Friday, 15 November 2013

Mr and Mrs

I am married!

I am a wife, I have a husband, I have a new surname. Its all so surreal and very strange. But it's such a good surreal and strange.

Our wedding was gorgeous, it was absolutely perfect. A few days before my mum and dad flew over and Mikes mum and youngest sister flew in too to be there for the big day. It was so nice to have them there, it wouldn't have been the same or even felt right with them not being there. Ill write about their visit shortly.

We got married on Montara State beach. Yes I had a beach wedding. What girl doesn't dream of that. It was a lovely day, a little windy which led to some crazy hair and a few Marilyn Monroe moments with my dress but it was still great. We found a wonderful lady to marry us. I don't think it sunk in what was actually happening, we all met in the car park above the beach and then walked down and before I knew it I was saying my vows. When Michael started to say his vows I welled up but I had a little talk to myself and pulled myself together. I didn't want to cry all the way through my vows. It nearly went without a glitch apart from I stumbled on my words a little bit, but that is nothing new and no surprise.
It was over really quickly and then the fun family photos begun. One of our close friends who works with Mike kindly agreed to take pictures for us. They turned out wonderful! They captured the day perfectly and now I have memories of that day forever.

I had been looking for a dress to wear for months and couldn't find anything I liked or suitable. I didn't want a huge wedding dress because I am going to save that for when we have our big ceremony back home in Wales. But I didn't want something really casual either. I was going to get my nails done with some of my friends one day when one of the girls, Derry, showed me her new dress she had bought recently and thought I might like for the wedding. I couldn't believe it when she bought it out to show me. It was everything I had been looking for. I was gorgeous! So I quickly ordered it and thankfully it arrived in time.

I went and had my hair done in a blow dry bar near me. I LOVE it. The just do blow dry's. No cuts no colour just good old blow dry's. The lady I had was amazing, she did such a nice job, she gave me loose curls with lots of volume, just how I asked. This is the place I went to:
Girls you need to try find one of these types of shops near you, if you have any big event or just want to go and make yourself feel good i highly recommend them.

After the ceremony we went and ate in a near by restaurant, which apparently is world famous - "Sam's Chowder House' I had a delicious burger. Im such a classy bride. In the evening we went and ate in The Cheesecake Factory. I have the biggest slice of cake I've ever seen from there. It is sooo good. Whenever I go there I always end up taking home just as much as I eat when I'm there, their portions are so big.

Since I was young I always wondered what my surname would be when I was older. I was always excited about trying out new signatures. At the time it was Amy Beckham because of course I was going to marry David Beckham. But Amy Loftis has just as nice a ring to it. But it's definitely going to take some getting used to. I always have to stop and think before I sign anything now.

I'm used to wearing a ring on that finger now so wearing another one is no big deal at all. However, Mike has never worn any jewellery so getting used to his ring is proving to be quite a struggle. He is constantly taking it off, fiddling with it and throwing it up in the air. Basically he takes it off as much and for as long as he can. He jokes about 'accidentally' loosing it so he doesn't have to wear it anymore, but I've said I will just buy him a new one if he does and he knows I'm not joking so thats put an end to that plan.

So far married life is great, and I'm sure it's going to stay that way for a long long time to come. Here's some pictures of our beautiful wedding.

Mrs Flossy Loftis

Friday, 23 August 2013

Your Visa Has Been Granted!

September 9th 2012 Mike and I submitted our visa application that would allow me to move to the US and be with him permanently. I knew the application was going to be long and hard but I wasn't expecting it to be as big of an emotional roller coaster as it was. 

Trying to find a visa in the first place was hard, I had no idea just how many different types there were. I initially started looking for a work visa, I had a good respectable job so I figured it would be easy to get a visa with that. However after finding out there was a 4 year waiting list for some work visa's my heart sunk. I then looked at other types of visa's just visitors visa's and then ways of extending your stay, however these only limit you to working for a short amount of time and there is no definitive way of knowing you can get an extension so I would have to then move back home and try again. I knew there was no chance Mike would move to the UK, he does not like the weather at all, he cannot handle to cold and rain so it was a case of me moving over there.

The visa we eventually decided on was a K1 Fiancé Visa. This visa allows you to move over to America and will allow you to get permanent residency and be able to work. However with this visa you have to get married within 3 months of landing in the US. We knew we wanted to get married in the future anyway so why not do this visa. Not exactly the romantic way every girl wants to get proposed to but our relationship has never been normal or traditional. And even better the whole application process to being granted looked like it took about 9 to 10 months.. woooo.

The initial application too a LOT of work. We had a tonne of forms to fill in which had to be PERFECT! We also had to submit evidence of our relationship, I spent hours and hours getting together pictures, cards, emails, letters and anything else I could find to show that our relationship was real. It took me even longer too because I read through all the old letters and emails first :) Its fun to read back though everything. Then I had to send all of my things to Mike who then had to fill in more paperwork again and submit it. Then it was a case of waiting. And boy did we wait and wait and wait and wait. In the mean time me being the over organised and inpatient person I am I joined a forum that was dedicated to people applying for K1 visa's. This came to be my haven for the next 7 months. I checked every day to see if people who had applied the same time as Mike and I had heard anything and also so we could all reassure each other and ask any daft questions we could think of. Then in April we finally heard back, not the news we wanted our application was on hold we got a referral. This for me was the worst news I was convinced that was it, we were never going to get our visa. However all we needed to do was tick a box on a form we forgot to do. PHEW! however this meant it delayed our process that little bit more but at least we had heard something. The 3 weeks later we got the news we had waited so long for. Our initial application had been granted. Step 1 was done! the longest part was over, and so was Mikes part in the application now it was my turn. Our application then got sent to the American Consulate in London. I had to get police certificates and then go for a medical. The only place they do the medical is in London. So after a little day trip to London and getting prodded, poked, x-rayed, and bloods taken, I then had to wait until I was given a interview date. 5 weeks later I was making my way back to London this time for my final interview. This time I wasn't alone. I decided to make the most of the opportunity and asked me mum to come with me and have a little girly trip. I'll do a blog about that trip because it was a LOT of fun. After 2 hours in the embassy I heard the words we had been waiting so long for...

So all in all from applying to being approved it took 308 days. In those 308 days I went from happy, to being so unbelievably sad, confused, anxious, ecstatic, lonely to being over the moon with joy.

Anyone else going through the visa process I take my hat off to you. It is such hard work and it may seem like it will never end, but trust me it will and when it does it will be worth every single second of the wait. 

Flossy x

Friday, 5 July 2013

Shifts, sirens and sleepless night

I have been working as a Paramedic up in Mid Wales since the beginning of January. I can honestly say I LOVE MY JOB. I work in such a great station, everyone has been so welcoming and friendly. I couldn't have asked for better people to work with. I get along with everyone on the station so well and I feel they have taught me and helped me so much.

I work in amongst the Brecon Beacons, which is a national park. So everyday I drive through the most beautiful scenery. It really is gorgeous up here. The only problem with that is it is pretty remote. Our nearest hospital is a hour away. Which can be pretty scary sometimes when you have a poorly patient on board.

I have had a good mix of jobs up here, ranging from purely social calls to serious trauma and complex medical calls. I really have learnt 100% more since I've graduated and been working up here than I did throughout my 2 years training. Knowing I am now solely responsible for making calls and am the professional on scene is quite scary, but I feel I am slowly growing in confidence and believing in myself more.

The shifts I work are pretty good too. I work 12 hour shifts. Either 7am-7pm or 7pm-7am. And as weird as it sounds I prefer night shifts. I HATE mornings. Also night shifts I am able to talk to Mike so I like them more. The down side is how crazy your sleep patterns become. I have no idea what day of the week it is or date of the month anymore. Ive learnt when I need to sleep before each shift but its still strange sleeping when its sunny outside and also a bit depressing. But oh well.

I am so fortunate to say I love my job, I know so many people who dread waking up and going to work each day. I cant think of anything worse. I just wish our uniform was a bit nicer. Our uniform has been compared to a wheelie bin, the green giant, shrek and modeled on barney.

I just hope that I continue to work as a Paramedic, keep on improving  learning and be able to work in the job I love for many more years to come.

Flossy x

Thursday, 27 June 2013

My day of surprises.

Every girl dreams of her wedding her whole life, planning every little small detail and how perfect it is going to be marrying her prince charming. What we dont plan is getting engaged, well we do, but not the who what when and how, we just hope that it happens one day. My day came, and it was PERFECT.

It was my day of surprises.

Mike had a meeting in the morning so I had a lie in... amazing start! When he got back he said we were going out for the day. Once we got in the car he told me I had to put a blindfold on. Obviously I thought it was a little strange but I just thought Mike was being silly. Then we drove for a little while, I had absolutely no clue where we were going, I was just hoping people who drove past us didn't think Mike had kidnapped me and called the police. I did try get some clues on the way down but Mike gave pretty much nothing away plus im a terrible guesser. We ended up going for a massage. I LOVE massages. It was so relaxing, my favourite is when they massage your arms hands and feet. I could have stayed there for hours. But that was only stop number one, I had to put the blindfold back on again and next stop we went for food. One of my favourite foods is Chicken Nuggets. Yes im 23 but they are so good. So we stopped off at Wendy's. I love those nuggies. Blindfold back on we drove for a while further and ended up at a shopping mall. Since Mike and I first got together I have been desperate to get photo's taken in a photo booth. The ones in America take 4 different photos as apposed to just having 4 of the same ones that happens over here. So photo's in hand I got back in the car and then had to sit and wait in the car for a while whilst Mike went somewhere. It felt like forever and I was adamant people were staring at me. Mike knows how much I love Coldstones ( the ice cream place) so the next stop was there and I got my usual, it never gets old. The next drove was the longest and when we pulled up Mike said he had to go and get something and might be a while. When he came back he told me that he had to carry me. I hate being carried. I know im not the smallest girl and it just makes me feel self conscious and I dont want to hurt the person carrying me. But Mike would not take no for a answer. So off we went. As soon as he stood me down music started playing. I recognised the song straight away it was James Morrisons version of Man in the Mirror. My favourite song!! Thats when I knew something was up. And thats when I got the giggles. When the song finished Mike told me I could take off the blindfold and then I saw him infront of me all dressed up holding a bunch of flowers. Next thing I knew he got down on one knee and I got my moment. Of course I said yes. I stopped myself from crying. The ring he picked out was beyond gorgeous... and it fitted! it was only a little while later that he said 'have you noticed what ring it is' He had bought me a Tiffany's ring. Part of my wedding dream was getting a Tiffany ring. And he made that come true! As much as I had always wanted one I realised then that it wouldn't have mattered if it was a $5 ring I still would have said yes and loved it. Mike had asked one of the kids at the school who was doing photography to come and take photos of the whole thing, I didn't realise this until the end. So not only did I have the perfect moment I know have pictures of it and can relive it. Also I got to share the moment with all my family and friends. I thought it was such a sweet gesture.

Mike had put so much thought into all of this. He came over for a week in March because he had a week off work. Turns out he came over to ask me dad's permission to propose. He also asked my Mum too and had told them when he was going to do it and also sent them a picture of the ring. He had also been messaging one of my best friends to get her advice and help on what ring to buy me. She knows me well :) So then we skyped Mikes family who also already knew and were beyond excited and happy for us. We rang both of his grandparents too who were thrilled about the news. The worst thing about California is that its 8 hours behind Wales. It was 4 am back home, but that didn't stop me. I rang both my mum and dad and let them know. They too were so so happy for me, a little groggy because I had woken them up but still so happy.

That night to celebrate we went out for food, and of course it had to be the Cheesecake Factory. I have never seen such a big menu in a restaurant before. I was about 20 pages thick so it took us a long while to choose. The food was so good! I was too full for cake, and I normally always have room for cake. Mike got a piece of oreo cheesecake to go so when we got back we ate it and watched some tv.

It's so strange to call Mike my fiance. It seems so grown up. But its so exciting. Also wearing a ring on that finger is weird, but good weird. I stare at it a lot. Its so pretty!

I even made a video out of all of the photo's with Man in the Mirror in the background. Im quite impressed with it, and it didn't take that long either. Who loves IMovie! Check it out.


It was the most perfect proposal I could have asked for. How much thought and effort Mike had put into it showed how much he loves me. Now if I ever have a bad day and the whole long distance relationship gets me down which I've got to admit is quite often, I just look at these pictures and it reminds me of that moment and I get happy again.

One lucky girl.

Flossy x

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A trip to remember

I havent written anything for so long now. Everything has gone a bit mental in my life. All for good reasons and I couldn't be happier, I'm just so busy. But I'm going to get back into doing this because I will be so disappointed with myself for stopping this and I now Ive got to much I want to write and keep somewhere forever to look back on and share with people.

In April I managed to get some holidays booked in work so I was able to head out to California to visit my boy for 12 days.

I was so excited to get to the airport because I was in desperate need to get some new perfume, and seen as its the only place I can buy Escada I was so happy to stock up. So imagine my shock when they didn't have any there. Well technically they did have some there, but I didn't like them. The first time I have ever not liked it. I didn't know what to do. I kind of walked around like a lost sheep, smelling way too many perfumes that I gave myself a headache. But I finally decided on Britney Spear's new one. I felt 14 years old again buying her perfume but its actually really nice. Im hoping that next time I go there will be an Escada I like. I also was on a mission to find some new sunglasses. I want a proper nice pair, for the last few years Ive just had super cheap ones, so I was excited to go and find some. Glasses shopping for me is stressful, not because of too much choice but the complete opposite. I have a very small and round head. Mike calls me pea face, I've accepted it and embrace it. However this make finding glasses that dont make me look like a bug very difficult. I often try on kids glasses, which seem to be perfect for me. I did find one pair that I really liked and I thought didn't look too bad, typical they were £230. So I left empty handed.

I managed to find a direct flight into San Fransisco. I was so happy, its bit of a pain having to get my bags at a airport then take them and put them on the right carousel and then make sure I get to my flight on time. So I was chuffed to bits when I found a direct flight and with Virgin. Ive heard they are really good so I was looking forward to it. However this excitement was short lived. Safe to say I will not be flying with Virgin every again. The staff were SO rude. Normally you get drinks and people coming through the cabin often. I think saw them 4 times. When they came around with the food, I asked for the chicken dish and when I looked at what he gave me it was the wrong dish, so I turned around and told him about what happend and asked politely to swap it. He huffed at me, then said 'well pass it here' and then shoved the chicken dish onto my tray. Even the person sat behind me said 'well that was rude'. I shouldn't have even bothered swapping my food. It was exactly like how old plane food was, plain, dry and no flavour. I just ate my bread roll and picked at some chicken. Luckily I had bought some sweeties in duty free so they kept me going. The flight seemed to take forever cause normally I would have stopped and then swapped plane. So I filled my time with films. I managed to watch 4. Flight with Denzel Washington. Maybe not the best film to watch on a plane as its about a plane that crashes and then he is investigated for being drunk whilst driving. It was however really good. I love all of Denzel Washington's films. Next I watched Argo, I had heard so many good things about this film. I quite enjoyed it. Not the best film Ive ever seen but still good. Then I watched The Silverlining Playbook with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, it was the weirdest film Ive watched in a long time. I found it hard to follow and the story line was just strange. I didn't like any of the characters, so that wasn't a hit. Finally I watched The Hobbit. I LOVE The Lord Of The Rings and so was beyond excited to watch this. I was very disappointed. I didn't think it was good at all. I think because LOTR was so good it set a standard that was just too high, but Im glad Ive seen it.

I got through customs in less that 10 minutes :o I was so shocked! The man at the counter I went up to was finishing I was his last 'customer' of the day so he literally said why are you here then didn't even listen to my answer just stamped my passport and let me in. Woop woop! Mike was actually landing in the airport a hour after me after going to Palm Springs for a camp conference. We thought it would work out perfect by the time I get through customs and get my bag we could meet at my baggage claim. However because I got through so fast I thought I would surprise Mike and go to his gate so Id be there when he got off. American airports are totally different to British ones. The baggage claim in right next to the main door out of the airport so basically people can walk in off the street and pick up your bags if they wanted to. I thought I would surprise Mike but then I actually started thinking that maybe he would have gone a different way and be waiting for me at my gate so I ruined the surprise and messaged him so he knew where I was. Then I had my favourite moment and had that long awaited hug and kiss. One happy Amy.
We drove back to school, I picked up a chicken burger and chips on the way back. Mike had to work that night, so I went and had a nice early night.

Day 2.
Today was one to remember... I found bread I like. Simple things but I LOVE bread and all the bread in America is gross apart from this one loaf from Sprouts a healthy food shop - ironic. Mike then had to work, the school was doing a mini olympics so I went for a walk. I decided to walk up windy hill again, this time there was no chance of it turning dark and having to relive that nightmare experience. But half way up it got so windy that I turned around and walked down to a little park. There was a few kids playing baseball which was super cute to watch. Also hysterical to watch the over competitive and pushy parents who were trying to still to come across as nice and friendly and failing. Because it was so windy I didn't realise how hot it was and so I burnt to a crisp! It was horrendous, I looked terrible and could have actually cooked a egg on myself I was so hot. Once I got back to the school and Mike laughed at me he then told me that the school staff asked if I wanted to judge a talent competition that night.  Brilliant! My first impression on all of Mike's work colleagues and kids at the school and I look like a tomato! It was good fun though the kids didn't take it very seriously so it made judging it easier. Luckily there was another 2 ladies judging it and we nominated one of them to do all the talking so I could sit there with my head down.

Day 3.
Mike had a open house for camp so the camp director and the assistant director came over and they went to work for the day. Because I couldn't go outside I sat and watched TV all day and I stumbled upon EXTREME COUPONING. Wow! That is one crazy show. The people go on shopping trips they have planned for the past 6 months and then spend $1000 dollars and end up getting it for free by using coupons. They fill up about 10 trollies. But they end up buying about 300 toilet rolls 100 tins of soup and 20 toothpastes. Its weird. Then they have store rooms back home which is stuffed full. As much as I like to get good deals on things there is no way I could ever do that, its way too much. And plus extreme couponing doesn't work on clothes :(
In the night Mike and I went to watch Olympus has Fallen which has Gerald Butler in it (YUM) It was pretty good, I like action films and films that are easy to watch and dont take much thinking whereas Mike likes films that make you think, it was very American and very unrealistic but we both still liked it.

Day 4.
Mike had to work all day so I had another day inside watching tv letting my burn cool down. This visit I was set on going to the Cheesecake Factory. Ive heard their cake is incredible. I didn't have to wait to go and eat there Mike went on a trip with the kids and bought me back a piece of chocolate cake. When I said piece I should say slab. It was the biggest slice Ive ever seen. I took me 6 sittings to finish it, but it was so so good!

Day 5.
One hobby that Mike and I both enjoy is hiking. We hope to do more of it in the future and also want to camp so we can stay places for longer and just stop wherever we fancy. So today we went and bought some camping equipment. We bought a gas stove and a pot and pan set. Were slowly getting everything. Im excited about getting a tent, surely thats the most exciting part. Its got to be easy to put up because Mike will admit he's not good at arts and craft things which includes putting up tents so I'll have to be able to do it mostly just with a little help.

Day 6.
We went on a brilliant walk around Point Reece. Mike found out about a waterfall that is on the beach so we went to go and find it. It was a really nice walk, an easy trail until you get to the secret path to get down to the waterfall and then to get onto the beach we had to slide down on our bottoms. But it was worth it. The beach was gorgeous, we sat there for a few hours then climbed on our hands and knees back up the cliff and back to the car. One of Mikes favourite food places is a Chinese called Panda Express. He gets orange chicken from there which I think is gross, he loves it though. So while he ate that I went and got Burger King..much better :)

Day 7.
My favourite pair of jeans Ive owned were from American Eagle, the material is super soft and they fit nicely so I was hoping to get a new pair this trip. Mike bless him took me to basically every single clothes shop he could think of so I could try find a pair but I didn't find an I liked. I came home empty handed. Mike however, got new shorts and trousers. It wasn't all doom and gloom for me I tired my first philly cheese steak sub and it was good! In the evening we sat down and watched The Lord Of The Rings - The Two Towers. I love LOTR I put it on whenever I am ill. Mike however, had never seen them I made him watch them. He didn't love it as much as me, but maybe the pure amount he'll be seeing it in the future he might start to like it more and more.

Day 8.
I drove! Mike asked me every single time we got in the car if I wanted to drove so today was the day. I drove us to Chipolletes a mexican food place. I do not get stop signs and I drive too far over to the right side of the road. But apart from that I did good. I even did a good bay park. Ill get there slowly, I just dont like being on the wrong side of the road. The fact that the cars are automatics makes it easier, basically they are go karts. Next time im there I'll drive more again. Mike had to work the rest of the day so I watched tv. While I was over there boston bombings happened and obviously it was ALL over the news today they caught him so I watched all of that. Also friday night is bride night on TLC so I watched I found the Gown and say yes to the dress for about 5 hours. I think every girls loves those kind of shows.

Day 9.
My burn had finally calmed down enough to be able to sunbathe again, so I headed down to the pool to try and get rid of my tan lines. It was SO hot! I had to keep getting up and going and sitting in the shade. After a few hours I couldn't stick it anymore. I hate getting hot it makes me irritable and I feel gross so after a nice cold shower I walked down to the local shop bought a burger and sat in the shade and read my book. I love reading, I love getting to into a book that you cant put it down. I read a few good ones during this trip, I cant remember what they were called now though unfortunately. It was such a nice night I decided to go and sit at 'our spot'. Its in a field on the school ground where Mike and I had our first kiss. You get an amazing view of the stars from there so I lay there for hours. Way too many hours that I completely lost track of time and ended up staying there until 1am. I kind of scared Mike whoops but I had a lovely night out there.

Day 10.
I headed back to the pool to make the most of the sun, however there was a strange man down at the pool who kept staring at me. Maybe he just didn't know who I was, to him I was the stranger who was laying by the pool. But it creeped me out to much so I went back to my room and watched tv for the rest of the day.

Day 11.
My surprise day! This day will get a whole post of its own but as a summary.. I GOT ENGAGED! waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Day 12.
We headed down to Santa Cruz for the day, I had hoped to lay on the beach however it was so windy when we got there we couldn't. We stopped off in Quizno's on the way and got a sub which was not as good as I remembered it being before. Then we walked along the board walk which was nice, its a shame the fair wasn't open. I love rides. I lost at a game of Air Hockey. Mike and I played putt putt back in 2010 and I beat him by 10 shots. He had an absolute disaster on one shot, and plus Im good at putt putt (and modest). So we decided to play again cause there was a course there. This time Mike got lucky, it was all going so well until about the 12th hole and then it all went downhill. Literally I couldn't get my ball up the hill. So Mike ended up winning by 5 shots. We then walked along the pier and right at the end of it we saw hundreds of Sea Lions lying underneath the pier on the beams. We couldn't figure out how they got there. They were also floating in huge groups in the sea. One man had swum out from the beach and got up quite close to them. It was then that I thought I saw a shark fin. I freaked out. I HATE sharks! I thought I was about to see a man get eaten. However using my zoom on my camera I found out it was just a seal on its side with its fin sticking up. We took the scenic route home along the coast, it was super pretty and there were some gorgeous houses, we made a few stops to try and find a good spot for Mike to go surfing. We picked up a Jack in the Box on the way home, then ate it watching one of the NBA playoff games.

Day 13.
Home time :(
On the way to the airport I bought some more toothpaste. Toothpaste in america has bicarbonate of soda in and so is good for whitening teeth. Then we went and ate in Chilli's. I got the nicest desert it was a giant cookie with ice cream and chocolate sauce. When we were at the airport there was the longest queue for check in. It took forever!! I HATE security check. Because this is the goodbye spot. It was a million times worse this time, saying goodbye to him normally is tough but saying goodbye to your Fiance is literally heartbreaking. I just had time to go to the toilet and buy a bottle of water before I had to board. I was sat upstairs on the jumbo jet. I was so excited, I'd always wondered what it was like up there. For anyone that hasn't been up there.. DONT unless your short like me. Its so claustrophobic. I always get window seats so I can lean against the wall to sleep. Up there though there is a big window sill so you cant lean against it. So I got zero sleep. Once I landed I walked straight through customs then had a 3 hour wait for my bus. But I managed to get on a earlier bus so I got home a lot earlier. My mum met me and the bus stop with a gorgeous bunch of congratulations on your engagement flowers. I could not wait to jump into bed.

Another amazing trip... ready for the next one now

Flossy x

Friday, 15 March 2013

Love Hate Relationship

I feel like I say this a lot but I've started going to the gym again. And this time, for some reason I'm really dedicated. I dont know what has changed my mind and made me that way but I'm not complaining. I think it's because I'm fed up of moaning about my body and being so unfit, so the only way to change it is by putting in the hard work. Also I feel like more and more people are going to the gym now, loads of my friends are, so I dont want to be the one with the worse body out of everyone so I have to keep up.

My biggest downfall however is food. I absolutely love eating, and it wouldn't be so bad if I ate all healthy good stuff, but no I LOVE fatty food, I love all the food I shouldn't be eating. Half of me says its there to be eaten so enjoy it, the other half of me says NO FATTY! PUT IT DOWN. Its a constant battle.

I've only been to the gym a few times so far, and each time I literally have to force myself to go. I have such a love hate relationship with it. But once I'm there I get into it and once I'm back home and in the shower I'm glad I went.  The gym I go to is literally down the road from my house. It's £4 a session which isn't too bad, and the best thing about it is there is such a cute dog there! Its a big wolf like dog, I dont know what bread it is but it is gorgeous, he always comes bounding up to me when I walk in which is a nice little welcome.

I'm just sticking to all the cardio machines for now, I want to work on loosing weight and getting fitter first, then I'll work on toning up. Plus all the weight machines are scary looking and I dont know exactly how to use them. So I'm likely to provide a lot of entertainment for everyone else in the gym and just embarrass myself if I attempt to use them. Last time I used a leg press machine I got stuck underneath it and my brother had to pull the weights up to let me out.

I dont ever see myself being one of those people who live breath eat and sleep for the gym, I just hope I can keep it up and get healthier and fitter. Here's to hoping!

Flossy x

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Meeting the Family.

I finally got to meet Mike's family over the Christmas holidays. To say I was nervous about this trip would have been an understatement. Meeting the family is a huge deal and I wanted everyone to like me so much that I wound myself up into bit of a frenzy. I was so focused on this trip I kind of forgot about Christmas. But I still had an absolutely amazing Christmas day.

This time I managed to get a little bit of sleep before I had to wake up to catch my bus. Armed with my new suitcase from Santa I was ready to go. I ended up getting to the airport about 5 hours before my flight as that was the only bus available but I quite liked it, it meant I didn't have to rush or panic.

When it came to boarding the plane the flight attendant scanned my boarding pass and the computer started beeping...queue panic! Then I got told I had been upgraded to First Class...queue excitement!
It made the flight to Toronto even better. I even got to board the plane first (simple things).  When I got to my seat I pressed every single button I could find and just went back and forth and up and down on my seat for about 10 minutes seeing what it could do. My TV was huge! And I got a huge pillow and a super thick blanket so I managed to sleep like a baby for about 3 hours, not until I had a 3 course meal and so many drinks I had to go to the toilet 3 times. I watched The Vow (and cried) Magic Mike and a film about bike couriers in New York which was really good. I have always wondered what first class was like and now Ive experienced it I can see why people pay for those tickets, especially on long flights. Personally I would never pay for the ticket but if they offer me more free upgrades I will definitely be taking them. And I might even start to put my name down on the reserve list...just in case.

My luck had to even out at some time and it came quickly. I had to wait for aaaages for my bags in Toronto then go through customs before dropping my bag off, then I had to go through security again, then get to my gate which was miles away. I had to go and talk to a steward in the queue for customs because it was so long I was going to miss my flight so I got to skip the queue, but it still meant I had to literally sprint to get to my gate in time. I spent a little while getting ready before I left the house so I would be looking good when I met his family, but I shouldn't have bothered. I was so gross and sweaty by the time I got to the gate, I needed another shower. When I did get to the gate though my flight had been delayed because of a storm that was coming in. So I didn't need to rush at all. I did do my good deed for the day though and I bought a lady who I had seen running to the gate a bottle of water, cause she was in the same state as me when we got there.

I always meet Mike at the baggage claim, this time meeting up with him could have easily been in a movie. As I was coming down the escalator to get my baggage he was walking towards me. It was cute! I was giggling and feeling like a movie star. 

I quickly had to pull myself together cause his Mum was waiting outside to drive us back to their house. My heart was pounding so fast. All I could think was 'please like me, think before you speak' But as soon as I gave his mum a hug I relaxed, she was so nice! really friendly and super pretty. She has gorgeous hair, I said to Mike later, 'your mum is super pretty'. Her hair is a lot like mine but shorter and and she has more defined curls. Mike only lives about 15 minutes away from the airport, which could not be more different to me. I have a 3 hour journey to get to the airport. So after a super quick ride we pulled up to his house and I met his family. I walked into the living room and there was his dad, 3 sisters and 2 of their boyfriends. Its was so scary, but it went well. Pretty much straight away I opened my Christmas presents from them. I thought I would have 1 present but I ended up having about 10! I am the worst present opener. I dont want to go over the top and say how much I like the present cause it can easily seem fake but then I sometimes play it down too much like im ungrateful and dont like it. I got the nicest presents though! I was very spoilt.

Day 2: I am the worst morning person I know. I hate getting up and am always late. But I knew I couldn't be while I was out there. So I made sure I set my alarm super early to get up and be ready. Mid morning some family friends came over and we played a bunch of games. It was real fun. It reminded me a lot of what my family does on boxing day. I even won a game :) I won a game called Farkle. It was nice to finally meet more people Mike has talked about and now be able to put faces to names. In the afternoon, Mikes youngest sister had a basketball game. Mike used to coach the boys basketball team in the school and last season they won the State Championship. This was going to be the first time he had seen them all since he left for his job in California. I felt like I was dating a celebrity we walked into the school and everyone was like "Hey Coach Mike' I think every single person there waved or shouted out to him or came up and hugged him. It was crazy but so nice to see how many people liked Mike and missed him. After the game we went and ate in Cheddars which was real nice. I struggled with their HUGE portion sizes! After that we went home, watched TV then went bed.

Day 3: Mike's uncle own a chain of restaurants so for lunch we went and ate there. The food was sooo good. There was a football table there too so me and Mike got our butt's whooped by his sister and her boyfriend. In his restaurant people decorate dollar bills and then pin them on the wall. The place is covered in them, they are hanging from the ceiling its really cool.  I made a CYMRU one and Mike being the cute sweet boyfriend he is made one saying ML + AJ = (then drew a heart) bless his cotton socks. 

He has a few restaurants dotted around so check out his website and if your nearby pop in for some amazing food.

After we all stuffed ourselves silly we went to a jewellery store called Charming Charlie's. One of Mike's sisters kindly bought me a gift card for the shop so obviously I had to go and spend it. I could easily have spent a lot of money in that shop. There was so much gorgeous jewellery, and lovely clothes there too. I had to stop myself from buying more, because I knew I would struggle on my weight limit going home.
When we got home we watched Pitch Perfect. I liked it, I laughed a lot. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be, but I would watch it again. 
In the night Mike took me to Oppryland. It is a ginormous hotel that they decorate with thousands of christmas lights. It was stunning! We walked around there for hours, it was boiling hot in there though. I wore boots and my feet were so sweaty by the end of it. It was so pretty there though, I walked around with my mouth open for a lot of it. We walked past a few college football players (american football not soccer) they were big guys! Im used to being around tall men, Mike is 6 ft 3 and my brother is 6ft 2 so I didn't find them that tall, but they were built, they were so muscly! I dont fancy running into any of them. After walking around for hours we went home, and I jumped straight into bed. 

Day 4: All of Mike's family is super athletic and really into their fitness, so I was very nervous when Mike's sisters asked me if I wanted to go along with them to a Kickboxing class. I just hoped I could keep up and didn't keel over exhausted. It was so much fun. I laughed a lot! We all struggled a little with our coordination which made for a few funny moments laughing at each other. We had to run around the bag in circles at one stage then keep changing direction. I got so dizzy I had to shut my eyes and stand still for a while. We also had to do various combinations of punches and kicks and dips, we all had a few whopsies and got confused. But it was good fun. I was nice and rosy when we left. I could defiantly seeing me doing those classes regularly, if only we have them were where I live.

Later in the day we went to the Mall to do some shopping :) I really really wanted to get a purse while I was out there and Mike's Mum recommended Vera Bradley. They do gorgeous purses with really colourful patterns so I found one I loved and being the lucky girlfriend I am Mike kindly bought it for me. Then the shopping focus turned on Mike. He wanted some dress shirts for work, so I think we went into every suit shop there, and after first guessing Mike's sizes then finally getting measured we managed to find 3 or 4 really nice shirts and ties. He looked very handsome and smart. Before we headed back home I had an amazing sub from Charlie's it was so yummy! Im definitely going to remember about that place for my next visit. 

That night Mike's sister had another basketball game so we went to support her. All of Mike's grandparents go and watch the games so I got to meet them. They were so friendly I got on with them all so well. They made me call them granny and granddad, grandma and grandaddy big bob which was so cute. They were super funny and Mike's granny shouts the funniest things during the games. I got to tick off another fast food restaurant after the game, we went to Chick - fil a. Its might be my favourite so far. Later that night we drove through a light show. Apparently you were meant to tune your radio to a station and the lights would flash to the music, but we couldn't figure out the station so just drove through it without the music. It was really pretty. There was a man dressed up as Santa half way around so we had a quick chat to him, and then a man dressed up as a snowman danced for us. They must have been absolutely freezing! On the way home we stopped off and bought a ice cream cake and then watched home video's of Mike when he was little. He was super cute, he was dancing and singing. His dance moves have not improved! I love seeing baby pictures and video's I could watch them all day. His family loved showing me them too, I dont know if Mike was quite so happy about it.

Day 5: When Mike is back home every Sunday he goes with his Granddad and Uncle to watch the Titans play. So I went and watched a game with Mike, his Mum and Granddad. I wrapped up warm because I had been warned of how cold it was, and no matter how cold it gets or how bad the titans are loosing or how much they are winning by Mike's granddad stays until the final whistle. Apparently the game wasn't good, but I didn't know the difference between a good game and a bad game so I enjoyed it. Until the 3rd quarter we were sat in the sun, so by the end of the game I had caught a lovely tan on the right hand side of my face. They had the craziest mascot, I dont even know what animal it was. But at one stage it came out walking on his hands. I was so impressed until Michael told me that the man had just put it on upside down. Completely ruined the moment for me. Im so glad I can now say I've been to see a game. Im slowly understanding the game more. I just find it so start stop that I loose interest. 

On the way home we stopped off in a few stores to try and find Mike some suit trousers and a blazer. Later that night Mike cooked me some potato skins and we all sat around and played Farkle. I didn't really understand it. It was like yhatzee but not at all. Anyway I think I lost, it was fun though. I absolutely love playing board games. My family used to play a lot when I was growing up. I am the current Snap and Domino's champion. In my house I think we have every single monopoly ever made. We normally get one every christmas, play it once then put it away with the others until the next year. 

Day 6: I was so excited for today. I had seen pictures of Mike's sisters in this place on facebook so was really looking forward to go. Its called Sky High, and basically they have a tonne of trampolines and you just go and bounce around and they have a dodgeball court with trampolines you play on, and also a foam pit you can flip and jump into. 

It was a lot of fun, after a hour we were all shattered. Mikes sisters were all doing flips and things, i was just merrily jumping up and down, last time I tried to flip I ended up kneeing myself in the face and giving myself a fat lip so I did not want a repeat of that. I also showed up how bad Brits are at dodgeball. I was terrible. Ive actually got a good throwing arm but the balls they use are foam so I cant grip them right, so most games I ended up getting knocked out by one of the younger kids who were playing with us. One of Mike's good friends surprised his family and joined us there. He showed no mercy what so ever and was pelting these kids with the balls. He definitely has a competitive side like Mike. 
All that bouncing around made us work up a huge appetite so it was only fitting we had a HUGE meal to satisfy us. So we went and got a jacket potato from a place near Mike's house called Whit's Barbecue  It was possibly the biggest potato I'e ever seen. I was determined not to let it beat me though, but with only 2 mouth fulls left I had to give in. It was just too much. But it was so tasty. I will definitely have another one of those when I go back. 

Day 7: I am not the greatest with names, so today was a challenge. All of Mike's Dad side of the family came over for food and to watch the football. Its a family tradition they have. I was doing good with the names for the first 10 people that came but when there was around 30 I completely lost track. Everyone again was so friendly! I think I was asked possibly the strangest question I've been asked to date which was 'do you have cell phones in Wales' and 'Do you have cows in Wales'. Part of me wanted to say no what are those but I couldn't do that. It did made me giggle, and Mike too who was sat beside me sniggering. 
There was so much food there!! I've heard a lot of good things about all the food Mikes family cooks so I was very eager to try it all. His Mum's brownies were incredible. I ended up eating them for breakfast! There was a whole table of deserts so I went and picked up every single thing that was chocolate and ate it all. A few people noticed and commented that I would fit well with my sweet tooth. It was a really nice morning, I watched more American football in that one morning than I have in my entire life. Its nice to see and be a part of all his family traditions. 

In the evening I got to meet some of Mike's old school and college friends. We went to a pub and did a quiz. Its such a British thing I was shocked. Pubs here always have pub quiz's so I was super excited for that as well as meeting them all. I thought maybe my quiz history would help me but it did not one tiny little bit. However we still ended up winning :) Apparently we were lucky charms and could go back anytime. We'll have to take them up on that. They told me a few stories about Mike from his school days which are always fun to hear. It's strange not knowing all those things. Yes he's told me about it. But I find it strange that I only met him 3 years ago and I never got to see him when he was in school and playing basketball and seeing what he was like when he was younger. 
When we got home, Mike showed me some more old photo albums. There was one full of newspaper cuttings of his basketball games, which was exciting. Now I have to believe him when he said he was good. 

Day 8: A girlie day!! I had been wanting to see the last Twilight for aaages. But had never got round to watching it, but neither had Mikes sisters and Mum so we finally went and watched it. It was good, the ending had a huge twist that shocked us all, but we all loved it. Once we left we went and bought some ice cream, I had a brownie in mine and loads of other chocolate it was good. But even their ice cream tubs are massive. I really dont know what they would make of our portion sizes over here, they would be shocked. 
Our girlie day continued into the afternoon when me and 2 of Mikes sisters went and got pedicures. It was the first one I've ever had and I really enjoyed it. I had to bit my thumbs to stop me laughing when the lady scrubbed my feet. It tickled so badly, the lady was laughing at me. Im sure she gets it a lot though. But what made me laugh more was one of the ladies doing one of Mike's sisters feet put on her flip flops! We didn't know what to do, me and Mikes other sister were laughing our heads off. We couldn't figure out how she would be able to ask for her flip flops back. 'Uh scuse me, you seem to be wearing my shoes'. I said we should leave then she should walk back in and say 'I've left my flip flops here, they look a lot like the ones your wearing?' She managed to get them back though, but it gave us something to laugh about for a while after. 
I was nervous about Mike's sisters liking me, but I couldn't have been more wrong. We got on so well. I thought I'd be shy but I found them so easy to talk to and we laughed a lot. I found it so easy and nice to just sit and talk to them all. I really think I could open up and talk to them about anything and I hope they feel the same back. Ive always wanted a sister, and now I pretty much have 3 its great! 
Thats evening Mike's dad grilled some steaks for us and Mike's mum cooked delicious potatoes  That Mike and I have tried to make but no where near as successfully. I went back for seconds, and then thirds. It was my favourite meal the whole time I was there. 
One of Mike's favourite films growing up was Land Before Time. Ive never seen it, so in the night we sat down and watched it. I can't believe I havent seen it, or if I have I cant remember it. He still remembered all the character's names and a few of the lines. It was cute.

Day 9: I got to lie in which was so nice, all them early mornings had caught up with me. Today was the day I had been looking forward to most out of the whole trip. In the afternoon, Mike and his sisters go back to their old high school and play in Alumni Basketball games. Alumni for all of us Brits and non Americans are people who used to go to that school and graduated from there. Its all lighthearted and all done for fun, however they all still want to win and try to hide their competitiveness. Mike's sisters played first and were on opposite teams which was interesting to watch. Then it was Mike's turn! All of his boys he coached last year were in the stands watching so I think he was a little nervous. He said he played terrible and was disappointed but I loved watching him play. I've heard and seen so much about how good he is it was nice to actually see it for my own eyes. And if he thought he did bad, it just means I'll have to go and watch him play some more. After the game we went and got some Fro Yo (frozen yoghurt). I didn't though, I'm really not keen on it, I think it has a strange after taste, only the real stuff for me. 
When we got back to the house I watched Mike's senior DVD. It was lovely! Then we watched Derren Brown. He's a British magician/ mind master. He does lots of crazy shows, tricks and hypnotises people to try and do lots of social experiments. Its very very interesting, Mike and I love it and have watched nearly all of his shows. Some are creepy but most of them just blow your mind how he does all of those things. 

Day 10: Home day :( 
I told myself not to get emotional and cry infront of his family. But I failed.... miserably. After a nice lunch with Mike's grandparents it was time to say goodbye to Mike's dad and 2 of Mike's sisters. I was doing so well until I saw his dad cry. That set me off! Im such a big baby, if I see other people cry I cry. I didn't get to say half of the stuff I wanted to and thank them for everything. Instead I just hugged them and scurried off. NOT COOL! Then we went to Mike's school to say goodbye to his youngest sister and Mum. Again I cried when his Mum started crying. Its when they ask the question 'When do you think you'll be back' or 'When are you going to see Mike again' that I normally cry. Cause the answer is I dont know. If I had a date then I would be okay, cause I would be able to look forward to that and have something to work towards. But not knowing is horrible. 
Once I got to the airport the fun and games started. My flight got delayed, so I went up to the desk and they told me that therefore I would miss my connecting flight and then my bus when I landed back the UK. They were brilliant about it all. They quickly booked me onto another flight and I was all good to go. After a very emotional goodbye with Mike I made my way to my boarding gate, to hear my name being called out over the loud speaker. So I went up to the desk to find out what was wrong and they told me that the flight I had been put onto was fully booked. So they moved me again to another plane which was boarding there and then. So I jumped onto that plane and headed home. On the way home I managed to finish the book I had become engrossed in, Safe Haven. When we were watching Twilight the trailer for this came on and we all got very excited. If the film is as good as the book it is going to be brilliant. I would love to go and watch his with his family but I doubt that will be able to happen which is a shame. Still Im very excited for it to come out over here. I managed to get a few hours sleep on the way home which was good. Once I landed I made my way to the bus stop to get my bus home to find out I had booked the bus for the wrong month! oopsie! So after buying a new ticket and waiting an extra hour I was finally heading home. 

I had the best trip. After all that panic and worry it turned out to be so easy and SO much fun. Mike has the nicest family and I got on so well with everyone. They couldn't have been more welcoming and friendly, I was sad to leave them all. I realised when I got home, that I didn't take a single picture with his family! I was so disappointed all my friends and family were so eager to see all my pictures so I was disappointed I didn't have any. It just means I'll have to go back and get loads of pictures, hopefully one day soon.