Liverpool

First of all – to get you in the right mood:

We celebrated Derek’s birthday a few weeks ago. For the Saturday before his birthday we took a train up to Liverpool – a place that’s been on our bucket list since we moved here. My dad listened to the Beatles all the time while I was growing up and I, like so many others, love their music. However, I’ve recently come to realize there’s much more music than what I know from my dad. I mostly just know #1 hits and early years music. It’s time I educate myself on the music of their later years!
My inept knowledge of the Beatles’ music aside, our overall takeaway from Liverpool is that one day, bookended by two 2 hour train rides, was not quite enough.IMG_5523 Liverpool is has enough to see in its own right, never mind all the Beatles related sites.
From the train station we headed straight to the Albert Dock (a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of all of the maritime history that’s happened here) where there are lots of things to see and do.IMG_5576 Continue reading

Coventry

In an effort to combat the winter blues we set a goal at the beginning of the year to regularly go out and do something new or stay in and get together with friends. Some of our Saturdays have been spent in Birmingham City Centre, a few at home, and a few on days out. One recent day out was to nearby Coventry.
Coventry is famous for a few things; Lady Godiva, the Coventry Blitz of WWII, and for being a manufacturing hub in England.IMG_5503 The city has a few museums, the cathedral that was famously bombed out in the blitz, and a nice little town center. We went to the Herbert Art Gallery first. Our main purpose there was to learn a little more about the Lady Godiva legend. IMG_5468 Continue reading

Christmas in America

IMG_4774We spent our Christmas in Maryland and our New Year’s Eve in Virginia. It was a blast to see family and do a little tourist-ing in the area. Here are a few pictures of our jaunt back to the states: Continue reading

Happy Toddler, Happy Flight

Are you flying during the holidays? Holiday travel, especially a long fight flight with a toddler, can dampen anyone’s festive spirit. It’s tricky to manage everything when planning a trip; finding flights in your budget that fit with your schedule, reserving places to stay (Is the hotel close to the sites? Do they provide a crib?), putting together an itinerary, hiring a car (A quick tip: I recently learned about Turo – a car sharing company that has rentals all over the states, including airport rentals. It’s like the airbnb of cars. So convenient & helpful when traveling on a budget!), etc. Once you’ve done all that it can be exhausting to face the fact that you may be flying with a small child. Don’t worry. You can manage it. With a little planning ahead of time, smart packing, and low expectations everyone will survive and get to your destination.Happy Toddler, Happy Flight: Packing for a flight with a toddler. // Our Second Second City Over the past few years we’ve been on dozens of short flights (like Birmingham to Zurich or Chicago to D.C.) and several rounds of transatlantic flights with Daughter. After each flight I took note of the toys/snacks/games that were lifesavers and the items I wish had been handy during the flight. So, to help you be confident in your ability to travel happily during the holidays here is my list of recommended items for a smooth flight. Continue reading

My Mom & My Sister: Southwest (ish) England

With my mom and sister visiting for two weeks we had to get out and see more of England than just Birmingham and London. The first stop on our road trip was Salisbury Cathedral, where we got to see one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.IMG_3029 IMG_3041IMG_3033The highlight of the day though, was Stonehenge. We went to Stonehenge when we had family visitors last year, but there’s a new visitors center and exhibits with neolithic houses. IMG_3049IMG_3043We weren’t strong enough to pull one of the blue stones. Props to you, prehistoric man!
Prehistoric Huts CollageDaughter likes to get up close and personal with history. Walk a mile in prehistoric man’s moccasins, stamp out a fire, sleep in a hut; she takes it all in stride.
In addition to the huts and the visitors center, the set up for parking and getting to the henge is also new (I’d recommend buying tickets in advance since everything is more structured now). You park at the visitors center, see the exhibits, then either walk or take a shuttle out to the actual site. We chose to ride halfway and walk the other half. This meant we got to gradually get closer to the stones and we walked past some long barrows (prehistoric burial sites). The long barrows are the grassy lumps behind Derek:IMG_3055 IMG_3125 Continue reading

Ma Mère & Ma Sœur: A Weekend in London

For our first weekend with my mom and sister visiting we headed down to London. We started off with some classic sites: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square.Big Ben Collage As we walked from Big Ben/Westminster to Buckingham we stopped in St. James’s Park for an ice cream cone and a rest. Continue reading