Dec 15, 2010

Facebook year end...

I hate Facebook Apps...  I don't want to see your farm, have no interest in competeing in a movie quiz, don't care who the hottie of the day is.. Facebook is for stalking my friends and family...period :-)

BUT this I like...

My year in Status and My Year in Photos... it's pretty cool... and now I've got the two links, I'm going to delete the apps...

I saw it first over at my friend, Brahm's blog and so I apologise for nicking your blog idea Brahm

Here's to 2011


Happy Birthday.....Gary!

Happy Birthday
Today is Gary the dog's birthday

He is 3
That's 25 in human years
(The formula is: 10.5 dog years per human year for the first 2 years, then 4 dog years per human year for each year after.)

This is what he looked like when we first rescued him.....

He shares his birthday with Adam Brody

Don Johnson ( I like looking at a younger DJ)

and Nero Claudius Augustus Germanicus, 5th emperor of Rome (couldn't find a photo for some reason!)

Happy Birthday my boy.. we love you xxxxx


Dec 13, 2010

Xfactor tears....Big love for Rebecca Ferguson

So many of you know I'm an expat (English) living in Florida, but there is still some English television I can't seem to give up.
One of those shows is the XFactor (Simon Cowell brings to the US next year).

A bit like American Idol, but there are four categories of singers. Under 25 boys and girls. Over 25's and groups.

There have been seven winners to date: Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry and Matt Cardle. If you are a visitor from outside of the UK you will probably only have heard of Leona Lewis who went on to achieve international fame and fortune after winning in 2006. Matt is this years winner, but I don't think he's an international star in the making, but I maybe wrong.....( I've linked to all the winners live final performances! - recommended listening - Leona, Alexandra)

It, like American Idol, draws massive television audiences, and I always find a way of watching from the US... this year it's been really easy as XFactor have posted all of the performances on YouTube... I suppose they'd rather you'd go to their channel than illegal uploads..and I, for one, are grateful... beautiful HD quality video only minutes after each performance...

Anyway this year I have been rooting for a young woman from Liverpool. Rebecca Ferguson was my choice to win. Unfortunately she was pipped at the post, but I still predict great things for her. I'm posting a few of her great performances and telling you to look out in the future for a really soulful album, reminiscent of an old Motown diva.



Dec 9, 2010

Viva Beryl Cook....Thought of the day



When I was in my younger days,
I weighed a few pounds less,
I needn't hold my tummy in
To wear a belted dress.
But now that I am older,
I've set my body free;
There's comfort of elastic
Where once my waist would be.
Inventor of high-heeled shoes
My feet have not forgiven;
I used to wear a six,
Now I wear a seven.

And how about those blasted tights --
They're sized by weight, you see,
So how come when I put them on
The crotch is at my knee?
I need to wear these glasses
As the print's been getting smaller;
And it wasn't very long ago
I know that I was taller.
Though my hair has turned to grey
And my skin no longer fits,
On the inside, I'm the same old me,
The outside's changed a bit.

But, on a positive note...
I've learned that no matter what happens,
Or how bad it seems today, life does go on,
And it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things:
A rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same as making a 'life.'
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life just being a doormat.
You need to throw something back.
I've learned that to decide something with an open heart, you usually make the right decision.
I've learned that when I have pain, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that you should reach out and touch someone.
People love a hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

So please forward this blog to all wonderful women today. If you do, you may boost another woman's self-esteem.

If you do not ...I hope the elastic will break and your knickers will fall down around your ankles.


Dec 8, 2010

More Walmart delights.....

If you are regular reader you will know of my love for the Walmart horrors caught on camera.... here is the latest batch .. enjoy, and don't look if you've just eaten!

You have no idea how exhausting it can be putting on tight purple sweat pants!!

Don't laugh!  Its okay, because Bambi's granddaughter borrowed her skirt.  Plus, today is combination Casual Friday and Crazy Hair Day, all rolled in to one.

Where exactly does one buy a short pink outfit like this to beef shop in?

So, this is either a cross-dressing nautical Popeye enthusiast OR ...well, fill in anything.

Who lets these peopleout of the house un-chaperoned?

Those purple shorts are HOT!!!  I saw those same shorts one time on an elephant in a circus in Belarus .  The slippers make the outfit

Britney Spears let herself go again

Dear Mrs. Razzlebone-Karbofski, it was cute to dress your boys Festus and Cletus alike when they were two years old, but at 45?

Scarily her companion never even told her what she looked like in this outfit!

And men claim they can't meet classy women in stores? Go figure!

Is that a THONG Ollie Hopnoddle is wearing?? I can't look again or I'll go blind.

For my own sanity, I have to assume that Gussie Klothgrunt is shoplifting two pork roasts in her shirt.  Simply because there is no possible way that can be anything other than two pork roasts in her shirt.  Can't be

It's like a big pink garbage bag filled with creamed corn and door knobs

I love talking with Freidagurtz Finkelstein, because she always seems so surprised and interested in what I have to say.

Holy Golden Illusions of Grandeur, I gotta get me that outfit!!!!

Either that lady has a tail or Barney is stuck where the sun doesn't shine.

I have infinite admiration for the sheer strength of good quality denim.  Moreover, I will be eternally thankful if Honeysuckle's jeans wait until she reaches the truck to explode.  Seriously, they should consider using denim on the next NASA space shuttle

For those times when you need fried okra and chicken strips so bad, that you just can't wait for the bleach to set.

Is it even legal to sell that shade of pink? I love the way Ms. Incense Berkowitz color coordinated her reusable shopping bag to match her shoes, purse, leggings, shirt, jacket, earrings and necklace. If a bra had been necessary, do you think for one second it would have been any color other than SHRIEKING PINK??


Dec 7, 2010

Blimey, you look good....

Its been a few weeks since I spoke on Skype with my mate in England. We video conference, well she does, I normally am on my server PC which doesn't have video capabilities....but does have a nice big screen! (this of course means that if you Skype me I can be sat there with nothing on if I like and you'll never know!)

She has had a stressful time over the last couple of years and I've been worried that she has not been taking care of herself, so imagine my surprise when the video came on and she looked at least 5 years younger and glowing with vitality....

'Wow you look good' (not implying that you never know what I mean.. NOT a backhanded compliment)
'Ahh thanks..'
'Are you in love?'- (normally people get that glowing look when they are lurved up)
'Errr, no, haven't touched a man for months, dirty things'
'Did you go on a Caribbean holiday without inviting me?'
'Why would I pay to go to Caribbean when I can stay for free at yours in Florida?' (good point, amazing how many people have started taking their holidays in central Florida!)
' OK last guess... you have some magic software that airbrushes the lines away when you are on Skype?'
'Muppet' (no need for that, I was just guessing!)

'I've had Botox'
"Well you look bloody marvelous'
'Thanks...its amazing isn't it... I've been wanting to do it for ages, and we all can't have youthful skin like you (thanks Mom)'
'Well, yes quite frankly it is!'

She looks great, the only thing that worries me is that she will become addicted to it.... hopefully she wont go down this path..

Or this one......

Mother & Daughter Addicted to Botox

This Mother bought her Daughter Botox injections for her 18th birthday.... crazy...

Just for the uninitiated... Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and is extremely neurotoxic. It's described as the sausage poison as the bacterium that produces the toxin often caused poisoning by growing in improperly handled or prepared meat products.

Now I'm off to see about some Restylane.....


Dec 3, 2010

My dog's bloody expensive!

Do you have a dog?
Have you ever totalled up how much it actually costs to have a dog...

After spitting out my coffee in shock at the $400 bill for Christmas lodgings for Gary ( well I can watch him on the internet and gets to play all day too!) I started to calculate Gary's monthly out goings...

1. Organic food  - now poor little Gary can't eat the regular mix of snout, hoof & entrails because of skin breakouts his food has doubled in cost every month from $15 - $30 .. thats $360 / year!
2. Organic treats - now some of my pet owning friends ( who shall remains nameless ) never give their dog any treats. And when I bought their dog a bag of chews, said dog looked at me like I was the dog whisperer.. no wonder he always wants to get in my bag when I leave her house.. ...$10 ...$120 / year
3. Bi-monthly groom... $50 / time ... $300 / year
4. Insurance... $35 / month ... $420
5. Random doggy day and overnight stays..estimate $650 / year remembering he has ice cream and smoothies whilst he is there!
6. Dog park visits $11 / visit - approx $100
7.Toys.. $50 / year
8. Christmas stocking $50

O.K. lets total that.... HOLY COW


Thats a mortgage payment!!! or a car down payment...

That's it... if he doesn't behave I'm trading him in for a new car...its not like he's cute or anything...


Dec 2, 2010

Thanksgiving blow out....

At the request of one of my best friends, Anne, I have to post my Thanksgiving cookings....

Asking the origin of Thanksgiving to my husband I got some convoluted explanation, but all I know is that its very like Christmas in terms of what you eat and you always end up in a food coma.

My American family is no different to numerous others in that we cook too much and eat too much and then fall asleep in front of the NFL in the afternoon..

Anyway, for those of you who don't know,I'm a bit of a cook... I love it, its very relaxing and I love to see people enjoy my food, so when Thanksgiving comes around its nice to go to town a bit... We all convene on my mother in laws house and there were about 14? I lose count!

My contributions this year were as follows....

Two turkey breasts one marinated in fresh herbs, butter and lemon zest and one in Cajun spices. I wont go into detail as at the end of the day it was just turkey!

Spiral ham (I'm lazy and buy the pre-cooked from Publix) which I then glazed with Bourbon, brown sugar, maple sysrup and pecans.... can I say yummy...

As sides I took

Sweet potato layer casserole.... a layerd cream, cinamon, sweet potato and pecan casserole
Christmas Red Cabbage ... slow cooked sliced red cabbage with cranberries, raisins, apple , red onion, vinegar, wine and spices...delicious wth the meats
Homemade Cranberry & Orange sauce
Sausage stuffing (dressing) balls - crispy on the outside and yumptious inside, made with sage sausage meat, cranberry, prunes and pecans
Pumpin Layer Cake - Took ages to make but was the star of the show
Lemon Bar Pie - Marscapone cream makes this super rich and yummy

I'm going to post the recipe for the layer cake as it was so delicious.. I'd like to say it was mine, but alas I am no baker...If you fancy any of the other items, let me know and I'll send you the recipe over... The lemon bar pie is my own design!


Brown butter pumpkin layer cake - by Jeanne Kelley

A gingery glazed nut topping and brown-butter-spiked cream cheese frosting are the finishing touches for this spectacular spiced pumpkin cake. Double the topping if you want to pile the nuts on as shown in the photo.

For the purée

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium-large Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut in half from stem to bottom and seeded
Tip: You can substitute canned pumpkin purée for homemade, if you like.

For the cake
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk

For the topping

1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsalted, raw, hulled pepitas
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. table salt
1-1/2 Tbs. chopped crystallized ginger

For the frosting
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 oz. (1-1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

Make the pumpkin purée

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Brush a 9x13-inch baking dish with the oil. Put the pumpkin halves in the dish cut side down and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Peel the pumpkin and purée the flesh in a food processor until smooth. You’ll need 1-1/2 cups of the purée for the cake. Refrigerate or freeze any remaining purée for another use.
Make the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans with removable bottoms (or butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment, and flour the pans).
Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin purée with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.
Make the topping

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and pepitas and cook until the pecans brown slightly and the pepitas begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the skillet.
Make the frosting

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until the solids settle at the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the bowl to the freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom; discard the solids.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and the brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Assemble the cake
Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting on the layer. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture over the frosting and top with the second layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Arrange the remaining topping in a ring 1-1/2 inches in from the edge of the cake and serve

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the purée up to 2 days ahead. The assembled, frosted cake can be covered with a cake dome and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):

Calories (kcal): 660; Fat (g): 36; Fat Calories (kcal): 320; Saturated Fat (g): 18; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 80; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 440; Cholesterol (mg): 115; Fiber (g): 2;


Nov 22, 2010

New Gadgets.... tale of an Xbox widow...

''ve stabbed me in the ******* neck!'

Imagine the concern of my client who heard my husband screaming this, clear as a bell, from the living room whilst we were talking the other night....

Client: Is he ok?
Me: Yes, he's just learning how to play Black Ops, Call of Duty on the Xbox with his 30 something friend from work... apparently he keeps running up and performing random kills on him.
Client: That game will be responsible for the underage teenage pregnancy rate being halfed for the 1st half of next year...
Me: most probably...

So there it is, we have a new gadget (and I now have to think of something else for Christmas for hubster). A black shiny Xbox now resides under the TV in the living room ( and my HD cable has mysteriously been plugged into it's back rendering TV useless again !) and we have, so far, two shiny new Xbox games... the first, as I said, Call of Duty: Black Ops - see the trailer here (and I thought only films had trailers!)

Apparently a black operation or black op is a covert operation typically involving activities that are highly clandestine and, often, outside of standard military protocol or even against the law. The playable characters are special forces operatives conducting black operations behind enemy lines. Ok - at this point, if you are like me, you've nodded off onto your keyboard, however interesting to note that within 24 hours of going on sale, the game sold more than 7 million copies, 5.6 million in the U.S. and 1.4 million in the U.K, beating all game records by millions. I have to say the graphics are fantastic, but it's way to noisy for me (that and I was bloody useless with the controller thingy - generational I think)

So now every night I listen to my husband killing people / things and laughing.. and that right there is why I'm happy to be a Xbox widow, because its an obvious stress reliever and I'm all for that... I know that he'll get bored of it eventually (hope), its all new and shiny right now and demands to be played with...

The upside... Netflix on demand, Zune on demand.. hmm things are looking up and of course I'm now holding out for one of these for Christmas ...

Someone tell Santa for me please!


Nov 17, 2010

I'm back and in shock!

OK firstly... sorry.. I haven't been blogging.. I could blame my busy schedule blah de blah however truth be told my blogging juices dried up. I was happy being a 'lurker' on my friends blogs and just generally mooching around on the Internet. Then today a friend told me she missed my blogs.. I mean its not like missing chocolate or something, but she missed my blogs.. so I had to make a decision, either get back on the bus or pack my blogging bags and leave town.... so here I am back on the bus...we'll see how it goes..

Anyway, what stirred me into action was a headline on the BBC website today (for all my American readers it's where you can go to find out what is ACTUALLY happening in the news around the world... its very informative and I don't watch the new here anymore)

Great white sharks in Mediterranean made 'wrong turn'

Errrrrrrrrr double take....

There are Great Whites in the Med? Eeeeeeeeek

I have a shark phobia... numerous trips to Australia give you a sense of foreboding about this magnificent fish.. especially on each of my trips this year someone has been attacked whilst I've been there (and died!) My swimming in Australia is limited to swimming pools and knee high wading in clear sea water.. and that's it period! But surely I was safe whilst I was snorkeling on all my French holidays..?

In the Mediterranean Sea there have been 31 confirmed attacks against humans in the last two centuries, most non-fatal... err MOST?

OK  I need to do some investigation

OK the Med seems relatively safe..The most recent attack took place on June 15, 1983 near Riomaggiore (Italy), where a scuba diver Roberto Piaviali was molested by a 3-meter long aggressive white shark while diving 5 meters down. Piaviali fled to the next submersible where the shark was driven away with wooden poles.

But Florida seems a different prospect altogether!

The odds of me dieing at the beach are pretty slim (2000 figures below)

Drowning and other beach-related fatalities 1 in 2 million

Drowning fatalities 1 in 3.5 million
Shark attacks 1 in 11.5 million
Shark attack fatalities 0 in 264.1 million

However Volusia county (Florida... where we would sometimes go to the beach) is apparently shark attack capital!

Volusia shark bites

2001 22
2002 18
2003 13
2004 3
2005 9
2006 12
2007 5
2008 24

at some times of year in Florida swimmers are warned out of water because the sharks are feeding on migrating fish... shudder

I love sharks... by that I mean i find them fascinating.... but I am now even more scared of frolicking in the sea... I think I'll have to stick to the pool... (plays out to JAWS music!)


Oct 10, 2010

X Factor addiction

Yet to come to the the States, I have to satisfy my X Factor addiction by using You Tube.

I cringe at the audition process, but it's like a non stop locomotive.. there is just no getting off once you start. I cry at the soppy stories and the great performances and have my favourites early on.... X Factor 'found' Leona Lewis..and too be honest she has been the only 'star' that came out of it... but there's two women this year who I love, one in the young and one in the old categories.. They have great background stories, neither have any confidence, and I have warmed to them both...

Good luck Mary & Rebecca .. I'm rooting for you x

Mary Byrne, the Tesco checkout lady.

Rebecca Ferguson, a young mum from Liverpool... no confidence but everyone loves her

Go You Tube their earlier performances in the auditions, you'll see why I like them so much...!

I'll keep you posted with their progress, but so far so good as they both made it through week 1..


Sep 23, 2010

How do you fancy the Commonwealth games?

My brother is a past competitor of the Commonwealth games, winning Gold and Bronze medals at two events, (scarily he has a small Wiki page ...Simon, its my claim to fame!!). Anyway we were discussing the sad state of affairs at the upcoming commonwealth games in India.

For my American readers, The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event which is held every four years and features competitions involving thousands of elite athletes from members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and previously known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states. All but two of these countries were formerly part of the British Empire 

It seems, with only 2 weeks to go that many of the venues and accommodation for the athletes are not ready. In fact not only are they not ready but they look hazardous to say the least.

These pictures have come to light after last weeks bridge collapse into the stadium, injuring 23 workers

My brother says, coupled with the fact that the security looks very dodgy, he's glad he is retired... It's not looking good for India, especially after Beijing managed to pull off an amazing Olympics without any hitches other than the smog.... glad I'm not going....

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