Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Party Season

The upcoming holidays always bring with them a few fun and festive soirees, as well as beautiful dresses to wear to said shindigs. Personally, I'd love to wear either of these fab party dresses this festive season

{Both dresses are from Awear}
I love jewel tones for autumn and winter and I find that they work very well for my very, very fair skin.  I love the rich purple of the first dress and I have some violet suede Steve Madden heels that would look gorgeous with it. Now I just need to find the party :)

Friday, 25 September 2009

Driving in the UK

For those of you who do not live in the UK, let me enlighten you on the cost of getting a driving licence here.
£50 - provisional licence
£31 - theory test
£62 - practical test
£143 - minimum!

Now, I say minimum because most overseas drivers need lessons to pass the UK test. Usually around 5-10 (for people who already know how to drive, they recommend 45 lessons for new drivers!) and at an average of £25/hr, that's an additional £125-250 (or up to £1,125 for 45). Also factor in that many people (even those who have driven for years and years in America) fail the practical test the first time, you can double or even triple that number. Lastly, add in the cost of the books to study for the theory test and the average cost rises to a whopping £450+/$717+

{Photo from the BBC}

Can you believe that?!

When I took my driving test in Oregon it cost $22.50 for the permit and the drivers manual was FREE! It was approximately $200 for drivers ed, $14 for the testing and $59 for the licence. I, like most Americans, passed on the first try as well so the total for obtaining my licence was about $295/£185.
Unfortunately, I passed driving an automatic and have only ever driven an automatic. In the UK, everyone drives manual cars and unlike in the states, you have to pass your practical test on a manual in order to legally drive a manual. Looks like I may need a lot of lessons!

I ordered the application forms for my provisional licence yesterday and they should arrive in 7-10 days. I better get to the bank and take out a personal loan too...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Cocktail Thursday

Calling all chocoholics out there! Check out these delish sounding martinis...{Image and recipes found on The Nest}

PepperMint Pattini

1-1/2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1/2 oz Crème de menthe
1/2 oz Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz Cream

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a Peppermint Pattie candy wedge. Serves 1.

Almond Joy Martini

1-1/2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
1 oz Coconut Rum
1/2 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
1/2 oz Chocolate Liqueur

Dip the rim of a chilled martini glass into chocolate syrup and roll in shaved coconut. Place glass into the refrigerator until ready to serve the cocktail. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glass with chocolate-coconut rim. Serves 1.


1/2 oz Baileys
1-1/2 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
1/2 oz Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz Amaretto
Splash of cream

Drizzle a thin line of both caramel and chocolate sauce on the inside of a rocks glass and place in refrigerator to chill. Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake over ice. Pour entire contents of shaker into glass and add straw. Serves 1.

I am particularly tempted by the Snickertini! I think I might have to make a quick ingredient run this afternoon so hubby and I can have a sweet dessert tonight!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

UK resident on the job hunt!

As of Monday, I am officially a UK resident and therefore newly eligible to work! Any offers? haha
After a lovely night in Liverpool (including happy hour margaritas!) hubby and I got to our appointment bright and early and spent nearly four hours waiting and waiting and waiting some more. The whole process was very straightforward at least and aside from the exorbitant cost and ridiculously long wait times, it was easy peasy!
Now I begin the dreaded search for work! Living in a small town has advantages like being able to walk to work, but unfortunately the disadvantage of quite a low number of potential jobs. I had a telephone interview this morning - wish me luck that I get invited to the next stage of interviews!
If you have any advice for all the jobseekers out there, please feel free to share!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Wedding Photos

Hubby has had to work in the warehouse and cover some holiday time for another shop so we've been staying with his parents for a couple of days to avoid the commute. I had a lovely few days with my in-laws, going out for fish and chips and being spoiled with snacks and having meals cooked for me! I've also been busy gathering up all the documents I need for my Further Leave to Remain (FLR) visa. We're heading down to Liverpool tomorrow morning, staying the night in a cushy hotel and heading for the visa appointment bright and early Monday morning. Wish us luck!
I also thought I'd take this time to post a few of my favorite pictures from our wedding since I never did get around to fully recapping the big day.

{All photographs by our great photographer, Christopher Birkett of Birkett Photography}

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

September Wish List

My shopping eye is unfortunately always wandering and a few things have caught that eye recently, including this fab sounding illuminating powder from Too Faced. It's a light, translucent powder with flecks of gold for a soft glow inspired by candlelight. Available from Sephora.

Also on my wish list is an amazing blazer. I saw a girl in town today wearing skinny jeans, knee high brown boots and a great black blazer. New Look has a cheap and cheerful one with roll-up cuffs that has now been reduced to £20. This sequin one from Awear would be perfect for night time with a tissue thin white tank, some skinny jeans and these to die for gold studded black suede booties from Office.

I'm also in love with their gorgeous brown leather lace up heels! So academic and autumnal. They would look perfect with the navy version of these cardigans also from Awear.

As the autumn chill is in the air, also on the wish list this month are cozy throws and candles galore. Now it's your turn! What have you had your eye on lately?

Monday, 14 September 2009


We don't have MTV but I've managed to catch the highlights including
Kanye West stealing the mic during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech and declaring that Beyonce Knowles should have won...
and a very bizarre and bloody performance by Lady Gaga...
All I can say is - wow. If you need a pop culture fix, I encourage you to visit or, where all the images are from and where you can also view the videos of Kanye's little outburst and Lady Gaga's rather OTT performance in all their glory.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Keswick and the Kendal Torchlight Procession

Hubby's days off got switched around a bit this week so on Friday we ventured a bit deeper in to the Lake District up to the market town Keswick.

After we got back from a lovely day in Keswick, which Neil loved so much he wants to move there, we went to the Torchlight Festival.
It featured carnival and street performers, floats, marching bands, antique cars, dancers and more! It was comprised mostly of local acts but also included groups from around the world. This was its 40th birthday and that theme played prominently in the floats.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

York Day Trip

On Monday, hubby and I got up bright and early (6am...ouch) and had a wonderful day out to York! We parked up and made our way down Dame Judi Dench Way (it's a real! hehe) towards York Minster, with a quick pre-Minster stop at Starbucks :)After my sbux fix, we toured the absolutely gorgeous Minster, one of the largest gothic cathedrals this side of the alps.
We then headed through the medieval streets, including the Shambles, and browsed the shops. We took in the view of the Minster from the Mens Department on the top floor of Marks and Spencers.
As our tummies began to grumble we decided on a pizza lunch in the sunshine followed by a trip to the (FREE!) National Railway Museum. On our way back from checking out lots and lots of trains, we walked along the bar walls and stopped for a rest in the gardens of the Yorkshire museum. It was a gorgeous and very enjoyable day!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


I have been a bit absent lately because I have started reading the Twilight series. Image borrowed from here.
I usually avoid popular books (e.g. Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code) like the plague and after hearing a lot about them not being well written, I was very wary when I picked up the first title from the local library. I have been struggling for things to do lately though as I'm currently not working so I decided this would be the perfect time for some lighthearted reading. I figured I had nothing to lose since I was getting it from the library and therefore not paying anything for it!

Let me first say, I am very happy I took a chance on them! While they are not technically advanced or in anyway challenging reading, this is because the target audience is teenagers. The main objectives are plot and character development, at which author Stephenie Meyer is quite successful. The prose is flowing and addictive, definitely page turning.
I quickly got over my initial feelings that they were terribly written as I became entranced with the story. It has been a while since I read a book intended for teens, but once I made my peace with these books being very different than the Russian and French literature I have been reading the past few years, I was hooked!

I have completed Twilight and am over half way through New Moon. I'm currently on the wait list for Eclipse and I'll be sure to write about these books again once I've finished all four.