Monday, March 26, 2018

March Cybercrop

This month we got all 3 kits each and didn't have to share at all. I only managed to do half of the pages while I was at mums, so I will need to finish them at some point.

Dad as ever was entranced by our endeavours...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Anniversary Weekend - Evening

We had booked dinner at Rocksalt to see if it was just as good on a second visit, but didn't want to worry about driving home afterwards, so hunted down a deal on a hotel. Unfortunately by the time we looked to book all of Rocksalt's rooms were already booked.

The criteria were... within walking distance of the restaurant, cheap and not on a main road. After looking at a few, we settled on a grand affair with sea views that looked a little like faulty towers, complete with 70s decor.

We were not disappointed when we arrived. the hotel was old and rickety and hadn't been decorated since 1975. There was a bit of a confusion at the desk when I was asked to authorise the room rate on my credit card (which I had already paid for through but I was assured they weren't going to take payment it was just to prove to that we had arrived and they were entitled to their money.

The room was nice enough and would do for our short stay.

I hadn't quite appreciated that the hotel was right on the top of the cliff and was quite a trek back up the hill after dinner, but going down in heels was much trickier than going back up.

Dinner was amazing. The staff are attentive and friendly without being in your face or intrusive.

Starters were orange smoked pork belly on a bed of lentils and was very tasty.

For main we shared the tomahawk 1kg steak. This came with Bearnaise sauce and watercress and we paired it with some dripping chips and broccoli.

It was cooked to perfection and huge. I couldn't manage all of my chips.

Desert was a blood orange and white chocolate cheesecake which I enjoyed more than Ollie did.

And then with the bill we had this lovely message and some home made blackberry sorbet.

After dinner we went upstairs to their bar to get a drink, but it was a bit busy, the drinks were quite pricey and the final straw was a distinct lack of Jack Daniels! We decided to find a pub on the way back to the hotel. The first pub only had 1 local in it so we gave that a miss. The second pub was rammed and that was all the pubs. Turns out there were some, but not in the direction we walked. We ended up with a drink in the hotel bar, which was nice as they had Silent Pool gin that I had been wanting to try for a while and Jack Daniels.

Unfortunately even though our hotel was on a quiet road, the hotel opposite seemed to be the location of the town's nightlife and people being loud kept us awake until 2am. Then they went quiet, Ollie fell asleep and just as I was drifting off the people in the room above started river dancing on the creaky ceiling. I was very tempted to wake Ollie up and suggest we went home, but they eventually stopped. We were both awake early still and instead of paying the £10 a head for breakfast we elected to drive home and have pancakes there.

It wasn't until I got home that I looked at the paperwork to see that we had indeed paid twice for our room, but a quick email to and they refunded the amount straight away.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Anniversary weekend - Day time

As our wedding anniversary fell on a Saturday this year we decided to do something nice. We had wanted to go back to Rocksalt for a while, but going all the way to Folkestone just for dinner seemed a bit of a waste of travelling time. So we found a cheap hotel within walking distance with the idea that we could spend Saturday doing something, pop back to the hotel to get ready for dinner and not worry about driving home. Having explored the various tourist options around Folkestone and Dover (and discarding most of them) we decided to book ourselves on a day trip Ferry to Calais as we hadn't actually done this before as a couple.

Saturday morning was an early start with an 8:25 crossing on the Pride of Canterbury. The day didn't get off to the best of starts with Ollie driving my car and hitting some sort of finch type bird as we headed down the A2. Luckily there was no damage to my car (less could be said for the bird) and we arrived at Dover with enough time for a coffee before we boarded the ferry.

Ferries really aren't what they used to be. With us both remembering different features and amenities from our crossings in our youth the Pride of Canterbury was something of a disappointment with the only redeeming feature being relatively inexpensive tea that was half decent considering the UHT milk.

We went to Cite Europe first which was like stepping back into 1995. I got some shorts, a jumper and a scarf in C&A and we had a look around Naf Naf. The shopping centre was really quiet so was nice to wonder around and look in the shops. I got some Delirium beer and a glass to go with it.

We also went to the designer outlet there which was absolutely deserted. Can't really understand why. I managed to find a warm running top so there will be no excuses about not running in the cold!

Then was a visit to Auchen which hadn't changed very much since we were children. We just bought a sandwich for lunch and ate in the car before heading back to Calais for our ferry (Spirit of France). We had seen that P&O had an offer on their club lounge at £6 per person which included a glass of Champagne, all the tea, soft drinks, juice and snacks as you could manage in an hour and a half. Plus access to a very comfy and quiet lounge with it's own deck area.

Monday, March 19, 2018

ATDML virtual crops

Mum and I have been doing the ATDML virtual crops, buying the kits and playing along with the instructions. The first time we did Saturday afternoon as the instructions went live and the next time we were a week behind as I was in Chicago for work.

For January and February we decided to split the kits as we hadn't scrapped for such a long time and didn't know what we would be getting. There has been a lot of head-scratching and negotiating over who got which bits of paper as we both loved all of them so for March we have ordered a set each.

January was very Christmas and winter based which gave me the opportunity to scrap some photos from 2016.

February kits were more spring like so I found some pictures from Liz's hen do and made the single layout into a double as I loved the arrow paper.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


After leaving all the snow behind in Chicago I did not expect to be plummeted back into it a week or so later. This is definitely the worse snow we have had in Whitstable for a few years and hung around for the whole week.

Ollie managed to get into work all of the week apart from Wednesday when all of his routes were blocked and he gave up and turned around and came home. His 4 wheel drive proved excellent in the snow and he had no problems whatsoever. I went to work on Thursday and had no trouble until I arrived at the work carpark. They hadn't even tried to clear it and my little car couldn't cope with the amount of snow so I had to get out and dig myself a parking space with some help from the security guard.

Eventually seeing how many people had tried to get in they got someone with a Toyota Hilux with a snowplough attachment to come clear it, who didn't do a brilliant job (I still had to dig myself out of my space) so I made a run for it at 2 before we got any more snow. Friday we had freezing rain which was the most bizarre thing ever as it stuck to all the back windows, making it look like we had frosted glass in all the windows.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Work trip to Chicago

I have been at my new job for 10 months and finally had the opportunity to attend a meeting in our head office in Chicago. I set off in a very empty plane on Monday afternoon in premium economy and I couldn't even touch the chair in front when I stuck my legs out.
There were only 12 of us total in economy and premium economy so we were well looked after with multiple drinks offered around.

I got to O'Hare without issue and through immigration. I was hiring a car from Avis and had to catch a bus to their rental place. I had reserved a 'small' vehicle with sat nav. Unfortunately the only vehicle with sat nav that they had when I arrived was a Lincoln Navigator. This can not be described as small even by American car standards.

I plugged the Zip for the hotel into the sat nav and was dismayed to find that it would take me an hour to get to my hotel. I subsequently learned that the settings on the sat nav were set to avoid toll roads and if I had unticked that box it would have only taken 25 minutes. Even with the snowy conditions and driving a tank on the wrong side of the road, I had no problems driving around all week.

The hotel was nice, with large rooms and a decent breakfast selection. Plus it was only a 10 minute drive from the hotel to the office with a good selection of places to eat and a large Walmart. The work side of the trip went really well and I got good feedback for my contributions.

I also managed to get in a bit of shopping time, I visited Michaels and Joann's after work and got a Silhouette Curio and a lot of Tim Holtz.
I was due to come home on the Saturday evening so I spent the day on Saturday at a discount mall. I didn't find any clothes to buy but it was loads of fun walking through the mall, coming across a random ice rink and trying on lots of pairs of jeans (I found one pair that fit that I liked, but they were $72 - way more than I was prepared to spend)
Then it was time to head off to the airport. After a slight detour to fill up the beast with petrol before I returned it. I had some Chicago deep dish pizza for lunch / dinner as I couldn't come all this way and not try any. I have to say it was delicious. The airport had some funky light installations in the underpass.
Just as I arrived at the airport it started to snow heavily and by the time we had boarded the plane there was a good 2 inches of snow on the plane. We had to wait for an hour to be sprayed with de-icer before we were able to take off.

It had been a long week and I was asleep pretty much as soon as we were in the air and slept for most of the journey home.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Football - a win and a decent game

Saturday morning saw us scrubbing the house as we had time to fill before the football. I also packaged up and organised postage for some bits we were returning to online shops and the old saucepans that I had sold on eBay. Unfortunately My Hermes decided that they didn't like how my box was, you know, box shaped and that it would be much better looking like it had been run over. This dented one of the saucepans and now I have to go through the hassle of doing a damage claim.

The afternoon saw another trek up to Wembley, this time it was my turn to drive. We arrived early as usual, but not as early as we have been for the midweek games and it was really busy. The mean lady at security made me take my old collection of bag stickers off and threw them in the bin.

We actually saw a pretty good game with us beating Everton 4 - 0. This raised our goal difference enough that if Man City beat Liverpool we would go above them in the table. Unfortunately that game was 4-3 to Liverpool but was an absolute cracker, ending City's unbeaten run for the season.