Bristol

Just after my Christmas holiday in Germany I went down south to Bristol on a business trip. I went down for some training and then stayed an extra day to do some exploring with our friend, David.

Will and I haven’t traveled much to England so I was keen to see more of it… other than London… though, I’m not complaining about the number of times I’ve found myself there… I’m starting to feel really comfortable in London: It’s my “New York City.” But back to Bristol. I really enjoyed the whole day. Thanks to David, I saw everything I should see in Bristol, along with a ton of extras. 

After starting the day with breakfast at Hart’s Bakery we stopped by a beautiful church on the way to M Shed on the waterfront. It was having this wildlife photography exhibit I had heard about and it had some of the most beautiful and stunning photographs I’d ever seen. Afterwards I immediately went to the desk to where else the exhibit would be showing and they’re coming to Edinburgh in March!! So, I bought a post card of my favorite piece and sent it to Will with the message “we’re going to see this when you get back!”

After the M Shed we walked around. We saw, about four Banksy’s, The first suspension bridge in the world, the longest crescent in the UK, a 360 view of Bristol, and some awesome ceilidh dancing!

Banksy #1

Rich-what? RICH-MOND!!

Banksy #2

Not a Banksy.

Banksy #3

My absolute favorite part of Bristol was when we went to the Canteen to see a friend of David’s band play. This band got up and started playing a ceilidh! Oh man, it might have been the best ceilidh I’d ever danced because there wasn’t enough space and no one knew what they were doing but everyone was so into it! It was absolute chaos! It was great! The band was really good. They also played some line dancing and some folk music and even some greek music. It was all great!

And that was Bristol! I had such a great time. I can’t wait to take Will there :)

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“Good ‘Ole Times” In Oxford

I’m currently on a train headed back up to Edinburgh. I’ve said my last goodbye to Will and will officially start my “Less than 2 weeks” countdown on Sunday! Oh, my heart is so ready to be with him on a more permanent basis.

So, to distract myself, let me tell you about Oxford. After the company christmas party I headed on over to Oxford to see my favorite engaged couple!! Gilly and Elizabeth!! I hadn’t seen them since we went to Skye together back in June. Ugh, it had been too long. Needless to say, I’m so glad I got to see them! And our friend David, who now lives in Bristol, came to hang out too! It was  such a wonderful time!

I enjoyed my 36 hours in Oxford so much. My favorite bit was Saturday evening. We met up with two of Gilly and Elizabeth’s friends in a pub, ordered mulled wine and beer, and chatted the night away. We talked about everything from family to weddings (!!) to God’s callings on our lives… and it felt like “old times”! I have missed those moments.

I really am so grateful for these friends!

East London on Film

A month ago Will and I took a train down to London for a company outing. Yes, I got to experience P-Diddy style again. The Company was hosting a Family Fun Day and 10k race. They wanted to have a gathering where families could come and get to know each other so they offered to pay for travel AND friday night’s accommodation. Seriously, I could get used to this. I got to scratch my UK race off the 29-yr-old to-do list and use up my b&w film.

When we arrived Friday evening we dropped off our bags at the hotel (which, we absolutely loved!) and found the nearest Chipotle! Afterwards we discovered the cutest old pub in Soho, the Dog and Duck.  If you’re in London, go. Right now. Saturday was The Company Family Fun Day in Regent’s Park. It’s a beautiful park to run through. And by “run” I mean, walk because it was not get-fit-June and my body was hating me… and continued to hate me for several days after the race.

We stayed with our friend Daisy Saturday night in Hackney Central and explored a ton of East London that evening and all of Sunday. I loved seeing an insider’s view of the city; AND, in my eyes, Daisy is an insider  w h e r e v e r  she is. She always knows what’s happening and where it’s happening. She makes me feel cool just by hanging out with her. 

That evening we ate amazing vietnamese food (oh how I’ve missed pho!) and went to a pub that was filled with foosball tables! It’s called, Kick. Genius. And, apparently, I’m a foosball master. I’m putting that on my CV.

Sunday, Daisy and I got up to go to church at Hillsong London and then hit up some markets where I fell way below the hipster quota. What did Will do? Well, he spent the WHOLE DAY at the British Museum. That’s my genius husband, doing genius things like spend several hours at a museum.  AND he came back with tons of pictures on his iPhone of artifacts. He doesn’t take pictures. But I did get to see the Shabako stone and the Assyrian lion hunt reliefs from every angle. I love it when he lets his inner-geek come out!

While at this market I found Shanghai street-style dumplings! I don’t think you understand how exciting this was for me. In 2004 I spent six weeks in China and ate these all the time. It’s been nearly 10 years since I had one… I got two!

As you can tell, the weather was amazing, I got to see Daisy (and see a bit of her life in London), I saw a new side of London, and I got new sunglasses that increase my hipster-ness! Nothing but good things. I fell in Love with London that weekend!

As Close to P-Diddy-style As I’ll Ever Get

Yep, you read that right, and you’re assuming correctly, I’ve experienced a moment where I kinda somewhat maybe knew what P-Diddy’s posse feels like. What experience was this, you ask? (or at least I hope you’re asking or that would be weird). The office Christmas party!
So, I work for a nursing agency that covers the entirety of both Scotland and Northern Ireland. We have a sister company that does the same in England and in Wales. Every year they have a joint Christmas party down in England because, as our director has explained, it’s easier to fly 15 people down to England instead of 300+ up to Scotland AND pay for their hotel. Yeah, I was flown to the Christmas party!

Of course, the party started in the airport…

Hello London!

When we landed and finally got to the hotel we had 30 minutes to get ready. 30 Minutes people. How do you get ready for a Christmas party in 30 minutes? And this wasn’t just run-of-the-mill party, there was going to be an awards ceremony and a club. Yeah, please don’t ask because I still can’t tell you.

After not winning any awards (I’ve only been there 5 months people, give me a break) the party started. We ate dinner and then danced the night away.

Yes, that is a very tall man.

That man was hired to dance here… I was a bit embarrassed. Nope, a lot embarrassed.

(Go Shirley! It’s your birthday! Not for real real but for play play!) I love Shirley!

And when the night came to an end… I mean, MY night came to an end, at 10:30, I went up to my room. The Brits know how to party and they seriously party hard! I may look like I’m 29 but really I’m 79. I can only hold down 2 glasses of wine before I turn into a belligerent drunkard (coughlightweightcough) and no one really wants to see that; especially people who have to see me Monday through Friday. Or, at least I don’t want them to see it. And I get tired at 9:30 and really enjoy getting a solid night’s rest. See, 79 people. I’m not lying here.
The next morning we discussed the snog-fests (make-out sessions), projectile vomitting, and black outs I missed while eating breakfast and then I went back up to my room to watch some “Frasier” before heading back to the airport.

Soon after we were off headed back up to Edinburgh. Everyone felt a little “off” so it was a quiet trip.

Aaaaaahhhh!! Home sweet home!
And so, there was my P-Diddy-esque experience!

Alnwick

First of all, the name “Alnwick” is not pronounced at all as you would think. And secondly, it has one of the largest (and coolest) second-hand book shops ever! Oh, and third, anytime with Vanessa and Cameron is a guaranteed good time! Guar-an-teed!

I loved walking into the book store because the first room you walk in to is full of those paper globe lights that IKEA sells. They’re really overdone, in my opinion (of course I have 2 in my flat right now, so, I’m going to shut up now) but their ceiling was FULL of these paper lanterns. I loved it!

There were rows and rows and rows of books. We could have stayed there all day if we had had the time. There was also a cafe which looked so cozy. If I lived in Alnwick I would definitely frequent Barter Books and make it my go-to chill spot.

The town was really cute. tight roads, cozy cafes, and colorful shops.

We didn’t get a chance to go into the castle but we had heard that it’s one of the favorites in England: next time.

After walking around a bit we settled ourselves into a Costa to before heading home. These are my favorite times. Times when you’re spending all day together and as that time comes to an end we’re looking for any excuse to delay it and keep hanging out!

I enjoyed Alnwick a lot. It was nice to see a different part of England other than London. We’re eager to explore more of England!