Are these guys cute or are these guys cute? These pics are actually from last week but I had a visit with my fav little munchkins again last night. I've been trying to see them once a week lately because 1 - they look forward to it, like I'm some cool special visitor or something  2 - they are growing up so stinkin fast and 3 - no matter how tired I am or how stressful my day has been, playing with them makes it all better. They especially love a visit from Ash. Jack looks up to Ash so much. He gets so excited to tell him things like how he did on his spelling test or in swim practice. When Ash isn't there all I hear is ''can Ash come next week?!'' And Georgie has recently started calling him ''Uncle'' Ash. I asked her if this makes me ''Aunt'' Kait but apparently it doesn't. If I ever call him just Ash she gets an attitude and is all like ''you mean UNCLE Ash''. She starts out shy at the beginning of the night but by bedtime she forgets I'm even there and only wants a story from Uncle Ash. It's pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen. I'm not seeing them for a whole month but I am already looking forward to my next visit, they better not grow at all between now and then.

This weekend was cray cray! Saturday night activities included a tasty dinner with lots of wine and Tia Maria coffees for dessert. Followed by some bar hopping (vodka tonics and Jameson ginger ales) and then booty shaking (with tequila and j├Ąger shots) to Britney Spears and Ke$ha jams. There were also happy tears at McDonalds at 4:30 in the morning, falling down on the sidewalk (Michelle, not me!) and a missing shoe (which i found in the washing machine Sunday morning). Needless to say it's Monday and I am still worn out. I can not recover as quickly as I used to.

Everyone knows the key to curing a hangover is not ''hair-of-the-dog'', it's greasy goodness. I had a nice big chicken sandwich and fries yesterday and that did help me out, but if I was in America I would be tempted to eat all of my favorites in one sitting.

In addition to warm weather and spending some quality time with friends and family, I am in serious need of some good ol American food. My cravings are worse than a pregnant lady right now. My mouth is watering. 9 days til I am home stuffing my face with high-calorie-can't-get-that-in-England goodness.

1. Cold Stone Creamery - where I can get peanut butter and coffee flavors in my ice cream - unheard of in the UK.
2. Five Guys burger - mmmmy God I can't wait to sink my teeth into one of those!
3. bang bang shrimp from Bonefish - nuff said.
4. bloomin onion / cactus blossom - I'll be trying to hit up Outback AND Texas Roadhouse for one of these bad boys.
5. need me some sweet tay!
6. my ultimate fav munchie snack - they're veggie flavor so they're good for you right?
7. Boston Market mac & cheesey goodness
8. Mexican food!!! authentic, cheap, served by an actual person from Mexico, Mexican food.

living in England ...

Let me start this post by saying - I am not complaining. I love love love mine and Ash's flat. It's super cute and cozy, in a great location, with rent that we are able to afford (well almost afford, but when I'm working full time again it'll be all good). When I walk into this apartment I feel at home, and that makes me happy. I am writing this to point out some differences between apartments in America and apartments in England. The point of this blog is for me to write about being an American living in England, even though I get really distracted sometimes (mostly about food).

I realize that some of the things that I say may make me sound like a spoiled bitch but keep in mind that I did spend the majority of my years in Cary, North Carolina. Carytopia as Ash calls it, where my closet was the size of the average Londoners bedroom. Man I miss that closet! So although it may sound like complaining, I am just writing about the things that it's taken me a while to get used to.

Gone is my big closet in Cary and my 2 decent sized closets in my bedroom in Wilmington. My closet here is tiny non-existant. Places here are just not built with them. Wardrobes are all the rage, and don't get me wrong, I love a wardrobe, they are a great way to organize clothes. Much better than a dresser because you can hang things so they are almost like a little mini closet. But the problem is that 1 is not enough for me. I want like 10, in addition to my closet. Or at least 2 - spring/summer and fall/winter. And I would also like a coat closet instead of these hooks on the wall.
shoes in the hallway nook and under the bed because of the no closet situation

organization is the key to the success

our bed is one of those fold down ones, but we never put it up 
because I've got so much crap stored underneath it! 

this is the rest of our place, isn't it cute? 
Those boxes next to the bed are more of my attempts at storage.

Storage in general seems to be the biggest thing that I struggle with here. In the kitchen there aren't any food pantries so the cupboards get filled up with canned goods, pasta, bread, and whatever else doesn't go in the fridge. It's not like I can afford a million cool appliances and different sets of dishes for the holidays. But if I could afford to trick out my kitchen it would be really hard to do so cause I don't know where I'd put everything!

Even the fridges in England have limited space. The majority of the houses that I've been to in England have a fridge somewhere in between the size of a normal American fridge and the fridge that you'd keep in your college dorm room. I guess Americans need bigger fridges cause there is so much more variety of food to fill the fridge with.

In addition to a big fridge, one thing that I miss is having a dishwaher, a rare thing to find in the average English flat. In replace of a dishwasher you get a lovely washing machine in the kitchen. Yes the kitchen. I know, I thought it was really weird too when I moved here but apparently it's the norm. I don't understand this at all but I've gotten used to it. But I will never ever ever get used to not having a dryer. It's just weird how uncommon they are. So how do we dry our clothes? With these handy guys -

If we had a dryer I would still like to hang things, obviously not everything can go in the dryer. But not having the option to throw something in the dryer is so frustrating. Washing sheets = an-entire-weekend-long-nightmare-of-a-project.

One thing I do love about English homes is radiators. Instead of having the heat come through vents like we do, they have radiators in every room. When I first got here I thought that sleeping against the radiator would make my butt catch on fire in the middle of the night, but Ash informed me that it's just hot water running through the pipes so I run no risk of turning into a big ball of flames. Radiators in the bathrooms means warm towels and radiators in the living area means the closest thing that I have to quickly drying clothes.

The only real complaint difference in the bathrooms here are the faucets. There is a hot and cold so when washing your face and hands you have the option of freeeezing cold or reallly super hot, there is no way to make it in between. Annoying? Yes. Unbearable? No. Just takes getting used to. Also there are no plugs in the bathroom at all. Not just our bathroom, all bathrooms. I guess English people are afraid of getting electrocuted which makes sense but it means that my blowdrying and straightening activities take place in the living room. 

How cute is our bathroom? And relatively huge. I love reading in the bath. 

Another strange thing about the plugs here besides the fact that there aren't any in the bathroom, is that they have little on/off switches. That took a while to get used to and a few times of wondering why the blender or toaster wasn't working - the plug wasn't on, duh. 

That ends my rant discussion of differences between American apartments and English ones. Hope you found this somewhat interesting. Now go sit in your closet for a while and be thankful. 

I can not wait to go Home - reason 892

I just can't wait to hear those good tunes. I've loved country since I was little and I just feel really deprived of it here. I listen to all sorts of music but sometimes you just need some good ol country. Naw-whad-I-mean? I hate when I get Home and I don't know any of the songs because we get virtually no country music here in the UK. That means I need to be catchin up on all the jams and making a good playlist to bring back with me. Every once in a while we'll get a Taylor song here which makes me literally jump for joy and the other day at work this cute little song came on. I know I'm a little late on it but I'm pretty obsessed with it. Love me some Sugarland! I turned it up real loud for everyone to enjoy. They weren't too impressed but it was the highlight of my week. 14 sleeps and counting. YEEEHAWWW!! 

Ode to Aunt

She goes by just Aunt, no other name required,
It is her whom I have always admired.
The younger of the Rosokoff sisters,
It's been a year and man have I missed her.

Lover of sweets, she spoils me rotten,
Good memories with Aunt are never forgotten.
Queen of to-do lists, a bit OCD,
Her organizational skills were passed down to me.

Clever and witty, and a fellow proud Gleek,
When I heard she was coming for Easter, I really did freak.

She lives in the land of snow and hot wings,
Over the years she has taught me so many things.
Like how to be popular, and always polite.
33 sleeps til I see her, including tonight.

Oh Aunt how I love you,
Please get here fast!
Pack the ''butta lamb'' in a cooler,
So that it will last.

This Easter will be such a joyous day,
Myself, Aunt, and Mom all together, hip hip HOORAY!

pic of the day

true love is a boyfriend that buys you a  £10 / $16 box of Lucky Charms cause he knows they will make you the happiest girl in the world, thank you baby. 

pub life

Pubs (short for public house - who knew?) are one of the best things about living in the UK. When I googled ''how many pubs in London'' the estimate was around 7,000. There is literally a pub on every corner. I've counted at least 8 within a 2 minute walking distance from my work. And it's not just in the city center, everyone in England seems to have a ''local'' - a pub that you can get wasted at and then walk home. The pub is a huge part of English culture and has been the host of many of my most fun nights since I've been living here. At Home it seems like going out for drinks always has to be a planned event. You have to think about who is going to drive, what you're going to wear etc. Going to the pub is super laid back (almost as good as going to the beach bars in Wilmington), you can dress up or down and you'll fit in ...  and then you can just walk your drunk self on home. Below are some pics of my favorite pubs around town.

The first pub that I ever went to in London on my trip over in 2006, as recommended by Darren Buer. Also met Aunt Shell here for a beer and fish and chips in 2009.

The Moon, Ash's family's local - we went here my very first night visiting Ash, also the home of Christmas Eve and many other drunken nights.

Warming up at our local, The Toby Carvery across the street from our flat.

One of the many many pubs near my work.

The Sun - Ash's after work spot 

The White Hart, one of London's oldest pubs - it opened in 1216!

these pictures are making me thirsty! happy friday :)
I love me some heels. I have never been one to complain (too much) about my feet hurting - I used to cram my feet into ballerina pointe shoes until I got blisters that would bleed for goodness sake. But I do not understand how these girls walk around London in high heels all day. Even in my comfiest heels, my feet are hurting by the time I get to the train station in the morning. I am fine when I am in the office doing minimal walking around, but walking on London's uneven pavement is a sprained ankle waiting to happen. In the past, wearing heels meant going from my apartment, into a cab or car, then to a bar / club / restaurant, then into a cab back home. Now I have to walk (uphill) to the train station, change trains via walking up some stairs or ramps, walk from the train station to work, walk to get some lunch etc etc etc. I know I am whining but it's my blog and I can whine if I want to. I miss my really high heels. They make my outfits so much cuter. Am I doomed to become one of these (very smart, practical) women?

Free Healthcare

Serious benefit of living in the UK - free health care. If I have to go to the doctor for anything it won't cost me a dime. Ash's knee surgery was completely free. I recently picked up a year's worth of birth control for free. 12 packs of birth control, for free! I feel like I should sell them on US ebay and then tell my doctor that I lost my prescription. I could start some sort of business!

No matter how long I live here this will fascinate me. Yes it is awesome, but I can't help but wonder - would this free health care be better health care if people did have to pay for it? First of all, everything takes a really long time here. You can't just call up and make an appointment. When I first moved here I registered at a doctor near Ash's parents' home. Since we've lived in our apartment for over a year now and are happy in the area I thought I would find a doctor closer to me. Seems simple enough right? Wrong. It was a month long process. Even after I registered I had to wait 2 weeks before making an appointment because they had to ''process my registration''. Then I had to wait for an available appointment slot. Good thing I wasn't seriously ill.

I can not imagine paying for health care here and being happy with the service received. On a recent trip to the doctor I came home thinking thoughts such as ''Thank God I didn't have to pay for that crap'' and ''oh well, at least it was free''. Every doctor that I've encountered here has a really bad attitude problem. Am I experiencing racism? Maybe they don't like that I am here, obviously American, and using their free health care? Whatever the reason, when I go to the doctor I feel like they can't get rid of me quick enough, they make me feel stupid for being there in the first place, and they seem like they can't be bothered to do their job. The appointment that I waited weeks for was over in 15 minutes and went something like this:

Doctor - come in, what can I do for you?
Me - well I'm a new patient so I wanted to come in for a general checkup.
Doctor - well I'll take your blood pressure.
(takes my blood pressure)
Doctor - what else? (what do you mean what else? do whatever you need to do that consists for a general checkup!)
Me - I would like a breast exam.
Doctor - do you examine your own breasts?
Me - yes, monthly.

Doc - then there's no point in me doing it. (yes! she said this!)
Me - well with all due respect my mother is a breast cancer survivor and I would feel more comfortable having a professional do a check up on me once a year.
Doc - we don't typically do that unless you're over the age of 50 but I suppose I can make an exception, but like I said there really is no point at all.
Me - well if you have a minute I would really appreciate it.
(does breast exam)
Doc - ok you're all set. we typically do breast exams once every 3 years so just come back then unless you need anything else in the meantime.

Maybe I should make my appointment now since it will likely take 3 years to schedule it. This whole situation infuriated me. I came out of the doctor's, called my mom to bitch about it, went home and bitched about it to Ash, and then bitched about it some more a few hours later. And here I am bitching about it now!

I do think that heath care should be a right - regardless of job, income, personal circumstance, whatever - everyone should have the right to free heath care. But GOOD free health care. I would've much rather paid money to see a doctor that made me feel comfortable and welcomed. The whole attitude of not taking preventive measures seems a bit ridiculous. I see stats on the news about the high rate of breast cancer in the UK. Well maybe if they didn't tell people to go see a doctor every 3 years after the age of 50 the rates would be a bit lower. I don't have a solution. I'm not a politician and I certainly don't know how to make health care free but also high quality ... but in a perfect world that's how it would be.

back to the grind

Hello little blog. I'm back at work today after a lovely week off. I had one of the best birthdays ever. Ash and I went to a little town in Devon called Brixham. It was the perfect break. We slept in every day, took long walks around the town, had pub lunches, and a few really nice dinners out. It was so laid back and relaxing which is just what both of us needed. And of course he spoiled me rotten and made me feel like the princess that I am ;) I can't believe I'm 26 now. That is a bit scary and exciting. I feel like I have a really good year ahead of me!
Also, I got a new camera! I've been wanting to get into photography for a while now so I finally made the big purchase of a digital SLR. I really have no idea what I'm doing yet, but I've read the manual and have been playing around with it for the past week. Next week I am taking an intro photography class. It's just a one day course but I'm excited to learn some new things. I'm pretty sure I'll never be a pro photographer but I'm excited about this new hobby and I can't wait to take great pics around town and on future trips.
Speaking of future trips, New Orleans and North Carolina are right around the corner! I can.not.wait. I am in some serious need of home-time with my family and a weekend of boozing with my very best girlfriends in New Orleans? Yes please! Plus it's been way too long since I've sunk my teeth into a Five Guys burger. We're still sorting out flights, it's tricky with Ash getting the time off work and the date of my exam in May has still not been announced. Hopefully things will be set in stone soon so y'all can mark your calendars and get excited for my big visit Home.

That's all that's happening with me. Back to work 3 days a week at the design showroom and back to school 1 day a week boring my brains out learning about finance and economics type things. I'll be sure to keep you posted on my little life.
i'll be havin one of these today ;) 
See ya! We're heading to the country for a long weekend. I can't wait to get some fresh air. Ash's is driving a rental car and we're planning on stopping to see Stonehenge on the way. Check out where we're staying on the link below. Planning on lots of wine and good food all weekend ... sleeping in and just chillin the hell out :) check in with y'all next week. 

(birthday) dinner at 456

As you know, Ash's birthday was last week. For dinner we made an amazing meal together of all of our favorite nibbles. It was sooo delicious, birthday tapas! Check it out :)

baked camembert cheese topped with garlic, olive oil & thyme

We had never done scallops before but we always see them being made on our favorite cooking show so we thought we'd give it a try. I bought them fresh from the grocery & de-shelled them myself. They only took 3 minutes to cook and they turned out perfect. We'll be adding these to our dinner menus in the future.

the birthday boy / chef :)

SHRIMP (in an amazing sauce that Ash just whipped up - lime, coconut & chili), SCALLOPS(in butter & garlic) & MUSHROOMS (in garlic & balsamic)

Tada! swedish meatballs, roasted tomatoes, scallops, garlic & balsamic mushrooms, baked camembert & baguette, shrimp in chili-lime-coconut sauce served up on a super cute birthday table cloth.

unfortunately dessert wasn't homemade, but it was seriously good & seriously cute .... mini key lime pies!