So about 2 months ago I wrote this post about threading. I had never heard of it until I came to London and I was a little bit scared away from it. I have always waxed my lip and was used to that, but something about using thread to pull my lip hairs out from my skin just didn't seem normal. I mean look at this pictures...they just look a bit odd....
It was getting about the time when my lip was getting a bit hairy and I new that I was due for my annual monthly lip wax. I was looking up the number to make an appointment when I remembered about threading. I told myself last time that I was going to try it the next time just to see what it was like....well I did.....
Last minute, I decided to sign up for the Sport Relief Run 2012. We saw signs for it around Buckingham Palace and St. James' Park, looked it up, and then decided to sign up and support the cause. It was a charity run and the money went to the less fortunate. It was only 6 pounds to run which is super cheap for a race! It was pretty laid back and casual and everyone was just there to have a good time for a good cause with their families.
You could choose to run either 1 mile, 3 miles, or 6 miles. Of course I chose the 6 mile one which isn't even that long. I was pretty proud of myself for my time because I haven't been running as much recently as I have in the past. The 6 mile race took me.....
On Saturday, I had to decide whether sleeping in or going to get cheap tickets for a show was more important to me. I chose going to get cheap tickets. But I still "slept in" an hour longer than usual for work days, so I guess I got to do both. When we got there, we were 5th and 6th in line. The first 8 people in line get 5 pound seats, so we barely made it! We waited about an hour and a half and then walked out with two tickets, only spending 10 pounds. It was a great feeling.
The show was incredible! We weren't expecting anything that great, but we were definitely wrong. It was amazing and so much fun. The funny part about the cast was that....
The weather was so nice and warm this weekend so Nate and I took complete advantage of the days that we had together and did lots of fun things that have been on our London bucket lists.
First, we got up early and went in stood in line for an hour and a half outside of the Cambridge Theatre to get 5 pound tickets to go see this show:
Second, (after a little nap) we had a picnic outside of Parliament, in the sun, while we waited for our tour time to start. It was fun people watching and sitting on the grass.
Nate got a meal deal from Tesco and I got the green Naked juice...my favorite. Then we tried a new British candy bar called, "Boost." It was really good. It had a chocolate truffle center with carmel, a cookie layer, and chocolate. I don't each candy bars that often, but if I did, I would eat this one.
Then, we toured Parliament which has been something that I have wanted to do for a while but we just never got around to it, which is funny because we live like 5 minutes down the street from it! It was a really fun experience. We had a tour guide that told us stories, what each room was used for, and how things work. She told us that the building actually used to be a castle/home and then was not needed and was changed to being used as their government building. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside but we did snap some good ones from the outside, and we saw something funny after the tour that was defiantly picture worthy....
I taught at a Nursery school today that only had nursery classes. It was a small school with just four nursery classes of 30 children each. Nursery age is 3 and 4 year olds. I had the best time. I pretty much just played with them all day long. I couldn't believe that I was getting paid for it because I was having so much fun. The weather was beautiful too, so we played lots of hide and seek outside in the play area.
Throughout the day, I found myself laughing at the things these little British children would say. To British people, it wouldn't be funny at all, but to me, it was hilarious. I couldn't believe how proper these children talked! They sounded like little adults!
-A little girl named Lola (Age 4)- She asked me to help put on her boot. She couldn't get her foot in all the way and was struggling with it. I was helping her but also having a hard time with it. After trying for a little while, she looked up at me and said, "Quite difficult, isn't it?" (I was thinking, did that really just come out of your mouth? American children would say, "Hard huh?")
-I was reading a story with a few children on the carpet. Lola was doing something else on the side. I asked her if she would like to come and join us for the story. She said, "Yes.....in a moment." (A moment? Not, "Just sec?")
-The book that I read had the word "tomato," in it quite a few times. I said it how I normally say it with my American accent. A little girl looked up at me and said, "Mikelle, it isn't tomato, it is tomaaahto." (Oh, well excuse my accent little one.)
-It was clean up time at the end of the day. Some children were cleaning well and others continued to play. A girl who was doing a good job cleaning was next to a boy who was still playing. I heard her turn to him and say, "Stop lollygagging! It is tidying up time!" (Who says lollygagging these days? I guess British 3 year olds do!)
Are 3 and 4 year olds really saying these things? I feel like British children talk so much more adult like than American children. The British English is just so much more proper where American English is so laid back and casual. So funny.
Monday night and Thursday night means Zumba night! Getting paid to exercise is such an amazing feeling especially when it is something that I would normally do for free. And getting a free gym membership out of it is an added bonus as well. I love exercising, I love dancing, and I love music with good rhythm, and Zumba gives all 3 of these things to me!
Last Monday something really funny happened during my class....
For Valentine's Day this year, Nate got me a cooking class entry at the Indian restaurant in central London called, Mela. It was such a fun experience! In London, there are a ton of Indian people that live here and of course tons of restaurants. We have really grown to love this type of cuisine since moving here.
There were 11 people total taking the class as well as the executive chef/owner and the sous chef who were teaching us. We learned how to make, Hyderabadi Bhunna Chicken (chicken masala curry), Udipi Mysore Potatoes, (potato mustard and cumin seed curry), and Jeera Pulao, (an Indian yellow rice). All of which tasted amazing. Yum! My mouth is watering just typing about it.
I have been feeling more British since I moved to London. I am totally used to the accents now where I don't even realize that they are speaking different than me. I don't notice the constant cigarette smoke smell that I breathe in everyday while walking around the streets of the city, where when I first moved here, I had a constant sore throat from it. I am used to riding the tube and even help other people who don't know what train to get on. I can't get enough of living in "Theatreland" where all the West End shows are lining the streets. I have fallen in love with city life and all the perks that come with it. But.....
I knew I wouldn't have the true British experience until I went to Afternoon Tea. And not just any afternoon tea, but at the best around....at The Ritz Hotel! All the reviews read, "This is the one and only place to go for afternoon tea. It is a once in a lifetime experience." And it definitely was! I could probably say that this was one of the most fun, most British thing that I have done since I have moved to London.
For those of you who don't know....my favorite food is frozen yogurt. My favorite places to get frozen yogurt are Red Mango and Pinkberry. They don't have a Red Mango in London but they do have a Pinkberry and it is great.
On Monday, Nate and I, and our friend Caroline who is meeting with the elders in our ward right now, took a stroll on over to Selfridges for Pinkberry. We went about a half hour before it closed. We were the last ones there and we saw them cleaning up and doing the closing procedures. Then I saw a girl take a big bucket, put it under one of the machines, turned it on so the yogurt was pouring out, and it all went into the bucket. I realized when she was mixing 2 flavors together in the bucket that it definitely wasn't being saved but thrown out. As we were walking out I said, "Well, that is sure a waste. What do you do with all of that?" She said that they clean out a machine every night and they throw out tons of yogurt every night. On Thursdays and Sundays, they clean out all 3 machines, and throw out a massive amount of yogurt. Then she said, "Do you guys want to take some home?"
Nate and I were walking home from church on Sunday, and our street that we live on was blocked off. We had heard that they were going to be filming a movie on our street and we realized that this was it! We watched for a little while. There wasn't that much to see, and these pictures aren't that great, but we saw lots of extras walking around like they were busily walking in London. We saw cars driving and then they would stop the scene and the cars would reverse for the 2nd take. They had a couple red London buses in it too, and a few ambulances. We asked what movie they were filming and they said it was the new James Bond movie that is coming out in November called Skyfall!
Yesterday, Nate and I went on a little stroll through the shopping district of London. We went to Oxford and Regent Street where all the high end shops are. It was fun to window shop and see all the amazing fashion displays that are out. We explored through different streets as well and found some really cool restaurants and stores that we hadn't noticed before. It was a fun evening. After going to Pinkberry for some frozen yogurt, we explored through Selfridges, a huge high end department store in central London. We got to one of the stores and they had massage chairs on display that you could sit in and test out. My back was actually killing me since doing a strength weight class at the gym at the beginning of the week, so I decided to try out the chair.
On Monday we decided to take a day trip to Toledo Spain. Toledo used to be the capital of Spain until it was changed to Madrid. We got bus tickets for only 8 euros each round trip. It is an hour long ride south of Madrid and it was totally worth it! We wished that we would have gone to Toledo a day earlier because it was one of our favorite places. The pictures above of the archway are pictures of the "entrance into the city." What a grand way to enter! As we walked through the small narrow little streets, I felt like I had walked into a fairy tale book from olden times. It was so quaint and cute and looked like it did many years ago, where it felt like Madrid was more modernized. There were restaurants and shops nestled into the streets and cobblestone roads and pathways. I instantly fell in love with this little city and found it hard to part when the day was through.
There were cats everywhere in this city! We found this cat poking out of this little hole in the wall of the city. It wouldn't let us touch him. We looked inside of the hole and there were even more cats inside! While we ate lunch, there were also lots of cats walking around the tables.
A castle that we saw a little way in the distance.
I absolutely love how castles dot the land in Europe. So enchanting!
This is the cute little restaurant that we found. The entrance to the restaurant was inviting because you had to walk under a big archway down a little hill that led to the front of the tables. The weather was perfect this day with blue skies and the warm sun, so we ate outside. Our waiter was Spanish and spoke pretty much no English. He was so smiley and looked like he loved his job. Funny story though....I wanted to order this small menu of food that came with a salad, main dish, and a appetizer type of thing. The main dish was paella, but it didn't say what kind. I wanted to know if it had seafood in it or just chicken. So we looked up the word for seafood and Nate was going to ask him when he came back. So the waiter came, Nate ordered what he wanted, and then it was my turn and Nate started his spiel about the seafood. He told him I was allergic to seafood, which isn't true but it gets the point across. :) The waiter said that the paella was seafood, then he pointed out some items on the menu that didn't have seafood in them. He gave us a few minutes and would be back. I picked something out to order instead and was ready. I ordered the items and he left. When they brought out the food, they only brought my food. I ordered more than what I thought I ordered. (Hard to know what you are really even getting.) Nate was nibbling off of mine, but his never came. And it never came. The waiter kept on smiling at us as he walked by but never said it was coming right out or anything like that. So, Nate and I just ended up sharing my food. Because of the language barrier, our order was kind of messed up, but it ended up being fine. Funny though that we can't even explain to the waiter what we want to order. I really need to learn Spanish! So here is what we got:
It was pretty boring foods. Just grilled chicken, fries, ham croquettes, and a cheese platter with a cheese that Toledo is known for. The bread was complimentary. So poor Nate, instead of eating his deer dish that he wanted that the restaurant was known for, he got stuck eating my weird things.... :)
This was the coolest shop ever. It had all different kinds of decorative lights in it and beautiful colors. If we lived closer I would have totally bought one. But I was worried it might break on the way home. Toledo is also famous for their marzipan. Marzipan is an almond paste made from sugar and almond meal that they use in lots of desserts and candies. Toledo is where it was originally from. We didn't end up trying any because we had to rush off to catch our bus, but we saw a lot of it. :)
If anyone is ever going to Spain, you need to go to Toledo!
It was such a cute place and so romantic.
A great honeymoon spot for a day or so!
We then caught the bus and went directly to the airport. We got home super late that night around 1AM. We took a bus from the airport to home and on the way home, our bus got a flat tire. We had to pull over and the driver checked it out. He decided just to keep on driving on it but to go slow and be more careful, which probably wasn't the best choice, but at least we got home in one piece! It was nice to be home but hard to get back to work early the next morning. Can't wait for our next trip.....France!
The next day in Madrid, we got up to go to the Royal Palace. You can take a tour of the inside for quite cheap especially if you are a student. It was huge! They said that it is the 2nd largest palace in all of Europe. Because no one is currently living there and hasn't for quite some time now, it seemed a little empty inside and mysterious. Nate and I both agreed that we felt like we were Bell walking through the castle on Beauty and the Beast. There were even Lion statues/gargoyle type things, on the grand staircase at the beginning. Plus, it was freezing inside because no one lives there and they can't afford to heat it because it is so big! Buckingham Palace in London has more of a home type feel and it is obvious that things are still being used and cared for.
They have these small buildings in the front of the castle where the guards would stand to protect the castle. There are holes that face out for the guards to fit their guns through to fire at the enemy when under attack. Nate thought this was pretty cool.
This is in the plaza right in front of the Royal Palace called, Plaza Oriente. We went to the El Rastro Market in the morning as well. They had all types of things from antiques, clothes, books, art, jewelry, batteries, shoes, and lots and lots of junk like old batteries and other things. It was fun to look around though and to try to bargain with them in Spanish. I found these really cute gloves for only 5 Euros!Just a cute little street that we came across. We thought these trees were fun. They are leading up to the Retiro Park.
I like the shape of the greenery.
El Corte Ingles is a famous department store in Madrid. It is similar to the London Selfridges or Harrods. It was huge! We didn't buy anything but it was fun to look around in.
We went to the Prado Museum on Sunday night from 5-7 because that is when you can go in for free. We definitely didn't have enough time to see everything or even a portion of everything. It is huge! There is so much art work in there and so many levels. They gave us a guide to find all the paintings that are considered, "masterpieces" so we mostly stuck to finding those most famous pieces. You could spend days in there!
The best part of the day was going to the Real Madrid football game. It was so much fun! We bought the tickets online before we came and we got the cheapest seats that were available. Yes, they were pretty high up, but we could still see great and were able to enjoy every minute of it. We had binoculars that helped out too. There are 80,000 seats in this stadium! I normally don't love watching soccer that much, but this team was so good that it was amazing to watch them work together. They are one of the best teams in the world for professional football. The score was 5 to 0, Real Madrid taking the lead. The other team was from Barcelona and they weren't that good. What an experience this was! We loved it!
During the half time break, we decided that we were going to go find something to eat. They were selling things in the booths outside of the game, so we headed over there. We couldn't read the sign and so we didn't know what they served or even how to order. So we used our handy dandy google translator and figured things out. The funniest thing was we looked up "calliente" which means "hot," then we looked up "perrito," which means "puppy." I was thinking, A Puppy served hot? They eat dog in this country? Then we both realized that it was a hot dog! :) So funny!
At the end of the game, all the policemen lined up around the stadium getting ready for any maniacs to come down and run into the field. Luckily, there weren't any people who tried it out for this game. Too bad because they would have been a good story!