So long, 2018


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I tend to find it difficult reflecting on the year as I find myself forgetting so many things. But I seem to have had a good grip on 2018 in that I know it was hard at times, but the good times certainly outweighed the tough ones. I am grateful for that.

This is a random assortment of pictures with no real theme, but just a few moments of good times and memories from the past year.

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Always great to head back to the Lower Mainland and visit friends and family. I have always wanted to visit the East Van sign and we got to do it twice on this trip (mostly because we messed up the geocache we had planned to find there!).


We went to Disneyland with my parents and brother. The huz had never been to California and was a bit hesitant about Disneyland, but he grew to love it (to my surprise!). We enjoyed a beach day and some In-n-Out, but mostly just found moments to relax amidst the the busy-ness of the holiday.

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It sure was a hot summer, but it made for some fantastic evening walks. I can’t wait until the winter gloominess leaves us and we have more daylight long into the evenings. There were far too many heatwaves for my liking, though. I was trapped in a traffic jam for over an hour and the bus I was in turned into a sweat factory. It was torture! Summer, that sort of nonsense makes it hard to love you.

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I turned 35 and went on what is turning out to be an annual birthday trip to London. However, this time we had reason to go–Nine Inch Nails were playing a concert at Royal Albert Hall (on my birthday!) and I had managed to snag tickets.

We enjoyed walking around Holland Park and Chelsea. I feel like we visit a new place every time we go to London. We’re planning our next day trip so I’m sure we’ll be back soon.


We went to York! It was my first time visiting northern England, a place with a strong identity. York is just a small part of that identity and it was a fascinating place to explore. I live in an old city, but this one felt even older. There were lots of fun characteristics about the place. Pete achieved a bucket list item in that he went to the Railway Museum which was really cool and worth a visit (by donation?!).

I really enjoyed my time here, I’m glad we got to visit for an extended period. I felt like I could move there, but Gloucester is definitely the right home for us right now. I’m sure we’ll be back for another visit.

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And finally, well…Paris.

This started as a joke, but we went to Paris for the day via the Eurostar. We stayed in a hotel in London (across from St Pancras station) and got up at silly o’clock to catch our train. It actaully worked out very well, but was exhausting as you can imagine! I managed to wreck my knee pretty badly from all the walking which put a damper on things, but just meant we had to leave London earlier than planned.

I’m glad got the chance to re-visit the city again after 10 years. I would love to see more of France someday, but for now…Paris will do 🙂


So, that was my 2018 in a very brief nutshell! I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but always hope for good health and happiness to all. Time to march into another year!

Here’s to 2019.


‘Tis the Season


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!


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

Winter & the Festive Season


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.


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!


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.

Back to BC 2015



After nearly two years—the longest I’ve ever been away from my hometown—I was back in BC and, oh man, it was so good.

This time, I had a new husband in tow. His parents even came over for their first ever trip to Canada. We had a week to get over the jetlag (jeepers, I’m usually okay when I travel in that direction!) and then we had our belated Canadian wedding reception at Campbell Valley Regional Park. We rented out the large picnic area and ate a ton of food, played badminton, tossed an Aerobie around (we may have bought one when we got back to Gloucester!) and hung out with friends and family, most of whom the huz had never met! It was such a blast and we had the best time.


This is the first time the McSibs have all been together in nearly 48 months. Nutty! I’ve seen both of them on separate occasions, so it was really special to all be together again. I hope they manage to make as many trips across the pond as I surely will!


Oh, this crazy bunch of ladies. They took me out for a belated bachelorette-like dinner (minus all the embarrassment that usually goes along with that sort of thing—a thousand thank yous!) and we also had some one-on-one time. It was so great. I miss this gang a lot a lot a lot.


I found myself drinking a lot of root beer on this trip because it doesn’t exist in the UK (well, you can buy it, but it’s usually imported and costs way too much). The British contingent agreed that it smelled like “the dentist” or “antiseptic.” I think it smells like root beer.

While Boylan’s was quite nice, I’m still all about Dad’s Root Beer. And, of course, A&W root beer in an chilled glass. Can’t be beat!


We were gone for a little over two weeks and we manage to cram so much into this trip. One of my favourite days was taking Pete’s folks along the Sea to Sky highway so they could see some mountains and fjords. They may never make this trip again, which saddens me, but I’m glad they got to see where I grew up. The Sea to Sky gondola had to be the highlight. I remember being skeptical when I heard about its construction, but I have to say that I am sold. It was beautiful up there with a great trail system that led to many gorgeous lookout points (see top photo).

I definitely feel lucky to have lived in such a beautiful place with awesome people, but even I’m starting to admit that Gloucester has begun to feel more like home. I managed to luck out and have two amazing places that I can call home! Not too shabby.

So, I think I’ve managed to re-hydrate after all the crying I did when I had to go back to the UK, but Brit Boy and I are already making plans for Canada 2016. I really hope they come into fruition because we have a crazy, epic trip in our minds!

Until then…so long (for now), BC.

Canadian Invasion 2015!


Not even Canada Gate could hold back an invasion of Canadians in England! And that’s just fine because it was a perfectly welcome invasion and it was great seeing everyone and showing them around this country I now call home.

After the wedding, Brit Boy and I had my mom, dad, sister, nephew and two friends to chaperone around London. I was excited about this trip as it was the longest I’d ever stayed in the city. Each time I go, I see something different, but I always leave wishing I’d seen more! This was a chance to remedy that.

The first day was spent seeing the “big sights”–Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben/Elizabeth Tower and Trafalgar Square. It was almost too much for the McFamily, but since we had an extra day to explore we ended up re-visiting areas so they could enjoy them more with less boggling of the minds.

Since we were planning on covering a lot of ground, we opted for Visitor Oyster cards. They were pre-loaded with £15.00 and we only had to top them up two or three times on the last full day (even then, we just added small amounts). I would highly recommend these as day passes are so pricey now. We ended up getting two full days usage out of these bad boys and were able to travel at anytime (not just off-peak) and on the Tube and DLR (they are also valid on the bus and Overground services).

Our first full day was mostly spent in Greenwich. We took the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to the furthest point I’d ever been, passing through Canary Wharf and far from the busy areas I’m so accustomed to seeing. Since it’s the off-season, the Royal Observatory was largely tourist-free, so we enjoyed this mostly quiet view.

I wasn’t too keen on paying money to straddle an invisible line, so we took our Prime Meridian photo op just outside the gates (we were alerted to this option thanks to a geocache). Despite it being oh-so cold (oh, was it ever cold, and continued to be the entire time we were in London!), we spent a fair bit of time here. There are great walking paths, a nearby Maritime museum if that’s your sort of thing (it wasn’t ours, we used it for the washrooms and to steal a bit of warmth!) and, if you’re hungry, the wonderful Greenwich Market had plenty of food options to get your om nom nom on!

I think one of the coolest things we did in this area was walk through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Walking under the Thames? Well, it wasn’t on my list of things to do in my life, but now I can say I did it and it was very cool! We may have spent most of the time making “ghost noises”, which likely irritated the locals who were also using the tunnel. Whoops!

After saying farewell to the McFamily, we took the remaining Canadians to Camden Town, another place I have wanted to visit for quite some time. I’m not a big “shopper”, so the seemingly endless amount of market stalls was a little overwhelming at times. The almost maze-like area took us through Camden Lock and the Stables Market (my favourite area). We also checked out Honest Burgers while we were in the vicinity and, wow, am I ever glad we did! My chicken burger was delicious–way up there with the best I’ve ever had.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures here as the light was fading and, well, camera phones can only do so much in the dark! It was a fun way to round up our day and soon we dragged our tired selves to Paddington station…only to be delayed as there was a problem with the signals and nothing was moving. D’oh! We got back to Gloucester eventually. Here’s proof!

Yep, we went back to the cathedral two weeks after our wedding. What a swell time that was!

And now I am back to being one of the few Canadians who live in Gloucester. I am becoming more and more convinced that I am the only Canadian in Gloucester, but I highly doubt that. We are just a rarity in these parts. It was great to re-visit places like Bath, Chepstow and Stonehenge with people who have never been there–and who happened to talk like me! All in all, it was a great time and I look forward to being invaded again in the future.

Getting the Marrieds!



In between chaperoning visiting family to places like Bath, Chepstow and Cheltenham and playing host to friends also visiting from Canada, Brit Boy and I managed to get married! We had a short (we’re talking seven minutes) ceremony with close friends and family at the registry office in Gloucester. I wore a dress that was not at all appropriate for the weather, but my heavy red coat saved my life! I was glad for it as we headed over to the drafty Gloucester Cathedral for a photo session. A good friend of ours was kind enough to take these two shots for us.


I really can’t wait to see the rest! Also, my inner Harry Potter nerd was more than stoked to have a post-wedding photoshoot inside Hogwarts. Afterwards, we had a delicious lunch at a nearby pub, parted ways for an hour and a half and then headed to the reception in a private pavilion at The Royal Oak in Prestbury (which is one of the most beautiful villages I’ve been to). Extended family, co-workers and friends were invited and we all chowed down on nibbles, cupcakes (delicious ones made by my mother-in-law!) and I finally played a round of skittles! It was such a wonderful day and I’m more than happy that things went smoothly. It was also a pretty stress-free planning process which myself and Brit Boy were more than pleased with!

So, now the tough part begins what with filling out a billion forms for passport renewals and work visas. I also had the tough task of saying good-bye to my parents, sister and nephew at Paddington train station yesterday. That sucked a lot, but hey, we will be seeing them in five months. Can’t wait for that!

For now, though, I shall digest the last of the cupcakes (yes, I ate one for breakfast, don’t judge me), enjoy our new toaster (bought with gifted Amazon vouchers) and enjoy being married to one heck of a fella (which I most certainly am!).

So Long, 2014


My second Christmas and first full year in the UK has come and gone. I could go the really clichéd route and say, “Wow, time flies!” but it wouldn’t be true. In hindsight, this year was long, but not in a bad way. Granted, it was my first full year away from family and friends–and that got tough sometimes, really tough–but, looking back, 2014 was pretty good to me.

Things were a little rough towards the end of the year, but the thought of what is to come in 2015 was enough to get me through. This year promises to be an epic one. My family and friends are visiting in a few weeks (SO EXCITED!) and Brit Boy and I will be making our way to BC come July. Of course, there are things I am worrying about, but there’s no use getting too caught up in that…or so I keep telling myself ;]

I’m looking forward to fun times ahead. All right, 2015, let’s do this!