Friday, 26 August 2016


A week ago yesterday I arrived back in Canada from three weeks in England. During two of the weeks I stayed at London Imperial College while attending the London International Youth Science Forum, and for the final week I spent time with my extended family just North of London. These three weeks were full of new and familiar faces, visits to beautiful classical English sites, and daily adventures. I blogged daily about my experience at LIYSF here, so in this post I'd like to focus more on my time with my lovely, warm, and oh-so English family.

 Although I'm physically back in Canada, I am definitely still in the English state of mind. I spent most of yesterday afternoon baking bourbon cream biscuits and two loaves of herb bread (turmeric and sun dried tomato for one, garlic and sunflower for the other). I have also been drinking more Earl Grey and Lady Grey tea than water, and in classic English style, accompanying each cup with a biscuit or two...

One of my best memories from my time in England was spending a couple of evenings with my Aunt at her allotment. We picked blackberries, dug up purple potatoes, and did a lot of weeding! There was a light breeze, golden sunlight, and the invigorating scent of nature in the air. The picture above shows my Aunt's pink roses, garden shed, and a snippet of the nasturtiums and blackberries in the upper left corner.

Oh, English picnics, how I love thee! Our spread included vanilla shortbread, jaffa cakes, jammy dodgers, grapes, nuts, juice, and tea!
This pond was full of geese and swans, making for a beautiful sight while we enjoyed our picnic. 
Over the course of the week we devoured scones multiple times... Slathering a scone in clotted cream and jam is one of life's greatest pleasures. 
I actually saw this flower garden during the science forum, but it is too beautiful not to include. It was somewhere by Buckingham Palace!
Here is the view from my room during my stay at London Imperial College. I overlooked the Beit Quadrangle, which meant that my view included large trees and endless red brick (my favourite)!

The architecture and sculptural mastery in London is stunning. Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be another towering building with jaw-dropping details, there were five just around the corner.  
This is the statue located at the beginning of Kensington Park, which is just before Hyde Park! 
Ahh, swans! During one afternoon at the science forum, a few friends and I went paddle boating on the lake. There was a light breeze and the right amount of sunshine for warmth but not too much to result in a sunburn. 
I love the reflection of the buildings in the sweet shop's window. This was in downtown London near the Big Ben.  
When at the Big Ben, I saw the top of St. Paul's Cathedral in the distance. A group of us decided to adventure closer, and I'm so glad we did. The detail is impeccable. It would be easy to spend an afternoon just walking around the cathedral, taking in the intricacies and history behind each sculpture. 
Roses were a common, yet always beautiful, garden feature. 
And now, back to my time with my family! We went on a few picnics with all of the little kids, and chatted and sipped tea while they rode bikes, ran around on treasure hunts, or climbed on playgrounds. Here my aunt is offering us delicious drop scones! Mmm mmm!
Two lovely artichoke plants on my aunt's new allotment! She now has two allotments, and I couldn't be happier for her.
My aunt's allotment is overflowing with nasturtiums. We picked a few of the interesting ones and made a little flower arrangement for the kitchen window.
Dinner time! Gladioli grace the table, as well as a traditional South African dinner of boburti! 
A daily breakfast of granola, Greek yogurt, and a plethora of fresh berries. Oh, and tea of course! 
One morning we went to a flea market in search of fabric. Although we didn't buy any of these scrumptious baked goods, I couldn't resist snapping a photo.
My lovely family!
Notice how the wooden support of the building is drooping! Uh oh... 
Remember how I said we had scones a few times? These were delicious scones from the cafe/tea shop at St. Albans cathedral. Aren't the jam jars so sweet? 
St. Alban's cathedral! 
During the science forum I went to Hampton Court Palace for a day trip. King Henry the Eighth was serious about the detail of his ceilings! 
The Big Ben! Oh, what a sight. 
One of the loveliest activities that I did with my family was go to Waddesdon Manor. It certainly rivaled Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court Palace for grandeur and detail. It was built by the Rothschild family, who are, as you can see, extremely well to do!
Yes, Waddesdon Manor was a sight to behold. The inside was just as grand as the gardens and architecture of the outside. 
My three weeks in England went by extremely quickly, but they were more than wonderful. They were full of so many good things, good people, and good food (I didn't show you the English breakfasts at the science forum or the muffins, custard, pain au chocolat...)! 

I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of my trip. It is so nice to go through these memories again, and I'm looking forward to reliving these moments in the days to come, especially when the semester starts in just over a week! God is good, friends. 

Much love, Vivi