Tuesday, 12 July 2016

England Holiday Highlights - Part 1

We are back from our holiday in England, currently dealing with jet lag and the dreaded return to work. Our little Ella has adjusted fairly well, sleeping through the last night, after a few very restless and exhausting nights for us. I think daycare tired her out yesterday! 

We spent the first 10 days of our holiday in Waterlooville, East Hampshire (near Portsmouth) at Andy's parents house, aka Grandad and Grandma Bunny. We then travelled to Bicester for the wedding of Lee and Claire, stoping at Gatwick Airport to pick up my parents, aka Nannie and Grampie, who flew in from Toronto. After Bicester we went to London for a few days with Nannie and Grampie, staying in an Airbnb in Herne Hill, our old stomping ground. 

Our first afternoon we had lovely weather (which was not true of the majority of the trip). Andy's parents took Ella out for a big walk so she would nap after our long, arduous flight from Melbourne, also giving Andy and I a chance to freshen up and have a nap. We spent the afternoon in the back garden, blowing bubbles, eating ice cream, and exploring a local park. 


On our second day I headed up to London on the train to catch up with my old friends. We met up at Pop Brixton, located in Brixton, as you might have guessed by the name. Most of my friends live or lived in Brixton during my time in London so it's fair to say I've spent a lot of time in this part of the city. Pop Brixton is new to me though, I think it was built some time in 2015, and is an evolving community space. It was commissioned by the council, supporting local jobs, training, and businesses. It's jumble of pop-up bars, restaurants (eat in and take-away), independent shops and workspaces, all made up from old shipping containers. Sounds weird but it really works. At the back there is an area that looks like a mini football field, with chairs, bars, and a huge screen set up for sports watching, where we saw Ireland beat Italy in the Eurocup. So great to try out a new place and see all my friends!

Me and Guillaume
Me, Alison and Guillaume
Clause, me, Betty and Alison enjoying our food - I'm eating my dessert crepe here, Betty has a bowl of Vietnamese
While in London I stayed at Jon and Betty's place. So great to catch up with these guys, I really miss them living in Melbourne with us. Betty had a report writing day the next day (aka a day off), so I went to a yoga class in the morning at Triyoga while she did some report writing, and then met her in Primrose Hill for lunch. To get from Triyoga to the cafe I was able to walk along Regent's canal which was very calm and peaceful - I love finding places like this in a very busy city! After our lunch I headed back to Waterlooville on the train, saying good-bye to Andy for the next few days as he headed to Barcelona for Lee's stag do. I know very little of what went on this weekend and nor do I want to!

Regent's Canal, Primrose Hill
While Andy was away Dave, Ella and I took a trip to Staunton Farm. Located in East Hampshire, we checked out cows, goats, llamas, donkeys, alpacas and even an ostrich. There was also a great soft play area for babies/toddlers in the Play Barn which Ella enjoyed. Soft play areas and animals are a perfect combination for one-year-olds!



That weekend we were busy with Andy's dad's 60th birthday/retirement party. A great chance to catch up with all of Andy's family - especially Ella's only living great-grandparent. Andy managed to make it for the party Sunday afternoon, looking surprisingly fresh after his weekend in Barcelona!

Ella - stealing the show at Dave's retirement party
Mmmm cake!
After the weekend we headed over to Emsworth, a small town in Hampshire on the south coast. We enjoyed a walk along the Chichester Harbour, feeding some ducks, and wandering around the cute town looking in charity shops and stoping for lunch at the Driftwood Café.

Emsworth: Town square, Lake Emsworth and feeding the ducks
Our second last day in Waterlooville included a shopping trip to Portsmouth where I found a dress to wear at Lee and Claire's wedding in about half an hour... surely that is some kind of record?! And it was on sale, what a bonus! (Pics to follow in the next post.)

We also visited the Waterlooville Leisure Centre to take Ella swimming. Unfortunately the water was pretty cold so we didn't stay long. However once there we discovered they have a HUGE play centre, with different areas for different ages. Ella absolutely loves any sort of soft play centre - they are a great place for her to crawl around and explore. Each section of the play centre was designed to look like a different country, and funnily enough the baby section was Australia!

Waterlooville Playcentre

Our last night was spent with Andy's good friend's Alex and Michelle, who have a 9 month old. Ella loved playing with all her toys and especially with their dog, Woody. She just cuddled up to him at the end of the night which was super cute. 

Ella and Woody
And that's all for part 1! Stay tuned for part 2, with highlights from our weekend in Bicester and a time in London. We got to spend time with my parents and shockingly the sun actually came out for our last few days, before returning to wintery Melbourne.


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