The last 6 months

Hi there!

How’s things? Mark has taken Summer swimming, i’ve cleaned the kitchen and now have Mcfly playing (very) loudly and really felt like writing. So here we are – I have even made myself a tea so I must be getting serious… so here’s an update on what’s happened since we have moved back to UK – 6 months ago! Who knew that time goes even faster this side of the world than in LA.
I Got Pregnant 
That’s a big one. It was half planned/half not – you know, we had just done this big move and we wanted to settle in, but also knew we didn’t want a big age gap between Summer and her siblings but it just felt like we were just finding our path and then BOOM morning sickness, tiredness mixed with not being able to nap and all round irritable came into the mix of it! I did a test early in the morning and saw the positive sign but for some reason I did not feel as positive about it… has this happened to anyone else? we did another test a couple of days after and felt a bit better about it all.  I think it was more the thought of timing and everything what had just happened it just felt so overwhelmed how we were going to cope – I mean we were still living at my parents house!

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My Best Friends Wedding 
My sissy – the one who looks like me but doesn’t, the one everyone thinks is my older sister, the one who I gave my fake ID to before I was even legal age and she was able to use it, the one who I text everyday even when I was million miles away, the one who I can laugh with literally about the smallest thing but then can’t stop- My Melody. She got married!
I had the privilege of being the matron of honour and oh my goodness it was such a special day. As her Prince Ray is Chinese they honoured that with a traditional tea ceremony in the morning and then a western wedding in the afternoon at the beautiful Buxted Hotel. Such a romantic setting and they had both gone above and beyond when thinking of the decorations, the food, the layouts, the outfits – everything was perfect – the string quartet definitely added that extra layer of finesse.
It’s a day they will treasure forever and us too. Also Summer was the flower girl and Mark was a groomsman so we were very involved.

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Summer Started Nursery
Well this one felt huge to me. I used to be the only one who looked after Summer while Mark was at work – it’s long hours with sometimes only Peppa Pig to keep you company. It had amazing days and days where you’re literally counting every minute until you can talk to someone who could actually communicate back. So the thought of her learning or being away from me for more than a few hours is actually so daunting.
One of the big things about coming back to UK was that it was time she started some kind of nursery – we thought maybe just three days a week in the morning and can go from there. After viewing a few around Brighton we settled on one that focuses a lot on play, time outdoors and good food. When we first walked in it has that sense of little bit crazy, a mixed array of smells from guinea pigs, play dough and wee – and we thought what a great place for you kids to play and be encouraged to be themselves!
It was me who was the one left crying as I watched her “initiation” (putting her coat on her peg she got to pick) and being shown which room she will be in. The staff were all amazing and it overall it was a great experience. Even more so Summer looks forward to the days she gets to play with her aunties all day and I know she’s being fed better than I probably feed her at home!

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First Christmas in UK 
Christmas suddenly got all the magic back this year – even though everyone moans about the cold its actually quite an essential part to the festive season! This year was great – it was cold enough to be bundled up but not cold enough to ruin the spirit. Summer totally got it this year she was all about the lights outside the house, the songs that come with it and learning about Santa. She possibly was a bit too smart when she realised we don’t have a chimney for him to come down, so out came a special key so he can definitely come to our place. She asked Santa for Pink Presents so that’s what she got as she had been a good girl (Although I overheard her telling her grandma she wanted blue presents and didn’t get any…why do they change their mind last minute??)
Her face on Christmas morning was priceless – she actually gasped when she realised the reindeers had eaten the carrots and Santa had got to the cookies we laid out for him with the milk.

JAN 19-7

 

Moved House
3 months back at my parents house and 3 months out in our own space. This had been the longest we had spent trying to find somewhere. After realising it’s going to take a bit longer than we wanted to buy our own place we thought we should rent. I think we viewed around 10 places, some were so small i’m not sure how we would have fit just Mark and me in there let alone a toddler and baby with the amount of things they accumulate, and some were amazing but were flats and so high up in grand town houses, with no lifts and buggies involved it just wasn’t really a good idea.
But now we have a place! and we are happy – it’s right by a huge park and hello Nando’s I see you from our bedroom!
I am very lucky to have friends who live nearby and also my parents who live on the other side of the park, it felt like it was just the right choice.
It was one of those moments that when we first viewed it I could imagine Summer running through it and it just felt right.
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So this is where we are now – slowly finding our pace. We are fully in the nursery school runs via cars and buses and have found the good softplays (the one with the good selection of cakes and coffees) and we are slowly coming to the realisation that we’re going to be having another baby joining us in the next 3 months

Bring it on.

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January

Just over two weeks into 2018. I might have got that “New Year/New Beginnings” mentality (oh hey, sparkling new gym membership card) but if it means it’s an excuse to have a fresh start and the drive and motivation to try new stuff then I’m all up for it.

I can’t say it’s been the easiest of days at the moment.  I have a lot of friends going through some pretty tough times right now, many unexpected life events and some even devestating, makes me realise once again that i’m so far away from loved ones. This also means I value more of what I have to live for and enjoy each moment as it happens.

On a happier note I know two babies already born this year! Both girls and both adorable and gonna rock the year of the dog.

Some of the things we have been up to:

We found a good Dim Sum place! it’s in San Gabriel called Elite and not all fancy. Just good old fashion tasty food. There’s a bit of a wait but its ok it was worth it. Pretty good way to spend the 1st day of a new year.

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A drawing of our food – with added faces 🙂

Everyone is sick, literally every family I know in LA has caught some kind of lurgy. There’s a crazy stomach bug going on and also the common cold just seem to linger around. Mark and Summer just seem to keep passing it to each other so it just circulates in our home, but touch wood I have been a strong mama and managed to avoid it!
The other day Mark came home feeling pretty rough and Summer laid herself on the floor next to him complete with her blanket and just stayed next to her daddy. It was the cutest.

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Along with that there’s actually been a few days of rain so Summer and me have spent a LOT of time just being at home. It’s okay though – we got out the play dough cake maker machine and have done a lot of dressing up, my love of hats seemed to have been passed down to this little one.

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And then the sun came back and we took a nice wonder around Century City Mall and I got my camera out. This place is seriously built to be Instagrammed!

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So there you have it, just a little update. How’s 2018 been treating you so far?

 

Reflecting

And now it’s 2018. It’s always nice to write reflection posts as it makes you realize what you have achieved from the last year. Usually I find I have accomplished more than it ever feels like,  so these type of posts make me feel good and actually like I have been living my life and not stuck in some auto pilot timeless circle.

Here are a few highlights from 2017

Making new friends

This was a big one for me. I like to think I’m an outgoing person and easy to talk to, but realistically I’m an awkward mumbling mess who is never really sure I’m making enough eye contact and smiling at the right moments. On top of this i’m now the one with the accent so trying super hard to make sure people actually understand me.
So for me to make new friends was a terrifying thing but also a little bit exciting. I knew I just had to throw myself into it and with Summer being my passport to many clubs/events/classes I thought there must be likeminded people out there. In the first month of 2017 I went and joined a mommy and me class, a fitness class and a local moms group on Facebook.
But actually the two closest friends I have made have both been by pure accident. The best type of accidents that could happen. Now I consider these guys almost family, they’re the ones I turn to when I have a million questions about places to go, food recommendations, help with Summer, questions about living in US and many other random questions.  But the biggest part is we are all there for each other and making each other laugh and smile.
I am fortunate that I actually have family here already and also some friends from UK are here too, so have a great support group around me, but making new friends was a big thing for me and I’ve found some for life, and Summer has too!

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All the visitors

When you tell people you’re moving to LA of course you’re gonna have friends visit. And I am all about this! Also with a lot of friends working in the film industry we were bound to have people passing through who want to stop by and say hi. We have been super blessed to see so many familiar faces over the year and show them all the great things this beautiful place has to offer.

Some of the best bits have been:
– my parents coming and showing them the life we have out here.
– finding some great restaurants and reasons to eat at them (it’s easier with a child to not go to these places so it’s a great excuse to get dolled up and make effort!)
– knowing you can have 3 kids and 4 adults all living pretty well under a 2 bedroom apartment for a week – and nobody wanted to kill each other!
– the many beach days we could take them to around the coast.
– the amazing funny memories that i’ll have forever from great people coming to stay with us.

 

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Trip back to UK 

As mentioned in a previous blog post  our trip back to UK was a special 3 weeks. Not only was it obviously nice to see everyone and attend my brother in laws wedding, but it was great for everyone to see how much Summer had grown and see her personality shine through. Every time I think of the moments she was bonding with her grandparents it makes my heart burst, and seeing how well she got on with her cousins and my friends is something I had longed for to happen. Everyone commented on how happy a child she is and its actually something i’m super proud of. It can get very tough for me sometimes being so far away from everyone and Summer is a handful at times, so to know people who I care about really think i’m doing a good job it makes it a bit less painful for me to be so far away.

Starting Photography 

Also another one I have written about recently, but since then I have squeezed in 8 photoshoots! I can’t actually believe it when I think about it, how something I’ve always thought about doing just actually went and happened. We even went to the City Hall and I got all the right documents in order to make it all legit! I’m loving the idea of capturing peoples memories and the look of their faces when I show them the back of my camera at what I can see makes it all worth it. The plan is to make the money from this and buy myself better equipment so then I can keep taking even better photos and possibly take up some courses too. For weeks I was watching live Webinars on the internet for information and knowing what to expect on shoots. These have been like gold dust to me and the knowledge I took home from them are invaluable.
I have an Instagram account too for the Studio Sunny Side Up if you want to have a looksy.

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And there you have it, 2017 all wrapped up into a few neatly preserved paragraphs. The year of course went a lot deeper than this and had some crusty moments where I wondered if we had made the right decision moving to the other side of the world. It’s been challenging and testing but the good moments have certainly outweighed these, and that’s what life is about, right? it’s about experiences. They help you grow as a person whether they’re good or bad and you learn from them.

So here’s to 2018 and more experiences and everything it has to offer.
Bring. It. On

 

 

UK! Home for 3 weeks

This is a jet lag, vanilla iced coffee induced blog post. We are 2 days back from a wonderful trip back to UK after 10 months of being away. My head is full of funny memories and my belly is stuffed full from all the chocolate, cakes, Nandos, fish and chips and Chinese we could handle! I could write for days about what we got up to, but I’m just gonna put some little things here. Our time was split between both families and luckily they’re only an hour and half away from each other. I like to refer to that particular journey as “the coastal tour” as its along the south coast and we used to do this trip every Christmas and probably all the other holiday seasons in UK – it’s the trip with all the roundabouts.

The wedding
The whole reason why we came back and the best reason is because Marks little brother Alex was marrying the wonderful Emma. This was a wedding of two beautiful souls and you could see every single detail they have put into it. It was great how they incorporated their love for the beach and surfing into the decorations and the music was amazing due to Alex’s involvement with music. They also used a real sword to cut their cake!
Summer was a flower girl too which made it even more special and with a ton of breadsticks and Moana on hand we managed to get her smiling down the aisle.

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The weather
It was a wet week in Bournemouth, which actually was quite a nice and refreshing! But… three days into it kind of changing our plans I was quickly over it and thinking of those blue LA skies! It was strange to be back in many layers and actually on the first day we had to make a shopping stop to buy Mark a jacket and Summer more warmer trousers.

 

The many animals we saw
So I realised that having your own children means you get to go back to places that live in your own childhood memories, and that’s really fun!

In Bournemouth we made a trip to Farmers Palmers where we met horses, fed goats, got lost in a maize maze, held Guinea pigs, rode go karts and played in a haystack full of slides.

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In crawley we went to Tilgate Park where we stroked donkeys, watched meerkats, spotted pigs, pretended to be kangaroos and saw swans in the lakes

In Brighton we went to Drusillas Park and watched many, many monkeys, saw penguins being fed, more horses and pigs, lots of birds and many exotic ones too like the servals and Binturongs!

Before Mark and me even had Summer we loved animals (Mark actually proposed to me at the zoo!) so to see Summers reaction to wanting to pet every animal she saw made everything feel so much more special. She was getting good at pointing them out in her books, but to see them in real life, that was just amazing for her. And with all these trips we went with family members and good friends, it was great to see how much joy the animals brought to them too, but mainly for them to see Summers personality.

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The family
Obviously one of the drawbacks of moving to another country is being away from loved ones. And going back means you want to cherish every moment you have with them. It makes my heart melt when I see Summer pouring pretend tea with her great grandma or how she calls both my parents Yaya and Yaya. I loved how her face lit up everytime her grandma entered the room (you should have seen her when she came in with a fascinator on her head!) or how she just wants to play with Bailey and Bradley – the family dogs. I loved watching her chase Zoe-Beth around and around and around and how she would just stare at her uncle Alex and uncle Brett.
Every time I think of those memories it makes me want to just pack everything up and run back home, but also know that there is so much more of America that Mark, Summer and me need to explore whilst we are here. Thank goodness for technology and FaceTime and all other devices that make it so simple for us to just call home and see a friendly face when things get a bit too tough for me out here

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Summer’s first haircut by Grandma

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So these are just small things I’m touching on about our time back. What do you look forward to most when going back to your roots?