Friday, April 10, 2009

Next, London!

Wow London!

By the time we got back to London we were pretty much museumed and art galleried out! This meant we spent more time wandering in parks, shopping, and doing some of the more touristy things. Also one of the big draw cards of London for me (apart from being never having been there before) is that my baby (6'4") brother Marc has been living there since not long after we moved to Abu Dhabi.

We started the trip (before heading off to Paris) with a visit to the famous Portobello Road market in Notthing Hill. It was full of colour and too many people.

The best part was all the interesting food stalls and fresh flowers. Here's Chi Wai and Marc enjoying their German sausages that we had for lunch. Yum!

The day after we got back from Paris we had a lovely morning walking through Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, admiring the flowering bulbs, chasing squirrels and stopping off at the Diana's Memorial.

We had a lovely lunch at the Orangery Cafe next to Kensington Palace. The Orangery Cake with a pot of English Breakfast after lunch was divine!

After lunch we spent the afternoon at the fantastic Victoria & Albert museum, the only museum we went to in London. The V&A museum houses objects such as furniture, household items and fashion. It was really interesting to see the different fashions in home decor through the ages.

This was the chandelier in the main foyer. We thought it was cool, plus I like this photo that Chi Wai took.

That night we went out for dinner with my brother, his lovely girlfriend Jo and also her family, to a little Thai place near where my brother lives.

Here's Marc and Jo.

And here is me and Chi Wai. Chi Wai is sporting a lovely red wine glow!

The next day we met Marc and Jo in the Spitalfields area (near the famous Brick Lane) to have lunch and to check out the markets there. These markets were much better than those at Portobello Road. Lots of funky hand made things which I love. I bought some gorgeous handmade baby bibs (cluck cluck) and I even found a stall selling yarn where I bought some scrumptious cashmere, some divinely soft bamboo and some yarn made from banana (well I never!).

So that rounded off the weekend. During the follwing week we did some shopping in the city, the open top bus tour, took a trip out to Windsor to look at the Castle and went to the Tower of London.

The open top bus tour took in all the major sights of London. You know, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square. It was a good way to see a lot in one day.

We also stopped off, had a cruise along the Thames and went on the "London Eye".

The best part of this day, came right at the end when we signed up for what was advertised as a walking "Ghost Tour", part of the bus tour ticket price. When we arrived the tour guide (a slightly mad Irishman) advised us that the ghost tour was boring and that he would be taking us on a pub crawl instead. Everyone (including us) seemed quite happy with this arrangement and off we set. The guide took us to six fabulous traditional English pubs complete with low ceilings, winding staircases and pork scratchings. We met some great people on the tour, had a great time and got home after midnight (a late night for me in my current condition). We really enjoyed it because it was something that we probably wouldn't have done by ourselves and Chi Wai got to drink beer while I watched!

Windsor is an hour train ride from London and is home of Winsdor Castle, the place where the Queen likes to hang at the weekend. It's a working castle but quite a large section is open to the public.

The most interesting part was being able to watch the famous "changing of the guard". Talk about pomp and ceremony! The whole thing , complete with a huge brass band playing toe tapping jazz classics, went for about 45 minutes! I found it mildly hilrious and intriguing at the same time.

Chi Wai rather thought he'd like to get a job as one of the Queen's guards. What do you think?

All in all we had a fantastic trip. We loved both Paris and London. Great people and public transport in both cities! Paris was so beautiful and romantic, while London gave us the feeling that it was a city that would be really easy to live in. It was great to see Marc and finally meet Jo as well.

I'll leave you with one last picture of Chi Wai and I in a little park just across the road from our hotel in Paddington.

PS. Here's the answer to the question I posed in my last post in order of appearance.

1. Preppy Vest (in the winged voctory photo)
2. Loopy Scarf (top of Arc de Triomphe)
3. Fair Isle Tam (Notre Dame Photos)
4. Green Branching Out Scarf (Notre Dame Photos)
5. Chi Wai's Brown Irish Hiking Scarf (Pate photo).

The white fluffy hat threw a few people off. It's not a handknit, although it is knitted. So there you go!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Paris First!

As promised the story continues..... (Beware a photo heavy post coming up!)

So four days after we arrived back to Abu Dhabi, we again headed off to the airport, this time going to London and Paris! I was so excited about this trip. Our first ever trip to Europe!

We had two days in London (I'll come back to the London experience) and then we caught the Eurostar train to Paris. It was really so convenient and I would highly recommend it. This idea of being able to catch a train from one country to another is really so foreign for us Aussies!

We had five nights in Paris and I was determined to see as much as we could. In the first day we saw the Lourve,

Chi Wai at the Pyramids
Winged Victory of Samothrace (just amazing!)

le Jardin des Tuileries,

Musee de l'Orangerie,

Monet's Water Lillies "in the round"

the Champs (des Champs-Élysées) and the Arc de Triomphe.

on the street

up the stairs (hard work!)

view from the top

us at the top

Phew! The next day I was completely exhausted (I was in my first trimester remember) and we only managed to see Notre Dame and walk around the Paris streets.

Over the coming days we did more museums (Musee d' Orsay, Rodin Museum, Pompidou Centre) and monuments (Eifel Tower, the Pantheon) but the best part was just wandering the beautiful Paris Streets and relaxing in the street side cafes watching the world go by.

Another highlight was was having Pain au Chocolat (like a chocolate filled croissant) and coffee (hot chocolate for me) for breakfast every morning.

Here's Chi Wai enjoying his in the park near our hotel. One of the downsides of travelling while pregnant was that I could not really enjoy all of the fabulous foods that France is famous for. No French wine, soft cheese or foie gras (a favourite of mine) for me. I did manage to come home with a tin each of duck and goose foie gras ready for me to tuck into when I come home from the hospital! I'll leave you with Chi Wai about to devour this huge slab of foie gras, and I just had to sit and watch!

Quiz: How many hand knits can you spot in these photos?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I love Weddings!

So now that I have the really big news out of the way (thank you for all the lovely comments by the way) I can now get back to updating you all on my comings and goings.

First of all, at the end of February we went to Australia for three days (yes only three days!!!) to attend the wedding of one of my best friends, Alison. She was getting married to her wonderful AJ (fondly known to us as Yay Yay!). Big apologies for not really broadcasting the visit to everyone. I just knew that we wouldn't get time to see everyone.

The first day we spent with our families.

This is the three generations of McIntyre girls spending the day in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney (my Mum's favourite). From the far left is my Fabulous mum, then me standing on tippy toes to be anywhere near as tall as the Amazonian goddesses that I am related to, then my Nanny and my Aunt Didi. They were all very happy to hear our news.

I love this photo that Chi Wai took of the water lilly in the gardens.

Zena was there with her boys too. Here's Sam showing us a new trick.

By the way, I can also now say that Zena is pregnant again too (only one this time)! She is a few weeks ahead of me. My mum always used to say we should get pregnant at the same time! Who would know it would actually happen!

The next day we were off to the wedding. Alison and I have been friends since uni days (too many years to say how many) and Chi Wai and I were very happy to be part of her special day.

We picked up Al to take her to the ceremony and this photo was taken at her house. Note no champagne for me and big b00bs. The first telltale signs of pregnancy!

The gorgeous couple walking down the aisle together.

And the happy family together.

It was a great wedding and we had a really good time.

On the last day we met up with some friends at Doyle's in Watsons Bay for a lovely seafood lunch. Here's Hinni (short for Hinata, I love it!) the newest member of the group! Such chubby cheeks and such a cool dude!

That evening we were back on the plane coming back to Abu Dhabi and four days later we were on another plane to London, but I'll tell that story another day. Are we jet setters or what? What!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Belly full of arms and legs!

The news is getting out there so I had better put something here. Yes Jocelyn you were correct.

I am up the duff! I got myself knocked up. I have a bun in the oven. I'm expecting, with child. I'm in the family way, preggers if you will.


So there you go. It might help explain why I have been so quiet here of late. Too many things that I wanted to talk about but couldn't.

I promise I will still report on our trips away. Will be back in a day or two. Looking forward to catching up with a few knitting girls in Dubai tomorrow. Yay!