Did everyone have a great holiday? I hope y'all got everything you wanted and got to share some time with people you love! This week I'm linking up our Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner outfits. My MIL and I got NotBlondeHusband's shirt on Christmas Eve last minute. Blondie Boy loved that "cookie monkey" was on his Daddy's tummy so it was a great buy.
So the lovely Siân tagged me in the Ultimate Christmas Song meme and I don't want to face her wrath by not obliging so here we go (I kid, I kid). I do actually really like holiday music and it has taken me ages to settle on a song I hand't seen anyone pick yet. I loved Grandma Got Runover by Reindeer as a kid and there are some much over looked Chanukah songs but then I heard this on the radio and all other options were out.
In the US we had Christmas albums called "A Very Special Christmas" that came out every season and featured big names singing holiday songs to benefit the Special Olympics. The cover artwork was always by Keith Haring so the combination always sticks out in my mind.
This particular song is just ace. I'm not a big Bon Jovi person but Bon Jovi and Cindy Crawford directed by Herb Ritz makes for a super sexy and somewhat sad Christmas video.
I'm fairly sure I remember Pop-up-Video telling me that they kept making out after they called cut so that could be what makes this a realistic video. It is also pretty short so I'm only wasting 2 minutes of your life if you don't like it; sit back and enjoy!
First off; yes, I am too lazy to take off my boots and jeans when trying on dresses. There is nothing worse that getting all the way undressed (winter means layers) to try on a dress that doesn't fit. Not only are you defeated but then you still have to get dressed again-not fun.
I love the full skirt and pockets. I'd never normally wear this colour but I like it and it won't clash with NBH and Blondie Boy's kilts but I'm not sure how to style the dress. The wedding is early January so tights of some shade are needed. I'm not normally a fan of nude panty hose but would you wear black? What colour shoes? Do I need a faux fur shrug? So many questions! See I need your help! What would you do?
Apparently that is Cookie Monster at the front to the left if you couldn't tell. If the Christmas tree looks squint that is because somebody bit the trunk off before we even started.
Blondie Boy mostly snuck gum drops and sucked icing from tubes but he had a lot of fun. I think next year he will be able to help decorate more; he did try but getting the icing out was a bit difficult. When he did he got SUPER excited and said "yay" though which was pretty cute.
He said the end result was "bootiful" what do you think?
This Monday NotBlondeHusband, Blondie Boy and I had to meet my Grandmother-in-law in town for coffee and then I shopped around a bit before meeting the rest of the Glasgow Women's Aid board for Christmas drinks later on. I needed an outfit that wouldn't look out of place for three fairly different activities so this is what I came up with.
I know I wear those boots and jeans all the time but when it is wet and cold it means my feet and ankles stay dry and that is pretty important factors in Glasgow! I wanted a bit of sparkle as this was the closest I was getting to a Christmas night out but I didn't want to look out of place in the John Lewis cafe, shopping or in the pub either.
If you are looking for the winner of my Merci Maman giveway it will be posted later today on the original Merci Maman post once a winner is verified.
I'm the first to admit I'm very lucky to get to review products so I thought I'd what I would give a toddler who loves to play but also loves to read! Blondie Boy's books are always all over the floor because he is constantly pulling them out to read but he also loves climbing under and into things as well. What better way to combine two of his loves than with a great book and funky place to read it?
How freaking cute is this? We'd call it a TeePee in the States and while it is an outdoor toy I think it would be super cute as a reading nook in a toddler/child's room, too. The service from Garden Games was amazing and I got email updates along the way letting me know it had been packed, shipped and was out for delivery. I hate playing the waiting game for something to be delivered so I loved this extra perk!
If Wigwams aren't your style there are several styles of Playhousesavailable from a fairy princess castle to some really cool and funky wooden forts!
Emma, from Me, The Man and The Boy, recently reviewed one as well and Oli loved his! You can see her review of the Wigwam on her blog. Mostly Yummy's girls tried one as well and you can read what they thought on her blog.
This book arrived through my letterbox and while I thought the illustrations were pretty I will be honest and say I didn't think much else of it at first but holy cow does Blondie Boy love it!
It is the perfect book for a toddler with an ever growing vocabulary and desire to learn. He loves flipping through the pages and pointing out the shapes or counting or finding colours, etc. He will sit with it for 30 minutes (that's a lot to an almost 2 year old) picking out different things and asking what others are called.
It is beautifully illustrated and has "lesson plan" type examples in the front so you can continue to read it as your child grows.
Transatlantic Blonde was provided these products to review but the opinions are all their own.
A few weeks ago I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the beautifully redone Thistle Hotel in Glasgow which included cocktail making lessons. One of the cocktails, a Toasted White Russian, would be absolutely perfect for the holidays so I thought I'd share it here!
Image by @JaneyTravels
Toasted White Russian
Shake over ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Dust with cocoa powder (which you toast by shaking over an open flame)
Not only do you get to look pretty freaking cool by playing with fire but the drink is wintery and yummy. I had a very bad experience with White Russians back in the day but this cocktail has brought me around again! Do you have a signature cocktail you serve during the holidays? What would your perfect holiday cocktail be like?
This week NBH has been working on essays so Blondie Boy and I have been living in pajamas all week. I know I'm an amazing Mom right? I did pop out and got a top to wear with my Versace leggings but when I tried it on at home it didn't work so I've got nothing to show. As much as I'm sure y'all want to see my jim-jams I will live vicariously through your outfits this week!
To make up for my lame lack of outfit this week I'm giving away something that is decidedly NOT lame! How gorgeous is this Merci Maman charm bracelet? The heart is charmingly hand engraved with Blondie Boy's name on one side and his birthday on the other. I love how simple and classic it is and that I can wear it everyday or dress it up!
The charms are strung on leather cord (you can choose from over 16 colours) and packaged in a gorgeous orange box tied up with a white bow. It really would be the perfect gift for that stylish someone in your life and lucky you I'm giving you the chance to win one!
Win a Merci Maman charm bracelet with one charm for each of your children (or if you prefer something else engraved let us know!) The first entry (sign-up for the Merci Maman newsletter and leave a comment) is mandatory but the rest are all for extra entries. The contest is open worldwide so good luck!
Transatlantic Blonde was provided a bracelet for review and giveaway but all opinions are her own.
You might remember from the last time I posted how excited I was to receive a box of delicious fish in the post from John Milne at Delish Fish and the people at Fish is the Dish. Well after seeing how good the fish was last time I was probably even more excited this time, in fact the only time I've been more excited recently is when I got Blondie Boy got a Lego advent calendar.
Anyway, this time the box contained some lemon sole. Which interestingly is neither a fruit or a sole, it's actually a type of flounder. It's a fish I remember eating a lot as a kid, it has a really delicate flavour so it's ideal for kids who might be fussy, or even fussy adults. Who could that be?...
Also in the box was a little bonus: some of John's delicious hot smoked salmon. We're a smoked salmon kind of gang in this house anyway, hot or cold, so when I say this is pretty much hands down the nicest you'll find, that's high praise. We ate it as a starter, just with some bread and it was so good. Blondie really enjoyed it, it had a flavour of honey about it that she thought reminded her of really good honey baked ham. Blondie Boy snacked on it and kept coming back for more.
There were two recipes with the sole, a recipe for lemon sole goujons, which is how I always ate it as a kid so it sounded ideal for the boy, although he hasn't tried it yet: his is still in the freezer. I'll report back on that at a later date. The "adult" recipe was for a pan fried lemon sole in butter, a kind of meunière I guess. Like last time it was really easy.
Lemon Sole Fillets (1 per adult)
Flour (For Dusting)
How to Cook:-
Cook your green beans, I blanched mine in a pot but if you're feeling lazy you could microwave them.If you've bought whole almonds toast them under the grill for a little, until they start to darken. Cut the the beans in half and chop the almonds.
Take the skirt off of the sole fillets (the easiest way is with scissors although you can do it with your hands) and dust them with flour, then shallow fry in a medium/hot frying pan
Please ignore the flour spill, I cleared that up later. By which I mean my Mum cleared it up later. Don't feel too bad for her, she got to eat the fish after all her hard work.
Take the fish out when cooked and place it on a warm plate. I covered it in tinfoil to keep it warm.
Whilst this is cooking brown the butter in a pan at a medium heat, then add in the green beans and the almonds.
Serve the fish and spoon the butter, green beans and almonds over the top.
I served with boiled new potatoes, in more butter (I don't believe there is ever such a thing as too much butter), some more green beans and baguette. It would appear that I cooked it in my well out of date but still cool green Red Sox jersey. NBH being NBH.
It was amazing, such a good result for so little effort. My brown butter, as you can probably tell, was not so brown. When I do it again I'll give it a little longer in the pan. It's pretty easy to burn, and if it does it's pretty foul, so you just have to keep an eye on it and keep stirring it. Nobody complained so I may have got away with that, until now at least, but even with slightly less than brown butter the lemon sole was delicious. Like I mentioned before, it's such a delicate fish that cooking it simply like this with a light sauce is the way to go.
It's sustainable too, a 2 on the sustainability scale where one is the best and 5 is worst. I reckon this might be a good recipe for entertaining: it's so easy to make but still delicious and pretty impressive. Your guests would think you've been slaving for hours in the kitchen, when actually you've been back there playing with your your son's Lego advent calendar. Living the dream.
For most of us, usinga credit card is mostly associated with special or larger purchases. I did not even own a credit card until we got engaged and I got one to pay for our hotel, flights and other big purchases. Most people use credit cards for one offitems like holidays, presents, gig tickets and festivals and purchase every day essentials like groceries and takeaways using cash or debit cards. It’seasier for those of us who are particularly budget conscious to keep an eye onwhat’s coming in and (most importantly) going out of our accounts.
However, did you know that many credit cards offer cashback on products that you purchase? This isn’t like getting cashback on your debit card – it’s normally a small percentage of your purchases credited to your account on a regular basis. Obviously it’s not a good idea to put lots more purchases on your credit card – if you don’t pay off the full amount each month, the money you are getting back is going to be instantly wasted on interest payments! That said, for spending that you’ve already got planned, it’s a good way to put your credit card to good use. You need make doubly sure that you pay off your balance every month.
The lovely people at Capital One want to know what YOU think about Cash Back Cards and in return one of you will win a brand new Kindle! How's that for an early Christmas present?
To enter answer the survey questions and follow the rules below!
Most days this is what I'm wearing. Not very glamorous but it is what it is. Working from home while watching a toddler means most days I rarely leave my living room so formal attire is shockingly not required. I'm never going to be one of those women who get dressed up for grocery shopping or toddler groups; when I have someplace to go and someone to see I like to look my best but if it is just Blondie Boy and I kicking it style takes a backseat.
If I'm wearing a t-shirt 9 time out of 10 it will be of the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals or Cincinnati Bearcats variety. I don't know if I'd rep my hometown so much through fashion if I still lived there but I certainly wear it with pride over here. What are your go to comfy clothes?
It has been awhile since I have updated on potty training and I know y'all are dying to know what is going on, right? Every one of those stickers is for peeing on the potty. I made him the reward chart and stuck it up in the bathroom. I just used some old poster board and got 1,000 stickers for £1 at Poundland so it wasn't expensive to implement.
As you can see from all the cars he is doing well but that also means he is going a lot. Sometimes he asks to go just to stare at his stickers--seriously. He also has a little sticker book that we used this weekend at his Grandma's house so he is still getting rewarded when away from home.
No pooping on the potty yet which is kind of annoying but I feel like if we can get one he'll be good to go in the future. I gather from others that not pooping on the toilet is normal so I'm not too worried.
We know he is young so again we aren't pushing it but he asks to go himself now so we are moving forward. If anyone has any tips for the elusive poo in the potty that would be great! We got some Mickey Mouse big boy undies in the US as well so hopefully that will encourage him?
Last Thursday I was lucky enough to win a Twitter competition and skip the queue for the unveiling of the new Versace for H and M collection! (ed note: I know it is not H and M, but I can't get an ampersand to work for some reason!) I got to go in early and shop before anyone else hit the store. The same rules still applied: I could only shop for 10 minutes and only one of each item.
I went in with only two items in mind and came out with five items from the Versace collection. I had planned a fashion show for y'all but well life took over so lucky for me Polyvore stepped in! So here is how I *would* have worn them if I actually got chance!
I'm still unsure about a few items and have until tomorrow to return them so please be honest about what you think! I'm also keen to hear alternate styling options, too!
This guest post is from a fellow expat Adele from Circus Queen. I briefly met the stunning Adele at the MADs and immediately wanted to know her experiences of being an expat mother in the UK. Here she shares her concerns about something I've often wondered myself-- what kind of accent will our dual national children have?
It's recently occurred to me that if we continue to live here, my daughter
will grow up with a Bristolian accent. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
There's a certain edgy charm to it, sure, but I just can't get my head
around the idea.
To be fair, it's not just the Bristol thing.
This is just part of the
general confusion I feel over raising a child who is British when I am
Growing up in Trinidad, a "farrin" (foreign) accent was something exotic. It meant experiences outside of mine - contact with a bigger world.
Though six years of living in the UK have confused my own accent, perhaps irreparably, I can't help but be weirded out by the idea that the baby whose nappies I'm changing will sound (and be) "farrin".
But what's in an accent? Can it tell a person’s whole story?
I was teased for mine as a child and teen. For one thing, it was inexplicably affluent. One sentence and people would make assumptions about the kind of school I’d been to and the kind of family I was from. I don’t know why the fact that my accent was associated with wealth was such a point of amusement for others or why it bothered me so much myself.
Secondly, it morphed according to context. As a teenager a lot of my sounds were hugely influenced by time spent in a mini-marriage to my best friend who was in fact “farrin”. She was from Texas.
I was self-conscious about my accent the way some girls are about their boobs (and, of course, I was conscious of those too).
Then I moved to England and apart from mistaking me for Welsh, people kept getting confused about whether I meant "hair", "here" or "hear". Uh, context, please.
Little by little, what started as a bid to be better understood became conformism.
For instance, last week, I was thinking through some political issues and found that when I referred to the “British public”, I’d included myself in that entity.
For most of the time I’ve lived here, I’ve viewed myself as separate from “the British”, a self-identified outsider. It was “them” and “me”.
But I’ve married a British man, I am raising a British child, I benefit from the National Health Service. I pay taxes. I take an interest in British politics. I watch XFactor. Religiously.
And the more Britishness my life accumulates, the more my accent seems to transform. Is it disingenuous? Is it self-loathing?
Part of me wants a slap for admitting that I’ve conformed. It's telling me it's time to buck up, take a swig of rum and start sounding broadly Caribbean and proud.
But really, I don't see that it is such a big deal. So what if I'm starting to sound British? Maybe it means I'm becoming more comfortable with being here. Maybe, just maybe, Britain is becoming home.
And if that's so, perhaps by the time my daughter's old enough to chat with, I'll not notice that she's "farrin".
So technically I am cheating because I wore this in October but I've only got the photos back this week so in my mind that counts! This week's outfit is three for the price of one! It is what we wore for our family photos when we were home in Ohio.
The ridiculously talented Geri Ciulla took our photos and I couldn't have been happier with how they turned out. I don't think you should get professional photos taken without professional make-up (trust me on this one) so the fabulous Mollie from Brideface gave me that defined eye I love so much without making me look like I just tripped off the Rock of Love Bus. Blondie Boy and NotBlondeHusband are gorgeous as is so they just rolled out of bed and turned up.
The photos were taken in Eden Park, one of Cincinnati's many stunning public parks, which overlooks the Cincinnati River, Kentucky and part of the Cincinnati skyline. It was a fabulous location for photos and I'm so glad Geri suggested it! Now on to the clothes!
I listed kilt but Blondie Boy isn't wearing one you say? Hell yes he had a wardrobe change!
A teeny, tiny sporan? I die. Here are a few of the other photos from that day Geri has so kindly shared but I can tell you there were SO many more amazing ones! I think we did a good job of matching without being too matchy-matchy?