Wednesday, 30 December 2009

post christmas recap

It's been a wonderful Christmas season! Warning: Long post ahead (with lots of photies)!

We had our office Christmas do on Thursday 17th December, which was tons of fun. Lunch at Harry's then off to the pub for the whole evening. Unfortunately, I drank far more than was necessary and lost my camera. Gutted!!! Not only am I bummed to lose the camera (which my dad gave me) but I've lost all my December photos. But in the evening it started snowing and by the time we were heading home it was a proper blizzard! Those that weren't hungover the next morning were greeted to this:


Unfortunately, it only snowed on the Thursday so the snow quickly turned to ice, dangerous icy roads of death! It was insane, Friday, Saturday and Sunday the sidewalks were actual ice rinks. My wellies did nothing to grip the ice! We ventured into town slowly and carefully, for sure. I saw Leashie on Saturday 19th, and we exchanged Christmas pressies! She made me the most amazing pair of mittens and a lovely lovely hat, plus a book on crochet motifs! Spoiled, I am :)

Then R and I headed off to his parents back in Northern Ireland in the wee hours of the morn on Monday. We booked a nice sensible 8.30am flight and gave ourselves 2 hours. Omg, the line for Easy Jet (which probably had at least 20 flights leaving before ours!) actually snaked past all the other check-ins for all the other airlines. Luckily it was moving quickly, but boy oh boy, I will never not check-in online again! We had a lovely week back with his folks, and his brother and his preggo wife (yay for soon to be neice/nephew!). On Wednesday the 23rd, we all took the train down to Dublin and visited the Guinness Brewery:

Christmas Day was great, too. It's always strange spending the holidays away from your own family because somehow, it never feels right doing new traditions. But I love my in-laws, and they always make me feel right at home. We were back in LA for Christmas last year, so it was great for R to see his folks this year. And next year, there will be a new MCK in the family, so I can't wait for baby's first Christmas! But this year J&J absolutely spoiled us for food. Most delicious Christmas meal ever:

MCK Family Christmas tree:

Compared to our cute little tree back in Brighton (I swear it's not really that crooked...I think):

My favourite pressie by far is the one R got me. It's the Pegasus Necklace (with matching earrings!) from Tatty Devine:

I also treated myself to a new camera, the new Nikon S220 (nothing too flash, but it's shiny and blue!):

Coming home wasn't too painful, only an hour delayed (considering the travel chaos on the British Isles with the snow, we were very lucky indeed!). It's been great being home and relaxing just the two of us. We've been sleeping in every morning until about 10, and just lounging about the house. Bliss! My new project (after scouring over all of R's dad's albums) is to start organizing and printing off all of our pictures. We're going to start with 2009 and work backwards from there. I can't wait! I love looking at the whole MCK family from the last 30-40 years, and I want to make sure we have that for our family :)

Lastly, I finally had a chance to see the movie Cinema Paradiso last night at the Duke of York's. It was okay, but looooong. I don't know if I'd watch it again. A bit too schmaltzy for me. But oh my god, the actor who played Alfredo was an absolute spitting image of my Dad (he may disagree, ha!)

tee hee!

Now I'm looking forward to New Year's Eve tomorrow - we're heading out to Southend on Sea for a little mini gathering. Should be great fun! x

Thursday, 10 December 2009


Just about my fave show on TV is Location Location Location. Maybe it's envy, maybe it's middle class porn, whatever. I love it! And I love Phil and Kirstie.

I love Kirstie's style. She is just lovely and so personable. Look at that grace!

Do you know what else I love?


So what could possibly be better than Kirstie AND Christmas???

I've enjoyed it the past two nights, but unfortunately will miss tonight's as I'm about to head out for my book group meeting. Last night was so cozy, watching lovely gifts being made with care, whilst I was crocheting and working on my own little handmade gifts.

There have been so many Christmas programmes on TV so far this month, and I just love it. Luckily, R indulges me, and puts up with the endless carols and mince pies (so hard, I know!)

Only two more weeks left to get those pressies finished!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Tree Decorations

I love love love Christmas tree decorations. A couple years ago, we ended up buying a 'starter pack' at WHSmith, and it was shite. Absolutely shite. So we're starting fresh this year (well, keeping the super cute red berry lights). Here are a few of my faves!

Embossed Metal Heart Decorations - Velvet

Glitter Wobble Leg Santas - John Lewis

I hate sprouts glass bauble - Homebase

Little London Telephone Box - Liberty

Reindeer Mini Decorations - Paperchase

I've also found a lovely tutorial from Attic 24 for these badboys (which I will be making, en masse, all night, thank you very much):

I think we're going to have a pretty snazzy looking tree, if I don't say so myself...

sleigh bells ring

I had such a lovely Thanksgiving this year!

Lovely lovely Alicia moved down to London, and joined us for the day. I brought out my little 1.5k (3lb - hey, he was cute) turkey, and I made cranberry sauce (from scratch and AMAZING, thanks Martha), garlic mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, roasted carrots and parsnips, lemon butter green beans, stuffing and gravy to go with Mr Gobble Gobble. A few pals from work came along, so we managed to feed (and more impressively, seat) 8 people in our wee flat. It was cozy, fun and delicious. And we even had a special delivery earlier in the day - my grandma in LA sent us some Peppermint Bark. We had it for dessert, what a treat! And one of my co-workers picked up some turkey napkin holders for me, boy did they look snazzy.

On the weekend, our friend Glenda's son turned one and we went to his little birthday party. I guess one year olds don't really have friends, so it was actually a bit of a boozer (no other kids in sight), which I can never complain about. How cute is James hanging out with his daddy????

We've also just stepped into the month of December, yippee! On the dot, out came Father Christmas for our front door, and Elvis Christmas Carols on Napster. I've also had a chance to make some new festive cushion covers:

Hmm, they look a bit wrinkly...but trust me, they are festive!

First mince pies of the season:

And out came the advent calendars:

Hopefully this weekend, we'll finish our christmas cards, pick up a little tree and get it decorated. Bring on the festivities!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Going Rouge/Rogue aka Why Me Not President?

I don't follow many political blogs, but my three faves are Bob Cesca, Michael Tomasky and Robert Reich.

At the moment, Bob (well, his lovely underlings Elvis and Redmond) has a brilliant chapter by chapter analysis of Sarah Palin's tour d'barf, Going Rogue (aka Why Me Not President?) clicky clicky

Elvis and Redmond save me the hassle and headache of actually having to read the thing myself (not that I would anyway), and with far more intelligent (and amusing) commentary than anything else I can find. I have to say, it's people like Bob (and Elvis and Redmond) that make me remember how much I miss and love Americans. I need reminders like this after I see Sarah Palin and the teabaggers faces painted all over the news. Why lord, why?

Anyway, enjoy your Hilarious Liberal-biased Socialized Communistic Fascist Nazi-esque Cliff Notes on Going Rogue - and bring a diaper cuz you'll be wetting yourself!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I'm still here...

I've been absolutely rubbish on the blogging front. What have I done recently?

*been locked out of Facebook (still feeling the pain...please let me in!!!)
*applied for law vacation schemes
*started on birthday and Christmas pressies
*planned my Thanksgiving menu
*thought about moving to London
*not started on my book group book, Wolf Hall
*saw Up, in 3-D (I'm such a sucker for these Pixar films - tears streamed down my face the WHOLE film)
*comforted my mom when she told me my sister was expelled from school for being a drug transaction stooge

This weekend feels like the kick off to the Christmas season. It's Kate's birthday, so we're heading into London. R has a seminar at uni on Saturday, so I'm going in early and having a wee peek at Christmas Land at Harrods:

Then we have Thanksgiving, James' first birthday party, Christmas lunch at work, The Pogues concert, with a few Christmas meals with friends/family thrown in, then off to Ireland with les parentals. Should be a hoot, and I will be up to my eyeballs in yarn for pressies! I've already started on YOURS!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Halloween come and gone

I had a very lovely Halloween here in Brighton. R and I carved our pumpkins last week, and had fun with that.

my pumpkinR's pumpkinHalloween decorations in our windowbats

For our costumes this year, we decided to go as Kermit and Miss Piggy. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with our costumes! They look particularly cartoonish with all the bright colours.

While I was cooking dinner, we put out our pumpkins to let trick or treaters know we had candy. Unfortunately, our doorbell doesn't work, but R quickly came up with an ingenious solution, and put a sign on our door, "Dear Trick or Treaters, our doorbell doesn't work so if you want some candy, you have to scream really really loud". The kids loved it ... neighbours, maybe not so much.

We went out for a few drinks with our friends J&k (Elvis and Marilyn), and it was great to see so many people out in fancy dress. Having Halloween on the weekend makes such a difference and I had lots of fun. Next up, I have Thanksgiving planning in the works. I think I might be controversial, and do it on a Friday rather than Thursday. We'll see, it depends on how many people we will have around.

But I have definitely gotten started on my Christmas pressie list! And next weekend, I'm going to take a little visit to Harrods and see Christmasland! Super duper excited :) We've also started working on our list of Christmas movies, which we'll probably have to start viewing mid-November (hey, there's a lot to go through and we'll be busy in December!)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

halloween spirit

I've tried to get into the Halloween Spirit here, but I have to admit, it's pretty tough when you live in a country who basically IGNORES it. I went into town last weekend to buy some pumpkin and ghost cookie cutters, but all I could find were angels and hearts. WTF? Christmas is EVERYWHERE here and it isn't even November. Folks, this is why you need Halloween and Thanksgiving: to stop Christmas overkill (this coming from someone who (kinda) joked about getting a Christmas themed sleeve...).

So, throughout the month, R and I decided to try and watch some scary movies. We haven't been super successful, but definitely more than we would normally watched. So, in chronological order, our Hallween movie fest!

When Leashie was down for my birthday, we decided to get our first Halloween film. Not really Halloweeny, actually, but still fun. Well, Leashie sang along to every song and R fell asleep. But I had fun! But after this, R put his foot down, and we had to start watching scary movies. So next we moved on to:

I haven't seen this since I was about 14! Just as funny (and slightly spooky) as I remember. Definitely plenty of opportunities to shout at the characters for their sheer stupidity. ED 2 and Army of Darkness will be watched soon (I hope). By the way, did I ever mention how much I love Bruce Campbell? A LOT.

In keeping with our 70s retro theme, the next film on our list was:

I was surprised at how not scary this was. Normally, creepy kid = scary as hell (The Ring, anyone?) Definitely some spooky bits (the birthday party in particular), but pretty tame. I'd be curious to see the newer one.

After a wee break, we got back into our film watching, and our latest movie has been:

I have to admit, I've been a bit of a baby about this one. We showed it at the Cameo when I was working there, and I heard it was freaky as hell. I had no desire whatsoever to watch it. So when R suggested it (nay, selected it), I was not best pleased. In fact, it took over a week before I could watch it. I actually think the freakiest parts where the cave bits, rather than scary humanoid bits. Watching girls grapple with and stab flesh-eating monsters just isn't that scary. Getting trapped in a tightening tunnel with no means of escape? FREAKY DEAKY. So I'm glad I conquered my fears and watched it, because really, it was pretty tame.

Which leads me to...

Doesn't look too scary, does it? Well, how about this:

Remember what I said about scary children? Jeebus, it gives me the willies just looking at it. so we haven't actually seen this yet, because I'm too chicken. Maybe Friday night...

To distract R from super scary, we bought this last week:

I haven't seen it in years, and Gary Oldman is sexy as hell in it. Fingers crossed R will let me know wuss out and watch this tomorrow night instead...

We've also put up a few decorations, and plan on carving our pumpkins tonight. Pictures tomorrow!!!

What are you dressing up as for Saturday night?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Mama needs a new pair of shoes

Last week, we had R's parents stay with us for a few nights. They do this every year, on their way home from France to Northern Ireland. They take the ferry over, stay with R's sister in the Isle of Wight, then with us in Brighton, then with his brother in London, and then make their way home. It's a nice little tradition.

On the Wednesday night, I made delicious leek and tattie soup, with homemade bread. YUM YUM YUM! I've really gotten into the habit of making soup from scratch and it's amazing. I followed up with chicken and bean soup on Friday when R was sick, too.

On Thursday, the parentals were super keen to do a pub quiz.

The one we normally do is on a Wednesday, at Zuma, so I went a-huntin' for a quiz on Thursday night. Hmmm, turns out there aren't many in Brighton. Luckily, I managed to find one in town, at a slightly shady looking pub, called the Chequers. We went for some greek food at a lovely restaurant called Estia, and then headed over about quarter to nine. Boy, has it heaving. We had to stand in the dark corner! It was actually really nice to branch out a bit and try a new quiz, just for a bit of change. We started off really well, with a perfect round, and kept doing good on each round. As he would mark about 2-3 rounds a time, you didn't actually know how well you were doing for big chunks at a time. We finally handed in our last 3 rounds, and were several points ahead at this point. But it was getting late, close to midnight, so we were tempted to head off. But the jackpot for the night was pretty big, as they do a roll over each week if it isn't won. So we decided to wait and see how we did.

Finally, we got our paper back, and we hadn't done that well. Made some silly mistakes. Oh well, we thought, it was a fun night. He started doing the scores, from lowest to highest, and turns out....we tied for first place! Holy moly!

So we had to do a tie breaker - the question was "In 1970, how many children in Britain were members of the Tufty club?"


R and I just looked at each other and said WTF. But! R's parents are teachers! So J leaned over and said, "In 1970, EVERY child in Britain was a member of the Tufty club - your school was automatically registered. Put 3 million." Hmmm, sounds a bit off to me, but what do I know?

So we handed over our answer, and waited to see....and the answer was 2 million, with the other team guessing only 300,000! WOOOOT WOOOOOT!

thanks Tufty

But it doesn't end there. Once you finally win, you still have to go through the gauntlet of...the draw. So I stepped up, and looked at the three straws - one for a bottle of wine, one for a case of beer and one for the jackpot - which hadn't been won in a month. I decided to go with the left one, for our 2 lefties (R and his mom). Everyone around me was chanting WINE WINE WINE WINE. I looked and.....

we won the friggin money! £132! Yippee! I haven't won that much money....ever? Brilliant! R (too?) generously put £20 behind the bar for the quiz master and bar staff, and off we went. We've decided to put the money aside for Christmas funds this year, which is such a relief.

Zuma just doesn't seem as exciting now....

Thursday, 8 October 2009

WTF post office?

Last week was my birthday, yippee! The big 25! So how excited was I when I came home on Friday afternoon and saw the postman had been by, and had a package for me! Even though it was addressed to K M----- rather than K S-----! As a recently married lady, I'm used to people assuming I've changed my name and using my husband's last name rather than mine. And I've changed my name in my head, anyway, just not on any important documents (can you tell where this is going?)

So on Monday, I grabbed my little red card, my ID, and a bill with mine and R's names on it, and went to work. At lunch, it was bucketing it down, but I was so excited for my birthday pressie, I trekked the mile to the depot to pick it up. I handed the man the aforementioned red card, ID and bill and said 'Can I please pick up my package?' The man looked very confused.

'This says K M----- but your ID says K S-----.'

'Ah yes, sir, I thought that might be a problem, as I'm recently married and often receive post in my husband's name. Luckily, I remembered to bring a bill with his name and our address!'

'But this says K M----- and your ID says K S-----.'

'Yes. I understand this. I am recently married and I haven't changed my name. But see this bill that shows a K S----- and a R M----- living at the same address, which matches the address on the package?'

'Don't you have ID that says K M-----?'

'No. Because my NAME is K S------.'

'I need ID that matches the package.'

'Yes, of course you do, BUT THAT'S NOT MY NAME SO I DON'T HAVE ID THAT SAYS IT. Please see, again, this bill, with a K and an M----- on it, at the same address.'

'Why don't you have ID with K M----?'

OH MY GOD. This went on for ages and ages. This old man could not fathom that a recently married woman might receive mail with a different last name, and REFUSED to hand over my birthday pressie. You see, they don't accept 'letter head' (funny, it looks like a BILL FOR MONEY to me), and as my ID didn't match the package, I was not getting nothing. A bill is good enough to open a bank account, but apparently isn't good enough for Royal Mail. Apparently, his job is to 'protect people's post', and insisted on redelivering the package.

'But I work. And won't be home. And will receive ANOTHER red card with K M----- on it. And I will have to come back to this depot to pick it up. And we will have this SAME IDIOTIC conversation again.'

So, he settled on sending it to my work address. Yes, you heard this right. He wouldn't GIVE me the package (to a possible thief) but he was willing to send it to a random address I gave him. So if I really had gone through this massive charade to pretend to be K M----- and steal her post, but luckily had this OBSTINATE man to protect it, I still would have succeeded in stealing her post.


The next day I hear Royal Mail is going on a pre-Christmas strike (way to get the people on your side!) and has lost their second largest customer, Amazon, in a £25mil contract. Are we starting the countdown to their demise? With service like this, I am not surprised. Again, WTF post office?

Friday, 25 September 2009

Winter Hat numbero uno

I did a nice and easy winter hat project last weekend, and I'm quite pleased with the results. I used the leftover wooly cream yarn from R's skull and cross bones jumper, so it's super warm, but it doesn't have much stretch to it. I like the little puffs on it, but I might try and make a simpler beret, or a nice beanie, as well. At the moment, I'm too skint to buy a new winter coat, so it looks like I'm stuck with my plain black pea coat. As long as I keep up with nice bright accessories, like hats, scarves, and gloves, it won't be too dull!

puff ball hat
Terminator eyes will KILL YOU
puff ball hat

puff ball hat

Thursday, 24 September 2009

R's Birthday

Man oh man have I been crap on the blogging front. I keep having ideas in my head about what I want to write about, and then keep telling myself 'Set some time aside to write, K!' But it never seems to happen.

Anyway, R's birthday was 5th September, the big 3-3! We had a nice little Saturday, heading off for lunch at Woodie's Diner for some good ole' fashioned American food and shakes (not really, they really just don't quite do it right here!). Then we headed into town, and I got stuff to make for dinner for him. I cooked the most delish cheese enchilads and the most AMAZING brownie cake I have ever tasted in all my 25 years on this Earth. Devine.

For birthday pressies this year, we've decided to be a bit more frugal and not spend more than £25. I went slightly overbudget, but well worth it, methinks!

Tiger slippers! How cute!
super stoked

I'm pretty proud of this! I made the whole thing in secret (and it took FOREVER) but it fits him so well! And it's super warm and soft and looks fab. I can't wait for it to get colder so he can start wearing it to work/uni. He'll be the most bad ass PhD student ever :)

The following weekend, we did a bowling birthday bonanza at Bloomsbury Lanes, an(other) American themed place, that has bowling lanes, karaoke and diner. We bowled for an hour, and then ate/drank ourselves silly. A good night out, even if the food wasn't great. Lots of photos, none of them good, so I won't bother posting. Low point of the evening? Aggressively grabbing the bacon beer (yes, bacon beer) from J, calling him a pussy for not drinking it, and downing it in one go. Yes, Uncle K made an appearance, and it was not pretty. At least I managed to avoid the tequila, unlike R.

After waking up feeling slightly worse for wear on Sunday, it turns out R's brother O got us tickets to see Everton (R's absolute favourite football team) play Fulham, whose grounds happen to be about 1/2 mile from theirs. Yippee! Even though Everton lost (boo), it was so great for R to finally get to see them play, after being a loyal supporter for so long.

Next is my birthday, on Wednesday. Shady Ninja will be here to share in the festivities, yay! I booked for Wed-Fri from work, so I have a 2-day work week, woot woot! Can't beat that.

PS - we're already looking into booking flights back to Ireland for Christmas. Can you believe it??? It's like the holidays are just around the corner (although, it's still too early to play Christmas music according to SOME people, bah humbug)