I have to start this post with two apologies;

1. Sorry that last week there was no Macintosh Monday. We were away and had no ability to post, plus I hadn't planned one in advance.

2. Sorry too for the lack of other Sacramento posts. Andrew was intending to get round to writing them but other things got in his way. I mean taking apart an old fan to increase its output potential when we have full air conditioning and at least four other fans in the house is legitimate work right?! I'm just kidding. He will get round to it soon...hopefully.

Anyway, onto Macintosh. The other day whilst getting ready to go out Andrew managed to photograph some of the everyday life of our dog. He is slightly odd and always has been. We have got used to some of his oddities and don't think anything of it really. However its quite funny when you capture it in camera. So here we go, just a few funny things about Mac. 

When he yawns this wide its usually accompanied by a little squeak sound. It is the most adorable thing ever and we love it!

Macintosh loves to pose as you can see. He literally sat beautifully in front of me and when called looked at the camera on cue. Note the toys strewn around by his bed. There are more strewn around the house. Its not unusual to tread on one as you are walking around. It'll either hurt your foot if its plastic like that white bone in the foreground or it'll squeak causing him to run at you with speed!

The other thing we captured is this! I personally think its hilarious. Mac and his yoga. He stretches out like this whenever he can. Mostly when he climbs off the sofa, he'll leave his legs lingering on the sofa whilst he stretches out. Occasionally he'll use you as the prop. Sometimes he rocks right back on his back legs and stretches out his front ones. We haven't captured that yet, but I'll try! 

He also typically does this whilst climbing into the boot of the car. He puts his paws on the boot and we lift him up only for him to stretch out like this for a few minutes before he gives in and climbs in! Weird dog!

Yes we mean you! You are cute and adorable but you are also a weirdo! Perfect for our family wouldn't you say?!



The recent silence on the blog front was due to our recent trip up to Sacramento. The initial reason for travelling to Sacramento was to attend the Carnivores tour; a concert with AFI, 30 Seconds to Mars and Linkin Park. We decided to make a long weekend of it once we realised it was a 5 hour drive each way!
We won't say much about the concert, except that it was incredible. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute and there was a great mix of ages. Lots of parents accompanying younger teens, two adorable little boys with mohawks, a giant cat mascot and more bizarre people made up the audience. We even met a guy who had flown over from St Albans!! We came away from the concert unable to hear properly, due to the ringing in our ears, but having had a fantastic night.

Sacramento is the capital city of the state of California. It has a very impressive state capitol building which we wandered around. The gardens surrounding the building had some very touching memorials, including one to firefighters who had died in the line of duty. There were so many different types of trees and plants in the park though, it was quite fascinating to wander around. 

The part of Sacramento we spent most time in was old town. In old town they have re-vamped the buildings and have dedicated it to learning about California during the gold rush era. You can wander around the streets and feel like you are back in the 1800s. There are a few museums to wander around and a variety of modes of transportation to take including ferry, carriage and, most excitingly for Andrew, train! There were also lots of little shops to look round, including the old hardware store. That was really crazy, all those small drawers with bits and bobs in them!

My favourite part of the old town was the school house museum. It gave you insight into the way school was run back then. Having watched a fair amount of Little House on the Prairie it was rather exciting to see a school of that era in the flesh. I don't think I would have gone into teaching then as there were some rather crazy rules for teachers, including not being seen at ice cream parlours. I really wouldn't have survived without my ice cream. But the more romantic side of me likes to imagine myself as a teacher in the big skirts, with layers of petticoats (you had to to wear 2 a least!) and without the governing nuisance that is Ofsted. 

The evenings in Sacramento were spent out having dinner and chilling out in coffee shops until late at night. It was lovely to be that relaxed and try a few new places. We found an amazing German place called Low Brau who did insanely good bratwursts. We also found a great coffee spot to sit and relax. 

Overall it was a great break away from daily life. You may have spotted that Macintosh is noticeably absent in the photographs this was because spent that time staying with our friends. He had a wonderful time there, I'm not sure he wanted to come home. In fact when we arrived to pick him up he gave us quite a bit of fuss and then went to sit back with his sidekick Cal. Obviously we aren't cool enough! 

Stay tuned during the rest of the week for a couple of posts from Andrew. Train, plane and food related surprise surprise! 



We are also getting into our cooking stride with some surprisingly good meals, you know the recipes that you have never tried before but you feeling confident about. They may begin to look like they are going wrong but they turn out pretty amazing. 

I had that with a quiche that I thought would be a fun alternative to use up a few leftovers instead of something like an omelette. I'm terrible at pastry at the best of times, it just doesn't like me. As I started to put this pastry in the tin I realised that the movers didn't pack the baking beans so I just had to go with it hoping the base didn't bubble up and go crazy. Well in the end it was perfect. I don't know why, I probably couldn't do it again but hey. Here's the recipe if you want to try it but I would cross check it with a reputable source first though. 

Quiche de Woodruff

175g Flour
100g Butter
1 Egg yoke
2 Tbsp Water

3 Eggs
1 Egg white (from the pastry egg)
75ml Milk
75ml Cream
2 Handfuls of Rocket (wilted just before adding)
1/2 finely chopped red onion
100g of various meat (we had a salami, pepperoni and cured ham)
50g blue cheese

Making the Pastry
Combine ingredients in mixer until its one lump. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 mins. Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Rollout pastry and place in 25cm approx. loose bottom flan tin or something similar. Cut off excess. Pierce pastry with fork all over and bake for 15mins (use baking beads if you have them.)
When finished you should be able to be easily remove it from tin and place on a baking tray ready to be filled.

Making the Filling
While the pastry is cooking, fry the onions till soft.
In a jug mix the eggs, milk and cream. Pour into pastry case with the rest of filling a bit at a time so its all evenly added.
As long as the filling doesn't leak out of the pastry case you can cook it on a baking sheet. However if there are signs of leaking then place the pastry back into the flan tin. 
Cook for about 25 minutes until the middle is set but still soft.
Then enjoy.

We also been trying our hands at bread and cake, here are some photos of them too.



This week we experienced manic Mac in his true form. It was somewhat a relief to see it, as he's been very subdued, but it was also slightly terrifying! I'll set the scene by explaining that our house is on a little complex which is gated at night and on the weekends. This means that during certain times we can work on Mac's off lead training skills knowing that should he run off he can't actually get anywhere. Also our next door neighbour's dog, Winston, is great off lead and often hangs outside with his owner without any problem.

The other day Andrew was standing outside our garden with our next door neighbour and the two dogs. Macintosh was off lead as the gate was closed and he was doing alright, until.....down the road at the other end of the complex he spotted the owners of his pug friend, Murray. Now Murray wasn't with them but Macintosh didn't care. He wanted to see the owners as he gets lots of fuss from them. So without warning he shoots off at the fastest pace ever down the other end of the complex!!!

Andrew of course starts to run after him, only to have Macintosh see this and decide to sprint at super speed past him and towards the gate. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem as he would come up against a closed gate and be stuck. However on this occasion the gate was beginning to close as a car had gone through. So there was Mac hurtling towards an opening and about to escape!

Thankfully two young boys, who happened to be playing near the gate, realised what was about to happen and rushed to stand in his way. They began to make noises to distract him or scare which I'm glad to say worked, but only sent Mr Mac rushing back from the gate in a now frenzied excitement at his little game of 'Catch me if you can!' 

After a little bit more mad running Andrew had the good sense to throw a treat into the dog park area in an attempt to corner him. As predicted Macintosh's nose won out and he went to investigate the treat, providing Andrew with the time to re-attach him to the lead and bring him back to the house. 

All in all it was a bit of a disaster as I'm not sure he learnt anything about behaving off lead and it almost lead to his disappearance, but I guess the silver lining is knowing our crazy dog is back to his usual tricks! Fantastic....

"Who me? I'm not a pickle! I'm the best behaved dog ever. And anyway if I'm not who can resist my beautiful face!!" 


Having had a new tour of our house this week, I thought it would be good to give you the tour of the outside too. That needed a post of its own otherwise it would have been much too long. 

Since we don't have a spacious backyard and our front area is pretty much a concrete jungle we have had to be creative. We wanted to make the space feel cosy and nice to hang out in without spending too much money. We also couldn't do too much to change the space so it all had to be moveable. 

This was the last picture you all saw of the area. Well its changed quite a bit since then. The first step being to secure the area so we could send Macintosh outside without him escaping. So I set my handy hubby on the task and he built a fence for the back and a gate for the front. Now I make that sound simple but you have to realise you can't screw anything into the house as its made of cheese. So it all had to be hinged on the wood and hold its weight should a beagle decide to bash against it in a desperate attempt to get out! Thankfully its held up well, not that he's been bashing against it. He's quite content to sunbathe!

Once that had happened we needed to add some features. Andrew's idea of a feature was a BBQ. Mine was plants. Obviously we got both. Although by plants I mean grasses as they are the only things that seem to grow alright here in this arid climate. We also needed to add some shade and some lights for the evening. So those were both added pretty quickly. 

The one thing that took the longest was some kind of outdoor table. We couldn't agree on what we wanted. I was thinking a coffee table initially, whereas Andrew had grand plans that would involve chaos! In the end once he'd made the desk there were some bits of wood left so he managed to create a coffee table from them which I then painted to fit our theme. (See the Instagram feed for a photo.) 

So here we go, after that rather long pre-amble here is our backyard. 

Now I'm off to enjoy some time in it!


Its been a while since we last let you have a sneak peek into our house. Last time you saw the house we had scattered pieces of embassy furniture and the place looked rather sparse. If you can't remember then look hereSince then our stuff has arrived from England, we have made some furniture and we have made the place more homely. I won't bore you with another shot of the front of the house as nothing has changed there, so we'll kick things off in the kitchen area. 

Having all our stuff from England has cluttered up the kitchen surfaces a bit more but its great to be able to cook a bit more. Andrew bought a kitchen aid as you can see with his birthday money and he's loving it. I used it to make the muffins I put on Instagram and it works so well. Think we'll be exploring a lot more in the kitchen now!

Macintosh's area has become more defined now that he has a bed, which is huge by the way! And his little box of toys. I got fed up of tripping over his toys so they get stored in there now. He pulls them out to play with them but at the end of every night (or when people are coming round) they get placed back into the box and the neat freak in me calms down again! 

Our lounge is feeling a lot more cosy now it has ornaments on the sides. It feels a bit more us. We still need to add some pictures on the walls and one of the new ones we have ordered comes this week so once we've agreed on where they go we'll show you some updates. 

The desk/office area is rapidly becoming my favourite. Andrew's desk is amazing and looks great. I think the vintage fan he found in Florida really adds to it. It actually still works but is far too powerful and blows everything off the desk! 

Our trusty sideboard is in place and ready to become our new fireplace. Once I've got some inspiration I'm going to create a little fall display on there and will change it out each season. Just need to get thinking about what to do. For now the trusty whale bookend keeps me smiling. 

Our dining area feels a little less sparse now with something on the table, a picture up and a bookcase. We must admit we rarely use the dining table as its just the two of us. We tend to sit on the bar stools at the kitchen. But when we have people round its a handy space to have. 

The guest bedroom photos always come out a little dark as its the hardest place to take photos of due to its position. There's not masses of light in there. It's Mac's favourite place to sleep because its so cool in there. We have to drive him out though otherwise he covers in the place in hair! 

Our bedroom gets lots of lovely light from our big patio doors. The outside has been cleared and no longer is covered in weeds. However there's not much going on out there as we tend to sit out the front. So there was no need to photograph the A/C machine again.

The tour wouldn't be complete without at least one picture showing our pooch. In this photo he's showing his displeasure at being photographed whilst attempting to nap. Sorry puppy! 

I wouldn't say that what you've seen is finished. We still have lots of adjustments we can make and I love to tweak with decor so no doubt there'll be more sneak peeks into our house, although probably not all in one go, more like room by room as things change and develop. I would also say that our house doesn't always look this neat and tidy either. I had cleaned and tidied prior to taking the photos. We don't live in a house that looks like a showroom. Most of the time its quite the opposite, but I wanted you to get a sense of the house so that meant clean and tidy! 

I really enjoyed looking back at the first photos and seeing the transformation. I can't wait to see how it changes and adapts too. If you want to see the changes firsthand remember Hotel de Woodruff is open for business!