Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Whole Lotta Faux Pas

I know you're not "supposed" to wear the same dress to multiple events, but I went to a wedding in October, in Canada, and another wedding in January, in England. The guest-crossover-potential was minimal. But I have to confess my fashion faux-pas, in order to show you this picture, since I didn't take a full-length shot of us at the wedding last weekend, because I didn't take many photos, because I'm kinda dumb.
 So it's a really pretty dress, and while not short-short, it's still mid-thigh on me. This is important for you to know, because I have to share the real story of Jonathan & Emma Squires wedding. Well, the real story for me.

Our hotel was just up the road 'from Pembroke Lodge, where the wedding & reception were held. The receptionist told us it was 15 minutes walk. No worries - we had arrived at the hotel at 2 pm and the wedding was at 4 pm, so we had tons of time. But then as we were checking in, the receptionist asked if we'd made a reservation at the hotel restaurant - I told her we wouldn't be eating there as we were on our way to a wedding. She replied, "No Mrs. Hawkeye, for your cream tea and sparkling wine. It is included in your booking package." Sah-weeeet!! When I had made the booking, I found a package deal, and hadn't read the details - only the final price, which was cheaper than just a room. So we had scones with cream and jam, some coffee & tea, and sparkling wine while we got ready! For those of you who are uninitiated to the wonderfulness that is cream tea, here is what it looks like:  Sooooooo yummy!

Obviously we were a little slower than expected at getting ready, but we were all set by about 3:15pm. Plenty of time . . . oh, waitasec:
Georgina: "Matthew, you have some cash, right?"
Matthew: ". . . "

So we had to bust it to the nearest cash machine, (aka "cash point" in England - seriously, does "cash machine" really need to be explained? Yes, yes it does.) which was obviously in a pub, and it was 5 doors down in the opposite direction. I was wearing stilettos, which I never do anymore since I ride a bike and take care of a toddler. (Speaking of which, they should really change the name from 'toddler' to 'runner' because I think the toddling stage lasts about . . . 2 weeks? Maybe 3? And then after that, they are so fast. But I digress...) I made Matthew walk-run to the pub since I was too slow on the cobblestones (!) to keep up with him. We got the money, and then started the walk back past the hotel, towards Richmond Park Gate.

There were two roundabouts between us and the gate, and we somehow had to cross through both of them to get to the right side of the road - I don't really know how we managed to do that. And in England, pedestrians do not have the right-of-way, and cars will hit you. So we did the Frogger, and it felt like it took us about 10 minutes just to walk across the street!!

Finally, we made it into the park - I was looking forward to walking on regular pavement instead of cobblestone. Oh snap! How about an actual trail path instead? And by this time, it was about 3:45pm. So I start doing the girly "my-feet-are-already-killing-me-in-these-high-heels" run, and Matthew does the manly "my-shoes-are-fine" walk, and then boom! We see the bride going past in the Rolls Royce!! I start to legitimately freak out that we are going to miss this wedding.

So we did what we had to do: I made Matthew, in his suit, piggy-back me, and actually run. Like he was a horse. Yes, yes I did. My poor husband. And, now that you know how short my dress was, you understand that I could only hold onto him with one arm, because the other was trying in vain to pull my jacket & dress over my bottom, as we bounced along the trail towards the Lodge. It was, quite honestly, a terrible combination of awesome and atrocious. There were cyclists and runners passing us, laughing (as they should), and one said, 'You're late, you're late, for a very important date!" I should have asked him to double us to the Lodge. . .

Matthew ran for quite a distance, but the cream tea and sparkling wine were also bouncing fairly heavily in his belly.  I thought we were close enough for me to walk. Wrong! It was 3:55pm, and this stinking Lodge was doing that thing that happens in dreams: You keep moving towards something but yet never seem to get any closer. So I took off my shoes, and we actually ran. Full speed. In our nice clothes. We are a classy pair, us Hawkeyes. But we got there, at 3:58 pm!!

We sat down - in the last row, and the only 2 remaining seats in the Lodge - and tried hard not to breathe too heavily. . . And then, the service didn't even start until 4:20pm!!! I guess they were taking photos or something beforehand. This was great, because we got a chance to cool down and calm down, and let that sparkling wine settle back down. Also, I was able to take an essential photograph - not of the groom, or groomsmen, or the gorgeous view of the park. . . nope, a photo of my foot, complete with dirt and grime from my run through Richmond Park. Please note: these were the cheapest nylons available in Marks & Spencer - and there isn't even a hole or a snag on them!! Amazing!

Well played, Team Hawkeye!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I Really Should Get a Better Camera

My friend from junior high school, Jonathan Squires, got married on Friday, to a lovely British girl named Emma. And I am lucky enough to live here in the UK, and even luckier still that my cousin Emma agreed to take care of Elizabeth over night so Matthew & I could go to the wedding in London.

Eliz and I trained down to the lovely countryside in Kent on Wednesday. I thought it was a good idea to be there for 2 nights before leaving for the night - she knows Emma, but she doesn't really know her. I needn't have worried - after about 10 minutes of being there, she was 100% in love with Henry, Emma's 3 year old son. And he was sooooo sweet with her - he shared all his toys with her, and said, in his super cute little Brit voice, 'Here you go, Wizabeff, you play with Buzz Wightyear, and I will play wiv Wooody.' And at one point, he started calling her 'Wizabelle' which then turned to 'Belle', and she answered everytime. So funny. Emma's 5 year old daughter, Millie, took it upon herself to take care of Elizabeth. I think she was disappointed that Elizabeth doesn't like to be picked up and carried about anymore, but they had fun together regardless.

One of my favourite things that happened that week was the Act of the Disappearing Henry James:

And then I left on Friday afternoon, and met up with Matthew at Richmond station, where he met me with a rental car. I thoroughly enjoyed my train ride of silence, with no toys, no snacks, and no running-up-and-down-the-aisle-laughing. It was glorious. We drove through the richy rich area of Richmond to our beautiful hotel, including down one road that was so narrow, I was convinced it was a one-way. Matthew is such a confident driver now! So hot!

And the wedding was wonderful and so much fun, and the bride was stunning, and the groom looked so pleased with himself. It was just a fantastic time all around. I saw some old friends, all of whom were looking great and having a good time too. It was one of those nights where you never stop smiling, because you just kept having great conversations, meeting interesting new people, and laughing, laughing, laughing.

And here is the TOTAL amount of pictures that I took, between both my cruddy blackberry camera and my regular point-and-shoot. Wow. I need a better camera. Stat.

And I save, for the pi├Ęce de resistance: a blurry photo of the beautiful bride. .

For the benefit of Jonathan and Emma, I give you a photo care of the bride's Facebook page - this is what they actually looked like: happy, stunning and completely delighted with each other. It was a great wedding!

Monday, 16 January 2012

New Year's Resolution FAIL

I had two resolutions this year:
(1) No late fines at the library
(2) One meatless meal per week

Both are pretty straight forward, and not that hard to achieve, right?

WRONG!!

I have somehow lost a library book. . . I like to take out several books for Elizabeth before we go to Canada, so she has 'new' books to read on the plane. I think I left one of them behind somewhere in Edmonton. If anyone sees this book, please let me know!!
So now I have to go to the library and ask them about paying for a lost book. This would not be so embarassing if I hadn't already done it before!! That's right folks, when I was in Canada in the summer I left the book I brought for myself there - it was Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. When I told the librarian that I knew where it was, and could bring it back, but not until I visited again in October, she said she would refund the money for the lost book charge. . . but I've been too embarrassed to actually bring the book back. And now I don't think I can ever do it - imagine that conversation, "So, remember how you said you'd pay me back? Can you do that now? Oh, and PS, I lost another book! Haha?"

And also, it's January 16, and I have yet to make a meatless dinner for my family. The first week we were in Canada, and not cooking much, and then the next week we were in jet lag hell, and now I'm going away from Wednesday to Sunday, and won't be cooking. I guess I will have a New February Resolution about cooking. On that note, if anyone knows how to cook/recipes for quinoa/lentils/beans/dal/chickpeas, please let me know. Also, does anyone else secretly think chickpeas and dal are the same thing??

 To make matters worse, guess who just went for a run, and then came in and did a bunch of leg raises, plank, sit ups and pushups? Mr I'm Achieving My New Year's Resolution Hawkeye. Pfffffffft.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Elizabeth The Ski Bunny: A Pictorial

We took Elizabeth "skiing" when we were in Canada. She went down the bunny hill two whole times on her actual skis (ie we walked her down) but then Matthew carried her in his arms and then his shoulders, and she love-love-loved it! She stayed on the bunny hill for 45 minutes, and at the end of every run, she'd say, "More! Peeese, peeese, peeese!!" or just run to the line up for the conveyor belt ski-lift. It was one of the best days ever.

We put her ski boots on in the hotel - she was using Matthew's ski gear from when he was a toddler. Her feet were too small for the boots, so she wore slippers inside them. And her all-in-one snowsuit was a hit - I admit it: I totally want an all-in-onesie. They are super hot when they're fitted and all black. Love that look. Elizabeth's take on it was slightly more pink and puffy, but she was 100% adorable!

The best part about the ski boots is that they were too heavy for her to walk in, so she could either stand or lie down. It was awesome in the parking lot of the resort, because we knew she wouldn't run into traffic!
Look at her tiny skis!!!!
Matthew had to lift her into her skis & slot the boots in. So funny to watch.
"Skiing" down the bunny hill with Grandma & Daddy. :)
Proud Mummy & Daddy!
Going up the "magic carpet" to ski down with Daddy
I wish we could have used this for our family photo in the Christmas cards this year.








At the end of a run down - she was soooooo happy!! Laughing & giggling after each one!

Elizabeth got pretty tuckered out after 45 minutes - thank goodness Grandma Ground Support was with us. Susan came to the hill with us, and brought along this awesome old-school sled. So we gave Eliz some lunch, and then propped her up in the sled, and surrounded her with blankies, and she fell asleep. While it was snowing. In the mountains. So Canadiana.
Susan took Elizabeth to the car, and she was able to have a good long nap, while her Mummy & Daddy skied! It was the best possible set up. We had such an awesome day.

It was a great day of skiing for us too. It was one of those days where at the end of every run, you look at each other and say, "That was awesome!! What a great run!!"