A weekend in England...


I love traveling to England!  It's a short 50 minute flight, they speak English, and oh the sight seeing!  Every visit it seems I stumble upon a new location, or a new angle to photograph a location that I have visited numerous times.  Take a look at why England is one of my favorite destinations... 














A little slice of heaven...


I recently spent a weekend in London with a friend of mine.  We had a nice weekend of sight seeing and taking photographs.  But the cherry on the cake was in Notting Hill, where we accidentally stumbled into a foodie's version of HEAVEN...


Recipease


Who knew this place existed?  Well, I guess if you are from London, you knew...but I didn't!!  We walked in and were immediately greeted by delectable smells and amazing sights.  We were lucky enough to happen into Recipease when a class was going on, and while these students sipped wine and chatted, magic was happening at their fingertips!  Homemade pasta was being produced with ease.  No frantic looks on their faces, no flour being wiped across a their brow as they succumb to the pressure of cooking.  No, it was nothing but ease and fun that was happening in this amazing kitchen!

Now, I love me some Jamie Oliver!  I am all about his cookbooks and his show, and I have to admit that I LOVE it when he says "give it a waz" when he uses his food processor!  We have adopted his use of wood boards as serving plates and I look forward to his Christmas cooking shows, so you can understand my excitement as I took it all in.  

When you walk into Recipease the next thing you notice after the smell, the laughter and the ease at which these students are cooking is the layout!  Genius, pure genius.  The store/school/cafe/foodie amusement park, has cooking stations as its focal point.  This is where the students cook, sip wine and apparently, have a grand old time!  The cooking stations are surrounded by food, products and a cafe.

Recipease

Recipease


There is everything you could ever want.  Fresh breads, meringues, bright colored sodas and the cafe...oh the cafe.  Fresh food is available for take out or to eat right there while you browse the products.

Piles of wood boards, cookbooks and serving bowls filled the tables in a way that makes you stop for minutes just to soak it all in.  It is the personality that is Jaime Oliver and his cooking show all wrapped into a Notting Hill storefront!

We could have spent the day in this little slice of heaven, however, there were tours to be taken of London.  Walking out onto the street after being in Recipease was a bit of a let down.  The colors were a bit more dull, the smells not so tantalizing and the laughter was not filling the air.  If you are ever in the UK, find one of the Recipease locations and go fill your senses with the sights, sounds and tastes of this amazing place.  I have made a promise to myself that I will be taking the short 40 minute flight back to London and I too will be one of the lucky one's, learning to cook fresh pasta with the ease of a pro, a glass of wine and laughter!




Life's a Beach this Labor Day...





Lifes a Beach



I hope that all of you in the U.S. have a wonderful Labor Day and enjoy your last weekend of summer!  In honor of the holiday, take a look at some amazing beaches and maybe even take a trip to one...

Bloom where you are planted...



Bloom Where you are Planted



Summer this year went way to fast.  Once school was over, we headed back to the states, and the place that we call "home" ...California!

Once again I was amazed at how easy it was to fall right back into life there.  The feeling of the sunshine on our faces was a refreshing welcome, as was the warm hug of a long time friend!  We have been away from our U.S. "Home" for four years now, but we are still welcomed as if we have never left.

The days flew by as the boys fished, body boarded, soaked up the sun and spent many sleepovers catching up on lost time.  My days were filled with running kids around and enjoying my old stomping grounds, but I most looked forward to the evenings laughing and reminiscing with my friends.

As I boarded the plane back to Germany, I began to tear up a bit...It was hard to leave my friends, the sun and the ease in which I functioned while home, but there was a part of me ready to get back to my "other home"...I was blooming there as well.

I am incredibly lucky to have the best of both worlds and I don't feel like I need to move to California to be happy...I have found a happiness where I have been planted and know that my roots in California will continue to grow deep as well!


Auf Weidersehen...



Auf Weidersehen


Well, it's that time of year again...the Expat exodus is upon us!  After 3 years in Germany, I have to say that I am starting to really consider it "home"and would definitely find it hard to leave.

While reading the paper this morning I stumbled upon the article The top ten things you would miss If you left Germany.  I had to giggle a bit..."the food?"  Not so much, but I have to agree with the "coffee culture" and the "green".  I would also miss riding my bike, seeing the animals grazing in the fields nearby and especially the thought of knowing that as an Expat, there are others in the same boat as me!

If you are leaving Germany, or any other country or town for that matter, what will you miss most when you go?  Is it the food, the weather or the culture that you have been so lucky to experience?

The English Countryside...



Photos of the English countryside...



White Cliffs of Dover
White Cliffs of Dover
Robertsbridge England
Robertsbridge Church~East Sussex, England


Robertsbridge England
Robertsbridge Church~East Sussex, England





English Church
Robertsbridge Church~East Sussex, England




Bodium Castle
Bodium Castle~East Sussex, England




Bodium Castle
Bodium Castle~East Sussex, England



Bluebells
Bluebells



Rye, England
Rye, England




East Sussex, England


East Sussex, England


East Sussex, England


























Chasing the Northern Lights...Come on, I'm running out of Time!



Noway


Part 3~Hurtigruten and The North Cape Excursion

Night one on the ship was relatively uneventful...no Northern Lights, no one overboard, and no sea sickness.

We woke up to a cold and chilly morning, that actually provided the perfect light for some great photographs!

Fjords




Fjords


Shortly after breakfast we docked in Honningsvag and boarded the bus on our way to North Cape, Norway.  This is the northernmost point of Europe, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea meet, and it feels like the edge of the world.  As the coach drove up the winding road following a snow plow, I wondered how anything could possibly live in this remote location.  Apparently in the summer months there is an abundance of Puffin, Reindeer and even flowers on this desolate island.  But right now, there was only a bus load of crazy tourists hoping to have their picture taken in the cold, windy location.

I had chosen to leave my snow pants behind on this part of the trip, as foolishly I thought that we would be looking out at the ocean from the comfort of a "viewing area".  What was I thinking?  As I stepped off of the coach, I realized that this was going to be a huge mistake.  I have to say, this was the one time on the whole adventure that I was cold...really, really cold!



North Cape Norway

North Cape Norway

Yes, this was the cold, white North and I was experiencing it in jeans, okay and some really great long underwear, but nothing to break that wind.  I was a bit of a wimp on this one.  After I got my pictures, I ran inside, warmed up with a coffee and did some shopping...isn't that what one does at the North Cape?

Once back on the boat and showered for dinner, I walked through the lounge to head back to the deck..."please be there, please be there!" I repeated over and over.  As I was walking, I saw the most amazing photograph of the Northern Lights on a man's computer.  As I looked closer, I realized that he was editing the photo...he had taken the photo!  How, and where did he see them?   

"Where did you get that?''  I asked, like he had stolen something of mine.

"Oh, I took them as we were leaving the port a few minutes ago.  I'm sure that if you hurry, they will still be there."  He replied, ever so helpful.

"Thanks! " I said as excitement overtook me.  The photo that he had taken was amazing.  Dancing greens and pinks over a beautiful port village.  

Off I ran to get my coat and camera and tell the group to hurry, that they were making their appearance...

By now, the Barents Sea had begun to get a bit rough and walking on the deck proved to be difficult.  I didn't care.  Waves could wash over the damn deck and sweep me into the cold, icy ocean...I was getting a picture of the Northern Lights!  So, I waited.  I looked to the North, I looked to the South...NOTHING!   I was really beginning to think that I had paid to come on this excursion to be tortured!  Then, all of the sudden I saw a bit of orange on the horizon.

"Sorry Mom," my oldest said. "That's the light from a village."

But it wasn't, and as I looked even higher in the sky, I saw dancing green clouds swirling above!  By now the whole gang was watching the show.  I have to say, it was incredibly difficult to get a photo.  We were on a very rocky ship, I only had a small tripod and someone literally had to hold on to me to steady me, but I saw them!  I saw the elusive Northern Lights!

Northern Lights


Northern Lights Norway


Northern Lights Norway

I have to admit that they were amazing and I was so frantic to get the "perfect picture" of them, that I almost forgot to just enjoy the moment of seeing them.  They literally danced in the sky and for a few moments they were bright and other moments very light, but as you watched them, you realized just how small you are in this world of ours.



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