Travelling With Mom

Some of the best memories my sisters and I have with our mom are while travelling. Whether this was a surprise trip to Disney, a road trip throughout eastern Canada or tagging along with her on a business trip to Montreal, mom always made the trip special for us…and our exchange students too!

We love travelling with our mom, however there are a few things we’ve learned throughout the years regarding her travel preferences for a smooth trip. For example, if you are travelling with your mom for an athletic tournament and your team is terrible, make sure there is a place for her to pick up an excellent cup of coffee so she can make it through the game.

Alison DurtnallWe also learned the following while travelling with mom:

1) It takes an extremely long time to cook a roast in the oven of a motorhome

2) Make sure you have a backup photo of everything your mom wants a photo of because hers are guaranteed to be blurry

2) Underpack your suitcase as your mom will overpack hers and then purchase items while travelling that she will then need to store in your suitcase

3) Our mom can arrange an awesome picnic so definitely have a picnic day while travelling and catch up on some traditional family time in a park

We love you mom, never stop travelling and we will continue to tag along. Happy Mothers Day! 

New Mills, England

New Mills, England

New Mills is a town we will never forget! After visiting the area three times in the past year, it was our home away from home and a refreshing escape out of the city. We stayed with family New Mills Kitchenand each visit reminded us of being back at home. We would watch movies together with plenty of snacks and find new recipes to try in the kitchen. David also learned some new cooking techniques that I will make sure he puts into practice soon. We will miss our family in New Mills when we move back to Canada and are looking forward to them visiting us in the future. Other fun things about New Mills are 1) they have a candy factory 2) they have the best Fish n Chips place 3) they have beautiful walking paths through the Torrs and 4) they have an old school railway station.

Swizzles Matlow Ltd. (the candy factory), has been located in New Mills since the 1940s after relocating from the London Blitz during WWII. During this time the factory was being used to make water purifying tablets for the Ministry of Defense. In 1957 they launched my personal favourite candy of theirs, the Drumstick lolly, the only chewable lollypop available at that time. Today they are one of the largest employers in the area with their sweets being constantly in demand from the public.

For the outdoors type, Torrs gorges, created during the ice age, are beautiful to walk through in New Mills. The area is known as the park beneath the town with rivers Sett andTorrs, New Mills Goyt intersecting. New Mills has a history of being a leader in renewable energy with 18 mills once surrounding the area. Today they have the Archimedean screw (they call it Archie), a rotating turbine attached to a generator used to produce clean, green electricity. They are the first town in the UK to own and run community hydro, Torrs Hydro.

Fish and Chips in New MillsFinally, the Fish n Chips in New Mills are fabulous. It’s the batter that make them stand out from the rest, and of course making sure the fish is fresh. Our family took us to two places where they are amazing, 1) the golf course and 2) The Crispy Cod. The railway station in New Mills is also picturesque and a great viewpoint. The railway was opened in 1868.

Nissen Plantage

Nissen Plantage, Denmark

This past week we have had the privilege of David Shootingstaying in a renovated farm house (originally built in 1775) out in the countryside of Kølstrup, Denmark. The original beams on the exterior remain however the thatch roof has been replaced due to high maintenance costs. The home belongs to one of our family’s exchange students, Anne, who stayed with us in Canada. For some fresh whole milk in the morning they walk over to their neighbour’s farm. After living in a city for so long it sure is great to get out to the country! David even went out shooting and hunting with Anne’s dad, an experience I’m sure he will never forget. I made for them a Canadian favourite among exchange students, pancakes with maple syrup. Anne’s youngest brother however just spread Nutella all over the chocolate chip pancake and ate it that way.

Walking distance from their house is Vikingemuseet Labdy, a Viking Museum, Ladbyviking ship burial mound from 1,000 years ago, the oldest in the world. This is the only ship grave in Denmark from the viking period. The King of Ladby was buried in his ship with all his possessions including animals. When you visit the ship underground the skeletons of some of the horses remain. The original anchor is in the ship and iron curls used to decorate the “dragon’s mane” are on display in the museum.

Also Cherry Farmwithin walking distance is an amazing cherry farm, Selleberg. We walked through the different types of cherry trees, picking them from the tree to taste. They have a small little shop where they sell cherry products such as jam, syrup and ice cream.


Canada Day International

Canada Day International

No matter where you are in the world, on July 1st,Canada Day International VolunteersCanadian spirit will surround you. Weeks before Canada Day, I was searching for a place my husband and I could go to celebrate and meet some fellow Canadians when I came across Canada Day International. This is an all things Canadian event that takes place in Trafalgar Square showcasing some of Canada’s best in technology, arts, culture, education and of course, food.

Overwhelmed with excitement over this event I signed us up to volunteer. Our orientation night took place at Canada House in the square. This is where everyone asked if they had found cNanaimo Barsheese curds for poutine, the most popular question asked every year. The answer was, ‘as close to cheese curds as you can get in the UK’ and had been taste tested and approved by the Canadian staff organizing the event. We took the early shift, getting things ready and talking to people as they walked through the area. We also had the privilege to sample some of the Nanaimo bars from The Maple Food Company, a Canadian desserts company based in the UK.

It was an amazing day and we are so proud to be Canadian. As we have traveled throughout the year to many great places in the world, the more we appreciate our home country.


Snow in London

Today felt a little bit like home as snow covered the ground and everyone in the house set out to build a snowman. It was the nice kind of winter weather where it’s not too cold, so the snow is good for packing, and not too warm, that the snow turns to slush.

We collectively decided that we wouldn’t cresnowomanate the stereotypical snowman and instead a snowoman in a bikini just soaking up this winter weather. We placed her in the middle of the pathway, ensuring no one would miss her as they walked by. We used leaves found around the yard as the swimsuit and some loose branches as the eye lashes and hair. Trying to maintain some tradition we kept the classic carrot nose. After a bit the guys in the house came out and added her lovely Budweiser hat. She looks like she drank one too many.

Happy winter! FINALLY.

Christmas Tree Decorating via Skype

Christmas Tree Decorated via Skype

Today my family went out to find that perfect Christmas tree to fill up the front hall. This is my first year ever being away for Christmas but thanks to Skype, Whats App and Facebook, I don’t miss a thing! Sure the time change doesn’t really help for the evening events back home but David and I just take up our family traditions by doing similar activities only 5 hours earlier. We still decorated our place with lights and stockings, started watching Christmas movies and I have started the countdown with my Cadbury chocolate advent calendar David got me. Christmas Outfits

We dressed in our Christmas outfits while the family decorated the tree to add an element on our end of the camera to the festivities, pictured right. The final tree is pictured above as the featured image. My family’s tree is always full with new and old ornaments. About 1/4 of the tree is Winnie the Pooh themed ornaments collected throughout the years, then about another 1/4 of the tree is mom’s owls, polar bears and random fruit decorations. We have a tradition where Grandma will place an ornament on everyone’s gift each year. So, if you do the math, I will have 23 ornaments alone and then I have 2 sisters and parents as well. That’s a lot of ornaments for one tree!!! Every year Grandpa will have to fix a few that fall off the tree as the dogs walk under it and after a few days the tree will start to tilt and we will tie it up to the stairs. A few years ago David was watching us decorate our tree while he was working on a cruise ship and he even watched our tree actually fall over.

Decorating the tree is like the kickoff to Christmas! So thankful for technology and not missing a thing while being away.

Student Life & School Contests

I love contests and I love school so when schools have contests it’s just an overwhelming amount of excitement for me. Greenwich School of Management (GSOM) has a contest going on right now asking students to submit photos representing their “student life” here at GSOM. Of course I began to brainstorm about my student life here and how really it only consists of about 3 things: 1. Eating with friends in the common room downstairs 2. Reading/Studying in the library with friends and of course 3. Sitting in the classroom taking notes while the professor chats up a storm.

KayKay, who is pictured to the left is one of these friends. Knowledgable in her field and here to learn from others while succeeding in her studies. This is why for the contest I entered a photo of her and I together studying in the library. She’s one of the most dedicated people in the program and working towards her MBA in Strategic Planning. Together we share the same birthday and are both passionate about our home countries. GSOM has students from all over the world which adds to your experience here. KayKay has an extensive background in customer service and without a doubt I know she will have a successful future. As an MBA student the friendships you build here are different then when you’re getting your degree. Everyone you meet knows the direction they are headed and how they are going to get there. The MBA is just a stepping stone and every one of us brings past experiences from the work place to the discussions in the classroom.

I participated in the contest to try and win this iPad mini for Christmas. The contest goes until December 7th and you can vote once every 24 hours. If you want to help me out and vote for my photo just click here. Wish me luck! Thank you for your votes.

Fireworks 5th of November

Remember remember the 5th of November

Fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes? Seems strange to celebrate a man who tried to blow up parliament but the fireworks actually represent all the bonfires that people lit to celebrate the protection of their King. This celebration represents the 17th century grudge the English have on Guy Fawkes and those involved in the Gunpowder Plot. The celebration used to be much more threatening as a reminder to all British citizens the severity of being convicted of high treason, a reminder of how Fawkes was dealt with after being convicted. Parliament established November 5th as a celebration, a celebraFireworks at the Parktion of catching Fawkes. As twisted as a celebration of failure sounds it’s a great show to see! Good thing he was caught and now we have awesome fireworks each year to celebrate as opposed to what we could potentially be remembering.

With so many firework shows taking place throughout the city we decided we would keep it local and went to the one at Millwood Park which was put on by the Tower Hamlets Council Arts & Events Team. The show was amazing and not even painful on the ears to listen to! David and I bundled up in our winter hats, scarves, mitts and jackets to stand out for the display. Each set of fireworks that went off had it’s own song to go along with it. These fireworks started at 7:30 however I have a feeling we will be hearing more go off throughout the night tonight.


Pancakes, Parks & Prayer

A perfectly planned weekend with pancakes, parks and prayer. PancakesThis weekend we introduced some of our friends to a Canadian classic, Maple Syrup, with some traditional home made pancakes! I used my mom’s recipe that she would make for my dad every Sunday…then me…my younger sister…and then my youngest sister. To be honest, it’s one of the only things we would let mom make for us since no one could make them as fluffy as she could. Also, she would put chocolate chips in them and make them into animals. I made them just like this for our friends’ son. He had an elephant pancake! He didn’t take well to the maple syrup on his pancakes but he sure did enjoy dipping his bacon in it!

After the pancakes we walked through Greenwich Park starting from the south end, near Blackheath. Greenwich Park is the oldest royal park in London and covers 183 acres.Pavillion Tea House The park is at the top of a hill looking down the Thames River with St. Pauls Cathedral and the London Eye in the distance. At the edge of the hill is the Royal Observatory. The Pavilion Tea House  is one of many places to eat throughout the park that have their own private gardens. If you’re planning on visiting the park, here’s a link to their map. It’s a big park with plenty to see!

Now for the 3rd P of our weekend! Prayer. We’ve been attending the Christian Life Fellowship in Greenwich for the past 4 weeks and know this is the church we are meant to be attending! We don’t have any close family and they treat us as if we are part of theirs. They remember who we are, what we have going on and pray for us without being asked. David and I prayed about moving here, we prayed about finding a church and we prayed about what school I should be attending with each answer linking back to this church. We moved in the same area the church is held, this church has been praying for the school that I am attending using the classrooms as prayer rooms and we found the church using nearby search for churches around the school. The life-cycle of their prayer with ours is so evident and we are thankful for it. We thank God for being with us through this transition and for giving us a family in the church while we are so far away from ours. Prayer works.

Mail from England

We Got Mail

We received our very first piece of mail from back Popcorn sent in the mailhome today. It’s the greatest feeling ever, like waiting for Christmas morning but you’re not sure what day Christmas will be on! The yellow padded envelope was from Grandma and Grandpa and contained 4 packets of Orville Redenbacher’s finest microwavable popcorn. Perfect timing for us since every Tuesday David and I have pizza and a movie night. It was Fridays back in Canada but here it’s just cheaper for us on Tuesdays so we swapped days.

If you need any other great ideas of what to mail us from Canada here’s a list that might just help you out of items that are either unavailable here or they are but will cost a fortune:

  1. Microwaveable Popcorn, ALWAYS a good idea
  2. Brown Sugar and Maple Flavoured Oatmeal
  3. Anything from the Christie cookie family like Oreos
  4. Apple Cinamon Cheerios, my favourite (ask anyone I worked with) and not available here
  5. Chocolate chips for baking, they don’t have those here either except in tiny little bags
  6. Kraft Dinner
  7. Maple Syrup, David is currently rationing the amount we have until friends visit in late December

This list also applies to anyone else reading of what you should bring over with you when you move if you’ve got the extra space.