Mince Pies and Fairy Lights

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I still can’t quite believe I’ve had nearly a whole year off from writing. Writing in almost any form, at the minute completing a shopping list is about my level! But there is something extremely therapeutic and rewarding about capturing these thoughts and adventures on this little ‘ole blog, even if most of the time we are too busy enjoying them to worry about documenting any of it. And that’s ok, that’s the way it supposed to be.

Surprisingly the sleep fairies aligned this morning giving me a short window of time that didn’t need to be filled with anything immediate, and I’ve already showered and had breakfast. Life goals right there.

At some point I’ll do a bit of a wrap up of 2016, as its been quite a year! But for something a little lighter today. We recently went back to the UK and indulged in countless roast dinners with many trimmings, spending lots of time with family and friends, leaving us feeling like we have already half done Christmas. Whilst for some the holidays may not be a joyous occasion, especially as there are so many ‘should’s’ wrapped up in these few days. In a bid to not treat Christmas as something to be done, or checked off the list, and ignoring all the should’s, here are the top 5 things I have and am doing to enjoy these holidays.

  1. Holiday baking. At a recent yoga class we all discussed what our favourite part of the holidays are, and tried to narrow it down to one thing. This was pretty tricky. For me it has to be the food. When else do you get to eat so many delicious treats. I love baking, all year round, so having time to make and decorate cookies, make eggnog – delicious by the way! and my favourite every year, mince pies, is a real treat (have you seen all the puns so far *smug face*).
  2. Fairy lights. You cant have too many. Which is good, because the fairy light monster sneezed all over our house. But they are amazing, I might just leave them up all year.
  3. PJ’s. Be it pj’s (matching!), lounge wear, sweats or whatever, I’m fully embracing the chance to have a few lazy days. I’ve stocked up on popcorn and am choosing some movies. Anyone got any favourite must see Christmas movies?
  4. Snow. Our Christmas plans aside from the above are to make a snowman. We will be in Utah where it is looking very much like we will be having another white Christmas. 10 inches of the white stuff in fact! Whilst kiwi will be hankering after a beach and bbq, I love going for a walk in the snow, and this year being a big kid and making a snowman. It’s been so long I’m not even sure I know how!
  5. Go on an adventure. Once the turkey is finished – we are forgoing it this year, pigs in blankets as a main? followed by cheese. Sure why not! But after lazing around eating all the chocolate, get outside, go somewhere, do something. We plan on walking,Ā  skiing and visiting a state park, then after all of that, playing some new board games!

 

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LA – Weekend trip Part 1

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As it’s fairly chilly and snowy here at the moment, I was quite keen to have a fun weekend away. Even better was the prospect of exploring a place I’d never been. So as LA is only 1.5 hrs away by plane I jetted off to see Hollywood, eat ice cream and catch up with friends.

I’m still pleasantly surprised how quick and easy it is to jet off to California for a long weekend. It took me a little while to work out what to cram into my hand luggage as I’ve forgotten what temperatures above 10 degrees feels like! I hadn’t visited LA before and had a few places I was keen to visit. The only thing I know is that it is a large sprawling city, 2nd biggest in the US in fact, that it is full of Hollywood people and it has access to some fabulous beaches.

We have previously visited some of the pacific coast highway when we visited San Francisco last year. So when I arrived on Saturday, the beach was top of my list. Having got my bearings of the vastness of LA we headed up the pacific coast highway to stop at Santa Monica. I loved walking around the main downtown area, which had small streets, vibrant shops and great cafes. We stumbled across a market selling strawberries. That’s right in season strawberries in January. The mind boggles.

We ventured to the pier, and walked along the broad walk gazing at the carousel and admiring the many performers scattered along. It was lovely to sit in the sunshine and seep up lots of vitamin D. We then found an English imports shop where I purchased some Cherry Bakewells and some Malteasers. This was excellent, and then next door was an actual authentic Irish pub serving proper fish and chips, and a cheeseboard with English cheese, pork pies and Branston pickle.

Having filled myself up with yummy foods we ventured onwards to Malibu. This coastline is especially pretty and we stopped at the beach to enjoy a brief walk, the sunset and some amazing ice cream from a local creamery. All in all for the first day LA is pretty awesome!

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The good bits #12

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So far August is hurtling past, and amid the long hot and sunny days we have been exploring our new home.The kitties have settled well and are enjoying having more windows, and importantly large window sills to sprawl along. They seem to approve and already have several favourite spots.

First impressions of this city are that is is vibrant, so green, and has lots to do, especially outdoor activities. the weather has been glorious, for once I feel like I’ve had a proper summer, its consistently 30+ degrees, with a few instances nearer 40 – which has been a little too warm for my delicate rose skin. Aside from avoiding the mid afternoon, I have however been enjoying living in shorts and flip flops, and making the most of the local outdoor pool, ice cream and abundance of vitamin D. I created a summer wardrobe, although if I’m honest I’m really looking forward to ‘fall’ which is my favourite time of year. I cant wait to be cold enough to wrap up warm again!

Kiwi and I have begun exploring our new state, with a few trips south and west. Visiting one of the islands on the great salt lake, eating our body weight in ice cream shakes (almost) and hiking to some darling hot pools.

We also had a fantastic time in the UK, and reminisced about home (well for me anyway) complete with bbq’s, Pimms, camping and enjoying a few days around our old stomping ground. It’s hard to believe I landed in the US a whole year ago – it’sĀ  a bit longer for Kiwi. In some ways it really doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone that long, but I guess we have crammed a lot into the last year.

As we approach Labour day – this is effectively like August bank holiday weekend, it’s officially the end of the summer but as Americans get less holidays its even bigger! we will be exploring more of the national parks whilst the weather is still good. We are looking into ski season passes for the approaching season and finding some local treasures.

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