How to enjoy a rainy day in London

Rain gear.

This post is the seventeenth in our England 2015 series.

Months before we packed our bags, I started researching rain gear: boots, raincoats, umbrellas. Despite the reassuring data categorizing May as one of the least-damp months in England, I felt we should be prepared for any eventuality. And so, on the one rainy day we experienced in London, we did stay relatively dry. Continue Reading →

On Not Running: A process of acceptance

On Vincent Square.

This post is the sixteenth in our England 2015 series.

One of the most personally surprising things about our trip was the way I completely abandoned my intention of running in London. I had envisioned running throughout the side streets of the city, listening to U2, exploring the neighborhoods, and enjoying the fresh air — but it never happened. I wasn’t prevented from this kind of adventure. It just turned out that I didn’t want it bad enough. Continue Reading →

Locked Out: Our own little emergency adventure

We are locked out!

This post is the fifteenth in our England 2015 series.

If Rochelle Canteen and Kensington Gardens weren’t enough fun for one day, we were able to count on one more invigorating experience before we got to bed that night: returning to the flat and realizing that we were locked out. Continue Reading →

The Glories of Kensington: Uncovering magic inside and out

With a swan on Round Lake.

This post is the fourteenth in our England 2015 series.

After our over-the-top breakfast at Rochelle Canteen, it turned out we were positioned nicely to stop at Kensington Gardens and the Palace on our way back toward home base. I had heard that the Peter Pan statue was a must-see, so we headed through the Italian Garden Fountains, stopping briefly to wonder at the blue heron bathing in the waters. Continue Reading →

Heads up! It’s the 2016 Boyd Family Mad Lib!

Yet again this year, we are sending out a blank Mad Lib for the fun-loving among you to create your very own version of a Boyd holiday letter. But if you’re curious about the official version, read on. Continue Reading →

Rochelle Canteen: In search of the best scrambled eggs on earth

Breakfast at Rochelle Canteen.

This post is the thirteenth in our England 2015 series.

When we starting making our bucket list of things we’d like to do in England, I noticed that I didn’t have very many things that were meaningful to me, personally. There were lots of things I wanted to do with my family, but it was hard for me to identify activities that were a must-do for me. I finally came up with two: I wanted to go running in London (you’ll read later about how that turned out), and I wanted to visit Rochelle Canteen. Continue Reading →

Somebody Stop Me: The wax and wane of appetites

A full English breakfast at the Regency Cafe in London.

This post is the twelfth in our England 2015 series.

Travel invites the indulgence of appetites — so many things to eat! and see! and do! and more to eat! The impermanent quality of life on a trip inspires that carpe-diem instinct, urging us to take in more and more since we’ll be back home mowing the lawn before we know it. Continue Reading →

Impromptu Magic: One bartender’s transformation of an ordinary lunch

Window seat play.

This post is the eleventh in our England 2015 series.

A fleeting, ordinary moment can take root in one’s memory with just a bit of attention. Continue Reading →

The Four Things: Focusing at the British Museum

Viewing the Rosetta Stone.

This post is the tenth in our England 2015 series.

“One day some soldiers were digging near Rosetta when they found a stone, something like a tombstone with three kinds of writing on it….This stone is called the Rosetta Stone. It is now in the great British Museum in London and is very famous, because from it we were able to learn so much history that we otherwise would not have known.” — V.M. Hillyer, A Child’s History of the World Continue Reading →

Touring the Playgrounds: Frolicking our way through England’s jungle gyms

This post is the ninth in our England 2015 series.

At Trafalgar Square

In our trip-planning, Jon and I had discussed our philosophy of travel, specifically what efforts must be made to guard against the overextension of our children. “We’re here to have fun,” we said. “We won’t be able to cram everything in, and we want to have some blank space in our days for spontaneous moments.” This developed into a clear policy: No more than two major activities each day. This guideline allowed us to tackle some delightful adventures as well as protect time for spontaneous experiences and frivolous excursions — including impromptu stops at a variety of playgrounds. Continue Reading →

It’s Just a Flesh Wound: Diving into England’s bloody history

The yeoman warder at the Tower of London.

This post is the eighth in our England 2015 series.

As we readied our minds for the trip, I became excited about studying English history with the girls — until I was blindsided by the quantity of bloodshed and decapitation in the available narratives. Continue Reading →

How to Talk English: Learning to embrace Britishisms

Posing with King Henry VIII.

This post is the seventh in our England 2015 series.

As soon as we had secured our plane tickets, our first task was to contact our dear friend and host Teresa, a spunky, energetic 86-year-old Englishwoman. She and the Boyd family have been friends for decades, and she has been urging us to bring our family to visit for years. Continue Reading →

Homesick for Cats: Missing Franny and Pepper all over England

Pepper and Franny.

This post is the sixth in our England 2015 series.

The hardest thing about traveling for our seven-year-old daughter Rosie wasn’t the unfamiliar food or the jet lag or the miles of walking we did every day. It was missing our cats. Continue Reading →

Perfecting Fun in Quiet Desperation: A lesson from the London Eye

Rosie sticks out her tongue.

This post is the fifth in our England 2015 series.

On our second day in London, we decided to take a trip on the London Eye. This giant ferris wheel opened in 2000 and consists of 32 large glass-enclosed capsules that hold up to 25 people each. The view is incredible, and the girls had been drawing pictures of it practically since the moment we announced our plans for the trip.  Continue Reading →

The Champion: Our favorite burger for the travel-weary

Scalp massages at The Champion.

This post is the fourth in our England 2015 series.

Our arrival day was exhilarating, but exhausting. After sleeping minimally on the plane, we landed at 8:30 am England-time with the intent that we would power through until bedtime in order to beat jet lag. Continue Reading →