Now no updates about our trip home would be complete without a whole post devoted to my little nephew; Elisha James. He had turned one before we arrived home and it was amazing to see all the changes in him. He was only a month old when we last saw him, so it was fun to get to know him and learn about his personality. 

I was so eager to establish who Auntie Hannah and Uncle Andrew were before we went home. He speaks to us on FaceTime but it was great for him (and us) to put a real person to the voices. We did take rather a lot of photos of him but here's just a few of my favourites. 

And my favourite of the entire trip...

See you soon little man! 


We hung out with my family at Wrest Park whilst back in the UK. Wrest park is a National Trust property in near Luton. This provided another opportunity to top up on our historic buildings as we visited friends and family. 

Once through the opulent gate houses, and down the long stretch of drive we pulled up to the carpark. Through the gift shop we strolled through the walled gardens towards the house just as the sun broke through the clouds. It looked incredible. The french style architecture looked beautiful in the autumn sun, glowing with the leaves around just turning.

Entering the house via the exotic conservatory (containing many plants from the Americas!), we were given a brief history of the house and then left to ourselves to explore the newly restored rooms.

As is often the case with national trust properties, Hannah and I wandered around the house collecting inspiration to use on our imaginary house. They had a copy of the architect's original letters describing the house and the work he did which provided a fascinating insight into the design and embellishments. I was amazed by the lightness of the rooms, definitely some ideas for our future ‘Manor House’.

We then strolled round the gardens passing the many statues, pergolas and verandas, just enjoying the autumnal hues at a peaceful pace.

Obviously this all wasn't without food or drink, making sure everyone was well fed and watered we enjoyed time to take on tea, scone and other provisions.

Here is a lovely photo of the family (minus Matt who was working unfortunately) outside the old cricket pavilion. 



After the first week of our trip in Dunstable we hit the road and went to our old city of Lincoln. We left super early and managed to get there in time for church which was great. We got to see so many people there and it was lovely to spend the time back with our home church. The rest of our time in Lincoln was split between visiting old haunts, eating and drinking way too much, catching up with our friends, doing a spot of shopping and just being tourists in our amazing city. We spent almost four years in that city so we truly love it. 

Here's a selection of photos from the few days we spent there. 

First things first I had to have my belated birthday cookie from Tim. That's a small tradition that started out of nowhere but he's kept up every year, despite the distance!

Just a small sample of the amazing food we ate. This is from Cafe Portico, our favourite place to eat ever! It was really nice to be back there and have a chat with the owner again. We frequented it that much when we were living there that he knows who we are!! 

One of the coolest things we did when we were there was to visit Lincoln Castle. It had been under renovations for a while and opened since we moved away. We went to the Magna Carta exhibit which was really impressive, sadly you couldn't take photos. I really wanted too because that little scrap of paper was impressively older than the entire United States and I thought it'd impress some of our American friends. 

We also got to take a walk through their Victorian prison which they actually used in the TV drama, Downton Abbey. 

There were some costumes to dress up in, I assume aimed at children. Obviously we had a go! It made a few people laugh who wandered by and poked their head in. 

They had loads of kids activities around the place. We even had a go putting some pottery back together. Not sure I can quite remember the purpose of pottery in a prison but it was fun attempting it. We didn't get very far!

The visit to the castle was finished off with a walk round the walls. It was lovely to look out and see the amazing city of Lincoln. Just a shame I had to go with these two!

Thankfully the views more than made up for it. Our amazing cathedral. 

And that's about all the good photos we got. We unfortunately never thought to get photos taken with the people we caught up with, too busy eating or talking! But we did get one of our breakfast on the day we left. Can't beat a good English breakfast. 

Next stop back to Dunstable! 


My family like to get together whenever they can to hang out, but with such a big family it can be hard to co-ordinate that. If you factor in us living on the other side of the world then its even more tricky to get everyone together. I think it's been at least two years since we were all in the same place, perhaps even more! So it was nice that for one afternoon we managed to get everyone in the same place for a bit.

We did a walk through Ashridge, which is an amazing National Trust property near us. Then we descended on my Mum's new house for a tea and cake, followed by dinner and then the dismal rugby! We didn't manage to take too many photos as we were too busy catching up, but we did take a few of us on the walk.

I love the photo of Elisha and his stick! He kept hitting my poor brother-in-law on the head. Guess that's my first bad influence as an Auntie, yup thats right I gave him the stick! 


Whilst we were back home and staying with my family it was my birthday. It was actually a pretty significant one, I turned 29. I was pretty excited about it for a couple of reasons. Firstly because I got to spend it with all my family and secondly because its actually the last one I can get excited about. Turning 30 will not be fun, especially after all the grief I've given to Andrew!

Anyway, my birthday was a pretty chilled out affair with pancakes and presents in the morning whilst we all chilled out at home. It was lovely to have a relaxed morning and just enjoy the company of family. There aren't many photos that are suitable to be put on a blog but here's one or two. 

There was a very obvious bear theme running through my birthday cards and presents. I loved it! Those slippers are the most comfortable ones ever. Elisha happened to like the ears of them and would occasionally play with them, which obviously makes me love them even more!

Lunchtime we took a stroll to Mum and Dad's "local" for lunch. It was really nice. We took up a fair amount of space but it was lovely just chilling out and eating. The food was delicious and we ate so much it hurt! We didn't manage to get the greatest photo of us all (Andrew's skills are going downhill!) but I had to share the one we did get because my brother-in-law's pose his hilarious! 

We did get one amazing photo of myself with my sister and Mum. It's such a beautiful photo and its been such a long time since we took one of the three of us. I love it!

The afternoon contained lots of naps from those of us who were full and play time for the others with Elisha. We played in the garden, did some water play and even attempted painting! It wasn't the most successful attempt at getting things on paper but it was funny. 

The evening consisted of food, games and fun! The girls thrashed the boys at Cranium and we introduced everyone to Irish snap probably to their detriment as its a painful game, especially when played with my brother! Finally we devoured this amazing white chocolate cake complete with polar bear that Andrew had spent most of the day preparing. It was pretty delicious. 

So there we go, my 29th birthday and the last one I'll ever look forward to again!