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

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'm no Ben, or Jerry for that matter...

I'm so relieved that today is the last day of February.  Despite the fact that we had a wonderfully luxurious holiday and have managed to spend quality time with our UK family and friends, the last few months have been mixture of good and the not-so-good-at-all.    

March brings us that little bit closer to spring and with spring often comes new beginnings and fresh starts - hope even.  Spring in England usually means sunny days with flowers blooming in just about every direction you could turn. Well except if you happen to take a walk up the path near our house.  Then you just get the pleasant sight of bags full of dog mess hanging from the trees and a ton of rubbish strewn throughout the bushes.  It looks lovely, honest; or so the local council would have you believe because they don't seem to see anything but flowers and fairies if they bother to come check it out. Most years they may decide to take a bit of notice but by then the lush green foliage will have grown back, conveniently covering all the trash and mess leading them to believe the local villagers are just tale-tellers. Or perhaps the Rubbish Fairies really have done a tidy up while we weren't looking.  

Anyway, even if the sunny skies of spring only last a month or two before they open up and wreak havoc on us for believing for one moment that the good weather could possibly extend into summer, then so be it.  At this point in time I will take it.  

In other news, Andy went to work away this week for the first time in months.  It's been a bit of adjustment for me & Molly but we have been keeping ourselves fairly occupied in the evening. For instance, last night Dawn and Carter came over.   

I made these for our dinner: 

Loaded Sweet Potato

They were low fat, healthy and tasty.  I hardly even used any grated cheese as the rest of the toppings were flavourful enough. 

The recipe can be found here and it's worth a try, trust me.  Even if you aren't health conscious and need a new recipe to break the monotony. They are so good.

We then played a few rounds of Skipbo in between trying to make a chocolate & coconut milk (lactose-free) ice-cream.  Key word here is 'trying'.  It didn't seem to amount to much when we were done but I haven't talked to Dawn yet for the final result. The instructions for my ice-cream maker (which I've called Elmo) said it wasn't meant to immediately be the consistency of ice-cream but surely it should have been a bit thicker than what we ended up with.  

Tonight I will endeavour to make a Ben & Jerry's recipe for Andy's return.  Fingers crossed it turns out, although I think it might take a few tries before I get the hang of it.   If you have any experience with making ice-cream I would welcome some pointers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Champagne Confessions

I spent all of Sunday looking pretty much like this and feeling ten times worse.

(Brooke Shields plays Rita Glossner on one my favourite sitcoms, The Middle)

My friend Sarah and I had such high expectations for our day out on Saturday for a belated 40th celebration;  She had a pocketful of money that she was excited to spend on me.   It was an insane amount of money and I didn't feel completely at ease about how much she was willing to spend but she was adamant it was for our enjoyment; I felt very spoiled and very indulged. We started off at the salon where I had my nails done, followed by a relaxing back massage.

What was then supposed to be just some leisurely shopping followed by champagne and cake turned into a champagne crisis. Instead of picking up two slightly tipsy women, my husband ended up collecting one tipsy woman, Nicky, who had come to join us right about the time we should have called it a day, and two women who had metamorphosed into a hot mess. 

My husband doesn't mind lots of friendly kisses from my friends, or even letting them cuddle him on the odd occasion when there has been a bit of alcoholic indulgence (what man wouldn't enjoy the attention).  He's even aware that we sometimes give each other a fond kiss or two and doesn't seem to mind that either.  However being vomited on by my girlfriend isn't his idea of a brilliant Saturday night.  Perhaps this would be expected of one's teenage offspring, but not by a grown woman. So big oops there.  

I was ungracefully in bed by 8:30 pm;  Waking up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck and very unclear  about the past evening's activities is something I had meant to leave behind me in my obnoxious 20's.  For the most part I have laid that idiot to rest and have turned into a mostly respectable married wife and step-mom who enjoys taking care of herself and her family.  As I said in my previous post, I like to eat and I like to drink, but not to the point of over-indulged inebriation.  Most of you know how much I love to have a good laugh and this is something that I often do, without the help of alcohol and this is the way I intend to roll now that I'm a middle aged granny.  Sure I can indulge a little now and then, but not to the point where I'm swimming in a vat of wine with no idea of how to get back to the surface. 

You will be pleased to know that I'm now back to my regularly scheduled self; eating well and exercising while I think up great ways to thank my husband for being such a trooper last weekend. I will spare you most of the ideas I've come up with , however he has requested that I get cracking and put my new ice-cream maker to work. (Something that will probably turn into a post of its own, considering I've never made ice-cream before.)

I thought I'd share this shameful story with you because I wanted you to know that even I can screw up sometimes.  (Something I did frequently in my early years, but not so much now that I'm a respectable lady woman of a certain age ;) 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Waitin on that four o'clock whistle

When we were in the Maldives I had that Friday Feeling every day; It was certainly made easy on an evening like this:  

Sitting on the edge of the Asian Wok sure wasn't hard work, as we watched an incredible sunset while shark's swam in the shallows below us and we sipped on our yummy cocktails.  I love this picture - it captures the whole feeling of our trip and even my naff hair doesn't spoil it.  I mean can you see my tan? 

Getting back into the groove hasn't been the easiest, especially after the loss of Andy's sister, so I've been keeping fairly busy. It's only been a four day work for me (I had Monday off to help Beryl celebrate her 85th birthday) but I'm really glad it's Friday. 

On Tuesday night I tried making Pad Thai for the first time, meaning the sauce wasn't from a jar, and was impressed with my efforts.  Even Andy ate it and he's not much of a noodle man.

(I didn't think of snapping a picture until after I'd packed up for my lunch the next day.) 

After work my number one man and I are meeting with Rob & Dawn at our local for a bite to eat and Friday drinks, which will be really good as the four of us haven't had a proper catch up since we got back from our holiday.  Tomorrow my pal Sarah and I are heading out for a few spa treatments followed by lunch and very likely more than a glass of wine - we've been trying to get together to celebrate my rite of passage into the world of the Middle Aged since I've been back.  It should be good fun and as usually happens when we get together, I'm sure we won't be acting our age.  I mean really, whoever invented that ridiculous saying anyway? It's almost as silly as 'That's not very ladylike'. 

With that said, why does the theme here always seem to be food and drink? Bah, never mind - I will never purport to be anything other than myself.  I like to eat, I like to drink.  Some things will never change, especially me being 'ladylike'.

So wherever you may be, I hope you have a great weekend.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Two Tickets to Paradise

I don't know where to even begin telling you about the wonderful time we had in what can honestly only be described as paradise.  I should probably let the pictures speak for themselves:

We were upgraded to a water villa the first night (due to an issue at the airport);  I'm happy to report that other than a delay waiting for our transfer at Male Airport, there was absolutely nothing we could find fault with. 

The Adults Only Pool :) 

The amazing beach outside our villa: 

Walking around the Island:

Lazing Around: 

Hammocks were everywhere and I definitely took advantage! 

As much as we loved the water villa, we were much more content with our garden villa.  

Our own sunbeds waiting for us on our section of the beach:

The Spa was amazing - we had a complimentary treatment upon our arrival, and then of course the couples massage on my birthday.

That's the Over-Water spa behind Andy - the fish we could see swimming below while we had our treatment  were beautiful.

The food was brilliant and such a variety of choice every single day.

The picture below is of commonly used Maldivian spices; Friday night was Maldivian Curry Night, the only night Andy wasn't really thrilled with because although lots of the dishes were marked mild, they weren't.  At least not to Andy who is not a fan of spicy food. 

The wildlife was fantastic and we saw plenty of gecko's, bats, sharks and heron's. 

I fell in love with these:

They were very friendly and curious :) 

 Heron's were constantly outside our villa (in the jungle) and weren't one bit shy.  We loved watching them  stand perfectly still in the water on an evening, when the sun was setting and the tide was out, while they fished.

As for my 40th Birthday...  

It was fabulous.  We spent the morning sunbathing and I even went to the gym before a late lunch; we snorkeled in the afternoon and then walked to the other side of the island for an afternoon drink (which we did  most days) at the Pavilion Bar, which was our favourite, the chairs were so comfortable. 

We then headed back to our villa to shower and get ready for the amazing couples massage at 5:30 which left us feeling very relaxed chilled

Andy had arranged for a candlelight dinner on the patio next to the beach which was perfect.

We arrived back to our villa after lots of food and wine to find flowers all over my bed:

It only rained once during our time on the Island, on the Friday before my birthday. It came on quickly and didn't last long.  We got soaked as we were out walking but we weren't complaining.  

It was a lovely way to cool down and we didn't mind falling into the Pavilion Bar for a cold beer!

Before we knew it, the sun was back out.  

The picture below is the patio area outside the bar next to our restaurant;  we often met another couple, Vicki & Dave there for drinks on an evening after we'd eaten our evening meal.

And the sunsets - they were spectacular:

I have so many fantastic memories of this holiday which already seems such a long time ago. It is Andy's and my hope that one day we are able to return; we aren't sure if we want to try another Island or go back to Meeru because it is honestly such a fabulous resort.  

(I also have tons more pictures that I will be posting on FB once I get them all sorted in case any of you are interested in seeing even more .) 

I have some great stories that I want to share with you, however this post is long enough.  I will try and do a few posts of my favourite moment's from our holiday when I get a chance.

In the meantime try not to be too sick with envy over what I have managed to shown you ;)