We are a small, happy family of four. My husband, a baby, a dog and me. My husband works on a yacht. A large, luxury megayacht which tends to be based in some fairly fabulous places. The thing is, where the boat goes, we go! When she was was just eight weeks old our daughter, Coco, boarded her first trans-Atlantic flight and since then we haven't stopped. This is a blog of our rather unusual yet adventurous life. No two days are the same.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Big News!

Oh my goodness it has been AGES! However, I do have a good excuse - last week I was a complete bag of nerves and could focus on little else other that going over and over and over our accounts to make sure we really could afford to buy a HOUSE! On top of the affordability, we were also waiting with baited breath to see if we could actually get the imperative mortgage. On Friday morning at about 6.58am (we're 5 hours behind the UK here) we got the call to say "full steam ahead". By 7.20am we had made an offer, by 8.05am we were negotiating and by 8.08am we had done a deal! The deposit is paid and we move in in March! Well, that is a bit weather dependant as the house hasn't actually been built yet but that is a minor detail.

Ah, deep breath - I am very excited.

Nothing is going to be changing too much, we will still be a nomadic family following boats around the world but knowing that we have a home to come back to, run to if we need it, be together in when we are all in the UK... it will just make life that little bit easier and more secure.

Anyway, moving in day is still a little way off and we are really stretching ourselves to do this so I am working my butt-off to earn the money to pay for carpets - hence the lack of blogging, or reading any other blogs (sorry). I will try and re-focus and not get too carried away with telling you all about the sofa I want or the colour I am going to pain the living room wall. After all, we are in America and there is still an awful lot of fun to be had over here.

Talking of which we discovered the world of remote controlled aircraft at the weekend which was absolutely fascinating. No seriously - it was. We stumbled across a park near here that has an actual airfield, complete with runway, totally dedicated to model aircraft. These planes are amazing and built as exact replicas of the real deal. There was even a jet plane, with proper jet engines and the distinct smell of jet fuel. Check out the video and you'll see what I mean.

On Friday we weren't just celebrating our house purchase, it was also Uncle Gaby's 30th Birthday! I can't believe he is 30 but we marked the occasion with lots of champagne (so he could drown his sorrows, I think he struggled a bit leaving his 20's behind) and birthday brownies complete with lots and lots of candles. (Not that I should be allowed to go anywhere near fire after nearly burning the house down last week! Seriously, I was standing the the middle of the kitchen holding a burning pan with flames reaching the ceiling! My great-in-an-emergency husband told me calmly to "put the pan gently in the sink" where the fire quickly ran out of fuel and all was well. It was a close one though.)

Anyway, Happy Birthday again Gaby (Baby to Coco which we are hoping might stick!) and I promise you, your 30's are way better than your 20's so there is no need to worry.

Just a quick aside before I get back to work while Coco sleeps - welcome to all my new followers! I can not tell you how exciting it is to have some new readers on board.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Days of Thunder

We have had such a great weekend and I feel much more relaxed. Yesterday we packed up our cool-bag and drove down to Homestead to the NASCAR championships. Now, I am no petrol head, neither is Angus but we have a very clever friend who is an 'aerodynamicist' (I think that's what you call him) for one of the teams and seeing as we don't get to see him very often and he was just down the road we decided to check it out.

I am so glad we did. Not only was it simply lovely to see Tom, but the racing was awesome! As we turned off the turnpike we could see the enormous track grandstand looming ahead of us. There were aeroplanes circling above with advertising banners streaming behind them, a vast car park rapidly filling with big, 4x4 trucks (everyone drives a truck over here) and the roar of race car engines audible before we had even got out of the car!

"I love big events", said Angus with a shudder of excitement.

I knew exactly what he meant. A county show at home in the UK, a festival or a football match, the atmosphere of a large event is just brilliant and it has to be said that nobody does large events quite like the Americans.

There were tailgaters with bbq's, rock bands, beer stands, corn dogs, a lot of baseball caps and cars! Oh the cars! They were so fast and so load and SO cool! Even Coco (in her protective ear-muffs) seemed to enjoy the thrill of the race - literally.

Catching up with Tom was just what I needed.  I love making new friends but the easiness that there is with old ones is sometimes just such a relief.

Anyway, should you get the opportunity to go to a NASCAR event then definitely do it, even if you don't like cars, do it for the experience. The noise, the smell, the people and the speed is straight out of 'Days of Thunder'. I would also be prepared to lay money on the fact that some of the drivers were dead-ringers for Tom Cruise!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time to reflect...

and think again about what it is I am grateful for this week.

This is a really good exercise for me this Saturday as it has been a frantic week. I will explain in more detail at a later date but in short, Coco has been under the weather, we are in the process of trying to buy a house but it all depends on a mortgage and we have been waiting to hear for what seems like FOREVER! So, coughing child and high anxiety levels leads to the inevitable sleepless nights which then leads to... disorganisation, irritability, out-of-control eating (my achilles heal) - the list goes on!

So first of all I must be grateful for:

A patient family - just for putting up with me (especially Angus), supporting me, accepting the fact that contacting those of you in the UK has been low on my list of priorities this week... thank you all, I really am grateful xx

Running - it is such a great stress-buster, even in the Florida heat! I feel so much better and healthier after a good run, it helps me put everything into perspective and also makes me stop for a second and be thankful for the fact that I am so lucky to have a healthy body.

Genius Playlists - Why did I not know about this before? A friend recently told me about this little gem that itunes has to offer and it has completely changed my musical appreciation! I love it and am discovering and rediscovering music I didn't even know I had.

Old school friends - We are so lucky to have wonderful friends from our school days, I told you about some of them a while back here, but another lives in the US and this weekend his work brings him to Homestead, Florida so we are all getting together this afternoon. I am so excited, it is lovely seeing friends from home when we are away from family and friends so much of the time.

I'll leave you with a couple of photos of some old school friends and do pop over to Maxabella and see what everyone else is grateful for this week.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The joys of Saturday

I'm just going to make it. It's late on Saturday evening but I want to take a few moments to tell you that...

This Saturday I am grateful for...

Uncle Gaby - My lovely (not so little) little brother. I am always grateful for him but especially this Saturday as, out of the blue, he offered to have my darling daughter for the day to give Angus and I the day together - child free! He did it all with no hesitation; play, lunch, naps, a trip to the park, even nappy changes! It was amazing, we had a wonderful time on our day off (more of that later) and, I think, they did too!

The sound of a game of tennis - Angus and I met playing tennis. We were both pretty good in our youth! We don't get to play very much anymore, hardly ever in fact, but when we do I love it. We played today when we were child free and as we hit the ball back and forth in the warm sunshine, I took a moment to enjoy the sound of the of the ball as the bounce echoed around the court. That sound is so evocative, it brings back so many happy memories. We should play tennis more often.

A perfectly chilled glass - oh who are we kidding... bottle - of Sauvignon Blanc - Just because it is delicious and helps the world go around!

Thank you again to Maxabella for setting up such a lovely Saturday link-up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Going Veggie

I never thought I would see the day that my carnivorous husband supported my decision for our little household to be mainly veggie for the foreseeable future. However, he does, he even seems to have kind of encouraged it after we both watched last nights movie.

One of the things that I have been fascinated by since spending a significant amount of time in the US is the food over here. Firstly there are a ludicrous amount of fast food restaurants. You drive down pretty much every highway and you are continuously confronted by neon signs welcoming customers to MacDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Dunkin Donuts... the list goes on and on. Fast food is cheap, easy and immensely popular.

It all seems a little stereotypical, America and the burger bar, and I'm certainly not saying that this is the way all American's eat, lets face it, junk food is becoming a problem everywhere, but you are very aware of it here. Even in the supermarket the shelves are lined with instant foods. Instant cake mix, instant macaroni, throw in the oven pizza, instant pancakes - you can even buy Egg Beaters, which as the name suggests is beaten egg! In a carton! There is obviously fresh produce but even this sometimes seems a little dubious. I bought and cooked a chicken in the summer, I usually do a great roast chicken, even though I say it myself (wiggling my head in pride), but this was so awful we threw it away (and made some instant macaroni instead - no I didn't, just kidding). It was just a bad chicken - and last night we found out why; we watched Food Inc.

If you haven't seen this film, you must. You will never want to eat another burger ever again. (Can I write that? Didn't Oprah get sued for saying something similar?) Having watched how the meat is produced and how animals are treated, I can't justify buying it anymore so we have decided we won't. We are officially veggie, apart from the odd occasion where we splash out and buy some free-range, organic, happy meat but we simply can't afford to do that all of the time. So it's lentil lasagne, vegetable curries and nut roasts in this household for the time being. We will still eat fish to ensure we all get plenty of protein but the red and white meats are going on hold for a while. Don't get me wrong, I'm not getting on my healthy eating high-horse, I was just quite shocked and I want to be sure that I know what I am feeding my family.

I was veggie for a good few years in my student wannabe hippie days so I am actually looking forward to experimenting with some vegetarian cooking again and introducing us all to some new dishes and exciting flavours. I'll keep you posted on how we are getting on and while we are doing that, watch the film.

Have you ever seen a film that changes your lifestyle?

(I'm taking part in Flog Yo Blog Friday - go and take a look)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Season? Beach Season!

It's Gallery time again. "Already?", I hear you say.

I've been rubbish at blogging this week... again. I just don't know where the time goes!

This week the theme is 'Seasons'. Well here in Florida there don't seem to be any real seasons. The winter is hot, the spring is a little hotter and the summer is really, really frigging hot! Last weekend the clocks went back so we are well and truly into 'fall'. The sticky humidity has made way for refreshing breezes and beautifully warm sunshine. It is quite honestly my absolute perfect weather at the moment.

This evening Coco and I had a picnic tea on the beach where Angus and Uncle Gabes joined us for a swim when they had finished work. Despite the warmth, Coco still needed some snuggles from her Uncle to warm her up after her autumnal evening dip.

Check some other seasonal offerings at Sticky Fingers.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Singing my troubles away

One of my very favourite bloggers is the lovely Maxabella from the wonderful land of Oz. Her blog is always completely inspiring, thought provoking and uplifting - I adore it. You MUST go and have a read. On Saturday's she always stops, reflects and tells here readers what she is grateful for. I am jumping on the bandwagon and would like to share with you some of the things in my life today for which I am thankful...

Skype - I am constantly blown away by the fact that I can sit on my computer, nearly 4500 miles from home, and I can have a clear, face to face conversation with my Mummy. It makes being away all the time that little bit easier. It is magic!

Cool Breezes - After a blisteringly hot week in Florida, the thunderstorms came, the air cleared and today we enjoyed a clear sky, warm sun and a beautifully cool breeze. We spent the afternoon at the park, walking, talking and playing and all at a comfortable, constant temperature.

Headache Pills - Although today has been blissfully relaxed, it didn't stop a nasty headache bugging me all afternoon. However, a bottle of water and a couple of paracetamol and I feel as right as rain!

My Husband - I've been a little homesick since leaving the UK and my gorgeous husband has spent today helping to lift my spirits. He even put The Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber in the car so that I could sing all my troubles away at the top of my mediocre voice!

What are you grateful for this weekend?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Show me the funny!

I've decided to link up to The Gallery this week. I have really enjoyed seeing everyone else's interpretations of the weekly themes since I discovered this brilliant Wednesday feature by Sticky Fingers a little while ago and I wanted to get involved! Hope nobody minds?

This week is 'Show me the funny' and this is what we have to offer...

Coco and I found this extremely funny, Daddy - not so much!

Without a doubt, Coco was a sicky baby. She was completely unfazed by it but you could guarantee that after every meal there would be a reasonably dramatic throw-up. The best thing was that generally it seemed to be Daddy that bore the brunt of the carnage. He had to endure sick on the chest, sick on his shoes, even sick in his mouth! (another story for another time) but the photo above was a classic. After a fantastic day a Ren Fest - I blogged about it earlier this year - Coco had guzzled a bit too much milk and Daddy endured the consequences! Poor Daddy xx

Monday, November 1, 2010

Loving Halloween!

I have secretly loved Halloween for years. I adore the feeling of being completely freaked-out and have been renowned for my ghost story renditions since I started going to sleepovers. I even enjoy the odd horror movie. Not the blood and guts kind but the freaky, spooky, Blair Witch kind.

As a child I was so jealous of American children at Halloween. The fancy dress, the trick or treating and the parties. Since I first watched ET I was fascinated by the idea of 'trick or treating' and was desperate to get involved but it just didn't happen in the UK in those days.

So last night was the biggest revelation for me. Halloween in America lived up to all of my expectations!

We were kindly invited to join some friends in their 'neighbourhood' for our first trick or treating experience. As the sun went down the children (and adults) come out in their droves. There were ghosts and witches, mummies and ghouls, cats and spiders and even a caveman (!). Groups of children knocked on doors and were rewarded with handfuls of brightly coloured, sugarific 'candy'. The effort people go to is extraordinary. One house had spooky music blaring out, you had to fight your way through the cobwebs to get to the door and then you were greeted by a full-size coffin the opened to reveal a revolting zombie. It wasn't until you'd run this horrible gauntlet that you could claim your chocolatey prize! Some people had baked beautifully iced muffins, others set up a little stand by their door overflowing with treats ready for their visitors. This is a tradition that is fully embraced over here and is seriously good fun. We met all our neighbours and planted the seed for some potential new friendships, everyone seemed to have fun - even though it was absolutely pouring with rain.

Coco managed to get into a packet of Skittles without us realising so was literally bouncing off the walls by the time we got home but still it was a brilliant, brilliant family evening.