The Great British Heatwave

For the past 5 years I've always loved and looked forward to the English summers... jotting down a list of outside activities, places to visit, parks and pubs to sit out in with a nice cold pint of cider. Feeling that hot sun on my face with the perfect breeze just enough to cool me down, I could sit in the sun all day in England. But then, this year happened. It was freaking HOT; I mean like Houston-hot, a-holiday-abroad hot, and not exaggerating hot, it was hell HOT. And it lasted months, not a couple of weeks which I probably could of managed, probably... probably not. But still, a good 2 months hot. And it would of been all fine and dandy if it was Houston because I could of hid inside the house with my blasting AC. If I needed to go somewhere, well you know how we do - we go from house AC to car AC to shop AC, and we're good! Summer? What summer?! But here in England, there was nowhere to hide. 

Check out this photo of Dorset last year vs Dorset this year during the heatwave and no rain. You can see how serious this actually was. 

As I said in the past, a lot of places in England do not have AC; and our home, like 99% of the homes in Britain do not have AC either. What for? We only have a mild 2-3 months of summer, a standing fan does the job just fine. But nope, not THIS summer, our fan was crap! It was like that time all the electricity went out in Houston for a couple of days because of Hurricane Rita and all we had to cool us off were old album covers to use as hand fans. OK, it might have not been that bad because there is no humidity here, but at the time it sure did feel like it. 

So instead of my little list of outdoor activities, I was online searching for shops where I could order another standing fan to put in the bedroom because the one we already had was worthless. Obviously everyone was feeling the same as we were because no stores ANYWHERE had any more fans in stock. The ones I did end up finding were sold for stupid prices that I refuse to spend money on, same for the air conditioning. So my hard-headed ass chose to suffer and wait out the horrible uncomfortable gross nights.

Now don't get me wrong, the days were OK. It's OK if you are outside, it's actually quite lovely. The beaches were packed with sunbathers, the quay was full of holiday makers, parks full as well. But if you had to be inside - forget it. The double glazed windows do not help the situation either. So we did manage to get out a few days and they were always nice - windows down, AC on, that's how I always do. I must say I did and for now still do enjoy going swimming and not have to worry about blow drying my hair after because it's too cold and I might get sick. That has really been so nice and something I was really looking forward to this summer (hashtag thelittlethings). Wearing flip flops, tank tops and shorts, having ice cream cones on the quay... some things you just have to do and will always love. It's especially really cool seeing all the excited tourist enjoying themselves, knowing they chose to spend their summer holiday in the town where you live. Sorta makes you feel lucky and proud.

Poole Quay 

One of the biggest highlights of the summer and maybe the only highlight was that Steve and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary! Yes! Five years, just like that! Where did all that time go? I have no idea! I've been a married woman in love for 5 whole years! Still pretty damn happy, still feeling like newlyweds... honestly, who said married life was hard? I'm not even being funny about that question. Steve and I talk about it all the time and don't get how people say marriage is hard work. What??? How?? *shrugs* Who knows, who cares! I'm just so happy and pray that we have another amazing, healthy 5 years and more together. 

5 Years of Sille Bliss! <3

Because it is such a special anniversary - the big 5 - we decided to celebrate all year long (because we're silly like that). We started off with the first month we met - April. We planned a very romantic and relaxing holiday on the island of Zante in Greece and what a memorable holiday that was... picturesque scenery, gorgeous weather, lush food, romantic spa treatments - the perfect way to start off our celebrations. 
Zante Greece 2018

For our official day of marriage in July, we celebrated with a romantic weekend out on the town doing what we love - afternoon tea (of course), the cinema and food (dinner). We also spent one evening on a cruise from the quay to Wareham which was so fun. We've done cruises around Poole harbour before but this was territory we've never been by boat which made it all the more exciting. 

A romantic movie for the most romantic day - The First Purge

We can't have any celebration without an afternoon tea! 
Poole to Wareham cruise

And the year is not over yet, we still have November to celebrate the month we were married in church. That will be another destination celebration! Location TBD (to be determined)!

So all in all, yes I've complained a lot about this summer's heatwave, and if you know me well, you know I do love a good rant. But the fact is, if you ignore all the sweaty hard to sleep nights, I really did love it just as much as everyone else did. It was much needed after our coldest snow winter ever back in March, which I must add, was pretty freaking amazing in itself as well... and with that and everything else that has gone on, not only has the summer been pretty unique but so far it's really been an amazing year and I'm just ready for more!   x,s

All photos on my instagram: @sillebliss 

My love and hate relationship...

I hate when winter starts to slowly creep in for the season... you start to instantly feel the cold in the air. Just when I'm getting use to wearing my sleeveless tops and flip flops, even running outside barefoot, suddenly all that is gone. I start to dread it, thinking about how long it will be when I'll be able to wear and do these things again. Now once I've gotten over that sadness and I'm dealing with it, it's a whole other story. I begin to embrace the coldness, the shorter days and extremely longer nights, I start getting excited to wear my cozy jumpers and my many jackets & coats I've now accumulated since living here, as well as my many cute scarves and hats. So then I start to enjoy the winter... but then after about 4 months of the blistering cold, constantly having to layer my clothes just to run to the shop, wearing double the socks and leggings under my jeans, I'm just soooo ready for spring and I'm back to hating winter all over again. That's my love and hate relationship with winter since I've been here, and so here we are once again with another long cold winter.

December 1st - yes, really.

I think this is a start to a very cold and long winter.... I hope not though.
 That's probably as much sun as we will be getting for the next 3 months :P

Stocking up with books at the library... we plan to hibernate for the winter. ;-)

Heading to Exmouth, Devon - 12 Dec 2016

Yes it's this cold!

Holy Trinity Church, Exmouth - 12 Dec 2016

This was one day in somewhere in Dorset heading to Devon

Another photo I do not remember where we were coming from. But the sun was setting and we were just passing Salisbury cathedral. This was a lucky shot and how amazing it was. The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the UK.

Salisbury Cathedral - 14 Dec 2016

 Spending time at home right where I belong...

But not on this day, we had to go out to Reading. My first time here and did a little shopping and walking around but I was too cold and a bit sleepy so I headed back to the car ASAP.

Reading, Berkshire - 21 Dec 2016

Saw this van in Reading, loved it! :)

Back home, relaxing... :P

My first taste of mulled wine for the winter!

Soon we were back out on the streets, the busy streets of Poole a couple days before Christmas in the town center... sounded like a bad idea but we had to go and it actually wasn't that bad at all and quite festive! :)

The day before Christmas eve we were in Weymouth to drop off some things for a client and OMG was it packed!! People everywhere, cars everywhere, it was nuts! I didn't want to get out of the car but our favourite little baker is there and we had to get something for breakfast.

Bacon and cheese 
Weymouth, Dorset - 23 Dec 2016

Doctor appointment and a chance to wear my newest jacket :)

Christmas came and went. It was great as always and the same with new years! And another year bites the dust!

New Year's Eve - 31 Dec 2016

2016 was a great year thanks to God! Our family was healthy and our lives full of positivity and love.

Beautiful sun rays over Poole

A Year Without My Love

Time does not heal all wounds, especially the one I have in my heart from losing my Love.
It's been a year today that my Love has been gone and it still feels like the first day.

When I think of my lil lady, I think of the days when I would visit her and hug her tight and kiss her. I think of her own special scent. The scent of my Love, my Momo. Every time she kissed me it was never a regular peck; it was never like a quick hello kiss-on-the-cheek peck. It was always a passionate kiss, like an I-love-you-so-much-kiss.

I sometimes think about back when I was selling Avon and I would let her put in free orders all the time. She use to order all kinds of slippers, different colors of nail polish, and lots of earrings... she loved her earrings and she always loved for me to polish her nails. Sometimes she ordered so much and the total would end up being so expensive, I would have to tell her that some of the items were out of stock even though they weren't, but I had to! It was so much money! Haha! Sorry Love ;)

She also loved the color purple, it was her favorite. Maybe that is why my favorite color ended up being purple. I remember the days of going to her house after work to pick up David when she use to take care of him; once you'd walk inside, you could smell her delicious food cooking. She always had fresh tortillas and she'd always offer me a plate of food.

I remember when I took her to a 50's musical once and she loved it. All the dancing and music she loved it so much, she said it reminded her when she was young. We had such a good time out. When I use to go to college, she would pick me up everyday and sometimes we went to the mall and we would go shopping at JC Penney's. My Love and I always had so much fun together.

We were so alike in so many ways too. We both liked bold colors, we had the same sense of humour and the same attitude. Back when she was bit younger and more healthy and I was in my 'drinking/partying' phase, she was so much fun to hang out with and drink with too :) She was a young and cool grandma, I was lucky!

My Love also loved talking about me to everyone. She always 'bragged' about her 'Shirleys'. Even if there was nothing to brag about, she always found something to say. There was nothing bad that I ever did in her eyes and no one better talk negative of me either cause she'd let you have it. She always had my back and was my true ride or die. Just like I always made sure I was hers. 

I miss my Love so much. And maybe I thought it would be easy after she passed because I live so far away and couldn't see her much anyway. But it isn't easier at all. I could call her if I wanted, and my mom could put us on video, and when I did go back home it would be all worth it to be able to see her and kiss her again after being away for so long. But I can't even do that anymore. 

I see all these oldies walking around everywhere I go in this country at the age of 80-90 years old and I can't help but get sad and mad, and think to myself why couldn't I have my Love for at least another 15 more years like that. It's never often but out of the dozens of oldies I see daily, there is always that one that reminds me so much of her.

I know my Love is happy in heaven. I know she is looking down on us all. I told my mom this morning that she is in a better place now. Before she left us she was in a lot of pain for a few years. She was struggling, she couldn't walk, she didn't feel good for a long time. She is free from all that now. I truly and wholeheartedly feel that she is so happy and she watches over us. She is at rest now and her spirit is at peace. I need to remember that for myself too. It's hard not to be selfish, to not miss her and to not cry for her. She wouldn't want us to have that pain over her, especially when she is at peace up above. 

It's been a year today that my Love has been gone and it still feels like the first day.   

A week of travel and photography in South England

This week felt like we were everywhere, but when I look back at the days we really weren't. I think because each time we did go out and at each town we stopped at I was out getting my walking in. The weather was hanging in there too... the sun was in and out but luckily not much rain, even when it looked like it would pour down. With it not being cold out there, it makes you want to go out and walk everywhere and enjoy it.

I've noticed that I've become a bit like the British - obsessed with the weather. It isn't a bad thing, I just get why now. It's forever changing and you can't help but talk about it.

So I was out in Axminster in Devon. Many times we've been here and many times I've stayed in the car because I've been freezing my ass off (story of my life when I stay in the car). This is a small market town that is very busy. Traffic always up and down the High street with cars and pedestrians.

Axminster Museum, Senior Citizen Center, Arts Cafe & Tourist Info Building
So here in the town I knew a 'type' of carpet was made and the town is known for it. It is high quality carpets that are now manufactured all over the world.

Like most towns there is everything you need. If you lived here you'd have no real reason to leave. They got their post office, grocery stores, take-a-ways, cafes, a couple of restaurants, church, bank, charity shops. I'd live here.

According to wiki, the town lies on two major Roman roads and dates back to the Celtic times of around 300 BC. But most towns in England are all old like this. I LOVE that about this country!

Axminster Parish Church
I went to the local shop called the Co-operative to get something. While I was standing in the queue, I started to think about back when I first arrived in England. Back then If I came to the shop and was ready to pay for my item, I would of just got in line right behind the person at the till (cash register) and wait. Here there were about 2-3 registers opened on a long counter where you would think doing that would be OK. I would of just choose which ever was opened or shortest without even thinking twice about it. That's how it usually works in the States, but in England, no. You have to start one queue from behind them all and which ever one becomes free next is the one you go to. I know this now, which is why I started the queue away at the end of all the tills. But during my first month or so here I went into a shop alone and got in line right behind a person at the till (cash register). There wasn't a lot of people at the shop but there was one person standing in line from afar. I didn't know what she was doing... in my mind she was too far to be in line for the next till. But as I was waiting, something clicked in my head that she was actually in line next and I had just gotten in front of her. I ended up walking to stand behind her and apologized for cutting in. I know she noticed, she was looking right at me, but I don't think she would of said anything at all if I would of stayed. Anyway, I'm a veteran at this stuff now :P and even though it's the smallest thing, it was just something I was thinking about while waiting in line.

When I go to the cashier I asked for what I needed behind the counter and after the guy gave me my stuff and was getting my change he asked, "So how long have you been here?" Usually people don't ask me questions when they hear my accent. You can always tell they notice it because they turn to look at me when they hear me talk or their expression on their face changes a bit, as if they notice but they never say anything. It's rare when someone does. Usually they are excited about it. So having this guy ask me this kind of surprised me. I told him proudly it was going on 3 years. :) And he said, "Oh! I thought you were going to say 3 days... you've been here for awhile now." I thought to myself, OH YEA! :) I'm a practically a freakin' citizen! Haha, OK not that close but still. It was cool.

This also reminded me of when Steve and I was at the barber shop for his birthday and an American guy came in to get his hair cut. I didn't know until he was up there getting it done and was talking to the barber. He was going on and on and on. I couldn't help but interrupt and tell him that I was too from the US. It was the first time I had heard an American in the same town as me. It was so weird. He was from California and here for work. Not sure how long he had been here, maybe 3 weeks or so is what I got from it. But as we were leaving he said, "Bye, enjoy your visit here..." Something like that like I was some visitor or tourist. I thought to myself, 'boy please!' I laughed and said, "I've been living here for almost 3 years.." He was like OH! Again I was thinking, "Yeah, I'm the local here... you're the visitor." ;) Anyway, it was kinda funny and also very cool to meet another American in the town.

Inside Axminster Church
Enough of all that.... after our time in Axminster we headed further down into Devon to Exeter. We hadn't been here for almost a couple of years now when we came to see the cathedral and have some cream tea. Ya know, Devon is the home of cream tea. Also did you know that Devon is the third largest county in England? I didn't. And Exeter is one of the two cities in Devon, the other being Plymouth.

So today I decided to have a little wander back down to the cathedral. It's such a beautiful sight and it had been way too long.

Exeter, Devon. England 
Cathedral Close. Exeter, Devon. 
It was still as beautiful as ever. It was nice to chill out with the rest of the folks enjoying it's beauty and the weather of course. I wanted to go inside but for £7.50 I didn't think it would be that much worth it.

Cathedral Close. Exeter, Devon. 
Exeter Cathedral. Devon. 

Most of the cathedrals do cost to get in which I think is silly but I guess they need some way to keep it up. Either way, today wasn't the day for me and I was fine enjoying the beauty from outside.

Exeter Cathedral. Devon. 
Exeter Cathedral

The next day we stayed in our home country of Dorset in the towns of Dorchester and Bridport. It was nice not having to go too far out. I wanted to have a wander in Dorchester but this was the only time it really rained a lot. It probably lasted on and off for about 45 minutes but by then I figured it was too late to get out and look around so I decided to stay in.

River Brit. Bridport - trail to the park
St Mary's Church. Bridport.  
I made up for it in Bridport. Usually when we go places I like to check out the areas and street view in googlemaps so I can get my bearings. I hate going somewhere and not know what is where and where I am. So I did this with Bridport and knew the exact route I wanted to walk when I was here.

St Mary's Church. Bridport.
Bridport High Street
Last time I was here I walked the High Street which was cool and busy but this time I wanted to walk the small back roads to the park along the river then back through toward the church and High Street where we parked.

Just some garden in Bridport I wish was mine :) 
It was a really good relaxing route. At one point I thought it was going to get caught in the rain but lucky for me I only felt a couple of very light sprinkles and that was it. I was pretty far away and would of got soaked so I'm glad that was all we had. The clouds were definitely gorgeous though.

River Brit, Bridport.
Friday we ended up being right in our own backyard. It was nice being so local and even better that we were just across the street/parking lot from the beach in Sandbanks.

 Sandbanks Beach. Poole, Dorset

The weather could of been better today but I couldn't complain either. It was mild enough to wear my flip flops and have my feet in the sand. There is one thing I am happy about with our beaches close to home is that they have proper sand. A lot of the beaches like Brighton and Lyme Regis are pebble beaches. People don't care though, they actually get comfy with their towels and chairs and make themselves at home. I don't see how comfortable sitting on a bunch of rocks could be but I guess you just have to make the best with what you have!

Kite surfers in Sandbanks. Poole, Dorset.
It was cloudy but still a bit bright with the sun trying to fight its way out with no success. The wind was nice and mild too. I got to get some nice shells and relax for a while. This year I will make sure we spend much more time at the beach when the weather is nice and hot. We are silly not to being that we live just a few minutes away. It was the perfect way to end the week!

Poole Harbour. Sandbanks. Dorset.