Favourite Things About Becoming an Expat

expat favs graphic

I was asked recently about what I have liked about becoming an expat, so I thought I would share it in a blog post today! It also gave me a chance to stop and think about all that has happened since I arrived and take stock of the adventure so far. It is a challenge, and there are days when it can be overwhelming, but there are some great perks to it too.

My favourite things about becoming an expat:

being different | I never really blended into the crowd having red hair but it is really nice being different for being a Brit and people being interested in where I come from

getting compliments | I do not get endless compliments about it, but when it does happen, and someone says they love my accent, it makes me feel good

experiencing something new | Getting to try new things for the first time, especially now that I am in my mid-thirties, is something I did not think I would get to do and kind of gives you a renewed energy for the everyday

creating a new life | Not many people get to have a fresh start, and this too is very energising and positive

appreciating the old | You certainly develop more patriotism for your old home country and a deeper love and respect for the people you said goodbye to

What are your favourite things about living abroad? What do you think would be your favourite things if you moved overseas?

A Slice of Americana: Chick-O-Stick

Welcome to my monthly blog series A Slice of Americana, where I get to try different iconic American foods, based on suggestions from Hubby, and you, my lovely readers!

a slice of americana

I will be tasting most things for the first time, and will give an honest opinion of all that I consume – it is important to note that I am not receiving any payment or endorsements of any kind.

With that said, on with my review of . . . Chick-O-Stick

chick o stick 1The Information
Chick-O-Stick is a peanut butter and coconut flavoured sugar candy that has been around since the 1950’s and is made by the Atkinson Candy Company, a family run business since the 1930’s.

chick o stick 3The Taste Test
It was very crunchy and had a pleasant peanut butter and coconut taste (not too overpowering). The crunch comes from the honeycomb like structure/sugar and creates a nice texture as you chew. It is a big hit of sugar (I could only eat half of it before the rest went to Hubby), but I was reliably informed that you can leave what you do not eat for later!

chick o stick 4The Verdict
My first impression was that it looked very orange and I was a bit confused about whether it was chicken flavoured – so I was not really excited to try it. When I bit into it, it was more crunchy than I had anticipated – I really enjoyed that – and the sugary, peanut butter/coconut had a really nice taste. I also really liked the texture it has as you chew (very close to a Crunchie Bar back in the UK). An unexpected pleasant experience!

Have you tried a Chick-O-Stick? What did you think? What would you like to see me try next?

Moving & Travelling Abroad Advice

I should be bringing you the latest edition of A Slice of Americana, but I thought I would round up some of the great advice given by some of the bloggers who joined in with the July Expat Experience Link Up. There really is a wealth of knowledge and experience out there, and I thought it would be good to give you some of the highlights.

If you are a newbie or future expat, or about to embark on a big move or world travel adventure, then take a look at some of the top tips people who have done it already have to offer.

If you have anything you would like to ask me that concerns my LDR, visa process, move abroad or expat life, feel free to leave a comment or contact me and I will be happy to answer your queries and help out.

Here is some of the great advice/tips that was offered:

Sheala from One World, Many Questions
Tipping in the U.S. can be quite confusing, especially if you come from a country where tipping is discouraged or where a set service charge is normal. In the U.S., restaurants typically only have a set service charge if you have a party of 6 or more people. Additionally, tipping in our country extends far beyond restaurants. Many Americans tip hair stylists, taxi cab drivers, hotel staff, and even baristas! Although the appropriateness of tipping has been debated for centuries, it is an intregal part of our economic system with over 3% of our workforce dependent on tips.


Irene from Away from Tenerife
Ask the locals – getting off the beaten track seems to be the way to go nowadays and there is no one better than a local to show you the way out of the tourist crowd.


Holly from English Girl, Canadian Man
Open up every form of communication possible. Different people back home use different methods of communication and I have to be able to use them all! I use snapchat, voxer, whatsapp, email, facetime, skype, this blog, twitter, tumblr, instagram, snail mail, comfort parcels. If I lost even one of these elements I would lose the opportunity to remain in contact with at least one person from home. I cannot afford to do that, so I have to be Queen of Social Media.


Cait from Bi-Continental Bird
Patience is a virtue. Moving overseas is long and drawn out. The visa process is excruciating. Sit tight, make sure you follow each step to the T, and you will be sorted. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were visas.

This is just a small selection of some of the great writing that was shared (I could not include all the great tips/advice as this post would have been huge), and if you want to read some more, be sure to visit the other participants (listed below) and have a look through their fantastic blogs.

Lou’s Lake Views
Erika Felton, Just Blogging
The American Duchess

Thank you to all who joined in, you make the expat, TCK and travel blogging community a great place to be!

Expat Experience: Expat Life Lessons

join link up 4

Welcome to the last instalment of the July 2014 Expat Experience link up where I have been sharing, along with other expat / travel / TCK bloggers, some great posts about life abroad. There is a theme to write under each week and if you are keen to find out more, click here.

Please do not forget to display the button (grab it here)  and tweet about joining using #ExpatLinkUp or #ExpatExperience!

the expat experience button

The theme this week | What I Learned About Being … …  Write about the top three (or more) things you have learned about being an expat / seasoned traveller / third culture kid. It can be what you learned about yourself, what has influenced you most or what are the best bits about living or travelling abroad. Offer some tips about how to make the most of these types of experiences.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Becoming an expat has really been an eye-opener about what kind of person I am, releasing some hidden aspects of my personality that I was not really aware of. Here are a few of the things I have noticed …

No.3 | My natural shyness is far greater than I had thought. I realised that sometimes it would stop me from doing things (even back in the UK) and make me avoid certain situations. The odd thing about when I became an expat was that it simultaneously made the shyness worse but also considerably less … I think having to be out of my comfort zone on a daily basis has made me more aware of my shyness (thus making it feel/seem worse) but have to combat it more often (making it seem much less of an issue).

No.2 | I am overly opinionated. When you live in a different country and have formed opinions about the people, politics or culture of that place from a foreign perspective, you can think you understand those issues really well, and may even think you comprehend them fully. I have come to realise that unless you have lived in a place, and been immersed in its culture etc, you do not really get the understanding you need to make an informed opinion. I now ask more questions and read more around an issue to try and understand it better.

Has travel broadened your horizons? (source)

Has travel broadened your horizons? (source)

No.1 | A change really is as good as a rest. Moving abroad and experiencing all the differences that has to offer and finding new things to try really has invigorated me. I now feel a bit more energised by my life, maybe because I have realised that what happens to me and the choices about it really is down to me. I can make the best or worst of a situation. I have the power to change it for the better, and it is not as scary, or as difficult, as I first thought.

Here are my top tips for making the most of your expat life:

  1. get to know your new surroundings – ask questions, read about it and talk to people
  2. challenge yourself (in steps as big as you feel comfortable taking) to experience things out of your comfort zone
  3. be open about the new experiences you have – some will be good, some will be awful, some will be great

If you have joined in with my link-up, be sure to add your link below by clicking on the Inlinkz icon. I look forward to reading what you have written.

Thanks for joining in!

Blogging & Travel Bests №6

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For the previous Blogging Bests click here.

Blogging Bests |

Recently found Carolatic, a blog about a US gal in Japan sharing life and great vegan recipes. She is a US Marine who grew up in Mexico and has a great vibe! I had a look through her recipes, and loved the Homemade Granola.

Native of the North was another recent find, and I am so glad I did. I love the blogging section called The Local Lowdown which shares, as selected by locals, their top 10 places in their city. I enjoyed reading Asya on Muscat.

Travel Tempts |

I always enjoy the BBC website and found this article an interesting read –  Is this the best city for expats?

Also on the BBC … Living in Istanbul

Have you got any articles or blog posts that you think are worth reading?

Reading Romps |

The local library to me is still getting rebuilt so I have not had a chance to get out a new stack of books to read – so I am throwing this open to you – what books have you read recently and would recommend?

For more reading recommendations, follow my Pinterest board Books I’ve Read (2014)

The Move to America Around the Web |

My latest article for Easy Expat, How Much the Visa Process Costs, is online now!

Feel free to share, in a comment below, anything you have loved online!

My Kitchen Creations: Iced Tea & a Brie and Courgette Risotto Bake

brie & iced tea graphic

Since we moved into our own home at the beginning of July, I have been enjoying getting used to my kitchen and cooking more. I thought I would do a little update on what I have been trying out … if you like what you see and want to know how I made what is featured in this post, then feel free to contact me and I will email it to you!

I previously blogged about an idea I had for a British twist on an American classic – UK in the USA: Pimm’s Inspired Iced Tea – below are some photographs of the result (it was very refreshing and tasty) and pictures of a brie and courgette (zucchini) topped risotto bake (this was something my Mum would make and I just love it – mine was not as good as hers, but it was still super tasty)!


pimms tea 1b

pimms tea 2b

pimms tea 3b

brie risotto 1b

brie risotto 2b

brie risotto 3b