A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Gift of Friendship

This past weekend has been non-stop for us, which has been a good change really as other than the Christmas rush, etc Andy and I have been taking it rather too easy on the weekends. 

The facial I had on Saturday was fantastic, its been a very long time since I've had one, and oh how times have changed.   I do believe I will be treating myself to another of these before the year is out. 

So after a good workout and a very relaxing and cleansing facial (part of my gift from Dawn & Robert) I was well ready for a night of good food and great company.  The chef for the evening was our dear friend Robert (the second half of my very generous gift) and let me tell you, you'd be hard pressed to find a better service offered at most high end food establishments.

I had an idea he was going to make me scallops, but never did I imagine they'd be big fat Canadian beauties that tasted as good as the presentation! (Well I kind of did, considering it was Robert who was cooking).

I tried to savour every bite and make it last as long as possible.  I haven't enjoyed this rarity since I was last home in Nova Scotia. (Scallops are not so easily obtainable here in this fishing town ;)

Of course, we chased everything down with a delicious wine that I can't wait to get my hands on the next time I indulge.   Andy and Dawn really enjoyed their starters as well:

Andy and his camembert cheese.

It was such an enjoyable evening, we just ate and drank, chatted and laughed the evening away.  We are making plans for an awesome summer, planning to do a little mountain climbing in the Lake District with these great folks, and have even started talking about the possibily of them joining us for a trek out to Nova Scotia the next time round.

The lovely Dawn and Robert

Two happy girls

Me and my man

Sunday was taken up with lunch out and grocery shopping, before we got ready to head over to Hull for the evening to spend time with Sophia, Paul and their little angel Madelana.  We were treated to another beautiful meal as Sophia always lays out a gorgeous Greek Feast for us.  After the weekend I honestly didn't think I was cabable of eating another bite.  (Like that would ever happen, lol)

Madelana after her bath - a little beauty; I could just hold on to this one forever

Molly was a happy girl herself as she accompanied us both evenings, considering these households both contain her best friends, Carter and Maebh.  Poor Maebh (Sophia's dalmation) cried after Molly as we were leaving.  You'd think I had the baby tucked up under my coat or something or maybe it was all the left-overs Sophia had us laden down with. 

And this weekend the celebrations are due to continue, as Andy is taking me away on Friday evening for the night - to do what is still a mystery I will fill you all in on after we return.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My hair is saying it all...so I don't have to

This week I've thought of a couple of different ideas to prattle on about but for some reason I just can't seem to summon the energy to put a half decent post together;  and that's pretty pathetic really as all I actually do is work all day, come home and cook dinner, maybe walk the dog (if one of the boys hasn't and besides, I like to walk with her), do a bit of tidy up, make lunches for the next day and squeeze in a workout.   So many other bloggers seem to do a lot more than I do and still find the time to post.  But they aren't called Jody :)

This week I've just been tired and I'm not the type of person that will go out of my way to wear myself down because everything I need to do can quite frankly, still be done tomorrow.  Tonight  like most other nights this week, I just feel like soaking in the bath.  I'm not even going to work out tonight although I really should to burn off the extra WW points I've used today, but you know what?  I'm not.  I could be eating a whole tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream but I'm not doing that either so I won't give myself too hard a time.

Tomorrow I'm only working  half a day. I will come home, take my girl out for a nice long walk, enjoy a light lunch and for the first time in five months, go to the salon and get my hair sorted.  Did you hear me??? Five months -wtf?  (Its a long story) And get this... on Saturday I'm being treat to a facial as an early birthday present and that's not going to come too soon let me tell you. I won't even tell you what else is going on this weekend (I'll save that post for another day).  Its just going to be so damn good to be looked after.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It never gets old

I've been living in England for six years now.  Most times I hardly notice the accents of my family here but every now and then I am reminded of it. 

For instance:

Today I was climbing the stairs to my bedroom and overheard the following conversation: 

Connor:  'Uggh...Alex!  You stink... you are such a TRAMP.  You are a disgusting tramp!!!'  (This was yelled in tone of voice that oozed such distaste.)

Alex:  Laughing his ass off.

Its just so funny to me because I was reminded of how us Canadians might say things such as 'you stink' and then throw in a 'gross' or 'disgusting' but throwing in the 'tramp' was so typically English I love it. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Slightly Bitter

As I'm writing this post I'm sipping a black coffee.  Black.  With no milk and no sugar.  I have been drinking it all week without sugar, but only now just decided to try it black as there was no milk on hand.  And its not that bad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Upside down  

Despite having an enjoyable, relaxing weekend I find myself trying to pull myself out of a sadness that snuck up on me yesterday around mid afternoon.  Luckily I had enough distraction to keep me focused: the lovely Beryl joined us for dinner (I cooked Beef Wellingon and we enjoyed a delicious raspberry and creme brulee cheeseake with some red wine for dessert); and afterwards I soaked in the bath and chatted to my mom.   The heaviness started to subside and I was feeling more optimistic; and then I woke up this morning feeling worse than I had yesterday.  I just wanted to crawl back into my cozy bed, pull the covers up to my neck and go back to sleep.

I don't know if it's just the time of year added to the fact that while out shopping with Andy I tried on a number of dresses and nothing fit, absolutely nothing.  I know I'm carrying some Christmas weight, but for God's sake I was good all last week and had managed to get to the gym four times. Four times people.  So I'm trying to just breath in, and breath out, and tell myself that its just a little set back and by later today I will be feeling fine, and back in control of my dietary intake.  Tonight I will force myself to go to the gym because no matter how I feel prior to working out, I mostly always leave the gym feeling better. 

Friday, January 08, 2010

Conflicting Snowballs

As most of you have probably been made aware, large areas of Britain have been hit with an unusal amount of snow.  In certain areas of Canada, most people would find what the Brits are calling the Big Freeze kind of amusing.  I do, and yet I don't.  I live here and I realize that England just isn't equipped for this kind of weather i.e. cars don't have winter tyres, salt/grit isn't readily available and you rarely see a plow; but at the same time I can't help but be thrilled with the small amount of snow that has fallen periodically over the last week, and continues to stick around. 

As an East Coast Canadian, I love the cold crisp air and winter-like scenery.  It's just enough really. I don't miss having to go out in the mornings and dig my car out from under two feet of snow, then get myself shovelled out of the drive before beginning a treacherous journey into the city.  I can't help but shake my head at the amount of schools that have closed and people who aren't turning up for work because of the icy roads;  I do realize that most are frightened and not used to these conditions, and I do get that this is not the norm to here and try to remember this as my SUV slips a bit on the side streets and I just laugh it off;  after all, this is small potatoes for me.  I do however wish we did have winter or all-season tyres because the tyres on our SUV are practically useless even with the 4x4 turned on.

Now... what I'm particulary enjoying is watching the children out enjoying this white novelty.  Molly sure as heck is enjoying it - we've all be having fun with the massive snowballs out on the field.

It is a bit of a mixed bag of fun though, watching the kids enjoying themselves;  While on one hand its great looking at them all playing in the snow, constructing massive snow balls and having snowball fights,  when they do something stupid like roll one of the big ones directly into the middle of our street (even though I did chuckle when Andy rang to warn me, the more adult and sensible side of me realized what a risk this could be); and driving home this afternoon I was often distracted watching the kids walking home from school firing snowballs back and forth across the road.  Although I love seeing the joy on their faces whilst they enjoy this rare occurence, I cringe at the thought of one hitting a car and cracking something.  Visibility was bad enough without having to worry about stray snowballs (I do realize that snowballs aren't likely to cause much damage, however there is a small possibilty of something going wrong). 

In the meantime, so long as this winter-wonderland lasts I'm going to make the best of it (cause thankfully it won't go on until April) and tomorrow Molly and I are going outside to make a snowman that will certainly rival that of the one next door.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Brew Full of Denial?

For all of my adult life I have not been a tea or coffee fan. I have been told by my mother that as a child I used to like dipping my toast in her tea but ever since tasting both as a teenager I was pretty certain that an addiction to either was never going to be a problem.

Now as many of you are aware this doesn’t mean that I only consume beverages that are good for me as I do tend to over-indulge on diet coke. I’ve always managed to excuse putting this toxin in my body by explaining to people that I at least don’t drink coffee or tea; that water and diet coke were mostly my beverage of choice. (Let’s not mention alcohol at this point in time)

A few months ago my mate Sarah and I happened to be on a training course together and as it was a bit chilly in the large room that the presentations were being conducted in, I thought I would try and drink a hot coffee loaded up with milk and sugar to warm up a bit. (I’d done this in the past in emergencies as I find that a lot of milk at least makes it like a latte; well sort of. And lattes I love – especially Hazelnut or Vanilla flavour). By mid afternoon I had drank two more coffees and had decreased the milk and sugar allotment by at least half.

I can now drink a coffee with just a bit of milk and only one sugar. My goal is to get it down to no sugar even though I love it milky and sweet; and to think I once scoffed at my husband, his family and even mine (I found out this past spring how much sugar my mom and Aunt take in their tea) for having such a sweet tooth. I do however not want that much sugar and as I have managed to reduce my sugar/milk intake over the last few weeks, I believe I can reach a point when I actually enjoy a coffee without sugar. Maybe. I’m still trying to figure out how I even let this happen, how I’ve actually come to enjoy a nice, hot cuppa coffee. I know my friend Sharon was floored the morning we had breakfast at the hotel after the Lincoln Christmas Market and she saw me drink a coffee. It's the norm to see me crack open a can of diet coke at the breakfast table.

But I’m not a coffee junky, no way; and like my diet coke, I drink it decaffeinated whenever possible. I drink these things because I like them… not because I have to. Ok when it comes to diet coke I will concede, I’m definitely addicted to that.

But I am not addicted to coffee.

I can think of the few good reasons to enjoy coffee besides its taste:

It’s way less fattening then a latte; it costs a fraction of the price of a latte; its sociable to meet friends for a coffee, or enjoy a coffee after a good meal out.

The not so great reasons for enjoying coffee:

It’s yet one more negative substance to put into your body; I have to think of the extra calories it adds to may daily caloric intake; it stains teeth (I know, so do diet coke and red wine); its just one more craving I did not need; it goes so nicely with chocolate.

If you can think of any more pro’s or cons, feel free to offer them up.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Sliding into 2010!

On New Year's Day, whilst a ham was roasting in the oven, Andy and I decided to coerce the boys to come for a walk with us and Molly in Hubbards Hills; in case there was enough snow we threw one of the sleds in the boot.

We weren't overly surprised at the number of people who'd also decided to take advantage of such a crisp New Year's Day and it turns out that the hills, although not quite covered in snow, were in fact icy enough for sledding. We had in fact seen a few people slip and fall including all three of my boys. Luckily enough, no one was hurt.

We found an awesome area for sledding and the boys found a few cast off pieces of cardboard that they used for a few goes, until Alex decided to go back to the car to get the sled. We stuck around for an hour or so watching the boys fly down that hill as Molly gleefully chased after them. Crowds of people often gathered to watch, joyfully laughing as Molly slipped all over the place trying to catch the boys. I don't know who was flying down that hill faster, Molly or them. Even more amusing was the way she would pick up the sled at the bottom of the hill and carry it back to me, wherever I happened to be standing. Eventually I had to go to the top of the hill to receive the sled and hold Molly back until the boys got themselves sorted.

They kept asking me to have a go but as I had hurt my back on Boxing Day, had to decline as much as I was dying to jump on that sled. Eventually Andy gave in and took a turn, laughing every moment of the way through. I held my breath as I was snapping photos, just praying my old boy wouldn't hurt himself.

As we were walking out of the park one family passed us and told us it was so great, watching the fun we were all having. It made us all smile, and more importantly, it just re-affirmed to me how blessed I am to have such wonderful men in my life, what a joyful life we all have. Molly and I sure are lucky girls.