Monday 5 July 2021

Expat/Repat Update

 Been a long time since the r... repatriation. (For those who thought I was introducing a little Led Zeppelin, my apologies. Gaze at Robert Plant for a while instead.) 

Meanwhile, I've been back in the UK for FOUR YEARS! A lots been going on since we got back, I can tell you. 

Firstly, as I mentioned in my last post, I was asked to write a column for Anglotopia, which I'm still doing. At first we called it The Repat Report, but once the repatriation shock had worn off, it morphed into A Brit Back Home. I still write about things I notice in the UK, although since I haven't been out much in the last century eighteen months, the posts haven't been quite as regular. There's only so much I can write about teeny British washing machines and toilets under the stairs! 

Pre-pandemic, we (meaning me, the Ball & Chain, and the Little Guy - who is now 6'3" and done with high school) travelled quite a lot in Europe. Not that The Continent wasn't there when I left the UK in 1990, but there certainly wasn't as much 'popping to European capitals for the weekend' going on. In our first two years we managed Madrid, Berlin, Majorca, Amsterdam, Vienna and Krakov, while the not-so-Little Guy's school trips included Lisbon, Vienna, Barcelona and The Hague. And then of course, it all came screeching to a halt, which was particularly disappointing for LG as that meant his Model United Nations activities trailed off too. 

On the writing front however, it's been as busy as ever. While keeping one eye on UK-US differences, my ever-present feminist voice got louder. No longer content with seething on the sidelines, I began writing at Medium and started work on a book.  

And it's now OUT! In collaboration with Jen and Susanna at BritMums, we've produced a book for every woman who's ever been left speechless by sexism. Called 

"How To Stand Up To Sexism; Words for when enough is enough",

it does what it says on the tin. You can read more about it here, along with the fabulous pre-launch reviews and various purchase options. 

We're very proud of it and pleased with the reception it's getting. Our thanks to fellow old-school BritMums bloggers Mari and Nickie. for their support. 

Monday 27 May 2019

Come and Have a Butcher's

Hi there. I have a LOT going on at the moment, most of which I can't talk about until the deal is sealed!

Ooooh, I hear you say.

In the meantime, I'm writing about my repatriation back to the UK and all things US-UK, over at the Anglotopia web site, so please do pop over and have a butchers*.

*"Have a butchers" - from the Cockney rhyming slang for "look" - Butcher's hook. (Now also the name of more than a few pubs & restaurants in the UK.)

Thursday 14 February 2019

A Very Merry Un-Valentine's

At the risk of sounding bah-humbug and party pooper-ish, it's quite liberating being in the UK on Valentine's Day. Nothing required at school, no last minute card-buying for distant relatives and no themed decor. Not a word of a lie - one year in the US, I was even given Valentine's homework for my youngest child to take back in. Coz you know, parents with three kids just don't have enough to do.

Although the shops in England are decked out with Valentine's tat stuff, when I looked for a card to send to my in-laws in the US, there was ONE card available that wasn't for a spouse! No Valentine cards for sons, daughters, grandmas etc. Nothing. It's a romantic affair over here, that's for sure.

In my former life as a mother to kids in an American school, I obviously really didn't have enough to do when I look back on the Valentine's Day things I have made. (It might also have been something to do with getting the kids in bed by 7.30pm and having the whole evening to craft to my heart's content.)

When kids are little, they're often asked to take cards or little gifts into school for their classmates. Never one for store bought rubbish, one year I made 20 little red and pink net bundles, each containing a handful of Hershey kisses (red and silver) and tied with a red bow. I know. Another year I found small doilies in the shape of a heart, so we set about making handmade cards for their friends. (Note - I did rope the kids in once they got old enough.)

I think I peaked when one of the kids was asked to take in something for the whole class, and we made a less faffy version of this - 
Instead of using fresh roses (like that was ever a consideration), we ripped up small pieces of pink and red tissue paper, crunched them up and stuck them onto a cardboard heart (painted red, of course). Two holes punched at the top of the heart, red ribbon strung through, and there's your classroom decoration - which the teacher actually kept and brought out again until it literally fell apart.

Another bit of genius came when I made a mosaic heart, photographed it and used the image for everything remotely Valentine related for about the next five years. (Obviously the crafter in me was beginning to take a back seat.)

These are fiddly but easy to do. You can also do birthday cakes, Xmas trees etc. 

So yes, Valentine's Day in the UK is definitely a calmer occasion, but I did get possibly the poshest box of chocolates I've ever had! 

And look - there's only one missing!!

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