Bristol England Apartment Tour: Kitchen + Living

Bristol England Apartment Tour

Back with Part 2 of my Bristol Apartment Tour in the kitchen + living area. You can see the photo tour of the bedrooms back in Part 1.

Let’s jump right in!

Living Room

Like I mentioned in part 1 – when we moved, everything we brought with us had to fit in about 6 suitcases. So we have been working hard to get ourselves settled, furnishing our flat and trying to make it feel like home.

We’ve started collecting some art from around the UK – mostly Bristol and Edinburgh so far. I love seeing the art around the flat every day.

Bristol England Apartment Tour
Irises watercolor prints are in the shop

My husband and I both love media and video games – so finding a TV console that could wrangle all our gaming controllers, systems, and TV accessories while still looking presentable was a challenge. I love this one we got from Wayfair – plenty of surface area to hold charging stands for all our controllers and shelving for the game systems. All of our cords are tied up with velcro cable ties and our power strips are supported along the back… hidden from view, neat and organized!

And just across…. I’ve wanted a blue velvet couch for years. Now was my chance!

Bristol Apartment Tour

Perfect for lounging.

Bristol Apartment Tour
pillows from La Redoute and Ikea

Home Office

Since the UK lockdown started in March, my husband and I have both been working from home. We converted our dining space into a co-working space….

Bristol

The view isn’t bad!

This is our second Stendig calendar designed by Massimo Vignelli. I love the huge size (3 feet x 4 feet!) and the design. The months alternate between white with black numbers and black with white numbers. We use it for meal planning.

Stendig Calendar

Kitchen

My husband (who does all the cooking for us) loves this kitchen and it was a big part of why he liked this flat. And he loves the open floor plan because he can feel like he’s in the living room even while he is cooking.

We picked up those 3 barstools second-hand from a restaurant. I was ecstatic to scoop them up because I love the Tolix style design. Really durable, practical, and comfortable without taking up much visual space.

If you are wondering where our refrigerator or freezer is… both are actually under the counter! I think this is more common in UK flats than in the USA. The double oven takes center stage in the kitchen instead…

And new to our kitchen… an at-home espresso machine/coffee station we put together a couple of months ago. Loving the flexibility it offers, and it reminds me of working as a barista back in college!

Terrace

The living room opens up to the terrace….

As the weather gets warmer, we are spending more and more time outside – just hanging out. Enjoying the spring. Loving the views.

And that’s it for the kitchen and living area! Hope you enjoyed the photos from this Bristol apartment tour. 🙂

Continue Reading

You may also like

Bristol England Apartment Tour: Bedrooms

bristol apartment

I’m so excited to finally share a Bristol England Apartment Tour! We moved to the UK from California back in September and got into this apartment in October. After a whirlwind few months of getting settled and finding our footing, I can finally say we are loving our place here.

We initially thought we’d be using a liaison to help us find a flat while we were still living in the States, but we decided at the last minute to wait until we’d moved and look for a place ourselves. That meant we needed to spend time researching flats online the week before we moved and calling up agents to make a short list of places we were interested in seeing on arrival. We landed in Bristol on a Friday morning, looked at this flat Friday afternoon, and by Friday evening we were signing the lease. When it’s the right thing and you know, you know.

Let’s do this. First up…

The Master Bedroom

bristol apartment bedroom

When we moved, everything we brought with us had to fit in about 6 suitcases. We left most of our things (furniture, lots of clothing, kitchen supplies, etc) behind in a storage locker. So we really started with a blank slate in England and needed to purchase everything we would need while we live here.

We made these display frames to organize jewelry out of cotton wrapped foam board and Ikea Hovsta frames….

bristol england apartment tour jewelry

I love the way it doubles as organization and wall art. Plus, now I can enjoy jewelry even when I’m not wearing it. Win-win.

bristol england jewelry organized

We picked up this valet stand at Ikea also, to make a home for those in-between clothes that you’ll wear again but don’t want to put back in the closet. You know what I’m talking about.

Speaking of the closet…. Most of the flats we had on our list to visit had armoire-style storage, so the built in closet here is something we loved about this space….

bristol england closet

The Guest Room

Our second bedroom is a jack-of-all-trades. We use it as our guest room (the sofa is a pull-out bed), art studio, and occasional office.

bristol apartment

We were looking to add a lot of storage in here, so we choose cabinets from Ikea to organize everything. For example, this cabinet holds the art supplies I have with me currently….

And we used the 3 sets of Eket cabinets together as a TV console:

Lots of storage + TV console. I love the height of these for the TV.

Last but not least, I painted a set of watercolors and picked up this second-hand end-table from the British Heart Foundation.

I’ll be back with photos of the living area + kitchen for Part 2 of this Bristol England apartment tour!

Continue Reading

You may also like

Scottish Highlands Tour

Glencoe Scotland Scottish Highlands Tour

Last week I shared photos from our weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland last November. I absolutely loved exploring the city by foot and learning about the history of the area. But for a change of pace, we also had the chance to take a Scottish Highlands tour and explore the dramatic landscapes of Scotland.

Glencoe Scotland Scottish Highlands Tour

To make things easy on ourselves and maximize our time, we opted for a 1-day bus tour with Heart of Scotland Tours that took us all the way up to Lock Ness and back (about 3.5-4 hours one way if you don’t make any stops). Absolutely the right choice for us. Our tour guide was great, talking through all sorts of history of the areas, glens, and villages we passed. And our group was small, only 9 of us, so it felt easy to ask questions and take our time.

Scottish Highlands Bus Tour

Of course, we did want to stop and take in the sights, and we had a chance to do so in a few places along the way to and from Loch Ness. Here are some photos from Glencoe on our way north…

We arrived at Loch Ness around lunchtime, and grabbed some fish and chips from The Moorings for lunch before the Loch Ness tour….

Lunch Scottish Highlands Tour
Fish and Chips Scottish Highlands

Felt good to eat something warm in the November chill! We explored a little bit of Fort Augustus, the village where the Loch Ness tour starts….

…and then headed for the boat!

Spirit of Loch Ness

Austin and I love a boat tour, and Loch Ness was no exception. It’s always interesting to me to hear all about a place.

Loch Ness Bus Tour

We learned that the Loch Noss’ water is so dark and murky (and mysterious?) because it is full of peat from the soil all around the loch…

…and that the loch is so deep, it is actually the largest volume of water lake in all of the British Isles.

And if you are wondering whether we saw the Loch Ness monster… well, if you look closely enough….

Loch Ness Monster

Haha 🙂

After the Loch Ness tour, we headed back to the bus and back to Edinburgh. We made a couple of stops along the way, first at Spean Bridge Mill.

Spean Bridge Mill

It was a nice place to stretch our legs, grab a bite, and pick up any souvenirs you might want.

And we stopped for ice cream in Pitlochry after dark. Plenty of flavors to choose from, including Scotch of course.

All in all, a great day and I loved all of our Scottish Highlands Tour. Just like Edinburgh, I already want to go and explore more!

Scottish Highlands Tour

Continue Reading

You may also like

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Like I said in my last post about Paris, I’ve been looking through my travel photos and reliving the memories of past trips while we stay inside, social distancing. Last week, I posted photos of our first anniversary trip, and now I want to post photos from our second anniversary weekend exploring Scotland last November. Let’s start with Edinburgh, Scotland!

We rented a car and drove from Bristol to Edinburgh. It was a journey of about 7 hours, and our first time seeing a lot of the British countryside along the way. I love a good road trip.

Sightseeing

The evening we arrived, we visited the Edinburgh Christmas Market….

Edinburgh Christmas Market

European Christmas markets are so fun – we spent the evening checking out the shops, trying lots of different food, and enjoying the holiday music. And since we had driven up and knew we had extra room in our car, we were able to purchase some large prints by a local Scottish artist. Perfect.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

In the morning, we explored Edinburgh by foot. Here is the entrance to Edinburgh castle…

Edinburgh Castle

Like always, I’m drawn to the juxtaposition of the old and new. There’s a grand view of the modern city buildings below the castle….

Love a snapshot of two eras.

We listened to a Rick Steves audio tour: Edinburgh’s Royal Mile Walk. Since we had the tour on our phones, we walked the Royal Mile at a leisurely pace with lots of stops along the way whenever we liked. Totally convenient.

The Royal Mile

Here are some snapshots I took along the walk….

Edinburgh Bagpipes
Edinburgh Phone Booths

Lots of holiday decorations – I love the winter vibes.

Traffic cones topping the statues – this is a long-running thing in Edinburgh, we saw it in a lot of places! Here’s James Braidwood on the left, the founder of the first fire department in Edinburgh, and David Hume on the right, an Enlightenment philosopher born in Edinburgh.

Our favorite part of the walk was turning off the main route of the Royal Mile to explore a close, or alleyway: Lady Stair’s Close.

We would’ve completely missed this if we hadn’t heard Rick Steves mention it on the audio tour! The Writers’ Museum is a free museum just off Lady Stair’s Close that highlights some of the great Scottish writers. We loved it.

The museum is inside Lady Stair’s House, and walking through the house felt like a unique chance to explore how a wealthy Edinburgh home in history might have looked and felt.

After visiting the museum, I was totally inspired to find a bunch of Scottish lit to add to my own library (like Anne Donovan’s Buddha Da and a collection of Carol Ann Duffy poems). I’ve been excited to read literature from the UK while we are living here.

We had so much fun visiting Edinburgh, Scotland and can’t wait to come back. I would love the chance to see it in the summer, also!

I have some photos from our tour of the Scottish Highlands that I’d also like to share, so I will be back with those next.

Hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy –

kate

Continue Reading

You may also like

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Sharing some of my favorite photos today from touring the Tower of London. These are from my sister’s trip to visit and see London for the first time back in January – loved the chance to take in some sightseeing together.

Tower Bridge London

We started our Tower of London visit with the Yeoman Warder tour (free with admission ticket). So cool to walk around and get an overview of a thousand years of history all around the Tower.

And of course, we saw the guards while we were walking around….

Tower of London Guards

After the tour, we spent a couple hours exploring further on our own.

We saw tons of armor in the Line of Kings exhibit, a display that was originally opened to visitors in the 1600s! It has changed a lot over the years, but one thing you could always count on seeing there: so much armor.

Tower Bridge London

After our visit, we crossed the Tower Bridge as the sun set. We took this photo across the river from the Tower of London. Love those views of the city lights….

River Thames

Then caught the tube home….

london tube

You can find tickets to the Tower of London online here.

Continue Reading

You may also like

Stonehenge Day Trip

Stonehenge Heel Stone

Crossed off a big thing on my sightseeing wishlist recently! We did a Stonehenge day trip in December and it was just as fascinating as I was hoping. We visited as a day trip from Bristol, but a Stonehenge day trip is also doable from London.

Stonehenge Day Trip December Sunset

We drove from Bristol and after we parked, we had to choose whether to take the shuttle the rest of the way out to the site or walk – we chose the walk! It took us about 35 minutes at a leisurely pace. You can see Stonehenge in the distance in this photo…

Walking to Stonehenge

I really enjoyed the walk as a chance to take in the landscape and scenery…

Gate to Stonehenge

…and we passed some sheep along the way….

Stonehenge Sheep

So peaceful.

We caught the sunset at Stonehenge a few days after the winter solstice. The stone circle was built to frame the midwinter sunset as well as the sunrise at the summer solstice. The circle marks the passage of time each year.

Stonehenge Day Trip

Walking around the stone circle at this time of year – when the days are shortest and the air is chilled – left me feeling like part of a bigger cycle. Like I’d reached the middle of winter and was now ready to start planning for spring again.

Stonehenge Day Trip

The coolest thing to us was seeing that sunset line up with the Heel Stone. It lines up perfectly on the solstice itself, but it still seemed almost synced and special to us a few days after. Here is a photo with the Heel Stone in the foreground and the stone circle + sunset lined up behind it….

Stonehenge Heel Stone

How cool is that view? I am so amazed by the engineering and understanding of the solar cycle that went into the planning and construction of this place.

Phone Photo of Stonehenge

Most of the site is organized to help remove modern visuals (for example, the parking lot and main road to the site were moved further away in 2013). It really helped me get a sense of how the stone circle might have looked in the wider Stonehenge landscape through the ages.

Even so, I still totally love how this photo turned out – juxtaposing the ancient monoliths with the modern motorway and car lights juuust visible in the background:

Stonehenge

Awesome.

You can plan your visit and find tickets online here at the English Heritage website. We decided to go for the yearly membership with English Heritage in order to explore more of the sites, castles, monuments etc they care for – I’ve just started reading through their guidebook and I can’t wait. While I’m learning about all the sites to see, I’d love more suggestions of places to see in England – leave a comment! 🙂

Continue Reading

You may also like

Moving to the UK

Bristol England River

Big news! We moved to the UK! 🇬🇧

It has been a whirlwind of changes that happened crazy fast. So now we are based in Bristol while my husband works here & in London, and meanwhile I’m traveling for a new corporate job I’ve taken in the Netherlands.

Moving to the UK…. Lots of change! Exciting! Overwhelming! In the middle of it all, I’m trying to make an effort to slow down some and get to know this city.

Here is a pic snapped one morning while crossing one of the bridges downtown….

Moving to the UK

What makes a new place start to feel familiar for you? Any tips for settling in? So far we are trying to find new favorite restaurants, coffee shops, a local grocery…. you know the drill.

Exploring Bristol is so fun to do. Every side street has something new to find….

Bristol England

Love it.

My husband catches the train to London every other week. He loves traveling by train – they run frequently and (bonus!) no need to measure out your liquids like when taking a flight.

Bristol Train Station

As for me, I travel every other week to the Netherlands with a quick flight to Amsterdam and a 2-hour train north to Groningen. Here’s where I walk into work at the hospital in Groningen….

Groningen

We synced our work schedules to travel the same weeks and then hang out together in Bristol on our weeks in town. So far, so good! We think we can keep this schedule up for the rest of year.

moving to the uk

Moving to the UK has been such an adventure so far. Can’t wait to settle into this new season of life.

Cheers,

kate

Continue Reading

You may also like

Guest Post: Lucky Enough Blog in Ireland

You’re in for a treat! Here’s a special guest post from Lizzie over at Lucky Enough Blog. She’s studying in Galway, Ireland and today’s she sharing how Ireland has lived up to her expectations….

as soon as i told friends and family that i was going to study abroad, i received the exact same feedback multiple times a day: “oh my! you are going to have the best time of your life!”

now i think that is a whole lot of pressure to put upon a brand new adventure. moving from san diego, leaving my full time job, and deciding to study abroad in ireland was big enough on it’s own. but now it had to be the best time of my life? wowzers.

weeks before i left for ireland i spent hours online reading other study abroad students’ blogs. i looked at photos and read stories about so many amazing experiences. i made a list of places i had to see and photos i had to take and things i had to do.

and then i landed in ireland. i moved to the most exquisite, quaint, and welcoming town galway. for the first month i was bogged down by my lists. i beat myself up for having jet lag. how could i be wasting precious time sleeping? i beat myself up for not seeing the entire island within the first two weeks. what was i doing with my time?

and finally, during a trip to the cliffs of moher i let myself go. i decided to just live. looking over cliffs as majestic as the cliffs of moher you are forced to feel a monumental change inside your soul. i let go of my lists and my must dos must sees. and i tried very hard to just see and do as it happened.

my entire life i’ve always built up such high expectations for everything. i’ve always been that girl who cannot sleep the night before going to disneyland. i’ve always been the girl who paints lovely pictures of what each event in her life is going to look like. and while optimism has never been an issue for me, i’m filled to the brim with it, letting go of strict expectations has not been easy for me.

ireland has exceeded my expectations ten fold because for the first time, i’ve let them go. the only thing i truly expect is that ireland will love me just as much as i love her. i love her green hills and her blue rivers, i love her cold winds and her persistent showers. i love her people and i love living here. am i having the best time of my life? well who really knows. but i know i’m happy, and that’s truly all that matters.

if you’re lucky enough to be happy, you’re lucky enough

Thank so much for sharing your experience abroad with us, Lizzie! Ireland sounds amazing, and I hope to visit it someday. : )
 
You can read more of Lizzie’s adventures in Ireland on her blog, or follow her on twitter @luckyenoughblog.
Continue Reading

You may also like

Live from London!

England: look right

This week, my study abroad program is taking us around on regional trips in the EU, and so… I’m posting this blog live from an internet cafe in London! : )

The program split us all into three groups based on which region of the European Union we wanted to study more indepthly: I’m on the North Trip visiting London, England + Stockholm, Sweden + Tallinn, Estonia. There’s also the South Trip heading to Rome, Italy + Madrid and Barcelona, Spain. And lastly, the Southeast Trip is exploring Greece + Bulgaria + Romania. It’s an exciting week for everyone!

One of the striking things about England is the way they drive on the left side of the road. To help pedestrian visitors, lots of crosswalks are painted with helpful reminders….

England: look right

This way, you’ll know which way to look before crossing the street. I never realized what a natural instinct it is for me to double-check in a certain direction until everything was flipped in the other direction here! Now, I notice it at every crosswalk.

So far, I am looooving London! Can’t wait to post more later : )

Continue Reading

You may also like