Category: places we go

The Click Tick List – Visit the Top of the Rock

We have been away for a few days. I had a big Birthday last week (insert the scream emoji!!) and Gav took me to New York City to soften the blow. He knows how to make me feel better.

We had an eventful few days in the big apple what with Storm Stella swooping by but we didn’t let her dampen our spirits for too long and I needed to get something crossed off my list.

The day after the snow came I was out of our hotel early and at the Rockefeller Centre for the doors to open up on the trip to the Observation Deck. It was 8am and there were just a handful of folk waiting with me for the ticket booth to swing into action.

In fact as it happened I rode the elevator to the 67th floor all by myself and apart from a couple of security guards was alone up there for a while, it was amazing!

And the weather cooperated with me. The views were stunning, clear as far as you could see and the ground lightened by the snowfall. Here we are looking uptown to Central Park and beyond.

Towards the Hudson River and New Jersey.

And towards the East River.

The architecture was impressive.

As was the snow still clinging onto the building.

And my favourite view. Downtown to the Empire State Building, Times Square on the right of the picture and way off in the distance you can just make out the silver sliver of One World Trade Centre (Freedom Tower.)

That view right there, wow. It sends a shiver down my spine. It makes me want to live in the city so I could see it every week. It makes me thankful that I rode to the top of the rock. It makes me happy that I had a sunny morning and a clear view and the place to myself for ten minutes.

It makes me thrilled to have crossed it off my list but I will be back, one day I’m sure because it was just awesome!

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Celebrating autumn leaves and loved ones

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Recently I suggested that we have a trip to Roundhay Park to throw some leaves about. They were not that enthusiastic but we seemed to have fun anyway!

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I think that I need to practice my photography skills some more……. But regardless of the blur I had fun too.

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And clearly we were rather pleased with our efforts. A great reminder for me. Get out there and enjoy whatever moments you can with those you love.

Holiday vibes and shadow photos

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Having a lovely time here in Portugal. We have found our own routine. Late breakfast, reading, pool, late lunch. A walk here and nap there just the perfect lazy holiday. I’ve also been taking lots of photos some on the ‘big camera’ but most with my iphone. I’ve been particularly enjoying the light and the shadows the light lets you create……

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Even roped Gav into the fun!

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Oh we laugh…….

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“Have you seen the Smew?” – a foray into twitching

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One of the places I wanted to visit during our recent trip to Suffolk was RSPB Minsmere. We have a nature programme here in the UK called Springwatch and they have based themselves at this nature reserve during the filming. It always looked interesting and although I feed the birds in my garden and like to spot them on the beach I have never gone specially to seek them out.

Gav was happy to stay with Buddy (he couldn’t come in of course) and I set off on my new adventure. I didn’t know quite what to expect when I arrived at the visitor centre but quickly realised that they take all this nature watching very seriously with trails, hides, different types of habitats, enough for a week’s worth of exploring let alone the couple of hours I thought I’d be there.

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I decided to take the coastal path that was 2 miles in length and took me past shingle beach and several lagoons. There are huge hides build along the side of the lagoons Wooden buildings on two levels where a dozen people can sit comfortably binoculars in hand watching and documenting. I ventured into three of these and in the second one a chap sat next to me and asked that question. “Have you seen the Smew?” My poor brain struggled with a response until I decided that honesty was the best policy and I explained this was my first visit to the reserve. To give him his due he did briefly explain what they looked like and that a sighting of a pair had apparently been made that day – he had come specially to see them. Then he turned and asked the people to his left if they had spotted them. The Smew were it seems being elusive.

Although I had an old pair of binoculars and my 100mm lens I struggled to see most of the birds out there. My equipment paled into insignificance set alongside what others were wielding. But I had a very enjoyable two hours or so and when I got the photos on the computer I did manage to zoom in so I could identify a few species.

The first photo above is of a Shelduck then there is a Wigeon and below are Avocets.

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And of course here we have the lesser spotted Buddlington.

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I don’t think I’ll be taking twitching up a hobby but like I say it was an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon.

London calling – 2015 edition

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I thought I would cheer myself up from this very gloomy January day with a look back at a few gems from our trip to London last summer with my niece.

A game of patience on the train.

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We take her to all the best places….. This is the Thames Barrier. It was interesting to get right down to the river side and look at this important build and they had a lovely park that was made from old canal docks here too.

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On the walk from our Docklands hotel to the barrier we crossed a section of the docks by a very tall foot bridge. Here we are ontop of that bridge.

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Just calling this one ‘stuff’.

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The evening we arrived we headed out to Hammersmith to see a production of Bugsy Malone, complete with child stars. It was a real treat.

Then next day we went to the transport museum and learned about the strength of a tunnel ring, used in the construction of the underground, by building our own.

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And then we went to the Science Museum (again, well it is Gav favourite place in London….) this time we tried Morse code.

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And shared a slice of lemon cake.

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It was good.

The glass bridge is always a perfect spot for a photo op.

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After the hunt for this post box we headed back to the hotel and had a picnic in our room for dinner, watched airplanes land and take off from London Airport (our hotel was close to the runway) before the trip for hot chocolate in the bar.

We packed up the following day after another huge breakfast and Gav went to see The Jam (as in the band) exhibition.

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While H and I overspent in one of my favourite craft shops.

Then a quick stop at the British Museum.

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Where we saw the Sutton Hoo helmet. And the Lewis Chessmen.

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We also stopped and listened to a guide talk about one of the oldest exhibits in the museum. A hand axe from about 300,000 years ago. We even got to handle it (not really the time for a photo!) Gav and I were blown away that we were holding something that was worked into a tool and used so many years ago. Not sure H got it but that’s ok.

When we found out that there was a Chipotle close by we just had to pop there for lunch. Veggie Burritos all round please. And we enjoyed sitting outside in the midst of the bustling Leicester Square area.

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And then it was home time.

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These trips are so much fun and really special, moments and time to treasure indeed. And if we get a few gems in the photo department all the better!

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Read all about our trip in 2014 here.

Checking in

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Just a quick hello from up here on the Northumberland coast. Internet and mobile phone signals are hit and miss, which is mostly a good thing. Well for a week at least!

I thought I’d share a pretty remarkable photo. Me reading Curtain: Poirots Last Case. I have put off reading this Agatha Christie for many years now but well…. I just felt it was time. I’ll be back with a sum up of what I thought about it when we’re back to reality in a few days….

The Post box quest continues…..

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Here is a bit of an unusual one.

A few weeks before we went to London with my younger niece I did a little research to see if I could find any unusual post boxes to add to the collection. I found a couple and plotted them on the Google map we were using for the trip.

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It’s in Kensington and we wandered along to see it after we’d been to the Science Museum. It’s a Penfolds Victoria box. Apparently replicas of this style of box were made in the 1980’s and although I didn’t spot a replica plate on the base I’m not sure if this one is a replica or an original. Either way though I like the quirky design made by John Penfold that first came into production around 1866.

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Acanthus leaves and a bud of the plant decorate the ‘cap’ of the box. I love Acanthus and they do give a very Victorian type of look.

I bought a postcard with the intention of posting it but we didn’t have a stamp!

We’ve been on a little get-a-way

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We took my younger niece to London for the weekend. Normal service will resume here when I have recovered for playing ‘mum’ for 48 hours……….

Where we ate stateside – part two

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Here are a few more of the places we found to grab a bite.

Calafia Cafe – Palo Alto

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Although this isn’t a wholly vegetarian restaurant the menu is split in two. One page for ‘meat eaters’ the other for ‘plant eaters.’ It was an interesting menu and the setting was perfect. We sat outside on a very hot day and enjoyed the shade of the canopy that surrounds this designer yet quirky shopping area called Town and Country Village.

Panolivo Family Bistro – Paso Robles

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We stumbled upon this cafe after a whistle-stop tour of this lovely town. We weren’t even hungry and ordered a muffin to begin with but then decided to stay for an early lunch too. We had houmous wraps and they were really good.

Linns of Cambria – Cambria

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This was an airy but busy place that served food all day and had a little cafe/store attached. We had lunch and breakfast here during our stay and the food was very good. Those sweet potato fried in the shot above were so good I’m going to try make them here at home.

California Pizza Kitchen – Fresno. (We also ate at this chain in Vegas.)

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The restaurant in Fresno was a lovely location and we had a great waitress who loved that we were baseball fans even though we were British (they had a game on the big screen behind the bar.) Like I mention above we ate in one of these places in Vegas too. It was within our hotel so an easy option. It was so much better place to eat away from sin city……

Za Pizza – San Francisco

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We have been to San Fran three times and we have been to Za Pizza three times. Yes, we love it so much we would always want to go back. It doesn’t hurt that they are Giants fans or that this tiny place is set within an amazing part of the city right up there on Russian Hill and along side the cable car route. They have local artists work on the walls and we brought home a baseball related piece this time too. The ride back to Union Square on the cable car is a wonderful finale to a great pizza experience.

Anada Fuara – San Francisco

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A vegetarian cafe near City Hall. This was another busy spot, we went just before the ballet. I had neatloaf and mashed potatoes. Absolutely great. I loved mashed potatoes. Those little morsels in the photo were their version of ‘chicken’ nuggets. We shared them and they were so tasty.

Rainbow Bean Coffee Company – Cambria

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Ans what better way to round of this post than with a little apricot oat slice. Lovely little coffee shop that had local ice cream too and all manner of sandwiches but we just stuck to dessert this time.

Thanks for letting me share our foodie experiences.

The click tick list – see the big meteor crater in Arizona

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It’s hard to get an impression of the scale of this impact crater from photos. Actually it was hard while we were stood right there on the top because you can’t judge the scale.

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The internet images and the wiki page are worth a look to realise the size and amazingness of this big old hole in the ground!

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There was a very detailed and informative museum and you could go on a led tour of the rim which took you about a quarter of the way round the crater. The guides were very knowledgable and it was a good visit all round.

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So another one can be crossed off!