Thursday, June 21, 2012

North-West American Tour

Hello from Seattle!  I thought I would write a quick post to say hi, but be prepared - there will be more posts about this trip when I get back to London....

So far, in less than a week we have visited San Francisco, Oakland, Portland and now we are in Seattle staying with family.

The flight from London to San Francisco was the first international flight I have taken with loverboy, and it was both comfortable and funny - the most eventful part was synchronising our mini tv screens and watching 21 Jump Street, which whilst very juvenile, was hilarious (we literally laughed until we cried - and Aaron laughed so hard that everyone turned around to look at him)!

Upon arrival in San Francisco, we naturally headed (with our luggage) straight to Puerto Allegre for margaritas, guacamole and nachos!  It was delicious, and exactly what I needed after a long flight...

We stayed with friends in Oakland for the night, before catching a flight to Portland the next day, where my head got patted down at airport security!  I was wearing my foam curlers under a head scarf, so this may have had something to do with it....

Our most lovely and gracious host in Portland is a good friend, whom I had not seen for three years.  It was fabulous being reunited, and super fun because we got to sleep on a trundle bed adjacent to hers - cue The Waltons-style 'good night y'alls!'

Our stay in Portland included vintage shopping, eating (hello bacon maple doughnuts!), dancing and laughing - stay tuned for a more in-depth post, soon....

Yesterday we caught the train from Portland to Seattle, and the journey was absolutely beautiful...

 Now our trip continues, with much sunshine, laughter and....eating!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Kiss...

This Thursday, the hubs and I will be heading Stateside for a couple of weeks....I can't wait!  I'm soooooooo excited to catch up with friends and family, and hopefully get a good dose of sunshine to boot!

On this trip,  we will be visiting the Bay Area, Seattle and Portland.  It seems we have *just* missed Portland Fleet Week.  Lucky, then, that I have my very own sailor boy....

 Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

I was sent these images last week, from Jason Dodd, a photographer who snapped us at Brooklands Museum a few weeks ago.  We were inspired by the famous V-J Day photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, which was published in Life magazine in 1945.  It included the caption:

 'In New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.'

Well, we may not have been in Times Square, and I may not have been dressed in white, but loverboy definitely planted a big smoocharoo on my lucky lips....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Well, what a lovely long weekend that was!  After four days of celebrations and a public holiday to celebrate the 60 year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, I am still feeling very patriotic (back to work, in red, white and blue, complete with the lovely new bag that I won on In The Heyday last week - thanks Shona!) and dare I say it....I am now rather excited for the Olympics!

The pageantry that took place in London over the past few days was so expertly organised and well executed, that it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement.  Throughout it all, the Queen demonstrated real poise, and elegance, even in the face of adversity, when Prince Philip was taken ill, and had to be admitted to hospital.

Now, even if you are not a monarchist, let's face it - it was lovely having a four day weekend, and I for one, really enjoyed seeing London covered in bunting!  The spectacular flotilla along the Thames really was a sight to behold, and whilst I did not see it in person, I enjoyed watching it on TV.  Loverboy and I were actually booked to dance at the Brent Jubilee celebration by Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon, so whilst the rowers set off down the Thames, we were swing dancing!

Unfortunately the cold and damp weather meant that there was not a huge turn out in Wembley, but we still had fun dancing (and in my case, continuously flashing my undercrackers, due to spinning around in a circle skirt, in windy conditions)!  We even managed to return home just in time to miss the rain, and watch the rest of the flotilla from the comfort of our nice cozy bed!  I must say, I'm very impressed at the stamina of the royal family, standing for the full five hours, to watch the river procession.  I'm not sure that I could have stood in place for that long, without getting ants in my pants.  Yet, Her Royal Highness and the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 86 and 90 respectively, stood unaided, and with perfect posture, throughout the whole thing.


On Monday I baked a Victoria sponge to take along to a street party, which was taking place two blocks away from where I live.  My mum also made a cake, and loverboy.....well, loverboy stood around looking handsome, whilst we did all the baking!

I was keen to get involved in a community event, yet I did not have particularly high hopes.  How mistaken I was!  The party was really well organised, with bunting zigzagging across the street from house to house, tables and chairs were set out for the length of the whole road, food and drink was extremely plentiful (with a myriad of union jack cakes!), and there was a huge turn out of friends and neighbours from all walks of life.  It was brilliant!

I particularly enjoyed meeting local residents, and seeing that community spirit is alive and well.  Having seen photos of numerous street parties, it would seem that the Jubilee was a great way of bringing people together and encouraging a right royal knees-up across the country.


On Monday night I awoke the hubs from his street party induced food coma, and we ventured south for a night of 50s music and dancing at Rock n Roll Old School, which was put on by our friend Jim (DJ Big Kahuna) at the Hand in Hand pub in Streatham.

Upon arrival the place was buzzing, the dance floor was jumpin' and we were greeted by the smiling faces of many of our lovely friends.  A dance floor was set up, and numerous DJs took it in turns to hit the decks.  The pub itself looks like a throwback from around the time that the Queen was Coronated, which I find to be strangely charming.

The night was fun, with a great atmosphere (long weekends make everyone really happy!), lots of laughs and sweaty dances.  We left the pub in good spirits - made even better when a friend gave us big bag of delicious home-made Swedish toffee!  Yum!

On the final day of our long weekend, we woke to televised scenes of fanfare and celebration in central London.  In a spontaneous moment of longing to join them, and wave my union jack flag around, we headed to Trafalgar Square.  How foolish to think that we could arrive in the afternoon and watch the procession, when there were people who had camped out for 24 hours to secure their spot!

Needless to say, we could not get past the barricades to see anything, so we wandered around for a little while before heading off.  I'm disappointed that we didn't get to see the Red Arrows fly by, as the photos I've seen have been very impressive - especially with the red, white and blue trails that the planes left in their midst!  A sea of Union Jacks lining the Mall was also a striking image to behold, and I have to say, it left me with a lump in my throat, as it's rather emotional, and fairly rare, seeing so many people from different generations, come together with so much enthusiam, hope and pride in our wonderful country.