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New Year, New Beginning For Mr. And Mrs. D.

 

Well it had to happen one day… and that day is just around the corner.

Mr. D. and I are moving back to the good ole U S of A!!!

We always knew that it would happen one day and that we wouldn’t be staying in London forever. In fact this time next month, I’ll be living in another country – and I don’t know how I feel about that…

 

It’s taken me a while to get used to the idea of moving back to the States and away from all of my family and friends. At first, I dug my heels in and refused to leave. But Mr. D. had been offered a job in the East Coast that really was too good to turn down and was most definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. I knew that if I stood in his way and he never got a chance like this again, not only would he never forgive me, but I’d probably never forgive myself. So we decided to go for it!

There have been a lot of strange happenings this year which have been difficult to understand but to cut a very long story short, I know that it was fate’s way of preparing us for this move. Mr. D was thrilled to hear that he’d landed a job on the East Coast as he was sick to the back teeth of London life.

But moving to America doesn’t really signal the end of anything. Mr.D. has assured me that this job is a stepping stone to where he needs to get to career-wise and there’s every possibility that he could be transferred to England again at some point, so even though it’s goodbye, it’s only good bye for now – not necessarily forever.

 

I’ve had time to get used to the idea but I’m still feeling a whole mix of emotions:

I’m happy…

…that Mr.D. gets the chance to return to the place he calls home and be reunited with his family and friends again. I’m also happy to be going to America because it’s been four years since I was last there and seeing the place again – not forgetting my family and friends – will be great. It’s also fantastic that Mr. D. has landed this job as it has great career prospects and has potentially life changing opportunities for both of us.

But I’m also sad…

…at having to leave my family, friends, and city behind. True, London isn’t what it used to be. It’s not the city I grew up in. It’s way too congested, polluted and expensive to live in. But when all’s said and done I love this city and always will. There’s something about London that gives you a real buzz. I don’t know who couldn’t love this amazing city.

 

And while I know that my family and friends will always be my family and friends, and that advancements in technology have made the world a much smaller place, it’s really not the same as just living down the road from them. When I first moved to the States, I practically lived my life on Facebook and Skype. I suspect I will again.

I am a little excited…

…at the prospect of a new life in a new country. A change can be a good thing, and it’ll give me a chance to work on the number of projects I have lined up. And to be honest, I have always, always wanted to live in New England – I am a New Kids On The Block fan after all – so this really is a dream come true. Furthermore, living in another country is not something that everyone has the chance to do, so I’m really relishing the opportunity to explore an area I’ve never been to before and embrace a new way of life.

But I’m also anxious…

…about starting a new way of life! America isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for me. After all, I’m married to an American, I have American family, I’ve visited many times during the period Mr. D and I were dating, and I have lived there briefly. But I do know that each part of America is quite distinct, and as I’ve never been to New England before, I’m not quite sure what to expect. My knowledge of the region comes from other people’s experiences and information I’ve come across. So even though it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go to, I’m not sure what I’ll find but I’m hoping it’ll live up to my expectations.

I’m  dreading…

…the thought of the whole moving process, especially as we now have less than a month before we go. There’s the humongous task of packing – and the even bigger task of deciding what’s coming with us as Mr.D. is adamant that we are not taking everything, and not forgetting all the legal procedures that need to be followed.

I’m also not a fan of goodbyes so I’m dreading having to say my farewells to all those I love and care about – even though they are all of course welcome to see us any time they want. Just not all at the same time!

But I’m also hopeful…

…that things will work out exactly as they should. I didn’t enjoy my first experience of living in the States but I put that down to the timing being all wrong and living in a place that really wasn’t for me. I hope that this time things will be different. I don’t as yet know how I’m going to make things work but I’m sure I’ll figure it all out once I get there.

 

So there it is – my news! The new year for us will mean a new country, a new home, a new life. I wonder what will be in store for us. And even though I will not be making Chez Mrs. D. a predominantly expat blog, it’ll be great to add another dimension to this blog in the form of the ‘life in another country’ variety and I cannot wait to share my new experiences with you all.

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America, here we come!!!!

 

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Auntie Fee’s Kitchen Rules

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If the name Auntie Fee means nothing to you, then Muthaf***er, where have you been?

Auntie Fee

Auntie Fee

 

As someone who enjoys cooking shows, I am totally blown away by the latest hot, new chef on the cooking scene, who’s most definitely stirring things up in the kitchen. Based in South-Central LA,  her cooking methods are a little unorthodox; she doesn’t use ingredients that you need to order online; she’s not too fussed about presentation, and she’s got a mouth to rival Gordon Ramsay’s. Her video clips which she posts on YouTube have gone viral and I’m wondering how long it’ll be before she gets her own show. I’m talking about new American cook, Auntie Fee, also known as Chef Sista Girl.

Two weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of Auntie Fee, real name Felicia O’Dell. But now the latest cooking sensation has the world in stitches with her culinary antics and expletive- laden commentary, all filmed by her son Tavis Hunter who acts as cameraman – and often gets an ear-bashing from his mum due to what she perceives to be annoying questions, unhelpful input and dodgy camera work. If you’re looking for the genteelness of Delia, the seductive charms of Nigella, or the perfection of Martha – forget it because as the name of her Facebook page states, Aunty Fee Keeping It Muthaf***ing Real In The Kitchen, Muthaf***er!

 

Auntie Fee's son and cameraman, Tavis

Auntie Fee’s son and cameraman, Tavis

 

Auntie Fee’s choice of language is most definitely a little on the colourful side – and that’s putting it mildly – so she’s probably not going to be a hit with those who are easily shocked or offended. However, most people evidently think she’s awesome, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TV chef so entertaining since Nancy Lam and her henpecked hubby, Ben.

The first time I happened to stumble across one of her video clips, where she made ‘something sweet for the f***ing kids,’ I watched it three times consecutively and howled with laughter. In fact my laughter could be heard all the way in South Carolina (Mr.D was Skyping his bestie at the time!) At that time there was very little info available about Auntie Fee, but she did have a Facebook page which at the time of liking, had less than ten likes – now there are thousands! Talk-show hosts have been clamouring to get her on their show, but even though Auntie Fee was allegedly holding out for Oprah, she did make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live via Skype – and we got to see Tavis for the first time – last weekend, where she made a five minute meal using shrimp and garlic bread – and as expected she brought the house down!

My friends and I cannot get enough of Auntie Fee and her antics, and as annoying as it may be for some people, we quote her on a regular basis. Forget literary figures and noble statesmen, this cooking sensation has some real gems. We’ve watched her prepare raisin turnovers, egg rolls, chicken wings, a noodle soup dish, and a strawberry shortcake. A lot of Auntie Fee’s cooking is aimed at families on a budget or people who don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Admittedly, it’s not the healthiest of food and doesn’t always look appealing (sorry Auntie Fee!) If you think Delia got a lot of stick for preparing food with her rings on, wait until you see how Auntie Fee seasons her chicken wings – not for the faint-hearted! And Auntie Fee is well aware of the criticism regarding her levels of hygiene and makes defiant references to it during her clips.

 

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But whatever you may think of her recipes, one thing’s for damn sure: Auntie Fee is a breath of fresh air in an industry where some chefs take themselves – and food – way, way, waaay too seriously. Auntie Fee may be at the other end of the spectrum but she is hilarious with it, and I for one cannot wait to see what else is on the menu.

Someone give this lady and her son their own show!

CLASSIC AUNTIE FEE QUOTES

1. “I don’t know what the f*** this is. It’s just something sweet for the f***ing kids.” – When asked what she was making.
2. “Muthaf***er, this is not no prison food.” -After Tavis cheekily asks if what’s she’s making is like prison food.
3. “I need to get me a f***ing cameraman cos you trippin’.” – Getting annoyed with Tavis’s questions.
4. “Goddamn it, I ain’t got no muthaf***ing name for it yet, muthaf***er!” – Just before she named the sweet treats ‘raisin turnovers.
5. “I don’t give a damn whether they broke or not. You smash ’em out how you wanna smash ’em out.” – Clearly not one for following instructions.
6. “This muthaf***er make any f***ing thang taste good!” – On dried parsley.
7. “Cook it for three hours if you want it to fall off the muthaf***ing bone. I swear this s**t will.” – On cooking chicken wings.
8. Aunty Fee: “I meant to say that you was my assistant. But instead I said you was my informant.”
Tavis: “Yeah, don’t ever say that again.”
9. “We had it for dinner last night. I don’t know where your fat ass was.” – To Tavis.
10. Tavis: “So this like the ghetto way of doing things.”
Aunty Fee: “We don’t talk ghetto okay? I’m not ghetto.”
11. “Oh but that Jimmy Kimble, Jimmy Kimmy, what’s his name? Jammy Kimmy…” – Unable to say Jimmy Kimmel’s name.
12. “You got an old Crisco can by your sink, then you a mutherf***ing G.”
13. “Now I can wet this with my hands if I want to, because this is my mutherf***ing shit.” – On sealing pastry edges.
14. “Tavis the camera better be on me. We only got one shot at this.” – Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
15. “Say something so I know we communicating!” – To Jimmy Kimmel

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10 Years Of Facebook? No Way!!!

I couldn’t believe it when a friend informed me that Facebook had recently turned 10. 10? Already? NO WAY!!! At this rate it’ll be old enough to start buying drinks in no time!

 

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg started to kick some real social media butt when he introduced Harvard college kids to the social networking site. The rest of the world gradually caught on and became Facebook crazy; Zuckerberg became a multi-billionaire and was played by Jesse Eisenberg in a movie about the rise of Facebook – and the rest is history.

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There’s no denying that Facebook has become synonymous with the early twenty-first century and has changed the way in which we use the internet and communicate with family, friends, schoolmates, colleagues – even people we’ve never met! Anyone who’s got a business or product to promote has discovered the benefits of Facebook; bands, actors and authors have used it to build their fan base; we can join groups and speak to people who share our interests and we can play games with – or against – other Facebook users. And who says it’s just for kids? Even grandparents got in on the act, using it to keep in touch with grandchildren living abroad.

 

Facebook may sound like a little piece of paradise in cyber heaven but as everyone knows there’s a downside to the social networking phenomenon which has been well-documented in the press: tales of spying on ex-partners verging on stalking to trolling and hate-campaigns to concerns about data protection and privacy and even being cited in divorce cases – it would appear that Facebook isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

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I first heard about Facebook back in 2007 when it was slowly surpassing MySpace, the social networking site du jour. I wasn’t in any great hurry to get an account because back then I wasn’t really into social networking. I preferred to go out there and do things rather than sit at my PC. I also didn’t like the ‘nosey’ aspect of it where people would know your business and where you’d get to know things about them that you wish they’d kept to themselves. Furthermore, the people I came across who were avid Facebookers were hardly an elite group I wished to join.

However three years later, I did join! Many of my friends were moving abroad and insisted that I got a Facebook account for us to keep in regular contact. I value my friendships with them so much that I did just that. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong about Facebook. Whatever the negatives might have been, I found that the positives outweighed them greatly. I got to keep up-to-date with events in my friends lives; organizing events via Facebook proved to be very convenient; I enjoyed looking at friends’ photos, and best of all I was able to find friends I’d lost touch with ages ago – and in no way is that a bad thing! Furthermore, my friends say that my posts – usually regarding my one million and one mishaps – have them in stitches.

Then last year I decided to set up another Facebook account for professional reasons in order to promote my work and network with people from the arts industries. It has been a huge success. I’ve publicized my numerous blogs and best of all been able to talk to people who share my passion for writing,  blogging,music, history, travel and the arts – basically anything that involves creativity. I’ve forged some pretty close bonds with some of the creative crowd and I’ve even been called upon to lend a helping hand which I’m always happy to do.

Have I had any bad experiences? Well I’ve had nosey parker relatives, old school foes and hideous exes trying to add me as a friend. Needless to say, I didn’t accept their friend requests. But other than that I’m glad I’m a Facebooker. It’s great when you use it the right way i.e:

don’t over-obsessively check FB fifty times a day; don’t add all the people you get on the tube with every morning just to increase your number of friends, and not go running to update your posts every time you cough sneeze or pick your spots! It’ll be interesting what will happen within the next ten years. Will Facebook have get even bigger (if possible?) Or will it go the same way as Friends Reunited? Will a new social networking site come along and cause Facebookers to close their accounts? Who knows – but we’ll see! Right I’d better go check my inbox…

So happy belated birthday Facebook.  Hope the party was awesome!

 

So Much For Sisterhood!

 

I’m really appalled by Katie Hopkins’ latest round of controversial comments but I really don’t want to give too much attention to a woman who clearly gets paid to be so vile – and take pride in it too. Katie has been very open about her lack of remorse in taking her now husband away from his first wife. Everyone knows about Katie’s penchant for married men so this doesn’t come as a surprise. She’s clearly not someone who believes in women sticking together, and sadly there are other women out there who come from the school of thought that if you see something you want – take it. And they do take with very little regard as to who it belongs to or who gets hurt.
Naturally, as a happily married woman, this doesn’t sit well with me. Mr. D. is without a doubt a real catch; the best thing to happen to me. He’s as gorgeous on the inside as he is on the outside. It doesn’t surprise me that he catches the eye of other women. But I would hope that he’d tell her where to go. However, I would hope that a woman would have a strong sense of sisterhood to not even go there in the first place.

Sadly, there are plenty of women who don’t have this sense of solidarity  – and so would go there without a second thought.

 

No guilt…

Earlier this year, on a night out, I got acquainted with the friend of someone I know. Kerry* was hardly what you could call shy and retiring but even I was amazed by a later confession – probably fuelled by too much alcohol – in which we got talking about ex-boyfriends and she revealed that hers was already in a relationship when she met him.

“Oh my gosh,” I said, “he lied to you! So when did you find out about his girlfriend?”
“Er, when he asked me out,” she replied, clearly thinking I was an idiot.
“You went out with him even though you knew?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes!” Kerry replied, a little defensively, “his girlfriend and his relationship are his business. Nothing to do with me. I was the one who was single so I was free to do what I liked.”

 

Let’s just say we didn’t promise to add each other on Facebook at the end of the evening.

With friends like these…

Amanda* was a girl I knew from school. She was definitely not the kind of girl you wanted to mess with but one thing that did impress me about her was her strong sense of loyalty to her friends. And they did seem to be a pretty tight bunch of people. As someone not cool enough to make it into this elite ‘girl gang,’ I have to admit, I did feel a little envious of their close bond.

Fast forward six years and guess who runs off with her best friends husband? That’s right – Amanda! What was surprising was that many of Amanda’s friends – as shocked as they were by what had happened – stood by her. Amanda, herself, didn’t feel any remorse over what she had done, claiming that her friend Emily and husband Sean had had a very unhappy marriage and weren’t suited. She even claimed that Emily had even cheated on Sean once. It all worked out very well for Amanda as she is still with Sean and they now have two children together.

 

I actually bumped into Amanda several years after we had left school. By then she was expecting her second child – a daughter. It was a super quick catch up, in which she talked mostly about her children. She obviously wasn’t going to tell me about how she met her fella – and she didn’t know that I knew what had happened through mutual acquaintances.

Once again, there were no offers to keep in touch as I had no desire to keep in touch with anyone who treats their friends so shoddily. To sleep with a stranger’s husband or boyfriend is bad enough but when it’s the boyfriend of a friend or family member… it’s just not on.

Ruth* knows only too well the pain she felt when she realised that her husband, Simon*, was cheating on her with a woman she considered to be a friend, Erica*:

“I returned from a business trip and found things that things were not in it’s usual place or in the order they would normally be arranged. The biggest giveaway were the sheets being changed – something my ex-husband wouldn’t even know how to do. I asked a lot of questions but his answers were very vague and I instinctively knew that something wasn’t right.”

Eventually it was a local café owner who told Ruth what had really been going on:

“I mean we live in a town where pretty much everyone knows everyone. I can’t believe he was so stupid as to think he wouldn’t get caught. What I learned is that he had been seeing her for a while and that they had been seen out together. I now believe that whenever I was away working, he’d bring her over to the house. I didn’t know which was worse: the fact that everybody knew or the fact that he’d brought her into our home. It tore me apart that he cheated with a woman that I was quite friendly with. It was the ultimate betrayal.”

Ruth confronted her husband and her friend, before kicking her husband out. He then tried to work things out with Ruth but when it became clear that she wasn’t going to take him back, Simon then moved in with Erica and the two of them carried on their relationship for the next four years:

“I was never going to take him back. He’d destroyed my trust. There was no way our marriage could ever work. I was devastated though when he went to live with my former friend. Devastated but not surprised. However, what made it easier was knowing that he still loved me – if you could call it that – and that he was only with her because he was so needy and didn’t want to be on his own. Even our mutual friends agreed he’d be back tomorrow with his tail between his legs if I’d agree to have him back. Strange as this may sound even though I hated my ‘friend’ for pursuing my husband the way she did, I also felt sorry for her because it was so obvious she was second best.”

Ruth has since remarried and has very little contact with Simon – who is no longer with Erica.

“Thankfully they moved away shortly after they started living together which made things a lot easier for me. It took a while but I slowly picked myself up and moved on. I met Craig* about two years after my divorce. He restored my faith in men and relationships and we’ve been together for nearly nine years now. Simon even made an attempt for us to get back together just after I met Craig but obviously it never happened. By then, they’d broken up. I think she [Erica] was expecting Simon to propose after the divorce came through. It never happened and the relationship didn’t last long. I see Simon from time to time at weddings and other events. We are civil towards one another but I don’t know anything about his private life. As far as I know he’s not with anyone.”

I’m glad that Ruth got her happy ending and that Erica didn’t come out of this so well. I just hope she’s learnt her lesson and won’t hook up with a man who isn’t available ever again.

The same thing applies to men and ‘brotherhood’…

Sadly it’s not just women who have a lack of respect for relationship boundaries. Men can be just as bad too.

Gavin* has been with his wife Amy* for thirty years and married for just over twenty. The reason why it took so long for them to walk up the aisle is because Amy was already married with a young daughter when they met.

“It would sound odd to a lot of people but with Amy and me there was no sneaking around or hiding. Our relationship was common knowledge – even to her husband Rick*. Her husband had hoped that this would be something that would fizzle out and he was worried that if he’d pushed her into not seeing me again, she might leave him. As a result it just made me have absolutely no respect for him at all.”

Rick and Amy then went on to have a second daughter. Many people hoped that this would strengthen the bond between them and that she would stop seeing Gavin. But there was a twist in store…

“We all limped along for another six months after Lilly* was born, but the truth eventually came out: Lilly was my daughter – not Rick’s. Rick already suspected it so the news wasn’t that much of a shock. It was the end for Rick and Amy after that as he knew that I just wasn’t  going to go away. Amy moved in with me and we got married about a year after her divorce came through and we’ve been together ever since. People used to ask me if I was worried about Amy doing to me what she did to Rick but the honest truth is I don’t. They weren’t compatible and the truth of the matter is that if it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. Amy and I love each other even after all these years – we were meant to be.”

However for those of you who think that Gavin sounds a little too much like the cat who got the cream, it may be a comfort for you to know that it hasn’t been all plain sailing…

“Amy and Rick had a daughter, Rosie*, so naturally Rick was always going to be around as he had to play a part in his daughter’s life. Despite everything and how I felt about him, I was never going to take his daughter away from him – even though I love Rosie as though she’s my own. The three of us decided to behave as adults and put her first. This has meant that Rick’s been present at every sports day, school play and presentation evening. And it’s always Amy and him who went to Rosie’s parent’s evenings. At Rosie’s wedding, he obviously was the one who walked her down the aisle which I accepted; there isn’t much of a role for stepfather’s at weddings even though I helped raise her too. When the kids were young, we used to have him over for Christmas as Amy felt it was best for Rosie. And now that there are grandchildren, we still occasionally have to have Rick – along with his second wife Beth* – over for Christmas dinner. We’ve all learnt to be civil even though we’ll never be great mates but I’d be lying if I said I miss not having Rick over for Christmas. It’s not ideal but what can you do?”

I’m sure there are plenty who don’t feel any sympathy for Gavin – and who can blame them?

I remember a conversation at secondary school, in which I asked a friend if she thought it was OK to go out with a boy who was already seeing someone else.

“No”, she replied quite matter of fact.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because I would hate it if I had a boyfriend who did something like that to me,” she answered,”so I couldn’t possibly do that to someone else.”

Wise words from someone who wasn’t even sixteen at the time. Too bad people twice that age don’t take that advice. The world might be a happier place with less heartbroken people.

* Names have been changed

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