Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!

The holiday season has officially kicked off and London is arguably one of the best places to be during this time of year. 

James and I eased ourselved into the holidays a few week-ends ago by visiting both of the capital's major Christmas markets.  We started with a visit to the Hyde Park Christmas Wonderland.  Christmas has literally vomitted tinsel and twinkly lights all over the park and it is AMAZING!

We stuffed ourselves full of burgers, mulled wine and lots of sugar while checking out the market stalls.  We followed this up to a visit to the Southbank Christmas Market on Sunday with some friends where we continued to stuff ourselves with mulled wine and amazing food.

First mulled wine of the season, happy Christmas!
Cheese stuffed sausages are DELICIOUS things!

Chimney Cakes = a perfectly reasonable choice for breakfast

Last week we really kicked into high gear with a very festive Saturday which involved picking out a very small but very expensive christmas tree, making a batch of mulled wine and baking up, christmas cookies and shortbread to bring to the first christmas party of the season.  As I write this Wembley just took a topple from the top of the tree...silly muppet!

We're really looking forward to coming home in a few weeks to see everyone and celebrate Christmas at home! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giving thanks

It's been a week since thanksgiving and I've had a chance to reflect on what I'm thankful for - aside from delicious leftovers.
James' thanksgiving masterpiece - definitely thankful for his cooking skills!
Thankful that this adventure didn't turn out to be a bust so I
didn't have to pack this all up again to bring it home!
I'm thankful that James and I took a chance and moved to Europe. Quitting our jobs, giving up our apartment, selling all our furniture and moving to a foreign country in the middle of a recession without any job prospects was a totally sane thing to do....yup we're nuts....and the beauty of hindsight is that we've only just realized this now!

I'm thankful for our families who have supported us over the past year with words of encouragement, a roof over our heads and a little extra money in our bank account when times got tight.

I'm thankful for all of our friends and family who have made the trip over and checked into Hotel Dixier. We've loved hosting each and everyone of you and wandering around Londontown together. For those of you who haven't visited yet, what are you waiting for?!

I'm thankful for the amazing group of friends we have collected since we've been here. We've reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I'm thankful for friends who will put up with us taking over their living room floor for six weeks while we get ourselves settled in London - M&S we are soooooooooooo thankful for the two of you!

Thankful for these two awesome people!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Back to blogging

Somehow the summer has slipped away and it's been two months since we've blogged. Lots has gone on since then - I've started my job with JDRF, ran a 5k race, we took a vacation to Amsterdam, visited family in Bristol and hosted an unending stream of visitors. Instead of a long blog post I'll just post some pictures of the highlights from the past few months.

Now that I'm setteld into the new job, blogging should return to it's (semi) regularly scheduled programming. There should be lots to blog about as we're finally buying furniture and decorating our flat, planning some mini-breaks in the next couple of months and hosting more visitors from Canada. We've also been busy exploring London and I have a few blog posts saved up about must see and do things in the city!

Thank you to everyone who donated, offered words of encouragement and cheered me on at the race. I ran the Adidas Women's 5k Challenge in 39 minutes and raised £110 in support of Mind.

Call me crazy but I'm thinking I might sign up for a 10k later this fall and a half marathon in the spring!
Whizzing by James at the 4k mark

Damien Hirst's 'Charity Girl' in Bristol

James, Rachel and Maxine on the Gorilla Trail in Bristol

Manchester comes to London - Matthew and I at the Serpentine Gallery

Canada comes to London - Mariangela, James and I
James, Val and Scott at the market in Amsterdam

James and I in Amsterdam
Lunch with the parentals in Covent Garden

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Help me help Mind

I've decided to give myself a challenge and signed up for the Adidas Women's 5k race this September.
I ran my first 5k last year in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and decided it was time to have another go at a race...and this year I actually plan to train for the event!

In order to participate, you are encouraged to fundraise in support of a charity and I have chosen to fundraise in aid of Mind. Mind is a mental health charity here in the UK that advocates for good mental health and provides vital services for people who experience mental distress. I had the opportunity to work for them for a short period of time - they do great work and are worthy of support!
You can sponsor me online at: - no donation is too big or too small!

To learn more about Mind and the work that they do and how the funds I raise will help make a difference, check out this short video: or visit their website at
Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This past week-end James and I celebrated our years of being best friends and two years as co-pilots in global explorations...or husband and wife.

We celebrated by treating ourselves to dinner at Jamie Oliver's Italian. As Food Network obsessives we were giddy about finally getting to check out one of his restaurants and it did not dissapoint! We toasted the occasion with a few glasses of prosecco and dug into breaded cheese stuffed courgette flowers, cheese stuffed risotto balls, pasta carbonara, truffle risotto and a scrumptious chocolate brownie for dessert. Perfection!

While James was at work yesterday, I decided to get to work in the kitchen and surprise him by recreating our wedding cake. I baked up a small vanilla cake with lemon curd and raspberry filling and decorated it the way our cake was. I also presented him with a card in which I wrote lovely things and a bottle of prosecco to toast - all lovely gestures that I think are deserving of some sort of wife of the year award.
Exhibit A - Wife of the year handy work

James surprised me with this.........

Exhibit B - Proof that James might want to work on his literacy skills

Apparently he also surprised himself because he swears that when he bought it at the store it read 'I Love You' so he was a bit confused when he got home and went to sign it and especially embarrassed when he went to give it to me.

Happy birthday to the next year of our relationship and here's hoping it's just as great as the last seven have been!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

London as a Local - El Camion

One word - Nachos!

Our love for mexican food has been well documented in this blog. One of my favorite things to do in Toronto was head down Kensington market on a week-end and hit up any of the Mexican restaurants in the market. Whether it was Big Fat Burrito or one of the food counters in the back of the grocery stores or buying all the ingredients and making our own ultimate supreme best ever nachos at home, I was in my happy place. So when we discovered that one of the 1# rated restaurants on Portobello Road is a mexican joint, I was giddy. James had the chance to check it out when I was back in Canada and hadn't been able to stop talking about their nachos and burritos. A few week-ends ago we headed there with our friends Michelle and Sean to try it out.


A thing of beauty
They aren't  your standard tex mex nachos with the shredded lettuce, tomates, ground beef, etc. These are more like a nacho lasagna.

They are smothered in the most delicious queso and then topped with every type of dip you could want - guacamole, salsa verde, sour cream, red pepper salsa and black beans. Kudos for getting the queso all over the chips - the worst is ending up at the end of the plate of nachos with a whole bunch of dry chips and nothing left to dip them in.
We rounded off the meal with our favorite Portugese custard tarts....more on these later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hi ho, hi ho it's off to work I go...

temporarily anyway....
After nearly 8 months of freelancing from the comfort of my sofa I'm officially heading back to the 9 to 5 grind.

I've just landed a temp position with a charity here in the city and I start tomorrow with them for three and half weeks. As fun as working in my pyjamas has been, I'm really looking forward to being in an office again and being around people during the day.

As I get ready to jump back into the workforce. I've been reflecting on my mini sabbatical and what I've done with the time. Aside from getting us settled into the life in the UK I have taken up a new hobby with knitting and gotten pretty darn good at it, read loads of books, done loads of sight seeing around England, started to learn German, brushed up on my piano playing skills, and just generally enjoyed the chance to take a little break.

The search continues on for a permanent job, but the temp position will be a great opportunity to get some UK experience, which is currently lacking on my resume and something that employers seem to be looking for.

Fingers crossed that it goes well!