Apr 30, 2011

Fascinated by Fascinators..And All Things Royal

I have been so obsessed with the Royal Wedding these last few weeks. 
Maybe it's because I LOVE fairy tales and this is a real life one. 
Maybe it's because my wedding was only a mere 10 months ago and so weddings are fresh in my mind.  Maybe it's because I currently live in England and so I feel so much more connected to it all then I would living anywhere else in the world. 
Or, maybe it's all of the above. 
Whatever the case may be, I have been completely and totally fascinated with all things royal.

I have watched all the documentaries, specials, and Lifetime movies about Prince William and Kate.  And yesterday, I barely took my eyes off of the television all day.  I went out and bought UK newspapers yesterday and today, and I have read so many articles online about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as the Royal family that I could practically write a biography on them.
My poor poor husband just can't understand my obsession.  I think he thinks it is bordering on crazy.  Buuuut that's okay with me, there are worse things to be addicted to.  And how can you not be anything but captivated by this family and their legacy?

I know we can't and won't ever have a King and Queen of America (though that might be a lot of fun), but can we please, please, PLEASE start wearing fascinators to weddings!!!   Julie and I almost bought one at Eldon Square to wear to my tea party, but they were expensive and I think Josh might have killed me.  I don't think I saw one person at the Royal Wedding not wearing a hat or a fascinator and now I know why.  It's part of the Royal Wedding dress code that all females wear a headpiece of some sort.  These were some of my favorites of the day.

Ahhh the Beckhams....FAB-U-LOUS

The blue fascinator is to die for!
But as with most things, there has to be a worst list.  And I think Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie absolutely take the cake.  I read online somewhere that one person thought Princess Beatrice's fascinator "looked like she had an octopus on her head."  I think they got it spot on.  Who is her stylist?  It's terrible.
Who wants to start a "Let's Get Fascinators in the USA" club?!?!?

A Day For The History Books

Once upon a time there was a common country girl named Kate.  But far away in a castle in London, there lived a handsome royal Prince named William.  All the girls in all the land wished and prayed that they could become William's Princess.  Fate brought country girl Kate and the handsome Prince together.  They fell in love and nine years later, on April 29, 2011, the Prince made Kate his Princess while billions watched.  And they lived happily ever after.

The End

I guess it's not the end.  It's actually more like the beginning.  It's a fairy tale story that touches the heartstrings of any girl who has ever watched Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, or The Little Mermaid.  We've all done it.  Hoped and dreamed that our Prince Charming would one day find us and sweep us off our feet.  And some of us, like me, were even able to find him.

As I watched the Royal Wedding of William Prince of Wales and Kate Middleton yesterday, I couldn't help but feel like I was witnessing one of the most historical moments of my lifetime so far.  When I think back to where I was during some big moments in history during my lifetime, only a handful come to mind.

  1. The day O.J. Simpson was pronounced not guilty of murder.  I know this seems strange, but it WAS a big deal.  I hardly understood what was going on, but I remember being in my fourth grade teacher Mr. McCall's classroom.  Lots of the teachers had the news on their television and were extremely upset and surprised about the final verdict.
  2. September 11, 2001.  I doubt anyone in the world, but especially anyone living in the United States will ever forget this day.  I found out right after I got to Stockdale High School that morning by friends in front of my locker.  It was scary and there was a lot of uncertainty about what would happen after that day.
  3. The day Barack Obama became President of the United States of America.  I may not have voted for him and I may not agree with all of his policys and actions as President, but no one can deny that it was a big day in the history books when Obama became the first African American President of the USA.
And now, I will always remember that I was living in Newcastle upon Tyne, England when Kate Middleton became The Duchess of Cambrige by marrying Prince William of Wales in what was the most watched wedding in the world's history.

As fun as it might have been to go down to London to be part of the chaos that was the Royal Wedding, I quite enjoyed just watching it live from the comfort of my flat with all of my fellow SGU SO's and their children.  It was especially fun since I was just in London in March with my siblings, and I not only recognize the famous places passed on the Royal Route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, but I have walked along almost exactly the same route.

I invited all of the SO's over to my flat for a Royal Wedding Tea Party complete with tea, scones, cakes, and finger sandwhiches.  It was a lot of fun "oohing" and "ahhing" over Kate's absolutely stunning wedding gown.  Which, by the way, looks surpisingly similar to my Mom's wedding gown worn almost 27 years ago.  Apparently, Mama's got good taste.

Mama may not be a Royal, but she sure looked like a Princess on her wedding day.
My contribution to the tea party was a homemade Union Jack cake.  Although, I felt a little unpatriotic making a red, white, and blue cake that wasn't an American flag.  But, it turned out perfect and I am constantly surprised at my ever increasing abilites in the kitchen.
That's "made from scratch" whipped frosting too!
I did a little decorating for the party, because honestly, how could you not when all the stores are full of wedding paraphernalia.

It was a really fun day with the girls.  I am sure that we will all remember where we were the day the Prince and Kate were married.  It's a day that will be put in the history books....well at least the UK history books!
One big group!!

Apr 25, 2011

He is Risen

He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed! 

Yesterday, Josh and I celebrated our first Easter together away from our families.  I was a little sad at first, thinking about the fact that we were missing Easter church service with our family, dinner at our Gramma's house, and Easter baskets from Mom and Dad.  But then I realized that because we are here in the UK, we are also missing having to drive from one family's house to another family's house.  Practically missing dinner at every place.  Spending almost as much time in the car as we were at each house.  And being so busy that there is hardly even a chance to focus on the real reason for the day, Jesus' death on the cross in order to save us all from our sins and His resurrection three days later. 

So yesterday, Josh and I enjoyed a very pleasant Easter Sunday in Newcastle upon Tyne, where the weather was so perfect it could only have been planned by God and where there was only one stop for Easter dinner....our flat, with our good friends here that have truly become our family.

Growing up in the Fairman household, Easter baskets were a must.  Even last year (with four kids over the age of 18), Mom and Dad littered the Fairman floors with candy and goodies for us to collect on Easter morning.  I didn't make Josh hunt for candy and Easter eggs (though that would have been much more fun), but I did make us some Easter baskets, because honestly, Easter's not really complete without them.  And also, I have LOADS of time on my hands for fun crafts.

My little Easter Bunny Hubby
On Easter morning, Josh and I ventured down to St. George's Church (coincidence...I think not.) in Jesmond.  St. George's Church is Anglican, which is from what I can tell, some type of reformed Catholicism.  Josh and I aren't Catholic or Anglican for that matter.  At home, we regularly attend a Southern Baptist church, but here in the UK, Baptist churches are nearly impossible to find and in my opinion, whether you are Catholic or Anglican, Baptist or Mennonite, we are all worshiping the same God and so on Easter Sunday, Josh and I worshiped with the Anglicans, in what was probably the oldest and most beautiful church I have ever attended.  I really wanted to take pictures inside, but I figured that might be a little inappropriate.
St. George's Church
After the service, we headed back to our flat to finish the last minute preparations for our Easter lunch.  I finished cleaning up the house and preparing my additions to our potluck. 
My Easter table
Our friends Kevin, Julie, Kris, Tarrah, Ryan, Allison, and Austin came over to enjoy Easter lunch with us.  The afternoon began with an Easter egg hunt in our front yard for Austin.  He is just over one and a half and this was his first real Easter egg hunt.  He picked up the point of it surprisingly fast and after only a couple of minutes, he was running all over the yard collecting candy filled eggs.  It was soooo cute.

Josh and I
After stuffing our faces with lots of good food, including some amazing ham that Allison made and the best macaroni and cheese ever by Julie, we decided that before we could eat Kris's homemade lemon meringue pie, we needed to go for a stroll through Jesmond Dene.  It was such a perfect day for walking in the park.  We took a couple blankets out there, some drinks, and the football and spent an hour or so basking in the sunshine and enjoying the day.
When we returned to the flat, we indulged in pie, brownies, cupcakes, ice cream, and candy.  Not my best diet day by any means, but it was a great Easter Sunday with our friends.  We are so thankful for each and every one of them.

Our Newcastle Family

Apr 23, 2011

Spring Chicks

Tomorrow, Josh and I are hosting Easter Sunday Brunch at our flat for our Newcastle "family."  Everyone is bringing/making at least one thing for our potluck.  I am in charge of a salad, mashed potatos and gravy, and a dessert of my choice.

I frequently visit the website "Our Best Bites," and if you haven't looked at it before, you should definitely check it out here.  They have some GREAT recipes and some really fun crafts.  Julie and I have used quite a few recipes from here including the amazing Baked Potato Soup , Creamy Chicken Taquitos, and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Josh absolutely loves everything I have made from this website...and he is sometimes hard to please.

So, when I started looking for a good Easter dessert, this was the first place I checked.  And sure enough, "Our Best Bites" didn't let me down.  They had the cutest Easter cupcake recipe up and best of all, it's ridiculously easy to make!  I guess part of the reason this particular recipe is so easy is because you can make any type of cupcake that you want and then just use the "recipe" to decorate it.  I bought Betty Crocker boxed cake mix and frosting and baked some chocolate cupcakes.  I would have preferred white cake, but alas, the joys of living in a foreign country...

Next, I frosted them with white frosting which I added a teeny tiny amount of yellow food coloring to.  Then I used shredded coconut and added a few drops of the food coloring and mixed it together well to make baby chick hair, errr fur,  ummm feathers, fuzz?? What exactly do they have when they are born?? Ehh...you know what I mean. 

Shredded coconut with yellow food coloring.
 Using brown, blue, and green M&M's for the eyes and orange Starbursts cut up and molded for the beak...
I was able to create these adorable little Spring Chicks for our Easter lunch.  Aren't they just so cute!?!
I just think they turned out perfect!  I can't wait for everyone to see them tomorrow.

Happy Easter everyone!

Apr 20, 2011

Boot Camp

As my last post indicated, the weather in Newcastle as of late has just been fantastic.  There really are no other ways to describe it.  So today, instead of my normal routine at the gym (elliptical, some running, and some weight training), Julie and I decided to go out to Jesmond Dene and design our own boot camp!  We put on our gym clothes and our tennis shoes, packed our lunches, and headed down to the Dene for a workout in the sunshine.

Josh mocked me as I was walking out the door saying that all Julie and I can really accomplish when we are together is talking, talking, and more talking.  But I was determined to prove him wrong.  We set up 7 stations for exercising. 

Station 1:  Sprints
Station 2: Push-ups
Station 3: Walking Lunges
Station 4: Sit-ups
Station 5: Squats
Station 6: Planks
Station 7: Jumping Jacks

We did each station for one minute and then rotated and we completed the entire cycle five times.  By the end of it, we were sweating and we were worn out!  It might not sound that challenging at first glance, but I dare you to try it and then tell me it's not hard.  Have you ever done push-ups for one minute straight?!?  My arms are gonna be sore for days!  Our goal is to do this boot camp a couple of times a week together.  We'll probably switch up the stations, add more, do different ones, but it's so fun to workout outside with a friend.  It helps me stay motivated to workout when I can change up my workout routine. 

On a side note, there were some young kids (probably no older than 10 years) who were out throwing a ball around and were purposefully pegging us with it.  They kept saying "Sorry!" after they did it.  Finally, I said "You're not sorry.  You keep doing it."  The kid grabbed his ball and ran away yelling "Yeah! I'm not sorry cause you're AMERICAN!!"  What are parents teaching their children!?!?!?!

Oh well, Julie and I enjoyed the sun and a picnic lunch after our workout and then we were able to do just as Josh said "talk, talk, talk." 

Apr 17, 2011

Spring has arrived and so have the Douglas Men.

Well, it's official.  Spring has arrived. And. It. Is. Beautiful.  Being a Bakersfield, California girl, I am really only used to two different seasons, winter and summer.  We might get a few weeks some years where there is a hint of spring.  But it is nothing like what Josh and I are getting to experience here in Newcastle upon Tyne.  In the last couple of weeks, the sun has shown more than the clouds, the flowers are blooming bright yellows, purples, and reds, the bare naked branches of trees have sprouted leprechaun green leaves, the insects are buzzing from bush to bush, and the birds can be heard chirping their merry little tunes all day long.  I am in love with Spring.  I have always said that summer is my most favorite time of the year, but if I could have Springs like this in Bakersfield, I think I might change my mind.

These trees had NOTHING on them until about two weeks ago.
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
-William Shakespeare
Just last week, after coming home from the gym, I decided to take my lunch outside to our tiny front lawn for a picnic and some reading in the sunshine.  Oh happy day!
Josh sneakily took this photo from his "Man Cave" window.
And what perfect timing for Spring to arrive right when we are going to have more visitors!  Scott and Andrew arrived at Newcastle International Airport on Thursday evening and we were so glad to see them.  The most challenging part about living here (minus the whole medical school thing) is having our family so far away from us.  Luckily, we have had quite a few family members visit in the past 8 months.

Scott headed up to St. Andrew's golf course in Scotland yesterday (and he got to golf!) and so Josh and I took Andrew to Jesmond Dene for some football throwing.  Jesmond Dene is gorgeous all the time, but right now, when the breeze picks up and the sun is out, you see the little flower petals from the trees falling, and it is breathtaking.

Josh and his little bro Andrew.
Today, Mother Nature again provided us with another beautiful day and some fabulous sunshine.  I even went running for the first time outside post knee surgery!  Three miles baby!  Scott and Andrew traveled to the coast for the afternoon and when they got back, the four of us headed back to Jesmond Dene for more football.
Andrew, Scott, and Joshua
We are so happy to have them here and you can all look forward to more blog posts about their time spent here.  They are staying until Saturday. 

I know Spring can't last forever, so I am going to soak up as much of it as I can while it does last.  Especially since I have no idea when I will ever live in another place where I truly get to experience it.