Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bess' Travel Diaries: England + Wales, Part 4

Bess in London

Dear Diary,

London is by far the biggest city I've ever ventured into...  What was I thinking?  This place is crazy busy - & of course I would choose to visit the two days that coincide with a Bon Jovi concert & some memorial service {not to mention a couple peaceful protests here & there + perhaps the hottest temperature registered (in Celsius, of course) this summer}.  Most folks here are pretty stoic or at least disinterested in offering a smile to passersby or any other such pleasantry.  Every time I hear an American accent my heart does a patriotic leap inside my chest & I move in to chat with my fellow Yanks.  Get me back to my "old Kentucky home"...well, I don't have a home in KY, but ya know what I mean... 

Big Ben with the London Eye peeping by in the background
Big Ben is actually the moniker of the bell inside the clock tower
houses of parliament
Trafalgar Square
London Eye
London Bridge {is not falling down, as you can see} =)
riding across the bridge {in an open air double decker}
Bess' London Scrapbook

I took a double decker bus tour around the city + a cruise on the River Thames.  I helped this older man {a tourist from India} find the right dock to get on the boat cruise {I know, imagine me, in gigantic London being able to help others find their way around! It was definitely a God thing, how I was able to remain unlost for most of the time & make it back safely!  Heaven knows I could still be there trying to find my way back if not for my heavenly Daddy guiding my steps.  Thanks Father!}.  Anyways, near the end of the cruise the Indian man reached for my camera & said {note he didn't ask}, "I will take your picture."  So, I got a few shots, wanted or not, where he sort of told me where to stand & snapped away! =) Of course, I then offered to take his picture, which I did, after he instructed me to be "real quick."  Never a dull moment. 

Westminster {just think, William & Kate got married in this very church}
Tower of London {foreboding, isn't it}
buildings, buildings, buildings

No one {but God} knows how much I felt the words of this song as I wandered about the streets of London...


P.S.: Just one more travel diary entry left!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

For You...

Star Gazer

God loves you.

"He determines the number of the stars & calls them each by name."
-Psalm 147:4

The amazing, awesome Star-Maker {God} =) made you, too - & He's waiting...


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Graphic Tees + Maxis {Disney-Inspired Fashion Fun}

I admit I love Disney characters!  I'll never be to old to zip-a-dee-doo-dah it to the couch & find my heart singing along with Cinderella's cheery mice, to sympathize with Ariel's deep wishes, & cry over a wounded beast... that's just the way it is.  So, it's no wonder Disney has found its way into my fashionable thoughts - & lent itself to another one of my faves: the maxi skirt.  You can dress with a Disney-loving heart & look great at any age!  I just wish I could still get away with wearing the princess dress-up gowns... oh well, this will have to do... =)    

Make Mine a Maxi!








Summer Fun Love,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bess' Travel Diaries: England + Wales, Part 3


Dear Diary,
I’ve arrived in Didcot, England at long last.  I’m staying in a cozy little B&B that, alas, doesn’t believe in the necessity of locks on a guest’s room door.  Hey, I can improvise: I prop a chair in front of my door each night…a girl traveling alone can’t be too careful...

B&B {above & below}

East Hagbourne - a sort of medieval hamlet a stroll down the road from my B&B 

quaint thatched roof

a very British scarecrow indeed

hollyhocks in bloom

a path I took

an old church

it may seem odd, but I love exploring a graveyard...

so much history + they make you think

ivy & stone

a shadowy path that I traversed, but quickly ran back from...very muddy & slightly creepy

a lush golden field in Didcot

sea of grass =)

More images of East Hagbourne...

It was from Didcot that I traveled to London {about a 45 minute train ride depending on the number of stops}.  Here's a vid of the train journey I took more than once leaving London's Paddington Station back to my B&B in Didcot.  Ah, I remember it well...

P.S.: It's a long video, so just take a mere peek!

Love & Adventure,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

{Summer} Song Love

Summer Tunes: 2011

Love this song {below}! You should see me grooving along in my car when this comes on the radio! I probably look pretty silly, but I don't care...cause "I love the way [He] holds me!"

bonus track...

This next tune was one of my main theme songs from my England + Wales trip this summer... & running for a train with all my luggage my 1st day there I pretty much think I proved the song wrong, =) but it's all about spiritual baggage anyways.  The video isn't embeddable, so click here to view it on YouTube!  Suitcases by Dara Maclean 

The Redeemer by Sanctus Real

This Love is Free by Hyland

Fall Apart by Josh Wilson

Love {& Music},

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lessons My Apartment Taught Me

Lessons From the Apt.

1. Big bugs that refuse to die make me scream.
2. This world is not my home.

I’ll be delving into the latter of the lessons, needless to say.

All my life I’ve lived in the same house. Same street, address, bedroom, front yard, trees… Everything was cozy, familiar, &, in a word, home.

Then, I moved.

I had wanted to move out on my own & get my 1st little apartment for some time & after praying about it {a lot}, I felt it was the right time & place & I took the plunge. It was, in fact, a real head-under-the-water experience. I was expecting amazing freedom, adventure, & true carpe-diem-ness…with perhaps a cute guy next door mixed in {a forever sleepover feel}. What I got wasn’t that, so much. I got instead: grocery bills, lone ranger clean-ups, utility costs, wonderment as to whether my neighbors are psychedelic mushroom eaters, leaky faucets, mutant insects, loneliness, & maintenance men.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” –Philippians 3:20-21 NIV

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m so foolish as to have not considered such things before I signed my lease. I had – well, except for maybe the mushroom thing {I wasn’t that specific}. Anyways, it’s still tougher & less sleepover-ish than I dreamed. I feel a need to call my mom & tell her my plans every time I’m about to go to the store… in other words, this freedom thing is hard for me to get. Plus, I can’t just go down the hall & chat with my mom anytime, either. It’s lonely to live alone. Who’d of guessed?

“But our homeland is in heaven, & we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. By His power to rule all things, He will change our simple bodies & make them like His own glorious body.” –Philippians 3:20-21 NCV

Even though I’ve looked forward to decorating my own place for forever, & I’ve finally gotten around to most of it – my apartment still doesn’t feel like home… & you know what, that just may be a good – no, great – thing. God is using my crazy little abode to remind me that this world & all its huts, castles, cottages, igloos {actually I think I read no one really ever lived in those – bummer for all my Eskimo dreams}, bungalows, tepees, & houses one-&-all are not our true homes. For those of us who belong to Christ, our true home is Heaven. I’m so glad.


I'm taking it back old school style! =)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bess' No Bake Summer Pie

Hey, I've got a quick & easy {no bake} (how I love those words) pie perfect for summer!  {It's even healthy for ya as it's jam-packed with delicious fruit!}

I came up with the idea this July 4th.  I'm sure I'm not the 1st to come up with it, but since I did, in fact, come up with it, I'm calling it Bess' No Bake Summer Pie!  Oh, if you only knew this is my only hope of naming a recipe after myself, as I'm hopeless in all things culinary... if I make good toast I'm excited.

1 lb. strawberries
1 lb. blueberries
1 package of instant vanilla pudding
milk {to make the pudding - follow directions on the box}
whipped cream
1 graham cracker pie crust
{optional} graham cracker crumbs {smash up a graham cracker}

Important Notes:
  • You may use either fresh or frozen fruit.  However, if using frozen {like I did}, it's best to plan to serve all the pie...  In other words, no leftovers, because the bottom of the pie crust will fill with a juicy mess {even when placed in the fridge} after a time.  The pie still tastes great, but the presentation just isn't there anymore. =)
  • It's unlikely you'll need the entire pound of each fruit.
  • You could definitely experiment using other fruits!
  • You will not need all of the pudding either.  Save the rest for another treat!
  • Refrigerate leftovers. 

*Follow the directions on your instant pudding box to make your pudding before you begin.
*Slice strawberries.

  • Take your ready graham cracker pie crust & fill the bottom with either one layer of blueberries or sliced strawberries {depending on preference - I used blueberries 1st}.

  • Spread the vanilla pudding over your layer of fruit.

  • Take your remaining fruit & make one layer over the pudding.

  • Top with a layer of whipped cream.
  • {optional} Sprinkle on graham cracker crumbs & top with a few blueberries/strawberries.
  • If not serving immediately, refrigerate until then.

It really was refreshing & tasty!  Maybe...just maybe...there's hope for me in the kitchen, afterall! =)

Now We're Cooking,

P.S.: And...just causes it's summer & I wanna...

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

{Even cook!}

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bess' Travel Diaries: England + Wales, Part 2

Windermere {The Lake District}

Dear Diary,

Today I traveled to Windermere - nestled in the heart of the English Lake District.  Quite a trek from my little town in Wales!  I had to catch a train at 6:25 in the morning just to get there by 11 something in the afternoon...but I couldn't visit Britain & miss out on the chance to see Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm home!

P.S.: I met a lovely Japanese girl named Shiho on the boat {I took a boat ride then bus (& back again) to visit Hill Top} who loved children's literature as I do!  Shiho is an artist who wishes to create children's books.  I'm so glad to meet a friend so far from home.

P.P.S.: I chatted with a Scottish man, too, who kindly gave me a pound for the bus when I couldn't find one.  Oh, how I do love Scotland & am sorry I couldn't make it there on this journey!     

Lake Windermere

a beautiful swan {+ a mallard duck in the right corner}

so picturesque

the view from Hill Top's garden

old British rose found in the beautiful garden out in front of Beatrix's farm home

foxglove {also known as Digitalis}

the perfect sight outside the garden {these rabbits were actually fenced in, but I saw droves of wild bunnies all over the English & Welsh countryside}

part of The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction {sadly I didn't have enough time to tour the exhibit, but I visited the gift shop where I took this photo (click here to learn more)} 

click here for more on Hill Top Farm