Archive for August, 2010

Just when you’d packed up your picnic, swiped away the beginnings of angry tears and punched in your mum’s phone number to tell on us… we’re back! But seriously, if you do feel a little neglected regarding the length of time between blogs, please remember this.

Every day for me now is a bad hair day. Every day I discover a new insect bite, often in places inappropriate to scratch in public. Every day I shower in my thongs (flip flops for your Brits). And every night, Sean and I bicker about who will have the head torch to read our book with and who gets the teeny weeny mag light, when really, whoever ends up with said head torch may wear a smug look but they still look like a twat. Mm-hmmmm… we are camping and that’s how we roll in our new every day life.We don’t get wifi so much and we miss you more than you miss us, so there!

Anyhoo, we left you at London! We managed to drive up again the very next day after the wedding to visit the infamous Hazzy Hamburger and her Olympic superstar boyfriend Pete. We arrived at their sunny apartment where Haz had put on an amazing spread filled with fresh veggies and amazing things she knows we’ve been missing in Europe. Bless you, Haz . So after catching up on the past couple of weeks since Biarritz, it was time to hit the sights of London!!!

Where to first? Duh.

Harrods of course!!!

We wandered around the hallowed halls, oohing and ahhing at the opera singer hollering over the escalators (they actually hire professional singers to entertain shoppers!), the incredible food hall, the puppies in the pet store and furniture that cost an average yearly wage. Of course we bought something, no one needed to know that our Harrods bag featured 3 mini cupcakes (couldn’t afford the full size ones ha).

Next Haz took me to the most sacred place in London. Years upon years of history, war stories and the recipient of millions of pounds. Top Shop, Oxford Circus. The biggest and best in all of Great Britain and I had a fistful of pounds saved from nights leaping onto Sean at midnight while a spider dangled over my terrible hair while our flimsy tent nearly collapsed around our ears. It was time to seek my reward.

Harriet and I had a blast, while we sent the boys off to the man shops in the area and we took so long they went to the pub for a drink (pints of coke,  they be crazy). It was a mighty success, thanks to the honest appraisal of Hazzy and we both walked out swinging our purchases happily.

I was in a ridiculous state of happiness. Even more so when i discovered my little Pip Squeak was coming to hang out with us that evening. When I worked at WAIS, Harriet was the sport science prac student from London and loved hanging out with me so much she told everyone at home and Pip decided she had to see what all the fuss was about and came to meet me for herself. It was love at first sight. Their versions of the story may differ ever so slightly, but the end result was the three of us are still good buddies and it was amazing to be all together again!

After dropping a pint of pear cider in  my lap, we went out for indian. Say what?  Yup, I was trying to elegantly sit down at the pub and somehow my bag swung out and tipped the ENTIRE, completely full pint on to my new jeans. Fortunately I found it hilarious and a good excuse to change into a new article of clothing from Top Shop so you may note my outfit is different in coming snaps.

Pete, Haz, Haz's sister Amy, Pip and me at indian in Brick lane

After a hearty meal, what better activity to take part in than going to the gym? Not any old gym though, but Frame fitness in the ultra chic area of Shoreditch and owned by our very own Pippi! Pip and one of her friends opened the gym about a year ago which purely does classes – and about 200 a week or 30 classes a day! Yoga, spinning, reformer pilates, dance and even a class that’s dedicated to Glee. I wanted to move in and live a long, happy and healthy life inside Frame. It was truly amazing and Pip is one clever little lady – so if you live in East London, I’m totally jealous and get yourself to a class because you’ll have loads of fun.

Me, Pip and Haz at Frame

After a fun day and night in London, we caught the train back to Haz and Pete’s and collapsed into their roommate’s bed (thanks so much for the loan, roommate!). The next day Pete had planned a big bike tour for us and we needed our beauty sleep for the paparazzi.

Haz, Pete, Sean and I set off on a mixture of road and commuter bikes to see all the sights of London. We whizzed through our host’s local area of Hammersmith and through Hyde Park, imagining what it’d be like there when the Olympic triathlon and marathon are held in 2012. Then we arrived at Buckingham Palace which was crawling with tourists and gently nudged our way to the fence to cop a look at the guys in the big silly black hats.

Buckingham Palace and the flags were out too meaning her Maj was inside!

Pedal, pedal, pedal, puff, puff, puff and next stop was Big Ben and Westminster Abbey for a quick look (we did this whole tour in just over 2 hours as we needed to get back to Uckfield!).

Big Ben ahoy!

Side note: thanks to Haz for donating her whole outfit as i didn’t intend on doing any exercise while in London and there we were doing a 2 and half hour bike ride!

We then raced off to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge which was great, via the London Eye (no stopping just a quick wave before zooming off oncemore).

Two goofballs in London, with Tower Bridge in the background

We also saw the lions at Leicester Square, Covent Garden fleetingly, the very centre of London and more bits n pieces that Pete knew loads about. He could seriously earn a crust as a tour guide, we had top quality that day! Thanks Pete and Haz, you guys were wonderful hosts and we wish we could have hung out longer.

Alas! The Moore family were waiting for us in London and we had a date in Brighton the next day with Ricky and Fleur. Brighton was the place I spent a lot of time while i was travelling aged 20 and I couldn’t wait to race around with Sean. Unfortunately, the weather was dismal so Ricky, Fleur, Sean and i battled the elements at the pier before holing up in a cafe for lunch, wandering through the lanes and finally succumbing to the dry confines of the shopping mall.

Just another lovely summer's day at the beach! Fleur, Ricky and me fuh-reezing in Brighton

Our last night in England was spent at home in Uckfield (sigh, it so feels like home and i miss it already!) with take away, Ricky Gerrans’ movie, updating nail polish and Ben and Jerry’s. It was heaven and then Katie came home and told us about her glamorous new job in which she had a gorgeous new suit bought for her! Seeing as she wasn’t in previous family pics I made her pose with her shopping bags…

Katie, looking glam even at 11pm on a tuesday night!

We loved England and I wish so much that we had more time there as we had loads of special family catch ups, spoke in English as much as possible to anyone we could, bought upmagazines, books, Revels and Minstrels for the next road trip and really just had a fab time.

Next stop for the blog is Belgium and Amsterdam but in real time, Sean and i are in the Black Forest in Germany (yup – it’s where the cake is from! Sean had a big fat slice today and I may have had a couple of forkfuls) and tomorrow we head to Zurich! So excited to see Switzerland, I’ve never been there before! So asta amigos, we’ll be back shortly and miss you all terribly… please write, why you no write no more?! You’re just as bad as us, aren’t you?!

Lisa and Sean xoxo


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After an amazing time in the French Alps, we made the big journey up to Calais via Dijon (yes, home of the mustard!) where the big P&O Ferry awaited us.

One final night camping (only 10 euros at this joint, bargain and my mind clicked over at the extra we’d have at Topshop) and the pair of us plus our fancy little Citroen were onboard, heading to the white cliffs of Dover! We arrived, after a few curse words at road closures, at Trish’s house in Uckfield where her and my second cousin (cousin’s son) Joe were waiting. It was so nice to be chatting away in English, in a house where we could close doors and my cousin’s nail polish collection awaited (thousands of shades of pink, heaven). Trish had organised a family barbecue and I got a family snap. It’s minus Katie though, who was still working.

Trish being hugged by Ben, Joe, little Miya, Jim and Jana

The next day Sean got up early and had a run through the local woods which he loved while Trish and I did an exercise dvd and it hurt to walk up stairs for 4 days following. Trish organised for two of my great aunts, Thelma and Muriel to come for lunch to a local pub and Mum’s other cousin Chris joined us. Typical english pub food, we all had fish, chips and peas (i made sean order the mushy version for tradition’s sake, he liked them!).

Sean, Chris and Portia outfront of Trish's local, The White Hart

Muriel, Trish, Sean, Thelma and Chris chanting for the fish n chips, I had to ask them to sit still for the pic. Larrikins.

After a great afternoon catching up on all the family gossip, we headed home through the fields, keeping our eyes peeled for the albino deer that lives there and tried to dodge the summer rain. The rest of the afternoon was spent drinking tea, lamenting the British summer and beating Sean at cards (Joe helped me, it was a good team effort).

The next day we had been looking forward to for ages, Fleur and Ricky’s wedding! Katie had arrived home late the night before and allowed  me to attack her pink nail polishes… my fingers and toes may or may not have resembled Barbie’s. Trish, Sean and I had made the guest list and we set off in plenty of time to get to Stoke Newington’s Town Hall. We were the first ones in there! Who knew we could make it early to an important event? Must have been Trish’s influence. We met up with a pretty nervous-looking Ricky (even though he declared he wasn’t nervous at all… suuuuure!) before taking our seats, being moved several times and ending up in the back row… not sure how it happened, but we coped, especially as we got the first glimpse of Fleur!

Getting excited to see the bride!!

Fleur, looking stunning, with her nephew Todd walking her up the aisle

The ceremony was lovely but once i saw Fleur was crying, the waterworks started for me too. Sean, being Sean, asked “why is she crying, is she sad to be marrying Ricky?” I almost didn’t dignify him with an answers but spluttered “tears of joy” through my own. Trish was discreetly wiping away tears too, I don’t think there was a dry eye (apart from all the uber tough men like Sean – only tears he shed when he thought he’d miss out on the cake).

Ricky just held it together and the two of them looked so in love, it was very special to witness. Here they are after the ceremony, looking just a little relieved and ready to party!!

The newly married, Mr and Mrs, looking incredibly happy.

We all breathed a collective sigh of relief that the emotional part was over and that the party began straight away! We had a few pics out the front of the church and headed to Ricky and Fleur’s back garden where marquees were set up.

Fleur and Ricky with Fleur's sisters, Selina, Fanny and Joey

The cousins beating the summer rain in the gorgeous marquees

The cake was a sight… Fleur’s sister Fanny went on a cake-making course and made this beauty!! It looked gorgeous and ohmygoshgivemeanotherpiece it was delicious.

Glorious wedding cake... is it wrong this is may be my fave part of weddings? I love wedding cake, even the weird icing.

Fleur about to cut the cake with... a sword! Her nephew collects them and she cut perfect pieces with it.

After some excellent speeches (Ricky, yours was perfect well done!), cake mouth-watering cake, and the bouquet throwing – we all hit the dancefloor! We stayed till fairly late before the 2-hour drive back to Uckfield beckoned. Trish and I chatted merrily away with Sean to keep him awake and before we knew it we were home and filling Katie in on the fun and emotional day. I slept like a log that night.

Next up is the London escapades with Hazzy and Pete with a surprise cameo from Pip!! It was fun to the extreme. We are now in Amsterdam, soaking up some unusual smells (the first thing we noticed when we stepped out of our trusty steed was the stench of marijuana), sights and shops. Now off to find our next campsite!!

Hope you enjoyed the wedding blog, wish me luck in keeping Sean in line with the red light district and “coffeeshops” beckoning. He’s WAHLD this man, I tell you.

Lisa and Sean xoxo

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Viva le Tour

While Lisa is still dealing with the fact that we are camping our way around Europe now i thought i better write this blog in sympathy. Yes, i am still finding it hard to believe myself but bribery is a wonderful thing and the temptation to go shopping with the spare cash is just too much to resist. I must also thank Pete and Harriet for their gentle words of encouragement!

After leaving Spain we made a quick stop at a famous French fortress which overlooks the Pyranees to the north and the Spanish border to the south. How they built these incredible structures in such remote and hard to reach locations so long ago still mystifies me but it was great not to have to fight the crowds and line up for hours to get in for a change.

The view from the top looking back over Spain

From here it was a quick stop in Montpellier for dinner before finding a random campsite on our way up to Nice. Crossing the border back into France also meant i could practice my French again and i’m proud to say that i can now say just a couple more words than please, thank you and hello. We did have one more stop on our way up to Nice in a famous celebrity seaside town of St Tropez. Yes, it was filled with Ferrari’s, massive yachts and designer clothes stores but it was also difficult to walk down the street amongst the crowds of people. After a few hours in traffic we made it out and finally got to Nice.

Lisa looking glamorous while mixing it with the stars in St Tropez

We wandered the streets of Nice and found a great park overlooking the beach before driving along the spectacular coastline into Monaco and then accidentally crossing the border for a night in Italy. Yes, 3 countries in one day was a bit more than we expected and if people thought our French was bad you should have heard our Italian (well mine anyway).

Looking over the Mediterranean Coast while driving to Monaco

A night of camping traded for a gourmet lunch overlooking the French Coast. Yay, a break from the baguettes!

From here it was finally time to hit the French Alps and see what cycling up a real mountain was like. As we ascended it was like entering a different country, the people were nicer, the air was fresh and a can of coke no longer cost $5!

The view from atop La Bonnette at 2800m. Unfortunately i didn't get to climb this one but it is a regular feature in the Tour de France.

Stuck in a traffic jam, I tried to get Lisa to move them but she just wouldn't have a Baaah of it!

We made it to Bourg d’Oisans which is a relatively large village at the base of the French Alps but the epicentre of cycling. We found ourselves a 4 star campsite with a 25m swimming pool (luxury!) and situated just 100m from the base of Alpe D’Huez. From here you could ride a different route every day for 2 weeks and still not conquer every climb. I only had 5 days and with my severe lack of fitness and the fact i was riding in sand-shoes meant it was really going to hurt. I managed to squeeze in as many of the famous tour climbs as possible as well as some of the lesser known routes and after 5 days i was struggling to walk.

Lisa kept amused by lounging by the pool, enjoying a massage and even hiring a bike herself one day and climbing the gruelling Alpe D’Huez. I stupidly tried to time myself while doing it and almost had a heart attack in the process but it is incredible to think Lance Armstrong does it in 39mins while i couldn’t even go under 1hr! I am definitely coming back here fit one day to do it again!

Lisa doing it like Lance up Ale D'Huez!

Enjoying a picnic after a hard day on the bike!

The view of Bourg D'Oisans from one of my climbs

Nearly at the top, can taste the coke at the finish line

So with Lisa absolutely sick of my cycling stories we moved on to Calais and boarded our Ferry over to visit Lisa’s family, attend Ricky and Fleur’s wedding and visit the sights of good old London town.

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The Spanish Inquisition

Hola amigos!!

I know, I know, we’re so behind in blogging! Please forgive me, I will do my absolute best to rectify the tardiness. Thank god Mum’s still reading (love you Mama).

So I left you just before our journey to Pinoso, a massive 7.5 hour car journey to the gorgeous little village my aunt and uncle live. We arrived in pouring rain and headed up a crazy dirt track to their perfect little house where we would stay for 2 nights.

Following Trish's car along the maze of roads that lead to her home, which has an orchard of figs and almonds

We were so excited to have a house to sleep in, it’s such a luxury when you’re travelling! Trish took us to the local expat pub/restaurant for dinner and we happily caught up on all the goings-on of the past couple years since we saw them at our wedding.

The next day there wasn’t a cloud to be seen so we went up to the local sight-seeing spot, Pozo de Nieve, an artificial snow house that the Spanish used to build to store snow and eventually sell ice after hardpacking it.

All the cool kids were there... Sean, Trish and John out front of the snow house.

Then John drove us up to see the sights from the peak of the mountain, which was pretty spectacular!

Great heights... the boys looking over Pinoso

After a big hike in the hot sun, what better way to cool off than head to the local pool! No photos folks as nobody wants to see Sean and i in our bikinis right now… haha. But despite being a little town, Pinoso’s pool was lovely and John impressed us very much with his daily 500m swim. I managed 50m and it was breaststroke and I didn’t get my hair wet. Booyah.

That night we were hoping to see running with the bulls, but really unlucky for us, it was on Saturday night and we had to leave Saturday morning! So instead we parked up at Trish and John’s, sat on their balcony and watched the sunset with sangrias in hand. I cracked lots of almond shells (welllll… maybe 10, it’s hard work!) and then we played cards well into the night. Trish and John have us now totally addicted to the game they taught us. And Sean is beating me really badly (as of today 10/8 he is beating me 5 games to 1, my pride is in tatters).

After saying “see you soon” to Trish and a sad goodbye to John, we set off for Barcelona. I was so excited after having THE best time here in 2001 with my beautiful friends Cin and Tanya. We arrived about 9pm which was perfect time for Tapas, weeeeee!!! Little bit of food porn for you Mr Bryant if you’re reading, we know you love it.

Everything here was so delicious, except that big wedge of omelette unf. We did it justice, you know we did!

The next day we had to cram in as much as possible and we had such a fun time doing it. We started off up at Parc Guell, Antoni Gaudi’s design so of course there was lots of crazy shapes and animals, plus the mosaics.

Next up was the Sagrada Familia which we observed only from the outside as the line was soooo long to get inside and we only had one day in Barcelona.

This amazing piece of architecture is still completely under construction... I wonder if we'll see it completed in our life time?

Then it was off to La Rambla to see some street entertainment! Best effort of the day must got to the Predator from the Alien V Predator movie who was there from early afternoon til late evening when we left… stamina. He was totally scary too, plenty of grown men screamed and one of the may or may not have been Sean. I’ll let you make up your own ending to that story.

Sean trembling in his boots watching Predator do his thang.

We then walked the lanes which were great, filled with sneaky little cafes, frozen yoghurt stores (thank you god!), clothing stores and people with weird faces. Sean will kill me for putting this pic up, but that’s how i roll. No mercy.

Someone was ready for the "snap" someone was not... in Barcelona laneways

We then walked to the seaside and found the Steve Irwin! Paddy are you in Barcelona? We thought this was your boat for the winter?!!

Sean on the Barcelona harbour with the Steve Irwin boat

After all of this sightseeing, a little shopping and bad pictures, there was only one thing left to do… sangria!!!! We wandered back to la Rambla and parked up at a cafe and ordered a sangria while whipping out the playing cards.

We each had sangria goblets and while i only got through 2/3, we were both feelin' it! Phewee, the Spanish know how to serve up a drink.

It truly was an excellent day, even if it did end up with us camping next to the loudest snoring man on earth. I was almost homicidal at one point but stuck a finger in my ear and finally went back to sleep. The joys of camping, eh?!

The next day we headed to Figueres on our way to Nice as we really wanted to go to the Salvador Dali museum. It was another rainy day amid many fine ones which was a shame as the line to get in to the museum was mammoth and completely exposed to the elements. We realised it would take about 2 hours to get to the front of the line and we’d be sopping wet and competing with hundreds of others to see Dali’s works… so instead we hit the local creperie and cut our losses.

Goats cheese, spinach, walnut and raisins on a buckwheat crepe... i die, seriously heaven!

Sean ready and willing for his egg and bacon crepe. Note the cheeky cards... addicts.

 After this it was back to the land of “Bonjour!” and Sean was eager to use those words he’d learnt. Fact – Sean went to fuel up while I read my book in the car. He returned looking super pleased with himself and said “I just had a conversation in French”. My eyes bugged out and I swiftly put my book down and gave this francophile my full attention. “What did you say?” I ask, ready to be impressed. “I said ‘Bonjour’ and then ‘merci'”, he says, chest puffed up. “And then?” I say. “And then I left!” he says. He has since learnt many more words like “deux boules glace” (2 scoops ice cream), chevre (goats cheese, coz he hears me say it so often) and cafe au lait. Our attempts at speaking French have been the source of much hilarity, but most of the time we get by and i often get kudos from the locals for having a go.

New post to come soon… from Nice to the Alps, mes amies!

A bientot et bises,

Lisa and Sean xoxoxox

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Allo!! We are still alive despite a dramatic change in our travelling conditions, mes amies. After meeting up unexpectedly with my wonderful friend Harriet who i haven’t seen since 2004 and she had only remembered Sean as “that guy I had my eye on”, her and her boyfriend Pete convinced us to buy a tent. This is what I look like in our swish new accom…

Cooee!! Our little red tent is our new home.

Seksi, I know. Who needs spas and queen-sized beds with ocean views when you can have fresh air, toilets with no toilet paper, mosquitos masquerading as birds and showers with your thongs on? Aaahhh the good life. In all seriousness, we are enjoying camping and started this charade after the destinations in this post but I thought you’d all like to know! I’m sure many of you who know me well are falling about laughing at the thought of me suffering in a tent and sometimes I wonder who I’ve become, but mostly I’m enjoying the random locations and saving money to spend on clothes and dinners out. Oh yes!

So back to the beginning eh! Loire Valley… it was fleeting actually because both of us had our eyes on Biarritz, the surfing town in the south west of France. We visited one chateau, Chateau Chenonceau which was lovely but way overcrowded. I think we both loved the maze in the garden the most, which was apparently created to show off their extraordinary gardening skills back then.

What am i so happy about? Finding Sean in the middle, best prize ever.

After this we found ourselves a cheap hotel (ah the good old days) and ate at a ridiculous restaurant called La Boucherie (meaning the Butchery) which as you can imagine, was filled with loads of meaty delights. Urgh, I cringe at the memory.

The next day we went via Bordeaux to Biarritz. It was a gorgeous drive and I tried my hardest to stay awake for much of it and sing along to my new Glee CD. Sean loves it. Especially when i make him duet with me for Total Eclipse of the Heart. “TURN AROUND” and “TURN AROUND, BRIGHT EYES” are his bits. He is a bit mad that’s all he gets but I didn’t write the song, I just make the magic happen in the car.

Anyway, Biarritz was out-of-control amazing. It was so beautiful and I could easily have stayed there way longer than the two days and two nights we did. Especially when we ran into Hazzy and Pete!! It was completely serendipitous, we were finding somewhere to eat for dinner and liked the look of a pizza place but didn’t look like there was anywhere to sit. As we walked away, one of the waiters chased us up the street and told us he had a table… right next to Haz and Pete. We were meant to be together again!!! After pizza and plenty of catching up and gossiping about the old days of WAIS and 2004, we headed out along the gorgeous jetty.

Pete, Harriet and Sean get happy on our late night walk in beautiful Biarritz

After finding each other, we planned a day of beaching it up and visiting the chocolate museum the following day.

Chocolate is sooo good for you and I don't want to hear anything else. See? The museum says so!

Except some might take it too far… after our taste testers and cup of pure hot chocolate (too rich for me), Pete hit up the “ne touche pas” fondue fountain and encouraged Sean to do the same. Naughty, naughty!!

Pete the bad influence haha

Guzzle guzzle melted chocolate

And then it was time for the beach! This was the  most gorgeous beach with reef, rocky ledges to jump off and clear blue water.

Lots of people, but we found a patch of sand and parked up for a couple hours

Can you spot them? Pete and Sean swimming around the point.

And after swimming, tanning, trying to read some French gossip mags (their equivalent to NW and Who mag have boobs! It was like soft porn and Sean was reading/perving over my shoulder which he never usually does when i’m catching up on Brangelina et al), we headed up for a yummy french dinner before saying goodbye to Haz and Pete.

Dinner overlooking the water with Haz and Pete

And then we made a massive drive the next morning to cross the border and swap our Bonjour for Hola!! Hello Spain! And just when Sean was coming to terms with “Bonjour, merci and s’il-vous-plait” hehehe. Welcome aboard “Hola, grazias and por favor!”. Our next stop was Pinoso to visit Trish and John, my super aunt and uncle and we had heaps of fun. Next post will feature them, Barcelona and Figueres!

Adios amigos, Lisa and Sean xoxo

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