Live Life and Explore

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams!”

If you know anything about me, you will know that I love to travel, explore and spend time with those I love.

I am writing today’s blog post from a hotel in the Sognesfjord in Norway after spending 2 days in Bergen and a short time in London.  I planned a surprise birthday trip for Brandon to visit the Fjords, explore Viking country and then bounce over to the Highlands of Scotland.  He has always been so romantic and always planned amazing surprises for me throughout our almost 18 years of marriage, so I figured it was time for me to do something for him!  He has always been fascinated with Norway, the beautiful landscapes, the weather and of course the fjords.  I can honestly tell you that to this point there is not one thing that has disappointed us.

 

After landing in London and rushing into the city to spend a hot and sunny day eating fish and chips, walking through some shopping areas (including Harrods of course), and Carnaby street.   It has been around 14 years since I have been to London so I really enjoyed speaking a little more English than usual 😉

 

 

We then took an evening flight to Bergen to explore that city.  We visited a Viking Castle, took a funicular to the top of the mountain and enjoyed amazing views after walking through some lovely lush forest.  The Bryggen along the dock, which are the brightly painted buildings that Bergen is famous for, were the perfect backdrop for a couple of the pictures I have already posted.

 

 

Then it was a 4 hour cruise up the Sognesfjord to a little town (I guess you could call it a town, although there was very little to do) called Leikanger.  We spent time riding bikes, visited a church and graveyard, and then on to a Viking obelisk monument.   Of course what do you do when you are in a fjord and you are with your husband, you take a picture of him jumping into the freezing cold glacier water.  I guess he’ll have no regrets about saying he actually swam in a fjord – as for me, I think I’m better as a photographer – teehee!

We will set sail again tomorrow to a town called Flam that is a little more populated, and we will stay another night there. So many more adventures and pictures to come…stay tuned!!

 

 

Recharge and Have Fun

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back!”

I honestly thought that when my kids were little was so challenging, but as they grow older, what i’m finding is that I spend so much more energy now running kids all over the place, worrying about what they’re doing – because I just seem to have so much less control.

Working full time, writing a blog, managing my family relationships, client relationships and friendships all require energy as well, and while I wouldn’t change any of it…I do sometimes need to recharge.  My idea of recharging may not be the same as yours – I kind of like spending a weekend just shopping, walking, exploring and eating – to me, that’s how I recharge.  In the picture above we are having ourselves a little treat of a cookie shot filled with Tahitian vanilla milk – ridiculously amazing!

Spending time with friends for me gives me energy too…having that time to laugh, talk things through, seek advice and just share stories really makes me feel like I can make it – in the midst of mini catastrophes (if you’re a mum you know what I mean)!

 

I spent this last weekend in L.A. doing just that.  We found some amazing restaurants on Yelp! and a couple in particular stood out:  Broken Mouth (Hawaiian Homestyle cooking) which is close to the Fashion District downtown and Faith & Flower, again downtown.  It’s a good thing we did plenty of walking because we certainly ate plenty because the food was so good.

It can be hard to find time to take a trip away like I did, so here are some other ideas to help you recharge and renew:

  1. Dinner of coffee with a great friend…laughter really can be the best medicine, but even just the company of someone that knows you and what you’re going through is huge.
  2. Soaking in a hot bath – at the end of every day this is my ritual.  It almost helps me to wash away the day and forget about whatever has been ailing me.
  3. Read a good book – it’s easy to over-think things that are happening in your life so distracting yourself with something that causes you to concentrate on something else is good.  That’s why books tend to be so much more relaxing that watching TV which requires little or no imagination at all.
  4. Get a massage or facial – I have found that one of the only times I actually meditate is when my eyes are forced to be closed when I’m having a massage or facial.  It helps me to really “zone out” and not think.
  5. A hug – sounds corny, but some days I force my boys (including Brandon) to hug me (for a minimum of 20 seconds) and I can feel the energy flowing right back into me.  It really does work like a charm.

Whenever I return from a trip I am always ready to plan my next one…so stay tuned for what we’re going to be doing over spring break 😉

 

Happiness is NOT in a Place

“Keep choosing happiness daily and happiness will keep choosing you back!”

 

It may be easy for me to say that happiness isn’t in a place when I just barely returned from Hawaii where I enjoyed the beauty and warmth…but that is exactly why I am writing this blog.

On my trip with my family there were times when one or more of us were not feeling happy, even though we were in paradise…you might ask yourself how is that even possible?

Well, one of the biggest reasons I find is that we let expectations of how we think something is going to look (like how the day we visited the volcano and the rain wasn’t what I wanted on my trip), or not everyone wanted to do the same thing all the time, or even not being able to fit in everything we might want to do, get in the way of us being happy and letting things just be!

Traveling with 6 different personalities can definitely be challenging but it can work out IF we don’t have rigid ideas of how things should look.

 

 

I love my family and I work really hard at trying to accommodate everyone and what they want to do, but this doesn’t work all the time!

So, back to the original statement – Happiness is not in a place!  Happiness is a choice, granted probably an easier choice when you are in paradise, but there are still going to be disappointments and challenges no matter where you are.

As I get older, I notice I have more wrinkles and laughter lines, but as I regard myself in the mirror the laughter lines don’t age me like wrinkles on my forehead by furrowing my brow (which come from pulling faces that are not happy faces!)  Not only that, happiness is something that draws people to you rather than pushing away.  I like to spend time with people that are real, but they are also focused on what is good rather than the bad.  Over the past few years I have gone through some things that made me feel negative, dark and almost depressed…I got to the point where even I didn’t even want to be around me, so I knew I had to make a change.

Here’s what I did:  (I am lucky enough to have a coach for a husband that has taught me a few tricks)  – in any situation that was bad and I felt negative about it, I looked for something I could also appreciate about it.  For example, I was being dealt with unfairly and having income taken away from me – so, I focused on what I could learn from it and how it was making me a stronger person, smarter with money and more appreciative of the lifestyle I have.  It wasn’t until I let go of trying to control the outcome and did this that I started to feel happy AND things started to change!

I truly believe that by choosing to feel happy everything else will work itself out!!  I definitely don’t have it all figured out, and there are days when no matter how hard I try I just don’t feel happy…and that’s OK.  If your unhappy days are the exception rather than the norm, you’ll know you’re on the right track!!

Stay Happy my friends 🙂

XOXO

 

Look for the Good

 

“Maybe the best thing to do is to stop trying to figure out where you’re going and just enjoy where you are!”

 

For those of you that know me, you will know that I absolutely HATE rain!  I think it must be the fact that I grew up with so many rainy days in England that I truly would be OK if I never saw rain again.

For my birthday this year we planned a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii (the only island I haven’t already been to – at least of the most popular ones), and we brought the kids.  We have had a wonderful few days here already, and today we planned a trip to the Volcano to go and see everything there.  We have heard stories of lava flows, views of the crater making the sky glow and walking on the lava to see the lava underneath glowing.  We had heard that there might be a storm coming in later in the day, so we set off early.

As we drove to the wet side of the island, all was great until we hit the town of Hilo (which by the way is the rainiest city in the United States with an average of 22 days a month of rain).  As we approached the National park, the rain became harder and stronger, and by the time we made it to the visitor center we pulled out our raincoats just to make it across the parking lot without drowning.  We found out some information about things that we MIGHT be able to see without all the rain and cloud coverage getting in the way.  We explored the inside of a lava tube, got really soggy and ran back to the car.  We then drove down below the clouds and actually found a place to walk out onto the lava without rain and had fun looking at petroglyphs.

All in all we had some fun times, with lots of driving in a wet dog smelling car because of the all the soggy clothes!  We then decided to go to the famous Black sand beach to hang out for a little…well, that didn’t happen.  As soon as we got out of the car, the skies opened up again and we got soaked.

Now, with all this rain coming down, things not looking how I might at one time have imagined they should look, this is the time I might have started to lose my cool.  Instead, I decided to take a different tactic.  I actually didn’t let the weather and my inability to control it, stop me from having a fun day with all my boys. A miraculous thing happened…I actually enjoyed myself.  I found myself not worrying about my hair looking crazy, I didn’t get worked up about being wet, I didn’t try to hurry the kids back into the car so we could hurry and get out of there.  I actually just let it be what it was!

 

Brandon and I talk all the time about “fighting with the weather” and how I get worked up or disappointed because I have expectations about how the weather should be!  I realize this is probably a crazy notion, but it is still something I fight all the time.  Have you ever been so excited about a vacation, an outing or an occasion, so much so that if the weather when you get there is not what you imagined it would be, you start to become frustrated or disappointed?

Brandon and I were in Hawaii last year for my birthday and every day was amazing EXCEPT for on my actual birthday.  I woke up happy until I saw the rain pouring and I actually felt a little depressed.  I found myself thinking “why did it have to rain today”?  For those of you that have never thought any of these things, I promise I’m not crazy, it’s just an example of something I like to try to control but I absolutely can’t.

The idea of managing expectations and letting go of control works for so many other things that I thought I would share with you my experience and how I am still only learning, but I am definitely working on it – which is the first step, right?

 

Planning for your Vacation

“Fill your life with adventures, not things.  Have stories to tell, not stuff to show!”

This time of year definitely has me wishing I was on a beach, relaxing and soaking up the sun.  Thank goodness I have a trip planned and I leave in exactly 2 weeks for Hawaii.  This time, we are going to the big island because I haven’t been there before.  February is the month of my birthday and it’s become a tradition that we go somewhere for my birthday but also so that I can replenish my Vitamin D so I can make it through the rest of the winter (although this winter so far has been really, really mild!)

Sunshine, beach and warm weather just seem to make me feel like smiling more 🙂

Now when I talk about relaxation, bear in mind that while I will relax, this time we are taking our kids, so the relaxing may take on a different perspective than when it’s just Brandon and I.  We have some really fun excursions planned:  Whale watching, snorkeling at night with Manta Rays, hiking to the volcano, and I really want to do some sea kayaking and paddle boarding.  I have a rule that I like to have a beach day after an activity day, just so I can read my book and just generally sit down and decompress.  I may be the only one in my family that likes to do that so I have to make sure we are keeping everyone happy (quite a task with 6 very different personalities).

 

 

So when I’m planning my trips, I have always been a little more “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of girl, but Brandon likes to have an idea of what we’re doing.  So, here’s the compromise, we plan around 4 activities that we know we’ll all want to do, leave a few days open for whatever, and then set aside my beach days.  That way, we are not scrambling with the Concierge trying to book things and end up missing out on some good stuff, and also I don’t feel like I am rushed and scheduled to the hilt (which is pretty much like work to me).

The most important things I consider when I am planning my trips and what I am going to take are:

  1. Packing list – before I travel I always write down the “essentials” that I know I don’t want to forget.  Have you ever arrived at the airport or your destination and almost broken out in a cold sweat about something you need but forgot.  I remember once when we were packing for the kids and turned up with extra pairs of shorts for the boys but only 1 T-shirt each.  Not the end of the world, but if money is tight or even if you don’t want the hassle of shopping, a packing list could have prevented this.  Or, even worse, if you’re traveling abroad, have you ever arrived without the necessary visas or your passport?  Talk about ruining a trip!
  2. The weather – not that any of us can control this (trust me I have fought with the weather before because I would get frustrated and upset when it wasn’t what I wanted it to be – I realize that is the craziest thing ever).  It’s better to be prepared than frustrated…I always take some things such as raincoat, sweaters and other layers just in case.
  3. Suitcase size – over the past few years I have organized my travel in such a way that I am able to take just a carry on suitcase and so has everyone else in my family.  The reason why I love this – because there’s no waiting when you get off the plane, everyone is responsible for their own stuff (I would say we started this when Reiken was 8, so kids can handle it too!)
  4. Toiletries – I use different beauty regimens and they don’t all come in the 3oz containers that you need to bring if you are not checking a bag (according to TSA guidelines).  So, I always make sure for essentials like my masks, toners, etc, I buy some of the bottles that they sell at Target and other stores where I can put in my own toiletries just for travel purposes.  That way I don’t have to risk taking something that is too large and having it confiscated.
  5. Planned activities – if we are going hiking (which is something I love to do anywhere I go), I always make sure that I have sneakers and I’m not just taking flip flops or sandals.  I hate to limit myself and my activities by not being prepared.
  6. Plans to eat out? – I have always been someone that likes to dress up when I go out to eat…so if we are planning on eating dinners out, I like to have something to change into that’s a little more dressy than a swimsuit and coverall.
  7. The right shoes – and we are not just talking sneakers here.  I have certain outfits that look best with certain shoes, so I like to make sure I have a variety of shoes to choose from.  I hate having a dress to wear or a great jumpsuit without the RIGHT pair of shoes.  I’m not looking for perfection but I do feel better when I feel good about my outfit and my shoes are major piece in that puzzle.
  8. Workout time? – I always have to squeeze in some workout time when I’m on vacation.  Not that I am running any marathons, but just a short run, long walk, gym time or even yoga are something I like to fit into the trip so I don’t have to feel guilty about eating all the amazing foods there are available.
  9. Beach/Pool time – I don’t like to wear the same swimsuit every day (even if I have a condo with a washing machine).  Swimsuits don’t take up much room, so it’s really easy to fit in quite a few to add some variety.
  10. Use a Tote – I think all airlines allow you to have 2 carry on items, and one of those items is your purse or bag.  I used to just take a smaller handbag but couldn’t quite fit everything I needed in it. Now, I pack a tote with my Nook, snacks, iPad, headphones,  a lightweight jacket in case I get cold, a pillow, etc. and leave a little extra room for my bag/purse so that if I get called out on having too many things as carry on, I can just slip the bag/purse into my tote.

Whether you have a trip already coming up on your horizon, all of these tips will prove useful, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing.  I realize that not everyone goes on planes, and very often there are amazing road trips that create the best memories.  Our family road trips have been amazing (although I will admit they were probably easier when the kids were younger), put on a movie, give the kids some treats and they’re happy. As they grow to be teens, there are many more opinions, arguments and disagreements, but that journey and life’s journey is truly what we make it.   I no longer have expectations that everything will go smoothly…that the boys will always get a long – so I have found that if I don’t hold onto those expectations, I don’t have to feel frustrated when it doesn’t workout like I think it should (because you know it won’t 😉

Happy travels in 2018 and I hope you find my tips and tricks useful!

 


Don’t Ruin Your Travels With These Mistakes

“Traveling in the company of those we love, is HOME in motion!”

Not that this topic is ever far from my mind, but certainly as the weather starts to become colder I look for ways to get myself and my family into a warmer climate and plan some trips.  As I start planning there are always some things I make sure I have considered, so here are some tips to help make any traveling you choose to do be less stressful and more fun!

 

Traveling should always be fun, it gives you the chance to explore the world, or at least your own country. There are so many different places to see and cultures to learn about, whether you’re going on a road trip or taking a cruise. While things don’t always go entirely to plan, you should still return from your trip having enjoyed yourself. You should be careful, though, or silly mistakes could ruin your travels. If you don’t pay attention when you’re planning your trip, things might not go well. Some mistakes might even mean you don’t get to go on your trip at all. So watch out for these big mistakes if you want to have a good time.

 

Not Getting Your Travel Documents in Order

One of the worst things that could happen is that you go abroad and you’re not even allowed into the country. Or you end up starting your trip with a big fine because you didn’t pay attention to the customs rules. The first thing you need to do is sort out your passport, which you’ll need to make sure is valid. If you need a new passport for the first time or you need to replace a lost or stolen one, you will need to meet with a passport acceptance agent. You can find out more about that here. For some countries, your passport might need to be valid for at least six months when you travel. You might also need a visa or visa waiver, and you will often need to fill out a customs card, which you are often given during travel. Make sure you tell the truth on all documents.

 

 

Neglecting to Research How to Stay Safe

Staying safe when you’re traveling is an interesting thing to consider. No one can ever be 100% sure of their safety, but there are still ways to try to stay safe and be aware of the most likely dangers. For example, women and minorities might check what sort of attitudes they might come across. Everyone should check information about common crimes, especially violent crime, as well as the political situation in any of their destinations. A safe trip is a more enjoyable one.

 

Being Unaware of Cultural Differences and Local Laws

Every country is different, and even various regions within a country have their differences. That’s why it’s important to understand some of the most important customs and laws when you visit a country. Is it unacceptable to show too much skin? How do people greet each other? What are the laws about bringing in fruits and vegetables, carrying drugs and medication, or even showing affection to other people in public?

 

 

Racking Up Hidden Expenses

Make sure you don’t have to cut your trip short because your money is running out. Some hidden costs can give you a nasty surprise if you’re not careful. You could end up paying huge data roaming charges on your phone if you don’t turn roaming off. You might incur large fees from your credit card, so check how much they charge for using it in a foreign country. Check your bank balance and other finances to make sure you’re not spending too much.

 

Don’t let silly mistakes ruin your trip. Be prepared, and you’ll have a much better time, no matter where you go.


 

Simple Tricks To Take The Hassle Out Of Traveling

 

“And then I realized adventure was the best way to learn!”

 

Going on vacation can be the highlight of the year for most people. Getting away from the stresses of modern life and spending the week

relaxing in luxury somewhere is the perfect way to recharge your batteries. If only it wasn’t such a pain to get there in the first place. Getting to the airport, checking all of your luggage, and getting through airport security is an absolute nightmare. When you get to the other end, you’ll have to do the whole thing again. It’s almost enough to put you off traveling altogether, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just try these simple tricks to make the whole process a lot smoother.

 

Ship Luggage

 

 

I must admit this has never been something I’ve tried, but I have heard that if you want to take a little more with you when you’re traveling, it’s a great way to save you time and hassle…

Checking in your bags and then waiting for them at the other end takes ages but you can skip all of that if you just ship the bulk of your luggage ahead of time and pick it up when you get to the hotel. Just take one small piece of luggage on the plane with you that has all of the essentials and send the rest separately. You can also cut down the time you spend getting your bag checked if you learn how to use a packing cube to separate all of your toiletries and anything else that needs to be examined. That’ll make it far easier for security to check through your bag and you can get onto the plane a lot quicker.

 

Book Ahead

Sorting everything out well ahead of time will take the last minute stress out of your trip and it can save you money as well. Experts advise that you book flights at least 6 weeks before you plan to go. It’s also advisable to book any other transport links you’ll need when you get there. Landing in a country that you’ve never been to and trying to find a taxi to take you to the hotel can be a struggle. Most airport transfers have a website where you can book so it’s all sorted as soon as you arrive.

 

Download Travel Apps

There are so many great travel apps available for download that can take a lot of stresses out of your traveling experience. Citymapper is a great one that can help you to navigate the public transport systems when you’re abroad. It’s likely that it’ll be a completely different system and this great app can help you get to grips with it. Gate Guru is a similar app for navigating airports which is always difficult if you’ve never been there before.

 

Once you’re there and you’re looking for somewhere great to eat, download The Fork. It lists over 30,000 restaurants with reviews so you should be able to find something on there to suit your tastes.

 

If you’re looking for a more authentic, local experience when you’re abroad try looking at Spotted By Locals. As the name suggests, it’s a travel guide that’s based on advice from locals that live in the city. They charge a small fee for each guide but it’s definitely worth the money to get good tips from local writers and photographers, updated regularly.

 

Traveling doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these simple tips to the hassle out of the whole experience.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely live to travel, so anything that can save me time AND stress, I’m all over it!  I hope you found this post useful…remember “not all who travel are lost!”

 

Living In Luxury: The Dream Holiday

 

“I travel because each time I discover a new place, I discover myself again!”

As the weather starts to become colder, I always seem to start thinking about where and when I can plan my next vacation…so as I do that, I thought I would share some thoughts I have about choosing the right location, things to consider and how important taking a holiday is to me!

Everyone has probably had countless dreams about their ultimate holiday location, experience, and accommodation. The dream may be to find love with an exotic stranger, to explore untraced lands… or maybe just to sit on the beach with sangria. Everyone’s taste is different, and we all want different things for our lives, but what we can agree on is that one day we aim to live those dreams. There are a few different things to think about when dreaming of your perfect holiday, and maybe even if you decide to plan it…

 

The Location

Whether you decide to travel to an exotic, secluded spot such as Bora Bora, or you prefer the hustle and bustle of New York: there are thousands of amazing locations to visit in the world. Each will offer you a totally different experience, culture, and way of life.  I absolutely love the Hawaiian islands, but there are so many other places to explore in the World…in fact, if I were to choose a different place that I want to visit every year for the rest of my life, I still don’t think I would come close to seeing everywhere that I want!  I a always drawn more to beaches but I have also loved times that I have spent in many cities that have amazing history…I believe in being open to trying new things and places, because how else do we find out about ourselves?

 

The Accommodation

People have very different opinions on what constitutes as the perfect accommodation. For many it would be a 5-star hotel which provides everything you could possibly need, as well as spa facilities, which is a great option. However, if you prefer to be alone and have your own space, a private villa in a secluded spot with an infinity pool could be the best thing since sliced bread. There are tons of different types of accommodation you can book, check out some of them here: https://www.luxurylet.com/posts/view/the-ultimate-guide-to-holiday-accommodation-24-types/

 

The Transport

Hiring a limousine is a great way to get your holiday spirit underway and feel like a celebrity. Be able to enjoy a glass of champagne as you listen to music and have fun with your family or friends. You could also embrace the open sea and get a boat to travel in style over the water. If you are worried about the money, boatfinancing.co can put your mind at ease and allow you to truly enjoy the soft lull of the open water.

 

Activities

Aurora Borealis also known as the northern lights, is one of the most stunning natural phenomena you will ever see in your lifetime. Iceland is the best place to view the lights, and many book their stay near the blue lagoon and enjoy a romantic getaway in cold temperatures. On the other end of the scale, the Haleakala volcano in Maui is one of the biggest tourist attractions on the islands, with many marveling at the sheer size and scale of the mountain. Whatever it is that you want to see, you should check the time of year which is best and what to bring with you. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Wine And Dine In Style

If the perfect location and accommodation weren’t enough, we all love to eat amazing foods now and again. You could opt for a classic Italian restaurant in the center of Rome, or maybe you could be more adventure and have your dinner while floating amongst the clouds. It would certainly be a new experience!

 

Whatever you’re looking for in your travel, the climate, the food, the experiences, no matter the time of year, there is always an amazing place you can find.  I believe that the most important thing we can do in life is live it to the fullest and create amazing memories.  The most memorable times of my childhood are those adventures that my family and I went on…I will never forget them, so that’s what I do for my kids!  We spend time together, we travel, we explore, we try new things, and we create new traditions.  After all…if we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots not feet!  Happy Travels!


Securing and Protecting Your Valuable Purchases When You Venture Abroad

 

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page!”

I thought after returning from my trip to England, now would be a great time to talk about how important it is to be careful when you travel, but especially so when you travel abroad.  I don’t know if you’re like me and sometimes forget to do some things before I leave.  I quite frequently forget to let my bank know, so I always get a call asking if there has been fraudulent activity on my card.

We all deserve a break away from the strife of nine to five jobs and day to day living. It’s not surprising that most of us will pack up our belongings and jet off to foreign, beautiful lands every so often. The mere thought of the relaxation and recuperation inherent in lounging on a beautiful sandy beach with a coconut in hand can bring a smile to the most stressed faces. But to ensure a perfect, stress-free trip away, you need to do a little planning and preparation first. One of the main things you need to make sure is sorted before you head away? Securing and protecting your valuables. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure that everything will be as safe and sound as possible during your journeys.

 

Do Your Research Before Booking

When choosing somewhere to head away to, bear in mind that certain countries or cities may be associated with certain risks. Popular and busy tourist areas are renowned for pickpockets, while certain suburbs or areas of places you may consider visiting may be known to have higher than average levels of crime. So be cautious and read recommendations and reviews before booking to head anywhere in the first place.

 

Travel Insurance

Chances are that you’ll be taking some prize possessions away with you. After all, what better time do you have than a vacation to flaunt those expensive sunglasses you bought as a statement piece? Then there may be other items such as engagement rings or wedding bands, which you intend to wear at all times. You need to ensure that expensive items are completely covered by travel insurance. This means that if the worst is to happen and items are lost, broken or stolen, you will have a replacement sent out or be reimbursed with the products’ worth. However, you don’t need to take on the first offer you come across. Find the best deal to suit your needs at GoBear.com.

 

Home Insurance

Ensure that your property is protected while you are away. Vacant homes and vehicles can easily become a prime target for thieves and burglars. But not to worry, there are ways to put them off. First, you could consider installing CCTV cameras around your property and motion sensor lights that turn on when there is movement around your property at night. Thieves will be reluctant to commit a crime on camera where they may be easily identified. Next, invest in an alarm system. The loud noise emitted from these kinds of systems will generally see the most brazen of criminals scarper. Finally, avoid sharing information that you are away on open social media sites. This could negatively affect any home insurance companies’ willingness to pay out. This will give burglars less chance of knowing that you are away from your property for an extended period of time.

I remember going on vacation when I was younger for 3 weeks (it’s my goal to travel for long periods of time like that again with my family)…while we were gone our water heater burst which wouldn’t have been too much of a problem other than the fact that the water heater was located in the attic which happened to be right above my bed.  So, needless to say that when our family returned home, everyone except me managed to have a great night’s sleep in their own beds except me who had a soggy mattress and gaping hole in the ceiling.  You never know when you are going to need to have the right insurance 🙂

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your holiday or vacation and its aftermath are as stress free and pleasant as possible!  Because, after all, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.  You never know what is around the corner…

12 Years is a Long Time!

80 Turncroft Lane – where my Grandad lived 🙂

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet!!”

You may or may not know that I grew up in England, I still have an English accent and that I love just about everything about that time…except the rain!  But, what you may not know is that I haven’t actually been back there for 12 years.  I guess raising children, working and my life in the States has adjusted my priorities…and since all my family is over here with me now, I guess I haven’t felt the urgency to travel back. At least until last year when I flew to New York to go and meet two amazing friends for a long weekend. Since then I have been feeling an “itch” to go back there and spend a little time…

Last week I took a trip down memory lane and traveled to Manchester Airport, and back to Preston (my home town).

Preston Town Center – Market Street  

 

For me, the trip was a chance to recharge my batteries (I was flying solo, and while I missed all my family, I know for sure that I needed this time for ME)…to visit friends, to relax, to shop, to eat some of the things I have really been missing, including some things that are really not good for me but I have to see if they are what I remember,  and finally, I had the amazing privilege to go and spread some of my Grandad’s ashes near his house in Stockport…

Across from 80 Turncroft Lane – where my Grandad used to watch the squirrels is where I spread his ashes

 

Have you ever got busy living your life that before you knew it had been 10+ years and you have no idea where the time went?  For my family it has always been important for us to travel, but I guess I had not realized that I had missed England as much as I have!  One of the most important lessons I have learned by this realization is that sometimes we need to sit or just be calm in order to recognize that we NEED to do certain things for ourselves.

Sharoe Green Hospital – where Dalton was born

 

My oldest son, Dalton, was born there, so I went to take a picture for him of the hospital where he was born (even though it’s closed down now).  One thing I definitely miss about England is the amazing architecture and history that we just don’t have here.  The buildings are amazing and definitely photograph worthy.

Manchester City Center – my view from outside Zara

 

As you probably all already know, one of my favorite things to do is shopping…I love finding unique things that I know will stand out, and of course I love a deal.  We shopped all around Preston, at Cheshire Oaks (an outlet Mall) and in Manchester.  I have always loved Manchester which is the closest large city to Preston because they have all the large retail stores, as well as designer stores and fabulous food.  We ate at a West Indian place in the Arndale Shopping center and the food was amazing.  I did find that a lot of what I was craving was as good as I remember, so perhaps it’s a good thing I am far away from the fish and chips that I had from the Happy Haddock, and also the 99 ice cream cone I had to get from the ice cream truck (for those of you that don’t know a 99 is an ice cream cone with a flake and raspberry sauce).

I had the most amazing time spending it with friends and enjoying the nostalgia that came from visiting some of my old haunts – I hope you enjoy some of the pictures in this post…

If you’re planning a trip over to England yourself, you are more than welcome to hit me up with some questions you might have or suggestions.  It is an amazing place and there are many, many things to do, especially if you travel to the large cities!