Beautiful Brighton England

At the end of August, we had the opportunity of a lifetime!  To travel to England.   First to London, then to Brighton, followed by Taunton.  We experienced everything from Westminster Abby to London Theatre, a wedding in Brighton, Stonehenge and tracing my family routes.  The actual purpose of this trip was for a wedding!  And a beautiful wedding it was.  But we got so much more out of our journey!

England is usually known for it's cold, muggy weather.  But we may have brought the sunshine with us! And it was no different in Brighton.  Brighton is a quaint English town that sits along the English Channel.  We were told it was only a 20km swim to Paris.  Ummm, no thanks.  But loved the idea of Paris being so close.

While in Brighton, we stayed at The Oriental.  Situated along a narrow road in a building 200 plus years old.  We took the train from London to Brighton, then hopped in a cap to our accommodations.  Welcomed with a purple door, The Oriental was nothing but fabulous from the door opening.  The lounge was unique and comfy.  Best of all was Andrew, the manager that made our stay that much better.  The Oriental is full of stairs though.  Nothing we couldn't handle, but poor Andrew had to carry our luggage up to the 3rd floor.  (He's used to it though)  Next time, I promise to pack lighter!  The room we had was the perfect size, not too small, and not too big.  If there was one thing to complain about it would be the seriously annoying seagulls.  Not the fault of The Oriental.  I take everything back I said about the pesky pigeons from London.  These seagulls were on a mission to squawk night and day.

Brighton is full of character, from the seawall to the pebble beach to the boardwalk amazement park.  It reminded me somewhat of Victoria, BC.  I certainly loved the narrow streets for shopping.

And the food was amazing where ever we went.  We were surprised to see not one, but two Jamie Oliver restaurants.  The first was more of a lunch diner, with a twist.  Learn To Cook Like Jamie at Recipease!  You can book a cooking session to learn to cook just like the master chef himself.  Loved that idea.  When we were there, there were a group of ladies serving up hand made pasta, with their wine in hand!  We had Sausage Bap, which is British pork and leek sausages, caramelized onions, rocket leaf and creamy mayonnaise.  Also Pancetta and potatoes tart.

Call me crazy, but while we were filling up with our lunch, I seriously had an overwhelming feeling that Jamie Oliver himself was there.  Turns out he wasn't at THAT restaurant, BUT he did show up at his other restaurant Jamie's Italian!  And we turned down an invite from my In-Laws who went there for dinner!  We totally missed him, but my brother-in-law did get an autographed cook book from the legend cook, Jamie Oliver.  What a nice touch, to have Jamie visiting patrons.  Thank you Jamie!
Jamie Oliver Recipease
Brighton England
Photo The Brighter Side YYC

From Brighton, next I'll write about my journey into my family history.  My grandfather died when my father was only 3.  But we have the address where he grew up in Taunton England.  I'll share that experience, one that I'll never forget in my next blog post.  Coming soon.

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Perfect Timing

'Perfect Timing'
By Guest Blogger: Nicole Caron

I'm not so sure about you, but sometimes I feel really alone. I know, you're thinking, "Alright, new girl ... are you aware that you're writing for The Brighter Side? The. BRIGHTER. Side. There's no room for starting out your very first sentence of your very first post on sounding like Debbie Downer, Nicole!"

If you give me a few more moments of your time to hear me out, I *promise* this ends on a Brighter Side.

I'm a stay-at-home mom to two kids and, like a lot of moms, while I try to carve out me time, sometimes in the busy weeks, that me time gets shelved and put off until the following week or longer. So sometimes, that leaves me feeling a lack of connection with anyone other than my kids. Sure, the hubby and I catch up at the end of the day, but usually it's about the kids. And sure, I work part-time in a book store, but let's be honest those 2 minute interactions with people as they pay for their product rarely fill my bucket (great book by the way!)

Needless to say, sometimes in those hectic times of life, despite being surrounded by people, I wind up feeling like I don't have my person. You know, someone who has your back, who you know is thinking of you and is encouraging you to be your best - looking out for you along the way. There are times when I'm in those moments that I give myself a metaphorical swift kick in the behind and tell myself to start looking - that maybe it's not that the person isn't there, but rather that I'm just blind to them. My eyes and heart are closed to receiving their goodness. As soon as I come to that realization, it's evident to me that my person, sometimes many people, have been there all along.

Other times, I'm not able to be so self-aware and instead find myself further in a rut. While those times can feel discouraging, often times they come with an even bigger reward. One that I never see coming, but that when it does generally blows my mind just a little. Like this week. I was trudging through my daily life feeling a wee bit uninspired and less jovial than my usual upbeat self. I was making what felt like my millionth trip to our local store where things cost about a dollar and my change from my purchase came to $16.72. I was handed the change and went to put it away when I noticed I'd been short changed me by 5 dollars. I pointed it out to to the cashier and she apologized. She'd already closed her till and so she had to grab a five from her co-workers till. When she handed it to me something on it caught my eye and all the little hairs on my body stood on end. Right there, on the front of the bill it read, "I {heart} you Nikki xxxxx". Now, I know I'm new here so let's get reacquainted. I'm Nicole, and I go by Nikki in many of my close circles. The fact that the bill had that message and my nickname spelled the same way as I do made me stop dead in my tracks.

I don't think I need to point out to you that I should NEVER have gotten that bill. A bill from a completely different till than the one that I was at and had I gotten my full change right off the bat, I would never have gotten it in return. It shouldn't have happened. But it did.

Here I had been, feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself for really no reason other than I wasn't feeling the love. And bam. Right in my face. There it was. THE love. And on a 5 dollar bill of all things. It was a moment, to be sure. Call it The Universe. Call it God. Or Coincidence. Maybe even The Secret. Whatever floats your boat, makes no difference to me. I know what I call it. The essence of it was my person. There, even when I didn't know it. Didn't think it was there. It was my hope. Filled my bucket. Gave me fresh eyes. To get unstuck. A sign. My sign. They are everywhere - we just need to recognize them and when we don't sometimes they'll slap us in the face just to wake us up and bring us back to centre. In perfect time.
By Nicole Caron

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Adopt the pace of nature

Adopt the pace of nature.  Her secret is patience. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Photo By
Christina Rowsell
Calgary, AB
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The Brighter Side Translation

The Brighter Side blog is a place you can come to find Good News, Great Ideas and Amazing People.  We're here to make you laugh, smile and forget about your problems.  Since launching in November 2011, we have seen over 15,000 views.  THANK YOU! 

But not everyone reading our blog speaks English.  Which is why we've added a Translate button on the right hand side, just under The Brighter Side tree.  Type in the language you'd like to read the blog in, and then it'll be translated to your language!! (The Translation can only be seen on the web page - not via the phone app or email - and doesn't work with Internet Explorer - try FireFox or Safari)

Here's a list of countries making their way to The Brighter Side Blog, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, India, Philippines, Germany, Australia, Russia and France.  Welcome!

I hope you continue to read The Brighter Side Blog, in any language!  Stay tuned for more Good News, Great Ideas and Amazing People! 

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Theatre in London

While in London, don't miss out on going to the Theatre.  You'll find a theatre around every other corner in the heart of London.  Whether you book ahead, or buy tickets the day of, it'll be an experience like no other.  We were fortunate to attend two shows.  Billy Elliot as well as War Horse.  Both were exceptional shows, and both very different. 

War Horse London England
 First, War Horse. Based on Michael Morgurgo’s 1982 children’s novel, War Horse is the story of Joey, a horse belonging to a young boy called Albert, who is sold to the cavalry during the first World War. His adventure sees him fight on both sides before he eventually finds himself alone in no man’s land. Albert, unable and unwilling to forget his beloved horse and too young to join up, sets out on a dangerous mission to find Joey and bring him home.

War Horse London England

  I have not seen the movie, so for the first time seeing and hearing this story, it was very touching.  But what blew me away was the puppetering (by Handspring Puppet Company) of these magnificent horses!  Not only did the command an awesome presence on stage, but they had the voices of the horse echoing through out the theatre.  The actors under the horses carriage, to the actor guiding the horses head, ears, mouth and neck did an outstanding job.  I caught myself several times with my jaw open, bewildered by their majestic size and ability to gracefully cover the stage.  War Horse is certainly a MUST see show while in London.  There was no bad seat in the house. 

Billy Elliot
London England
 Secondly, we saw Billy Elliot.  We just walked in off the street on a Monday to purchase available tickets for a Wednesday show.  There were tickets for 65 British Pounds = $101 or 19 British Pounds = $29.75.  We were warned that the $29 tickets did have some obstructions for stage left, but we were okay with that. 

Billy Elliot
Victoria Palace Theatre
London England
Billy Elliot is set in a mining town in the north of England during the 84/85 miners' strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy's struggle against the odds to make his dream of becoming a dancer, not a boxer, come true.  That's the synopsis of the story, but it's so much more.  It threw me for an emotional rollercoster throughout the play.  Billy Elliot, played by Redmand Rance, was outstanding.  Billy's dad, played by Deka Walmsley, literally took my breath away with his emotional character of a father trying to hold his family together through tragedy and hardship.  The miners characters also proved to be just as strong, reminding us what these people in England went through with the strike.  Billy's deceased mother, played by Kay Milbourne, had me in tears.  I was trying to control my emotions when Billy presented the important letter to his dance instructor, but I found myself sobbing, with no tissue to tidy up my makeup.  I guess being a mother made that performance extra special.  Outstanding performance by all of the cast, wrapping up to a stranding ovation.  Another MUST see show while in London!  (And the seats we had weren't that bad... only missed a couple of steps, but by the time it was over, I forgot all about the obstructions)  And of course, the music was by Elton John.  Honestly, a stellar performance!!  Thank you for making London memorable for us!

On the next blog post, we make our way to the beach, to beautiful Brighton England. 

Tickets to War Horse London  War Horse Facebook   War Horse Twitter
Tickets to Billy Elliot The Musical London   Billy Elliot Facebook   Billy Elliot Twitter

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Live Love Laugh

Life is made up of the little things that make us smile.  Live, Love, Laugh
~ The Brighter Side YYC

Photo by: Christina Rowsell
at The Calgary Zoo
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The Brighter Side in London

The Brighter Side YYC took a trip "across the pond." First stop, London England. 

Paralympics logo The Tower Bridge
photo by: The Brighter Side
Londoners are still on high spirits from the Olymlpic Games 2012, every one was very helpful and pleasant.  Always willing to help us with directions, offer advice how to take the underground trains, and tell us the best places to go.   I guess, really, the only pesky thing about London are the pigeons.  They're like our magpies, not really afraid of you, looking for your scraps. Oh... And the one who dropped on my father-in-laws arm.  Sorry about that Dad. ("They" say it's good luck".)

We stayed in the heart of Picidilly Circus at The Thistle.  Fortunately for us, at the time of booking, we got a 50% discount for paying up front. Our room way big with lots of room to move around. (Windows were a bit thin though... As we heard every conversation on the streets below.) But after a busy day of sight seeing, we were too tired to really notice. There were only two things I would have liked to see at the Thistle was better wifi.  It was pretty pricey, and it was only for one device.  And there was no one to take a call at 11:30 pm. (Which is something I would expect from a smaller hotel, or Bed and Breakfast, not a big hotel.)

Westminster Abbey
outside.  Photo by:
The Brighter Side
Taking a bus tour is certainly the way to go to get the history of London.  I would recommend though, make sure you have a "live" tour guide, instead of a recorded tour.  Loved the extra "personality" of our tour guide. Plus another way to "catch up" with the extensive and impressive history, is to take your time and stroll through the British Museum.  By far, the most impressive thing in London was Westminster Abbey.  No photos inside, but you get the idea from the outside shots.  The Abbey was a spiritual experience!  Take the time to visit this magnificent place. 

Big Ben with The London Eye
Photo by: The Brighter Side
London is busy.  Full of people who walk briskly, and men who dress sharp.  Be sure to have your walking shoes on.  That's what you do there. WALK!  Don't drive (especially if you're not used to driving on the left side of the road).  And ladies, if you need your pumps, pack them in your bag to wear at your event.  I hardly saw women wearing high heels.  Maybe that's why they we're looking at me like I was crazy.  But I quickly learned that flats are the way to go.  We certainly did a lot of walking.  But we didn't walk far, stopping at a pub every 2 blocks!  They take their pubbing very serious!!  I loved it!

Pubbing in London England
Photo by: The Brighter Side

I don't want to overwhelm you with information overload, I'll write more in my next entry.  Be ready for the British Theatre, The War Horse and Billy Elliot!  Here's a hint... phenomenal!

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