27 June 2012

The Wimbledon Queue

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

I wanted to attempt one of England's summer traditions,
The Wimbledon Queue

But hearing stories of 3 hour waits and people camping out,
I had been feeling a bit nervous

Then tipped off by a few friends,
I learned the key is to arrive later

And so I did

We arrived at the queue at 4:30p
and gained entrance by 5:15p
(ticket prices drop to £14 at 5p)
Not bad :)

My husband arrived at the queue by 6:30p
and encountered no line at all

Court 18: Elena Baltacha v Karin Knapp
Baltacha won and will represent Team GB in the Summer Olympics

Once inside we headed up the hill
to buy tickets for 1st Court
(Centre Court queue was too long)

And were sure to buy a cup of strawberries & cream
(a Wimbledon tradition)

1st Court:  Jamie Baker v Andy Roddick
Rain delay - will finish tomorrow

The day was cut short by rain
but we were thrilled to have experienced 
one of England's oldest tennis traditions

And I had one happy tennis-loving son :)

- all photos by me -

*Anyone can apply for tickets in December via the lottery. Some tickets go on sale the day before via Ticketmaster. The queue is for tickets that are handed in and resold by Wimbledon the same day; the queue is also for anyone who wants to feel like they earned the tickets and wants a story to go with it :)  Everything inside the club (and queue tickets) is cash only.

Read previous post on Wimbledon Tour

25 June 2012

50 Things Before You Turn 11 3/4

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Our family is a bit outdoorsy,
so I was really excited to find the website

Mud Pie Kitchen at Joyful Home

It lists activities all children should do before they reach 11 3/4

The interactive website is designed for kids

Design your own 'explorer',
earn online badges as activities are accomplished,
and journal when, where, and how activities are completed

Each activity includes a short how-to video clip
{ such as how to light a fire without matches }
and suggestions of where to do it

It is a go-to for ideas in any type of weather

How many have you done?

Light a fire without matches
Skim A Stone
Dam a Stream
Roll Down a Really Big Hill
Set Up a Snail Race
Find a Geocache
Eat Blackberries Growing In The Wild
Fly A Kite
Climb A Tree
Plant It, Grow It, Eat It
Go On A Nature Walk At Night
Swing On A Rope Swing
Bury Someone In The Sand

For a complete list,

22 June 2012

Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

Utterupmost Fantasticosa!

We LOVED the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour

Having opened in April,
this tour is new, fresh and perfect for any Harry Potter fan
or for anyone interested in the magic of making movies

With original sets, props, and costumes from the films,
this 3 hour self guided tour reveals a lot

Most information is relayed by producers, directors, actors, and others
on big screens in display areas

Diagon Alley

Luna Lovegood's and Professor Lockheart's costumes

The sound stage is
conveniently located off the M1 and M25 
northwest of London

For all ages, it revealed some really cool secrets 
of the green screen, animatronics, and make up artists

The Weasley Home

Dursley Home, 4 Privet Drive

If you visit,
you can walk through the Great Hall at Hogwarts (so impressive!),
'fly' in the Weasley's car and on a broom,
and drink Butter Beer

For more details, see

- all photos by me -

19 June 2012

English Gardens In June

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

Gardens in England
are at their most gorgeous right now
with their first summer blossoms of the season

These photos are from our village fundraiser garden tour,
private homes opening their gardens to the public

See the orange oriental poppy peeking out?
My neighbor recently called it a 'floppy poppy' 
which made me laugh

- all photos by me -

16 June 2012

Trip To Devon

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

I found my happy place a few weekends ago
Right in the NE corner of Dartmoor, Devon

Narrow, winding hedgerow lanes
Thatched houses
Fields of buttercups
Tea time with scones and Devonshire cream

- Bliss -

Yep, I could live right here

We literally made a U-Turn to get a shot of this sign
(I can't make this stuff up!)

We found the ancient 'clapper bridge' in Postbridge
made of granite slabs
This is one of the oldest surviving bridges in the UK
first recorded in 1380 AD

Next we headed to the coast to Burgh Island

This curious contraption shuttles people to mainland at high tide

Devon coast from Burgh Island

These colorful butterfly nets just screamed
'summer' to me

So here's my funny little story...
I made a total rookie move and didn't bring my camera battery charger

I found myself very sad (devastated, actually) to be without
my 'memory capturing device'

So I bought two disposable cameras at my first chance
I had forgotten what it was like to take only 1 or 2 shots per subject
with no zoom option
and wait a week to see the results

You can imagine my shock when I saw a piece of the cardboard coming off
to reveal that I had purchased a recycled disposable camera
that seemed to have been originally owned by Sophie (name written on camera) 
with instructions only in French

Furthermore, the electrical tape at the ends indicated that 
the film had not been factory loaded
- the photo developer said this was not uncommon -

Wow, was I nervous to see my printed photos!

Turns out all my photos here are from the disposable camera
except of the cutie pie cow

Thank goodness for online editing :)

- all photos by me -

10 June 2012

Weekend Shot

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Snapshot of Saturday

Cricket in background
Ice cream man
Some blue sky

What more could you ask for?

- photo by me -

09 June 2012

Mug For Anglophiles

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

One last royal bit before I leave the royal theme

I spied this delightful mug
at Liberty

Check out the poem on the back
Such a clever way to remember the order of past monarchs

from Liberty

Ever wondered what the Queen carries in her handbag?

According to Hello! magazine, Queen Elizabeth packs
£5 or £10 for the church plate
a compact

I love the simplicity of it
no iPod or phone
not even a pen


Source: Hello! 18 June 2012

06 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee After Party Link Up

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

What a wonderful week we have had
of celebrating the Queen's sixty year reign
with a flotilla pageant, BBC concert, beacons, a carriage procession, street parties,
and Union Jack bunting everywhere

From television to Twitter,
with square heels, fabulous hats, and a boxy purse,
the Queen has done a magnificent job
of bringing stability and continuity to the country,
changing with the times yet not,
and evolving the Empire to a Commonwealth

Not raised to be a queen until her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936,
Elizabeth's life has had a few twists and turns

While visiting Kenya in 1952,
Princess Elizabeth received the news that not only had her father passed away
but that she was now Queen

She, a mother of two young children and age 25

Made of plants

As the third female monarch,
she is viewed as a calm queen
who doesn't give interviews but often seen waving to crowds
and gives a few public speeches annually

As every gathering has expressed this week,
for the Queen

How have you been celebrating this week?
We can't wait to see
Feel free to add my button to you post - find the code on my sidebar :)
And stop by a few other bloggers to say 'hello'!

Thank you for stopping by this week! It's been great to have you here

- all photos by me -
In This Jubilee Series:

05 June 2012

Beacons For The Queen

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

Wow, what a glorious evening after raining all day
Last night was chilly but clear

A perfect night to witness the lighting of a Jubilee Beacon

Joining a few hundred others in the middle of a hay field,
there was one round of 'hip, hip, hooray'
and a few bottles of champagne opened

From where we stood, we could see fireworks
and two other beacons in the distance

knowing we were just 3 of 4000 beacons lit around the world

It was awesome

- all photos by me -

In This Series:

04 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Flotilla

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

I will never forget yesterday

celebrating the Queen's 60 year reign
with one million spectators in London
observing the grand 1000 boat flotilla

It was a chilly rainy day
as it had been on Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Day in 1953

I loved seeing the colorful flags of the 54 Commonwealth nations

There had not been this number of boats on the River Thames in hundreds of years
It was quite a sight

During the event, the downstream Thames Barrier maintained the water level due to tides 
 (the world's second largest movable flood barrier)

The Queen wore white and stood during the entire pageant

Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Camilla,
Prince William and Kate were also aboard
The Spirit Of Chartwell with the Queen

The event finished with fireworks at Tower Bridge

Although the military flyover was cancelled due to weather,
I think everyone felt it was an unforgettable, historic event
within the 4-day Jubilee celebration

Memory-making continues with the lighting of the beacons worldwide tonight

May your inner-beacon be shiny & bright today :)

- all photos by me -

In This Series:
Beacons For The Queen

02 June 2012

London Getting Ready For The Jubilee

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Street window in Selfridges

This week I took two walks...
one in London
one in Richmond

See what I saw

Regent Street

Union Jacks everywhere

Made of fake flowers, but beautiful nonetheless

Drool-worthy Liberty

Made of Liberty fabric

Boats heading toward London on the River Thames to dock for the flotilla

The Royal Barge Gloriana (below) will be in the flotilla tomorrow
and was being worked on as I walked by

At home, we decided to try to make our new favorite English dessert,
Lemon Drizzle Cake

I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was
We followed a BBC recipe here

Watch for precarious cracks, Mr Carriage Driver :)

The cake broke while getting it out of the pan
but yummy, nonetheless
& the kids loved decorating it

Off to the flotilla tomorrow in flip-flops or wellies :)
We'll see!

- all photos by me -