Friday, 30 October 2009

Moving day

We're in!

Yesterday, while Lee worked, I pulled the house apart and threw everything into suicases, boxes and bags and by the time he came home we were ready to start loading up the car for our move. There's still lots of work to be done, but we are officially moved in and this place is cool! It's big and open and light, it has enormous sliding windows, wooden floors, loads of storage space and the whole of the city of Belfast in our living room! 

We have awesome views of the city, the river and even the sea. Last night, after we'd done about as much as we'd intended to for one evening, we opened up our bottle of engagement bubbly and drank overlooking Belfast and the stream of cars going by on the motorway.



Today is dismal and gray and gloomy. It's cold and windy and wet. Perfect weather for unpacking and pottering...and putting the kettle on for a cup of tea...

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Colourful graffiti


I’ve been wanting to do an entry with the murals of Belfast, but so far, I’ve not managed actually getting there to take the photos. The question of safety has also been debated, but I still want to go and see for myself. When I first arrived in Belfast as a tourist last December, I found myself on the Falls road and took lots of pictures then, but since have discovered a whole wealth of other areas displaying loyalist murals which I’m curious about.


Instead, I’ve put this together, it’s just two photos of graffiti near the city centre. It’s colourful.
I’ve been reading up on Belfast’s history and troubles and finding it rather interesting. I’ve still got lots to learn though.

I also have lots to learn about Photoshop, which I've only just starting using for the very first time. I'm excited about it too, because it's so overdue and it's awesome!!

Monday, 26 October 2009

These are a few of my favourite things...

This weekend was my favourite since arriving in Belfast. It was full and filled with some of my favourite things (not the raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens variety of favourite things either). We saw Thomas Leeb play twice, we shopped, slept in late, watched telly, drank Guinness, cooked and baked, met friends, walked through Belfast’s city centre in the rain and sat in the bar where we first (officially and properly) met.

We watched Thomas Leeb play on Friday at this little book store called No Alibis on Botanic Avenue behind Queens university. The bookstore specializes in British, American and Irish crime fiction and seconds as a small venue for live music. Thomas Leeb is an Austrian Californian who taught Lee ‘extreme acoustic’ in the Austrian mountains.  He’s pretty cool.


 
While Lee made us focaccia bread and a fig and polenta tart I got to play DJ with the help of Last.fm. It turned into a ‘nineties’ and ‘sixties’ evening while I played some of the music I grew up listening to. Pearl Jam, Garbage, Metallica, Live, Smashing Pumpkins, and then on to Roy Orbison, The Monkees and the Byrds! Happy cheesy sing-a-long-able songs that made me happy! After all of that, we sat down and watched the X Factor on telly with cups of tea and slices of tart.



I had another hugely successful shopping trip and ended up spending far too much money, though it was all worth it! I bought two pairs of shoes at Schu on the High Street, a gorgeous coat and a very pretty and simple dress which I insisted on trashing up with a pair of fishnets and red heels and some dancing around the kitchen to the Monkees ‘Daydream Believer’.

Yesterday afternoon we met Aiden and Jenna at the House on Stranmillis and took a walk to Maddens Bar in the city centre, just around the corner from Kelly’s Cellar. We stopped into the Ulster Museum along the way as it’s just reopened after being refurbished. It was packed and too hot, so we left almost immediately and walked to Maddens in the rain.



Maddens is where it all happened last December, where Lee and I met and spent the night talking and laughing, singing and flirting with each other.



 
 
We sat upstairs and watched and listened to the traditional Irish band play while Thomas set up for his show. I love the traditional Irish bands. There were two we saw yesterday, upstairs and downstairs.





 
I'm loving Belfast :)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Couch evenings x


We spent last night snuggled up on the couch with a bottle of Sancerre, a Crunchie, blankets and the final of Master Chef. We were both really pleased that Steve won it. It got really tense though!

Yay for the weekend, and the last weekend we’ll be in this house. I’m so excited to move into our cool new apartment.


Yay for happy times!



Thursday, 22 October 2009

Together


I think this is awesome.


The card in the box says "For those who have found their true partner in love and life" and it was a present from Lee's mum.

I do love these sculptures by Susan Lordi.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Shopping in the city

I’ve been shopping. After struggling to leave the house this morning (got dressed, got dressed again because I didn’t like my outfit, checked I had the house key, made and ate breakfast, checked I had my wallet, umbrella and bank card in my bag, checked again that I still had the house key, considered getting changed again, checked my email, emailed South African friends…) I got the bus to the city centre. I spent HOURS in Primark. I tried things on and put them back, only to pick them up again a few minutes later. Eventually, I made my way over to the check out and my enormous bag cost me only £35. However, I didn’t get quite everything I’d wanted to, but there’s plenty of time for that. Lots more shopping trips!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

In better health :)



I’m feeling lots better. And thank goodness for that. I even managed to venture out for a little while on the weekend. I wrapped up warm and we went to the city where there were parades and all sorts of goings on for the reopening of city hall after a huge refurbishment project. Human butterflies stood perched along the railings, while acrobats ran up and down the city hall walls and gymnasts cart wheeled and star jumped below them on the stage all to loud and Irish music.



 
Lee took me to City Side and got us cinema tickets to see UP in 3D. That was really cool. We shared a bucket of sweet popcorn, coke and lots of laughs. It was fun and it was great to get out of the house after having being cooped up for so long and feeling so ill.





Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Aaaargh :(

So much for getting better. Pete Doherty has cancelled the Irish leg of his tour due to exhaustion and breathing difficulties and is recovering in Swindon hospital. And although I’m concerned for his health, it’s probably just as well we didn’t get to see him last night.

The stuff coming our of my lungs now resembles pate, with a lovely greenish / grey hue. My nose has finally decided to join the party too and is either constantly blocked, dripping, or both. And if that weren’t bad enough, I’ve spent the day in bed with agonizing stomach cramps, which I can only assume is worse that child birth.

I’m clammy, I’m snotty, spotty, greasy, phlegm-y and probably stinky. I reek of Vicks Vapour Rub, which is smeared liberally over my chest and throat. But here is where I’m going to get all sentimental…

I’m also surrounded by the most wonderful and awesome people. I have my future mom-in-law messaging me daily to check how I’m doing,, my own mom e-mailing me to make sure I haven’t died in my sleep and friends sending me the nicest e-mails, saying the loveliest things. Also, I’m going to gush just a little about the way Lee came home at lunch time with a small hot water bottle in a blue knitted cover and a tub of above mentioned Vicks Vapour Rub and how he then filled the bottle and brought it up to me in bed, helped me with the Vicks, told me I look lovely and went back to work again. I don’t even think he was being sarcastic while he said the last bit either.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like a lot (as he said), but to me, it’s huge.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A hair related poll

I'm playing with the idea of cutting my fringe again. I'm playing with the idea lots. My old fringe has grown to under my chin...it'd be really easy just to grab it all together and cut it off again. Hairdressers can fix any major disasters...

So what do you think? Should I cut it again? Vote...

Please.

Thank you.

Too much paperwork

I've been sick. Coughing up yellow and bloodied phlegm, shivering in bed fully clothed, body aching kind of sick. It's not the pig flu though, because today I'm feeling a bit better. And thank goodness for that because tonight, we're going to go see Pete Doherty again at Queens Student Union.

Even though I've felt close to what I imagine dying would feel like, I've been in rather good spirits. Some sort of domestic bliss. We're cooking meals together, drinking wine on the couch in front of the telly, laughing at silly YouTube videos, planning our holiday in South Africa, thinking about our awesome new apartment, trying not to freak out at how incredibly frikken awkward and difficult and expensive it's going to be for us to get married...

Why does it have to be so difficult?!

Dammit.

This is supposed to be the fun part. Planning a wedding, picking a venue, outfits, flowers. But before we can think about those types of things we have to consider: Immigration control, Certificates of Approval, a spouse visa, Indefinate Leave to Remain, passports, documents, visas running out, flights, home affairs. None of which are going to be easy, nor pleasant.

Anyway, I'm oh-so-happy right now, even as I spit up more multi-coloured mucus.

I'm going to get another cup of tea and ponder some more on dual nationality nuptials.

Love and wheezings x




Friday, 9 October 2009

Choc Chip Cookies


I’m happy ‘cos my Lee came home last night, and I’d missed him. It was late and so we bed-timed.

He left this morning to the sounds of the woman a few houses down shouting and cursing her partner, storming after him down the street calling him all sorts of names. I waved Lee off and closed the door, just a little bit afraid of the hysterical lady. I dressed, looked up biscuit recipes on the net and walked across the road to Tescos (‘tis ever so handy living behind the shop).

I’ve spent my morning baking double chocolate chip cookies, which are lovely, but sadly, not so lovely as the ones Yvonne makes…(no where near…)


 
They look nice though.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Back to the city


Today I ventured forth into the city, I got the 9 bus outside the Tescos on the Lisburn road and got off outside the city hall in Donegal Square. I had nothing in particular in mind for my outing, just to get out. I walked up the High Street, found the big fish, Alberts clock, Victoria Square, Writers Square, St Annes Cathedral, went past Kelly's Cellars and Maddens bar, bought some chocolate at Thorntons and found a pair of comfy boots in TK Maxx - which sadly, I didn't buy.
 

I love Belfast.

In December when I was here, it was my least favourite UK city but it's not anymore. I'm so excited about everything I'll get to explore and discover here. I'm also so excited because we got the apartment we really wanted in the Cathedral Quarter by Clarendon Docks.





It was the bigger apartment with the nice kitchen and dining area, with wooden floors and views of the River Lagan. We move in at the end of the month, when I get back from visiting in England.

I can't wait!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The first of the Belfast blogs

I'd like to say that the reason I've been so quiet lately is because I've been so busy.

But that would be lying.

And although there have been a few moments of busyness, mostly, I've been lying about watching telly, sleeping in late and generally being bone idle. Today, however, I've set myself tasks, written up to-do-lists and I'm going to pull my finger out.

I've been in Belfast for five days, I've met the family and friends, I've drunk Guinness in bars, German beer in halls and wine in the lounge...



We've been looking at apartments around the city centre and along the river Lagan. It's exciting!

What's also exciting is that a date has been set, or roughly thereabouts :)

It seems as though there is so much to do, that I'm half inclined to get another cup of tea and do nothing at all. BUT! I shall start by unpacking my suitcases and hanging up my clothes....

Friday, 2 October 2009

Day Four in France - Versailles


Day four, a Monday started off a little slowly after a Sunday night dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge with two bottles of champage. We decided on a day trip to Versailles, dressed and got the Metro and RER outside of Paris. Reading the guide book on the train we discovered that the palaces at Versailles are open Tuesday to Sunday, but thankfully, the gardens and the grand canal were open and we didn't have to pay anything.

The grounds are enormous - vast, and it's probably just as well that the palace was closed. You could spend a whole day just going about the gardens. We rented one of the small rowing boats for an hour and went out onto the water. We got to the end and I decided I'd take over on the rowing for a while.

 

But before I could take over the oars Lee dug into his pocket, produced a little black box and asked me if I still wanted to marry him!
And, since I hadn't changed my mind since the last time he'd asked, I said of course yes! 

 

My ring is soo sparkly! It's exactly what I would have chosen if I'd chosen it myself.

Isn't it exciting??


Lee took over the rowing again and got us back safely without sinking the boat (as I was probably going to do if I'd carried on for much longer). We snacked and drank wine at a little terrace cafe, got the wee train back up the the palace and took lots of pictures, 'oohed' and 'aahed' at the enormity and loveliness of the grounds and concured that we too, would never have need to leave Versailles if we lived there, just like Louis XIV.
 

Once we'd got the train back to Paris, we still had some time to kill before dinner so we walked and walked and chatted and looked at the sights along the Seine, bridges, the Eiffel Tower, the big gold encrusted dome of the church, statues...Paris is gorgeous.


We suppered at one of the nicest restaurants. I can't really say that though, since they were all so lovely! We arrived as the restaurant was opening, the chef came over to show us to a small table and explain the menu and specials to us, since it was all in French. I started with the cucumber in the peppery cream sauce, went on to a lamb steak with French fries, and finished with the banana flambéed in rum. The chef came over to light the rum and everyone turned round to watch and stare! It was delicious...everything was perfect.
 
 
What a perfect day, ended off with a perfect meal.

Sigh.

We left Paris the next morning, got up early and headed back to Charles de Gaulle, ate baguettes and paninis, pain au chocolats, tea and tiny coffees at the departure lounge. At Luton we waited for my National Express back to High Wycombe and Lees connecting flight back to Belfast and ate big dirty Burger King burgers.

I got back to the pub just before opening time, packed, slept, and left at eleven o'clock, back to High Wycombe and the 737 National Express to Stansted Airport...got on my flight after a (expensive) confusion regarding luggage and arrived at Belfast City airport to be met by my Lee after collecting my (heavy) suitcases.

So here I am now...living in Belfast, Northern Ireland for at least the next year...

Paris - Part Two



We drank much wine in France

 




The restaurant in the Eiffel Tower - above and below







A lit up Eiffel Tower



Lost in the Metro :)




A gallery at the Lourve




A (apparently) dying slave




Notre Dame cathedral at night - above and below






Pere Lachaise Cemetery


Moulin Rouge!! Soo many boobies!


A cafe near our hotel - so much bread and pastries!