My Gratitude Journal

The Polar Express Train Ride in Fillmore, CA

The Polar Express is a 2004 animated film. It’s based on a children’s book by the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. It’s a story about a boy who boards a train bound for the North Pole headed to Santa Claus.

My son and I did the Polar Express Train Ride in Fillmore, CA last year. It’s a recreation of the book. We were invited to come in our pajamas just like the characters in the story. My son and I wore matching pajamas. When we first arrived at the Fillmore train station, we were given our golden round trip ticket. We walked around, stopped at the gift shop and took some pictures. After that, we looked for the Arctic Circle, which is the car we were assigned to and waited for the train to arrive.

Once it arrived, we boarded and were greeted by the conductor. We took our seats and he made his way down the aisle to “check” everyone’s ticket. He hole punched our ticket many times to make confetti and sprinkled it on us. My son and all the kids in the train loved that. There was lots of singing and dancing. They read The Polar Express book to us and did a little recreation of it.

The chefs came out to dance and served us a snickerdoodle cookie and a hot chocolate. Santa Claus came for a visit as well and gave us our first gift of Christmas which was a Christmas bell.

It was a fun holiday train ride. It got us ready and excited for Christmas. I’m really glad we did it last year since this year we aren’t able to do such an activity due to the lockdowns. However, I did book a holiday drive-thru adventure called WonderLAnd. You drive through and enjoy the lights, music and holiday decorations from the comfort and safety of your car. Just for fun, I plan on sewing up some matching Christmas face masks for the occasion. I suppose we can also wear our matching pajamas since we’re staying in our car. We’re looking forward to the festivities.

My Gratitude Journal

Kew Gardens in Richmond, London

It’s way-back Wednesday. I’ve been reminiscing about my travels in the past. Flashback to 2018 and our trip to London. My first trip to London was in 2017, also in November, to visit my daughter. London, baby… We also visited Paris during that trip. Paris, baby

During this 2018 trip to London, we visited Kew Gardens in Richmond, London.

Our first stop was the glasshouse at the Princess of Wales Conservatory. We climbed up the winding staircase and walked along the top.

My son had fun exploring the big treehouse.

We walked around and enjoyed the gardens.

We finished off our day with afternoon tea and a scone at The Botanical.

What a relaxing day at the Kew Gardens.

My Gratitude Journal

Our day trip to Notting Hill, London

It’s flashback Friday. Flashback to 2018. I took a trip to Notting Hill.

“I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”

Notting Hill, 1999

No, not that Notting Hill. Although I love cheesy romantic one-liners (sometimes), I’m actually talking about Notting Hill in West London. My son and I went to London back in 2018 to visit my daughter, who was living there at the time. We took a day trip to Notting Hill.

I saw this charming picture of my daughter at Notting Hill over the summer and I asked her to pretty please take me there!

What a cutie…

It was November by the time we made it to Notting Hill so we had to bundle up but that made it all the more fun. Lots of brisk walking in cold weather while taking in the sights. It’s a great feeling.

First order of business was food. We decided on an Italian restaurant called Portobello Garden Arcade for lunch. I was in the mood for coffee, so I ordered a cappuccino. The perfect hot drink after a walk on a cold day. For food, we ordered a charcuterie board and pizza. The meats and cheese were delicious. The olives were so good. They tasted great with the hot bread and olive oil to dip it in. I loved the ambience and whimsical decor. It felt like we were eating lunch in a kitchen of an Italian house and the owners of the house had just finished making fresh bread. You could actually smell the bread throughout the whole restaurant. What a great feeling on a cold day.

After our delicious and fulfilling lunch, we took another brisk walk to visit the colorful houses. It was fun taking pictures with my children. So pretty!

We finished our day with some window shopping on Portobello Road. Lots of quirky antique, second-hand and vintage shops. More colorful houses. And ice cream.

A fun, flashback Friday!

I am grateful for reminiscing about fun day trips, cheesy romantic one-liners, whimsical restaurants, delicious charcuterie boards, colorful houses, window shopping and ice cream on a cold day.