Sunday, September 16, 2018

Recipe: Egg Roll in a Bowl

1 lb ground turkey
1 bag dry coleslaw mix
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
1 tsp ginger
Sliced green onion

In a large, deep skillet, brown the meat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine garlic, coconut aminos, and ginger. Set aside. Once meat is cooked through, add dry coleslaw mix and stir to combine. Pour coconut aminos mixture into skillet and stir, continuing to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until cabbage is wilted, but still a bit crunchy. Serve with sliced green onion.

Monday, August 27, 2018

I See London...Part Two

Day two in London started out better than the first.  We both felt rested and ready to take on the day.  The different thing about our hotels was the fact that we had to pay for breakfast.  When we travel in the US, we always choose hotels that include breakfast because I am a breakfast eater.

Not to worry...we paid for the convenience of breakfast in our hotel. There was someone there to seat us, bring Tyler coffee, and make sure we had everything we needed.  It was a traditional English breakfast which meant bread, beans, eggs, bacon (which tasted similar to ham in the US), mushrooms, and some other foods including fruit, cereal, and muffins.

We stayed at The Shaftesbury Metropolis at London Hyde Park. It was very close to the Paddington tube and bus station, and the walk to and from the station was beautiful.

Since we purchased our room with credit card points, we did get the cheapest available, which was also the smallest. We also have a mentality when traveling that we don't need anything fancy.  We had come to see and do all the things, so we really only needed a bed and a shower.  That's exactly what we got.

Have you ever been on a cruise?  The interior room on a cruise ship is larger than this room here in London.  Tyler and I were cracking up.  Below, you can see the handle to the bathroom door in the lower right corner of the picture.  The door couldn't open up all the hit the bed.  So each time we had to shimmy our way into the bathroom.

I am standing at the door of the bathroom and trying to take a picture inside.  The potty is to the right in this picture.  The entire bathroom was the size of a closet.  We simply just laughed at the whole predicament.  We knew things would be smaller, but it was just hysterical to us.  The shower door also didn't close all the way, so I had to hold it closed with my elbow...which was easy when I washed my hair because my elbows touched from wall to shower door.

That morning, we got up and headed over to St. Paul's Cathedral.  Since we had the London Pass, we got right in.  We grabbed our audio guide and started following it through the cathedral.  Rick Steves had given us an estimated time of two hours that it would take for us to get through the entire cathedral.  However, we both loved it so much, we spent closer to 3 1/2 hours there.

There were a lot of people taking photos inside, so I got a little braver and took some myself.

Looking in toward where the Choir sits.

The ceilings were beautiful.
Looking back toward the Nave.

Looking towards the Nave on the other side...notice the Star Wars looking decoration. :)

The roped off area was directly under the dome.

The Dome.  We climbed up to the level right under those statues.
We climbed up even higher to walk around the outside at the top.  This was our first look at the city of London.

The Shard is in the distance.

It was fun to recognize things such as the Shard and Millenium Bridge (the pedestrian bridge) that I had been reading about for months.

We sat many times to take in the beautiful cathedral.

As we left, we took in the outside views of St. Paul's Cathedral.
Part of our London Pass was a double-decker hop on-hop off bus tour. This meant we could hop on where we wanted and hop off when we saw something we wanted to check out.  We hopped on right outside of St. Paul's Cathedral and headed over towards the Tower of London.

The thing about riding the bus versus the tube is that we had to deal with all the London traffic.  It was horrible.  A 13-minute ride on the tube ended up being more like a 45-minute ride on the bus. All-in-all, if you have time to spare, yes! Ride the bus.  But we were pressed for time, trying to squeeze in all the things we wanted to do in just a couple days on our London Pass.

We did make it to the Tower of London, though.  It was kinda funny...Tyler had done none of the planning, so he was expecting to see an actual tower.  But it was more like a fortress.  We had close to 2 hours to see everything when Rick Steves had estimated about 3 hours.  We went straight to the building that held the crown jewels.  While it was very cool to see, I wasn't that impressed.

I might add that I don't quite understand the infatuation with the Royals, so that probably had something to do with it.  Yes! It was neat to see, but I don't know much about them or the country's history.

From inside the tower, we had a view of the Shard.

This building houses all of the Crown Jewels. However, there are more gold dishes in here than actual tiaras. Also note, we did visit the day of the Royal Wedding.  Some things were being used, but not a lot.

We also had a great view of the Tower Bridge (not to be confused with London Bridge).

Other sights that we took in that day were:

Borough Market

Shakespeare's Globe

The Millenium Bridge headed towards St. Paul's Cathedral.

The streets of Notting Hill

We made our way all around the city that day, and by the time we got back to our hotel, we were so tired.  It was safe to say that we crashed hard that night!

Friday, August 24, 2018

I See London...Part One

Our flight to London was out of Denver.  We left our house on Wednesday evening and flew to Denver, stayed the night, and headed to the UK the next day.  We got some really amazing deals on a Norwegian flight across the pond.  But as the trip got closer, Tyler kept saying that he wished we had purchased the premium seats.

The original price for premium seats was just under $1000 per person. Holy moly! Come to find out, though, you can "bid" for an upgrade. I learned this in my travel community group that I was in.  So we decided to put a bid in...just above the minimum, as we figured many people bid the very minimum that you can.  If you do end up getting upgraded, you won't know until three days before your flight.  Lucky for us, we did get upgraded...both directions!

In the Denver airport waiting for our flight!

I was so stinking excited...I truly couldn't believe this trip was actually happening.  But I was also nervous.  I had never been on a flight longer than 3 or 4 hours. We called our parents one last time, as we didn't purchase an international phone plan.  We knew we could facetime later on, but I wanted to at least let them know that we were off!

I had never been on a plane this big before!
Just being on the plane was an experience of itself. We got lots of leg room, great flight attendants, welcome juices, movies, food, and more!

The flight wasn't bad at all.  I kept ordering water so that I could keep myself hydrated. I think the worst part of it all was the fact that we left Denver at 2 pm and arrived in London at 6:30 am.  So if I translate that back to my own time zone, we landed in London just a little after my bedtime in Oklahoma.

If you know me at all, you know that I am an 8-hours of sleep type of person. I was hoping to sleep on the plane, but it didn't all. :( Tyler usually gets sick when he doesn't sleep, so I wasn't too hopeful for our first day.

I had read that we needed to get out and sightsee so that we could keep ourselves awake until it was time to go to bed on London time.  We had a busy day planned, so once we cleared customs, we headed into town.

London Gatwick is about a 30-minute train ride into the city.  We got our Visitor Oyster Cards (the re-loadable card that allows you to ride the trains and the tube), hopped on the Gatwick Express and got to experience our first train ride to Victoria Station.

Holy cow...Victoria Station was overwhelming. This is where all of the trains come in from the south part of the city and there's also a tube station and a bus station here.  The first taste of London was fast and furious.  Tyler's first taste of London was puking in the bathroom. 😂 Like I said, he gets sick when he doesn't get enough sleep.

We headed toward our hotel knowing that we wouldn't be able to check-in for a bit.  However, we had read that they should hold our bags for us, and they did.  We headed back out towards Trafalgar Square to go pick up our London Passes.

We chose to get the London Pass because there are SO many things to do and see there.  This pass allowed us to get into all of the various places we wanted to and it saved us money.

Pictures above are of Trafalgar Square.
After we received our passes, we headed towards Westminster Abbey.  In the travel guide, there was a walk that Rick had mentioned.  It ended at Trafalgar Square, so we ended up walking it backward.

The first glimpse of the London was so exciting.

The architecture is amazing, and I was in love with the double-decker buses.

I tried out my "portrait mode" on my phone.
We kept walking and we were finally seeing things that we had recognized from pictures.  However, I almost missed Big Ben because it was covered in scaffolding.  I sent the picture to my brother, Ben, anyway.  He was always dubbed as "Big Ben," and the name fits since he's 6'6".  I was a little sad about the construction, but it didn't last for long.

We found our way to Westminster Abbey, and we totally lucked out.  We didn't have to wait in line at all.  When we came out, the line was wrapped around the building.

There were signs inside that said "no photography."  I'm a bit of a rebel, but I wasn't quite in the mood to get thrown out of the country.  So I tried to be a good girl.  I didn't get any pictures of the inside of Westminster, but it was neat to be there.  This was our first glimpse of cathedrals, and I think Tyler and I were both impressed with the beautiful stained glass windows and the architecture within the building. The audio guide that went with it was a little dry but informative.  I don't know a lot about history in any of these countries, so it was neat to hear about it.

Afterward, we headed over toward the Churchill War Rooms.  At this time it was close to 1:00 pm London time.  Tyler and I were both really sleepy and starting to get crabby. He also still didn't feel great.  We did have to wait in a bit of a line, which didn't help.

The audio guide was really informative, but to be completely honest, I wish we would have toured this a different day.  We hurried through the exhibit, where Churchill actually ran the war, just to get out of there. I actually really like things like this, but not on lack of sleep.  Note to self:  next time, schedule brainless activities for day one.

At this point in the day, we went back to our hotel room.  I know that everyone says you should not nap.  It's important to adjust to the time change and the easiest way to do this is to stay on the local time.  But we ignored all suggestions...and I will never regret that decision. HA!  I knew that if we were going to nap, it should be in a 3-hour increment.  I set my alarm and that was the quickest 3-hour nap I've ever had.

We both felt better, so we hopped on the tube and went to Harrod's that evening.
A tube station.  The "tube" is the subway, but it's not called the subway. It's the Underground or the Tube.

Harrod's is a 7-acre department store.  There's everything you could ever want there.
They had a little food court, so we grabbed some food and ate it on a park bench outside the store.  Shortly after, we called it a night and headed back to our hotel for the evening.