Castles & Angels

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 by  

20160601_163201This gorgeous English countryside was captured on my cell phone! Breathtaking. Lush. So British.

During our 2-week trip to Europe to visit family, we went with some good friends to Northumberland. Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (2)The girls loved that parts of Downton Abbey and Harry Potter were filmed here at Alnwick Castle. Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (32)

Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (38)Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (33)  Lots to do here including bamboo mazes, ventures through the magic fairy gardens, the famous Poison Garden and, of course, flying broomstick classes!!

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Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (3)Cheers, Prost, friends, joy, friendship
Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, England, bamboo, (47) Angel of the North, angel statue, glorious angel, copper, steel (1)

On our way back to Grandma’s, we pulled off the highway to see the Angel of the North, a massive copper & steel statue in Newcastle Gateshead, believed to be the largest angel sculpture on the planet. The wingspan reaches wider than a jumbo jet and the angel stands 65 feet high, more than 4 double-decker buses! We’ve seen her on the hillside from the highway for over 15 years. This ride home, we actually pulled off the exit and made time to visit. Those are the life-changing things we have found we do facing this awful journey of cancer, click: Kicking Cancer!

Yes, actually seizing the day and doing what we wish at a moment’s notice because no one knows how many moments we all have.  More than 150,000 people visit each year. This year, we’re one of those people.

Angel of the North, angel statue, glorious angel, copper, steel (2)

bright spot flower The Bright Spot – Visiting family & friends…and pulling off the highway to really seize the day!!


Bianca

Amazing Grace

Saturday, April 18, 2015 by  

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (89)iQueen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England, Britain, Great Britain,
Blessed with lovely skin & timeless English beauty, my mother-in-law, Grace, and the Queen have always borne a striking resemblance. A woman ahead of her time, Grace, always gave new things a shot.

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (29) England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (46)  England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, fashionable, airplaneEngland, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (49)
And nothing slows her down! Approaching 90, she has a personal trainer at the gym, Skypes us every Saturday without fail, uploads her digital images to her hard drive and e-mails family nearly every day.

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (80)aEngland, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (22)

 

 

 

 

 

The epitome of Englishness, she is gracious, discreet and always polite. During tough or sad times, Grace keeps a stiff upper lip and her chin up.
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Her mainstay, of course, is proper English tea. It must steep in a         silver pot and the teacup must have a white interior.

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (41)Bianca Tyler, England, Britain, Great Britain, English GardenShe keeps her gardener busy and has redecorated parts of her home four times in the past 10 years.

In Grandma’s GardensBianca Tyler, England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (18):   England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (17)  England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (65)

Young Grace:

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Grace is an avid reader & animal lover. She enjoyed many years dancing with her dashing husband, Geoff, whom she misses very much.

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I’ve learned lots of things from my mother-in-law over the years, from baby tips and awesome authors to food advice, fabric care and beauty tips.

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One of my favorite gifts from my mother-in-law was this beautiful statue sent from England shortly before I gave birth to our daughter.

Grandma's gift, gift from grandma, statue, statue of mother and child, happy child, happy mother, mother and daughter, smile, laughter, joy (3)Grandma's gift, gift from grandma, statue, statue of mother and child, happy child, happy mother, mother and daughter, smile, laughter, joy (2)

A few months old (above)            4 years old (below)

Grandma's gift, gift from grandma, statue, statue of mother and child, happy child, happy mother, mother and daughter, smile, laughter, joy (1)
To avoid arthritis in her hands, Grace knits and knits and knits. Beautiful sweaters and hats and any request our little one desires.

I mean any! Like the day our 7-year-old said, “Grandma, can you please knit me a cuttlefish & grimpoteuthis?” And in short order, the beautiful cuddly sea creatures arrived in the gift package made with grandmother’s loving hands. A whole array of knitted marine life:

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (54) England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (66)

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Knitted headbands & sweaters, ballerina shrugs and ponytail hats!

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Loving grandmother, grandma, knitting, knit, sweaters, hats, cuttlefish, grimpoteuthis, grandchildren (1)a Loving grandmother, grandma, knitting, knit, sweaters, hats, cuttlefish, grimpoteuthis, grandchildren (13)
The loss of her beloved husband took a toll on her but did not stop Grace from living life. She hopped on a plane to surprise my husband for his birthday and stayed for Christmas that year.

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (70)Grace flew over every summer to stay with us. In 2001, my Mom took Grace and me to Mohegan Sun, the big casino upstate for a grand shebang before my mother-in-law headed back to England. It was the 1st time she visited a casino. My husband warned, “My mother may weary, don’t stay out late.”

Honestly, nothing wearied her the past 8 decades… so when I arrived home at 4 AM with two happy grandmas, my husband was speechless. Not only did his mother have a marvelous time, she even won!

A few hours later, the towers came down and the world changed forever. Flights were canceled that week and Grace stayed with us longer that year. Phillip worked by the towers and felt the 2nd building crash to the ground. It took hours and hours and hours for him to get out of the City and back home. It was a mother’s nightmare and
a wife’s torment. Late that night, he finally made it home. We were grateful to be together as a family again, safe and sound.

bright spot flowerThe Bright SpotTM – A Grandma’s love. Every visit with Grace has been memorable. The stories she tells, reminiscing the history of the family and her great love of Britain; she is a treasure in our lives and all who know her.

My mother-in-law and the Queen were born the same year…Grace is our very own queen xoxo

England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma, English beauty, English skin, grandchildren (77)    Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Enland, Queen Elizabeth II, England, Britain, Great Britain, Grandma (2)


Bianca

Castles & Vows

Thursday, September 22, 2011 by  

Medieval castle, misty castleOn our anniversary we renewed our vows at the 14th century castle where we wed years ago (below). The weather was glorious, the English gardens in full bloom, our hearts were full.                                           Groom smiles at bride, knowing smile, romance, roses

This summer, we enjoyed more than 1,300 miles of pristine landscape in the United Kingdom from Edinburgh, Scotland to Lancashire, North Yorkshire, The Penines, Northumberland, and Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England.
England & Scotland 2011   English countryside, Scottish countryside, waters edge
It brought back wonderful memories from years ago…
English wedding hats, English wedding attire  English wedding hats, wedding, hats

Wedding guests, hats at wedding, dress blowing in wind  Prince Ali, prince walks the bride down the aisle

Flower girl, flower girl getting ready, English flower girl, curler in little girls hair  Groom hugs bride, loving embrace, couple embrace, loving hug, groom and bride

English castle, boys playing ball, medieval castle, boys at a wedding Blowing bubbles, maid of honor, bubbles

Bride and groom dancing, 1st dance, couple dance, joy dancing as newlywedsWe were so pleased to celebrate our union with our family and friends

We married in the United Kingdom and again a month later in the United States. Our maid of honor, best man & bridesmaids flew back and forth for the weddings, both of which took place near sunset on the eves of full moons – that was just a pretty bonus from the Heavens!

I am also very grateful to my wonderful seamstress – who made sure every gown, dress, suit/outfit I wore at the Miss America years earlier was fitted to perfection. In England, she made sure the bustle was perfect! After all, she created it. And she made my gown glisten in candlelight and against the setting sun.
Seamstress, Seamstress dressing bride Seamstress helping bride, seamstress and bridesmaid helping bride

Castle, top of castle, castellation, couple on top of castle, battlement Moat, children playing by water, waters edge, castle moat, boys by river

On our anniversary this trip back, we really enjoyed seeing our daughter & Goddaughter running playfully along the centuries-old wall we walked up together as newlyweds.

Castle wall, children running, children run along castle wall  Castle wall, fortress wall, medieval wall

Best man, England, best friends, brothers, rings, wedding rings, holding wedding rings  England, horse and carriage, horse in window Bride and groom on a bridge, couple on bridge, smiling newlyweds on bridge, groom holds bouquet, groom holds roses

Viel blowing in wind, bride and maid of honor, child watches bride England, English medieval window, ivy covered window

English medieval castle, walking to the moat, wedding party walking together  England, English countryside

And although we enjoyed journeying throughout the Kingdom… (2000 years! Read the sign below:)

Red door on chapel, Scotland, red door   England, lion, tower, gates

Castle gates  Scotland, chapel, medieval chapel

…taking carriage rides & visiting local farms where our kids could grind wheat & hand-feed horses and little lambs…

England, watering horse, child gives horse water    English farm, farmhouse, flowers at farmhouse, flowers

…and enjoying quaint pubs, 500-year-old canons, Scottish castle ruins, England & Scotland 2011

family, friends & a romantic summer to remember…
…I must say my favorite part of this year’s anniversary was not the trip to Europe, but rather what we did on the “next wedding anniversary” a month later when we returned (yes, we celebrate both).

We took our little one and her friend to see the Winnie-the-Pooh animated classic in the movie theater. As we sat with the girls between us, Phillip reached over their seats to touch my arm. I smiled at him in the dark and whispered, “There’s no where else I’d rather be than celebrating today with our family and Winnie-the-Pooh.”

Later that evening, my mother watched Little Petal as we went out to dinner.

One-lane bridge, bridge, road over lake, one-lane road over lake No parking sign, no standing sign, no parking or standing sign Lake, lake at sunset, large lake, lake and trees

(These are photos by day/sunset are so you can see the roadway. It was pitch black when we were there. I’m sure we would have given our teen an earfull if he did this…)

On the ride home, Phillip turned onto a long single-lane road over a large lake. He turned off the engine and jumped out of the car, motioning me to follow him.

He put his arms around me and looked up, pulling me close. Stars pierced the pitch black sky; the only sound ~ the chirping of the summer crickets. The water was still, the air was warm. He kissed me and took my breath away. I felt like a teenager, blithe and carefree. With every beat of my heart, he kissed me more passionately.

Suddenly, car lights in the distance were heading our way. Our car blocked the entire single lane, and the oncoming driver would never suspect someone stopped on this quiet, dark roadway.

We scrambled as fast as we could to get into the car as the lights drew closer and closer. I grabbed my skirt around me and ran as quickly as I could to the passenger side of the car, heart pounding with excitement, fear, naughtiness.

We took off just in time and laughed giddily – I think from the nerves and the rush.

The Bright SpotTM – my husband, the love of my life! Go grab your Honey and smooch him/her! Take out some time and write down your special thoughts about why you love your wonderful someone. Renew your vows and commitment to one another. Castles and moats are great backdrops, but it’s the authenticity in your words and heart that make your relationship deep. Enjoy the little things like an afternoon movie with your kids or a romantic kiss by the lake. If you are single with kids, tell your kids how special they are to you and celebrate your commitment to each other. If you are an adult, tell your parents or grandparents how much they mean to you. A vow is a pledge or promise to the one(s) you love. Life’s so short, do it today.

Bride, groom, boys running with bride and groom through path    Romance, hug, loving couple, tophat  xo, b

And a double Bright SpotTM just for YOU!! Thank you to all of you who read this site. 2 million page views & counting in one year because of your support & interest in these stories, our albums, links, and the weekly interviews from our Live, call-in radio show “Let’s Talk!” archived on this site for your convenience. And thank you to everyone who commented/sent e-mails on the story that follows – about how the tragedy of 9-11 affected our family and how our young son unknowingly inspired many in this nation and abroad. Thank you all!!


Bianca