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London #2 – and then some

Both the last post and this one are titled “London,” but in reality they both include photos from the surrounding area, as well, not JUST London.

Another twenty photos for you to wade through, and my last trip (or at least the part I’ve subjected you to!) is complete! Whew! Thanks for putting up with me! You’ll now be free from travel photos until late fall when we go to Cuba…







































And last, but not least…



And there you have it. London (well, southern England) in 40 photos. Thanks for hanging in thee with me. It was a long 6 weeks, for you anyway. For me it flew by!

We’ll do it gain soon.







London, Our Home Away From Home

Felt so good to get back to London. As much as we thought Barcelona might replace her, it didn’t.

As many times as we’ve been here, you’d think we’d run out of things to do and see, but we don’t.

Granted, there were some repeats, like the Big Bus overview of the city, Stonehenge and Bath (although it’s been many years) and Camdentown…but there were also a lot of new things we did for the first time, like FINALLY getting to the Portobello Market, going to Southwold, Sutton Hoo, seeing parts of Hampton Court we hadn’t seen before, a walking tour of downtown City of London…

Somehow two weeks just flew by.

I took MANY fewer photos on this leg of the trip, but I still got some nice shots.

I was hoping to get this wrapped up with today’s post, but I’ve had such a hard time narrowing the photos down that I decided to break it into two. Bear with me, we’re ALMOST done!











































Hello, June!

Hello, June!

I’m so happy to see you!

May was a rough month. But only because I made it that way. There was nothing that happened that wasn’t a direct result of pressure I put on myself.

Well, okay. I didn’t make wordpress decide to go bonkers and cause me to get a few days behind. And I didn’t make myself sick – my little darling did that. But neither of those things would have been big deals had I not set myself up with an unrealistic challenge.

So why did this happen? I had the best of intentions. I was lacking incentive to get my London album done. It had been sitting there for weeks with just a few pages done. I thought if I gave myself a REASON to make sure I was progressing EVERY day, it would be a good thing. And it was a good theory. But in this messy life of mine, holding myself to anything EVERY day, has little chance of success. Two anythings? Almost impossible.

Case in point – my walking. I was doing SO well. I had 10k steps down pat. My daily average was in the 12k-14k range. Then I started “the challenge” and walking went out the window. The time I was allowing for walking went to scrapbooking instead. Now I am lucky to get 2k steps in. For all intents and purposes, I’m starting over.

So what have I learned from this?

I need flexibility. Other than getting back up to walking 10k steps every day, I need to allow myself to do a little of this and a little of that. No more marathon anythings.

And if I learn that lesson, it will have been worth it.

Oh, and my consolation prize is that I have the first half of the London portion of the European Vacation 2014 documented.

London album1-w



And it’s a kinda cool album if I do say so myself.


Day #26 Flowers and Layouts

Let’s mix it up a little and start with my flowers for the May flower challenge today… Yeah, I’m running out of big flowers, and a ground cover, Alyssum is looking pretty good!




The more time I’m spending searching for something blooming to photograph, the more anxious I get to be out there working. The garden is going to be getting a facelift soon. I have had to accept that an English garden in the middle of what, left to its own devices would be called a desert, is not practical. In order to get water to it, we HAVE to use drip irrigation, but drip is not real sturdy, and tends to leak, so you have to be able to get to it to repair it. If you have a jungle of plants, it is difficult to get to, and my drip guy (AKA Mr. Tattered) gets a little cranky when he has to venture into it. It has lead to some huge arguments. So the plan is to simplify. I can’t say I’m really excited about it, because the more sterile look is not something I love, but I think I’ll be able to seat aside a small area where I can play with the plants I love…I hope. And if it preserves the peace, it’ll be worth it.


Today my layout is of 2 restaurants (uh-oh, I’m sensing another theme here!) Govinda’s, a wonderful Indian restaurant, and Pizza Express, one of our favorites from the last time we were in London several years ago.




Ooooh. I wonder what I’ll do next?







Day #25 Flowers and Layouts

It’s crazy doing so many posts in one day (or really 2, maybe 3 days) but I got so far behind in posting that I’m scrambling to get them all posted by the end of the month.

I keep getting pulled off task, so I think I’m only going to get 4 up today. That will mean I am still 4 short, which will have to go up tomorrow. All in all, given all the factors I couldn’t control, I’m pretty pleased with how the month’s challenges have gone. At least I’ve followed through on getting the layouts done, and that was my biggest concern!

Today, I’ve shifted to a restaurant we enjoyed. Tortilla. At this point in our trip, Mr. Tattered was CRAVING Mexican food, but it is hard to find in England. Tortilla is a direct knock off of Chipotle, one of his favorite fast food Mexican places, so we gave it a try.








My floral offering today is the California Poppy. It is the state flower, and not real easy to grow in a garden setting because they don’t like to be overwatered. The drought is working in their favor. I find them tucked into the most unusual places…


Day #15 Flowers and Layouts

Welcome to Day #15 of my May craziness! I set up my own challenges this month. Challenge #1 is to post a photo of a flower every day – it can be a piece of art or something from the garden. So far they’ve been from the garden, but I’m not sure I’ll make 31 days of flowers from the garden without getting out and doing some planting! Challenge #2 is to do a scrapbook layout every day of the month, which is a really good thing for me. I’m so far behind, and this is giving me the incentive to make progress.

So far I’m following through. Woohoo!

Lest you’ve begun to feel like our whole trip was about the history and architecture of London, let me assure you there was a lot of it that was about the food.

There was a time when we would tell people we were going to the UK and they would say, “ugh, the food there is awful!” If that was ever true, it most certainly is not anymore. Some of the most memorable meals we’ve ever had in our lives were consumed in London.

Right before we left, there was an article about the best vegetarian restaurants in London in Vegetarian Times magazine. The one that sounded the most appealing to us was Mildred’s. Located in Soho, it is an unassuming little place. Never in a million years would you be able to tell from the outside what delights would be found inside!

We’d read that there was often a line (or que) to get in, so we went at off peak times and never had to wait. The tables are close together and there aren’t many of them. The wait staff was quite friendly, and after our first visit (there were many) we felt like regulars, and were treated as such. It was really kind of cool to be recognized so quickly.

The food was incredible. As many times as we went, we didn’t get very deep into the menu because we liked what we were eating so much, we wanted it over and over.



I think I just want to live there. Or bring the chef home with us. Neither one of which are very practical.


I don’t know the technical name for my flower offering today. It is a little ball on the end of a long stem, similar to an allium, and maybe it’s related, but I just call it a snowball. The variegated greenery in the photo does NOT belong to the snowball. It has a tuft of spike greenery at the base, but the other plant has grown over it. I kinda like the look, but I’m going to need to make sure it doesn’t get completely over-run!


Elsewhere in the garden, the Shasta daisies that were barely blooming a few days ago are going crazy.


Notice the dark bird feeder in the background? I had “socks” there before, but rodents (I think! Or else a pretty strong bird!) have been ripping the socks up to get to the thistle seeds, so I decided to get a metal mesh feeder instead. So far I haven’t seen any birds on it, but I’m hoping they’ll get it figured out.

Then I noticed this lovely addition.


At first I thought it was a volunteer, like the lantana, but then I realized it’s a GINORMOUS weed! I really do need to get out there and work!

May 1st Challenges – Flowers and Layouts

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Okay, it’s Day #1 of the May personal challenges..Flowers and Layouts (for lack of a better title!)

And believe me, I’m lucky that it’s happening.

After deciding to do this to myself, I realized quickly that the next few days have precious few hours that are unaccounted for.

So, it isn’t going to be an awe-inspiring production, but it’s getting done, and I’m going to count it as a win.

For my flower offering, please meet Miss Lantana. I did not plant this bush. I suspect the birds were doing a little remodeling. The first year it was just a few scrawny flowers, but they were pretty so I kept them. Year two they were more of a presence, but not out of control. This year they’ve kinda taken over, but they are beautiful, and I can’t bring myself to cut them back. Maybe later in the year, but not now.


As for my scrapbook layout…

I’m going to be working on the London layouts. I took so many pictures of each place we went, and as hard as I’m trying to thin them down, this is going to be a photo-intensive book, leaving little space for incredible embellishments or amazing art.

This one is of Selfridge’s Dept. Store on Oxford Street. A dept. store, you question? Well, it’s more than a dept. store. It’s also a “Masterpiece Theater” series on PBS – the dramatic history of the real Harry Selfridge and the store he opened in the early 1900’s. And like Downton Abbey, it captured my imagination, and I had to go see the store that is still a focal point on Oxford Street 100 years later.

In fact, when I was at the train Station I stopped at a kiosk to ask directions, giving only the address, and the lady said, “Oh, Selfridge’s.” I cracked up!

So, may I present what stood out for me at Selfridge’s.








I’m expecting that many of these pages won’t have a lot of accents, but looking at these photos, they need a little something…maybe I’ll add a few staples and some washi tape tonight, but for now, this is what I’ve got!

Thanks a lot for stopping by and checking up on me! I tend to be a slacker at times, so keep the pressure on!

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