Hi, Reader ! Today is Willsy's birthday, and we've been working to make it a great time for him. He's been really excited, and so I tried to make it a fun day for him. Willsy's original plan was pretty simple: eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, go to the park, go to his favorite restaurant, and come home for presents and cake.
Unfortunately, it's been drizzling off and on all day, which meant we couldn't go to the park! I felt really bad, since he really wanted to go, but decided to make the most of a day at home. I drew him a coloring page and we opened his present (a video game called Arms on the Nintendo Switch) so he could play with it until it stopped raining. He was so excited when he opened it!
We downloaded the game since we couldn't find a game store, and asked him if he wanted to play Mario Kart, which we already owned. Willsy turned on the Switch and opened Mario Kart, somehow not noticing the new game! When he did notice, however, it might have been my favorite Willsy moment. He just stood there looking at the screen, and then started saying excitedly, "Yes! YES! I've wanted this for my whole life!"
We still went to his favorite restaurant and got him pesto pasta, which he really liked. Then the server changed the song that was on to the Happy Birthday song and came to sing to Willsy! He was very excited about the ice cream they served and the singing.
Finally, we went home relaxed for a little while, letting Willsy play with his present. We ended the night by singing Happy Birthday and eating cupcakes from a nearby bakery before going to bed. Willsy had a blast today, and I'm glad he had a good birthday.
Hi, Readers! Today was our first day to explore London, and we decided to start with the Kensington Gardens! But first, we needed to eat. I really wanted to try Costa Coffee, which is like the Starbucks of the UK. (Costa, Paul, Pret a Manger, and Starbucks are all very common coffee places in London.) We had a delicious meal of muffins, tarts, and smoothies. The service wasn’t too friendly, though, but I think that it was one lady’s first day on the job and neither of the baristas could understand our accent. Either way, it was a nice experience.
After breakfast at Costa we began our long walk to the Kensington Gardens. We wanted to visit the Lady Di Memorial Playground, which was a huge playpark with a Peter Pan theme. However, Kensington Gardens are huge, and so it was a long walk to get to the playpark! Luckily, it was a beautiful day for a walk, and the gardens were lovely. The path we were on took us past trees, ponds, and even Kensington Palace! We did get a little lost, though, and somehow ended up on the street. This path was nice, as well, as it was shaded and led us past the palace again. Finally, we made it to the park!
This playground was like none I’ve ever seen. It had five different sections, each of them connected by winding paths and small tunnels made of plants for kids to climb through. The first two sections were for preschool kids. The third section, however, was a huge pirate ship with three stories: the deck, the crow’s nest, and the bit underneath the deck that was essentially a sand pit. After that section, we headed to the fortress section, which Willsy loved. The fifth section was a music center, which was pretty busy, so we didn't spend to much time at.
After the playpark, we headed to the Kensington Palace Sunken Gardens, which was a garden with ponds, flowers, and other plants that you viewed from a walkway above it. It was very pretty and Willsy thought it was a secret palace, which made it fun for him. At this point, we were all really tired, so we began the long walk home. It was a really great day!
Hi, readers! Today we were on a train for almost the entire day. But first came a crazy morning. We all set an alarm for 8:30 (though Jacob slept in until 9:15) and started to pack for the trip. We each got only one travel cube for our clothing. Somehow we managed to get everything in one bag! After packing, I made some oatmeal and started working on snacks for the train. We all pitched in to assemble snacks and sandwiches, and soon enough we were ready to go.
Aunt Cathy drove us to the Bathgate Station, from which we got a train to Edinburgh Waverley Station, where we finally settled into our train that would take us on the five hour trip to London King's Cross. The train ride was picturesque, with beautiful views of forests, the Atlantic Ocean, and towns like York and Newcastle.
We arrived at our Air B&B after a very cramped ride on the famous London Underground, and quickly settled in. For dinner we went to an Italian restaurant down the street, where I had pesto pasta that my dad insisted, "tastes like a summer garden" and Willsy stole most of. For dessert, I had a Nutella affogato, which is basically ice cream covered in Nutella, whipped cream, and chocolate flakes. (Don't order an affogato and expect Nutella, though. Most of them are covered in espresso!) It was really good!
We went to Tesco's Express after dinner, which is a grocery store about three minutes away from our house on foot. The amount of chocolates that the store had was insane! Since they are so close to the Cadbury factory, most stores in the UK (in my experience) have a giant chocolate section. Today, though, we decided to pass on them since we had already had dessert. Finally, we walked back home and settled in for the night at our house. Thanks for reading!
Hi, Readers! Today Mamu and Papu arrived in Scotland! I was so happy to see them, and I was very excited to show them around the town. We decided to take them into Edinburgh for their first day, and to walk up to the castle.
To walk to the castle, you take the Royal Mile, which is made up of five streets in between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. The castle in on top of a hill, which made it challenging to walk to. Luckily, we stopped a lot on our way, not just to rest, but to admire the spectacular architecture and scenery of Edinburgh! When we finally made it up the hill and to the castle, it was about $160 for all seven of us to take the castle tour! We decided to pass on it for now, but decided to maybe go back later.
We ate lunch at a small restaurant where I had an excellent Mac and cheese, and for the rest of the day, we just roamed around the town There were lots of interesting buildings amazing views from up on the hill! Finally, at the end of a long day, we took the train home and got ready for bed.
Hi, readers! Today was pretty chill at first. We started off the day by sleeping in, which was really nice. However, we did eventually make it outside to enjoying the beautiful day. We decided to go to a nearby farm, which had farm animals, parks, rides, and a museum about the history of Livingston, the city we were in.
It was drizzling a little bit when we arrived at the farm, so we decided to explore the museum first. There were lots of things to see, from old drilling equipment to a recreated bakery from the town. Willsy was happy to color the complimentary coloring pages, and I enjoyed looking at all of the historical items!
The rain stopped after a little bit, and we decided to go outside. We walked over to take a short train ride across the ride. Around ten minutes through the ride, we stopped for a five minute break while the technician did something he did not explain with the train. During this break, Mom, Maisie, Willsy, and I decided to take a short walk along the river path.
However, after returning to the station, we quickly realized that the train (including Jacob, JJ, and Aunt Cathy) had left without us! We decided to try to find our way back to the end of the path, but we somehow ended up in a maze… luckily, it was super simple so we got through it super quickly. When we got out, we immediately saw Jacob, JJ, and Aunt Cathy waiting for us!
Now reunited with the rest of our group, we walked back to the main part of the farm to go to the park. The park, however, was clearly meant for younger kids. I tried to do the zipline and I my legs dragged on the floor! Instead, we went to the "attractions," which include five trampolines built into the ground, a huge swing, go carts, and sledding.
The trampolines were very fun! We played Popcorn, a fun game to play on a trampoline with lots of people. After everyone had their turn playing Popcorn, it started to rain, but we decided to go try the sleds for a bit before leaving. The sleds were essentially little carts that you wheeled up a hill to a slide, where you hopped in the sled and rode down the hill. It was so much fun! On my last turn, however, I was trying to propel myself by grabbing the poles lining the slide and pulling, but instead I accidentally grabbed a nettle!
For those of you who don't know what a nettle is, it is as feared in Scotland as poison ivy is in America... except it is literally everywhere. If you touch a nettle, your hand will burn and sting for a while, but eventually just feels like pins and needles that last for a day, give or take. Since I grabbed it, my hand really stung. Luckily for me, Maisie went and found a plant known to help nettle stings, and we quickly left the park, as it was closing anyways.
Finally, after a long day, we went home and relaxed, and my hand had almost stopped stinging by the end of the day! It was an amazing time, and I had a lot of fun. Thanks for reading!
Today we went into Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland! We were dropped off a few blocks away from Princes Street Garden, and walked around through the streets of Old Town. We passed lots of restaurants, shops, and bakeries, each of which looked very good. We also passed by lots of statues and old churches, which were beautiful. One of my favorite things about Edinburgh is thinking about how the random building I might be looking at or standing in is older than America itself! It really adds a lot of poetry and magic to just walking up and down the streets of a city.
We eventually stopped wandering and ended up at a restaurant. We sat down and got our menu. The food there was very interesting. They had many traditional Scottish meals that you could find at most places, like haggis, fish and chips, and baked potato. However, they also had things that were slightly more unusual in Scotland, like chicken pate. I tried the Coronation Chicken Sandwich, which is a cold sandwich with chicken covered in mayonnaise and other spices. It was good, but unusual. I looked it up and found out that it was created in England to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II. The soup was tasted like clam chowder without clam or anything else: just the chowder. It was actually quite good for me, since I don't like much food!
After we ate, we walked over to the Princes Street Garden, which is like the Central Park of Edinburgh. It was filled with playgrounds, walking paths, cafes, and stunning views. Willsy especially had a blast there! Since the park was built on hills, you could run down the grassy slopes, dodging trees and people as you raced down the hill. Willsy, Jacob, and I raced downed the hills and had a blast while Mom watched with a smile, knowing that for every hill you run down there is also the long walk back up! We still had lots of fun, even if it was tiring.
On our way to the park, we saw some fantastic views of the castle, statues, and nature! It was an amazing walk. The path led you underneath the cliff where Edinburgh Castle resides, and so all you had to do was look up and see the magnificent piece of history right in front of you! After the long walk, we finally arrived at a playground. Willsy took one look at it, one look at us, and then took off to go play, and Jacob shortly followed. There is a festival coming in Edinburgh, so the park also included a giant jumping center, where you were harnessed in and could jump up to the ceiling on a trampoline, as well as a bubble center, where you jumped in a giant bubble and rolled around in a pool of water. Both looked really fun, but were about $15 a person! We decided to pass on it for now.
Finally, at the end of a long day, we began to walk back to the train station, but not before grabbing some ice cream from a shop at the park! We also stopped at the Edinburgh Visitor Center to grab some postcards and some other items. The train ride was about 30 minutes long to get to our station (Bathgate). But the day wasn't over yet!
Before we went to bed that night, Uncle Baz decided to take Maisie, Jacob, and I to a park. It was an awesome park, with lots of cool things to ride on. There was something where one person grabbed on to one end and the other grabbed the other end, and as one person ran to spin it, the other was lifted into the air, before landing and running to lift the other person. It was really fun, and since you were grabbing a rope instead of a bar you were almost flung into the air, which made it so exciting even when you were nervous about it! They also had something you would try to climb up in a way similar to how you got the arrow in the pole in the movie Mulan: you would grab the ring and use it to pull up a foot hold, and after a while you would end up at the top of the pole. Finally, we created an obstacle course out of the sport and created a tag team challenge to play there! We came home tired after having a great time.
See you next time!