So as you know, we lost our two precious kitties within the space of a year.  If broke our hearts.  They had been with us for 17 years….true family members.  Our stories are detailed here and here.

When you have such amazing pets and then lose them, a fear is instilled that you couldn’t possibly be able to replace them.  Not even looking to replace them, but is it even possible to find new pets that bring as much joy to the house or ones that could be loved as much?

I insisted we took a break from cat ownership for a while.  I/ we needed time to grieve our loss recognize their impact on our family.

But when we were ready, with my new work situation, i.e not working 9-5 in an office, but being at home, we considered a fostering situation.   To allow us to receive cats and kittens, assess how they fit with our family and then move into adoption if it works out.

I had my heart set on adopting an older cat and also a kitten.  Kittens will always get adopted but the kids really wanted one and the older cats tend to get passed over so I wanted to do the right thing and truly help a cat in need too!

So I registered with a local Animal Shelter to become a foster parent, and before long, we welcomed a mother and her 4 kittens into our household…



I don’t think I will ever forget the look of joy on my youngest’s face a we went to collect our foster babies.   All her dreams we coming true right there.  She stopped and paused at the doorway to the shelter, turned to me and said, ‘mom, I’m so happy…’   She really was!

We lucked out.  Mom and her kittens were beautiful.   Our own calendar kittens.   So beautiful we couldn’t stop taking photos!


Who knows what the story is but they had been transported to Maine from a high kill shelter in the southern states in of the USA.  I believe spaying and neutering rates in the south are quite low, hence lots of unwanted babies.   We do think Mama lived in a home before. She knew the sound of kibble being poured into her bowl and the unmistakable pop of cat food tin being opened.    She was/ is also an amazing mother.   She doted on her kittens and kept them safe yet never stopped us from caring for them and then playing with them.   She was in an emaciated state when we got her.   Feeding her babies and not being nourished her self.  Immediately, we set to work on getting her healthy but she always ensured her babies ate before she did.  It took a while but she is now a healthy kitty.

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The love the kittens brought into our home…


Heart shaped kittens….need I say more..?

We knew pretty quickly that we were going to keep 2 of these beautiful kitties.  Mum and one kitten!   What we didn’t anticipate was the agonizing decision of picking a favorite kitten!!!  Who knew it would be so hard!   There was Tilly – a girl whom looked just like her mom, Crumpet, the smallest orange boy that was gentle and loving.  Ned – a bruiser, purrer and needy and then Marmalade with the most beautiful eyes and tufts on his ears.


I was able to re-home the 3 remaining kittens and luckily all new homes didn’t mind who they had so we litterally had to the day of hand over to make up our minds.

We did 3 family votes…..every time one  specific kitten won.  Every time, the girls cried as they didn’t want that kitten?!?  Then why was he winning?    They were voting!

In the end, I/we went with the vote……and never looked back.

Ned, we love you so and Mama Millie does too.

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Ned and Millie

PS – adopting mom has been a delight but sadly didn’t quite satisfy my desire to adopt and older cat.  Turns out mom is just a kitten herself!

Broken Promises

So not a critical promise but I did make a New Years resolution to post more!  And I’ve failed 😦

Not through lack of trying but more through lack of time.  Its been a busy year – kids back in school, new school regimes, travel (of which I’ve neglected to write about),, crazy busy summer and starting my own business!!!

Yes – I have gone it alone for my own business.   Having decided I need to continue my break from Corporate America and spotting an opportunity with my experience and skill set, I sought out a mentor and set up shop.

You can find out what I do on my website (which i mastered building myself by the way :)) and I’m pleased to say that it’s so far, so good!

So while I may have broken a promise to myself and my followers, I think I can be forgiven this time around? Thanks!

I still have catch up to do on travel posts from over the last year.  But if I do as i hope, look out for posts on London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Quebec City and more!

Thanks for sticking with me and I look forward to posting some more soon!





plural noun: resolutions
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
synonyms: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan;


I’ve been of the WP grid for a while.  Life takes over and not really been up to a lot to write about.

However, I like to make my New Year Resolutions BEFORE new year and some owould say that they can be made year round.  I find they are a little more successful that way.  Like they say to never start a diet on a Monday, I don’t start my resolutions on Jan 1st!

Resolution #1 is to keep up with my WP blog…try to catch up on old experiences but also strive to keep experiences flowing in 2017.   2015/16 was full of them and now that we are back ‘home’ we need to keep the passion of travel alive vs revert back to the mundane of life – school, work, rest, repeat

So Resolution #2 is stay active in the world of experience!   We’ll be kicking off the new year with just that so more to come on that!

Resolution #3 – lets not sweat the small stuff.  Que sera, sera…

That’s all for now.  I begin today – Dec 20th…another poignant date in my life so seems fitting.

What are your resolutions!?

Perhaps if you share, they will stick!  Happy New Year to all x

Broken hearts

Today we’ve said goodbye to our sweetest Trinity. She’s been with us for almost 17 years. Our first baby. Adopted soon after I lost my mum, we rescued each other. 😌My daughter asked yesterday what was the best day of her life. After thought we realized every day could have been the best day of her life. Over 6000 of them. She has been the best cat for unconditional love despite living through a new kitten (Charlie), 3 kids, dog, 5 homes and international travel. She spent her last days basking in the glorious Maine Fall sunshine (photo taken yesterday) and she was most definitely in her happy place.  

We loved her with all our hearts and she leaves a void in the family 💔. I hope you’ve found Charlie in heaven Trinny. Sweet Dreams xxx

Back to school

A post to debate…..for or against uniforms?  I know where I stand but the kids disagree.

Photos of back to school in the UK and back to school in the USA…





What do you think?

‘Home’ again

To follow up on my post on Leaving ‘Home‘, we are Home again!

We did it!  We did something different and had an adventure.  Many memories made and treasured and very lucky to have 2 homes…


We cant really complain about being home, we do live in a beautiful part of the world – Maine.  Freeport to be exact.

Re-entry has been pretty smooth.  The actual day of travel ran like clockwork (I’d like to think that was due to my amazing organizational kills :-P)….travel to airports, pet check-in, people check in arrival in US and so on.   As we had rented our home in the US for the last year, friends had kindly been in to manage any needs at the house before we arrived….also, some friends were under instruction to make beds, stock fridge and get pet food in for our return late that evening.  Thankful for this as we rolled in late and could tumble straight into bed.   Also thankful for the numerous friends willing to stay up late to collect us with our baggage.  As mentioned previously, Icelandair has a generous baggage allowance.  2 x 23kg bags per person….so in all, we had 460KG of luggage (excluding ‘packed to the gills’ hand luggage x5!).

Despite my sadness of leaving England, its always good to be home.  Nice to have your things around you and that settled feeling.  The kids were excited to begin pulling their things out of storage.  It wasn’t long before toys and books were unpacked.

I was anxious to get the kitchen unpacked.  I had missed these items the most.  Managing with just essential kitchen items in the UK had become frustrating at times.  In addition to these, having appliances back!  Dishwasher!!  We’d been without one for 14 months. Obviously, a material luxury but the kids were thrilled to throw away that washing up roster 🙂   Fridge!!  We struggled with a miniscule British fridge for about the first 5 months.  I ended up buying another fridge in the UK as for a family of 5, the coolbox we had just wasn’t cutting it.  Also having to get onto my knees to peek inside was getting old (just like my knees!)   The UK is awash with charity shops so picking up a used fridge (Bosch no less) was easy and resale was even easier!  Last, but not least, a tumble dryer!  We didn’t invest in one on the UK (mostly as there was no place to put one in the house) and with it being one of the wettest years on record (2015), we missed the ease of drying the laundry.  The days became a battle with the weather.  Getting any laundry outside in the dry moments and dragging it all back inside for the wet moments.   I could never get anything completely dry and I couldn’t stand laundry on all the radiators!


Ahhh….how I missed you 🙂

A non kitchen item I was pleased to see was my closet (wardrobe!).  In fact, all our closets.  The UK house had NO storage space whatsoever.   What pieces of furniture we had, we packed full. In fact, we little storage in our bedroom, opting for some plastic totes to hold our items.   Not ideal, but again, wasn’t worth investing a lot of money.  Coming back to a huge walk-in closet was bliss.  But now, we debated do we even need it?  As you see in the photos below, the clothes shown is all we took to the UK.  And then, we only wore half of them.  So do we really need any more clothes? Or storage for any more?.  As I write this piece, clothes we left in storage have been unpacked….and most have gone to charity.   We have learned to live with so much less and its refreshing and liberating.  Which makes us wonder…do we need all this stuff – clothes, things, anything?   Life takes over and you accumulate and settle.  We were happy and enriched with less and on the move.   Time will tell if we ever fill these closets again!

Our home withstood renters well.  We were lucky…..but the garden not so much.   I didn’t take any ‘before’ photos but here’s a shot of one of the twins holding a weed she pulled up.   Thankfully now we have it restored back to its former glory allowing us to enjoy the final days of summer and into the Fall.


For everyone in the household, they’ve slipped back to their old lives easily.  Kids back in schools with all their old friends.  Husband back in the office, pets back to their favorite resting spots in the sunny garden.   What we do know is that despite being away, nothing really changed….except for us.   Everything and everyone around us has remained constant.   Reassuring and easy in some respects but I wonder if we will long for more change in our own lives.   In this journey, we taught the kids that change is good and not to be feared.  I hope they hold onto that as they grow into adulthood.   For now, I need to live by my own words and be comfortable with the fact that  I have not returned to the life I had prior. For me, the adjustment back home is greater.  I no longer have an office to go to, colleagues to socialise with.  Nor do we have the big trip to plan for.   So what next?  I’m not sure but happy to be home and so is Chester…





Leaving ‘Home’

So its been awhile…and a lot has changed in our world.

Over the last 2 months, we’ve packed up one home and returned to another.   Its been busy and despite the lack of posts, we managed to squeeze in a little more travel before we changed worlds.  Those updates to follow.

Since we made the decision to return to the US (here), we kicked into moving mode.   We halted all purchases unless it was critical (such as food!), we began to pack up our belongings and anything not coming with us was to be sold/ donated.  We arrived in the UK with 10 pieces of luggage.  It was our aim to leave the UK with the same 10 pieces….and we did!  Contents differed slightly and brought back lots of momentos, but essentially, we traveled with just our bags.   Icelandair has a great baggage allowance which we used to its maximum!

I single handedly packed up our home over the last few weeks.  It was good to keep busy and have a focus and the prospect of leaving was depressing.  Thank heavens for Facebook groups for selling items.  Between 3 separate groups – I sold EVERYTHING!  Down to the cutlery in the drawers.   I honestly think we broke even in our home furnishings.   I priced to sell, built up a reputation of good quality and people were clambering to get a deal.  At the same time though, it was heartbreaking.

We got to the point where we had nothing left….what you see here was it!   The TV was sold at this point but not yet delivered…



Packing to return to the US was much more difficult than packing to go to the UK.  Difficult in terms of needing to find a home for everything (no default of ‘put it into storage’), but mostly difficult as it marked the end of our adventure.   We knew a year (14 months in total) was probably not long enough, but it went by too fast.   Our year was up.   We did so much and including our planning, we had so much to look forward to for such a long period of time.  Now it was over.   We all held a certain level of excitement to come back to the US, the kids especially, but to be leaving family again was hard…so difficult.

We spent as much time with family as we could in the final few weeks.  With special time planned to make the fondest of memories.  If nothing else, the kids built strong bonds with family members allowing them to feel they belonged to a large family.

In addition to people, we had pets.  Sadly only 2 to make the return journey (the third was carefully boxed up in hand luggage).  No-one wants to put their pets through any stress, and knowing it would be a stressful moving day for them, I knew that it was important to keep them with us (vs re-homing).   Sure enough, they bounced back pretty quickly and have settled in well again back at home.

The process is much more simplified on a journey into the USA than into The UK.   A process I could manage myself but nonetheless, I worried about their travel. We booked the pets on Virgin Atlantic.  The outbound journey was smooth and hoped for the same on the return.  They were beyond excellent!  They eliminated the stress on my side with friendly and efficient service.  Also super flexible with us as we decided to hang out with the dog a little while longer before he was crated.   Additionally, they arranged for the Heathrow Vet to stop in and issue a passport for the dog.  It wasn’t needed but just in case we came back anytime soon :-).   Bizarrely, this service was HALF the price as if i had done it at our local vet.   For what should have been a highly stressful time, it proved to be a straightforward and laid back process.   For anyone considering pet travel, Virgin Atlantic comes highly recommended!

Even the cat got packed up (she had a temporary home for a couple of weeks)…..its was exhausting work for her too..:-)



As we left the cottage, we took a few photos for the memory book.  We were very happy here and already miss the cosy nature of the home.   We even miss our friendly ghost (or so we thought there is there).  Its hard to tell but every time we went away, the new net curtains in a  front downstairs room were pulled down!  It was once a main room of the cottage that looks directly into the street.  I am sure our friendly spirit didn’t like the view obscured!  Aside from those times and her gentle hand on my shoulder one night, she was never really a nuisance!


On our final stroll through the village, the sun was setting.  A poignant end to our time in this beautiful place.  One could say that life is about the journey, not the destination.  This time, I wish we could have lingered a little longer at this destination..


One year on…


We embarked on this move with a one year time frame in mind.    To take a break, connect with family and do something different.

The kids signed up for ‘just a year’ and have seized every moment based on just that.

So now what?  We have had an amazing 12 months.  We’ve done a lot and the kids have grown in so many ways.   Daily we point out their achievements, big or small, and even tomorrow we will attend an awards ceremony where our oldest will be honored by her school…bearing in mind she has only been there for a year she has so much to be proud of.

Its been a gut wrenching decision but we will be leaving the UK and moving back to the USA.  Its complicated so its the easiest path at this time….but every single one of us has a heavy heart….:-(

Seven one way flights are booked (5 people, 2 furbabies), we are beginning to pack up the cottage and have begun to say our goodbyes.

We have a few more weeks left on the island so we will surely be making the most of it.   Look out for final UK posts and then more about our life back in the USA!

What we do know – we are ‘Always Home’ on either continent.


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Maine Botanical Gardens 2014


Corfu June 2016

Sports Day!

This last week, the twins experienced their first sports day.  I find it a very British affair.  The Americans don’t do sports day like the Brits do.  In fact, the Americans don’t consistently do sports day so the whole thing was pretty new.

Sports day is serious business here.  Highly competitive, organised with military precision and House trophies up for grabs!

Already at a disadvantage with no egg and spoon experience, they went for victory in every race!  As expected, we came dead last in the egg and spoon 🙂


Dropped egg!

A surprise win was the sack race for one of the twins.  Technique was stellar and she romped home to victory!



Race of the day was Obstacle course….twins in heat together (possible recipe for disaster) and neck and neck the whole race for a joint first…made for a much better conversation over dinner!


Twins – neck and neck – same pace and technique 🙂

So a great day for the memory books and another unique experience of living in England!


The Best year of his life..

This post is dedicated to my boy, Chester ♥


Chester is our 8 year old Golden Retriever who has breezed through this adventure in England despite change and constant new faces/ places.

While we have only been in the UK for 10 months, and he is 8 years old, how could this possibly be the best year of his life?

We got Chester at 12 weeks old…cute!  Let’s not forget, we had 2 year old twins and a 6 year old at the time.  What was I thinking?  Still not sure.  So a 12 week old puppy and general family chaos ensued.  He has always been loved and well taken care of…we just truly didn’t have a lot of time for him.   Don’t get me wrong, he got walked every day (well most days), he came on trips with us and was part of the family, but we just didn’t have time for him he deserved.

He has always been a very independent and well behaved dog.  A dog we could just throw the door open for and he would trot into the garden to explore.  In the US, we have 8 acres of land…he kept mostly close to the house, and only twice did he wander off.  I’ll never forget the call received at my office telling me Chester was seen walking down the street with a can of Pepsi in his mouth 🙂

In the UK, he has virtually no garden and the front door opens up onto the street.   He has lost his land and space but it’s still definitely his best year ever – because we have more time!


This year, he has been walked 2+ times a day.  For hours at a time.  He’s explored miles of fields, coastline and farmland.  He’s had 2 people home with him every day…a change from being in the States being left at home while we were all at work each day.   He has traveled to see family and loved by everyone…more attention for a Golden is a dream come true!

To think, we almost didn’t bring Chester with us.  We thought perhaps it wouldn’t be fair to make him travel, or coop him up in a smaller house.  I’m glad I halted the re-homing process and committed to him for the long haul.   He’s part of our memories here in England – his first cow encounter, being terrified of the post/ mail shooting through the front door letterbox, learning not to bark at the milkman and learning to sit and watch the horses pass by the front door.

We wouldn’t have done it any other way….love you buddy x