Monthly Archives: July 2012

It Just Wouldn’t Be A London Olympics Without Some Rain


Well, the Olympics are here!

I feel as if I have been looking forward to them for ages and finally, here they are.

And where were we during the opening ceremony?

In a field, in a tent, in the middle of England.

That’s right. While the rest of the world watched the opening ceremony on tv, Tim, Josh and I were attending a friends wedding where guests were invited to camp for the weekend.


To be fair, it was a lovely wedding and we did tape the opening ceremony so will go back and watch it when we get some time.

On Friday night there was a big cricket game which Josh really enjoyed.



On Saturday, there was the wedding, complete with hats all around.



Josh was a bit more casual, though he did try on Tim’s hat later in the day.


While we were at the wedding Saturday, my mom was able to go and watch the men’s cycling, the course going right by where we live.

She sent me a picture of them flying by.


We ended up leaving Saturday night (toddlers and weddings just don’t mix), and driving back home late Saturday night.

Early Sunday morning we were up and on our way to the Olympics to see the swimming!


We went to the aquatics centre which was a beautiful building.



It was only the second day of the Olympics, so while we didn’t get to see any medals awarded, we still saw some great races.






We had such a great time.


When it was over, we went and wandered around the Olympic Village for a bit.



Until it started to rain.


It just wouldn’t be a London Olympics without some rain.


There’ll Be Bluebirds Over…


This blog post is a bit delayed, but I know the family and mom’s friends will want an update of her summer holiday; that and some of the photos turned out really nice I think.

Last Monday, we decided to hop in the car again and head to East Sussex.

In the morning we drove to Bodiam Castle, probably the only castle I’ve ever seen still surrounded completely by a moat.


Built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, there isn’t much left inside the castle.



But Josh had a great time running around, climbing up the towers and exploring the castle.


In the afternoon, we headed further south into Kent and to the white cliffs of Dover.




The cliffs were beautiful, but from the hike along the top, I felt you couldn’t really see them that well.

Thankfully, Tim indulged me and we made the tiring hike down the cliffs to the beach.


Close up, the cliffs really are white, almost like a chalky rock which comes off on your hands when you touch it.


All the effort was worth it to see the cliffs from the beach, looking up at them.


At least I thought so.


Poor Josh had already fallen asleep by that point.

The Sunshine Award


Last week, I was privileged to have Robin, from Bringing Europe Home award me with the Sunshine Award.

As you can see from her lovely blog, she lived in Europe for a time and her kind words of encouragement have certainly brought a ray of sunshine to my rainy corner of Blighty on a number of occasions!

Thank you again Robin!

According to the instructions, I am supposed to:

  • acknowledge and thank the giver, link it back, and put the award on your page;
  • answer 10 questions about yourself found below;
  • pass the award on to 10 or a random number of bloggers (in my case I’ll nominate only five or else this blog post might go on all day!) and notify them.
  • I suppose I should get around to answering the questions first.

    What is a real fear you have?
    The first thing that comes to mind seems like such a cliche, but spiders. I’m terrified of them. Tim often times will come home to find a glass, upside down over a spider, as I am too scared to take it outside myself. I’m sure this drives him insane.

    As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    What haven’t I wanted to do?! I think I’ve wanted to be everything in the world at one point or another all the way from archeologist to zoologist. I even remember a teacher asking me way back in middle school, after returning from a holiday, how long I had been on the plane before I decided I wanted to be a pilot. At this point in my life now, if I could do anything, I would be a writer. Preferably a good one.

    What are some of your hobbies?
    I love to read, write, travel, cook. Photography is also pretty high up there. So are naps. Napping sounds like a good hobby.

    What hobby would you like to start?
    First thing that comes to mind is probably surfing. I’ve gone several times and really enjoyed it, but never got into it properly. I appreciate that the time when that should have happened was when I was living in California though; not in England.

    If you could tell people anything, what would be the most important thing to say?
    Tell people today how much you love and appreciate them, because tomorrow they could be gone.

    Name one item from your “bucket list”?

    What’s the best prank you’ve pulled off?
    I think Tim knows the answer to this one, and that’s probably all I should say.

    What book are you planning to read next?
    I’ve been going through a lot of books lately. I finished One Day by David Nicholls the other day and have just started The Sins of the Father by Jeffery Archer, while The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n is all lined up next on my bedside table.

    Coffee or tea?

    Lemon torte or chocolate cheesecake?
    I think I’ll have to go with the chocolate cheesecake, though I’m sure they’re both delicious.

    Whew. That sure seemed like way more than 10 questions.

    Now for the fun bit though; the nominees.

  • Poetry Plus UK
  • I had the opportunity to meet Amy in a writing class I took and she is a fellow ex-pat here in England (originally from China), and writes the most beautiful, thought provoking poems.

  • Bluebell Stitches
  • A lovely blog which always leaves me in awe of how incredibly talented and creative she is; especially with a toddler and phD studies to look after too!

  • Moving Fast Whilst Getting Nowhere
  • Chris’s wonderful outdoor adventure blog whose pictures always make me want to get out and explore more of the UK.

  • Domestic Diva, M.D.
  • A perfect blog with great recipes and the best stories to accompany them. Always puts a smile on my face.

  • Ideal Housewife
  • Margaret’s wonderful blog with everything from recipes to crafts. She is so talented and even though I will never be able to sew as well as her, it’s still fun to see all the lovely things she is creating.

    So there they are, the nominees!

    They are all really great blogs and I hope you have a moment to check them out.

    Thanks again and I hope everyone has been watching the US Women’s soccer/football team playing France today.

    Come on USA!

    Have I mentioned I’m excited about the Olympics yet?

    Olympic Countdown


    Tim was kind enough to look after Josh so my mom and I could have a day out before she heads home.

    We decided to stay in London and try and have a peek at the Olympic Village.

    We ended up having such a wonderful time today.

    The morning was spent wandering around Covent Garden, which was all decked out and ready for the Olympics, which are only three days away now!


    I don’t know if lots of people have taken off or gotten out of town or what, but London definently has a different vibe.

    In fact, it seemed almost deserted at times.

    When I told this to Tim, he said it’s the calm before the storm.


    Maybe he’s right, but either way, my mom and I took full advantage of this calm and had a great lunch at Wahaca, which is easily the best Mexican restaurant I’ve been to in London.


    The really don’t do Mexican food all that well here in the UK.

    After lunch, we took the tube out to Stratford and the Olympic Village.


    There were various places to “view” the stadium from.



    And plenty of souvenirs to buy.


    The place is massive, and is attached to a huge Westfield Shopping Centre, complete with lots of restaurants, which, as an American, always makes me happy.

    We decided to just have a drink and sit out along the promenade and people watch.

    We saw so many people from all over the world, all wearing their official looking badges and various team colours. We couldn’t tell whether they were athletes or coaches or family members, but it was really an amazing experience to sit and watch all the excitement.

    I’m so glad we decided to do that and it really makes me excited to go back to see the swimming there.

    What an incredible experience that will be.

    We got back on the tube and finished up the day with a bit of cycling through Hyde Park using the rental bikes.



    Who knew it was so difficult take pictures and ride a bike at the same time.

    Back at home, Tim took Josh to get his first real haircut.


    I guess Josh just wants to look his best for the Olympics.

    Brighton’s Rocks


    Anxious not to let all of my newly acquired British driving skills go to waste, Josh, my mom and I drove down to Brighton today.

    I’ve always loved Brighton.

    I think it all stems from The End of the Affair and this vision of London during World War II.

    That and Brighton’s proximity to the ocean.

    That always helps.

    Even if the beach is made of rocks.


    Which, I might add, was a huge hit with Josh.

    So he didn’t feel left out among all the other British children, we brought his bucket and shovel along. And he had a blast playing there, the irony of shovelling rocks into a sand pail seemingly lost on him.


    He had so much fun in fact, that he had to be put in time out twice for throwing rocks; one about the size of a golf ball, which thankfully I managed to notice and dodge at the last minute.

    I tried to explain to him he needs to yell “catch” first and make eye contact with me, but that might be a bit advanced at this stage.

    What is it with boys and throwing everything?

    And he really throws well too.

    A little too well…

    Flying rocks aside, we had a lovely time there, playing on the beach.




    When it got too cold, we went and explored the pier, which strikes me as the British equivalent to the Santa Monica Pier, complete with roller coasters and candy floss (aka cotton candy).




    I even bought a bag of the candy floss to take home.


    It sounded much more appealing than the cockles and whelks.

    A Visit to the Real Downton Abbey


    We’re back from Cornwall, but the exploring hasn’t stopped.

    My mom is a big fan of Downton Abbey and we found out that the house used for filming is not too far a drive from us, though after driving to Cornwall, anything seems like a short drive!

    So today we went and paid a visit to Highclere Castle, which anyone who watches Downton Abbey will recognise, is where the show is filmed.



    Photography is not allowed inside the castle so you’ll have to trust me that it is a lovely house.

    We walked around and toured the house and afterwards went to an exhibit at the house on Egypt, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon being the man who, along with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankamuhn.

    We then went and walked around the grounds a bit, which were beautiful. We found the secret garden and had a wander around.




    Though I think Josh especially enjoyed running around on all that nice green grass.



    After we left the castle, we ended up stumbling upon The Swan Inn and had a late lunch.



    The food was great, but perhaps the best thing was the pub had a massive garden in the back, complete with a little creek and lots of grass for Josh to run around and explore in.



    Enough to keep him occupied so that we even managed to order some dessert.


    Which, when dining out with a toddler, is a very rare occurrence indeed.

    One Day Of Sun


    There’s been whispers about it all week.


    This Sunday.

    There might be some sun on Sunday.

    I think the whole world knows just how awful the weather has been here in England this summer. Between the Jubilee coverage and the Olympics countdown, England’s rainy skies have been broadcast around the world.

    But today, the rumours were true.

    Today there was sun.

    And as we are still down in Cornwall, along the coast, we were in the perfect place to enjoy it.

    To be honest, the morning didn’t start off great.

    In fact, it was downright cold.

    We drove out to Kynance Cove, which the guidebooks say is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

    Shivering, we hiked the 10 minutes or so to get down to the beach.



    We reached the beach, a term I use loosely as we had been warned that the tide was on the way back in, so whatever “beach” there was, would be gone in the next hour.

    This was basically it.


    A little stretch of sand nestled between the rocks.

    By the time we left it looked like this.


    It was funny to watch my mom see all the British children running around with sand pails and shovels, a puzzled look on her face. I’m afraid I don’t understand it either, other than that is just what your supposed to bring when you go to the “sea side,” even if the beach is only made of rocks.

    I imagine people don’t go to Kynance Cove for the beach though. I imagine it is for the view, which after climbing up onto the top of one of the cliffs, really is beautiful, especially on a sunny day like today.




    After visiting Kynance Cove, we drove over to St. Ives, a place I fell in love with.

    It probably helped that the sun was shining and there was a nice big sandy beach with beautiful blue water.


    The houses and town are all built into the hillside, which reminded me a bit of the Almafi Coast in Italy. The town also had a very young, artsy feel to it which was nice. Quite a contrast to all the small, deserted farming villages nearby.

    We spent all of the afternoon just playing on the beach and enjoying the sunshine.



    Josh even made a new friend while we were there.

    Can you see them there building sandcastles together?


    It was pretty cute.