Tag Archives: LDR

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.

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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?

“I Do… Again!”

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As some of you know, J and I met quite some years ago now on Plenty of Fish while I lived in Canada and he lived in the UK. Skype dates quickly turned into the sort of whirlwind romance Taylor Swift might sing about. Many Skype calls, flights and letters later I moved to England to be with him, and it was the best thing I ever did.

Two years after moving here, 3 days before Christmas, he took me to the place I had declared the most beautiful spot in the world – the top of Winnats Pass in the Peak District and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I said “of course I will!”

As we had to be married to live on the barracks of his next posting we had a small, tweed affair at the registry office in Cambridge with close family and friends that spring. Two years later, after saving loads of pennies, having our original venue fall through 6 months before and arranging for all my Canadian family and friends to fly over we got to re-live one of the happiest days of our lives – this time with the white dress and all the trimmings.

I wrote a very personal ceremony which his cousin delivered and we said our handwritten vows to one another surrounded by all those who we love and who love us while sheep grazed on the wet, Derbyshire hills behind us. It rained the whole day in British fashion, and yet it was wonderful. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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My dad lead me down the aisle and handed me off to ‘the only man he’s ever approved of’ to the song ‘Then’ by Brad Paisley. Seeing J standing there, and the emotion we both felt is something neither of us will forget as we continue onto new adventures together, forever by one another’s side as husband and wife.

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The ceremony encompassed hearty laughs, family jokes, heartfelt words, many a proud look from parents and was sealed with a triumphant kiss and a refrain of ‘Circles’ by Jana Kramer.

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After the ceremony surrounded by our best friends we trudged up a slippery slope in stiletto heels – armed with brollies and laughter- and didn’t let a few raindrops stop us making the most of a magical day. In the climb I must have put my heel through the lace of my dress causing a rip a few inches wide near the bottom but no matter. My dress now bears the stains and wear of a wedding day well spent.

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We spent the next part of the day enjoying the company of all those who had travelled so far to celebrate our love with us – some having driven hours from different parts of the UK and some having flown from Ontario and Nova Scotia – while we shared a toast, some ord’oeuvres and the children roguishly helped themselves to chocolates off the too-tempting-to-resist cake.

I had to ask our photographer to snap a quick pic before all the chocolates mysteriously disappeared! Someone asked me afterwards if it was meant to look like we were sitting on a snowflake in a bowl of Poutine – the fact that the chocolates kind of look like fries, gravy and cheese curds is completely incidental!

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This is also the point in the day when I began to rethink my choice of a mermaid style dress as after a 1/2 hour trip to the loo with determined bridesmaids in tow I decided I would not be tinkling for the rest of the evening. And though we didn’t go to bed until nearly 2am – I was resolved in my decision and stuck to it!

We managed to tell parts of our story and ourselves through all the little details – from leather suitcases and love letter table numbers tied with string (which included Hogwarts, Cambridge United FC, London and Maple Leaf themed envelopes) – to the personalised plane cuff links I surprised him with on the morning of our special day.

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Our sweets table featured Canadian treats like: Jolly Rachers, Oh Henry bars and butter tarts and British Rosy Apples, Tangfastics and a giant Bakewell Tart – as we were so near to the pastries’ namesake town the day wouldn’t have been complete without a Bakewell.

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The butter tarts lasted about ten seconds!

Sprinkled on the tables were plane confetti’s cut from maps and hearts made from Florida travel brochures. Florida being where we met for the first time and where we have spent many happy memories together.

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Milk bottles sat on aged books at every table and each held a handful of gypsophelia and sunflowers – my favourite flower – which our auntie Pauline thoughtfully arranged for us.

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We stole a few moments to ourselves before dinner to take in the postcard-perfect landscape and our superb photographer duo preserved these loving seconds for us to keep always.

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Our flower girl (whom we’d forgotten to send down the aisle earlier) ushered the bridal party into the Orangery with her basket of dried rose petals – where a very British afternoon tea and some equally touching and hilarious speeches awaited from our best man, our maid of honour and then J and myself to one another.

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When I watch back his vows, and the speech he spent hours upstairs writing one night I can’t describe the sense of sheer love and respect I have for him. When I see his cheeky smile, how he talks with his hands and the way he looks at me – everything about him just makes my heart happy.

Following dinner were times of merriment, conversation and cocktails until the clock struck seven and the father daughter dance begun.

My dad, who lives back home in Canada, who truly is my biggest fan and cries at every single airport goodbye – even after I’ve lived here for 4 years – swayed with me to Carrie Underwood’s ‘Girl You Think I Am.’ And the words You think I’m brave. You think I’m fearless… I wanna be the girl you think I am… really hit home.

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He then put my hand in J’s – knowing that near of far, I would always be in good hands. J held me close while Brad Paisley’s ‘Then’ said all the things I feel every time I look at him. Because somehow, when I think I couldn’t possibly love him more, I do.

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We enjoyed an evening of dancing, pizza, sparklers and kisses. Later in the night I even ended up doing an impromptu rendition of ‘Circles.’

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At 1:30am we finally said goodnight to our guests knowing that we had made memories that will last us a lifetime of drinking tea together, and travelling to new places, and dancing in the kitchen and couch snuggles. Memories that in 50 years, 80 years time we can look back on and say ‘And I thought I loved you then.’

 

Throwback Tuesday: London Photoshoot

View More: http://kaypeaphotography.pass.us/alanna-and-josh
Tower Bridge

I honestly don’t know how the weeks, months and years escape me but they manage. So much has happened this past year; nearly all good things but one wonderful week seems to roll into the next and I find myself wondering where the time has gone.

I was thinking today about this lovely day in London – not last October but the one before it already. My favourite photographer in all the world Kaypea Photography happened to be travelling from the USA to London and snapped some beautiful photos for us to treasure always.

She really captured our love for each other and for this magical little island I’ve called home these past four years.

View More: http://kaypeaphotography.pass.us/alanna-and-josh

View More: http://kaypeaphotography.pass.us/alanna-and-josh

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Tower of London

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He makes me so happy ❤

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What you can’t tell from these photos is that it was a frigid October day with some rain (luckily I had my man to keep me warm!) so I had my yellow rain coat and flower patterned wellies on between locations; this matched very well with my pink skirt (not!).

One of the highlights was when we were near Westminster and a little girl pointed and said “Look mommy – a princess!” It was so sweet. All was worth it for the memories and the photos that now sit on our bedside table, in the home we share together.

What is your favourite London spot or spot you must see if you ever visit? x

Expat Life Lately: 3 year recap video

These are just a few clips I found over the past 3 years since I made the move to England to be with my British one and only. I didn’t even realize I’d had a video of us in the Peak District when I’d first moved over. I told him it was the most beautiful place in the world and 3 years later he took me to that same spot to ask me to be his wife.

What a wild and wonderful ride it’s been! Love him so much.

British Words of the Week:

redders: hot                       (Last summer was absolutely redders)
icers: cold                          (Guy Fawkes night is gonna be icers!)
hoofing: amazing             (That posh tea was hoofing!)
Ruby Murry: curry           (Fancy a ruby murry?)

Toodle pip!

Expat Life Lately: Metal Detecting Finds & British Blunders

Metal detecting is a somewhat recent hobby we’ve taken up. Having been a Time Team fanatic for the past 5 years and declaring when I’m an old lady I’ll live by the sea and spend my days detecting I thought, why wait?

After a fair amount of research and deliberation I purchased the Garrett EuroAce last June. So far I’m really impressed with it!

While still in Wales we had permission to go detecting on my man’s base which was quite expansive. Though we spent quite a lot of time pulling up Coke cans and fragments of aluminium foil, on our first venture we also dug up some bullet casings, what we believe may be an arrowhead, and some coins!

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Unfortunately these coins were only about as old as my man which (even though I tease him about being old) is not very old.

The next trip out started much the same but ended in us finally finding an old-ish coin! We were really excited.

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George 5th penny. 1936

Translation: “George the Fifth by the Grace of God King of all the Britons Defender of the Faith Emperor of India.”

 

We also did some detecting in Nova Scotia, Canada… while we didn’t find any coins we did find some odds and ends, the most interesting of which was an old pick-axe head. It would have belonged to King Seaman so we left our little treasures behind for mum to donate to the museum.finds

What’s the best treasure you’ve ever found?

Now for the blunders…

Do you ever just have one of those weeks where things just don’t seem to go right? For one, I am sitting here waiting for a ticket in the mail for illegally driving through a bus station last week. Not just a bus lane but a whole BLOODY station!

Even though I knew I probably shouldn’t go down there my DIM-WITTED GPS insisted that it was the correct way and having just moved here (having no idea how to get anywhere) and having to get to a dentist appointment I wasn’t sure what else to do. The bus drivers started pointing at me to turn around which I tried and failed to do… it was a bloody fiasco.

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This week I went grocery shopping then realized at the check-out I’d left all my money at home. I wish I could say that’s the first time…

Being between jobs and therefore short of funds at the moment I was however quite proud of myself for organizing a nice little surprise birthday present for my wonderful other half. I got the two of us tickets for paint-balling but covertly arranged tickets for all of his friends who would meet us there as a surprise. My man comes home for lunch after my no-money shopping trip and having no idea I’ve arranged a birthday treat casually mentions he’s on a course during that weekend. *Cue balloon popping sound*

The cherry on top was probably the next day when I drove an hour (and baked homemade brownies) for an interview as a junior content writer at a hip, young company and NO ONE WAS THERE. In the end I finally got a hold of them and they’d sent me an email the day of the interview (which had gone to a junk folder I didn’t even know I had) to say all interviews were cancelled because everyone in the office was off sick.

All in all it’s been a magical week.

At least there were some highlights which included my brownies turning out (more for me!), visiting Scotney castle on a sunny day and playing Badminton in the garden with the man who makes my life amazing even when everything is going wrong.

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What’s the last thing that went totally wrong for you? How did you deal with it?

Cheerio! x

 

Expat Life Lately: Making Memories, Even If You Won’t Remember

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I’ve really come to love my husband’s hopeless-romantic grandad. I don’t think ever a visit has passed that he hasn’t sung a song from the 50s or asked “hows your love life?” He is such a funny, charming character and I’ve always seen just a little of myself in him. In the past year or so his health and his memory have deteriorated. He’s had to go into a home because his nan with a broken hip and back just can’t look after him.

It’s been hard watching a couple who’ve spent their lives together be separated this way at the end. Even though his nan goes to see him nearly everyday she feels so much guilt in keeping him there and he keeps packing all his pictures away, ready to go “home.” He remembers who we are and can recall things from long ago but the day after our wedding he couldn’t really remember attending. His short-term memory is a bit like recalling dreams; sometimes he can and sometimes he can’t.

I know my man has found it hard as have I. Every time we visit home -Cambridgeshire, where my man is from- we go to see him in the home but it gets depressing sitting in his stuffy room, alarms buzzing and beeping always reminding you of where you are.

Three weekends ago, as we were taking his nan and his elderly cousin (who we lovingly refer to as our aunt) to see him on a particularly glorious summer day I decided that the sunshine was just too spectacular to miss. We packed them all up: his smart & thoughtful cousin with her walking stick, his hilarious and feisty Irish nan with her walker and his charming, forgetful grandad in his wheelchair. We all squished in our truck for what was a very cozy ride. I knew just the place a summer’s day would be best enjoyed.

We unloaded everyone (it was a bit of a military operation) and had such a laugh in the process. There were jokes about us being their carers and them looking like the three wise men. In time we made it to a round picnic table overlooking the river at the No Hurry Inn near Ely. It’s hard to describe how I felt as we spent the afternoon chatting, eating and reminiscing together except to say that I felt privileged to have been able to spend that time in such good company.

Near the end of the afternoon as we sat in a shady spot under a great willow tree he kept saying he wanted to go to Ely; on and on he went; he really had his heart set on going to Ely. When we finally asked him why he wanted to go to Ely he said “because it’s warmer.” We had such a chuckle over that and wheeled him into the sun to watch the boats drift by. “That’s better,” he said. I think he’d have liked to stay there forever.

It’s a memory I will always cherish -one I wouldn’t trade for all the world- and even though his grandad might not remember it for long, I know that in that moment he made a happy, new memory with those who love him.

 

Expat Life Lately: Breaking Up With Teaching, Wedding Dress and Bunk Beds

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Warning: this starts off as a bit of a downer but it gets better I promise!

Teaching… Or Lack Thereof

While on the PGCE (teacher training program) about a year and a half ago I wrote this blog: An Open Letter: My Frustration with Teaching in the UK I finished the program (somehow with a shred of sanity left, more or less). Did supply for 6 weeks (lost all sanity). Had my own reception class for a year who were wonderful and I’m so happy I had the opportunity  to teach them; I’ll always cherish the time I had as their teacher however the crushing workload and a list (a LONG, LONG list) of bureaucratic factors have left me angry, frustrated, gob-smacked and just plain done.

The UK has lost yet another passionate educator; I’ve become one of the 44% of teachers who leave in their first 3 years in the UK and while I feel like I’ve been failed and I’m sad I won’t get the chance to do my utmost to inspire another class of amazing individuals, I feel like the system has lost more and quite frankly, deserves to.

I tried to write this blog a few days ago and it just kept turning into a furious rant which is exactly why I had to leave teaching. I don’t have any fight left for the particular battle that is fighting to be treated as a professional, and fighting to do what is right for the children in a robotic, data-obsessed, broken system. I am tired of ranting. So I did the hard thing and broke up with a job I loved because when a job starts to feel like an abusive relationship it’s time to leave. That is all I will say about that.

The up-side is that I feel like a new person, or rather, I feel more like the person I was before I signed up for that soul-crushing experience called the PGCE. I feel like my optimism has returned and feel like I’m falling for this little island all over again. No idea what I’ll be doing with my life so job-hunting, filling in applications and living without a pay cheque is its own challenge but I know I made the right decision for me. I’m thankful my husband has been so supportive throughout my decision to undertake teaching and also my decision to leave it to take care of my well being.

Maybe he’s just glad our living room no longer looks like a bomb went off in a library!

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Art we did in the last week of school that a parent framed for me as a leaving present. Adore this. Gorgeous flowers from another student. The next day I was given so many thoughtful things and enough booze and chocolate to last a whole summer. I know those little ones I got to know will go on to do amazing things 🙂

Moving/Wedding Dress

In other news we also traded in Wales for Kent (due to my husband’s job). I’m sort of getting used to calling him my “husband” :). The summer was super busy getting everything moved, deciding to go veggie, realizing this house is even smaller than the last (if that’s even possible), getting rid of way more stuff to the charity, spending 2 weeks on the East coast of Canada with mom and family, finding/buying my wedding dress, stuffing said wedding dress in our already-stuffed suitcase, according to our photos did a lot of much-needed napping, and came back to realize this place still looks a massive mess!

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Canada

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The upside though is we have a garden! *Hallelujah plays* I’m so happy that we have a garden again and already can’t wait for next Spring to get in the dirt. There are also some gorgeous seaside towns nearby that I can’t wait to check out; Kent is totally new to J and myself so that’s quite exciting.

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Yes, I’m the last human on Earth to still use a button phone.

Also, now that I actually have time for myself I’ve made some friends and we’ve been meeting up for tea once a week and going on little shopping trips. I’ve even had time to work on writing my latest novel and am hoping to pick up some of the many hobbies I’d put down for the past 2 years (guitar, singing, genealogy, ect,.) And I can now add metal-detecting to my list of odd hobbies. Yay!

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Bunk Beds

As we’ll be having a lot of family and friends visiting next summer for our official wedding we’ve been trying to work out how we can stuff as many people in our hobbit house as possible. One great idea I had was to purchase a bunk bed for our spare room and I found this double-double bunk bed! At a great price and made-in-England!

4ft 6 Double Double Bunk Bed – Strictly Beds and Bunks
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Now I use the term “made” lightly as I expected a flat-packed bed and a few screws however what came was a million pieces of wood and some marriage-testing instructions. It took us 3 evenings and about 8 hours in all but… ta-da!

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I also ordered their foam mattress which is surprisingly comfy! We decided to stay in here for a night to be guinea pigs to test out our engineering skills and loved it so much we stayed in the guest room for a week. I always wanted bunk beds as a child and let me tell you – they are just as fun as adults! I don’t know if it’s the smell of the wood and the close quarters but it reminds me of being on a cozy ship. It’s like having a holiday yacht in our spare bedroom. Yes, we’re easily pleased.

What did you all get up to during this sweltering summer? Also, for those working, what do you for work and do you enjoy it?

Goodnight all! It seems like a perfect night for another trip on our pretend ship.  🙂

 

Expat Life Lately: My Birthday, Tough Mudder & Sunshine

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It’s been a very long spring and the constant cloud and cool temperatures were definitely starting to get us down. So much so that one evening purely to get out of the house and cheer up I agreed to go to the gym with my man and as it turns out blaring a bit of T. Swift and dancing around (there were only us two in the gym) was a perfect antidote to the weather. We had so much fun together acting complete fools. It reminded me of how me and my best friends from back home used to dance around in our living rooms. Music is such a great pick-me-up.

The sunshine has been a long time coming but we are so lucky to be having a gorgeous May long weekend here in Wales! It arrived just in time for my birthday. My other half brought me some lovely red roses home on Friday and on Saturday (my birthday) we woke up at the crack of dawn to go to his tough mudder event. It was a lovely, hot day and I enjoyed watching him in his element. Afterwards we sat out in a beer garden with friends, grabbed pizza and played Harry Potter SceneIt and Cluedo.

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I’ve been wanting to go on this murder mystery dinner on a steam train for ages and my man managed to book us in for one as my birthday present so I can’t wait for that! He also got me a lovely birthday card; the first card addressed to ‘my wife’ 🙂

With money I received for my birthday I just booked us tickets to see HP and the Philosopher’s Stone through Luna cinema which does outdoor movies at all sorts of cool locations around the UK. Can’t wait!

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We’ve taken advantage of the sunshine by climbing Sugar Loaf mountain (for the 4th time… every time I say never again but there you go), having a barbeque in the park with friends and splashing around in the river. I’m hoping for an impromptu beach day today to wrap up a smashing long weekend.

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Hope yous are all enjoying the sunshine! What are you looking forward to this summer?

Cheerio!

 

LaCock Abbey & Village, Wiltshire (Harry Potter Filming Location)

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As my dad has been here visiting me and my new husband (feels so weird to say that!) we’ve been looking for places to take him to. While searching I stumbled across Lacock Abbey and Village. The abbey and antiquated village have been used as filming locations for Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice, Downton Abbey and The Other Boleyn Girl. Walking down the cobbled lanes under the leaning Tudor buildings definitely gives the effect of being on a movie set.

The Abbey was built in the 13th century and has been added to and changed over the years. It began as a nunnery, but was converted into a family home. It now belongs to the National Trust.

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Of course the most exciting part for me was that it was used for filming Harry Potter (especially the first movie) so naturally I brought my Gryffindor hat and wand. These cloisters were used as the Hogwarts corridors throughout the first movie (alongside Gloucester cathedral cloisters and some filmed in Oxford).

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It was sometimes difficult to figure out which rooms were used for what but after looking over my photos while watching HP and the Philosopher’s Stone I gathered that this room with the giant cauldron was used as Quirrel’s classroom…

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The cauldron itself wasn’t used in filming but is thought to be a cooking pot used by nuns at the abbey. It makes for a great HP-inspired photo though!

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If instead of going right as you walk in the entrance of the abbey, you can turn left down the cloisters which takes you to Snape’s classroom. There isn’t any information about filming however it does tell you the room was used as a place to store valuable items when it was still a nunnery.

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You can tour through the house above which was home to William Henry Fox Talbot in the 1800s. He was a scientist who produced the first photographic negative using this window…

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If photography sparks your interest there is a small photography museum you can tour through as well.

The village is absolutely magical; photos really don’t do it justice. Not only did I love the old stone, slate roofs and Tudor buildings but there are two more Harry Potter filming locations to stumble upon in the town!

We found Slughorn’s house from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!

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We also found Harry’s childhood home from the flashbacks of earlier movies (you’ll notice that when they return to Harry’s home in Godric’s Hollow in the last movie it actually looks nothing like this house… the one used for filming that scene can be found in Lavenham).

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The village is small but a lovely breath of the past and definitely worth a wander.

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You might even meet some cheeky little friends along the way!

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Entrance to the Abbey is around £13 or free with a National Trust membership. We really enjoyed our day in Lacock and can’t wait to visit again in the summer months.

What is the best filming location you’ve been to or one that you’d like to see?

Toodle-pip! x