Home for Summer Part 2

Entering week two of our trip home to England my husband has arrived and as we are now a group of four, accommodation with family is getting tight so we move into a hotel in town, even though we miss the home comforts of staying with family it provided us with the convenience of being able to walk into town for shopping, restaurants, meeting friends etc.

Chichester Cathedral built between 1091 and 1108

East Street Chichester City Centre

Chichester Cross: According to its inscription was built between 1477 to 1503
Our week consisted of many more family get togethers and dinners with friends plus a shopping trip of items to take back to America including English chocolate and candy, sorry sweets, clothes from my favourite store and new rucksacks from a famous British brand for the children to take back to school.

For our third week we dropped our hire car off at London Gatwick airport and flew to the Greek island of Rhodes with some great friends of ours they were renewing their wedding vows after ten years of marriage. Congratulations!

Our hotel in Rhodes: The Princess Andriana Resort & Spa

We wined and dined, sunbathed, swam, snorkeled, jet skied and laughed non stop for a week. Again always sad to say goodbye to our friends when we arrived back in London but this year there were no tears just lots of 'lets do this again next year'......plus myself and the 'bride' took advantage of the 'buy one get one free' wine offer onboard the flight and were two sheets to the wind by the time we got off the plane, a fun ending to a great holiday!

For our final night in England we got a taxi to my brother-in-law's house, the girls got to hang out with their cousins and the adults enjoyed our last decent curry for a while.

The next day we were flying back to Austin and we had one last surprise for the girls, we arranged for some Austin friends who were also flying back from Europe to catch the same plane as us. All the children were over the moon with excitement to see each other and we didn't hear hardly a peep out of them for the whole flight.

We had two days before the girls started back at school and they have now been back for four weeks, plus since arriving back in Austin we have celebrated my birthday and our youngest birthday.


Home for Summer Part 1

Before I begin on our adventures of going home to England I wanted to post these adorable pictures of Winston back in July swimming in the creek at Twin Falls Barton Creek Greenbelt. This was his first proper opportunity to swim unaided, he needed a gentle shove but when he got going he didn't want to stop!

So the time has come again for me and the girls to board our direct flight to London, this time there were no questions or anxiety from me and them about where to go in the airport or what to do or expect. I had minimal sleep on the flight but at least I got to watch a film of my choice in relatively peaceful circumstances whilst drinking some wine...what more could mum of two want on a long haul flight!

After just 24hrs rest my first social event was a hen do (bachelorette party to my American friends) at Goodwood Horse Racing almost all of the ladies here I have known for a very long time and hadn't seen for a whole year, lots of hugs and kisses later we concentrate on getting changed, hair and make up complete and on with some silly games and champagne drinking, I'm sure you can imagine this is one of the only pictures I could safely put online for public viewing!

On my list of things to do was a visit to the passport office in London, the rules are only one person per appointment so I took a train by myself and arrived at London Victoria station with plenty of time to take some pictures and soak up the sights. I guess being away from not just the city but your home country makes you look at it all through new possibly some might say rose-tinted glasses. 

I most definitely enjoyed listening to the British accent everywhere and knowing the value of things I was buying, I would liken it to putting on a comfy pair of old slippers, you may not have realised the joy they bought you at the time but coming back there is a lot to be said for familiarity when you have been away for a while.

Unusual advice for a British train station!

One of my oldest friends is a girl I went to school with called Emma, her children are similar age to mine and even though we live, well used to live an hour apart we always make the effort to get together every summer even before I moved across the pond. 

This summer we met at Birdworld, a place I actually remember going to when I was a child...I was mildly concerned most of the things to do here are outside but I put my trust in the English summer weather and we made it to almost the end of the day before it started raining!

Punch and Judy show at Birdworld

This year it was my mum's 70th birthday, to celebrate she wanted the family to spend a weekend in the village she grew up in called Matlock Bath located in the midlands of England, we found the house mum grew up in, the school she went to and various other haunts from mums childhood. We stayed in a B&B (AKA Bed and Breakfast) called Sheriff Lodge that my mum used to also stay in with my older siblings when she visited Matlock Bath after she moved to the south of England.

We arrived Friday evening and after checking in and dropping off our luggage we made our way up a very steep hill to a local pub for dinner, it even had a beer garden and kids play area.....these things other Brits take for granted, to the girls and I we were in English heaven plus no one was sweating even though we were sat outside in the middle of summer!

Saturday arrived and after a hearty full English breakfast we adhere to my older sisters itinerary and begin the day, many hours and many miles of walking later we really feel we have made the most of Matlock Bath with plenty of memories for everyone to take home with and reminisce for years to come.

Check out the freaky looking rabbit in the window...

Keep an eye out for my next post Home for Summer Part 2 coming soon, when I get a chance to write it undisturbed!