Non-London Fun

While I love London, it’s not the only fun thing to do near where we live in the UK.  In fact, there are tons of amazing sights and sounds all within an hour or two of our house!  Some of my favorites are listed in this post…

Cambridge

We don’t visit Cambridge nearly enough.  We are only about 30 minutes away, and the city is absolutely beautiful!  There is so much to see and do there it’s unbelievable.  One of our most favorite things that we have done though is “punting the Cam“.  The River Cam is a river that meanders through Cambridge and runs along some of the most prestigious, gorgeous colleges in England.  You can hire a chauffeur to guide you along, or try it on your own!  We went with some visitors for my birthday one year and were not disappointed- our guide was knowledgeable and humorous and we had lots of great photo ops!

Great Yarmouth

We haven’t done a lot of exploring in Great Yarmouth yet, but it is definitely a place I want to return to!  The day we visited, it was one of those rare almost-80-degree-sunny-with-no-clouds days in the UK, so it was perfect for walking around and relaxing at the beach.  It has a super boardwalk-carnival type feel, complete with rides, games, kitschy tourist shops, beach restaurants, and of course, beaches.  If you’re looking for a laid-back day during summer, this is your spot!

Duxford Air Show

Last year we went to the Duxford Air Show at the Imperial War Museum just outside of Cambridge.  They have air shows there a few times a year, and have permanent military-related exhibitions in their museum.  It was pretty chilly the day of the show, but the planes were awesome and there were lots of great food vendors and collectible kiosk shops!

Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo is probably one of the best zoos I have ever been to!  We went with a few other couples and their kiddos (I think there were 7 adults and 4 kids, all under 4-years-old).  All of the kids {and all of us adults} had a great time!  There were tons of animals to see; Benjamin especially loved the penguins!  We went in the spring and the weather was pretty good so lots of animals were out and about.

For the past year we have had an English Heritage pass, giving us free or discounted access to many historic English buildings, monuments, and other sites.  Some are fairly close to where we live and provide a nice afternoon out:

Audley End House

The Audley End estate is huge and beautiful!  There is a lot to see and do there- you can wander through parts of the decadent mansion, check out the nursery {with toys! Benjamin enjoyed it!}, see how the kitchen used to look and function, stroll through the amazing gardens, and see horses in the stables area.  The grounds are breathtaking on their own, worthy of an afternoon picnic (or an afternoon of sketching or painting for the artists out there!).  We got extra lucky, as there was an old car show going on the day we were there, so B was in heaven checking out all the beauties!

Framlingham Castle

Framlingham is also a great spot for a relaxing afternoon out.  There are castle walls you can climb and walk around, giving fantastic views of the surrounding area.  The interior has a huge grassy area with some outdoor games and there were sword-fighting shows the day we were there.  There is a small museum area as well.  It looks as if the castle hosts various events throughout the year too.  The town surrounding the castle was cute as well, we stopped for lunch and ice cream nearby!

Castle Rising

We actually visited Castle Rising before we got the English Heritage pass, but it is one of their properties.  While the castle is actually fairly small, it is really cool, and the surrounded landscape is gorgeous.  The castle, which is now mostly ruins, was built in the 1100s and many of the walls are still standing!

 

Grab some popcorn, this’ll be awhile…

WHY do I always do this?  I procrastinate and procrastinate updating my blog, knowing that it is only going to mean more work for me when I finally do post!  And a LOT has happened in the last three and a half months!  Where oh where to start….

Well I guess I will start with the biggest and most exciting news….I’M PREGNANT!  Yep, it’s true….not that any of you don’t know this already 🙂  I am about 16 weeks along, due October 25.  I am getting a baby bump finally, as you can see in the pictures below.  We have had one ultrasound and there is only ONE in there [as far as we can tell right now!] and everything was all good at my appointment.  I have another appointment Thursday, but no ultrasound.  We will NOT be finding out the sex of the baby, so I’d love to hear guesses and name suggestions 🙂  B and I both think it’s a girl and have taken to calling it Baby Herbie and Gordita.  My mom and sister also think it is a girl {so I’m sure it will pop out a boy, right?!? haha}.  Anyway, here are a few pics, most of which you’ve probably seen if you are on Facebook or Instagram..

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Image latest bump picImage B talking to lil’ Gordita

I have been feeling fine, I was insanely tired for the first trimester, but no morning sickness (thank you good genes!).  I finally have most of my energy back and am excited to start the nursery and all that fun stuff!

TRAVEL….

Since I last posted, we have been down to London quite a few times, up to Edinburgh for part of my spring break, and we just got back from Koln, Germany (Cologne).  We have found our new favorite thing to do in London: Street Feast!  Basically, it is where a bunch of {fancy} food truck vendors set up in a designated area and have a little festival with food, drinks, and music.  The food is amazing and it is definitely not a touristy event, so we love it!  I have been keeping a travel journal, so I will have to post pictures of my journaling on here soon!  Edinburgh was amazing!  We were there for 3 days, 2 nights, and lots of walking!  Again, I will have to post pics of my travel journal, because looking at it is probably way cooler than me typing everything we did…. but as an overview, we went to some museums, checked out the Camera Obscura and World Of Illusions, took a ghost tour, ate delicious food, hiked to Arthur’s Seat, and visited Edinburgh Castle.  The castle was amazing, the coolest we have been to so far!  We ate traditional Scottish food, haggis, which is basically sheep stomach and innards mixed with oatmeal….B was a fan, I thought it was alright.  The weather was pretty nice for us, but I’d love to go back when it’s just a bit warmer!  Here are a few pics, though I suggest you go to my Facebook albums and check them all out!

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the castle, Edinburgh architecture (above), the view hiking to Arthur’s Seat (below)

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For my 29th birthday {shhhh, don’t tell anyone I’m that old!} in April, some family friends were in town visiting after a work trip, so we all went to Cambridge for the day.  B and I had only very briefly been to Cambridge and had not done any exploring really, so this was a lot of fun.  My favorite thing was punting (kind of like a gondola)– we went on a tour of all the prestigious colleges in Cambridge from the water.  It was nice and relaxing.  Having family friends in town was exciting- we got to show them our favourite things to do around Brandon and of course, our favourite places to eat!  Here are a few pics from Cambridge (again, many many more on Facebook!!):

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As I mentioned, we just got back from Koln, Germany, which was absolutely amazing!  Once again, we had family friends that came to Europe for work, so they flew into London, where we spent the weekend, then stayed at our place for a few days before heading to Germany, where he is working.  I will post again soon about Koln, as it is an entire post in itself!  Just know that it was fantastic!!!

Let’s see, what else has been going on…in between all of this excitement of pregnancy and traveling, I have managed to fit in work and master’s classes.  When I posted in February, I was getting ready to start subbing in the SureStart classroom.  Well, as I imagined, I LOVED every minute of it!  I was there for five weeks and truly feel like I got to know the kiddos and connect with them.  I even connected well with quite a few of the parents, and I was super bummed to leave them once the permanent teacher arrived.  I want [NEED] to post some of the super fun activities I did with them, as we had a Dr. Seuss week and other fun events!  I have now been back in my regular position and it is still pretty much the same as always.  I do work with a few additional students, one in Kindergarten, a few in first grade, and a few in third grade, so it is nice to have a change of pace throughout the day and week.  I am debating what I want to do next year as far as positions go.  I think I am planning on substituting instead of working as an aide, especially with the baby coming.  We will see as the year wraps up though.

My master’s classes are going well, I am really enjoying being back in the routine of learning, discussing, and all that fun stuff.  It is a lot of work but I feel like the program is a good fit for me.  The professors have been great and my classmates come from diverse backgrounds which makes the classes interesting.  I have a class this week, but am looking forward to my break after my June class.

Well I am sure there is more to report, but I definitely covered most of the important things.  I will post again much sooner I promise!

ALSO….HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO THE BEST BEST BEST MAMA IN THE WORLD!  If I am even half the mom that you have been, I will be doing something right 🙂 LYB!