Thursday, 19 June 2014

Forty Winks Friday. Table for one.

Sometimes it is hard to get a seat in a restaurant in Shanghai, 
not because the tables are full of people eating,
they are full of people having naps!

Robyn's Shanghai Nappers

Robyn's Shanghai Nappers

Robyn's Shanghai Nappers

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A few things I miss about living in England!

It has been five months since we loaded our car with the girls and the dog,
then followed the truck with our worldly belongings to our new life in Germany.
We love exploring our new surroundings, but still miss some of our UK life.

So, in no particular order are some of the wonderful
things to love about living in England!

Church of Saint Peter and Paul, Tring, Hertfordshire

The gorgeous old villages, the history they hold and the stories they tell...
and the daffodils that spread springtime over the country!

London Skyline

The ever changing and growing London Skyline!

The River Thames, Abingdon

The River Thames.
Boat trips, walks along the banks, drinks in pubs at the water's edge.

Leadenhall Market London

Discovering the many markets of London.

Prince George's Birth announcement

Being so close to London, you can join in the 
atmosphere of the big news events!


Blackberries you can forage for on walks in the woods.

English Apples

The Farmers' Markets and the delicious, fresh, local produce.

Snakeshead Fritillary

The spectacular Snakeshead Fritillary, the county flower of Oxfordshire.

The Bell, Cuddington

The cute Thatched pubs, real ales and good honest pub food.

Snowy field, Hughendon Manor, High Wycombe

The long country walks in winter, ice crunching underfoot. 

Christchurch, UK

Day trips to the seaside, this Aussie needs an ocean fix
every once in a while.

Sunset in the Chiltern countryside

The amount of protected countryside, beautiful and thriving
for all to share, respect and enjoy.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Two years on....Things I miss about Shanghai...

Two years ago today, we left our empty Shanghai apartment, 
our happy home of four wonderful years
and headed out to Pudong Airport for the final time as residents.

We were excited for our new lives in England to begin but
it was heart wrenching to leave the city that
had given us so many happy and crazy memories. 
Tears had been shed as we farewelled our friends over the previous weeks, 
now was the time to shed a few more for the city we had all grown to love.
As the light rain came down as we drove, it felt like Shanghai was crying along with us.

In tribute to our life in Shanghai, 
in no particular order, here are a few of the things I miss
and probably always will. 

Thanks for the memories.

Shanghai Skyline August 2013

The ever changing Shanghai Skyline.

Recycling in Shanghai

My local recycling guy on his bicycle, his loads put
the tricycle recyclers to shame. He always had a smile for me!

Big Blue truck, Shanghai

The bright blue trucks and the crazy loads they carry. They come a close
second to the public buses as top of the traffic "food chain". Do NOT
expect one to stop for you...even if you have right of way!

"Going out" Pyjamas Shanghai

The 'going out' Pyjamas. Acceptable everywhere.

Shanghai sop on wheels

The shops on wheels!

Shanghai street food

The street food!

Shanghai street, washing, cycles, parasols

The washing, the red underwear, the sun umbrellas.

Shanghai Jian Bing

Jian Bing, how I miss Jian Bing!

Robyn's Shanghai Napper

The Nappers...I really, really miss my nappers!

Shanghai street sweeper

The hard working street sweepers and their twig brooms,
keeping their patch of Shanghai clean and tidy.

Recycling in Shanghai

The tricycle recycling guys and the amount of stuff they could carry.
I came pretty close to having a Shanghai Tricycle in my shipment to England!

Tea and dumplings, Shanghai

Sharing tea and dumplings with my fabulous friends.

OHS breach Shanghai

The crazy OHS breaches. 

Thai Zeed Cocktail, Lost Heaven, Shanghai

Thai Zeed cocktails at Lost Heaven....yuuum, possibly the best cocktail ever!
Though my husband has perfected a pretty close recreation!!

Shanghai Skyline, August 2013

The Shanghai Skyline at night.

I LOVE Shanghai!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

German Gems #2

World Cup fever has certainly hit Germany.
There are German flags flying on homes, cars and businesses.
I have seen babies prams and dogs decorated in the colours of Germany.
You can buy Black, red and yellow face paint, false eyelashes, soap and beer.

My personal favourites,

The German Flag Torte, 

The Football Bread

and the

Football Cream Dessert!

Good luck to the German team, your people are behind you!

German World Cup patriotism

Monday, 9 June 2014

Two years, three countries, three cultures. Crazy!

We have been in Germany for five months today. I still have to pinch myself to believe that we are living here.


Two years ago my little family was winding down our life in Shanghai. Our days were filled with 'last times'. Final visits to favourite restaurants, shops, street food stalls, parks and corners of the city that had entwined itself into our lives and hearts forever. We soaked up the culture, the crazy traffic, ridiculous loads, the bizarre that had become our normal. Then came the farewells, oh so many tears were shed, I totally gave up on wearing mascara. I had farewelled many friends in my four years in Shanghai but nothing prepared me for the pain of being the one that was leaving. I didn't want to go, I loved Shanghai life.

My friends were the icing on the cake, the family I had chosen for myself. A support network, wine drinking, mahjong playing buddies. Fellow adventurers who were happy to explore Shanghai and beyond with me. Our time to go had arrived, the packers came and boxed our belongings, many memories of our Shanghai life. On 16 June 2012, four years and one month after we arrived, we boarded our flight with no return ticket. It was time to begin our new adventure in England.

Shanghai Skyline from 'Bottle Opener'
Looking over Shanghai from 'The Bottle Opener'
Jin Mao, SWFC (Bottle Opener) and new Shanghai Tower, 2012
Looking skywards, the Jin Mao tower was the tallest in Shanghai when we arrived,
we watched the 'Bottle Opener rise and be completes,
the new Shanghai Tower was taking shape when we left.
Dumplings in Shanghai
Some of the many 'last dumplings'
Shanghai Street Life
I walked the streets soaking up as much street life as possible.
Shanghai Street Life
No more purchases from the shops on wheels


We arrived in our little village in Buckinghamshire in the midst of Olympic fever. The atmosphere 
upbeat. Life in the quiet countryside after the hustle and bustle of Shanghai took a little getting used to, as did the culture. When we moved from Australia to China we knew the culture would be vastly different and we took it in our stride. We expected the British culture to be similar to our own, but were surprised how different it actually was. With no other expats around it was quite difficult to break into the social scene yet we did and really enjoyed our life in our English village. 

I loved the history, the fact that friends in my village lived in cottages that were older than my colonised country. We loved exploring London, Oxford, National Trust properties and beyond. So many countryside walks, with pubs to relax at the end. We had much more to discover in the UK, trips to Scotland, Yorkshire and the Lake District when my husband's employer wanted his three month secondment to Germany to become more permanent. In a whirlwind of 'look see' trips, school and house searches, the contract was signed in early December. Packers booked, Christmas and New Year to fit in amongst more farewells. A short eighteen months after we arrived, the rug was pulled from under our feet, literally! Our UK adventure was over, we were moving to Germany!

Big Ben, London
I never tire of seeing Big Ben.
Bluebells, UK
How can you not love a bluebell?
Stonehenge, UK
We travelled the countryside, soaking up the history.
Fish and Chips, UK
Traditional Fish and Chips...and fizz!
Oxford on a snowy day
Oxford is such a beautiful city, I would visit often.

We drove to our new home in Germany on a cold, clear winter's day. The truck with all our belongings and memories arrived not long after. So begun the now familiar process of unpacking, making this house our home. Another culture to unravel, community to integrate in. We have moved from two tea drinking cultures to a wine and beer drinking one! We have mostly worked out where to shop, pay bills and get around. We have watched the forest on our doorstep change from bare and sparse to vibrant green and full of life. We have grown as well, friendships have been formed, discoveries made, new places explored. So much more on our horizon in Germany and we have Europe on our doorstep!

Two years, three vastly different countries and cultures, oh what a ride! Lets see what the future has in store for us now.

Winter in the Taunus
Our walk track in January
Spring in the Taunus
Our walk track in May
German Strawberries
German strawberries are the best!!!
Street Food, Frankfurt style
Local snacks in Frankfurt
Frankfurt Rathaus
Having fun exploring Frankfurt city
Frankfurt Skyline
The flourishing Frankfurt Skyline

Friday, 6 June 2014

Forty Winks Friday. UK Edition

So last week Forty Winks Friday went to Germany,
this week we go to England and show the world that the
Chinese don't have a monopoly on public napping.

Give the Brits a sunny day and they get outside to soak up the sunshine.
Go to a park on a sunny day and you will find people enjoying picnics,
strolls along pathways, kids playing soccer/football
and nappers!

Robyn's nappers

Robyn's nappers

Robyn's nappers

Robyn's nappers