Making Bank

This weekend was absostinkinlutely brilliant. England’s on to us. I soaked up every ounce of Shropshire.

The hills are a magnificent shade of green, sprinkled with little lambs. The rapeseed fields are the brightest yellow. Mr Crayola must have lived here. Simply can’t describe the beauty and colours.

Our tans have returned!

I found myself getting emotional about leaving. It’s crazy to think our time, our adventure, is winding down. We are going back to some of our favourite spots. The weather is perfect and now we get to show Ryder. It’s been bizarre to think we’ve lived in England. We have experienced such a dynamic, beautiful culture, and we made the best memories.

With the few days we have left in our cute, unique, English townhome, we are slowing down. Enjoying the crazy hours of daylight, the long walks around town on the Severn river, the best local markets and shops.

We are going to be gutted to leave this place, with no time to rest as we jump right into sorting our next home.

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Don’t Mind If We Do

London is a tropical destination.
I can still stay up later than those without a baby.
You can rank breakfast sandwiches.
It’s bad luck to have a full cabinet of wine glasses.
Hotel lobbies make for a great photo shoot.
Baby flamingos are the cutest.
Don’t ever, ever try to justify watching FOX News. Ever.
We know where the Queen gets her eggs.
Rowing. Regatta. So posh. Little boats all over the place.
Even Britons can be in shock over the weather.

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Living Local

Living in a small town, supporting local is important to do, and sometimes all you can do.

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We adore our farmers market that we visit a few times a week; giving us lower prices than the grocers on farm fresh produce and meat.

It’s the shops too – from coffee to vintage goods.

You know the owners, they know you. It’s a unique relationship that I will someday come to miss when we decide to move back to the states.

I’m appreciative of the small town businesses and understand how much support means to their livelihood.

Get out there and pay attention. Maybe it’s skipping Starbucks for your local shop, or buying a gift from a handmade shop. It’s important to the economy and good for the soul.

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A Very British Christmas

It still hasn’t sunk in that we’ll be in England this year celebrating Christmas. I am accustomed to travelling home each year. It’s the first Christmas at our own home, with a REAL tree, and perhaps a munchkin. Oh holy night.

I don’t know what to countdown to – My birthday? My parents coming in town? Christmas? Baby M?

Enjoying one of the last weekends as just us, we got the house ready for the holidays. We found a local farm selling Christmas trees, and to Andrew’s enjoyment, Christmas turkeys. We were offered an opportunity to pick out our still very-much-alive turkey, which turned out was not a good idea for me. (shudder).

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For the tree, it is a proper Scottish Fir from Scotland! She’s a real beaut, Clark. Unlike the groomed Christmas trees you find perfectly lined-up at your big box retailer, we had to sort through piles of pine to find our fave. There really is something to supporting local businesses/farmers. For the decor, we opted for coloured lights; that’s what we always requested on the tree as kids.

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Now, let’s educate you on a Shropshire Country Christmas.

Gift Boxes – Plenty of wrapping paper. Plenty of gift bags. Absolutely no gift boxes. I had to finally ask someone how they wrap presents, which left me feeling like a total dum-dum. “Put paper around the gift” seemed to be the consensus. Our presents under the tree will look like the ones from A Christmas Story. I kind of like the no-box idea.

Christmas Stockings – Slim pickings is putting it mildly. I have no idea where I’m going to find ours this year.

If you are looking for an Advent Calendar or mince pie, we got loads of those. I would have given anything to walk into a Target, Wal-Mart, whatever and see the holiday sections complete with too many selections of stockings, decorations, tree trimmings, etc.

When in Rome England. We’re going to embrace the cultural Christmas and create some of our own traditions.

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31 Days Til Christmas…And That Other Thing

Shrewsbury town centre Christmas Cracker festivities were this week, marking the official start to the holiday season. The town’s “festive lights” were switched on.

The celebration included the Mayor of Shrewsbury, the Town Crier, Martin Wood, who lead the parade of lanterns as part event. I finally met the 7’2 Town Crier. Big friendly giant. The nicest guy. You hear and see him coming miles away and he’s been the Shrewsbury Crier for 27 years.

(yes, that’s an official Gryffindor Harry Potter scarf – it actually keeps me warm)

This weekend we’ll be getting our Thanksgiving on – hoorah! 90s theme birthday bash and another lil surprise.

Always, Always Remember the 5th of November

It’s Guy Fawkes Day!

We spent the weekend celebrating with some besties from London. Always great to see Mel’s beautiful American face! We did a bit of a countryside tour of Shropshire – it’s mandatory. From domino tower topping in pubs to having another man around to help with the heavy lifting.

This weekend was just what I’ve been needing.

I realised:
I am right pregnant. I hadn’t seen a pic of the bump in awhile and I frankly scared myself.
Being afraid of Splash Mountain at Disney World is an actual fear.
I should already be walking around with wet wipes.
Fall is a warm, cozy pub season. Always better when they start lighting fires.
Candy corn is a great appetizer.
Kimi Raikkonen is the man.

We capped off Sunday Funday with a Guy Fawkes bonfire and fair fayre celebration. The best part of the fayre was being able to ride an actual ride! It was for kiddies, but it’s the most excitement I’ve had in like a month.

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

We ventured out into new Shropshire territory this weekend. I did mention it was glorious.

Earls Hill was suppose to be a nice Sunday trek, but I ended up scrambling up a goat track. We had the help of a mate otherwise it would have made for a much different post. I don’t know how they define “hills” around here, but for perspective, Kennesaw “Mountain” would be a gradual incline.

Me: (looking at the goat track) It’s not too high, and we’re at the top in about 10 min?
Mate/Tour Guide: Yep. Otherwise we take the nice easy trail but it takes about an hour.
Me: (looking up again at the goat track) I can see the top from here. We’re so close.

Andrew was smart and said nothing. I knew he wanted to go the quicker, more difficult way, but if I agreed and was miserable it was my own fault. My stubbornness got me in trouble. 7.5 months prego, schlepping it up a mountain. I patted my own back.


Small Town UK

We hosted some American mates in town over the weekend. Being able to show friends around Shropshire always seems to make us love this place a little more.

You forget how absolutely spoiled rotten you are being able to walk everywhere and have direct access to some amazing hiking and neighbouring towns.

Our standard group tours include:
– Unlimited bulture
– Your weight in cider
– Lamb petting (subject to availability)
– One form of exercise a day
– Castle viewing
– 4 seasons in one day
– Dingle viewing
– Overview of Euro style

We are taking bookings! Come on across the pond y’all.

Driving Me Mad

I’ve mastered right hand driving. I’ve mastered a manual. I refuse to master the driving test.

After a year in the UK us ol’ Americans have to get a proper local license. Andrew is in the process of getting his UK license which makes the DMV in the states look like the gold star standard in customer service. It’s that bad.

You have to take a written exam (theory test) and a driving test. Andrew has honestly been studying a ton, and trust me it’s a pain in the a** to pass. He’s also taken driving practice tests with an instructor. If you don’t take a practice test your chances of failing sky rocket. It’s a gigantic ridiculous ordeal.

And the kicker for me is that if you have an EU license you’re free to drive like a bat out of hell on the roads – no UK license required. Not all EU countries are right-hand drive, most are left! Have you seen the way Italians drive? Yea, come on over to where it’s backwards from your country – have at it! I’ve driven with a few of my EU mates, bless them, but sweet mother did I hold on for dear life.

I am thankful I live in a town where I walk everywhere, but help us all if there comes a time where I have to take the test.