Sherlock Returns!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014
It's official, the boys of 221b Baker Street are back! Today BBC One announced that their hit television show, Sherlock, will be returning to our screens for a special and three new episodes. Sherlock's return was announced via Twitter at 2:21pm:
The fact that Sherlock is returning for a fourth series will not shock any fans of the show, but this is the first time dates have been put to the series. Filming starts in January 2015 with the special airing in Christmas 2015. So in short, yes we did miss you Moriarty.. but will still have to wait over a year to see Sherlock Holmes on the case!

BBC One's Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

 The game is... ON

Erin x

Travel Throwback #3: Disneyland

Thursday, 26 June 2014
One thing people might not know about me is that I'm a certified Disney freak! My mom took me to Disneyland for the first time when I was two-years-old, and after that I went to Disneyland two or three times a year, most years I even had an annual pass. As one can imagine, I have a lot of Disneyland memories with my mom and my fellow Disney girl, Amy.

For this travel throwback I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of these with you. I dedicate this post to my fellow Disney girls, my mom and Amy, who made so many of these memories with me!

Disneyland Girls in New Orleans Square
Disneyland Girls in New Orleans Square (April 2010)

First off, let me start by saying that one of the things I love about Disneyland is that everyone has their own unique traditions when they visit The Happiest Place on Earth!

One of my Disneyland traditions starts the night before, when I would watch Disney's Sing Along Songs' Disneyland Fun. My mom bought me the VHS before one of my trip to Disneyland to help explain where we were going. Later on we bought it on DVD and now you can watch it here in all its 90's glory thanks to YouTube!

This tradition still stands, I even made Luke watch it with me before our first trip to Disneyland together in April 2010.

The second of my traditions is getting a picture taken in front of the White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland's door. The door is located to the side of The Mad Hatter in Fantasyland. My earlier photographs prior to age fourteen are unfortunately still at my mom's house but I do have a number from my trips throughout high school and beyond.

Alice In Wonderland's the White Rabbit's Door at Disneyland
Selection of photographs in front of the White Rabbit's door in Disneyland

Now, you don't become a Disney freak without learning a few secrets about Disneyland over the years. Rather than keep these secrets for myself, I decided to stop being so selfish and share some of these secrets with you! So here are my top 5 Disneyland secrets:

1. There is a secret members-only club in Disneyland known as Club 33. Walt Disney had it built to entertain his guests.

Disneyland's members-only Club 33
Dining at Club 33 in Disneyland

2. In the nursery on Peter Pan's Flight, the blocks on the floor spell out "Disney" and "Pan" but look quickly, you'll soon be flying off to Never Never Land!

Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland, Disneyland

3. If you are visiting Disneyland for the first time or celebrating a birthday there, then pop over to City Hall in Mainstreet U.S.A. to receive a "Disneyland 1st Visit" or "Happy Birthday" badge!

Disneyland First Visit Badge
My step brother proudly showing off his "Disneyland 1st Visit" badge!

3. The statuettes in Snow White's Grotto were gifted to Disneyland anonymously. All the statuettes are the same size but thanks to a little Disney magic (forced-perspective) Snow White appears bigger than the dwarves.

Snow White's Grotto in Disneyland
Visiting Snow White's Grotto during our 8th Grade Disneyland trip!

4. Walt Disney reportedly wanted to use real animals in Disneyland's Jungle Cruise but was advised against it. As a special BONUS secret, apparently Kevin Costner (one of my mom's favourite actors for some reason) used to be a Jungle Cruise Skipper! I'm assuming this was before his Dancing With Wolves days.

Disneyland's Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
Disneyland's Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
Disneyland's Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
This Jungle Cruise photograph would be so different with real animals.

5. There are dead bodies in Disneyland! There have been reports of several families attempting to scatter their loved ones' ashes in the Haunted Mansion. Well, they did say there was "room for one more".

Disneyland's The Haunted Mansion
Disneyland's The Haunted Mansion

Q: Have you ever been to Disneyland? Do you have any traditions or fun facts?

Erin x

Welcome Summer!

Monday, 23 June 2014
BREAKING NEWS: Summer is officially here! 

The past few weekends have been lovely but unfortunately Luke and I have not been able to enjoy them as we've been stuck inside decorating and doing DIY fun! It has been worth it but both of us are tired and going to take a break for the summer. This weekend was the first weekend where we didn't touch a paintbrush and man did it feel good!

Milton Keynes Rugby 7s Beer and Cider Festival 2014

On Saturday we spent the day the Milton Keynes Rugby 7s Beer and Cider Festival. Luke's team, The Convicts, had entered nearly ten weeks ago and he has been looking forward to it ever since. Seriously, he was like a child on Christmas morning! 

The Convicts Milton Keynes Rugby 7s Team
Milton Keynes Rugby 7s Social Tournament Champions 2014: The Convicts
Milton Keynes Rugby 7s Social Tournament Champions 2014: The Convicts

Luke was confident that his team would win the social tournament, in fact he stated "if The Convicts don't win, I'll do a lap of the rugby pitch naked." Thankfully The Convicts did win and he didn't have to treat the nearly 1,000 people to a laugh! Their winnings equalled £100 in beer money plus a package of beer from Marston's Brewery. Considering most of the team couldn't stay at the club late and they still had £80 left over from the kitty that meant a lot of celebratory drinks to go around.

Milton Keynes Rugby 7s Social Tournament Champions 2014: The Convicts

Sunday left some of us feeling a little worse for wear, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the day.  Luke and I headed to our friends' new house for the first official barbecue of summer! This was not before a group shopping trip to Aldi. For those of you who aren't in the "know", Aldi is a supermarket that sells cheaper alternatives to name brands. I'll admit it, I've been a bit of a snob about going there, but in the past few weeks have found it amazing! You can find such great bargains, like Luke found a neoprene rugby ball there yesterday for £2.99 and he's already gotten his money's worth of use.

Sorry I digressed a bit there on my love of Aldi. Anyway, the point is we had an amazing barbecue filled with sun, sausages and a few gin and tonics. After our barbecue we went for a walk around the neighbourhood through the parks and around the lake. The perfect ending to a lovely weekend!

I leave you with this parting question...

Q: Who wore it best? Luke with his blue shirt and plain t-shirt or Pete with his blue shirt and print?

Who Wore It Best?

Erin x

Life is Swede Review

Friday, 20 June 2014
Life is Swede by Claire Duffy
A little over a week ago I received an email from Claire Duffy, a fellow expat blogger living in Sweden, asking me if I would read her first published novel, Life is Swede. I had just finished reading The Fault In Our Stars so considered it fortuitous timing to read a book that wouldn't leave me sobbing into it's pages.

Life is Swede is about an American expat named Regan who moves to Stockholm after a "whirlwind romance" with a Swedish hunk. Her Viking, as she affectionately calls him, is the picture of a Swedish hunk. Seriously I couldn't get the image of Alexander Skarsgård out of my head, which of course isn't a bad thing.

Regan's early account of life in Stockholm will speak to any expat. We’ve all had our little bumps and bruises during the settling in period. In fact a lot of what happens to Regan happened to Claire in the first place. That is until one of Regan’s “friends” gets murdered. That’s right I said it, murdered. No, this isn’t your typical expat story this one has a little something more.

If you are looking for an easy summer read, then I’d recommend giving Life is Swede a try! Regan’s adventures and mishaps are very relatable and everyone loves a good whodunit! 

Erin x
Order your copy of Life is Swede from Amazon today!

*This post is sponsored by Claire Duffy, to learn more about her and her work please visit her website, The Grass Is Dancing. I only collaborate with companies if I believe their product to be valuable to my readers. All opinions are my own.

Travel Throwback #2: Windsor Castle

Thursday, 29 May 2014
Two weeks ago I shared a travel throwback from my first trip to London, England in 2004 to celebrate my sixteenth birthday. Located on the outskirts of London is Windsor Castle which you can travel to easily by rail from both Waterloo and Paddington station. The train ride takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour (depending on the train you get), making it the perfect day trip from London, which is precisely what my mom and I did.

Windsor Castle is Queen Elizabeth II's preferred weekend home and is often used for hosting state visits, as well as being a popular tourist attraction (when the Queen isn't in residence of course). However the original castle dates back to the 11th century after William the Conqueror (whom I've currently been reading about in Stephen Clarke's 1000 Years of Annoying the French).

The Round Tower of Windsor Castle
Round Tower of Windsor Castle, England
Round Tower of Windsor Castle, England
The Round Tower of Windsor Castle

The current reigning monarch isn't the only one to use Windsor Castle as one of her official royal residences. It has been occupied since the time of Henry I (1068-1135) making it the longest occupied castle in Europe! Famous residents include Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, the mad King George III, and Victoria.

During World War II, Windsor Castle served as the refuge of the royal family, perhaps explaining the Queen's attachment to the place.

Archway of Windsor Castle, England
Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park
Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park

The Guards Polo Club located in Windsor Great Park has been associated with the royal family since it's formation in 1955. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is president of the club and Queen Elizabeth II its patron.

Princes William and Harry have often played here. In fact the day before we visited, both princes had been in Windsor for a polo match. I was livid when I discovered we missed it by a day!

St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

As well as being Queen Elizabeth II's place of worship while in residence at Windsor Castle, St. George's Chapel has been the site of many royal weddings. It was particularly popular during Queen Victoria's era, hosting the weddings of her children Prince Albert Edward (Edward VII), Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur and Prince Leopold. In more recent years, Prince Charles and  Camilla Parker Bowles received a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2005.

Besides royal weddings, St. George's Chapel has been the site of many royal burials including Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville of The White Queen fame. Other famous royals who call St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle their final resting place include:
  • Jane Seymour (one of Henry VIII's six wives)
  • Henry VIII
  • George III
  • George VI
  • Princess Margaret
  • Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (The Queen Mother)

Windsor High Street
Windsor High Street

Besides the castle, the town of Windsor boasts a wide selection of shops ranging from gift shops around the castle to high street favourites like Marks & Spencer and Boots.

Windsor is worth a visit whether you're a tourist in London looking for a day out or living in England and looking for a weekend break!

Q: Have you ever been to Windsor Castle? What did you think?

Erin x

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