Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Chris and I will be playing hooky from work on Thursday... but for a good cause... we are off to Wimbledon Village for our first taste of grass court tennis! Chris was able to score center court tickets for Thursdays qualifying rounds. We hope to see Andy Murray, Venus Williams and And Roddick... not all at the same time, of course! Anyone watching from home should keep an eye out for us in the stands. Seats are assigned as you pick up your tickets on the day of... so we "plan" to turn up at 8 am when the box office opens. This means that we will get there just as the first ball is whacked into played and will likely be sitting in the parking lot! Regardless, Wimbledon here we come!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taste of London

On Friday night, Chris and I headed to Regent's Park to get our eat on at the Taste of London! The weather was less than perfect but it wasn't raining and the wind was pretty tame so I would call it acceptable... beggars can't be choosers, right ;-)
We were both starving by the time we weaved our way through the crowds... so we waisted as little time as possible identifying our targets: Asia de Cuba, Hereford Road, Mango Tree, Bumpkin and anything that struck our fancy along the way!
I have been wanting to try Bumpkin for a few months... the slogan pretty much describes us perfectly!
Best chicken pot pie, ever!

I almost lost Chris at the grilling demo. He was mesmerized by the flames and drooling over the salmon! I think he misses his grill :-(
Poor guy!!! An outdoor space is a must have for our next flat!!

This display was from The Blue Elephant, the Thai restaurant we visited while on our honeymoon in 2004. Great Thai food but their real speciality is the presentation... our entire meal was accompanied by carved goodies! We watched a lady carve a carrot into a flower... amazing skill! I would surely slice my fingers off.

Chris trout from Hereford Road was 100 times better than my rabbit... and I don't even like fish! I was disappointed in Hereford Road after hearing such good things about it... oh well... you win some, you lose some.
No pictures of the deserts... they were gone before I could even think to take out my camera! If anyone is planning to visit London in the next summer, I would highly recommend timing the trip to coincide with the TOL!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stop and smell the roses...

Last Sunday (yes, I am nearly caught up with the blog!!) Chris and I headed to the southeast corner of Hyde Park for a walk through the rose garden. The weather was once again beautiful; mid 70's, a slight cool breeze, bright sunshine, perfectly blue skies and big white fluffy clouds... it doesn't get much better than this!!! I find it difficult on days like this to believe/remember that London could ever have bad weather... London is always quick to remind me as it was raining in buckets and hailing on Monday afternoon as I was walking home!!!
Enough about the fickle London weather!!! Last week, during the Underground strike, I had a training in Victoria. I took the bus in the morning... which was a nightmare to say the least. There were hundreds of people at almost every bus stop, the roads were packed with buses, cars, bikes, and walkers, and the journey that should have taken 20 minutes at most took over and hour! I was squished into the bus with a short, dirty man who was oozing the smell of cheap liquor holding onto the railing with his face about 3 inches from my chest!!! Not the experience you want at 8 am with only one cup of coffee under your belt!!! So, when the training wrapped up I headed to the sidewalk (along with another lady from the class) to walk home. It took about 45 minutes and we walked past the back of Buckingham Palace into Hyde Park and along the Serpentine. Along the walk, I discovered the Hyde Park Rose Gardens and instantly wished I had my camera! Come Sunday and the sunny weather, I grabbed Chris and the camera and headed back to the gardens! Lucky Chris!!!

I know this one is not a rose... but I liked the picture so... my blog, my rules ;-)

Too bad I can't attach the smell along with the pictures! With so many roses in bloom, we could smell the scent before we could even see the flowers! I think I was about a week late as many of the plants were starting to drop their petals. I have marked my calendar to return next year about 3 weeks earlier... just in case there a chance it could be even more magical!

Tomorrow Chris and I are heading to the Taste of London. I hope to get some yummy pictures so come back soon!

Until then!!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Caught in the Act

The random credit card charges for "kitty porn" are starting to make sense...

Unfortunately, It doesn't seem like it is doing much for Moe... or maybe he is just contemplating ordering a pay-per-view... teenagers!


According the this website: "The only restaurant in the world serving a variety of classic Polish dishes as well as Mexican favourites."
Kielbasa Taco, anyone?

Monday, June 15, 2009

A trip to the top of London...

We had been planning to go to Hampstead Heath for a few months but for one reason or another kept putting it off. A few weeks ago, we had brunch with Christian and Areej... they had spent the previous day exploring the Heath and Primrose Hill. They both went on and on about how much they enjoyed the area so the next weekend... you guessed it... we made the "journey" north to check it out for ourselves. One thing I have come to realize living in London is that distances that used to be short and manageable by car... are "far" via public transport. This is especially the case when you have to change trains or buses. The heart of Hampstead Heath is only about 3 and 1/2 miles from our front door. However, when you factor in the wait for the bus, the actual bus ride, and the additional walk to the park once we got off at the wrong stop... it took us about an hour! It all worked out in the end because we broke the journey with a pub break!
Nothing like an antipasto platter and a couple of pints to start a Sunday off right! Yummy!

I fell in love with the neighborhood we walked through on our way to the park... Tons of character and charm. Some of the houses... and yes, they were houses... were gigantic! Apparently, back in the "day" wealthy Londoners moved to this area to escape the hustle and bustle of city life... about 7 miles away!

Can't you just see us living here?!?

At this point in the walk (aka photo session), Chris was rolling his eyes and leaving me behind! I couldn't help it... too many opportunities to make it in to the 2009 Laura Kipphut Card Collection ;-)

Alas, we finally made it to the park and apparently to the top of London! The park is mostly unmanicured and natural, a nice change from the Royal Parks around us. It was almost like hiking through the woods with thousands of strangers! You can't tell by this picture but the park was packed with picnicers, sunbathers, dog walkers, bikers, etc!

I made Chris wait for about 10 minutes for a man who was sitting under this tree to leave so I could get a "person free" pic! He is such a good sport! I think the wait was worth it! The tree is awesome!

The park just went on and on... there were even 3 swimming lakes (one for men, one for women and one co-ed). Next time we will bring our suits. I could definitely get lost here, especially since there are no sign posts or maps to guide you along the way.

Either Chris is shrinking or this tree is gigantic!
We eventually found our way from the south end of the park to the north end where we met Tim at the Old Bull and Bush for another round of pints (glass of Sauvignon Blanc for me :-) and dinner. If the warm weather holds out for the weekend... we may just head back for round 2 this weekend!
Until next time!!
~Hugs and Kisses~

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Richmond Riviera

After hanging out at Kew Gardens for a few hours, we decided to head a little farther west for an impromptu pub crawl in Richmond! It was only a stop or two further on the train and then a short walk to the Thames River. We were expecting people but we weren't expecting this...

The sun even brought the police out from behind the CCTV cameras!

It is hard to tell in the pictures but people were lounging around on every possible surface and many were in their bathing suits! The crowd was diverse and entertaining to say the least... some of the best people watching EVER!

We eventually found our way to The White Cross and settled into the perfect spot for enjoying a pint, the weather and the people!

It didn't take long for the show to get good... please note the yellow Miata like car floating in the middle of the river!

It's a car, it's a boat, it's a car, it's a boat... it's a something! And Chris could not resist heading out to take as many pictures as possible!!!

The steering wheel is in the middle of the car...er I mean boat?

If we were to ever move outside of the city, I think this would be our 1st purchase... we could commute to work via the river! Much easier than the tubes or buses... especially in light of the next pending strike!

While at The White Cross, we met this lovely man. I have no idea what his name is but what I can tell you is this: He served in WWII on 3 different islands around Great Britain, the worst being an island off the northern coast of Scotland (I think it was the Orkneys but not sure). During the war, our friend was part of the entertainment that played for the troops who were stationed in places that the USO (or whatever the UK's version of the USO is) could not reach. After the war he decided to move to London and become a professional drummer! He was a session drummer for recording studios and toured with various bands. His stories were fascinating... the first time. Unfortunately, our guest was getting up there in age and may have had a pint or 10 too many so he was telling us the same thing, over and over and over again! He told us where he parked his car, how he walked to the pub from where he parked his car, how the river was up over the railings which forced him to walk all the way around to the other bridge and how he loves the pub because during the week the "ancient" men come and talk about the old days! Mind you, he did not include himself in the "ancient" men crowd!! He was a dear old man and I really enjoyed chatting with him... but I must admitted that Chris and I could not look at one another out of fear we would totally lose it! In the picture above, I think he had just pointed out f(or the 5th or 6th time) the bridge he walked over!!!
How on earth do I manage to meet these people?!? Who knows for sure... but they sure do make things interesting ;-)
Come back soon for more on the fabulous, sunny London summer and our tour of Hampstead Heath!
Until then, XOXO!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kew... or atleast the west side of it!

The Spring Bank Holiday caught us by surprise and when a quick search for an inexpensive getaway provided too many choices... we ended up staying in London. The weather was absolutely amazing (as I noted in the previous post about riding in Hyde Park) so the obvious choice for a Sunday activity was Kew Gardens followed by a pint in Richmond!
A quick recap of the day: Get up at 7 and catch the 9 o'clock train to Kew, enter Kew at 10ish, walk around looking at plants, birds, old houses, etc and realize at 2ish that I have blazing hot sunburn! Buy a 12 gbp tube of sunscreen at a natural food store because nothing is open in Kew on Sunday and then head to the pub!!! Have a pint and watch another patron fall off the bar stool while arguing with the management that he had not yet had enough to drink!! And no, the other patron was not Chris ;-) All in all, it was an amazingly enjoyable trip full of excitement.

Enjoy the pics!

I lost the map of the gardens about 20 minutes after we walked in the gate! My solution... take a picture of the sign posted map! It served it's purpose and now I can give you an idea of how huge the gardens are... over 300 acres!

My Mema on my father's side (Hilda) is a lifetime member of the American Iris Society. Last Spring I accompanied her to Austin, Texas for the annual conference and got to know more about the flower... Unfortunately, the education was lost on me! I have a love for the iris mainly because they make me think of Mema! Which inevitably makes me crave a good old fashion southern breakfast... or a fry-up as they would say in the UK!

One of the Glass Houses... full of tropical plants! It was nice to see so many plants that I recognized... Palms galore!!!

One thing I love about "old" places is the effort and attention paid to the little details. The glass houses where beautiful and every inch had details like this...

Chris doing an unintended imitation of his father... Yes, that is a Starbucks' cup in his hand! If he had been wearing a red Bucs caps the imitation would have been spot on!

The FloridaGirl Flower... a rare species, just recently discovered ;-)

I wish I could take credit for this picture! However, this is one of Chris's masterpieces... the man is good at EVERYTHING he does!!!

The moment we saw the pagoda we had flash backs of Munich and The English Gardens! Unfortunately, there was no beer garden at the base of this pagoda...

I am developing a fine appreciation of Japanese gardens. I love the use of texture to define space. I also like how the pebbles are used to imitate water. I just think the entire affect is calming.

We could hear this peacock crowing from the other side of the park. It was difficult to tell what was make the god awful sound. After listening to it for about 45 minutes, Chris declared that it was a pterodactyl! Imagine our surprise when we turned the corner and saw this fancy pants bird sitting on the roof of the toilets! The odd thing was that everyone was crowded around taking pictures as I walked out of the ladies room... it felt very awkward and I was not sure if I should smile and pose or just keep walking!

Apparently the animal stalking conspiracy has travelled all the way to Kew! This goose gave me the evil eye... I promptly retreated to a safe distance fearing the worst... you can never be too careful when it comes to large birds!

This is not trick photography, the lily pads are THAT big! I was plotting to jump the railing and see if I could stand on one without sinking... then Chris gave me the "look." Nuff said?!?

It must have been about 100 degrees and 99% humidity in the lily house! And as you can tell from the stillness of the water... not a breeze in sight! Chris only lasted a few minutes but I stuck around and took about 50 pictures! I love the reflection on the water!

Take a minute and click on this picture. Pay close attention to the man over my right shoulder!
How funny!!!

I spent all day trying to get a good picture of Chris and I... how did I do?
Come back soon to see the pictures from the second part of our Sunday in Richmond!
Until then!