Celebration at Sea – Sea Days aboard the Anthem of the Seas

May 6th we boarded the Anthem of the Seas in Southampton, England – it was one of her maiden journeys (she was launched a few weeks before and had a couple of short cruises to get her sea legs before ours) and the first cruise ship my kids had ever seen upclose or been on.

During the 16 day cruise, we had various sea days (days you do not stop at any port) so I will post pictures of those here and the next posts will be about all of our stops.

The Anthem is a gorgeous ship – in fact, we are sailing on her again in February (God willing) to the Bahamas.  My kids can’t wait as she is their favorite ship so far (they have been on three total).  Ask for details for the best pricing around and join us – I have a group rate!!!

Here is the beautiful Anthem of the Seas…

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The seas were rough when we left Southampton, so the kids could swim in the Adults Only pool area for the first night!

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So cute!

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Getting comfy – lots of nooks and crannys around the Anthem to hide away.

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The buffet!!

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Me getting ready to trapeze!

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Taking advantage of the North Star – a “bubble” attached to an arm that extends you high above the sea and the ship to get an amazing view!

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In the North Star.

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North Star view!

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What a beautiful ship!

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Getting ready to iFly!

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I THINK this is Char…

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ME!

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Little Sable in a big chair!

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Anthem after dark!

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Kelton trying his hand at surfing!

Next stop…Gibraltar!

Social Distancing – Days 82 – 85 – A Diary

Friday through Monday – perfect “summer” weather – sun, clouds, thundershowers, rain, then more sun!

We spent the weekend at my dad’s camp again.

We brought our boat up this time so the kids could go tubing.  It was a blast!!!!  This is our second year with our boat and it has helped us make so many fabulous memories!!!

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This 3 person tube was the best buy ever!!!

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The back cushion was loosing air so they had to improvise!

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Cooper going for his first kayak ride with Char.

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A lovely loon family.

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Trying to switch tubes mid ride!

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Cooper the lap dog!

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Zuzu was happy we returned home!!!

Monday was catch-up day, of course!  How is it that plants can grow so quickly over a weekend???  Weeding to do, gardening to do, mowing, fertilizing, laundry and more…..

And Monday, we celebrate Charlotte’s 14th birthday and she is officially a high schooler!!!!!  How can that be???

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And my handsome young man is officially a senior!

Days 82 – 85 and counting….

Celebration at Sea – Day 6 – Best Day Ever!

May 5, 2015 – Our last full day in the UK – and we had it packed!!!

I have been (and still am) a fan of Downton Abbey.  In 2015, Highclere Castle (fictional Downton Abbey) was only open to the public a total of fewer than 30 days to visitors.  We were there during one of those days, and tickets were limited and first come first serve.  I was not going to miss this!!!

It was everything I had hoped it would be – but surprisingly smaller in person than on TV – strange, right?

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It was a typcial English spring morning!

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It was so fun to be AT Downton Abbey!!!

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Downton TABBY!

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Great backdrop!

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Highclere Castle

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From the parking lot…

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The sun DID come out.

After visiting Downton Abbey (and meeting the Countess of Carnarvon herself), we headed to Windsor to visit the quaint town and Windsor Castle.  Oh my goodness!!!!  I could have stayed for hours but it closed at 4pm and we got there around 2:30 – so we hustled!!!

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Char and Sable at the gate to the inner courtyard of Windsor Castle

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Me and my handsome young man.

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Windsor was SO cool!!!

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I love Charlotte’s face here…this is in the village of Windsor.

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Another GEM in Windsor!

Windsor was amazing to explore and I can’t wait to go back!!!

Also – today is Charlotte’s birthday!!!  Fourteen years old!!!  I can’t even believe it!!  And my “boy” is officailly a senior!!!

 

Celebration at Sea – Day 5 – Fan envy

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!

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Char was really holding in her excitement!

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Twins??

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She almost fainted!

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I love this one!

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Twins again?

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Chanelling his Freddie!

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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!

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Tasty Truffle bread!

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Look at all those truffles!

Social Distancing – Days 80 & 81 – A Diary

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!

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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!!

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We had no room for dessert but brought some home – limoncello cake and carrot cake!

Days 80 & 81 and counting….

Celebration at Sea – Day 4 – Hampton Court

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!

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The “newer” portions of the palace, added on throughout the 17th & 18th centuries, showcase the emerging style of the times with echos of Versailles.

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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!

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Silly Kids

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Playing the Part…Charlotte and Kelton getting into character!

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My beauty in the hedge maze.

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Hampton Court has gorgeous grounds!

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So many beautiful gardens.

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Kelton and baby cousin, Sophia. Babies LOVE Kelton!!

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Char pretending to be tipsy at the wine fountain. This fountain actually works at 4pm daily – the adults partook!

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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!

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Pretty as a picture!

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Can you even imagine how OLD this whisteria must be?

Social Distancing – Days 78 & 79 – A Diary

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…..

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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!

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Days 78 & 79 and counting….

Celebration at Sea – Day 3 – Princess Charlotte

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.

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Mind the Gap, Charlotte and Sable.

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Pouts in the Tube Station

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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.

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!!!

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My very own Princess Charlotte.

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!

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Fun on the Tower walls.

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I’m sure Kelton deserved it!

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One of my favorite family photos!

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Tower Bridge – I just love those gorgeous blue accents!

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Tower of London.

Social Distancing – Days 75 & 77 – A Diary

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?

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….

Celebration at Sea – Day 2 – London Baby!

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!

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The Tube station we got off was across the bridge from Big Ben – Char took these pictures as we crossed the bridge.

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A Char taken family selfie!

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The London Eye with my 3 favorite people in front of me.

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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!

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Westminster Abbey – expensive to get in to and not for littles – but we enjoyed a self tour and lunch in the basement!

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Char loved this – the oldest door in Britain!

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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!