Category Archives: family

Browns Folly & Monkton Farleigh

This weekend we were blessed with a break in the rain and a lovely sunny Saturday.  We took the opportunity to explore a new area near our home in Bath, England.  As active participants of country walks through the English countryside, we love finding new paths to enjoy.  We begun our walk through the town of Bathford up to the woods in the area known as Browns Folly.  My eldest had come here on a school trip this year and we had heard much about the mines and the ground flora we could find in the area.  We indeed did find some of the King Alfred’s cakes and the wild garlic. We also found a lovely horse that was very friendly, got stung by nettle, and covered in pollen as our path took us through a massive yellow field of blooming rapeseed plants. It was yet another day out in England where every ten minutes one of us would exclaim either how beautiful it was or how much we never want to move.  It is hard to feel sad or stressed out when you are outside scenes that look ripped out from a storybook.  Not to mention the tower that was so Rapunzel-esque and the beautiful view of our town below.  Here are a just a few of the many photographs I took on our country walk journey through Browns Folly and Monkton Farleigh. 


*photographs belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Baaaaa-ank Holiday Monday

Today was a bank holiday here in England and so Ryan had the day off of work.  
Since the boys were already off of school for Easter break, 
we were able to get two days of country walking in this weekend.  
Yesterday we walked for four hours and today for nearly five 
as we went on a seven mile walk through the English countryside.  
We saw deer both days.  Today we also saw the following animals: 
cows, horses, pigs, llamas, chickens, goats, birds, chickens, and fields of sheep.  
I love sheep. Especially the way the dot the rolling hills behind our house. 
But they are even cuter when  you have to walk through 
a field of them and have them ‘bah’ ing in chorus around you.  
I hope you like photographs of sheep 
because I took quite a lot to share with you on the blog. 
Pink Wellies by Hunter, black leggings & scarf from my closet, and I raided my husband’s closet for the jumper. 
The deer that we saw today running through the meadow. 
Trying to get my boys to not shout, as to scare the wildlife,  was proving challenging today.
Then we came across the sheep.  
There were so many little lambs running about the field. 
Here was one feeding from their mummy. 
My babies obliged me with having their photo taken with the sheep.
There was a whole field full of sheep. 
The lamb were definitely my favourite.  So cute.
Maddox said he was very glad to see the sheep because it was his first time being so close to them. 
We eventually found our path through the field and what could be cuter than watching your family among the sheep. 
My husband with our our sons and the sheep in the background. 

*photographs belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All rights reserved. |
**Please contact if you want to use any photographs or for more information regarding photographic services. 

Dick Willows Farm Shop

This past week I had the opportunity to go to my first farm shop, since relocating back to England.
Dick Willows is forty minute walk from our house making it quite convenient.
Sadly Dick Willows is leaving its location just as I find this gem.  
The silver lining being that while they are here everything is currently 30% off.
On Friday I was taken here by my friend Libby and we browsed around, 
enjoyed a chai latte with scone, and then picked up a few food items. 
She also introduced me to how amazing the combination of 
chutney, cheese, and bread/crackers and how delicious it can be.
So the following day, despite the heavy cold rain, I dragged my family back with me.
It ended up being lovely despite the weather conditions.
The boys had a lot of fun browsing the antique section
as they hunted for treasures to purchase.
Ronan finally settled on a cool dark red dragon figure.
I found some vintage fabric for which I plan to make couch pillows.
Maddox picked up vanilla fudge and Ryan found his cider.
You can actually come to Dick Willows and do cider tasting.  
I should add that if you are in the Bath area you can still purchase the cider
from the weekend market in town. 
All in all it was a great two days out and I am still
quite gutted that its closing down.
Yes. The cider is really that bright orange.
It tastes quite yummy too.

Mothering Sunday

Today is Mothering Sunday in England.  
Let me wish all the new mums in England a wonderful first Mum’s Day!  
(Shout out to Lauren at Aspring Kennedy
This morning we had a delicious paleo breakfast of eggs, bacon and avocado with our tea.
In the typical rush fashion of getting the four of us ready for Church,
we arrived late fashionably on time.  
I do love walking briskly up the road as the church bells beckon us near.
Ronan and Maddox were asked to be in the morning procession, 
with Ronan carrying the cross towards the front.  
Maddox, in younger brother mode, made some sort of silly face 
as he followed up behind.
I was really touched seeing Ronan, my eight year old, pass out all the flower bouquets
to the mums in church today.  He is growing up to be such a sweet gentleman.
Its hard to believe that I’ve been a mum for eight years now.
So many friends of mine are having babies and my youngest is nearly six.
I would be lying if I said I did not have baby on the brain. 
Children are such a blessing and I cannot imagine life without my boys. 
A little shout out also to my mum (aka ‘Nonna’) who gave birth to me thirty years ago
in Oxford, England and paved the way for this expat living abroad. 
My mum is spoiled.  She gets Mothering Sunday with me
and Mother’s Day with my sister Zoë.
Love you mum. 

Meet Zia Zoë

A con to living the expat life is being many miles and many more miles away from family.  
In my life my family is already quite small and scattered across the United States already.  
My mother lives in Arizona, her father lives in Arkansas, 
my father’s brother lives in New Jersey, and my sister lives in Washing DC.  
Thats my family. 

Zia Zoë with her nephew Maddox 
My sister Zoë and I are five and half years apart in age…to the day.  
Our half birthday’s land on each other’s birthdays.  
She was still just in elementary school when we moved from Italy to the United States.  
I was on the verge of graduating high school  and ‘too cool’ to hang out with my younger sister.  
In University I was ready to build that relationship and she was busy growing up in high school.  
Since  her graduation from Uni we have finally met on the same plane, but now separated by distance.
  I really look forward to the short moments of time we get to spend together. 
 I was fortunate to have a week last summer and a busy week at Christmas with my sister. 

Zia Zoë with her nephews Ronan and Maddox.

My boys having special time with her means a lot more to me now that our dad is no longer with us.
  When its the two of us with Ronan & Maddox 
I see us filling our dad’s shoes so they can experience his life through us.  
Loss is hard and distance can equally be challenging.  
It is why I really enjoy having Google Hangouts, 
especially since many people can join in with no charge, compared to Skype.  
Video chats are a luxury my sister and I did not have 
when we were growing up as a military family living abroad.  
It makes me quite interested to know what technology will be available 
when my own children have children.

Zia Zoë with her nephews superhero and villian. 
Side note: My boys call my sister Zoë, Zia, which is ‘Aunt’ in Italian. 
My mum is called ‘Nonna’, Italian for grandmother.  
The six years my family spent in Italy alone has impacted our family culture. 
With my little sister Zoë and my two sons.


Ronan and mummy in 2005.

No I am not pregnant.  Though I have been diagnosed with a bad case of baby fever.  My temporary remedy is living vicariously through all my friends who are having babies.  Recently it seems like the number of those involved in family growing is way up.  My newsfeed on facebook is filled with people pregnant, ready to give birth, or showing off their precious bundles of joy.  Those little babies just grow up so fast.  I can attest to that fact because my sweet babies are now eight and five years old respectfully.  My eldest just had his brithday this past month and I can hardly believe eight years have gone by.  In that same amount of time he will be sixteen and that just seems unfathomable.  I would love in the next few years to have one more and try for my girl. I’ve only had her name picked out since 2004. 😉

With my sweet Ronan in 2005.
I have been looking back through the photos of Ronan when he was born.  My husband, son, and I  have all changed quite a bit since those photos were taken.  It was the end of our days in University and were were so young.  Neither of our parents were able to be there for the birth, but we had a lot of friends from campus come visit.  I realized the baby pattern I mentioned above is quite true with our friends in the pictures below.  My high school bff and roommate at Harding University now has her own precious little girl.  We went to summer camp with Lauren (also pictured) is expecting or is now a new mum.   Then my friends Grant & Miriam have three sweet boys and have just announced they are expecting again.  Getting older is not so depressing, as it is so beautiful to see how well everyone is doing.  Children are such a blessing.  
My BFF from HS in Italy and Uni roommate, Caroline, with Ronan
My cabin-mate from Camp and friend from Uni, Lauren, with Ronan 
Friends from University, Miriam & Grant with Ronan

So until that time when we announce another one is on its way, you can find me on Pinterest pinning away things on Pregnancy, Oh Baby, and When I Have a Girl.   What will be her name?  You’ll just have to stick around and find out. 😉 
PS. Lauren and +Miriam Pinkston  you both are in my thoughts. 
P.P.S. Cannot wait to meet your sweet girl Caroline

Kennet and Avon Canal

Across the pond in England our weekend has ended and we are left with wonderful memories to cherish.  Our 2013 has brought a renewed look on life as I look back through the last several years.  It has focused us onto the simpler things of life and to what is truly important.  Times can be tough and it seems these times there are many out there struggling to get through the month.  While there has been times when life was certainly easier, I would not  pass up how we spent our weekend.  
Saturday we slept in and enjoyed the extra hour underneath the covers.  I had been a little under the weather over the last few days and was enjoying the longer lie in.  However have tried to make it our thing that we go out on a country walk once a week.  Sometimes the weather is not as cooperative.  Despite the dense fog, or maybe because of the mysteriousness of it, I shrugged off the appeal to be a homebody and got the family ready to go after breakfast.  With our warm coats and wellies (rain boots) my husband led us to a new direction we had not ventured yet towards Bathampton.  
It was there that we ran into the Kennet and Avon Canal.  The two stretches of river were made navigable for passage in the early 18th century but was only restored and reopened in 1990.  It is surrounded in heritage and now a tourist destination for travelers and locals a like who partake in boating, canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling.  

The Peter John Wells art trail on the Kennet and Avon Canal was one of those things we did not plan on seeing but that made it a really fun experience for my kids.  Along the Canal the kids could spot and point out the different sculptures of art like the ‘ifish’ and the ‘mishell’.  
This image belongs to  and can be found at:

 I had originally taken this photograph because I remember watching a show when I was a little girl in England about puppets came to life and lived on a canal boat like this one.  When we passed back this way on our walk I realized it is a cafe where you can sit on the boat or alongside it and enjoy a nice cup of tea.  Besides bringing a picnic lunch with you there are not really any other advantages for refreshments   Though we did not try it out ourselves, it did look quite popular later in the afternoon.

We started technically from our house in Batheaston and made our way to Bathampton.  We then walked along the canal all the way to the Dundas Aqueduct.  We did take a longer time walking out there with enjoying the moment, taking photos, and talking about all the things we saw along our walk. We did not even look at the time until we got to the Aqueduct to find out just how far we had walked.  In all by the time we got home we had been out for five hours and had walked roughly ten miles.  I was quite surprised my sons had managed it, but it was all about the fun experience. For something where the cost is ‘free’ it became even that more priceless for us as a family.  These moments together outside exploring our home in England are the most precious to us. 
We also found it fun to count the canal boats and I believe we counted a rough number of 120, give or take a few.  Sometimes it can be a little rough counting them all when you are having fun talking with your family along the way.  Some of the canal boats were parked in their designated spaces and others we could see going up and down the canals.   

It was really fascinating to see the bridges move when needed for the canal boats to pass between one side and the other.  On this bridge you can see a few bicycles parked.  Between the runners and the cyclists, both hobbies were quite popular this Saturday afternoon.  Though we do not own bicycles I have read online that you can rent them for the day.  Check out the Canal Vistior Centre  about the Bath & Dundas Canal Co who has a range of bicycles for adults and children alike as well as other cycling accessories for a perfect day out.  The paths are nice and if you can tell from the photographs the views are beautiful and serene. 

View from a bridge looking down on the canal.  
Side sneak view of the Dundas Aqueduct as you round the corner of the canal. 
My family walking on top of the Dundas Aqueduct to see the beautiful views down below.
The beautiful views down below. :) 
We saw two swans swimming on the canal together, enjoying what must have been a romantic afternoon.
Would love to have my own canal boat for a weekend getaway. 
Probably one of my favourite photographs taken on our walk. 

 Sometimes the most fun experiences are the free ones and this was another wonderful family outing to add to our memory books.  It was nice seeing the boys having so much fun while holding the hand of my husband and walking along the Canal.  England is truly a spectacular place to live and I could not imagine not having this as our ‘backyard’.  I definitely recommend checking out the Kennet and Avon Canal on your next visit to Bath.