Thursday, 27 October 2011

Turning 30 in Paris

It was pretty amazing being able to celebrate my Birthday in Paris. When we woke up on Saturday morning, the first thing I instructed Seth to do (well, the only thing, I don't often instruct him!) was to sing Happy Birthday to me. He complied :)

We went to a nearby croissanterie for breakfast and then we walked back towards the Eiffel Tower for our boat tour. The boat was pretty big with a warm, inside area and then a lot of chairs outside also. It was a freezing cold day, but Seth and I thought we would brave it and we sat outside. We sailed along the River Seine and saw some of the local sights from the river, it was quite cool to see it from that view as opposed to on dry ground! About half way through the tour, we decided that we weren't quite as hard core as we thought and we went inside to enjoy the rest of the tour in the warm! I don't actually have any photos of the tour as my hands were too cold to take any but it was really good. I especially liked seeing Notre Dame from the water.

After the boat tour, we were both feeling pretty hungry (it must be that river air.......or something :s) so we went for lunch at a restaurant close to the Eiffel tower. This is Seth at the restaurant:


Isn't he lovely?

Anyway, when we had finished, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe. It was so much bigger than it looks in pictures, it's massive! It is right in the middle of a roundabout which 12 different avenues lead to, so it's pretty busy. Seth was more than a little worried when I thought it would be a good idea to stand in the middle of the road to take a photograph because it was the best place to take it from, obviously!

We went through the underground walkway to get to the Arc de Triomphe. It's the only way to access it without taking your life in your hands by trying to cross the road! The sculptures on it are magnificent, we spent a good time looking at all sides of it and of course, taking photos.

Can you see me?

Taken from the Champs-Elysees

From there, we walked down the Champs-Elysees, one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. No, I didn't get that off Wikipedia. Okay, maybe I did. I kept singing, "Aux Champs Elysees", which was a song that we heard on the boat tour earlier on and was stuck in my head for the next few days. I thought there would be more high end shops than there were. Fair enough, there were quite a few high-end shops, but then there was also an Orange shop and a couple of other high street ones. It's nice to walk along and people watch as it's just so crazily busy! Seth and I went for dessert at the Gold Room while we were there and we had one of the nicest desserts I've ever had, banana caramel crepes. It doesn't sound that amazing but it was delicious. I was pretty excited about eating it.

By the time we had finished there, we realised that we were actually running out of time so we hurried back to the hotel, picked up our stuff and headed to the station where we caught our train home.


It has been an amazing couple of days. I'm so glad that I ended up buying that handbag so that I got a trip to Paris for my Birthday instead and I'm even more grateful for a wonderful husband who thought of getting me such an amazing Birthday present.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Paris holds the key to my heart...

On Wednesday night after Seth and I had had dinner he went out of the living room for a few minutes. I heard him rustling around in the spare room and when he came back in, he had a Birthday card in his hand, wished me a Happy Birthday as he gave it to me and told me that he couldn't wait until Saturday so he wanted to give it to me now. I opened it and inside the card there was a piece of paper which said "dinner for two". Seth asked me if that was alright, as the Birthday present that he'd had in mind for me fell through (that being a tan leather handbag - I've been wanting one for ages, then a couple of weeks ago, I found a beautiful Fossil one, which was exactly what I really wanted and it was a bargain price so I bought it. Hence the present falling through). I told him that it was lovely. I obviously wasn't really thinking that clearly because if I had been, I would have wondered why it was that he had to give it to me on Wednesday instead of Saturday. He then smiled at me and told me that we wouldn't be going for dinner in London. Or in the UK. Then he pulled out a Paris travel book! I couldn't believe that we were going to Paris for my Birthday! He then told me that he had phoned my boss and arranged for me to have Friday off work and that we were leaving on Thursday night, so we would have all day Friday and Saturday in Paris. I know you're thinking it so I'm just going to say it, how amazing is my husband?! So on Thursday after work, we met at St. Pancras International station and took the eurostar, arriving in Paris 2 and a half hours later. Not bad! We did so much over the two days that if I gave you every single little detail this would be a really long post, so I shall try to give you the shortened version!

On Friday morning, we left our hotel and armed with our little map, we set off. The hotel location was perfect, we were pretty close to everything which was just what we needed. It was a beautiful day, cold but sunny with blue skies so it was a great day for sight-seeing. It seems that everywhere you really want to go to in Paris is within walking distance. We could have taken the metro to get to places but we wanted to be able to see everything along the way. I think we must have walked for miles over the two days we were there! Our first stop was the Paris Opera House. It is absolutely beautiful and all around the outside, there are bronze busts of famous composers. It is a pretty amazing sight to behold.

From there, we walked to the Louvre and took quite a lot of photos. The architecture in Paris is just amazing and we're pretty lucky in that we both appreciate things like that and love taking the time to look at it. I'm sorry to sound uncultured, but being at the Louvre really made me want to watch "The Da Vinci Code", as quite a bit of the film is based there. Seth and I went inside to admire the paintings and sculptures. Now, one thing you need to know about Seth and museums is that he loves them. I quite like them too, but he will read every single plaque next to every single painting and sculpture so that he doesn't miss out on anything. Well, maybe he's not quite that bad but close enough anyway! Luckily for me, all of the plaques were in French and neither of us can speak the language, so Seth was unable to do that this time! Instead we just enjoyed looking around and playing a bit.

At one point, we were in one of the alcoves where Seth was pretending he was riding a chariot and someone came in. I laughed more than somewhat! He will be really glad that I shared that. It's probably a good job that he doesn't even read this blog!

When we left the Louvre, we walked along the river Seine and decided to stop and get something to eat close to Notre Dame. Seth got a baguette from a small bakery and I got a chocolate and almond pastry. Seth then got a dessert and, um, so did I. A huge chocolate nutella and coconut crepe, which I struggled to finish.


So I think we've established that I'm a piggy. Don't judge.

Notre Dame was amazing and there were so many people taking photos, including us. I think it looked even more beautiful against the blue sky. It is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside but needless to say, you're not allowed to use flash photography inside so I didn't get any pictures except for this one.


Seth was joking that I was trying to take as many pictures as I could with lamp posts in them. I thought it looked cool.

We wanted to get to the Eiffel Tower just as the sun was going down so that we would get to see it in daylight and at night time. It was quite a walk from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and I think we went a pretty roundabout way of getting there but we were just having fun walking and taking everything in. We may have been singing "Paris holds the key to my heart" from "Anastasia" as we were walking. We were in Paris, don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same! We timed it just perfectly and arrived just a short distance away from the Eiffel Tower just as the sun was beginning to set.

The atmosphere at the foot of the Eiffel Tower was amazing, there were so many people from so many different places, it's a really nice place to be just to take it all in. As it got darker, it got a lot colder and Seth and I were freezing as we were standing in line waiting for tickets to go to the top but we were singing, chatting and laughing the whole time. I tried to get Seth to applaud when the lights came on but needless to say, he refused. I can't imagine why!

The view from the top of the tower was incredible, it was beautiful to see Paris all lit up. I tried to take some photos but they came out a bit blurry. Just screw up your eyes and they look okay.

We stayed up there for a while, walking around and seeing the views of Paris from different sides of the tower. We didn't really want to come back down but when we could no longer feel our fingers we decided that we probably should so we came back down to earth where I took more photos.

A friendly American couple approached us and offered us two tickets for a boat cruise. They were going home the next day and wouldn't be able to use them so they gave them to us which was really kind of them. They then asked us to take a photo for them, in front of the Eiffel Tower. Seth said that it would have been really funny to have taken their tickets and then not taken their picture! Although it would have been pretty funny, if not a little bit mean, I took their picture for them. They had a fancy digital SLR with a massive lens. I am always so scared when people ask me to take their photos on those cameras because they are so big and front-heavy that I am really worried I will just drop their camera. Luckily for me I didn't drop it and their camera remained intact!

Even though it was quite late, we decided against taking the metro and we walked back to the hotel, mainly along the river. All of the buildings look so beautiful, lit up at night time. As we were walking, flashing lights came on on the Eiffel Tower. We just stood there and looked at it for a little while as it looked incredible.


This picture was just one from the internet because mine didn't come out very well, but it's just so you get the idea! Being there was just amazing. So that this post doesn't end up being any longer than it already is, I'll tell you more about it in the next post!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Friends and Family

This weekend saw Seth and I heading back to Norwich for the weekend. It's always great going back home to see everyone but the main reason for this particular trip was because our wonderful friends, Elodie and Matthias were over visiting from San Antonio, Texas. Elodie used to live in Lowestoft, Suffolk and we have been friends for ages! Matthias is in the US Air Force and was posted over here for a couple of years, which was how they met. And the rest, as they say, is history. They have been living in San Antonio for a couple of years now and have a beautiful son, Noah. They are expecting their second child in March. Obviously, since they moved away, we don't get to see them except for when they are back over here so we were looking forward to seeing them again.

On Saturday during the day Seth had to do a lot of revision, so he was home all day doing that while Mum and I spent the day in Norwich shopping. I felt sorry for Seth having to study but it was lovely getting to spend some time together, just me and Mum. We were looking for a dress for me to wear to Seth's work ball in November and we walked pretty much the length and breadth of the city but there is just nothing around at the moment at all! Well, nice ones, just not suitable ones. Hopefully I'll find something nearer to the time. Mum and I had a lot of fun looking around though and trying on pretty dresses is always fun. Well, I tried on the pretty dresses anyway, Mum was the appreciative audience.

In the evening, Seth and I went for dinner with Elodie, Matthias and a couple of our other friends, Thomas (Elodie's brother) and Naomi. Naomi is wonderful and I love her loads. We have had a lot of fun times together and crazy road trips. It was so lovely just to be able to spend the evening catching up with our friends and hearing about all that they have been up to. I miss them a lot so it was great being with them this evening. Going to Mambo Jambo's was an added bonus as well, it's my favourite restaurant in Norwich, the food there is so good and there is always so much of it!

The obliging waiter took the photo below of us all. Naomi thought he was rather lovely and said to Thomas, who she was sitting opposite, "let's make sure he knows that we're just friends!" That girl makes me laugh!

                                    Naomi's reaction to the waiter :)
After dinner, we went to a church dance. We didn't realise that Seth's cousin, Hayley is over from America at the moment so it was a lovely surprise to see her there and for me to meet her for the first time.


We went to church on Sunday, as always. It was so great to chat and catch up with people who we've not seen in a while, I love being able to do that when we come back to visit. We got to meet Sam Dockrill, the newest addition to our friends' Emma and Seth's little family. They have two lovely daughters and Sam is just gorgeous. I even got to have a little hold which was lovely, even more so because he didn't cry on me! Babies usually cry when I hold them, I think they smell my fear. Although I might actually be improving, I held my friend, Kathryn's baby boy a couple of weeks ago for ages and he didn't cry, I was quite proud of myself! Anyway, back to the matter at hand! When we left church, Seth and I took Sam and Caitlin in our car. While Seth was sorting out their car seats, I decided to get my camera out and told them to smile nicely. This was the result.

Typical Sam and Cait! At one point I put my face really close to Caitlin's so we were nose to nose and asked her if she thought I was beautiful. She said to me in a very matter-of-fact tone, "well, you are beautiful, but when you do that, it's just a little bit creepy!" Ha, love that girl! We had a great afternoon with all of the family, eating tasty food and chatting away. Jess introduced me to her new digital SLR camera, Rigsby. I find it funny that she names her cameras, but even more so that she names them after her favourite people from "The Mentalist".She already has Cho. She told me that she's not sure if she wants a Van Pelt, a Jane and a Lisbon, because they're just not as cool. Obviously.

Now that Seth and I are home, I must say, we're feeling pretty tired but we've had a great weekend with everyone so it's more than worth it.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Our Northern Trip

The October fun continues! We seem to have quite a lot going on this month. This weekend, we headed up north for the wedding of two of our good friends, Angela and Enwin.We planned on leaving as soon as we got home from work on Friday night. Everything was going well, we got everything packed and loaded into the car and had started to pull away when Seth remembered that he hadn't checked the oil. We stopped so that he could do that but then had a slight problem when the bonnet wouldn't close. I was a bit worried that it was completely broken and that we wouldn't be able to go. Travelling along a motorway at 70mph (Seth was driving, it would have been faster otherwise!) with a broken bonnet wouldn't have been the best thing in the world. However, Seth managed to fix it and I took photos of him in the mean time. I am such a helpful wife!

            This was Seth oiling the catch so the bonnet would close.
                                              It worked!

We thought that as we were going up north for the wedding anyway, we would combine it with a visit to see Laura in Liverpool and we stayed with her on Friday and Saturday night. It's the first time that Seth and I had seen her new place and it is lovely! It is very Laura, a nice penthouse apartment in the centre of Liverpool. Yes please!

                                   My favourite view......
                                       The view as you look to the right......

Even though we arrived pretty late (the photos above were taken the next morning, in case you were wondering why it's still daylight), we still stayed up chatting for a while which was lovely. As it was getting later and we started to think about getting ready for bed, we pulled out the inflatable mattress which was purchased yesterday for our trip and started to put that up while we were chatting. I made sure I remembered all of the bedding as I was convinced I would forget it and leave it at home, so it was one of the first things that went into the car. Small problem though - I didn't check the sheets that I had packed and I put a single one in instead of a double.

I suppose it's not really that entertaining and probably one of those you-had-to-have-been-there moments but at 2am, pretty much anything is funny!

The wedding on Saturday wasn't until 1pm so the next morning we got up early and Laura showed us around Albert Dock and Liverpool One. It's such a lovely area. She treated us to breakfast at a lovely little cafe along the dock as well, she's so kind! It was really nice to be able to spend some time with her before we headed off to the wedding.

The wedding was lovely and Angela and Enwin looked so happy. The service was great, Angela forgot her vows a few times as she was looking around the room to see who was there! The musical items were beautiful; one of them, "My Lord, My God" was just amazing, I really want the piano music for it now! (Seth and I have been singing it ever since we heard it). I didn't get the chance to take that many photos, so I only have a few. They are such a lovely couple, I'm so glad that they are finally married! It was a lovely day for us as we also got to see many of our close friends from Lancaster. Even though we only moved nearly two months ago, it felt like we hadn't seen them in ages!

This is my lovely friend, Anna in the picture with me and Angela. She bought me an ugly slice from The Yummy Cupcake Company in Lancaster. Even though it sounds disgusting, they are actually divine and I was slightly adducted to them when we lived in Lancaster. So if you're ever in Lancaster, you have to go there and try one, they are delicious! If I didn't love her for any other reason, I love her for buying me that, ha ha! She is wonderful though and I miss her a lot, so it was great to see her. Seth was reunited with Ruth and Richard's beautiful daughter, Anwen, which made him happy!

                                 The cool bride and groom on top of the cake.
After the wedding, we headed back to Liverpool. It was about 8pm so we still had some time to play with Laura. We went out and about and just wandered around. There is so much to see, it's a lovely city. We found this a bit weird though.

If you can't see what it is, it's loads of semi naked plastic baby dolls. It's slightly disturbing and yet, we still had to take a picture of it. After that, we headed to the Hilton gym. Not to actually work out, don't be silly! Laura was just showing us the gym she gets to use free of charge, as she lives above the hotel. Quite a sweet set up, I'm pretty jealous! Not that I actually go to the gym but if I had one to use for free which was right underneath where I lived then I think I would use it!

              Laura managing to break the machine.
                                   Us posing, as you do.

                             Look how fast I'm going!
                                Nice self-portrait there, Lau!

We headed back to Laura's afterwards and ate Krispy Kremes. Laura had a raspberry turnover but seriously, given the choice, who wouldn't want to have the Krispy Kreme?!

                                                                  Mine was the one on the left.

On Sunday morning, we left Liverpool and went to church in Lancaster. It was nice being back there again and getting to see all of our lovely friends. Our roadtrip back home was pretty long, I think it took us just over 5 hours. I never mind it though, Seth and I always enjoy our roadtrips, we have so much fun and have many deep and meaningfuls as well. This particular journey consisted of us singing church songs for the last hour of the journey. My particular favourite would have to be the EFY medley. Seth did an amazing job singing the soprano part an octave lower while I sang the alto to the girls part of the song! It was fun being able to sing with him. In fact, it was just a fun weekend getting to be with each other and seeing family and friends. More of it to come next weekend!