Sunday, September 27, 2009


Wow, what a hug from some special ladies!

My bestest, Nic from Cupcakes with Nic, and Ms. Starlet from Southern Starlet both nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you ladies, for making me smile.

I write my blog mostly as an outlet for myself but I'm glad that some of you are also enjoying. :)

So here are the rules of the reward:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
  5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
  6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
  7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they've been nominated.
7 things that most people don't know and don't really care about me:

1. I have incredibly vivid, Ally McBeal-style daydreams. All day long. It's like an episode of Herman's Head up in there:

2. I eat frightening amounts of spinach. I put it in EVERYTHING including smoothies, salads, pizza, pasta, and sandos. I even sneak it into baked goods. (Ask me about my brownie recipe sometime. ;))

3. I hate putting away laundry. I'd rather tackle the toilet than sort socks.

4. My favorite word in the entire world is bibliotheque. Bib-lio-theque. I just love how it rolls off the tongue.

5. I do not have a natural sense of rhythm. Like, I was actually tested and my aptitude level is in the 4% column. Yes, 96% of the population has more natural rhythm than me.

6. I am 32 flavors and then some.

7. When I was little, I liked to hide out in my closet where I had a flashlight, stuffed animals and my blankie. This wasn't a problem until I fell asleep one day and the babysitter called the police.

My nominations are all blogs that I love to read and look forward to their posts every morning!
A Southern Accent
Chic Runner
Preppy Lizard
Heffer Blog
Le Petite Blog
Running Just as Fast as I Can
Wila's Way

Thanks again to Nic and Starlet - hugs to you!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vaca Part 4

Day 11: Back to Warrington via Cheltenham

After our excellent weekend with C1 & C2 we bid our adieu and headed to a cheese and cider festival at The Royal Oak in Cheltenham.

Cider, that is, real cider or its pear cousin perry, is a STRONG drink. Because the line for cider was really really long, I split my pints with A, one of DH's good friends that I adore.

I promise, A, I like you so much more than these photos show. My mouth gets tired when I smile too much!
Some of the ciders were really fabulous. Dry, fruity, a touch sweet. Then there were ciders that tasted like burnt, dirty hot dog water. No joke. How we got through that glass is beyond me.

Anywho, a couple hours later and I was wasted. Completely off my face. I started taking random photos, including the one below of the Quite sign. For some reason I thought this was the funniest thing ever.
I then proceeded to cry in the car for half an hour, telling DH (huge sobbing voice): "I'm horrible at my jooooooob. I fooooool them every day!"


Apparently cider brings out my insecurities.

DH bought me a triangle sandwich at Marks&Spenser and I was happy again. So to sum up:

Cider = insecure Elliott
insecure Elliott + cheese and pickle sandwich = happy Elliott

Days 12-14: Barcelona!

DH and I left the next morning on the 6am flight from Liverpool to Barcelona. I'd never been to Spain so I was SO excited.

We took the train into town, threw our bags into our excellent, modern room in Hotel Goya, and walked La Rambla! La Rambla is a tree-lined street that splits the center of town and there is NO better way to get a feel for Barcelona. We had tapas at a forgettable bar but the bottle of rioja was excellent. :)

After La Rambla, we headed to the harbor and the beach. Barcelona's beach is man-made but absolutely beautiful. We spent the early evening people watching at a little beach bar.
(Amazing sand castles with water fixtures!, DH enjoying a mojito at the beach, football stadium, and the Port of Barcelona)

The Spanish eat meals MUCH later than Americans so we headed to Barri Gotic around 10 to grab dinner. I LOVED the Gothic Quarter/Barcelona Cathedral. It was filled with dark and twisty cobblestone streets. Surprisingly, I didn't feel unsafe. I guess when an 80 year old Grandma is shuffling through the alley with you, you figure you're in an ok area.
(La Sandrada Familia, Monument a Colom, Casa Batllo, jambon at Mercat de la Boqueria)

The next morning I woke up feeling virus-y/food poisoning-y. Let's just say that I have a great appreciation for our hotel's original 18th century bathroom tiles. UGH.

DH took great care of me, including running to the pharmacy about 10 times. He also brought me the Spanish equivalent to ginger ale and Saltines: Lemon Fanta and breadsticks. HAHA.

The next day I was able to get out of bed so we took it easy and went on the tourist bus! Laugh if you will but it was actually really interesting and we saw SO much more of Barcelona than if we had walked.
(Bus tour, Casa Mila by Gaudi, the incredibly detailed street lights, Porto)
We saw all of Barcelona's "greatest hits" including Sangrada Familia, Casa Mila, FC Barcelona's football stadium, the Olympic Stadium (holy cow, what a view!), and Catedral Barcelona. The bus is the hop on/hop off type so if you want to visit any place you can. Even though it seems really touristy and cheesy, I really recommend it!

We headed back to Barri Gotic for a quick meal of tapas, including the incredible jamon, and then back to the airport for our Liverpool flight.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

World's saddest baby toy...

Here little *Insert Emma/Connor/Brady/baby name de jour*, naw on a carrot! It's fun because it has a little face!

Because that wouldn't make dinner time traumatic at all. Noooo.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trip 3

Day 6 - Leeds
DH and I headed out the next day to Leeds on our way to visit S&R.

Neither of us had really "done" Leeds so we mostly walked around. The buildings were fantastic. There was also a main shopping street that was packed with street performers. I tell ya, the guy singing Jason Mraz was better than JM himself!

After Leeds, we headed up to Almscliffe. DH and his buddies would go up there on a semi-regular basis to go climbing or bouldering.

I mean, look at that view. Gorgeous!

We spent the night at S&R's beautiful new house. They are in the home stretch for their first bebe and are going to be fabulous parents.

Thanks for hosting us S&R!

Day 7-10: Cambridge/Stevenage/London

The next morning we detoured through Cambridge on our way to visit DH's best friend, C, in Stevenage.

Again, I'd never been to Cambridge so it was super fun to walk down the river(?) and see the punters, all of the old colleges and in general, get a feel for the place.

DH's ex went to Cambridge so he knew about a fun little place for our afternoon tea.

The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester is, not surprisingly, a tea shop in the middle of a beautiful fruit orchard.

Founded at the turn of the century, the Orchard boasts an impressive list of alumni, called the Grantchester Group, including Virginia Woolf, Alan Keynes, and Rupert Brooke, who wrote a poem extolling the virtues of Grantchester.

A little further along, Sylvia Plath (loooove!) and Ted Hughes spent time at the Orchard. Plath wrote:

“Remember Rupert Brooke’s poem? Well we had tea by the roaring fire at ‘The Orchard’ (where they serve tea under flowering trees in spring) and the ‘clock was set at ten to three’ and there was the most delectable dark clover honey and scones.”

I have to agree with Sylvia, the scones were delicious!

We headed to Stevenage quickly because our tea was threatened by whipping winds, threatening dark clouds, a swarm of wasps who were quite interested in our tiny pots of raspberry and strawberry jam.

That night we broke out the bubbly and toasted our wonderful friends C1 and C2. DH's best friend (and best man!), C1, proposed several weeks before to his wonderful girlfriend, C2. (He did it at the Take That reunion concert. How cute is that??)

The next morning we headed to London for a walk around, shopping, and a bit of pubbing. Now, I've been to London 6(?) times and this was by far my favorite day I've spent there.

We started in Covent Garden, which was filled with shoppers and street performers. We moved over to Wagamama, my favorite lunch spot for ramen noodles.

(Word to the wise: Wagamama has finally opened a branch in the US, in Boston. If you are in the area, PLEASE go and have chili chicken ramen. That stuff is THE BOMB.)

(Clockwise from top left corner: Brilliant pear cider in London, C&C at Wagamama, the dumbwaiter at Waxy's, more pear cider, C&C again, DH enjoying a pint)
After a bit of light shopping (yes, I stopped at Cath Kidson again. She really is the new Laura Ashley.) we went to Waxy O'Connor's Little Sister right off of Leicester Square. The upstairs bit to this bar is so clever. There's a dumbwaiter where you write down your order and stick in money for the bill. Lower it down and in a few minutes your drinks are hauled up to you. Definitely beats trying to carry your round up the stairs!

We then headed to The Living Room off Regent Street for delicious cocktails. A beautiful bar, the drinks were strong and the atmosphere posh without being stuffy at all.

If you try going to the restrooms downstairs here's a clue to what to look for. -->

Tricky bastards.

After dinner we headed back to Stevenage on the train for a night of Rock Band. As I drifted off to sleep, I remember thinking that the day was one of the nicest I've had in a long time.

I really feel lucky to have been blessed so much in my life.

Never underestimate the fun of good friends, beautiful weather, and a couple of cocktails.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vacation Part 2

Day 4: Blackpool
DH and I headed to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. BPB is best described as Gatlinburg for English people. Totally fun but WAY tacky and wacky. (I don't judge; we used to head to Gatlinburg once a year when I lived in Tennessee.)

Anywho, BPB has tons of old roller coasters that while rickety as H, they provide a great afternoon of fun. Grand National is from 1935 and the Big Dipper is from 1923! 1923! I can only imagine how freaking scary that ride must have been to folks back then.

Day 5: Trafford
I love shopping in the UK. The way I see it, no one else in San Diego will have what I'm wearing, even if it's just from a high street store. And DH isn't the biggest fan of American fashion and desperately needed new clothes so we headed up to Trafford Centre to get kitted out.

Let me just say: WOW. We probably spent 5+ hours there and I wasn't even close to being finished. I have discovered my English shopping mecca: Selfridges. OMG. It's like a cross between Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, meaning, you can find high end (Burberry, Louis, etc) alongside the more mid-range (Warehouse, Oasis). I picked up the dress above for a song. It's shorter than I normally wear and it has a deep v back but it had a sort of 80s feel that I was digging. SO cute!

Back to mecca: the homewares. OMG. I wanted to buy the entire linen department. Orla Kiely sheets?? In the words of Rachel Zoe: I Diiiiiieeeeeeee. You don't notice until you see high end European design that you literally cannot find some of it in the states. Durr.

After making my way through linen, lamps, and glassware, I hit the motherload of that is British country goodness: Cath Kidson.

I'm not really a shabby-chic sort of girl but oooohhh, did the darling fabrics and dainty goods get me. Cath Kidson is known for their oilcloth and it definitely has a certain post-war aesthetic and appeal. I bought a bunch of goodies, some of which you might see during my giveaway later this week!

I particularly loved their handbags and jewelry. I mean look at these dainty crystal bows! In antique silver, no less.

I also love, love, love the hunter green polka dot saddle bag. The oilcloth gives it a 40s feel. I picture myself in an Anthropologie dress, with this bag draped across as I peddle my 5-speed beach cruiser over to the farmer's market. Not that I haven't been thinking about that bag.

Not. At. All.

I guess you could say I'm a shabby chic convert now. Unfortunately, Cath Kidson is only found in the UK and Japan.

But they do ship internationally.


Friday, September 11, 2009

A tiny tip...

You know when you're sitting around the lady doctor's office, half-naked, waiting for the doc to come in?

Inevitably you're there for 20 minutes, it's cold, and they never have any magazines besides Prevention.

But no matter how bored you are, NEVER, EVER read the booklet "Gynological Cancers."

Sweet Jesus.

I now know what my new nightmare will be.

I assuaged my fears after my appointment by buying a new pair of black, high heel sandals. Phew.

It reminds me of Strictly Ballroom for some reason...

Picked up this lace blouse at Warehouse while in the UK.

I've worn it six times in two weeks. (All with different people, I might add.)

I think it's my new favorite item in my closet!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Vacation Part I

Hello my dear readers!

I know, long time, no read. I do that a lot to you, don't I?

This time, however, I have a really good reason; DH and I were on holiday! (Or to translate into American "Vaca!") DH wouldn't let me tell you about it in advance because he's convinced that someone would figure out our address and break in while we were gone. Nevermind that most of the people who read this know us in real life and offered to watch our plants. Which requires us giving them our keys.

And not to mention that breaking and entering is so un-preppy that I know my readers would never be associated with anything like that.

So all you master criminals - HA! We fooled you.

DH and I went back to the UK and Spain for two weeks. Two weeks! We haven't had that long off since our wedding two years ago. I know he especially needed the break so I'm glad we were able to see his family and friends as well as chill out. Well, I say chill out but it has been an absolute whirlwind. I believe we did 12 flights in 16 days. Yikes!

Anywho, I'll take my re-cap nice and slow and at the end I'll be hosting my first GIVEAWAY for some fabulous British goodies. I'm excited. Are you excited? Let's venture forth:

Day 1: San Diego to Baltimore/Washington
Flying back to the East Coast is quite a pain because you lose an entire day. However, we caught the 7am flight so that we could spend a little time with my parents (who graciously agreed to pick us up at BWI) before we headed out for dinner with some of DH's DC crew.

Well, someone decided to put a damper on that. Namely, Hurricane Bill.

We landed on time but because of the massive amount of rain and traffic associated with Redskins and Nationals games, the one hour drive to my parents' place was THREE hours. Lord!

DH and I literally walked in, threw our bags down, and ran back out to make our metro ride in to DC. (Muhmoo and Deedoo, I feel terrible about that. I really, really do!)

We had dinner with DH's old work mates and their wives. See, aren't they cute:

My good mate L met us up for drinks after and we had a rip-roaring time in Fado's. Who loves a good pint of cider? Oh, that would be me.

Day 2: Washington Dulles to Manchester
Before our flight to Manchester, the fam went out for brunch at Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg, VA. If you have a flight to catch at Washington Dulles, I heartily recommend Tuscarora. DC is a brunch town and this had one of the best I've had.

The Mill is, shockingly, hosted in an old mill. The interior is absolutely beautiful and I wanted to rip the floorboards out and smuggle them home so I could match them for our hardwood floors.

The food was amazing, as all of the awards on the wall boasted. I think one of the things I like the most was that the buffet was small and not overwhelming. If you go, though, make sure to try the french toast. They make all their own bread and it is OMG, get in my mouth as soon as possible!! good.

Our night flight to Manchester was uneventful and not crowded. I stretched out on a row of five empty seats and slept until we had about an hour to go.

Day 3: Warrington
After our night flight, we were pretty wrecked since England is 8 hours ahead of San Diego. We kept it pretty quiet and had a great dinner at DH's parents' place, along with S and E, DH's brother and sister-in-law. It was quite the family moment! :)

When we're in England we always stay with DH's parents. They've lived in their house for over 30(!) years and I adore the fact that DH grew up in it. It's also great because a lot of his childhood friends still live in the surrounding areas so we have an easy time meeting up with all of them.

That being said, a surprisingly large number of DH's friends have emigrated out of the UK. So it was an amazing coincidence that K and N were home in England from Japan for the first time in like, five years! We headed out to the pub and it was fantastic catching up with them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

9 September 2007

Two years ago I promised to love and respect, till death do us part, the man who loves and challenges me more than anyone else...

So here's to my better half, the man who makes my world better and brighter.
Northern Sky, Nick Drake
I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree

But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.

I've been a long time that I'm waiting
Been a long that I'm blown
I've been a long time that I've wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind's eye.

Would you love me for my money?
Would you love me for my head?
Would you love me through the winter?
Would you love me 'til I'm dead?
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high.
I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here. Brighten my northern sky.