A Fortnight In

My back garden. No, seriously. There are hummingbirds that visit!

So we’ve been here a fortnight and I think we’re starting to feel a bit more settled. It really helped having the puppers here so soon to make it feel like home. Last week wasn’t great, because Alex had to go to California and Colorado for the week, but thankfully he came home on Thursday so we have been able to get some stuff done. We have signed up to go climbing together, took the intro course on Monday and went climbing today – my arms are aching now! 

Over the past fortnight, there have been some things that I have thought a lot, and I thought I’d share those thoughts with you…because this is my blog and that’s the sort of thing I used to do here. 

What time is it? One of the most difficult things, especially when I was on my own last week, was figuring out the time differences. I never had much of a problem in the past when Alex was working away, and when I worked for an US company 5 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for me to have three clocks on my desktop – UK time, Alex time and the time zone my boss was in. However, working out that the UK is 8 hours ahead is an ongoing one – as I’m going to bed, some of you are just getting up, and by 4pm my time, Twitter pretty much goes silent. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty lonely then. 

YAY SHOPPING. Boo shopping. I was so excited when I saw there was a Target a mile from the house. Finally I could get the Nate Berkus office things I wanted (still considering the gold stapler tbh) without an insane postage and customs cost! The joy was short lived however when I read a blog post showing off a pretty dress from Primark, and I realised that my nearest Primark is 3784km away in Pennsylvania. (C’mon Primark, get to the West Coast already)

Food shopping is a mission. Some of you may have seen my Instagram Stories series when I went to the supermarket for the first time (I’m not counting the sleep deprived trip we made when we landed because I couldn’t even figure out what shampoo to buy and nearly cried in the middle of Safeway) Going to the supermarket is a total delight and a total mission at the moment, because there are so many new things to us (why are there so many flavours of Goldfish crackers? Why is cheese so bloody expensive? Why is there a thunderstorm over the veg with misting sprays?) and also we’re trying to figure out what we know. Did you know there doesn’t appear to be such a thing as double cream here? For some reason, that really annoys Alex. 

Pedestrians are unwelcome. OK, maybe not unwelcome – I mean, there are at least pavements between here and the shops. But there are only pavements on one side of the road, and the pedestrian crossings basically change colour as soon as you step out into the road and LOOK ITS JUST VERY SCARY WHEN PEOPLE ARE APPARENTLY NOT THAT GREAT AT DRIVING OK.

Everyone is just too friendly. I know, that’s a thing. People here are more willing to talk to you in the shops, giving compliments, asking information, checking if you’re OK. It’s very nice, but I’m British and I can’t help wondering if they’re all taking the piss. That one might take a while to get used to.

It’s too warm, but that’s OK. Since we landed, every day has been at least 20C, and most days have been averaging 27C+. In the UK, I would be more whiny than usual about this, but over here, it’s actually not too bad, because everyone loves air conditioning. We have even bought a window unit for the bedroom, and it is beautiful. 

I know I sound like I’m whining, but it’s actually really fun learning new things but also totally exhausting. I’m also missing the #blogclub girls a lot, not just because they had their first event without me last week, but because I’m feeling a bit uninspired lately, and miss having other bloggers around to inspire me! 

4,716 miles

I broke in the cooler cabinet aisle at Costco Issaquah on Sunday. It was trying to work out what something was, something stupid like how Coco Pops are Choco Krispies over here (Coco the monkey is much less judgey about a 30 something eating Coco Pops for breakfast than those three knobheads Snap, Crackle and Pop) and I just wanted to sit on the trolley and have a bit of a cry. (I didn’t, because the trolley was already too full and I didn’t want to be that girl)

If you haven’t been following me on Twitter or Instagram, then you might not know that we have just moved. 4,716 miles, to be exact, from our house in Bristol to the house here in Bellevue, WA. We landed on Thursday afternoon, and have spent most of the time since then shopping and unpacking things…Alex’s desk in Seattle was covered in Amazon boxes, and we’ve had just as many here! A trip to a few shops has helped as well, including a trip to Ikea which obviously needed to involve ballz – if you’re wondering, they were satisfyingly exactly the same as the UK, but they had more sauces available here which is an outrage.

I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people, and exploring new places, and will be keeping you all up to date here and on social media. I’m not working at the moment, so it will be fun to document it all!

(Oh, and yes, of course the dogs came with us. They flew on Friday and were delivered to the house Friday afternoon where I got a bit teary, Fern ran in circles, Jess jumped all over everyone and Jill just looked resigned to these idiots. All back to normal!)

How To Get Married

Hello blog.

So, this happened.

Reader, I married him

A post shared by Hayley Howells (@hayleyc) on

We kept things small and quiet, which is exactly what we wanted. It was quite nice not telling everyone about getting engaged and organising everything, but it did make finding out how to actually do the things difficult because despite all my Google skills, not many people seem to just get married. The majority of sites and forums I found were all geared around people who want the big event, which is fine, but not what we were looking for. So, I thought I would put together the stuff I found out in the hope that it helps other people. Hooray.

We got married in what is called the Statutory Room in Bristol. You can have 4 guests with you for this, and it cost £75 to book the room and to pay for the ceremony. You need to give notice in the district that you live in (so for us, that was South Gloucestershire) which takes 28 days to clear (in the majority of cases – I think it’s double if one of you is not British, but obviously it’s best to ask your local authority), and is valid for a year. Giving notice costs £35 each, and you need to be able to provide ID – we used our passports and driving licences to prove nationality and home address.

The gov.uk site is fairly useful in telling you what is needed, but one of the things I didn’t realise is that you should book the venue first, then give notice because your notice is only valid for the location where you are getting married. Sarah was very helpful for this, because she had originally given notice to marry in one place last year, before booking the Forge and getting married at the registry office instead.

Something else I wasn’t able to find out is about rings – at least in our ceremony, it wasn’t a necessity. Alex doesn’t like the idea of wearing a ring, and I was prepared to make a dash to Argos to buy a cheap ring, but we had to go in before the ceremony to check over the details that go in the register and to choose the wording that would be said, and it was then that we found out that there’s just a separate bit to say about giving a ring. (Wording wise – there are three different parts for the two sections, and then about fifteen different ways to go “‘ere, have this ring”)

The ceremony took about 20 minutes I think – I didn’t really check the time (“A watch doesn’t really go with this outfit“) and we were able to take photos during the ceremony, and then afterwards with a fake register (You can’t take them when you’re signing the real register – I assume because it has the details of the people who have married most recently in there)

I think that’s about everything I know! If people are interested, I’ll post about what I wore – mostly because people keep saying nice things about my dress and I’m like IT WAS £22 FROM ASOS. TWENTY TWO QUID!!! MY LIPSTICK COST MORE THAN MY DRESS!