Four Years

On Thursday, Danny and I celebrated four years of marriage. Four years! Cannot believe that I’ve been married for that long – didn’t I just graduate college?!

We went out to eat at Chaophraya, whose Glasgow location is the biggest Thai restaurant in Europe. It’s housed in a huge grade A listed building and I wish I could say I got gorgeous pictures of the place but my phone camera has been wonky lately and I wasn’t about to cart the DSLR to my anniversary dinner.

We did snap this one before the taxi arrived and I managed to get some seriously blurry shots of our feast.

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We ordered the banquet style dinner and I was stuffed at the end of the meal.

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Siam Smile cocktail and a side of our appetiser platter.

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From the left, four seasons duck curry, chili and garlic pork belly, black pepper beef and ginger shrimp. Not the best picture but it shows just how much food we ate. And yes, all those dishes were empty by the end of the night.

We finished off with fruit fondue then headed home right after dinner as it was a “school” night. Can’t wait until next year when it’ll be on a Friday. Five years and a Friday, we’ll have to do something extra special for that!

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Late May Bank Holiday

Bank holiday weekends are a wonderful thing. Lucky me, we get two in May right after a four day Easter weekend. In 2011 and 2012 we got an extra added on because of the Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee. No extras this year, but Britain is still a wonderful bank holiday filled country in the spring. In comparison, this weekend is only a two day and I’m coming up to that fear time on a Sunday evening. Need to distract myself with pictures of last weekend.

I wanted to take a last minute trip for this bank holiday but flight prices were higher than normal due to well, the holiday! Scotland always seems to have good weather during the last weekend in May so it wasn’t too bad to stay home. Last year I was in a bathing suit at Ayr beach! No bathing suit this time, but the sun was out and temperatures reached 20 degrees celsius.

On Saturday Danny and I walked into town for some shopping. He wandered into H&M for some work shirts and we ended up walking out with some work shirts and a new bikini for me. No beach holidays booked yet but this is good motivation!

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We continued our walk to the West End with BrewDog in mind as our destination for lunch. On the way we stopped at McPhabb’s for a Pimm’s and beer, but left after one drink because we couldn’t get a seat in the sun.

Brewdog only had indoor seating but the view, beer and good food more than made up for it.

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I didn’t think I liked beer but trying some from a small brewery makes a world of difference. I got the ‘Punk IPA’ which I would definitely drink again! Their food is also really good. We got a meat lovers pizza which sounds quite down market and pub-y but it had fennel and fancy meats and was delicious. Went too fast for a picture.

As we were eating Danny saw that a few of his friends were on the train into town so we headed over to Ashton Lane to meet up. It was packed. At first it was really weird because it felt like a total dude-fest but then I realized that all the groups of guys were out early for the Champions League game later that night.

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After a few drinks I left my guy to do the same and headed home happy with a Taco Mazama burrito.

Since it was still alright weather on Sunday we headed out for a proper day trip. The weather was kinda overcast as we picked up picnic supplies but it was a gorgeous day in our destination, Oban.

We stumbled upon Dunollie Castle and hearing it was open day, we eagerly went in. The views from the crumbling, old tower were amazing. I need to live in a castle by the sea!

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inside dunollie castle

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After our bit of historical time we drove to the opposite side of town for our picnic.

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In heaven!

On our drive home it started raining and continued to rain for the actual bank holiday Monday. Tis to be expected! I had a brilliant weekend anyway and who can argue with a four day work week?

Birthday Day

I’ve been 27 for a week now. Officially in my late twenties but I think I can still get away with ‘the end of my mid-twenties’.

I’m only posting about my birthday now as I got a whole week of celebrations. Half day from work on Wednesday, long bank holiday weekend and an Italy planning dinner last night.

On my actual birthday I had to get up and go to work, but Danny drove me and we stopped off for an iced vanilla latte so I guess that was okay. Work has been slow lately but no one wants to spend their day at work. I finished up on the dot at 12:30 and Danny picked me up again to take me out to lunch.

We went out to Central Market which opened last fall but since I hibernate over the winter I hadn’t heard of it until now. We snagged an outside table and prayed for the clouds to stay away.

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They did! I got oysters to start and a chicken sandwich with bacon jam for my main. And prosecco of course! There was a cupcake shop across the street for dessert and then I headed home to change and get ready for our evening.

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A few weeks ago I bought a voucher for a 4 course meal at Chardon D’Or and this seemed like the perfect time to use it. The restaurant was really nice but very quiet as it was a Wednesday. Very fancy as well. I felt like I had to whisper the entire time as to not cause a scene! Service and food were great though.

Before dinner we headed to Limelight for a pre dinner cocktail. Their cocktails span the decade and I choose the Aviation, which was invented in 1915. So good. I’ve recently discovered that I love gin cocktails so this was perfect. We also cracked open a bottle of Tolosa for the celebrations and I was very happy to wake up clear headed the next day. Guess I’m not getting too old!

This is why we can’t have nice things

Interesting weekend.

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Pros:
– Went out to lunch at Brel for a pot of mussels and a glass of wine.
– Had a wee pub crawl around the cute West End pubs while it snowed outside.
– Met up with some friends afterwards for the Scotland v Wales match.

Cons:
– Lost my camera lens cap.
– Lost one of my J.Crew leather gloves.
– Lost my dignity.

Combine that with the fact that I lost my favorite purple glasses on the flight back to Glasgow and I am starting to feel like I shouldn’t be allowed anything nice! I would usually leave my expensive camera at home if I was going out drinking, but we hadn’t planned to stay out beyond lunch. I actually think I lost the lens cap on the walk home when I took the camera out to take a million pictures of the freshly fallen snow. Upon second viewing, so not worth it! They’re all orangey and out of focus. I’m not sure what happened to my glove but it’s not shown up at any of the pubs we were at so I must have lost that outside as well. I need to start wearing Primark when I go out drinking, I’m a hopeless case.

Not worth the ยฃ5 for a replacement cap.

Not worth the ยฃ5 for a replacement cap.

The day out was a celebration for my entry back into the working world. I start back on April 2 and funnily enough, I start back at my old job. Yep, same company and same position as the contract that ended in December. My old VP saw my CV floating around the internal job bank and because of a few people leaving and a shift of workload, they need me again! Strange how the world works. Looking forward to my next week of freedom from a job and job hunting.

Hayley’s Comet (on my nails)

I love having extra time to cook a full dinner. Tonight’s menu included these Thai turkey burgers and sweet potato fries. The slaw was the best part, especially because I used all purple cabbage and it looked prettier! Last night was a Goan fish curry from a recipe torn out of Fabulous magazine. That was also a hit. Food period is a hit in this house, but I have to agree that the curry was pretty good.

My goal this year is to read 50 books. I only made this goal a few weeks ago but I am well on my way. I have to read 2 more books before the end of March to stay on track and I should probably try for 3 so I have some leeway when I get busier. Currently, I’m reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and I have the first two Hunger Games books waiting for me at the library.

It’s still been absolutely freezing here in Glasgow so instead of turning up the heat I just retreat to the bedroom with Fernando to read. Honestly, I think he’s just as cold so it works well for the both of us. He always cries to get into the bathroom so he can sleep on the mat in front of the heater.

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The highlight of my week was my new nail polish purchase. I know, I know, but I really like nail polish! I finally got with the program and bought the Seche Vite topcoat. Amazing. I usually have to sit waiting for my nails to dry for at least two hours but this seemed pretty good after about 30 minutes. I went in for the topcoat and a ridge filling base coat and since makeup was 3 for 2 in Boots I also got a fun colour. I had been eyeing the Beetlejuice range from Models Own since it came out and decided on the Hayley’s Comet colour.

It’s gorgeous on – sort of a shimmery pink champagne with an iridescent green sheen.

So excited for Nashville tonight. Never though I’d be a once a week series devotee but I have not missed an episode and I’m totally engrossed in the story line and characters.

March!

I am so glad that March is here. February is the shortest month but a lot can go on in 28 days. I usually feel like March has snuck up on me but this year I feel like we are truly well and deep into 2013. 2012 seems far away and I am ready for spring and a new beginning.

Having said that, the day to day hasn’t been that busy. I tidy in the morning, job search in the afternoon and find (a lot of) time to cook and read for pleasure. I also have been sending Danny out for the groceries as it hasn’t gotten warm enough yet to want to wander around in this weather. Today was good though! I’m hopeful that spring is here.

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1. My chicken curry from last Sunday. Even though I’m home all of the day I still use my slow cooker 2 or 3 times a week – it’s just too easy.

2. Went on a Forever 21 shopping spree while I was home and then three weeks later I found these earrings and about 6 empty earring holders in the pocket of a blazer I bought. Looks like someone used the blazer for some sneaky shoplifting! I guess this leftover pair weren’t worth it. I would have been mortified if the sales assistant had found them while he was ringing me up.

3. Fernando’s Saturday morning. I think he loves weekend mornings more than we do.

4. Finished Gone Girl this morning. I LOVED it. Read a lot of reviews with people hating on the ending but I thought it was absolutely perfect. I thought Nick and Amy were both amazing characters – some of my favorites from recent reads, up there with the characters from The Marriage Plot. The book itself was even better in some ways because the story was a lot more compelling than The Marriage Plot.

Valentine’s Week

Danny and I have been a bit naughty this week. Even though we just got back from holiday, we’ve been out for drinks or dinner three times. We need to buckle down and be good for the next few weeks – I need to find a job, for starters!

Tuesday night was the Celtic v Juventus game. Celtic sadly lost by 3 points so they have little chance of advancing to the next round in the Champions League. We went to O’Neills in Merchant City, which was packed of course. Absolutely no room to move around and a constant danger of getting a drink spilled on you. I had two vile glasses of red wine (when will I learn to not order wine at a pub?) and ended up with a headache the next day. It was good to see friends though and we ended the night with a Indian garlic chili chicken pizza. Cannae beat it!

On Valentine’s Day we hemmed and hawed about whether to go out or not but finally decided on dinner at Roma Mia – a cute family run Italian only 5 minutes from our flat. We’ve been there before, but I appreciate it so much now that we’ve been to Rome. It really does feel like you’re in Italy at this place. I got buffalo mozzarella with rocket and tomatoes to start and pasta puttanesca for my main. Danny got shrimp ravioli to start and some sort of special with sausage and tagliatelle for his main. Dessert was chocolate! A whole box to myself as Danny’s cutting out the bad stuff from his diet.

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Friday night we met some friends in town for a few drinks. We had originally planned to just meet at Wetherspoons and then head elsewhere after one, but we ended up there until closing time. I think it was mostly to do with the fact that we all had seats at ‘spoons and didn’t want to give them up and stand in another crowded bar. I had wine of course, but Wetherspoons serves drinkable wine so it was all good. We ended up having a great night – good conversation and a lot of laughs.

Soooo, this weekend has been a quiet one. Grocery shopping, Netflix, and some coconut chicken curry in the slow cooker for tonight.

 

I used the above recipe but added a lot more garam masala, more curry powder, ginger and more vegetables in the curry itself. To be honest, I think it’s going to turn out better than the original – I mean, who puts carrots in a curry?!

Festive Season

My grand plans to work out from December 14 to Jan 19 got sidetracked big time by the holidays. I was doing pretty well until my Christmas day out on the 22nd, and then the next two weeks were full of food, drinks, celebrations and sleeping in. With 10 days to go until we depart and no work I have been spending all my time with Jillian. Two weeks isn’t much to lose some weight but right now I just need to tone up and keep active in preparation for all the food I’m going to eat in California. Sushi, burritos, In’n’Out, French dip, frozen yogurt, tostadas, tri-tip, ribs, burgers, ah, I can’t wait!

Christmas and New Year’s were both spent in Danny’s hometown with family. We woke up on Christmas morning in our own flat and enjoyed opening a few presents, an Eggs Benedict breakfast and a viewing of Gone With the Wind with mimosas.

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I got Danny a kettlebell for Christmas which was a workout in itself to drag into the flat and wrap. It was delivered to our door but I had to hide it in our closet myself and then wrangle with wrapping 18kgs! We stuck to a budget because of our upcoming trip so this was his main present with a couple of little things. I put a couple of ideas on to my Pinterest wishlist and ended up getting my two favorites.

I have a cover for my iPad but since I’ll be taking it on my upcoming trip I needed a case as well. I also got some lovely Lush bath bombs and Marc Jacobs’ Daisy fragrance set.

After getting ready we drove over to Danny’s mom’s and then took a taxi to his brother’s house for our dinner. I was in charges of the starters and made stuffed mushrooms, crab crostini, herb foccacia with Italian cured meats and orange jello shots in orange slices. We had a great big meal of traditional turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes, veg, etc. To finish we had Christmas cake and then on to the karaoke! At around 11 or so, Danny’s other brother invited us all over to his house and we continued the party there with more singing and dancing. We had such a good time we didn’t get back home until 5:30 in the morning.

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Surrounded by my favorite things - wine and cheese.

Surrounded by my favorite things – wine and cheese.


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The end of the night, most likely.

The end of the night, most likely.

New Year’s was more of the same. Drink, dance and some yummy food at Danny’s mom’s house. I got to participate in the Scottish tradition of First Foot. I got sent out at 11:57pm and ‘invited’ in shortly after midnight, bringing with me Scotch eggs and a glass of champagne.

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It was nice to have a low-key NYE. In years past we’ve thrown parties or gone out in the town, but with a need to save money and family to spend time with, staying in was an easy choice this year.

Goodbye 2012

2012 has been a great year. I started and ended 2012 without a job but this was also the year that I learned to not depend on work so much. I had a job that paid the bills, allowed me to enjoy time outside of work and I kept my friends from my previous role. The best of both worlds! Danny and I also had the chance to travel loads, book a trip back home, get new jobs and get really fit (Danny).

I started this blog in January but had sporadic posts during the first half of the year. Thought I would take a chance to focus on the (iPhone) highlights of 2012 and I look forward to continuing this in 2013 with more pictures and more posts!

January

1. Steak dinner at Grill on the Corner for Danny's birthday. 2. Birthday boy 3. Flowers from my colleagues after I got laid off 4. Did a lot of cooking in Jan, including cemitas

1. Steak dinner at Grill on the Corner for Danny’s birthday. 2. Birthday boy 3. Flowers from my colleagues after I got laid off 4. Homemade cemitas for dinner

February

1. Light dinner at The Bungo 2. A stop on our neighborhood pub crawl 3. Passed my Life in the UK test and sent away my ILR application 4. My local library

1. Light dinner at The Bungo 2. A stop on our neighborhood pub crawl 3. Passed my Life in the UK test and sent away my ILR application 4. My local library

March

1. 40th anniversary party for Danny's aunt and uncle 2. Mother's Day diner at Guidi's 3. Got Fernando a leash and he hated it 4. Day out at the races with some friends

1. 40th anniversary party for Danny’s aunt and uncle 2. Mother’s Day dinner at Guidi’s 3. Got Fernando a leash and he hated it 4. Day out at the races with some friends

April

1. Looked after Lucy 2. Easter dinner in Londonderry after a day of driving through N.Ireland 3. Night out at the Garage 4. Homemade burgers and chips

1. Looked after Lucy 2. Easter dinner in Londonderry after a day of driving through N.Ireland 3. Night out at the Garage 4. Homemade burgers and chips

May

 1. Spent the night at a castle for my 26th birthday 2. Tequila shot sampler for Cinco de Mayo 3. View from our castle room 4. Finally got my ILR 5. Sangria tour in town for my birthday 6. Beer garden for the amazing weather we had the last weekend in May

1. Spent the night at a castle for my 26th birthday 2. Tequila shot sampler for Cinco de Mayo 3. View from our castle room 4. Finally got my ILR 5. Sangria tour in town for my birthday 6. Beer garden for the amazing weather we had the last weekend in May

June

1. Rome 2. Ate Italian food for most of June 3. Sunset at 11 pm on the solstice 4. Had to evacuate the airport due to a fire drill

1. Rome 2. Ate Italian food for most of June 3. Sunset at 11 pm on the solstice 4. Had to evacuate the airport due to a fire drill

July

1. Orange walk 2. Olympic women's football match 3. Tried the new Brazilian steakhouse 4. Betting on the final game of the Euros

1. Orange walk 2. Olympic women’s football match 3. Tried the new Brazilian steakhouse 4. Betting on the final game of the Euros

August

1. Our B&B in Spain 2. Sangria in Seville 3. About to leave for Portugal 4. The beach in Nerja

1. Our B&B in Spain 2. Sangria in Seville 3. About to leave for Portugal 4. The beach in Nerja

September

1. Sunday roast 2. Drinks at T.G.I. Friday's 3. Library books 4. Homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza

1. Sunday roast 2. Drinks at T.G.I. Friday’s 3. Library books 4. Homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza

October

1. 3rd wedding anniversary flowers and cards 2. Beef bourguignon 3. Looked after Lucy again 4. Alumni reunion drinks

1. 3rd wedding anniversary flowers and cards 2. Beef bourguignon 3. Looked after Lucy again 4. Alumni reunion drinks

November

1. Thanksgiving dinner 2. Poppadoms and dipping sauces at Dakhin 3. First snowfall of the season 4. Lentil soup prep

1. Thanksgiving dinner 2. Poppadoms and dipping sauces at Dakhin 3. First snowfall of the season 4. Lentil soup prep

December

1. Christmas Eve 2. Family night out at the Christmas fair in Glasgow 3. Christmas day 4. NYE's curry

1. Christmas Eve 2. Family night out at Christmas fair in Glasgow 3. Christmas day 4. NYE’s curry

12 Days of Christmas and counting…

Since we’re going for a visit back home in January, Danny and I have set a strict budget for our Christmas gifts to each other. We want a little something to open up on Xmas day but both know our real present is California. However, I’m still getting fully into the run-up to the holiday and the Christmas spirit. I love the festive season in Glasgow.

On Saturday Danny and I finished up Christmas shopping for the kids. This meant lots of boring toy shopping but I did have some fun picking out my teenage niece’s gift. I know nothing about Moshi Monsters and the newest Legos but I do know Topshop, New Look and Miss Selfridge. Usually I don’t like New Look’s jewelry but I found a pretty cool necklace for my niece in there and dropped major hints to Danny about another. When I got up to the till, the cashier told me it was BOGOF on all jewelry and so I rushed to grab my free present to myself.

burgundy bubble necklace

Yes it’s a direct copy of the wildly popular J.Crew bubble necklace. Although I’m about a year behind in this trend, it doesn’t matter in Glasgow! The J.Crew look isn’t very popular over here. There’s no J.Crew stores obviously, so the whole J.Crew/Jenna Lyons aesthetic never caught on. Glaswegians wouldn’t bother with understated glamour anyway. They just do full-on glamour.

Sunday was another day for wintery things. The local activity centre reopened in Danny’s home town so we took his niece ice skating.

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I had planned on going skating too but got there and realize the rink was way overcrowded. I can barely skate on my own so I sat this one out and got a latte in the swim center’s cafe. It was humid, 80 degrees and smelled like summer. I could have spent the entire day there.

To end the weekend I wrapped presents while watching Elf and The X Factor final. I’ve been here for three finals now and it’s almost becoming a new tradition. Shameful, but true! It’s just part of the British Christmas.

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