14 April 2014

Whirlwind Visit to Stonehenge

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat

When I say whirlwind visit, I mean whirlwind!  We dropped the kids off at school and hit the road for a 2 hour drive to Stonehenge and had to be back to pick up the kids by 3 pm.

By the time we arrived we only had an hour and a half.  It was enough time to get out to the stones from the visitor center, which takes you by shuttle, but not enough to have a good wander through the gift shop or see the exhibition.  I plan on taking the family on our next break for a longer stay.

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat

An audio guide comes with your ticket.  I don't have much patience to listen to those things though.

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat

I'd rather wander and take photos and either know the info before coming or look it up after.  We saw a great documentary on Stonehenge recently that was really fascinating and educational.

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat

Stonehenge, England, UK, travel, expat, sheep

Stonehenge is managed by the English Heritage.  As a member you can enter for free.  Since the grounds are maintained by National Trust, their members, which I am, can also enter for free.  Score!  Tickets are currently £13.90 per adult if you do not hold a membership to one of these organizations.

Ever been to Stonehenge or like to go some day?  I recommend giving it more than an hour and a half though!  Hee hee!

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As you know we're featuring a post each week.  This week I'm featuring Anna's post on the Yosakoi Dance Competition.  All those beautiful colors and moves must have been a sight to see!



Want to join in our Travel Tuesday link up?


HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:
1. SHARE a post about travel!  From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. GRAB the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Melanie & Tina in a link! 
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT.

TIPS: 
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!
3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!

Travel Tuesday

11 April 2014

9 Year Spa Birthday Bash

Nine years?!  I cannot believe I have a 9 year old.  Well, an almost 9 year old.  Her birthday is April 18th.  With there being a 2 week Easter break and the fact that we will be away on her special day, we celebrated early with 6 of her friends.

This girl has turned into quite the planner!  She had her party all planned out by early February!  She did some looking online and found a website that advertised spa parties.  It looked like so much fun, but I knew it would be expensive.  And surely it was.  A party for 6 girls would cost £300 ($498).  I cannot imagine people spending that much on a party!!  I've pulled off a theme party before so I was up for the challenge.

I found a cute invite on pinterest and was so happy with how it turned out.

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

We found recipes for making chocolate lip gloss to give with the party bags.  I found someone on ebay that had spa party bags all made up with spa essentials at a fantastic price!

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

I forgot to take photos of the party bags, oops!  Think clear bag with zebra stripes, pink tissue paper  inside stuffed with goodies like nail file, nail polish varnish, lotion, toe separator, etc.
We set up 3 stations.  One for nails, one for facials and another for make up.

Karis with her chocolate facial.

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

Reegan relaxing with some cucumbers on her eyes.

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

The whole gang.

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

 Glow in the dark nails.

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

Make up

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

We played pass the parcel, a game typically played at parties.  A gift is passed while music is playing.  The person who has the present when the music stops, gets to unwrap a layer of the present.  Another thing that we've typically seen here is that presents are given, but not opened in front of the guests.  I understand this one, it really makes sense.  However, Karis was excited to see what she got and asked all her friends before the party if it was ok to open the presents at the party.  They all agreed and had fun seeing all her presents.

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

The sweetest gift of all?  A handmade card decorated and signed by each of her friends.  So precious!

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

Then it was cake time!!  At most parties in England, "Happy Birthday" is sung, candles are blown out and a slice of cake is given in the party bags!!

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

No, no, no!  How can you not have cake at the birthday party?!?!  We can't, obviously!  It's one of the best parts of the party!!  And my kids almost never eat that slice of party bag cake later anyway!

girl's party, birthday, spa, 9 years old

It was a great party!  Fairly simple, packed with lots to keep them busy.

Now I think I want my own spa party!!

Did you have theme parties as a kid?   Or do you throw theme parties for your kids??

08 April 2014

Ancient Yew Tree

At the beginning of the year I wrote about exploring the area around me.  As of April I think I've got a pretty good jump start on that goal!  Having visitors helps that.  I've done a bit of exploring on my own, but I like having a friend along to enjoy the experience.

A visit to this tree all started by seeing a photo of this cute little door on pinterest.

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

I had this idea that a 4,000 year old tree with a cute little door must get a fair amount of visitors.  It seems I was wrong.  There was no parking in the village of Crowhurst in Surrey.  We found a house with a large parking area labelled the old school house.  I hate disturbing people in their homes, but I was set on finding this tree!!  We knocked and the kind gentleman allowed us to park on his property to explore the tree located next to St. George's Church.

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

Thought to be 4,000 years old, it's possibly the oldest in the country.

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

Girth readings date back to 1630.  In 1820 the inside of the tree was hollowed out for shelter for the annual Palm Sunday Fayre.  When this was done a canon ball was found embedded in the tree, thought to be from the civil war, about 1652.

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,    yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,    yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

You can see a few planks holding up it's old branches.

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

Does anyone else see the large alien being in the middle, on the above photo?  No?

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel,

yew, tree, Crowhurst, Surrey, travel

Would you go in search of an ancient tree with a cute door?

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Each week Bonnie, Melanie and I choose a post from the previous week's link up.  It is so hard to choose from all your great posts!!
This week I am featuring Sarah from A Week at the Beach.

As a mom of 3, I love seeing moms take the time to get out and explore with and without their kids.  I think it is so important to have time alone, with your husband or with girlfriends!  Sarah blogs all about doing just that.

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Want to join in our Travel Tuesday link up?

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:
1. SHARE a post about travel!  From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. GRAB the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Melanie & Tina in a link! 
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT.

TIPS: 
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!
3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!

Travel Tuesday

03 April 2014

It's Not Vienna's Fault

Vienna, Austria, expat, travel,
Downtown Vienna 
Ever have a mishap while traveling or living abroad? Maybe you lost your passport, your luggage was stolen, your reservation wasn't made, your visa was messed up or denied or it just seemed like nothing was working out as planned. Did it taint your thoughts of the place you were in?

That was Vienna for us. Really, it's not Vienna's fault. It just wasn't the best season of our expat journey. Now, I'm a believer in the Bible and I know that God has a reason for everything and he's not going to give us anything we can't handle. This was just one of those rough seasons in our lives. We had moved from Spain, and let me tell you, me and the kids cried when we had to leave.  We all had fallen head over heels in love with Spain and our lives there.  For work purposes we needed to move to Vienna.  Mentally, we probably weren't starting off in the right frame of mind. We were missing our new home tremendously.

Schonbunn, Gloriette, Vienna, Austria, expat, travel,
The Gloriette
I did my best to create a wonderful life for us in Vienna.  We found a sweet little quirky house with a garden and tried my hardest to make this house our home.  The kids were attending a great Christian school, ICSV, the kids and I loved their teachers, I was helping at the school, we were part of a new international church start, and I had some great girlfriends (one I made through this very blog before getting there).  So much good stuff was going on, but it just seemed that visa issues and work junk were overshadowing the good.

Vienna, Austria, expat, travel, Riesenrad, Prater
Wiener Riesenrad
If I'm being really honest here, my heart just wasn't in it and I was miserable at times.  Do I have any regrets about our time there?  Hmmmm.....yes and no.  In many ways I think we made the most of it. We had all those great things I mentioned earlier that helped make the time better.  We grew in many ways and made some friends that we will be connected to for a long time to come.  I just regret not getting out to explore the city and country more than we did.

Vienna, Austria, expat, travel, Prater Tower, swing
Once the world's tallest swing, The Prater Tower, Vienna
Sometimes an experience abroad just doesn't go as planned.  Has this happened to you?  Did you make the most of it or was it hard to move past the circumstances?

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I'm co-hosting Expat Diaries today with Rachel & Chelsea.  Join us by linking up below!

Here's How:


01 April 2014

Pooh Country

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen. --Pooh

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

Last summer we visited the Beatrix Potter Attraction in the Lake District where Peter Rabbit and his friends came to life.  This week, it was Winnie the Pooh country.  The quaint town of Hartfield, East Sussex is home to the Pooh Corner Shop and Piglet's Tearoom

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

How do you spell love? --Piglet
You don't spell it. You feel it. --Pooh

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

The things that make me different are the things that make me. --Pooh

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.  --Eeyore

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day. --Pooh

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

Pooh Corner Shop, Pooh, Hartifield, England, travel, expat, tea room

Hee hee!

_3280503

After wandering through the shop and a bite to eat in the tea room, my friend and I drove a little way to stroll through the Ashdown Forest and find the Pooh Sticks Bridge.

You know Pooh.  I think it may be time for a game of pooh sticks. --Christopher Robin
Oh bother. --Pooh

Pooh, Hartifield, Ashdown Forest, England, travel, expat

Pooh, Hartifield, Ashdown Forest, England, travel, expat, bridge

Pooh Sticks
1. Select a stick and show it to your competitor and make sure you are clear which stick is whose.
2. Check which way the stream is flowing and face the stream upstream.
3. Choose someone to start the game, he is the Starter.
4.All competitors stand side by side facing 'upstream'.
5. Each one hold his/her stick at arms length over the stream.
6. Starter must cal "Ready-Steady-Go!" and all competitors  drop (and not throw) their sticks in the water simultaneously.
7.At this point all the players must cross to the downstream side of the stream
8. Look over the edge for the sticks to emerge.

My friend and I dropping our sticks.  Do you know what we found on the other side of the bridge? Our sticks emerged intertwined.  It was a tie and the sweetest thing to see our sticks joined together like friends!

Pooh, Hartifield, Ashdown Forest, England, travel, expat, bridge

Pooh, Hartifield, Ashdown Forest, England, travel, expat, bridge

Can you believe I did this little jaunt without my kids?  I promised to take them sometime soon.

Have you wandered the Ashdown Forest or played Pooh Sticks on a bridge?

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I loved seeing all the food posts last week and reading about Jackie's meal at a dumpling house......oh my!!  I would love to experience that!  Check out her expat life as a teacher in Taiwan.


Want to join in our Travel Tuesday link up?

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:
1. SHARE a post about travel!  From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. GRAB the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie, Melanie & Tina in a link! 
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT.

TIPS: 
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
2. The last Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!
3. HOP around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!

Travel Tuesday