Trying to make the repat process fun: online Tesco order (yes really!)

I’m finding the UK repatriation thingymabob slightly tough. There is so much to sort out, and to be honest I really just want to be making the most of my time here, not packing and ticking off lists and planning bits and bobs. It seems endless, and is not helping my insomnia!

However, after a frustrating day attempting to tick of various repatriation to-dos I decided to do something fun in my repat-list. The online food order for our return! I remember that when I did the USA one it was fascinating and weird, since I had to Google various items using the British words to find out what the US alternative was. You know, stuff like ‘kitchen roll’ = ‘paper towel’, ‘washing powder’ = ‘laundry detergent’ etc.


This time round, on the Tesco website (Gawd Bless ‘Em, they remembered me and my ClubCard points after three years!) it was super fun inputting all the British groceries! I was mentally re-stocking my cupboards with all sorts of British items. And BOOZE – let’s not forget the joy of ordering booze on your weekly shop! The food is generally slightly cheaper, I think, than in the USA.


Rich Tea biscuits, jam, bacon, teabags, crisps (Monster Munch and Skips!), Cadbury’s, OXO cubes, Bovril and a load of other things made the list. And I haven’t finished yet! I’ll still be adding, since I don’t need it delivered till August, obviously! Suggestions welcome!

It’s The Final Countdown (doodoodoodoo!)

I haven’t written on this blog for a while cos much has been happening still in the USA (like roadtrips and cool stuff), and, quite frankly, I’ve been slightly resenting having to spend my precious fun time packing and sorting and sorting and packing. But needs, must, cos we head back in just over 3 1/2 months.

We've been having USA fun roadtripping!

We’ve been having USA fun roadtripping!

I’ve got yard sales to do, volunteering to build houses to complete, holibobs to have, parties to organise, summer camps to attend, festival to get drunk at, and all sorts of fun stuff to be getting on with over the next three months, as well as the dreaded mundane sorting and packing. Bleurgh.

But also, we’re looking ahead to the UK (at least I am) since I need something called AN INCOME. I love working, so that’s a bonus, and I want to use my new found travel bug and writing skills, and, By Jove, I only went and bloody well blagged myself a job doing travel PR for a coolio company in the town wot I live in. So, double thumbs up for me! I can cross ‘Get a job‘ off the To Do List. But that only reduces the list by a teeny-tiny percent.

Back in the PR game!

Back in the PR game!

There’s shed loads to do UK side: book camps to keep our son occupied whilst we’re at work over the last weeks of the summer in the UK, sort our tenants and our house and all that needs doing in the garden which is ramshackle, find a ruddy school because the English school system is (how do I put this politely – oh, I can’t) slightly f*cked and there are no places for 7 year olds in Cheltenham cos everyone got jiggy with it in 2007/8 and now there are too many kids and not enough school places.  Etc etc.


I shan’t bore you with the rest of my list, because you don’t need to know things like: ‘Do a massive grocery order for delivery the day after we arrive’, but now you do know that, and, fyi, it will be with Tesco because I wish to resume my ClubCard points and I’m not a supermarket snob really and truly (tho I did feel slightly smug that my new offices are near to Whole Foods 😉 ).

Anyhoo, in addition, our cats are booked on the flights back to the UK now, so we need to practically remortgage the house so they can come back with us cos of all the injections and wotnot that are needed too. My husband was kind of hoping they’d pop their clogs out here, since they are 13, but no such luck for him. Back to Blighty you go, wee mittens whom I love!

So, yes, we are on countdown and I am going slightly crazy living between two worlds, but with today being St George’s Day it’s been nice to see a fair bit of patriotism about England which warmed me cockles, so it did. And yes, by George (pun intended), I will defo miss the USA loads and my heart will yearn for it, but I rise to the challenge of repatriation and I will slay those dragons that get in my way (I’m not a junkie, I’m just trying to carry on the St George metaphor…).


So, toodlepip and happy St George’s Day to you!

British Words for Rainy Days…

My Brit chum in the USA noted that according to the new Paddington film us Brits have over 100 words to describe rainy days. (Well, you have to have a plethora of choices for so many wet days… 😉 )

Here’s what we got so far…….

1.Raining cats and dogs


2. Bucketing down

3. Pi**ing it down

4. Chucking it down

5. It’s spitting

6. Pelting down

7. Teeming

8. Pouring down

9. Peeing down!

10. Downpour

11. Lashing it down

12. Torrents

13. Misty rain

14. Showers

15. Precipitation

16. Raindrops


17. Trickling

18. Drizzle/drizzling

19. Siling down

20. Heavens have opened

21. ‘Nice weather, for ducks’

22. Monsoons

23. Coming down in stair rods

24. Persisting down

25. A cloudburst


26. Throwing it down

27. Helling

28. April shower

29. Belting down

30. A Geordie one ” hoying it doon”

31. It’s bloody well raining again!

There must be more! How many more can you think of?!

And now updates from you the readers!

32. Looking black o’er Bill’s mother……

33. Coming down in buckets!

34. South Wales: ‘picking to rain’

The Fabulous English Cotswolds

Visit Britain’s Gem

I might be slightly biased, but as a Brit-who-lives-in-America-who-is-visiting-the-UK I find the Cotswolds still one of the most charming and delightfully English places of all.

But I don’t really know it properly; I haven’t discovered it all and there is much more to it than I am aware of. So I was over the moon to discover that there is a totally new tour of the Cotwsolds that shows you all the hidden nooks and crannies and gems of the area, and it’s aimed at showing American tourists the wonders of the land – so kind of perfect for me!

The tour is actually a full day tour of Cotswold villages that includes an invitation into a private home, The Secret Cottage, for morning coffee, a buffet lunch and a traditional cream tea. Can you get more Englishy-English than that? No you jolly well can’t!

The idyllic Secret Cottage

The idyllic Secret Cottage

Every day throughout the year a six hour guided day tour of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire north Cotswold villages, combined with intervals at a private thatched cottage shows tourists these beautiful places in the countryside. I have to admit that on this return journey I am becoming more partial to the British countryside. It’s captured me!

Cotswolds joy!

Cotswolds joy!

Becky, the tour guide, drives a minibus to outstanding hidden villages that are inaccessible by public transport. The unspoilt villages that she has selected are made up of thatched cottages, clipped lawns and dusty lanes, which perfectly illustrate what life was like in the 16th century. Having lived in the area for twenty-five years, her local knowledge is invaluable to visitors.

What gave Becky the idea for starting the tour was that every tourist yearns to see inside these cottages and to see how the English conduct their daily lives?  Well she lives in a pretty thatched cottage and though ‘I’d love to show people what I experience every day.’ Though she doesn’t dress in 16th century clothes, just so you know.

Becky’s home is called ‘Secret Cottage’ and is quintessentially perfect for guests to explore and experience how the English live in the Cotswolds. Inside everything is old and quaint, there are three inglenook fireplaces which are open log fires used to heat the cottage, the winding stairs and floors are made from original elm planks and the heavily beamed listed cottage is nearly 500 years old!

During the tour of villages, Becky periodically returns to Secret Cottage to serve morning coffee and pastries, a buffet lunch and in the afternoon you can see the scones being baked in the Aga, which are essential for the traditional English Cotswold cream tea.



All of the tourists are overwhelmed by the experience of being invited into a private home with many of them describing it as fairyland. Becky excels when it comes to deciding which route to take for the day, she’s brilliant at assessing what the different nationalities would like to see and consistently delivers a bespoke memorable tour that is guaranteed to please everybody with plenty of surprises.

With only seven passenger seats in the Mercedes minibus, guests are guaranteed that their tour is personal and can choose when they’d like to stop and take their pictures.

I tell you, American friends, and British friends too if you want to experience and really see the Cotswolds properly, you have to do this. Already, TripAdvisor has Ranked Secret Cottage #1 of 18 ‘Best Attractions in Moreton-in-Marsh’ and #2 of 91 ‘Best Activities in the Cotswolds’. 

The tour  was recently been part of a television series with a whole episode dedicated to Secret Cottage, this was organised by Visit Britain, Virgin Atlantic and Cotswold Tourism. Fancy that!

I adore the Cotswolds. And I’m seeing it all again through new eyes and appreciating it even more.