Tag Archives: camera

A Pretty Good Day

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Last week was half term here in England, which means schools were out and London was very crowded.

Most of the museums have special events on during half term for all the little ones. We decided to go to the National Gallery, which had on an Imaginary Worlds Family Festival.

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The last time we came to the National Gallery with Josh was about a year ago and was clearly not a great place to bring a one year old.

But now that he’s a bit older he seemed to enjoy it, and I especially loved looking at paintings with him and listening to him tell me about what he thought was happening in them.

My personal favourite was when upon seeing Seurat’s Bathers at Asnieres, Josh was very concerned that the boy in the river had lost his dog and was calling out for him, though the dog didn’t seem to look too concerned to me.

We had a great time though looking at the paintings and doing some of the children’s events like listening to a pop up orchestra.

The fun didn’t stop either when we left the gallery, as we even managed to see a somewhat creepy puppet show happening in Trafalgar Square.

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And of course we had lunch, which was possibly the highlight of the day when we found a new Mexican place on the Strand.

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And dessert.

Dessert was pretty good too.

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Yup. It was a pretty good day.

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Climbing Leith Hill

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We are still following through on our promise to explore a bit more of the countryside, and so last week we went to explore Leith Hill.

What is Leith Hill you might ask?

Why it’s only the second highest point in South East England. I really can’t believe you’ve never heard of it.

Only joking. Of course I can.

It’s just a big hill.

With a tower on the top.

But what better thing to do when faced with a big hill than to climb up it, which is just what we decided to do last week.

It was dry but pretty cold still, so Josh wasn’t in the greatest of moods.

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But we persevered and eventually made it to the top.

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Where we were able to see some lovely views and make our way over to the tower.

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I can’t even begin to describe how cold it was from the top of the tower, with all the cold wind blowing.

But we climbed it and even managed to have a peek over the edge.

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Which means Josh earned his first stamp in his National Trust passport.

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At this rate, I think he’ll have that passport filled in no time at all.

Back to the Butterflies

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Last week, we ended up heading over to RHS Wisley to see the Butterflies in the Glasshouse, an event which happens every February.

Last year was our first time going, which I wrote about here.

This time, not much was different, though as it had only recently opened, it wasn’t crowded at all. Which was nice.

We were able to see some butterflies.

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We saw some beautiful flowers.

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And all from inside a beautiful building which, as other people began to wilt from the heat, was just the right temperature for me.

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Josh seemed to enjoy himself too.

And despite his running off to chase after the butterflies, I think I managed to get a few cute photos of him.

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Though I’m especially pleased with this one.

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Mainly because I have a very similar photo taken of him last year while visiting the butterflies.

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My baby is growing up.

All Aboard

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Trains and I, we have a love-hate relationship.

Growing up in California, the land of the car, trains seemed almost otherworldly.

Very glamourous. Very romantic. Very 1940s.

So moving to England and actually riding on trains to commute to work was a big slap in the face. All that scrambling to get a seat. Grumpy passengers. Piles of rubbish all over. The strong scent of urine in the air.

It didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

But now of course, Josh loves trains.

Probably because he doesn’t have to commute on them.

And the family thought it would be fun to take a train ride while we were out in California, from Ventura to Santa Barbara.

And they were right.

It was fun and Josh loved it.

We had to wait a while for the train to actually turn up. I think it was at least a half an hour late. Which meant plenty of time to hang out and play with the family.

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And, of course, find some toys with Uncle Terry.

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Once we were finally on the train, Josh went crazy, running up and down the aisles telling everyone to “go hide!”

Apparently trains are good places to play hide and seek.

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The view was pretty nice too.

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A short time later, we were in Santa Barbara.

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We went and walked around a bit down by the pier, enjoying all that California December sunshine.

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After lunch, we went and wandered up State Street.

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We ended up going to see the courthouse there, which is such a beautiful building.

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Though Josh was far more interested in his space shuttle than looking at any architecture.

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It was such a lovely day.

It probably helps that this was the view from the train on the way back.

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I imagine that helps make commuting just that little bit nicer in California.

Even if the train still smells like pee.

Snow Day

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We’ve had some snow here in England this weekend.

And it has not gone past my attention that Southern California is back in the 80s this week.

In fact, I’ve really enjoyed looking at all the sunny photos of everyone playing at the beach. It’s given me something to look at as I walk around the house wearing ten sweatshirts at once.

But instead of posting a photo of me wearing ten sweatshirts, I thought I’d post a few photos I took of us playing in the snow.

Because, when all is said and done, it was actually fun.

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For twenty minutes at least.

After that, my toes go numb.

And frozen toes are no fun at all.

Back in Blighty

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Well, we’re back.

Back in England.

And I’m missing California and all my family and friends.

A lot.

But what better way to work through my sadness than by catching up on this blog that I have been neglecting these last few weeks while I was having way too much fun in California?

I’ve been asking around and I think the best way to approach this it to work through some of our adventures we went on while in California, one at a time. That way it won’t be photo overload, though let me just say, I took a lot of pictures.

A lot.

But I know the family loves seeing them and it makes me less sad, so there you have it.

And to start it all off, here are some photos from a trip we took down to the California Science Centre in Los Angeles.

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Josh is still obsessed with anything with wheels, so it was great to see him running around so excited.

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We had tickets to see the space shuttle Endeavour and I had spent the week prior talking all about the shuttle to Josh, showing him videos of it taking off and making its final flight over California.

And while I think Josh enjoyed it, he seemed a bit daunted by how big it was. He just kept saying “it’s very big” and “can we go to the toy shop?”

Oh well.

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We did end up going to the toy shop afterwards and bought Josh a miniature space shuttle, which he loved, and of course, managed to break after all of about ten minutes playing with it.

Nothing that a little glue won’t fix.

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It was such a wonderful museum though, with far more interactive exhibits for children than any museum we’ve been to in London.

We’ll definitely be going back again.

Maybe not for the space shuttle.

But definitely for the fish.

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The fish were a big hit.

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Learning to Run

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I apologise in advance if this blog post is bragging.

It could have so easily gone the other way though.

Back in August when I turned the big 3-0, I made a birthday promise to myself, mainly promising not to complain as much about living in England.

For the record, I think I have been a lot better, getting out with Josh and exploring the countryside a bit more.

In my birthday promise, I also said I would like to start running more; a promise I easily forgot when the cold weather and rain came.

But thankfully my sister reads the blog and she didn’t forget.

In fact, as a birthday gift, she signed us up for a 5k.

And as much as the thought of running three miles made me feel nauseous, this last weekend we did it.

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And you know what?

I felt really good about it.

I think it helps that I had my wonderful sister to run with.

And let’s face it, it’s much nicer to run along the beach in 60 degree weather than in frosty England.

I mean, look at the view.

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So thank you Erin for the wonderful gift and making sure I actually followed through on something.

You’re an amazing sister!

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Let me know if we’re on for that half marathon next Christmas.

I’ll easily need the whole year to train for that.