Tag Archives: england

Review: Hampton Court Palace


Hampton Court – King Henry the 8th’s main palace of residence – has been on our to-see list for some time now. While it is recognised for being the palace of one of history’s most infamous tyrants – King Henry was far from the only royal who called Hampton Court home.

When the initial buildings were assembled in 1515 beside a quiet part of the Thames under the direction of Cardinal Thomas Wolsley there were nothing but fields surrounding as far as the eye could see. Today, Hampton Court sits on 60 acres in the heart of a bustling Surrey which has built up around it over the centuries.

One of the key features of Hampton Court is that it is a pick-and-mix of Tudor and Baroque style architecture. In King Henry’s reign it was erected and expanded in the Tudor style which consists of the traditional castle features of hard lines, battlements and windows which are more squared as well as its signature dark red brick.

When it was taken over by William the third and Queen Mary the 2nd they began renovations in the Baroque style which typically consists of softer lines, arches and white and gold accents.

We visited Hampton Court gardens last summer when we attended an outdoor cinema showing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone but have only just toured the inside this past January when tickets were on sale for half price – keep an eye out for future discounts!



We started off in the Cumberland Art Gallery which house paintings by the likes of Italians Caneletto (1697 – 1798) and Caravaggio (1571 – 1610), Flemish-born Van Dyck (1599 – 1641) and German-born Holbein (1497 – 1543). They even have a self portrait by Dutch-born Rembrandt who is considered one of the best visual artists of all time and the crowning jewel of Dutch artists.

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My other half said the Cumberland gallery was the highlight for him.

We explored many grand reception and dining rooms…


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Image result for hampton court palace rooms



Image result for hampton court palace rooms


And of course, the master suite’s with their ambitious canopy beds, decorated fireplaces and sprawling ceilings.

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Image result for hampton court palace rooms

We also paused over Queen Caroline’s bathroom. It’s quite an interesting feature as science at the time deemed bathing frequently to be dangerous and even those rich enough to have the luxury of a bath and servants to cart heated water to and fro only bathed now and then, washing hair every 12 days or so (sometimes longer). Queen Caroline on the other hand bathed comparatively often and also bathed her children regularly in orange and rose scented water.

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Some children were equally delighted and horrified to learn from one of the museum attendants about the ‘Groom of the Stool.’ While by today’s standards wiping royal bums doesn’t sound like the kind of job which would have resumes pouring in on Indeed.com – in days of yore it was a sought-after position in the court as the Groom of the Stool was one of the only people in England who had 1 on 1 time with the King and could use that time to influence his decisions.

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There is an intricate chapel with balcony, remodelled by Queen Anne in 1710, which still holds services today.

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My own personal favourites though, were the kitchens and the tennis court. An avid cook, I was fascinated with the large, open kitchen and the considerable fireplace where meals for 800 could be produced daily by a kitchen staff of 200 for monarchs and their courts during the Tudor, Stuart and Georgian periods.

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Recipes of the Hampton Court kitchens included salmon & fig pies, mutton and beef stews, game dishes, peacock, apple fritters, french toast and Marzipan cake. Some of King Henry’s personal favourites were supposedly bone marrow tarts and ‘Maids of Honour’ – a butter puff pastry tart with a mildly sweet cheese curd filling.

Surrey bakery and tearooms ‘Newens’ boast the original secret ‘Maids of Honour’ recipe which they still keep under lock and key. So if all that history and walking gets you feeling peckish – you could always make a pit stop on the way home for a cuppa and a famous tart.

I was surprised to see the array of exotic herbs and spices which were used as far back as the Tudor times. Flavours of Rosemary, Coriander, Saffron, Basil, Cinnamon, Cloves, Mace, Ginger, Parsley, Salt and Sage to name a few were shipped from as far away as China, India and Africa. They sweetened their meals with sugar imported from Cyprus and enjoyed citrus fruit, almonds, artichokes and olive oil from the Mediterranean.

Period actors made sweets, turned spits in front of the fire and regaled us with tales of their lives in the 16th century. As it was a frosty January day, listening also seemed a great excuse to warm ourselves in front of the blazing fireplace.




Of course a visit wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the Great Hall, where the royal feasts would have been enjoyed at long tables under carved timber ceilings. When Henry married Anne Boleyn he had her coat of arms and their initials engraved in the overhang. After he ordered her execution he also ordered for these carvings to be removed but some of them were missed – see if you can spot them.

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My other highlight was the tennis court as it’s quite unique to Hampton Court as far as palaces go.

Hampton Court’s tennis court is the oldest in the world. There has been a court on the site since 1526 and Wolsley and Henry were both known to be good players. The tennis court as it stands today has one original wall and three which date to the 17th century during Charles the first’s reign.

Originally the balls were filled with clay, sand and powdered eggshell and could feel somewhat weaponized but since the 1500s balls were instead filled with more forgiving leather and animal hair.

The original game of tennis was more of a mix of tennis and squash and has changed significantly over the years into the game we know today.

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Image result for hampton court tennis court

While on our second visit we didn’t explore the gardens as much as on our first visit, we did stumble upon quite a few quiet courtyard gardens.



And on a warm spring or summer day, many more hours could be enjoyed in the palace gardens…

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Image result for hampton court gardens

Image result for hampton court gardens

The palace has regular events, concerts and exhibitions so it’s worth having a look on their website to see what is up and coming:

Hampton Court Website

Regular admission is:
Adult – £22
Child – £10.90
Members – Free

The kitchen gardens can be explored for free without admission.

Overall it is definitely worth a visit, especially for any history buffs. The price is a bit steep but if you can take advantage of a discount offer it’s a pleasant way to spend a day in Surrey.

4/5 Maids of Honour

Have you visited Hampton Court? What would you most like to see or what was your favourite part?

Toodle pip!







“I Do… Again!”


As some of you know, J and I met quite some years ago now on Plenty of Fish while I lived in Canada and he lived in the UK. Skype dates quickly turned into the sort of whirlwind romance Taylor Swift might sing about. Many Skype calls, flights and letters later I moved to England to be with him, and it was the best thing I ever did.

Two years after moving here, 3 days before Christmas, he took me to the place I had declared the most beautiful spot in the world – the top of Winnats Pass in the Peak District and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I said “of course I will!”

As we had to be married to live on the barracks of his next posting we had a small, tweed affair at the registry office in Cambridge with close family and friends that spring. Two years later, after saving loads of pennies, having our original venue fall through 6 months before and arranging for all my Canadian family and friends to fly over we got to re-live one of the happiest days of our lives – this time with the white dress and all the trimmings.

I wrote a very personal ceremony which his cousin delivered and we said our handwritten vows to one another surrounded by all those who we love and who love us while sheep grazed on the wet, Derbyshire hills behind us. It rained the whole day in British fashion, and yet it was wonderful. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.


My dad lead me down the aisle and handed me off to ‘the only man he’s ever approved of’ to the song ‘Then’ by Brad Paisley. Seeing J standing there, and the emotion we both felt is something neither of us will forget as we continue onto new adventures together, forever by one another’s side as husband and wife.


The ceremony encompassed hearty laughs, family jokes, heartfelt words, many a proud look from parents and was sealed with a triumphant kiss and a refrain of ‘Circles’ by Jana Kramer.






After the ceremony surrounded by our best friends we trudged up a slippery slope in stiletto heels – armed with brollies and laughter- and didn’t let a few raindrops stop us making the most of a magical day. In the climb I must have put my heel through the lace of my dress causing a rip a few inches wide near the bottom but no matter. My dress now bears the stains and wear of a wedding day well spent.








We spent the next part of the day enjoying the company of all those who had travelled so far to celebrate our love with us – some having driven hours from different parts of the UK and some having flown from Ontario and Nova Scotia – while we shared a toast, some ord’oeuvres and the children roguishly helped themselves to chocolates off the too-tempting-to-resist cake.

I had to ask our photographer to snap a quick pic before all the chocolates mysteriously disappeared! Someone asked me afterwards if it was meant to look like we were sitting on a snowflake in a bowl of Poutine – the fact that the chocolates kind of look like fries, gravy and cheese curds is completely incidental!




This is also the point in the day when I began to rethink my choice of a mermaid style dress as after a 1/2 hour trip to the loo with determined bridesmaids in tow I decided I would not be tinkling for the rest of the evening. And though we didn’t go to bed until nearly 2am – I was resolved in my decision and stuck to it!

We managed to tell parts of our story and ourselves through all the little details – from leather suitcases and love letter table numbers tied with string (which included Hogwarts, Cambridge United FC, London and Maple Leaf themed envelopes) – to the personalised plane cuff links I surprised him with on the morning of our special day.







Our sweets table featured Canadian treats like: Jolly Rachers, Oh Henry bars and butter tarts and British Rosy Apples, Tangfastics and a giant Bakewell Tart – as we were so near to the pastries’ namesake town the day wouldn’t have been complete without a Bakewell.




The butter tarts lasted about ten seconds!

Sprinkled on the tables were plane confetti’s cut from maps and hearts made from Florida travel brochures. Florida being where we met for the first time and where we have spent many happy memories together.




Milk bottles sat on aged books at every table and each held a handful of gypsophelia and sunflowers – my favourite flower – which our auntie Pauline thoughtfully arranged for us.


We stole a few moments to ourselves before dinner to take in the postcard-perfect landscape and our superb photographer duo preserved these loving seconds for us to keep always.








Our flower girl (whom we’d forgotten to send down the aisle earlier) ushered the bridal party into the Orangery with her basket of dried rose petals – where a very British afternoon tea and some equally touching and hilarious speeches awaited from our best man, our maid of honour and then J and myself to one another.





When I watch back his vows, and the speech he spent hours upstairs writing one night I can’t describe the sense of sheer love and respect I have for him. When I see his cheeky smile, how he talks with his hands and the way he looks at me – everything about him just makes my heart happy.

Following dinner were times of merriment, conversation and cocktails until the clock struck seven and the father daughter dance begun.

My dad, who lives back home in Canada, who truly is my biggest fan and cries at every single airport goodbye – even after I’ve lived here for 4 years – swayed with me to Carrie Underwood’s ‘Girl You Think I Am.’ And the words You think I’m brave. You think I’m fearless… I wanna be the girl you think I am… really hit home.



He then put my hand in J’s – knowing that near of far, I would always be in good hands. J held me close while Brad Paisley’s ‘Then’ said all the things I feel every time I look at him. Because somehow, when I think I couldn’t possibly love him more, I do.



We enjoyed an evening of dancing, pizza, sparklers and kisses. Later in the night I even ended up doing an impromptu rendition of ‘Circles.’









At 1:30am we finally said goodnight to our guests knowing that we had made memories that will last us a lifetime of drinking tea together, and travelling to new places, and dancing in the kitchen and couch snuggles. Memories that in 50 years, 80 years time we can look back on and say ‘And I thought I loved you then.’


Expat Life Lately: Pumpkins & Autumn Recipes

Now it’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas I thought it would be a perfect time to say farewell to those spectacular fall days and to recap some of our best memories from a magical autumn which has been spent playing boardgames, snuggling, cooking, exploring and of course, drinking cups of tea.


As we’re now living in Kent with good train links to London we’ve been making up for lost time with my favourite city and it has been glorious this autumn.

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We caught a country music concert at Borderline, meeting one of my idols Cassadee Pope and happened to also catch the changing of the guards.

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We’ve had a few new recipes keeping us cozy this autumn season. Among some of our favourites were Squash, Beetroot & Halloumi salad and Tortellini Soup. Delish!

Fall on a plate… Squash, Beetroot & Halloumi Salad Recipe

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Tortellini soup. Total heaven! If you love Italian flavours you will fall in love. I omit the meatballs and add a potato and 2-3 carrots and a good bunch of fresh parsley chopped. Best Tortellini Soup Recipe

Oh how I’ve missed going to the Pick-Your-Own pumpkin farms back in Canada but this year we found a gem just down the road. My better half said he’d never seen anything like it. The autumn spirit is strong down here in Kent!

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And when I was told that our road gets hundreds of trick or treaters I just had to go all-out with a DIY Harry Potter inspired haunted house. We must have had well over 200 children and ran out of sweets 3 times!

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I also finally got a Gryffindor robe. Can’t wait to wear it everywhere!

After such a colourful, snuggly and magical autumn I can’t wait to see what this festive Christmas season has in store! Time to replace my window of pumpkins for some Christmas garlands 🙂

What is your favourite recipe for cold nights?



Expat Life Lately: 3 year recap video

These are just a few clips I found over the past 3 years since I made the move to England to be with my British one and only. I didn’t even realize I’d had a video of us in the Peak District when I’d first moved over. I told him it was the most beautiful place in the world and 3 years later he took me to that same spot to ask me to be his wife.

What a wild and wonderful ride it’s been! Love him so much.

British Words of the Week:

redders: hot                       (Last summer was absolutely redders)
icers: cold                          (Guy Fawkes night is gonna be icers!)
hoofing: amazing             (That posh tea was hoofing!)
Ruby Murry: curry           (Fancy a ruby murry?)

Toodle pip!

Expat Life Lately: Autumn & Rustic Decorating

Even with the unseasonably warm days, the cooler nights and raining leaves have brought with them the promise of autumn. That cozy transition between summer sun and snowflakes -made for leather boots, scarves, hot drinks and cuddles- is my favourite time of year.

While the colours might not be quite as bright as a proper Canadian fall I’m definitely seeing some pops of autumn around me especially last week when we visited the Hampton Court gardens for a screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

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The cool evening was a perfect excuse to snuggle under the stars – as if I need an excuse to squeeze up next to this handsome fellow 😉

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We also took a jolly little jaunt to Canterbury; a city neither of us have ever visited before. Besides the beautiful (though scaffolded) cathedral, cobbled streets and tea shops I was excited to find so many candy stores with Halloween looming.

I was doubly excited to find a pumpkin spice cookie at a market in Canterbury which was the pie on top of our thanksgiving weekend.

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We’ve also been in a new rented house for just over 2 very busy months. While there is still a long to-do list we have accomplished a good amount in a relatively short time and the place is beginning to look somewhat like a home.

We’ve taken our bookcase out of storage which I’ve filled with our trinkets and board games. I love my two autumn pumpkins I brought over in my suitcase from Home Sense in Canada which make a seasonal appearance.


As we had too many dvd’s to fit in our tv unit I ordered this quatrefoil box to disguise them and it matches beautifully with our pillow from Next.

Quatrefoil Storage Tote


Since our coffee table was taking up the whole of our very tiny living room we picked up a much smaller second-hand coffee table and because it didn’t have drawers I found this adorable hessian bag to put all our odds & ends in.

Hessian Etc. Tote


I also needed some apple crates for decoration for our wedding next year as well as for the Halloween Harry Potter display I’m planning. Rather than stuff them in our already-over-stuffed shed I used 2 of them to make a shoe rack and the other four I stacked for a shelf in our spare bedroom.

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While our downstairs is rustic our upstairs is decidedly nautical. I am a huge fan of the seaside so I could hardly pass up this lovely little sailboat for £5 at a gift shop. The fact it lights up just makes it that much more enchanting. They are also available for the same price at the Range.

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Have you spotted any signs of autumn? What is your favourite season and why?

Cheerio eh!

Harry Potter at Rochester Castle – Luna Cinema

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I’ve been missing my North American drive-ins since I swapped Canada for England 3 years ago but this past summer I stumbled upon Luna Cinema; a company that organizes outdoor cinema at various tourist stops around the UK in spring, summer and fall.

I soon found a venue near me -Rochester Castle, Kent- and lo and behold they were showing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! I booked those tickets faster than you could say Quidditch.

Luna Cinema Review

1. Watching Harry Potter in a castle = amazing
2. Ample room to sprawl out on the lawn at the front or book/bring your own chair
3. View and sound were good
4. Allowed to bring own snacks/drinks (just no glass)
5. Allowed to bring blankets, pillows, snuggly items
6. Food and drinks available for purchase

1. The show will go on in all weather – if sitting in the pouring rain isn’t your idea of fun then it’s likely you’ll be out-of-pocket if the weather doesn’t work in your favour
2. Running out of stuff: they ran out of popcorn and you sometimes had to wait or come back for hot drinks as they kept running out of hot water.


How To Prepare For an Outdoor Movie:
1. Waterproof – Make sure to bring something waterproof (like a tarp, sleeping bag, painting sheet ect,.) to lay down on the grass. It will be damp, dewy and wet.
2. Something to sit on – Make sure to put something on top of your waterproof layer to sit/lay on as sitting straight on the waterproof will still be really cold.
3. Layers – Wear lots of layers and bring more with you.
4. Blankets – No matter what the season it will be cold at night; bring blankets! We brought one and it wasn’t enough. Double-up! Even bring the duvet.
4. Pillows – This is what separates the noobs from the legends. We were noobs. Bring as many as you can carry and make a warm, squishy little nest. I was seriously jealous of the two girls in front of us who had full body pillows – clearly they’d done this before.
5. Snacks/drinks – Before you leave make sure to pack your popcorn, candy or even a picnic and don’t forget a sealed cold drink plus I would highly recommend a thermos of something hot. As there’s no intermission it means you’re going to miss some of your movie going back for something to warm you during it.


Overall we had such a brilliant time; there’s just something magical about watching movies outside and being that it was Harry Potter the castle surroundings really added an atmosphere. Plus the handsome company sure didn’t hurt 😉 The serial sleeper even stayed awake for the whole thing! A perfect date night.

Cost: £15 each (this varies slightly depending on the location)
Doors opened at 6pm show/ads started at 7:30

To search for upcoming movies and venues:
Luna Cinema

Rating: 4/5 broomsticks

What is your favourite Harry Potter movie or moment?


Expat Life Lately: Metal Detecting Finds & British Blunders

Metal detecting is a somewhat recent hobby we’ve taken up. Having been a Time Team fanatic for the past 5 years and declaring when I’m an old lady I’ll live by the sea and spend my days detecting I thought, why wait?

After a fair amount of research and deliberation I purchased the Garrett EuroAce last June. So far I’m really impressed with it!

While still in Wales we had permission to go detecting on my man’s base which was quite expansive. Though we spent quite a lot of time pulling up Coke cans and fragments of aluminium foil, on our first venture we also dug up some bullet casings, what we believe may be an arrowhead, and some coins!

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Unfortunately these coins were only about as old as my man which (even though I tease him about being old) is not very old.

The next trip out started much the same but ended in us finally finding an old-ish coin! We were really excited.


George 5th penny. 1936

Translation: “George the Fifth by the Grace of God King of all the Britons Defender of the Faith Emperor of India.”


We also did some detecting in Nova Scotia, Canada… while we didn’t find any coins we did find some odds and ends, the most interesting of which was an old pick-axe head. It would have belonged to King Seaman so we left our little treasures behind for mum to donate to the museum.finds

What’s the best treasure you’ve ever found?

Now for the blunders…

Do you ever just have one of those weeks where things just don’t seem to go right? For one, I am sitting here waiting for a ticket in the mail for illegally driving through a bus station last week. Not just a bus lane but a whole BLOODY station!

Even though I knew I probably shouldn’t go down there my DIM-WITTED GPS insisted that it was the correct way and having just moved here (having no idea how to get anywhere) and having to get to a dentist appointment I wasn’t sure what else to do. The bus drivers started pointing at me to turn around which I tried and failed to do… it was a bloody fiasco.

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This week I went grocery shopping then realized at the check-out I’d left all my money at home. I wish I could say that’s the first time…

Being between jobs and therefore short of funds at the moment I was however quite proud of myself for organizing a nice little surprise birthday present for my wonderful other half. I got the two of us tickets for paint-balling but covertly arranged tickets for all of his friends who would meet us there as a surprise. My man comes home for lunch after my no-money shopping trip and having no idea I’ve arranged a birthday treat casually mentions he’s on a course during that weekend. *Cue balloon popping sound*

The cherry on top was probably the next day when I drove an hour (and baked homemade brownies) for an interview as a junior content writer at a hip, young company and NO ONE WAS THERE. In the end I finally got a hold of them and they’d sent me an email the day of the interview (which had gone to a junk folder I didn’t even know I had) to say all interviews were cancelled because everyone in the office was off sick.

All in all it’s been a magical week.

At least there were some highlights which included my brownies turning out (more for me!), visiting Scotney castle on a sunny day and playing Badminton in the garden with the man who makes my life amazing even when everything is going wrong.


What’s the last thing that went totally wrong for you? How did you deal with it?

Cheerio! x


Expat Life Lately: Making Memories, Even If You Won’t Remember


I’ve really come to love my husband’s hopeless-romantic grandad. I don’t think ever a visit has passed that he hasn’t sung a song from the 50s or asked “hows your love life?” He is such a funny, charming character and I’ve always seen just a little of myself in him. In the past year or so his health and his memory have deteriorated. He’s had to go into a home because his nan with a broken hip and back just can’t look after him.

It’s been hard watching a couple who’ve spent their lives together be separated this way at the end. Even though his nan goes to see him nearly everyday she feels so much guilt in keeping him there and he keeps packing all his pictures away, ready to go “home.” He remembers who we are and can recall things from long ago but the day after our wedding he couldn’t really remember attending. His short-term memory is a bit like recalling dreams; sometimes he can and sometimes he can’t.

I know my man has found it hard as have I. Every time we visit home -Cambridgeshire, where my man is from- we go to see him in the home but it gets depressing sitting in his stuffy room, alarms buzzing and beeping always reminding you of where you are.

Three weekends ago, as we were taking his nan and his elderly cousin (who we lovingly refer to as our aunt) to see him on a particularly glorious summer day I decided that the sunshine was just too spectacular to miss. We packed them all up: his smart & thoughtful cousin with her walking stick, his hilarious and feisty Irish nan with her walker and his charming, forgetful grandad in his wheelchair. We all squished in our truck for what was a very cozy ride. I knew just the place a summer’s day would be best enjoyed.

We unloaded everyone (it was a bit of a military operation) and had such a laugh in the process. There were jokes about us being their carers and them looking like the three wise men. In time we made it to a round picnic table overlooking the river at the No Hurry Inn near Ely. It’s hard to describe how I felt as we spent the afternoon chatting, eating and reminiscing together except to say that I felt privileged to have been able to spend that time in such good company.

Near the end of the afternoon as we sat in a shady spot under a great willow tree he kept saying he wanted to go to Ely; on and on he went; he really had his heart set on going to Ely. When we finally asked him why he wanted to go to Ely he said “because it’s warmer.” We had such a chuckle over that and wheeled him into the sun to watch the boats drift by. “That’s better,” he said. I think he’d have liked to stay there forever.

It’s a memory I will always cherish -one I wouldn’t trade for all the world- and even though his grandad might not remember it for long, I know that in that moment he made a happy, new memory with those who love him.


Expat Life Lately: Breaking Up With Teaching, Wedding Dress and Bunk Beds


Warning: this starts off as a bit of a downer but it gets better I promise!

Teaching… Or Lack Thereof

While on the PGCE (teacher training program) about a year and a half ago I wrote this blog: An Open Letter: My Frustration with Teaching in the UK I finished the program (somehow with a shred of sanity left, more or less). Did supply for 6 weeks (lost all sanity). Had my own reception class for a year who were wonderful and I’m so happy I had the opportunity  to teach them; I’ll always cherish the time I had as their teacher however the crushing workload and a list (a LONG, LONG list) of bureaucratic factors have left me angry, frustrated, gob-smacked and just plain done.

The UK has lost yet another passionate educator; I’ve become one of the 44% of teachers who leave in their first 3 years in the UK and while I feel like I’ve been failed and I’m sad I won’t get the chance to do my utmost to inspire another class of amazing individuals, I feel like the system has lost more and quite frankly, deserves to.

I tried to write this blog a few days ago and it just kept turning into a furious rant which is exactly why I had to leave teaching. I don’t have any fight left for the particular battle that is fighting to be treated as a professional, and fighting to do what is right for the children in a robotic, data-obsessed, broken system. I am tired of ranting. So I did the hard thing and broke up with a job I loved because when a job starts to feel like an abusive relationship it’s time to leave. That is all I will say about that.

The up-side is that I feel like a new person, or rather, I feel more like the person I was before I signed up for that soul-crushing experience called the PGCE. I feel like my optimism has returned and feel like I’m falling for this little island all over again. No idea what I’ll be doing with my life so job-hunting, filling in applications and living without a pay cheque is its own challenge but I know I made the right decision for me. I’m thankful my husband has been so supportive throughout my decision to undertake teaching and also my decision to leave it to take care of my well being.

Maybe he’s just glad our living room no longer looks like a bomb went off in a library!

Art we did in the last week of school that a parent framed for me as a leaving present. Adore this. Gorgeous flowers from another student. The next day I was given so many thoughtful things and enough booze and chocolate to last a whole summer. I know those little ones I got to know will go on to do amazing things 🙂

Moving/Wedding Dress

In other news we also traded in Wales for Kent (due to my husband’s job). I’m sort of getting used to calling him my “husband” :). The summer was super busy getting everything moved, deciding to go veggie, realizing this house is even smaller than the last (if that’s even possible), getting rid of way more stuff to the charity, spending 2 weeks on the East coast of Canada with mom and family, finding/buying my wedding dress, stuffing said wedding dress in our already-stuffed suitcase, according to our photos did a lot of much-needed napping, and came back to realize this place still looks a massive mess!



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The upside though is we have a garden! *Hallelujah plays* I’m so happy that we have a garden again and already can’t wait for next Spring to get in the dirt. There are also some gorgeous seaside towns nearby that I can’t wait to check out; Kent is totally new to J and myself so that’s quite exciting.

Yes, I’m the last human on Earth to still use a button phone.

Also, now that I actually have time for myself I’ve made some friends and we’ve been meeting up for tea once a week and going on little shopping trips. I’ve even had time to work on writing my latest novel and am hoping to pick up some of the many hobbies I’d put down for the past 2 years (guitar, singing, genealogy, ect,.) And I can now add metal-detecting to my list of odd hobbies. Yay!


Bunk Beds

As we’ll be having a lot of family and friends visiting next summer for our official wedding we’ve been trying to work out how we can stuff as many people in our hobbit house as possible. One great idea I had was to purchase a bunk bed for our spare room and I found this double-double bunk bed! At a great price and made-in-England!

4ft 6 Double Double Bunk Bed – Strictly Beds and Bunks
double bunk bed

Now I use the term “made” lightly as I expected a flat-packed bed and a few screws however what came was a million pieces of wood and some marriage-testing instructions. It took us 3 evenings and about 8 hours in all but… ta-da!


I also ordered their foam mattress which is surprisingly comfy! We decided to stay in here for a night to be guinea pigs to test out our engineering skills and loved it so much we stayed in the guest room for a week. I always wanted bunk beds as a child and let me tell you – they are just as fun as adults! I don’t know if it’s the smell of the wood and the close quarters but it reminds me of being on a cozy ship. It’s like having a holiday yacht in our spare bedroom. Yes, we’re easily pleased.

What did you all get up to during this sweltering summer? Also, for those working, what do you for work and do you enjoy it?

Goodnight all! It seems like a perfect night for another trip on our pretend ship.  🙂


“I Do”


On April 4th I got to say I Do to the most amazing person I ever could have hoped to meet. He is my world, my better half and now, my husband! It’s hard to believe that 5 years ago a little online message sent halfway across the world, some letters, lots of Skype calls and many plane journeys would lead to the most happy life together here in England. I feel so very blessed; I wouldn’t change a thing!


 me n josh wedding

We had to rush things a little because in order to live together at his next base we need to be married. As it was too short of notice to plan something for all my Canadian relatives and friends we decided the two of us would just sign the papers and do a proper wedding celebration in 2019. Our “signing papers” kind of grew and grew but it was nice to have lots of people around us who care and it was a lovely pre-wedding, wedding.

We got ready together and walked down the aisle of the registry office together. Instead of a white dress we wore tweed. I had him a suit tailor-made which I think he looked awfully handsome in. I used my full name on the marriage certificate (I have 3 middle names) but didn’t realise they would use my full name all throughout the ceremony which made everyone crack up when my man had to say “I take you, Alanna-Lee-Sandra… Joy-Wilson…” He just about managed to remember them all 😉

The songs we chose were “Then – Brad Paisley” “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not? – Thompson Square” “The Way You Look Tonight – Sinatra” and to mix things up a bit “Jump Around – House of Pain.” Afterwards (in British fashion) we went for tea overlooking the cathedral. Even the English think we looked ‘too English’ but I loved it.

It was such a happy day and I can’t wait for our adventures as husband and wife. I love that boy so much. He is and always will be the best thing that ever happened to me and I can’t wait to marry him again surrounded by all our friends and family in 2019 :).

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Wishing you all so much happiness in 2018!