Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Letting My Inner Cowgirl Run Wild

Don't have to worry about that, London. My inner cowboy is running SO wild in London, it can hardly be contained! 

P.S. This is why everyone not from Texas thinks we are all cowboys and ride horses to work. 

This is in Brixton and one of the only good photos taken. I'll have to go back and take more pics, as it was a very hip neighbourhood. I went with a buddy who is an expert on everything cool in London, had the BEST 3 course South American food for only £7, and made some awesome market/ pound store finds. AND it's where Electric Avenue is. And now, you will have that song stuck in your head!

I can't get enough of these trees! I walk under them, pretending like I don't feel awesome and like everything is right and beautiful in this world. And then I stop and try to secretly take a picture. And then continue trying to walk like a nonchalant Londoner. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Obligatory Weekend Recap

It's Monday and I haven't blogged in several days. Truth is, I've been keeping myself pretty busy and haven't had time to sit and write! I think I owe you all a quick weekend recap before I'm off to explore a bit with a new friend.

On Friday, I double yogaed and then took a new friend to Borough Market. There's always an interesting sight or two there! I spent way too much money on things like raw butter, Italian prosciutto, mushroom pate, and of course my refillable wine, olive oil, and half of a grilled cheese sandwich.

 On Saturday I checked out a ballet class in Covent Garden. I really liked it and I think I might sign up for a course! I don't know what sparked my interest in it, but I randomly decided I wanted to try something new, and ballet should be it. I'm hoping it will help my yoga practice and help with my grace/ rhythm/ not being a klutz.

 I've also been cooking a TON and experimenting with paleo recipes. So far I've made cauliflower "hummus"(bean free), "paleo cheez-its" (good, but taste nothing like the cheesey, salty goodness they're named after), "paleo ice cream" (made with frozen banana as the base), and loads of pancakes (just eggs, banana, and coconut flour). I also roasted a massive chicken and then made some homemade chicken stock with the left over bones. I had NO idea how jelly like the stock turn out to be, but it is very tasty.
Me showing Daniel my new yoga pose I finally learned- 1 armed, 1 leg wheel. No, my head is not on the ground, although it appears that way. 
Sunday was double yoga fun and then Daniel date night fun in West Hampstead, where we had some affordable Italian food at Bellaluna. I was a bad girl and had pizza, and oh my goodness does my stomach feel terrible today. But it was worth it- so delicious.

I hope you all have an amazing week! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Making Fwiends

Yes, I have to say it like a 4 year old because I FEEL like a 4 year old in a new school when it comes to making fwiends in London.

It's funny how we take for granted the 2 institutions in our life that helps us make friends- jobs and school (either yours or your child's). You don't realize how much easier it is to make friends when you have these two arenas in your life. Couple not being in school OR not having a job with being in a new city where nothing feels normal and despite the 8 million people living here, you can still manage to feel all alone? IT becomes apparent how terrible you need friendship.

Not really having school or a job (although I will say that the two mom's I mostly sit for have become close friends of mine) makes it pretty hard to find friends. However, these past 2 weeks I have actually been very social, and I thought I would share with you how I made these new buddies.

1. A friend of a friend of my Aunt Laura's.

2. Someone I met in a park

3. Someone who emailed me because she read my profile on a meet up group

4. A group of ladies I met online from a meet up group

5. A gal I met online who helped me find a restaurant that serves queso

6. An acquaintance from high school (who has become my saving grace and closest London friend since living here)

7. My adorable French yoga instructor- it took me months to finally get the courage to ask her to hang out (I swear, making friends feels like dating and I get so scared of rejection!).

8. This girl who I thought was cool after she cracked a joke while checking me in to a yoga class

9. Daniel's co-worker's fiancée

10. Other ladies that tagged along with the above list of women- it's like two friends for one!

You have to let all insecurities go when it comes to making a new friend. Don't worry about rejection (it's her loss!). Don't let the fear of "sounding desperate" steer you away from, well, desperately trying to make a new friend. If you meet someone cool or that you feel a connection with, you just gotta go for it! Most likely, that person will appreciate your effort and not think you're a nut case.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunny Day Bliss

I can usually always find the bright side to every situation. I am always that annoying friend whom, after you complain, will come back with a "well, at least...". I think being positive is a choice, and one I try to make every minute of my life. With that being said, I think that I have seasonal depression. Looking back on this past winter, it just feels so dark. Gloomy. Depressing. I didn't have much will to go out and live. This wasn't apparent to me until these past couple of weeks, when I found how happy I was with the sun! I guess this just proves to me that I need to live in a sunny place (Hello, TX! Or, I don't know, Hawaii? Maybe one day?).

I have been outdoors 24/7 to soak up all of the sunshiny goodness. My cheeks are getting rosy and freckled, and I've even been able to run in tank tops! I love how in London, I can make a statement like "I think I am going to go take a nap in the park" and totally come off as being normal, vs homeless. 

Last Friday, Daniel was home by 12:30, and it turned out to be a fantastic day together! I was supposed to babysit, but that got cancelled, so we were able to be spontaneous and enjoy the blissful day.
We saw our very first movie together in London- Grand Budapest Hotel. As far as Wes Anderson movies go, it was enjoyable and I managed to not fall asleep (sorry, I'm not a huge fan normally).
We went to this quirky cinema a block from our flat, Everyman Cinema. It is cozy, filled with overstuffed love seats and little side tables. The screen was tiny! Like, you probably have a TV larger than the screen at Everyman. BUT, we enjoyed seeing an eclectic film in an eclectic theater! 

 Then, on Sunday, the weather was perfect. Daniel needed some down time after a long week of training and Cambridge, so I left him at home while I played in the park. Perfection!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cambridge Getaway

I'd been wanting to check out Cambridge ever since my grandparents told me about their trip to England and how they loved the scholarly town so much. For some reason or another, it took us awhile to make it here, but I think we came at the perfect time of year! 

We planned the trip very last minute- a week before going, to be exact. Trains are so convenient. We just looked up how often the train to Cambridge was leaving (about every 20 minutes) and from what station (King's Cross), showed up and bought our ticket plus an open return for the next day. With train tickets only costing 35 pounds round trip, was a nice, easy way to get out of London for the weekend. 

Because I booked our hotel last minute, there weren't a ton of choices. We stayed at the Regent's Hotel and I was very pleased. We got the executive suite since we were only going to be there for one night.
I couldn't get over how many bikes there were in Cambridge. EVERYONE rode a bike. The bike lanes were fantastic and if we were there for longer, I would have wanted to rent one for the day.
All in all, I just loved Cambridge. It wasn't as posh or pretentious as I imagined it to be. The town had a very cool, hip vibe because, hello, it's a college town! 

After checking in to our hotel, we wanted to go punting. We were pretty hungry, though, so stopped to pick up some very nonpaleo sandwiches and bottled of water. The cafe was so cute and overflowing with brunching students.
I highly recommend punting if you are in Cambridge. I LOVED it! And I am really glad we went on a tour, vs punting by ourselves. It looked pretty difficult, and this way we got to hear more about Cambridge. 

Cambridge was founded is 1209 by people from Oxford who had a disagreement with the town folk. I wish I could remember all of the different colleges that make up the university, but I can't (Cambridge is made up of 30-something colleges). 

Unfortunately, this was about as close to King's College as we got. I really wanted to attend the Eversong, but the day before was end of term, so no chapel service! Because the term just ended, most of the college's were closed to the public- but we still got to see a couple!

Everything was just so beautifully preserved. Daniel was hoping it would feel more like Hogwarts and was disappointed that it didn't, but I still thought it felt like we were stepping back in time being in the university area.

Our guide was fantastic and I'm guessing a student. Watching other people try to punt their own boat made me SO thankful we didn't even try. It was like bumper cars in the river! And I am surprised we didn't see anyone fall in.

How did Cambridge get it's name? The river Cam runs through the town, the main bridge being in the city center back in the day. People would say to meet at the Cam Bridge...and the town just became Cambridge overtime!

This is St. John's college and we toured it after our boat ride. It is perfectly symmetrical and is often called the wedding cake. It is missing a clock, however, and as our tour guide explained, "naughty students often draw one in." The college ran out of money when building it, and couldn't add a clock!

The oldest bridge in Cambridge! And it's namesake. 
After our boat ride, we took the time to just explore the town. It was like a maze! We would often dead end to the river and have to turn around to find another way to our destination.
As I earlier mentioned, most of the colleges were closed to the public. Every school charges around 3-7 pounds pp to go in, so you really have to pick and choose which ones to go in! We walked through St. John's College, and it didn't disappoint.
The library was small but quintessential. The books were SO OLD and we obviously weren't allowed to touch them.

There were signs all over the place saying to keep off the grass, but no one was abiding by that rule. I loved it- students playing frisbee, soccer, drinking wine out of the bottle (no open container laws and the legal age is 18)- made me want to go back to uni! 
Daniel took a picture of me taking a picture. Sneaky fellow! 

This, I remember, is Trinity College. That's a statue of its founder, King Henry VIII, over the door. Trinity College was founded as a compromise: Cambridge and Oxford were both religious institutions, and he was on a mission to close everything that associated with the old ways. His 6th wife pleaded with him to not shut down the schools, but to add a new college to promote the Church of England.

Notable alumni: Isacc Newton, Lord Byron, 6 prime ministers and 31 Nobel Prize winners.

At the end of the day, we stopped by The Eagle, the oldest pub in Cambridge, dating back to the 14th century. More recently,  it is where Crick and Watson came in, interrupted everyone's lunch, and announced that they found the "secret of life"- DNA's double helix. I just love imagining all of the academics and scholars sitting in this pub and discussing their learnings over the past 600 years.

Now I want to go to Oxford and compare the two college towns! Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a lovely Monday.


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