My New Normal

A phrase I've noticed I've been saying on more than one occasion recently is how I finally feel life here in America is 'my new normal', after months of feeling so different from everyone else, anxiety when driving to new places, homesickness, learning social hits and misses amongst many new people I realised life was feeling more real and settled and less like a movie set!

We recently had our sixth set of visitors to Austin...yes sixth in 13 months! So we usually take this opportunity to visit somewhere new and with the children at school, my sister, her husband and I head off to downtown Austin and hired some bikes ready for our ride around Lady Bird Lake, which is a lush, urban path that meanders along the water's edge. During the ride we enjoyed so many great views, the weather was a heady mix of warm sun with a cool breeze and the bikes we hired were surprisingly comfortable even after we had been cycling for over an hour.
This week I had a very pleasant surprise to learn that my blog had been listed as one of the top 5 recommended expat blogs in America by a company called ExpatFocus.com. Yay!

My husband is the first one of the family to have his second birthday in America, so I guess we are hardly newbies now! We have met so many great people in the last year that instead of squeezing everyone around a restaurant table he chose to host a house party with an 80's / 90's fancy dress theme, we hired a DJ and a bar tender with a knack for making particularly strong margaritas, some food platters from the grocery store and enough alcohol to last us until Christmas 2017.

It was fun to get all our new friends together in one place and enjoy everyones company all at once, plus as a surprise to my husband I had a birthday cake made for him by a lovely girl who began baking after deciding the shop bought cakes were too sweet. If you live in Austin or the surrounding areas and would like Kat to make your birthday cake please take a look at her new website for contact details: http://www.katsnest.com

For privacy purposes I have erased husband's name and age.


#RodeoAustin #StevieWonder

One place I think everyone has to visit especially when in Texas is the Rodeo, so recently we all went to the final night of the Austin Rodeo http://www.rodeoaustin.com

Rodeo Austin also host's Austins largest carnival complete with over 60 rides and games for the whole family. Since 1938 Rodeo Austin has grown from a stock show featuring 16 animals into one of Austin's premier events, featuring a top 10 ProRodeo, daily concerts, world class livestock.

The crowd's favourite, Mutton Bustin', aspiring young cowboys and cowgirls get six seconds of fame riding a sheep!
We were also extremely lucky to have the chance to see the great Stevie Wonder in Austin last weekend, his performance kicked off at 8.20pm and wrapped at midnight and was joined by roughly 50 musicians and vocalists and included guest artist India Arie.

It was a musical journey showcasing new and older material and I was completely enthralled as he sang one of my favourites 'isn't she lovely'. If interested I have included this link to give you a detailed run down of his performance. http://music.blog.austin360.com/2015/04/05/stevie-wonder-brings-musical-mastery-message-of-love-to-erwin-center-show/#__federated=1


REVIEW Chocolate Mailbox.com

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes, the opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

One thing I have very much missed since becoming an expat and I'm far from alone on this one is British chocolate, I have been watching the news over the last few months and if you have a minute take a read of this link below which explains the conclusion on the Hershey's / Cadburys dispute....

Recently I was contacted by Chocolate Mailbox.com who politely enquired if I would write a review for them on receipt of a sample box which I readily agreed to of course.

Chocolate Mailbox.com is a British based company founded in 2015 delivering British chocolate to most countries around the world, they have a dedicated customer service team to help with orders and extra care is taken to make sure their shipping is competitively priced, fast and secure and all goods only leave them after they have been checked and put through quality control.

Chocolate Mailbox.com currently offers three different box sizes, a pick and mix option and boxes under such names as:
40 Little Dinkers Box
Biggy Box
British Classics
Cadbury Crazy Box
Cadbury Collection Box
Smooth and Creamy
Special Sharing Box

This is the sample product I received from Chocolate Mailbox.com

You can see the box is clearly labeled with protective warning stickers and the chocolate inside is encased amongst plenty of polystyrene packaging, every single chocolate bar arrived in perfect condition and use by date of at least seven months.

Upon further research of Chocolate Mailbox.com its website, products and competition I would have to say some similar companies currently offer more choice of chocolate bars however Chocolate Mailbox.com are constantly updating and increasing their range of bars. Also what caught my eye on the website was a 'newsletter' unfortunately it looks like you have to register as a new customer to be able to view it which for some could be seen as slightly time consuming.

In this sample box between my husband, myself and our two children there were plenty of bars to please everybody's tastes, the box didn't last long and this is mainly because we have been deprived of British chocolate for a long time and its arrival caused much excitement which prompted some major over-indulging!

Chocolate Mailbox.com are socially active on Facebook and Twitter and enjoy nothing more than talking about the unique delights and ingredients that make British chocolate what it is today.