22 May 2014

London Bloggers Tea

This past Saturday I made my way into London to join up with 20-something bloggers to enjoy an afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel.

It was nice to see some familiar faces, like Sunny in London.


I've been following Dannielle at ChicaDeeDee for awhile now, this was the first time we got to meet.


I got to chat with a few others, but I didn't take many pictures.

I did manage to get a few of the food.



I love scones, clotted cream and jam!



Now for the hard part.  Oh how I hate to give a bad review, but I have to be honest, it was not my favorite.

The London Tube had some station closures delaying people's arrival, but we were served almost an hour after our start time.

The bland sandwiches were no longer chilled, the scones were hard and crumbly and the desserts were just ok.

Typically their afternoon tea has an array of teas to choose from.  I guess when you book a private party room, you don't get the choices.  We only had the option of English Breakfast or Earl Grey.  Fine by me, but others mentioned they would have liked to try some of the other flavors. 

The company was great, but the tea was a bit disappointing.  Here's to next time! Have a great weekend!!


20 May 2014

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

My friends and I had a gorgeous day at Leeds Castle last week!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Known as the "The Loveliest Castle in the World," Leeds is definitely an impressive place with it's extensive grounds, waterfalls, it's own golf course and beautiful interior.  Steeped in a rich history spanning over 900 years.

From the parking area you take a lovely walk (or mobility bus) through the grounds.

WaterfallsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

GroundsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

GroundsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

There is so much to look at, as you can see, even before you get to the castle!  Then these beautiful structures come into view!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

As you step inside, there is even more to "oooh" and "aaah" over!

LeedsHalls, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

BedroomsLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

LivingRoomsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

QueensBath, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

RoomsofLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

GreatHallLeeds, Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

A piano player and fresh flowers throughout the castle sure do add to the atmosphere!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

After perusing through the castle we made our way beyond the castle where there is an impressive maze and grotto.

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

You can even take a segway tour!

Leeds Castle, castle, golf course, travel, maze, grotto, beautiful grounds, Southeast England, Kent

The price to get into the castle may seem steep at £21, however, your ticket is good for a year.  A friend graciously let me borrow her tickets for my friends and I.

Do you like exploring castles?

Linking up with Bonnie, Kaelene, Van & Sammy for Travel Tuesday

Travel Tuesday

15 May 2014

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

MorrisDancing

Saturday my oldest daughter and I needed to run some errands downtown on high street.  I don't like shopping on the weekends with all the crowds.  I was determined to get there when the stores opened, get done and go home.

We started hearing music and seeing people with colorful costumes, laden with bells.  I was a bit curious, but not enough to ask what was going on.

As we made our way to the car through the last square, we came across a group playing drums.



Now, let me tell you, I absolutely love drums!  These guys completely drew me in!  I'm like a little kid, I get giddy over drums like these.  Not only with the drumming, but their lively personalities.  You could tell these guys love what they do!

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

I had no idea who they were though.  We ran into a mom from school who informed me of Morris Dancing.

I LOVE cultural experiences, so I was so happy to come across these guys!  We went home, did some research, grabbed the cameras and came back into town for some more.

I later learned that these guys aren't Morris Dancers.  They are the Pentacle Drummers and so entertaining!

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

They ranged in age from kids to grandmas.

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

Back to Morris dancing, there is little known about the origins of Morris dancing.  There are thoughts that it evolved from springtime rites, others think crusaders brought it to England after the Moorish conquest and some liken it to a form of Italian court dance.  The earliest reference of Morris dancing in England was in 1458.  There are 6 predominant styles of dances from regions across England & Wales.

This group is called the Rampant Rooster Morris, dancing traditional Cotswald and some Border dances (dances originating from counties bordering Wales).

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

This group is the Ewell St. Mary's Morris Men, also dancing in Cotswold styles.  It's a bit humorous how this group got started.  You can read about it on their site.

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

Don't forget the musicians!


Morris Dancing & Pentacle Drummers

So fun to learn a bit more English tradition and culture!
Have you ever heard of Morris Dancing or seen them perform?


13 May 2014

Czech Paradise (Český Ráj)

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

In the Spring of 2007 a quick, 3 day work retreat took us to a pension (small hotel) near the beautiful area known as Český Ráj, translated Czech Paradise, north of Prague.

We had no idea what was in store for us!

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Tight passageways leading upwards through the rocks.

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Taking us directly to these beautiful views!

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Where's Waldo! Can you find the rock climber in the photo below?

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

Such a gorgeous area that I wish we'd been able to spend more time or get back to before we moved away.

Cesky Raj, Czech Paradise, travel, Czech Republic

At least I am glad we got to see this beautiful phenomenon.

If you find yourself in Czech Republic, especially if you enjoy hiking or climbing, make your way  to Czech Paradise!  You will not be disappointed!

Would you enjoy making a tight squeeze through these massive rocks?

Joining in with my favorite link up, Travel Tuesday!

Travel Tuesday