A Travellerspoint blog

Trip home to Canada

rain 5 °C

It's only been a few days since I've been back in England and I'm still catching up on my sleep and getting over my jet lag. Note to self: Always take the next day off when you fly 5000km's across the world.

Richard and I spent the last 2 weeks at home in Toronto. Well in T.O, Oakville at my dads and Brampton at my mom's. Richard's favourite saying was "This is the Ashley & Richard publicity tour". It did feel like that at times because we weren't there long enough to just relax and chill out for very long. I can't complain though because it was nice to be back home and see my family and friends.

The flight to Toronto was brutal as for some reason we both got really congested and it seemed to take forever. We were so glad to see my mom and my sister Jenn, and even more happy to hear that Swiss Chalet was being picked up and meeting us back at the house! Way to long since I had that! We were both so shattered that we barely ate and said a few hellos before we were crashed out.

The next day we went to my dad's house for the weekend. Rich was really jet lagged still so he ended up taking a nap when we got there. Poor guy. We went and watched my brother Jamie's hockey game which was great, they're playing so much better then the last time I watched a game!

After a good sleep and lie in we all headed up to Niagara falls on Saturday afternoon. It was rainy and cold but that's nothing new living in England! We looked around the shops in Niagara-on-the-lake and then went to the falls so Rich could have a good look before it got dark. The falls are definately a must see on the tourist circuit and even though I've been quite a few times now, it's still quite beautiful.

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Rich & Jamie at the Harley Davidson store

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After a sweet indulgent trip to the Hershey store and a stroll down the strip we headed to have dinner at a yummy Italian restaurant. I'd say we were quite tired by then but we ended up getting back to Oakville in time to see my youngest sister, Megan, play hockey. I hadn't seen her play in a while since the last few games I'd been to had been my brother's but she was good! It's cool that she's such a girly girl but also plays hockey.

The next day my Dad and Michelle had the family over for the afternoon. It was really good to see everyone and have a chat. My little cousin, Emily, is such a doll as you can see.

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The whirlwind continued as my Aunt Susie & Mike dropped us off at my Grams place in Toronto on their way home. It was nice to be back at home with my Grams as that's where I've lived the past 4 years or so before I came to England. My old bed and some of my stuff...felt good.

We finally managed to have a chill out day the next day. I didn't get out of my PJ's and just lounged around and caught up on the TV show Entourage. Man I love that show! We watched movie after movie, Oprah and soaps. Everything I miss over here. My grams made a big pot of curry and Roti and that's all we ate all day. She makes the world's best curry ever.

The next day we got up early and went downtown to be tourists. Kind of lol. I dragged Rich to the Eaton Centre so I could shop and shop. We walked down Yonge and around Dundas square, had a massive delicious breakfast at Fran's, and went to the CN Tower. We were lucky that we managed to get there and see it before it was dark out! After the CN Tower we had plans to meet my friends at a restaurant on the Danforth
for dinner. Richard hadn't met any of my friends the last time he was in Canada as it was Christmas and of course a hectic time for everyone. I was so excited as I missed them all so much!

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Dinner was great and everyone had a good time. I found it so relaxing to sit around and chat with all my girls and have Rich amuse them all. We ended up staying for hours and then having a good chat with Heung on the Subway home!

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The next day was another chill out day with my grams. My mom came to pick us up on Thursday midday and we went back to Brampton. I finally went to Wal-mart, what a dangerous place! We have Asda over here which is owned by Wal-mart, but it's so not even close to the same. You cannot get everything you need in one place over here.

On Friday evening my girlfriends from school came over. Jenn brought her beautiful baby over and we all cooed over her for hours. She's so damn cute Jenn! It was awesome to catch up with them. I love that we've known eachother going on almost 20 years for some of us (OMG!!) and we all can get together and it's like nothing's changed, but so much has! Poor Rich as the only guy in the room, but he loved hearing all the stories and girly chat. We did some crazy things growing up.

Saturday we got up and went over to Eleni's for the afternoon and evening. Eleni cooked us a big fat greek meal and we sat around and ate and drank wine. Rich was in food heaven as he couldn't stop raving about Eleni's cooking. (Of course Evil!) Eleni's sister Christina met her dramatic match that evening as they kept us amused with their crazy antics. It was sad to leave Eleni as I miss her like crazy being over here, especially with her being engaged and planning a wedding! but she has promised to come and visit me and I will hold her to that!

The tour continues........Sunday morn at my mom's we all got up and went down to the Air Canada Centre to watch a Maple Leaf's practice. it was a charity event so they had Mascots from all the sports teams accross Canada playing hockey. Too funny. Rich has become an honourary Canadian now as his new love is hockey. I must be the only Canadian around that isn't that bothered with the game! Still, the practice was cool to see.

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In the afternoon my mom cooked an early Christmas Turkey dinner for us and my grams and family friends came over to feast. I was stuffed literally. My mom cooks the best turkey dinners...hopefully that will tide me over until my next visit home!

unfortunately that evening I seemed to be overcome with what I thought was allergies. I was in bed early that night. When I come home it turned into a full blown cold that I'm still getting over. You can't have a trip home to Canada in the winter without a cold right.

The next day I was still feeling crappy but managed to go back to wal-mart to stock up on some goodies to take home. That evening rich and I, Trace and jenn and Brad went to see Saw 3. We had watchedthe first 2 movies while we were there so it seemed like a good idea. That movie was disgusting and I spent most of it with my eyes covered. Soooo much more gory then the other ones!

I was back to bed early that night and stuffed up on meds hoping to feel better for the trek home the next day. Of course that wasn't the case. I spent most of the last day of my holidays with a box of kleenex!

As I packed our suitcases we were a little concerned that our bulging bags wouldn't make the baggage allowance. We were sooo right. They nabbed us at the airport with a hefty overage fine. I was soo not happy about that! The guy at the ticket counter seemed nice enough about it as he ended up giving us an extra seat! The flight home was better then arriving as at least we sat together this time (we were seperated on the flight there!) and I was able to lay down and sleep a little. I had forgotten that the flight home was quicker as we are going with the current. It seemed like I just fell asleep and arrived back in England.

When we arrived back in England, we got our luggage and got to the train platform and stood there sleepily waiting for the train to bring us back to Southampton. All of a sudden a man came over the loud speaker to say there were train delays to Reading (thankfully not our way!)...reason being that a train struck a Cow! Rich and I just looked at eachother with a snicker and he said, "Yup we are definately back in England."

Good trip, fantastic to see everyone and Thanks to all for making it great. Hopefully it's not too long before I come home again. xxx

Posted by ashleym66 13:47 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

No Trick or Treat for me

overcast 8 °C

I have been quite disappointed here in the UK with Halloween. That is because they barely have it! Noone trick or treats, or if they do they don't leave their streets and only really visit their neighbours. As I write this it's almost 9pm and noone has come to our door at all. Definately not what I'm use to as my mom and stepdad were mad about this holiday while I was growing up. Most of my colleagues at work have never even been trick or treating. I must admit I miss seeing the little kids in their cute costumes! Apparently here it's more of a devils night as the older kids just cause terror and knock on people's doors asking for money. Kinda sad.

Richard and I got dressed up on saturday night and went to a party that a work friend of Rich's was throwing. I kinda dressed up as a devil....I did the girly cop out thing where I bought a cute red sweater and just wore horns! haha. Rich on the other hand had an elaborate plan with 3 friends and they dressed up as ghost busters. it was quite cute as you can see.

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Although they planned it for weeks, it wasn't until the last minute that they put it together and with the paint still drying, put their proton packs on. Omg I said proton packs...I live in Geek Land now.

The next day after we nursed mild hangovers I managed to drag Rich to town to help me last minute Christmas shop. It's all done and dusted now, ready to pack up.

I have become an Ebay addict lately..it's so easy to shop! Boots, scarves, jackets, beads. I love it! At this moment I'm typing on my brand new laptop that I coincidentally I bought off ebay! I'm so happy that I finally have my own computer and don't have to slot times with Rich anymore. I was always losing out anyways and had to resort to tricks to get him out of the chair so I could check my email. Although I keep pushing weird buttons and getting stuck, haha. Laptops take some getting use to for sure. I have to get a mouse this weekend.

Work is going well. I took another trip to Guernsey last week which was great. I will hopefully be taking a trip to Holland in December as my boss is leaving the company in a week or so and I have to take on a little more work. No complaints there as I am totally up for travelling for my job. We shall see really. I'm not sweating all this stuff anymore as I have come to learn that work is just work. As long as I have things I enjoy when I leave then I don't mind going in every day. I still have finishing my degree to look forward to as I should be starting it in the next month or two. That will take awhile but I'm in no rush. There are so many things I want to do.

Pretty soon I will be back at home. We arrive in Toronto next Thursday!! It seems so weird as I booked our tickets almost 4 months ago and have been waiting ever since. Time has literally flown past (haha no pun intended) I'm really looking forward to a little taste of Canada again. It will feel nice to be back amongst what is familiar. I feel like I need it to fuel up as I think it will be some time before I'm back again. I have to focus on one of the biggest reasons I moved over here, besides Rich of course, and that's travel.

Anyways, thats my update for the last month. Just been laying low and working away waiting for my holidays. Although with the manic schedule of this trip I will need another holiday when I get back for sure!

To all I shall see when I'm out there...see you soon! To everyone else, I will have lots to blog about and good pics to post when I return.

xx

Posted by ashleym66 11:42 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Billy Jean

overcast 18 °C

Hey all

Check this out, it's called Billy Jean Beat Box. Rich posted it on a site called Youtube. If you type in the title it will come up as posted by Sotonrich and video taken by Ashley. I filmed this last Saturday when I was shopping in Covent Garden. I had just come out of the tube station and saw a crowd and heard these two singing...I thought they were awesome! Sorry for the crappy filming as I had to hold my camera up over some heads as the crowd was huge. Good thing I usually carry my digital camera around as I'm part of the old school crowd that still has a mobile phone sans camera!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdIM_miBrbI

Posted by ashleym66 13:54 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Thanksgiving

overcast 16 °C

This was my first Thanksgiving not at home and it turned out alright. I guess you kind of forget your missing something when it's not here. We didn't manage to find a turkey on the weekend but we did cook a nice chicken, made stuffing, mash and my moms sweet carrots. Thanksgiving lives in the UK. I woke up for work on Monday morning and had a little groan as I thought about the holiday sleep in I would have had right then, but I was kindly reminded by a colleague at work that at least we get more holidays here. I'll be laughing! That cheered me up. When we finally decide to pack it up and move back to Canada that will be the hardest part, the holidays - or lack there of!

Over the weekend I had the urge to go to London which is fast becoming one of my favourite places. Since its only an hour away on the train, Rich and I headed off of Saturday morning for the day. Of course since I had shopping on the brain, Rich decided to meet up with some of his friends and leave me to it. Now I am a shopping queen who will brave any climate or terrain to find a deal or at least something pretty, but London on a Saturday is something else. I do belive I have almost become a non-weekend shopper which over here leaves you basically Thursday evenings when the shops are open 'late'. I went to Covent Garden and Oxford Street, then worked my way to Tottenham Court Road and all around the back alley streets. I did find some good buys..mostly Christmas presents..I know I know already. The crowds were mad though and I swear I don't think I have the nerves for it anymore. The markets in Thailand were tame to some stores in London on a damn Saturday. Eventually I met up with Richard and we went to Chinatown and the Soho district and had a lovely meal in a tiny little chinese restuarant. Afterwards we walked around Leicester Square and then caught a train back to Southampton. Sounds like the good life eh? Cannot complain right now at all.

The weather here was getting cold but now it's decided to do the warm - cold - warm thing that as a Canadian, I'm all to familiar with. I've already had a nasty cold that had me laid up in bed a couple weeks ago. I'm sure I'll have a few more by the time my first English 'winter' is over. pah. rainy season more like it.

Posted by ashleym66 13:38 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Flying high on an 8-seater plane!

overcast 13 °C

I know it’s been awhile since I last wrote. It seems I’m always starting off my entries with this line now! I can say with great relief that we now have the Internet again at home. It was hooked up 2 weeks ago and Rich and I have been squabbling over it ever since. We’ve decided we need to look into getting a laptop very soon as we both use the computer so much. I will be starting classes in the next month or so to finish my business degree and Rich is starting to do his IAQ courses at the bank next month as well. So that laptop will be much needed.

On the home front, we have been quite boring as of late and haven’t been up to much. Although we did go to Bournemouth a few weeks back which was nice. It’s a seaside city and unlike Brighton (though I absolutely love Brighton!) it actually has a sandy beach. I wish we had ventured there earlier in the summer. We had a great dinner at a classic fish and chips restaurant, Harry Ramsdens, that’s right on the beach looking out at the ocean. Bournemouth also has a pier with games and such but not as nice as Brighton and from what I hear not nearly as great as Southend where Rich grew up…yes he’s an Essex boy! For some reason English people bug him about this…until I caught onto the “Essex” image…but that’s another story all in itself.

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We’ve both been working a lot and just relaxing on the weekends. Since we got the Internet we had to go out and get a computer desk. Oh the joys of the flat pack and the wonderful task of building it. I can tell you it went something like this,

“Rich, can you pass me that piece?”
“What piece?”
“That freakin piece right there…stop watching TV and hand it to me!”

Until of course I left everything on the floor and went to make dinner and left Rich to put it together. Those who know me…know my patience are about as thin as paper. I will no longer attempt flat pack items in the future.

I’ve been getting itchy to travel again lately. Of course we’ll be in Toronto in November but for me that’s not really travelling so much as visiting home. Rich is excited as he is officially in love with Canada. Good thing as it makes for an easier transition to move back eventually. I’m hoping to plan a trip over Christmas as we’ll be here alone and I’d rather just take off and go somewhere for the weekend. I’d like to go to Paris or Italy…of course at that time Italy might be much better. I can’t think of a better way to spend my first Christmas away from home!

I’ve been super busy at work lately. It seems as though they waited until I was working for them and not the agency and then...wham! Heavy workload. I don’t mind though, I’m enjoying it. Last week I took a take a trip on the company plane to Guernsey, which is an Island in the Channel Islands, where the company’s main office is. It was quite exciting, if not a little claustrophobic to be on a plane so small. It only sat 8 people and as I walked across the tarmac to the plane and climbed in I was thinking it was kind of surreal! Guernsey is quite a small island, population only about 65,000 people. As the plane came across the ocean and closer to landing I could see cliffs on either side of it and gorgeous beaches below. I didn’t get to sightsee or anything as I was there for work but from what I saw it was very quaint and the roads were smaller then in the UK! I forgot to mention that it’s not part of the UK either. They use Guernsey pounds, and a separate governing body. Quite interesting.

The weather has gotten chilly this week. Although I don't think a cold as home from what I've heard. Laura brought me back peanutbutter and a couple packs of Kraft dinner this week from her trip home to Ottawa. It will be a KD lunch today. Funny that I never ate it at home before i left. Only since I've come here am I all crazy over it again like I was as a kid, well teenager also..ok lets face it, I don't think I ever went off it for too long! I can't wait to come home and shop..oh I mean see my famiy and friends..haha.

6 weeks and counting!

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Posted by ashleym66 01:37 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Still Here...

semi-overcast 16 °C

Hello All! I am still alive and kicking in England. Also still without the internet, which is becoming more then an extreme annoyance. I do fear that Rich and I will have to work out scheduled visiting times with the web once we are back online, we will be fighting endlessly about who gets to surf first!

The summer has been winding down and the weather has been getting cooler here. I love it; sorry to all you hot weather lovers. Nothing is better then wearing a sweater and jeans and not sweating your butt off as you walk down the street. Plus, the fall/winter clothes are always much better.

We have been laying low as of late. We haven’t done very much travelling around as we are saving for our trip home soon! I am soooo excited to come home even if it is only for 12 days. I need some more Kraft peanut butter and Rich has got hooked on it as well so that's a problem! I have been Christmas shopping like mad already since we won’t be there over the holidays, I’m bringing it all with me in November! As much as I enjoy living here in England for the time being, I miss Toronto something fierce.

This past weekend was a Bank holiday so we got an extra day to chill out. We went up to Winchester for the afternoon on Sunday because they had a large farmer’s market. They hold them in different cities and towns across Hampshire, the country we live in, every weekend. The one here in Southampton last weekend wasn’t very big but in Winchester it was massive. I love going to these markets and getting fresh bread (Oatmeal and sunflower seeds!), homemade dressings, fresh locally grown veggies, organic chicken and even a bottle of peach wine. We went home and had the most delicious dinner. It was all grown or made in our county and all cheaper then the grocery shops. I wish we had a car; we would become weekend market junkies!

My job is going well, they have asked me to start a temporary contract with them directly instead of the agency. Why not cut the middleman out I say? I still don’t know how temporary or permanent my position will be but at least I’m getting good experience in the mean time so I can’t complain.

On a sad note, Big Brother 7 has finished here. It was on everyday for 13 weeks…. Can you imagine how hooked you could get to that? I did. Haha! Never again though, even if we still only have 4 channels and there’s nothing else to watch.

Posted by ashleym66 08:37 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Brighton - A Day by the Sea

sunny 30 °C

Rich and I decided to get out of the city and head to Brighton last weekend. It's been really hot and dry here, I never thought I would wish for some rain! Anyways, we took the train to Brighton, which is about an hour and half journey with a change over in Hove. Of course, on the day we decide to take the train there is a fatality on the tracks on a stop on the way to London. That invariably causes a chain reaction and of course there were major delays so our trip took over 2 hours. It was well worth it though because Brighton, or "London by the Sea" as it's called is a fantastic city. Its artsy like Yorkville in Toronto, with all the café's and designer, trendy boutiques but then there's a pebble stoned beach and old-fashioned pier at the end of streets. The old Victorian pier is actually falling down and your not able to walk on it. It still stands though and Rich told me there has been debate between locals and council to rip it all down. I quite like it though; it reminds you of the past and looks kind of forlorn in the sunlight just standing there.

Brighton Station

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Random pics of area

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There is a newer pier that was built parallel to it and holds an arcade, amusement park rides, restaurant and various shop stands. They also have deck chairs lined up along the edge of the pier so that if you just feel like having a sit down and looking out across the sea you can do so and let your kids or in my case, your significant other, play the games. I did get a cuddly gorilla from Rich's winnings so it was worth it!

Old Pier

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New Pier

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The beach was nice as I was craving a seaside day lately. People warned me before that the beach in Brighton was full of stones, not sand. I wasn't really expecting what it was though! There was no sand at all, just miles of stones and more stones. We tried to walk to the water, but I gave up halfway through because my feet were aching. I mean, I'm use to walking barefoot at the cottage from when I was younger, running across the rocks with no shoes on, jumping around. But, this was quite different. I looked like a baby calf learning to walk for the first time! I saw some kids laughing as another couple tried to walk across. They were probably from the area, I could tell because they walked with ease along the beach as they laughed. It was funny though! Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I can't be bothered with all that stuff, I would rather just be comfortable and sit in the deck chair rather then twist my ankle trying to get to the cold water.

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Although the water was cold (from what I heard), it was hot and there were loads of people at the beach, swimming, boating, walking along the boardwalk or just working their way to the shops. So it was a nice scene to take in on a summer's day. Better then being cooped up in the city!

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The shops were my favourite part, of course. That's the best part of travelling or living in another country, new shopping! Well and the food most of the time, haha. The boutiques were lined up and down the streets beckoning a little stroll inside. Rich took off to check stuff out on his own and I ventured in and out of the little shops along a street called the North Laines. There were a lot of specialty stores and fabulous girly shops with beautiful clothes or trinkets. I found an amazing shop that sold a lot of clothes and stuff from India, and Thailand. I find it hard to pay prices here for what I know cost so little over there but I did find a really lovely skirt I couldn't pass up.

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We both checked the antiques market, which was in a hot little building completely packed with loads of people's old treasures. Amongst all the old items you would find a plant for sale, or a box of old pictures of some random people probably from an estate sale or something. Rich likes to look through those pictures; he's a budding photographer so he finds the old shots interesting. I have become quite addicted to watching the antiques shows here on TV, they have auction shows and car boots sale shows where people hunt for old valuable treasures. The antiques shops over here are so interesting, well mostly because I think that older trinkets are just that, much older! The English do love their antiques! It's kind of fun to spend a couple hours looking through old items and laughing at what you find, plus you never know what you may happen upon one day.

Of course without a car to trek all these things home it is a little difficult to do anything but just look. Also, the train ride back would have taken less then the 4 hours it actually did. There was a signal problem this time and they cancelled all the trains going to London Waterloo. It just so happens our train goes that way back to Southampton so we were forced to take a train form Brighton to Hove and wait there for an hour and a half, then take a train to Portsmouth which was way out of our way. From Portsmouth we were able to catch the last train home and arrived just after midnight cold and tired. We only live a short 10-minute walk from the station but we still hopped in cab and got home in 3 minutes instead. It was a long day but still really enjoyable. I'm looking forward to going back to Brighton soon, hopefully we'll be able to stay overnight next time and won't be as rushed. I'd like to check out the nightlife there, as well as a few trendy little restaurants.

The flat is going really well. Now that we are accumulating a few more things I've truly realized how small it really is! I miss spacious Canada! On that note, we have booked a trip home (an early Christmas if you will) for November 9- 22. Hopefully I will get a chance to visit with everyone, I know that those 10 days will fly by rather quickly. I've been a bit homesick since I arrived and I'm really excited to go home for a visit. I have however met another Canadian girl, Laura, who's from Ottawa. She's really cool and her daughter is a gorgeous little thing. Her husband is English and they're planning a move back to Canada in the next year. So that's a been a nice comfort having chats with her.

On the internet connection front it's looking to be another few weeks before we are hooked up at home. We signed up for a really good deal but of course with that comes the wait to be connected. We are both getting really antsy without any ability to surf or do internet banking or anything. You never realize how much you come to depend on the computer and its connection to the outside world until you go without for a while. Even the simplest thing like checking the weather forecast for the day becomes a feat of waiting in front of the telly or listening to the radio instead of the 2 minutes it takes to check online!

Ahh well, I will be back soon enough with more frequent blogs and pictures. Until then I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

I will leave you this pic that we came across and thought was a good motto!

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Posted by ashleym66 05:50 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

All Moved In

sunny 28 °C

We've been in our new flat 2 weeks already and we're so loving it. I just cannot live with other people..it may have been cool when I was younger but not anymore when your tired from work and all you just want is to come home and chill out and cook dinner. Now we have the whole kitchen to ourselves! I must say that I have felt a million times better then last 2 weeks then I have the last 3 months. I even love my walk to the train station and my train ride to work everyday. It's only about 10 minutes, but it's nice and relaxing. I love how they have trains instead of subways in Southampton, it's so English. Theres something so romantic about stepping off the train when the whistle blows and there's tons of people in suits with briefcases coming home from most likely their London commute everyday. I find it almost old fashioned, espeically since the stations aren't very modern. They mostly still have their old fashioned styles.

Our flat is on the ground floor of an old Barristers office. Its really quaint with a big kitchen, well big for an English flat and nowhere near comparison to any kitchen at home. We have one living area and one bedroom. The flat itself is fairly small, I couldn't even imagine seeing something this size at home at all. But its more then enough space at the moment for us. The sun doesn't directly hit it because its off the the backside of the house and thats a good thing because it's nice and cool inside during the heat wave we are having right now. The landlord just refurbished the building a couple years ago so everything is nice and new and clean. I love it! The only problem is that there is hardly any storage at all. We are still living out of suitcases unitl we can figure out some kind of shelving unit or something. Although the lack of space over here is suffocating sometimes I tell you. I'll never understand why they don't build closets as a standard..IN the wall...not just use wardrobes that take up half the space of a room! But what can you do really. Theres nothing like opening the bathroom door and hittng the toilet against it lol. We went to a wicked housey store last weekend and I managed to find a shelving unit for under the sink in the bathroom because there aren't any cupboards or anything. ... we lugged it home, well Rich did actually haha, and it fit perfectly beside the sink. I was well happy about that find.

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Sorry about the mess! This was our first day in the flat!

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Look how tiny our fridge is!! I have to bend over to get something in it! lol

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Last weekend we went to the Southampton Common which is a massive park area to watch the football match. Southampton was picked by the BBC as 1 out of 5 cities in the UK to host a big screen TV in the park for the match. It was amazing..thousands of people gathered the hot Saturday afternoon to watch England lose a heartbreaking game to Portugal. Let me tell you I didn't advertise my portuguese roots at all that day! England fans are quite serious and passionate about their football...even more
so then Canadians are about hockey I would say. It got quite rowdy after the game ended and everyone was gutted about the loss. We high tailed it out of there and headed home. I must say I have gotten into the football...or soccor as we call it..quite alot this World Cup. I'm the one looking to see when the games are on and saying we have to watch them and Rich just says ..ya ok!! Happily and quite surprised since I'm not really a sports fanatic at all to say the least. Although I do love my basketball...which i miss watching over here! Of course it doesn't hurt to watch David beckham at all ;-)

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I'm happy to say we finally got a phone the other day but unfortunately we don't have internet connection yet as I'm writing this in an internet cafe. I thought Rogers Cable was difficult, thats nothing compared to the monopoly that is British Telecom over here. We are trying to get signed up with a service that gives us free broadband with the phone plan we want. The plan gives us unlimited international calling to quite a few countires, including of course Canada. Of course there is a almost 2 month waiting list to be connected for the internet and 3 week
backlog to get the phone plan hooked up. Arghhh!! Being without the internet at home is really constricting. At least I can check my emails at work so it's not so bad.

My birthday is coming up next week. It's funny how when I was young I would count down the days out of excitement and now I dread the days knowing I'm another year older! Ah well it's just another day, but one that I can at least sneak out of work a little early on so thats good! I know quite a few people who share my birthday and those who are around the day...so Happy Birthday to everyone!

I will try to blog soon, unfortunatly with the lack of connection at home they might be few and far between for awhile. Will do my best!

Posted by ashleym66 03:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Moving Day Upon Us Soon

sunny 28 °C

Well it's official! We found a flat finally and after quite alot of back and forth and paperwork hell we are getting the keys to our flat this friday(June 23)!! So I might be out of blogging touch for a little while until we get the internet set up and I have some time to write. I will definatly post some pictures as soon as I can. Of course, my entries have gotten a little few and far between as of late I apologize. The flat is really awesome, its about a 10 minute walk to town and in a converted victorian house that has 3 flats. Our flat has just been refurbished and has a brand new kitchen and hardwood floors! After where i've been living the last couple months, I am gunning to get in there now. I'll have to take the train to work now but its only 2 stops and still about 10 mninutes. Richard gets to walk to work lucky guy!

The last couple weeks we've just been packing and getting stuff together to move. It's been really hot here and it's getting quite uncomfortable living with so many people so we've been spending alot of time out and about. We went to a fantastic indian restaurant called Kutti's on Oxford Street in town here. It was quite authentic and we had 3 courses! We carried our tummy's out about 10pm after our complimentary Bailey's shots and vowed to return soon for a repeat. I love my curries!

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Today we went to the Farmer's Market in central town. They had lots of organic fruit and veggies, fresh meats and fish, fresh herb plants, homemade fudge, and of course beer. Everything was grown or made in the Hampshire district, the purpose being to raise some awareness and support for local produce. We bought some fudge of course, and some wholewheat scones...or as I call them much to Richard's dismay, tea biscuits. We also found out that there is a weekend chocolate market in Eastleigh in July that we are definatly going to make a day of. Thats my kind of market!

To stay cool (they have no air-con anywhere here!!!) we spent a couple hours in Waterstones book store, which is a large chain similar to Chapters. We both love reading so we just split up to our respective sections and met up awhile later. I could spend the whole day just lounging in a bookstore. I found a fantastic food book called "Super Foods, Super Fast" that has a great breakdown of different fruits and veggies and what they do for you, as well as really awesome 7-day detoxing diets to help you with different ailments. Rich is really into cooking and loves food of course and I've been trying to eat healthier and use food and supplements as a way to feel better. With my birthday looming in the next few weeks I've realized it's now or never to start taking care of myself!!

The world cup has been manic over here. England fans are absolutley crazy for their football. It's been quite exciting I must admit even though I'm not a big football fan. I have promised to go and watch a full game proper this tuesday at the pub when they play Sweden. Im assured that its an experience not to be missed!

My friend Jenn from Baton Rouge is coming over here at the end of the month. Her sister is in Chichester which is a 45 minute train ride from Southampton. She'll be over here a week and we plan to meet up at some point. It will be nice because she's here over Canada Day weekend. Rich said Chichester is really lovely as well so we'll probably go up there to visit. I'm looking forward to seeing her!

Well, I will blog when I move in and post some pics as soonb as I can. Ahhhh freedom soon enough.

http://tinyurl.com/nj2td For all my pics.

Posted by ashleym66 12:28 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Whoo Hoo I got Kraft Peanut Butter!!

sunny 26 °C

I've been pretty busy as of late so I apologize for not keeping this blog up to date as often. It's crunch time for finding a flat and we have managed to find one we really like, but its a waiting game now since they are so damn thorough with background checks over here. That is one thing about England..they are so fraud paranoid! Still, I've heard it's become a massive problem, but seriously its crazy.

Last weekend I went and met my stepmom Michelle in London on her
layover. It was really nice to see someone in my family and be familiar with someone!! I'm so used to meeting new people and not being with anyone that knows me or anything north american lol. I took the day off work and jumped on a bus to go to Victoria station. I manouvered my way to St. John's Wood on the tube quite well I must say, finally feeling like the city girl I am!! It was nice to get around by myself and not feel to much like a tourist, actually feeling familiar with my suroundings. Which is difficult in London and especially on the tube because it's so huge. I feel proud I know how to get to a few places for now!

I met Michelle at the hotel, and we decided to take a walk over to Abbey Road which was just down the street. Abbey Road is the infamous street where the Abbey Road Studios are and of course, where The Beatles recorded their album! I did the walk across the crosswalk thats on the cover of their album and stood outside like a groupy reading all the graffitti on the wall. It was really awesome to stand there and see a part of musical history really, although I wasn't even close to being born around that era, I can still definatly appreciate the magitude of who The Beatles were. Plus I do like some of their music! lol

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After that we headed to the Kilburn area to do a little shopping.
Michelle showed me all the shops that she goes to when shes in town to find good deals. Got some good ideas for Christmas gifts!! We also headed to Primark, what a mad house that place is all over the UK I swear! but even still you still wait for the long lines to try stuff on and even longer lines to check out..its a man's nightmare for sure!

After our shopping expedition we were starved and Michelle had made reservations for us and her friend Jane at a Restaurant called Little Bay. The restaurant was a small, stylish place where we had to duck into a table under the stairs, but it was really quaint and the food was fantastic! It was nice to have a meal with Canadians and be able to contribute to things and not be the odd one out who doesn't remember an English tv show from the 80's or a popular vacation spot from when your a kid.

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After we got full up on the three course dinner we walked back to the hotel and dropped our shopping off. Michelle took me to see where Paul McCartney lives which turned out to be right around the corner. The street was really quiet even though it's right off a main road, I was also surprised that the house looked so small but I'm sure its the inside thats done up grand for sure! After all, a large house in England is really only slightly bigger then a regular detached house at home, and no where near the size of the mansions on The Bridle Path in Scarborough. Your paying for location, location, location. And Paul McCartney's house is definatly in a gorgous posh neighbourhood!

We took a stroll to the St. John's Wood High Street after and it was quite nice with lots of little boutiques and bakeries. The pub was hopping with people spilling out on the street in their suits obviously downing a pint after work. The cafe's on the pavement were full and people were enjoying the last of a really nice sunny day, which in England means everyone is out with a vengenance sucking up any sunshine they can get!

The next day I said my goodbyes to Michelle as she was getting picked up for her return flight and I headed to the tube station, Aunt Jemima and Kraft Peanut butter in hand. Well actaully in jugs and I was lugging it with stops along the way to get the circulation back in my arms!! Thanks dad!! lol Gotta love Costco.

I was a little early for my bus back so I stopped at the Starbucks near Victoria station and since it was so beautiful out I decided to drop all my stuff and enjoy some alone time and drink a yummy frappachino and watch everyone bustle by on their way to wherever. I felt like I could have sat there all day it was so nice. Tis not the case though and I finally grabbed my stuff again and walked to the station to head home. I'm beginning to fall in love with London...!

Pics see here http://tinyurl.com/nj2td

Posted by ashleym66 09:21 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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