Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Does Summer Mean To You - Jewelry Swap!!

What Does Summer Mean To You - Jewelry Swap!

Does it mean picnics in the grass?

Maybe bees buzzing around the garden?

 Pink Roses climbing the fence?

Blue Skies and Butterflies?

I thought it would be fun to host a Summer themed jewelry swap!!
Who doesn't love getting a surprise package in the mail,
 and when it's a new piece of jewelry - count me in!!

Here's how it will work: 

1. Sign up by June 1st (details below)

2. Buy a "Summer" piece of jewelry for your swap partner
(earrings, necklace, bracelet - whatever fits their Summer theme)
The limit is $20.00 
If you find a cute pair of earrings & matching necklace for $20 - your swap partner gets both! 

Buy handmade!! 
Let's support those little shops online or in your local neighborhood!

3. Mail out your "Summer" jewelry goodies no later than June 25th, 2012

4. If you want, blog about what your swap partner sent you - we'd love to see!
 Also watch for a special linky here at the beginning of July where we can all share!

*Unless you have your own handmade shop where you already sell handmade jewelry, 
please don't attempt to make something yourself - leave that to the gals that know what they're doing*

If you want to join in, here's what you need to do:
Send me an email ( with the following info:

Your Name & Mailing Address 

Blog URL 
(if you have one, you don't need a blog to participate)

"What Does Summer Mean To You"
(examples: the beach, picnics, camping, birds & bees, etc...) 

  Special notes
(I can only wear hypoallergenic earrings, clip-ons, your favorite color, I never wear bracelets, etc...)

 The more info you give your swap partner the more fun shopping for you they will have!

Please let me know by June 1st if you'd like to participate. 
Once I get everyone's info, I'll let you know who your swap partner is.

The more the merrier so tell your friends - facebook it, shout it out on your blog - spread the word!!

Let Summer Begin!!

Note: Please only sign up if you are going to participate - I had the misfortune one time of being a non-receiving swap partner and that's no fun. :-(

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Manchester and Football

Manchester is a great city!
It has a calmer vibe than London, it's quiet and settled, yet vibrant in it's own way.
It has a great central downtown area, with the most beautiful honey tan colored buildings.

We enjoyed a wonderful day exploring and walking around.
We (well actually I more than him) had another motive in the downtown area,
 and that was to find Jamie Oliver's Italian and have lunch!

And find it we did!!
It was the most beautiful restaurant in a gorgeously renovated old building.
And the food?
True Jamie!
Balanced, rustic, bursting with vibrant flavor.
My son & I enjoyed this meal probably more than any other on the trip.
My only suggestion...
Come to America Jamie!!

Then there was this other small matter to attend to while in Manchester.
Here in the United States we call it soccer.
The rest of the world calls it football and in our house - that's what it's known as.
Whether you follow or know anything about the sport, 
there's a good chance you probably know who Manchester United are.
They are after all, the most well known football club in the world.

This is my son close to 10 years ago, and yes, he's wearing a Manchester United shirt.
He still does, about 4 or 5 times a week.
The Manchester colors fly proudly in his bedroom,
 and you ask him any statistic about European football and he can tell you.
He's played since he was 4 and now plays proudly for his high school.
To say that he loves football is an understatement.

This brings me to the wonderful world of blogging!!
A long while back I met Joanne through etsy and blogging and we became friends.
She lives in Manchester and graciously offered to collect us from the train station.
It was so lovely to finally meet in person and we had a wonderful afternoon together, 
walking, talking and enjoying some lunch.
You can find Joanne's wonderful vintage goodies on the web or follow her blog.

Manchester United tickets are notoriously hard to come by, every match sells out.
With the help of Joanne and her dad (who is a huge fan himself)
they were able to help us secure tickets!!
A  huge thank you doesn't even begin to express how grateful my son and I were for their help!
Thank You!!
We even got a behind the scenes tour the day before the match.
He got to walk the player's tunnel, go right down to the pitch, even visit the dressing room!
And then it was match day!!
He was ready about 3 hours before kick off - I have never seen him so excited in my life!!

We joined the nearly 76,000 as we cheered, sang and clapped.
We sat near the Stretford End of the stadium,
which is said to be louder than a jet engine when they eardrums can attest to that!!
It was a great match and we won!!
We couldn't have asked for a better day.

I am so very thankful to have had this opportunity to spend this time with my son.
We had the best week together, exploring, laughing and eating.
It was a trip of a lifetime with so many fantastic memories.
I hope he'll look back years from now on all the great times we had.

Thanks for following along with us on our England adventure!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eeeeek!! Eels!

 Portobello Road in London has a fantastic vibe!
 It's a friendly looking area, 
with tons of antique shops and great little boutiques.

It was somewhere that I had picked to visit, my son knowing little about it,
yet it turned out to be one of his favorite places that we visited in London.
 The best thing by far...
was this place!!

Delicious warm crepes filled with delicious, sweet Nutella!!

As we kept walking we also found an orange cow at this place...

 The absolute best gelato that I've had outside of Italy.
Indiana thought so too!!
It was a sweet filled day and oh so worth every calorie filled bite...yum!!

Then there was a food adventure of another kind.
A tube ride out to East London...

 Then a walk to find this place...
 It required a small consult enroute with my GPS as we got a little lost - all part of a good adventure!
You are greeted by the gold-lettered name on a dark green board above the door.

Inside it's marble counters and tabletops, simple wooden benches, 
yellow tiled walls and sawdust on the floor.
The place has a great presence, an old world feeling that's inviting.

Cooke's has been an East End fixture since 1910, serving a crusty rectangular meat filled pie next to a mound of mashed potatoes in a pool of intense green parsley "liquor", which is kind of like a gravy.

 It was warming and very filling.
The pie and mash were really tasty and the parsley liquor was very interesting.
Hard to describe really, fresh tasting yet it had a gravy quality to it.
A little of this shaken over the top added an extra flavor kick.
And then there were these...
Those are eels...swimming in a pool of the parsley liquor.
I had to try them, I'd flown 5000 miles, 
taken a tube ride to the far reaches of London to find this place.
Of course now that they were staring back at me...I wasn't so convinced this was a great idea.

Well...with the owner looking on, I tried them.
The eels hit my tongue and I wasn't sure whether to cry, run or spit them out.
Fishy, slimy, slightly crunchy and rather like a mouthful of glue!!
Not quite what I was expecting.
I managed to swallow that bite and only that bite!

The owner was this cheerful little lady and as we chatted she asked for my honest opinion.
Oh to be tactful.
I said "the pie and mash were really good", which they were.
"The eels" I said, "I think they must be an acquired taste."
To my great relief, she laughed and proceeded to say
"they're horrible, probably the worst thing ever" she also said "they're chewy and like eating glue."
We all had a good laugh,
 and I felt so much better that I wasn't the only one that didn't think they were so great!

It was a fun adventure of a day and one I won't forget anytime soon.

It was time to say goodbye to London and hop on a train...

Where to?

To meet up with a blog friend, Jamie Oliver and a whole lot of football!!!


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