Graffiti and Memories

So here we are almost at the end of February already, the lake is back up to its normal level, the sun is coming out more often than not and its almost wine O'clock here in Austin πŸ‘πŸ˜€πŸ·

My eldest daughter went out recently with a friend and her family to the Hope Outdoor Gallery in Austin, the girls had great fun checking out all the different artwork not usually seen where we live in the suburbs! 

'The HOG is a project developed to provide muralists, street artists, arts education classes and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive and educational messaging'. Source: http://hopecampaign.org/hopeprojects/hope-outdoor-gallery

Whilst our eldest daughter was busy at the Hope Gallery, hubby and I took our youngest daughter and Winston for a walk downtown and we decided on the 2nd street district, usually we go there at night for dinner and drinks but it also has some great boutiques and cafes which is where I caught sight of this sign...

This week it was my sisters third wedding anniversary she got married less than a month before we moved to Austin, I'm so glad they got married when they did as I was able to be Matron of Honour, plan and attend the hen do (bachelorette party to my American readersπŸ˜‰) and be involved as much as possible which just wouldn't have happened if we lived in Austin at that time. Happy Anniversary Jen and Shaun πŸŽ‰

My girls have decided to start coming home on the bus again, I took this picture whilst I was waiting at the bus stop even though its been almost three years watching the yellow buses it still makes me feel like I'm on a movie set as it drives up!

I've been thinking of writing another article for the expat magazine Global Living but I'm a bit stuck on a subject...does anyone have any ideas for me? Thank you in advance 😚


First Post of 2017!

After two Christmases away from home, for this past holiday we flew back to celebrate in England and it was definitely the right decision. I feel the culture and excitement surrounding Christmas is far more predominant in England than what we have experienced in Austin and even New York, click here for my previous Christmas posts: Christmas 2015 and Christmas 2014.

We celebrated New Years Eve back in Austin, we decided with the girls back at school on the 3rd of January it would have been cutting it fine to leave England on the 2nd or worse the 1st of January with a hangover! πŸŽ‰

I've also been really enjoying the winter in Austin this year and the reason for this is because its been colder than the previous two years...I know very strange especially for me who loves the heat to the point I've never been skiing because of the cold. The heat in the summer here is so relentless that to be able to wear Ugg boots, wellies, coats and gloves for more than a few days is a welcome change!

Even though I participate in Dry January and I think this may be my sixth year so far, I had been invited to two birthday celebrations this month so I took those two days off and enjoyed some drinkies with the girls. One birthday was a Sunday brunch which went on into the night as these things tend to do πŸ˜πŸ˜† and the second was a lovely friend of mine who was turning 40. She organised for a group of us to travel by limo to some local wineries, this was so much fun and definitely something I would recommend to visitors of Austin...Wine Tours

Happy Birthday Angela: The Sunday brunch which went on into the night!
Happy Birthday Shannon: Winery tour
Another new thing which we have experienced recently is the city draining the lake, the main reasons are to give lakeside property owners an opportunity to repair and maintain docks and to curb the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation, heres a news link for further info: Draining Lake Austin

We didn't really think much of the drainage to be honest but to our Austinite neighbours this meant opportunities for lots of new walks, bonfires and easy fishing as the water doesn't completely drain away...

Photos courtesy of my neighbour #canttakethecredit
Notice my daughter and I are the only ones wearing wellies #britsabroad #notafanofmud
Well thats January in a nut shell, I'm still volunteering at school, decorating the new house, organising our summer trip to Disneyworld in May, house hunting in the UK and not doing as much photography as I would like, but the good news is I have only 3 days left of Dry JanuaryπŸ˜€πŸ˜‚πŸ·πŸ·


Autumn Is Here...or Fall!

Recently we went out with some of our Brit friends (also based in Austin) to a place downtown called Esthers Follies, its an entertainment show marketed as 'Texas' premier magic and comedy troupe'. A very funny and clever show with satire, magic and some great Trump/Hillary comparisons.

So we have bought our Halloween outfits and I attended a 'committee meeting' at a neighbours house about organising our Halloween street party so I think we are ready.  I'm also pleased to report the decorations around this area have been tamer so far and I am yet to see a clown so all good!

If you are looking for some fantastic and unique Halloween nail wraps, click on this link and be inspired. Jamberry ship to the UK and USA: Click Here To Buy Halloween Nail Wraps 

Last week we moved house again. Unfortunately due to some unforeseen circumstances we ended up moving a week earlier than planned but after the initial panic, things slowly slipped into place and with some help and luck we were able to orchestrate the whole move quicker than we thought.

We are on the same street, but have moved to the other side of the road so we now have lake access. A real treat for anyone living in Austin!

Last month our children auditioned for the Nutcracker and both of them got parts so every Saturday we have been taking them to the rehearsals ready for the show in December. We are very proud parents of course and cannot wait for the show.

There are some larger shops in Austin that sell some English foods and recently we were excited to find some Quality Street tins...check out the 'bargain' price!!


Back to School, Birthdays & a Trip to Dallas

Last night I was excited to see on the US Netflix Very British Problems was now available, I had watched the odd episode on my UKTVEverywhere box but was always left wishing I could watch more and now we can. Husband and I were literally laughing out loud all night!

Since the Dominican Republic trip, both children are back at school, we've had two birthdays in the family and husband and I have been on a 24 hour visit to Dallas. After the busy summer with plenty of lazy mornings, days out, camps, flights and late nights I think everyone concerned was ready for the familiarity of a regular routine again.

So it was my birthday recently and our youngest 7th birthday, for my birthday as it was midweek I spent the majority of the day at the Woodhouse Spa and in the evening the four of us went out for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants Siena. Our seven year old wanted a quieter party this year with just a handful of friends and a morning at the Moviehouse & Eatery a cinema in which you can eat lunch whilst watching a film.

Recently some great friends of ours from England were doing their annual kid free, first class trip to New York and this year they decided to fly to Dallas so the husband could fulfill a lifelong dream and go on a private JFK tour. We of course decided to meet up with them, it took us just three hours to drive to Dallas but that had to be the longest straight road I've ever been on, we actually saw a sign which said 'Dallas 120miles'.

We met our friends at this rather dubious hotel (it was near the airport for their early flight back the next morning) and after a quick drink in the bar where the barman wasn't even sure if they served wine and a lone man with a teardrop tattoo kept staring at us, we decided to swiftly drink up and get a taxi further into the city!

We proceeded to have a fun filled evening with plenty of wine, an amazing steak dinner and lots of laughs along the way. It felt rather strange to meet our UK friends over here as I'm so used to seeing everyone in England, that it made the eventual goodbye extra difficult for me...

The next day we didn't have time to do the JFK tour ourselves but we did drive to the Dealey Plaza park where JFK was assassinated and just spent a few minutes taking in the history of it all, there is even an X on the road where JFK was actually shot...

Texas School Book Depository now known as Dallas County Administration Building

The Grassy Knoll 
Elm Street
Even though daily temperatures are still about 88-93f (about 30c), leaves have started to fall from the trees and the shops are full of Halloween paraphernalia. I'm planning not to make the same mistake in previous years of leaving the girls Halloween costumes to the last minute, when theres barely anything left but a witches hat! 

Oh no, you know what this means...its only a matter of days now before everyone starts putting up their hideous, too realistic Halloween decorations I'll get my camera ready!


Summer Whirlwind

In an attempt to keep up to date with my blog and to try something different I decided to compile this post with mainly photos to tell the story of our summer...so after another relatively peaceful BA flight, with only one glass of wine spilt from a wonky plane tray we arrived at Heathrow airport, London, tired but very happy!

We spent some time in London with family and took in the sights...

Oxford Street, Central London
Golden Hinde, London

Aboard the London Eye
There was also a family trip to Maidstone in Kent below is the church where my parents married 52 years ago. We spent the weekend walking, drinking, eating and laughing together!

This tree is over 1000 years old

Stopping for a nice bit of lunch!

Days out at Legoland, Windsor. Wicked at the Apollo Theatre, Victoria. Windsor Castle and so much more!!


Me and mother with our Elixir drinks at Wicked, Apollo Theatre, London

Windsor Castle, England

Feeding swans along the River Thames
Windsor Bridge built in 1824
Along with family I also very much miss friends and food from England!

Sunday roast dinner with giant Yorkshire Pudding!
Indian curry - my FAVOURITE!!
We also squeezed in a holiday to the Dominican Republic before school began...