Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Britain is Awesome! (part 1)

Just a few random things I ADORE about my new country.....

1) I'm growing my own tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes. In my own garden at the back of my house. And they're edible. Haha.

2) The cars here are so cute and tiny. None of this gargantuan monster-truck nonsense from back in Hawaii.  (Of course you have to have a small car in order to play the road chicken games that everyone engages in here. It's like playing super mario carts on miniature sized roads. Seriously.)

3) Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE brings their own shopping bags into the grocery store whenever they go shopping.

4) Whenever I want to, I can fly from London to Venice, Italy for only £11.99.  Ummm, yes please.

5) Curry!!!!  Saturday nights are curry nights here. Korma, Jalfreze, Rogenjosh, Tikki Masala....I love them all. Toast up a few pershwari naan breads and you've got yourself a plate full of delishisness.

Just a few things off the top of my head. I'm sure I'll have loads more to add....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are you even kidding me????

The most RIDICULOUS thing just happened to me.

I went shopping up the town centre today. I was sifting through the racks in this one store and finally found something which is remotely my style. (I say finally, because it's no secret that British fashion and I aren't the best of friends. I pretty much want to run screaming from everything I see on the shelves here. Not because I think I dress better than anyone here. Just very different.) Anyway, I finally found a little sun dress I wanted to try on.  I headed back to the dressing room where I was greeted by a smiling teenager.

"Would you like to try that on?" she asked brightly, even though it should have been obvious.

"Yes, please".

She reached out to hand me three pairs of panties. "You will have to bring these in with you."

"Ummm. What?"

"You have to bring in four items, and you only have one item to try on, so you'll have to take the panties into the room with you."

(pause.....) "Haahaahaaa!!!"

She didn't laugh with me. Hmmmm. Apparently this isn't a joke. But I thought I'd try again anyway.

"You're joking, right?" I asked. "I only want to try on one item. Just one. Just this dress."

Her smile was gone by this point. "I need to count how many items you have when you come out of that room, so you need to take four items in with you."

(I couldn't help this next bit....I really couldn't....)

"And you can't count to ONE?"

At this point, unsurprisingly, I get a hard glare and the panties are shoved into my chest. "These are the rules for the store. Do you want to try on the dress or not?"

I tried on the dress. But not the panties.

It probably took her three whole minutes to count the items when I came out. Tough stuff, this one to four business.

Have you ever heard of anything quite so ridiculous? Yeah, me neither.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A trip to the coast....and my very awesome new thing.....

Ok, so about two weeks ago my hubby and I pilled into the car with my in-laws for a trip to Great Yarmouth on the eastern coast of England. It was a few hours drive full of green countryside views, good conversation and a bit of music. Not for the first time I reminded myself how lucky I am that I find my in-law's company so agreeable. We spend a lot of time with them and I enjoy them ever-so-much. 

Anyway, off to the coast we went. We stopped at the northern boardwalk and had a bit of a wander down the strip.None of us were up for going on any of the rides, but we enjoyed the sights. Afterwards we stopped in at a fish and chip shop for some sea-side fish which was delish!

People trying to walk around in giant bubbles on a swimming pool. Ummmm......ok.

A wind farm out in the water. I've never seen one like that before!

My handsome husband with his Mum

Me, dressed in my very British leggings, with my Mom and Dad in law

Ok, so the reason we drove to the coast in the first place was to pick up a very awesome new addition to my life...... my new car!  Well, it's not's a 2002, but it's new to me. It's a Fiat Punto Sporting with after market Lexus lights, booming stereo installed, bluetooth enabled (which means I can talk handsfree in my car because the phone call comes through my cool is that!), and alloy wheels. It cost me a grand total of 800 pounds. (That converts to $1,191 US dollars) I won't have car payments because I bought it outright. I'm totally stoked on it. What do you think??????

Isn't it cute?   I love it!!!!!

In which I finally stop running around like a mad chicken....

Wheeww.....what a couple weeks that was!!!  Or, should I say "what a fortnight that was!"  Hahahaa.  Don't worry, I haven't gone completely British in my speech just yet. Although, I will admit to slipping into the speech patterns and using the new vocabulary as the people around me quite often. It's amazing how words I've used my whole life just don't seem to work anymore. I now call the car trunk a "boot" and the garbage pail a "bin" without even thinking about it. I also say "mince" instead of ground beef. It's just easier, isn't it.

One thing that does still confuse me is when people are talking about eating. To some people, "dinner" means lunch because "tea" refers to your evening meal. And I'm still trying to figure out if someone is offering me food or a drink when they offer me tea. I usually just say yes and take whatever they offer me.  :)

So, the reception is over with....and can I just say Thank god! It was fun and I'm super duper glad we had it, but boy was that a lot of work! I wore my long wedding dress again for most of the party - only changing into my cocktail dress at the end for a bit of dancing. Everyone told me how gorgeous the dress was, so that made me feel great and happy all over again that I chose it. It has so much beading on it that doesn't show up in pictures, so it was nice to have people actually see it in person.

In the reception hall we had a screen showing all of our wedding photos and honeymoon shots. Well, the good ones anyway.  hahaha. The color I chose for the reception was red. So my tableclothes were red and we had red and white lanterns hanging from the ceiling of the hall. I covered the tables with simple flower bunches in small jars as well as electric tealight candles in jars which I'd decorated with patterned vellum paper. Here are some quick pics I snapped with my camera before the night started. (For some reason my camera was set up incorrectly and refused to take pictures when the lights were dimmed, so I don't have a ton to share right now....other people took loads though, so hopefully they pass them on.)

Pete and I chose this song as our first dance song. It was fabulous and romantic, (if just a tad uncomfortable dancing together while tons of people stared at us). Here's a psychedelic photo taken with my possessed camera of us dancing together....
The evening was memorable for a lot of reasons, but the one thing that was a MAJOR hit, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, was the candy buffet. All of my guests absolutely, unabashedly LOVED it. Young and old, everyone was up there exclaiming over it and giggling over the different sweets. Since the candy buffet was my wedding favor for the guests to take home, I provided them with little paper cones with string handles (which Pete and I made while we watched a movie one night), and when we opened the candy table up, everyone was over there filling their cones with as much as they could fit in. Some even took three or four cones! It was a mad house! Too funny. We had a mixture of British candy, and American candy that I'd brought over special from Hawaii just for the night. To display the suckers (lollies), I stuck the sticks down into floral foam shapes so they would stand up in a cute little bubble display. And Pete and I had a blast looking for all of the glass candy dishes from a boot sale one Saturday morning, weeks ago.  I got loads of compliments on the sweet table idea (no one had heard of it before...go figure) and everyone was telling me how it was the highlight of the night. I'm glad I managed to take a few pics before the candy crazy crowd devoured it, because I think the display turned out pretty cute. (as always, click on the pics to enlarge them)
 The food on the cold/hot food buffet turned out great also. We went with the British/American theme on there as well. Because some of the food would be unknown to my guests, we made little food signs for every dish, attaching flags to each sign to let people know where the recipe came from.
I made a huge batch of bbq pulled pork. No one had ever tasted it before and it was eaten down to the very last crumbs. I even had a few people asking me for the recipe. Among many other things, I also contributed a taco dip, some ham and cheese wrap roll-ups made with ranch dressing (they don't have that here) and bbq cocktail weenies. I made my own bbq sauce and it turned out super fab. (yay me!)

Overall, the reception was a huge success. And I wasn't nervous at all since the wedding had already happened. It was nothing but just having fun. I think about my friends Danielle and Blake who both have upcoming weddings.... and on one hand I feel jealous of them because they still get to go through their big day, but on the other hand I'm not jealous at all. That's a lot of work, and quite frankly I'm relieved it's over.

Wish you all could have been here to celebrate the night with me!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hold your breath

Sorry I've been so quiet......the wedding reception is zooming up in just three days. I have SO much I'm trying to do everyday. Don't mean to ingore you all.....just way busy.

Things to look forward to when I return next week:

1) I finally got my wedding photos in the mail. I'll let you all know where you can go to view them.

2) I have a running list in my head of things that I love about England. I'll write about them.

3) I also have a list of things that do my head right in. I will definitely be waxing on about those little buggers as well.

4) I'll have new pictures from the reception party to share!

5) I have an AWESOME new thing in my life. I can't wait to show and tell.   :)

Again, sorry for being so preoccupied with the reception party. I am making most of the food for the buffet, as well as most of the decor, so I've been a busy girl. 

Talk soon!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A long weekend catch-up

Today I finally had my appointment at the bank. I am now the proud owner of my very first UK bank account. Yippee. It only took one hour twenty minutes to set it up. Yep. That's right. 80 minutes to set up an account. They asked me loads of questions, right down to what are my favorite pastimes and hobbies. Ummmm, why do you want to know?  Riiiiiidiculous.  Anyway, it's sorted now.

Pete picked me up from town on his way home from work so I wouldn't have to hoof it all the way home. To say thank you, I made him sailsbury steak for dinner. He'd never heard of it before, but he sopped up his whole plate, so me thinks he liked it. Being in a new kitchen, with new ingredients and an oven that cooks WAY differently than what I'm used to.....let's just say successful dinners are things to write home about. I'm super pleased whenever I have a win in the kitchen. :)

Unfortunately, it was back to work today for Pete....we had a bank holiday yesterday, we had three whole days at home together. Lovely. We worked on the hallway a bit, tore out some of the ceiling and opened it up a little. Sounds drastic, doesn't it?  Next weekend we will make good the walls, sanding them down and doing a bit of plaster work. After that we'll throw up some liner paper and I'll get to work painting a fabulous mocha color. I'll be sure to post pictures when it's all done.  Also this weekend, I found a little under the counter freezer in Friday Ads (like Craigslist, but a UK version). It was super cheap and I was longing for a second freezer for all the goodies I want to eat. So we bought that puppy up in a quick hurry and it is now sitting in a little tucked away cubby in my kitchen - already half full. :)

Tonight is the second night of Britains Got Talent semi-finals. Whoop whoop! Pete and I like to sit there together and make fun of comment on all of the acts. Usually we record it so we can go and take our baths (this IS England, after all) and then we make ourselves some desert, cuddle up on the couch and press play. A lovely night in. this heaven?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A belated birthday surprise

One of the fun things my hubby planned for my birthday weekend had to be postponed due to me feeling less than well that weekend. It was rescheduled for this last Sunday and I figured I would post a few pics to show everyone.
Pete didn't tell me where we were going, so I had no idea how to dress. But it was scorching hot outside, so I wasn't going to be wearing much! I decided on a skirt and a tank and crossed my fingers that it would be appropriate. After a short drive we pulled into the gates at a local historic house, I was well impressed just by the gatehouse and the grounds, but at the end of the drive, this is the sight that greeted me:
Gorgeous, no? Pete had booked us in for High Tea in the courtyard. :) We found our way inside and picked a table in the sun (as Pete says, when the sun shines in England, you don't hide in the shade!). We were brought finger sandwiches, a selection of small cakes, scones with clotted cream and of course a huge pot of the most delicious tea I've ever tasted. It was divine!
After tea, we walked around the hall and checked out the grounds....

A very fine surprise!!! I love living here! Just the fact that something like this is here for me to enjoy....what an amazing thing!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A heavenly weekend

What a fab weekend! The weather was hot, hot, hot! Even warmer than Maui weather, if you can believe it. I didn't want to spend anytime indoors. :)

So here's what we did with our gorgeous weekend.....

On Saturday morning we woke up early so that we could drive down to the town that has a Costco and Ikea. We wanted to look at stuff for around the house as well as price some food stuff for our wedding reception. You would be proud of me! I drove almost the entire way there. Can we all just stop a moment to appreciate how difficult it is for me to drive on the wrong side of the car, on the opposite side of the road in an unfamiliar place with completely strange markings on the road and the only way to know where you're going is if you can read these confusing signs in a flash while you drive past them going 70 miles per hour:
Yeah. Not easy. I stopped just outside of the city, because I didn't want to be trying to drive in an area that I was completely unfamiliar with, and I did take one tiny little bad turn on a roundabout (unsurprisingly), but I managed to get us there in one piece, so...well done me!

On our way to the Ikea I saw this mecca of shopping. Wished we would have had more time to go in there and poke around. That's the largest Asda I've seen yet!
We had a blast walking around in Ikea picking up odds and ends for the house. I got a fab glass salad bowl for only 1.99  What a deal. And just look at these adorable glass bottles for my window sill. Cute, no?
After Ikea we headed to Costco and spent WAY more than we wanted to, but we had a great time. There were some disappointing differences between the Costco I'm used to and the UK version...mainly that they didn't have any Root Beer, or yummy tri-tips, or bottles of Hidden Valley ranch dressing....and - if you can wrap your head around it - NO mocha freeze at the concession stand. (I know! Sacrilege!) But overall, it was the same Costco I love and I'm super pleased to have it here.

Then it was a quick drive home again to make it in time for tea with the parents. A yummy curry of course. We ate it outside on the patio in the garden and talked about wedding reception plans. It was a wonderful time. :) Then my wonderful husband suggested we take his Dad's convertible for a lovely drive to take advantage of the warm evening weather. We drove rather leisurely on a bunch of back roads so I could see more of the countryside and we eventually ended up at a pub, where we sat down by the river and shared a bottle of cider. Here's some pictures that I took along the way.... (click on them to enlarge)

We woke up early again on Sunday morning because we wanted to hit a car boot sale. What fun! Here's a picture of roughly one forth of the market. It just kept going and going! There were loads of books that I would have loved sifting through if I'd been on my own.  I can't wait to go again!
 That's all for now.....xxxx

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An unfortunate side affect of getting married.... that now, I have to shave my legs more often.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a colorful, sunny day....

I freely admit, my new garden needs a bit of work. Ok, more than a bit. What it really needs is for me to spend about three days out there weeding, cutting back, planting and mowing. But I'm one of those sad fools who doesn't know the difference between a weed and a non-flowering plant. Ugh.

So I'm waiting for my MIL to come over and walk me through everything. In the meantime, here's a shot of her immaculate, colorful, gorgeous back garden. This is where I go to have lunch....Isn't it inviting?

I'm not going to embarrass myself by posting a photo of mine quite yet...but I do love me a spot of color in the house, so I like to have vases full of beautiful stems. One of my absolute favorite things about living here is the flower shops. Look what you can get for two pounds!

Ok, so there's a small glimpse of my back garden, but whatever. Can you believe those purple flowers are two weeks old! The amazing never dying flowers of England. :)

Its supposed to get up to 23 degrees today. I'm walking up to the shops today to take advantage of the delicious sun. I might even wear short sleeves! Whoop whoop!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm alive!

Sorry for the LONG absence. I've been busy settling in and enjoying my new life. Plus, it took until now to get my laptop up and running with the new system. Try to imagine my frustration over no internet! Actually, the last thing I wanted to do was be on a computer, so it really wasn't that horrible.

I watch the news everyday and marvel over my good fortune to have arrived just ahead of the new ash cloud havoc. The flights were long, but uneventful. Thankfully every connection was made perfectly and my seating assignments ended up being rather good. When I arrived in Heathrow airport I was a bundle of excitement and anticipation. My two carry on bags were SOOOOOO heavy, and the walk to immigration was (no joke) a mile long. My shoulders were nearly ripped out of their sockets due to hauling those two bags all that way! When I finally arrived at immigration, I showed the officer the visa page on my passport. He had lots of questions....mostly revolving around was I a victim of an arranged marriage. He seemed to get hung up on the fact that I was moving from Hawaii to the midlands of England. Surely no one would do that! I just kept a smile on my face and gave him all of the information he probed for.  (thank god I could remember Pete's birthday!) After a little bit of grilling, he finally stamped my passport for date of entry on my visa and sent me on my way. Then it was around the corner to collect my bags (which I just stacked on a handly little luggage cart), and another long hallway to go meet Pete.  I came out of the tunnel looking for him, anxious as all hell. And he was there.....smiling and waving at me! I rushed over to him and gave him a massive hug and told him "hello husband".  He said: "hello wife", and we were all giggling and happy. It was awesome.

So far life has been quiet but enjoyable. Pete goes to work everyday and I stay home taking care of household stuff and working on wedding reception crafts. Its strange going from a tiny studio apartment (let's be honest.....a closet, really) to a three bedroom, two story house. It's a lot of room. But it's a nice change.

I must with my husband has been HEAVEN so far. Being able to talk to him at all times during the day is a new experience. Waking up next to him and going to sleep in his arms is beyond wonderful. A luxury payoff for all of the long months of long distance. We cook dinner together every night, and take walks hand in hand up to the local parks and shops. I couldn't be more happy or content. This newleywed business is pretty darn great.

I've walked up to the town centre a few times by myself while Pete is at work. Great shops up there! And Pete has insisted that I start driving, so I've been behind the wheel whenever we go anywhere. He had to twist my arm in the beginning and I was rather cantankerous....but I'm glad he insisted. I feel much more confident in the car and I am even planning on going out on my own pretty soon. I'll probably freak out everytime I get to a roundabout, but at least I will have mobility. Cross your fingers that I don't smack into someone on a zebra crossing.

We've gone over to my in-laws house for dinner a handful of times already. It is so nice having a family again! My new mom makes the most killer lamb roast dinner on Sundays. Complete with yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. Yum to the E. They came over to ours for a curry dinner last week, but thankfully Pete did all the cooking for that. I'd rather wait a bit before I spring my kitchen inadequacies on them. I did try a batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday (the same kind I've made literally thousands of times before in my life), but ended up with flat, oily bricks. Toyed with the idea of throwing them all away before Pete came home from work, but in the end decided he needed the laugh, so I left them on the counter.

I haven't started looking for a job yet. I don't want to think about that quite yet. I am just trying to settle in a bit more. The other day I was on the phone setting up an appointment with the bank so I could go in and create a new account. The lady asked me if I want a "current" account. I'm all....."yeah, I would like it to be usable, not closed!"  She laughed and said: "Oh, Current here means the same thing as Checking does in America". Hmmmmm. It's the little things here and there that remind you this really is a different country, and I think I might want to get my barrings just a bit more before I launch into the work force.

Thank you to everyone who wrote me while I was on my little sabbatical. Sorry it took so long to get back to normal....but I'm back now and I have lots of things to share. I'll try to remember to take pictures too!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

I can't believe how old I am.

But whatever! I'm healthy and happy and in love and life is GREAT! :)

Here are the cards my fabulous husband, my sweet Mum and Dad, and my brand new sister-in-law gave me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dear Maui.....

Dear Maui,
It's been real. It's been fun.
Your beaches suck compared to Kauai. And the boys here aren't very smart. But my god, you do put on an excellent sunset now and again. The view from Haleakala is killer, the fish tacos pretty much rule the world, your whale population kinda rocks, and the weather is somewhat acceptable as well.

I have a feeling, no matter where else in the world I end up living, I'll never see signs like these again, so at least you have a sense of humour.

Here's some of my favorite island pics.....

So long, Maui. You will be missed.

No talking please....

Ok, my phone has officially been cut off. If you text me, I wont get it. I'm not ignoring you.

I won't be looking at email until Friday which will be torture. I've never NOT had my phone.....

But if you really love me, you'll have an email waiting for me! :)


Letters I can't send.....

Dear fellow airline passengers,
Please explain what is so challenging about exiting a plane that has just taxied to the gate. I do not understand why you all just stand there, nor why it takes eons to grab your bag from the overhead bin. This really shouldn't be so complicated. There's only one door. Move towards it.



Dear fellow post office customers,
Seriously. You need to fill out the forms before you get to the window. If you haven't got your stuff ready to go, you should kindly remove yourself to the back of the queue. As it happens I don't want to watch you tape up that box. And no, I don't think I should have to wait behind you while you write out that graduation card to your niece who just finished school. Get out of my way.
I mean, seriously people.



Dear previous landlord,
You suck. Trying to charge me for a light cover which was missing before I even moved into the place is fourteen shades of wrong.


The Last Supper....

I took Linda out tonight - to say thank you for her over-the-top generosity in letting me crash at her place while I'm waiting on my flight out. She's been more than nice to me! We went to a lovely restaurant called IO's which is on the water front in Lahaina town. It features all organic cuisine which is grown here locally, and the food is AaaaMazing. We both ordered the Filet Mignon which was served with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, steamed root vegetables and three oh-so-scrumptious sweet potato "chips". The steaks were swimming in a red wine reduction glaze and were cooked to perfection. So tender it was a crime.
We split a desert. I can't even remember what it was called....but it was delicious! I ate most of it. Because we all know how much of a heifer I am when it comes to sweets.
Lucky us....there was a Luau going on right next door, so we got to listen to some great island music and watch the hula dancers, but didn't have to sit through the crap luau food. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! We had a nice gab about life and this awesome new adventure I begin tomorrow. She's just as excited for me as I am! I'm so glad we went out....a lovely evening all around.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Today's indulgence....

Not really an "island" indulgence, but certainly not something I'll be having again anytime soon.....

Long live the bell. You will be sorely missed.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The final countdown

Ok, so I bought my plane ticket. I fly out on Wednesday afternoon. But can I just tell you....I'm freaking out! This means I now have only three days left before I leave Maui for good. Three days to finish all of my packing, give away everything else, sell my car, shop for my final island goodies, close my accounts, finalize my bills......
Sheesh. I am going to be a busy girl.

But in the end it will all be worth it. Actually living with my husband will be such a treat after all of this time apart.

As part of my personal goodbye to Hawaii, I'm doing some of my favorite things one last time. Here's my island indulgence for today:
Mmmmmm. Shave ice! I got my usual three flavors: Dreamcicle, Coconut and Pina Colada. Of course I had the ice cream on the bottom. Yum to the E. Gawd I'm going to miss the shave ice! I want to go to Leilani's again for one last fish taco. But I don't think it would be the same without Danielle. I would feel lonely eating there alone. So I'll probably skip that experience. 

I did pick up one of those little garden spinner things at the shop on front street though. It will look fab in my new English Garden. :)  

Tomorrow I need to drive to the other side and pick up a few last minute things. Pete is insisting that I ship out some coffee. Actually, he didn't have to twist my arm on that one. I'm sure I'll go into shock when my Kona Coffee supply dries up. The longer I can stretch that out, the better. What else.....Oh, I have sixty dollars worth of credit at Elise, so I need to go in there and find something to use that up. Hopefully I find a sixty dollar ring or something. I can't really fit anything else into my suitcases right now. :-)

Trying to remember all of the little things you do when you move. I'm sure I'll forget something big. Ooooo.... I gotta remember to cancel my Netflix. If you can think of something I'm likely to forget...let me know.

I'm frazzled and stressed......but I'm SUPER happy.