Friday, 24 June 2016

Flashback Friday - A cheeky weekend in Paris

One of the joys of expat life is the people you meet and 
the friends you make along the way. 
Expat friends become your family away from home and you get 
close much quicker than you would at home.
Once we left Shanghai and lived for two years each in 
England and Germany, most of our visitors were 
friends from our time in Shanghai. 
We caught up with lots of  friends as they came to London, 
English friends who were 'home for the Summer' 
would join me for an adventure or two.
Friends came to stay in Germany to visit us...and a 
Christmas Market ... or two....maybe a visit to the Rhine to 
drink a Riesling...or two!

I received a message from a Shanghai friend who invited my family to join them in 
Champagne to spend the weekend with them and drink Champagne
while they were there. Only a few hours drive from Frankfurt... 
How could I say no??? Well I had to, we were off  
back to England so my elder daughter could go to prom 
with her old school mates that weekend. 
Major bad timing...but, our friends were also going to Paris! 
Maybe we could meet there...
 Took a little juggling, searching for rail tickets 
and a sneaky day off school for my youngest daughter, 
two of us got to go to Paris for the weekend. 
 We got to  have a fabulous weekend, 
We wandered the streets, soaked up the atmosphere and ate some wonderful food.
Best of all got to spend lots of time catching up with our wonderful friends. 
Sometimes these spur of the moment trips are the very best!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Memories of life in Shanghai four years on...

Hard to believe that we left our Shanghai life four years ago this week. 
We lived in Shanghai for four years so we have now been away for longer than we were there. 
So much has changed, we are struggling with repatriation after eight years 
as expats. Two years each in England and Germany after Shanghai. 
The memories remain strong but the life we lived fades into the distance. 
Barely any of our friends remain, the city has moved on, the skyline has changed, 
the markets, shops and restaurants that were familiar are no more,
 replaced with new places to give the next generation of expats
places to discover and explore.

Shanghai will always be special to my little family. 
My husband and I really had a four year long honeymoon! 
The places we went, the adventures we had, the people we met, 
lifelong friends have now slowly dispersed
around this globe of ours. 

We still miss Shanghai every day, such a vibrant, exciting, cultural and fun city...
come on a trip down memory lane with me...

Recycling guy, Shanghai, China

Our friendly local recycling guy!

Brides, Thames Town, Shanghai, China

The brides of Shanghai...having photos taken at "Thames Town"

Shanghai Skyline, Shanghai, China

The ever changing skyline and all the comings and goings of the Bund.

 Zhenru Temple, Shanghai, China

The temples!

Golden Leaves, Yu Garden, Shanghai, China

The beautiful local people, the autumn colour and Yu Garden

Mao, Dongtai Lu Antique Market, Shanghai, China

The now long gone Dongtai Lu antique market.

Street Food, Muslim Market, Shanghai, China

The aromatic and delicious food of the Muslim Market.

Laundry and load in an alley, Shanghai, China

The laundry and the loads.

Birds and Seniors, Shanghai, China

The senior citizens having a chat while 'airing' their birds.

Xujiahui, Shanghai, China

My local stomping grounds, the noise, the smell...the traffic!

Robyn's Shanghai nappers, Shanghai, China

The I miss my nappers!

Superman dog, Shanghai, China

The dogs in clothes. 

So much to miss but so many fabulous memories, happy we had the opportunity to 
have such a wonderful experience. 
We wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Throwback Thursday, Moments in Time, 12 May 2016 Wiesbaden, Germany

Wiesbaden was where my husband was based just before we moved to Germany
and quickly became one of my favourite places. 
A historic spa city from way back in the Roman times, 
 it is filled with beautiful architecture as it suffered far less damage
than Frankfurt in WWII. 
Only a twenty minute drive from home, was a favourite place to shop, eat and drink.
This time last year I headed in to Wiesbaden on a gorgeous Spring day. 
A gorgeous day to wander through the market square, marvel at
the gorgeous neo Gothic Marktkirche, the City Palace, a palace for the Heir to the throne
 and The Heathens Wall, Wiesbaden's oldest structure from Roman Times.

Also a perfect day to buy some in season and absolutely delicious 
White Asparagus and for just €1 a kilo you can have them peeled before 
heading home and having a scrummy white asparagus, prawn, tomato pasta dinner.

Now feeling homesick for Germany and really, really missing White Asparagus season!

Marktkirche, Wiesbaden, Germany

The City Palace, Wiesbaden, Germany

The Heathens Wall, Wiesbaden, Germany

White Asparagus, Wiesbaden Market, Germany

White Asparagus, Wiesbaden Market, Germany

White Asparagus, Wiesbaden Market, Germany

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Throwback Thursday, Moments in Time 5 May 2012, Shanghai, China

In May 2012, my little family was on the final countdown to the 
end of our expat adventure in Shanghai.
Life was full of farewells and 'last times'. Adventures to be squeezed into our final months. 
On 5 May, we headed over to Pudong to visit the Shanghai World Financial Centre or 
"The Bottle Opener" to expats and locals alike. 
We had watched this building being constructed while we lived in Shanghai and
wanted to go to the observation deck 474m above the ground one last time.

We looked out over the Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and the under construction Shanghai Tower, 
well before it overtook the Bottle Opener.
The magical city of Shanghai was spread out before us, though the skies 
were murky...until of course we had gone back down to street level and
the skies finally cleared and were bright and blue!

The ever changing Shanghai Skyline, frozen in time, 5 May 2012, 
boy has it changed since!
Hard to believe that we have now lived away from Shanghai for nearly as long as were lived there.

Shanghai Skyline 5 May 2012

Shanghai Skyline 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

The Bottle Opener, Shanghai 5 May 2012

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Throwback Thursday! Moments in Time 28 April 2013 - Waterperry Gardens, England

28 April 2013
Waterperry Gardens

When we lived in England, on the border of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, 
we drove by the sign for Waterperry Gardens all the time. 
Spring was Springing, we had a visitor over from Australia and 
despite an overcast and chilly day, I grabbed my chance to 
take my little family on a garden adventure with our visitor.

Waterperry Gardens is 8 acres of beautiful gardens. 
A riverside walk lined with daffodils A meadow filled with
Snakeshead fritillaries, my absolute favourite native English wild flower. 
Formal gardens, rose gardens and a herbaceous border.
Magnificent Magnolia's in bloom, Fruit trees budding
Springtime filling the air with perfume.

A lovely way to soak up the countryside in Spring, 
or any time of the year, England has a flower for every season season. 

Meadow filled with Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

Waterlily Canal, Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire, England

Riverside Daffodils, Waterperry Garden, England

Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

 Aren't these the most amazing flower, the chequerboard petals, 
the bell shaped flowers nodding in the breeze. 
Also known as the chequered daffodil!
They are sure to be home to the trendiest of fairies!!!

Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

Snakeshead fritillaries, Waterperry Garden, England

Magnolia in Bloom, Waterperry Garden, England

Magnolia in Bloom, Waterperry Garden, England

Spring blossoms, Waterperry Garden, England

Spring blossoms, Waterperry Garden, England

Monday, 25 April 2016

ANZAC Day 2016, Fremantle Dawn Service and Parade

We are fortunate to have had the freedom as Australians,  
to live and work in China, England and Germany for the past eight years. 
A freedom and way of life due to the service and sacrifice our 
servicemen and sailors made for us all. 
We have attended dawn services alongside fellow Australians 
and New Zealanders in Shanghai
We have laid wreaths at our village war memorial in England, held our own service 
and in a corner of a tiny cemetery in France.

Today we commemorated our ANZACS on our home soil. 
Stood amongst hundreds of other Australians and New Zealanders 
in the misty grey light of dawn. All silent as the beat of the drum 
filled the air, joined occasionally with the dawn chorus of native bird life.

An ANZAC Dawn Service is moving. 
We listened as the stories of local men, who left our shores, put the lives of their comrades 
and country before their own and died as heroes were read. 
Descendants of those men blessed to return home, myself included, 
stood together and honoured these men and women who served 
and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

ANZAC Dawn Service Fremantle 2016

ANZAC Dawn Service Fremantle 2016

ANZAC Dawn Service Fremantle 2016

ANZAC Dawn Service Fremantle 2016

We went into Fremantle and clapped and cheered as the parade of  veterans passed us by

ANZAC Day Parade, Fremantle 2016

ANZAC Day Parade, Fremantle 2016

ANZAC Day Parade, Fremantle 2016

We watched with pride as a new generation of our service men and women passed by, 
prepared to protect our country and way of life.

ANZAC Day Parade, Fremantle 2016

ANZAC Day Parade, Fremantle 2016

We were joined by thousands of others at the closing ceremony. 
The ANZAC spirit doesn't diminish but grows stronger with each passing year. 
Older generations passing the baton and pride to the next generations.
We will remember our fallen.

Heavy rain did not dampen the spirit, our soldiers and sailors stood tall and proud.

Thank you for your Service. 
After eight years of ANZAC Day abroad for me, 
it has been an honour to pay tribute on home soil today.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, 
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.