Island Party!

Hi Again!

As promised we had a very exciting and busy weekend, the highlight of which was my work party! For those of you who don’t know I’m currently working in the customer experience team at Maple, a newly formed New York food delivery company. We make and serve tasty meals that people can order via our website, and working for Maple is a lot of fun 🙂

Although salivating excessively is an occupational risk…

As well as being fast changing, working for Maple means that I am working in another time zone (Eastern Time) and get to talk to lots of New Yorkers, which is mostly fun! The best thing though is definitely the work events, of which we have now had two big ones.

The first was our Christmas Party, which was a glorious trifecta of Bowling, Laser Tag and free alcohol. Sadly I could not tell you much about it afterwards, mostly because I don’t remember much but also because what I do remember seems very unlikely. Rest assured, this time I was more vigilant in my blogging duties!

So anyway, our work party. We were all pretty excited when we found out it was going to be an Island Party, whilst also being a little confused about what exactly that entailed. It turns out it does exactly what it says on the tin: some lunatic has built a man-made party island, and you travel to this island and party. What a time to be alive.

Party island

The East side of the island! So fabulous:

One arrives by boat, of course 🙂

It wasn’t that sunny on Saturday, but that was definitely a good thing. It was still very warm and humid, but without the direct sunlight overhead burning all of our skin off.

face melting
This is what would’ve happened if the sun was out, sensible hat or no sensible hat

But anyway, the dress was of course island themed, and so everyone dressed appropriately. There was a much needed work outing to stock up on hawaiian shirts and dad shirts (both, where possible) and many leis were bought. Our CEO even flew over to party with us, which was outstanding 🙂

My party gear, complete with Watermelon accessory!
Manager/ Papa Stephen on the left; CEO Caleb on the right, throwing out gang signs

There was a lot to do on the island, including but not limited to:

  • Playing on the water trampolene
  • Swimming in the Lake
  • Canoeing
  • Pedaling the Pedalos
  • Roasting things on the Fire pit
  • Partaking in the open bar
  • Volleyball
  • Feeding the hungry and numerous Catfish
  • Eating the tasty food that Papa Stephen cooked for us
  • Chillaxing

It was truly a magical place. The Catfish definitely merit a picture or two because they’re amazing:

I believe the collective term is a ‘frenzy’ of Catfish
Oh hai there!!

Volleyball also took up a lot of time, with Rob of course leading his team to repeated victory! I was very proud.

Papa Stephen with the serve!
Go team, Go!

Our intrepid CEO even joined in, but it was not enough:

Sweet action shot by the photographer, what top photography 🙂

Anyway, we partied away and had a great time, and we now know that party islands are another fun thing that America has to offer. I am absolutely building a much worse version of this in my back garden when we move home, as soon as I figure out how.

So yes, that was the magic of party island, as well as an inspiring tale of how Rob and I successfully entered a Lake a second time without dying of parasitic infections. Where is your science now, Dad?!

Anyway, Love you all lots! 🙂 Xx

American Food Shopping – A Horror Story

Hi All!

One of the best things and one of the worst things about living in the US is the food, and whilst we’ve shown you a lot of the good food I wanted to show you a little of the less delicious side of things for your enjoyment.

It’s much easier and cheaper to eat out in America, so people generally cook less and eat out more. There are also much bigger wage gaps, so there is a need for some of the food to be very low cost. The good part of this is that the fruit and deli section in most supermarkets (called Grocery Stores here in the US) are extremely awesome:

Although mostly organic, and you get judged for asking for non-organic produce…

But there are also horrors. King Soopers where we shop is actually really nice, but not nice enough to be free of the occasional catastrope.

The meat section for example has a nice deli, and whilst meat standards in the US can be pretty poor we are generally okay here in Colorado 🙂 That said there is also some ‘pre-cooked’ meat available that is always a source of concern…

How? I dont understand!!

And there is also a strange tendancy to pack things in cans/ tubes. I’m assuming that this has something to do with making sure that everything lasts longer and can be stored long term, but it’s still a little odd:

Also, 20% fat?! The struggle to not become obese continues…

What else can you get in tubes you say? Glad you asked!

Hold back your tears, The French…

Before you ask, no – I have no idea why croissant is spelt ‘crescent’, nor why these are considered ‘dinner rolls’. We have also not tried them, because oh the horror. However we have given another of the canned desserts a try, again as a result of a weird cultural interpretation. Brace yourself, for the English section of the supermarket!

Always at least 50% Biscuits

This is actually awesome, if not a little expensive. The Bisto gravy is especally appreciated, as are the Maltesers 🙂 However they also have a ‘traditional english dessert’ that is inaccurate at best and a little weird. Behold, the food of our people, according to America:

Our legacy, if you will…

Unsurprisingly it doesn’t taste that good once you scrape it out of the tin and blast it in the microwave, but it could be worst. And if you buy this as a gift for any American the will be amused and delighted, so that’s a plus!

It’s probably also worth mentioning that the Royal Family is ALWAYS in the news somewhere when you go past the magazines. Based on the titles we’ve seen so far the poor royal family have seen more action that the Game of Thrones people:

In Touch are all about journalistic integrity, one assumes…
Sidenote: National Examiner is awesome

Anyway, on to the American section of the store, which is basically the whole rest of the store. If you want anything in a US flat pattern you are not out of luck!

We’ll start subtle to ease you in…
Now this is happening
I promise you that this is completely non-ironic
Drink it in

I actually think that all of the above is pretty awesome, I love the American sense of National Pride. Take a lesson, England!

Anyway, back to the gross food. More horrors await in the ready meal sections:

I didn’t get any pictures of the ingredients lists, but rest assured that they are not entirely foody… Corn Dogs continue to be a real source of fascination to me, although we haven’t given them a try yet. We probably want to have some medical support nearby before we start eating them.

Speaking of non-ingredients, colours! I hope you like Powerade, now available in the following extremely bright colours:

Again, we have not dared to give this a taste yet…

And finally, a sweet memory of my old company, still with real cheese!


So yes, there are lots of delicious foods all over the place, but many hazards await the unworthy. Be vigilent, friends! And more posts soon 🙂

Much love xx


Lake McConaughy!

Hi Again!

We had a free day on Sunday, so decided to do an exciting road trip over to Nebraska to check out the famous Lake McConaughy! This is a very big lake to the west of the state, which totals 4 miles wide and 22 miles long, so pretty impressive. It also has white sandy beaches around the edge and allows all sorts of fun water-sports! Plus we’re like 1000 miles from the actual ocean, so this is our ocean now 🙂


But first, we had to get there. Our lovely car is all fixed and working now (it turns out that because there are no MOTs and the oil here is terrible you need to get the oil changed every 5000 miles or less. Now we know!) so we loaded it up and off we went.

It was a pretty long drive of about 3 1/2 hours each way, but we got to drive through parts of Wyoming and Colorado that we hadn’t seen before which was cool. Also Rob fell asleep immediately and stayed asleep for most of the drive down there, so the drive was not too taxing for him 😉 Here is the route we took:

Not to scale

So on the way there we went up through Wyoming, and we came back via Eastern Colorado. As promised both are almost completely empty of anything interesting to see, but we did get to stop at the signs on all the boarders and judge them! Wyoming’s sign was fabulous, and we were very impressed by it:

I made Rob wake up for the picture, which he did not seem enthused by…

We have been to Wyoming a few times before but this was the first time that we had driven in via the I-25, because whilst the sign is awesome the road itself is a disaster. Lots of potholes and cheap tarmac. But I digress!

The Nebraska sign was also nowhere near as excellent at the Wyoming sign, which we found a little disappointing. We liked the green, but where was the wood? Where was the pizzazz? Also it meant waking Rob up again, which he was still not a fan of:

“Just pose by the sign. No, pose! Like, move your arms!”

Still, we get to add Nebraska to the list of states visited (between us we are up to 14/ 50!) and I can scratch it off my map of the world.

As for Nebraska itself, it was almost exclusively grassland and an extremely straight road, but visibility was outstanding! We think we could see at least 50 miles away based on what towns we could see from how far out, plus we could see the mountains on the way back whilst still 60 minutes away from Fort Collins. Eventually we got our first peek at the lake!

“I can see the sea! Kind of…”

We drove down to it, and tried to find a spot to relax for the day. The lake is actually super full this time of year, so most of the beach was underwater. This was actually quite a nice thing, since it meant that there weren’t too many people there and all the beaches were broken into little tiny hidden beaches. We found a fun secret spot and hunkered down:

❤ ❤ ❤

The water did not look very clean, so we set up on the mini-beach and sunbathed for a few hours. Occasionally people would go past on their boats or paddle boards for our amusement:

They fell off a lot, it was great

After a few hours we were extremely hot and sweaty since it was boiling hot and I refused to move into the shade, so once we left our mini-beach we had to make a desperate dash for liquids. Fortunately, you are never far from a bar in the US!

Sweet salvation

Rob is still being an absolute hero and not drinking any sodas, but alas I was not so strong. In fact I was extremely unsupportive and chugged down like five pints of coca cola right in front of him, bad wife. It did bring me back to life though, and we had a good time laughing at Rob’s beer. For reasons unknown Budweiser has renamed itself ‘America’ for the next few months, because why not.

“I’m done with the America, get me another”

We also got some fries, because so sue me.

Anyway, after our tasty break we went down to a beach in front of the bar and found an even better secret place to call our own.

You walk behind the hedge at the end there…
And voila!
We marked it as our own as proof! ❤

We set up our chairs and towels again, and read in the shade like the old people that we are. You could see more of the lake from here and there were more boats going past, plus there were lots of rocks so you could hear more gentle splashing. It was very zen 🙂


After some more reading we decided that we should at least touch the lake itself, so did a little paddling and jumping around on the rocks:

It was not warm, which was very welcome!
So Lake!

It was lots of fun, and as of yet we’re not showing any signs of parasitic infection. Anyone who gets in touch to let me know what parasites we might have (DAD) will be responded to harshly :p

After a little while we had to dry off and head back to the car for our drive back home.

Cue artistic shoes and towel photo

We were lucky enough to see this little bird friend before he left, so once again we play name that bird:

And I mean name the type of bird. His people name is Kevin ❤

Lake McConaughy is actually very famous for it’s bird watching, and has all sorts of rare birds that live there. However I don’t know anything more than that about it, since it was and is too hot to use my brain. Maybe we will take a more bird focused approach next time 😉

Anyway, we made it home safely and had a great time! We’re now working on planning our next adventures, so watch this space 🙂

Much Love! Xx

Medieval Fair!

Hi All!

A short update on our weekend so far! This Saturday the weather is extremely beautiful here in Fort Collins, it’s 85°F (29.5°C) with bright sunshine and blue skies, so much fun was had!

Rob’s dubious idea of fun was a grueling 28.5km bike ride around the reservoir, with an alarmingly fast top speed of 35 mph on the steep downhill bits. It does not look like an easy cycle:

Not pictured: flatness

But he said he had a very good time, and saw a horse, a donkey, and some people tubing down to Poudre river! We have not yet tried tubing, but are very keen to do so since it looks like a lot of fun:

Soooooon ❤

I decided not to sacrifice my body to bike riding, and luckily got an offer to go a Medieval Fair with my friends Jeny & Linda from work! This sounded like a lot of fun, and something I have never done before, so off we went.

Unlike most fairs there was a very relaxed approach to clothing, so it didn’t matter that we weren’t dressed in costume. A few people did make the effort and were in full medieval dress, but good lord did they look warm:

I can’t actually see his face but seriously. How is he still alive.

Also unlike most fairs, this took place just next to the beautiful ‘Devil’s Backbone’ in Loveland, which is a really pretty geological feature. There are tall rocks which rise up along a naturally occuring hill, making the whole thing look like a monster spine:

Devils backbone
Stock image to give you a better idea…
And the view from the medieval fair!

The fair itself was really lovely. It was mostly small stalls in tents with people selling homemade goods, and there was lots of great stuff. I bought a wooden painting of the Colorado flag to hang up, and the others got some great jewellery.



They also had homemade drinking horns, which I was very tempted by!

As well as the cute shops they had lots of performances, including Belly Dancing:

A common pastime in Medieval times?

And sword fighting!


We were pretty tempted by the sword fighting, but it was far too hot to be leaping around fighting. We had a glass of Mead instead 🙂

After that we wandered the fair for a few more hours shopping away and taking pictures with the cool outfits and prop jails…

Again, not sure this is Medieval, but whatever!


Totally had to fight some kids off to take this

Afterwards we went and got ice cream to bring our body temperatures after our baking in the sun, and agreed to do it again soon!

Tomorrow we are going to be day tripping across to Nebraska, so we hope to have more exciting pictures for you tomorrow 🙂

Much Love Xx