Category Archives: Leaves

Travel & Seasons: Q&A

My so-called ex-pat life has been filled with nostalgia recently.  I was wondering where all these memories were flooding from and then realised it was because of the weather.  Two years ago my family was experiencing our first autumn in England.  Autumn has not usually been my favourite time of the year.  Some how there are all these things I am experiencing again make me feel comforted in memories.  The colder weather that requires coats, hats, and scarves.  Finding interesting leaves, conkers, and colourful ivy covered walls.  The rainy days in England where umbrellas pop up all over town. Rushing inside to warm ourselves up with a cup of tea.  There are all these elements of autumn which bring back cherished memories.  It has made me look back at old photographs from 2011 and I found this series I took of my family in London.  On our way to our intended destination we found a huge amount of fallen leaves which resulted in a spontaneous play session.  We had so much fun playing in the leaves and I really enjoy the photos we captured of the event.  It has made me realise when thinking of travel and seasons that I really do love London in the Autumn and Winter time.  Here are some of my favourites from that cold but memorable day:

“What season is your favourite to travel in and where would you go based on your answer?”

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Fall has Begun

Fall is finally here and we are already enjoying the changing colours of the leaves.  So much so we went out and picked a bunch of our favourite leaves from the ground and took them home.  I had seen on Pinterest how you can fold the leaves to make roses and got busy constructing my own.  Since Rose is my middle name (literally), I took photos to show you the Fall coloured roses.  You can see them displayed above and I have included a photo at the end of this blog post. 
My boys at the farmer’s market at the pumpkin patch. 
To celebrate the season we went to a farmer’s market and a Pumpkin patch.   My boys were so excited pick out their own pumpkins and gourds.  It will be fun to decorate this week for the Fall holidays.  With our wagons full, we left and headed over to Arthur, an Amish community.  We picked up a bag full of apples from the orchards and spices to make our own apple pies.  I have never made a pie before so it was a pretty big deal for me to try it this year.  Thanks to one of my friends for a yummy crust recipe, I got busy with slicing apples.  For those of you big on using coconut oil, I will let you in on a little baking secret.  Instead of using crisco in the crust, I substituted with coconut oil.  You just need to make sure it is in its liquid state, and not solid when you mix it with your ingredients.  Otherwise your dough will end up lumpy. Though my pies do not look as beautiful as professional pies, they were the best tasting ones I have ever had.  Proof that homemade is definitely more fun and more tasty! Hope you guys have fun trying your hands out at baking this Fall like we did.

My homemade Apple Pie, the first time making one.
With our left over apples we sliced them thinly and put them on a baking sheet.  After sprinkling them with a little splenda and apple pie spice, we put them into the oven to bake for an hour on each side. The result: Yummy home made apple crisps! Yummy! My son, Ronan, really enjoyed making these and my other son Maddox really loves eating them for a snack. 
My boys trying honey sticks at the Farmer’s market in Champaign, IL.

Ronan in his wagon at the Pumpkin Patch.
My sons had fun checking out all the interesting pumpkins and gourds at the Pumpkin Patch.  
Maddox at the Pumpkin Patch. 
Running through the maze at the pumpkin patch. 
This is one of my favourite photos that I took in Arthur, the Amish community. The breeze was making the laundry on the line dance and the sun was shining through the trees.  Just a very beautiful scene.
Passing a horse and buggy on the road in Arthur.
Fall Roses made from leaves that I constructed from the leaves my sons picked out.

Leaves in London

All week we have been talking about taking the boys to London.  Originally I was going to take them in the morning and go to the National History Museum to see the dinosaurs. Unfortunately I lost my debit card the night before and was not able to leave for London until my partner returned from work on Sunday.  Despite our late start, the four of us headed on the train into London ready for an adventure.  We started the day with some warm pastys, pizza, and sausage rolls and then headed over to the Buckingham Palace.  Last time we came here they had scaffolding all over the place, so it was really nice to be able to take photographs today.  It was quite cold out and so we were all bundled up in our coats, hats, and gloves. Our next stop was Hyde park where I had wanted to recreate a photograph from my childhood.  Though making plans are fun, today was definitely the day to learn flexibility and to be spontaneous instead.  Upon arriving into Hyde park we noticed a mass amount of fallen leaves and so I will be blogging out Autumn leaves again.  What can I say?  I am still quite excited about experiencing different seasons after so many years of just ‘Summer’.  The four of us made huge piles of leaves and Maddox was first to tunnel inside and be covered up.  Ronan joined in the fun and we started getting a lot of really cute photographs.  I think they had the most fun running and diving into the piles of leaves.  Then again any chance for a spontaneous leaf fight will bring smiles and giggles to young and old.  Afterwards we went to the German Christmas market and Hamley’s Toy Store.  I will blog about these tomorrow and leave you with some of the best photographs from the first part of our trip to London. 
Ronan & Maddox playing in the London leaves. 
Ronan having a meltdown moment in front of Buckingham Palace, because his dad took his pizza out of his hand to hide it from the camera.

Ronan and Maddox diving into the leaves!

Playing in the leaves with my two boys!

Ronan getting ready to aim and fire leaves at his dad while Maddox gets an armful. 

Ronan takes fire from leaves that were thrown by his dad.

Not even the photographer (myself) is free from the leaves. Maddox is ready to throw leaves at me as I point my camera at him. 

Autumn and it is getting Darker

Mushroom in the leaves

I recently posted photos of the the leaves that have changed colours and fallen on the ground. It is quite a beautiful scene, and I am still in awe when when I go walking outside. There is another aspect of the season that is new to me, and that is how dark it gets so early. Reason being that England is closer in proximity to the North Pole, than other places I have lived last. The last eight months that I lived in the US I was living in Tucson, Arizona and before that I was in Hawaii for three years. Both of those places do not change the clocks forward or backwards as the seasons change. So now I will be at work looking outside, and its half past 4 in the afternoon and its already begun to get dark. It makes the days feel so much shorter and my nights to be feeling as if it is later than it actually says on the clock. The skies in England have been a lot darker or more overcast than they had been earlier this summer. I have been noticing little elements of Fall while I am outside and try to capture them in photograph. Here are a few aspects of Autumn in England that I have noticed and loved.

When it rains, the slugs come out to play.

Getting darker sooner.
Neighbour’s Apples

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Learning about Leaves

Experiencing the change of Seasons

Ronan’s leaf findings

The boys and I have really been enjoying the Autumn season here in England.  After spending three years living in Hawaii and a brief stay in the desert in Arizona, having a real Autumn is a beautiful treat.  There is nothing like the changing of the leaves to make you aware that Summer is indeed over.  We have donned our heavier coats on colder days and sometimes find the need for wellingtons when its wet and dreary outside.  I have even coloured my hair (finally a ginger!) to go with the changing colours of the leaves.  Ronan has been assigned in school a project about the different trees and their leaves.  We have been collecting different leaves when we are outside and taking them home.  Tonight Ronan glued the best ones to his papers and worked like a sleuth to figure out what tree it originated from.   He loves investigating and has a keen appreciation for art and crafts, so this was a really fun project.  I have to be honest though.  I think what Ronan and Maddox love best is simply playing in all the fallen leaves.  Throwing them up in the air so they can rain down on them causes great big smiles and laughter is soon to follow as we crunch the leaves with our feet as we walk through a dense pile on the ground.  Summer is a lovely and much awaited season, but with the arrival of Fall it does not mean an End.  It is simply a beginning to the cooler seasons and means that Winter and the Holidays are fast approaching.