Wow, what a year!

I’m back! How was your holiday season guys? Mine was jam packed, hence the absence from this little blogging space of mine! It involved trips to England and Germany and lots of catch ups with family and friends. Despite all my good intentions to give you some updates I just couldn’t find the time. I also wanted to post this earlier this week but, thanks to some sort of deadly virus from England (we’re talking a beautiful 3 week long cough and cold) I just didn’t feel up to it.

But I’m back now and taking a look back at one of the most amazing years ever! 2014 was very, very good to me indeed! I thought I’d pop together a few highlights for you to peruse over and for me to reminisce about.

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Food: Making our own pizzas

Making Pizzas
As you all know, the German celebrated his birthday the other week and we spent the weekend in Savannah. Lucky that we did because his birthday present was a little heavy to take on a plane.

The German’s favourite food in the whole, entire world is pizza. He could eat it every single day and not get bored. In fact, before he met me I think he really did eat it every single day and, if I go back to the UK and leave him home alone without any pre-cooked dinners in the freezer he definitely would eat pizza every single day. So, with this in mind, I bought him his very own pizza recipe book, a pizza stone and a pizza peel so that he could make his own pizzas from scratch. Turns out it was a blummin good present and he was a happy birthday boy so, last weekend, we decided to try it out.

The adventure started with the dough. Turns out this baby needs 18 hours to prove – 18 hours? I knew it would take a while but I wasn’t thinking 18 hours! Anyway, we made it the night before and waited for the yeast to do its stuff and make the little ball of dough double in size…and it did!

It was pizza time. The German had chosen a sausage and fennel pizza (fennel seems to be a favourite of his lately) so we started with a basic tomato sauce by literally squishing some tomatoes and made the ground pork into sausage meat by adding some ginger, fennel seeds, garlic and chilli flakes. This thing was looking good.

We chopped up the rest of our ingredients (well I did, chopping isn’t really the German’s forte) and we were ready to go:

Making Pizzas 2
First we needed to shape our bases. The German wanted to do the Italian thing and shape them in the air on his hands – he tried, but he needs a little more practice, so after a little bit of air shaping he continued on the counter top and managed to make some good circles! We put the toppings on and these things were ready to go…the only thing we were about to struggle with was getting them from the counter top to the oven…disasters.

Making Pizzas 3
We have a pizza peel but, once half of the pizza was on the peel the other half didn’t want to move. We ended up having to squish the pizza a little to get it on the peel and then onto the pizza stone that had been heating up in the oven but we made it and 12 minutes later our first pizza was ready – success! This thing looked good!

Making Pizzas 4
We then had another struggle to get the second pizza off the counter top and into the oven – does anybody have any tips on how to do this? It seems we really need them. We did use a lot of flour – probably too much if I’m honest – but it still didn’t work! Help is greatly appreciated. Eventually we did it but sadly, whilst the pizza was in the oven the pizza stone broke! It literally cracked into 2 pieces. We managed to patch it together and use it for the pizza but, it’s safe to say, it will be heading back to the store this week.

Next came the taste test, after one bite we realised we did bloody well! They were amazing! Very tasty indeed. The German was pleased with his efforts – I think pizza making will be happening a lot more often in the Richter house. He’s already eyed up another couple of pizzas in his book he wants to try.

Have you ever made your own pizza? What’s your favourite topping?

Life Is Good. {August in Review}

Life is Good...
It’s that time of the month again where I link up with the lovely Belinda over at Found Love, Now What (go check out her fab blog…once you’ve read this post of course!) to celebrate everything good that happened in August both big and small. LIfe is so busy that we sometimes forget the little things that were just bloody awesome. August was a pretty packed month for this expat meaning I have loads of great things to tell you about! Here goes…

Life is Good. {August in Review}

The first day of August saw me waking up back in England a little jet lagged but happy to be home and excited to catch up with friends and family who I haven’t seen since the wedding back in May.

The first weekend in August I hung out with Ma Cook and did a spot of shopping, went out for dinner with her and Pa Cook and, more importantly (sorry parentals!) became a godmother to the beautiful Lily:

August is Good 1
The next few days were filled with lunches and dinners and meet ups with friends, I managed to stuff my face with plenty of British treats including steak and ale pie and fish and chips, I also indulged in a couple of curries and came back to the States a few pounds heavier!

I spent a lovely day at the beach with my new god-daughter Lily, her mum, my oldest and most special friend Clare, Clare’s mum and Ma Cook. Being the UK it wasn’t too warm but it was a perfect day for making sand castles and paddling in the sea at Bridlington:

August is good 2
Lily, Clare and I also spent some time at the farm, anyone who knows me will realise that this is a major achievement as I am not an animal person – it’s safe to say I didn’t touch any of them though despite Clare trying to encourage me to – I left that to her and Lily!

I spent a night with my brother and sister-in-law (and the parentals) in Cheltenham before heading to Worcester for christening number 2 where I spent time with my friends from university Taff and Forkie (we missed you Bam!) and became a godmother again, this time to the beautiful Bridget:

August is good 3
Then it was time for my to fly home and back to the German, who was a good un and got me some lovely flowers to welcome me home.

The first day I was back home, the German took my car key to work, meaning I was stuck in the house…great.

The second day I was back home I had to wait for the cable guy who had a window of 8am-12pm. He arrived at 12:20pm with no apology, I wasn’t impressed. By this point I was desperate to get out of the house but when I jumped into my car it wouldn’t start. Great. So, I spent the afternoon by the pool before taking Mindy (that’s my car, we all name our cars right?) for a new battery.

That weekend we headed to Indianapolis to see our friends Balti and Jasmin. We went to the Indianapolis State Fair (expect a blog post on that beast!), caught a pre-season Indianapolis Colts football game and checked out the city:

August is good 4
I had lunch with my British friend Gillian and her new baby Maia – we went to a British pub and talked about how we don’t search out British food and have adjusted to American life – we couldn’t have said it in a better place!

Then came the German’s birthday trip to Savannah – we checked out the beautiful historic city, ticked off 3 of the 4 places in America where you can drink on the streets and celebrated the German adding another year to his life. You can read more about that little trip by clicking here.

August is good 5
I attempted to head back to the gym this month…something which left me in a little bit of pain, baring in mind I haven’t properly exercised since before the wedding in May!

The German bought himself a new bike whilst I was away too meaning we can now go out on bike rides together (I get to use his old bike), this however, resulted in me being saddle sore…ouch. We have ventured out again though and I’m pleased to report the problem is getting better!

The month ended with another long weekend thanks to the Labor Day holiday where we stayed at home for a change! It was much-needed after weeks away! We chilled out, went on a bike ride, laid by the pool and made our own pizzas!

August is good 6
So there you have it – August was once again a blast for this expat. It was so good to head home and spend some time with my family and friends, become a godmother twice over (I’m one lucky lady!) and do some more exploring. Life really is good!

Life is Good. {June in Review}

Wowzers, it’s July already. July! Where does the time go? It doesn’t seem 2 minutes since I was writing my post reviewing the month of May and now I’m writing about June. Time is passing so quickly, blink and you miss it! So, to help me keep track of what actually did happen in June, both big and small, I’m linking up with Belinda over at Found Love, Now What to give you a little rundown of my month, and, once again, it seems a lot of things happened!

Life-is-Good

I went to my first ever baby shower. These things are only just starting to happen back in the UK –  the mum-to-be is Scottish so her words were ‘having a baby in America is amazing if this is what you get!’

I know I’m late on this one but I watched The Notebook for the first time and yes I was in floods of tears, I’m talking literally streaming down my face.

I loved having Skype dates with my best friends back home this month and reminiscing about the wedding.

We went to our first American wedding and watched our friends Mandy and Carson tie the knot in a beautiful ceremony. Those two are made for each other, it was a fabulous day and the bride looked stunning!

June Review 3

Festival season is upon us in Atlanta, we ventured out to the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 2014. You can read all about it here.

Flights have been booked to Indianapolis and the UK.

I made a new discovery that I’m now addicted to – Passion Tango Iced Tea Lemonade at Starbucks. The Blackberry Mojito one is good too.

My birthday came around and as a present, the German took me to New Orleans. I am definitely a lucky lady! Lots of blog posts to come on that one.

June Review 2

I missed the first birthday of my best friends beautiful baby Lily. This is when expat life is rubbish because you’re not at home to celebrate with friends and family. I did get lots of pictures though (which made me cry) and I Skyped the birthday girl on her big day!

Our niece Christina arrived from Germany with her friend Nina. They went on a road trip around Florida before coming back to stay with us for a few days. I love having people over to visit and showing them where we live.

The German jetted off back to Germany for a week 😦 but this did mean I got to watch whatever trash tv I wanted! Gossip Girl marathons were pretty common.

I met another fellow Brit who’s taking on Atlanta all thanks to this little piece of the internet that I call mine.

The World Cup kicked off, England managed their worst ever performance so I took to supporting the USA and Germany.

June Review 1

We bought a beautiful new wine rack for our living room – an antique store find! I love scouting out gems like this in those stores.

We feasted on cheese and pork pie, a proper English delicacy that we found in a British store in Marietta. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t as good as the real thing back home but it was pretty close!

And the last day of the month was spent watching Germany in action in the World Cup – it was a pretty tense game but thankfully they made it through and I had a happy German!

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It’s been another good month in the Richter household and with a trip to Florida, the World Cup Final and a trip back to the UK, July is looking pretty good too! Make sure you head on over to see Belinda and show her some love!

Language Smanguage.

Right now, I’m not going to lie, I’m sunning myself on a beach in Florida with my handsome hubby, probably in the exact place we got married for the first time a year ago on our mini moon! But I didn’t want to leave you guys with nothing to read at all, so here’s a little piece I wrote about the language barriers expats in America may face! Have a read and let me know what you think. I promise that wedding post will be on it’s way once I get back!

Language Smanguage.
Living in America is fab – people here speak the same language as us Brits! Yay! Or so you would think! Sometimes it’s like I speak a foreign language and I’m met with a blank face when asking a question!

Obviously, these are the differences between American and British English – we’re effectively divided by one language, and despite my best efforts to try to adjust to these differences it seems there are some things I simply cannot get my head around!

So, I thought I’d give you a selection of the ones that are causing me the most trouble so far:

Cinema/movie theater:
Back in the UK we call the movie theater the cinema. It’s something I’ve done for such a long time my little head does not want to change it to the American version! We’ve been a few times lately (more than ever before to be honest! We were always pretty pants with seeing films!) and I’m always blurting out cinema and then quickly correcting myself with movies straight after! It’s blummin tough! See, even on Twitter I can’t get it right:

Useless. (That is the best cinema ever though! If you’re ever in Atlanta and wanting to go to the movies then the AMC at Phipps Plaza is the place to go! You’ll see why! You can thank me later!)

Rubbish/Trash/Garbage
When we first came over to the States I asked the lovely man at the hotel reception desk if he had a rubbish bin for the bags I’d amassed from my shopping trip. He looked at me with a blank face until I went on to ask for a trash can! His face soon lit up, of course madam! Lesson learnt.

Porridge/Oatmeal
In the UK we have porridge for breakfast. I can now imagine a lot of blank American faces reading this, kind of like the puzzled expression I got from my friend when I told her I’d had porridge for breakfast before the gym. I soon realised my error and said oatmeal, soon everything was right with the world and we were on the same page! However, I’m sure if I was in the same situation again I’d opt for saying porridge!

Chips/Fries
Now this one can cause some serious problems if you don’t get it right! Thankfully, I think I’ve cracked this one, probably because food is involved! In the UK chips to us look like this:

Language 1
Seen here complete with some battered fish and mushy peas! Just how they should be! However, if I ordered chips with my ribs or burger over here I’d be presented with a packet of crisps, as the German’s boss found out when he ordered his favourite meal of ribs, coleslaw and chips! He was sorely disappointed when a packet of crisps (chips to the Americans reading this!) arrived and not some deep-fried, fluffy potato goodness!!

supermarket/grocery store
As much as I try to say I’m going to the grocery store the words just won’t come out! Also, they seem a little weird! It will always be a supermarket to me! Sorry American friends, I am trying my best to integrate with you guys but that one is just not working! I did, however, get very excited when I first came out of a supermarket with one of those brown paper bags you see in the movies! I’ve always wanted on of those! It’s the little things!

Trousers/Pants
OK, so this one is really tricky. In the UK, when we say pants we mean our underwear. Here in the States the word pants means trousers, and the word for underwear (well at least for women!) is panties. I simply cannot say the word panties. I think it my be my in-built British nature because panties just does not roll off my tongue. Pants are underwear and trousers are pants. I even feel wrong walking into Victoria’s Secret and asking about panties!! And that’s the shop where panties rule! I just can’t do it – to me it sounds wrong! I’m British, we seem to have some sort of trait that stops us talking about things like this and I don’t think that will be changing anytime soon!

There are some American words that I have adopted though – I now say cell phone instead of mobile (unless I’m back in the UK!) and I’ve obviously taken on board the fries/chips changes (I definitely don’t want the disappointment of a bag of crisps with my dinner!) but there are also a lot more that I’m sure my British brain will not get used to! I’ll keep you informed!!

It happened…

So, where do I start?

I’m sure you’re all wondering how the big day went and if it actually happened? Well, of course it did! After a week of final planning and the arrival of all our guests from England, last Saturday I finally got to wear my wedding dress, walk down the aisle and marry my very handsome husband once more.

It was the most amazing and perfect day ever and I have so much to tell you about, but right now, with our mini-moon just around the corner I simply don’t have the time. But, I don’t want to leave you in the dark totally! Our amazing photographer, Jono Symonds Photography, gave us a sneak peek at one of our pictures so I thought I would share that with you. Brace yourself people, here it is:

SneakPeak
Sadly, that’s all you’re getting right now – this girl needs to get some holiday shopping done and get packing for that all important mini-moon! Destin here we come!

I won’t be leaving you completely though, I’ll schedule a little post and keep you updated on some of our adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

Stay tuned people, the big wedding update is on its way!

Exploring: Las Vegas – The Casinos

Exploring Las Vegas

You can’t go to Las Vegas without visiting its casinos. Not only would it be a crime if you didn’t but you genuinely cannot miss them. For a start, we had to walk through the casino in our hotel just to get to our room. There is simply no escaping them! So I thought it was only fair to give them their own blog post.

The first thing you notice when you step into any casino on the Las Vegas strip is the smell. In Vegas it’s still legal to smoke inside bars and especially casinos, in fact it’s just about encouraged. As a non-smoker even I can see that for a smoker, being able to have a cigarette at a casino table will encourage you to stay for longer and gamble more. So, to combat the smell of stale smoke, every casino has some sort of air freshener being pumped into it. It literally hits you as soon as you walk in the doors, some of them are a little sweeter smelling than others, giving them a sickly smell but they’re not too bad and much better than walking out of there stinking of cigarette smoke, that’s for sure.

The casinos are pretty much all the same, unlike the different themes of the hotels, they’re all quite dark with lots of bright lights. They are slightly different depending on which hotel you’re in, for example the Paris has the legs of the Eiffel Tower coming through the roof, but the atmosphere, the sounds and the smell are pretty uniform throughout.

Vegas Casino 1
Just about every hotel on the strip has a casino, apart from The Trump, I think that is the only one lacking the bright lights of the gambling machines. In the past, the machines used to be different in each hotel, now though, I think you can find the same machines in just about every casino. They all have different themes, literally every famous TV show or movie is present from Sex and the City to The Walking Dead, you name it there’s a gambling machine with it on, including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!

Gambling can also be a cheaper way to get drinks in Vegas. If you’re splashing your cash at a table or slot machine, your drinks are free so depending on how much you win/lose you could find yourself downing alcoholic drinks for free, and with the prices in Vegas (most are well on their way to $10 or more) it could be a cheaper way to drink in the city!

The casinos are so huge in every single hotel, this is America after all. They have evety game you can think of, many of the tables I simply didn’t understand – I really wanted to throw the dice on the craps table though! I’ve seen it in films, it needed to be done but as none of us understood the game we decided to give it a miss!

I’ll be honest, we didn’t do much gambling when we were there, shocker I know! I was more interested in seeing Vegas in all it’s weird and wonderful glory, checking out the hotels and soaking up the atmosphere. For the little bit of gambling we did do, I walked away with 21 cents! Yay! Go me! I didn’t even cash it in though – I saved it for a souvenir!

Vegas Casino 2
I was disappointed with the fact you don’t get coins from the machines anymore, when someone wins big you don’t get thousands of coins spilling out of the bottom and you can’t walk around with a cup full or quarters. My brother and I once went to Atlantic City and picked up loads of different cups with the logos of the various casinos on, now though you walk away with a white ticket that you cash in at a machine. Sad times. I think it’s stolen some of the heritage from Vegas.

In my opinion with Vegas casinos, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. They’re pretty similar throughout but definitely worth checking out, especially at 6am in the morning when there are waifs and strays still gambling from the night before with a beer in their hand and those early risers, having a quick gamble with a coffee before starting their day! It’s definitely an education!

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