Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

We celebrated New Year's Eve at Woodie's Ale House here in Headingley. It was my first New Year's Eve abroad, and it was fun to see BBC's coverage instead of Dick Clark (RIP) and Ryan Seacrest for a change. 2012 was a massive year for us--we bought the new flat and fixed it up, we went to Paris, I had my first conference presentation, and last but not least, we got married and went on our honeymoon! It was a great summer to be staying in Britain, too, with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics!

My resolutions for 2013 are all related to the fact that I'm finishing my PhD and that we're enjoying our newlywed & childless status this year. I want to do all of the things that we won't be able to do (as much) once we have kids: travelling around Europe, going to the movies, dining out at nice restaurants, shopping, sleeping in on Saturdays, etc. As much as we're looking forward to starting a family, we're well aware of the changes it's going to create in our life. The main goal is to finish the PhD and start my career, but smaller goals, like going to the movies more often, are also important :)

Happy New Year to my friends and family!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Our First Christmas Together ornament from Mom & Kelly--Richard used one of our engagement photos that fit just perfectly

We tried to get Cookie to wear the Santa hat, but it was too big for her...

Cookie loves having us both home for the break--we've been watching a lot of movies and she cuddles up on our laps

This year we decided to blend my family's tradition of a Christmas Eve Smorgasbord with the English tradition of a Christmas Day roast dinner--for the Smorgasbord we had bread, crackers, pigs in blankets, pickled herring, olives, proscuitto, Italian herbed ham, and a cheese platter with mature cheddar, brie, Stilton, red Leicester, and cranberry Wensleydale.

Wearing our hats from the Christmas crackers--we got a six pack from Sainsbury's and they were already marked down to half-price on the 21st! We opened 2 on Christmas eve, 2 on Christmas day and we're saving the last 2 for New Years Eve.

On Christmas Day, I actually took the time to jot down a little schedule of timings for when the different components of the roast dinner needed to be put in the oven. It made all the difference! The roast potatoes turned out perfectly crispy & fluffy & cooked through, the beef was cooked to medium with just the right amount of pink (I usually over-do it and dry it out), and my first attempt at making Yorkshire puddings was a success! I also made Brussels sprouts well for the first time in my life (it's a traditional English Christmas dinner element). Since I haven't had experience making them, I followed Nigella's instructions precisely and they were so delicious! I love vegetable dishes that involve butter and pancetta/bacon!

Christmas dinner!

Clockwise: Roast beef, roast potatoes, honey-glazed parsnips, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta, broccoli and carrots, and Yorkshire puddings.

At the end of the night, Cookie had her festive cat treats from her stocking--turkey and sausage flavour!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Abbey House Museum

Our stockings--it was so great to see my stocking that I've had for as long as I can remember. Richard had gotten some presents for Cookie, so I got her a stocking & decorated it with glitter glue. It's going to be her 18th Christmas! 

The tree looks complete now that it has presents underneath :)

On Friday we went to the Abbey House Museum at Kirkstall Abbey--we'd never actually been, and it was much more involved than we thought it would be. There's a whole Victorian street set up with little shops like this grocery store. There was an ironmonger, a chemist, a clothier, and examples of different homes--upper class, middle class, working class.
There's a dress-up section, too!

I love this temperance movement propaganda--they make a great point!

Upstairs in the museum they have a huge Victorian childhood section

This doll house was amazing

Also in the girls' section--"Miss Pre-Teen's battery operated Vacuum Cleaner"

That would be so disappointing at Christmas, haha!

I'd much rather have this game--"Exciting, Interesting, Educative!"

Saturday, 15 December 2012

O Tannenbaum...

We've finally set up our Christmas tree--it feels like Christmas now!  

I love unpacking the ornaments every year--these two are even older than Cookie! The mouse is from '93 and the gingerbread man is from '92.

The Gnome!

Cookie's found a new place to sleep!

Christkindlemarkt and Temple Newsam

These Steins hold a whole litre each!  Yikes!

After the market, we went to the Victoria to warm up

On Friday we went to Temple Newsam--we hadn't been inside the house before and it was great to see it all decked out for Christmas 

This huge silver tub is a wine cooler

This wig was really hard to keep on--I look like a combo of Marie Antoinette and Marge Simpson!

The house holds a lot of museum piece furniture that wouldn't really have been in the house--like this bed, originally part of a state room at Hinton House, Somerset (interesting article about it from last year in Yorkshire Evening Post)

Picture Gallery

Georgian office

This doll house was amazing--and it turns out that, like most things in Yorkshire, it has a Bronte connection!

A bed that Henry VIII may or may not have slept in...

View of the gardens