Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A very British Christmas indeed

I can't believe that Christmas is over! As I write this I've still got my Christmas table cloth on and the tree up with the lights still twinkling. Christmas was very nice this year. It's the 3rd one I've spent in the UK, last year we went to visit my friend Taylor in Japan. Christmas Eve was a weird day. Matthew had to work part of the day and I still had shopping to do. We were going to be driving down to Bognor that night, but we weren't going to celebrate until Christmas Day. 

I am used to do the bulk of the celebrating on Christmas Eve and having kind of a chilled Christmas Day. This year I had a nasty cold that decided to get really bad on Christmas Eve so I spent the car ride asleep :) We got down to Bognor and stopped by Matthew's Nanny's house for a quick hello before I had to go to bed. 

I felt better on Christmas day and we spent a nice day with the family at Nanny's. Christmas Day was spent with Matthew, Thomas (brother in law), Charlotte (sister in law), William (brother in law), Nanny (Matthew's Grandmother), Mum (Matthew's Mum) and Rosemary and Tony (Matthew's Mum's sister and husband). It was a good sized group and everyone was in good spirits. Charlotte and my Mum in law, both had a touch of a cold as well. 

What I like about get togethers in England is the nibbles that are served. We always have M&S duck rolls, salmon bellinis and cranberry and brie parcels washed down with several glasses of prosecco. You will never see a veggie platter with raw broccoli and cauliflower! My English family shudders at the thought :)

We sat down for an amazing meal at around 3 p.m. and this year's dinner was beautiful. I also like how English people like to describe food as being beautiful or gorgeous. As an American I like these two adjectives for food :)

I am telling you that it was fantastic, beautiful and gorgeous! Nanny is one heck of a cook and her roast beef was to die for. After dinner we all just hung out, opened presents,played a bit of brandy fueled monopoly and then watched East Enders as we enjoyed our trifle. 

We then spent Boxing Day with Matthew's dad side of the family and that was very nice as well. There was a tiny bit of mother in law drama, which I won't get into. Families at Christmas can always be interesting :) All in all it was a very nice Christmas indeed.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Oh Sew Brixton

The Christmas break is a wonderful thing! My office closed on the 23rd of December and we're not due back until the 4th of January! During this lovely and generous break I've decided to take a dress making workshop at Oh Sew Brixton.  I actually started this course back in October, but wasn't able to finish it. Fiona, the owner and wonderfully kind teacher, let me go on this course instead. She's been very kind and accommodating :)

The workshop started on Monday and since I had been to one session already I didn't need to turn up until 2 p.m. There are six of us in the class and it runs from 10-5 for three days. It's for beginners, the requirements being that you can at least sew a straight seam. I am what you call a beginner sewer. I've made pillows and crafty things, but have not really gotten into sewing clothes from a pattern. 

I am making a simple 1950's style dress, which is proving to be easier than I thought it would be. It has been great having Fiona to explain how to read the pattern and how to alter the fitting. The small class size gives you a lot of personal attention. It's a nice way to spend the day. You get to learn how to make a dress with an instructor guiding you the entire way. Perfect!

Some of the women in the class are a bit more experienced than I am, but that's fine. Everyone works at their own pace. It's given me the jump start to get back into sewing.  I bought a Janome sewing machine from John Lewis ages ago, back in 2008 and I haven't used it yet! It's definitely coming out and I'll be back sewing. 

I would definitely recommend the Beginning Dress Making course at Oh Sew Brixton, it has been great and tomorrow I'll post up a photo of me in my dress!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Happiness Project

I just finished reading this book and I loved it. I had been waiting to read it for about a month. I had ordered it on Amazon and it ended up never coming so I had to cancel and then reorder. Once it arrived I read it in three days.

I've been thinking a lot about happiness these past few months and what I want to do with my life, five year and ten year kind of plan thing. I am not unhappy, but I think it will be good for me to really think about what I am trying to achieve. So I am going to be focusing this week on happiness related to my career.

I started out this blog almost two years ago now. It seems like such a long time ago! The purpose at the time was to write about what it was like starting a career in London. I wanted to capture the experience of what it was like to go from a very familiar and established environment (Minneapolis) to something completely unknown (London) and share what it was like to find a job and then what it was like working in London.

The only issues is now that I am working I can't really write about it. I want to respect the privacy of the people I work with and there's always the issue of not knowing who's going to be reading, which can be a bit of a pain if things aren't going so well. So I am going to write a bit about what it is ideally that I want out of work.

I would describe myself as an ambitious self directed person who has always been able to figure things out and make things hap

My career is important to me, I like work. My guiding philosophy has always been I do what I love and love what I do. When I look back over my CV/resume I am happy with every single job that's listed there. I've looked for challenging opportunities. I believe that when you do something you love it doesn't feel like work at all.

What do I want from work? I want to be part of a thriving dynamic and energetic team. I want to work with people who are excited to get out of bed and get to work.  I also at some point want to lead a team. I have always been a natural leader and can see myself working towards that.  I thrive on collaboration. I of course am able to work on my own, but I enjoy working with other people.

 I want to get better at what I am doing and be constantly learning. I want to be productive and make things happen. I like people and am  good at getting people to work together. I also am not precious with my ideas and am open to other people's points of view. Of course I think I have great ideas, but I am not afraid to have them challenged and expanded upon. I want to be busy. I want to make mistakes, to take risks and to really push things. I want to be so excited about an idea that it wakes me up in the middle of the night. I want to solve problems.

 I do feel very happy with what I've achieved in London. I remember reading on the UK Yankee forum back in 2008 about people who were never able to work in their chosen fields and worrying that I might end up doing something completely unrelated. Hard work has paid off and I am proud to say that I've been working in my chosen industry.

So I am going to spending some time this week thinking about career goals. I've got an informational interview coming up with a successful lady and a new mentor which I am very excited about.

Lots of exciting things are happening!
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