Monday, 28 January 2013

Great Mileage

In September 2012, our car arrived. Nine miles on the clock!

Shiny, red and new!

Big Red

Now it's January and we have hit 5000 miles...and what a great 5000 miles they have been!

We have driven through the beautiful, local countryside on a foggy morning.


We have been down to the coast to soak up some sun.

Beach Shacks

We popped down to Winchester to visit the Cathedral.

Stained Glass

We drove through country lanes and marvelled the the beauty.


We discovered some great places to take the dog for a run.

Bledlow Ridge

Dog walks

We went for hilltop walks amongst the colours of autumn.

Pulpit Hill

We have been on adventures across the seas.

Across the sea

We have discovered historical places.

Wicklow Mountains

Went on long and windy roads.

Wicklow Mountains

We have been to castles in Ireland


Castles in Wales.


A pub....

The Crown, Cuddington

Or two...

The Bricklayers Arms

Safely picked up our girls from the snowed in school!

Snowy Road

What a great 5000 miles 'Cherry'...or 'Big Red'...lets hope we have many more great miles together!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Australia Day

Treats from home

What better way to celebrate Australia Day when you are far from home than a mix of great Australian treats! We were lucky enough to have a friend from 'home' come to visit her family in England for Christmas and she bought a fabulous selection of Aussie food over for my little family. We managed to save most of our Aussie stash until Australia Day...though you may note that the Cherry Ripe bag has been opened by a little mouse....not me!

You can get Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate here in England...but it is very different in taste from the Aussie version. When I was living in Shanghai I bought some from Australia and an English friend bought some from England and we had a blind taste test. All the Aussie ladies preferred the Aussie version, the English ladies preferred the English, both could tell their own in an instant. The Kiwis and Canadians had no real preference!

The Cherry Ripe! Dark Chocolate, cherries, hint of coconut, very Australian and found nowhere else! Yum!!!

I know you can get marshmallows in the UK, but nothing beats the pink and white marshmallow from Pascalls, Australia...delicious ...and fat free...what is not to like? Light dusting of icing sugar on the outside, soft sugary middle! An Aussie friend in Shanghai could inhale about 2 packs in one sitting and not get a sugar headache..very impressive...he wouldn't even share with his children! It was his entry requirement that all his visitors bought him some Pascall marshmallows...I heard rumours that he turned friends out, onto the street if they arrived without them!

Vegemite! I think part of the Australian New Citizenship test should be having to eat Vegemite on toast and actually enjoy it, before you can become an Aussie citizen! Nothing beats Vegemite on toast for breakfast when you are sick or slightly hungover. What Aussie has never made snakes out of butter and Vegemite by squishing two Sao biscuits together? Black gold. A taste of home. An essential to every Aussie pantry!

I'm off now, to refill my glass of great Australian wine, get the pies out of the oven and finish topping my Aussie pavlova for dessert! AC/DC has just replaced Cold Chisel on the stereo!

Happy Australia Day! May all Australians unite, wherever we have come from, whatever our backgrounds or cultures may be and celebrate what an amazing country we have and how fortunate we are to be able to call Australia home, wherever we may be now. I am proud and lucky to be a born and bred Australian!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Walking through a postcard

Snow was forecast, but we awoke to a grey but clear sky. Disappointed the girls headed off to school, the dog and I went for our morning play in the field. Then the snow started to fall! It got heavier...and heavier. By the time we got home everything was white...the dog had a ball trying to catch all the snowflakes.

School now cancelled for the day...had to hit the road and 'rescue' the girls from school. Roads had become treacherous but beautiful. Local radio was now all about accidents, road and school closures.


The patio table and ruler method of measuring snowfall was mentioned...I had no idea what this meant...until I arrived home to a patio table covered with a white cushion of snow... I grabbed a ruler..nearly I get it!!!

Snowfall 10cm

Our street became a playground, snowball fights and sled rides...the neighbours thought we were mad! One lovely neighbour ventured take photos of us crazy Aussies playing in the snow!

The dog loved catching snowballs!

We tried to build a snowman but the snow was like sand and wouldn't we ended up with a snow blob!

Snow Blob

Our walk to the field became a magical walk to a white wonderland.

Snowy tunnel

Was so excited to spot a Robin on the snow covered branches!


Our field was covered in white, so serene and beautiful.

Winter White

Until we started a snowball extravaganza, all serenity gone as we ducked and dived, aimed and threw, laughed and played.

We giggled, loved walking in the snow, tried to catch snowflakes on our tongues, stopped to make a few snow angels and went for a walk in the village.

Winter Snow

The village looked like it was coated in icing sugar, so beautiful!


Simple things taking on magical qualities. We may have stopped at that pub for a warming ale!

Snow covered Church

Really was like walking in a postcard, made my heart sing, happy days.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

There's no place like home

I have been talking to friends back in Perth, Western Australia, where I was born and bred. Christmas and New Year greetings from afar. We went for a one year adventure in Shanghai...nearly five years ago. We now find ourselves in England with no idea of where we will be in the next five years. This is the first year since we left that we have not gone home to Perth for a post Christmas/New Year catch up. I am homesick now...for the first time since I left.

Bicton Baths, Swan River
Swan River at Bicton Baths...have been going here for my whole life!

My little family always enjoyed our Shanghai Christmas together, before heading home to Perth, suitcases bulging with gifts. We would arrive and race out the airport doors, ready to breathe in the scent of eucalyptus trees...ignoring the diesel fumes coming from airport shuttle buses. We would revel in the heat of a Perth summer, Shanghai winters are bone chillingly cold. The big blue skies were overwhelming after the skyscrapers had surrounded us for so long.

Swan River, Bicton
 Many happy memories... I married my wonderful husband on this spot on my Mum's birthday.

Best of all was catching up with friends. I had incredible friends in Shanghai, friends, like me, now dotted around the world, some who have drifted away with the moves of expat life. Some that will be lifelong friends, as an expat in foreign lands, you form strong friendships far quicker than at home, you become each others family, support network. Lifelong connections made. 

Snd Bank
Point Walter, many memories made here too!

I am starting to make new friends in England, but there is nothing like those friends that have known you for many years. They were there for all the life events that made me who I am today, good and bad. I have friends from the very start of is thirty years since I left school this year...thirty years!!! 

Bush and Prayer flags
The Aussie bush is like no other. All the more special when it is on the land of a much loved friend welcoming us to her little piece of heaven with open arms.

Friends who joined my life at various stages. Engagement parties, weddings and babies can be reminisced over...babies who are now celebrating 21st birthdays and some are planning weddings! Friends I travelled with, worked with, did crazy things with. Friends that got me though my divorce and the loss of my parents. Friends that bought pizza and wine over and watched the baby and the toddler so that I could have a shower in peace, when I was a newly divorced single mother.

Fishing Boat Harbour
The Indian Ocean, I smell that salty air and immediately feel at home.

Friends I met through my beautiful babies, day care, Mum's group and school, fun watching all the kids grow and develop. Friends that played cupid and reunited me with my long lost love who is now my wonderful husband. Friends that were so happy and supportive when I grabbed life and China with my two little girls and my new husband.

The sun setting over the Swan river cleanses my soul.

Ghost Gum
Strong, solid Ghost Gum, my friends make me strong, able to withstand the winds of life.

Fishing Boat Harbour
Fishing Boat Harbour...I went every Sunday with my Dad to 'check the boat'...though looking back, it was a way to give Mum some kid free time!

Sleepy Aussie Icon

Willy Wag Tail
Willy Wag Tail, the cutest bird ever and my Mum's favourite. Whenever I see one I think of Mum.

Perth Skyline

Perth will always be home...I will be back one day. I miss the fresh air, the beach, the lifestyle, the familiarity but most of all I miss my friends, the family I chose for myself.