Andy and I went into Bolton today to do a little sales shopping and while we were walking back to the car park it started snowing.
It has been so very cold the last few days and today was no exception. When we left our house at around 11:30am it was so foggy that we could barely make out the car in front of us. We live right at the base of Winter Hill and today you would not have know it, we could not see it at all!
Andy had a bit of a headache tonight so we decided to just tuck up in our warm house and relax. Pretty much being party poopers but it was just too cold to go out... boy does that make me sound old!
Andy and I went into Bolton today to do a little sales shopping and while we were walking back to the car park it started snowing.
Now that is tiny (I take you back to my 87/365 post)!
I honestly can not believe the lack of baking ingredients in the UK. Am I just not looking in the right stores? Am I missing something here? Somebody please help me...
I mean look at the size of these bottles! I had to put a can of soda in the shot so that you could get the idea of their size. One batch of cookies and a batch of brownies later I have already gone thru a whole vanilla extract bottle, what is that about?
I have also been to a few stores and can not find any coconut flakes anywhere! And seeing as how I can't even find any fresh strawberries I doubt I'll be coming across a whole coconut any time soon (as if I would even know what to do with it if I did find one).
Andy said when he was growing up in Bootle (Liverpool area) there was a store that you could go to that had all kinds of baking ingredients in tubs and you just scooped out what you wanted into bags and you just paid for what you needed. I must find a way of searching for a store like this to see if A) they are still in operation and B) if there is one in the Bolton area.
I have no idea what was up with Rooney (left) and Gallagher (right) but for some reason they both found themselves sleeping face down on the back of each of our sofas today. The picture of Rooney was taken this morning and Gallagher this evening. To me it does not look very comfortable... but it must be.
I had to go back to work today after having 5 days off. That time seemed to go very quickly! Thankfully I only have to work Monday and Tuesday then I have Wednesday and Thursday off. I then go back in on Friday then have Saturday and Sunday off... so all in all it is not that bad.
My new mixer is going to burn out at this rate. Tonight I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. While we were out the other day Andy and I went to a different Asda than the one we normally go to and I was able to find milk chocolate chips. The Asda that we normally go to only has dark chocolate chips... and although I wouldn't mind Andy hates dark chocolate.
I baked just enough for us to eat tonight and then I refrigerated the rest of the cookie dough so that I can bake a few each night fresh. I dislike having to bake them all the first night and then reheating them the following the nights, they get all yucky.
Andy and I went into Bolton today as I wanted to run into TJ Hughes to get another set of my canisters and with everything on sale right now I was scared they would sale out. After that we needed to go into Middlebrook to Pets at Home to get some cat litter. About half way there Andy says 'Crap... Bolton is playing at home and the game is going to be over in about 30 minutes'. Unfortunately smack dab in the middle of the Middlebrook shopping area parking lot is the Reebok Stadium where Bolton plays. *ugh* We ended up running into the store and of course... just my luck... they were completely sold out of all clumping litter. I even asked an associate and he confirmed.
So instead of getting in and getting out we now had to go to Asda, fortunately it is right next door but unfortunately by the time I ran in and out the game was just being let out. I could hear the Bolton fans booing the club off the pitch as I was walking to the car (they lost 0-1).
We were too late. The traffic was already horrible and it would have taken us forever to get out. So we decided to walk about some of the different shops. We ended up finding a few good bargains but it was not how I wanted to spend an hour and half of my day... wasting time until the traffic let up. Note to self: When Bolton plays at home do not go into Middlebrook.
We finally found the time to go see Twilight tonight... and I finally got to wear my Twilight hoodie. I have had it for about a month now but I have been saving it to wear to the movie.
Having read all four books in the Twilight series I tried to go into this movie with an open heart. I say this because anybody that has ever read a book and then they make a movie from that book, it is just never as good. Understandably a book can go into much more detail as a movie only usually has at max 2 hours to tell the story but I absolutely hate when things are made up and added into a movie. I know bits and pieces have to be left out for time cutting but I have never understood why the person writing the adapted screenplay makes up things to add in and why the author allows it.
I would have to say that 'Harry Potter' (in my opinion) is one of the best books to the big screen changes I have seen. Yes they must leave out a ton in order to fit it into a movie format but they hardly add anything in that did not happen in the books.
One of the worst that I can think of is 'The Firm'. If you have never read the book and watched the movie it is good on it's own right but for those of you (like me) that have read the book and then watched the movie ... it was a disgrace. They changed everything and made up new story lines when it was not needed as the book was perfect.
With all of this being said, what did I think of Twilight? It was... okay. I do believe again that if I had not read the books that it would have been much better. Unfortunately Stephanie Meyer did allow them to 'make up' things that did not happen in the book and to me the ending was utterly ridiculous. I serious sat there at the end and shook my head in disbelief.
I do not want to go into too much detail as I know a few of you are reading these books and a few of you may not have gone to see the movie yet.
Do I regret watching the movie? No. Do I hope they do a better job with the next book 'New Moon'? Yes. Did I love Robert Pattinson in the role of Edward Cullen? Yes, but this could be because of my love of the fictional character is so great that I would have loved anybody in the part.
My suggestion... read the books!
I promised Andy that I would not make him go shopping on Boxing Day as we were both wanting to avoid the crowds.
However... I broke my promise.
I had to run to B & Q (pretty much the same as Home Depot in the States, even has the same orange square logo) because I am trying to get the last bit of our boxes unpacked and in order to do that I needed some shelves that I could put in the storage area under our stairs (and no Harry Potter does not live under there). So out we went... thankfully B & Q is not a Boxing Day favourite so it was not too bad, Andy has forgiven me.
While we were there we were walking down the middle aisle and Andy pointed out this very tiny washing machine. I made him stand next to it for comparison... it did not even come up to the top of his leg. I know they have space saving things in the UK but this was going a little too far. I doubt a person could even wash two full size towels in this little thing.
I can not even remember for how many years I have wanted a Kitchenaid mixer. Last year when we were living with my Mom I used her's as much as I could to make homemade cheesecake, cookies and cakes.
Well this year Andy surprised me with this beauty and I am over the moon. He even got me the fancy version with the larger bowl that has a handle and there is a removable splash guard with an opening for pouring in ingredients. It came with the basic whisk, dough hook and beater attachments.
I told him this will be the gift that keeps on giving as now he will get lovely home baked goodies and it will be easy for him to buy me extra attachments as other gifts for my birthday, etc... He wins on both counts!
I have already used to make two loaves of zucchini bread (or courgette bread if you are in the UK). Later tonight I am going to use it again to make some chocolate brownies that have a cream cheese swirl. Yummy! Bring on the baking....
The brownies just finished and they are VERY yummy!!
I can not believe it is the day before Christmas! It has honestly come up so quickly... who knows where the time has gone.
These are a few of our Christmas cards that we have received so far and front and centre you will find a lovely Christmas penguin card from my friend Meg and her husband Matt. The others are from family and there are two beautiful homemade cards! Wish I had the time to make my own cards... with work, unpacking, settling in, etc... I was not even able to send out cards this year. *ugh* Next year I will be settled in and will have time to at least send some out. Hopefully!
You can sculpt it, stretch it, bounce it, shatter it and tear it... Man I love this stuff!
This will defiantly give me something to play around with between calls at work! I tend to talk with my hands and I always want something to play around with while I'm talking. The Blue Tack has been working so far but after awhile it starts getting a little gross and starts sticking to my fingers. *eewwww*
I do not have to go back to work until Monday 29 December but when I do go back I'll be armed with enjoyment.
Look at what I found at Asda tonight! They only had six of them so I bought them all. "They are mine... all mine..." (insert wicked laugh here)
Asda was a nightmare, a true mad house! We are having Christmas dinner with Andy's parents but on Boxing Day I am going to cook our own meal so we needed to get all of the bits and pieces. It was so busy but I am glad we got it out of the way.
After we got back I ran over to my in-laws to check to see if a package of mine arrived today and as I was turning around to lock the door behind me I forgot that they have a step and I fell and twisted my ankle! I fell flat on my face, skinned my knee and both palms. But I guess it could have been worse, I was about two inches from one of the spikes on their metal gate, so I should be grateful!
I love Winnie The Pooh! My mom cut this Pooh out of wood for me and I painted him many years ago. There are about 15 different outfits that you can interchange throughout the year and are held onto him by Velcro.
I was unpacking one of our boxes and found him and his clothes so he is now hanging proudly in our vestibule so that he can greet people as they come in.
I am sure you will see more of this little guy over the next year.
Tonight Andy and I went to see a production of A Christmas Carol in Darwen which is about a 25 minute train ride north from Bolton.
The night started with us walking down to the train station in Westhoughton to find quite a few people waiting for the train. After about 10 minutes we hear this man yelling at the top of the walkway "Bolton... Anybody going to Bolton?" Turns out the trains were not running due to failed signal lights so a bus was going around to the stops taking people into Bolton. So we loaded onto the bus and off to Bolton we went.
I had made a reservation at The Olive Press earlier that morning so we mad our way to the restaurant. The food was quite yummy and I'm sure we will make our way there again.
We then caught the train to Darwen and made our way to the theatre. The show was fun and I am glad we went. It was quite funny because I had mentioned to Andy that this will be the first production of A Christmas Carol that I have been to see where everybody will have a real English accent instead of them having to try to put one on. Then it turned out that the man playing Scrooge was Scottish. What are the chances in that...
The play got over at exactly 9:10 which was terrible because there is one train an hour back to Bolton and it just so happens to come at :10 past. So we hurried over hoping that the train was late but nope... no luck. We had to wait for an hour for the next train then once we got into Bolton it was about another 20 minute wait for the train into Westhoughton. We finally got home at around 11:30.
I am from Illinois but for the last three and a half years Andy and I have been living in Texas and there was a fast food chicken place called Church's Chicken. Well this sign is exactly like Church's they have just changed the name to Texas Chicken. Here is the Church's sign, you be the judge:
I actually really liked Church's Chicken... we will have to try it out sometime to see if it tastes the same. Seeing as how the McDonald's over here tastes nothing like the McDonald's back in the states... I'm sure it will not be very similar.
Andy and I were going to eat at an Italian restaurant called 'The Olive Press' that I had noticed a couple of weeks back but when we went in tonight she told us that a reservation was required and that they had no free tables. I think we are going to be going back into Bolton on Saturday so I'm going to look for their website and see how to go about booking a table.
We had noticed as we were walking thru the streets that quite a few ambulances were speeding past with their sirens and lights on. When we went back to the train station we found that all of the trains going west toward Westhoughton had been cancelled. *ugh* It wasn't until later that we found out that a train had derailed in Cheshire. It appears that a 4x4 had been parked and because of a faulty hand brake when the guy got out to deliver something nearby the 4x4 rolled down a hill and onto the train tracks. The train hit the 4x4 and the front carriage derailed. Luckily nobody was badly hurt and there were only minor injuries. This must have been why all the ambulances were being called away.
We ended up walking to the bus station and just getting the bus back home. This turned out to be quite an eventful bus ride. At one of the stops between Bolton and Westhoughton this staggering man got on the bus and at about the same time he walked on a woman that was sitting in the front stood up and started yelling at the man that just got on.
It appears that the staggering man was this woman's husband and he was supposed to be home with their two children while she was grocery shopping in Bolton (she was a tiny little woman and was trying to carry around 10-15 grocery bags by herself). The husband obviously had other plans as he was staggering drunk and proceeded to open another can of beer while he was being yelled at by his wife. They made their way to the back of the bus where they continued to argue about the kids being left with her grandfather.
It was then that a man in a business suit stood up and started yelling that he has been at work all day and the last thing he needs to is sit on the bus listening to their domestic and that they needed to give it a rest. The drunk man decides to stand up and tell the business suit guy that if he doesn't shut up he is going to smash his beer can on the man's face. The little woman stands up and tries to get between the two men and finally the suit guy sits down and apologizes about getting involved and says that he has just had a rough day and didn't want to hear any more of the fighting.
My theory is if you are going to go out of your way to get involved in somebody else's domestic you might as well see it thru. It should not end with you apologizing to the guilty party. The little woman started saying that it was her fault (how she worked that one out I am not sure) and that she was the one arguing and that the drunk man has had to put up with it for seven years...
After we got off the bus Andy agreed that if he had to put up with the little woman for seven years he would also be a drunk.
These are the sockets in our house. From the places I have been in the UK so far they seem to be pretty common.
As the title has suggested I have grown to have a love / hate relationship with these. I do like that each outlet has its own on and off switch... but I also hate them because I find myself plugging something in, such as the vacuum and when I go to use it I remember that I did not turn on the outlet. This then makes me walk back to the outlet, grunting and cursing under my breath and having to turn it on. The worst is when I turn on my straightener only to come back to find it off and stone cold. *ugh*
I know what you all are thinking though... you are wondering why I don't just leave them all on. I did try this but there is just something about that off button. If I unplug something from the outlet I just can't leave it turned on. It is honestly the weirdest thing.
I am sure after a while it will just become second nature to remember to turn them on but for now I suspect there will be plenty of cursing under my breath as I walk to turn it on.
I have discovered that the English take their love of chocolate very seriously! These tins and containers of chocolates are everywhere this time of year and are too irresistible to resist. It also seems at work that these are passed among everybody and it has been day after day of chocolaty goodness.
For those of you who are not familiar with the above each of the containers are a mixture of different flavoured chocolate and when you ask anybody they can always tell you their favourite. So... here are a list of mine:
The Purple One - Milk chocolate and Hazelnut
Blue Wrapper - Milk chocolate coconut éclair
Bounty - Milk Chocolate and coconut (Like a Mounds in the US)
Galaxy Truffle - Yummy Galaxy chocolate... rich and creamy
Purple Wrapper - Milk chocolate and Hazelnut
Brazilian Darkness - Dark chocolate with a coffee centre
So these are my favourites.. for those of you in the UK what are yours?
I love having Sky TV! We have been in our house for a couple weeks with no TV so we are very glad to have this little guy now.
Since we are on the end of our row of terraced houses the installer was quite happy to let us bring the cable in the side which worked out perfect as our TV is up against that wall. This means that I did not have to run cable across the room, I hate doing that.
This photo was taken at 8:00am this morning. It still amazes me that the sun does not even think about coming up until at around 8:20am during this time of year.
This photo was taken at 3:30pm this afternoon, just as the sun was setting. So today we had about 7 hours of daylight. Not bad!
I know that most people here complain about the short days but honestly they do not seem to bother me that much. Plus I remember when Andy and I were here in June back in 2000 and I was amazed that the sun came up at around 5:00am and did not set until around 10:00pm. So the sun gets to take some hours back in a few months. It will work itself out in the end.
Look what we found! When we were in Asda the other night we found this little pack of Oreos and then tonight Andy went down to the Co-Op and found some Chocolate Nesquik, yummy!
So I have been in the UK for 74 days lets make a list of the food that I have so far missed:
* A1 Sauce
* Wheat Thin Crackers
* Grape Jelly (Well anything grape really)
* Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Honestly there is so much good food here that I'm not really missing anything yet but these are just a few things that I have mentioned since I have been here.
I have found an online recipe for A1 Sauce so one day I'll try that out to see if it tastes as good!
Today has been a pretty boring day! I am SO glad that it is Friday. This has been a really long week and I am in need of a weekend.
This is a completely uninspired photo of the street in front of our house.
The best concert I have ever been to. Period.
Coldplay is one of my all time favourite bands and I am so very glad that we got tickets to go see this gig! We ended up having to buy tickets on eBay but we only spent around £10 more per ticket so it was a great deal. And as you can see from the photo we had awesome seats.
I love their new album Viva la Vida so that was great that they played quite a few songs from that but it was especially wonderful because they also played some of the older hits. Songs like The Scientist, Clocks, Yellow, In My Place, etc... It was all GREAT!
During Yellow they had dozens of confetti filled yellow large balloons that were being hit all over the arena. In the above photo they dropped millions of these confetti butterflies during Lovers in Japan. I was able to grab a handful of them to take home with me. There was even one point when they left the stage and went up into the stands behind us and played two songs from up in the seats.
I am not kidding when I saw it is the best concert I have ever been to, and I have been to quite a few good concerts. I was smiling from start to finish.
This is quite possibility the most beautiful billboard I have ever seen. When we were walking by and saw it I had to just stop and stare at it for a few moments.
I am so excited that Andy is finally reading the book... He likes it also!
I can not wait until Friday December 19th.
Wish I had a more birthday festive photo but honestly this is what has taken up most of my time today. Last night was one of the worst nights of my life. I did fall asleep but then I woke up about every hour on the hour. First I would be ice cold and my teeth would start chattering and then the next hour I would be burning up and would have to kick the covers off. *ugh*
Hopefully Andy does not get this crud as a birthday present!
Went to go see a great concert tonight! We had a lot fun and would 100% go see them again, it was wonderful.
I am glad I ended up feeling better because I felt like death last night. In one hour I would have such cold chills that my teeth would start to chatter and then in the next hour I was so hot that I was kicking off covers. On our way into work Andy stopped by the Co-Op and I ran in and bought the only medicine that said flu on it. Thankfully by the end of the day at least my headache was gone. By the time Tracey and James came to pick us up I was actually feeling pretty good. I still have a cough but nothing like how I felt last night.
I still feel like crap today but have forced myself to get some more stuff done around the house. Since we have had to pretty much buy all of our furniture and I picked out the pieces from IKEA it means that there is a lot to put together.
And I mean a lot. . .
I have put together two long drawers that you see on the right, three of the tall shelving units in the middle, two of the wardrobes on the left and two bedside tables.
I am sick to death of putting this stuff together but thankfully they are all done. I will be eventually ordering some bookshelves for the second bedroom but I think I may hold off for a little while, I can't take putting any more of this stuff together right now.
The basket on top of the wardrobe in the picture is for the cats. They all love laying in baskets and they love to be as high as they can. I was scared that the basket may slide around on the top so I screwed it in to the top of the wardrobe! Nobody sees up there anyway so the two little screw holes wont bother me and they will be happy to have this place to sleep.
Andy made me a lovely large breakfast this morning. It was delicious!
I'm feeling a little better today but I can tell that something worse is on the way. My neck is stiff and my throat is starting to hurt a little. This is the first year in a long long time that I have not gotten a flu shot, let us hope that is not why I am feeling poorly.
Anybody in the mood for some spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread and a nice cold drink?
I worked on this during the down time in training today. My fellow co-workers were amazed by my blue tack talents. ha ha
The only problem with blue tack is that it starts to get a little gross the more you play around with it. I think I need to look for some silly putty, I used to love that stuff.
I made a snowman also.
I picked up two bedside table lamps the last time we were at IKEA and I absolutely love them! They match the colours of our duvet perfectly and have a beautiful glow when they are on. I think IKEA is my new favourite store.
The beautiful part of snow.
The dirty part of snow.
The what the $&*!@=# part of snow.
This is what happens when Sky takes a week to come and hook up our satellite and we forget to look at weather.com. We had no idea it was supposed to snow last night!
We have to be at work at 9:00am every morning. Normally we leave at around 8:30 and I still have around 5-8 minutes to get a cup of coffee and relax before training begins. Not today.
We saw the traffic outside our house was backed up already so we decided to leave at 8:15. Our drive into work is fairly easy and we only have two roads to drive on. We drive up Church Street and then turn onto Chorley Road and all together it is around 6 miles to work.
Today it took us two hours to get there. *ugh*
We sat on Church street for well over an hour and this is a road that we have to drive about a mile on... if that! I still have no idea what the hold up was. The roads were not even bad and it was obvious that he gritters were out last night so I have no idea what was up.
We ended up being a little over an hour late for work but there were tons of people that did not even bother coming in so I think only being an hour late is pretty good.
I know... I know... I am a horrible mom.
Now that we have door that separates the dining room and kitchen from the rest of the house we have decided to see if we can try to keep the cats out of that part of the house. They have plenty of other rooms to go in and free range in each of them but it will be nice to keep the food cat hair free. I have always tried my best to keep them off the cabinets in the past but it never works. When I am around I can make sure it happens but not when I am not there.
Gallagher, Rooney and Pazzesca don't even seem to be phased by not being allowed into these rooms. The only reason they are acting like this in the photo is because I was sitting just on the other side on the floor going thru some bages that needed to be put away. I think they are thrilled with having a house to run around in (rather then just a bedroom) and they love the stairs!