To be quite honest, I’m not much of a fan of mother’s day. It always seems such a farce. A day much like any other except that on top of all the normal daily chores you have to pretend to be incredibly grateful for those wilting supermarket flowers that are going to be making you sneeze for the next few days and some awful nasty perfume or cheap jewellery.
I’m eternally grateful for the homemade cards and knickknacks that the kids make but other than that, this infographic nails it: a lie in, a day off and something lovely to put in my bath would be the most perfect gifts I could imagine.
And they probably wouldn’t aggravate my hay-fever or bring me out in an itchy rash either.
Take some time for yourself and unwind with your preferred foot care or body care products.
What about you, what’s the most perfect Mother’s Day gift you could receive?
A good friend of mine is moving abroad and about to start her own expat life on new shores. I’m so excited for her and the new life she is about to discover; the new experiences, food, language and people she is about to immerse herself in. It’s almost awakens the old adventurer in me. Almost. These days I’m far happier to stay home and live my expat life vicariously through her.
Seven years of living in Finland as well as 4 year of travelling and working abroad were enough to quell my need for foreign adventure. For now at least. But those several years have given me quite a lot of experience. Which is why, when I was asked to contribute just one tip to the HiFX Expat Tips page where expats from around the world share their tips for living abroad, I struggled to choose just one. So I decided to put my top 5 expat tips in a post of my own.
Top 5 Expat Tips
1. Immerse yourself in your new world
Your new adopted country is a whole new world just waiting to be discovered, get out there and see it. Eat the food, see the sights and meet the people. Walk in the forests, swim in the lakes, climb the mountains and visit the beaches. Get a good feel for the country as a whole if you can, and not just the area you are moving to.
2. Learn the language
Even if you have expats friends that speak your language, even if everyone around you understands your native language, learn the language of the country you have chosen to live in. It will open up so much more of the country and the people to you.
3. Embrace the weird
Every country has its oddities, some more than others perhaps but they all have them. Rather than backing away from them with a curled lip, give them a try. Try a dish of that awful sounding food that all the locals love, strip off and go for a swim in the lake or a naked sauna party. Embrace the odd, try the weird, open your heart and your mind to your new country and don’t be afraid to look silly.
4. Don’t compare
It’s a trap many expats fall into, comparing and contrasting between back home and the new country and rarely does it lead to anything other than misery. There is no right or wrong way to do things and your new country is just that, a new country. It’s not home and they do things differently. Don’t fight it, go with it. Accept the way things are and for Godsake, don’t be tempted to start doing #5.
5. Stop telling people how you do things back home
Nobody cares. Seriously, they don’t give a rats stinking behind if back home your wardrobes are all walk in or every house has underfloor heating. They don’t care and they sick to the back teeth of hearing about it. It makes you sound as though you consider your way of doing things is superior and better. Many people will begin to wonder just why it is you want to live here rather than moving back home and several may voice this opinion.
Remember the old adage ‘If you haven’t got anything nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all’ and stop insulting your new country in every other breath.
I must have been a very naughty, loud or messy child because I seem to remember spending an awful lot of time being sent to play in my room. And a large part of that time lying on my bed staring at the ceiling being bored.
God it was brilliant.
Boredom was the reason I figured out on my own how to make friendship bracelets in all sorts of different patterns and designs. How to build something amazing out of all those boxes piled up in the corner and the reason I made up so many games using various parts of board games on my shelf.
Boredom was a great creator of fun and creativity.
And it’s something my kids need to experience more of. They seem so ill equipped to deal with boredom, or to know how to fill their time when the option of staring at the TV or beating the snot out of each other on various computer consoles to fill their time.
So today we are starting out with being introduced to my old friend boredom. Assuming I can put up with the constant zombie-like moans of ‘I’m bored’ that have started up already 10 minutes in.
Hang on, now I see why I spent so much of this time having been sent up to my room.
Maybe it’s a northern thing, or an anti-bull thing – perhaps they are one in the same thing – but I’ve always had an aversion to Valentines Day and all the hype that comes with it. So when our plans to have the kids sleep over at their friends house on Friday night started to come unraveled I wasn’t too upset.
What better way of celebrating Valentines Day than with the people you love? All of them. So we decided to have a games night – part of the Bring Back Game Night campaign from Two Little Fleas.
As soon as I mentioned it to the kids they were excited. Getting to stay up late, eat snacky food and play games as a family. The Boy was buzzing from the moment he got out of bed in the morning, reminding me constantly throughout the day that it was Games Night.
And it really was an ace way to spend the evening.
A game of Wing It – a new board game by Pants on Fire Games based around RSPB bird reserves – was a big hit with The Girl, and the Pirate Race Game from Orchard Toys was hilarious and a huge hit with us all.
There were hotdogs and cheesy nachos, and much fun was had by all. And come bed time both kids were exhausted and dropped off as soon as their heads hit the pillows. Leaving time for me and Dan to watch a couple of episodes of house of Cards season 2 on Netlix before bed. Blummin ‘eck, House of Cards just keeps getting better and better.
A family games night is such a good idea that I think we might make it a weekly ritual.
Dressed in our mud splattered dog-walking clothes and wellies, armed with woolly hats, gloves and dog treats we set off down the lanes to the field for our daily dog walk.
Bloody hell, I marveled as they ran on ahead, skipping and leaping over puddles; splashing and racing each other. They are actually enjoying themselves. What was once a torture for them being forced to walk the dogs at the weekends and give up a few hours of their precious free time, had become something they enjoyed and looked forward to, even in horrid windy weather.
The boy had found a huge stick and was pretending it was a metal detector. I was making beeping noises for him as he got closer to his treasure. The dogs were running around behind us, gleefully chasing each other around the field whilst the girl foraged in muddy puddles with a stick.
Ahh, this is what it’s all about, I thought to myself. We are nailing this home education stuff.
Just then the dogs ran a bit too close to the metal detector and the boy swung his stick out of the way, knocking the girl into the muddy puddle on her hands and knees and in turn splashing mud into my face.
I closed my eyes, blinking and spluttering, stalwartly continuing to beep for the metal detector. Wiping the mud from my face I opened my eyes again to find several rather sour faces staring back at me. A perfectly dressed, smart looking family with their clean well behaved dog had come around the corner to find a woman wearing filthy, mud splattered clothes emitting weird beeping noises whilst a pair of unruly dogs leapt about and a couple of street urchins beat each other up with sticks.
Yup, totally nailing it.