2013-07-30 14.31.16

Looking Back on 2013: Wales

Arty-Pharty holiday to Wales

The older I get, the luckier I feel that two of my best friends in the world have been my best friends since we were two years old. To be honest, they are more like sisters than friends now and I am so grateful that we’ve been able to stay so close, even while living in opposite corners of the country (London, Yorkshire and Devon).

When Rob and I were planning our wedding, the girlies and I spent a lot more time in the same place, as they came up to help with dress shopping and we spent some lovely, drunken days in the woods for my hen weekend. It was so lovely having them around and so I was determined that we set some time aside for a proper catch up last summer as well.

Arty-Pharty holiday to Wales

I found this gorgeous view online and booked us in for a week, just outside of Menai Bridge in Angelsey.

A week of wine, wild planning and general arty-pharty-ness was exactly what we all needed. It felt like a recharging of my creative batteries, and a complete break from the ‘real world’.

Arty-Pharty holiday to Wales

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Looking Back on 2013: Switzerland

After the chaos of planning and hosting our wedding, we decided we needed a ‘proper’ holiday; something we’ve not really done before. We’ve certainly traveled a lot together, ever since Rob came out to join me in New York way back in 2005, we’ve been finding new places and cities to add to our bucket list.

The place I had always dreamed to revisit though was Switzerland. I’d been as a teenager with the Girl Guides, and it was my first independent overseas adventure – probably the moment I got hooked on both travel and mountains. One memory stood out to me, of a lazy summer day spent by the edge of a lake, on the top of a mountain. I couldn’t have remembered the name of it, just the view, and had pretty much given up ever going back there again.

Pinterest though had other ideas, and one day whilst searching for mountain-porn on travel boards, I saw it – Oeschinensee (no wonder I couldn’t remember that!).
Day Six - Oeschinensee Rob didn’t need much convincing and we soon had a ten day euro-rail trip planned: around Geneva, Kanderstag and Bern.

Day One - Geneva
Geneva was beautiful.
Day Two - Brig
Brig was beautiful.
Day Two - Kandersteg
Kanderstag was beautiful.
Day Seven - Bern
Bern was beautiful.
Day Three - Neisen
The mountains were beautiful.
Day Three - Speiz
The lakes were beautiful (as was Rob’s planking).

You get the idea… everything you’ve heard about Switzerland is true. It is very expensive, but worth it.

273vin

Looking Back on 2012

Warning: Photo heavy!

This year has been a biggie, but I’ve hardly had time to stop and rest let alone blog. This was our 2012.

In January and February the wedding planning started, not at all stressful; it was really just an opportunity to spend girly time with my mum and my closest friends.

2012 in photos

In March I made sure I was making time for me – walks around beautiful gardens and an Emmy the Great concert.2012 in photos1

In April it rained, so we went to the beach.

2012 in photos2

May – my birthday month was spent eating cupcakes and training for my first ever 5k run.

2012 in photos3

In June R and I went camping near York, and I had the amazing experience of seeing HH the Dalai Lama speak in Manchester.

2012 in photos4

July: school finished and I headed to Sherwood Forest with the ladies in my life for a pre-wedding send off.

2012 in photos6

And then in August R and I got married, surrounded by family and friends, and followed by a beautiful week in Paris.

2012 in photos5

With the remainder of our year we have laid pretty low, and my camera/phone breaking means I hardly have any photos from the last couple of months. Married life is good though, and we are busy planning our adventures for 2013!

What we’ve been up to.

camping
To make the most of the the last few weeks of the summer, Rob and I decided to spend some time camping in the Peak District, where we got to explore, walk lots, and cook some fancy camp-meals (gnocci, posh sausages, wine sauces etc.)

The camp-site was basic but nice, and I had only booked it because of the Lord of the Rings theme (following our trail of filming locations in NZ last year), Rivendale even has a pub called The Prancing Pony where we enjoyed a couple of dinners and drinks.
camping
Highlights included a day at Alton Towers, walking around Chatsworth (Mr Darcy!), and shopping in the artsy shops of Matlock Bath, Bakewell and Buxton.

The big event of the trip though was Rob’s proposal camp-fire! Open fire, big jumpers and a bottle of bubbly, and a big yes from me!
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Returning as fiancées and to more bubbly and lots of phone calls we barely had time to stop before I headed down to the Suffolk coast with the girls and Rob had a week of quiet relaxation. Even more wine and good food and walking and the beginnings of wedding planning (over more wine)!
beach
And that’s about all the news I have for now; back to work and real life next week.

Nic & Rob xx

Sydney and Home

It is crazy to think that Rob and I have been back in the UK for over seven months, and that it is almost a year since we left for our trip. I’ve been putting this final entry off a bit, but we did still want to share with you the photos from the final leg of our trip.

We returned to a much nicer Sydney than we left. It was probably the change in hostels (from the cheap and not-so-cheerful Sydney Backpackers to the clean and airy YHA Railway Square. We had also had a lot more time to get used to the size and population of the city, whereas when we first landed it was a big shock after the relative calm of NZ and Asia.

Sydney - Manly

We had a few days in which to revisit our favourite places, (the Rocks and Darling Harbour) and try out some of the beach suburbs of Sydney. We caught the ferry out to Manly, on a very misty, humid day which ended up being incredibly hot and sunny. After walking the length of the beach and watching the surfers we headed into the town to explore the markets and find lunch and shade. If we go back to Sydney I would definitely look at staying further out, somewhere like Manly as there was such a nice atmosphere, and it was pretty easy to get to the city centre and sights.

Sydney

After some last minute shopping for souvenirs we headed to the IMAX in Darling Harbour where Rob had really wanted to see Tron in 3D on the world’s largest IMAX screen. It was pretty good, but even better was stepping out to dusk and seeing a crowd gathering around the harbour. We found some good seats and stayed for the last of the New Year fireworks celebrations and a fantastic end to our trip.

Sydney

The next day we flew to Singapore where we spent six hours exploring the city and having free foot massages before finally arriving back to the shock of a British January, somehow just missing the insane amount of snow.

So we are back in the real world now. We’ve spent the last six months in a sort of limbo, travelling between Kent (where I found work teaching) and Yorkshire (where Rob found work), but next week I will be moving up to Yorkshire where I start a new contract in September. Something a bit more permanent – for now at least!

Nic & Rob x

The Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains, NSW

After a quick flight to Sydney we caught the train to Katoomba, a town right in the heart of the Blur Mountains. This was somewhere that I had read a lot about and heard from friends about, so I was expecting something with a decent view.

Unfortunately, although we have managed to avoid the flooding so far, we have not escaped the rain. For our first day in the Blue Mountains, all we could see from about five feet in front of us was cloud.
Blue Mountains, NSW

We stayed in the very cute Flying Fox hostel, which was very cosy and full of other people eager to go walking but stuck inside because of the weather – nearly everyone that we spoke to had been or was planning to go trekking in Nepal, so there was plenty to talk about.

Luckily on the second day the rain at least had stopped and we walked the few kms to Echo Point where we had our packed lunch and giggled at all the tourists staring off the view point into the clouds, hoping to see something, anything.
Blue Mountains, NSW
As if by magic, as soon as we were getting ready to leave and head back the sun came out and the clouds began to disappear, and we got to see the view that everyone had come for, looking out over the Three Sisters rock formation and across the very hazy valley.
Blue Mountains, NSW
The nice weather didn’t last long and we spent our final day in the artsy town of Leura, wandering around galleries and avoiding the rain, coming up with get-rich-quick schemes for our return home! Although we weren’t blown away by our first impressions, when it came to leave Katoomba we were both a little sad, not looking forward to the end of the trip, and not really looking forward to going back to Sydney which wasn’t our favourite Australian city. Luckily Sydney has been way better the second time around. More on that later though,

Nic & Rob

Super Bumper Catch-Up of South Australia

There is a lot to cover here and a whole lot more pictures than I can fit in here. We spent three weeks at Becca & Bob’s house and as well as a needed break from travelling, we got to see some awesome sights in South Australia with them as our tour guides.

We went searching for Kangaroos on Christmas Eve when our hosts found out that I still hadn’t seen a wild one. Saw loads just a short drive away, and even chased a couple of emus too.

Kangaroo Hunt Kangaroo Hunt

Next came Christmas; some crazy skype calls to the USA and UK, a trip to the pub and then a big Australian outdoor Christmas Meal with Bob’s family. A surreal but awesome day.

Christmas Day Christmas Day Christmas Day Christmas Day

After recovering from the drinking over Christmas, we heading up the road to the Barossa Valley for some wine tasting. Beautiful countryside and yummy wines.

Barossa Valley Barossa Valley Barossa Valley Barossa Valley

Next, a musical interlude.
Random

And then we went to Cuddlee Creek, the cutest sounding animal park ever. This was an awesome day out, beautiful scenery, got to feed kangaroos, wallabees and camels that we just wandering about. And of course, the must have photo-op from a trip to Oz, we got to cuddle some koalas.

Cuddlee Creek Cuddlee Creek Cuddlee Creek Cuddlee Creek

On the way back we stopped off to see a giant rocking horse (self-explanitory really) and the Whispering Wall, where Rob and I stood at one end of a massive wall, Becca and Bob at the other, and we could hold a clear conversation. We in reality Rob whispered ‘nipples’ and we could hear Becca laughing in reply.

Giant Rocking Horse Whispering Wall

Next was New Years, Australian style. Drinks, BBQ and just a little bit of crazy.

New Years Eve New Years Eve New Years Eve New Years Eve

After some rest we were ready to head back out sight-seeing again, and this time went to Victor Harbor. There were nice shops, a beautiful beach and Granite Island that you could walk to along a footbridge.

Victor Harbour

Victor Harbour Victor Harbour Victor Harbour Victor Harbour

We stopped off on the way back for a drink and Rob and Bob acted their ages at the playground.
Victor Harbour Victor Harbour Victor Harbour

And then Rob turned 25 – which he wasn’t very happy about.

Rob's Bday

So he went fishing with the boys while Becca and I crafted it up.

Boys Fishing At Becca's

We played bowling and mini-golf. Rob won the bowling, I didn’t win anything, but at least I avoided the pond, unlike Becca!

Bowling / Mini Golf Bowling / Mini Golf

And then to round up our visit, we went on a Dolphin Tour from Port Adelaide, where we saw lots of dolphins (and one crazy guy selling tickets).

DSC_0648 DSC_0652 Dolphin Tour Dolphin Tour Dolphin Tour

 

And that is about it for our time in South Australia. We loved it all, especially getting to spend time annoying with Becca and Bob. Thanks again for being such brilliant hosts.

With only ten days left of the trip we flew to Sydney and then the Blue Mountains, which I will update later today!

 

Nic & Rob

We are: back in the UK

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