Remember the 5th of November

“If you don’t do wild things when you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old!”

For those of you that know anything about the history of England you will know that today, the 5th of November, is when we celebrate Bonfire Night.  Guys Fawkes was the reason Bonfire Night started, and his story is pretty gruesome.  He tried and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament, was held as a prisoner in the Tower of London until he was executed.  So, being a country strong on tradition, ever since then we have celebrated his failed gunpowder plot by putting a stuffed Guy Fawkes on top of a bonfire and burning it to the ground.  Kind of crazy when you think about the history, but as I was growing up I didn’t realize all that history (as I am sure many of the youth now don’t either) I just enjoyed a time to hang out with friends and family, with treacle toffee, parched peas, parkin (to name just a few of the foods we ate) along with some fireworks.

Since obviously we don’t celebrate the 4th of July in England, this was when we got to let off our fireworks and have a good time.  I must admit, I do much prefer fireworks in the summer than in November when the nights can be very cold and quite often rainy.

You might be wondering why I am telling you about this good old English tradition – well obviously the first reason is that today is the 5th November, but secondly it’s because as I sit over the other side of the Atlantic from my home country I realize that there are a lot of things, whether the reason behind them are great or not, that I miss about England.  I have traveled back there now twice in the past 2 years, and the more I go the more I realize that I had an amazing upbringing and I am very happy for the life my parents gave me over there.

There is a lot to be said about tradition and nostalgia.  There are a great many traditions that I brought over with me and I share with my family.  Remembering where we came from is a huge part in recognizing and being grateful for where we are today.  I have no plans to move back to England, however, I miss my friends, and I definitely miss a lot of the history that is everywhere over there.  It has made me feel like I want to take my kids (now that they are older) to see some of the sights, to walk down memory lane with me, and to see where I grew up.  My youngest two boys have never been over there, and I think they would love some of the places – who doesn’t love a castle or two?!

There have been times in my life when I have gone through hard things, one of which was moving over here to the US as a single mum…but now as I look back I can be grateful for that trying experience because it shaped me into who I am today.  So as I sit and think about my life and the things that have made me stronger, I feel nothing but gratitude and appreciation.  There are rewards from trials but only if we let ourselves surrender to the good that came from it.  I know in some things it is harder to find something good that came from it – and it may be something as simple as meeting someone that helped you through or admitting to yourself that you need help (a challenge for me)…

Wherever you’re from, whatever you have been through, looking back at your life with fondness and love is the only way that you can move through today into the rest of your life.  After all, nothing can drag you down if you’re not holding on to it!!

Have a fabulous Monday…

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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!