Wednesday, 28 March 2012

trip away from home

 I have just returned from my first audit at Toronto. I caught an early plane with my colleague who makes me laugh - who said auditors are meant to be serious anyway - and we went and had a great two days. I saw some great divisions of our company and was introduced to the Keg restaurant which has amazing spinach and strawberry salad and a rather delicious salmon dish - me and my fish right!

At first when I left I felt sad to be away from the girls, actually I felt awful to be going someplace without them. This then swiftly changed to guilt (good at that!) and then lo and behold I started to enjoy this time away in my new job. At first I couldnt get my shit together as its been 8 years since I travelled without Paul and hes a travel control freak so I am used to not having to think about where my passport, ticket, money is. But I soon got it sorted after I dropped it all on the floor and thought I had lost my PR card a couple of times - cue freaked out feeling.

Toronto airport - a little like Heathrow

We stayed at the 4 Points Sheraton at Toronto Pearson airport which was very nice, weird parking lot setup but the hotel was clean and nicely decorated and the breakfast was very nice. I would most definately recommend it. It has good pillows!  It had a marvellous view of the airport of course - no sundrenched beaches this time - but it was just fine.

I was only away for two days, I got back last night at 10.30pm and I am very much looking forward to the next trip. I am not hugely in love with dragging the audit bag about and I feel a bit strange when a black Lincoln picks me up as my home to airport and back transfer. I do however love being on a flight where I dont need to entertain small children or try to stop them kicking the seat in front. I can read or watch a movie or even work! The girls and Paul survived just fine and they were very happy with the black bears I brought home as presents for them.

For me, I have re-found my working life.

Thursday, 22 March 2012


I want to edit that last post as it was 28C when I got in the car and headed home last night and its forecast to be 28C today.
Ah, its like a little Spring vacation to the hot climes without leaving home

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

feeling hot hot hot

I have just had my second picnic lunch with a water view and it was bliss. I have found a little spot in a nice residential road that is waterfront and public and has a little bench to sit on. I have spent two happy lunchtimes now on my bench with a mini picnic gazing out at the glittering water.
Its hot today - 23C I think and forecast to be even warmer tomorrow with temps due to dramatically fall on Friday to 10C with snow flurries forecast for the weekend - nuts!
Last night we had a bbq for dinner - burgers and sweet potato wedges and I even saw a mosquito. It was so warm it was just scrumptious. Tonight I plan on mooching around the neighbourhood with Dukie just letting it all sink in.
Paul is off today and tomorrow so thats nice too, maybe he'll wash my car......

Monday, 19 March 2012

beautiful Halifax

Its amazing weather today, I took the dog for a run at 6.30am and it was warm, I had to take off my fleece. Its lunchtime and I just printed a map of this area which is called “The Arm” in Halifax and went for a wander. Its lovely weather and I had to take off my Spring jacket as I was too hot. I wandered around very pretty roads and looked at rather adorable houses. Its so peaceful and I could smell the sea all the time which is just soul food to me.
It reminded me of Key West and St Augustine – and  I am referring to the houses, its obviously NOT that hot and there are no palm trees but it feels as good. The houses are all sorts of pretty shades and different styles and lots have a water view. I am SO pleased I work down here.
I felt at one with the world which was nice.
I walked back to the office along the waterfront and too late thought about taking pictures, so I managed to get one on my cell phone....

I am coming back tomorrow lunchtime when its forecast to be even warmer with a small picnic. I made my first ever Rosemary bread yesterday in our bread maker – thankyou SO much Helen for that. I think my sarnies will be made of that!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Dear Rosie

Yesterday Rosie passed away. She had been suffering from cancer and Paul had been to see her in January, and we are SO glad he did. That was the best airline ticket ever bought.
So to Rosie. I am glad you are not in pain anymore or alone in your personal life anymore. I am sure your husband came to meet you and together you can watch over your son, your grandchildren and your friends.
You were one amazing lady and a fighter to the end. I will always stand by that comment I made when I first met you, that you would make me sing life a canary if you had had to interview me in a police cell, you had that thing about you. And you were good at your job and Paul loved working with you!
A never to be forgotten lady.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

hot potato salad and freezing rain

Tonight for supper we are going to have Cajun chicken breasts with Delia Smiths hot potato salad. This little potato beauty was first introduced to me last summer and was an instant hit – thank you Amy.

We are having this rather summer like feast as

a)      We have the ingredients and they need eating, and

b)      I want to stick two fingers up at the very wintery weather we are having today and have some summer food.

Last night I drove home in freakish freezing rain. I recall when we first moved here I wanted someone to describe freezing rain to me, I wanted to compare it to hail stones. I was a little miffed that the conversation couldn’t allow me to make that comparison and then move on. Well, last night that came back to mind and I cant describe freezing rain either, except that its rain that well, freezes but its not hail.  Its like rain needles coming down. And its dangerous as everything gets so slippery so quickly.

It took me about an hour and a half to get home, and I was a tad scared.

Today, I drove in to work after we had our centimeters of snow last night and I cant say how many centimetres as I am bored of it all and the highway was pretty clear for the most part but near town it really wasn’t. There was so much slush everywhere that when a truck drove past me, it kicked up a wave of slush onto my windscreen and suddenly I could see nothing and it kept coming, I must have been covered in slush from all its eighteen frickin wheels.

My tickets for my Toronto work trip came in today, and we are in a nice hotel with a pool – I am only on an overnighter but I plan to use this pool at least twice. I am rather excited to be taking this trip as its been a very long time since I got the chance to get on a plane without children requiring things.

I am still getting used to my new job, its only day 5 but I think its pretty cool.
 I am eating about 600 calories less a day here as there are no goodies  and I mean none! There is a close by Tim Hortons but that of course requires money so I am going to keep clear of that.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

new job

I am here at my new job on day 3.
I have my own office with a stunning view of the water which is a massive treat as I havent been sat near a window for years. I am back in the world of laptops and travel. I am off to Toronto for 2 days at the end of the month and booked onto a training seminar in Orlando in May for a week - yes Orlando in a Disney Hotel! I had to ask my boss to repeat that one!
I get a whole hour for lunch, a whole hour. I have realised that I have taken a short lunch to leave early for my baby, toddler, small child etc for almost 8 years. Now I have time to walk down by the water on warm days and saviour a whole hours lunch break.

I am also now doing grown up things like joining an RSP.

The work is definately different but I plan to enjoy that difference and learn as much as I can again.

Friday, 9 March 2012

last day and Florida plans

Today is my last day in  this job and I am training my replacement. It feels a bit weird and I know I will miss this place but I am excited about my new job which starts Monday. I have new shoes, new pants (yes trousers that I bought here, therefore they can be called pants), new bag!
I dont get many new bags, I am not a girl who has a bag for every occasion therefore a new bag, to me, is a big deal.

It was 12C when I left the house this morning, grey and windy too (very windy) with a fine rain falling. It feels nice that its this warm and the clocks go forward this weekend so thats something to look forward to.

Chloe went to a pyjama party at school today in her green pyjamas as its nearly St Patricks Day. I dont think she was even aware of St Patricks day before.

We have been chatting with friends about driving to Florida next March. They have two girls too and two dogs (shelties) and we have found a divine place in Sugarloaf Key which allows pets.

We would take a vehicle each, ours is a van and theirs is a crossover. We are throwing around ideas but so far have come up with:

Leave home at 7pm and drive 12 hours with the kids and other driver asleep. Hopefully this will get us just south of New York. Stop for breakfast and rest, let the kids and dogs stretch legs and play abit.

Other driver then drives for around 6 - 8 hours, with breaks and lunch, first driver sleeps. This hopefully will bring us to the Carolinas where we stop for the night.
Next day we drive to Orlando where we stay for two days and take in a park - one family goes and takes all the kids. Other family hangs out with the dogs.

After short break drive 8 hours to Sugarloaf Key with breaks and lunch in Key Largo hopefully - at Sundowners on the Bay - fabulous place
Spend week in the Keys

On way back do the reverse with another two days in Orlando and another Park.

I love the fact we are taking Dukie with us, that rocks my world.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

the 8th of March

Today is gorgeous outside - its 12C and the sun is shining.
The alarm went at 6am and I lay there for a moment thinking about the fact that in England it was 10am, and 10am on the 8th March is the exact time and date that all our worlds changed forever 3 years ago.

That was the time that it was first known that our dear friend and wonderful husband of my other dear friend has passed away. It was a terrible time.

So 3 years on and we still remember. Never forgotten, always there locked in our minds, we love you Alex.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

oh the rage

Dons puppy keeps peeing in my house, we came home last night and saw two little pees upstairs on the landing on the carpet (RAH!!!!!!!!) next to Dukies bed. I know hes marking and I am outraged that hes marking next to my dogs bed in my home. He's not even allowed up there!
I know hes just 12 weeks and a baby but I am cross.
Hes only young but he already has growled at my children when they touched his toy - boy did he face me for that and hes already felt my wrath at peeing on my downstairs rug. straight after coming in from outside. He clearly wants to be an alpha male and quite frankly he can want, this isnt his house. He can wait for his own.

I want that dog to stay in his own domain, downstairs. I need to discuss this with Don today, when I get home. I just needed to get how I feel off my chest.

Food, running, weather

So my eating healthily plan is not err going to plan. I managed to do the finish eating before 6pm thing for about a month and I felt really good. And I also managed to run almost every day which felt even better.
Lately its been too icy outside to attempt running with a sane mind. But the other day I had a chance and off I went and it was fine, easy actually to run the 1k I could run before without needing to walk. I am hopefull I can push this to 1.5k and then 2k soon. I cant go straight to 2k as my sodding knees or pelvis could well start to complain and then I will be back to square minus 10 before I know it (yes worse than square one as I wont be able to do a thing).
And I have started snacking again in the eve, I am blaming this on 90210 which I am addicted to and need to watch at least one episode an evening, I in turn blame this on the weather so at least I am not to blame here.

Also theres too much food at work - gah! always! Thankfully I am dealing with this issue by leaving on Friday. Yes, new job starts on Monday and I am getting super excited about this. I have high hopes for this job, I want a company to retire to, I am hoping this is THE ONE

Anyways (not anyway, they add an S in Canada) its forecasted to be 13 degrees on Thursday, yes thats plus 13 (in March!!!) and I read in the Metro yesterday that its going to be a warm Spring. Now a warm spring to me is 13 - 20 C each day, thats a warm UK spring which then always turns into a cold and grey summer. So what is a WARM  Spring in Nova Scotia? I shall report back in May with that answer. Well, I shall prob mention temperatures before then but I shall attempt a proper report in May.

Oh, and another tip I need to share to any Brits moving here, if you like to walk anywhere do not buy a house on an unpaved road, those roads are lethal and take forever to defrost! Just wanted to share

Monday, 5 March 2012

my birthday weekend

I just had the most amazing Birthday weekend.
I am not a high maintenance Birthday girl (I dont think and I hope not!). My idea of a good day is some homemade cards and a couple of presents that float my boat. I got this and a whole lot more.

Firstly I got a new Scentsy warmer from my friend Heather and some white tea and cactus scent. I have been thinking about what warmer to buy for my living room to replace the snowflake one which needs to be lovingly put away until next December 1st. The deadline for this is March 21st and now I have my new Spring /Summer one - its called Enchanted and its beautiful. White tea and cactus is a lovely fresh Spring/Summer scent (to me) and I am looking forward to putting this one in my front room - thank you Heather.

The day before my Birthday was a handy Saturday and I spent the morning walking the dog and then the afternoon hanging out at the local Spa having my Valentines Day gift of facial, hand massage with warm paraffin treatment and hot stone foot massage, was bliss! Then I came home and we went to Ruby and Steves for dins, the most divine pork roast! I love it there

My Birthday dawned bright and early and I crept out of bed at 6.45am to have some lovely me time with coffee and this laptop. This lasted all of well three minutes when I was joined by both children and Paul. Now I am not complaining but 20 minutes of me time would have been rather nice first, especially as the light was so good coming into the house.
Anyway, we had some pancakes and bacon for breakfast cooked by my darling man and then I walked Dukie and had a shower. We all got ready and drove to Tracey and Nics house where we left the girls.

We then drove to MicMac Mall where we walked to a store and Paul asked for a girl called Emma who gave him and envelope for me, inside it was some vouchers from Tracey and Jenne for a store called Rickis that has a ravishing raspberry coloured bag that I had my eye on. So up we went and I bought it. Clutching my new bag we then drove to Chapters bookstore (or rather book kingdom as it has a Starbucks in it!!!) where I spent a merry hour or so choosiung $73 worth of books - heaven!

We then lunched in Montanas - mmmmm kapow shrimp, loaded potato wedges and quesidillas! After that we mooched around Home Depot - I LOVE Home Depot and we had no kids and we need a new bathroom so I figured that research of these things is fun. Then back to Tracey and Nics for roast dins. They had decorated the windows with Happy Birthday messages from the girls

It was an all round awesome weekend.

Friday, 2 March 2012

First year - what we have learnt

We have been here in NS for almost a year and we have learnt so much, the key things that spring to mind are:

1.      You have to be prepared to re-learn your adult life to a degree, e.g. we did not know what brand of paint to look for, having been used to Dulux, Crown or B&Qs own etc. We didn’t know what cars to steer clear of or what was a reasonable price for sugarpuffs.

2.      Sometimes trying to make the right decisions for your family, your pocket and potential consequences when you have little or no background information is exhausting

Martinique Beach on a very foggy day

3.      Having 4 seasons is refreshing. I love the build up to each season – wood delivery in readiness for winter and having all your tires changed on your car. Spring cleaning ready for  Spring and Summer living, getting the pool up and running for summer. Pumpkins outside for Fall and decorated for Halloween. Getting all your decorating and other boring jobs done when the weather is naff so all your weekends are free to enjoy in the winter and summer.

Cottage weekend with our friends

4.      Learning to buy different food. Our weekly shop is based on the flyers. We try not to buy anything that’s not on offer as it makes a massive difference to the cost of groceries. The upside to this is the increased variety of our meals.

5.      Canadian experience, there is no point coming to another country and thinking that you are a good accountant or other professional that they NEED. Without Canadian experience you are not as good as the next person who does have it. They may still use fax machines here (WTF??) but they don’t count you as being from the future.

6.      Road trips that are less than 4 hours long are not road trips. Driving to the US is a road trip. Thankfully the highways are wide and the traffic to a degree is minimal, it’s a lot easier to drive long distances here.

7.      People work hard here, its not uncommon to have 2 jobs and work a 12 hour shift. People are not rich, they do not have cleaners, they enjoy their lives, make the most of their money and take enjoyment from the small things in life. Makes some in the UK appear pretentious and always wanting.

Lily running toward Grand Lake

8.      We are better people here. We are outside more and making improvements to the house, we get to spend days at the most beautiful beaches, we hardly watch TV in the summer but accept we can in the winter. We socialise more whilst spending less. Restaurants are nice but much more of a treat, a home cooked meal with friends has more weight in our lives now than it did before.

9.      Our children are free to play in the neighbourhood, ride their bikes, swim in our pool with the kids next door and run in the ocean waves. Life has more quality, an ice-cream enjoyed for 50 cents is a memorable part of a day, back to the simple stuff.

Girls at Peggys

10.   We are no longer planning ahead constantly and living in the future. Sure, we have plans but at last this is our home for a long time and we are now living in the moment. Its exhilarating to be able to just be.

 Our home


One of the things I have noticed most about emigrating is behaviour of people and I have had to come to terms with things that I have always considered unpleasant and tried to avoid. Back in my old life in England I hated to offend anyone and worked hard at my friendships even with people that maybe I shouldnt have as we didnt naturally get along.
I hated the thought I that I wasnt liked by everyone.

Since moving here I have had to accept "best friends" dumping me. I tried to reconcile, I was immensely saddened, I analysed, I questioned all my actions and in the end I accepted.

When we moved we mets lots of new people online that were already here that offered immense support before and after our move and we were so very grateful. We were in a land where we had no real friends. As time has passed some of those people have slowly disappeared out of our lives. I have again questioned my actions, behaviour and how I come across. I have tried to salvage those early friendships and its taken a while to accept that people dont always want to be your friend.

This before would have horrified me, now having been pushed into facing it as a reality it has been both painful and enlightening. People dont always want to be in your life and actually thats ok.

We have since our move made some great friendships with some good people who want to be in our lives and I cherish that. So now, I shall appreciate those people that I get on with and that get on with me, I shall invest time and energy into those people.
I will always appreciate those that were kind and friendly and supportive of our move here, and I will recognise that we dont need to remain friends.