Category Archives: family

Horrible Histories Spies – Imperial War Museum, London

It is Tuesday and so you know what that means: Travel Tuesday! I have really enjoyed looking through all the links up this past week.  I was homesick by by Louisa with her P is for the Perfect Pacentro, learning about how Kate’s Dad Lives in Kenya, and having my wanderlust fueled further by Lindsey’s travels to Thailand.  I cannot wait to see where you are all sharing travels and stories of wanderlust from this week!  You all make this link up so much fun and inspiring! 
For Travel Tuesday I take you to the Imperial War Museum in London, England.  We had the opportunity to visit this summer with my family.  The reason for our going was to visit the limited time Horrible Histories Spies exhibit that was going on at the museum.  My boys love the Horrible Histories television programme and so we left it as a surprise until we arrived at the IWM. 

Horrible Histories is a British children’s television series based on the Terry Deary book series of the same name. It aims to provide entertainment while also informing its audience about history, thereby making a stereotypically boring topic fun – Wikipedia 

The exhibit was very hands on and geared towards kids and the child in all of us.  In fact I am not sure who had more fun: my sons or all of the adults.  The boys got a special new Horrible Histories book and a special stamp sheet that they could use through out their experience at the museum.  In different stations they could get an embossed stamp to signify they had completed that part of the journey. 
In typical Horrible Histories fashion they were able to provide the truth of spies with real artifacts coupled with gruesome tales and sometimes disgusting things you as an adult would not really want to know.  They had pictures and videos and many interactive areas where they could engage with computers to learn more about spies through out history. 
Of course at the gifts shop they had every gag spy item imaginable as well as their book series for purchase.  They even had quite a bit of books and films for the adults in the fiction and non fiction genres of war and spies.  
One of the most fun activities we enjoyed was becoming spies and making our own faux passports to fit our secret cover identity.  We then had to memorize our cover story and get questioned by the passport control to see if we could stay in the country.  It was all quite fun and the whole family was entertained. 
The Imperial War Museum is a great museum to visit when you are in London, England.  After we visited the Horrible Histories Spies exhibit (and had a break for tea, of course) we went to see other areas of the museum.  They have a pretty impressive area about war and spies geared more for adults though my children had almost as much fun as before.  Even if you have young children like mine I would recommend taking them because we found it to be a great home education resource.  It opened up dialog for more conversations about history, war, and spies.  My boys were most impressed with all the artifacts they had that spies really used in this part of the museum.
Here were some favourite captures taken from the day:
More on Horrible Histories
Want to know a little more about what Horrible Histories is all about? I definitely recommend checking out their website below and you can find plenty skits and songs on youtube as well. My family’s favourite is the RAF song as we have history with the USAF and the RAF. It definitely brings in a lot of memories of my dad and I think he would have thought this song was so hilarious. I think you will too so I have shared it below.
Share your Travel stories and wanderlust addictions.
1. Share a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. Grab the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link! 😉 
3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday at 9 am GMT.
4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!
5. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
6. The First Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

Platform 9 and 3/4 in London, England

Welcome to Travel Tuesday! We are a family of three generations that love Harry Potter.  It began with my younger sister who started after the second book came out and my parents got hooked as they read them too. Feeling left out of dinner conversations I got roped into reading them and then wondered why I was the last to join the family book club.  I married my husband and got him into it and my kids as they were born. In fact Ronan was ‘baby Harry’ for one book release party and a howler for the one Maddox went as a baby Mandrake plant.  So being able to take my mum, sister, husband, and boys to get our photo taken at platform 9 and 3/4 this summer was mandatory while we were in London.  This was my second time here (see picture left) and they have since updated the wall and have added a gift shop. My thoughts on that near the end of this post. 
Like Harry Potter too? I wrote about What I Have Learned from Harry Potter

My Review of Platform 9 and 3/4:
When we we came before it was just the cart in the wall. In fact there was no partial suitcase or owl cage.  We were able to just walk right up and take as many photos as we wanted. So we took sweet and silly ones. Of course with having kids (as cute as they are) they may not always be in the mood to join in and my oldest was having one of those moments. So returning to do family photos for the Christmas card was on our todo list this summer.  Boy was I surprised to see how much it had changed!   I am taking a note that this could be different if we come again when it is not summer time but then again who knows.  There is a gift store right it and the portable queue markers likes you would find at Disneyland. There was quite a group of people waiting and I will say that everyone who was  there was very nice. In fact they did not mind that almost everyone in my party wanted to get their photo taken twice and then do a huge group shot.  I love the new editions to the the cart and I actually kinda like that they had scarves you could wear and helped flick it for movement for you.

 If I was not a photographer this next bit would not have bothered me so much.  I am sure many people come every day and never have this view point…or I just love Harry Potter way too much and my expectations got shattered.  I usually always have my 50mm on my DSLR because it is a great portrait lens and I was getting nice portraits of my mum and sister with my family while they were visiting.  However due to the close proximity of the queue of other HP fans and where the staff members were located there was no way to get a ‘perfect’ shot. I had to shoot off from the side and I could not get back as far as I needed too. For the portraits I took it ended up being okay but for my portraits the family member that took my photo cropped out important parts of Platform 9 and 3/4.  Not to mention the lens did not work for our family shot when we had to all look sideways.

The answer for that would be okay I will rely on the photographers they have to take our portraits. They are armed with nice DSLRs and flashes and look all professional with their HP staff badges. Everyone gets their photo taken in time with the guy who fluffs the scarf in the air. You can view your photo at the gift shop and purchase it to take home.  So I thought…sure maybe we can get the family one from the store. The gift shop was not the place to be if you do not like small cramped spaces as it does not do well with crowds of people.  Then when I finally saw our photo my heart sank. I maybe would have taken it if it was free but I certainly was not going to pay money for that shot. It was horrible.

Here is my thought on purchasing the photos.  Right above where platform 9 and 3/4 is located they have huge wonderful skylights. So unless it is nighttime or extremely stormy out you are going to have wonderful natural lighting coming down like you were in a fabulous photo studio.  Yet the staff taking photo use their flash for every one. I cannot comment whether they change their settings during their shift but after seeing our photo I would have definitely changed the exposure and better yet taken it without the flash.  It was the one time I got really frustrated. It really is hard when you know so much about a something that it kinda ruins the experience when it is out of your control. So we did not buy that photograph and we walked away with photos that despite the weird angle are far better exposed.

My husband reminded me that they also say to you in the queue something to the tune of ‘You can take your own photos but they will not be as good as ours.’

I love Harry Potter and I hope to go again and maybe beat the crowd control during a quieter time.  Also cannot wait to go to the Harry Potter tour in London too! Have you been?

Share your Travel stories and wanderlust addictions.
1. Share a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. Grab the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link! 😉 
3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday at 8 am GMT.
4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!
5. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
6. The First Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

*Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

My Family Photos in Wales

While we were in Wales this summer for our 10th Anniversary Vow Renewal, my friend Miriam took our family portraits.  You can see the ones I took of her family at Travel: Cymer Abbey Family Portraits.   If you love travel posts, remember tomorrow is Travel Tuesday and you can link up with us on the blog.  We just got back our family portraits this weekend from the Cymer Abbey and I was so excited to share them all with you today on the blog.  Since I had so many favourites I have kept out the romantic ones of just Ryan and I, to share for another day.  These photographs are so precious to me because they contain our family members.  It meant so much to us for our vow renewal that our family be there to support us.  My mum and sister were ready to book their tickets once they heard the news last Christmas and I know my dad would have been here if he was still alive.  I must have taken so many photographs myself of my mum and my sister with my boys, photos I know that Ronan and Maddox will cherish as they grow older.  Family is everything to Ryan I and why we enjoyed our time in Wales so much.  Here is mia familia (thank you so much Miriam!): 

* Photography © Miriam Pinkston Visual Artist, 2009-2013 All Rights reserved.

The Royal Crescent

I have to say that a favourite part of living the expat life in England is the many gardens through out the cities.  The Brits really know how to make use of small places.  It is nice to know that even if the countryside is a bit far out of reach by foot, theres a nearby park just waiting for you to enjoy during your lunch hour.  There are several great ones in in Bath and amongst those must see sights is the Royal Crescent.  So of course when my mum came to visit we made sure to arrange a photo op in front of it.  When ever the day is nice you can find the lawn dotted with locals enjoying their lunch, friends chatting up after work, and tourists posing for their photographs.  We chose this as our meeting place before our picnic and had a game of frisbee with the boys.  While I brought my heart shaped umbrella just in case, we had a lovely day of sunshine with no rain. 
Q: Are there nice parks or gardens where you live? 
*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Summer Fete in Bathford, England

Yesterday was the summer fete in Bathford, England and we had a lovely day of sunshine!  So of course we were out enjoying every moment with our boys.  There was of course a Pims tent as well as plenty of BBQ, ice cream, and candy floss.  The boys played games and even enjoyed the quad bikes before it was time to leave. The best part was getting to see my son sing and perform with his Ukulele class.  He really loves playing and has a huge heart for music.  I will let the photographs speak for themselves today as we are going out to enjoy the rest of the good weather this weekend. Cheers!

*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007-2013 All Rights Reserved | 

What Vacation Photos Say about Family

I will be honest this started out as a ‘Travel Tuesday’ post but a talk this morning with my husband inspired me to change the photograph to the one above.  Which then made the post take a shift in gears to be edited and rewritten with a slightly different purpose.  The focus being how my travel photos showed me  what family is all about.

The photo above is one of my favourites from a vacation with my my family in the early 2000s.  My father was a child at heart and loved taking us to the Disney parks.  We have been to them so often through out our life in two different states and two different countries.  I took this photo because I loved seeing how happy my parents were and how much they loved Ryan as the son they never had.

To be fair every vacation with my family has been like the one pictured above.  To know that our time together is uplifting, encouraging, and memorable makes me realise what family is all about.  Coming from a family where I can count the extended family members on one hand, I always thought I was missing out from what a bigger family could offer.  Having married into a very big family, I realise now that it does not matter the size of your family it matters if there is acceptance, forgiveness, and love. 

You do not have to question love. It is evident and present in the people who give it without question.  Raising kids who question everything it is comforting to know that when it comes to  my family that they only ask when my family is coming next and about what my dad was like in life. Fueled by so many constant wonderful memories with their Nonna and their Zia, I know that they will have such strong relationships with them as adults.  I have seen what can happen otherwise and that is just a sad truth.
It makes looking through the old photographs from our past vacations and visits so wonderful.  My photograph of my parents with Ryan at Disney is framed and displayed at our home.  I am just so glad that as well as taking a photo of Minnie Mouse and the Dumbo ride that I got a photo of what really matters. Family. 

*photograph original to A Compass Rose blog All Rights Reserved. 

Summer Fete in Batheaston

Yesterday we attended our second fete for the Summer season and it will not be our last.  Though we almost feared the weather would have ruined this gem of summers in Great Britain. It was set to begin at noon but we did arrive until three because of the pouring rain.  Miraculously the rain stopped and we were able to spend the last hour of it partaking in all our favourite fete activities.  There was drinking of Pims, letting the boys spend pocket money on activities, checking out the goods for sale, and the eating of cakes and ice cream. The only thing we missed out was on a delicious bowl of strawberries and cream.  However in its place we got to watch a Maypole dance with local school children.  If that was not enough dancing for my boys, they also got to partake in dancing to Gangnam Style.  I left with a happy family, a full belly, and a camera filled with documented memories and a nearly dead battery.  All in all it was a lovely village fete and I look forward to our next one in two weeks time. If the photos below are not enough to get you to a summer fete this year, I took two videos posted to Instagram as well.  To which I have to say is a new feature I highly love. However since they do not allow embedding of videos yet, insert shameless plug to follow me on Instagram here.
** Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved –