Sunday, April 29, 2018

Shared Anniversaries and a Royal Baby

Today is the wedding anniversary of my husband and I...twelve years! My how time flies! I thought that I'd share a previous post that I wrote seven years ago. It's my post about our trip to London to watch all of the activity during the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, which just happened to fall on our fifth wedding anniversary. April 29th seems to be a good day for a wedding! Hubby aka Brit Boy and I made a joke that it was nice of London to put on such a fancy party for our wedding anniversary (smile). 

As you'll see from my post that I'm resharing below, I took quite a few pictures. They were a bit fuzzy, but everything was moving so quickly and we were within a crowd of thousands, so please excuse my shaky photos. Lol. 

And speaking of the Cambridges, as mostly everyone knows, they welcomed a new son this past week. Prince George and Princess Charlotte have a new baby brother. Louis Arthur Charles has joined the family. My hubby and I received a happy anniversary card today and I noticed something sweet. There was a little message to the Cambridges printed next to the postmark on our letter. I've never seen that done before. Maybe we missed it the other times. I'm not sure, but I thought that it was a nice gesture.


I hope that you enjoy reading the post below as we go down memory lane here at The Yellow House. Have a wonderful day! :-) 

***
From 2011:

We had a wonderful wedding anniversary and our trip to London was historic and lots of fun. The royal wedding had London all abuzz when we got there. Let me back up a bit though. And I have a variety of photos, so I'll just scatter them within this post independently with captions :)

We headed to London on Thursday morning, the 28th, by bus and train. When we arrived in London we made our way to our hotel to drop off our bags. Then we headed out to see the last minute preparations and see what kind of action was going on. We headed to Westminster Abbey and there were loads of people walking around. There were loads of media around and we saw recognizable reporters amongst the crowds getting interviews with people in the crowds. There were quite a few people camped out too and there was a definite buzz in the air.


Leading up to the side of Westminster Abbey


Front of Westminster Abbey the day before royal wedding


Some of the media across from Westminster Abbey


Then we headed to Buckingham Palace to check things out. Lots of people were camped out along The Mall and there were loads of media and people walking about here too, but the crowds weren’t as big. Since this was a bit of a strategic trip out, we decided that standing along The Mall would be the best place for us to catch a glimpse of things the next day. We really enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere as there was lots of happy anticipation in the air.




Top: Some media across from Buckingham Palace;Middle: Views along The Mall; Bottom: On the way to The Mall (all taken the day before the wedding)


I noticed something when we were watching the various media outlets in their makeshift studios. Whenever they wanted to have cheering in the background, they would have someone on their staff out to the side waving their arms in order to get people to whoop and holler :) And nearly every one of the news studios from different countries did it. A great unifying practice ;-) They also motioned people over who had signs so that they could get them in the background of their live shots whilst their anchors interviewed people. It was surreal and very orchestrated. Who knew? ;-) It was fun to watch. Brit Boy and I hung out for a while longer and played “spot the news anchor”, and then we headed off for a bite to eat. Then we went back to the hotel to chill in preparation for our early start the next day.

On the day of the royal wedding, also our wedding anniversary, we got up and out a bit before 6am. Some people were already out besides those who camped overnight, but not that many. We took a place along The Mall and stood behind some ladies who had camped out and a couple who got there a few minutes before us. Later loads of people filled in behind us. We got a very good spot considering the fact that we didn’t camp out for a spot. The couple in front of us were very nice and we chatted a lot. It was a great way to pass the time together as we all waited. The couple were from the United States like myself and have been living in London for a short time due to the husband’s short-term job assignment here. The ladies who camped out were from South Africa and England, whilst behind us there was a lady from Argentina. It was a very eclectic group in our little section. My own main personal intention for going to see the royal wedding was to experience this global event and that’s exactly what it was. I heard many accents from all around the UK, the USA, continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and everywhere around the world. It was truly a sea of humanity! And I loved that Brit Boy and I got the chance to be a part of this crowd and a part of history.

We were very lucky to get such a good place to watch. Crowds quickly swarmed in right after we got there. It was quite a crunch to be standing there and not be able to move our feet, but it was worth it in the end. Speaking of feet, our hands and feet were freezing. It was a chilly day and there was a cold wind blowing.




Top: The guards & tv cameras; Middle: The Fabulous Band; Bottom: Excited happy people :)


We tried to get some photos, but it was a tough assignment :) Some are rather blurred so I won’t bore you with them. When the royals were heading to the church, the cars sped by very quickly and the crowd went into a frenzy...so I got some pretty random shots. We could hear the ceremony on loudspeakers and they had these programs for sale for £2.




When they all headed back to Buckingham Palace, they came back at a slower pace but it was still tough to get a good shot. But I’ll tell you, seeing it all was something that I’ll never forget :)








Top four: Prince William & Kate; Middle: Prince Charles, Duchess of Cornwall, & Kate's parents; Bottom two: Queen Elizabeth & the Duke of Edinburgh


After they all passed by we made our way down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. We had been standing for about seven hours so we were a bit stiff. The crowd bottlenecked at one point, so we took a shortcut through St. James Park and somehow got closer to the palace than we expected considering how enormous the crowd was. It was quite a crush so my photos turned out kinda random, but I got a few. We saw the balcony appearance and both of the kisses.






All of the above: the balcony appearance :)


And then it was over. We didn’t see Prince William and Kate drive out in the car, because like many others we had dispersed. However, the memories of those days will stay with us forever!

Here are a few inexpensive things we picked up as souvenirs. The free things were being passed out at or around train stations.




Top: flag £1; Middle: tea - free; Bottom: card - free:)

Brit Boy and I made our way out of the crowd slowly...it was quite a crunch, and then we headed to Covent Garden to have our anniversary lunch/dinner. It was so delicious and we were so hungry by that point. It was truly a wonderful day...and it was one that we’ll never forget. We were so happy to be there to witness it all!


The Mall heading to Buckingham Palace the day after the royal wedding:)


The day after, we had a bit of time to kill before we caught our train, so we went back to see how things were the day after. A lot of the scaffolding was being dismantled along The Mall and at the temporary television studios. And the sky was a beautiful blue...a perfect way to end a great trip!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Stormy Sky


Yesterday evening this is what it looked like right before the thunderstorm came. I knew what was coming when I saw this dramatic looking sky. I knew a storm was coming. The sky reminded me so much of back home. ⛈

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy Friday!


I'm going to spend my weekend getting back on track with some things. Sometimes we all lose our way a little bit or lose sight of what we really want. That's happened to me. Life gets hectic :) 

So this weekend I'm going to check in with myself again and get to work again on my "things". I'll report back on that front in time. Until then...

I hope that you have a great weekend wherever you are! :)

Monday, April 09, 2018

The Trees


As I've mentioned here, many times (smile)...I love trees!

I took both of these photos over the past couple of weeks. The one above was about a week ago. Finally the trees are starting to bud out even though it's still very chilly. However, buds always make me think of hope, so I know that warmer days are ahead.

The photo below I took as I waited at the bus stop one morning. The sun was ever so slightly peeking over the edge of a limb and it just illuminated the two trees.

Nature's beauty is amazing!



Getting Everyone Together at Your House? Tips for a Great Night

*collaborative post





Some people love playing host. Others find it stressful. No matter what camp you fall into, it is likely that you are going to need to play host at some point. However, this is not something you should worry about. No matter your personality, you can host a great night that everyone will enjoy. It is simply about a bit of preparation and being attentive to your guests. With that in mind, read on to discover some useful tips for hosting the perfect get-together.

Make sure there are enough seats so that everyone is comfortable – Nothing can make an occasion seem more awkward than there not being enough seats. No one wants to be perched on the arm of a chair for the entire night.

Make sure you have a variety of entertainment options – Keeping your guests entertained is the most important part, and probably the aspect that you are most worried about. If you have a number of different entertainment options, you can make sure your guests never end up bored. If one entertainment option falls flat, you are bound to have something else that everyone enjoys. Of course, music is a must, but you should think about sourcing a number of games and quizzes. This Factory Direct Flooring quiz is a good option. It is a quiz about furniture that was featured in popular television shows and films. Quizzes like this aren’t only fun, but they provide a good talking point, which is especially important if your guests do not know each other very well.

Think of ways to get guests to mingle – Leading on from the former point; the key to the success of any get together is ensuring that your guests are mingling with one another. Quizzes and games are a good way to do this, but you also need to be attentive and make sure that no one is left out or feels awkward.

Serve foods that are suitable for entertaining – When deciding on what food to serve, opt for finger dishes that are easy for people to snack on. Spaghetti Bolognese may be your specialty, but no one wants to be fiddling around with strings of spaghetti and getting pasta sauce all over their face!

Plan, plan and plan some more – Planning will make your life much easier. Not only will it ensure that you do not forget anything important, but it will make you feel more prepared and confident on the night, which will enable you to enjoy yourself more.

So there you have it: some useful tips on hosting the perfect get-together for your friends. If you take note of the advice that has been provided, you should find it a lot easier to host an event that you and your friends enjoy. Plus, you never know, you may find that being a host is actually something you flourish at!


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Love


Yesterday was my mom's birthday. She's no longer here on Earth, but I know that love never dies. I didn't post about it yesterday because I needed time to be with my thoughts and I didn't know what to say, if anything. Well, I still don't have anything profound to say and I know that I don't have to do that. Put simply though, all that I thought about yesterday and still today is that when it's all said and done in this life, the thing that matters most is...

LOVE




Decluttering Your Home Once and for All

*collaborative post
 
Homes often get full of clutter over the years. You may have told yourself time and time again that you are going to have a clear-out, but for some reason it never seems to happen. You may even find that the whole thing is incredibly daunting. Don’t worry, this is completely normal, but if you are due to move house then you need to get things sorted out. If you were to hire local moving services then it would make it easier on them and you, so it is well worth doing.

What Would You Replace?

Think about it, if your house burnt down, what would you replace? If you are moving to a smaller house then this is a great trick to use. If you wouldn’t replace it then you don’t need it, so consider donating it to the local charity shop. When you do this, you can help out a good cause and you can also really help out someone in need. When organising your possessions, try and have three boxes. You’ll want to have one for your rubbish, one for your new home and then one for donations. Be strict with yourself when doing this, because if you’re not, everything will end up in the new house box!


It’s Not a Marathon

Remember that you are not going to sort through your entire house in a day, so make sure that you do a bit at a time. Make sure that you are happy with the job that you are doing, and when you get tired, just stop! If you do jobs like this when you are tired then you won’t make good decisions and it will also be much harder for you to get the job done in the long-run. If you have the time, just spend half an hour trying to declutter, or do it in bursts. It’s also important that you take regular breaks, as this will help you to avoid high-running emotions when it comes to getting rid of your things.


You Don’t Always Have to Get Rid of Things that you Love

When you have your boxes and even your piles ready, go through your drawers and gather everything that you love. If you have photos then you don’t need to get rid of these, but it does help to digitalise them so that you can keep them on record for the future. If you have important documents, consider scanning them and upload them to your computer, as this will save you a ton of space.

When the time does come for you to pack up your belongings, you can really save a lot of time by getting rid of some clutter and now is the best time for you to do this. Sure, throwing away stuff is hard, but when it has been done, you will feel so much better and it is a great way for you to downsize so you can fit everything in your new property without feeling too much stress along the way.


Friday, April 06, 2018

Happy Friday! Happy Weekend!


I hope that your Friday and your weekend is fantastic wherever you are.

Spring is slowly springing here in Wiltshire. It's still quite chilly, but I'm keeping the faith that sunnier days are just around the corner :)

The trees and bushes are slowly starting to bud out so I'm excited about that. Here's to much warmer days ahead!

Happy Weekend! :)

Cutting Foods Out For A Better Diet

*collaborative post
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If you plan on changing up your diet this year, there are a few ways you can do it without falling back on the pizza and nachos within a few weeks. The key to changing your eating habits is the willingness to become a healthier person overall and the need to feel fit. To change your diet the best thing you can start with is cutting out the bad things you consume. This will be the hardest part of the process, but also an incredibly important one. Here’s how you can do it.

Small steps

You cannot simply wake up tomorrow and cut out all grains, dairy and processed foods. If you have ever tried this, you will know that after a couple of days your body craves what it used to have, and this leads to you falling back into these habits. If you want a lasting change, you need to start small and build your way up. For example, if you always put cheese on your chilli or your sandwiches, cut it out and see how you do for a week without changing anything else. Once this becomes easy enough, you can work on something else until eating healthier becomes second nature to you. Your body needs time to adjust so make sure you don’t overwhelm it right away.

 Add green

One of the easiest ways to cut down on fat while staying full is to reduce your regular portion and replace it with greens. Eventually half of your plate should be vegetables, with the other half split between protein and carbs. As a rule you can eat as many greens as you want, so if you are feeling hungry, pile it up on your plate. Here are some of the greens you can use for your plate: http://thescienceofeating.com/vegetables/best-leafy-green-vegetables/ . This is a simple way to cut down on your other calories and still leave you feeling satisfied after a meal.

Cut the sugar

Sugar is one of the most addictive things we eat, and therefore it is the hardest to cut out of your diet. However, if you think small, you will eventually be able to cut out at least 90% of your refined sugars. For example, let’s say you love having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer at the end of the day, cutting down with the help of programs like this https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/treatment/alcohol-detox/ can help you reduce the sugar you consume. The same applies for soft drinks, sugar in your coffee and other things too.

Switch to whole grain

Bread is a very difficult food to give up because it is one of the most diverse and loved foods in the world. If you do want to try and cut down the amount of wheat you consume but can’t bear to say goodbye to bread completely- you can switch to whole grain versions of the foods you love and then work from there. It will take you some time, but you will at least be eating a slightly healthier version for the time being.


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Tired of Looking Tired? Here’s How to Change Things

*collaborative post        

There’s nothing worse than looking in the mirror and seeing a tired face staring back at you, especially when you don’t feel tired at all. It’s a problem that many people face on a daily basis, and too many of them assume that they simply have to put up with the problem. That’s not the case though. It’s more than possible for you to turn things around and to get rid of those obvious signs of tiredness.

With a few simple changes to your daily routines and the way in which you approach self-care, should be enough for you to improve your appearance. The new revitalised you will help you carry yourself with confidence and achieve more in your day-to-day life. So without further ado, here’s how to change things once and for all.

Use Highlighter Under Your Eyes

A simple highlighter can be used to reduce the darkness of the skin under your eyes. In particular, you need to try to get into the corners and make sure that you don’t miss any dark spots. It will make a big difference, and when you consider the ease with which you can do this, it’s definitely worth doing. It’s something that you should work into your daily routines when you get ready each morning.

Choose Clothes That Complement the Skin

What you wear can also have an impact on how tired you look throughout the preceding day. Try to make sure that you choose clothes that are similar to the colour of your skin when you’re having a day when you’re looking more tired than normal. It will help to stop any blemishes or signs of tiredness from standing out too much. So make sure this is something you work on when picking out your clothing.

Work on Making Your Hair Healthier and More Full of Life

It’s not just your skin and your outfit that you should be thinking about when it comes to making yourself look more awake and more alive. You also need to think about your hair because tired and lifeless hair can drag the rest of your appearance way down. This link will help you find hair masks that can keep your hair healthy and more impressive on a day to day basis, so make the most of the information you uncover.

Change Your Face Wash

Different people need different face washes, so if the one you’re currently using is not right for you, you should make a change. The one that’s right for you will entirely depend on the kind of skin you have. If your current face wash is drying out your skin, you need to replace it with a creamy rather than gel-based face wash.

Try a Splash of Cold Water

Simply splashing some cold water onto your face after you finish washing your face with warm water will have a big impact on how your face looks once you begin the day properly. It’s a trick that many people use, and it’s all in the change of temperature. It closes up your pores and make you look fresher and a bit more awake than you otherwise would.

Brush Your Eyebrows Upwards
Bushy eyebrows tend to make you look more alert and more awake, and that’s why you should get into the habit of brushing them upwards each day before you head out to work. You can get special brushes that are good at this, and you will notice the difference right away. It’s something that’s so easy to get right but it has a real impact on how you look.

Give Your Body the Sleep it Needs

Finally, you need to simply make sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night. If you work on getting more hours of sleep at night, you will be far less likely to wake up feeling tired and exhausted. If you’re used to getting only about 6 hours of sleep or so, you should try to get between 8 and 9 in the future. It’s something that you won’t regret. After all, the best way to not look tired is to not be tired.

Image source

As you can see, these ideas and changes aren’t going to be particularly difficult for you to implement. You can put them all in place in no time at all, and you’ll reap the rewards pretty much immediately. It’s certainly worth making the effort to make these changes if you’re tired of looking tired all the time.

Benefits of Going Back to School as an Adult

*collaborative post

Going to back to studying as an adult is going to be much different than if you were heading to college straight out of high school. No matter what your age, whether you are 27 or 57, there are going to be some challenges and adjustments to get used to. It doesn’t mean it will be more difficult, there will just be some different challenges. In many ways, your age will equip you with many benefits, such as existing knowledge and experience that could help you on your journey.

If you’re thinking of going back to school for a career change or to improve your skills and employability, then here are some of the ways going as a mature student can actually be a benefit to you.

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More Programs Available To You

With today’s competitive job market, there is more and more demand for specialist courses and programs, as well as more options than there might have been even ten years ago. So even if you are going down a general degree route, there will more options than before on the kind of specialism or field that you want to go into.

You’ll Be Wise With Your Time

As an adult, who may have a family and other commitments to juggle, you know you won’t have a lot of spare time. So you know just how well you will have to manage your time. That can certainly be an advantage over a nineteen year old that can easily get distracted with the social life of college. According to an article by Urbanest, 75% of students proclaim themselves to be chronic procrastinators. That is something that you just won’t have time for. So that can be an advantage to going back to school later in life.

 Career Specific

If you ask some eighteen year olds what they want to do for a career, then there won’t be many that have a solid plan in place. They will go to college and see what happens. But you will have an idea of what you want to do, as your studies will be there to help focus on a particular career path. You may be going back to improve your knowledge and skills in an area that you have been working in for a while. You might be switching career. Either way, you’ll know what you want and your studies can be career specific, which is more likely to happen when you're older, than just out of high school.

More Flexibility

There is so much more flexibility for mature students at college. From being able to study online, to different deadlines and courses, there will be some more flexibility when you’re not going back to live on campus to do your degree. Colleges want mature students at their college, and they’re happy to help accommodate them. So don’t worry about other commitments that you have and how you’ll fit it all in; you’ll be able to do so.

Have you ever thought about going back to school later in your life?

Monday, April 02, 2018

Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns

*Disclosure: I was sent some of these ingredients for the recipe. All opinions are my own.

I had a lovely Easter and this year I had the chance to try something new for me. I had never tried hot cross buns before and this year I gave them a try.

Photo credit: Yutaka

My first taste of hot cross buns was a slighty different version, accentuated with a lemony twist on the traditional taste. I had Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns and they were delicious! I'll definitely be making these again in the future.


The yuzu gives them a zesty tang, whilst the honey gives an additional depth of flavour. Yutaka ( www.yutaka.london ) is the UK's leading Japanese food company with its range of authentic, traditional ingredients that allow you to make everything from sushi to delicious katsu curry in the comfort of your own home.

If you'd like to try the recipe for yourself, you can find it below:


Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns

Makes 15-20
Ingredients

For the buns:

· 575g strong bread flour
· 75g caster sugar
· 75g sultanas
· 50g mixed peel
· 7g quick working yeast
· 1 tsp salt
· ½ tsp ground nutmeg
· ½ tsp ground cinnamon
· 250ml milk
· 3 tbsp honey
· 1½ tbsp. Yutaka Yuzu
·  2 tbsp water
· Zest of 2 lemons
· 50g butter
· 2 eggs beaten

For the cross:
75g plain flour

For the glaze:
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
Method
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, honey, yuzu, water, lemon zest and butter stirring constantly until butter has melted. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes then pour into a well in the centre of the flour mix. 

Combine using a wooden spoon then use your hands until the ingredients are all combined. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.

Place your dough in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size. Then add your sultanas and mixed peel whilst still in the bowl, knead to combine all the ingredients and leave once again to rise for about an hour. Make sure the cling film is also greased to avoid a crust forming on your dough.

Once the dough has risen again, divide into 15-20 pieces and roll into smooth balls. Line them up on parchment-lined baking trays allowing enough space for them to once again expand. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for a further hour.

Preheat oven to 220c or gas mark seven. Mix the flour for the cross with some water to make a basic dough. Place in piping bag and pipe one line across each bun then repeat to form the cross.You can brush buns beaten egg to give a glaze.

Bake for around 20 mins or until buns are golden brown on top. Remove pan from the oven and let buns cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Mix the caster sugar with boiling water and, once buns have cooled a little, brush with glaze.