Monday, June 26, 2017

England part ten- family party

We couldn't make a trip to England and not have a big Davis Family get together! We did get to see Uncle Chris earlier in our trip but now it was time for the whole Davis family to get together. Everyone came from near and far for the day. Grampy manned the BBQ while Granny had made a big spread of delicious food inside. 
Best of all they rented a bouncy castle to keep the children occupied! It did the trick. They were all having a blast!
New cousins took no time at all getting acquainted before they were fast friends.
Luckily that gave us adults plenty of time to chat and catch up.
Lily and Gemma were soon best friends forever with Jacob and Abby!
Our best attempt to get all the little ones together for a photo.
Out of about 40 tried these were the best we could do. I guess silly faces run in the family.
The whole big family photo was even more a success! It has been all together too long since everyone was together and got to meet all the littlest children.
Let's hope it doesn't take as long for us to all get together again! We only had one more day to "wrap up" all our fun. The girls were not about to let us leave England without a trip to the Oasis water park. It is the indoor pool with slides and a wave pool they remembered from last trip. We headed there first thing when they opened and got to ride all the slides we were tall enough for, at least once or twice. After our morning at the pool Alex and I  made a quick trip to Oxford for a couple hours of shopping and wandering the beautiful streets.
Image result for oasis water park swindon
Then the next day was all about packing up and heading to the airport. We were so so sad to go home. Well.... 3/4 were sad. One person really missed her friends. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

England part nine- Cadbury World and Land Rover

So I bet you thought nothing could really get better than London right? Well, there was still one more trick up the Davis sleeve. In order to get the house in order for the family gathering they needed to keep the top four mess makers occupied. So they sent us ladies off to Cadbury World! Alex had his own activity at the Land Rover factory doing an off road adventure. 
Alex dropped us at the Cadbury factory in Birmingham and carried on his way. We took the tour of how chocolate originated and how it has evolved over time. Those Aztecs sure had a hidden treasure in cocoa pods!
The Cadbury story is actually really interesting. They were Quakers and did very well running and growing their business and treated their employees really well.
I've got two taste testers ready to sign up! They had a lot of fun exploring the interactive tour. The chocolate is no longer made at this location but there is a lot to do! They could have spent all day at this fun pad where you stomp on different chocolate bars to make them explode. What exercise! They want one of these for our house.
We did get to do some taste testing and choose a few toppings for our own cup of liquid chocolate.
There was a 4-D movie at the end as well starring all the cartoon characters from Cadbury advertising. Lucky for us it was a pretty quiet day and we got to see the 4-D movie twice!

The big outdoor play structure kept us busy as well. Alex was gone on his excursion for quite a while so we needed to keep ourselves occupied, these girls had no problem.

We were really interested to learn that Roald Dahl worked at cadbury as a chocolate taste tester for a few years and that was his inspiration for Willie Wonka!
My sweet delights. They have displays of all the sweets throughout the history.

Of course every good tour ends in a chocolate gift shop!!!! YES!!! Heaven!
Don't worry we only got a few. Mostly for gifts of course!
We hung out after the factory closed waiting for our ride home. Hmmmm this looks like a good ride!
Our Land Rover driver had a great time at his excursion too.
Learning to maneuver the Defender over all sorts of obstacles.
What a great day!

Friday, June 23, 2017

England part eight- Tea with Granny

After returning home really late the night before from London we all needed some time to rest. We all slept in a bit and had a quiet morning at home. There was still fun planned for the afternoon however. Granny was taking us all to tea!
We had reservations at the Barnsley House in the Cotswolds for afternoon tea. The girls loved dressing up and using their best manners. There was a Pimm's tea special that Alex had to try. His Pimm's was delicious! The scones were so delicious...even if Lily & Gemma were not big fans yet!
After our fill of sandwiches, scones and sweet treats we explored the grounds of the hotel and spa. I could get used to this kind of life!
Grampy and his two best girls posing in the garden.
Of course Grampy gets silly and does some tickles.
Ok one final serious one!
Two best sisters loved exploring and playing hide and seek among the flowers and trees.
They did their secret sister hand shake and song.
I mean truly how picturesque is this place!
On our way home we stopped by the quaint town of Bibury. The seventeenth century weavers cottages and and meadow are very popular with tour groups and movie films.
I can see why! We crossed the bridge and played several rounds of Pooh sticks.
These cottages and village are so sweet. The pictures just don't do it justice.

If you want in on the secret sister hand shake you can watch this video clip.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

England part seven- London day 4

Our last day in London we had plans to all break up into different groups. My Great friend Meagan who lives in England was so kind to take a day off work and take the speed train up to London to spend a day with me! We managed to meet up outside Monument station and walk over to Borough market for a coffee. We just walked and chatted the whole day.
Borough market was so cool, we could have spent the entire morning there!
So many fantastic food shops and stalls. I could see coming here every week if you live in London. Cheese, butchers, food stalls, spices, you name it! We settled with just our iced coffees and a wander about.
We had made reservations for afternoon tea at Kensington Palace. They have a tea room called Orangerie that is exquisite. We took the tube and then walked through Hyde park to the palace. I did some imaginary royal family spotting. Kensington is home to Prince William and Prince Harry so we pretty much had tea with the Royal family.
The china pattern was not too shabby. Made me want to slip it into my purse!
We each got a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and sweet treats. Must I remind you of the heat? It was actually the hottest this day at 93 and we walked quite a ways to get to the tea so we might look a little wilted. Everyone in the room was wilting though so we were in good company. It was a perfect day with my dear friend. We could have just sat and chatted the day away which is really what we did. We had to part ways in the late afternoon to make our trains home.
Gemma had a day out with Granny and Grampy all to herself! They took her to the Natural History museum but the dinosaurs were not on display. I guess even bones need a rest? The science museum next door kept them occupied. The earthquake simulator was the big hit. Here is Gemma to tell you about their day:
we  went thro the rth at a moseum  and we so a vocano  we felt a rthqak. we had lunch at zizzi . i ate noodles. 

Alex and Lily had big plans for the day, they booked tickets at the Harry Potter studio tour north of London! Lily is going to tell you all about it:
We had to take the tube, train, and a bus to get there.
We saw the cupboard under the stairs where Harry had as his room in the first movie.
This is the great hall where they have their meals. I'm wearing my Hogwarts shirt.
In the great hall we saw the costumes they used for the movie.
This is in the great hall where they eat.
These are everyone's wands. The white one is Voldemorts. The Evil guy.
This is how they make it look like something is far away. It is actually really tiny.
This is Dumbledore's office.
This is how they made Hagrid look bigger. He was on a bigger chair so Dad looks really big and I am on a small chair.
We got to cast spells with our wands.

This is the actual Hogwarts express they used in the movie. It really looks like a train station.
I got to go through the wall!
This is inside the Dersleys house where all the letters come flying out of the fire place.
This is me on Diagon alley.
This is the model of Hogwarts to make the camera flying over the castle.

We took the train back to London to meet up with the rest of the family. It was time to leave London!