Category Archives: Travels

Barmouth Beach Pt. I

Since so many of you enjoyed the post about our evening at the coastal town of Barmouth in Wales, I thought it only fitting that I follow up with a couple more beach themed posts in the town.  We spent sunset at the nearly empty beach on this particular evening and it inspired a follow up beach day later that week.  During this occasion it was quite windy and tiny sand particles stung our face as our hair flew about in the wind.  The tall grasses seemed to dance and the sand was textured by the ribbed pattern the wind created like art.  In our exploration of the beach we found an Easter Island type statue watching out towards the ocean in solitude.  My hawaiian raised boys had fun playing in the sand and running up and down the dunes.  With the setting sun and the picturesque town views behind us, I walked away to the car leaving my regular glasses (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses) and my hair clip in the sand.  Luckily once in the car I realised it was not on my person and we made a mad dash to locate the items.  Needless to say the area had a way of capturing my heart and keeping my attention away from worldly matters and onto the details of simple beauty and the wishes that the ocean holds. 

Q: Do you have a place that can put you perfectly at ease or capture your heart, mind, and/or soul?

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

Travel: Barmouth, Wales

Yesterday I took you to Corris, Wales to the King Arthur’s Labyrinth.  After our memorable day there we headed into the coastal town of Barmouth for dinner.  Our lovely hosts at the Penycoed Hall Guest House recommended we try The Mermaid for their infamous fish & chips.  My sister Zoë had arrived a few days later than the group and had yet to eat this British delicacy on this trip back…and was craving it!  I have had some delicious fish & chips and some i-regret-ordering-this-meal fish & chips during my time living in the UK.  I can definitely say that our experience at the Mermaid was wonderful, the service was fast, and the food was eaten before we knew it. We were able to snag a two tables for our party inside, but it ended up getting quite the que of people waiting to make their orders. It must be a very popular spot in Barmouth.
Afterwards we walked around the town, found a grocery store to stock up our kitchen back at the B&B, and took a stroll along the beach.  The beach photographs to follow soon as I recap our lovely 10th Anniversary adventure in Wales.  It was a lovely evening and a perfect end to another beautiful day leading up to our Vow Renewal. 
 Q: What are some of your favourite aspects or memories from visiting seaside and coastal towns?
* Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |

King Arthur’s Labyrinth – Corris, Wales

Our third day in Wales we decided to take everyone to one of the visitor attractions in the area that would interest both the kids and adults a like.  Since there is a lot of Arthur legend found in Wales, we opted to visit the King Arthur’s Labyrinth in Corris.  We arrived with the typical UK weather of not knowing if it would rain or not.  Luckily spending a day at King Arthur’s Labyrinth means there are plenty of places to duck in side if does start to pour. Luckily for us we did not have to deal with the rain during our stay. We started off by going to the cafe for lunch to feed our group.  They have a nice picnic area outside where you can sit and the kids can later play on the playground equipment in an enclosed area.  We then ventured around the nine different craft shops that boasted local goods like the wooden Welsh love spoons, candles, and leather goods.  
When our group was ready we went on the Cave tour which involved donning a hard hat and following our hooded tour guide of very few words. What followed was a dramatized boat ride into the old abandoned slate caverns where we followed on foot underground in the dark and winding labyrinth.  Every so often we would stop to hear more of the legends. The atmosphere down there is quite interesting as it is very cold (so remember to bundle up), quite dark, and many low ceilings where even tall children would have to duck their heads.  When we finished we let the children play at the park again until we were ready to leave for the day.  Overall it was a very nice visitor attraction for families and groups. There was also a tour of the abandoned mines where you can see the remains of the miners that sounded really interesting. Due to the iffy weather it was not available to us but something for a sequential visit for sure. 

Q: What do you think of King Arthur’s Labyrinth? Would you go into the caves?

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

My Favourite Things to do in Wales

I have been having so much fun recapping our time in Wales and going through all the photographs that were taken from our trip.  It has made me realize all the things, big and small, that I have loved about being in Wales.

People have asked me why we decided on renewing our vows in Wales and if the place held any personal significance for us.  To be honest upon planning our trip, my husband and kids had never been to Wales before.  We had a list of dream locations to renew our vows that included: Italy where I had grown up as girl; on a mountain top in Austria, a place that held a  lot memories with my dad; and in France, where we had friends that lived.  When it came down to finally choosing a place we knew we needed to stay within the UK, but wanted to choose a place we had never been to before.  Ryan had heard about renting cabins in Wales and we had started looking at places last Christmas with my mum.  It looked doable for us as well as providing a fantastic new location to explore.  That is how it all began.

We did not have a schedule written in stone before drove up to Wales. Partly because one of our friends coming was 8 months pregnant and Ryan and I like to be more spontaneous.  We had a list of ideas and went ahead knowing we would just have to return to do the things we did not get ticked off our list.  While I can foresee going to Wales many more times during our time in England, there were so many that became my favourite things to do in Wales.

My Favourite Things 
T O   D O   I N   W A L E S 

Drive Around the Countryside.  When choosing which way to get to Dolgellau from Bath, England we knew it had to be the scenic route with rolling green hills of sheep, quaint little villages to drive through, and passing by a castle or two would not hurt either.  Aside from a few cases of getting car sick, driving through Wales was definitely one of the highlights.

Seeing the Castles.  I love seeing castles in the UK and they are a favourite destination for my family.  We had attempted to renew our vows at a castle nearby. We parked and got ready to go in when we realised the walk from the car to the entrance was not going to be feasible in my gown and for my friend who was expecting.  So while we did not go to a castle this trip, seeing them at least was still a perk!

Being Outside in all Types of Weather.  When we told friends and acquaintances in England that we chose Wales for our 10th Wedding Anniversary we were imminently met with a response about the weather.  Wales is known for having a lot of rain. While we had a heat wave this summer, it ended the week we went to Wales. Go Figure. However it did not stop us from being outside.  We had lovely sunny days, perfectly overcast days for photos, and even enjoyed walks and a train ride in the rain showers.

Reading the Road Signs. Or should I say trying to pronounce the road signs. Or anything that had the Welsh language on it.  Almost every signage found would have the words written in both English and Welsh.  Since we do not speak Welsh, trying to figure out how to say things was really fun.  The town we stayed in, Dolgellau, has a double L sound which is pronounced by putting your tongue as if you are going to say L and then blowing.  Dolgellau being pronounced like dol-gell-eye.  Course I also heard it pronounced like dol-gethl-eye by locals, so I just tried my best to smile in my attempts.

Seeing the Sheep.  To be fair I love doing this in England too. Although what I have noticed about the sheep in England is that they tend to stay together in groups. In Wales they are just all over the place and usually in groups no larger than three or four.  It was a common sight to see a mountain side literally dotted across it in white dots that were sheep grazing.  Some seemed pretty brave on a steep mountain side, along side the road, or on top of mountain peaks.

Going to the Beach.  After our trip we have decided we could easily come up every year just to spend time at the beach. We got to go twice during our week in Wales and it was perfection for my ocean loving family.   We have almost always lived along the coast wherever in the world we lived and always feel so content with being close to the sea. The sand is lovely, the views are picturesque, and my sons never seem to mind that the water is quite the chill factor.

Riding on the Train. On a rainy day we decided it would be a good idea to take a train ride.  I had not realised there would be so many to choose from when we were looking over all the pamphlets we had taken from the local grocery store.  While the one we went on did not have all that in the way of amazing views, it was more of the experience that caught my fancy.  I loved passing the other steam engines, hearing the whistle blow, and reading the signs along the way.  We even enjoyed tea and snacks which was great, until I spilled tea all down my new white dress.  So maybe next time I will aim to dress practically and not in white every day because its my 10th Wedding Anniversary.

The Hiking. I  asked my husband what his favourite thing to do was and he answered with this one, to which I have to agree.  We got to go on a country walk hiking through the forest area near our B&B and went on an all day hike in the mountains of Cadair Idris.  It is something we love to do weekly in England and became something special for us in Wales.  I grew up going on country walks in England and hiking with my dad in Germany, both while we lived there and when we lived in Italy.  He continued to go on regular hikes where he lived in Tucson, Arizona before he died.  So while we were on the mountain hiking with our sons, it was like having my father there with us.  Ryan even mentioned how much my dad would have loved doing this with us. Thats all I could have asked for…a connection with my dad during a special time in our life.

Trying the local Ales. My husband and I love to try the local drinks when we travel or are out and about in England. So in Wales we continued this tradition with ordering the local ales and ciders.  I really enjoyed the Purple Moose Ale and will have to have it again when we are back in Wales. We ended up going out for drinks with my sister for my husband’s ‘stag night’ and enjoyed meeting new people (and their dogs) at the local pub.

Make Friends with the Wild Life. I love animals. They all seemed so friendly in Wales. I made friends with horses, sheep, geese, and even a lone jelly fish while at the beach. Luckily for me the later quickly disappeared and did not want to be super close friends.

Take My Kids to an Attraction. For this trip we opted for a fun day out for both our families at the King Arthur’s Labyrinth, based on the lore of King Arthur and Welsh history. They had a cave we got to explore, a play area, a cafe, and nine separate craft studios.  It was just enough to entertain the adults while keeping the five children all happy for a few hours. If you are interested in going it is located in the town of Corris.

Exploring the Towns and Villages.  If you are a photographer like me than you love to notice the details and photograph your surroundings.  Being able to walk around and explore the towns by foot is just a perfect way to spend some time.  From the public houses to the beautiful and manicured gardens there is a story for you with each footstep you take. We also took to the coastal village destination of Portmeirion for our actual vow renewal ceremony, which gave us a Mediterranean storybook feel in Wales.

Exploring Ruins. Just near the town of Dolgellau, in the village of Llanelltyd, are the ruins of a Cistercian abbey that was founded in 1158.  The Cymer Abbey is just beautiful and it became a perfect backdrop for family photographs for us while we were in Wales.

Enjoy Every Moment. I am a free spirit and I really just enjoy living in the moment and experiencing it with my family and friends.  I knew that no matter what we did in Wales, keeping true to that would make it an amazing week.  It truly was and a place to where we will have to return.

An outtake of my family from our 10th Wedding Anniversary at our B&B.

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

Driving Through Wales

Thank you everyone for all your messages yesterday for my family and for the feedback on my post yesterday The Story of How He Died.  Yesterday was our five year mark since my dad was killed and it definitely makes it harder as an expat when you cannot return to any one spot with all the family to remember a loved one.  However, I hope it encourages all to make good choices and to always think before getting behind the wheel.  
It is happenstance that the next part of my trip from Wales to share on the blog today is about driving through Wales.  As we do not have a car in England, getting to drive through the countryside on our journey through Wales was quite the treat.  It is just as you would imagine it: winding country roads, hillsides dotted with sheep, green fields with horses, and cute little villages brimmed with history.  

 Of course when you are not  used to being in a car and you add in the factors of twisting roads, round-a-bouts, and being in a car where someone constantly weaves in their lane you are bound to get a little motion sick.  For Ronan it was being the the back of the car with all the winding roads and so we stopped to get some fresh air.  Luckily his Nonna, my mum, is a dōTERRA consultant who travels with a variety of essential oils.  So with a little peppermint and some fresh Welsh air we were back on the road again.  

Since I usually do photography posts on Thursday I wanted to showcase a few portraits I have taken up to this point in the trip in Wales.  The composite above was taken while we were taking a break from driving to get Ronan to feel better from feeling carsick.  There was complete cloud cover which creates a natural light diffuser for a perfect lighting situation.  I had a reader a while back ask me what to do when you live somewhere where it is always cloudy. To them I responded, ‘take photographs every day!’ It can be the sun that can be your worst enemy when it comes to getting nice portraits. I lived in Hawaii for years and I would only shoot in the very early morning or close to sundown since the sunlight was so strong without the use of shade.   Here are a few more portraits from the past two days of this portion of the trip. 

I am happy to introduce you today to my featured sponsor 
for the month of August, Gillian from Gladley.  
She is also an expat, but a Brit living in the USA.
Recommended Posts by Gillian:
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*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Crickhowell Town, Wales – Travel Tuesday

This is my first post about our trip to Wales for our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  We drove from where we live in Bath, England to Dollegau, Wales.  Instead of driving straight through we decided to stop somewhere halfway so that the kids could all get out and run around for a bit.  It was in the town Crickhowell, Wales where we got out and met up with our friends.  Up to this point Wales had been seen from behind the glass windows of the car in awe.  The countryside is so beautiful and dotted everywhere with sheep.
Upon arrival in Crickhowell we found the remaining ruins of a castle that became the majestic backdrop for the childrens’ park in town.  Adjacent to the playground a cricket match was going and there was a neighbouring field of sheep. It could not have been a more perfect setting for our first experience in Wales for this trip.  
There were five kids among the two families and they had an amazing time playing together despite the rain.  At one point the rain was just coming down in buckets while they screamed and ran and enjoyed every drop.  All in all it was a lovely place to stop and definitely worth a look for this week’s Travel Tuesday post. 

A Compass Rose

A Compass Rose

Here’s how it works: 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. 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!

Recent Travels in the UK

This is one of my favourite photographs I have taken over the last week.  It is a photograph of my sister with my two sons staring at the Tower Bridge in London.  Usually the focus should be on the landmarks of the place you visit, but for this one I wanted to capture the moment.  My sister, a fellow Third Culture Kid (TCK), lives a highly nomadic life as well.  She currently lives in DC working as sommelier though will be overseas again come the spring.  In my family we never really know when we will see eachother next or where in the world. So capturing this lovely moment of her with my sons at this age was so important.  I love to capture all the things that travelers and tourists take on the cameras but I equally like the people and moments for our visual memories.

I am looking forward to sharing our recent travels in the UK over the next several Travel Tuesday posts.  We spent a week in Snowdonia, Wales; two days in Notting Hill and throughout London, England; and will be going up to the place of my birth which is Oxford, England today.  So many places in a short time with family can be a bit overwhelming.  But for us we just took each day at a time and made sure savour each memory.

Q: How do you make the most of your short travels and trips?

Found Love. Now What?

Found Love. Now What?

Here’s how it works:
1. Share a post about travel! From roadtrips 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.
 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!