Friday, July 27, 2012


From Nottingham we headed off to Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.  It is warm year round there, and especially toasty in the summer, exactly what we were longing for after the cool & rainy Irish climate.  Soaking in the sun with a book in hand, was the only thing on the to do list, exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries before a really busy next season of Ross finishing up his dissertation and applying for jobs.
Thanks to the incredible generosity of my parents letting us use their timeshare, we were able to enjoy a week away at The Regency Country Club.  The hotel was beautiful with a great pool and one of the nearby beaches had aqua blue water, so each day was a choice between those two tough options.  Choices, choices, choices!  Someone had to make them!  The yummy spanish food filled our bellies, especially Paella which is our favorite Spanish dish.

One day we ventured to the nearby water park, something we haven't done in years!  It was a great holiday away.  Thanks mom and dad!!!

The Regency Country Club

 Our Patio

 We sure loved our mini golf tournaments

 Out to dinner

 The beautiful pool at night

Yummy breakfasts with mimosas 


 Enjoying the sun at Duque Beach

Loving the blue water

Dinner out at a fabulous French restaurant La Estancia

Great atmosphere

 Steak with garlic butter and asparagus 

 Panna Cotta and the absolute best home made mango ice cream

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nottingham & Derbyshire

Ross and I just got back from the great English town of Nottingham, where Ross attended a conference and I was able to explore the city.  I didn't know what to expect in this town, but I was really pleasantly surprised!  It had a great vibe about it, with bustling streets, fabulous shops, yummy & cheap food, and beautiful architecture.  It is a walking city that is easy to familiarize yourself with in a day.  Being in England for the first time, I just had to treat myself to high tea.  Although it was a bit awkward going alone, I kept myself in great company with Nelson Mandela's "Long Walk to Freedom".  And yes, I was able to tackle that beast during the trip!

Town Square

Church steeple 
Winding street- right around that corner is where they performed public hangings in the 1600's... yikes!

Sample tea box so I could smell each and make an educated decision!

High Tea yummies

Robin Hood

Love this corner pub! 
Nottingham Castle

View of the town below the castle

Castle gardens

With Nottingham being the size that it is, I was in the tourist office on the second evening trying to plan a short day trip for my last day.  I was thinking of Sherwood Forest, where the legend of Robin Hood originated, but low and behold a very familiar picture of what I recognized to be Pemberly from the recent Pride and Prejudice film caught my eye on a brochure.  Immediately, I asked the man helping me, "How far away is that?!!!"  To my joy, many of the amazing estates used in period piece films are all located in Derbyshire, which was only an 1 1/2 hr bus ride away.  Well, my mind was made up before the words were even out of his mouth!  I LOVE classic literature, especially the fabulous Jane Austen, and I have a particular obsession with "Pride and Prejudice".  So I headed early the next morning off to Derbyshire to visit two fabulous estates, Haddon Hall and Chatsworth.

My first stop was to Haddon Hall in Bakewell Derbyshire, which had a rustic, medieval beauty about it.  From the outside, it is breathtaking with its dark stone facade laced with vines of pink flowers.  The gardens surrounding the property were a site in themselves.  With the interior almost bare, you definitely had to use your imagination of what it might have looked like when it was used as a home by the Manners family in the 1500's, but the exterior made it more than worth a visit.  You might recognize it from the films: Jane Eyre, Elizabeth, & The Princess Bride.

Don't mind if I enjoy a cup of Earl Grey while I wait for it to open!  This was for you Christine Hand :)

The beautiful entrance!!!!

I'm not at all excited!

Above the fireplace on the far left corner, all the visiting English royalty have signed their names

The addition to the house used for walking.  A woman's got to keep her figure even if it is rainy every day!

Beautiful windows looking out to the gardens

Through the windows

Do you think there is a secret garden on the other side?

I would never tire of this view

One happy girl

The pink flowers make the house!

Beautiful Gardens

Bakewell Town-- Adorable!!!

Then off to Chatsworth!!!!  When I got off the bus, it was a 20 minute walk through Chatworth's grounds, where I honestly felt like Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice :)  Hee hee!  I know I'm ridiculous, especially since she isn't a real person, but it was so fun walking the grounds and up to the house imagining what life must have been like living during that period!  I think I might possibly have been born in the wrong era. ;)  The anticipation was killing me as I walked along the stretch of green land with only sheep to keep me company, but then turning the corner and seeing the massiveness of Chatsworth was breath-taking!  The pictures and film of this place cannot capture how huge it is. I took a fabulous tour in many of the rooms inside, which are all decorated still with fabulous furniture and also contain art from Rembrandt, Da Vinci, and Van Dyck.  The scene in Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth is walking through the room with all the marble statues, is not just for the movie, they are all there!!!  Even Mr. Darcy's handsome bust!  Okay, no that's a lie.  The gardens, lake, and fountain outside all add to its stunning beauty.  I hope you enjoy the pictures! You may also recognize Chatsworth from The Duchess and Wolf Man. 

Just ignore the sound of the lawn mower that definitely would not have been there in the 17th century :)

My first view of Chatsworth!
That is one massive bed!
Holy smokes!  Can I stay for dinner?!
Mr. Darcy's bust ;)

Large entrance hall

Super long waterfall- It is really hard to see just how long it is!

View from the waterfall

Loving life


The waterfall 

The stables

The bridge leading to the house

Last view of the house before I left

After experiencing the beauty of these two estates, I think I may have to add a full tour of English estates on my bucket list, except this time I will have to have my Mr. Darcy accompany me!

From here we were off to Tenerife!