‘Ello ‘Ello!

I’m not going to try justifying my blog hiatus, so instead I bring you the last 4ish months in photos!

Most notably, Dan and I went over to the states for Christmas this year.  It was so nice to be able to spend Christmas with my family as I have been in England for the past few years.  It was also really good to see my mom and dad since they had their motorcycle accident in September.  My dad was on crutches when we arrived and walking around without them by the time we left!  Unfortunately, poor mom was not on crutches and ended up back on them when we left!

1488100_10100545901880457_743788907_nDan fully embraced the cold weather, taking the dog out, he even got to go snowboarding twice (thanks so much to our cousin Tim for getting us into Wild Mountain and Andy for joining us on the hill!), and we did a bit of sledding as well.

1545994_10100549990626577_425455120_nChristmas was an eventful day, with Grandma and Grandpa’s for brunch, my Uncle Joe’s for lunch/dinner, and then back to Aunt Jodie’s and Uncle Rick’s for drinks and more food!  It was a really nice trip, plenty of catching up with family and friends and experiencing a “proper” winter!  No overnights in the airports either, although it was a close call!

15151_667971694866_623797299_nHere’s Dan and I having our first fish and chips of the year on the beach 🙂  We had just had some really bad storms and were actually sitting where some of the beach huts stood.  Dan was very busy at work due to all the bad weather!

1524572_671413677106_2000698888_nDan has been doing a lot of kite surfing and is now able to get some snazzy shots like this with his GoPro!

melia-gorriones-hotel-fuerteventura-canaries-holidays-2014-2And most exciting, next month, we’re going on holiday to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands to this resort!  Dan plans on doing a lot of kite surfing and I plan on doing a lot of reading, drinking, eating, and sunbathing 🙂

 

 

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Tis (Almost) the Season!

Hello my little neglected blog.  Having been a bit swept up with all things life, I haven’t managed to update for about two months now.  My mom and dad got into a pretty major motorcycle accident at the end of September, which was horrible and scary, but thankfully they are both ok and while there’s still some healing to be done, they are both on the mend.

Dan participated in Tough Mudder at the end of September and managed to complete the course despite an infected wisdom tooth!

1374147_646971664096_715023096_nWe attended a fancy dress party in October as Elle Driver and Jimmy Hendrix.

1395362_649586224496_1124131939_nAnd if it’s too cold for fish and chips on the beach, sometimes you have to make do on the sofa at home (and that is mayo on the side, there was some confusion over this on Facebook, haha!).

1377466_650862930966_504271063_nAnd last weekend, Dan and I went to Plymouth to visit Colleen and Paul.  We had a lovely dinner and movie night (saw Gravity, it was good, but not everyone gave it glowing reviews, haha!).

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Dan and I went to Bigbury when the sun was shining on a Sunday afternoon while we were in Plymouth.

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It was a bit chilly, but the beach was out of the wind and there were plenty of more adventurous people out on the sea on paddleboards and surfboards.

1441208_10100516659861697_1530100920_nAnd here is an overview of Dan’s participation in Movember, I am pretty sure the moustache is going as soon as December 1st hits tomorrow, but it had a good run.

movemberAnd the Christmas countdown has started as well, 21 days until we are in the states!!!!!

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Bournemouth Air Festival

During the 3 years I have lived here, I have never seen the Bournemouth Air Festival.  I remember the first year, Steve, Dan and I walked down to the beach to watch and were greeted with a gray sky full of clouds that made it impossible to see anything.  The second year, we were away in the states for the wedding, and last year I think we were off camping.  But this year we didn’t miss it, and I think that this was probably the best year condition wise to catch the action!

Dan and I had plans to catch a bus into Boscombe to watch the show from Steve and Hannah’s flat, which happens to be right on the beach with a perfect view for the airshow from their balcony.  Unfortunately as we stood at the bus stop and the minutes ticked by, we realized we probably should have caught an earlier bus, with about 20 minutes before the Festival started (and the Red Arrows, the main event!) we decided to give up on the bus and try our luck duking it out for a parking space.  We did find a spot and with about 5 minutes to go, we headed to the beach as quickly as possible.

IMG_0620And made it just as the Red Arrows flew over.

IMG_0622The photos don’t really do them justice, it was incredible.  So Dan and I slowly made our way down the beach toward the flat while watching the show.

IMG_0627Some sky art 🙂

IMG_0623After the Red Arrows finished, we finally got to Steve and Hannah’s where we had the perfect view from their balcony.  The sun was shining and we had plenty of good food, good beer, and good company!

IMG_0652After the Red Arrows, a helicopter came out and did a landing on one of the battleships and the Army Lynx flew out and did some stunts.  I didn’t even know helicopters could do flips and spins, it was crazy to watch.

IMG_0631Then they flew out a WWII bomber accompanied by a pair of Spitfires.  And then the Chinook helicopter, which was one of my favorites, it was doing flips and going end over end.  It just didn’t look like something that huge should be in the air doing flips!

IMG_0640The B17 Bomber then did a fly over, apparently Dan says I need to watch Memphis Belle to see this plane in action.

IMG_0645The evening was capped off with a fly by the RAF Typhoon which was so loud the balcony was practically rattling when it went past.  It was so weird that sound of the plane was so far behind it because of the speed!

The evening was capped off with a fireworks display, a very enjoyable first Air Festival experience 🙂

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The Weekends: Brixham, Cotswolds, and Studland

Dan and I had a very busy August. which is why I am just getting around to blogging about it now.

The first weekend, Dan and I headed to Brixham to visit George, Pam and Kieran.  George and Pam headed back to Oz this week so we basically had a very early Christmas celebration.  The first evening we were there we went to a new seafood restaurant, The Crab Quay House, Brixham is a fishing town and the Crab Quay House over looks the harbour and they get all their seafood fresh.  The food was delicious, Dan, Kieran and I went for the enormous Fruit de Mer.

IMG_0551The next day we went out on the Vigilance, a 78 foot restored heritage fishing trawler that was built in 1926.  We sat on the deck and watched the crew raised the huge sails before setting off, Dan and Kieran even got to help out!

The wind was really strong so we got going quite fast, everyone took a turn at the wheel.  Which was a little scary with how huge the boat is and how fast we were going.

vigilanceIt was a great day out and the weather pretty much held up for us until we were nearing the end of the trip.  After that we warmed up in one of the local restaurants with traditional roast dinner before saying our goodbyes.  The sailing trip was such an amazing experience having never done anything like that before!

The next weekend Dan and I headed to the Cotswolds to visit some friends.  Kate, one of Dan’s uni friends, was back from Australia and so we all took the opportunity to get together.  We stayed with Kate’s mom, at a beautiful cottage, the first day we enjoyed some sunny weather and spent most of our time chatting in the garden with some cold beverages.

IMG_0592We went to this pub for dinner, which apparently is Liz Hurley’s local.  No celeb spotting, but we did have some very delicious food and drinks!

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The next day we took a walk through the countryside, had an interesting encounter with some horses before making our way to a pub.  It was so good to see everyone and catch up, it was a lovely relaxing weekend!

cotswolds2(Anni, Laura, Rob, Kate, Me, and Dan!)

And the last bank holiday, Dan and I decided to make the most of the weather by driving out to Studland.  Unfortunately, we didn’t think that the queue for the ferry to get over there was going to be miles long and ended up having to drive around the long way, but it was worth it!

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We hiked up to Old Harry’s Rocks and settled down with a little picnic lunch.

IMG_0609We sat on the hillside for a while taking in the views, there were plenty of paddle boarders, snorkelers, and people on various motor craft out.  We even saw a lady with her dog on the front of her paddle board exploring around the rocks.

IMG_0605Eventually, we had to head back, although there was a cheeky stop for ice creams on the way home! 🙂

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The Long Awaited States Trip

So Dan and I packed our bags Saturday morning and headed up to London in the afternoon.  We had booked a hotel near the airport that gave us a really good deal on airport parking for two weeks and it also meant not having to wake up at 2 am to catch a coach up to London for our 7 am flight!  The next morning we got to Heathrow bright and early to find our flight had been delayed an hour (not the first time this would happen on this trip :P).  But we ended up getting another connection in Chicago and not having too much of a delay in the end.

Mom, Jennie and Katie came to get us at the airport and we did request a cheeky stop at Chipotle on the way home, haha!  Dan and I tried to stay up as late as possible to combat jet lag, but only made it to about 7:30-8ish.  The next morning, we woke up bright and early (5:30!), Dan took Bailey on a run and mom and I were going to get pedicures.  We ended up having to postpone until the afternoon though because they were booked up.  So in the meantime, Jennie, Katie, Dan and I headed to the Mall of America for some serious shopping.

That evening, my Aunt Judy had a bbq for us and my cousin, Brian, and his wife and kids who happened to be visiting from South Carolina at the same time.  It was so nice to see everyone and catch up, Dan has suggested name tags for Christmas though 🙂

On Tuesday, Dan and I went to one of my favorite all you can eat sushi places (only $15 and made to order, amazing!) and ate way too much food (which sort of became a common occurrence on our trip).

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The next day was Valley Fair and water park time, it was so hot, but we had a good time.  Dan and I kind of chickened out a bit on some of the bigger rides, didn’t have quite the same adrenaline rush going as when we went to Alton Towers.  Took one look at the Wild Thing and was like, “No way!”.

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Thursday night, we went to The Shout House for dueling pianos.  I had never been and didn’t really know what to expect, but it was really good.  And my friend Rose and her boyfriend came out so it was nice to be able to spend some time with them!  And on Friday night, my Aunt Debbie had a bbq at her house for us to catch up with the Grannes’!  Had some delicious food and got to catch up with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Again, Dan thinks name tags would be a good idea for Christmas 🙂

Saturday morning, we piled into the van and made our way to the cabin.  Grandma and Grandpa were up there too so it was nice to be able to spend some time with them!  We played around on the four wheelers, did some fishing, made a stop into town for some pool and purchases at the candy shop, and also smores on the campfire!

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The second night there, Dan and I took the fishing boat out for some bass fishing.  We weren’t having much luck and it was getting dark.  Then I caught two bass right in a row, so I was ready to go in, but Dan wasn’t.  He got one on the line and I had the net ready and everything, but it jumped off and we had to back in.  So not to be outdone, Dan got up early the next morning by himself, but about 10 minutes after he left, an absolute downpour started.  He was gone about an hour until we saw him through the front window walking towards the cabin, drenched, but with two bass raised victoriously (mine was still bigger btw) 😛

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The last few days, Dan and Dad went golfing twice, I think Dad figured out it was something that he could beat Dan at, but they had a good time 🙂

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I got to catch up with my friend, Cuyler, from uni since he’s moved down to Minneapolis now.  He came to Valley Fair with us with his friend, Keely.  Dan and I also met up with him at Lake Calhoun one day to enjoy the sunshine.

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More ridiculous amounts of food at the Nook for Juicy Lucys!

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Dan and Bailey made friends, with the jet lag waking him up early, they had quite a few early morning runs/walks together.

julytrip6And while the guys went golfing, Mom, Jennie, Katie, and I relived childhood and went to the Minnesota zoo.  It was pretty boiling hot walking around, but the bird show was still as good as ever!

julytrip4We had such an amazing time and weren’t ready to leave, but there was the consolation that we will be back in 5 months for Christmas!

As for the journey back to the UK, I’ll let this photo sum it up for you, still waiting for United to replay to my complaint letter…

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

So quite a bit has happened since my last update!  Lets see if I can remember everything!

Dan and I went to Alton Towers at the end of May for a friend’s birthday.  Alton Towers is a huge theme park about 4 hours away.  It was an early morning, waking up at 4 am and arriving at the park around 9:30, but it was an amazing day!  I was a bit terrified when I agreed to go because the last time I was on a roller coaster was when I was 14 riding the Wild Thing at Valley Fair, which proved to be enough roller coasters for me for the next 12 years.  And Dan had never been on a roller coaster at all!  Despite the crazy weather (we were rained on the majority of the day, hailed/thunder stormed a bit of the day, with a few minutes of beautiful sunshine in between), it was so much fun and can’t wait to go to another theme park now.

alton towersAnd then the next bank holiday weekend, we went to visit George and Pam in Brixham.  The first day the weather cooperated and we had a picnic on the beach after a walk on the coastal path.  I also got to go to my first car boot sale (Dan wasn’t so keen and opted to stay in bed), did find some bargainous wine glasses at 20p each!

The beginning of June also had a few hot and sunny days of which we took full advantage.

a2And we got dressed up for a friend’s birthday pub crawl.

a3And Dan has been out kite surfing when the weather allows.

a5And in other news, I started a new job on Monday.  I’m working at the same company as Dan now (luckily it’s a nice big building and we won’t be bumping into each other, don’t want to be *that* couple, hehe).  Really sad to leave my old team, but it’s exciting and I’m already enjoying the training and just doing something new.

And something else that is exciting, 18 days until Dan and I fly to Minnesota!!!

xx

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Sunny Bank Holiday

Well, it was sunny for about 3 days and now it is rainy and grey again.  But we will cherish the memories of those few summer like days!  Dan and I have been relatively busy the past weekend/week.  I took the train to Bristol Saturday morning for a friend’s hen do.  Had an amazing time, there was vintage hair fascinator making, cream tea, cocktail making course, a private karaoke room, and lots of other awesome things!  I got back Sunday evening and the next day Dan and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and went on a little adventure.

IMG_0312Dan’s friend, Luke, had told us about an abandoned village in Tyneham from WWII that was also near some really nice beaches.

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Tyneham was evacuated during WWII to be used as a firing range for training troops and although it was supposed to be a temporary measure, it is still owned by the military and is still used for training today.

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There are still buildings standing, houses, a school house, church, and a farmyard that is being restored.

IMG_0302Inside the school-house which has been restored as a museum.

IMG_0305In the farmyard, there was a wall of explosives and shrapnel.

IMG_0309After a wander around the abandoned village and through the farmyard (I was hoping there would be lambs after seeing all the spring lambs playing in the field, but apparently historic farmyards don’t keep livestock), we trekked through the forest to the beach.

IMG_0311And up a gigantic hill, but the view was worth it!

IMG_0316My footwear was not really appropriate for scaling hills.

IMG_0319After Tyneham, we went to a little pub for some late lunch and a pint in the beer garden, you could definitely tell it was a busy bank holiday because they had run out of fish and chips and Dan got the last pint of cider!

It’s Dan’s birthday today and he is out trying to catch some wind kite surfing (he got a new board for his birthday so it needs breaking in!).  We have the rest of the week off of work so we are enjoying a bit of relaxation although it looks like the sun may have left us for the rest of our holiday! x

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My Husband: A Study

Hello everyone!  I’ve been slack with the blog again, surprise, surprise.  Hope everyone had a lovely Easter!  I enjoyed having a nice 4 day weekend and we did have some nice sunshine on Sunday that Dan and I took advantage of by having a stroll along the beach.

The weather has been pretty much terrible, it is cold and windy, it even snowed this Thursday.  So when I got home from work on Saturday and had cozied myself on the sofa with a cup of tea and a blanket, it was a bit short-lived.  “It’s sunny out, let’s do something.” Dan said to me.  “Do what?” “Anything, let’s go!”.  And we did.

We ended up wandering down to Bournemouth beach and finding ourselves a nice spot on the Hots Rocks patio, beer and people (and dog) watching in the sunshine.

As I grabbed my phone to take a photo (I might need reminding that this country actually gets sun one of these days), I thought to myself this feels like a familiar scene.

MyHusband(Beer is there, but out of shot in first pic, Dan hadn’t quite gotten it down yet).

1-New Forest after a cycle

2-Same New Forest pub, but without the cycling.

3-Bude, my birthday weekend

4-Yesterday

And be assured, that I will be sitting on the other side with my own pint 🙂

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ILR Granted!

I guess putting a whinge out onto the ol’ internets may have sped things along.  Because Dan and I received my visa approval yesterday!

I came home from work on Friday and opened the front door to 2 postal slips on our doormat.  One was for a recorded signed for letter in the name of “Grannes”, which looked promising.  So I dropped my handbag in the entryway and immediately called Dan, “I think we may possibly have our visa.”  Trying not to get too optimistic.

I had to work the next day, so I told Dan he could go collect the letter, but he wasn’t allowed to open it until I got home from work.  When I came home, Dan was sitting in the kitchen with a rather large white package through which you could see the imprint of something suspiciously passport shaped.

After tearing inside, I found a letter along with our passports and a 2 inch stack of all the documentation we sent in saying that I would receive my Biometric Resident Permit in 10 days (I told Dan they could have at least started the letter off with “Congratulations” or “Thank you for being so patient while we slowly destroyed your soul for 5 1/2 months”).

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Hello babies, mommy and daddy missed you.

So the waiting game is over.  We can move forward with our lives once again.  And that includes booking our tickets to visit the States.  Dan and I will be coming over July 8th-22nd, give or take a day or two on either end.  And both of us can’t wait!  I think Dan and Jennie are already planning on a trip to Valley Fair (Dan has never been on a proper roller coaster).  We’re hoping to make it up to the cabin for a few days, eat a lot of Chipotle, enjoy some proper summer weather and most importantly, visit family! 🙂

For those of you interested in what this all means for me visa-wise, ILR allows me to basically live here as a UK citizen would (except no voting).  I now have access to public funds and there’s no expiration on my ILR visa like there was with my previous visas.  I will most likely go for British citizenship at some point (once you’ve lived here 3 years, you can apply), but I’m not in a rush to do that.  It would be neat to be a dual passport carrying person though.

Here’s to a huge weight being lifted off our shoulders and roll on July! xx

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The Visa Waiting Game

This blog has been neglected for quite some time and I know Dad likes my blog posts so I thought I’d attempt to hash one out tonight.

The main reason I haven’t written on here for so long is that I was hoping I would be able to tell you all that my ILR visa had been approved.  But so far, nothing.  When we sent off the application in September, I knew that a response was not going to be immediate, but I did not think we would be waiting for months.  I feel like Dan and my life has been put on hold, I come home from work each day hoping to see a brown UKBA envelope or a postal slip on the doormat and I know Dan does the same, and I feel sick everyday I come home and nothing is there.

When we were asked for more proof of “cohabitation since marriage” in January, I wanted to send them photos, tell them the adventures Dan and I have had together, how hard we’ve worked to be together and what we’ve gone through to be here, but you can’t.  Instead I get to reduce our relationship to bank statements and council tax bills.  And now I don’t know if that stack of papers representing our last 2 years together is sitting somewhere amongst hundreds of other applications or if someone is actually working on our approval.  And you can’t find out either, UKBA does not allow enquiries about progress on visa applications.  So we get to sit here at the mercy of an organization that seems to be in shambles and hope for the best.

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(source)

But anyway, rant over.  Everything else has been going well.  I won a gym membership at my Christmas work do (for two, so Dan wasn’t left out).  It was a really nice prize because the gym is a 10 minute walk from where we live.  I have gone a few times already to use the cardio equipment and plan to try out a few classes.  Dan has been enjoying using their pool to keep himself in kite-surfing fit shape!

Lian and I went to another tattoo convention last weekend.  We took a little road trip up to Brighton and stayed with her aunt and uncle.  We had a great time at the convention (no mom, I didn’t get any new tattoos!) and had a nice time walking around the shops in Brighton.

We had a rather disappointing Pancake Day, mostly due to the fact that we could use a decent frying pan that wasn’t rusted or dented to oblivion. (Lian’s aunt made us American style pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast while we were with them so I did get my fix in the end).

We did get a pathetic bit of snow mid January.

snowAnd Dan and I have been doing a bit of cooking from our Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook we got from Kieran and Ellie for Christmas.

PicMonkey CollageHope everyone is well and send us some fast visa approval thoughts!  Love and miss you!

xx

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