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Welcome!

This is a blog about trying new things, tasting all the good things in life, and making every day an adventure.

Do things that make you happy. Try things that will make you better. Look to your friends for inspiration. Everyone has a talent or a special gift to offer. Sometimes just doing the smallest thing can provide a sense of accomplishment, enhance our wellbeing and increase our self-worth. 

And if you feel uncomfortable...good! That means you're growing. See as many places as you can on this planet. Meet new people and try new things. There's so much I still want to do and try so you're invited to follow my adventures...the big and the bitty. We can enjoy them over Cocktails on Monday...or any day of the week.

Cheers!

More Than Just Tea

More Than Just Tea

I just finished my last blog post about Afternoon and Cream Teas, I realized there's a lot more to say about tea here in England. Tea is not just a late afternoon array of delicious sandwiches and cakes. Tea is also an evening meal typically served to the children at about 5:00 or 5:30. School friends are invited over for "tea" (play date) after school and an early dinner is served while they're there. Tea, usually with milk and/or sugar, and biscuits (cookies) is also something to enjoy with a friend or two, oftentimes before school pick-up. And in my opinion, an invitation for a cuppa (cup of tea or coffee) is a lovely extension of friendship from one to another without the fuss of preparing a meal or booking a reservation at a restaurant. (I love this!) I've said many times to my American friends as well as my new English friends that there are many customs and traditions here that I can't wait to bring back to the States. Inviting a friend over for a cup of tea is one of them. It's so simple and comforting.

It's really interesting how another country that seems so similar to ours can have such different social and cultural traditions. Meals for instance. Everyone here eats late. (And holds meetings, get-togethers, dinners, etc. much later as well.) In America 6:00pm or 6:30pm is the usual time to make plans for an evening out, but here in England 8:00 seems to be the magic number. Dinner plans are made for 8pm, and meet-ups for drinks starts at 8pm (although my close friends are being pulled to the dark side as I'm convincing them to meet up for cocktails earlier & earlier...{Insert evil laugh. Muah ha ha ha!}). And there are hardly any Happy Hours in restaurants, bars or pubs here. Happy Hour (or hours...) is a real American tradition that I think the English would surely embrace. (I'm working on it....) The restaurants are usually pretty empty at 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm...even on week nights. And on weekends, the custom is to put the kids to bed before the babysitter arrives. This is deffo (definitely) different. Sometimes it's really hard to wait for 8pm to roll around. I either get sleepy or open the wine at 6:00 anyway, which as you'd guess, poses its own set of problems. But alas, old habits die hard so when Kevin and I go out we usually just make our plans for 6:30pm. :)

My other favorite tradition here is the Sunday Lunch or Sunday Roast. Ooooh, I love a good Sunday Lunch! This could be at a pub or a friend's house or even at our own! It usually consists of Roast Beef or Roast Chicken, Roasted Potatoes (Roasties), Vegetables and Yorkshire Pudding. Yum!! It's usually served around 2pm-4pm, much like our Thanksgiving dinner. Sundays seem like family days to me and it's when I miss my family the most. Whether you go to church in the morning or enjoy a lie-in (sleep in) and have a lazy morning, it's so nice to look forward to a relaxed gathering of friends and family to enjoy a comforting (there's that word again) meal together. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays so now I can recreate Thanksgiving every Sunday! Eureka!

And a word about Pudding. Pudding is not just pudding here. Pudding is dessert. So "pudding" can be ice cream, chocolate, cake, Eton Mess (my fave!), Sticky Toffee Pudding (my other fave!), a Pavlova (yep, you guessed it, another fave!), or actual pudding. And cheese. Cheese is served AFTER a meal. Not before, with savory biscuits (crackers) and salami or prosciutto, like we typically do in America. Kevin really likes having cheese after a meal. I haven't quite warmed to that one yet.

Every day is a learning and growing experience for us here in UK. Mallie speaks fluent "Englishy-English" but doesn't use an English accent as much anymore. She was a little self-conscious when we first arrived and would always speak to her friends in an English accent. She said she didn't want to be different. That made me a little sad but I wanted her to have the freedom to assimilate in her own time and manner so I didn't tell her to stop. But now she's speaking like an American again...yet still says "whilst"(while), "jumper" (sweater) and phrases like "pop over to hers" (go over to her house). The best of both worlds, I'd say. We feel so fortunate to be living here and experiencing all of these new customs and traditions. These experiences are enriching our lives, bringing us closer and making us stronger...as a family and as individuals. Not to mention creating more fun in our lives! So as you look ahead at your diary (calendar) invite a friend--or someone you'd like to be your friend--over for a cuppa, plan a Sunday Lunch with your family or neighbors, or go crazy and have some cheese after your dinner (who knows, you might like it)! Make those connections and build those relationships. But don't wait, do it now as life really is short. And very, very comforting.

{A very comforting and traditional English drink at Christmastime is Mulled Wine. I don't drink red wine but I do like a glass or two of warm, flavorful Mulled Wine on a cold, blowy (windy) day. And since it's still cold here (highs 45F and lows 28F burrrr!) I thought this wold be a good cocktail to share. If you live in a warm climate, try a Sangria!! And know that I'm wee bit jealous. ;-) Cheers!}

Mulled Wine Recipe

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional)
  • 1/4 cup honey or sugar
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • optional garnishes: citrus slices (orange, lemon and/or lime), extra cinnamon sticks, extra star anise

Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer (not a boil -- you don't want to boil the alcohol out!) over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Strain, and serve warm with your desired garnishes.

 

 

Cocktail Masters...or Not

Cocktail Masters...or Not

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