Gone Wireless

I can’t believe how fast the days are going. It’s just hit me that it’s already half way through July, crazy! Less than 6 more weeks to go! Last weekend I stayed in Nottingham so it was pretty low key. My host familys’ last Au Pair came up for the weekend so we got the chance to meet each other do some shopping in the city centre. The weather these past two weeks has been absolutely beautiful here and I hope it continues! I guess I’m not really getting the full England experience but I can’t complain!

This past weekend was one of the hottest, longest, most painful and yet the most worth it times that I’ve had while I’ve been here. Laura and I spent the weekend at the Wireless Musical Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Two days of nothing but sun, drinks, and incredible performances. Each day had different performers on 4 different stages but due to crowds we spent the majority of our time at the main stage. This festival was the chance of a lifetime thanks to artists like Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Emeli Sande, Rita Ora, Conor Maynard, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, John Legend, Miguel, Kesha, Little Mix, Snoop Dog and countless more (Note: These photos came from the wireless facebook page!) Despite the 30 degree weather and scorching sunshine we made it through over 15 hours of standing in crowds to get a pretty damn good show.

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After two days we were both exhausted and beyond excited to sleep in and go at our own pace sunday. Our first stop was at a significant townhouse in South Kensington. Just down the road on Egerton Terrance is the house used in the film The Parent Trap. And of course, the one day we try to relive our Li-Lo younger years…the front of the house is blocked off with construction! However we were obviously still excited enough to take a picture!

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From there we headed over to the British Museum of Natural History. Tying to beat the heat we spent the rest of the afternoon walking through the exhibits that seemed endless. Definitely a must see if you are in the area!

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Take A Back Road

Happy Canada Day everyone! It’s weekends like these where I wish I was back home celebrating. I guess my red and white outfit today will have to do! Instead of backyard barbecues and fireworks I spent my weekend traveling through the more southern part of England. Saturday morning Laura and I traveled to Oxford where we met up with a 2 day tour group. We first visited the University of Oxford and surrounding area. Walking through the streets you feel like you’ve just stepped into a movie scene, or someplace you’ve only dreamt about! Coincidentally many of the college buildings we used to film scenes from films such as Harry Potter and James Bond.

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From oxford we traveled to the Cotswold region. An area full of rolling hills, small villages and market towns full of character. We first made a quick stop in Burford for lunch at a tea room with the cutest courtyard patio. We then traveled on to Stow-On-The-Wold and Upper Slaughter, spending only about 15 minutes in each walking through the villages. Definitely a change from the city, but so beautiful. It’s hard to believe that people actually get to live in a place like this! We ended the day with another stop in Bilbury in the heart of the Cotswolds.

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Unfortunately Sunday did not go as I had planned. With another full day of touring, getting sick was not on my agenda! After being up for most of the night I somehow managed to make it through the tour of The Roman Baths and the city centre. About midday I decided that I should call it quits and head back home. Luckily all that was left on the tour was Stonehenge which I thankfully was able to visit three years ago! 4 hours worth of trains later I called it a night and was in bed before the kids. Hoping today goes better!

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To travel, or not to travel. There is no question.

Wow. Looking back at the last 6 weeks I’ve really come to understand the term “time flies”. Each week has brought something new and exciting and there are still quite a few to come! This weekend was all about history, culture and a guy by the name of William Shakespeare. Friday I traveled to Leicester and met up with Dani. We spent the night walking around the city centre and ending with drinks at Firebug with a few other au pairs. I’m quickly realizing that pubs are a great way to relax and have a night out, without hurting the bank!

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Up early on Saturday we started the day with a train ride to Stratford-Upon Avon, home of the playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. We took a 2 hour city walking tour, following his life and city events. Destinations included his birthplace, family homes, business and finally his resting place. Although I’m not as cultured in his history, the stories and events that took place in this small town were so fascinating. The streets were lined with old buildings, many in almost original forms. It was definitely a nice change from the busy cities that I’ve visited so far!IMG_0457IMG_0566IMG_0530IMG_0545IMG_0554

At the end of the day we traveled to Birmingham, the most populous city outside of London. After a long day of walking we decided to make it a simple night, and relaxed at the hostel. This was the first real hostel experience for Dani and I but I would recommend this place to anyone! The rooms and hallways were brightly decorated, and the lobby was so eccentric and internationally decorated. Very oriented around travel and young people!

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Despite the weather Sunday we tried to see has much of the city as we could. In the morning we walked towards the Jewelry Quarter, the largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade, which produce 40% of all the jewellery made in the UK (or so wikipedia says lol). This gave us the chance to see parts of the city that you normally wouldn’t see on a tour! We then worked our way back to the city centre and visited the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Three floors of British, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman history and culture. You could be there all day! We also wandered around the centeal shopping area called the Bull Ring. Shops lined the streets, along with a 3 story mall. This city a definitely a shopping area if you’re looking to spend!

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Viva The Weekend

Another weekend in London! I still can’t get over how easy (and cheap) it is to travel here! This weekend we went back to some memorable places, as well as new ones. Saturday the weather was a little moody, but we made the best of it! We spent the afternoon walking through Hyde Park, fighting the wind with our cheap umbrellas and made a quick stop at the Marble Arch. Just across the street was the Cumberland Hotel where we stayed for our school trip. Walking into the lobby wasn’t the same without my girls, brought back so many memories! Mainly ones of waiting around and sitting in the egg bench hah.

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Later that night we headed over to Piccadilly Circus and went to Piccadilly Institute for dinner and drinks. This building was very unique with multiple levels, each room a different theme and atmosphere. If you’re looking for a night out in Piccadilly that would be the place to go! After dinner we took the chance of a lifetime (for teenage girls of our generation anyways lol) and saw the show Viva Forever, a musical based on the Spice Girls hit music. Despite the not so good ratings, the girls and I thought it was unbelievable! So energetic, comedic, colourful and clever. Definitely something to see if you are a fan!

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Sunday was another day of wandering around central London. We walked through more of Hyde Park over to Buckingham Palace for some photos. The last time I was there I didn’t get the chance to get very close due to crowds so I was very glad to go back! We walked along The Mall, past the site of the Horse Guard Parade and over to Trafalgar Square.

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Trafalgar Square was another place that brought back so many memories from three years ago. Who knew that I would be able to stand in this exact place twice. Thinking back to the first time I never would have thought I would be here again. It was a busy place this weekend, with an art competition, street performers and artists, and tourists from all over the world.

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We ended the day with a walk though Convent Garden Market (trying to stay out of the rain). Rows of shops selling handmade products and street performers lined the streets, very busy and lots to see! Finally before I caught my train home we made a quick stop at Kings Cross Station Platform 9 3/4! Definitely a must see if you’re a Harry Potter fan!

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My Guy

This day belongs to my guy. To the one who’s always been there. Through the games, practices, recitals, graduations, birthdays, and adventures.  There aren’t enough words in the world to explain how grateful and appreciative I am of everything he has ever done for me. Without him, I would not be the person I am today and I can’t thank him enough for loving me unconditionally and being there in a heartbeat whenever, wherever. I have never met another strong, dedicated, and hard-working man quite like him. Over the years he has taught me so much about three important things; life, love, and most importantly; family. To the one who’s strong enough for all of us, even on his weakest day. Happy Fathers Day.

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Home

Well it’s one of those days. As much as I love what I’m doing and where I am, a day doesn’t pass where I think: “I really miss”. You miss out on a lot in 4 months, but everyday I have to remind myself of what experiences I would have never had if I hadn’t taken this opportunity. I’m so grateful to be here, traveling the country and meeting new people; I am truly learning a lot about myself. Over the past weeks I’ve created a list of things I absolutely miss and have often taken for granted, until now.

My family. My friends. My backyard. The Cone and Shake Shop. The beach. My spot on the couch. Campfires with my girls. My tiny bed. The History Channel. Bulk Barn. Family dinners. Swimming in the lake. Ryker. UG Crew. 30 degree weather. Cheesy garlic noodles. Walks around the neighbourhood. TLC. Manitoulin Island. Cooking with mom. Girls Night Out. Driving. Trips to Grandbend. Sakura Sushi…the list could go on!

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And last but not least. This woman.

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Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the strongest, most giving, caring and beautiful woman I have ever known. It really was a privilege to have called her my grandma; luck was definitely on my side. It’s been almost three months since I’ve seen that beautiful smile and it’s something that I will miss forever. The amount of love and guidance from her was endless and I will be forever grateful of what she taught me over our 21 years together.  Anyone that knew my grandma would understand her level of concern for me this summer (which is still probably through the roof), but I know that no matter where I go, she and grandpa are right there with me.  Loving and missing you both, always.G&G

City Exploring

This weekend couldn’t have gone any better. I finally got the chance to meet some other au pairs from all over the world, and visit the famous Nottingham Castle! Saturday I met up a few girls and walked around Old Market Square and the Lace Market. Later in the evening we met with some other au pairs at the The Corn Mill pub for drinks. Just down the road from the base, looks like I’ll be spending a lot of weekend nights there! The drinks were so good and very cheap (compared to Canada at least) and it was such a great time! Love that I now have other people in the area to spend my summer with!

IMG_0039Today Dani and I went back into the city and toured Nottingham Castle. The castle is located atop a 130 foot cliff and served as a royal fortress and residence. The view from the top was amazing, looking over the entire city. Hidden below the castle is a maze of caves and passageways once used to carry supplies up to the fortress. Very interesting but a little unnerving walking through dark tunnels! At the bottom of the hill is what is said to be the oldest pub and inn in England. The pub is built right into the side of the cliff, with seating among the curved stone walls.

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And lastly, just around the corner was the famous Robin Hood Statue!

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