It had been seven years since we visited Europe.
That is a long time when the majority of my husband's family live between London, Edinburgh, and Nîmes, in Southern France.
We only had two weeks and three days, after deducting travel time, to spend with them. So it was truly was a whirlwind trip.
The first 24 hours we spent in London.
We awoke on Sunday morning in a quiet Airbnb room - I had thought it must have still been 4am judging by how dark it was. Realising it was already 7 in the morning, we quickly rised and readied, and the sight before my eyes was the sun bouncing off the many windowed terraces of a quiet street in Highgate.. what a dream come true.
We had breakfast with the family who live in Highgate and while the kids got dressed and cleaned Nutella from their faces, Alex took us for a walk down a path that used to be an old train line. A hidden forest oasis in the middle of London where many people were having their morning walk, and I spied my first sight of a bramble bush and was so excited.. probably more than a normal person would have been.
The plan was to spend the day in Kew Gardens, a place Jean and I had fallen in love with after seeing a David Attenborough documentary filmed there.
We took the subway there with the family, our little cousin Fergus held my hand the whole way to keep my hands warm for me. Though truly it was one of the warmest days - not what I had expected.
For most of the trip I carried my Fuji XT10 with me, choosing it for its light body weight and small size.
At the end of the day, after lots of skipping, and attempts to save the funny remarks of the young cousins in my mind, just as we left, there was a sun shower - a perfect end to the day at Kew- and we returned for dinner and soon left for Edinburgh.