Tag Archives: travel

Climbing Leith Hill


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.

But we persevered and eventually made it to the top.



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



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.




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

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


The Little Sand Storm

We’re here!

Josh and I, and all of our passports, have safely made it to California.

And just so he knows someday, Josh was the BEST little traveler.

For the whole 11 hour flight, complete with turbulence which meant he had to stay buckled in his seat the last four hours, he was an angel. And even though he didn’t sleep a wink the entire flight, we had no tantrums; he was easygoing, listened to me and was just an all around awesome little travel buddy.

So thank you Josh.

I’ll have to try and remember this for when, on the return flight, inevitably it will all go horribly wrong and I will be tearing my hair out with a screaming two year old.

Then again, Tim will be there next time to hand off to, so perhaps it’s not so bleak after all.

But, as I said, we are here in California; jet lagged and enjoying the sunshine.

And since Josh continues to insist upon getting up at ungodly hours of the morning (one day it was 1:30am), we have gone out several days to the beach already, taking some early morning strolls.

Josh hasn’t really been around the ocean much, so I expected him to be a bit more hesitant walking near the water.

But he surprised me and did just the opposite, rolling around in the sand, reminding me very much of his Aunt Erin when she was little.



He just loved running around and throwing sand up into the air, rolling around in it, rubbing it onto his clothes.

This kid loves sand.

One surfer passing by laughed seeing Josh playing and called him a little sand storm.


I think I’d rather have a sand storm than a snow storm any day….

A Beach in Winter


Things have been fairly hectic around here lately.

Christmas is just around the corner and the holiday baking is in full force. Between decorating sugar cookies and icing the gingerbread men, it’s easy to forget that Josh and I leave for California this weekend!

Yup, sunshine here we come! Or rain; I think it’s raining in California.

Either way, it has to be warmer than England. It was minus five last night with snow supposedly on the way.

Also, we have had some wonderful visitors staying with us the last few days.

That’s right; Laura and Elle are back with us and what better way to celebrate the cold weather and being in Europe than three Californians taking a trip to the beach.

We drove down to Brighton and played in the sand rocks, which Josh especially loved throwing around.


Josh was thrown up in the air, his favourite, by Elle.

Elle is one strong lady.

I think Tim is the only other person I’ve seen able to throw him that high.

We went for a walk out on the pier.


On the pier, Josh, Laura and Elle had their very first Brighton rock from Brighton’s best rock shop, though I think they all probably say that.


Best shop or not, it was pretty yummy.


So, even though we weren’t in California, we had a great day.

Eating Brighton rock and watching an amazing sunset.


We’ll be seeing you very soon California!


A Very Olympic Day


My mom flew back to California this morning.

It was so wonderful having her here and I can’t believe how many things we saw/did while she was over; I’m exhausted!

Her last day here in the UK was a very Olympic one.

On Tuesday morning, my mom and I went to Eton Dorney to watch the rowing. My mom has been a big fan of rowing ever since my sister rowed for UCLA, so I was really glad we were able to get these tickets.


We made our way to Windsor and boarded the free shuttle to the venue.



From the shuttle drop off, it was about a fifteen minute walk through some fields to the lake.

Along the way, we passed some of the food stalls and noticed that at 9am, the longest line was for this tent.


Nothing quite says says British breakfast like “pork, gammon, and beef.”

We decided not to try any gammon and made our way to our wet seats, which we dried off with napkins, and then tried to stay warm under our huge American flag.



We ended up really lucky as it was supposed to pour that day, but thankfully the rain stayed away until the very last race.



After rowing, we went back home, picked up Tim and Josh and headed right back out to watch the women’s soccer teams of Great Britain vs Brazil at Wembley Stadium.



I had been really worried about how Josh might handle all the people, noise and excitement, but I needn’t have worried. He was so well behaved and loved watching the football game; and what a first game for him to watch!




Britain scored within the first few minutes and won the game. The crowd really was loving it.


We had such a fun time at the game it really was a wonderful ending to my mom’s trip.


Thank you again for coming out Mom and have a safe flight home!

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.

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.