Sunday, 28 November 2010

The pretty place of Pale

The place we went sledding was really in the middle of nowhere, but Google maps said it was a place called Pale. And it really was beautiful. The road into it is high up in the mountains, along very tiny little roads. I loved how blue the sky was compared to the white of the snow, and out there, the snow hadn't been messed up or dirtied. It was so lovely and I was really pleased to get these shots as we went back to the car!

Sledding in Pale

I haven't been sledding in years, and was actually a little nervous when Mike suggested it, but after having such fun in the snow the day before, I knew I had to try it. We were lucky enough to find cheap little sleds at the sports shop in Shrewsbury (before it snowed there) as everywhere else had already sold out in anticipation. We found a nice slopey hill with some public access (and some sheep) and set off - it was great fun! I got a lot of mouthfulls of snow, but because there was sooooo much snow, it was great fun! It was hard work getting up the hill, but still fab! And we scared all the sheep away! It was such good fun, we did it a million times, taking photos and racing each other down the hill! I really enjoyed it and even sledded back to the car!

Driving through the hills

After leaving the lake, a getting stuck in the snow a few times, we decided to head out and find some prime sledding ground. Because it wasn't an area we knew, we didn't think they would have any big open parks, as there are plenty of fields around. We stopped at many, trying to find one with some public access, and came across some lovely bits of scenery along the way!

The Big Water Tower

As we were driving along around the outside of the lake, I had spotted this castle like tower on the opposite side, sitting on a peninsula. When were finally got to it, I was a little dissapointed to find out it was a water monitoring tower, but hey, it's a pretty nice water monitoring tower, that's for sure! Apparently the Lake provides a lot of water for Liverpool and Mersyside, so this is where it is all monitored from. It had a lovely copper roof and looked like something you might see out of Harry Potter! You couldn't go out onto the peninsula, but I did take some nice photos of it!

All around Lake Vyrnwy

The Lake is a beautiful place, and we decided once around in the car would be a good plan, to see what it was like. We weren't the first people there, but only a car or two had been on the track since it snowed, so it was mighty fun! We had a nice time exploring around the lake, they have lots of waterfalls where the rivers join the lakes, as well as little adorable bridges. I loved the icicles that were handing
off everything too! We did try and explore a little more, but we ended up getting stuck in all the snow and ended up going back the way we came! No matter, as it was lovely nevertheless! I really loved getting out and taking photos, especially of the lake, as when it is not flooded, there are lots of trees which you can see peeking out of the water! Some of the rivers leading into the lake were frozen in places too, because it was mighty cold!

The dam at Lake Vyrnwy

When I was about 12, we had visited Lake Vyrnwy on some school geography trip, and to be honest, I couldn't really remember much about it. I had wanted to go to Portmerion,on the coast in Wales, but it was going to be such an epic trek, and after setting off late, we figuered that Lake Vyrnwy was a good place to go visit on our Saturday expedition. The Lake is dammed at one end, which is pretty impressive, and is the oldest dam of it's kind in the entire world.

Home under snow

It was such a shame that the postman had beaten me to getting to be the first person out in snow, and figured it would be a good time to get some photos of the house, which my parents have bought last year I think, and been working on it ever since! It looks lovely in the summer, but even better in the winter all covered in snow! It was hard to show how much snow there was but about 2 or 3 inches we figured.

Buggie in the snow

Shrewsbury hadn't had any snow so far when we had arrived back on the Friday night, but after seeing kids sledding on our visits, we decided we needed some too, and bought some. Thank goodness we bought them then, as the next morning we woke up to a lovely blanket of snow! About 2 or 3 inches I would say. I rushed out to get some photos of my poor little car all covered in snow. Sadly the postman had beaten me outside and was tracking footprints all over the lovely snow! I had been hoping to get a photo of my car next to Mummy's, so here it is!

On the road again

I took this photo on the way home from the Castle, after we had popped into Festidiog for some afternoon tea with yummy scones. It was a really lovely day, but I was really shattered by the end, and walking through all the snow! It was a really beautiful drive home, and thankfully the Welsh were prepared for the snow, so all the roads were good and safe. I do love the landscape when it is all covered in snow!

More sheep

So, after our last holiday to the Lake district, I found I quite like sheep. Spending some time in the countryside, you just get used to it. There were quite a few on the walk up to the castle, and these ones didn't seem as used to humans as some others we had come across, but they were lovely and Welsh and fluffy! We did have to be careful, as they were running away from us they may have run into the road and we certainly didn't want that! I did feel bad for them in the snow though! They must be used to it, but noone can love living in the 5 inches of snow there was around the castle!

Dolwyddelan Castle

We did quite a lot of driving around Snowdonia National Park after we left the village, trying to find some interesting places to stop for some lunch. Mike had been to Dolwyddelan Castle before, which is a half ruined keep of an old Welsh castle way up on a hill. Mikeloved the car park I think because he was able to do some tricks in his car while I was taking photos! The people that live near the castle probably thought we were insane climbing up there in all the snow, but it was well worth it when we got to the top! The main keep is still avaliable to go inside, and once there, they have adorable little window seats and you can climb some stairs up to the top. The view was amazing! I think it was even better because of the snow and you could really see for miles because of the lovely blue sky. We had a great time throwing snow off the roof (hopefully not causing a avalanche!) and spent some time exploring the one exterior wall which was left standing. It was amazing to think what an amazing place it once must have been!

St Marys in the Snow

Before we left Betws-y-coed, I gave us a detour to look at the lovely St Mary's Church along the main road into the village. I do love taking photos of Churches, and this was no exception! It wasn't as old as I had thought, nor was it open, which was probably a good idea, as we were all wet from our snowball fight!


Whenever there is snow, you should build a snowman, and because the snow was absolutely perfect, we decided to make snowmen. Snowpeople, if they are going to be a good size, are made of very heavy balls of snow, and our two snow people quickly became one, named Albert. Mike likes to give toys and snowmen old fashioned names, so Albert it was! He even got some leafy arms and the use of Mike's hat for a while too!

A big kids snowball fight!

The lovely thing about Mike is that he is quite happy to be a big kid once and a while, and when we came across the field of snow, we started throwing snowballs and having a good time!It was still during school time and so no kids had had the opportunity to come out and ruin all the snow! The snow was perfect for packing, and there were tons of it! We ended up throwing the same snowballs back and forth and I rarely ever hit him with one of mine! I must just have bad aim! He definitly got me with one down my back thought! So cold! We didn't even notice the cold with all the running around we were doing, it was great! We did see some kids with seldges near the end of our snowball fight, prompting the idea for sledding the next day!

Romantic Stroll through Betws-y-coed

One of the things I had wanted to do on our winter holiday was visit the little village of Betws-y-coed, which is lovely and quaint and one of the most visited tourist villages. We had a nice walk over the bridge, and because I hadn't planned on coming out not biking, I didn't have the right shoes to go exploring the rocks with Mike. We walked along the river for a while untill we came to a lovely playing field full of snow!

Snowy Snowdonia

On the Friday, we had planned to go out to Wrexham and go mountain biking, as that is what Mike loves best. The trails were closed because of all the snow they had gotten (about 3 inches) which we didn't know about as Shrewsbury didn't have any when we left. We figured going into Snowdonia and exploring and playing in the snow would be a good idea instead! I made Mike stop in every layby so I could take photos. He liked it because he got to practice his snow stunt driving!!

The Big Wheel

So Chester Christmas markets had this massive ferris wheel, which was definitly the highlight of the event. We paid to go on, and it was fabulous! I loved it! You were supposed to have to pay for a private carriage, but because it wasn't very busy, Mike and I were able to have our own! Chester isn't terribly lit up at night, but the Christmas markets certainly were! We could see the rides, (Mike wouldn't let me go on the reindder ride!), Santa's grotto, the ice rink and the carosel. It was really nice being up that high, and they even let us go around a few times! I thought it was really romantic, even if it was cold!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Romantic Holiday - Chester and more Christmas

So because Mike goes off to start his new job next week, we decided to take some time off and have a winter holiday. We started off by meeting in Shrewsbury, and then driving up to the Chester Christmas markets. Chester is a lovely old market town, with their shops on two levels, and we walked through the town a little before getting to the markets. They are all set up to look like they are covered in snow, beautiful! And they were very nice and empty on a Thursday night, which was great! It was nice to not be jostled about like we were in Birmingham! Because the ice rink was quite expensive, we decided some dinner was in order instead! We got some hotdogs, and rode on the big wheel,which is IMMENSE, and very high, took some photos of all the snow covered trees and the nutcrackers, and it was a lovely romantic evening out! I loved it!

Cabot Tower

So by avoiding Park Street, it ended up that we needed to go through Brandon Hill Park, which is quite steep! Noone else was having any trouble, but I certainly was huffing and puffing! It was a nightmare and cold, but we finally made it to the top. At the top is Cabot Tower, which is this lovely tower, and from the bottom you can see all over Bristol. It has been closed the entire time I've been at Uni, but we still got some photos of the landscape and the kids. We didn't stay long, becasue of the cold, but it was a darn good view!

Bristol Cathedral and Library

So because of the protests on Park Street, we couldn't go that way, which was a relief to me, as Park Street is difficult to get up! We went around via the Cathedral, which was full of UWE people graduating that day, and then along next to the library. I didn't even know there was a library there, but it's lovely and old, with a very modern inside! I really must get down there to check it out, but all I had time for was a couple snaps! There were some statues outside, who they were of, I'm not sure, but I loved this photo of the statue outside the Library with the Cathedral in the back. I wish we had time to go in to the Cathedral - another time I guess!

Corn Street and St. Nicks

Corn street was one of the places I first came to when I first visited Bristol, and I haven't really been back since. It's a lovely little street, with St Nicks market in the old Corn exchange and is full of little shops, stalls, and a bunch of little restaurants at the back. The buildings are all lovely and beautiful too!

Remains of the Bombing

Bristol has a knack for keeping historical things intact. But during the Second World War, it was the 5th most bombed city, and as a result, lots of beautiful buildings were destroyed. Actually though, near the Broadmead shopping centre, there is a lovely old church that they have kept in its ruined state. Tim knew a bit about it, and it's kept as a monument to all the people that died during the Blitz.


I love Christmas, there is no two ways about it, and Bristol does an alright job of having the right amount of Christmasseyness. They have santa hats, ice rinks, christmas markets and the like, as well as Santa's grotto in the Mall, which you pay 4 pounds to go in, so I was deligted to see this LEGO Santa outside a shop in Cabot Circus! Good news is I didn't embarrass my friends too much by having this photo taken!

Christmas Markets (again)

So I took the kids down to the Bristol Christmas Markets, which are very similar to those in Birmingham, with pretzels and such. We wandered around for a while, not really deciding what to do, and then I got myself a MASSIVE pretzel, which was very salty, and then after that, we wandered around, going into Millets and getting a 3 pound jumper! We hadn't really had lunch,and even though they have a lovely section right in the middle of the markets, for hot gluewein and hot chocolate, we didn't have any and went to have lunch elsewhere instead!

Christmas Steps

The reason I was on the way to Physics was to collect my Physics Children. As the first years arrive in Bristol, they are allocated older students who they can go to when they want to ask questions, whatever. Tim and I have two really nice kids, Dougie and Portia, who are both from the Yorkshire area. I figured I would take them down to the Christmas markets, and so to go down that way, there are these little steps called the Christmas steps. They are very cute, and along the steps, they have a violin shop, a stamp shop, all these cute little cafes, it's lovely!


So on Wednesday, a bunch of Universities decided a walk out would be good. As I was walking up the road to Physics, they were coming down. I had seen quite a lot of police around, but hadn't expected to see many people. There were lots of signs, slogans and shouting, but nothing bad. After I had been to Broadmead, I saw them all again, running up Park Street, followed by the police horses! Talk about intense!From what we found out after, the protesters tried to get into the Council Houses, so the police did a massive charge at them to get them away. We ended up having to go a long way around, but it was worth it to see some of the protesting without actually having to attend!

Birmingham for Christmas

Shelby and I both did German at school and so it was good fun to get to go around the German Christmas markets they were hosting! It was really lovely, but SO busy, so busy you could barely move! It was a bit of shuffling all the way round, but we got some lovely crepes (After 8 ones) and some grapes on a stick covered in white chocolate, which are my favourite, and they usually never have! We all started getting a bit cold and fed up of the crowds, so after eating our way through the markets, we headed home.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Birmingham up in lights!

To say I love Christmas is an understatement. I love lights the most, and was quite sad to have missed them being turned on, so we stayed in Birmingham until it got dark so we could see the lights! They are beautiful and blue! They had lots of different lights throughout the town too, some yellow, but mostly blue. I think it's nice and they weren't too overwhelming either! We walked along New Street on our way to the Frankfurt Christmas Markets so we could see them all! It was well worth the walk!

St Martin's in the Bullring

The Bullring was built in 2003, and where they built it, there was already a church at the site. It has been there since the 1200's, but was rebuilt in the 1800's, and so when they built the Bullring, they cleaned it up. It's quite nice to look out over the church onto the city, and at night, they light it up too. We went inside, and it's nothing special, not terribly ornate, but I like that they kept some history in such a modern shopping complex.