Friday, December 25, 2009

South Africa - Here I come!!!

Today is the day- the day Nat and I have been counting down towards
since, well it's been so long I'm not really sure! The alarm went off
at 530am and it was time to head to Heathrow for the first of our many
flights (LHR-Abu Dhabi, AD-Jo'burg, Jb-Durban, phew exhausted
already). We saved a lot of money by connecting on Etihad. So far so
good - We ended up with our own row of 4 seats with pillows, blankets,
nice headphones, tvs & loads of movies, plus a little goodie flight
bag which will def be my new camera/iPod case! Nat would like to add -
that yes, our seats are really cool! We are happy campers. I was esp.
when we got the menu and found out we are getting a traditional
Christmas turkey lunch!

I was a bit nervous about today because I've never flown so far with
so many connections, 17 days worth of stuff including presents -all on
Christmas eve. Thankfully last nite I lightened my load a bit and am
feeling quite good about the trip. I know so much about South Africa
already because of work and friends and cannot wait to see all these
amazing places I've heard so much about!!! One moe sleep, as the South
Africans would say, and I'll be in SA!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ash is off to RWANDA!!! Please help!!

Dear friends,

As usual I’m off on another amazing adventure, only this time I’m giving something back! In just a few short months, (February 2010) myself and 19 others from Turner Broadcasting, will set off to build a school in Rwanda. I cannot express how excited I am to have this opportunity, and my only fear is that I’ll fall in love with the kids and never want to come back.

The children currently attend school in a run down shack, which floods when it rains. Each year Turner chooses a charity to support and sends a team out for a week to help the community build a school. Last year they went to Mali, and the volunteers came back full of respect for the people they met and a new found appreciative for their blessings back home. It’s an incredible opportunity to make a difference, which will in turn affect so many others for decades to come. These children are the future, and with a better education and learning environment we can help make all the difference in the world.

Please help me – help these kids. I need to raise £1,000 for the project but I hope to surpass this goal!!! So show some love and pretty please donate what you can.

** If you are in America this is about $1,600. Don’t worry, you can still help me raise the money by donating on the site! Please note- be sure to convert what you donate: i.e. if you want to donate $25, this is £16.

Details on donating:
JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

So please dig deep and donate now ;)

Lots of love!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Parents First Visit & their first time to England & Ireland!

My parents came over to visit for the first time! 12 days in London including a few days in Ireland. It was a non-stop week of touristy excursions, I felt a bit like I was on holiday too.

  They saw London on their own during the days then I’d meet up with them after work. On Sunday when they arrived we took a day trip to Portsmouth- on the south coast of England.

     They had no time for jet lag- we jumped straight on the train.  

Portsmouth was really nice; we saw all the touristy Historic Docklands, took a harbor cruise then ate dinner by the marina and shops. 

Later in the week we went to Richmond to walk along the river and have dinner, then on Wednesday I took a half-day to go to Hampton Court Palace.

   I fell in love with Hampton Court- the Palace was gorgeous and so well kept. They had actors playing the King, Queen and other people in the house. They also had free audio guides and there was just loads to see!



On Saturday morning we flew to Cork, Ireland and after sorting out the rental car were on our way to Bantry. When Dad saw the rental was not only right side driver – for Ireland’s left side driving- but also a stick he flipped!  Dad- almost all cars over here are manual!  The first few minutes, or day, of his driving on the other side was interesting to say the least.  Thankfully we were fully insured and those extra few scratches he added were fine.  

We arrived safely in Bantry (on the South West coast), after figuring out the Irish driving system, round-abouts and road signs.  We went straight to dinner by Bantry Bay then made our way to our B&B at the top of the hill. It was a gorgeous day and we had no time to waste so after a quick check in we set off to explore Sheep’s Head.  The tourist office was really helpful and told me we manage Sheep’s head in a few hours then hit up Mizen Head tomorrow on our way to Kinsale.  I had no idea we’d see as much of Ireland as we did in less than 3 days. 
Sunday morning after our yummy breakfast we drove to the tip of Mizen Head- the Southern most point of Southwest Ireland.  It was suppose to be beautiful with a light house and sea views but the weather wasn’t cooperating with us, the closer we got to the tip the foggier it was.  Of course when we left and started heading east again it was suddenly sunnier and sunnier.  Oh well- either way we were there, even if we literally didn’t see anything!  There was an old anchor that had been salvaged and labeled with a plaque describing how the ship sunk off the coast of Mizen Head because it was so foggy it ran into the cliffs…not surprised.  Our end destination was Kinsale but we stopped along the way at anything that looked worth a quick look.  Skull, and their farmers market, where I found a nice sized zucchini baby which brought me back to my childhood days, we stopped at a small marina, a beautiful old church set up on a hill and lots of other cute little places. 

When we finally arrived in Kinsale I was taken back, all of the coastal towns are quaint little places, but Kinsale is the place to be! Turned out we accidentally booked our B&B in Garrettstown outside Kinsale, but to our delight it was on the ocean with unbelievable views!  After settling in we walked on the beach then I got to try my hand at driving. I must admit, I who dislikes all things car related really enjoyed it! It was fun driving the little Colt we hired and zipping along the costal roads!  We drove up to Old Head Kinsale and hiked to the top to see the views and watch the dolphins swim by.  If we had more time I could have spent hours there just sitting on the cliffs. There was a lighthouse on the tip with the golf course, but we couldn’t go in because it was private.  For dinner we heading into Kinsale and after a quick wander we realized thing shut down early on a Sunday night around here so we better make a move. I had delicious fish and we were able to stare at the sailboat marina from the restaurant!  Ah, I forgot, it was also Father’s day, so when we got back to the B&B we went to the bar for a drink with Dad. Even Mom tried the Murphy’s Irish Cider.  

Monday- Last day! After breakfast overlooking the ocean we headed into see more of Kinsale.  It’s a lively little town with loads of tourist in the streets.  We started in the Desmond Castle, which didn’t take long because there wasn’t much to see, except the wine history then shopped around for a few gifts in town before heading to the Charles Fort.  The fort was really interesting and we arrived just in time for a guided tour! After learning all about the start shaped fort and its history we jumped back in the car to find the Blarney Castle!  A bit turned around in Cork we finally got to Blarney and headed straight to the castle.  Turns out there is loads to see, you really need ½ a day but we only had a couple hours so we toured the castle, kissed the Blarney Stone and saw what we could of the grounds before we left for the airport.  Sadly we missed the rock area, lake walk, forest hike, and Blarney House (which was closed for renovations anyway).  I guess I’ll have to stop there again someday! All in all Ireland was beautiful with countless places in adorable towns to see, and just a quick flight from London.