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

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Doug Heffernan would hate it

In March 2011 I made the decision to cut my hair into a bob and have spent the last 15 months growing it back out.  I have also been slowly making my way back to a lighter shade and think I'm finally there with the colour; a light brown with lots of blond steaks.  Like it normally does, my hair has grown quite quickly and this time around I've taken steps to ensure it stays fairly healthy by using good hair products and not straightening it all the time.  It's still very thick and frizzy;  not curly, not straight, often driving me to distraction.  I've lost interest in  trying to always have perfect hair via straightening and curling and wanted to find an easier way to acheive pretty styles...  I found the idea for a 'sock bun' on pinterest one day when I was looking around.  The tutorial promised that if I put my hair in the bun at night and released it in the morning it would come tumbling down around my shoulders in long, loose curls. Yeah... not quite.  But I'm not completely dismayed by this because I've taken to wearing my hair in the bun during the day:

It's super easy to do, looks tidy and keeps my hair from getting damaged.  I get loads of compliments on it, with people often saying how perfect it is and asking me how I do it (which I have to admit I like; I don't often get asked questions about hair styles, especially from the younger generation.)  From the front view I'm not sure it looks so great, but I'm happy to roll with this. 

And I swear the bun thing started before I actually became a Gran. 

 Let's hope it helps to keep my hair healthier while at the same time allowing me a cute, easygoing style, befitting of my roll as glamorous gran.  I needn't even bother to try and straighten it at the moment due to the high humidy (don't confuse this with heat - it has been damp and humid around these parts for far too long).  I straightened it yesterday and completely wasted my time; within an hour it was all frizzed up. I honestly wish I could find a product to rectify this situation. Feel free to let me know if you have a remedy.

Friday, June 22, 2012


When I'm struggling with low mood, I should think of this funny lady:

Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep. Nine if you're ugly." —Betty White
Still making us laugh after all these years...

When I don't want to consider working out I will think of this guy:
Spencer West

'I set out to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro not only to redefine what's possible for me, but to inspire others to overcome obstacles and challenges of their own, and to give back to communities, that need our help.' - Spencer West

What an amazing, inspirational man. Read more about his amazing journey here.

Happy Friday everyone - enjoy your weekend :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Closed In

The office building where I work has major internal issues when it comes to heating.  In the winter our office is like Siberia and we have to layer up and wear fingerless gloves;  all winter and most of the spring I have been waiting for the weather to turn warmer so that the office might become more tolerable. (The rest of the building has problems too but the room I'm in is the worst.) In late May we had about two days of comfort before the building warmed up and now it is pretty much suffocating in our office.  With two fans on full-time (blowing the hot air around) we still have people walk in and comment about how hot it is; The rest of the building is overheated right now as well but at least there are windows that can be opened.  As my boss has been on holiday for the last few weeks I've been sitting in her room off and on, yet that room is still quite stuffy.  I'm leaving work every day with a headache and feeling completely lethargic;  it's difficult to maintain a healthy diet and exercise because of it.  Last evening I just wanted to sleep when I got home but common sense told me to get out in the fresh air and walk Molly - it didn't convince me to work out though, which didn't help matters;  my common sense usually knows what it's talking about, shame I didn't listen to it more.  What might make the heat inside a tad bit more bearable would be if it was actually hot outside;  I doubt summer is ever going to get to England.

OK, whinge session over; I swear.  If you haven't already left to go read about Mary Kate's older man or troll Pinterest I thank you. I've often wondered before if I should continue to write but I'm assured that 1 or 2 of you are still interested so I will persevere.  It makes my husband happy, if no one else... I think he still has a dream that I'm going to eventually publish something that will make money.  However as I've taken no steps to cultivate this dream, it will have to stay just that.  Besides having something to dream about makes life more bearable most of the time. Although speaking of dreams, if I actually managed to retain one or two of the saga's that visit me at night I could make a lot of money in the publishing world;  I'm usually as entertained in my sleep as I am during an episode of Dexter or True Blood;  I'm definitely more enraptured by what visits me in my sleep than what I've recently read on the pages of the Shades of Grey series.  

In between trying to cool myself off at work and endeavouring to maintain a healthy life-style (meaning exercise and cooking healthy every day) I've been making plans for our upcoming Canada Day Party (while simultaneously crossing my fingers that the weather smartens up prior to next week), looking forward to a brief visit from my friend Roisin and her kids (they are detouring to us on their way to Ireland), and trying to get invitations ready to send out for my in-law's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party that we are hosting the Saturday after we return from Canada (I know!).  I must admit, Pinterest has been my favourite website these days as I look for inspiration;  well Pinterest and Amazon.  I've been busy ordering a lot of party supplies online as I'm reckoning on this year being our best Canada Celebration to date (although I will sorely miss my brother this year).  My hubby and I are going to get our party on, instead of running ourselves ragged being brilliant hosts.  I figure we can do both right?

In relation to party planning I'm seeking your help faithful readers, in relation to cocktail recipes.  I often find gorgeous cocktail recipes on Pinterest but most of them call for some kind of frozen concentrated juice, which we unfortunately don't get over here. Do you think regular juice would work in its place?  I suppose I could just give it a try which might make more sense, as I have a feeling that the few of you who who actually follow me are based on the other side of the Atlantic, where these frozen drinks are readily available.  Doubly annoying? It isn't even something I can bring back with me on my trips home.

I know, I know, I said I wouldn't whinge and here I am doing it again.  It's the heat, I swear. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

It's not really necessary

Our Connor has hit a couple of milestones recently; yesterday he finished his last official day at upper school (education is very different in the UK).  He has three more exams to go back for at the end of the month and then that's it, he's off to college in the fall to study graphic design. 

Yesterday, he turned 16.  Yup...that's it, our youngest is growing into a man.  I don't know if I'm ready for this.  I hope he stays the easy-going and humorous boy he has always been.  Our only hope is that he dreams big and fulfills every one.

To celebrate his school leaving and upcoming birthday, I decided to make a batch of these:

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
(a favourite of the kids)

Connor, who has always been keen to assist me when I'm baking (I had kind of hoped he would decide on a culinary style training course there for awhile - I mean he is the right age for the next up and coming Jamie Oliver - but that's only my daydream).

So, back to the baking: we were getting on with the measuring and mixing.  I put our stick of butter in the microwave to melt and as I was crossing the room to get something out of the fridge I heard an odd, crackling noise.  Connor stopped the mixer when I suddenly turned to look at the microwave and let out a yelp.  The inside of the nuke was on fire... I quickly turned it off to the sound of Connor laughing.  He said he couldn't help it as the noise I'd made sounded like a wounded animal. (I personally thought it was more like the cry of a warrior princess).

Either way our microwave with the deluxe grill option (that was only used once - the grill, not the microwave itself) is now out of commission. Andy and I both like the way the counter looks without it.  The last time I had a good clean up I tried to rearrange the kitchen so I could have the use of that corner, but the cumbersome microwave never worked anywhere else;  We've agreed for the time or being to not replace it.  So far I'm not missing it other than the fact that it doubled nicely as a bread bin.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Merlin's Green

I've never been able to understand why England doesn't have a national holiday on St George's Day.Not when you look at it from this angle especially:  Ireland has St Patrick's Day, Scotland has St Andrew's Day, and of course North Americans have national holidays on Canada Day and Independence Day.  

Yet the government of this small Island doesn't let it's citizens enjoy a day off to celebrate it's history.  Hrmmm something just isn't right about that.

Anyway, regardless of this, with Tuesday being the diamond anniversary for Queen Elizabeth's reign, there were a ton of celebrations taking place across the country.  You might have managed to catch a few of the televised events yourself if you were at all interested.  Because the Jubilee was so close to our May Bank Holiday, they postponed May Day by a week to coincide with the Jubilee Bank Holiday, giving us a four day weekend, which is always a good thing.  Shame the weather was the pits.

On Saturday evening the community all came together in our little village and had a mini festival of sorts; there was a bouncy castle, face-painting tent, climbing wall as well as archery to name only a few of the stalls that were spread across our field.  We were impressed to see a stage being set up, which featured a number of performers throughout the evening.  There had been signs posted around the village for a number of weeks announcing a 'Festival on Merlin's Green'.  Ironically most most of us had no idea that the central field on our estate where dogs and kids usually congregate actually had a name.  

I think what impressed me the most were the amounts of family and friends who had come out in support of the event; most sporting red, white and blue paraphernalia as they drank Pimms, beer and champagne.  Some even had mini bbq's going.  It was a great feeling of community, despite the cold wind blowing and lack of sunshine. 

We all went over to check out the festivities, however Alex and Connor gave in early on and took Jayden back to the house.  Bonnie braved it out with me and Andy for about a half hour longer before we packed up ourselves and headed in to watch a movie.  

If we'd been on our own, I think we would have stuck it out with the help of a few more beer.

On Monday Andy, Connor and I met up with the Gallivan's for a two hour walk with the dogs through one of our local jaunts; we finished the walk properly with a cold pint at a quaint pub.

(I never tire of seeing wild poppies growing in the fields)

We headed over to the Gallivan's on Monday night to watch the Queen's Concert as we cheerfully sipped on champagne while eating crisps, cheese and pate.  

Not a bad celebration at all.

As I said earlier, this country should really come together once a year to celebrate itself as a nation. 

Until the government realizes this, my friends and family will have to settle for celebrating the birth of my home country once a year, at our annual Canada Day BBQ, which is now only a few weeks away. (It's not a day off here, but it's one great big bang up.)