Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Garden Beds Outlined in Stone



We have been working so hard in the garden and I can hardly believe that I haven't posted about it. I've mentioned before that it was important to me that it be beautiful as well as functional and it has checked off every box for me as it churns out lots of veggies, flowers and is pretty to boot.   We are still working on some of the foundational bones of the garden but as we all know a garden is never really finished.


One of my most questionable decisions regarding the garden are the stone edges we used to outline each of the 24 beds.  I had the idea to use stone from our property and to dig them in.  At first, it seemed like not a huge deal but it sure turned into one.  


Finding the stones got harder and harder and digging the stones in was an exercise in patience and a lot of work for Bryce.  Each bed took well over an hour or two to complete.  It took almost three months to get each and every bed dug in.




It maybe wasn't the best idea but, in the end, they look fantastic and I love that it was all part of the property and speaks to the creeks we have. 




P.S.  I'm trying not to think about the frost/thaw heave that could potentially take place.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Harry Potter in London



Last, but certainly not least, was our time in London with Harry Potter.  On Sunday, we surprised the children with tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and it was wonderful- truly a spectacular show!  The actors were wonderful, the sets amazing, the scene changes were like a dance and the story felt right (much different than reading the play/book).  



I've had lots of questions about how I got tickets and I'm afraid it was just luck and persistence.  Back in January, when we decided to book our trip, I started looking for tickets to see the play.  Much to my disappointment, tickets were sold out and even though I continued to check, they never became available.  I did look on sites such as stub hub but was shocked to discover that our family of four would pay up to $10,000 for the tickets.  Clearly, that wasn't going to happen.  




The day before I left for England, I just happened to check and there were four seats available!  I grabbed them up in record time!  While at the theater I asked an attendant about the seats becoming available because I wondered if they simply hold some back to release later in time.  She said that they must have been returned tickets because they do from time to time allow returns since they must be bought so far in advance.  Our seats were wonderful (I would say we paid the equivalent to a Broadway show) and, fun fact, JJ Abrams sat directly in front of us.  


After the show, we wandered around the area where the theater is and just so happened (I swear!) to walk past the theater to find the actors who played Hermione and Harry just finishing up talking to fans.  We approached them and chatted with them for a bit and they could not have been nicer or more gracious.  



While in London, we also took a bus out to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.  This was fun to see all the artifacts from the actual sets of HP.  We learned loads of things about how they filmed the movies.  The time, effort, thought and money that went in to producing these movies is mind boggling.








The showstopper was at the end of the tour, where we got to see Hogwarts Castle in all of its glory. This model is what they used for all the castle shots and the pictures don't even come close to portraying its magnificence.  


And that's it folks, our England trip is a wrap!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Queen and Windsor Castle



I'm just going to start out by saying...we saw the Queen of England.  In person.  Less than 15 feet away.  It was all very exciting!

We took a day trip out to Windsor Castle and it just so happened that I, in my infinite ability to embarrass my children, joked to the ticket seller that I was hoping to see the Queen.  She told me, in rather hushed tones, that the Queen would be leaving for the horse races in about twenty minutes and if we left the castle and walked to the "long walk" we would be able to see her as she left.  We went for it and were rewarded with a view of the Queen in a rather festive pink suit!



With that exciting feather in our cap, we went on to tour the castle and its grounds.  We did tour St. George's Chapel and the Staterooms within the castle but no photography was allowed.









I'm trying to convince my family that we too should dress like this on any given Saturday morning.  I think Harris and Bryce would look dashing in a top hat.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Touring London Part 2

I'm going out of order of what we did on our trip because it's easier to group certain things together.  Also, if you are still reading, well done!  It seems to be going on forever :).


One of the places that Grace had seen on the internet, and really wanted to find while in London, was The Churchill Arms.  Turns out it was literally right around the corner from us and so we walked by it multiple times during our visit.  In person, it was just amazing to see!



One day we went to The Tower of London.  Here we wandered around the castle, saw the crown jewels, and got more information on Anne Boylen's execution (my children think I'm weirdly interested in it).  




From there we walked across the Tower Bridge.  At the top of the bridge there are glass floors where you can see down below you.  As neat as I thought that was, my brain couldn't seem to make it okay and I didn't care for it at all (and I'm not even afraid of heights).  




We left the bridge and walked along the waterfront towards The London Eye.  As we walked, we saw a lot of landmarks and stopped in to tour The Globe.  It would have been fun to see a show there.


We rode The London Eye and it was fun to see the wonderful views!


Our last day in London was the only day it rained!  We went to tour Westminster Abbey and to have tea!



We also made our way to Liberty department store (this is where Liberty of London fabric comes from!).  You guys, I loved this place and I so wish I could do my shopping in a store just like it.  


We stopped by this cute store in the Notting Hill area where they make and decorate the cutest cookies!



On our way back from the store, Grace was telling me that she was really hoping to see someone from the Sherlock series and right at that moment she looked behind her to see Una Stubbs, who plays Mrs. Hudson on the show.  Grace approached her, she was delightful and Grace was thrilled with her luck!


We did make it to King's Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4 but I have to tell you that both of the children were a bit disappointed in it.  Due to the tremendous crowds it draws, and so that one doesn't have to buy a ticket to see the platform, they have put this scene on the main floor of the station.  My children didn't feel it was very authentic and had no desire to stand in line (it was long!) to have a picture taken.


 
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