I spoke too soon...

If you are a regular follower of my blog you will already know we have just moved house, still in Austin of course just a few miles down the road you can read about it again here: http://www.expataustinmum.com/2015/06/newhouse-grandma-noschool.html.

All was going so well until the following happened:

1) The washing machine did not work for 3 weeks, then only the cold water valve was working...
2) We had our puppy neutered and then he developed stress related diarrhoea for a few days....inside the house....
3) The air conditioning fan broke in my car when the daily temperatures are now 90+f every day....
4) Two trees came down on our street knocking out cable which meant no wifi, TV or phone for 8 days....

All of the above is now fixed and up and running again, we even squeezed in a house-warming party on Friday with our closest friends and managed to get rid of a lot of the left over alcohol from my husbands birthday party back in April!

Before all of the upheaval I just mentioned happened we were lucky enough to go on a mini break to Mexico child-free with my husbands work colleagues, the hotel was amazing and on such a large resort they had 24hr shuttle buses that took you to and from the pool, beach, resort restaurant etc. We arrived in Cancun in the afternoon, got a taxi to the hotel, quickly got into swimwear and headed for the pool when we saw a sign saying 'adults only pool'. We giggled all the way there as we have not been to one of these in almost 9 years!

We got our sun loungers ready, had our late lunch and cocktails delivered and then proceeded to moan to each other about how boring this area was, how it felt like you couldn't laugh or you'd get stared at, what was wrong with kids playing and laughing nearby anyway? well we soon changed our tune when we both passed out asleep on the sun loungers at 4pm because it was so quiet and relaxing!

That evening we went out for dinner with everybody and then to a crazy club called Coco Bongo http://www.cocobongo.com.mx/en I had never been anywhere like this in my life, it was a hedonist mix of costumed performers lip syncing to various pop culture tunes plus huge video screens playing scenes from films the performers were reenacting, flying acrobats, bar top conga lines mixed with random floating bubbles, balloons, confetti, strobe lights and special effects I was very glad we had our own table with waiters serving drinks because this club gets shoulder to shoulder packed so there was no way you would make it to and from the bar very easily!

We now have less than five weeks until we are back in the UK for a visit...

REVIEW Everfest.com

Disclaimer: I was financially compensated for this post, I agreed to work with this company as I believe the information will be of interest to my readers. All opinions are completely my own.

One thing my husband and I promised ourselves for years we would do is to start attending some festivals, with two young children in tow we never actually made it to any whilst in the UK however we did make it to ACL last year and loved it, you can read about our ACL experience in this post of mine from last year: http://www.expataustinmum.com/2014/10/new-experiences.html

The large festivals are amazingly advertised and literally everyone knows when Glastonbury, Coachella, ACL etc are on the way, which made me realise if my husband and I had simply known more about which festivals were happening near us wherever we were, we would have been able to attend a few more with or without the children before now.

Recently I was contacted by Everfest.com https://www.everfest.com to see if I would be interested in writing a review, I decided I would as I believe a post linked to this company would be informative and useful to my readers as well as for myself.

Reviewing the Everfest website I particularly loved the homepage, the colours and design give off a real fun, exciting vibe and draws the eye immediately around the whole page which leaves you wanting more and I immediately felt I wanted to click on 'About' to learn further about the creators of this company and the full synopsis of their work.

Everfest came together as three founders sharing a common passion for festivals and travel. They believed experiences trump things you can buy, and the pursuit of a great story is a higher ideal than the pursuit of money it was these values that helped create Everfest. Basically a way to discover festivals, book unique travel, find other revelers and share amazing memories. Everfest includes festivals of all types, grouping them across 12 categories and currently in 17 US cities.

On further navigation of the Everfest website I came across the option to 'Suggest a Fest' and the 'Everfest Fest Test' both great ideas and as a potential new festival-goer this gave me confidence that the information I was about to search for will be legitimate and in date. I also think it's fantastic Everfest have a blog which is easily accessible from their website and is regularly updated with interesting and diverse topics with some cool photography.

I personally love to be thorough and when clicking on the Terms page I was pleased to see listed their Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Participation Agreement unfortunately when I tried to click on the policies to read them each one took me back to the home page a small flaw which can easily be rectified of course.

"Life's a wonderful journey, you have to find the clowns that make you happy and ride the magic. Everest's core goal is to bring people together physically offline in shared interests. We understand the irony as a tech company!" 
Source: P, B & J Everfest.com

I focused on the Austin 2016 calendar of festivals https://www.everfest.com/texas/austin-festivals and was enthralled to see a broad and varied range of festivals divided by month and location.

When I clicked on a particular festival listed it took me to a page which had either a background photo or video of the festival with a short to the point overview of the event I had chosen plus an option to click on 'Been, Save or Going'.

More importantly it was also very clear to see the important choices of where to 'Get tickets, Visit website and/or Share festival'. Some of the festivals listed had extra information for choice making such as Instagram feeds and an artist lineup.

In conclusion I love the interactivity of this protocol with its clear and easy to use website, we have been living in Austin for around 15 months now and my husband and I felt we had explored Austin quite well for newbies, well this website left me feeling our exploration has been a drop in the ocean of what Austin has to offer and has given us an extra boost to get out even more...and on a final note when we attend a festival found on https://www.everfest.com I will keep my eye out for a group of dancing humans dressed as rabbits and for sure I will come over and say Hi!
Source: www.everfest.com


A Few Big Changes

There have been a number of big changes since my last post, firstly my mum came to visit us from England, secondly we moved house and thirdly my children's school has now closed for the 12 week summer holiday.

Before I begin I will address the bad weather which was in the news recently http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2015/05/30/obama-signs-disaster-declaration-for-texas-as-storm-death-toll-increases/ Austin was not hit as bad as other cities in Texas but nevertheless this storm was pretty scary on some occasions especially when these warnings start appearing on our iPhones, just to be safe my husband cleared out the cupboard under the stairs for shelter as this is the advice given in tornado emergencies.

Last week we were invited to a friends beautiful wedding held at http://www.themamaison.com, luckily the weather cleared up as the ceremony was held outside, the bride and groom had many friends and family fly in from all over the world for the wedding, and we very much enjoyed socialising and partying with them all.

My mums arrival from the UK was truly a priceless moment, we decided to keep it a secret from the girls that she was visiting to create a lovely memory for them when she arrived, this all went amazingly well my husband went to the airport after work and they both arrived at the house around the time he would normally arrive home from work so the girls were not suspicious at all. Mum rang the door bell and our eldest answered it with the youngest following behind, they threw themselves into my mums arms with cries of 'Grandma, Grandma!' we will all treasure the memories forever.

We have been in our new house one week now and we love it, the move was in no way as crazy, hectic and emotional as the move from another country! One hiccup we had was not having electric for 24 hours, so we went out for dinner that night, we put all the frozen/chilled food into a cool box with a tonne of ice and hoped for the best, we found lots of candles and torches to prepare for bed, and slept with no bed covers as summer has really kicked in and we finished off that first night sat in the garden with candles and champagne watching our new view of the lake.