Happy Girls are the Prettiest Girls

What better way to start the week than with a bit of good old fashioned advice from Audrey Hepburn:

 Happy girls are the Prettiest Girls

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If we weren’t in the middle of summer (an untypically English hot summer), I would be severely tempted to pop on my favourite black polo neck to better help me channel my inner-Audrey.

Audrey Hepburn in a black polo neck

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Have a wonderful week.

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The Maple Syrup Memoirs!

I know that our two years in Canada is an experience that we will remember and cherish forever.  And that as time goes on the aspects of our life there that frustrated us and we fought against will be forgotten as any slightly less rosy moments become family jokes and the talk of dinner parties or are simply erased by the good memories.

Right now our daughter is still too sad at having to leave the friends she made to look back with any form of clarity just yet.

However, our son, who is four years younger, has found the transition back easier and watching him, dressed once more in his school uniform trousers and shirt, running through the gates into the playground without a backward glance, it is almost as though he was never away.  Although the Canadian twang he picked up is still just evident and gives him away – that said, he no longer plays “soccer” in the school field, but “football” and should I offer him a “cookie”, I am quickly put straight, as these must now instead be called “biscuits”!

Despite his seemingly effortless and almost overnight reintegration, I could see that our two years away has left an impression, when I unearthed crumpled and dog-eared from the bottom of his school bag, the travel brochure he had worked on in class last week.

The Maple Syrup Memoirs

I do wonder though if it would be more appropriate to refer to it as his “Maple Syrup Memoirs” rather than term it a travel brochure?

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A Strawberry Shortcake type of day

A Strawberry Shortcake type of day

Since the sun is still shining (and even though I may be lamenting the loss of my Canadian air-con), it is most definitely a Strawberry Shortcake type of day.

My children, having pretty much seen out the academic year before we left Canada in June, were duly packed back to school on our return to England, and have now both finally finished up for the year.  So today the three of us are sitting back and contemplating the six weeks of “summer” we have ahead of us, and over-dosing on strawberries and cream!

Strawberry Shortcake
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To make my Strawberry Shortcake, I followed this recipe.  But, substituted the Greek yogurt for crème fraiche.

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Air-con anyone?

Ice cold Pimms
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I have to admit that I never thought I would, and that if I did, I certainly would have kept it quiet and publicly refused to acknowledge it…..

But, with England not only experiencing summer, but the hottest temperatures on record since 2006 (I believe), I really am missing my Canadian air-con.

For two years, I may well have muttered (at times pretty audibly) about the constant noise and the lack of fresh air, as for the system to work windows had to be kept shut.  My husband and I also ran a constant tussle over the temperature to which the system should cool.  As when it hit 40 degrees outside, I could often be seen shivering on the sofa with a throw over my knees to keep warm as I was buffeted by the icy blast forced through the cooling system.

Since our house is resolutely without (and will most definitely remain without) air-con, yesterday evening the only sensible available solution was a chilled glass of Pimms.

And, really it would have been quite rude not to toast the new royal baby!

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Falling down the rabbit hole!

Advice from the Mad Hatter

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On Saturday morning, armed with an industrial strength cup of coffee (it had been another early start to drop my daughter at the pool for morning training, so that by 9am it felt like mid-afternoon), my husband and I sat down to write a new house “to do” list.  As the list grew and grew and grew some more, I have to admit that my eyes glazed over.  The number of things to tackle was just so long, and involved making a bewildering number of decisions and choices; light fittings, bathroom fixtures, storage, shelving (to name but a few).

Whilst I relish the thought of properly putting together our new home, as I tried to focus on our list (even putting on my glasses failed to bring the text into line!); quite frankly it really was like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole…..

Alice Falling down the rabbit hole

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So, today, wisely or not, rather than “falling” I am going to take the Mad Hatter’s advice and believe in achieving the seemingly impossible.

Mad Hatter at tea

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For as the hatted fool said, it is only impossible if you think it is!

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Never turn your back on a seagull…..

Day at the Beach

When we first landed back in England, as we were yet to complete on our new house, we were officially homeless.  So the children and I spent a wonderful a couple of sunny weeks in Cornwall, staying with my parents, and, my sister and her children whose summer visit from America happily coincided with our return from Canada.

The sun is shining and I am by the sea

We played on the beach, paddled in the icy but inviting sea, surfed and sailed.  Simply the perfect mid-move hiatus!

Pasties for lunch

And, on one memorable occasion neglected our picnic pasties just long enough for a particularly cheeky seagull to swoop in and pinch the lot!

Seagull

Proof enough for me that birds indeed are the beaky pest I have always believed them to be and should not be trusted in the slightest…..give them an inch (or a picnic crumb) and they will take a mile!

Seagull on the prowl

Never allow yourself for one moment to be misled by their cute swagger or their perky call in the wind.

On the lookout for lunch

Lesson learned:  never turn your back on a seagull…..

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Where should I start?

Union Jack bunting
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Since we left Canada just over a month ago, I honestly don’t know where the time has gone?

Attempting our second international move within the space of two years was not just a little ambitious as I believed it would be in my more upbeat and optimistic moments, but actually verging on full-blown lunacy.

“Camping” on a blow-up bed whilst we waited for our container to arrive pushed the envelope even further.  As for thinking I could manage with one suitcase of clothes for a full month! All I can say to this, it isn’t possible, and as a consequence my already bulging wardrobe is now bursting even more at the seams as I sought to rectify this issue with more than a spot of retail therapy….

Our container complete with my 231 boxes and packages (each and every one beloved and much longed for), arrived a week ago.  I am however still trying to track down my missing (believed to be pilfered?) clothes – but that is a rant story which can most definitely be saved for later.

For the record, yes, just as when my shipment arrived in Canada, I cried as they broke the transit bolt and my eager beady eyes caught sight of the things I had last seen the other side of the Atlantic.

Transit bolt

So here we are now in our lovely new house, still surrounded by more boxes, unhung pictures and countless assorted items which I just can’t live without, but have absolutely no idea where to put.  And, whilst I really do miss the friends I made in Canada, it certainly is good to be home.

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