Spring Green

This update is long overdue. Sorry ’bout that. When there is a little more time to catch you up, I will. For now I’d like to encourage you to raise a glass to Drew. We have hopped the pond to celebrate his birthday in Dublin, Ireland – home of Guinness (and the leprechauns).

dublin image

While you are enjoying the frosty beverage of your choice, let our photos set the mood. Even Gina is having a good time.

So apparently we have a blog?

Yeah, so it has been a REALLY long time since I posted a blog entry, and seeing as Jen has been busy lately, neither of us have given you an update.

Two weeks ago we had a lovely visit from our friends Candace and Lee Coram. Looks like they may be moving a bit closer to us in the near future so it wasn’t your typical visit. They did the touristy things a bit, but because they will be back, they had a much more relaxed experience.

Candace and Lee Coram arrive from the US via Heathrow

Jen had her 30th birthday while they were here so we had a nice little group attend the shindig. Think we would have liked to have been in the states for this one but, hey, what can you do? I am certainly glad to have been able to celebrate her birthday with friends, but I am still can’t believe how much she baked! Just look at this spread!

Jen's 30th Birthday Spread

And isn’t she just a cute 30th birthday girl?

Jen on her 30th birthday

BanksyWe also, mistakenly, tried to go to Brick Lane & Spittal Fields on a Saturday while they were in town so Candace could pick up a gift for our friend Brooke. Well seeing as those markets are only open on Sundays, we didn’t have much success. We did however find a really nifty shop were we could purchase nice mounted prints of photos of graffiti art by Banksy. Jen and I are thinking one of those pieces might be a nice touch on the wall of the new flat.

After Candace and Lee left last Sunday morning, Jen went to hang with her friend Lauren while I gave into my baser nerd and spent the day playing World of Warcraft. I have to admit, I was a bit insensitive that day as I didn’t consider it was Mother’s day here and Jen was trying to pre-occupy herself. She had mentioned me coming out to meet her for a bite after she finished hanging with Lauren, but I didn’t realize how important it was to her. I finally realized late Sunday evening and tried to make up for it.

We had a new sofa and desk delivered the Monday before Candace and Lee arrived, but as the sofa wouldn’t fit in the building we had to return it to the warehouse. This of course means we are now on the hunt for a sectional sofa – the three seater the landlord provided just isn’t great for snuggles.

This last week Jen has been really busy with work, though because her new boss won’t let her work past 6pm, we have pleasantly been home together in the evenings. We avoided cooking most nights, but did do a bit of laundry.

Thursday evening we attended a show at the Hammersmith Apollo. Our friend, Elsa, gave us two tickets to Newton Faulkner for Christmas. We had never heard of him before and I had no idea what to expect. It was a really great show though. Totally enjoyed his sound, though I have to admit, he is better live. The recordings just don’t do him justice.

Newton Faulkner at the Hammersmith Apollo

We also discovered a FANTASTIC vegetarian restaurant around the corner from the Apollo called The Gate. MAN! It was some fantastic food! I think we will have to go back again (if we find a reason to be in Hammersmith).

Last night while we were finishing tidying up we were also trying to gather all the info we needed to file our US taxes. I can’t even begin to express how annoying it is to try and sort this. The whole UK tax year being April to April only makes it more difficult as well. We are basically left to sort it using pay stubs, and of course TM never gave us physical stubs so I have to contact TM UK HR again.

Today Jen and I got up early so she could go meet our friends Laure and Brian at Heathrow (standard procedure for the Huddleston B&B). They will be staying with us for the first part of the week and we look forward to hanging with them. First stop, The Marksman at 6pm. Wish you could be there.

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Boring Birthday Bash

So yesterday was my 30th birthday.

Everyone: How was your birthday?

Me: Dull.

Everyone: Oh?

Me: Yeah. We just stayed home.

Everyone: Well how does it feel?

Me: Achy and stiff. I feel old, and I have too much grey hair.

Jen had been talking about what she wanted to do for my thirtieth birthday for years. Asked me what I wanted to do on more than a few occasions, and I always thought it would be fun to do something really wild. Once the day actually arrived though, it just didn’t work out that way.

All of our close friends and family are thousands of miles away so a huge party or get-together just doesn’t work. We had thought about maybe getting a few of our new friends and coworkers together here for the Circle Line Pub Crawl, but in the end I just didn’t think I could stomach it. Would just end up sick, and after last week’s incident with Ade’s decanter, I think I have had my fill. So I ended up staying at home with Jen watching the first few episodes from season one of Torchwood.

So yeah, in true old-person fashion, I stayed home for my birthday instead of going out and celebrating. I have really enjoyed all the birthday well-wishes on facebook and via email. Less enjoyable has been looking in the mirror and seeing more salt in the pepper. I know I have been going grey since I was 16, but seriously, it makes a guy feel old. Not to mention I can’t help but see all the wrinkles forming around my eyes.

By the way, Pinky, Laura, Jane, Quinn, if I can muster the forces of my liver, we will make up for the lack of celebration while you are visiting.

On another note, spring is really starting to let us know it is here. Today was so gorgeous that people couldn’t help but enjoy the warm air and sunshine in every available green space. Check out the mass of people in Leicester Square.

Spring in Leicester Square
I am really going to enjoy this four day weekend. Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that did I? Easter weekend is a national holiday here and it is standard to have off Friday and Monday around Easter. So this is a four day week, followed by four days off, and then another four day week. This may get close to feeling like a vacation.

Plans for the weekend are yet to be made, but I plan to really enjoy it (though enjoying it will include reading Designing for the Social Web).

A Beautiful Birthday Story

Long ago (yesterday, the 11th) and far, far away (use google maps) in a land called London, there a lived a girl who had a beautiful birthday. Her day began when a handsome prince, and an uncharacteristically cheerful sunrise, woke her.

A box came.

http://www.drewandjengotolondon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/flower-box.jpg

A very sexy bunch of flowers lay inside – from queens of neighboring realms. (Thank you Mrs. Buffy and globetrotter Kassi! It was almost like you were here laughing with me, except we skipped the part where we all pretend there are not tears in our eyes when we have to say goodbye. And seriously, just look at how these sunny ladies work the camera!)
sunflowers one

sunflowers two

The birthday girl had lunch with her handsome prince, the king and queen of a magical land called South Carolina (cue Emily and Kerry), and the princess of a place called Kensal Green (that’s you Janita…). Unfortunately the prince, the king, and the princess were kidnapped from Covent Garden to an ugly place called Work. The queen rescued the birthday girl and whisked her to the Primrose Bakery where the safety of tea and cupcakes awaited. (Didn’t she do a fabulous job?  I am sure this makes my family very proud!)
tea for two

After tea and cupcakes, the queen took the birthday girl to a play called Plague over England, at the Duchess Theatre where they considered very deep issues and a complicated historical tale.

Just before twilight, after the queen left the birthday girl entering a misty clearing called Leicester Square, bright lights and the sound of music drew the girl toward a large crowd. There she helplessly snapped photos of Kiefer Sutherland and Reese Witherspoon – being trapped in a crowd of Monsters vs. Aliens premiere enthusiasts.

monsters vs aliens

Kiefer Sutherland ear

(Pictured above, that’s Kiefer’s ear in the middle there, mom.)

Kiefer Sutherland partial

(Stay focused on the partial face there in the middle…)

Kiefer Sutherland profile

(Yeah, in the middle there, barely recognizable.)

Reese Witherspoon

(At about 2:30 you might catch a glimpse of someone famous and/or handsome… wink, wink)

Monsters vs Aliens from Drew Huddleston on Vimeo.

When the girl escaped she ran home, relieved to find the prince waiting with the lovely ladies pictured below. (Pay no attention to the sweet post-it notes he left me last month for no reason…)
birthday flowers

Alas, the girl looks not one day older this year. (You nod and close the book even though I have already told you about the grey hairs this adventure has given me.) And she lives with her prince happily ever after. (In a place where you can visit – all the cool people are doing it.)