There’s nothing better than chilling at the beach with your mates…
❤ ❤ ❤
Not far from the coast of Barrow-In-Furness lies a curious little island with an rich and interesting history. Earliest records stretch back to the 12th century when King Stephen placed the island under the care of Savignac Monks and the Cistercian order. It was here that for centuries grain, wool, wine and other precious commodities were stored (and smuggled).
What remains of the castle and it’s surrounding fortifications today is mostly a mass of crumbling stone and a pub called ‘The Ship Inn’. This pub has taken care of those that pass through with lunch and a pint of local ale for centuries. Traditionally whomever runs the pub is crowned ‘King of Piel Island’ and the tradition continues to this day. Apparently there is a ceremony that involves you sitting in a 300 year old wooden throne and having beer poured all over you.
My idea of heaven.
Last July when we visited Cumbria we took a tiny little boat across waters peppered with jellies to explore Piel island and a few pints.
We made a friend on the ferry over. 😉
And even more friends once we got there!
I love a good sheepie cuddle. ❤
Our tour guide Mr. Chicken was ace.
Because I can’t seem to do more than one thing at I time, I nearly fell of the side off the island and tumbled into the sea when I was busy framing a shot and not watching my feet. Thankfully my darling father-in-law was there in time to pull me out of the brambles and into safety. You really can’t take me anywhere!
We celebrated my near death experience with a pint!
A few little jellies…
That’s it! Piel Island done! x
I realise it’s Christmas and these photos are from November, but I’ve been a very busy lady per usual so sorryabouthat!
Anyway, PUGS! Enjoy the snarfly, wrinkly, flarpy puggleses and a few Frenchies!
This one is mine.
My magical Mrs. Tumness.
Queen of the Flarp. Princess of all of the peppermints. The wuggle wugwuggs.
That’s her with her Grampa bear.
And here’s me cheating on her with another wuggs.
ACK! That face! Love it.
Annnnnndddd another one!
Just letting it all hang out. 😛
And those are mine too! Sir Noodles (self proclaimed King of Pugs) and my other half, Mr. Gimmeyummy!
Pretty darn magical!
Happy Christmas!!! xxx
Hooray for visitors! My big brother recently flew from Nashville to London to visit me (first time travelling outside of the US mind you). This consisted of us basically dragging him around to anything and everything historically notable we could cram into his short stay! We made sure to keep him calm in the face of public transport by plying him with lots of craft beer! Please forgive the combination of bad iphone photos and proper photographs! 😉
The boys ready for the 49ers game!
Climbing at Trafalgar Square…
Imperial War Museum!
Boat taxi home on the Thames…
The obligatory phone booth shot!
The Emirates Air Line!
Deep thoughts on the Thames with Dan…
Off to the Tower of London!
A little afternoon stroll…
I’m about 2 weeks late with this – better late than never.
Prepare yourself for a big dose of HAPPY.
NOODLES is convinced that he is their leader…
I even brought some friends this time to share in my crazy.
Who’s pug is this? DOESN’T MATTER – I just had to HUG him.
Pepper is such a little tart…
Once Sir Noodles felt that all of the pugs had been conquered, we headed to the pub for a bite to eat with Stu-pot.
He’s been visiting us from China where is a fancy pants tea ambassador! ❤
Stu has an amazing Tea blog by the way, check it – http://teaearlgreyhotblog.tumblr.com/
Then off to Tower Bridge for a stroll along the Thames.
My dog has been more places than you.
If you live in London you should check out the poppy installation currently at the Tower.
We ended with pints and grub at Southwark Tavern…
Fish and Chips!! Yummmmmm.
This is Stu showing me how to take an appropriately obnoxious selfie because apparently my attempts at selfie taking were not obnoxious enough. 😉
It was a brilliant pug & London event-filled day! And then it was bedtime for all! Cheers! x
It was that time again.
Work. Sleep. Work. Sleep.
We needed a break!
One Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, we piled the family into the car (pups included) and headed North for a couple of days of respite.
Goodbye London, hello Worcester!
Pronounced “Wooster” Not “WAR-CHESTER” (as I continue to do despite knowing very well how it should be pronounced).
Our friends live in a beautiful old Georgian house filled to the brim with antiques nestled quietly between neighbouring farms.
The view from breakfast…
A gorgeous hike…
Happy little babies…
A bit of rain…
Which gave me plenty of time to explore this amazing house stuffed to the brim with antique tins, boxes, bottles, prints, signs and general oddities!
Pepper was not at all pleased when we told her it was time to leave! (Neither we were)
Thanks Linda & Al!!
Barton-On-Sea is a very special place. When we can no longer stand the incessant hum of city life, this is our escape. A couple of hours in the car driving South takes you to a magical land where animals roam free. Sparkling waters, crumbling orange coastline, and The New Forest nearby…Cows, pigs, ponies, donkeys…all just knocking around your neighbourhood as tame as a house cat.
We recently escaped to the sea for a few days of peace and sunshine. It was as rad as it always is. Enjoy the photos! x
My Dad has always been obsessed with cars. Actually, most of the men in my life have had a deep love for a superbly crafted automobile. The curves, the sparkle. The speed. The smell of expensive leather.
I get it, I really do.
I’ve never walked down the street with a man and watched him turn his head for a beautiful woman (honestly I think this is an urban myth or everyone else has dated assholes) but I have seen this happen more times then I could ever recollect with beautiful cars. I have witnessed my brother drop repeated F-bombs and actually blush with excitement at the sight of a classic corvette. I am convinced that the slow moving pedestrian traffic on Kings Road is entirely due to the ridiculous population of ultra expensive cars. You guys freak out over sexy machines the way I freak out over miniature ponies. And that’s okay!
Right, so today My husband and I ventured to Oxleas Wood for an impromtu picnic and some frisbee with the dogs. Much to our delight, there was some sort of classic car & BBQ event complete with a Rockabilly band in full swing!
There was absolutely NO way I was going to just walk by and not take photos for my Dad. That would just never happen. And tomorrow is his birthday! So what excellent timing! Hey Dad! I hope you enjoy this car-themed birthday blog post just for you!! x
Noodles starts us off right with a bit of window surfing on the drive to the park…
He gets really zen in the wind…
And then we did Frisbee!
And other people did kites! It was a great day for kites.
Pepper spent the entire time trying to be more adorable than she currently is.
Ha! Like that is even possible.
Good try Pepper pug. You are the maximum level of cute allowed by the UK Government.
We tried to take a nice duo selfie but Pepper kept licking my eye balls and it was just too dang bright outside.
And then the sun turned to storm clouds…
So we decided to beat the rain and hiked up the monster hill and started snapping car photos!
I’m going to preface this section by saying that my car knowledge is even lower than my ability to fully appreciate cars. I can identify cars that are clearly rad but I don’t know what they are called or why they are special or how many horses they have in their doo-hickey. So forgive me for being a complete jerk and making up new names for these cars. Because I’m about to do that. Maybe my Dad can enlighten me afterwards. Or disown me entirely.
THIS is obviously a super awesome VW Bus and a child would know that. And it is awesome.
This used to be a VW bus right?
And now it’s a VW Truck? Okay. VW-BUSSYTRUCK. Boom! This is easy. NEXT!
Sweet Lord, this is clearly Jessica Rabbit as an automobile. Jessica Rabbit In-CAR-nate?
That’s either the worst or best pun ever. Worst, right?
That looks like the back end of a woman in a tight red dress to me.
I know I’m getting a bit abstract here. But I see what I see.
This is some sort of old-timey truck with it’s flappy flaps up so all the men can see the horses in the doo-hickey. Amiright?
This is a tow truck and I know that because I can read.
This is Elvis’ car and I know this because his name is all over it.
Elvis apparently had really good taste because this car is gorgeous and makes me want a chocolate malt and a flash mob doing Grease Lightning to come into my life immediately.
Not entirely convinced that this was CAR, more like a wonderful vehicular creation of scraps and doo-dads.
Yeah okay fine it’s probably a car.
A car clearly blasting Metal on the road to Hell.
Speaking of things that aren’t cars. This is not a car. I was informed that this is a deathtrap.
Aaaannnndddd it’s covered in Spiders.
I told the lady sitting on it that I thought it was pretty cool and she said “yeah we were going for something a bit retro.”
Hmmmmm I’m no expert but…
That’s not the word you were looking for.
THIS is retro.
And really fun.
This must belong to Gatsby. Obviously.
And this would be the opposite of that. TAZ.
This is Dick Tracy’s car.
I loved Dick Tracy. That was back before Madonna got all sculpted and sinewy. She was a proper babe. All of the Cleavage.
A series of beat up but exceptionally wonderful old trucks…
This car also had his flap up. It must have magic inside.
This is the George Clooney of classic cars. I might leave my husband for this car.
Am I becoming a car enthusiast?
This is simply stunning.
This car knows what’s up. I want to go to the party that this car is going to. I bet there is an infinity pool.
Not as awesome but still awesome. Subtly awesome.
They are all awesome. Which is why they are even here.
I have no idea what this is but it’s amazing and has an airplane hood ornament and looks like its eating a chrome sandwich.
I give you “The Flying Ford Chromewich”
This might be the shiniest car I have ever seen.
I actually looked this one up because I loved it so much. British make!
It’s simply dreamy.
This truck was my favourite and as much as a pile of metal can make a person swoon, it made me swoon.
Something so beautiful about the rust pattern & colour…
I mean… just incredible.
And that’s it! My random and fantastically surprising Sunday afternoon with a bunch of old cars. I hope you got a kick out of the photos dad! I love you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! xxx
AHHHHH!!!! The first Saturday of every month there is a gathering of pugs and pug owners in Green Park. I’m not entirely sure why it has taken so incredibly long for me to attend, but I have now corrected this cosmic mistake and will forever attend the monthly pug meets! I was so excited meeting these amazing creatures that I overzealously mishandled a puppy and sustained a minor eye injury. All in the game yo!
Behold! Pugs galore! All shapes and sizes! All magical and super rad.
Princess Peppermint Sparklechops was ready for it.
I certainly was. I picked up the first stranger pug I saw. MINE! HUGS! GIMME!
Pepper is all “What the hell mom?” and I’m all “I CAN HUG ALL OF THE PUGS. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. GO PLAY!”
And off she went!!
This is the slugger that did me eye in…
Sir Noodles got some snuggles too…
Pretty much the best day ever. Plum pugger’d out!
If you live in London and own a pug, why not join the rest of us crazies at one of London’s pug meetups? http://www.meetup.com/londonpugs/
See you there! x
Frederick John Horniman was once the world’s biggest tea trader and an eccentric collector of vast curiosities with a passion for objects of great interest, culture and beauty.
His extensive and eclectic collection of priceless objects is now housed at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in the Forest Hill area of London.
We recently spent a quiet Saturday afternoon exploring the treasures within, and I (of course) brought along my camera so I could document these delightful and intriguing finds. Enjoy!
Go see it for yourself!!! There was so much stuff but my camera is rubbish in low light! http://www.horniman.ac.uk/
Up Next: 4 countries in 4 days!
After the crazy/busy/wonderful/stressful
year we’ve had, all we wanted for Christmas was to kick our feet up and RELAX.
We didn’t go anywhere this year.
No Spain, no Cumbria, no Nashville.
Nope, not in 2013.
We’ve had a proper staycation.
We bought a Christmas tree and hung up stockings and all that jazz.
I’m not religious at all but I love Christmas decorations and the traditional bits associated with it.
Combine that with having this big old house that hasn’t been painted or decorated yet…I probably went a little crazy decking the halls.
I only have 3 days left of my vacation and I’m pretty sad about it.
I’ve gotten used to eating meals with my husband (gasp!) and getting to accompany him on dog walks (what?!).
We’ve spent a lot of time watching films in and out of the cinema as well as working our way through The Wire (which is downright unbelievably good television).
S even made us a gorgeous Christmas dinner! Amazing!
And because these are too fantastic not to share-here are a couple of brilliant shots from the company Holiday party.
Can you guess the theme?
We’ve been dog sitting a little muppet of a dog over the holidays as well so there are THREE pups in our pack currently. Lots of walks and lots of fun at Greenwich park.
Meet Cooper. The Fraggle.
I took my camera along on one of our walks the other day to capture some more of the magic that is my new neighbourhood.
I seriously cannot believe I get to live in such a beautiful place.
That view NEVER gets old.
We made a few furry friends along the way.
Simon and the pups at the top of One Tree Hill. Simply breathtaking.
I know I’m very lucky. I love my life and especially the people and creatures that are part of it.
Wherever you are in the world I hope you are feeling the same way and enjoying all the beautiful things that make the world so magical. If it’s not going so well for you, take a deep breath and know that you are loved and that the New Year is just around the corner.
Draw a line under the bad stuff and get ready for a year of joy! xx
I am overjoyed to inform you that I am officially on Christmas Holiday as of today (yes I said holiday, not vacation).
I’ve finally assimilated! I have 11 days to do whatever I want and I’m going to try to spend as much of it as possible in yoga leggings eating clementines and watching films with my main squeeze and my cuddly pups.
A lot has transpired in the last few months since I’ve disappeared from my blog. We’ve sold our flat in Stockwell and bought an old Edwardian house in Greenwich/Blackheath.
It’s basically the house I’ve dreamt about living in since I was 5 years old and started watching fluffy period films.
It’s also a reasonably big house so the dogs are pretty much in heaven and spend much of their day running up and down stairs and out the cat flap into the back garden so they can bark at EVERYTHING THAT MOVES. 😉
My work life has been hectic but spectacularly fun and rewarding. The business has been growing exponentially which has presented me with the opportunity to really hone my skills and stay challenged on a daily basis.
I also get to work with the raddest group of women and honestly love my fucking job.
I have also fallen madly in love with living in the UK and I feel much more at home here than I did last year around this time.
I know it’s hard to believe that I would have ever not been in love with London, but coming from Tennessee, London life got pretty exhausting pretty darn fast.
Living in a city the size of London can be intense regardless of where you are from. I am from Nashville, and I belly laugh at the thought of how I used to fume with rage sitting in traffic with my Starbucks latte listening to Fresh Air on NPR.
I had no idea. At least I didn’t have to share space with anyone!
In Nashville, you drive from point A to point B and you can sing loudly and badly in your car.
You can cry. Scream. No one is watching you.
This is your time. You and Terry Gross. You and your iced mocha.
Traffic or no traffic, you get to travel to work in privacy.
I remember those days fondly, but I think now I actually prefer not having to drive everywhere.
Not having to stop for gas or put air in my tires. I definitely don’t miss my monthly freak out because smoke is pouring out from under the hood of my poor car.
Nope. Now I just get on the train and am transported to my destination.
That being said, there are just so many people in London.
From the moment I leave my house in the morning and make my way to the train station I’m surrounded by them. People on public transport typically have complete disregard of anyone else around them.
There are also plenty of polite people that get out of their seats to let an elderly man sit but they are outweighed by the assholes, trust me.
It is also REALLY difficult to stay positive and think happy thoughts when it’s 8:00am and I’m standing with a 50 lb backpack squished against the wall of the train underneath the armpit of a guy reading a newspaper than keeps flapping into my face every time the train starts to sway a bit.
FLAP. FLAP. FLAP.
I actually slapped a paper out of a man’s hands once in protest and he seemed quite horrified, but I think I was secretly celebrated as a hero to everyone else that witnessed my tube rage.
Then there are the people towering over you with their disgusting bacon buttie morning breath, or even better those heart-warming individuals that want to share their breakfast experience with everyone on the tube. There they are-chomping away on their smelly baguettes from Upper Crust as I watch bits of sweet corn topple from their mouths and onto the puddles of their coffee already being sloshed all over my backpack.
All the while everyone exiting and entering the carriage is stepping on my toes as my face gets pushed deeper and deeper into the glass of the train door. At no point when I thought of my life at 30 did it include getting punched in the boob so often.
Sometimes I get lucky and I get a seat! Then you get to be wedged between two assholes blasting horrible top 40 shit on crappy headphones. But at least you are sitting!
You basically have to learn the public transportation game if you are going to be a successful commuter and not lose it on someone.
You’ve got to learn the ebb and flow of the trains/buses/tubes you take.
What carriages are usually less busy?
What part of the platform should I stand at so that the door opens to align with the exit tunnel at the station in order to saving me exactly 24 seconds of fighting through the herd of commuters to the escalators?
Don’t be lazy and be an escalator-stander. Save yourself another 45 seconds by walking up the left side.
Burn off some calories. Get out some aggression. Hold onto the hand rail.
Do be aware though that should you fall, they will step over your lifeless body. This will of course also be recorded on someone’s iPhone and posted to Youtube within the hour for you to revisit!
Commuting via public transport can be one of the single most stressful and infuriating experiences if you don’t do it right.
My journey every day consists of two trains, two buses, and two tube journeys to get me to work and back home.
Sometimes I just have to look at the floor in front of me when I’m walking because it is mentally taxing to look at any more faces. But I’ve gotten a good set of headphones and I never leave the house without at least 4 TV shows downloaded onto my iPhone ready to be watched. I check emails, troll facebook, read a good book. The key is to stay busy!
My commute to and from work has been made much more enjoyable now that I can just huddle in the corner of the train and watch Top Chef. I still get stepped on and bumped into, but at least I’m distracted by Tom Colicchio’s beautiful shiny head and it makes it all okay somehow.
Anyway, back to our recent move! We moved for a number of reasons. We were really annoyed with the neighbourhood we were living in. Aside from the fantastic people at the dog park, the rest of our neighbours were horrible and I dreaded my walk to the tube every day. There was a lot of litter everywhere, people were really anti-social, and it just wasn’t a pleasant experience.
We also needed a bigger space. We needed a place with a garden for the dogs. They have limitless energy and the 1st floor flat just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
We are now just a short walk to Greenwich Park which I have chronicled before when Becca visited…https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/beccas-visit/
This is my happy place these days. This is where I go to unwind and decompress from the urban overload of my Monday-Friday routine. Here is a snapshot of how we spend our weekend in our new neighbourhood!
View of London at dusk from One Tree Hill.
Pups in flight…
Queen Elizabeth’s Oak.
Here is a little snippet from http://www.thegreenwichphantom.co.uk/2007/12/queen-elizabeths-oak/ explaining why this tree is so special:
“Why Queen Elizabeth’s Oak? Because popular tradition reckons that Henry VIII sported with Anne Boleyn under its branches (well, ok, ‘danced’) and the fruit of his loins, the future QEI “oft partook of refreshments” in its shade. It’s not, by the way, the tree under which she was sitting eating an apple when she discovered she had been made Queen.”
My husband has taught me this year that the key to living happily in London is about finding the right balance. 2014 will find me striving for this. I think by next year I’ll be an old pro at this city life thing, you wait and see. xx
I remember the exact moment I realized that the magical sparkly world I lived in might be a big horrible lie. I was 6 years old and I had been seeing this commercial for weeks in between my much-cherished Saturday morning cartoons:
Omg. They fly. They are ponies that fly. Flutter Ponies. Holy shit. NEED.
I decided that I had to have a flutter pony more than anything in the world and eventually I wore my mother down and was soon standing in the “Barbie aisle” of Target (as I always called it).
AKA the “PINK aisle” (American girls you know what I’m talking about).
Anyway, there I am. A shiny naive six-year-old Jamie Susan. I’m rocking the SIDE PONYTAIL and I’ve got my SLIP-ON KEDS and I’m taking FOREVER carefully selecting my magical flutter pony.
Probably the most important decision of my life at this point.
How do you choose a new best friend!?
I picked the pale yellow one with pink hair. I don’t recall her name. But I couldn’t get out of Target fast enough to free her from her packaging and watch my new friend fly across the parking lot.
I literally threw her into the air. I watched with all of the hope in the universe. My pony was gonna flutter around my head like a butterfly and my life would be complete.
Instead, gravity ripped her from the air and she landed near my mom’s car with a loud plastic THUD.
I remember my mother gazing down at me with amazement on her face.
“Why did you do that??”
I looked at her incredulously. WHAT A STUPID QUESTION!
I can honestly still recall the sensation of my tiny angry face hurting from pinching it up in disdain and shock at my flutter pony’s poor performance.
“Moooooooooooom!!! She’s broken!!!” I bellowed.
“Oh Jamie.” She sighed. She picked up my poor flutter pony and handed it back to me.
The car ride home involved a long conversation about what you see on TV vs. reality.
This conversation was necessary I suppose, but it stabbed me in the heart as I clutched my stupid pony. I simply refused to believe that the Saturday Morning cartoon advertising THAT I TRUSTED AND APPRECIATED would lie to me this way. Don’t they know how awful it is to lie about whether or not a pony can fly?
So, let’s speed up 24 years into the future of my life. I still love ponies. I love magic. I love fantasy. I am however, completely lacking of the beautiful naiveté I clutched onto as a child.
Aren’t we all…
Photography lets me tap into that little girl that believed all those glittery falacies and sometimes I get the opportunity to capture images that directly source those pure innocent feelings. It’s a gift I receive on a regular basis.
On a hike through New Forest, a few months back when the weather was still bitter and the Spring flowers were desperately trying to push through, I encountered ponies.
Velvety, soft and magnificent ponies. Gentle and wild all at the same time.
It was extraordinary and it made me feel very pleased to be alive and grateful for EVERYTHING good in the world.
I also found some super fluffy sheep and some delightful foresty bits.
Towards the middle of the day, after hiking for a couple of wintry hours, we stopped in Burley for lunch and I saw this in a shop window…
This immediately reached in and dredged the whole bittersweet flutter pony childhood tale from my memory banks.
And then on the last leg of the hike, I climbed over mounds of prickly bushes and through deep pockets of mud just to say hello without trying to “capture the moment”…
My husband pulled out his iPhone just at the right time and snapped this sweet little blurry shot of me COMPLETELY in my element.
Life is beautiful folks.
Even in a world where plastic ponies don’t actually fly. xx
I have a love/hate relationship with zoos.
As an animal lover (and I use this lightly as I’m probably more of a fanatic than a lover) I appreciate the opportunity to see animals. Anytime, anywhere…I’m game.
Hahaha. See what I did there???
Anywayyyyy…I’ve only been to one animal park where I didn’t feel like the animals were sad and bored and miserable. See here: https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-lake-district-and-lemurs/ And here: https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/parental-invasion/
Recently this Safari park made the news because this happened: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/24/tiger-mauls-zoo-worker-cumbria
This made me very sad because I love this place dearly. It doesn’t feel like a zoo and they are so incredibly dedicated to animal conservation. But they are wild animals…so I suppose these things happen.
All of that being said, when researching fun things we could hit up on the drive back to London, I saw that there was a “world famous” zoo in Dartmoor as featured in the film “We Bought a Zoo”
I remembered that Jonsi did the soundtrack for this film and I though I haven’t actually seen the film, the website for the real-life zoo made it sound like a wonderland of zoological proportions. It also bragged about how great it was for photographers because the animal enclosures were so close up. I was exceptionally excited!
First, there were hardly any animals. Half of the exhibits were empty. No indication given as to why. It was like touring an abandoned zoo. When we did actually find animals, they were very very far away.
I used my super duper zoom lens to capture this. We were squinting to make out what animals these were from about a football field away.
And granted, those are big fat adorable Capybaras. But after seeing them…from a mile away…there was about 15 minutes of walked past completely empty exhibits until we found a clearly distressed racoon pacing in circles in a very tiny little chain linked space. Screaming like he was on fire. It was fucking grim.
Needless to say I didn’t photograph the poor guy.
The petting zoo area was fenced off in such a way that you couldn’t actually pet anything. We watched as family after family pushed their prams through the muddy path only to find out that all the animals were 50 feet from the fence and you could not enter to actually pet them.
We watched as couple after couple tried to explain to their incredibly disappointed children on the way back through the mud that “they don’t know why the goats are so far away” and “they don’t know where all the animals are…”
I did get a couple photos.
The Cheetah exhibit was the only only exhibit where you could actually get uninterrupted photos.
The Lion & Tiger enclosures were small and surrounded by chainlink on all sides.
The whole experience just made me feel horrible to be human.
I just looked at the zoo map online again and I’m simply puzzled. Where were all these animals?
We thought about asking for our money back, but then realized that Dartmoor Zoo definitely needed that money more than us. Sheesh.
We were at the Zoo for about 45 minutes. I’m not even joking. We walked back to the carpark in complete silence. Once inside the car we just sort of looked at one another in a state of shock and grumpily continued our journey home.
Thankfully, we decided to cut through Dartmoor National Park and the day was SAVED!!!
SAVED BY SHEEP!!!
SAVED BY PONIES!!!
My husband is brilliant at spotting things way before I see them (because of his super sharp astronaut vision) And he was able to see ponies congregating in a carpark off the side of the road in time for us to hang a sharp right and park the car amongst them.
These ponies were the most ultra chilled out group of ponies I have ever met.
I’d say they were “stoner ponies” if such a thing existed because they were M-E-L-L-O-W.
Check out the utter disbelief on my face.
Followed by complete happiness…
After more time petting ponies than we had probably spent in the Dartmoor Zoo, I reluctantly got back in the car, blowing air-kisses at my new fluffy gypsy friends as we pulled back out onto the main road.
Thinking I had seen it all, that the day was not only saved but could not get much better, I made another friend by the side of the road!
Also mega-laidback and happy to be hugged.
GLASS HALF FULL!
Next up…RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
My 30th birthday gift was a beautiful surprise road-trip to Cornwall.
S booked for us the most adorable little cottage…
With Alpacas in the front yard…SQUEEEEEE!
Oh to be able to sleep in as long as you want and wake up to warm sunshine streaming through your window with only the soft bleating of goats in the distance. HEAVEN!
We spent an entire day trying to absorb all of the exquisite botanical treasures at The Eden Project http://www.edenproject.com/visit-us/whats-here
Lots of photos of flowers and teeny tiny plants await you…Enjoy!
Hooray for my 30s!!!!!!!
Next up: Even more Eden Project treasures…
I’ve gotten quite used to listening to most people around me moan about the dreary winter weather in England.
I used to think everyone was just being grumpy and dramatic.
But to be honest, I’m getting a bit weary of the cold myself.
Recently London was blanketed in snow and it seemed like everyone gave up their constant complaining for a few days and really enjoyed it! Imagine that!
I really and truly love snow days and was very excited to take the pups out and do some frolicking!
Pepper’s not so sure about it…
But she soon got some cuddles and warmed up a bit…
Snow is also good for wrestling!
Noodles happens to love the snow…as well as affection from his favorite park buddy!
Okay, so that’s officially enough snow for me!
Bring on some Spring!!!
After one whole year away from all the beautiful people I love dearly and have MISSED EVERY SINGLE DAY(like you wouldn’t even understand) I simply had to go home.
My life would of course be much easier if all of my friends and family were located in the same city, but like most families, they are strewn out around the United States.
It’s always going to be challenging to see all of the folks that I would like to when I visit. It’s simply not possible. I will also miss weddings, births, and killer dinner parties whilst I’m abroad.
This is just a sad reality of my spectacularly fun new life. ;(
We flew into Cleveland first because that’s where a big chunk of my family live.
My beautiful Aunts did their best to make our stay the most relaxing and fun few days imaginable…
I even got to spend some quality time with the family pets!
And no trip to CLE is complete without stopping by Cedar Point.
We rodes some epic and terrifying coasters…
Ate some massive BBQ turkey legs…
Then we passed out from jet lag exhaustion!
Followed by a quick flight to Nashville!!
I immediately had a bar party and invited everyone to come out and give me a year’s worth of hugs.
Toasts were made…
I was so excited to spend time with some of my besties…
This one made me want one of my own…
Even with fussy scrunched up sad baby face…
There were lots of babies being made whilst I was away…
Big fat squooshy pretty babies!!!
And some of the babies I knew a year ago weren’t babies anymore, but little tiny people…
Simon made some new friends as well…Of the furry variety…
And the wacky-conspiracy-theory-Jesus-loving-rocker-chick variety…
Crazy girls are the hottest. Always. That is a fact.
LOVE YOU LALA. Forevs. PS. Her Dad MIGHT be Ziggy Stardust. FYI.
My mom was as pretty as I remember her being…
My brother was still a massive fantasy football dweeb…
Gorgeous sunny Murphmurph was just as gorgeous and sunny as ever…
Becca was still awesome and smart and sharing her love of great food…
She and her fantastic fiance took us out to Dinner at Silo http://www.silotn.com
Exceptional and elevated Southern cuisine welcoming me home proved to be JUST what I needed…
Especially deviled eggs three ways…
Deep fried greenbeans…
And pork belly…
We even visited my beloved Bombay Palace http://www.bombaypalacetn.com/
They were all super excited to see me too! Awwwwww!
Actually, we did a lot of eating.
And of course, we had to work some of it off…
No better place than Edwin Warner Park…
So that was our trip back to Nashville via Cleveland. A ton of photos I know, but some super wonderful days with friends and family! Hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later and can see more of my loved ones this time! See ya soon Nashville xx
Hi Friends. Sorry it takes me forever and ever to post lately.
I’m a busy little worker bee in hustle-y bustle-y ole Londontown. You must forgive me!
Needless to say, spending Christmas in Spain was exceptionally cool (as you have probably surmised from my last few posts).
I don’t celebrate Christmas for religious reasons (because I’m not a religious lady) but to be honest, I LOVE the aesthetic of Christmas.
Big fat glittery Christmas trees and shiny foil wrapping paper get me all swoony inside.
Eggnog, chocolate truffles, and roasted meat? Yes please.
To get to do, see, and experience all of these things in fancy pants Spain with my beautiful and FUN Spanish family was simply the best.
There was so much food. So many presents. It was quite simply the loveliest and merriest of Christmases I could imagine ever having.
I present it to you with limited comment!
The boys worked hard to prepare Christmas dinner…
They even served everyone!
My paleo plate!
The wine began to flow and so did the laughter!
And then the machetes?
And of course…dishes were tackled…
Snuggles were had…
Feliz Navidad!!!!! xx
I made a few friends in Spain…the furry four legged variety.
And of course, because I am me, I took their photos…
Look at his big fat grumpy head! xxxooo
This dog that looks like yoda…
My niece-kitties “Six” and “Seven”…
Super schnozzle close-up…
And last but not least, my Father-In-Law’s adorable beagle mix “Benny”
If this goofball doesn’t bring immediate joy into your heart then something is clearly broken inside of your soul.
Benny shows off his serious dog model good looks…
Benny loves his uncle!
Hooray for Spanish furballs! Til we meet again!
Next up…Christmas in Spain xx
I was just about to post the first batch of my Spain photos and realized that yet again, I’ve got photos from other trips that I’ve not posted!
I’m not sure how my spectacularly magical Summer trip to Barton fell through the cracks of my blog posts, but I’m here to rectify this oversight!
Beaches, flowers, forests full of ponies, frolicking puppies, and double rainbows.
Pretty damn magical.
Rainbows and wild ponies in New Forest!!!
We’ve got a routine with our pup Noodz that is pretty much the highlight of my day.
At 9:30am every morning a BIG group of dog owners and their gorgeous dogs meet at the park down the street from us for an hour or so of full on doggle action.
Sometimes there are only a few dogs, other times it’s closer to 20.
It’s the best antidepressant you could imagine.
Without fail. Rain or shine. Mud or snow.
I get up every morning knowing that there are wagging tales, big bright puppy smiles, and a community of fellow dog lovers waiting for us across the street.
If you aren’t a dog owner, or animal lover, you might not get it.
But our dog is pretty much our child, and finding such a great group of people to get training tips from, brag about your dog with, and bemoan the not so fun aspects of dog ownership with…well it’s amazing.
I took my camera along with me the other day in an attempt to capture some of the magic.
I give you, (some of) the pups of Larkhall Park:
Here comes Noodz!
More dog park posts coming soon!
I already have a lot of pups in my life.
Noodz (our babyfoxdog creature)
Tank (the über-snuggly office pup)
Soooooooper muzzlepowsch moisture droplet closeup
He loves nap time with Noodz…
And Introducing the newest member of our little family…
Princess Peppermint Sparklechops “Pepper” MY BABY PUGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!
Merry Christmas to me!!!!
Thankfully, Noodz ADORES her.
They both love sleepytime on Daddy’s lap after breakfast…
She’s amazingly smart and sweet and we love her so very very very very much.
DREAMS DO COME TRUE! PUGDREAMS!
I think most people would say that Autumn is their favorite season.
What’s not to love?
Somehow lattes and hot teas taste better when the air has that Autumnal briskness that is only present in October and November.
And pulling out your favorite sweaters and scarves from their lonely spots in the closet…it’s my favorite yearly fashion transition!
And THE LEAVES ooohhh the leaves…
I want to live in a house constructed of crispy fall leaves.
Richmond Park is one of the most magical places in London no matter what time of year you visit, but an October or November trip is extra special because everything is a warm shade of GOLD or RED…
I took Sir Noodles and his bestie Chewywampa on a big leafy hike a few weeks ago…
Remember this little guy?
Needless to say, we had the best time stomping around the forest and basking in all the gorgeous reddish hues.
After 4 hours of magical hiking through the woods, the pooches (and myself) were absolutely shattered and had a nice snooze on the ride home.
Happy Autumn-ing! xx
I’ve been living in the UK for over a year now and I’ve learned a lot of things.
It may seem obvious to you, but to me it’s been an epiphany.
You simply MUST go on holiday every now and again.
For the sake of your own personal sanity and the sanity of those around you having to listen to you moan and be grumpy as fuck all the time.
It totally sorts you out. Trust me!
I never used to take many trips.
I longed to travel more than anything.
Even just a quick weekend away to kick back and relax.
I worked too much, made too little money, took too many classes at a time, and anytime I saved up enough money to go somewhere, something would surely come up.
Car trouble, an unexpected medical issue,emergency vet bill, self-inflicted hair dye disaster…
SOMETHING.always got in the way.
But life is definitely changed for me now.
I’m far less stressed, certainly less broke, and much better prepared to face unexpected expenses than I was a few years ago.
So yeah, take a vacation people.
If you can swing it.
It does wonders for your temperament!
Especially when you live in a big city like London.
Being packed together with millions of other people on public transport day in and day out can leave you craving a bit of scenery that is more of the green and blue variety and less of the concrete and glass variety.
We decided that our souls needed a bit of open sky a few months back and we took a 4 day trip to Kirkby Lonsdale.
We went on a breathtaking waterfall/English countryside trek as well as a stroll through the village and a couple of visits to different farms around the area (so I could fulfill my lifelong dream of hugging a SHEEP!)
The raddest steps in England.
If you ever find yourself in Kirkby Lonsdale, you simply MUST do this:http://www.ingletonwaterfallstrail.co.uk/
Those are pennies!
SHEEPS THAT WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET ME HUG THEM.
Isn’t it other-worldly beautiful? Sigh.
So then we visited farms!
And I made friends and kissed fuzzy animal faces and my dreams came true.
I don’t remember this guy’s name, but he was ace.
Hands down the friendliest goat I’ve ever met.
He’s got PIGGY EYEBROWS!!!
(pig sex photobomb totally happening in the background for extra points)
Which is how you end up with BAAAAABY PIGGIES!
And buns! So many buns…
Check out all the feet floof!
They are totally making the same facial expression!
With furry feet!
Tiny emo horsies with stubb-tastic legs and ombre hipster fringe!
I’ve seen dogs with longer legs…
Soooooper goofy donkey friends…
The moment you have been waiting for.
The hugging of a sheep done by ME!
He came right up to me and said hello.
So I said hello back.
Quite gleefully I might add…
And then I did what any reasonable person might do when confronted with a really sweet sheep friend.
I hugged him!
And he was totally into it!
Best tiny Holiday ever! xx
While we are on the subject of people visiting me in London….
My Parents came to see me!!!!!!!
In April, they decided to be brave and close their dental practice (for the first time in like ONE BILLION YEARS) to come visit me in London!
They only had 9 days and that included a trip up North to Cumbria to visit the In-Laws (as well as my most favorite Animal Park) so we really had to cram a lot in…
By now, I’m pretty much the official “First trip to London must-see tour guide”…
Of course, we had to go to Westminster…
As well as Westminster Abbey…
Mom attempts to soak in more than a thousand years of history…
Tralfagar was next…
It was pouring down rain off and on, but we soldiered through!
A stormy stroll along the Thames…
We stopped in Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of William Shakespeare) on the way up North to experience some of the festivities taking place in honor of his birthday.
Strolling around the Lake District…
AND FINALLY, SAFARI PARK HAPPY PLACE!!!
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE GIRAFFE…
Look at this guy’s FINGERS!!!
MAKING FRIENDS LIKE I DO.
I don’t really like these guys very much…
They are very very large and agressive…
But THIS dude right here is THE BEST!
THE END XXOO
By now, you should all be very familiar with my fluffy-fox-creature-pup Noodles.
AKA: Noodz, Schnoodles, Schnoddles, Knob dog, BeeBee, Noodies, and Noodie Noodie.
We recently had our friend from Nashville visit us, and he took quite the shine to her.
He still loves his Daddy though…
Now it is time for you to meet his best friend in the whole wide world.
Meet Chewy. AKA: Chewbacca, Baxter, Baccy and Chewstifer Bagshot/ Chewstifer Baggins, Chop Suey Chewy, Chewy Chow Mein, and Bubba Lou.
Chewy is my friend Anna’s Lhasa Apso, and Noodles’ best friend for life.
They basically run the park and wear each other out on a regular basis.
It’s all sorts of adorable.
We recently took them to Battersea park for a super fabulous doggy play date and adult picnic, and they were inseparable.
They even got in the pond for a swim!
The rest of the afternoon was pretty much a feast of fluff and dog wrestling.
Those may look like vicious snarling teeth, but I assure you, it’s all just puppy play and they always end up in snuggletown.
TRUE LOVE!!!!!! XXOO
Hello friends! I’m not in the habit of dedications here at Gimmeyummy, but in this case, I must make an exception and dedicate this entry to one of my BFF’s in Nashville, TN.
This is for you Katie Warren. You may be the only other person on this planet who specifically understands my sincere love for baby cows. Thank you for always supporting my embarrassing need to hug animals!
One of my favorite places to stay in England is the gorgeous little Bed & Breakfast at Broadgate Farms in Bleasdale, Preston, Lancashire.
With the tastiest Full English Breakfast you could dare to dream of and the cutest most well-stocked guest rooms, there is no other lodging choice for us when we visit my husband’s family up North.
The last time we stayed at Broadgate, I was lucky enough to get to explore the working farm and get a bunch of great shots of the property and the adorable little cows they raise.
GLAMOUR SHOT! HA!
And of course, my favorite and the most important part… COWS!!!
LOOK AT THOSE SQUIDGY LITTLE NOSES!
And those super long plush eyelashes!!!
And the HAIRDOS! AMIRIGHT?
THESE are the bitty babies.
This guy almost took my ring off…but it was SO WORTH IT.
I present to you, my very first Gimmeyummy Video experience for your viewing pleasure.
YES, I know how ridiculous I am. DEAL.
Alas, I have returned!
ITALY WAS THE BUSINESS! AMAZING TIMES WERE HAD!
I have about 2,000 photos to sort through and upload before I start posting (as well as my most recent Scotland trip…and I just got a new job…grrrrr)
Until then, I leave you with more photos of the newest addition to our family “Sir Noodles of Shropshire on the Glenn” the Pomeranian/Papillon mix.
We just call him “Noodz” and “Doggles” and he’s about 5 months old now.
He just gets cuter and fuzzier as time goes on!
He LOVES the cardboard insert of toilet paper rolls.
He also loves the snow.
This is “Paddy” the Jack Russell mix, his BFF at the park.
Paddy has mad fashion sense.
And “Zeus” the Yellow Lab.
Those are what we call “soulful” dog eyes.
And this is “Hercules”…very stoic!
I love my dog’s fluffy head situation.
And those satellite dish ears!
And watching him run with his daddy!
Like a little bunny!! I finally got a bunny! (sort of) 😉
In a feeble attempt to curb some of my cute animal hysteria, my husband and I acquired the fluffiest little bundle of cuddles in November.
Like ANYTHING could curb my addiction to darling little creatures.
When we got him at 6 weeks old, he was barely bigger that my hand.
He has grown like a weed!
He loves to eat my hair…
And my face…
Clocking in at 6.5 lbs now, he is almost as big as a small cat.
But bath time transforms our little bear/fox cub into a drowned rat.
He is always on the move!
And even though he is unbelievably adorable, he is a quite the feisty little beast.
And he loves his daddy more than anything…
Which is funny, because so do I!
I love my little London family!
Many of my photos lately have been of historic buildings and priceless art, but I also have an arsenal of nature photography!
These shots are from one of my trips up to the Lake District in Northern England.
The weather was unparalleled the day we visited.
The sun was warm, the air was fresh, and there were CUDDLY ANIMALS!
Everyone knows how I feel about furry things…lest ye be reminded…
So, we shall begin?
The Lake District is basically my idea of what heaven looks like.
I know most people hope for sandy beaches and clear blue seas, but I absolutely adore the countryside.
There is certainly no shortage of Unicorns in England. And THIS is why we are perfect for each other!
The only thing missing is centaurs and faeries.
I mean…c’mon, this is some storybook level scenery.
We’ve even got the magic forest mushrooms!
I could just sit down in this field right here and now, and do some professional cloud watching for the rest of my natural life.
No one does the English countryside better than England. FACT.
And because the universe finds it funny to give me heart palpitations by continuously creating fuzzy critters and exotic creatures for me to FREAK OUT OVER,
OF COURSE there is a friggin SAFARI PARK in the middle of Cumbria.
THOSE GIRAFFE’S ARE KISSING! BEST DAY EVER!
Fuzzy head nubbins steal my heart…nearly stop it from beating altogether…
I manage to get it together long enough to feed a Giraffe, almost requiring CPR.
There’s a monkey being all “I’m a monkey”…
And a peacock petting zoo? Whaaaaaa?
Wait, wait…and you say there are LEMURS in this petting zoo?
AND THEY HANG OUT IN CUDDLESTACKS??!!
Y’all don’t even know…I’m like…going to pass out right now…
There are Monkeys everywhere!
And there are signs all over the place about being careful handling the animals and warning people about getting bitten…THIS IS ALL NOISE TO ME!
You can’t just wave these things around at me! I’m going to steal all of your monkeys!
I DO NOT CARE IF I GET MAULED TO DEATH!
Don’t they know who I am!?
OH! Except for you. You stay away from me.
I don’t trust birds. I suspect they are smarter than everyone. Secretly plotting.
Something unsavoury is going on in that bird’s brain…
And you two! Nooooope. No hugs for you!
You guys keep sleeping over there with those tusk things. Not near my face.
And I’ll get my picture taken FROM AFAR with you Rhino pals…but I foresee very little snuggle action in our future.
But you sweet Pig lover you…
I’ll give you a quick shoulder squeeze and tell you I love you…because I totally
The thing is…I have a really really overwhelming desire to hug animals.
All of them.
A basket of sea otters.
A box full of baby chickens.
A bag overflowing with super soft squishy rabbits.
Even an armful of turtles.
I’m like the crazy youtube cat girl who wants to hug all the cats in the world…except that her video was fake and I’m not batshit crazy.
I just like creatures.
My new London buddy “M” apparently wanted to crawl into my heart as quickly as possible, because she took me to Vauxhall City Farm today and spent several HOURS squeeing about animals with me.
There was so much squeeing.
Meet Misty. She is very tolerant.
Misty made my “I simply must hug a bunny today or I will die” dreams come true.
This might be the most unattractive photo of myself that I have ever willingly posted on the internet for all to see, but it’s important that you understand how much I wanted to hug that damn rabbit.
And then snuggle him…
And then sway with him while snuggling him (yes, like a 3 year old).
Like this three year old.
But dude, seriously. CHECK OUT THOSE FEET!
If Misty didn’t hop around in her own poop all day I would want to put it in my mouth.
So, I settled for kissing her (notice her bun-riffic disapproval).
But I wasn’t the only one requiring rabbit-cuddles.
M fell in love too.
And then I got crazy with the close-ups.
LOOK AT ITS FACE! GAHHHHHH! KATIE ARE YOU SEEING THIS!? IS YOUR HEART EXPLODING?
And then Misty started giving me the side-eye and we knew that her tolerance bucket was full and we kindly returned her to her happy play area.
And then there was this guy.
We didn’t get to hang out with him though because he was busy being chubby and sleepy the entire time.
Okay! So onto the chickens!
This guy was cool.
This guy was kind of a jerk and bit me (but I had my camera in his face so I suppose I might have had it coming).
This guy had some sort of shrunken head syndrome action going on because the proportions just don’t add up.
Mother Nature is hysterical.
Ohhhhh, and I maybe hugged some chickens too.
We had a little moment.
I definitely like petting them more than eating them.
Again, I must point out that I was NOT alone in my chasing around of chickens shenanigans.
This gentleman was totally doing it too!
See? Wasn’t the only one. Just saying.
So this brings us to these ridiculous fuzzy creatures of absolute hilarity.
Look. At. THAT. HAIR.
It’s just breathtakingly comical.
Hello. I’m an Alpaca. I’m cooler than anything else that exists.
JUST BE MY FRAND!
And maybe YOU don’t get excited by cows, but I can barely keep it together.
Even though they are majorly sassy…
They are still SO darling and soft and I want to pet them.
I even want to pet this fellow…
And this one giving me the duck stink eye…
And how do you hug a goat you ask?
Gently take hold of his horns…
Guide him ever so sweetly into your loving embrace…
And then wrap your arms squarely around his big goat head and SQUEEZE!
I know, I know. Seek help immediately.
Well kids, this is just who I am.
I leave you with bunny ears.