Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The photo face

Mike got a great shot of a bumblebee, which you can see here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebert4 but while he was taking that photo I got one of him! I love how he can take really great shots with what appears to be ease! I know he constantly thinks about his shot, but I never do, I just snap and go - I like taking photos of Mike - generally he pulls a goofy face! This is his photo face - the "I'm concentrating face". Luckily he's not often got his camera pointed at me, so I've never seen my photo face!

Post Easter Egg Hunt

Daddy and the guys were really good and hid eggs in the garden for all of us (me, Mike, Shelby, Emily and Jessica) and we took ages to find them! (some we didn't find untill they melted!) but after, everyone sat on the grass and ate their chocolate - I snapped these shots of Shelby's new hair and a shot of Emily too!

An Easter Table

Of course I went home for Easter, it is a big deal in America, you have lots of chocolate, and dinner, but you also get Easter Bunny presents and do egg hunts and there are tons of decorations. My mum is really good at decorating, and the table was lovely, she had bought these little chocolate ducks from M and S - we ended up smashing their heads in, but it was so pretty before that!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Wisteria at Home

Now that we are back home, I have mainly been revising, but today was lovely and sunny and Shelby was out on the balcony. The wisteria on the balcony is really in bloom, so I had to grab some photos as the next time I am home, they will probably all be gone!


Right as we were leaving we saw some great tulips which were in the colours of the Belgian flag! They were really pretty! I love the pink and white ones too, but I loved that they had made an effort to be so patriotic with flowers!

Another park in Brussels

We had intentions to go and see the royal greenhouses, but we never really found our way, and because of time limitations, went to another park again. April is a great month for flowers, and they were all in bloom and with lovely colours!

The Atomium

The Atomium is a massive structure which was built for the World Fair way back when, and I believe it is to represent the man who discovered the Atom (who maybe was Belgian?) Either way, it is a pretty impressive feat, and you can actually go up and visit inside the spheres. We didn't do that, but got some great photos of it!

A very large collection of buildings!

There were tons and tons of pretty buildings at Mini Europe - the Big Ben was really good, they even had Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon representing England. The part on Belgium was really good, as it had a mock up of the Grand Place. France had tons of buildings, the Eiffel Tower was massive compared to everything else! A lot of the places I had never been to had really beautiful buildings, especially those in Eastern Europe, and there were lots of Palaces and Castles. They had a mock up of the Chunnel, and ESA's Ariane rocket too!It really was a fab day out, you felt like you were travelling, and the models were really detailed and beautiful!

Goofing around in Mini Europe

We had a really good time in Mini Europe, looking at all the buildings, and trying to pose so it looked like we were holding up the leaning tower of Pisa, and other such things, like looking through the Arc de Triomphe! At the very end was a SPIRIT OF EUROPE sign, which the girls looked through as I got a photo!

Mini Europe

On our last day, we went to Mini Europe, which is somewhere Ella and I had really wanted to go. It contains a bunch of 1:25 scale models of the most known buildings in Europe, and they had a bit from every country in Europe. The mascot was this large orange dinosaur (maybe) with a EU flag T shirt, and we got our photo as we entered the park.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Brussels Central Station

We actually took the train into Brussels, because apparently parking is a nightmare (surprise, surprise!) and it was really good fun as we accidentally travelled in 1st class the whole way there - we did think the carriage was very snazzy! I snapped this photo of the girls before we went on our train home, the station is modern on the outside and very traditional on the inside, but has lots of shops. We didn't get a double deckered train, which I was so looking forward too, and sadly, cattle class was quite smelly!

Belgian Boris Bikes

Knowing my love for the London Boris Bike scheme, the girls were quite excited to see a similar version (but yellow) in Brussels. It didn't seem terribly as used in the centre of town, and I never saw anyone on one, but out in the suburbs we saw some which were quite empty and so I got Becky to hop on one so I could take a photo! They seemed remarkably like ours, only with better baskets, and a lot more noise when you sit on them! I think they are a members only scheme, because there was no place to pay for a one time use like there was in London. I was also quite sad to see you couldn't use them in the Park, which was one place I might have felt safe being on a bike!

Pretty parks

On our walk through Brussels, we came across this park which was quite busy due to everyone being on their lunch break eating outside, becasue they have benches within the flowers that you can sit and enjoy the garden! I thought it was really lovely!

A big purple Bunny

When we got nearer to the centre of Brussels, and were walking around some more, we came across a GIANT purple rabbit. We figured it was some kind of easter sculpture, or some advertising, but it proved very popular to have your photo with it! (who wouldn't want their photo with a mutated rabbit?) I thought it might be a chocolate company, but who knows! Ella was very good and indulged me wanting a photo of someone near the bunny, it was very good, she did this for lots of shots, so I could take some photos with people in them finally!

Down by the Federal Government

I had origionally thought this was a Palace, but I was mistaken, and the big building at the end of the park is actually home to the Federal Government. It seems a bit empty to be a governmental building, but maybe everyone was inside working hard, or at home, since it was Sunday!

Parc de Bruxelles

I was actually quite pleased we couldn't go to the restaurant, because it meant we had time to go to the big Park, which is known as Parc de Bruxelles (origional, eh?). It was full of joggers, and had a play park, and lots of statues and a MASSIVE fountain. We had good fun trying to lift each other up and give each other piggy backs too!

Column of Congress

Shelby had read in Jamie Oliver's magazine that Brussels had a great little place to eat, but it was a bit farther out of town. So we attempted to walk there, and on our way, we came across the Column of Congress, which reminds me slightly of the column in Trafalger Square, but with people at the bottom as well, and as far as I can tell, a torch for an unknown soldier. Also at the bottom were a lot of very pretty flowers which I loved because they were slightly ratty tulips sticking up from a sea of little white and blue flowers. I really should learn what types of flowers they were, but for the mean time, I am quite happy to say that they were just pretty! In the end, the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed, so we just went on a very long, uphill walk!


I generally like to fiddle around with my camera and take photos of people. Shelby generally is quite fussy about this, so I try and take some when she isn't looking! I got quite a few nice ones and lots of Ella and Becky being very silly!

Grand Place!

Here is the very lovely Grand-Place in Brussels, which is basically a MASSIVE town square. It's really best when they do the 'carpet of flowers' in the centre of it, but the day we were there, someone was getting married, and there was a flower market, and all the restaurants were full of people sitting outside enjoying the sunshine!

Gallaries Royale, Brussels

Once we wandered around Brussels a little, we went down the Gallaries Royale, which is a lovely open air shopping gallery, full of little restaurants, shops, and outdoor seating. They are full of tourists, but down the little alleys, there are tons of cute quaint little places to eat and sit outside and enjoy the sun! It was very warm outside so we sat and had some Belgian Waffles, which were great! Mine was chocolate sauce and strawberries, and was really fab!

Belgian Chocolate

Belgium is quite known for it's chocolate. When we went into Brussels, we saw tons of cute things made out of chocolate - the little lambs were my favourite, but we did see a giant elephant, who LOOKED like he was made out of Chocolate, but sadly wasnt! They have more chocolate stores than I have ever seen, with everything made out of chocolate. They must be very fat if they eat all that chocolate, but I think it was mainly for the tourists! I saw quite a lot of Easter themed chocolates, not just eggs and chicks, but more elaborate things too!


The Cheethams have a lovely chocolate lab called Holly, and she is lovely, but breathes very heavily, like she is panting, but that is because she has asthma. She is so sweet and was quite intrigued by my camera! In this photo she looks like she is really not pleased with me taking her photo! Ooops!

Ella and her cheesecake

Ella, the Cheethams youngest daughter, loves cheescake, and was very excited to go to the lovely bakery in Mons which did a very nice Cheesecake. It took us a while to find the place, but when we did, there was only one whole cheesecake left, and Ella was very concerned that the lady who was buying cake in front of us might buy it! In the end we decided Ella would have hit her so that she couldn't have the very last cheesecake! She was very pleased that the lady didn't buy it and protected the cake all the way home, so I snapped this photo of her looking pleased as punch!

A Park behind the Grand Place

Behind the Grand-Place there is a little area you can walk through to the park behind the main administration building. It has a name, but I've forgotten it! It was full of cute little fountains, and flowers, but I especially liked the wisteria which was growing all up along the back of the buildings, near to the lamps and I just loved it!

A lucky little Monkey

In Belgium, they have tons of town squares surrounded by buildings and are called the Grand-Place, and in the Grand-Place in Mons there is a little brass monkey whose head you are supposed to rub for good luck (with your left hand apparently!) It seemed a bit silly, but everyone was coming and doing it too, and they definitely weren't tourists! I got this photo of Becky (the Cheethams oldest daughter) rubbing the head of the monkey - we all agreed it was a silly photo but still, I needed to get evidence of us being non-touristy for once!

More of the Cathedral

These photos are from inside the Cathedral. They have a Saint buried there, which one, I do not know, but she is a big deal here, and every year there is a festival where they take her coffin carriage through the streets. Looked like fun actually, they showed it on a TV inside. There were lots of candles too!

Mons Cathedral, Belgium

In term break, we also had time to go visit the Cheethams, who are stationed in Mons, Belgium at the moment. I never got to visit them in Italy, so I was very excited I got to go visit them this time. After an evening of games, the next day we went into the city of Mons and walked around and visited the Cathedral, which the girls didn't like, but I really loved! I pretty much like all cathedrals, but this one was very lovely and very quiet!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hotel Hopping 3 - The Grand Floridian

As we had been going along, I realised how much I loved the Polynesian, and what a fun place to stay at! But then we went farther along the monorail to the Disney Grand Floridian. I loved it even more! It is a lovely white, old fashioned style classical hotel, like the Grand Hotel in Mackinaw, but more tastefully decorated. It is the number one spot to get married at at Disney (they have a Wedding Pavillion) and I can see why. They have massive chandeliers, beautiful pianos, flowers everywhere, and cute little soap shops and places fit for a princess!

We also went out to the pool, which was lovely as well, and there were tons of glower gardens with fountains for people to sit and enjoy the place! It really was special, down to the staff with their waistcoats and boaters. It really was an all round great experience and definitely where I want to stay next time!