Transition

People always ask if my Dad was in the services as we moved around quite a bit when I was younger. The answer is…nope! My Dad was a Minister who liked a challenge and took his family along for the ride.

In 1992, after 36 years in Scotland, my Dad decided it was time to move back to America. To Missouri. This was the first time we had moved overseas and, as a shy girl, it was daunting. Sure, we had family there and we had visited before but it’s much, much harder to live in a foreign place than visit. The day to day life can be hard, even if you speak the same language. My sister was more upset than I was but there really wasn’t anything to do about it. I wondered if the high school girls would be like the girls in Sweet Valley High or Saved By The Bell. Teenage culture in America would certainly be different than I was used to in Scotland!

We didn’t have that much time before we headed off to the States. It was a mixture of excitement and the unknown. We were, of course, devastated to leave my Mum’s family back in Scotland. We had a close family where cousins are like brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles are like second mothers and fathers. Sure, we were heading to family in America but everything would change, we knew this. It was before Skype and FaceTime…HECK it was before the internet! So calls abroad would still be high in price.

My parents definitely humoured my sister and I when it came to packing our stuff. We took things that probably we didn’t need but they knew that having those items would make the huge transition a little easier. So we packed random notebooks with random scribblings, toys we had grown out of, magazine of our favourite Brit bands and singers and posters that were on our bedroom walls.

I sit here in front of this screen and think about the emotions I had at this time. So much I have forgotten or blocked out. It was a traumatic move for me, not so much my little sister, she didn’t have to contend with a high school transition. I think, in some ways, it made me who I am today. I had to come out of my shy girl shell and just get on with it. Just deal with whatever rude comment or snide remark came my way. Deal with being the butt of uninformed peoples’ jokes. Laugh it off and move on. I don’t think I ever really fitted in, it did end up feeling like home for a while but fitting in? That never happened. I stood out and now I look back on it I wish I would have embraced that more. But when you are an awkward 14 year old the last think you want to do is stand out.

Don’t get me wrong I have made some of my best friends in my life during my time in America and have some of my most cherish memories from that period in my life. I know, never say never, but I don’t think I will ever move my children when they are in school. It would be nice for them to have the same friends all through school or the same consistency of school, friends and town. I know I miss that.

I believe that there is a reason for everything that happens to us. We might not know it at that precise minute but years later we can look back and think…ah that’s why we were there or that’s why I did that. I try to picture the kind of person I would have been if we had stayed in Scotland. Would I have been this outgoing? Would I have pursued a career in theatre and the arts? Would I have met my husband? Would I have travelled much?

My life’s motto is “No What If’s” and I feel that has come from my Father and moving us about. He also thought this way..what if he hadn’t moved us? What if he had never moved to Scotland? He didn’t want to have those questions, and neither do I. Although I have lived in the same country for over 10 years now and that, to me, feels pretty amazing!

This is not from when we moved but a picture of my family about….15 years ago! 🙂

Our Santorini Wedding

An Unforgettable Greek Island Celebration

People always ask why we got married in Santorini. Neither of us are Greek or have any ties to the island but I knew I wanted a destination wedding. One with guaranteed sun on my wedding day and when I was looking at options I couldn’t get over the magical sunset and views of Santorini.

As we had a destination wedding we wanted to have a week of festivities and activities leading up to the big day, which was on a Friday. We started with a Santorini wine tasting tour and ended with drinks at a cocktail bar in Fira with the most amazing of views, the day after the wedding.

The wine tasting tour took us to some of the most amazing wineries on the island some with the BEST views as well! And, as we got married at a winery, it made sense to start the week of celebrations off this way. Click on these winery names for some of the wineries we visited. Gavalas Winery Boutari WineryGaia Winery and we were married at Santo Winery

We also organised a catamaran tour of the caldera. We were picked up from all the various hotels and villas and taken to the port in Fira. Once we boarded the catamaran the lovely captain and his crew made us feel comfortable straight away. We had refreshments and snacks also included. We sailed along the Santorini coast and to the hot springs where we all went for a swim. For lunch they moored by a small island and we swam to the beach where there was a lunch waiting for us of BBQ, salad and all things lovely and Greek. After the long and leisurely lunch we got back on the boat and sailed more around the island taking in the breathtaking views and getting to capture the world famous Santorini sunset from the catamaran. I think the best memory I will take away from that day was looking around and just feeling ever so thankful for the friendships and family. Seeing everyone laughing and getting along (some just met that morning) made my heart very happy.

When searching for a venue for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast we came across an amazing wedding planner based in Santorini called Maria. Her company is Tie The Knot Santorini. I highly recommend getting a local wedding planner when getting married overseas. They will not only be able to guide you to the best places to get married but they also help with the legalities and translate when needed! Maria was my lifesaver and I know I emailed her WAY more than I should but she couldn’t have been more accommodating and answered all my emails (a feat in itself!)

Santo Winery is amazing! It has one of the best views of the caldera and, as our wedding party was on the large side in terms of numbers, we needed a space that could accommodate us all and their wedding terrace fitted perfectly! The first time I saw it on our first trip to the island months early, I almost burst into tears, it was so perfect! We were married by the only registrar on the island so, as you can imagine, he gets pretty busy in Santorini over the summer months!

We had our wedding breakfast/reception at Pyrgos Restaurant. Again, amazing views and Mr. Artemis was just so lovely. We met him the previous October when we went over the menu, wines, everything from start to finish. The food was so delicious, authentic Greek and the cake was just perfect for the day. When I look back at my wedding day I have no regrets. We were taken care of so well and made to feel very special. Pyrgos restaurant has various sizes of rooms for celebrations. We went with the Aggie Fotini Hall which has panoramic views and its own private balcony which we definitely wanted.

The dinner turned into dessert and then we had Greek entertainment which (of course) included plate smashing. The dancers got all the guests up on their feet for a good lesson in Greek dancing and plate smashing. Once we were all up the DJ came on! I had given him some tunes that I wanted played and he didn’t disappoint! We all boogied away until the end of the night! Our dream Santorini wedding was everything and more than we ever could have imagined. We cherish the memories to this day.

My Day At Wimbledon Centre Court

Well! Wimbledon has come around again and this year I was actually able to attend! Since I have been a little girl watching Wimbledon in my room in the 80s I have always wanted to be there. To experience the atmosphere, see the amazing players and sit on Centre Court!

I jumped up and down with joy when my husband told me that we were going with his work and we would get to sit in Centre Court on opening day of the tournament! I couldn’t believe it! I thought I would share with you my experience and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club!

Getting There

The easiest way to get to the tournament is via tube. We took the District Line to Southfields and then it was a 15/20 minute walk from there. The walk itself was really great! Everyone was heading that way and we got there for 10:30am (so just after it opened). We went through Gate 4 where they checked our tickets and then our bags (can’t be too careful nowadays!).

Champions Room

As we were there for work we were very excited to be able to have lunch in the Champions Room. This room was all set out for our needs throughout the day. We had our own table all day, lunch was provided as well as drinks and even afternoon tea! We have views out onto Court 15 from our table. I was trying not to be antisocial to the other members of our party but all I wanted to do was watch the match! The staff couldn’t have been more helpful or attentive and really did spoil us.

Centre Court

We navigated the maze full of corridors before finding out entrance onto Centre Court. And WOW! What a view we had! Centre Court seems much bigger on TV but in real life it is pretty intimate. We had a great view but I think anywhere you sat would have amazing views of the match (which is a credit to its design!) The military service men and women are stationed around the court and when the players came on there was the polite claps and cheers from the audience. The games were griping and emotional and we could see and hear the frustration and exuberance on the players’ faces. Spectators are allowed to move from there seats when there is a break in play but if play starts, and you are not back in your seat, you will need to wait in the corridor until the next play break. The retractable roof was back when I was there but I can imagine that the closing of the roof is a sight to see! It’s massive!

All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club

Once the first game was over we decided to explore the rest of the club. We peaked in at other games going on in smaller courts and tried to see what famous players we would find on the practise grounds. We went over to Henman Hill/Murray Mount which was one of my favourite areas. Everyone peacefully laying on the grass, Pimms in hand watching the big screen. We walked by many a restaurant open for the ticket holders and there were lots of little seating areas about the club where people could sit and have a drink before heading off to the next match. We were going to get the boys a souvenir from the shop (which was massive!) but the queues were so long and the shop so packed we decided for sanity’s sake we would skip that!

Henman Hill

Supporting Cast

We went back at watched another match and this time I watched the umpire, the ball boys and ball girls then linesmen and women. What a slick operation it all is. Each person has a small but pivotal role in the match. They all take is so seriously (as they should) and each one deserved their own standing ovation for the time and dedication they put into their roles. I had always wanted to be a ball girl when I was younger and I still think it is a super cool job to have in Wimbledon!

Heading Home

We had to leave earlier than the game finished. We headed out of Gate 5 and waited for a taxi to take us back to the tube station. It was much slower on the tube getting back so a tip is, if you can leave a little earlier than the end of the match then do so. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had tried to leave when everyone else was as well. It was just a fun day. A once in a lifetime experience (I’m sure!) but one that I hope to take my sons to when they are older.

Note – I’m still going to try the ballot every year. You never know, I might get to go again!

Have you been to Wimbledon? Do you have any tips? Drop them in the comments below! xx

Four Of My Favs

I came across this survey from The Massey Spot blog and thought I would do one of my own! 😊

A) Four places that I go to over and over : school, Co-op, Starbucks, Costa

B) Four people who text me (regularly): Michele, my hubby, Tori, Danielle

C) Four of my favorite places to eat: Picasso, Raj Tandoori, Las Iguanas, Giraffe

D) Four places I would rather be right now:

Beach….anywhere! Prague, Denver, London

E) Four people I think will respond:

Well….it’s on my blog so I don’t expect anyone to, but if you want to…please write in the comments! 😘

Four TV shows I watch over and over:

Grimm, Friends, 24, The Real Housewives of EVERYWHERE!

Haha! Well there you have it! I had trouble thinking about place I go ALL THE TIME besides coffee places and grocery stores! 🤣

My Cleaning Schedule

I have always loved a good list and planner but if you were to ask me pre-kids if I liked to clean and had a cleaning SCHEDULE! I would look at your as if you had two heads and run away! 😁

I’m not saying that having a cleaning schedule is the ONLY way to get stuff done but, for me, it offers peace of mind and I don’t feel overwhelmed thinking that I didn’t get round to something today or when I don’t clean I don’t freak out that everything will get in top of me because I have my schedule.

We recently moved to a much larger house than we had previously and to keep on top of it all without a cleaner I knew I would need some kind of schedule. I didn’t want to spend all my days cleaning and not spend it with my boys so the schedule was born!

I promise you all that I still have a social life and my kids DO go out the house but to achieve all this; a house that is (relatively) clean and organised and be able to have days where I an say “EFF it I don’t NEED to do any cleaning today,” I needed this list! So….here it is!

Everyday we have fun! But we ALSO pick up and clean our mess!

Monday: Downstairs dust, hoover, mop, laundry
Tuesday: Kitchen deep clean and laundry
Wednesday: Bedrooms dust, hoover, clean bathroom and wash towels
Thursdays: Spare rooms and bathroom quick clean and spruce up and laundry!
Friday: Garden pick up (if needed) and laundry!
Saturday: Food delivery
Sunday:


Every night.
We pick up the toys, clean up the kitchen from dinner, run our RoboVac (we have a Eufy) and prep the boys for school/nursery the next day.

Some days I don’t clean at all but I don’t stress about it because I know that the day will come around in the schedule to focus on that area and I’ll get it done then!

Every Few Months

Every few months (usually on a Friday) I focus on one room that needs either organising or a deep clean.

I keep a note and alert of what I need to do and on what day on my phone calendar. This way it takes out all the stress in trying to remember it all and I just focus on what I need to do that day. EASY! And that’s the way I like it! 🙌🏻😊

Outer Space Kids Bedroom

Our new house is slowly starting to come together. It was a blank canvas when we moved in which was daunting and exciting at the same time! I initially focussed on the boys’ rooms so I wanted to show you all what we did with our eldest’s.

Most of the furniture came from Furniture123 or Great Little Trading Company (as did the duvet). The wall transfer and the curtains were from Dunelm.

My little man loves his outer space bedroom (as do I!)

Outer Space Themed 5 Year Olds Party

Last month I threw a Space themed party for my son who turned 5.

He has been Space and planets mad for a while now so I thought this would be a perfect time to do it.

It was so much fun planning his party. His party was on a Sunday morning and for months before I had been planning his intergalactic party. I thought I’d write down some details of the party for you.

Here’s how we set up the tables for the parry lunch. I had these grand ideas of loads of confetti on the table and then my husband reminded me we would have to clear it all up at the end of the two hours. So I’ve saved them for another time.

I organised Froggle parties for the entertainment. They cater for so many ages and types of party. We obviously chose their Space themed party which included games, magic, bubbles, dancing and loads more. The kids we’re thoroughly entertained for the two hours. And my son left his party with the biggest smile on his face.

I found an amazing lady called Nic on Etsy. (I LOVE ETSY!) Her company is called The Daphne Tree and she specialised in hand stitched tees. I told her I would like it to be a rocket with the number 5 and she did the rest. My son absolutely loved it and it still looks amazing. Even after washing a few times.

His party lunch consisted of the regular food favourites. Sandwiches, grapes, hula hoops, baby bel, party rings, chocolate fingers, carrots, sausages and CAKE! 🎂

Speaking of cake! The lovely Amanda from Cakes By Amanda made the most brilliant space and planets themed cake with chocolate cake and cookies and cream butter cream filling and covered in the bunnies butter cream. I wish it would have been gluten free but I had to sample the teeniest bit anyway and immediately was jealous that I couldn’t have more!

We handed out party bags filled with info cards on the planets, a stretchy alien some other things and also some sherbet dip because they are a blast from my childhood! 😉

All in all it was a great 5th birthday party for my lovely boy. He thoroughly enjoyed himself and we all did as well.

Please be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think! I’d love to know!

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Steph xx