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

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Where's Our Pumpkin Patch?

All over the FB and the Internet I'm seeing gorgeous photos of not only amazing pumpkin recipes (which I'm mostly refraining from making this year), but of my friends and family taken during visits to local Pumpkin Patches.

Like this one for instance:

This is my little cousin Nolan - how cute is he?

I know that this season is huge back in Canada (and the States), not only because the month of October brings us Thanksgiving and Halloween, but a celebration of pumpkins themselves.  The south coast and valley of Nova Scotia  host an annual Pumpkin People festival which is always fun to witness if you fancy a drive. 

 When we went to Ontario to meet our Clara for the first time in the Autumn of 2010 we were thrilled to take a trip to a pumpkin patch to meet up with friends.  It was a perfect day, brilliant for taking photos:

 (Clara was so little then)

What a great way to spend an autumn day.

Apparently the town of Spalding in Lincolnshire has a pumpkin festival each year (which we've missed), however other than that there doesn't seem to be any local pumpkin places where you can go for a wander round.  I would love to be able to take Jayden to see a proper pumpkin patch;  I'm sure he'd really enjoy it.  I know his Grandy and I would love to watch him run around while we tried to capture the moment with a camera.

Halloween and supermarket pumpkin displays have become much more popular since I first moved over here which I love to see because I enjoy this time of year, even though we have once again deferred hosting a Halloween Party.

*Sigh* Oh well... maybe next year. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I spent most of the Thanksgiving weekend baking and relaxing. At Connor's request, on Saturday morning we made a cinnamon swirl cake that turned out beautifully to his complete delight. On Sunday morning I made a pumpkin tart with Bailey's Irish Cream before starting my dinner preparations. 

We always have to eat our Thanksgiving meal on the weekend as Monday isn't a holiday here in the UK.

I've always thought it's a shame that only North Americans celebrate this holiday as it's such a lovely sentiment; families getting together to eat delicious food and be thankful for each other.  Nothing else.  It's not about presents or spending money, only being together.  So I try to keep the tradition going with my English family and they don't seem to have any complaints.

(It's not the fanciest table setting, but I work with what I have access to. And you aren't seeing things - no wine glasses as the only alcoholic beverage consumed was a beer or two by Andy's dad.)

Both Alex and Bonnie unfortunately had to work this past weekend so we had the pleasure of having our baby boy with us  as well as Connor, Wendy and Dave (my in-laws).  

What I'm thankful for this year: 

That everyone is healthy.
That we have the ability to provide such good food.
That we were able to have Thanksgiving Dinner with Wendy and Dave especially because this year we are fortunate enough to be going home for Christmas with our Canadian family.
That we are happy.

I'm especially thankful for this little guy:

(and Molly of course, who is only partially pictured.)

Despite the weather being horrible this weekend, it was a great Thanksgiving.  I didn't get outside as much as I wanted for exercise so I had to forgo dessert.  I also didn't eat any Yorkshire puddings or stuffing.  While everyone else enjoyed raspberry roulade and cake (the pumpkin tart was for my work colleagues) I ate melon and was perfectly OK with that.  It's only fair that if I don't exercise, I don't get a treat.

Oh and I've found what looks to be an amazing recipe for pumpkin, chickpea and lentil stew that I can't wait to try.

(This looks delicious)

I hope those of you who celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving had a lovely time with your family and loved ones as well. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nine Years

Yesterday Andy and I celebrated nine years as husband and wife.

Nine Years... who would have thought marriage would suit me so well.

I've posted this same picture on other anniversaries but that's OK, because it's one of my favourites. 

Our wedding day was almost perfect for us; we were surrounded by our loved ones as we said I do.  I adore that I'm wearing my cousin Jen's wedding head band and my best friend Catherine's watch.  My earrings were borrowed too. 

I was a laid back bride but then again, it was a laid back wedding.  

A lot of people came a long way to help us celebrate that day.

Looking back I could say there would only be a few things I would have changed, such as hiring a professional photographer and wearing amazing brightly coloured shoes. But that was nine years ago and my tastes have changed.  I could say I would have preferred to have had my hair done by a great stylist,but then again maybe I would have opted to do it myself.  Besides it makes a funny story regarding how I opted to find a stylist who would curl my hair on the morning of.  It was kind of fun walking around the town with my sisters and friends on a busy Saturday morning asking if anyone was free to do my hair.  The looks on faces were priceless when they realised it was my wedding day and I hadn't booked anything.  No big deal. It got done in the end and looked pretty a-OK. 

Nine years have brought a lot of changes to our lives; Like my Mom said last night when we were chatting 'who would have thought you'd be grandparents to a nearly two year old child nine years on?'

Andy and I still continue to grow as a couple and although there are some thing's I'm sure we are always going to try and struggle to comprehend about the other, the love is most definitely still strong and the tie that binds us together.   

It's a good life. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

It never gets old

I should give you fair warning that there is an overload of photos featuring the Eiffel Tower in this post.  It's such a beautiful piece of architecture and is after all, a brilliant back drop for photos. So if pictures bore you, this post probably won't hold your attention. 

We arrived in Paris around 9 pm on the Saturday night (after an annoying amusing trip on the Eurostar - there were two very odd American men sitting behind us) and as we were only staying up the hill from the Trocadero we took a walk down by the river before heading back up the hill to grab a snack before heading back to the hotel for a good night's rest.

One of the best photo's we snapped.

Two fine structures: 

I knew the moment I saw this that I would be riding one of the horses before our trip was over:

The next day we we enjoyed a gorgeous breakfast of eggs, croissants, fruit and yogurt (our hotel room was perfect by the way - complete with a jacuzzi corner tub that I would enjoy a soak or two in with a nice glass of French red ) before heading out to enjoy the sunny & warm Parisian day.

Andy thought that he might like to finally go up the Eiffel, however the queues were incredibly long so we plumbed to go up the Arch de Triumph instead.  We opted for the stairs and I was thrilled that I made it to the top easily, with barely a missed breath; Andy didn't do too badly himself.

I'm sure any of you who have been to Paris recognise this street:
(although it was way too crowded for my pleasure)

I also never noticed that the ring road around around the Arch had no lanes and its basically a free for all to try and get across (it's crazy!). We actually caught a bus from the Arch up to Montmarte and the driver drove round it. I was mega impressed that he managed to not only manoeuvre through this circus smoothly but did so while taking my money and dispensing a ticket...

We naturally stopped a few times throughout the day to enjoy a cold beverage (not always wine believe it or not) and that evening we dressed up and went to a local cafe for dinner.  The food was delicious (I had king prawn risotto and took a photo of it which I've mistakenly deleted) and I loved that Andy drank wine with me.  

(Crisp, cold and gorgeous - and definitely NOT Chardonnay as the waiter suggested!)

Of course we headed back to the Trocadero for another photo op...
(Sorry if it's getting monotonous)

Of course I had to do a similar pose to the one I did in 2011 (I'm such a camera-whore I know!)

See... similar shot from November 2011 if you remember...
(It was much warmer in September 2013)

Yup... another one of me:

I hate the barriers they have put up, especially the rubbish that gets thrown behind it. :( 

But I love this photo of me and my man

On Sunday we met up with the newlyweds, Dawn & Steve and explored this beautiful graveyard: 

And happened to find this grave as well as Oscar Wilde's which Dawn was mega impressed with.  

After more than an hour exploring all the wonderful old tombs we made our way across the road for a refreshing drink before heading up to Montmarte for a look round, some lunch and a wander round.  

One of the best parts of this trip was sitting outside eating, drinking and chatting with our friends. 

The newlyweds on the stairs leading up to Sacre Coeur:

Glad to be reunited with my pal

The market square:

And of course that evening we got dolled up and headed out for more food and drink...


And you guessed it... back up to the Trocadero for another photo op!

We look a bit shiny here..

And of course I did get to ride the carousel.

It was so fun to be spinning around with one of my dearest friends on a late September evening with the Eiffel Tower in sight, as our husbands laughed and took photos.

I honestly never thought that Paris would win my heart like it has.