Posts Tagged With: friends

Guatemala travels {summer 2014}



So Andy and I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala to do volunteer work and while we were there we got to do a bit of traveling around.

Beautiful Antigua!

Beautiful Antigua! 

First of all we got to go to Antigua for the afternoon. A wonderful town surrounded by volcanoes and full of brightly colored buildings and amazing markets! We spent most of the time walking around looking at the volcanoes and beautiful buildings taking pictures 🙂 It was wonderfully chilled out with a bit of shopping!

The  stunning streets of Antigua

The stunning streets of Antigua

We also got to go to Lake Atitlan for two days. It is claimed to be the most beautiful lake in the world and I wouldn’t disagree! Incredible volcanic mountains coming straight down to the shore. I spent most of my time in the lake swimming around loving the gorgeous sunshine. We stayed in a town called San Pedro. A few of us also went on a horse back riding trip through the streets, woods, stopping to hike to a secret beach, and finishing with a tour of a coffee farm. We also go to go kayaking and enjoy all the yummy food!

On our horse riding trip!

On our horse riding trip!

My overall impression of Guatemala was that it is amazing! Beautiful scenery, perfect weather, a very rich culture, and the most inviting people you’ll ever meet! I loved it! Would definitely recommend it to a friend 😉

Swimming in Lake Atitlan!

Swimming in Lake Atitlan!

You can't ask for better than this <3

You can’t ask for better than this ❤

On our horsey adventure ;)

On our horsey adventure 😉

Our tour guide, Louis, showing us around the coffee farm

Our tour guide, Louis, showing us around the coffee farm

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Team Hayes go to London!


Dinner in Henley!

So on Thursday we packed up our belongings and got our flat ready to be stayed in by friends for the summer, got on a train and headed down to Reading to meet our Guatemala Team! We arrived in time to go see the football with some friends and then Friday morning it was down to business. We spend all of friday doing Team Leaders training so lots of “do’s and dont’s” and “what if this happens”. Then Friday night we drove out to an outdoor centre and met our team! We spent the next 48 hours learning about eachother, playing games and getting prepped for Guatemala. Lots of presentations about Guatemala and their culture, language, and how to be most respectful while in their country. We also learned tons of kids games and ideas for working with the kids once we get out there. Our team is incredible and I am excited. It’s all so real now! My next job is to learn spanish…

We are leaving in 2 weeks and I can hardly believe it! Andy and I are still working on our fundraising. We have about £1,200 left to raise. You can have look at our website for more info about our trip.


Enjoying a Workhouse coffee 🙂

So we have spent a few days seeing friends in Reading that we haven’t seen for a very long time which has been amazing. I went into the Workhouse where I used to be a barista and saw my old boss, manager, and a few colleagues. It was great being back there again and they all seem to miss me a lot. It’s so great going back somewhere and knowing you’ve been missed. And it’s seriously the best coffee I have ever had! We went out to dinner in Henley with our friends Steve and Sheila last night then today we headed to London!

We were planning on going to the War Museum but when we showed up it was closed for construction 😦 So we went to Oxford Street to do some shopping. There were a few shops I really wanted to go into. We saw tons of stuff we will never be able to afford and tons of stuff we don’t need. But I was restrained and only bought three things that I ACTUALLY needed 😉


Dried sweet potato?

We walked through China town enjoying some steamed buns and looking through the Asian Markets. We try to always buy a new food we haven’t had before whenever we go into an Asian market so this time we got dried sweet potato. I wasn’t too sure what I thought about it. It was different from most dried fruit. I ended up liking it and I think I would have it again if the opportunity was there. I just love looking through those markets and trying new foods. China town is always a good time.


China Town steamed buns!!!

We went around to a few other shops just enjoying the atmosphere of London before we wore ourselves out and had to get the train back home to Reading. We have a full day of seeing friends tomorrow then finishing off our stay in Reading with a massive picnic in the park with all our friends invited.


fancy new bag (£8) and a Workhouse coffee, ready for London!

It is going to be a great end to our Reading/London-adventure. Wonderful weather and good time with friends 🙂






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A New Day and the start of a marriage :)

Worship time!

Worship time!

New Day!!!!!

New Day!!!!!

So last week I made my way up towards Norwich with 20  teenagers from my church. We attended a massive Christian Festival with 6,000 other teenagers. There were amazing speakers from all over the country talking on every different topic relevant to a teenagers life. It was incredible watching the young people worship God 4 times a day with such passion and get so much out of the seminars. We also drank milkshakes, had sour string eating competitions, and ate far too much cake 😉

For myself, it might have been one of the most changing weeks for me spiritually. I was challenged in so many ways but particularly when I realized that I am still struggling with a fear that God will lead me on a journey or take me somewhere challenging and start something amazing in me (with Andy) and then leave it up to us to finish it off. I realized over the week that saying that is even a fear is completely absurd. God finishes what He starts! That fear does not even exist and it never will! In the Bible it says “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 1:6}. This verse stuck in my mind last week and I it comforted me to know that God is a caring God who wants to finish what He starts. He doesn’t just play around with our lives for the fun of it, He is active and relevant in our daily lives. So I found it quite comforting.

Mr. and Mrs. Hallett!!!

Mr. and Mrs. Hallett!!!


Reading Family Church gang ready to dance the night away  :)

Reading Family Church gang ready to dance the night away 🙂

I came back from New Day a day early so that I could hop in a car 12 hours after arriving home (mostly spent sleeping) and drive up to a wedding right near Nottingham. It was a beautiful wedding! I have never been to an English wedding and I will tell you one thing…they are FANCY! Apparently this one was actually quite casual compared to most of them! WHAAAT!? Growing up in Alaska where the more casual your wedding the better/cooler it becomes (barn/mountain top weddings anybody? 4-wheeler as the getaway car please!). So it opened my eyes up to another part of the English culture. I absolutely loved it! So beautiful, amazing food, lots of dancing and I cannot say how excited I am to know Mr. and Mrs. Hallett as a married couple!

Already married ;)

Already married 😉

So it was all very exciting…until Andy got the stomach flu the night of the wedding…and spent all night throwing up in the hotel room (good thing it was just the two of us!). Poor guy, the drive home the next day was not an enjoyable one unfortunately. But we got him home, gave him some soup and nursed him back to health. All better now 😀

So quite an eventful/exhausting/wonderful week/weekend (how many /// can I possibly put into one post….hmmmmm). Now to get prepped for Ben and Coralie to come visit us on Wednesday!!!



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Even further South!…down to Portsmouth :)

Me and my love by the Victory!

Me and my love by the Victory!

Andy and Brian testing out the cannons :P

Andy and Brian testing out the cannons 😛

So last weekend Sheila and Steve took us off on another adventure! This time we went with their son Brian who is over visiting for a few weeks. We drove a few hours south to Portsmouth with the intent to see the Mary Rose but sadly all of the viewing slots for that day were taken up so we decided to go aboard the HMS Victory! She is famous for  the Battle of Trafalgar. It is also the boat the Lord Nelson got killed aboard. It was really cool to see such an old wooden ship. I have never gotten to go aboard a ship this old before. I loved imagining what it was like back when it was used in battles 🙂

Beautiful ship!

Beautiful ship!

So beautiful!

So beautiful!

After a few hours of exploring the ship, we took a trip across the bay to Portchester Castle, the best preserved Roman “saxon Shore” fort. Built back in the 3rd century, it has been built on bit by bit so you can still easily see the original layout and walls. It also has a massive field inside the outer walls, perfect for a picnic…too bad it was freezing cold and windy as ever or else we would have had a picnic. Instead we ate in the car while driving back to Reading 🙂

Love these guys :)

Love these guys 🙂

It was a great day out, fantastic to hang out with Brian for the day and Sheila and Steve are always a pleasure to be with.

<3 love him <3

❤ love him ❤

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Off to Alton Towers we go!

Love him! My roller coaster buddy <3

Love him! My roller coaster buddy ❤

Good group of roller coaster lovers :)

Good group of roller coaster lovers 🙂

So this weekend we took full advantage of our Merlin Passes and made the trek up to Alton Towers. This meant a 5:30am start which was a-ok with me since it meant we were going up to ride roller coasters. We went with James and Ed and it made for a great group! Unfortunately it was freezing cold which meant the cues were short but also meant our feet went numb pretty quick 😉 I’m ok with that trade off 😛 It was good fun, a day full of laughs, screams, and excitement. Tons of fun. Alton Towers is also so beautiful that it was good fun just walking around seeing everything.

Not too sure about this one...

Not too sure about this one…

The boys.... nuff said

The boys…. nuff said

Beautiful castle even at a theme park. Love England!

Beautiful castle even at a theme park. Love England!

Love him! My roller coaster buddy <3

Love him! My roller coaster buddy ❤

Cool Bridges!

Cool Bridges!

My favorite roller coaster!

My favorite roller coaster!

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PGA BMW European Golf Championship!

The Club House

The Club House

I think we'll take it!

I think we’ll take it!

Fancy Fancy Fancy! That is how I would describe our last outing. We were given some tickets to the PGA European Golf Championship sponsored by BMW by our friends Steve and Sheila. They had club passes so we got to go into the fancy castle-like club and get a massive buffet breakfast! It was AMAZING!!! Fanciest thing I have ever gone to in my whole life no doubt about it. We went and followed around some of the golfers while they were playing, enjoyed a few rays of sunshine, then we headed back to the club for lunch. Lunch was an event in itself! Every sort of seafood cooked every sort of way, all kinds of roast dinners, every sort of bread you could want, and three tables tiered with desserts. I could hardly believe it.

Me and Sheila, love her! <3

Me and Sheila, love her! ❤

We walked around some of the stalls that were selling fancy cars, Hugo Boss everything, golf trips around the world, and the most expensive watches I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe that some people were actually buying these things! We sat in the cars, tried on the watches, and enjoyed the free drinks 😀

What a day to remember! Got a nice tan out of it too. Even though I don’t know anything about golf, I’m not very fancy, and I will never have enough money to buy anything that was at the stalls I still loved every minute of it being in a culture very far from my own 🙂 What an awesome day, thanks Steve and Sheila! x

My dream car!

My dream car!

All the trophies sitting all shiny and new :)

All the trophies sitting all shiny and new 🙂

The first hole and the club house! EPIC!

The first hole and the club house! EPIC!

<3 <3

❤ ❤

Some of the fancy's playing golf ;)
Some of the fancy’s playing golf 😉

Me and my man catchin sun rays and feeling posh ;)
Me and my man catchin sun rays and feeling posh 😉

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Murder Mystery anybody? these are my friends....

Um…so these are my friends….

The choreographer/ballet dancer and sound man <3

The choreographer/ballet dancer and sound man ❤

So fun times at Life Group! My church has small groups and we usually talk about Jesus, pray together, read the Bible, and generally live life together but every now and then we step out of the box a little bit. Tonight was a bit different. We decided to take on characters that were completely foreign to us try to decide who burnt down the theatre and killed the production manager 😛 It was hilarious. We had so many laughs and tons of fun with accents 😀 It was a night to not be forgotten anytime soon. Love this group of people, you’re solid and FUN!!!!!!

The Russian/Journalist

The Russian/Journalist

The lovely Fairies!

The lovely Fairies!

mmm...plotting much???

mmm…plotting much???



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Happy Birthday Andy :)

Happy Birthday Andy 🙂



So we had quite an eventful birthday weekend for Andy. Started out with a blue birthday cake and some amazing homemade prawn-pesto-mozerella-pizza and some fun times with the youth from our church.

Yummy dinner :P

Yummy dinner 😛

Sunny Birthday

Sunny Birthday

Tea and books at Global Cafe

Tea and books at Global Cafe

Saturday was spent chilling out, drinking tea at Global Cafe, and eating awesome burgers with our friends. Sunday was a day of laying in the sun, and having picnics 🙂 It was a weekend of so much fun, relaxation and loads of fun celebrating another birthday with my man ❤ Happy Birthday Andy!IMG_1957

Sunny Birthday

Sunny Birthday

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Can't believe we were there!

DSC_0038Yesterday Andy and I had the most amazing opportunity to see some prehistoric architecture!

We started the day driving down to Stonehenge with our Canadian/Texan friends Sheila and Steve. It was really amazing seeing structures made by prehistoric cave men that are so massive and mysterious. It was just such an incredible experience seeing such an amazing historical mystery. We took more pictures than I know what to do with! I have never taken so many pictures of rocks in my life 😉 I really liked imagining what it must have been like so many thousands of years ago when all they had was animal bones for tools. They were absolutely massive and larger than I could have imagined  I just cannot imagine how they must have been able to move the stones! It was so hard to tear ourselves away but the freezing temperatures helped 😉

What an amazing structure

The pub that has a dungeon below it!After that we drove just a short ways to Salisbury which is the closest town to Stonehenge. Little did we know that there is tons of history, incredible structures, and cool stories. Everything from a market that has run continuously since the 1200s’ to pubs that have dungeons below them. A cathedral with the tallest spire in the UK and massive cattle market. It was really cool. We didn’t get to see nearly enough, touched the tip of the iceberg one might say 😉 We had a bit of lunch, toured the dungeon, had a bit of a walk around and headed off to our next stop!

Parts of the old torn down castle, Old Sarem

Salisbury is casually known as New Sarem because Old Sarem is an abandoned castle once re-built by

Walking around the courtyard of Old Sarem

William the Conqueror. With over 500 years of history (like everything else in that area…) it was so incredible walking around such ancient ruins. We read so many stories of it getting built, torn down, built again, torn down again, demolished, rebuilt, and abandoned once and for all.

AveburyWe headed off again, it already getting late and the sun beginning to set. We decided to stop off at Avebury, a town known for having one of the biggest stone circles in the UK. Ones that you can walk around on and climb around on. I was astounded by the intricacy of the placing of all the stones. It was so much fun walking a round them and seeing how big they are when you’re standing right next to them. I really enjoyed running up and down all the hills and the ditches dug out by the prehistoric cave men. It was a really cute town with so many stones everywhere! The circles wind around all the homes, backyards, and through the streets. I just couldn’t believe everything that I was seeing!!!


It was such a wonderful day. I loved hanging out with Sheila and Steve, seeing so many ancient structures and learning so much of the history involved with the prehistoric people group. I was so impressed over and over again. Definitely want another day out with Sheila and Steve. That was incredible!!!! I still cannot believe I got to see STONEHENGE!?!?!? 😀

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Back down South which means, another trip into London!

My two lovelies!

So we made it back down south! And straight back into work the next day. I am feeling much better at work now that we are not dealing with the Christmas rush. It is a fraction as busy and I’m actually able to perfect my milk steaming skills and work on some coffee art! So I’m really enjoying it a much more.

The first weekend we were back, we headed into London to have a coffee date with Alex and Natosha and to do some exploring with Brett and Vanessa.

We started the day at about 6 am to get ready to hop on a train into London. Had some wandering around trying to find a wee coffee shop in the basement of a building. Turned out to be absolutely brilliant! Cozy and cute, funky and yummy. Some good tasting lattes. The best part was definitely getting to see my two lovelies!

I love Alex and Natosha with all my heart. They delivered some forgotten belongings left in Alaska and some christmas presents from Karen and Ben/Coralie. It was so wonderful!

The greek spread stall! Then we headed to the London Eye to meet up with Vanessa and Brett. Unfortunately the Eye was closed for renovations so we decided that we should go to the London Dungeon! So we trekked through the underground over to London Bridge and had a wee walk around until we managed to find the dungeon. With our Merlin Pass Andy and I get into the dungeon for free and our friends get discounts off of their tickets so it makes it even more fun 😉 The dungeon was a bit scary but quite funny aswel. I was a bit disappointed compared to the Edinburg Dungeon which I went to with Kathleen. I think I missed having a lot of history involved with it. But I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

CHEESE!After the dungeon we went along to the food market right near the London Bridge. So many good smells! Yummy food and tons of samples. I love going around and seeing so many different types of foods all laid out and looking incredible. We finished off the day with a coffee at Vanessa’s brothers coffee shop. What a wonderful day of fun and friends! I really enjoyed it.


Now back into Reading life 😛Coffeeeee

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