Holiday recap

This is going to be a long one, but it seems some people won’t be going anywhere all weekend, so I figured you would have the time to read it!

Hopefully I will remember it- seems ages ago now!

So, on the Friday we rushed to the airport after work. Luckily the roads were fine, and I was so tired from work that I managed to sleep quite a bit on the plane (I am getting quite good at this now)- by the time we arrived at our hotel in New York it was about 1.30am, so nearly 24 hours since I had got up and gone to work.

But of course we were awake very early- we went for some breakfast, got a hot drink to take with us and had a long walk around Central Park.

Lots of people ice skating.

It was freezing! There was snow in the air, but it was not settling at all.

All the buildings had decorations, and it all felt very festive.

I was most excited to see the big tree at the Rockerfellar centre- so pretty!

We did some shopping- including braving Old Navy- everyone was buying everything it seemed! I think we were in the queue for about half an hour- I was losing patience then! Luckily we had eaten lunch first (we came quite fond of sharing a tomato soup and grilled cheese). We had a little rest in our hotel in the afternoon (needed to warm up) and then out again to see the tree in the evening. It was packed, there was a one way system going, but it looked so pretty all lit up at night.

Lots of other decorations too.

(Andy trying something with a blurry background).

We have been to New York before, but never found great places to eat. I am sure there are loads, and we tried looking on the internet (Trip advisor etc) but didn’t find anything that looked great- either sandwich shops, fast food places or really touristy places, and we found a Wholefoods shop near Central Park, so we went there for dinner. Because they have the hot food bar, and a salad bar, it suited us both. Then we picked up a few bits of food (and water) for our room, including the most amazing mini gingerbread scones (seriously, they were amazing).

The next day we were off to see the Rockettes- we had some of the scones for breakfast (yummy), and then went to see the show.

(It looks better at night, but we went to a morning show).

This was a fab show- I was not sure what to expect- we had tickets last year after (randomly) my hairdresser recommended it to me. I thought it would be mainly dancing, but there was a story (about a mum and girl shopping for Christmas presents)- anyway the dancers were amazing! It was so festive too, with people in the audience wearing santa hats and things- I wish I had packed my Christmas hair band!

After that, we got the underground downtown, first stop, lunch at Peanut Butter and Co! Although we didn’t take any photos of us there. It was a lovely tiny cafe, with so many options. In the end I went for a very sweet sandwich with chocolate pb, cherry preserves and coconut (served with a little bag of crisps- that salt was needed, and some carrot sticks for health!). They also let you choose your tea bag, (I had vanilla) and the mugs were massive. We bought a few bits in there- Andy liked the sound of the spicy pb.

We are going to recreate some of these at home for sure.

Then we got the subway again, all the way to the World Trade Centre site. We didn’t realise we would need a ticket for the memorial gardens, so once we had that we had a couple of hours to spare before going through all the security.

The new building is well on its way.

So we had a walk around by the water (Statue of Liberty in the distance) and then warmed up in a Starbucks again.

We had to go through security to enter the gardens, luckily this was inside as I didn’t fancy taking my coat off outside.

The gardens have been done really well I think. The waterfalls in the footprints of the two buildings are really beautiful, and it was a very peaceful and reflective place.

I still found it strange to see people posing for photos in front of it and things though (like when we went to Pearl Harbour in the summer).

Anyway, after that we went to the Rockerfellar centre- that is the best building to go up in New York, because you get the best views of the Empire State Building, Central Park etc.

Lit up with Christmas colours!

The glow from Times Square. Andy must have been out there for a good 45 mins in the end- after a while I went to wait inside as it was so cold up there!

On Christmas Eve we had to catch a train before 7am, up to Boston. The train ride was so pretty- sometimes train tracks are in little valleys and are pretty boring, but this one went past town after town of pretty wooden houses, the sea, lovely countryside- very picturesque.

Luckily by the time we arrived we could check in to our hotel, so we left our bags and then went on a hunt for some lunch.

We were within walking distance of Quincy Market, so we had a look there, although nothing appealed so in the end we found a lovely sandwich shop and went there instead.

Then we were off to get the subway to the Boston Pops!

This was brilliant, my favourite show of the holiday. The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra play lots of Christmas carols and songs, and a choir sing along, and it is just amazing. They did the most amazing version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with each verse sung in a different style and different tune (eg 5 gold rings was with Bethoven’s 5th Symphony)- it was fantastic.

We had no idea what we would do for dinner, but came across a Cheesecake Factory pretty near the concert hall, so we went there. I love their guacamole so much (but you do get a mountain of it), so we had that to share for starters, and then I had a lovely salad with goats cheese and pecans and beetroot and things. Tasty, and it meant I saved room for dessert! They had a holiday special one, which was basically chocolate and peppermint, so we shared it.

Yummy! We walked back as we needed it after that!

On Christmas morning we woke up to snow! Lots had come down, and it was still going first thing. Our hotel had pastries and tea in the restaurant, so we had that, and then a skye call to Andy’s family. Then we wrapped up warm and headed out. It was the coldest day of our holiday. We wanted to do the Freedom Trail, as we thought most things would be closed on Christmas day, and of course it is all outside (although you have to follow a red line/ brick path on the pavement- not so easy in the snow).

There was lots of snow still in the park, but most of it had gone from the pavements.

In the afternoon we went back to our hotel (again with a Starbucks- there were some open on Christmas day) to warm up, before heading out for some dinner. We had originally booked a dinner, because the sample menu  looked like it would cater for vegetarians, but when we looked online the night before, there were starter salads and that was all (which would be fine, but it was a set menu and pretty expensive), so in the end we cancelled that, and went for a pizza. Then we went to see Django Unchained (which was really good, and jam packed)- I rather overheated in the cinema as I had 2 thermal tops on! It still makes me chuckle that Americans always clap when a film ends.

On Boxing day we walked around a bit more, did some shopping (bought some bargains in Bath & Bodyworks) and then went to see the Nutcracker. I was not sure what to expect, having never seen a ballet before, but actually I quite enjoyed it too. The different styles of dancing were really good, and I always enjoy listening to the orchestra playing.

Then we had to get our bags and head to the bus station, as we were getting the bus back to New York that evening.

I managed to fall asleep, and when I woke up I was shocked to see a lot of snow. We were about an hour behind schedule, which is not bad considering how much the roads were covered.

This was taken at the rest stop. Luckily after that, we saw snow ploughs and gritters go out, and they managed to clear the roads, and in the end didn’t get to New York too late. By the time we got there, it was just torrential rain (such fun wheeling our cases through the street rivers).

We spent our last day walking around Central Park and doing a bit of shopping:

And also having a Starbucks to warm up. I think we had one nearly every day/

We went for dinner at Wholefoods again, and then we had to get the bus to the airport (although the bus we had booked just didn’t turn up, so in the end the company took us and the other passengers in a little mini van- cutting it quite fine to get there on time!). I managed to sleep most of the way home (the magic combination seems to be noise cancelling headphones + sleeping tablet – only the ones that make you drowsy, not the prescription ones,+ don’t eat the food on the plane).

If I were to sum this holiday up, it would be like this:

Gingerbread scones, Wholefoods dinners, Starbucks chai lattes ( peppermint hot chocolate), thermal tops, big boots, lots of walking, lots of Christmas trees, and fun shows.

Or I could do it with a song?

(To the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)

On my fab Christmas holiday I managed to include:

12 miles of walking

11 thermal tops worn

10 gingerbread scones munched

9 bottles of water drunk

8 thousand miles flown

7 souvenirs bought

6 chai tea lattes

5 Wholefood dinners….

4 hours in Old Navy

3 fab shows

2 cities visited

And I managed to see The Christmas Tree!

Disclaimer- some numbers in the song may be estimated

Maui (sunrise to sunset, mountains to beaches)

On our way to Maui, I was very excited to see the observatories at the top of the mountain!

The flight was amazing, because it was pretty low, so we had good views of the many little islands. By the time we had collected our car and driven to the west of the island, it was pretty late (I think about 11) but that meant we were out and about the next morning to see the place.

Our hotel was near to Lahaina, which is an old whaling (boo) town on the west of the island. It really reminded me of Key West- sort of older, smaller, and with a bit more history than a lot of America. It was so pretty, packed with little shops (and some chains- randomly a Lush store!), and they were all open late, so a good place to wander in the evenings.

We went for a walk around the Chinese museum (which had a temple upstairs)- our entry also included a tour (by candlelight) of an old house owned by a missionary /doctor for a long time. All worth doing- very interesting.

There was an old cookhouse at the Chinese museum, which was showing films by Edison- old ones of Hawaii and things- very interesting.

The town centre also had a large banyan tree (never heard of them before)- the trees put down runners- sort of roots from higher up the tree, and when they hit the ground they get thicker and turn into more trunks. It looked like an octopus! This one was made to be symmetrical as people hung buckets and things to train the runners.

It is hard to see, but it was interesting, and lovely and cool too.

One day we went out for a long and twisty drive, on the Road to Hana.

We saw so many beautiful waterfalls, the sea looked amazing, the jungle plants looked amazing.

We went to a black sand beach, and I am sure that the rocks are called the dragon rocks or something (made from lava, but look like a dragon reaching into the ocean).

Real coconuts!

Hello 🙂

We sat and had some lunch (well banana bread we had bought along the way, plus banana and some pretzels I think!) with another beautiful view.

Then we had to drive back! Very twisty roads, narrow bridges, but more wonderful views.

One day we got up super early (4am I think) to drive up to the mountain to see the sunrise. It was apparently a ” must see” and it was worth it!

It was totally freezing- we wore as much as we could- vest, jumper, rain coat, jeans, but it was soooooo cold!

Amazing seeing the clouds pour over the mountains.

Hello from a chilly me!

Also what was amazing was that we could see the small flat part of central Maui, the sea on each side, and some of the other mountains.

The light was amazing once the sun had risen.

The walk back to the car from the viewing bit.

Andy liked taking covert pictures of me walking!

Then we drove to the top (some people watched the sunrise from there, but we were too late and the car park was full).

More observatories!

I was reading a sign (another picture I didn’t know he took!)

I liked the long shadows- made me tall!

There was another visitors centre which had more amazing views of volcanic craters.

This was me saying “can we go home for a sleep now?” (and we did)

We had more chill out time too. I did a few runs, and on one discovered a board walk from our hotel along the beach to other hotels and shops. We loved our sunset walks on the beach.

It was a pretty beach.

And we got to see more hula dancers!

They even had some children that did a dance to the song from Lilo and Stitch (the Hawaiian song, not an Elvis one).

Maui was just fantastic- it felt quite touristy in places, but also very remote and peaceful. Seeing the sunrise from the mountain was amazing- so quiet and beautiful. The road to Hana was a crazy drive (I didn’t envy Andy driving at all) but worth it as it was so pretty, and the beaches were fab too. It was the perfect holiday – just what I needed. I could not lay on a beach all day- I like seeing and doing things, and there was enough for us to see and do that I didn’t feel like I wasted being there, but also it was so chilled out. I just loved it.

Right, again well done if you got to the end of this- I think we took nearly 1600 photos (as I took a little camera and Andy had his fancy one)- so I have condensed them a lot!

I have a few more photos (for a holiday food post, and random bits I missed), so you are nearly at the end! 🙂

Rest of the Big Island

Hello all

Gosh back to work with a bump! The routine is already back in place (just about)- seems like these photos were taken a long time ago.

So, after our trip to the Volcano National Park, we went to the west coast of the Big Island, to a resort. Not something we would usually do, but we had figured we would want a couple of days to chill out before our next move. The drive there was lovely as it was a coastal road with waterfalls coming down to the sea, and the resort was very posh- when we checked in we were given shell necklaces (lei?), sat down at a table, given an iced towel (you used to get that sort of thing on a plane) and some guava juice. Very posh indeed! But the downside- no free internet!

We walked around the grounds of the resort.

Many palm trees, beautiful views of the ocean.

Flowers in the trees

Matched my flower hair clip!

Found a wild turtle- was massive!

Loving being by the sea

We found some chairs to watch the sunset from

Then I had a wander as I saw another turtle

Then we went to one of the restaurants- perfect view of the palm trees and sea

And the flames too- I liked those torches

I went for an Earl Grey (it was a bit chilly by then) and a fruit plate- yummy fresh papaya filled with all sorts of fruits- delicious.

The next day we went up the mountain (can’t remember the name) to watch the sun set and then do some star gazing- as it was so clear when we were in Volcano we were hoping to be amazed.

The visitors centre set up telescopes- I got to see Saturn so clearly, and the moon. Then someone did a talk and explained about all the different constellations, pointed out planets (we could see Mars with our eyes and even see the orange glow compared to the blue/white glows from other stars).

I have never been somewhere so dark either!

There were turtles in our hotel- little rescue ones that live there until they are big enough to survive in the wild.

Also some sharks in some of the ponds

Post card image!

I would rather be here!

It was a lovely couple of days- except from our trip to the mountain (which was a long drive- Saddle Road (goes between mountains) was bumpy enough, and then the drive up the mountain was very steep and twisty) we did not do much except relax. Well, we had a run one morning together, and saw more turtles on the beach! I think a couple of days was enough as I am not into sunbathing or anything, but it was lovely to just totally relax.

Right, that is enough for now- well done if you made it to the end again!




Hey everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely summer- I cannot believe it is September already- time really has flown by.

I am back home now, but still sorting through all the photos etc, so expect to have a few more holiday related posts yet.

After Waikiki, we flew (you have to fly- no boats between islands) to Hilo on Hawaii (confusing, so most people call it “The Big Island”, as it is the biggest), and had several days in the Volcano National Park. It was amazing! I love going to National Parks- we managed lots of walks (and hikes down to the crater floors and back up again), and even managed to see flowing lava one night. We stayed in a tree house in the rainforest- it was very cool- it collected rainwater to use for the shower- and had some solar panels. Anyway, I will try to keep the photos to a minimum!

Yes there used to be a road under that- not sure how the sign survived! There were different types of lava too- some smooth, some more like rubble, some that looked like cables.

Crater with steam pouring off- the lava below heats the rainwater.

Same crater at night- the lava makes the steam glow orange and red- amazing.

Rainbow in the background! We saw lots of rainbows there!

Lava tube- I am still not 100% sure I understand how they are formed- the lava flowed through, so I think it pushed through the thinner rock, and left behind a tube? Not sure though.


Walking on the lava (there is a road buried under that somewhere)

Our tree house in the rainforest

View out of the window (lots of big trees and leaves)

View of the sea from the park

Banana trees (I think?) planted right by the sea

Where the lava stops the road

Petroglyphs (ancient carvings in the lava rock)

And more (there were loads)

Some people had rebuilt their houses on top of the lava- it was very spooky

View of the lava in the daylight- just steam was visible

Then it got very dark!

And we could see the lava glowing on the side of the hill! Amazing!

Arch created by lava flowing into the sea

More lava

Crater floor (think this is the one we walked down to, along, and back up the other side)

In the crater floor

Being windswept by the crater!

Anyway, it was fantastic there- so interesting, so much to see and do. We stayed in a little town (called Volcano), and there were only a few small restaurants  cafes. We found an amazing vegetarian cafe (with a goat in the garden!)- Cafe Ono. I did take some photos but you can look forward to them later!

Right, that is enough for now- I had better get ready for work tomorrow!



Aloha from Hawaii

Hey peeps I hope everyone is having a lovely summer still. We have been loving Hawaii- now on our third Island- all so different but just wonderful. The first place we visited was Oahu, which has Honolulu on it (before we started looking into this trip, I thought it was all one island but it is loads)- anyway, a short drive from there to our hotel near to Waikiki beach. It was a lot like Miami beach- I liked it, but it was a big touristy city right by the beach, just a bit more laid back really. I went out for a run the first morning; luckily some of it had a board walk because running on the sand is such hard work (as someone commented to me!). My bright red face in the hotel lobby must have been a sight! View of Downtown and Waikiki beach from Diamond Head We went for a walk up to a place called Diamond Head (because people thought that the glittery stones were diamonds)- it was very steep but worth the amazing views- the car park looked very small from up there. We went to Pearl Harbor (spelling it the American way because it is American)- Andrew really wanted to see it, and it was interesting, but I did find it weird that people were having their pictures taken in front of the memorials and things. After that we had a more light hearted trip- to the Dole Pineapple Plantation! Mainly it was an excuse to buy some Dole whip (sort of a cross between frozen pineapple, frozen yoghurt and sorbet)- I have only ever had it at Disney before and it is yummy. Plus we got to ride the Pineapple Express (anyone else see that film? I thought it was going to be rubbish and about a bunch of stone-heads, but it was so funny)- and before we got on the train we had to pose for a photo while I held a real pineapple. Random. We had already eaten quite a bit before we decided to take photos! Even though I have seen them before, it was still funny to see how they grow. Also getting a bit obsessed with the beautiful hibiscus flowers that are everywhere. We also spent a day driving around the island- the North Shore was much more quaint, with lots of surf shops and little art shops and things. So many beautiful beaches and views of the sea. The scenery changes are so dramatic- sea on one side, volcanic valleys covered thickly in trees on the other. We got to see where Lost and Jurassic Park were filmed. On Friday night one of the hotels put on fireworks on the beach, so we watched those in the evening. Anyway, that is enough photos for now! After that we went to the Big Island (which apparently is actually called Hawaii but that was too confusing)- went to the volcano national park, and even saw some real lava! But I will save that for next time. Right, I thought I had a picture of me waving (for some cheesiness you know) but I don’t, so this is from the gardens at the pineapple plantation- seems a long time ago already! Bye for now xx