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Archive for June, 2008

The Big Trip: Brighton

For those unfamiliar with Pride and Prejudice, Brighton (a seaside town south of London) is a place where the youngest daughter of the Bennett clan goes for a social season and ultimately gets in trouble with a particular up-to-no-good officer. Kitty, her slightly older sister desperately wants to go to Brighton too but much to her disappointment, is not invited. Kara and I talked about going on a day trip somewhere close to London and decided that Brighton would be a perfect spot. I mean if Kitty wanted to go so badly, we figured it was worth a trip.

We took the train from London to get there–only about an hour and you are dropped off in the heart of Brighton. I would say Brighton is a great mixture of the ocean, history, and modern-day color. Perfectly situated for a day trip, you can come and leave in a day and still feel like you got a good taste of the town.

We started our day by walking around the North Laine area where there are some eclectic shops and yummy restaurants. I wish we had taken more pictures of the buildings and neighborhood but this is the best I have got.

I could really picture what this town must have looked like back in the day. Lots of old and beautiful architecture with the ocean as a backdrop. Today, the town adds to it kind of a youthful hippie vibe. The mixture of the old and the new is always an interesting one to me so I really liked observing life in Brighton.

Our hands down favorite activity of the day was visiting The Royal Pavilion.

Oh how we loved this palace. If we were allowed to take pictures inside you would be subjected to a slew of photos showing you exactly why the pavilion is so amazing. Although I am afraid pictures wouldn’t really do it justice. You have to go inside and see for yourself.

The palace was built by the prince regent in the early 1800’s (who eventually would become King George IV.) It is crazy interesting since on the outside it looks like it should be in the Middle East somewhere and on the inside there is this wacky but opulent mix of Asian art, themes, and decor mixed with the more traditional regency style. There is no way my description can do it justice. I mean there is a huge gilded dragon affixed to the central chandelier in the banquet room. That is the kind of stuff I am talking about. Crazy stuff.

They give you those self guided tour headsets and Kara and I couldn’t get enough. We listened to every possible nugget of information. We spent a long time inside and so before we finished the tour we stopped for a refreshing beverage on the upstairs patio.

Here’s to you King George.

Here is the view looking out onto the pretty gardens. Masses of people hang out in the park nowadays. It is where I would eat lunch everyday if I lived in Brighton.

After the pavilion tour we were ready for some relaxing time at the beach. Both of us have special attachments to the ocean and were looking forward to digging our feet in the san….

Strangest sand ever.

Yes folks, the beach consists of millions upon millions of rocks. It is so interesting and oddly comfortable to lay down in. Kara and I spent some quality time sitting, staring at the ocean and resting our tired feet.

The above picture overlooks Brighton Pier. That is the best segue I could think of so I could show you this picture.

At the end of the pier is a mini amusement park. We walked to the end but didn’t go on any rides as our energy was starting to wane. Brighton turned out to be the perfect day trip from London. It is different enough to enjoy the contrast from London and full of unique sights to keep you occupied.

We love you Brighton!

Next time: Norway gives us a cold reception.

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One of the beautiful things about going on this kind of trip is walking. Lots and lots of walking. I enjoy exploring a city on foot because I feel it is one of the best ways you can quickly learn about your surroundings and get a feel for the energy of a place. I also love walking because you burn calories. Lots and lots of calories. For someone who loves food like I do, this was a sweet opportunity to eat whatever I wanted and neither gain weight nor feel gross from over indulgence. It was awesome.

I know England is not known for its culinary prowess. But there really is some great food in London. The first night I was there I knew I had to buy me some chocolate bars. Specifically, Dairy Milk with Caramel. I don’t really eat chocolate bars in my normal life but I can’t get enough of these when I am in England. I guess better chocolate really does make a more delicious chocolate bar. Imagine that. The other snack treat I like in England are all those McVitie’s cookies. I am sure a lot of you have heard of Hob Nobs. I like those and pretty much every other kind of McVitie’s cookie. I can’t help it, like me some British treats.

A new to me British treat I became slightly obsessed with on this trip was the 99 flake. This is a soft serve ice cream cone with a flake chocolate stick stuck inside. You can buy one in various ice cream carts throughout the city–I LOVE buying food from carts. Anyway, I became a little obsessed with having one of these delectable treats. Plus, they only cost 99p…or so I thought. I believed (like any rational person would) that the reason the ice cream is called 99 flake is because that is how much it costs. Not so, it costs around 1.50 pounds. Granted, not a ton of money or anything, just left me very confused for the inexplicable name of the ice cream cone. Anyhow, confusing name aside, I loved my 99 flake.

Another yummy experience we had was afternoon tea at the The Orangery restaurant at Kensington Palace.

Love. Little. Mini. Orange. Plants.

Spot of tea?

Mmmmm. Orangery cake.

And the gardens around Kensington Palace?

This picture looks garden of eden-ish to me.

There was more to celebrate than just food on this trip. May 14th was Kara’s birthday. We had a full day planned for the “perfect” birthday celebration. Of course, what is a birthday without a little bit of drama? We were soon to leave for Scandinavia when Kara realized that she was out of passport pages. First, can you imagine having a passport where you are out of pages? My sister is cool. Anyway, on her birthday morning we found ourselves at the US Embassy hoping they would be able to give Kara extra pages for her passport at the last minute. Thing is, they close for lunch and we got there just a tad too late. Only problem, we had tickets to a matinee for Wicked. We were freaking out a little that Kara either wouldn’t get her pages or would completely miss her birthday show but if I am being honest, I wasn’t really too worried. I’ve seen The Saint–I know how awesome US Embassies are. So I went ahead to the show and birthday miracle that it was, Kara arrived only a little late AND she got her pages.

My happy birthday girl.

That night we went out with Kara’s flatmates to a great Thai restaurant and then after went for the largest ice cream sundaes ever with met my best friend from high school who now lives in London. I was reminded on this trip why Megan is a lifelong friend. You know the friend who you might not see or talk to for years but with whom you are still completely connected to and immediately at ease with when you do see each other? That is Megan.

Megan is as funny and kind and smart and beautiful as she was in high school.

Miss you already Meaghaan!

Up next: “But I want to go to Brighton!”

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The big trip. I don’t know how many posts this will take but here begins my effort to share snapshots of my fabulous trip with my even more fab sister.  Enjoy…

So the trip began in London.  I had been to London before, lived there for a semester in college–long enough to have any blood I try to donate rejected because of potential dormant mad cow disease.  Anyway, my point is, I have spent some quality time there which meant that I wasn’t too pressured to see everything.  Our time in London was simply about Kara and I hanging out in a city we both love.

One of the first self-portraits we took.  And believe me, we took many.

There is just something about Big Ben.

One of my favorite pictures of Kara while picnicking in Hyde Park.

Kara has perfect billowy, wind-tossed hair.

As it has been close to 13 years (yikes) since my time in London, we visited some new to me sights. Like the Globe:

And the over-priced London Eye:

For those who don’t know, the London Eye is a huge ferris wheel-like “ride” with pods holding 30-ish people rotating around and giving you amazing views of the city.  I am glad I went on it but I feel like it is a one time thing.  Unless of course next time someone else pays.  Then I am in.  See what it looks like inside:

Next up for London: food, friends, and birthday mishaps

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Honestly, why on earth did I wait so long to finish this:

Cherry is done and I love her. I had a suspicion that this would be one of those infallible patterns. Not a single version I saw finished was ill fitting–everyone looked great in it. I was so pleased to discover I was right, it is simply a great pattern. Some things I love about it? The sleeves (see below). I love how slightly gathered they are on top and the length and the overall look of them. I also love the color. I got really lucky with this part as webs had an amazing sale on this color of the suggested yarn and I got it for something like 2.50 a ball. I think the whole sweater cost me less than 30 dollars to make. I really just love how classic and simple it is. Totally wearable and yet still fun to knit.

Project Stats

Pattern: Cherry

Source: Anna Bell @My Fashionable Life

Yarn: Jo Sharp SoHo Summer DK Cotton

Needles: US 6

Size: 36/38 hybrid (see mods below)

Mods: I did make a few changes to this sweater and I am sure you can guess the first one. As is becoming my custom, I added 4-5 inches to the length of the sweater. I added most of the length before the waist band and about an inch after. Remember, when you knit more length to a sweater, you need more yarn. I know that sounds simple, but learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to place a second order a month after your first.

I had a hard time deciding what size to knit as my bust size falls right in between two given sizes. The sweater is designed with one inch of positive ease on the bust–which I wanted–but if I followed the sizes as written it would either be zero ease or 2 inches of positive ease for me. So I decided to knit the back in size 36 and the front in size 38. A compromise that worked to give me about 1 inch of positive ease. Perfect.

I started this sweater back in August of last year. I put it on a huge hold for all those reasons that we put projects on hold: change of season, loss of interest, giving attention elsewhere, life in general. I have to tell you though, it feels so good to finish. I like finishing things. Must remember how much I like finishing things.

Oh yes, and I am officially back from all my traveling. The next several posts will most likely be travel related, just as a heads up. To start it off (and to keep with the theme of this post) here is Cherry in the gardens of Versailles:

She had a grand time.

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