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Journey To The New World

 

We’ve been in America for over six weeks now and I am slowly getting a feel for our new home. Im gradually adjusting to life in a new country, with a new way of doing things, though thankfully not a new language – although sometimes that’s debatable!

This is my second attempt at life in the USA. The first time admittedly I threw in the towel too soon but everyone puts that down to wrong place, wrong time and I’m inclined to agree with them. This time I feel more prepared and I am liking Massachusetts a lot. I hope this time will be second time lucky!

WHERE WE’VE BEEN

We landed in Ohio where we spent almost a week before beginning the ten hour journey to our new home in Massachusetts. A few weeks later we did another road trip though this time to Delaware which took longer than it should have thanks to Mr. D. getting lost and not wanting to admit it!

New Jersey in the distance - on our way to Delaware

New Jersey in the distance – on our way to Delaware

We were supposed to go to Pennsylvania but unfortunately there wasn’t time but we will fit that in later in the year as well as a visit to North Carolina and a cross-country trip. Woo!

Oh and the number of States I’ve visited has now increased by three – Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware – which brings the total up to a groundbreaking… eleven!

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WHO WE’VE SEEN

Mr D.and I  have family and friends scattered all over the country and we obviously haven’t got round  to see everyone yet – hence the numerous trips planned. But we did get to catch up with Mr. D.’s parents and younger siblings as well as meeting our brother-in-law and the best bit – wait for it – our super cute nephew who was born three weeks after we arrived here. We couldn’t get enough of the little fella!

WHAT WE’VE EXPERIENCED:

THE SNOW

I thought coming from England, I knew all about the cold. I was wrong. Yes people, believe it or not there are places far, far, colder than England!

The back yard

The back yard

Anyone who follows the news will have been aware of the horrendous snowstorm that struck the northeastern states. Thankfully we made it to Massachusetts before we ran into any real difficulty but apart from being pelted by a thick blanket of icy, white stuff while dashing out to the supermarket, and feeling as though we were living in an ice-box despite having the heating on at home, we were much more fortunate than a lot of other people. You only had to see the images on the news channels to see how people were suffering. And our phones were ringing constantly with concerned family and friends wanting to know if we were all right.

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Snow… beautiful to look at… Not always beautiful to be in.

FLAT HUNTING

We thought we were pretty much sorted with the perfect apartment when just a few days before we were due to arrive in Massachusetts, we realised we were being scammed. It seemed too good to be true and it always pays to listen to your instincts. To cut a long story short, the little s**t got reported and he didn’t get any of our hard earned dosh despite his best efforts – but I still hope that Karma will bite a nice big chunk out of his bum! There’s tons of scammers out there who are ripping off innocent  people who are just looking for a decent place to live – almost happened to us in London as well – so be careful, people!

So it meant we arrived in Boston with no apartment to move into and had to stay in motels for over a week. Looking for somewhere suitable to live can be every bit as tricky as trying to find something semi -decent in London, and as we knew we were going to be without a car for a while, we had to find something as close as possible to Mr. D.’s workplace.

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This narrowed our choices down to two, and reluctant to do a house share again, we opted for a basement flat which although wasn’t fantastic (the landlady’s words funnily enough) and was far more expensive, it meant that we had our privacy and the one thing we never had, living in our cramped London studio – space and tons of it! Not only that but we had access to the mini gym, and the garden which boasts a pool and a hot tub. OK, obviously we can’t take full advantage of it during these freezing cold winter months but spring is around the corner and we’d love to put them to use then.

The hot tub!

The hot tub!

Many of the locals will tell you that Massachusetts isn’t cheap when it comes to property so I hope they never visit London because they’ll get the shock of their lives! Our monthly rent now is more or less what we were paying for the little shoebox we just moved from!

BUYING A NEW CAR

In a land where cars are like names – simply everybody has one – to tell an American that you don’t own a car will incur the same reaction as telling them that you don’t own a toothbrush! You’ll be met with a reaction that is a cross between pity, ridicule, confusion and incredulous amazement that you’ve made it this far in life! Whenever we told people that we “don’t have a car at the moment,” the response we usually get is:

“What’s wrong with it? When will they have it ready by?”

We realised that it was far better to let people think that somewhere in town, a mechanic was tinkering away on our nonexistent car. Well nonexistent wasn’t exactly true. Mr. D. is actually the proud owner of a jeep that he’d had for many years but it had to be left in Ohio for several reasons. Furthermore Mr. D. was adamant that we could get by without a motor – especially as his main priority was to buy a house before committing to the expense of owning a car. Plus in an effort to get fit, he wanted to bike more as he had done in Portland.

However, this isn’t Portland and poor Mr. D was having to bike into work in not so pleasant weather conditions, although when the weather was really ghastly he would cycle to the nearest bus stop and wait for the bus, while ignoring the stares of passing motorists who were trying to work out what the hell  was wrong with the strange guy on a bike!

Thankfully it was the birth of our nephew that prompted Mr. D. to finally concede defeat and get a car as there wasn’t a more convenient way of going over to visit. It’s true what everyone says; to live here you really do need a vehicle to get around and it does make life so much easier. I’m so glad we’ve finally got a set of wheels – and I don’t mean bicycle ones!

FOOTBALL FEVER

This is a country that definitely takes their sports seriously. Which is bad news for me because I’m not in the least bit sporty. When we arrived here, football fever was already well under way. The Patriots suffered a crushing defeat which obviously did not go down well with the locals and disappointed me too, as having just arrived in New England I would have loved to have seen them make it to the final.

 

And watching my first ever Super Bowl proved to be very memorable – and not just any Super Bowl but Super Bowl 50 no less – where the Carolina Panthers took on the Denver Broncos – and lost! I was glad because I had my money on the Broncos even though admittedly I didn’t know which was the better of the two teams. I just got lucky! 

 

I was  pretty chuffed to be in America as they celebrated the fiftieth Super Bowl but of course, I didn’t have a clue what was going on! I don’t know the rules or how the game is played – despite Mr. D. trying to explain it to me a million times. But then that’s hardly a surprise as I don’t even know the rules of soccer (also known as real football!) and I grew up in a football (soccer) mad family! Sporty I may not be but I will have to make an effort to understand more about the more popular sports in the States because when in Rome…

WHAT WE’RE UP TO

Mr. D. is a month into his new job and he is loving it! He’s much happier doing what he’s doing now than he was in his old post in London. That reason alone has made the move worth it.

I’ve gone from being an English teacher at one of the most well-established schools in Central London to being a housewife in New England for the time being- and there’s nowt wrong with that! It means that I get to spend more time with Mr. D. than I did when we lived in London, and it’s great that after years in a fast-paced job that got extremely demanding towards the end, I can take a little time out to chill and get used to my new surroundings.

I’m also brushing up on my language skills (comes in very handy in my job!) and working on business ideas that I’d put on the back burner. It’s a case of now or never and I have the time so I’m going for it. And most of our weekends are taken up with house hunting as we search to find a place we’re happy to call home not to mention accommodate the bands of visitors we’re expecting, who we can’t wait to see – just not all at the same time!

Discovering great Chinese food in MA

Discovering great Chinese food in MA

Of course I’m missing my family, my friends, my job and my city but we are only a five hour flight away so even though I can’t fly home every week, I can still make a few trips home a year. But this is such an exciting stage in our lives and I’m determined to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

Let the good times begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye 2015… Hello 2016!

So another year is (almost)over and another one is about to begin. Thankfully for me it hasn’t been a disastrous year and even though there have been some not so pleasant occurrences, I’ll still be sorry to see it go. You’ve been pretty OK, 2015!

2016 will be a very exciting but also testing time for me and Mr.D. as we start our new lives in America. Who knows what it’ll bring… but we’ll soon find out!

Happy new year everyone! Bring on 2016!!!

 

 

 

Happy New Kids On The Block Day

The best boy band in the world!

Nostalgia Pie

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It’s that time of year again. The one where I get to dress up and go back to being a thirteen year old again.

No Halloween has not come early. I’m talking about New Kids On The Block Day, and as I’m a die hard fan, I absolutely love this day which remembers all that is fabulous about the most awesome boy band ever to walk this earth: Jordan, Jon, Joe, Danny and Donnie.

New Kids On The Block New Kids On The Block

So come on Blockheads: don those ripped jeans, flash those smiley faces and peace sign medallions, wear your New Kids T-shirts with pride, and crank up the volume so that the whole neighbourhood hears those NKOTB tunes. Watch those videos to your hearts content, and prepare to fall in love with the Boston boy band all over again. It’s what today is all about.

Back in 1989, then Massachusetts governor, Michael…

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Happy New Year from Chez Mrs. D!

I cannot believe that another new year is about to descend upon us in just over two hours time. I could have sworn we saw 2014 in last week! How has the year gone by so quickly? Mind you, I probably say that every year. Moreover how is it that Christmas has gone within the blink of an eye? We spend all year waiting for it, months preparing for it, days rushing around in a blind panic and then – it’s gone! My two week Christmas break has gone by so quickly and I’ll be back at work in a few days time. I’m sure I’ll be writing a post for 2016 tomorrow!

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I really can’t complain about this year. 2014 has been very good to us. Sure there have been some not so pleasant bits but that’s only to be expected. On the whole, life’s been pretty good. I truly hope that 2015 will be every bit as awesome not just for me but for all of us. I have so many plans for next year in terms of my personal and professional life, and there’s still plenty of things that I would like to do with this blog. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to fulfil everything I planned to do for Chez Mrs. D.  this year and I aim to complete these goals next year.

But I have to say I saw some pretty awesome things happen this year for Chez Mrs. D. From wondering if anyone would ever discover this blog to get tons of hits a day, a bunch of loyal followers and over a hundred fellow bloggers following this blog. And it’s all thanks to one blog post about Father Ray Kelly, the Catholic priest who sang a delightful rendition of Hallelujah. Thank you Fr. Kelly! I’ve seriously enjoyed every second of blogging this year and working on Chez Mrs. D. I’ve come across some fantastic blogs, interacted with some very talented bloggers, and of course as you all know, I met my first fellow blogger, Chitra from Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen just before Christmas. Definitely one of the highlights of this year. I’m really excited about what 2015 has in store for us all.

Now I’m going to enjoy what’s left of this year with a glass of something sparkling but before I do, I would just like to thank everyone for their support this year and wish you all a very peaceful and happy new year. I hope 2015 brings some fantastic things your way! xx

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Peggy Porschen’s Swedish Princess Cake (Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake)

Happy Birthday To Me! Chez Mrs. D Is A Year Old

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I cannot believe that Chez Mrs. D is a year old today! Where has the time gone? thank you WordPress for the reminder!

I’d wanted to do a blog like this one for a long time before I actually got around to doing it. The first few initial attempts didn’t quite work but then I brought it home to WordPress and Bingo! Chez Mrs. D. was born!

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All of my blogs are very special to me in one way or another – after all, they’re all my babies! And I definitely have a lot of love for Chez Mrs. D. It celebrates my love of being Mrs. D which is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s also a reflection of the real lives of women up and down the country around the world! After all we love having a cuppa with our mates around the kitchen or sharing cocktails in the lounge, where we put the world to rights; have a giggle; have a grumble; have a cry; give tips and handy hints to make each other’s lives easier, and share our experiences and the benefits of our wisdom. What I love about Chez Mrs. D is that it’s not about one particular subject. Here, you’ll find posts based on a multitude of subjects, so there’s something for everyone.

Fr. Ray Kelly: I owe it all to him!

Fr. Ray Kelly: I owe it all to him!

 

In the beginning it was very much like shouting into an empty room: I was speaking, but was anyone listening? I was writing, but was anyone reading? For a while, it seemed as though nobody was and I was beginning to lose heart. But then came the post about Father Ray Kelly, the Irish Catholic priest who performed that beautifully moving rendition of Hallelujah at the wedding ceremony of Chris and Leah O’Kane – and the views for Chez Mrs. D skyrocketed! Just as Fr. Kelly couldn’t believe his new-found popularity, I couldn’t believe mine – although admittedly, he definitely had the edge over me!

And since then I’ve seen this blog go from strength to strength. Chez Mrs. D still has a long way to go, and there are still tons of plans that I need to put into action for this blog, but as it’s only a year old, I think it’s done very well.

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I would like to thank everyone who has supported this blog during it’s first year. Thanks for the likes, the comments, the follows etc. The response I’ve had has always been positive and very much appreciated.

Here’s to another fantastic year!

 

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Tara: A Seriously Cool Cat

 

Admittedly I have a weird relationship with animals. Never having grown up surrounded by pets at home for a number of reasons – OK, not entirely true, we got a tankful of fish a few years before I moved out – I am a little apprehensive about them. Then there are my million and one allergies which means sharing a home with a pet is unlikely. But I do think some of them are so cute. I absolutely adore the pets in the family (and think they might like me too!) but I do know that keeping animals at home is a big commitment – a lot like having children. They need a great deal of care, time and affection and it’s not a decision to be taken likely. After all a dog is for life and all that.

However, like most people worldwide, I have just witnessed the most adorable piece of CCTV kitty footage which has made me see having pets in a whole new light. I am of course talking about Tara, the latest feline online phenomenon, and  a cat superhero if ever there was one. It’s made me realise that perhaps no household is really complete without an adorable pet.

American couple, Roger and Erica Triantafilo’s tabby cat Tara, sprang into action when she saw her owners’ four year old son Jeremy, getting dragged off his bike and attacked by the neighbours’ dog as he played outside his home in Bakersfield, California.

Images recorded on three CCTV cameras witness Tara not only launching herself at the dog but also chasing him away from the house while Jeremy’s mother ran to tend to her injured son. For a little kitty, Tara seemed more ferocious than the dog.

 

 

The astounding footage was uploaded the next day and has gone viral with the world hailing this brave little cat a heroine. I wonder if Tara is aware of all the attention she has attracted and of her newfound celebrity status. In fact it was reported an hour ago that  minor league baseball team, Bakersfield Blaze, have invited Tara to throw the first pitch at their next home game! Go Tara!

The famous feline cannot be spoken of highly enough by her family. “Tara is my hero,” Jeremy simply stated, while his father explained, “She really did save him from further injury… I’ve never seen a cat do that. Especially ours. It just shows how much she really has a family-oriented mind set.” Roger Triantafilo also added that Tara will rightfully get fish for the rest of her life, “grilled any way she wants!”

What’s just as amazing is the way in which Tara became a member of the family which is a story in itself. She was a stray cat who had followed a courting Roger and Erica as they made their way home from the park after a date – before they got married. They made a deal that if she followed them all the way home, they would keep her. She did so they did! That was six years ago and she even bonded with Jeremy soon after he was born which explains why she is so protective of him.

The dog that attacked Jeremy, a Labrador-chow mix, has been quarantined and will soon be put down. Erica Triantafilo has stated that they do not feel any anger towards their neighbours and that she is thankful that her son’s injuries – for which the little boy had to get stitches – were not worse than what he sustained.

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But right now, the spotlight is well and truly on Tara who is the poster girl for cats everywhere. Not only does the whole world want to give her a cuddle and households everywhere want to adopt a kitty, but the fabulous feline has proved that there really is no such thing as a scaredy cat!

The most heart-warming story I’ve heard in a long time. Hope Jeremy makes a full recovery… and Tara gets her fish!

 

 

 

 

 

Passionate About Grenadilla!

 

 

 

 

Everyone who knows me knows that although I try to eat healthy and like fruit, I’m not really an apples and oranges kind of girl. I love anything that’s a bit out of the ordinary so I can’t get enough of exotic fruits. Dragon fruit, mango, lychees, rumbutans… you name it, I’ve tried it. Or so I thought… After being introduced to granadillas by a friend this week, I tried them for the first time. “If you like passion fruit, you’ll love granadillas,” said my friend confidently. And he wasn’t wrong. The granadilla is indeed a relative of the delicious passion fruit and hails from South America. Whereas passion fruits have a tough purple skin, granadillas – which are larger in size – have an inedible, shiny, orange-gold skin which appears hard at first but is actually surprisingly fragile. There is a very spongy pith before you get to the edible part of the fruit. As with passion fruit, the edible part consists of black seeds covered in a jelly-like pulp; the only differences being  that the pulp is more of a pale champagne colour and is much sweeter in flavour – almost like honey.

 

 

 

HOW TO PREPARE

  • Granadilla is orange and firm when it is ripe.
  • Ripe granadilla can be refrigerated for a few days.
  • Cut the fruit into two halves as you would with passion fruit.
  •  Scoop out the jelly-like pulp with a spoon. The skin is not to be eaten.

 

HOW TO EAT

  • Granadilla is commonly eaten by itself but it can be cooked or juiced.
  • It makes a great jelly, jam, pie filling, flan topping or cake frosting and also makes a great addition to  fruit salads.

 

 

It also has great nutritional value and is said to be  an excellent source of fibre and essential minerals, such as phosphorus, iron and calcium.  They are usually available in the spring months so now is the time to try them. You never know – it could be your new favourite fruit!

 

 

Try this recipe for  a granadilla meringue pie – a tropical twist on the classic lemon pudding.

GRANADILLA MERINGUE PIE

 

INGREDIENTS:

200g packet of ginger biscuits

80g butter, melted

385g can of condensed milk

125ml lemon juice

5ml grated lemon rind
3 egg yolks
50ml granadilla pulp
3 egg whites
125ml castor sugar
METHOD:
  1. Put the biscuits in a food processor and remove and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and mix well.
  3. Press the mixture into a greased 20cm pie plate and chill in the fridge.
  4. Combine the condensed milk, lemon juice, rind, yolks and granadilla pulp and mix well.
  5. Pour into the crust.
  6. Beat the egg whites until stiff then gradually beat in the castor sugar, reserving 15ml to sprinkle on top.
  7. Pile the meringue on top of the filling.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining castor sugar.
  9. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until the meringue is light golden brown.
  10. Turn off the oven and leave the pie in for another hour.
  11. Remove and cool completely before serving.
  12. Enjoy!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

It’s my favourite holiday of the year so I would like to wish each and everyone of you a very merry Christmas. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who follows, reads, comments on and likes this blog. It’s a pleasure to put together but sometimes it can be hard work. And I’m thrilled that my efforts are appreciated.

Have a great Christmas – and go easy on the Christmas pudding! xx

 

Mrs D’s New Address

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re all well. Just to let you know that this will be my last post on this blog as Mrs. D has moved out and now has a new blog address. And of course you’re all very welcome to pop around whenever you like – everything is still the same and as much fun as ever. So for those of you who would still like to hang out at my place you can find me at:

https://chezmissusd.wordpress.com/

 

Hope to see you soon!

 

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