The welcome hamper

The welcome hamper

In a few hours time my mum, dad and brother will land in England. Fairly soon after Adam and I announced we were moving to Worcestershire, my family decided they would come and visit us in the English summer. After so many months of talking about the trip, I can’t quite believe it’s almost here!

It’s been around 10 months since I’ve seen my parents and closer to 11 months, my brother. Although we call and text on a regular basis, it’s still not quite the same as being able to talk face to face.

They’re splitting their time between Malvern and travelling around the U.K. so to help them get over their very long journey and to welcome them to our little part of Worcestershire, I’ve made up a small hamper…

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A postcard from Gauja National Park

A postcard from Gauja National Park

Once upon a time there was an eight year old girl who lived in northern Australia.  She’d never seen snow, only in movies and on television.  She liked to pretend the ash that fell from the sky when nearby cane farmers burnt off their crop was snow. Little did she know she’d grow up and one day find herself in her very own snowglobe….

Looking toward's St John's Church from the old Cesis Castle in Latvia.

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A postcard from Riga

A postcard from Riga

Ever walked around a place and been awestruck at the beauty that surrounds you? When you get that excited grin on your face and have to keep telling yourself, ‘Yes, this is real’. That’s the feeling I got strolling through the Latvian capital Riga the weekend before last. It’s a city that’s got a history dating back to before the Middle Ages, is starting to find its feet after so many decades of occupation and is filled with just some really lovely people.

Old Town in Riga Latvia.

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The suitcase guide: Latvia

The suitcase guide: Latvia

This weekend Adam and I will fly to Latvia for our next mini-break of 2017. Latvia is one of the Baltic states in Eastern Europe and has a long and conflicted history, including being invaded by Nazi Germany and occupied by the Soviet Union in the last 100 years. Part of the capital Riga has a UNESCO World Heritage listing and close to half the country, which is part of the European Union, is forested – a unique mix that allows for varied holiday experiences.

Small suitcase and Australian passport.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Eastern Europe was a region we started investigating after returning from Gibraltar last month, due to its easy accessibility from the U.K., the exchange rate and the fact it was a little ‘off the radar’.  When well priced flights to Riga came up at reasonable times on the dates we wanted from our first choice airport, Adam and I decided Latvia needed to be explored.

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The new European holiday

The new European holiday

I can remember quite a few years ago getting totally engrossed in the Facebook photo album of a university acquaintance who was living and working in London.  There were dozens of pictures of holidays abroad in exotic European locations and I admit, I was a little envious.

Years later and a post a move to the U.K. myself, I’m beginning to understand how she was doing it: there are relatively small distances you have to travel to reach Europe and a highly competitive budget airline industry. It totally makes sense, if you’re smart with your money you can travel, and travel often.

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The suitcase guide: Gibraltar

The suitcase guide: Gibraltar

A couple of weeks ago Adam and I sat aside a few days in February for a mini-break. Our first getaway in the Lake District (read about it here and here) seemed a distant memory and we were itching to go exploring again.

Due to only having three days spare we decided a city break was the best option.  We found super cheap flights to Gibraltar (£35 return!) and booked an Airbnb apartment right in the city centre.

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