Tuesday, 10 October 2017

6 years and counting.

Ironing out the wrinkles…
Iron might be the traditional gift for a six year anniversary but I don’t think ironing clothes counts.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost six years since I arrived in the US, with only two suitcases to my name, filled with clothes and optimism. It had been a long time coming though. After so many years of living on different continents, it was time for Thurston & I to settle down somewhere. Although, it could be argued that whilst we’ve settled on America as the country we’ll call home, we’re far from settled on a state to call home.

Twelve years ago, I don’t think I could have conceived where we are today. Wanting to be with someone is one thing. Actually finding a way to make it happen is another.  
I can’t untangle the reason I moved to the US from the man I love. Often when people ask me why I moved from England to Alabama of all places, the answer is simple; my husband. Without him, I wouldn’t have moved.

A friend from home asked me recently if I would ever consider moving back to England. She thinks that with the baby coming (oh yeah, we’re having a baby but more on that in another post) it would be best for us to be around family & friends. I suppose what she doesn’t see is that we’re surrounded by some truly wonderful friends here. And whilst we don’t live in the same state as any of Thurston’s family, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have support. In many ways I still consider England home but I don’t know if I could consider living there again. Sometimes I’ll suggest it to Thurston to gauge his response but as much as he misses our friends and family over there, it’s not ever going to happen. And I’m okay with that. Going into the move, I knew that as long as we were together I wouldn’t be going home.

I think I’ve adjusted pretty well to living in America. Unfortunately my waistline and accent have adjusted a little too well but I’m not gripped with the homesickness that I felt the first couple of years here. Of course, I still hate that I miss out on so much back in England; weddings & births most recently. And I’m fortunate that there haven’t been too many emergencies or deaths to make me regret being so far away. I wish that more people would visit and more often but I’m optimistic that the baby will bring more visitors to the yard than I ever could.

For now I’m focused on housing & growing this little bundle of love but in the New Year, I plan to apply for Naturalization. I still have a few years left before I need to renew my permanent resident card and whilst I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming an American, I’ve always felt secure in my status here and never felt a pressing need to take that final step. My feelings have changed since getting pregnant though and it’s important to me that I share citizenship with my child.

My sweet friend, who upon learning I was pregnant, created a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the expense that is US Citizenship. Perhaps because she’s well aware of the expense that is parenthood! So far, I think we have about $50.00 raised so if you start feeling bombarded by notifications about my Go Fund Me, don’t take it personal but do feel free to donate.

And for those of you who don’t follow me on any kind of social media and those of you who do but would like to hear our pregnancy story, I hope to be back with that post soon.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Great British Give Away

Simply Beautiful
Give Away

Since Thurston has been away for work, I've really tried to focus on doing things that bring me pleasure. Besides drinking. Hence I've been blogging again. One thing that I forgot how much I enjoy doing is baking. As a child I remember my mum baking cakes for us & letting us lick the spoon. Which might be frowned upon today due to concerns over consuming raw eggs or flour, but was a highlight of baking with my mum. And quite frankly something I still do today. 

I have one particular trusted cook book that my mum purchased when I was a child & I used often in food technology classes during high school. It taught me how to make Scones, Rhubarb & Apple Crumble and of course, the British Classic, Victoria Sponge Cake. I still have it & enjoy pulling it out when I want to make Yorkshire Puddings or English as opposed to American pancakes. But despite what GBBO has everyone thinking, when it comes to desserts, America has kind of got us Brits beat.

American desserts are more decadent, rich and are loaded with tons more of the bad stuff that tastes good. I mean why just use powdered sugar & butter when you can add shortening! Do we even have shortening in the UK? 

I have a couple of go to online sites for American desserts & enjoy the follow along videos that mean even this chick can create tasty treats. But I am a lover of books, including recipe books. Recently I stumbled across a blog called Life, Love & Sugar written by Lindsay Conchar. Not only does she share delicious recipes but she's also the author of my new favorite recipe book Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes

I am in love. She has a talent & passion for making simply beautiful cakes and she also likes to bake with alcohol. I feel like she's a kindred spirit. I couldn't wait to try one of her recipes and recently made her Mocha Nutella Cupcakes which went down a treat, both at home and work. She has easy to follow instructions, which includes a section that breaks down how to do some of the fancier decorating stuff and vibrant pictures of her creations. I can't decide if I want to try the Neopolitan Mousse Cake (which adorns the book cover) or the Maple Bacon Cinnamon Cupcakes next.  

 And because I want my readers to enjoy her fantastic recipes & because who doesn't love getting something for free..I'm hosting a giveaway of her cookbook. 

You receive one entry by commenting below on what your favorite British & American dessert is. And a bonus entry if you head over to the Sherms In The Middle Facebook page and hit the like button.

Rules aren't fun but are simple; you have to live in the contiguous USA, the winner will be chosen at random, announced & contacted via email March 8th 2017. You'll have two weeks to claim your prize by providing your mailing information or another winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Little Shop of Horrors


Thurston came back into town last Thursday to take me to have a couple pesky wisdom teeth removed. Christmas is the worst time to have any dental problems because like everyone else, dentists like a little time off over the holiday season. Well, over Christmas I got a nasty little infection in my gum because my bottom right wisdom tooth decided that it was going to keep fighting it's way in, even though there was no room. Which resulted in a lot of painkillers and very little Christmas cheer. When I finally got in to see a dentist after Christmas, they said what I already suspected; I needed to have the bottom & top right wisdom teeth ripped out of my gums. 

The only plus side to having dental surgery is that Thurston came home to take care of me. I have good friends here who offered to take me to the appointment & I'm thankful that I stood my ground on having Thursty come home. Originally my fear was that I would say something incredibly embarrassing like the endless viral videos of random girl after dentist. But in actual reality, I was an absolute needy cow & only my husband can or should be forced to put up with me. Thurston, who is not usually the most patient man when it comes to my wild and theatrical departures from reality, was actually super patient & caring whilst I was looped out. And took such good care of me, making sure I took my medications, made me some ice packs & gave me all the mashed potatoes and ice cream I could stomach. 

Having teeth pulled is no joke and I'm so glad they only needed to take two. Regardless, it let me know, no matter how much of a tough chick I think I am, when the numbing drugs wore off I was a baby over the pain. Though, really that's Thurston's fault for not getting more drugs into me ahead of time. Still, I'll forgive him. The swelling was ridiculous, my fault for not having the ice packs made ahead of time and on standby. No lie, I looked like Kayne West when his jaw was wired shut. Think I said that a couple times whilst looped out on the medicines. And I'm glad that my face has pretty much returned to is regular shape now, which is still round but due to cupcakes and not swollen gums. 

Thurston left a couple days after the procedure, when I was mostly back to my usual self. Which meant I was able to make a dozen cupcakes but unable to open my mouth wide enough to eat one properly. Which might just be the ultimate form of torture. He'll be working out of town for as long as this job needs him to but it's not any town interesting enough that I'd consider moving. Guess it's a good thing we're old pros at this long distance thing because we're probably going to be doing it for the foreseeable future. Or at least until his job sends him somewhere I'd consider living. I'm forever hoping one day Washington State will call and we'll have to move out to Seattle. Or at least a short drive away. But I'd be open to a few other states, as long as I'm close to the water. Living in Alabama has shown me just how much I enjoy being near the water & I've yet to dip my toe in the Pacific Ocean. 

Until Next Time xx

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

‘B’ is for Box

Penny & Maggie have officially joined the subscription box club, at the expense of their humans, and received their first BarkBox this afternoon. They are in love.
For non puppy servants, a BarkBox is a monthly delivery of treats & toys sure to delight even the coldest puppy heart. I know that for sure because when the box arrived Penny was most eager to find out what was inside. 

Thurtson & I have some friends who have long since been a fan of BarkBox. Whenever we'd go over to their place, Maggie would always sniff out and let's be frank, steal some of their dogs toys. To be fair, they have a gazillion dog toys and always think it's hilarious the way Maggie sniffs them out. So with their permission she'd usually leave with some squeaky stuffed thing between her jaws but it was starting to get embarrassing; as if she doesn't have toys at home & is mistreated by her humans. She does have toys by the way. Promise, I get to pick them up from various spots around the living room before I can vacuum. 
Well, I recently decided enough was enough & that I would check out BarkBox. If you have a friend who uses the service, they can send you a link to get a free BarkBox. Well, we have such friends. And they also receive a free BarkBox for referring me. That's what we call a win, win my friends.

I was mostly interested in the toys. Penny prefers to stick with Nylabones and only occasionally plays with other toys but Maggie is toy crazy and frankly it was getting exhausting trying to find inexpensive toys that would not only entertain her but not be destroyed after one playing. Since I became a Chewy.com convert, I usually add a toy & Nylabone each month but I slowly came to realize I was constantly buying different versions of the same toy for Maggie. What a boring mum I am but in my defense, these Kong toys are pretty tough. 

I was quite interested to see what kind of treats they would send. I am quite particular when it comes to treats that I'll give the girls. I only purchase treats made in & with US products and try to avoid things like rawhide for digestive reasons. So I was very happy to see that all the treats included in the BarkBox were made in the USA. They were regular sized treats and the Jerky Sticks smelled so good, even I wanted to eat one. 

I subscribed to one box which the girls will share and it's plenty. We try not to give them too many treats because the vet always tells us they're on the chunky side. And I'll still be purchasing their usual Blue Dog Bakery assorted paws treats from Petsmart, which are only 10 calories each.  

I will tell you that I started to feel a little envious that my dogs were going to be receiving goodies in the mail each month & all I get are bills. So I started researching subscription boxes that I would be interested in. These are my top three:

Each month they send you two baking kits, which includes all the pre-measured ingredients (except for the fresh items like eggs & milk), instructions & pictures so you can create beautiful baked goods. Oh, and also a free specialized gift to make said masterpieces. Previous boxes include Salted Caramel Brownies, Cookies & Cream Mini Donuts and Champagne Cupcakes! For sure a box after my own heart. The cost is really what's made me hesitate on signing up for this subscription. Baking is a passion of mine & I really enjoy trying new recipes and creating some too. However, measuring my items isn't inconvenient for me and my pantry stays pretty well stocked so that on any given day I can whip up some cupcakes or brownies without any more effort than getting my eggs & butter to room temp.
However, I am still tempted by the mystery of what the box could contain each month & what I could be creating next without the effort of thinking about it. Watch this space, if I try one, I'll be sure to blog about the experience.

An obvious selection for me since I love to read and prefer actual physical paper books over an e-reader. First of, I like this because you get to choose your book. I can be quite particular about what I read. I've been known to skip book club if the book isn't of interest to me, so I like the idea of options. Whilst you're choosing between five books that have been chosen by their judges, which can be a turn off if none of the books spark your interest, you do have the option to easily skip a month. The cost is fairly decent considering you're getting a new, hardback book and I love the idea of being able to connect with other subscribers who are reading the same book as you. My hesitation on signing up for this subscription is my Amazon wishlist which currently has a good thirty books I'd like to read. Very few which are new books but which all cost less than the $11.99 p/m subscription and were all chosen by me. 

You have no idea how long I've been saying, they should deliver alcohol. And I don't really care who they are, I just want to never run out of alcohol again. Caskers promises three full sized bottles, delivered every three months. So I guess the rationing would be up to me, way to practice self-control. I like the idea of experimenting with other Vodkas out there. Some people, who can't enjoy vodka on or off the rocks might not pick up the difference in taste of various vodkas but the husband frequently points out to me that I'm a vodka snob. I'm not a fan of flavored vodkas and the website doesn't say much about choosing the vodkas you receive or completing a survey on preference. However your delivery will include notes written by the curators at Caskers which will give you more information on the vodkas included in your shipment, which I quite like. At present, whilst this does sound incredibly "cool" to try it's not at the top of my list, just because I know a few Vodka's that I want to try and I'm okay with purchasing them myself. Although I've yet to find the Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka in Alabama, so anyone who knows where I can get that, please comment below. Heck, just comment below anyway so I know someone is reading this. Oh & FYI, Caskers also have subscriptions for spirits other than Vodka. 

I am an indecisive person, so it'll likely take a special promotion or free trial to give me the push needed to sign up for one of these subscriptions but in the meantime, I'm going to continue baking, reading and enjoying Vodka.

Until next time xx

Sunday, 12 February 2017


Cocktails & Cupcakes

I upped my Vodka game this weekend with the addition of Champagne; because let's be honest, bubbles makes everything better. 

Last week I stumbled across a pin for French 75, a gin based cocktail with champagne. I was instantly intrigued & immediately knew I wanted this cocktail in my life. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that lately I've been making Vodka Martini's on the weekend but I've been wanting to make other vodka cocktails too. Enter French 75. I'm not a big gin drinker but since gin & vodka are so easily interchangeable, a plan was hatched. 

I also realized that champagne cupcakes would be the perfect accompaniment to my champagne cocktails; because when is more champagne ever bad?

Answer: when you wake up the next morning with a headache to remind you just how much alcohol & sugar you consumed. Still totally worth it! 

I was so fortunate to spend time with some good friends this weekend. Manicures, shopping & Thai food. Since Thurston has been out of town for work, I've had little human interaction outside of work. Which I'm usually okay with but there is only so much talking to the dogs a person can do before their sanity is called into question.

This week, I shall hopefully do a little more reading & perhaps a little more blogging. And of course, try to come up with what cocktail to make this weekend. I really enjoy baking and bringing a little alcohol to the party is always a plus. Maybe it's the Brit in me...or maybe it's the lush. 

Until next time xx

Friday, 30 September 2016

Effen Vodka I Love You

Friends, I absolutely need to head to bed. It's 10:44 as I type this, which is pretty late for a 31 year old. I turned 31 in June. Officially "into" my thirties. For some reason, let's say Vodka neat, I thought I should write a short blog post before bed. For one fleeting moment I believed I had a little nugget of blogger gold that needed to be shared lest it be lost forever in the quagmire that is my mind. But now that i'm typing. Like RIGHT NOW that I'm typing, I have no idea why. I think it got lost sooner than expected. Those fleeting moments. Gone so quickly. I am reminded of a fleeting moment but not one that I am brave enough, honest enough to talk about here. A moment of temptation that seems to stretch on forever. One that I can play with and romanticize in anyway I so choose but I am certain that is not why I returned to blogger with vodka goggles. 

I am refreshing my mind of all that has transpired in the last hour or so, which really isn't much besides vodka and Hulu, which is great BTW. Thursty hates when people use BTW, FYI, SMH. I think because he doesn't know what they all mean. Good ole Thurst. He's in bed right now, where I am about to be going because tomorrow morning I'll be getting up early to go to a baby wearing dance class. Which is pretty...I don't want to say sick or twisted or messed up but I can't find the right word. And I don't think Shift F7 will help because I don't know what the word is when you want to be pregnant but don't want to be pregnant but really do. I think the word for that is sick, in the head. So anyway, I'll be going to a baby wearing dance class because I have an amazing friend who does wear a baby and teach other women line dancing moves and unites those women together. But it was much easier to look at those women and not feel pangs of envy when I was in my twenties, still on birth control and not ready to settle down. But let's face it, Thursty & I are 31 and we've been together long enough to have at least had an accident baby. So, now when people ask me when I'm going to have children, I say; "maybe that's not in God's plan for me" which is a backwards way of saying my deepest fear "maybe I can't". Which I know, is NOT what I came here to talk about but is maybe just a little reminder for those people who do ask other women, when they're going to have kids, not everyone can. I don't know that we can't. But I do know that every time I'm late and take a test, I hope for a little cross or smiley face that never appears. And it's hard enough for me to reconcile that disappointment and grief with myself, let alone let some outsider in. Not everyone has the same journey.

What's really sad is that I think I came here to talk about TV. Which makes sense when I consider my earlier reference to Hulu (did I reference Hulu? Because I thought I did. At least, I meant to). That and Netflix is how we watch shows. I only managed to squeeze in Law & Order and Empire. 

Law & Order absolutely did the whole "Making A Murderer" episode. Adam and I only watched a few of those episodes before our irritation got the better of us. I believe in the justice system. I know it fails but I don't want to watch it fail. It's like pregnancy out of wedlock back in the day, yes it happens, but let's turn a blind eye. I've also just caught up on Call The Midwife on Netflix. As a result Thursty says I've been talking in a Cockney accent. Which I'll take any day over an American accent. And also explains my previous sentence. I feel like a Presidential Candidate, saying dumb things without anyone to correct me. 
Caught up on Empire, which I hate catching up on, simply because now I have to wait until next week until the next episode. Let's just release all the episodes at once and let me...I want to find a word that says I can control myself in watching them when really I know I'd be like an alcoholic on my first day sober. Comment with that word because I don't know it. Or sobriety. Vodka is my homegirl. Anyway, Empire blew my mind and had me singing Biz Markie "Just A Friend" but quietly, because Thursty is asleep. 

I can't lie. I don't remember the point of this post. I can't remember or find the words I want to use. And Maggie is mad at me & ready for bed. About a paragraph ago, she came and laid her head on the laptop to say "enough is enough" ...did you sing the song too? You know the one right? If you don't we can't be friends anymore. We're too different. If you do know the song, comment below and you'll win a prize. But don't just Google it. Google makes liars out of us all. 

So this was a post written on some Effen Vodka. Which I can thank Holley & Nichole for knowing me so well. Because Vodka is fantastic but it's even better when I can blame that Effen Vodka! 

*Also, this has not been proof read but I did write it with 40 proof! ;) 

** Also, I don't know what proof Effin Vodka is but it tastes good to me :) 

***I'm not going to bed but going to shop the Kate Spade 75% off surprise sale because it's only on for the next 35 minutes. I tried to be strong but the Effen Vodka made me do it, for realz, it's a conspiracy between the liquor stores and the expensive handbag makers.

****Last one. I promise...and it's gone from my mind...

Hah! Oh yeah! I didn't proof read this. Don't judge. I'm not dumb just drink. I'm English, it's our language and we know how to use it. And how to handle our Beer. Let's blame the Russians and Polish for our Vodka. Man, I really am turning into an American Presidential Candidate. Blaming my mistakes on others. Bam What! (check out Liv & Maddie, such a simple time). And....POST!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

That time Goodreads challenged me to read 31 books

I'm an avid reader. The husband has little appreciation for my adoration of books or the space said books encompass. Like many readers I've gone back and forth on the topic of e-readers. Partly because I'm indecisive by nature but mostly because I don't want to give up a good old fashioned paper book. I've had just about every model of Kindle on my Amazon wishlist at various points in time but have never pushed the button to "buy now". Is it just me or does anyone else think that 1-click shopping is dangerous? 

Every birthday, anniversary & Christmas as well as every time we move, the husband suggests buying me a Kindle and I always say no. I'd love the idea of being able to purchase a book and start reading it right away. And all the free books sound incredibly enticing. But I always say, you can't put a Kindle on a bookshelf. Which in essence isn't true but it doesn't have the same wow affect as a multitude of overflowing bookshelves. I'm talking personal library standards. That's my goal. And I love perusing my bookshelf and rediscovering some long forgotten book, the details of which have faded from memory and so it's like falling in love again for the first time. 

I'm trying to limit how many books I buy and really shop for bargains. I got a whole case full of mystery novels a few months back that someone was selling for $10 on Facebook. Bargain. And I recently signed up for Audible and have been listening to books on my phone whilst working out. I'm not really a fan of the monthly subscription but even worse, I hate it when the book is actually really good because then I just end up wishing I had it on paperback. 

My Goodreads 2016 book challenge is to read 31 books, I selected that number purely because I turn 31 this year. So far I'm not off to a great start 4 out of 31 and have essentially only completed books I've read as part of my book club. I'm not going to count the audio books because I haven't "read" them rather just listened to someone else read them. 
I'd like to try and challenge myself to read for an hour every day which I'm not certain I have the time to do in one sitting so I'll probably do 30 minutes during lunch and then another 30 minutes in the evening. Accompanied by a nice glass of wine or cup of tea.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened
This was our book for May. We have a very civilized selection process and generally keep an open mind when it comes to books. Originally someone had suggested we read her follow up book Furiously Happy but I said that I wasn't keen on reading the second book if I hadn't read the first. I am strictly opposed to such book anarchy. And thus this book was selected. I was excited to read about a female blogger who had made her blog successful. Any blogger who tells you they don't dream of a cult following is lying. Why do you think I pimp my posts all over social media. I was also intrigued to see how frankly she broached the subject of her anxiety and depression. I will say, right off the bat, this book rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like she was trying too hard to be witty. I struggled through the first fifty pages. Eventually her writing relaxed and I could start to enjoy her story. She did a good job of describing her childhood though I would have liked to know more about her parents. I feel like she only scratched the surface of her anxiety and depression. And the same with her marriage, from the beginning Victor was certain that she was the woman he would marry but she never discusses what effect his certainty had on her. I feel like she just gave us fluff rather than substance, with pages upon pages of "funny" stories in HR but nothing incredibly deep about her and she had so many fantastic opportunities to. Nor do I think she delves very deep into her feelings following her miscarriage. I'm not sure whether this is down to the nature of blogs in general where most of us are hesitant to lay everything out there in black and white but I can say that I'm not on her five star bandwagon. At best 3/5 from me.

The Girl With All The Gifts
This was our April read that I had the fortune of hosting. First off I had no clue what this book was about and happened upon it whilst pursing Amazon. The description is rather vague and the reviews even more so with very discernible warnings about spoiler alerts. I did not read the reviews because I unlike some do not like to read the end of a book before the beginning. At first I was so puzzled by this book and who Melanie was but I was hooked from the first page and it did not disappoint. At least until the very end depending upon who you asked because some loved the ending and some like myself were frustrated & saddened. And dare I say it, left feeling a little betrayed. What I can tell you is this, if I had a grenade in my pocket I would always choose to use it. Even if I can't save myself I'd take out as many of my enemies as possible. My advise to anyone who likes to read. Read this book. 
By far one of the best books I've read in a long time. 5/5

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