Weekend Walk in Chew Valley

Chew Valley Cows

This weekend, we went for a walk/hike around Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir nearby in North Somerset. It was a nice way to stay socially distanced and get some fresh air.

Grebe Trail Grasses in Chew Valley

The Grebe Trail has been marked into a one-way traffic hike as part of the COVID-19 precautions….

Here are some of my favorite photos:

Grebe Trail Walkway
Walkway over the Stream along Grebe Trail

Grebe Trail Bridge

On our way home, we passed these cows…

Chew Valley Cows
Somerset Cows in Chew Valley

A nice day spent outside clearing our heads.

Here is a link to the trail map and guide from Bristol Water.

xo Kate

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Photos of Bristol in Lockdown

Bristol City Hall

I was reflecting back on 2020’s Spring season and decided to put together some of my photos of Bristol in lockdown. (This is our first Spring in England since moving here last fall.) I did not venture out much as my husband was the designated person from our family to do the grocery shopping, so most of these photos come from late May or early June.

Lots of empty streets….

Even the busiest roads in Bristol were quiet…

Bristol in Lockdown with Quiet Streets

And space to queue outside before entering grocery stores. Someone handling the queue and managing the number of shoppers by counting how many people go in or come out….

Sainsbury's Bristol

In June, some of our local restaurants that had been closed began to open up back up for take-away orders. These places, too, had space to queue outside and barriers to keep employees separate from anyone picking up an order…

We tried to pick up something from a restaurant that wasn’t delivering on days we went out for errands or groceries, hoping to support these business owners.

And of course, always seeing lots of rainbows in windows as signs that, while Bristol is in lockdown, there is lots of support for the NHS…

Bristol City Hall
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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 : )

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