100 Days Until Christmas … !

Today is 100 days until Christmas! To some of you, that will make you (and your bank account) cringe. To others, you will think nothing of it, it’s just another day. But, if you’re anything like me, Christmas is a particular time of year when you can  get away with being so overly excited, no matter how old you are!

A gloomy October morning in Windsor

I love the build up, as autumn quickly gives way to winter. It’s about those really short, eerily-lit days, when the sun barely scrapes the rooftops at noon before setting by 3. It’s the wrapping up warm in several layers, and getting to wear hats and scarves and gloves, and big fluffy socks and boots. It’s about stews and soups and veg-laden pies, followed by thick, creamy hot chocolates and marshmallows.

Of course, I’m thinking about Christmas all year round, but it’s when we reach that 100 days mark that I allow myself to truly begin planning the presents, shopping around for that oh-so-perfect gift which sometimes isn’t found until the very last minute. And I am so glad to live in a country which seems to share my obsession – I have noticed my local supermarket is clearing the shelves to make way for all sorts of delicious Christmassy treats!

Ok, so maybe I am a little strange, and get a tad more “into” it than others, but I can’t help it. I never have been able to calm my love for Christmas down, and if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ll ever want to.

So, has anyone started their Christmas lists yet? Has anyone started shopping yet? I would love to know if I’m not the only one out there humming carols as I think about decoration colours and just waiting for the moment I can start buying Christmas things!

Until next time …

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

The Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is Everyday Life.

As most of you know by now, I live in Windsor, which is a very popular spot with tourists, as we are home to Windsor Castle – weekend residency for the royal family. And so, as is suggested in the weekly photo challenge post, I see something pretty spectacular every day – Windsor Castle! I really am lucky to live with such a wonderful piece of history on my doorstep (quite literally!), and even more lucky that I can enter it for free – as I am a resident of Windsor – whenever I wish! But, I won’t be posting specifically about Windsor Castle today, though I am aware that a post is due about this wonderful place!

Instead, I will post some pictures from last weekend, when I was enjoying possibly the last burst of glorious summer weather. As I approached Windsor Great Park, for what is usually just an ordinary, everyday stroll, I noticed it was looking a lot busier than usual!

Indeed, a car show! There must have been around 40 cars lining the beginning of the long walk, as well as the more expensive (!) ones being inside the grounds of Windsor Castle – to enter, you needed to purchase a ticket, or be one of the many VIPs! It was actually a nice surprise, as I had simply expected the long walk to contain the usual people, and I instead found this interesting arrangement of beautiful, shiny, expensive cars!

So, here’s a small selection of photos of cars from what I had intended to be just an everyday walk in the park 🙂

Until next time …

Tales to tell to the little ones …

So, I’m sure anyone – in the UK at least – is aware that the year so far has been a particularly interesting one! We’ve had the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and now Andy Murray is the first British male to win a Grand Slam in 76 years! This year will certainly be one to tell the grandchildren about many years from now.

And that had me thinking … what will I tell my grandchildren, in a general sense? What have I done in life that will be amazing or interesting enough to talk about 40 or 50 years from now?

I have read many blogs recently, and many times I have read a post or a page where someone outlines their bucket list – a list of things they wish to accomplish in a given amount of time. And I know I have attempted to make one before, though I was only 12 and they consisted of many non-life-changing events, I must admit! (Things like meeting a celebrity, you know … 12 year old stuff …)

But I would like to ask, does having a bucket list really make a difference in your outlook for the future? How many of you have made a bucket list, but haven’t stuck to it? And how many have??

Not much of a post today, but I think you can see where this one is going … I need some inspiration!

Until next time …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

The Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is Near and Far.

Well, I have never really been anywhere that offers a truly breathtaking sweeping panorama, of mountains encircled by lakes or such a thing. But, I hope that my interpretation of this weeks challenge will inspire people nonetheless!

This first photo is (as ever!) from my trip to Puerto Rico at the beginning of the year. I only took this picture because, from where we were, that lonely tree standing tall above the others looked so striking, and I just had to capture it! You can just see the two “layers” of trees, in the foreground and then in the background.

This second photo is also from Puerto Rico, taken as we reached the highest point of the road on our trip. I wished we could have pulled over an I could have taken a much better picture – instead, this was taken from a moving (and may I add, bumpy!) car, so I’m quite proud of how it came out!

I really like this last picture. I took it today, outside the Guildhall in Windsor town centre. I have never noticed it before, because it always just looked like a regular pillar-type thing! But, when I actually looked what was on top of the pillar, it’s actually a distance dial. It was to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and was unveiled by Arthur J Reaume, Mayor of Windsor, Ontario! I think this truly does represent near and far quite well indeed!

Until next time …

 

Was this really 15 years ago … ?

So, as with most people living in the UK, today was the first day back for schools. And, for my little brother, it was his first day at “big school” – he’s just started year 9, which is a pretty big deal for him! He was the last one to attend the middle school that we have all been to, and so, it was almost an “end of an era” attitude today, knowing we wouldn’t see that blue uniform again.

And so, with first days at school in mind, I started thinking back to 15 years ago, when I was starting my first day at school. I was 5 years old – just! I’m a July baby – and I was so terribly afraid to go to school. I hadn’t been put into nursery or any form of daycare. All I had known was spending all day, every day, with my mum and brother.

All of a sudden, I was being thrown into a classroom with 30 other kids, all aware of what was going on, and perfectly content with it too! I was highly intrigued to see what this “school” was, and so parting with mum was quite easy that first day.

But, I was very naive – I thought school was one day, and that was it! Little did I realise that I would have to go back the next day … and the next day … and every weekday for 11 years!

As soon as I discovered that fact, I refused to go into the classroom without a fight, and every day for the first month or so, I cried and screamed and grabbed at the door. I made it pretty hard for mum to leave me, and I knew it!

Me in my first school uniform!

On my way to school!

Care to share your pictures from your first day at school?

Until next time …

Where, oh where …

Well, today has been a long day, so it’s just a short and (almost) picture-less post.

So, I don’t believe I have mentioned before, but my younger sister is homeschooled. Though myself and my two younger brothers managed to get through school fine (or are still managing to, in the case of my youngest brother), she found it unbearable, and so my mum and dad made the decision to take her out of school.

Though my mum would have loved to oversee my sisters education, she never felt confident enough to provide the support she would need. And so, that’s where I stepped in, and I offered to provide the guidance that my sister needed.

I bought a selection of study guides, gave her a library card, and offered her my old laptop (which I had fixed, don’t worry, it’s not still broken!). The one thing I was keen for her to keep up with was her English and Maths studies. So I signed her up to two great websites: Reading Eggspress and 10 Ticks – both of which offer discounts to homeschoolers, if you ask!

Anyway, so, as part of her ongoing learning, I introduced the idea of taking educational trips to countries in Europe – of course, everyone else calls them holidays, but hey! So, we headed down to the library and took out some books on the first country that came to our heads – Italy!

But, we’re not fully decided just yet, and that’s where you wonderful people come in! I’d love to hear any suggestions that you have for places to take my sister in Europe – and if you have a recent post of your own then I’d love a link! I hope to gain a wider idea of exactly what countries in Europe have to offer 🙂

Until next time …

Mascots, Migrations and Royals on the Phone …

Such a wonderful day for a walk into town! This morning I awoke to the first hints of autumn – that crisp, hazy morning light – and the birds flitting about in the tree beside my window. It was a perfect morning to wake up to.

And the day only improved from there! The sun kept any hint of large clouds at bay somewhere on the horizon, leaving an almost clear blue sky.

As we approached the Thames, all we could hear was constant flocks of Canada geese flying in. I’ve always thought that we just had a general population of the geese which stayed in the UK year-round, but apparently, we are constantly replenished with newcomers every year!

Of course, the resident swans weren’t too happy about the invasion of newcomers, and they got a little feisty whenever an unsuspecting toddler came over with a bag of breadcrumbs! At the end of the day, it’s the poor little ducks that get my sympathy!

 

So, for anyone who has been following the Olympics with any particular interest, you will know that the rowing races were all held at Eton-Dorney, which is just over the bridge from Windsor! Indeed, they had to use our train stations because neither of the towns have their own haha. But, along with that, we have two new residents of Windsor – Wenlock and Mandeville!

I think these two are just great! We only just noticed them today, as we have avoided Windsor town centre for most of the Olympics, as it was just so busy having everybody there for the races as well as our regular summer tourists! But, I’m glad we got a chance to see them, and yes, of course, we got our pictures taken next to them – who could resist!

Speaking of new additions, another new sight has been added to the high street, just outside Windsor Castle. It’s a “telephone box”, only this one has some rather important people making some rather important calls!

 Yes, that would be Prince Harry, the Queen and Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge!

Until next time …