After almost four and a half years of living in Austin, this summer we moved home permanently and are very happily living back in jolly old England. I certainly wasn't expecting to come home to a heatwave and after the intense heat of Texas I was very much looking forward to some cooler weather but we had to wait a few months for that!

During our first few weeks back one of the things I kept forgetting to do was press the ON switch after putting a plug into the wall socket, many a time I waited ages for the kettle to boil or my phone to charge wondering what was going on πŸ˜… and now four months down the line I'm still adjusting to the snug parking spaces and narrow roads or are they just normal roads?!!

Its also been amazing to be able to eat all our favourite foods again, we really have spoilt ourselves this summer with eating out and numerous trips to the supermarket for our favourite snacks, so much easier than driving 40 minutes to the World Market.

Our two adorable cats arrived back in England a month after us, they traveled on two different flights and arrived in great condition so many, many thanks to Pet Relocation who were amazing with communication and organising getting our babies back home.

Even though we moved back to the same area, we are in a different house, with the children now at two different schools, I started a new job, we have joined a new doctors surgery, new dentist, got a new car, we all have new phones etc, I would not have been able to organise all this without the never-ending help from family and friends.

Onto family and friends, its truly been priceless to just slip so easily back into life here. After being so sad at missing many birthdays, weddings, new babies, and just general fun night outs, weekends away and even simply being able to pop in on someone for a cuppa I feel I am looking at life in England through different eyes now.

To the friends we made in Austin, you'll never be forgotten and we will meet again soon. Many people in America I just couldn't connect with or I consistently felt like an outsider, but there were some who took us under their wing and adopted us as their own which I will forever be grateful for.

I don't think I'll ever eat a taco again I've had enough to last me a lifetime and if anyone in England wonders why I now put ice in my wine, well thats down to a certain American friend too πŸ˜‰

It was a huge, fun, topsy turvy adventure moving to America but like that famous saying from one of my favourite films as a child, theres no place like home πŸ’–


Royal Wedding 2018

Wow what a beautiful Royal Wedding πŸ’–

Some of you have probably seen already but yesterday I was interviewed by KVUE news to talk about being a Brit in America and my thoughts on the Royal wedding.

At 1pm I received an email, the crew arrived at my house at 2pm and we were wrapped up and I was at school for pick-up by 3pm, it was a whirlwind and I had no time to even think about being nervous...

Saturday morning arrives and we chose not to wake whilst it was still dark...so my Swedish friend and I kept away from the internet/social media as best we could and set up a table at hers ready to watch the wedding at her house with the children...

We bought strawberries and clotted cream, lemon slices, cups of tea and some cheeky glasses of Prosecco and enjoyed watching the build up and the ceremony from the comfort of her very lovely new house.

Hope you all enjoyed watching the wedding too!


Its Been A While!

Some regular readers may have noticed I haven't posted for a while, all will be revealed soon but in the meantime here is a splash of what we have been up to recently...

Back in February this year we enjoyed a few nights child-free in New York for my brothers 50th birthday, the day we arrived we went out for his birthday dinner where the service and food was outstanding.

The next day we boarded a ferry and headed to the Statue of Liberty and the Immigration Museum, my husband and I very much enjoyed the immigration museum as we were able to relate to the ambience due to our own experiences.

Also observing how contrasting it was for families and individuals decades ago to have accomplished the same thing as us was a real eye opener and a humbling experience.

At the top of the Rockefeller Observation Deck with my bro and sis
On our return I was fall steam ahead as part of a committee organising the schools very first outdoor movie night on the school grounds. The children voted on their school iPads between Wonder and The Emoji Movie, we were all secretly glad Wonder got the majority vote!

The weather played ball that day and with an amazing turnout with families, siblings and friends everyone had a fantastic Friday night...

Another new event I attended recently was The Victory Cup Derby Day which is a national polo tournament. I'd never been to a polo match so I was intrigued and decided to join in on this fun girls outing.

We all agreed dresses where appropriate and arrived about midday, the weather is hotting up here now but luckily we were able to watch the polo from under the gazebos.

One of our neighbours is in a band called The Plain White T's and they were playing in Austin for one night only before they started their tour so all us neighbours bought tickets and headed downtown for the Tuesday evening show. The band played some new music and older classics such as Hey There Delilah 🎢

This weekend we went back to the camp site we visited last year but this time we took the children and some friends. We had a blast and enjoyed another day of tubing down the Guadeloupe river, BBQ's and chilling...


Happy New Year 2018

Would you believe it...we actually had snow in Austin, twice! Firstly it fell early December then again on NYE which really was special to see. It still amazes me that an area which has such hot weather for months on end can also have ice and snow just months apart.

Also in early December we did our usual trip to get a real Christmas tree and after discussions with the knowledgable staff we decided on a tree from Europe of course!

The arrival of my parents in Austin was exciting, I was determined to really make the most of Christmas in Austin this year especially as we had been away for the past two years.

One of the first places we ventured to was Winter Wonderland at COTA, to be honest I'm not sure I would go just adults but the children loved it plus my parents were enthralled at the camel rides, the tunnel of lights and the sheer size of the Circuit of the Americas!

Next on our list was the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar an indoor event centre full of stalls selling mainly fine art and stocking fillers. To be fair it was not very Christmas inspired nevertheless the bazaar had live music and we were able to try some Korean BBQ with a wine plus pizza for the kids, done!

A real treat for us all was watching A Christmas Carol at the Zach Theatre downtown, all of us myself, husband, grandparents and children laughed, cried, sang and danced all the way through the show, picture the Dickens' classic infused with Motown and modern music.

A few days before Christmas we had another fun surprise on the doorstep that I'd not yet seen in England...again the children loved it!

Christmas day arrived and after a 5am wake up call from the children we were all up opening the stocking presents, it was a pleasant change to be in our own house this year so no packing, flights or hotel rooms for us this Christmas.

My husband always cooks Christmas dinner in our house and he did his usual fantastically tasteful fare which was devoured in its usual Christmas day way, although I think he was still a bit bitter that I won Monopoly by a landslide just a few days before! πŸ™ŒπŸ˜‚

After a fun and friendly NYE party at a dear friends house, we are now full steam ahead into January and with the kids off school until 9th January its still been a bit crazy around these parts nevertheless I have persuaded some more people to join me with Dry January so cheers to that!


Autumn in Austin

After missing a few years, this Autumn we bought tickets for the ACL Festival at Zilker Park in downtown Austin, we only went Friday night because Jay Z was headlining but to be honest that was more than enough.

This year it was so hot you literally had to find shade every few minutes and we were desperate for the sun to go down...sometimes I think I'm used to the Texas sun and other times like that day its like we've just arrived from England completely unacclimated. πŸ˜‚

Also we got to ACL later in the day than expected so we didn't get a chance to browse the food and fashion stands this time, but nevertheless the atmosphere was buzzing, we went with some fun friends and even the wine tasted ok!

Thank you Angela for the photo!
Next up was Halloween and this year we had a surprise on our doorstep something we hadn't experienced for a few years...we got boo'd! I'm not a huge fan of Halloween but this idea is so cute plus the children LOVE it! To quote one of my followers on Instagram when I posted this photo she wrote "I just thought this happened on TV" πŸ˜‚

Regular readers may remember the street we currently live on always hosts a Halloween party, its a child friendly mix of food, movies, music, competitions and this year a petting zoo. The one downfall on my part is I didn't anticipate how cold it would be this night, it doesn't look it in this picture but we were freezing! ⛄😁

This is NOT my house! πŸ˜³πŸ‘»
Due to a busy 2018 we are staying in Austin for Christmas this year and I have been engrossed in stocking up on some much missed and sought after English treats ready for the Christmas period via British Corner Shop. I ordered items such as Cadburys and Galaxy advent calendars, brandy christmas pudding, proper cranberry sauce (not cranberry jelly in a tin😷)...I can't list everything I bought as my children read my blog too πŸ˜‰

We have my parents flying over in the next few weeks and they will be with us for Christmas day, so I have also been researching local Christmas markets, shows, fairs and other fun stuff for us to engage in whilst in the spirit of Christmas.

Where will you be for Christmas Day this year?


End of Summer

After a long, hot, busy summer break visiting Disney World in Florida and a month in England we have been back in Austin about six weeks now.

The children returned to school at the end of August, we have celebrated two birthdays in the family mine and our youngest and we are generally just getting in the swing of Austin life again.

Out with friends on my birthday!
Along with the usual family and friend get togethers on our trips back home, this summer I decided to travel further afield and visit some lovely places I remember from my own childhood such as Ilfracombe and Clovelly in North Devon, England. 

For the first time I used Airbnb to book a self catering apartment in Ilfracombe and my mum, the children and myself headed down there in my little hire car. After forgetting how snug and tight the Devonshire roads are, with my blood pressure rising on numerous occasions we eventually got to Ilfracombe, the weather was amazing and I had my first fish and chips meal in years!

We then spent a fun three days taking in the sights, sounds and experiences of North Devon at its finest 😎

Recently I was introduced to a fun British girl in Austin, we have been out a few times together now and it always feels so homely just to hear her voice even though until recently we were strangers. Last week we all went out to a new bar in Austin called Holy Roller probably not my usual choice but it did serve some great drinks, Austin is slowly but surely coming round to some good rose wine! πŸ·πŸ˜€

My eldest daughter went to a friends birthday party last week at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to watch the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie on the big screen.

The special surprise at the end were the appearance of two actors from the original movie, Mike TeeVee (Paris Themmen) and Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole) for a Q&A session with the audience about the movie plus the children all had a photo taken with the actors and given a signed poster. I was very jealous as this was my all time favourite movie when I was a kid!

Last night some friends and I went to the 'Girls and Giving, Gin and Jazz' night hosted by Partnerships for Children at the very lovely Hotel Van Zandt downtown, the night was to help raise money for a collection of programs that offer resources, support and comfort for foster children and families in the local community.

As you can imagine with a large hotel full of mums out on a school night and free alcohol we had a ton of fun and laughs!

Girls & Giving, Gin & Jazz Night Out!


Helping Houston

We have all seen the devastating scenes coming out of Houston this week, in Austin we are about a three hour drive from the flooding yet I have witnessed such an outpouring of local support it is totally heartwarming to watch and to be a part of.

Local people have been renting trucks off their own backs, whilst others have gone from store to store tracking down much needed supplies and driving the trucks back and forth directly to shelters in Houston.

Queues of people on the highways taking their boats to help evacuate people still trapped in their homes.

The animal shelters transporting to Austin the influx of pets rescued from the impacted areas.

And much much more, if you are not located in Texas and wish to help please do click on the links below. There are many ways to donate financially however I know these organisations would be donating directly to Houston.

American Red Cross
Salvation Army
Austin Pets Alive

If you are in Texas and with so many people spending more time outside to help with Hurricane Harvey, I have just received from a local Austin doctor an informative infographic that covers sunscreen usage as well as how to protect your skin from harmful rays. Stay Safe in the Heat

Thank you,
Expat Austin Mum πŸ’Ÿ