Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whirlwind Niagara Falls

We only had one weekend to take our visitors (Mum and her other half) to see Niagara Falls. Actually, we were tossing up whether it was worth it but Mum informed me last night that the Falls are one of their favourite experiences on this Canadian trip. That's a relief as it took a ridiculously long time to get down there. So much traffic! We stayed over night, and while the accommodation available during the last weeks of school holidays was hardly my cup of tea it did afford us a bit more time. We squeezed in a winery and dinner in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Further adventures the following day were cancelled in favour of getting back to Toronto before the traffic kicked in again. A good idea, this trip was a breeze by comparison.
So, here are some shots of the Falls. The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is definitely the most spectacular. With over 2 million litres of water gushing over the Horseshoe Falls per second, there was a lot of 'splash' and we got quite drenched. That was fine with us, it was a very hot day!

A hot (and sometimes wet) day spent in traffic required a decent drink by the end of it...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pinning For Dads

If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, you probably know that Father's Day is looming.
Our Pin-Ups group on Pinterest has set up a great new board just for Dads. If you're looking for some fresh ideas click over for a looksie. 
One of my favourite ideas is this t-shirt...

image via here

I think it's a really fun and simple idea. Tam from babybites found this and pinned it to our board. Tam heads up such a great website, full of lots of yummy things for kids. You should totally check that out too.
Over here and here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Little More London-ing

Right. Where did I leave off?
We hit the Eye around 4.30 (having booked online a few weeks before, well worth paying more to jump the queue believe me!) and it was actually amazing. The skeptic in me wasn't sure if it would be worth it but I knew Poppet would really want to do it. I have some 'issues' with being up high in the sky so I'm glad I forced myself to have a go.
What a view. Poppet received a kid's pack which included binoculars and a great pictorial map explaining what could be seen from every angle. I managed to remain standing until we were about halfway up, at which point my legs turned to jelly and I had to take a seat. Husband and Poppet had a good laugh at me and thoroughly enjoyed themselves by repeatedly leaning back against the window. It's a strange vertigo I get at such times, as if the umbilical cord is still attached. I felt the same when my kid was standing on the fountain wall at Buckingham Palace. Hey ho, nothing a strong drink after the fact won't fix.
Speaking of which, we met up with some old friends for dinner at Gillray's Steakhouse. They have an incredible array of cocktails and we knocked a few back along with some awesome yorkshire puds. It's an expensive restaurant but justifiably so. Loved it! The following morning was spent with a friend on the Southbank, lunching and stopping at playgrounds. Very relaxing.
Here are some pics from the Eye and a couple of shots of Poppet posing next to various decorated Olympic mascots around town. We had to line up with all the other nutters who wanted a shot of themselves next to these ugly things. But Poppet insisted and it's certainly proof that we were in London for the Olympic season. We didn't see any sporting events (but watched as much as possible on tv) as our trip was too last minute and brief to do more, but there certainly was a buzz in the air. 

ok, ok, I got distracted by these awesome trainers...

but our feet looked pretty good too...

What a fabulous couple of days we had, even the security guards at the airport were chipper. London was very buoyant and proud to be hosting the event. Everyone was made to feel very welcome. 
The next few days were equally buoyant spent with family in the sunshine (and a little Manchester rain, naturally) drinking Pimms and Sangria. There are certainly shots of that, but they're just for us. 
On a family note, my Mum arrives tomorrow for a ten day visit (followed by Husband's folks for a fortnight). Will do my best to post but who knows how things will go. Family first!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Little Girl

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
Thank you Mr Longfellow. You've really summed it up. 
    I don't know what it is lately, but my child's temper has been truly awful. She has no patience for her own failure, no tolerance for other's behaviour and turns into a grumpy mess by dinner time. We are all exhausted by it. Sure, we've been on holiday and she's still recovering from that but I think there's more to it than that. While I would very much like to blog some more and make lots of Poppets over the coming weeks (in between hanging out with my Mum who arrives on Tuesday, yay!) I have to admit defeat and spend some quality time with this small person who is having so much trouble coping with the world. No doubt she will bounce back very soon, but for now it's cuddles and Mum-time and a lot less tv ahead of us. 
image via here
See you soon!

Friday, August 17, 2012


Goodness. It's been a while. With all the traveling madness of the past week, I inadvertently had a blog break. Actually, I didn't even turn on the laptop for the last three days of our trip which was rather nice.
Thursday and Friday were spent in London, and Saturday through Tuesday in Manchester with family.
Two days in London will never be enough, so we opted to stay at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge to maximise our time. Talk about central! Here is a shot from inside our hotel... 

We arrived tres early in London, so dumped our bags and headed out for a walk. The plan was to get to Buckingham Palace in time for the changing of the guard. Lucky there's some fairly interesting architecture on the way...

Once we crossed Westminster Bridge (you can certainly linger there all day) we headed to St James's Park. Most of it was sectioned off for the beach volleyball so we wandered alongside it in the shade. Poppet complained for most of this lovely walk, but did stop to jump for leaves at one point. I managed to catch a smile on her face! Typically for my kid, she doesn't care about being a tourist and finds her own fun. There's no forcing her to admire the scenery...

Made it! The crowds were starting to build up and the sun was beating down. The changing of the guard commences at 11.30 but most people arrive an hour beforehand (some are obviously there way earlier than that) so it's a long time in the sun. We remembered our sunblock but wished we'd remembered an umbrella to shade under. Long wait ensued...
Finally, the band could be heard in the distance and there was lots of marching and drums and guns (and bear fur hats, courtesy of Canadian bears apparently) and horses and crowds. Over the next hour we watched as much as we could from our vantage point up on the fountain, then Poppet was done. As we searched for an exit, we managed a closer look at the Horse Guard and then Princess Anne went past in a fancy Range Rover with a police escort. I didn't catch a shot of her profile, but she appeared to be texting (or tweeting?) and was no doubt heading to an Olympic event of some description.

We escaped the madness by cutting through Green Park and heading up to Piccadilly. I knew ice cream would put a smile on everyone's faces. It was really hot! Fortnum and Mason was our destination, they have a fancy ice cream parlour on the third floor and I wanted to have a peek at this completely British hamper-oriented department store. Gorgeous! I could have spent a whole day in there, but we had to push on.

It felt good to sit down and indulge for a bit, but it was almost time to check-in to our hotel. We also had an appointment with the London Eye so we walked fairly quickly back to the hotel. We vaguely batted an eyelid at Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, but did stop to look at this war memorial. The statues dotted around London are amazing...

That's probably enough photos for now, and I've only covered til lunchtime Day 1! We checked into our gorgeous hotel and had a rest before heading to the London Eye. But more on that later...


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