Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The London Eye

*I received two complimentary tickets for the purposes of review.

I'm sure that I've mentioned several million times, that I'm terrified of heights.
REALLY, really afraid of heights.  The staircase in our new house even makes me nervous. 

You may recall that about a month ago, I decided to tackle that fear head on and went up to the top of the tallest building I could find,  The Shard.
And I did it!  I was so proud of myself. 
In fact, I was so proud that I might have gotten a bit cocky.

Surely I could tackle The London Eye.  No problem.
(Well, other than the hyperventilation and sweaty palms.) 

And I did it.  I went up in the EDF Energy London Eye


The EDF Energy London Eye 
The first time was with Matthew.  We started with the 4D film in the visitor center.  It's just a few minutes long, but beautifully done.  It actually brought a tear to my eye.
It's a love letter to London.
The EDF Energy London Eye

Then we fast tracked it to the base of the wheel and stepped into the capsule as it moved slowly along the platform. (They can and will stop the ride if you need more assistance getting on.)

 I immediately parked it on the bench in the center of the capsule and got out my security blanket cell phone .  (I'm surprised it didn't slip out of my sweaty hands.)  I thought tweeting and instagraming through the next 30 minutes would help and it did.
I got a lot of very helpful encouragement.   Thank you so much!! 

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye 
The capsule is very spacious.  There were about 20 people with us but it didn't feel crowded.  Everyone walked around and took pictures of the beautiful views.  I just handed the camera to Matt and didn't move from my spot.   I pretty much held my breath until we were on the very top and slowly let it out as we came down the other side.  

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

 Being terrified, I was hypersensitive to every little movement.  The capsule wobbles a bit as people move around or it stops and starts to let someone on.  But I'm sure it feels slow and steady to anyone not on hyper alert with a very vivid imagination.  

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye
I was happy to hop off and consider Project Conquer Fear a huge success.

The EDF Energy London Eye

The EDF Energy London Eye

We then made our way to the London Eye River Cruise.  By the time the 40 minute boat ride along the Thames was over, I was completely recovered. 
I love the Thames.  I could float up and down it all day long and never tire of the views. 

A few days later, I was invited by SouthBankLondon.com to explore South Bank with them.

I love the South Bank, so of course I jumped at the chance.

Guess what was number two on the agenda... yep.  The London Eye
So, I put on my professional blogger hat and fearlessly...
not really.  I stepped into the capsule, sat down on the bench and didn't budge.

Several people in the group spoke to me, I have no idea what I said to them.

I can only imagine. 
Luckily, the Press Manager for the London Eye was with us and completely distracted me with fun facts about the wheel. 

The EDF Energy London Eye

 Here are just a few:

1.  On a clear day you can see as far as Windsor Castle, about 25 miles. 

2.  It can carry 800 people per rotation, equivalent to 11 double decker buses.  10,000 people a day take a trip around the wheel, an average of 3.75 million visitors. 

3.  There are 32 capsules, one for each London borough.  But, they skipped unlucky number 13 so they are numbered to 33.  

4.  It's the fifth tallest structure in London and UK's most popular paid for visitor attraction. 

5.  It's not a ferris wheel.  It's the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel with fully enclosed and climate controlled capsules positioned on the outside of the structure. 

6.  American movie star Jessica Alba holds the record for overseas celebrity that has gone around the most... 31 times so far.  

The EDF Energy London Eye

I haven't completely conquered that fear of heights yet.
But it is certainly not preventing me from experiencing London. 

Planning Your Trip to the London Eye

 Adult Standard tickets are £19.20 (16+),Children £12.30 and under four are free.
Prices go up from there depending on Flexi and Fast Track options.
They also offer a full range of combination ticket options.

For general information on the EDF Energy London Eye
and a 10% discount on bookings, visit www.londoneye.com.

The London Eye is open all year round except for Christmas Day 

and one week in January for annual maintenance. 

The hours of operation are 10am to 9pm from June to September and 10am to 8pm from October through to May. 

The County Hall ticket office is open from 9:30am each day. 

Have you been in up in the London Eye?
What did you think?



 *I received two complimentary tickets to The EDF Energy London Eye and River Cruise
for the purposes of review.
I also visited the London Eye as a guest of South Bank London.
All photos, writing and opinions are my own.  (Actually Matthew took most of these.)
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

You can find this review and many others in my
London Attraction Guide.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Project Move House - Complete

Where in the world did this week go? 
It just flew by!  We've been in our new place for a week now.
It already feels like home.  I really love it!
I'll show you some pictures next week. 
(At least of the downstairs, the upstairs is still a disaster.)

I haven't had a chance to edit any photos this week, 
so here are a few from my iPhone.  

TxiganosEton Mess

1//  Before we moved we made one last trip to Brown's at Butler's Wharf for their Eton Mess and to toast a wonderful year in central London.  Jacob's Island right by Tower Bridge was the perfect place to spend my first year in London.  I have so many fabulous memories there!

2//  Our second night in the new place we started exploring Blackheath and we've already found a favorite.  The tapas at Tziganos were amazing.  We just kept doing that eye roll thing and saying "mmmm".   It was so good!  I see many evenings spent there. 

Our New GrillOur Garden

3//  Our little back garden is full of the most beautiful potted plants.  I just love sitting out there.  It's small and there isn't any grass, but it's adorable.  I just hope I can keep the plants alive.  I'm not known for having a green thumb.  By the way, how often should I be watering them?  Every day?  Any other tips?

4//  Our first Saturday in the new place we headed headed over to a housing store and made a very important purchase.   We broke it in that night with sausage, burgers and steak.  It feels so good to have an outdoor space.  (On a side note:  We asked our landlord about the possibility of maybe getting a D.O.G!  She gave us the verbal okay!  I see a rescue pooch in our future.  I'm squealing right now.)

And here are a few pictures of Blackheath.  I can wait to explore it and tell you all about it.
We're a little further out, but we still have really good connections to central London.  
It has a much more village-like feel.  I think we're going to love it. 


 This week you can also find me over at An Invisible Crown guest posting for Jade.
She is an Aussie Expat living in London and she's a sweetheart.
Please pop over and say "Hi!"  Tell her Selena sent you. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned. 

After that amazing night at Regent's Park,
we owed the guys a night out of their choosing.
So I'll be spending the evening at a cricket match.  This is my excited face.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pride and Prejudice

I admit it.  I'm a complete anglophile. And I'm a sucker for Jane Austen.
I've read most of her books, but I will admit that I'm probably more of a fan 
of seeing her characters come to life on the big screen. 
Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant is swoon worthy.
And when Kate Winslet whispers "Willoughby" with such heartbreak and longing?  I die.
Although I'm completely Team Colonel Brandon.

Erin at Quintessentially English has started a Jane Austen book club.
The first month was Sense & Sensibility.
(I will confess that I cheated and listened to it on Audible.)

This month's book is Pride & Prejudice.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
It's the books 200th Anniversary and the Brits have voted Colin Firth's appearance emerging from a lake in the BBC's version of Pride And Prejudice as the most memorable moment in British TV drama.  To commemorate, a 12 foot statue of the dripping wet Mr. Darcy was installed in the Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park a few weeks ago.

One afternoon, Gina and I headed off with our cameras to get some photos.
Alas, the brooding Mr. Darcy eluded us.
However, I will not be denied.  (I think Jane would approve, don't you?)

A few days later, I found myself wandering through a field of English roses
and straight into glorious embrace of my steadfastly loyal Mr. Darcy.
His strong arms enveloped me and he declared his absolute affection forevermore. 
My mother and four sisters wept with joy, spying from a distance.  And then he kis...

Sorry.  Got carried away for a minute there.

Actually, I was with my real-life charming and devoted Englishman on a double date with our friends Heather and Mike.  She's from South Africa and he is her charming and devoted Englishman.
Pride & Prejudice at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Heather and I were giddy with excitement.
The Brits were appropriately reserved, barely tolerating our excited female chatter.

I can't even tell you what a special night this was.  A night that I will always remember with delight.
For one, the weather was perfect.  Cool and clear with a late night sunset.

Second... Luxury Picnic Baskets!!! A complete splurge but fabulous.

Luxury Picnic Basket

 Pink champagne, strawberries and cream, pâté and crackers, olives, dried fruit and sweets.
Luxury Picnic Basket

  (A much less expensive option is to take your own picnic and 
enjoy it in the park right outside the theatre entrance.)

The fancy food was just not enough for our hearty Englishmen,
so they each grabbed a cheeseburger from the grill for about £8 each.
After a nice dinner under a picnic umbrella it was time to find our seats.
Our clue was the guy walking around ringing a handbell.
Another excuse for Heather and I to gush.  A real handbell!  So quaint. 

Our luxury picnic baskets also came with the four best seats in the house.
 So after ordering our interval drinks we settled in front and center.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

   I think I was bouncing in my seat.  It's a small outdoor theatre and there isn't a bad seat in the house.  The rotating set was simple but effective, with an actual baby grand piano perched on the lawn.  

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
It was like sitting in a little nest with trees and birds all around.
There were period dresses hanging in the trees and a bonnet sitting on a chair.
As the sun set, the twinkle lights came on just adding to the ambiance.
I was in heaven. 

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

When all of the characters emerged and that first line was read,
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,"
tears started streaming down my face.  I know.  I'm hopeless. 

But, I just couldn't believe that I was sitting in a two hundred year old park,
watching a live production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice,
on the live stage, 
 in London,
with my very own Mr. Darcy.
Somebody pinch me.

Of course the production was fabulous and completely engaging.
The staging was flawless.  They moved around like a dance.
And the casting was perfect.  Did you see that picture of Mr. Darcy that I linked to?

I couldn't wipe the silly smile off of my face as we left.  Matt even enjoyed it.
He entertained me with flowery, old English banter all the way home. 

How can you not love Jane Austen.  So much clever humor.
She was such a precocious and romantic soul. 
Did you hear that she will be going on the new Bank of England ten pound note in 2017?  Can you imagine her reaction to that news?  She would absolutely love it!

I'm afraid that Pride and Prejudice has already ended its run at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.
However, I have four words for you.
(Tickets start at £25.)

Y'all know I love a good travel moment.
But, the fact that those moments are still happening after 18 months in London?  Thrilling.
I love London, by the way.  Have I mentioned that?

Speaking of moments. 

Royal.  Baby.
It's so special to be here for the birth of a future king,
little Prince George Alexander Louis.
They are such a beautiful little family, aren't they?
I even spent 30 minutes in line/queue  yesterday to get a glimpse
of the official birth announcement at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Baby Announcement at Buckingham Palace

 I'd love to hear your thoughts on Jane Austen.
Are you Team Willoughby or Team Colonel Brandon?


All opinions, photos and writing are my own.

This post is not in partnership with any business or organization.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.  

 You can find this review and many others in my
London Attraction Guide.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Morning Randomness

Hello Lovelies,

I've been really focusing on the travel and review aspect of this blog lately, spending loads of time editing photographs and writing up travel posts.  I'm really excited by that aspect of Oh, the places we will go! and love inspiring others to travel.

But, today I just want to have a little chat.  This is how the blog started and I don't want to get away from that. I don't have any photos ready so I've just decided to show you what's on my iPhone from the past few weeks.  So here's some Monday morning randomness.
Blackberry & Elderflower Pimm'sPimm's Pop Up Summer Garden
British PubLondon Summer
AffogatoRib Night at Kings Arm Pub
Queen's Head Jelly MoldSelena & Gina at Brit Mums Live

1//  Have you seen Great Britain in sports news recently?  Wimbledon.  Tour de France. Such exciting stuff.  I've never really been into tennis, but watching Andy Murray win the Men's Final was so exciting.  We were watching from home and you could hear all of our neighbors cheering.  One rainy day I met a few girlfrends at the Pimm's Pop-Up Summer Garden complete with fake grass and a tree to watch in comfort.

2// Speaking of Pimm's.  Have you tried the new Special Edition Blackberry & Elderflower Pimm's.  It is so good!  Such a refreshing summer drink.

3// And summer is in full swing (I will bite my tongue and not say "finally", even though I just said it.)   I was getting bored with our cold spring, but London does summer so well!  Everyone has a spring in their step and a smile on their face and spends every possible moment outside.  With sunset after 9pm there is plenty of time to enjoy the glorious weather. 

4// Just find a pub with plenty of outside seating and enjoy.  I love, love, love English pubs.  They are like the a second living room.  Families gather for a leisurely meal and a laugh.  The waitresses aren't pushing you to leave quickly so they can turn the table.  Such a great way to spend a day. 

5// Tuesday night was Rib Night at our local when we were living over at Tower Bridge.  The Kings Arm is a great pub and we were there every Tuesday night usually with a group of friends.  I'm so going to miss that.  But I'm sure we will find our favorite in Blackheath.  And I'm sure we will go back for ribs whenever possible.  They were so good and the fried onion strings!!!  So nummy!

6// I'm not crazy about tea so I've started to drink more coffee.  But with this heat, only iced coffee will do.  Or you could try my very favorite coffee treat.  An affogato is a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a double shot of espresso poured over it.  So. Frickin. Good.  My friend Gina has a nespresso and I've put it on my wish list. 

7// Speaking of Gina.  My partner in crime is back in Canada for two weeks and I'm missin her like crazy.  She so needs to get back here.

8//  Don't you love this Queen's Head Jelly Mold.  (It's called jelly here not jello.)  Speaking of royals, it's so exciting to be in the UK right now with all of the fuss over the Royal Baby.  Kate was admitted a few hours ago and we are all waiting to see if the new baby is a prince or princess.   

By the way, I wanted to thank everyone who participated in my very first giveaway!  I had such a fun time doing it and was thrilled to contact Andi at My Beautiful Adventures to let her know she had won a personal planner.

I don't plan to do a lot of giveaways on this blog, only when I see something that I really think you will like.  When Chelsea  at Lost in Travels invited me to be involved in this giveaway with a great group of bloggers I just couldn't resist.  Besides the prizes are amazing...  ONA Bowery Canvas camera bag, Little Miss Gee camera strap and a Starbucks gift card.  If you live in the US, be sure to pop over for your chance to win! (Sorry, this one's not international.)

I'm happy to be linking up with Monday Coffee with Molly for our morning chat!

The Move to America

I hope that you have a wonderful day!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by.


All opinions, photos and writing are my own except as noted.
This post is not in partnership with any business or organization.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

My final set of photos from Ronda are from the oldest bullring in Spain.
Plaza de Toros de Ronda is considered home of the modern style of bullfighting.
It was built in 1785 and houses a bullfighting museum.

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Bullfighting is deeply embedded in Spanish culture but
an actual bullfight is not something I would ever sit through.
This is the end of my tour of Ronda, Spain.
So many of you have sent emails and left comments that you've now added Ronda
to your list of must-see cities.
That absolutely thrills me!  
The travel blogs that I love are the ones that inspire me to travel.
I hope that is what my blog does for you.
Your comments and emails always make my day.
Thank you so much!!
I will be back next week with some much wordier posts.
(Hopefully, that won't scare you off.)

Have a fantastic weekend!

This was a personal holiday.  All opinions, photos and writing are my own.
This post is not in partnership with any business or organization.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.