Tagged: England

October – Not what I expected

I should be sitting in the middle of an scrumptious brunch right about now, at a spa and wellness center in the middle of the woods. Well that didn’t happen. Instead I’m sitting at home having my morning smoothie (which, btw, is pretty good too).

Really? What happened? 

Remember I told you earlier this month that this would be a busy month? With three big birthday celebration, traveling to both UK and Oslo and a 4 day stay at a spa and wellness center?

Yeah, we remember. You had just been to your first birthday party. Your stepsisters 50th. And you were off to England next. Didn’t you go? 

Oh, no, I had my trip to England as planned. Took off on a Tuesday and back home on Sunday (well Monday morning really) and it was a good trip, all sorts of fun. I will tell you more about it later. Now when I got home though, I got sick, which for one, kinda sucked (who wants to be sick).

No, being sick is’t all that great. 

The worst part, though! I had to cancel going to the birthday party in Oslo.

Oh, no..

Yeah, I had been really looking forward to hanging out with my family. You see, I haven’t seen them in quite a while. And I also have some friends in Oslo that I also haven’t seen in … like… forever. I was kinda hoping to party all night 🙂 And then, next day, if my stepbrother and his wife felt up to it, I could have popped by their place for a few minutes, to hang out with my super cute nephews and check out their new house.

Guess that didn’t happen! 

No, and I didn’t get to hang out with my other friends either 😦

So, what about the Spa.. you did go, didn’t you?  

Sadly, no. The spa was part of my Oslo trip, so we cancelled that one too.

Noooo!

Yeah! Hanging out in the middle of the woods, with nothing but nature around, swimming pools, saunas, yoga, exercise classes, massages and I’m sure, loads of great food. It sure wouldn’t have hurt, either!

Bummer!

I’m with you on that one 😉 Guess I’ll just have to go later some time… Next year maybe?

So what are you up to now then? 

Now? Now, I’m sitting here, enjoying the heck out of this smoothie 😉

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October – a crazy birthday month!

Here we are, already into the month of October. I can’t believe how fast time is going by! What on earth happened to September?

Oh yeah, that’s right, September I was knee deep into my declutter challenge, no wonder time flew by!

So… what have I got up my sleeve for this month?

All I can say, is, that there are going to be a few trips and a whole lot of celebrating 😀

ballonsYou see, October is the month for birthdays, and big ones at that!

Yesterday I celebrated my stepsister’s 50th. It was an awesome party, and a very, very late night 😉

Next, is a trip to UK, to celebrate my brothers wife’s 40th birthday.  We’ll be stopping at Mums for a couple of days first, and then it’s “London, here we come” 😀

As soon as I’m back from England, I’ve got a few days at home, before I’m off again. This time it’s Oslo time, to celebrate my younger stepbrother’s wife’s turning 40.

So you see what I mean by there being birthdays all around 🙂

And what’s on the agenda as soon as all the birthday celebrations are over?

Well, then I’m off to a spa and wellness center, for 4 days of bliss 🙂 (I’m gonna be needing to recover from all the partying you know 😎 )

Will you be hearing from me while I’m on the road? Off course! I will certainly try. Somewhere in all this I should find a moment or two, to jot down a few words!

A fair warning, mind you!

I will not be bringing my laptop on any of the trips. I was thinking of testing out a iPad mini only scenario. I would like to find out how well I can manage, especially on blog related stuff.

You see, I am working on this minimalist list of items to bring, on future travels, and if I find I can get away with iPad only, for blog related stuff (or any stuff really), I will have significantly lightened my load. And then… maybe… there might be some hope, that I can get down to my minimalist backpack.

OK! Confession time!

I have never really properly finalized a post without my laptop! I reckon there will be some trial and error until I get it right (and probably some cursing.. now lucky you, you won’t need to listen to that, poor B on the other hand… )

So, this is my disclaimer!

I give NO guarantees for how it’s gonna look… I’m just saying 😏

 

UK a packing sum up! 

About a month ago I had a trip to England with my friend B, where we were trying out the somewhat “minimalistic packing” routine. Yeah it wasn’t all that minimalistic, but we did each manage on hand luggage only, even including bringing stuff for my mum and brother (Norwegian chocolate is a big thing 😉 )

So how did I do with what I packed? Well, as I suspected I did over pack somewhat, but not as badly as I thought I had done. Since the weather was a mix of everything between one evening of lounging in shorts in the garden, to crashing rain and cold weather, I used almost everything in my bag with the exception of a couple of tops, and a scarf. I have however found a couple of ways to streamline, so that next time, I will bring even less for a short week in UK (except next time might be Christmas, and we all know that is dress up time in mums house… hmmm… that might put a dent into my light packing plans..).

Did I lean anything from my trip? Yes Actually that would be a resounding YES.

I found that I loved how easy it was to navigate with a small wheeled carry on, how easy it was to roll it through the streets to get to the London underground, how easy it was to lift and carry when there was no other options, how easy it was to find space for it on the train and on the plane. It was so easy I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to big suitcases, it was that easy 😉

I did have one more revelation!

After having meandered around in London for a couple days, I came to the conclusion that the less you drag around with you, an easier time you have (yeah, big shocker, I know 🙂 )

Every time I’m out and about on travel, I carry stuff with me in a handbag or small backpack. Having issues with my shoulders, I made B drag the backpack around this time. And what a relief, not really having to carry ANYTHING!!!

I do realize that it’s futile to think that I will be able to continue to never carry stuff around, as I’m THAT person who always need a bottle of water at hand, a small bag with my medication (just in case) and when there is no safe at the hotel, have to keep my passport with me. But, having had a couple of days in London where I was not the designated backpack carrier this time around, I’ve realized I need to re-evaluate, how much I really NEED to lug around.

When we were out and about, I kept my wallet and phone in my jeans pockets. Passport, medication, water, rain jacket, small camera ++ was in the backpack B carried. I quickly started to feel like a nuisance when we were wandering the streets of London, as I was forever digging into the backpack.  To get a bottle of water, sunglasses, dig out the camera, and stuff all that crap back in, over and over again.

So I’ve realized that, for the times I wear clothing that don’t have “huge” pockets, I need a small (very small) cross body purse/bag, that is just big enough to hold on (temporary basis) things like water, wallet, phone, sunglasses and a small camera.

Even though I’m trying to only buy necessities this year, I think there might be a small purse purchase in my near future, if I can find the perfect bag that is. It needs to be light, have a good strap and I would prefer, good internal organization.  I would love if it was possible to clip to my belt loops so I wouldn’t really need to carry it cross body, to save my shoulders, but guess that might be a tall order (unless I find someone who can make it for me).

I love the look of this little Cath Kidston bag, and this one at Tom Bihn seem to have some nifty solutions, but since I tend to like to see/touch the product before I buy, I was hoping to find something a little closer to home.

If you have any suggestions on geat little bags to use for travel, oh, yeah, and what to carry in it. I sure could need a little help 😉

Conclusion! Never use a big bag again, if I can avoid it. Now goal! To downsize even more 😉

Minimalist packing!

After my experience of “lost” luggage on my trip to US last year (it took them 4 days to find it), I’ve decided to try a more minimalistic approach to my packing.

I’ve come across a lot of ultralight packing sites lately, where they travel with 20-32 litres bags, for months at a time. Now, there is no way I’ll ever be on their level of “small” luggage, but I should be able to travel for a week with hand luggage only, wouldn’t you think?

Here is the plan, one carry on and a purse of some sort! Now that can’t be too bad, I am after all only going to be gone for a week, so shouldn’t really need all that much stuff… right?

It all sounded fine, until I got mums shopping list, for Norwegian jam and mayonnaise, and then there is the chocolate I need to bring, a book or two for my mum…  What it boils down to, is that since the jam jar are bigger than the allowed 100 ml carry on bottles, the luggage have to go into the belly of the plane. As I’m travelling with a friend of mine (B), we’ve decided to send one of our carry ons as regular luggage and bring the other into the cabin. With only one carry on each, we still get to practice packing a “lighter” load.

So what am I bringing?

Well.. let’s see.

Beside all the goodies for my mum and my brother, this is pretty much my packing list for a week in England:

  • 1 blue jeans (wearing on the plane)
  • 1 white jeans (for dressing up)
  • 1 blue top (for dressing up)
  • 4 t-shirts (1 for the plane)
  • 1 thin long sleeved shirt
  • 1 tank tops
  • 1 hooded top (wearing)
  • 1 very thin sweater (for dressing up)
  • 1 short
  • 1 belt for shorts
  • 1 belt for jeans (wearing)
  • flip plops
  • jogging shoes (wearing)
  • thin rain jacket
  • thin down packable jacked (wearing)
  • 2 sleep shorts
  • 1 lounge pant
  • underwear/bra
  • 3 pair of socks (wearing 1)
  • thin neck scarf (to protect me from getting cold on the plane)
  • toiletries – the regular stuff like toothbrush/paste, face and body oil, shampoo, contact lenses, medication ++
  • 2 iPads + chargers (my mini, and mums Christmas present (yes, the one she hasn’t gotten yet))
  • small camera
  • phone + charger + ear buds
  • book to read on the trip
  • passport, money and e-ticket
  • sunglasses
  • regular glasses for the evenings
  • travel adapter
  • 1 box of Nescafe Cafe au Chocolate – gotta have my choca mocha fix, you know;-)

My gosh.. that is one awful long list of things.. doesn’t seem very minimalistic now, does it?

I’m sure I’ve packed more than I’ll need, but never mind. It’s not like I’ll be trekking this luggage all over the world now, is it? It’s only a quick trip to hang out with family. Still, it’s a good way to test how little I can get away with for a weeks trip.

So is all this stuff going to fit into my small carry on?

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Well… take a look, and see for yourself 🙂

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It all fit!

Thankfully, half of the stuff is not coming back home with me. Which means, when it comes down to it, I packed with space to spare 😉

So, off I go, tomorrow morning… See you in London!

June in a nutshell and a garden update!

I’m still playing a bit of the catch up game, getting my posts aligned with the month I’m in, so I’m apologizing up front for the fact that there are two monthly sum ups, right after each other.

This time around I thought I would change it up a little, since I am after all catching up 😉

The garden in a nutshell 

I mentioned in my last post, that the plants have been having a hard time this year, figuring out if they really want to bloom or not, and I’m happy to say that June brought some life to them and they finally decided around the middle/end of June that it was time to pop some colour 🙂 The pictures are from June 23rd.


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And would you believe it – it took until June 28th, before my first rose sprung!

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Now, I don’t mind it being a late bloomer 🙂 As I’m greeted by a heavenly smell every time I open my front door.

Activities, exercise and projects
Now, there is that! Since I told my office the bad news early June, I’ve been out and about as much as possible, to keep my mind off it all. Between walks, mowing my neighbours stamp sized lawn, potting plants, mixing mulch, working in the garden, helping a friend shop for IKEA wardrobe and kitchen items, painting a tiny window frame and mowing the lawn at my step-mums allotment, throw in some more walks, and hanging out a lot with friends, I averaged 6 days a week on my activity scale. This time around none of them were proper workouts, as my focus was just being out.

So what about the normal stuff?

Declutter
I’ve done nil, zilch, zip! Yes I know, me bad, I just didn’t have it in me.

Will I do better in July? Hmm, I don’t think so, it is not looking good so far 😦

Only buying necessities
Back on schedule – except as you see from the allowances below, I still struggle a bit with the eating out!

  • Books – nope
  • Eating out – we are back to old habits, probably because I have been out a lot, and we did just as bad as during May.
  • Flowers and plants – none
  • Buying non essentials – yes – a thin packable down jacket, perfect for those chilly spring/summer mornings. I have been looking for a jacked like this for a very long time. And now I found it, so….

Financial goals
Nothing to report.

I guess this is it for the June monthly sum-up! Not very exciting I know, I’m sure things will “pick up” again, soon 😉

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, I will be going to England next week (for a short week). It’s been more than a year since last time, and it’s time! I’ll be visiting my mum for a few days first, before I ramble up to London to hang out with my brother for a day or two. This time around it’s his birthday, and there is no doubt, we gotta celebrate 😉

See you soon…

The inner workings of Heathrow airport!

Remember I told your that I spent some time packing up a clock, I was going to bring with me from London back to Norway? Well it turns out that that clock would take us to the inner workings of Heathrow airport on our way back!

You see, it’s a huge clock! It has a diameter of 122 cm (48 inches). Not exactly something you put in a regular suitcase!

I bought this clock when I was in London, over Christmas last year. It used to hang behind the bar, in my brothers “local” pub, The Bridge House. My brother and his wife lived just around the corner of this pub when they first moved to London, and even though they now have moved further away, they still stay faithful to their “local” pub. And I understand why!

The people that works there are super friendly, always smiling, keen to help and they make even me who don’t get to go there often, feel like part of the family 🙂 No wonder my brother choose to hold his wedding reception in their upstairs party room. They did a wonderful job, and did I mention, their food is really good!

Darn, sitting here, writing about it, makes me miss the place! Guess we need to get back to that clock! I had been searching forever for a big clock to hang in my home, and walking into the The Bridge House, over Christmas, I saw it hanging on the wall, and “fell in love” 🙂 It was made by an local artist, and I couldn’t believe it when Wayne (the owner) let me buy it from him. Big, BIG hug, Wayne 🙂

Turns out shipping wasn’t quite as easy as we thought it would be, so we decided I would bring it back with me on the plane on my May trip.

We packed the clock into a home-made “box”, really some thin mdf type plates, added some wooden pieces, nailed it all together and taped the heck out of the edges with duck tape 🙂

I was a bit nervous about if the airline would let it on the plane, but as soon as they checked it, I felt a sense if relief.

When I turned around to leave for the passport control, I got stopped… “Not so quick madam, you need to come with us!” What the heck? With a sinking feeling I followed this guy who was rolling away my “box”.

Now what? Through some big doors we went, into a tight looooong hallway, deeper and deeper into the inner workings of Heathrow airport. The guy didn’t speak English much, so an explanations wasn’t really forthcoming!

After something that felt like we’d been walking forever (probably really about 5 or 6 minutes) we stopped. The guy tried to put the “box”, which was starting to look as big as a house, through a machine… but nope, no luck! The box was to big, so onwards we went, twisting a turning around all sorts of things, in this low ceiling, dark, tight hallway.

I was starting to wonder were in the world we were going, when he finally stopped in front of some huge doors, and with not a word, he disappeared. And there I was, way into the dark dungeons of Heathrow airport, standing there like a fool, not knowing what was going on, no one around to explain. And no way to get back!!

Suddenly the doors “exploded” open (actually pretty calmly opened, but that doesn’t make for such a good story, now does it 😉 ) and I’m beckoned through, and are met by 3 burly men standing there in their yellow vest looking at me. Oh yeah, this feels really great…

Finally someone who spoke English (sort of). Turns out the machine he was trying to get the box through was an ex-ray machine. And since the box is to big, they have to manually check the box, could I please open it!

What!! Open it, did they know how long I had spend trying to put the darn thing together, and how there are nails, and how much duck tape I had used (and how I had nothing left). Well, turns out, they didn’t care, it had to be opened!

So now this hunt starts for someone with a manual scanner, something to cut the duct tape and some tape to put it back together with.

My goodness, I’m glad I decided to add a few hours to my airport time (just in case), because this wasn’t quite the easy transit I was expecting!

Thankfully, it turns out the guy who scanned it manually, was nice enough to let me not have to open it fully. (I think this was due to me showing a picture if what was inside, and fighting like hell not to have to open all of it. Since it would be a serious pain to put it back together, and they had no tools). Turns out, all I needed to do was open the edges enough for him to stick his magic scanning wand (and arm) into the box, from two different sides. Phew!

So about one hour after I checked the “darn” thing, the box was taped back up, the guys was smiling and I was worn out, but at least free to once again, try to find passport control 🙂

Remind me, NEVER to do this again 😉

You were wondering if it made it to Norway in one piece?

Yepp, it did, here is the box, with airport tape and all! And the clock? Well it haven’t made it to the walls yet, but it’s leaning pretty comfortable to a piece of furniture, for the time beeing 😉

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Hand over!

Not much going on with our London trip today.

I spent the morning wrapping up a huge clock, that I bough here in London over Christmas, that I’m bringing back with me to Norway this trip. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home.

Today though, I’ve handed over a couple of my dad’s things to my brother. Items I’ve been holding for him at my house in Norway.

So what went “out-the-door” today:

1 wooden box, not sure where my dad got it, if it was from his travels or if it’s from grandfathers.

1 keg, made by our great grandfather or grandfather (not sure which).

The only way I could get the keg with me, was to break it down to its individual pieces.

Turns out 1 keg = 31 pieces as you can see from the pictures below…

My dearest brother said he won’t need any help to put it back together again, I wish him luck 😉

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Made it…

Made it! All the way to London (both me and the luggage) 🙂

After doing some tourist things like walking along the Thames river all day, we are now nicely tucked into my brothers house. Drinking coffee, tea and mocha (yes that’s me), all in pj’s watching an episode of “Dads”. It’s nice to relax at the end of a travel day 🙂

Thought I’d share some pictures (iPhone, so not the best quality) from the walk along the Thames today.

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London here I come…

It’s my mums birthday on Saturday, and since it’s a round number, it calls for an extra celebration 🙂

Since my brother and his wife live in London, and mum lives in the south of England, we have decided to meet up in London to celebrate mum this year.

And today I get on a plane… with luggage full of stuff 🙂

Luggage full of stuff? Just for a few days in London? Well, most of my luggage consist of things for my brother actually.

After my dad passed away last year, there have been a few things that have ended up in my house, as we have gone through dad’s stuff. And some of these items I’ve been holding for my brother.

Since I’m going to England for the celebration, I thought I might as well bring a couple of the items with me. And since these are literally things out-the-door 😉 I’ll be posting a little about the items as I hand them over.

Well, I better get out if here, I have a plane to catch. See you all in London 🙂