit of squirrel spotting.

Our first night was a HUGE highlight... one of those truly unforgettable nights. 

Ron and Donna had some friends in London who we met at 'Jamie Olivers Italian' restaurant in Threadneedle street. 
We knew we were in for a great night from the minute we arrived. 
Tony and Dennis were so welcoming and entertaining and it was only minutes before we were seated and deep in the most interesting conversation. 
The french wine that Tony so generously selected was divine...
I regret now not taking more notice of the label.
 Our meal was ahhhhmazing.... we began with a share plank which was placed on the table balanced on soup tins... and then making a choice from the menu was almost mouth was watering... totally loved it. (I finally settled on the pork belly)
The atmosphere... the building..the menu...and most of all the company of Tony and Dennis made it the most memorable night.

The next morning we were up early and set for exploring...we bought a two day pass for the Big Bus...this gave us a hop on and off tour with commentary and we were happy to just take in the sights. 

The London Eye - I always looked at photos of London and thought..."oh yeah...the Ferris wheel looking thing" ...little did I realise it was ENORMOUS! 
Each capsule can hold up to 25 people!...bit bigger than a show ride Ferris wheel.

Lets just say the view was spectacular... we could see London in every direction.

Buckingham Palace - This was a 'must see' ... the one thing that Bella and Brooke were most excited about was Nan and Pops visit to 'the queens house' . 

We watched the guards march....took lots of photos...and bought a few souvenirs to take home for the girls and buddy Bray.

Tower of London -  We had no idea when we arrived at the "Tower of London" that we were lucky enough to be seeing the 'London Poppies' display.  it's impossible to describe the impact of seeing 888,246 ceramic poppies filling the Tower's famous moat with each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war.

Harrods - Of course we had to pop into Harrods.. just for the sheer fun of being able to say "we shopped at Harrods of London" ..and we did shop...we bought ourselves baguettes for lunch from the food court. Donna picked up a handbag and promptly put it down when she noticed its £2000 price tag...and Ian gulped when he noticed the Wagyu steak for £33 per 100g - approx $660 a kg.

Madame Tussauds - This was pretty darn cool...even better than I expected. The wax figures were very lifelike and its was quite OK to get up close and personal with them for photos. Just to be able to see the size of them was interesting...some were so much taller than I expected and others were petite. Loved every minute of the 'Spirit of London ride'.

Pinched ourselves as we drove over the famous 'Tower Bridge'  

passed 'Big Ben' (Big Ben is the name of the giant bell inside the clock tower which weights 13760kgs. The clock face on the bell tower is 7 metres wide.

stood out the front and admired 'Westminster Abbey

Walked through Kensington gardens past Kensington Palace in the evening...
Ian even saw the royal helicopter land.

 There were reminders that we were actually in London everywhere...

 to be continued.......

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I wrote a guest post for Mel at "One Crafty Mumma"

So it was a little while back that I had an email from Mel...
the super duper blogging queen...
and author of the hugely popular  "One Crafty Mumma" blog.

Mel asked if I would like to share my "Top 5 Spots to visit in Europe"

I was a tad chuffed to be asked...
and of course with our recent trip still fresh in my mind...
travel....and Europe are pretty high on my current list of favourite things.

Writing a blog post about my favourite things was a breeze.
the hard part was choosing my 5 faves.

I would love you to pop by Mels blog "One Crafty Mumma" to read my top 5 ..
I warn you though...make yourself a cuppa...once you start reading Mels posts you can easily lose an hour or so hopping from post to post.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

January 2015 - and how I plan to record this year...

I made a conscious decision this year to minimise commitments...
My usual pattern is to say I will... but then don't.

Most years Id be lucky to last a week before I start jumping on-board with challenges...  prompts  or find myself  bogged down yet again by the need to photograph each day.... scrap a layout each a regular catch-up.. or meet a swap deadline.

Of course I've loved all of these past challenges.. swaps and commitments...
and I will continue with some but I am saying  NO to anything that needs an ongoing largish commitment. In the ideal world Id have a personality that could take these things in my stride...
but I don't.
I stress....feel pressure.. and cant sleep if I get behind with things...
its not worth the angst for me this year.

So... without my photo-a -day.... project 365....project life album...or even regular will I make sure these memories are still recorded.
I mean....what if I all of a sudden decide I regret my decision...eeek..

SO my easy...stress free solution is to just pop a monthly collage here on my blog..
just some photos... and dot points...
no lengthy wording embellishing needed...
surely at some stage every 30 days I can whip a collage together without any stress.

(Oh and I am waiting on my beautiful Heidi Swapp planner to arrive....all these beautiful planners bombarding my IG feed are teasing me....arghhhhhhhh...
This will be more about keeping my lists...dates...and little snippets together...
Instead of my usual diary type planner...I'm having a beautiful fancy looking planner. )

So.... here we go...
January 2015 

  •  Camped at the lake with the Winen clan.. it was so lovely to catch up with everyone.
  • Jorja taught Brent and Mitch how to loom band.
  • Mitch and Meg had a rough month...Mitch was unwell again and finally had surgery at FMC
  • Briony and Jarrad all dressed up for Toni and Wades wedding.
  • Ian and I travelled to Nelson and camped with James and Kelly... had a wonderful relaxing weekend. Kel and I enjoyed a paddle boat with Evie.
  • Brookey had her ears pierced. She was so brave...and they look so pretty and sparkly.
  • Bella created more art... 
  • Mitch had a birthday.