Monday, December 20, 2010

Things I miss about Canada...the food edition!

This fall, while I was getting ready to move to Europe, one of the most common questions I was asked - besides 'are you crazy?' was 'what are you going to miss most about Canada?'

At the time, I didn't really have an answer besides the obvious one which is my family and friends and our tubby little fur ball Wembley - who I have missed terribly every single day. Hi mum, hi dad!

Just before we left and since we've been gone we've had several friends announce engagements and pregnancies and knowing that we are likely going to miss some of these weddings and the births or these beautiful babies is a hard pill to swallow. Thank god for Skype, which makes it all a little easier.

Now that I've been here almost two months, I've realized that I am starting to miss things and not suprisingly they all happen to be food!

So in no particular order, these are the things I would be eating if I were in Canada right now...


The french canadian in me is dying for a heaping helping of fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in delicious gravy. If anyone wants to send me a can of St. Hubert's poutine gravy sauce I will be forever indebted!
mmm delicious melty cheese curdy poutine goodness


A quintessential Canadian meal if ever there was one.  You can't ship a meal over here but you can help a girl out by sending her a packet of the chalet dipping sauce mix....send it along with the poutine gravy and you'll be a superstar in my books!
mmm chalet dipping sauce
And last but not least.....


We were spoiled in Toronto with a ton of yummy places to go for for delicious burritos.  England has a burrito chain called Bar Burrito, and while it satisfied a craving, it had nothing on my two favorites back in Toronto - Big Fat Burrito in Kensington and Quesada on King Street. I don't think a burrito would ship very well so if you're in Toronto please go and eat one and think of me!

Big Fat Burrito in Kensington

Quesada in King Street

Monday, December 6, 2010

London town

A few week-ends ago James I took a trip down to London town.  It was the place where we first met and it was the first time we'd been back there together since our time at the castle.
We arrived Saturday morning and headed to my friend Katee's house where we were staying for the week-end to drop our bags. Katee is a friend from university who I hadn't seen since I graduated - it was so great to catch up and spend some time together!  Huge thank yous to Katee and her husband Tymon for hosting us - we can't wait to return the favour!

Saturday was spent wandering around the South Bank checking out a christmas market (Manchester's is better), the Tate Modern, taking in Covent Garden and it's array of street performers, admiring the christmas tree and lights in Trafalger Square and eating Pret a Manger sandwiches and millionaire shortbread. We also went back to the first place that James and I met - The Globe theatre. 

Saturday night we met up with an old high school friend Michelle and her husband Sean for dinner and then off to a birthday party for a friend of a friend.

In front of the Globe Theatre where it all began!

Ai WeiWei exhibit at the Tate Modern
Hand made porcelein sunflower seeds

Herman ze German - Our wurst is ze best!

Trafalger Square
Katee and I in Trafalger Square
James and I
Thankfully Tim Horton's is imported to the UK and the Sunday morning hangovers were thankfully cured with double doubles.
mmmm Timmy's

Sunday was spent wandering around checking out some more of the sights - Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Westminster, St James Park, Buckingham Place, more Pret a Manger sandwiches and meeting up with my step-brother Nathan for dinner before we headed back to Manchester!

Big Ben

Feeding the squirrels in St James Park
View of the London Eye

St James Park
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dear Canada - you can have your snow back!

Somehow, we managed to end up in England just as Mother Nature decides to pull a prank on the country and dump snow all over us!  I'm told that England does get snow, but not normally this much at a time or this early in the year...lucky me.

So far, football matches, flights and school have been cancelled this week...I wish three inches of snow were all it took to declare a day off in Canada!
While do admit that it's quite pretty, I've had just about enough of it and it can go back to Canada where it belongs.

The back garden covered in the white stuff

Oh how I wish I could be sitting at the patio table in warn sunny sun shine!

This afternoon, feeling bad for the birds at Bramhall Park who are freezing their little tail feathers off in this weather, we decided to bring them some food...

They know we have food!

These geese are greedy little buggers...they were the first to
come running when they spotted us and our bag of bread.
My feathered friends!

Bramhall Park

Monday, November 22, 2010

Home Sweet Home


We  thought it might be nice for everyone back home to have a sense of our home here in England and where we spend our days.
Irene and Matthew's house is on a lovely quiet little cul de sac.  Unfortunately the red leaves on the tree have all fallen since I took the picture but they were really pretty while they were there!

James hard at work at the kitchen table which doubles as our 'office' when we need to get work done.

The sunny room where I practice yoga in the mornings and play the piano in the afternoons....lovely!

Our cozy little bedroom

We miss Wembley a lot but we have our new cat friends, Poppy and Charlie here to entertain us!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Robbie Williams - my dream come true!

It all started yesterday morning when Irene heard a rumor on the radio that Robbie Williams might be making a special appearance that night at the panto - Pantos on Strike at the Opera House in Manchester. For an explanation of panto go here:

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been in love with Robbie Williams forever and it's perfect coincidence that I have moved to England just as he has reunited with Take That and they are going on tour. My dream of finally seeing Robbie live was potentially about to come true!

Matthew and I went straight to the gossip blogs to see if we could confirm this potentially amazing bit of news. The fact that he wrote a song for the show and he is good friends with one of the main actors led us to believe that this was a plausible rumour and we immediately bought tickets!

The rumours were confirmed shortly after we arrived at the theater when a lovely usher told us not worry, we would see Robbie tonight!!!!!!!!!!

We made our way to our seats and began speculating. We didn't have to wait long because all of a sudden there was screaming and wild camera flashes in the lower area of the theater. Robbie had entered the building and was now sitting in the same theater as us...OH MY GOD!!!!!!
The empty row is where Robbie was sitting

It wasn't until the very end of the show that Robbie made his appearance on stage but it was worth the wait to hear him sing Angels!

Beautiful man singing a beautiful song!
Enjoy.....and yes that is me shrieking at the top lungs in the background!

Did that really just happen???!!!!!
June 8th and the Take That/RobbieWiliams Tour cannot come soon enough!

Oh yeah...Ryan Giggs was there too!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Dixon Family History Tour

'The Dixon family history tour is waiting to take you away, waiting to take you away' (sung in the tune of the Magical Maystery James).

Last week James and Matthew took me on a tour of Manchester and the surrounding area which we dubbed 'The Dixon Family History Tour' or 'The Peter Dixon Experience'.

The tour included a stop at Grandma Dixon's former home in Urmston - also Peter's childhood home.

We also made at stop at Matthew's childhood home in Stockport (below).

Our next stop on the tour was a visit to Old Trafford aka 'Theater of Dreams'...Peter's mecca.  We made a return to Old Trafford on Saturday to catch a match...more on that soon!

And thats it for the family tour! 2 houses and a football ground!

After our tour around Old Trafford we finished with a rainy walking trip around Manchester City and a visit to Manchester Cathedral.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Being British

Since we've been here I've been doing my best to jump right in and embrace British culture.  Aside from discovering that I like prawn flavoured crisps, getting caught up on the current season of the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, and learning to pronounce Worcestershire sauce (that's a work in progress and will guarantee you a laugh if you ask me to try and say this), over the past week I have:

Hiked through the moorlands of Lyme Park Estate on the edge of the Peak district complete with rainy drizzle and deer!
Lyme Park and it's wildlife!

Tested our knowledge of British culture at pub quiz night...
Our team was lucky that James and I were there to answer questions about the Spice Girls and ice hockey! 

Neil and Matthew - fellow pub quiz team members!

And last but not least...been to one of my favorite places on earth.......

Hooray for England and Pret a Manger!