May 4th, 2015
Today we visited the London Zoo, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and toured around the museum district! Kelly and I had a wonderful dinner out in the basement of Harrod’s while the kids went back to the house with Uncle Nick and Aunt Marta.
Here’s our day in pictures!
Char makes friends everywhere!
Pygmy Hippos! YES!
Char was really holding in her excitement!
She almost fainted!
I love this one!
Chanelling his Freddie!
Sable got into the action, too – good thing we didn’t get kicked out for these hijinks!
Kelly and I had dinner at a restaurant in the basement of Harrod’s – every dish used truffles of some kind! It was pretty cool!
Tasty Truffle bread!
Look at all those truffles!
Wednesday and Thursday! More great weather – random rain showers Wednesday but it was great!
Not a lot to report…..except our first date night since March.
Kelly and I went out to dinner and sat on the porch at Patty Bs in Dover. We LOVE Patty Bs and were so excited to visit them first!! I love Patty’s matter-of-factness!
The food there is amazing and there is always enough to bring some home! We always get fried calamari for an appetizer. Kelly got penne a la vodka with spicy sausage. I usually get grilled romaine lettuce with salmon – but they did not have this on the menu right now, but I DID get pan seared scallops with pasta and basil – and it was incredible!!
We had no room for dessert but brought some home – limoncello cake and carrot cake!
Days 80 & 81 and counting….
May 3, 2015 My new home…
Hampton Court. Remember I said that I am huge royal history fan? Well, the court of Henry VIII is a historian’s dream! Today, we visited his most famous residence and had a spectacular day!
Hampton Court is multiple palaces in one – the original (a grand home originally built by Cardinal Woolsey in celebration and a showcase of the wealth gained by his favor with the Tudor court) is a gorgeous example of 15th century architecture!
The “newer” portions of the palace, added on throughout the 17th & 18th centuries, showcase the emerging style of the times with echos of Versailles.
We had WAY too much fun at Hampton Court – we explored the whole palace and the expansive grounds including the hedge maze. I cannot wait to go back!
Here is a photo diary of our day!
Playing the Part…Charlotte and Kelton getting into character!
My beauty in the hedge maze.
Hampton Court has gorgeous grounds!
So many beautiful gardens.
Kelton and baby cousin, Sophia. Babies LOVE Kelton!!
Char pretending to be tipsy at the wine fountain. This fountain actually works at 4pm daily – the adults partook!
Char encountering another 16th century figure – we think the statue was depicting one who may be getting ready to void all his wine, but Char thought he looked like he wanted a kiss- Never a dull moment with this girl!
Pretty as a picture!
Can you even imagine how OLD this whisteria must be?
Monday and Tuesday – Nice days and a bit cooler – although Tuesday afternoon proved to be lovely in the sun.
Well, drum roll please…..the She Shed is done “enough” for some pictures…..
I also want to give a shout out to good friends. So many of them have reached out to me during this time knowing that my dream business is literally in pieces at my feet. This year, only my second year as a Travel Professional, I had goals of doubling my previous year’s sales and had a fabulous first quarter. Then coronovirus. I won’t bore you with the details, but it has been hard to be the bearer of such bad news to such good people dreaming of their own vacations.
Thank you for the beautiful flowers, my friend!!! They are gorgeous and make me smile!
Days 78 & 79 and counting….
May 2, 2015. The birth of a princess.
Today was a special day for so many reasons! We hit the ground running and were in the city early – taking the Tube to the Kennsington Park area where we visited not only Kennsington Palace, but also the Princess Diana playground.
Mind the Gap, Charlotte and Sable.
Pouts in the Tube Station
This is rather an inside joke…in our house we call farting “tooting” – so you can see where the giggles came from!
Our visit to Kennsington Palace was extra special – news crews were lined up outside the entrance on baby watch as there was much anticipation for the birth of a new royal pronce or princess.
Royal Baby Watch, 2015
Beautiful Kennsington Palace.
While we toured the palace, it was announced that a princess was born and not long after, we learned her name – Princess Charlotte. If you know me, you know I LOVE royal history and might be a bit of a royal geek. So the fact that we were visiting Princess Charlotte’s home on the day of her birth with my own Charlotte was pretty cool!!!
My very own Princess Charlotte.
Adventure and fun times at the Princess Diana Playground!
The rest of the day was just as great – we visited the Tower of London – always a favorite! While we were waiting to get into the tower to view the Royal Jewels, Char decided to take a load off and sat down on the little fence right in front of a Royal Guard. He stomped his foot, stepped forward, and shouted in a very stern voice, “GET OFF THE FENCE”. He stomped his foot, stepped back, and proceeded his death stare like nothing ever happened! Charlotte was mortified – the rest of us were trying not to laugh hilariously!
Check out some of these amazing memories made on this day!
A little dress up time at Kennsington Palace!
Fun on the Tower walls.
I’m sure Kelton deserved it!
One of my favorite family photos!
Tower Bridge – I just love those gorgeous blue accents!
Tower of London.
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
More beautiful weather.
Char has “moved” into the She Shed and she and Lizzy did two nights in there this weekend. Friday night it was HOT in there! Cooper and Zuzu both participated in the inaugural night in the She Shed!
Saturday night it was MUCH cooler!
Photos soon to follow – I know you are dying to see what it looks like – but Char is insistent that she has it done before I post “done” pictures! HAHAHAHA
On Friday, Sky, one of the barn kitties, gave birth to her adorable kittens. Four little kitty beans in all and Sky is very proud of her babies! And why wouldn’t she be?
Sky ans her sweet little babies!!!
Our pool reached 90 degrees by Saturday but when I woke up today (Monday morning) it was 31 degrees out! I have not checked the pool temp!
The gardens are thriving, and everything is growing well!
We have created a bubble of everyday existence and it is kinda strange! With all the unrest that is going on in the world, I want to stay in my bubble. I know that is not responsible or realistic, but there it is.
Days 75 & 77 and counting….
May 1, 2015
Our first full day in London. We really packed this day!! We hit the ground running and visited Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster and so much more!!!
We always try to book tickets for special places ahead of time – in this case, the London Eye! It was pretty cool!
The Tube station we got off was across the bridge from Big Ben – Char took these pictures as we crossed the bridge.
A Char taken family selfie!
The London Eye with my 3 favorite people in front of me.
At this time (and I haven’t been back to London since so I am not sure if they are still there) there were decorated sheep all over the city! They were so fun!
Westminster Abbey – expensive to get in to and not for littles – but we enjoyed a self tour and lunch in the basement!
Char loved this – the oldest door in Britain!
We have recreated this photo at Disney – One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE pictures ever!!
Stay tuned for Day 3 of our London/Mediterranean Cruise adventure!
Wednesday and Thursday – Hot and sunny!
It never ceases to amaze me that in Maine, we go from late winter to summer. SOMETIMES there is an in between season called “mud”, but otherwise – BAM! It’s summer!
Our pool is open and our inner circle is opening. This past weekend we dined with and gave hugs to grandparents. Char and her BFF Lizzy have started hanging out again and Kelton can now see his girlfriend with regularity! We are trying to take is slow – we helped our church offices in a big move Thursday night and everyone wore masks and it was strange to see people in such spaced out groups, but these are the times we are living in!
Char has her She Shed mostly cleaned out and the mattresses from Wal-Mart arrived. She opened them and they are airing out waiting for a cover and sheets! The ONLY issue we see so far is a potential electrical one (always) – one of the circuits isn’t working so Kelly has to check that out. Final pictures to come when it is done!
Char’s garden is growing! Slowly but surely and even now that it is before June our yard is in good shape for enjoying this opportunity to slow down and contemplate life’s purpose. I’d be lying if I said we haven’t had struggles. My travel business is in the tank right now. I know it will come back but it is hard to see the forest for the trees, as they say! The whole world looks different and I am asked all the time what will be happening in different parts of the world for fall and winter and I don’t even know if I will be able to go to the beach three towns over next week.
Another blogger called this time a “Golden Captivity” (If I can find the post, I will edit this and add a link) and those words have stuck with me lately. If I had to make a list of the positives and negatives of the last 3 months it would be a mixture for sure. I think those two words really sum up so many of my feelings at this time. I can’t quantify the loss or gain at this point but I feel like the after effects will be staggering. I like the old normal.
Days 73 & 74 and counting….
A couple months after I turned 40, my family and I took an amazing vacation to Europe to celebrate! That vacation was exactly five years ago and I am reliving those wonderful memories through Facebook and it makes my heart soar! I have wanted to revisit that vacation with all of you and thought this would be a great opportunity to do so.
A little information before we dive in….2013 was my very first trip to Europe. We went in March and spent roughly a week each in Paris, Argenton-sur-Creuse (French countryside), London and Scotland. We flew to Paris, stayed in the Latin Quarter, took the train to Limoges, it was a fabulous trip – we made so many amazing memories and we couldn’t wait to return.
Fast forward to 2015 and we decided to do a 16-night Mediterranean cruise to celebrate my 40th. Well, who wants to sail the Med in February? So we found a Royal Caribbean ship (the Anthem of the Seas) that was debuting in May and we signed up!!!
We decided to rent a house in the suburbs of London prior to our cruise and invited Kelly’s brother and his family to join us. It was so much fun!!! Full of magic, charm, hiccups and adventure!
Join me as I relive this whirl wind trip with YOU and take a journey down memory lane to the most amazing vacation I have ever taken! If you want to see lots in the Med, take a cruise!!! It’s the way to go!
Our day one was April 30th 2015. We arrived in London after an overnight flight and got a taxi to our London suburb. The house was adorable – named Jubilee because it was built during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year!
Here are a few pictures of our arrival day! We usually try to chill a bit on arrival days and we were also expecting the arrival of Nick, Marta and baby Sophia – we took some walks to get aquainted with the area and the kids and I TRIED to take the tube to the city, but we were all tired and bailed! hahahaha
Monday and Tuesday –
Monday – Memorial Day – a day we set a side to remember those who have FALLEN in defense of their country, not to be confused with Veteran’s Day – a day we set aside to honor those who have or continue to serve our country. We spent this day at home. It was overcast and we spent the time doing chores and playing games as a family. We spent the day laughing and enjoying each other’s company. We spent the day cherishing the freedoms protected by those who serve. It was a great day in the Smith house.
Tuesday – Dare I say, the LAST full workday on the She Shed!!!! I actually do not have any pictures of the last two days but let me tell you – lots of work happened!! It is 98% complete but I won’t take any interior pictures until it is done! You will love it!
This week is going to be hot! Like be outside in the morning and evening hot or in the pool!!! I think the pool is going to be for me!
Days 71 & 72 and counting….