Uncategorized

Blue Oyster

7.9.08 Woburn Oyster Festival

Despite the cool, rainy weather, we headed off to Woburn today to make sure that the poor oysters that were plucked from the sea were given a nice home in our bellies.

On the half shell

Last year I had to hear about the Oyster Festival from other people because I had Noah on Board (though at that time he was not Noah, in fact he could have been a she for all we knew…anyway…) and although I broke a lot of the Do Not Eat Whilst Pregnant rules, I dutifully avoided the oyster.

This year, not so much.

We bundled a teething and grumpy Noah into the car (note the enthusiastic look upon his face) and made our way to Woburn.

Grr

Once we got there, we took a quick look at what was on offer and made our way to the oyster bar.

Not the Blue Oyster

The first order was a dozen oysters and a half pint of something they called Oyster Stout. I didn’t ask if oysters featured in the drink because some things are better left unknown. That, and I wasn’t drinking it.

We wolfed them down so quickly, that by the time I remembered the camera, Lee only had two remaining…

Dos Oysteros

The two lonely oysters soon joined their friends in Lee’s tummy…

Down the hatch

By this point Noah was slightly degrumping. And by slightly, I mean that he saw that there was food and forgot to be a complete grump.. until he realised that he wasn’t allowed to suck back any creatures from the sea. Unlike the little girl (possibly 5 years old..maybe 4) who was just devouring her cup of baby octopus like it was cotton candy. I am still in awe of her, and the two kids with her that tried it based solely on how much she loved it. I am sad that I didn’t get a photo of that, but I did get a photo of some children with their mother tucking into shrimp…complete with heads..

fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, grilled shrimp..

Those shrimp/prawns came from the stall next to the oyster stand which sold our second purchase of the day, Garlic Mussels!

Seafood For Sale

Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. That is the only way I can sum up the mussels that were put before me in their temporary styrofoam home accompanied by a chunk of french bread.

mussels not from brussels

While I tucked in, Noah decided to ungrump as he too got to eat for the first time since we arrived there. No, not mussells… the bread.

Fist Full O' Frenchstick

Lee was feeling a little left out of the action and after much deliberation (or about 30 seconds of Should I? Okay, how many?) he returned to the oyster bar. After all, that’s what we were there for right?

Repeat Customer

Once again there were a dozen oysters before us and another half pint of the Oyster Stout. This time I had a sip due to over Tabascoing of one of my slippery friends, but I wasn’t too worried about the ingredients at that time, just that there was some relief to my stinging taste buds.

Same Again

Lee was the warrior this time. I looked down at my six and noticed this creamy stuff in one of the shells. Lee took them up to Mr. Oyster Man and asked what in the world was going on. That is when he was given a lesson on the make-up of an oyster and given the choice to swap or swallow. He came back to me and presented the options… he added that if I didn’t want it, he’d have it. So I swapped sixes.

Apparently, I won.

He described it as creamier than usual and that I probably wouldn’t have like it, though it was not that bad. Fast forward a few hours and apparently the quarter of a coconut rum cake he later ate couldn’t kill the taste that kept coming back.

As I said, I won.

On the way in we had noticed that there was an empty stall that had a sign for Caribbean food. They were advertising patties, roti, “Trinidad” chicken, rice and peas, etc. It wasn’t open yet, but I kept watching it and waiting as the people were obviously running on West Indian Time.

Flava

I saw a man going from the stall to a van and I couldn’t tell if he was opening up or packing up. Closer inspection showed that he was in fact removing the stuff from the stand. No patties or roti for us. Boo!!!

It was alright though because it was Pimms O’Clock.

Pimms

Okay, so no Pimms was had by any of us three. Instead we moved along to the parking lot behind The Inn at Woburn (where we went for Lee’s birthday last year and fell in love with the restaurant, though haven’t been able to brave it avec le bébé) where they had a couple food stands, some kiddie rides and a craft fair. At the craft fair I was about to get Lee to aid my obsession with buying ridiculous things when I decided that Noah needed a hooded sweater that was knit from 100% alpaca wool. Luckily, Lee had found a photographer who specialised in casual family shots instead. Not what you think you’ll find at an Oyster festival, but hey, we were looking to have the photos done anyway!

The craft fair was under a tent in which there was very little light. Noah, though not afraid of total darkness, seems to fear the semi-dark and was not happy in there. We exited and headed off toward the Pimms tent again as they were setting up the steel band.

Steely Dan

We decided to stop and have a listen, much to the delight of Noah who once again had the chance to break free from the restraints of his stroller.

What are you looking at, lady?

The steel band started up whilst I enjoyed a nose around at the people attending the Oyster Festival and the surroundings. If we had moved to Woburn instead of Milton Keynes, I am not so sure that we’d be so eager to relocate already. It is “proper” England. By that I mean that it has buildings older than my mother (hey, Milton Keynes is only two years older than my aunt, Cathy) and people were wearing wellies because they knew there was going to be hay in the Pimms tent. Woburn is great.

Antique Hall and Oyster Bar

The looking around didn’t last long as Mr. My Gums Hurt People And I Don’t Want To Be Around Smiling People Right Now got progressively grumpier…

Are we leaving yet?

Aside from when Lee’s colleague walked past with his wife and son and Noah decided that he loved the wife and her glasses. All of a sudden he wanted to smile. But they were just arriving and didn’t chat long which meant we got The Grump back.

I will NOT smile

So we packed it in and strolled back to the car. Even with The Grump, we had a very good family day out; the rain pretty much stayed away once we arrived in Woburn so there was no trying to work the rain cover on the stroller or negotiating small sidewalks with one hundred umbrellas, Lee and I got our much missed oysters and Noah got fresh air and to see his first person on stilts (not that he gave a shit at all about him).

And now, if these teeth would just come through, we’d have three much happier people in the house. I can’t wait to see how much Noah and the Aching Gums are going to love waiting around in a courthouse for me to testify tomorrow.

Chew Chew Cha Booty

Uncategorized

The Good, The Bad.. No Ugly

I’m back at home after 5 days in London with my Mom, Randy, my 8 year old cousin Noah and for some of the days, Lee. In those 5 days we packed in sightseeing, eating, walking, failed attempts at going on the London Eye, serious arcade game playing, shopping and loving the life that comes with going out of the door with your bed unmade and coming home to it being all neat and tidy.

During those five days, I also celebrated the anniversary of my Mom’s life and the anniversary of my Daddy’s death. It doesn’t matter where in the world I would have spent those days because the roller coaster of emotion wouldn’t have changed.

Two years on and the pain still hurts like it was only two hours ago. I am still completely heartbroken, although Noah has worked hard at fixing it. We were in the Maple Leaf pub in Covent Garden watching the Olympic 100m final when I broke into tears. Everyone was having a good time and witnessing Usain Bolt smash the record, but the person who would have loved it most didn’t get to see it. So I cried.

I looked around and saw how much Noah was loving the interaction and attention from my Mom and Randy and it made me so happy to see how much he is loved, but at the same time it made me so sad to know that my Daddy will never get to hold him, to squeeze his fat …not chubby, fat… thighs, see the look of wonder or awe or excitement (all which can occur within 3 seconds of each other) on his face. They would have loved each other. There is no doubt in my mind.

It was a hard day, the anniversary, because of the state of my heart, and the healing still left to do, but it was a lot easier than last year, if only because I had no choice but to be completely occupied by a near 6 month old, his Kadie and Zed and his cousin Adam.

Though it was still a sad day, because aside from one text I received, no one mentioned him; no one asked if I was okay, I had no way of talking to my brothers to see if they were okay. And then it dawned on me that everyone else may have moved on, and I can’t.

Right now I am watching Noah roll all over my bed, playing some sort of game of tag with a blanket and I am so thrilled that he is as happy as he is, but I still believe that he would be even happier if he could have only had one day with my Daddy.

I know that I should be grateful that he still has his Nan and Granddad, and his Kadie and Zed who all love him so much, and I am. I know what a lucky little boy he is to be loved as much as he is by everyone in his family, but that doesn’t make it easier.

So, I did have a great time seeing everyone and loved that I got to celebrate my Momma’s birthday with her for the 4th year in a row (this time on the actual day and in England!), it is just a shame that a day of great celebration is so closely followed by the day I dread most.

At least she had a memorable day. Not many birthdays are spent riding an open top bus tour whilst feeding your grandson a map, watching a drunken fight in the middle of the street, seeing a drunken man in a child’s floatie try and break into a taxi, getting denied a ride on the London Eye and then watching your 8 year old nephew be terrorized by a “stinkin’ mime”. It may not have been the party for 90 of your friends in a nightclub that Madonna had on the same day, but at least she knows that everyone she spent her birthday with loves her and wasn’t there for the free booze.

bIG bEN AT nIGHT 16.8.08

Uncategorized

Cookin’ with Gas!

A couple of months ago, my sister-in-law, Stacy, blogged about getting a new vacuum cleaner (a Dyson) and it evoked unimaginable excitement from some of my family members.

A couple of weeks ago Stacy blogged about getting a new barbeque (a Weber!) and that’s when the emotions were stirred within me. Let’s be honest here, I am a girl who is far more excited by food than by cleaning. That’s part of the reason I want to win the lottery and live in a hotel… daily maid service and no choice but to eat at restaurants…or 24 hour Room Service!!!!

Anyway, Stacy’s entry got me all excited about BBQ Season! As we are into June, summer should be arriving soon. We’ve had a few warm days, but not “summer” yet. Last weekend was super sunny and we headed off to Homebase (just like Home Depot or Lowes) to see if there were any deals. Right in the centre of the barbeque section was a Weber stand. We looked and touched and oohed and ahhhed and then we ACKed when we saw the prices. Sure, they’re pretty and they’re the Kings of the BBQ World, but the price wasn’t converting well. We could have bought one, but it would have been the size of a George Foreman grill on wheels. And not a Family Sized Foreman.

So we looked around and saw that there were a couple of Fiesta barbeques. Ooh, another name I knew!! I also knew that my Dad and Scott were both Fiesta owners so they couldn’t be that crap.

— I should have explained in the beginning, Lee and I have never owned a gas barbeque so we were virgins to this whole experience —

We found one that was 1/3 off and we were happy. Then we realised that there was no way that it was going to fit in my car with Noah and his stroller (we learnt this lesson when we tried to cart home a 42 inch tv and there wasn’t even a stroller in there), so we put it off until the next day.

Lee returned to Homebase last Monday to be told that they had sold out. I wasn’t buying it, but that’s because I trust no one. How could they not have it in? We needed it! We were waiting to play with it! We had waited a whole day to get the fire started and now we had to revert to our oven. What was that all about?!

Nothing was going to stop Lee on his mission though. He contacted a few stores trying to track them down, found out that the distributor had gone bankrupt so there would be no more deliveries, and then he struck Grilling Gold when a nice older lady at a Homebase store in Luton found the last one in stock and put it behind the counter for Lee. He went and collected it on Friday and brought it home. Unfortunately Noah was not a happy man on Friday, so there was no chance to get the assembly going. Yesterday though, success! Lee got down and dirty and put that bad boy together and when he finally finished at 9.15pm, we were ready to go!

Our first attempt at gas grilling has to be … chicken wings!! We have searched this country for good old chicken wings and have never truly loved any that we’ve had. TGIFridays has come closest, but even sometimes they have off days. So armed with a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot and a brand new barbeque, we got cooking.

We called Canada twice to ask questions about the barbeque (Randy is the Barbeque Master!) and we were not sure how things were going as it started to hail during the cooking and got really dark (the sky not the wings), but once we brought them in and sauced them up we knew that we’d made the right decision in going Gas…. they were the Best Damned Chicken Wings ever to be eaten in the UK. That’s right, not just England, the UK!!

Normally I’d put a photo up here of the wings, but I took the photos on Lee’s camera. However, after we had our second BBQ of the weekend (burgers and ribs) I took a photo of the actual beast:

Fiesta Fiesta

Check out all of those knobs!

I know a lot of people, especially in England, believe that gas barbeques are not “real” barbeques, but last time I checked, they were not famous for their grilling skills. When you head out to a Ribfest you see a lot of gas grills hard at work and to be honest I’d rather be producing finger licking meat than charred on the outside not so well done/way too overdone on the inside “meat”.

And hey, if you come over for a BBQ and don’t like the way things are done here, we can always run out to Tesco and get you some of these:

Oh Yum. :/

Uh huh.. Spam Fritters…pre-fried. All class and only £1.95 for the pack. Someone actually buys these!

Anyway, thank you Stacy and Jamie for lighting the fire under our asses!!! We are in love!

Uncategorized

For My Momma

Dumpling you wan? Dumpling you a go get!

My mother called me yesterday for advice on how I make dumplings. To be honest, I panicked. I hadn’t made dumplings in a long time because they were not what Lee was used to the one time I made them and he seemed a bit scared of my “spinners”. So I hung up the dumpling skills and trudged through life without the constant love of a good dumpling.

It was alright though, because when we’d go to St.Kitts I’d always get to have them at least once when Ida (my grandmom’s cook) made us lunch. You might wonder how one serving could hold you, but her dumplings are normally quite massive and they take roughly 3 months to digest.

So I looked up recipes that agreed with what I thought was in a dumpling and we settled on what she needed. It was all I ever used for them, so how could it be wrong, right?

That was until today when I decided to make some stewed beef with dumplings. Now, I didn’t go off setting to outshine her or to make better dumplings, I just wanted to make an edible dinner for Lee. I decided to see if there were any fancy pants recipes out there on the internet in case I needed any ingredients that I was missing. That is when I stumbled upon a photo of stewed beef with herb dumplings that said it was taken from a cookbook…. that I happened to own.

Well, it looked good on there, so it had to look good for me, right? Not so much. I mean it did look and taste awesome, I just meant that usually my recreations are not that close to the real thing.

But low and behold… I think I did even better. And Momma, I’ve got a new recipe for dumplings! Ones that even Lee consumed happily…two bowls full and is having it for lunch tomorrow!

I only ask one thing of you now, Don’t Hate Me Because My Dumplings Are Beautiful…

Stewed Beef and Dumplings

Mmmm Mmmm Mmmmm

Uncategorized

The answer to world peace

…comes in the form of Jell-O Pudding.

Most women when they are approaching their baby’s due date think about rational things like “what will my husband eat when I am in the hospital”. That is assuming they will be staying in for longer than 12 hours. They also think “I won’t have the time or energy to cook when I get back so I should prepare some meals ahead of time”.

Now, you and I both know that I don’t often fit into the “normal” category in regards to…well … anything. So this morning instead of getting back to bed to make myself feel better after a morning of sick tummy and pretend contractions, I went downstairs after I had a brainwave. “Aha!” I thought to myself “If I do go into labour today, I know what will be good for Lee and I to eat before we go… some Jell-O Pudding”.

So I whipped a box of the powdered chocolate fudge goodness off of the shelf and proceeded to whisk up some deliciousness. I looked at it and thought “yes, that looks good, but it is missing something”, so I whipped a box of Vanilla goodness off of the shelf, whipped it up and poured it on top of the chocolate fudge flavour that was already setting.

I dipped a little spoon in to make sure that I hadn’t left any grainy lumps or bumps and when I tasted it, I realised that if more people got to experience the greatness of Jell-O Pudding, there would be a lot of happier people in the world. If there were a lot of happier people in the world, there would be more love, less hatred, which means less wars… which means world peace eventually.

You can laugh all you want now, but in 20 years when some other not so normal person comes out with it, they’ll get a Nobel Peace Prize and I’ll be too busy eating my pudding to be upset about it.

Uncategorized

What a bunch of cocks!

This afternoon, Lee and I went to meet up with some friends for lunch in Northampton. We spent a lot of time talking about how amazing it is that you can have this little person growing inside of you one day and then next day you wake up* and there they are.. you can touch, see, hear and smell them.

Instead of taking the highway (motorway) home, we went through the villages so that we could stop at the farm shop and get some yummy Pickle Power (pickled onion cheddar). We got our piece and took some Black Bomber (extra mature Welsh Cheddar) to go with it and started heading toward the car when a commotion caught my eye. Not between people, but between the chickens that roam freely. I at first thought that it was a case of some rabid chickens trying to eat another chicken, when Lee pointed out that I was actually witnessing Fowl Gang Rape.

I covered my ears and turned away and waited for Lee to get the car and bring it to me (we were parked right by the action). I’ve never witnessed such a horrible sight, and I’ve seen a dead man vomit on someone!!!

I’m so happy that BoB cannot see from the inside out. At that moment in time I envied him/her. I too wanted not to be able to see, or hear, or have a memory.

This cheese better be the best damned cheese I’ve ever had!!!

*Note: I am aware that you don’t wake up to find a baby there. I can only dream.

Uncategorized

Pie the way..

I do not get that many “cravings”. It has been a let down for Lee that I have not been wanting to munch on dirt or pickle ice cream. However, from the beginning of this pregnancy I have wanted to have a “pie”; pot pie to the Canadians… and it would appear just pie to the Brits. Understandably, I’ve been very scared about the whole thing. I do not normally like eating something when I cannot identify the contents, and let’s face it.. this is Mad Cow Country.

So the other night when we were at the supermarket… yes, we’ve cooked dinner every night this week! Apologies to the restaurants and take-aways of Milton Keynes. .. anyway, Lee went and sourced two non-scary looking pies so I could try one. Yesterday I was having a VERY off day and was going to make beef stew, but preferred to waste the day crying and sleeping and talking to myself. I actually prefer to spend most days like that, but I digress. Lee asked what I wanted for dinner and I said “pie, chips/fries, peas and gravy”.

When it came out of the oven it looked like.. like a pot pie. I relaxed a bit. I cut into it and noticed that the gravy was a bit congealed and thought that perhaps it was cold, but in fact it was too hot for my mouth. Confusion set in, but hunger won out and I ate the whole thing.

At two o’clock this morning I woke up and I could swear that I smelled dog food. I couldn’t understand where it was coming from until I did a spot check and realised it was me. Well my breath, not my body. I couldn’t understand how on earth that was possible.. I mean this was no normal morning breath… and then.. and then.. I remembered THE PIE.

It may be a good thing I didn’t check the ingredients on the pie before eating though it may have been wise for me to see if the brand was ALPO or Purina before eating it!

Yuck. One craving down… never to be given into again.

Somehow I never imagined that I’d ever be truly barefoot, pregnant and baking. That is for other…more girly… type women. Me, well I guess I lack the girly. However, it would appear that come the end of the year, I get an itch to cook. Well bake really. It happened last year and it overcame me to the point that all I wanted for Christmas was cooking utensils, food magazines and cooking supplies!

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it this year. Mainly because this baby has turned me off of food more than it has turned me on to food … not that you can tell by OUR profile:

Me and BoB 23w5d from the side ..ugh

Yes, I know… frightening! It is weird wearing these over the belly jeans. Because of the “waist” being so low, when I see photos of a belly sticking out over them, I get scared. Scared that I am turning in John Goodman. Without the alcohol issues. I’ve already instructed Lee to get me on Weight Watchers as soon as I pop. Well, after a massive sushi dinner. THEN get me hooked up to WW ASAP!

I digress. Back the the calorie laden kitchen experience.

I’ve been a fan of food blogs for a while now. Though I hadn’t been reading them since BoB has decided to turn me off of so many things. I just never knew when I would accidentally throw up onto the keyboard.

But this weekend I started reading again. Skipping past the poultry, lamb, Moroccan etc. dishes and went on a hunt for the less offensive… baking! Something I’ve never been good at, but really want to be.

Yesterday I gave up after hours of reading about cupcakes and rolls and tarts and cakes and brownies. I actually made myself sick thinking about all of the ingredients. Today was a different day. I was getting in a bit of a down mood, and I felt like I had to occupy my mind… in the kitchen. Lee said that he was going to go to ASDA, and although I like to pretend I’m too posh to go there, I threw on a hoody and some flip flops and scoured the food blogs for something “easy” to try out and the next thing I knew we were home with baking ingredients, a bag of spinach, some bagels and Hallowe’en balloons.

Remember, we are the people that bought a toilet seat at The Baby Show.

So I got all of the ingredients out and made an Baking Crap Area of the kitchen counter:
Baking Crap

Grabbed myself and my glasses:

Julia Child Who!!

And of course BoB too:
BoB 23w5d

And started separating eggs, making crusts, whipping eggs whites into a meringue and doing a bunch of stuff I didn’t realise I was able to do. Popped it all in the oven and 23 minutes later (okay I should have left it in the extra 2 minutes but I panicked with the Celsius/Fahrenheit conversion) voila:

Meringue Bars

That’s right, a hot tin of brown stuff. That’s actually the meringue top – with brown sugar and vanilla, not burnt.

Lee had a nap while this all went on and then waited patiently on the sofa watching crap television with me until it all cooled down…

Lee B

And then Mmm Mmm Calorific Mmmm…. we dug in..

Chocolate and Butterscotch Meringue Bars

Next, I will be trying Guinness Brownies.

I have no idea why.. it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Uncategorized

Birthday Surprise!

Today Lee finally decided to join me on the Road To 32. Though to be honest, I think he prefers to just call it 31. Not many people are as enthusiastic about their birthday as I am… which is okay. However, if you are close to me or worse yet married to me.. then you have to suffer Birthday Madness whether you want to or not. When I first met Lee, he was pretty much an “or not” kind of guy. Luckily, I have been molding him over the years and convincing him that birthdays are a WONDERFUL thing. It also doesn’t hurt when you give your husband a games console for his birthday. If he is into that kind of thing. So Lee’s wonderful birthday marathon started a few weeks ago when I gave him his Wii early. He’s since had a surprise dinner and pubbing with his friends in Stratford (thanks to Steve! … and everyone who showed up!), a day before birthday lunch with the family and pressies, a birthday morning with a few more pressies (thanks to Steve! … and me), returned home from work to find post that was not a bill …. and then I took him out to dinner.

Yes, most people go to dinner on their birthdays and it is not that big of a deal. I do realise this. However, most people haven’t been forced to make mashed potatoes for supper almost nightly because their pregnant whining wife can’t imagine food with much flavour (other than Friday night curries). This made dinner out of the house THAT much better.

However, I had a last minute change of plans after having Italian two nights in a row, so on Sunday when Lee was out getting dinner I had to rush and find a suitable alternative. After flip flopping between places we’d been I decided to go out on a limb. Not always a good thing with me … much less a pregnant and sometimes brainless me. I found a review from March 2007 on a Milton Keynes website for the restaurant at the Inn at Woburn. One review … time running out… really left me no option. I went for it.

So we got ready, posed for the Ooh it’s an Occasion to Take a Photo photos – and the now obligatory BoB shot:

Lee is 31 and has balloons!

Happy Birthday Lee B!
Us:

Us on Lee's Birthday

Big Old BoB:

BoB at 21w6d

When we arrived I was nervous because all I had spotted on the outside was the hotel bar. I held my breath. Then we went in and it was much nicer inside. Exhale. We walked to the restaurant where there were three other people all in jeans. Sharp inhale. Then they offered us a complimentary bottle of still or sparkling water (Exibit Ahhh). Exhale. We looked around and saw so many conflicting things that we really had no idea what we were in for. Cloth napkins – paper napkin rings, oil and vinegar for the bread – with olives from a can, editorial cartoon type drawings on the walls – formal waiters. We placed our orders and hoped for the best.

For once, I got what I hoped for. Actually, no, Lee got what he hoped for. He definitely “won”. I came close…oh so close, but overall he was the winner. And not just because he was the one with the wine.

Exhibit Ahh (the free water):
Free Water!

Lee’s Starter ( Pan-Fried Scallops set on a Cauliflower Purée & Grilled Black Pudding served with a beetroot coulis)

Mmm Scallops

My Shouldn’tHaveButIDidAnyway Starter (Tian of Smoked Salmon and Crab flavoured with Shallots & Dill accompanied with avruga caviar and lemon grissini)

Crab and Salmon and Yum

After we inhaled this course we moved on to the mains. We were still nervous because we’d had hit and miss experiences before and didn’t want to get our hopes up. But we needn’t have worried!

Lee’s Main (Loin of Woburn Venison & Quince Jus accompanied with braised savoy cabbage, turnip purée & parmentier potatoes)

Venison.... and the best turnip on EARTH

My Main (Seared Fillet of Sea Bass on a Chorizo Mash, Baby Spinach served with a chive butter sauce) (Only downside was too much chorizo)

Kick Ass, Sea Bass!

We were getting giddy at this point and were more than ready to take on dessert. Something that we do not often do, but just this once…we were willing to put ourselves out there. No need to thank us, we’re just doing our bit.

Look at these innocent faces:
Us at Olivier's

Lee’s dream came true when Rhubarb was the star of one of the desserts: A Taste of Rhubarb – Rhubarb jelly accompanied with rhubarb crème brûlée and crumble (the brûlée was still flaming when it arrived)

Rhubard Bonanza

And I finished off with a nice Pineapple Tart Tatin served with Malibu and Coconut sorbet….
Shake the Pineapple

All in all, we are more than happy with the turn out. Lee’s birthday ended with a lovely meal (before retiring to the house where he played Splinter Cell past his bedtime) and I … I was just happy that we left with satisfied tummies and smiles on our faces and that Lee has loved his birthday … which goes on until the last present arrives.

Oh this baby is going to LOVE his or her birthday!! I’ll make sure of it.

So thank you to the chef(s) at Olivier’s for making sure that Lee had a Happy Happy Birthday!! And thank you to Lee for putting up with my … well… me.

The Birthday Boy

Uncategorized

Babe, I’m here again

I tell you I’m here again …. Where have you been?

So just the other night I wrote that I would be getting back on my hobby-horse and updating this thing.  It shouldn’t be that hard really should it?  I mean if you talk to me, then you know I have no problem running my mouth for hours and hours.  And then I still have breath left over for some more.   I guess it is just that as things start to seem better in the day to day running of my life, my body and brain are just too exhausted.  The happy on the outside thing takes a lot of work.  Even the moments where I am genuinely happy!  But I am getting better, not that it hurts any less or that I miss my father even the tiniest amount less than I did the day I found out.  In fact, I miss him more every day. But this is a battle within myself that I have to win because I’ve got other people around who need me to stay, at least relatively, sane.

Anyway, pack that away before I start to cry!

I have started to upload more photos to the photo sites, just like I promised *coughcough*last year*coughcough*.  This process is not a quick one, so I shall offer you samples of what have been added, what are awaiting approval and what is next!

Firstly, Steph’s stagette! I did it Steph! It only took me 6 and 1/2 months!  My excuse is that I didn’t want to remind you of your single life so soon after you gave it up. =)

Kirsty and Steph

Then I’ve skipped right over Christmas (hey, I didn’t say there was any logic to the order here!) and Dublin is going up. Expect there to be the usual photos of Lee and I: eating, drinking, sitting in airports and generally being idiots!  Doesn’t matter whether we are at home or in a foreign land, we are who we are and that’s quite alright by us!

P.S: Warning Cath, I am about to show a food photo that will be even uglier to you than the “pasta with the gross sauce”.

To start our day the right way we headed down Grafton Street in search for a proper Irish Breakfast!  We found a perfect little pub called Davey Byrnes which served us up a tasty and filling breakfast – hold the white pudding (as I was too scared of that… later finding out it is not as nasty as black pudding which I love).

Irish Tummies Were Smiling!

Ooh look at this!  I’ve just found this on “The Google”: Just off Grafton Street, Davy Byrnes is one of Dublin’s most famous pubs – references in Joyce’s Ulysses mean it is very much on the tourist circuit. Despite all this fame it remains a genuine, well-run place and equally popular with Dubliners, who find it a handy meeting place.  How weird, we had no clue!  Usually before we go somewhere I do a lot of research on where to eat, what to see, etc.  This time I had tunnel vision and all I wanted was a Pint of Plain.  Or two.  Or three.

And well, not that I doubted this victory for a moment, I got what I wanted.  Aaaahhhh, Guinness straight from the source.

Lee, Me and 2 pints of Guinness

Please feel free to comment on the frizz upon my head.  It only got worse as the weekend went by.  Limited hair products thanks to the Clear Plastic Baggie in Your Carry On  rule plus Dublin’s cold rain left me looking worse for wear over the entire weekend.  I’m please to report that I look MUCH hotter right now as I sit here typing thing in my pyjamas with a mini afro.  Take my word for it, a photo would be far too much stimulation for you!

Lee however, he looked hot.  I am talking PHWOAR hot too, not sauna hot.  He even did his hair all special for this trip and I think it suited him well!

The Fonz - Irish Clown Style

And the obligatory – Shot in the Departures Lounge.  Because I know when I die I will become famous for having the most photos taken beyond airport security.  It’s something I aspire to and I am sure will make our future children honoured to have us as parents.

So here is Lee, ready to get back to England and back to work!

The Excitement Has Overcome Him

As with most things in my life, I have done this out of order.  Sure the Stagette came before the trip to Dublin, but the trip to Toronto did too!  They are the next photos to go up and as they are all about family, they will appear on the family page rather than the “Away” page.   That tidbit of information was for those of you on the edge of your seat wanting to know all about the method being my photo archiving madness.  If you post me the equivalent of £9.99 each, you will get full access to jumbled mess that is my brain and the randomness it often spews out through my mouth.

So, yes, we went to Toronto and it was great.  And I’ve just realised that I’ve said all of this in the last post.  But it was and we did have a really good but exhausting time.  Lee saw his first NHL game, and for me it was a great one! The Canucks kicked butt and didn’t even bother taking names.  The Leafs were messy, they had no fight in them and they definitely had no desire to shoot the puck.  But I digress as I have no photos to show of this, seeing as I was too busy drinking.

I do however have photos of my family, and Superman.  That’s right – Superman.  Bet you didn’t know that I know him! However to see his photos you will have to wait for them to appear online as it looks like I made different ones in the size required to fit on this page without spilling over the edge.

First we have the people who appear to be normal…. but are they really?

Momma and Luke

Well looks like ONE was… and shockingly it was my Mom.  Luke was easily swept over to the dark side by Cath and Lee though.

Lee's New Family

I love this photo.  It is like a wholesome family advertisement for … Jelly Tots.

To tie it up – all this and more will be coming your way.. and soon!