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?