Tag Archives: Canadian

Trivia Questions for Facetime Trivia Night!

Skype Trivia

If you are sitting at home bored in isolation I highly recommend throwing a virtual trivia night with friends and/or family. This has become the thing we look forward to each week as we wait for life to return to normality and has been so great for lifting the spirits!

If you’re long distance it can also be a great 2-player game to play with your significant otter 😉

Below is a list we came up with of general fact, geography, food, funny, film and tv, and 90’s pub quiz questions – perfect to use for a Facetime or Skype trivia night with friends during lockdown (or anytime!).

You may notice we especially love Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter, Inbetweeners and food! There are also many Canadian and UK-themed questions as we were playing with friends from both places. The great thing is you can find or create questions to suit those playing so feel free to use our quizzes or use some for inspiration in creating your own!

*FaceTime and Skype each allow you to have video with 6 people at a time. WhatsApp allows 4. FaceTime also allows up to 50 people on a call (without video enabled) and has worked really well for us. This is the most fun we’ve had in isolation – it’s been such a good laugh and I hope it will be for you too.

Try it!

TRIVIA QUIZ 1

1. What is used to flavour Earl Grey tea? A: Bergamot
2. Which 2007 Hollywood film (the 3rd in its series) was the most expensive ever made? A: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
3. Which UK food brand has not changed its packaging since 1881? A: Lyle’s (golden syrup)
4. Which country eats the most pizza (per person ratio)? A: Norway
5. The highest grossing painting ever sold was called ‘Salvador Mundi’ – who painted it? A: Picasso
6. Which small black and white mammal known to Africa, Asia and India doesn’t give a damn? A: Honey badger
7. Who is the richest person in the world and what company do they own? A: Jeff Bezos – Amazon
8. Which character was the first to go missing on ‘Stranger Things’? A: Will
9. What was the first team to ever win the FA cup? A: Wanderers
10. What spell does Harry cast on Draco in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? A: Sectum Sempra
11. What is the highest rated film on IMdB? A: The Godfather
12. What is the most expensive herb to buy? A: Saffron
13. Which country celebrates the ‘Monkey Buffet Festival’ which includes giving fruit and vegetables to the local monkey population? A: Thailand
14. Which country has the highest number of female doctors? A: Finland
15. What is the hottest pepper in the world in Scoville Units? A: The Carolina Reaper
16. How many wives did King Henry the 8th have? A: 6
17. Which Bond actor suited up as a Stormtrooper for the Star Wars film ‘The Force Awakens’? A: Daniel Craig
18. What does the computer tech term ‘CPU’ stand for? A: Central Processing Unit
19. Nanaimo bars – a chocolate, custard and coconut tray bake – are named after Nanaimo in which Canadian province? A: British Colombia
20. What swims 1/8th of an inch per hour? A: Sperm
21. Who wrote Winnie the Pooh? A: A.A. Milne
22. Which famous person has been likened to the North American snack of ‘Cheetos’ and is sometimes referred to as a ‘man baby’? A: Donald Trump
23. What sport has been played on the moon? A: Golf
24. “You go Glen Coco!” is a quote from which teen movie? A: Mean Girls
25. What is the longest running tv series in the world? A: The Simpsons
26. ‘Heroes in a half shell’ is the tagline for what 80s/90s tv series? A: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
27. The French ‘Coq au Vin’ translates to what culinary dish? A: chicken in wine
28. What is the main ingredient in gin? A: Juniper berries
29. What food chain has the most locations globally with 42,998 locations? A: Subway
30. What is the most sexually active nation in the world? A: Greece
31. What is ‘Lord Hereford’s Knob’? A: A mountain (in Wales)
32. Which actress appeared in Love Actually, Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess? A: Kiera Knightley
33. What was the name of Ed Sheeran’s first single released in 2011? A: The A Team
34. Since the 70s what food is generally eaten in Japan on Christmas Day? A: KFC
35. What does the word ‘Brobdingnagian’ mean? A: large, big, enormous etc,.
36. What Inbetweeners character says: ‘I thought it was a fart sir!’ A: Will
37. In which country did the Michelin Star rating system originate? A: France
38. ‘Takeout woman’ could be considered the opposite name of which classic arcade game? A: Pac Man
39. What is the main ingredient in a frittata? A: Eggs
40: Doc Brown is a character from what iconic 80s film? A: Back to the Future

TRIVIA QUIZ 2

1. Who was the first person to swim the English Channel? A: Captain Matthew Webb
2. In what year was the first Harry Potter film released? A: 2001
3. In what country do they hold a tomato food fight in the streets every August? A: Spain
4. What hugely popular 90s toy involved cleaning up virtual poo? A: Tamagotchi
5. George Bailey is the main character of which classic Christmas film released in 1946? A: It’s A Wonderful Life
6. Which pancake-like relative of the shark could be described as a ‘majestic sea flaf flap?’ A: Stingray
7. What is the most common flavour of pie served at Canadian Thanksgiving? A: Pumpkin Pie
8. What is the next word in this line from the 2001 movie Shrek – ‘Please don’t stand on the grass, wipe your shoes, wipe your _______ ?’ A: Face
9. What is the name of the ancient network of trade routes established during the Han Dynasty between 130 BCE and 1453 CE? A: The Silk Road
10. The most expensive commercial ever made was a 2004 commercial featuring Nicole Kidman and cost 33 million. What product was it advertising? A: Perfume (Chanel No. 5)
11. An orchidometer is a medical instrument used to measure what part of the body? A: Testicles
12. What does the tech/photography term JPEG stand for? A: Joint photographic experts group
13. In 2018 which country launched the most vegan products, knocking Germany out of the top spot? A: United Kingdom
15. Which Inbetweeners character tells Will he won’t be known as ‘briefcase mong’ anymore but will be known as ‘The Lion, The Witch and Speccy Kid who Shit Himself.’? A: Jay
16. ‘Tagine’ refers to both a type of stew and a cooking vessel in which country? A: Morocco
17. Who was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic ocean? A: Amelia Earhart
18. In what city did Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches originate? A: Philadelphia, USA
19. What are the names of 3 of the 5 D-Day beaches? A: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword
20. What is the smallest bird species in the world? A: Hummingbird
21. Which Star Wars character famously shouted ‘It’s A Trap!’? A: Admiral Ackbar
22. Which football player has scored the most goals in the English Premier League? A: Alan Shearer
23. Who was the first president of the United States? A: George Washington
24. Which chocolate confection has the provocative trademarked tagline: ‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.’? A: M&M’s
25. In January 2018 one of the many slang words added into the Oxford English Dictionary includes a word which crosses something found in a baby’s diaper with a violent weather event – what is the slang word? A: Poonami
26. What is the only animal in the world where the male gives birth? A: Seahorse
27. The tradition of afternoon tea was introduced by the Duchess of which British place? A: Duchess of Bedford
28. What does Harry Potter say when travelling by floo powder for the first time after Mrs. Weasley instructs him to ‘speak very clearly?’ A: Diagonally
29. The first hot air balloon flight launched from which city? A: Paris, France
30. What was the first animated film ever released by Disney? A: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
31. Who wrote Moby Dick? A: Herman Melville
32. This species of penguin is known for its striking blue eyes and though it is one of the smallest breeds of penguins is known to be the most fearless – basically, who is the Chuck Norris of penguins? A: Adelie
33. Which country exports the most coffee? A: Brazil
34. What movie is the following quote from: ‘I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR’? A: Elf
35. What are the last names of all 4 of the main male Big Bang Theory characters? A: Raj Koothrapali, Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadder, Sheldon Cooper
36. What is the name of the region of the North Atlantic where a number of ships and aircraft have disappeared? A: The Bermuda Triangle
37. Finish this Lord of the Rings quote: ‘One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and _______________? A: In the darkness bind them
38. Can you name 1 of the 2 countries in the world where you will NOT find Coca-Cola? A: Cuba, North Korea
39. Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote which famous series of books for kids which features an orphan girl? A: Anne of Green Gables
40. This animal features in a 1953 Christmas song and while its name is derived from the Greek word for ‘river horse’ a more apt description might be ‘angry river cow’ – what animal is it? A: Hippopotamus

TRIVIA QUIZ 3

1. What is the tallest mountain in the UK? A: Ben Nevis
2. Which British politician said “Champagne should be dry, cold and free?” A: Winston Churchill
3. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum in which Indian city? A: Agra
4. Ben & Jerry’s flavour ‘Bourbon Pecan Pie’ can only be purchased in which US state? A: Texas
5. Which ancient civilisation used the symbol of winged penises to ward off sickness? A: The Romans
6. What is the tallest species of penguin? A: Emperor Penguin
7. Which Inbetweeners character says “There is nothing funny about testicles.”? A: Mr. Gilbert
8. In what country was the Lord of the Rings trilogy filmed? A: New Zealand
9. The writer Darles Chickens was born in what UK port city? A: Portsmouth
10. ‘Dhaka’ is known as the ‘city of mosques’ and is the capital city of which country? A: Bangladesh
11. What is the most popular Dominoes pizza topping in both the UK and USA? A: Pepperoni
12. Star Wars character Mace Windu wields a lightsabre of which colour? A: purple
13. Which Big Bang Theory character says “the robot hand got stuck on your what?” A: Leonard
14. What is the name of the deepest place on Earth located in the South Pacific Ocean and measuring 11,000 meters deep? A: The Mariana Trench
15. In what country was the famed Titanic built? *Bonus point for the city* A: Belfast, Ireland
16. What is the deadliest creature to humans killing approximately 725,000 people per year? A: mosquitos
17. Which London Bridge is destroyed by death eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? A: Millennium Bridge
18. Which museum is the most visited in the world with over 8 million visitors per year? A: The Louvre
19. The natural reflex in babies to fan their toes out when the bottom of the foot is stroked is known as what? A: The Babinski Reflex (or Plantar Reflex)
20. What are a group of lions called? A: A pride
21. How many characters does Mike Myers play in the Austin Powers films? A: 4 (Austin, Dr. Evil, Fat B*stard & Goldmemeber)
22. What plant does Harry Potter eat to allow him to breathe under water in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? A: Gillyweed
23. What is the name of the round, colourful cardboard disks which were wildly popular with 90’s kids? A: Pogs
24. Which one-hit-wonder band released the song “Jump Around” in 1989? A: House of Pain
25. In Star Wars Episode 1 Anakin Skywalker is discovered working for Watto as a slave on what planet? A: Tatooine
26. What is the highest-selling chocolate bar in the United Kingdom? A: Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
27. In what country did the legend of the Easter bunny originate? A: Germany
28. Who wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird”? A: Harper Lee
29. ‘Bulgogi’ is a dish of thinly-sliced, marinated stir-fried beef or pork (usually served over rice) which originated in which country? A: Korea
30. This circular, stringed instrument is heard most often in country music; Taylor Swift plays one in the video for her song ‘Mean’ – which instrument is it? A: Banjo
31. What is the name of the South Carolina fort where the first shot of the civil war took place? A: Fort Sumpter
32. What was the first ever flavoured potato chip flavour? A: Barbeque
33. What are the 3 things that don’t impress Shania Twain much (in her 1998 hit ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’)? *1 point for each* A: rocket scientist, Brad Pitt, having a car
34. Which Canadian hockey player legend has scored the most goals ever with 894? A: Wayne Gretzky
35. Which popular beer brand promised and delivered a free beer to every British soldier of WW2 the Christmas of 1939, and was also one of the first brands to introduce employee benefits such as medical, dental, pensions and 2 free beers per week? A: Guinness
36. What does the computer term ‘RAM’ stand for? A: Random Access Memory
37. Ornithology is the study of what? A: Birds
38. What is the name of the popular tourist road in the USA which takes you through small, scenic towns from the state of New Mexico to Missouri? A: Route 66
39. ‘Dump,’ ‘floater’ and ‘wipe’ are techniques used in what team sport? A: Water Polo
40. Which Big Bang Theory character, after being asked what beverage they have served, says “There was a single cube of chicken bouillon in the cupboard when we moved in and it’s been bugging me for 8 years.” A: Sheldon

TRIVIA QUIZ 4

1. What is the busiest holiday for Dominoes pizza delivery? A: New Years Eve
2. ‘Peshwari’ naan is an Indian oven-baked flatbread of what flavour? A: Coconut
3. Which Forrest Gump character says this iconic quote: “Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” A: ‘Bubba’ (Benjamin Buford Blue)
4. What is the longest bone in the body? A: Femur
5. What is the most popular doughnut flavour in America? A: Glazed
6. Bali is known for its volcanic mountains, Yoga retreats and rice paddies and is actually made up of 3 islands belonging to which country? A: Indonesia
7. The Titanic had 2 sister ships with identical passenger facilities, one of which went on to be used as a troop ship during WW1. What are the names of the two sister ships? A: HMHS Britannic, RMS Olympic
8. Which bounty hunter captures Han Solo in Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back? A: Boba Fett
9. British Swallows migrate to what country for the winter? A: South Africa
10. ‘Spotted dick’ is a British pudding (dessert) made of suet and what? A: Dried fruit
11. ‘Wiarton Willy’ is a famous Canadian mammal – what type of animal is he and what is he famous for? A: Groundhog, his shadow
12. This spice is a type of seed (but can be ground) which originated in Iran and the Mediterranean and is the most-consumed spice in the world – which spice is it? A: Cumin
13. This fortified steel and concrete structure holds a large portion of the U.S.’s gold and sits within a Kentucky army base – what is it called? A: Fort Knox
14. In Harry Potter what is the name of Hagrid’s former pet spider who lives in the Forbidden Forest? A: Aragog
15. Which keyboard letter do you press alongside ‘Ctrl’ to undo an action? A: Letter ‘Z’
16. The U.K. football teams ‘Harts’ and ‘Hibbs’ both come from which Scottish city? A: Edinburgh
17. What is the most popular Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour? A: Cookie Dough
18. Which Disney re-make was the highest grossing movie of 2017? A: Beauty and the Beast
19. What are a group of Ravens called? A: An unkindness
20. What was the name of the woman who began the suffragette movement in Britain, founding the WSPU in 1903? A: Emmeline Pankhurst
21. Teabags were created by accident in 1908 in the United States and were originally made of what material? A: Silk
22. ‘Shrove Tuesday’ is another name for which holiday? A: Pancake Day
23. What spell is used in Harry Potter to disarm an opponent – usually of their wand? A: Expelliarmus
24. What is the full name of the Canadian NHL hockey team for Montreal? A: Montreal Canadiens
25. Black Beauty was written in 1877 by which English author? A: Anna Sewell
26. In 1991 ‘Right Said Fred’ released the hit song ‘I’m Too Sexy’ – name as many things as you can that the singer is ‘too sexy’ for. *1/2 point for each* A: His love, his shirt, Milan, New York, Japan, your party, his car, his hat, this song
27. What is an ampersand? A: The ‘&’ sign
28. Which mythological creature is said to inhabit the Scottish Highlands? A: Lochness Monster
29. What is the highest grossing Broadway musical with a net of over 1.6 billion? A: The Lion King
30. How many calories (under 10) are in 1 gram of alcohol? A: 7
31. This dog breed also refers to a cocktail made with vodka and grapefruit juice – what is it called? A: Greyhound
32. What are the names used to refer to the extra-terrestrial, robotic ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in the Transformers movies? A: Autobots and Decepticons
33. Who led the Scottish army to victory over the English at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314? A: Robert the Bruce
34. A young woman in the 1920’s who behaved and dressed boldly was called what? A: A flapper
35. What is the name of Dustin’s pet from the upside-down in ‘Stranger Things’? A: D’Artagnon (Dart for short)
36. Who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican? A: Michaelangelo
37. What is the fastest flying bird in the world able to dive at almost 200 miles per hour and can be found on every continent except Antarctica? A: Peregrine Falcon
38. Which Inbetweeners character describes ‘caravaning’ as ‘a sense of shitting in a bucket in a cupboard you don’t get with other holidays’? A: Will
39. This cooking toy which used a lightbulb to cook processed food bought in packets at Toys R Us was lusted after by many a 90s kid – what was it called? A: Easy Bake Oven
40. In her 2012 song Katy Perry ‘has heard it’s beautiful’ and wants to see your what? A: Peacock

How have you all been staying sane? 🙂

 

 

 

Expat Life Lately: Baby Bump!

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6 months ago now – shortly after we said ‘I Do’ for the second time – I called J into the bathroom at his auntie’s with some exciting news. 3+ weeks it said on the little digital screen. It’s such a mix of feelings when that little message appears: excitement, uncertainty, panic, happiness.

Within another four weeks we’d have the pram, the car seat, some tiny clothes. My Pinterest boards of food, travel, weddings were suddenly replaced with nurseries and baby things. Facebook swiftly switched from showing me ads of wedding venues to ones of breast pumps and nursing bras.

Before we knew it we were moving around the corner to a bigger house, painting the nursery, DIYing shelves together for the bump which we could now both feel moving about each day, filling in the Peter Rabbit baby book his mum bought us and assembling the crib my mum sent us.

Baby Room Chandelier (1 of 1)

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I really thought we were going to have a girl. J changed his mind after a few weeks and decided it was a boy in there so we made a bet that the winner would be treated to a free breakfast. I didn’t get a free breakfast. J was awfully smug that day. But he did say, while he enjoyed the sweet spoils of being right, that we could name him Hudson. The name I most loved and which is also a bit of a nod to my Canadian roots.

The first thing I bought, before I even knew what we were having, was a penguin pram suit and a Peter Rabbit bedside lamp. J came home one night from the mall with a white blanket for the pram and a fluffy Peter Rabbit housecoat with bunny ears on the hood. It’s such a precious feeling the first time your SO buys something for the little one and seeing him spend hours playing with our five month old nephew melts my heart a lot. And when he sends me sweet texts out of the blue to say he loves us.

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We are so excited to meet this little guy in June but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that every now and then I have 2 minutes of panic thinking ‘what are we doing!’ and ‘everything is about to change’ and ‘will I ever have a full night’s sleep again?’ But I know J will be the best dad in the world as he’s already the best husband I could ever have asked for and he’s been so supportive throughout our whole relationship and the pregnancy. There’s no one I’d rather have babies with!

He even brought me a card and some fresh squeezed orange juice Sunday morning for British Mother’s Day 🙂

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All of a sudden things you always knew about but never really thought about, I mean REALLY thought about become all you think about. It is such an amazing but strange experience knowing you are growing a tiny human. And perhaps even stranger, is the thought that this is the beginning of the next cycle – we are no longer the children in our family, we are the next parents. The new tear-wipers, cheerleaders, taxi cabs to friend’s houses, Christmas dinner makers, teachers, tooth fairies, Santa Clause’s, dinosaurs (in my day we had dial-up internet – I could make a sandwich by the time msn loaded – you don’t know what msn is??).

And one day our little one, who at this moment, knows nothing but his warm, squishy existence will grow up and maybe have children of his own and we will become the grandparents. I suppose until we became pregnant it never really sunk in that we will grow old. It seemed very distant and far away that growing old thing. But the white hair I found a few weeks back (“J is this attached to my head!?!” – it was) is a sign that we are in fact growing older and things are changing.

Thoughts of the upcoming baby shower I was planning, and summer trips to the seaside with our new bundle and to Canada all seem so far away at the moment with everything going on. Everyone and everything is in limbo. But in these moments I must remember that I have everything I will ever need – J is here with me and that’s what matters. And soon we will add another musketeer to a household filled with love.

What are you doing at the moment to keep busy and stay positive? And if you have or are expecting a little one – what was the first thing you or your SO bought for them?

The Maple Leaf, London

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When I heard that there was a Canadian pub in the heart of London I knew it was something I just couldn’t pass up. The Maple Leaf is located in the Covent Garden area  one door down from the oldest restaurant in London (Rules Restaurant).

It is bedecked with stereotypical Canadian things: hockey jerseys, baseball memorabilia and of course, maple leaves. You can also always find a Canadian or two with a brew in hand (that is a beer in Cannuck speak, not a tea).

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They serve your typical North American pub grub: burgers, steaks, hot dogs, ribs and wings but I had my heart set one one thing. Poutine! Glorious chips with cheese curds smothered in gravy.

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The poutine was good and reminded me of home. Poutine fanatics will be pleased to know they use the traditional cheese curd and not just shredded cheese. My only complaint was that I could have eaten two bowls. To be fair the portion in the photo below is half eaten as I inhaled half before I thought to stop and take a photo.

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It’s £6.49 for a bowl of classic Poutine, but you can change things up by ordering one of their more unorthodox combinations such as the “Hot & Spicy” (topped with chilli beef and hot chilli sauce) or their “British Poutine” (topped with chicken and pulled pork in a BBQ and peppercorn sauce) among others. (£7.99)

My man  had the hot & spicy poutine with a starter of wings (£4.99) which were good but haven’t knocked our favourite Florida wing spot out of first place. Overall, I would definitely go back for the friendly atmosphere and a bowl of cheesy gooiness.

4/5 maple leaves.

“I Do”

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On April 4th I got to say I Do to the most amazing person I ever could have hoped to meet. He is my world, my better half and now, my husband! It’s hard to believe that 5 years ago a little online message sent halfway across the world, some letters, lots of Skype calls and many plane journeys would lead to the most happy life together here in England. I feel so very blessed; I wouldn’t change a thing!

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 me n josh wedding

We had to rush things a little because in order to live together at his next base we need to be married. As it was too short of notice to plan something for all my Canadian relatives and friends we decided the two of us would just sign the papers and do a proper wedding celebration in 2019. Our “signing papers” kind of grew and grew but it was nice to have lots of people around us who care and it was a lovely pre-wedding, wedding.

We got ready together and walked down the aisle of the registry office together. Instead of a white dress we wore tweed. I had him a suit tailor-made which I think he looked awfully handsome in. I used my full name on the marriage certificate (I have 3 middle names) but didn’t realise they would use my full name all throughout the ceremony which made everyone crack up when my man had to say “I take you, Alanna-Lee-Sandra… Joy-Wilson…” He just about managed to remember them all 😉

The songs we chose were “Then – Brad Paisley” “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not? – Thompson Square” “The Way You Look Tonight – Sinatra” and to mix things up a bit “Jump Around – House of Pain.” Afterwards (in British fashion) we went for tea overlooking the cathedral. Even the English think we looked ‘too English’ but I loved it.

It was such a happy day and I can’t wait for our adventures as husband and wife. I love that boy so much. He is and always will be the best thing that ever happened to me and I can’t wait to marry him again surrounded by all our friends and family in 2019 :).

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Wishing you all so much happiness in 2018!

 

Weekend in London and New Job :)

My new job as a full-time reception teacher isn’t actually that new anymore; it’s been keeping me busy for the past 6 weeks or so. The day I did my interview my man and I decided we would have a celebratory pizza night whether I got it or not, to celebrate doing my best. That’s all anyone can do at the end of the day. Luckily for me, my two full days of planning and prepping resources paid off!

I’m also very lucky that they are a lovely bunch (I’ll never take this for granted after some hellish days supplying!) and I can’t say my day is ever dull! Last week and this week have given me my weekends back as we’ve been doing lots of rehearsals for the Christmas concert and lots of fun things (I’m loving less planning for now). This week we baked and decorated cookies, made calendars, made Christmas cards, made pinecone Christmas ornaments, saw a pantomime and had a party. I still feel strange saying I’m a teacher as I feel so young still and keep reminding myself I’m not that young (twenty six). When did that happen?

Just before I officially started this job my wonderful man and I spent a weekend in London so that we could see the Tottenham Hotspur game I bought him tickets for for his birthday. I finally got to see Paddington!

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Paddington Station…

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We met up with some high school friends of my man who were absolutely lovely. We grabbed food and walked around London and checked out the Maple Leaf pub. It was full of Canadians! I had to have a poutine while we were there. YUM 🙂 I only wish there was more of it!

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My lucky number 🙂

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I inhaled half of it before I stopped to take a picture… now I’m craving poutine again.

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We had an early night (yes, we’re getting old) and the next day headed off to Wembley arena to see the spurs.

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They won!

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In food news (we are both major food lovers) we have recently discovered two new favourite dishes. I was seriously missing my Canadian Greek takeaways since I moved over but I’ve learned how to make their AMAZING greek potatoes and I pair it with the same sort of rice and salad and douse it in Ranch sauce and feta cheese. It’s heaven.

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My man loves sweet potatoes and healthy food so I tried out this recipe for loaded sweet potatoes (loaded with roasted chick peas, dill/hummus/lemon/garlic sauce and parsley/tomato topping) and they are sooo good. I can’t believe something vegan can taste this good! We now make them about once a week 🙂

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2015/04/13/mediterranean-baked-sweet-potatoes/

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I’m now searching for our next favourite recipe!

What’s your favourite recipe at the minute?

Take care all and have a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Quick Update: Highclere Castle and Graduation

Since I’ve joined the teacher training program I have completely neglected this blog and every hobby and person in my life but alas I have graduated and am remembering what it’s like to have a life!

June 11th marked 2 years since I moved to the UK and it has absolutely flown by. My mum has been here visiting as she wanted to see me graduate and other than frequenting the charity shops and showing her around we also managed to spend a day at Highclere Castle as she’s a big Downton Abbey fan.

My first impression was that it looks so much smaller than it does on the show; it’s nowhere near the size of somewhere like Chatsworth House. But we really enjoyed seeing the locations both outside and inside used for filming.

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We also enjoyed pretending to be characters ringing for our butler Carson…

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The inside was done up really nicely with photos shot during filming displayed in each corresponding room and there was an abundance of helpful staff answering questions. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t allow photos inside the house which was quite disappointing. But we did enjoy touring through and touching everything that the actors and actresses may have touched like weirdos.

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Being a massive bookworm the library was my favourite room.

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For an extra £5 you could see the Egyptian exhibit in the basement which was quite interesting and full of real artifacts as well as replica’s. George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon (whose family own Highclere) was an archaeologist and made many finds including that of the legendary tomb of Egyptian ruler Tutankhamun.

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The fact that we’d watched Secrets of Highclere Castle just before we went gave us a good amount of context and allowed us to find the “secret compartment” doors which covertly housed Goerge’s knick-knacks from Egypt for many years without anyone knowing before they were rediscovered. They are the doors which lead from the chandelier sitting room into the smoking room.

After touring through the house we explored the grounds and the “secret garden.”

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Now we’ve been re-watching the series and constantly shouting “I was there!” and “Remember that painting?” and “Oh look there’s the doorbell we touched!”

The next day was also full of excitement as it was my graduation! I wore heels and I didn’t fall although I did have a scraped knee from falling in a hole at Highclere from the day before, in flats.

I wouldn’t have made it through this tough year without that amazing boy by my side.

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I was especially pleased that they gave me Gryffindor colours so that I could pretend I was graduating from Hogwarts… now if only I’d brought my wand.

Now I’m just busy looking for work for September and frantically writing a new novel while I have the time before we head off to Canada for a visit.

Hope yous are all having a fantastic summer!

Cheerio! x

Canada Trip, Moving to Wales, University and New Jobs

Where has the time gone? Since my last post I went home for the first time since moving to England for 3 lovely weeks to see family and friends, to eat deep fried pickles everyday and to catch a Jays game 🙂 Unfortunately my one and only had to work, so it was a solo trip.

Ontario:

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Nova Scotia:

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As soon as I got back to England we had to start packing up our home sweet home to move to Wales for my man to start a new job and for me to start my PGCE teaching program at a Welsh university. The fact that my man was moved to a new position near where I’m attending school was a complete, very lucky fluke. So I get to see him more than ever 😀

The past two months have been full of paperwork and stress and newness (and living out of a hotel for 6 weeks) but we saw each-other through it and are now getting settled in. I also lucked out because there are 13 other Canadians on my program so they are all going through all the things I did in my first year and we’ve all become fast friends. I absolutely love my program and how easy it has been to meet like-minded people after really struggling to make friends here for over a year. Yay!

Canada represent 😉

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Exploring a bit of Wales (where we end up getting rained on just about every weekend :p):

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OH YEAH, I’ve also learned to drive in the UK this past month! I traded in my Canadian license for a British one and bought myself a tiny little car  for this tiny little island. That has been equal parts terrifying and exciting. I constantly repeat “stay on the left, stay on the left, stay on the left…”

I’ve taught my first week of lessons at my placement this week which went altogether better than expected. In fact I’m really proud of the class and they’ve had some really sweet things to say, like, “can you teach us everyday?” Heart melted. The hours and days of lesson planning, having no life and panicking about teaching are all worth it when you hear that.

I’m also having to learn Welsh for my course (I was already working on learning French, so why not?). So far I can count to 19, ask your name; sut oy ti?, ask you to put your hand up; doily vuni, and say I like coffee; D’win hoffee coffee (even though I don’t). Also, fun fact: in Welsh a microwave is called a poppity ping (how Bendigedig is that?).

My man has been very supportive in more ways than one and I don’t know what I’d do without him. He really is the best person I could ever have met. Love him to bits.

Aaaand finally, we took a drive to Bath UK one weekend which was an AMAZING and a much needed break from all the hectic craziness. It deserves a post on it’s own if I ever get a chance to write it. Thank GOODNESS for half term this week! The past couple months have been a whirlwind, but I’m still here guys and loving life 😉

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What’s new with you lot?! I hope you’ve all been very good, tres bien et hapis 🙂

 

Expat Life Lately: Meeting a Friend in the Most British Way + Gardening

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The other week the clouds were just beginning to spit as I made my way through town from the bus to home. As I was passing the grocery store I made the snappy decision to pop in and grab a few things, figuring the rain would pass while I was doing my shop.

The rain did not pass. It absolutely pelted down with no end in sight. So there I was without my umbrella or my wellies, standing in the entrance to the grocery store with about 20 other shoppers who were also not keen on getting soaked through.

Off the shoppers went in their cars, braving the weather, one by one until there were just a few of us left. One was a girl about my age who, as I got talking to her, had made the same poor decision to pop in for a few things instead of bustling home from her bus before the downpour.

As it turns out she lives on my street and we ended up having lots in common; we both work in education, love reading and history and drinking tea. When the rain let up a little she shared her umbrella with me and we dodged puddles back to our respective houses. Last week we met up one night for dessert and, of course, tea.

It’s taken over a year of living here to finally make a friend in my area. Perhaps I should make pour decisions (see what I did there?) and get caught in the rain more often.

Things have been coming along nicely in the garden. I have now harvested my first 2 and a half Zucchini’s. I say two and a half as my yellow ones seem to be staying very small and not getting any bigger. Somehow I’ve also grown a stripey variety of zucchini; this photo doesn’t do justice to how big it is.

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I’ve also picked 3 large baskets of lettuce; 1 each weekend and we’ve had some lovely salads with it.

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The toms have just started appearing but are still very small; we’ve had an abundance of rain and not much sun for two long months. I hope we will get some ripening sunshine soon as I don’t think my tomatoes are pluviophiles (lovers of the rain).

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Annd, I have my first red strawberries! I plan to pick these two tonight. One for me, one for my honey (don’t think we can quit grocery shopping just yet lol). My Honeoye berries seem to be doing the best so far; they are the only ones beginning to turn. My Cambridge Favourite berries are growing but smaller and still green, and my Hapil berries sadly don’t seem to be making much progress at all.

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And what would a garden be without some vibrant blossoms. The current star of the garden are the Penstemon’s I planted last fall. They’ve spread and cropped up a stunning bunch of bell-shaped pink and white flowers.

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Our Geum that we planted last month is still blossoming beautifully. I love the burnt orange and salmon colour of it’s fluted petals.

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We’ve had this year’s first appearance of winding Clamatis. And now that the stunning violet Rhododendron has dropped it’s blooms, the baton has been passed on to our periwinkle Hydrangea which is just beginning to flower.

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What is your favourite flower in your garden right now?

Cheerio old chaps and chapettes!

Bits of Home

It’s been nearly a year since I made the big move from Canada to England (when did that happen?!). It still feels like I only just arrived. I have settled into life in Old Blighty quite well and it has quickly become my beloved second home. However, I do love keeping little bits of Canada around our home to remind me of my roots.

Here are a few of my little reminders of home…

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An actual maple leaf that’s been carefully carved into this wonderful depiction of a girl and boy kissing on a bench. I picked this up in Ottawa, Canada just weeks before moving to England.

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Toronto Maple Leafs PJ bottoms. I got these for my man a few Christmas’s ago, but let’s be honest, I steal them pretty often.

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Fridge magnets from home 🙂

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My favourite hot chocolate mug had to come with me 🙂

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This neat vintage postcard brings our two worlds together. I didn’t actually bring this with me; one of my man’s family members saw it and gave it to us.

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And then there’s this lovely Canada-inspired Christmas ornament my brother and sister-in-law gave me the Christmas I moved over.

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I actually have no idea where this very Canadian-looking moose scarf came from but my man was going through his wardrobe the other day and found it. I’ll definitely be wearing this a lot! Especially because I got my favourite scarf caught in my jacket zipper the other day and had to cut it out with scissors (what am I like).

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I have always loved children’s stories and now that I’m working in a primary school I have an excuse to buy them! I had to pick up this book with beautiful illustrations based on all of the Canadian provinces. 

And for next Christmas, one of these guys will definitely be on my wish list!

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1. The Bay 2. shop.nhl.com $39.99

Of course I’m also harbouring a stash of dill pickle chips, Kraft stuffing and gummy worms in the cupboard.

If you are an expat, what are some things that you’ve brought with you to remind you of home?

If you aren’t an expat, what do you think you would absolutely want to take with you if you had to move far from home?

Cheerio, eh!

Canadian Words of the Day:

Loonie: a one dollar coin

Toonie: a two dollar coin

Toque: a warm winter hat

double-double: a coffee with two creams and two sugars

Timbits: doughnut holes from the very popular Canadian coffee shop Tim Hortons

poutine: fries with cheese curds and gravy (deeelicious)

mickey: a small-sized bottle of alcohol

muskoka chair: an outdoor wooden lounge chair of a particular style

runners: trainers

duotang: a type of folder with split pins inside often used in primary schools

Tea and Wellies

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What could be more British than tea and wellies? Let’s start off with tea. I am an avid tea enthusiast and regularly have upwards of 20 teas in the cupboard. I adore a fragrant cuppa of anything fruity, flowery or Earl Grey. Though I always have some PG Tips for those traditional Brits!

Recently my man and I picked up English Tea Shop’s blueberry and elderflower white tea at HomeSense and have become addicted. We drank the whole box in two days, went back and bought 3 more boxes.

White tea can be very delicate but this tea is full of subtle flavours and smells wonderfully of sweet blueberries and spring flowers. You don’t need any sugar in this fresh, nectarous brew; it is spring in a cup.

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I don’t actually drink tea out of my wellies… or do I?

As it is now spring in Britannia I thought it wise to purchase my first pair of wellies! It was sunny when I bought them but by the time I caught the bus home broad raindrops were rapping at the glass of the double decker; windshield wipers swatting them away.

Normally I’d spend my walk home puddle dodging but I had a lovely walk home splashing through all the biggest puddles as the sky continued to cry with laughter.

I feel just a little bit more cultured now that I officially own a pair of Wellington’s, as if it is a kind of right-of-passage to being English. Of course I still love my Canadian traditions, but there’s something awfully charming about this little island.

What is your favourite type of tea?