Sunday, 30 October 2011

London Professionals

It's back to the daily grind for us here in London! Jim and I have both started work here in England and are now fully in the swing of normal life! Jim's already a month in, and I just finished my second week. My office is in Notting Hill...a very easy commute from our flat in Fulham, and Jim is all about town (and the country) travelling to clients near and far. The tube system is working out quite well (despite on the weekends when there are always planned closures!).

There really aren't too many differences between the London office and Voce back in San Francisco...the people are so friendly, also pretty funny and very welcoming. Here are a few facts to note about my work life so far: If you get up to get a coffee or tea, it is mandatory to ask everyone around you if they'd like one as well. And you get coffee or tea several times a day. You get in around 9:30 and it's totally fine to leave at 5:30. Fortnightly means every other week....this was definitely not in my vocabulary pre-move. Also, everything sounds a bit more proper and I now use the word, "quite" quite a lot.

The most enjoyable treat at my job so far is that when it's someone's "leaving due" or last day, or their birthday, there's a "drinks trolley." At first, I thought this meant a San Francisco-type trolley that would take you around to pubs, but no, I was mistaken. It's a small little cart that someone in the office will push around, offering wine, beer and canap├ęs and treats to everyone. It's a really cute tradition that signals the beginning of the weekend.

Here are a few photos!
Ernst & Young London office where Jim works sometimes.
Ernst & Young Reading office near the train station.
This was taken in Reading on Jim's first day!
Porter Novelli London office...feels like home!
Here's the street I work on.
Me awkwardly taking a photo on my first day since Jim had already left!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Autumn Chopped Salad

It is definitely beginning to look like fall and that means it's time for a new palette of flavors and autumn recipes! I found this fabulous salad recipe on Pinterest and it's a lovely light meal for this time of year. I slightly adapted the recipe to suit my personal taste, but feel free to alter as you like!

- 6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 medium pears, chopped (I like Bartlett)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 8 slices turkey bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
- 4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- Poppy seed Salad Dressing (I like Brianna's)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (Something like Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette (about 1 cup total dressing: 60 percent poppy seed and 40 percent balsamic vinaigrette).


[Photo by Espresso and Cream]

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Home Sweet Home

I’ve got some exciting news to share with you! As of this past weekend, we now live in Fulham, London! Fulham is a lovely borough (a district of the city, like Russian Hill or the Marina in San Francisco), and literally everything we need is just a block away, from charming cafes and bars to the gym and several supermarkets. To top it off, we can see Chelsea stadium from our kitchen window! We’re obviously Chelsea supporters now purely by location. The flat is mostly furnished, but we’ve still got decorations and a few more pieces of furniture coming in our sea shipment in a few week’s time. I’m fairly certain our flat isn’t going to be exactly what I’d envisioned in this previous post, but I will definitely try my best to make it cozy, charming and chic!

We got the keys on Friday, and our air shipment with a few items for the flat, arrived that day as well. After taking the train and then the tube from Reading to London on Friday night with five or so suitcases in total (yes, just picture it), we ended up sleeping in our new place. We spent the weekend unpacking and sorting out our flat, which included a few trips to M&S (per usual) and Waitrose (a food chain store similar to Safeway which is great for bulk shopping and the essentials). We now have a partially stocked kitchen, which falls a bit short in the refrigeration department (we currently have a dorm-size fridge/freezer…I should have known my love of small items would someday haunt me).

We also ventured out to Westfield Mall (same chain that’s in the states) for a few home goods and found it to be gigantic but also incredibly nice. After we’d had enough settling in, we went to the pub with some new friends to watch the Chelsea match, and then out with some other new friends to West Kensington and Chelsea. Overall a very eventful weekend!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Style Me Pretty!

I am so beyond thrilled and honored that our wedding was featured on my fave wedding blog, Style Me Pretty!!!

I'm so lucky to have worked with my fabulous photographer, Shanni Weilert, as well as all of my other wonderful vendors who made the day come together so beautifully. The full Style Me Pretty feature can be seen here, and the gallery is here.

Now go have a look!

Monday, 10 October 2011

10 English Lessons

  1. There are loads of funny British sayings that I’ve come to love so far. Most of them I learned from Anita, our leasing agent, while driving through London. New terms include: poky (a bit small and uncomfortable, as in "that flat is quite poky"), cheeky (slightly rude but in a funny way, as in "don't be so cheeky!"), dodgy (sketchy, as in "that place looked pretty dodge if you ask me"), smart (looking sharp, as in "the dress code is smart"), excellent/brilliant (self-explanatory), Chelsea tractors (large SUVs, like Range Rovers), Sloanes (young London socialites who wear expensive, traditional clothes, and have an upper class voice. Typical hangouts include the "Sloaney Poney" or the White Horse bar in Chelsea).                       
  2. England is not quite as expensive as I thought…if you’re getting paid in GBP. I would say that things are priced as in the U.S. except they’re in GBP, so it works out if you’re living and working here. Coming over for holiday can be expensive with the exchange rate, but don’t let this discourage you!                     
  3. There is no shortage of small cars – Fiats, Minis, SmartCars and Figaros can be found at almost every turn. Definitely feeds my obsession.
  4. A few stores have already surfaced as staples in my everyday life: Marks & Spencer (M&S), Pret A Manger (or "Pret") and Caffe Nero. Marks & Spencer can best be described as a mix of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods with tons of pre-made options that are super creative and delicious. Pret A Manger has amazing pre-made sandwiches that are mostly healthy and inspired. And Caffe Nero is my go-to coffee shop for strong espresso with a really good chocolate sprinkle topping.
  5. I’ve identified a few favorite parts of London already just from our flat hunting tour. South Kensington or "South Ken"  (posh, great shopping, cute cafes and good people watching), Fulham/Broadway (lovely neighborhood with wonderful shops and a comfortable feel) and for a touristy bit, down by the Thames near London Bridge, Borough Market, Tate Modern, Gabriel's Wharf and much more.
  6. Made in Chelsea is my English replacement for reality TV. It's about "sloanes" living in and around Chelsea leading posh lives. The plot lines are similar to that of The Hills, but obviously it all sounds more refined with a British accent. If we had DVR, it would be a weekly recording.
  7. From the train to the tube, transportation is relatively simple, easy and predictable. We've come to know it quite well (Jim especially since he's been commuting this past week), and it seems to be a fairly efficient system.
  8. The use of mayonnaise is out of control. It's overused on every pre-made sandwich, even on a simple cheese sandwich or a hummous (notice the spelling) and salad sandwich. Wish they'd cut back a bit because it is so easy to grab a sandwich on the go. Guess I'll just have to learn to love it! 
  9. Any type of bad news is usually sugar-coated. The English have a way of talking about things in a rosy round-about way that makes you think it's good news, when in fact, it's likely awful. You just wish sometimes that they would be a bit more straightforward with information...we're all adults here, we can handle it!
  10. Flat hunting is a very time-consuming process with lots of steps that aren't involved in a U.S. apartment search. It seems people also operate at a slower clip which delays the process even more. We are hoping all of our time spent on this process turns out to be worth it in the end!
These are all the lessons I have for now...I'm sure I'll have more to share once we actually move into London.


Friday, 7 October 2011

Fall Essentials

Now that fall is officially here and I'm in a colder city, my wardrobe must adapt. I've been trying to search for fashionable yet practical clothes & accessories that can last at least a couple seasons. And then naturally, I stumbled upon a few other items that I just have to have!

 "Wellies" are a must-have, and these colourful Hunter boots are amazing.
   I love stripes and this J. Crew Striped Knitted Cotton Sweater looks so cozy yet fitted.
This cross-body Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Natasha handbag is a great neutral shade.

A leather jacket is great for this time of year, and this caramel-coloured Vince leather cropped jacket would work so well with any outfit.
Love this gold Michael Kors watch stacked with beaded and chain bracelets. 

[Images from top to bottom: Gilt, J. Crew, Nordstrom,, Polyvore]

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Lovely Blooms

Aren't these gorgeous? I miss flowers in my life! Since they're a little pricey here, I'll wait until we have a home to buy them. Happy Tuesday!

[Photo by LuxeFinds]

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tiny Bit of Reading

Arriving to 24 degree (Celsius) weather in London this past week was quite a surprise! We're enjoying every last ray of sun before the inevitable English weather returns on Wednesday. We've been in Reading now for a little under a week and have come to know our bearings pretty well in this little suburb.

  This is our temporary housing on Crown Street in Reading...modest but manageable.
 Downtown Reading on a beautiful day...this is probably after one of many 
trips to Vodafone (we finally have iPhones!).
First day in Reading walking around the promenade. Kind of reminds me
of the Santa Monica promenade with lots of shops and restaurants.

 Lovely restaurant/shop where we shared a delish Haloumi cheese
sandwich and Tandoori roasted chicken with couscous (popular here,
along with curry, their "national dish").

We spent this past weekend touring flats in London and exploring the city. We're keeping our fingers crossed that one pans out; the process is different than in the states! There are so many things still left to do to get settled, but it seems finding a home is the most essential.

So far am loving the accents and picking up a few words here and there. The people are very friendly and things have gone pretty smoothly so far in terms of logistics (banking, phones, transportation). Although Reading is good for now, we definitely miss the buzz of a big city and are really looking forward to moving to London with our own place that we can decorate and call home. Hopefully that will be soon!

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