expats

10 Comments

A Little Adventure

My two little monkeys are having a little adventure this week. They have gone to Leamington Spa to spend a few days with Husband's parents. Dubz got a Trunki from his grandparents at Christmas and he was pleased to finally be able to use it.

They look so grown-up in this photo. In about two months, Moozles will turn eight and Dubz will turn four. How is this possible? In my mind, they are still so little. But now they are big enough to spend two nights at their grandparents without being anxious or sad at leaving their mummy and daddy. It is bittersweet. Moozles and Dubz are having a little adventure, complete with castles, swimming and ice cream. And I'm having my own adventure complete with lie-ins and nights out with Husband and my friends.

...continue reading

6 Comments

I was reading Not Knowing The Colour of Your Wife's Underwear Could Get You Deported today in the Huffington Post. Apparently, quite a few immigrants are being detained due to them possibly marrying for convenience (i.e. a passport). Some of the people getting caught out don't seem to know their wife's bra size, or the colour of her underpants or her National Insurance number. Wait, what? Are those the important things that tell you if someone has truly married for love?

What colour are YOUR partner's underpants?

...continue reading

A British ThanksgivingThanksgiving Day in the USA is the fourth Thursday of November. In the States, the Thursday and Friday are public holidays so it is a time to get together with family and friends, whilst eating more food than humanly thought possible. As an American expat, we normally celebrate Thanksgiving the weekend before or after, whenever we can squeeze in five hours of cooking and eating.

We had our Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. A traditional American family dinner, with some European touches. We of course had a whole turkey (very difficult to find a fresh one at this time in the UK, but a frozen one is easy to get), sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. But in honour of my British husband and half-British children, we also had Yorkshire puddings and parsnips. And this year, we embraced the French culture by forgoing an American green bean casserole for Provençal Stuffed Vegetables.

So why have I included a French dish into my American-British meal? Well, Tesco recently asked me to join in their Festive Food Swap, and promote the fact that you can find world foods so easily at Tesco. I love that I can pop into my local Tesco and get everything I need for an international meal. Besides lovely festive foods from around the world, like stollen bites, mince pies and panettone, you can also find such British treats like traditional fruit cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies.

A British Thanksgiving

I was a bit worried what the kids would think (they aren't even that fond of American food, bar burgers and hot dogs). But my daughter loved it, and had seconds of the stuffed tomatoes. My son, who is three, refused to try any (but he wouldn't even try the parsnips and sweet potatoes, hmph). Husband and I loved the stuffed aubergines and courgettes (that's eggplant and zucchini to my American readers). Not only was it easy to make, but it was delicious.

Thank you to my fellow blogger, Muriel from French Yummy Mummy, who sourced this recipe from Mirabeau en Provence and then shared it with me. If you would like to make it too, here is the recipe.

PROVENÇAL STUFFED VEGETABLES

Ingredients: 4 tomatoes, 2 aubergines, 3 courgettes, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, herbs de Provence, 1 clove of garlic, 300g pork mince and 300g beef mince. (serves four)

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Wash and dry vegetables. 
  • Cut the tops off the tomatoes and spoon out into the flesh.
  • Cut the courgettes and aubergines in half, lenghtways. Spoon out the flesh.
  • Rub the vegetable boats with salt and olive oil.
  • Combine the mince in a mixing bowl, with mustard, finely chopped clove of garlic, 1 tbsp herbs and salt and pepper. Once mixed, fill the vegetables with plenty of meat.
  • Bake on a tray in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on your oven.
  • You can add goat's cheese or mozzarella towards the end of baking so that it melts nicely (we used cheddar cheese).

This dish is supposed to go well with rice or salad and crunch bread. But we thought it went well with our Thanksgiving dinner. Bon appétit!

A British Thanksgiving A British Thanksgiving A British Thanksgiving A British Thanksgiving

 

 

I was invited to swap festive recipes with other bloggers for the purpose of this post. Tesco has given me a box of goodies and a giftcard to help with groceries, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

 

8 Comments

Independence Day in the UK

One of the things that I miss the most about not living in the USA is not getting to properly celebrate the 4th of July. For those of you who don't know what the 4th is, let me give you a little history lesson. You probably know that the original 13 colonies of the US were British colonies. The colonies did not like Great Britain taxing them and not letting them rule themselves, so they went to war. During the American Revolution, Americans declared their legal separation from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th July 1776 (or around then). So every year Americans get the day off work, in honour of Independence Day, to hang out with family and friends, picnic, BBQ, watch fireworks and basically just have a great day where we saw 'nee-ner nee-ner' to the British.

I have lived in the UK for 13 years now, and have spent each 4th of July in London, missing out on all the festivities in the US. I now live in an area with quite a few Americans (randomly). One of my American friends threw a 4th of July BBQ this weekend and we went and celebrated with some American-British families. We had a lovely afternoon/evening. It is so nice to have a taste of the US here in the UK. Happy Independence Day to my American peeps. To my UK peeps, nee-ner nee-ner. 😉

Independence Day in the UK Independence Day in the UK

 

Linking up to Ordinary Moments from Mummy Daddy ME.

 

30 Comments

Oh the British, in the SummerGrowing up in Northern California, I was used to plenty of sunshine. But people are not so lucky in the UK. And when the weather gets hot, they go a little crazy. And by 'a bit crazy', I mean the lose their minds and go CRAY-ZEE. And Brits keep talking about the sun having its hat on, whatever that means.

I have previously written about some eccentricities of Brits as well offering some American-British translation, but I thought I'd focus a post on the heatwave (happening this week). If you are new to the UK, please be warned. And if you have been living in the UK for many years, as I have, you may even begin to start acting a bit heat-crazy yourself.

1. British people start stripping off. From very large men in too-small shorts walking down the road, to my kids refusing to wear clothes at home. You would think it was 40C, but it's only 27C.Oh the British Heatwave

2. All meals are eaten outside. In the garden, the BBQ becomes king. Or else you have a picnic on any patch of grass you can find.

Oh the British, HeatwaveOh the British, in the Summer

3. It's an excuse for drinking even more alcohol than usual, preferably outside. And Brits love drinking booze in tins.

Oh the British, in the Summer Oh the British, in the Summer

4. Gardens are turned into waterparks. Health and safety be damned.

Oh the British, in the Summer Oh the British, in the Summer

5. All meals consist of sausages and ice cream.Oh the British, HeatwaveOh the British, in the Summer

6. British people will drive hours to the nearest beach. Who cares if the sand is covered in pebbles and the ocean is too cold to swim in. They're going to the beach, dammit.

Oh the British, in the Summer

7. And then the rains come, and are often accompanied by thunder and lightning and even hail.

Oh the British, in the Summer

 

 

31 Comments

Have I ever mentioned that I'm from California? Well, I am. Not that you could tell from my accent. You see, after 13 years living in the UK, my accent has gone a bit 'Madge'. Remember the 15 minutes that Madonna was married to Guy Ritchie and lived in London? And then she started speaking with a faux British accent? Wasn't it annoying? Well, I kinda sound like her. *sob, sob*

Whenever I meet Americans and Canadians, they are surprised to find out that I'm American. This had been making my sad. Part of my identity is being American, and if I no longer sound American then there is not much left. But after my recent trip to The States, I felt renewed. I am American no matter what my accent sounds like. But I am more than that. Yes, I have changed. Yes, my accent has changed. But there is no need to be insecure about my accent. I am happy with who I am and what I sound like.

Have a look at the little vlog I've filmed on the subject. And yes, besides being an expat, I'm a total dork! xx

 

Seychelles Mama

7 Comments

Having a long-distance relationship can be pretty agonising. Especially in the beginning of a relationship. You know, when things are hot and heavy and you want to spend every minute in their arms? And instead you are chatting on the phone and feeling heart-broken. Thirteen years ago, after six blissful weeks together, Husband/then-Boyfriend went back to London and I stayed in San Diego.

A letter of love

We then spent 10 months apart before I was able to move to London. Oh, those 10 months. We squeezed in three visits in that time. We spoke every day on the phone. We emailed. But it was tough. But Husband did something special in the beginning of our long-distance relationship. He wrote me a love letter. And not just any love letter. The mother of all love letters. I think it was that letter that kept me steadfast. It is quite a leap of faith to move across the world for someone. To give up your life, your friends, your job.

Husband still sometimes writes me sweet, silly poems. But nothing will compare to that first letter. Nor do they have to. Our life is more than words on a paper. Though they are nice. Our life is now the realisation of that letter.

This week's theme for The Prompt is 'a letter...'; pop on over to MumturnedMom for more posts on this theme.

 

mumturnedmom

12 Comments

Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal

Although I enjoy baking, I am not much of a cook. I can make about 10 things well, but am not one to try new things. But recently I have become a Paragon Books book buddy. Which means that Parragon send me a book every month to review. I decided to receive cookbooks as I am keen to widen my repertoire. After all, what kind of SAHM expects her husband to do most of the cooking? *looks around sheepishly, whistles, looks down in shame*

October's book is Great British Cooking. Husband was very excited to see this book. Just the kind of food he loves. I decided to make Toad in the Hole as it is one of those British dishes that British people term as 'comfort food'. I think I may have tried it once at my in-laws' house, but can't quite remember. But I know that neither of my children have ever had it. Not only did they love it, but it was so easy to make. Moozles has asked for it again for dinner tonight (I made it yesterday). But I have told them that I will make it again at the weekend if they really want it.

There are some other yummy looking British recipes in the cookbook, including Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings, Neeps & Tatties and Treacle Tart. I will be making those very soon. If you fancy making Toad in the Hole, check out my amended recipe below (as Husband will testify, I am mentally unable to follow a recipe and I always amend them).

Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal

Toad in the Hole

115g/4 oz plain flour
big pinch of salt
1 free-range egg, beaten
300 ml/10 fl oz milk (I use Lactofree)
400-450g/1 lb good-quality pork sausages
1 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
white pepper

Grease a 20x25cm/8x10inch roasting dish. Preheat oven to 220C/425F.

The batter is made by mixing the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and half the milk. Stir until smooth. Then add the rest of the milkand beat. Leave to stand for about 30 minutes.

While mixture is standing, it is time to cook the sausages. Place the sausages in the  dish, prick them and sprinkle with pepper and oil. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove sausages from oven and pour batter over them. Return to oven for 35-45 minutes  until golden brown. Serve with peas, as Husband informs me that is the traditional way.

Technically, this should serve four people. In my family, it actually serves two or    three.

Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal

 
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

 

 

I was sent 'Great British Cooking' for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

4 Comments

Calling to America

I have lived in the UK for over 12 years, and one of the toughest parts about  being an expat is living far away from my friends and family. Although I have new friends and family, there are some people that are irreplaceable.

My best and closest friend in the world is Lizbeth, and she lives in Seattle. If you aren't sure, Seattle is pretty far away from London (4,781 miles to be exact). I have only seen Lizbeth five times in the past 12 years. But luckily, we live in an age where email, iMessage, social media and Skype keep us in each other's lives.

Now I have another way to keep in touch with Lizbeth. ZipCall is a service that allows you to make free phone calls to the USA and Canada from the UK. You can use it on your home phone or mobile - any phone that has free minutes. Every month I have spare minutes on my mobile that have been going to waste. But now I can use these minutes for chatting to my friends and family in the USA.

Lizbeth and I agreed that the quality of the call was terrific. No fuzziness or echoes. I love Skype, but it can be annoying when your call is dropped right in the middle of discussing a crisis (by crisis, I mean when we are discussing whose husband is the most  slovenly). I will be using ZipCall regularly now. It's nice knowing that I can stay close to my loved ones, despite the distance.

 

Family Fever

 

*Photo credit: my six-year old, Moozles

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and words are my own.

48 Comments

American Goodies at American SodaAmerican Goodies from American Soda

One of the toughest parts about being an expat, after being apart from family and friends, is missing the food of your homeland. When I moved to London, 13 years ago, I could not get my hands on any American food items. But these days it is a lot easier to find American groceries in the UK. Besides some basics you can find at the big supermarkets, there are specialty online websites that offer American food and drinks.

American Soda is one website that offers a vast range of American drinks, candy, food and baking goods. All of which can be delivered to the UK, Ireland and Europe. To celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary, American Soda are offering one lucky reader to win some fab American goods. And you don't even need to be an American expat to enter!

On offer is a six-pack of Dad's Root Beer, a tub of Marshmallow Creme, a tub of Toasted Marshmallow Creme and a credit of £5 to spend on anything you might like to try. If you're not familiar with Marshmallow fluff, besides eating it sinfully from the tub, you can use it to make rice krispies treats, gooey brownies and cookies and lots more. You can also use it as a frosting on cakes or cupcakes. Check out this Huff Post piece for more ideas, and mouth-watering photos.

American Goodies at American Soda

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway