‘Tis the Season

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Christmas in Cardiff…in November 😛

The tree is up, the lights are out and the Thymes Frasier Fir candle is lit–it must be Christmas time!

I’m feeling a bit more “into the festive season” this year. Last year, it was far too mild and overall I just found it difficult getting into the swing of things. I have found celebrating Christmas harder since I moved away, but as the years go on (cripes, I’ve been here for FOUR years now!) we have started new traditions. The huz even relented and bought some outdoor Christmas lights! He even put them up himself. I’m sure I will continue to push my luck on that front!

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Snow day in Gloucester

It snowed today for the first time in maybe two years. It stuck to the ground and everything! It was deeper in some areas unlike in the above picture, but it was pretty slushy and already turning dirty and grey. Still, it was nice to have a lazy Sunday indoors, go for a wintry walk and bake some banana bread in the evening.

I’m working on the days following Christmas and Boxing Day, but it sounds like it’ll be a pretty chill time prior to that. We’ll go to the in-laws’ for dinner, I’ll bring along a batch of nanaimo bars (or “neemo bars” as the Brit family incorrectly calls them!) and there will be a few gifts to exchange (are we really done shopping already??…well, I’m not). Oh right, and we have a Christmas Day geocaching event to attend in Barnwood Park which is always a good time.

2017 certainly whizzed on by at a scarily fast pace, but I am so ready for 2018 to be here and to let the good times roll.

Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah / Joyous Kwanzaa

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Tidying Update

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Jennifer Burk

So I have only just discovered that Photobucket is now charging users $400 USD/year to hotlink images onto third party websites. My blog is a bit of a mess at the moment, but thankfully I had the good sense to keep all my images saved elsewhere (read: on my PC).

I will be slowly fixing everything when I have time, so for now enjoy the ugly that Photobucket has taken itself to impose on this li’l blog. All should be back to normal soon-ish (and I’ll actually update this thing, too!).

My Travel Wish List

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I have been fortunate enough to have visited many places on my travel wish list. Switzerland? Done. New York City? Been there, want to go back. Bruges? You bet! Scotland and Germany? Yes, and multiple times, too.

You’ll notice that most of those places have been on the European continent. While I still have places in Europe I want to visit, I am branching out and, er, lengthening the size of my list. It’s a list that I never stop adding to, but I am determined to visit all of the places on it one day (I say that a lot…“one day”). Below, I have compiled just eight of those places I want to see and experience…one day.

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Winter & the Festive Season

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The cathedral in the morning winter sun really is something else.

It’s that time of year again when there’s a Christmas tree in every front window, lights on all the houses and the temperatures a balmy 12 degrees Celsius…wait, what?!

After a cold start to December (I’m talking temperatures dipping below zero, which is quite cold in these parts), we are now experiencing another mild lead up to Christmas. In fact, that crazy temp I just mentioned is the forecast for Christmas Day. What the what? I could get away with wearing a light jacket! In fact, I HAVE gone out for a walk in a light jacket recently. Just ridiculous.

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I needed a heavier jacket on this walk, though.

Pete and I have enjoyed doing the usual festive things during December. We have been hosting some geocaching events at pubs (continuing a series of these events from last winter), getting our shopping done early (I am DONE…well, I might get a few extra things…heh heh) and generally just chilling out after busy days at work.

I usually get terribly homesick this time of year, but I have been doing better this time around. True, there are things I definitely miss (Stanley Park, gah!), but we are creating our own little traditions in this neck of the woods. Pete finally “gets” why I love driving around in search of insanely decked out houses. We will be attending a Christmas Day geocaching event for the third year running (hosted by my mother-in-law). Oh, and we finally got a new Christmas tree and some nerdy ornaments. Behold!

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I think Deadpool needs a Santa beard. Maybe next year.

We also definitely bought a Lego set (the Winter Toy Shop, pictured next to the tree) and we’re hoping to get a few more of these sets in the future. Oh boy, that could get out of control and fast!

Oh 2016, you were definitely rough at times (that’s an understatement!), but overall this year was pretty good to me on a personal level. As always, though, I look forward to ushering in another year in the hope that it will be even better. Optimism ahoy!

Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah / Joyous Kwanzaa

…and a happy new year, you filthy animals.

A Little Holiday in North Wales

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The view while riding on the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

North Wales was hosting a summer time Geocaching Mega Event, so of course we had to go along and check it out. I was excited as this was a region I had wanted to visit for quite some time. Pete said the landscape would remind me of BC, and while he was right about that (the mountains, the forested areas), it was very distinctly Welsh. I loved it.

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The Summer So Far

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The Shard being all majestic and…shard-y.

How is it August already? Yes, it still baffles me how quickly time passes. You’d think I’d be over that by now! But, really, it felt like my birthday month was just a short time ago. That’s when I was in London and hanging with the Shard, eating delicious cherries I bought at Borough Market and enjoying some of the first decent weather of the summer.

It’s been a great couple of months. We’ve gone on some enjoyable geocaching walks and we just got back from a little holiday to North Wales (I’ll hopefully blog about that!).

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“Whoooooo are you looking at?”

We also visited the International Centre for Birds of Prey. This place is truly amazing. They have a wide variety of birds, a hospital on site and wonderful flying demonstrations. They also have a family of black labs who just saunter around, completely ignoring the birds (some of which are literally out in the open!). These dogs are more interested in seeing how much free food they can get from the human visitors.

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This went into my pie-hole. It was very yummy.

Can you believe this was my first time eating poutine?? I have now had poutine and chicken and waffles for the first time in the UK, not exactly the country of origin! We really enjoyed checking out the Gloucester Food Festival yet again.

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And then…well, Pokemon Go came out and the world went nuts. More like the app crashed a lot! This was the start of us going out on very random walks in an effort to “catch ’em all”. Um, more like catching all the Drowzees. There are way too many spawning around here! Still, it’s been fun Pokemoning. It certainly makes going on a very familiar walk more interesting!

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A typical British Pokestop.

We checked out a restored 19th century bee shelter at the church in Hartpury. It was a beautiful place–I may have caught a Squirtle near here, hehee. There is also a beautiful old mill here, too. There’s a picture on the linked page that is so much better than any photo I could have managed to snap. People actually live on the property and I may be a little jealous.

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Beautiful homes in Ashton Under Hill.

So yes, in terms of outings and taking advantage of the longer days and warmer weather, we’ve done very well. We have managed to pack a fair bit into a lot of weekends. In fact, this may be the first weekend where we don’t have anything planned! It’s been nice having a bit of a break.

In my personal life, I managed to land a permanent contract with the department I support at work. Unfortunately, we were given the news this week (the day after I came back from holidays) that we would be going through a restructure. It’s early days yet and I have no idea what’s going to happen, but it sucks and there are going to be a lot of changes. I can only hope that I will continue to keep my current role as I do enjoy the service area I support and all the people I work with.

On a happier note, it won’t be long until I am back in my hometown and attending my friends’ impending nuptials. That’s going to be a good time! Pete and I have also been discussing a possible mini-cation in February. Cold? Yes. But we’re just looking at a few tentative options.

So here’s to letting the good times continue to roll on and not worrying about the uncertainty of the future (easier said than done!). Here we go.

Easter Weekend 2016

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Red cliffs and the English Channel.

I had a few days of annual leave to use up before the end of the financial year, so I decided to extend the Easter weekend a little. The huz and I weren’t planning on doing much, possibly just taking day trips and going geocaching, but then by chance I happened upon The Shepherds Hut Retreat. I thought, ‘Well, don’t that look cute?’ We checked the dates and saw that one hut was free for the Easter weekend, so we booked ‘er!

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