The Temps They are A-Changin’

Look what we woke up to this morning: an icy windshield.

It’s the first frost of the year and that means all the wintry goodness of hot chocolate, ice skating, Christmas decorations, and warm mittens is on the way. Yippee!

I got a pumpkin spice latte to celebrate the occasion and to remind myself how wonderful Autumn is too. Two great seasons – can’t go wrong!

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Halloween Fun

Well, it’s almost Halloween which is such a great time of year! That said, Halloween really isn’t the same in the UK. Not many people carve pumpkins, the only acceptable costumes are scary ones, and we didn’t have a single trick-or-treater last year. Sigh.

Since moving here, I’ve come up with my own ways of getting into the Halloween spirit amidst the British apathy. Last year we carved pumpkins and this year I signed us up for the Night Fright run near Guildford.

The Night Fright run was a 8.5km (5.3 mile) Halloween-themed race through the woods at night. As costumes were encouraged, we decided to make the effort.

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I went as a vampire, Peter a skeleton, and our friend Shish came as the Joker from Dark Knight.

DSC04351The race started at 6pm, just a few minutes after sunset. As most of the run happened in the dark, headlamps were mandatory. Glowsticks and fluorescent signs marked the trail as we made our way along wooded paths and climbed up dark hills. I’d never run at night like this before so it was a pretty cool experience. One of the spookiest parts of the run was when we came to a hilltop clearing and saw the outlines of tombstones in an old graveyard ahead. Very creepy!

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After last night’s excitement, I was inspired to set the Halloween mood at home with a little seasonal decor on our mantle and some spooky fingernail polish.

Are you doing anything for Halloween?

Jaunt in Germany

As I mentioned on Monday, Peter and I hopped over to Germany for a long weekend in the Bavarian Alps last week. The trip was a combination of all the things I’ve been craving lately: beautiful scenery, delicious food, outdoor exercise, and driving!

We arrived early Thursday morning, rented a car at the Munich airport, and wasted no time getting on the autobahn in the direction of Lindau, on the shores of Lake Constance. The lake is at the intersection of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and surrounded by mountains. Everywhere you turn in Lindau is picture perfect and charming.

After lunch and a lakeside beer in Lindau, we drove up into the Alps to the little spa town of Oberstaufen where we’d booked a hotel for two nights. Again, we were thrilled by the charm of the town and enraptured by the beauty of the mountains surrounding it. We spent a leisurely rest of the day exploring Oberstaufen and catching glimpses of the sunset over the mountains.

The next day, Peter and I outdid ourselves at the hotel breakfast before setting off on what turned out to be a day-long hike in the mountains. It was the perfect hiking conditions. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, the paths were well maintained, and there were restaurants along the way! We hiked most of the way up a mountain and stopped for a beer and granola bar before reaching the summit. The view from the crest of the mountain took my breath away. Ahead of us were snow capped peaks stretching as far as the eye could see. It was one of the most beautiful sites I’d ever seen!

All the way back down, I skipped along and sang songs from the Sound of Music in joyful expression. It was very Julie Andrews.

On Saturday, our final day in Germany, we drove to Neuschwanstein Castle, the famous castle that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle. We toured the grounds and surrounding area which included a beautiful lake, another castle, and several restaurants and hotels. Everything was just so stunning, I grinned ear to ear and stopped every few minutes to take pictures. Peter and I ate lunch in the sunshine before making our way back to the airport via country roads and small towns.

Such a perfect trip and a fabulous time of year to go. I wanted to stay forever!

Made My Monday

I’m back from a fantastic long weekend in Germany (which I’ll tell you more about later!). Monday’s are so much harder when you have to catch up at work and adjust to ‘real’ life again. 

After a busy day at work, my day was made when I read this article about the Lamont Street Collective in Washington DC on my train ride home.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a few friends who lived in the Lamont Street Collective (LSC). This house is a very unique and special spot that nurtures community and creativity. In the hustle and bustle of DC living, the LSC is a refreshing break from the norm. As the article describes, “the collective excels at creating such spaces and simple activities that transport you out of D.C.: working in the garden, listening to an LP in the dining room, lounging on the porch out front or around the fire pit out back, hot toddy in hand, meditating on and grappling with the forces that stymie collective action.” 

Many of my best memories of living in the city were spent at the house — star gazing on the roof, beers on the front porch or friendly meals around the huge table. In a way, it kind of felt like a home away from home. 

Such sweet memories to conjure up and dwell in. If only I could head back for one of those LSC evenings now…

Made My Monday

This morning started with me spilling cereal and milk all over my lap in the car on the way to the train station. It was so bad we had to go back home so I could change clothes. Of course this meant I missed my train and ended up having to go another route to work. In order to get in on time, I walked the last 10 minutes of my commute in the rain.

Yeah, it was one of THOSE kinds of Mondays in which things just seem destined to go wrong. The best part of my day was leaving it all behind at run club after work. For an hour, my colleagues and I put aside everything that had happened during the day and just sweat. It felt so good to let all the stress of the day go.

To top off a great workout, I came home and made some fresh apple, carrot, beet, and ginger juice. Delish!

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