20 February 2017

some sweetness in kandy
{and a wonderful stay at theva residency}


kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era in sri lanka. today it is a vibrant, bustling, colourful city, nestled into the hills. we spent a sunday there and stayed overnight at theva residency, which is the perfect place to stay in this fascinating and beautiful place.

here’s a few pictures from our day in kandy!

we woke up very early in nuwara eilya so that we could drive to kandy and get to church there on time. the drive was full of spectacular scenery that i’m so sad i wasn’t able to capture! i was jetlagged and carsick (windy roads in the hills!), but still so glad to see so much vibrant colour and lush beauty. i snoozed a little right before we drove into kandy and i woke up to this buddah welcome ^^
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we went straight to church, which was one of the biggest highlights of our entire trip. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints has been in sri lanka not much longer than a decade. we attended a branch full of remarkably faithful and happy people and we were so inspired and touched by their warmth, love for the lord, and shining goodness. the meetings were in sinhalese, so we didn’t understand a word, but we still learned and felt so much. (one member of the congregation is a tuktuk driver and had this awesome sign (“rejoice ye saints of latter days”) on the back of his tuktuk! ^^)
^^ moses was held by at least fifteen different adoring women during church. it was so sweet. i absolutely love this picture. ^^ going to church on our travels is one of my favourite things in the world.
after church we had some traditional curry. ^^ in sri lanka, it’s common to have many (like up to twenty!) different vegetable curries with meat and rice for lunch. we loved having this meal every day while we were there – always a little different, super delicious, and very cheap (like $1.50!). ^^
^^ the queen’s hotel, a historic colonial building in the heart of the city. ^^
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^^ this temple is on top of a big hill in the middle of the city and the views were amazing >>
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^^ i just loved how these chairs outside the hilltop temple looked. you can’t really see it in this photo, but that book on the table between the chairs is called “the art of living creatively.” love it. ^^
the most famous bit of kandy is the temple of the tooth. our driver told us that this is one of the most important buddhist pilgrimage site in the world. the tooth relic is kept deep inside the temple and  possessing the relic is equated with possessing the governance of the country. it was a really fascinating place to visit.
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^^ ^^ can you believe these gorgeous flowers left as offerings in front of the place where the relic is kept? so beautiful! ^^ ^^
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^^ beautiful carvings inside the temple complex / classic drink and snack trolley outside the temple complex ^^
^^ ^^ on sunday evening, we went to a cultural show and enjoyed seeing different aspects of traditional kandyan performance. the fire dancing was pretty impressive! ^^ ^^
theva residency is really the perfect place to stay in kandy. it’s situated up on the hill, away from the hustle and bustle and allowing for really stunning views down into the valley. we arrived at theva on sunday night and had a delicious meal on the patio under the stars. the staff was incredibly kind and welcoming, and had our room all set up with a crib for little mo!
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in the morning, we relaxed on our balcony (the misty views were pretty magical), and checked out the pool (wish we had time to take a dip – doesn’t that look just sublime?!)
and then had one of the best hotel breakfasts we’ve ever experienced.
dear reader, if you ever find yourself in kandy (go!! sri lanka is amazing!), i highly, highly recommend a stay at theva!
after breakfast, it was time to hit the road again with our driver, koshala. gosh, we love that guy! we spent most every waking minute with him for four days and became great friends. he is a really great person and he taught us so much and showed us all the best stuff (including hole-in-the-wall local restaurants – my fave!). and he was so darling with moses. i caught him snapping a selfie that morning and i thought it was so dang cute. ^^
we drove out of the bustle of kandy…and into the rice paddies (this picture is so bad but it’s the best i got – the landscape was seriously so gorgeous! >>IMG_8829
through junctions and towns…
behind buses and monks on motorbikes…
to our next destination.
to be continued!

18 February 2017

our first day in sri lanka!

we have been home from our trip to sri lanka and the maldives for just five days, and it already feels like a dream! we had a really amazing time – it was an epic family adventure. we covered a lot of ground in four days in sri lanka, and our time was chock full of beauty and colour and culture. that face-paced load of awesomeness was wonderfully complimented by five uber-relaxing days on a tiny and pristinely tropical maldivian island.
we had been planning this vacation for over a year. at the end of 2015, we each applied for a credit card with a sign-up bonus of two free nights at any hyatt hotel in the world. always looking for the best “bang for our buck,” we found the (essentially) most expensive hyatt in the world – on a private island in the maldives. and then we decided we should also check out sri lanka if we were flying that far around the world.
ian is paid a regular salary and a yearly bonus, and (because it is highly variable) we do not factor the bonus payment into our monthly budgeting and travel fund savings. so when the bonus came through, we decided to use a chunk of it for this trip (even with the free nights, it was still certainly a pricey vacation). we’ve always enjoyed choosing to travel quite cheaply. we did that in sri lanka, and then our time at a luxury resort in the maldives was both a treat and a thought-provoking exercise. (more on that later.)
we had considered doing this trip either before moses was born or after he was weaned, but we are so glad we decided to do it with him in tow. he is a fantastic little traveler and having him along was wonderful in so many ways. (more on this later, too.)

both of the islands we visited in the indian ocean were full of magic and wonder, and i’m excited to share some photos and descriptions from our journey!

our first day in sri lanka was full of driving (about seven hours worth), and the views out the car window were pretty mindblowing (and basically impossible to capture).IMG_8467IMG_8469
we beheld so, so much dense natural beauty, occasionally speckled with the wonderful colour and buzz of a junction or town. we tried to take it all in despite the jetlag that made our eyelids so heavy and our senses a bit blurry. we had a few stops along the way from negombo (where we stayed overnight after arriving the previous evening) to nuwara eliya. here’s where we had lunch…!
but wait, let’s back up a little to the one tube ride/one train ride/two plane rides/one taxi ride journey from our little flat in london to that amazing island nation…

16 February 2017

little happenings in bleak midwinter
{before heading for the sun!}

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we are back from our trip to two tropical islands in the indian ocean!

it was indeed good for my soul to disconnect from social media and blogging for a couple weeks. i love photographs and connecting and sharing so much, but a break was clarifying and healthy.

we had an incredible vacation – four days in magical sri lanka and five days on a tiny pristine island in the maldives. i’m sharing a few peeks on instagram while i organize all my photos for blog posts – follow along there if you want!

i wanted to post a few photos from bleak midwinter in london (tidbits from before we left), and then i’ll move on to sunnier scenes :)IMG_3890
^^ from a walk in st. james’s park on a particularly frigid day. the pond had frozen over! there’s something so captivating, lovely and strangely beautiful about winter in london. ^^
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^^ a little sunrise surprise on my way home from the gym one morning! // my little london boy content and catching eyes with strangers on the bus! ^^
^^ saw this ad in the tube, snapped a photo and texted it to ian with a lot of excited-face emojis. ^^

for christmas, i gave ian tickets to see thriller – the michael jackson show in the west end. ian is super hard to buy presents for, so when he mentioned on a whim one day back in november that he would like to see this show, i excitedly took note. he was thrilled when he opened a gift of christmas morning and found tickets that i had bought. it was pretty random but he was seriously so excited for weeks leading up to the show. and it didn’t disappoint! we had a super fun date – the performers got everyone in the theatre on their feet clapping and dancing. IMG_3926 IMG_3930IMG_3941 IMG_3946
^^ mo killing us with cuteness. he’s growing so fast and just keeps getting to be more and more fun. we’re obsessed. ^^
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^^ one saturday we went down to the temple with our friends the larsons. we watched their kids while they went in the temple and then we swapped and they watched moses! we all three sure love little mazie and jones! ^^
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^^ trying on dad’s glasses // i find moses sleeping in all kinds of funny positions in his crib these days. ^^
^^ you're welcome for this. can you handle the cuteness?! ^^
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^^ adventures in trying new foods and methods of eating! this attempt at finger foods with super soft broccoli was a bit of a fail and a lot of a mess. silly boy will pick up anything and put it directly in his mouth, but then when i encourage him to put food in his mouth … he’s learning bit by bit :) mo’s newest trick is giving big, open mouthed, slobbery kisses, and he’s working on sitting up on his own and is starting to crawl! ^^
^^ my parents came back in town (after spending some time in switzerland) the day before we left for sri lanka and maldives. we walked down to the hospital where moses was born so i could take some photos of little mo with his grammie and grandfather, and big ben before it gets covered up in scaffolding! ^^ clearly i had a hard time narrowing down the photos i took to publish on this blog … but i got so many sweet ones! love these three faces so, so much! >>>
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we traded in grey dreary skies for palm trees and white sand beaches … but all the exotic adventures out there can’t ever beat these simple joys at home.
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