The hardest part of being an expat…

expat blog

It’s my mother’s birthday today and I am over 4,000 miles away in the Southwest of England, sitting in the bedroom that is mine and my husband’s and wishing that for one day I had the ability to teletransport to Florida to be with my mother on this new milestone in her life. I don’t think I ever fully understood or grasped the difficulty of my own parents’ expatriation from their own country and their family ties and connections until I was finally granted my spouse visa and residence permit to reside here in the UK. I have been here a little over 6 months now and the hardest part for me is not having my parents or siblings nearby to just see, talk to or spend time with. I am fortunate enough to have some family here, mainly all of my husband’s immediate family and many relatives nearby. My own mother and father only had each other when they moved from Venezuela over 35 years ago to the US and though many friends helped them out and became like family, their own parents and siblings were all mostly still so far away.

I think I can now comprehend how my parents felt, in particular my mom, when they could not be with their own family and loved ones on birthdays and such. It’s one of the consequences of choosing to live abroad, elsewhere away from home–bittersweet really. Still, I am grateful that technology has come so far in the recent decades that we can now spend time with our loved ones virtually in real time even if we are not physically there. It is even a blessing that my parents at least got to do the same with both of my grandmothers before they passed away. The joy on my little old ladies’ faces when they saw their children and, even their grandchildren and great-grandchildren on some occasions, is enough to warm your heart at the thought that in the best sense technology has brought us all closer together when before you had to wait weeks to find out how a person had spent their birthday when the telephone hadn’t yet been invented. We have come a long way and our sense of belonging to our little familiar tribes has had a great aid in these technological advances.

Still, it is hard not to be physically present, to be able to hug my mom on her birthday or to bake her a cake and watch her blow out the candles. I guess I understand a little better these days the saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. We worked so hard to get me over here to the UK, it was my all-consuming thought last year to now feel sad that I can’t be in the US with my family whenever I want. That is the give and take aspect of life, isn’t it? I am sure that many of my readers will be able to understand this to some degree whether they are expats or not.

family expat life mom birthday

So, while as expats we may not always have our family right down the road, or the same can be said for living in the same country but at long distances, we can say that we always carry them with us in our hearts. Even after they are gone, they are still there with us, still a part of us and when we are able to see them and spend time with them in person it is all the sweeter.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I miss you lots and really wish I could be there in Florida to celebrate with you but I know you know you are loved, cherished and treasured.

Love,

Nadia xoxo

 

The title photo for this post is one I took while in Scotland. More about that soon!

Another May baby, my friend Kiki, celebrated the Queen’s 90th last month in style at the Ballantyne in the US. Check her post out here.

My latest travel buddy and partner in crime, Bekah, has added a new pasta recipe to her blog.

Just discovered this blog, Gingerlillytea, and OMG…such beautiful photos!

Spring Has Sprung

spring walks in beauty

Everywhere you turn lately there are signs of the full bloom of Spring here in Bridport. Indeed I am sure it is like this in most of the Southwest of England and probably beyond in many other parts of the UK. It is beautiful right now, colourful in fact, and I am enjoying it despite the fact that I have been dealing with hay fever. Having local honey in my tea seems to be helping immensely since we got a new pot a week and a half ago at Washingpool Farm Shop. Anyway, took a long hiatus from blogging after Alan’s birthday since life had gotten so busy and time management has never been a forte of mine. This week I have been getting more done as I have been rising earlier and trying to get a bit more organised so hopefully I can do a bit more blogging each morning.

I have lots to share from March and April with you all, highlights really, as I had the opportunity to travel around the UK a bit with my dear friend and basically twin soul separated at birth–Bekah from Canada (and please reserve all your American & Canadian jokes for another time). We had some amazing adventures and if you want to see the incredible amount of photos we took throughout our journeys you can search the hashtag #theadventuresofmaxandmouse on Instagram to travel a bit with us.

I’ll be sharing a few highlights posts from our trip with pictures taken on my Nikon for you to see. By the end of Bekah’s time here we had discovered that we basically share a brain and were finishing each other’s sentences, laughing the same way and even reading each other’s thoughts!

Back to the current month at hand though, May brought with it some nicer and warmer days though it has also brought with it rain and clouds. Last weekend we did manage to get in the first BBQ of the season and ate outside two days in a row which was lovely. Hoping this coming weekend is as lovely.

I’d like to just share a few photos from this weekend with you so you can see the lovely day we had this past Saturday the 7th…

St. Swithuns Church North Allington Bridport Dorset

St. Swithuns Church on North Allington in Bridport, with cherry blossoms in front.

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Beautiful garden bluebells in the churchyard.

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A close-up of an ornamental cherry blossom from a tree in the churchyard.

And lastly…

typical cherry blossoms st swithuns north allington bridport dorset

Close-up of typical cherry blossoms in the churchyard.

The colours of Spring are truly wonderful, aren’t they? I look forward to sharing more posts with you from now on about trips, lifestyle changes and just life in general.

Cheers!

Nadia xo

 

Love snail mail? Check out my latest incoming, outgoing and unboxings in This is My Letter to You.

I adore Wales, as should you and here is why: SPRING TRAVEL GUIDE-THE WELSH HOUSE.

I think I’m going to take a page out of their book and forage for wild garlic this weekend…

I am crushing on these desk accessories from Papermash right now…

Inside the #Portland #Bill #Lighthouse and other views…

Portland Bill Lighthouse and more

Part three of our journey to the Isle of Portland was all about going up inside the lighthouse and taking in the last few scenic views of the area before heading back home to Bridport the following day. Sunday dawned grey and windy, cold and not the best day in the world to be out and about but we made the most of it heading first to the Coast Watch Tower for a mini tour by the volunteers there (it’s free and they really like visitors). The tower itself isn’t much to look at but going up there is worth the trip just to have a look through the giant binoculars. The detail of the lighthouse that can be seen through them is incredible! After that we walked down to the lighthouse to book a tour spot. We went up with 15 other people and a guide, some of which included children. A word to the parents out there who wish to take their children to Portland Bill Lighthouse, because of the potential safety risks due to structural features of the lighthouse, small children are only permitted to climb the lighthouse if they are at least 1.1 metres in height and capable of climbing up and back down without help. If your children are too small to go up inside, it is still worth the wait until they are tall enough to go in.

So, without further ado, I will share some photos of our last day of exploration around Portland Bill!

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Looking down on the Old Lower Lighthouse from the road by the Coast Watch tower…

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The grey day made for some very atmospheric photos…

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One last look at the Pulpit Inn where we had eaten the bulk of our meals that weekend…

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Heading back toward the lighthouse, getting ready to head inside it…

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Hubby taking a few last shots of the area…

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Best view of Pulpit Rock we had throughout the weekend. It was too wet and windy to actually stand on the rock bed in front of it…

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Close-up so you can see how narrow the lighthouse is, and we went inside that with 16 other people!

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Inside the ground floor of the lighthouse at the start of our tour. Those steps above are quite narrow and steep.

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A little bit of lighthouse history on this Trinity House plaque…

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Still within the ground floor, looking at all the commemorative items inside…

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This was above us on the next level up…

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A look at the actual light from the lighthouse. The bulbs inside are small but just imagine the beams they make reflecting off of all those panels!

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This was taken of the obelisk from inside the lighthouse, in the part which houses the light…

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And one last look at Pulpit Rock from inside the lighthouse…

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Hubby inside the lighthouse so you can see the scale of the windows that the light shines through…

We were really hard pressed to leave such a naturally beautiful place! We fell in love with Portland Bill and can’t wait to explore again, especially when it is a bit warmer. The lighthouse tour was not very long but it was worth the £14 we paid to go in and have the experience. It is volunteer run through the Trinity House Trust. Would you go up into the lighthouse if you had the chance?

Cheers,

Nadia xo

 

For more information on Portland Bill Lighthouse please visit: http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/lighthouse_list/portland_bill.html

For Health & Safety Regulations: http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouses/visitor_centre_h_s_guidelines.pdf

Along the Coast Path to Church Ope Cove

Portland Bill

I should know by now that when I set out to fulfill a goal something usually gets in my way so apologies for being so late with the second part of our photographic journey around Portland Bill and other parts! As I had stated in an earlier post, my one little word for this year is EXPLORE and having purchased the Secret Places of West Dorset book earlier in the New Year we could not resist going to at least one of the places mentioned in there during our stay on the Isle of Portland. We decided to head to Church Ope Cove the Saturday of our stay which also happened to be my hubby’s birthday. We both love walks, photography and being outdoors in general so he was quite happy to have an exploration adventure on his special day.

Since we were staying in a B&B in one of the old Coast Guard cottages and were within a stone’s throw from the lighthouse we thought it was just a bit more exciting to walk to Church Ope Cove than to drive there as the book suggests. Also, we don’t own a car so relying on public transport and our own two legs is a must. Louise Hodgson does a great job of telling you exactly how to get to each place in her book when you are driving there but it is also easy enough to follow her detailed instructions on foot. Our host was able to tell us that following the coast path from the Bill would lead us to where we wanted to go so that’s what we did. In the following selection of photos you will get to see the coast line leading from the lighthouse to the Cove just as we saw it on 31st January of this year. Enjoy!

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Starting point, Portland Bill Lighthouse & Obelisk as seen from the coast path.

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Waves crashing in the crags along the coast line.

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Silhouette of a lone derrick, these dot the coast path along the former quarry sites one passes through.

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A look back as we walked farther down the path…

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Beach huts and boats dot this first part of the coast path heading East…

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Stone, waves, and huts in the distance…

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Just a look out to sea…

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Hubby sat in a boat with the sun shinning, a derrick in the background…

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Beach huts and the Old Lower Lighthouse in the background…

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Seeing the crags fill with waves crashing onto them was just breath-taking…

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It continued to get rockier and deeper as we continued along the path…

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Alan stood close to a derrick that was not covered in water…

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At this point along the path we could no longer see the lighthouse but rather saw mostly rocks…

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We stopped near here, an abandoned quarry site along the path, to have some refreshment before heading on. You can see parts of the Isle of Purbeck in the distance from here.

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Finally arriving at the site of our destination, trees along the entry way to Church Ope Cove, just outside of Rufus Castle…

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Looking up at the imposing Rufus Castle, more a fort than a castle really…

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The view of Church Ope Cove from just below Rufus Castle…

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Rufus Castle is a Grade I listed building and also a scheduled monument and dates from the late 15th century…

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The rugged coastline of Church Ope Cove is dotted by small beach huts below…

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The way down to the Cove from just below Rufus Castle…

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The impressive archway attached to the castle…

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Part of the overgrown ruins of St. Andrew’s Church which lays just below Rufus Castle and above the Cove…

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Ruins of St. Andrew’s Church…

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Long view of the top of some of the beach huts at Church Ope Cove with rocks above and to the East…

 

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A rocky getaway…

Isn’t Portland a beautiful place? We can’t wait to go again and explore other areas that we didn’t see on our visit. It was quite rainy and muddy the majority of the time we stayed. The Saturday was really the only clear day we had which worked out perfectly as that was our main outing, aside from going to the top of the lighthouse. I recommend that if you go in the winter months and want to do some walking and exploring you take  good pair of hiking boots so you can trek through the mud. We can’t wait to explore more of Dorset in the next few months!

Have a beautiful week and keep travelling!

Cheers,

Nadia xo

 

More about Rufus Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Castle

More about St. Andrew’s Church: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Andrew%27s_Church,_Portland

More about Church Ope Cove: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Ope_Cove

Shop Update and Goings On…

  
Good Friday morning to you all! It’s way overcast and a bit dreary here in Bridport today but my mood is not dampened by it! I’m excited for a couple of reasons, the most important being that, after a very long hiatus, I’ve decided to open up my Etsy shop again with fresh new designs and more to be added weekly! 

Walks in Beauty Paperie will open its virtual doors this morning at 9:30am and I’m very pleased with what I have in stock at present and what we will have in stock in the next few weeks! 

I worked endlessly for the last two and a half weeks cutting and prepping stock and am looking forward to doing more! 

 

walks in beauty paperie

Stationery stack, all cut and packaged.


The other thing I’m excited about for today is that I’m going to my first British Pantomime show here in Bridport, at the Electric Palace! I’ve been told it boasts lots of laughs and audience participation so I’m ready for a good evening of fun! 

I’m continuing my Portland photo diary series next week with our Day 2 photos from the Coast Path and Church Ope Cove as well as some other posts I’d like to share with you. Saturdays and Sundays I’ll not be blogging as I want to spend that time with my hubby.

What exciting things are you doing this weekend?

Here’s some things I’m liking from around the web this week:

This new Zero Waste post from The Old Fashioned Mama spoke to my heart this morning… 
Littlehouselea’s Instagram photos make me swoon…

These Valentine’s cookies from My Three Little Kittens…yum!!

Have a happy weekend! 

Nadia xo

Portland Bill Getaway in Photos Part I: Friday Evening Stroll by the Lighthouse

Strong winds greeted us last Friday upon our arrival to the Bill! We took a taxi from Weymouth to the B&B cottage we were to stay at and after checking in, having a coffee, and unpacking a few things we set out to walk around Portland Bill toward the lighthouse before heading to the Pulpit Inn for dinner. Here are a few snaps I managed to take before my phone died.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  
  
  
  
 
We went up into the lighthouse on the Sunday but I’ll have a more detailed post about that soon! In the meantime enjoy our blustery photos of Portland Bill on the last Friday of January! 

How many of you have visited the Isle of Portland? What was your favourite part? 

Cheers!

Nadia xo

Off to Portland we go! 

It’s Friday and I am currently writing to you from inside The Curve, a lovely little cafe just outside of M&S in Weymouth. Alan and I don’t have a car so most often we have to rely on public transport, trains or coaches and taxis. 

We took the bus from Bridport to Weymouth today and will probably take a taxi to Portland Bill to our B&B. But first we are enjoying a hot chocolate! And they are delectable! 

  
  
    

  

Can you guess which one was mine and which one was Alan’s? ;) 

Off to finish up and get to the isle!

Cheers! 

Nadia xo