My First Time in Wales

Anniversaries call for celebrations, or trips in our case. We landed on Wales to get away and celebrate. We decided to forgo the hustle and bustle of busy cities, we get enough of that in London. We picked a cozy little cottage, nestled away in acres of acres and farmland and countryside. Literally, in the middle of nowhere.

We found this cottage on Airbnb and had no trouble. When we got into Wales it looked like the zombie apocalypse was about to take place with all the fog, but it was still gorgeous!

After a four hour drive, some of which were on streets that realistically should only have horse-drawn carriages (I mean really why are the roads so narrow?) we spent the first day getting settled in. But the next day brought on a new adventure.

We decided to visit the Bosherton Lily Ponds. What we didn’t know was that lily ponds really come alive in June/July. Although the lily ponds weren’t there, we could not have asked for more beautiful scenery. Walking around the park, which turned into a venture up and through mountains was breathtaking. It looked like we were walking around in a Lord of the Rings movie. I thought England was beautiful, but it has nothing on the landscapes of Wales. The biggest surprise of the day was the beach that we stumbled upon, Broadhaven.

Our next day out we headed to Pembroke. The most charming city I’ve seen. Everyone was super friendly. To be honest people in general were much more friendly in Wales than London. Pembroke holds, Pembroke Castle among other attractions. This castle built in 926, still stands till this day. With some updating, they’ve added technology throughout the castle so that you can learn all about the birthplace of Henry VII while you explore the grounds. We met the nicest guy before we went inside the castle. His name was John and he gave us the lowdown on not just the castle, but all of Pembroke. If you happen to visit Pembroke Castle and hear a trumpet playing, that’s our friend John!

The castle was gorgeous. It’s definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in my life. Just an FYI, there was a TON of walking involved and even more windy stairs. So, if you ever visit a castle be prepared for a workout along with a history lesson.

We ate Pembroke’s own, Food at Williams. Delicious. We both had the chili and garlic shrimp, it was amazing. I also had an apple pie latte, that tasted like everything good in this world. We walked across the street to Saltwater Studio, a bespoke shop in the town center. We bought candles, of course and found that the lattes we had were roasted by the owner’s husband! You can check the entire collection as well as the selection of coffee here.

We’ve been home about a week and I miss Wales already. I definitely recommend this place for anyone looking to explore the UK.

A Very British Day

Afternoon tea has quickly become a favorite date for my hubby and I. It’s such a fun thing to do and because it’s such a common thing here in the UK, there are tons of places with different vibes to pick from.

This time we choose afternoon tea at The Podium. A fancy restaurant in Westminster London, this place is inside a Hilton. So if you’re traveling in the London, you don’t even have to venture outside for this British staple.

For drinks I had a mocha latte and my hubby had a fig and rose mixture tea. I’m not even a tea drinker, and that tea was delicious. The first round were sandwiches, that were almost too pretty to eat… almost. The best round of course, was the dessert. A layer of scones and then two layers of chocolate treats. The black forest gateaux and the passionfruit strawberry tartlet were my favorite.

On our way back, we took a walk through what we thought was just a park. Turns of it was Buckingham Garden. While we were strolling through, we spotted Buckingham Palace! One of the places I’ve always wanted to see! We made our way to the palace and it was so busy. Side note: if you’re American in the UK and you’re missing home, just to go to a tourist site. All the Americans are there. We walked around taking pictures and taking in the all the sights. Literally just as we were about to leave we saw the guards coming out. To see the changing of the guards was something I put on my London bucket list, so be able to tick this off with my favorite person was incredible!

Making Roots

I have been living in the U.K. around three months now. It still feels weird and surprising sometimes. I catch myself thinking “Oh, this a different country.” But I’m getting settled here and am really starting to feel at home. Although there are definitely things I miss from the U.S., like liquid coffee creamer and cinnabons.

I’ve been working hard to start setting some roots here, in this new country of mine. I applied and received my provisional license so I can start learning how to navigate those death traps they call roundabouts. We’ve been busy getting settled into our apartment, buying all the things you need for a new home. I’ve slowly been checking off my bucket list of all the “touristy” London things to do. I’m also making my way to as many coffeeshops as I can find.

As it turns out, I’m not very good at being a stay at home person. Shocking, I’m sure to anyone who knows me. I spent many years working while going to school, working multiple jobs, and even working multiple jobs while going to school. So, staying home all day everyday was nice and relaxing for the first few weeks and then I started to feel like I was going a little bit more insane everyday.

This is why I’m so excited that I’ve started a position with FQ Magazine. A magazine geared towards parenting, especially fathers. It’s so exciting and satisfying to finally be working in a field where my passion lies. However, I am running into some difficulties, like learning the British way of spelling things as compared to the American and the different styles of writing. But, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. Here are a few of my first published pieces. Go ahead and check them out!

Here’s how to add more veggie’s into your family’s diet

Making healthy school packed lunches for your child

How to “eat” more water

Coffeehouse Roundup

The winter weather here is still taking me a bit to get used to. I’m used to freezing cold temps, car sliding in the street because of all the snow, falling to your doom on black ice, and winds so bitter cold that it feels like someone punched you in the chest when you step outside of your house.

However, here in the UK most of their cold weather comes in the form of rain. It’s been raining  for months I feel like and I’m starting to feel torn as to which weather I’d rather have. While I do not miss eating it on the icy sidewalks or walking through snow that’s up to my chins, I am starting to get tired of the rain. Since the cold weather has hit, I’ve been spending more time inside coffee shops. So, I thought it would be fun to do a roundup of my favorite ones.

The Syon Café

The Syon Café was the first coffeehouse I visited in the UK. Just walking distance from our home, they offer coffee, teas, breakfast and lunch. It’s super cozy in there and I often spend my mornings reading in there over a mocha and order of French toast. I usually try something new from the menu when I go there, and I haven’t had anything that I didn’t like.

Coffee Republic

I’ve been to two different Coffee Republic locations and would say that my favorite location is the one in Bedford. You can get fun festive drinks with every edible favors on top. They also offer a full menu of sandwiches, soups and pastries.

Coffee with Art

If you’re looking to have a more solid flavor and decorative design on your latte, Coffee with Art is where you want to be. They create a snug and homely feeling that you won’t want to leave. They offer probably the largest food menu that I’ve seen from coffeeshops here so far and I’m always treated with some type of design in my latte.

Caffé Nero

In my opinion, is very similar to Coffee Republic. If you’re looking for fun and festive drinks, Caffee Nero is the place to go. The last time I was there, I had a Belgian truffle chocolate hot chocolate which I added espresso to. They topped the drink with whipped cream and chocolate drops which steadily melted into the already chocolatey drink, super tasty.

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Starbucks

It’s so odd to me that Starbucks is more of an emerging brand here. Towns are still popping up with new Starbucks. We’ve been to several around town and all have been delicious. Whenever I’m starting to miss home, Starbucks is definitely a way to cheer me up.

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Learning a New Language in the UK.

I didn’t think moving to England would require learning a second language, but it does. Although both England and the US are English speaking countries, there is a HUGE difference in our day to day language. Also similar to the US, depending on where in England you are people speak with different accents.

All of this has definitely made for some interesting conversations.  Here’s a list of the biggest word mix-ups I’ve heard so far!

Mate – Friend

Flats – Apartments

Carpark – Parking lot

Chips – Fries

Crisps – Chips

Toilet – Bathroom

Autumn – Fall

Biscuits – Cookies

Lift – Elevator

Lorry – Bus/Trucks

Mobile – Cell phone

Sweets – Candy

These are just a few. I’m sure I’ll hear many more.