LDR Survival Tips

ldr survival tips graphic

Sometimes life can be about the survival of the fittest, but in my experience of a long distance relationship, it was all about survival of the most resilient, patient and creative. Coming up with ways to remain close and have your own life can be exhausting, so I thought I would share a few ideas that may get you thinking …

Acknowledge the distance but do not make it all you talk about – it ends up sounding moany and can get te.di.ous

Go old school (sorry the teacher in me cannot bring myself to write ‘skool’) send a mix tape/playlist cd or Pandora link to a collection of music or send a letter … you know the kind of thing, something that takes a little bit of effort rather than the instant access modern technology affords us these days.

Learn how to be flexible with your time – you have to understand that life for both of you goes on in your respective time zones and having time for each other may be cut short, or difficult to fit in.

Take a moment for yourself – obviously the aim of an LDR is to actually spend time with one another, but you need not be defined by the fact you are in one. It is ok to have days where you get to do the things you want.

It can be scary but do not panic!

It can be scary but do not panic!


Got any other tips about surviving an LDR? What experiences have you had and what worked for you?

What Does It Mean To Be American? A Look at the Religious Freedom Bill

being american graphic

What does it mean to be American? An interesting question that clearly does not have one straightforward answer as each individual person has their own set of values, experiences and ideas about what this is and what they hold dear.

As an expat living here I have noticed that, for me, it is the differences I encounter that give me an insight into what it may mean. There are the cultural differences (more than you may think there would be) and how people go about their daily life.

There is a huge sense of freedom here, the right to be who you are and want for the things you wish to have in your life, but this is not always backed up by reality. I often get into interesting discussions about this ‘land of the free’ and how it sometimes does not seem that way to me.

The recent signing into law in Indiana to allow businesses to refuse service to gay customers is a slap in the face for ‘freedom’ – you can argue that the religious people who own companies and businesses should have the freedom to decide who they serve, but it seems like a slippery slope. What group of people next? If your deeply held religious views make you so against one group of people that you cannot even consider having them in your establishment, then do not be in a role of public service.

Really, what does this all mean? Will gay people have to identify themselves in some way so as to make it easy for them to de denied service? Are we all going to have to declare our sexual preferences when we try and book a hotel room, order a cake for a party, buy clothes, order a coffee, buy some music etc? Will there be signs indicating a companies religious preferences so gay people can avoid them?

I am truly perplexed as to what it means to be free in America – perplexed because it seems you can have all the freedoms and equalities you want as long as their is a forced conformity. Surely if there is freedom and equality for one, it should be for all?

Throwback Thursday: 2003

This is me in 2003, or thereabouts, as I think I am about 24 in this photograph. It was taken in a little harbour side cottage I was staying at in Mousehole, Cornwall.

I have such happy memories of my life in Cornwall, and I miss the salty sea air and crazy seagulls that I grew up with.

What would you miss looking at if you were to move away – or what have you missed since you moved?

Me in 2002 (24)

Also in 2003 …

What do you remember about 2003?

Life Lately | Toledo Street Art

For a closer look, click on the photographs below.

life through a lens

Life Lately has been all about getting out and about and finding interesting things to look at and photograph.

This is a photo of some graffiti/street art dedicated to Robin Williams and I thought it was well worth sharing.

robin williams graffiti
What have you been up to lately?



Expat Life: American TV Commercials

Upon moving to America, I noticed immediately that one of the big differences I would have to get used to were the television commercials. There are many more local adverts on television here than back in the UK and they are … how do I put this … dreadful. The vast majority of them are very cheaply made, zealously loud and shouty with a whole level of cheesiness that, despite my love of fromage, just makes me angry.

As there seems to be an extraordinary amount of commercials during every programme, it can get rather jarring – however, there are some more expensive, national or big brand varieties that I just love watching.

Just for a bit of a look into the everyday expat experience over here, I thought I would share a few of the adverts that make this Brit chuckle …

This is my favourite – the couple are so funny, and I am sure the woman stifles a laugh at 0:17 …

I love the grandma here …

For some reason, these screaming goats make me laugh so much …

What did you think of these commercials? Do you have a favourite advert you enjoy watching?

My American Kitchen: Potato, Garbanzo Bean & Pea Curry

Every good Brit loves a curry – and I am a really, really good Brit. Sadly, the availability of a good Indian here is a little lacking (so far on looking – but if I find a place, I will let you know). I want the curry that tastes like home – the one that brings back so many happy eating memories. I have friends back in the UK who make the most amazing onion bhajis, chicken pakora, chapati – the list is endless – and I really want them to send me some, but I am guessing shipping rules do not allow it … anyway, recently I made a cheats curry (e.g. I did not make the sauce) which I thought I would share so you can have a go yourself if you are stuck for time and cannot stand over a hot oven or just need a no fuss recipe idea. This was done in my slow cooker, so although it is not quick, it is crazy easy to do.

veg curry graphic

Ingredients (serves 4):

16 oz (1 lb) bag frozen peas

15.5 oz (439g) can garbanzo beans, drained (chickpeas)

4 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into bite sized chunks

1 jar curry sauce (I used Patak’s Tikka Masala simmer sauce)

1/3 cup of water

Potato, garbanzo beans and peas

Potato, garbanzo beans and peas

The curry sauce and the ingedients combined together before cooking

The curry sauce and the ingedients combined together before cooking


Peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces then place in slow cooker

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans then add those, along with the peas, to the slow cooker

Add the curry sauce and water and mix in to combine the ingredients

Cook on high for 4 hours, stirring regularly, or until the potatoes are done

The curry after 4 hours in the slow cooker

The curry after 4 hours in the slow cooker

I served mine with a shop bought garlic naan

I served mine with a shop bought garlic naan

What do you think? If you have a go at this recipe, let me know how it turns out!

Life Lately | Squirrel 1 – Expat 0

For a closer look, click on the photographs below.

life through a lens

Life Lately has been slowly warming up and feeling positively spring-like (thank goodness – expat hibernation can end). This means the local wildlife are out in abundance … including the squirrel who has been watching the bird feeder with great interest for some weeks, testing various ways – and repeatedly failing, until now – on how to get at the yummies. Bloody squirrel!

The shimmy and hang ...

The shimmy and hang …

... the grab and munch ...

… the grab and munch …

... the stare of squirrel triumph!

… the stare of squirrel triumph!

What have you been up to lately?



A Positve Action Update

positive action movement

Something I wrote about at the beginning of the year was Positive Action. Instead of resolutions for 2015, I created a list of things I will do to make an impact of my life and the local, and wider, community. The idea is to spread positivity and forward movement to create a celebration of all the things you can do to make a difference.

I recently made a big food donation at a local food bank which serves people who live in my immediate area – it felt good each week to buy something extra when I went grocery shopping knowing that I was helping in a small way.

Some of the food donated to the local food bank

Some of the food donated to the local food bank

I have also set up a little online fund where I donate what I can to a different charity each month. The most recent was to Cancer Research Institute in memory of a dear school friend who passed away recently.

A personal goal is to be much healthier and lose weight as I go – so far it has been really enjoyable and at last months weigh-in I had lost 17.6 lbs. I am doing it very slowly and only weighing myself once a month as the focus is not the weight but more the positive changes to my lifestyle.

feb donation
This month, I aim to make another charity donation, keep on track with the healthy lifestyle and try a new hairstyle that is a bit more drastic than I have ever done before. It is something I always wanted to do but never felt like I could. Positive action calls for trying new things and … well, you will have to wait and see what I do!

How do you make a difference? What charities do you give to or have close to your heart that you think I should donate to or highlight?

Want to join in with the movement? Tweet #PositiveAction and I will RT the best and share it on my next update!

Becoming an Expat: Losses & Gains

expat losses & gains graphic

As with any big life change, there are things that you lose and things that you gain. There is a shift in perspective, often one that reflects things about yourself and your wants that maybe you have kept quiet, buried or just put aside because it was not the time … becoming an expat is not the biggest upheaval one can experience in life, especially as it is a change that comes from your own choice (usually), but you still lose and gain things along the way.

I have found that the things I have ‘lost’ are not things gone forever, just a little further out of reach than before. This, after a period of time and adjustment, then turns in to gaining something new – and it is all rather odd. To explain further (as I think I am not really making myself very clear as I still try to figure it all out) I have compiled a list of things I have experienced/noticed thus far on my expat adventure:

happiness is a way of life
You may greatly miss the scenery from your old home but you do gain an interest in seeking out  new sights.

Natural curiosity gets reignited – life can get mundane and stuck in a routine (expat or not), but the very fact you uprooted yourself means that spark of adventure is there and you can draw upon it.

You may lose a sense of yourself because you are leaving behind what is familiar and comfortable, but you can gain a new perspective about who you are, or who you want to be.

Even though you miss talking to your family and friends and seeing them whenever you want, the joy at being able to connect with them is tenfold what it once was.

A change really is as good as a rest.

What do you want to change? What have you lost or gained by moving somewhere new – or what would you hope to experience?

How Do You Stay Connected to Home?

uk mini graphic

Over the weekend, I shared some photographs on here about some of the food that I recently made/bought that reminds me of Britain and helps me feel connected to my life before I moved to America. Making these connections, and keeping them going, is an important part of living abroad.

American English dining room pictures

American English dining room pictures

It is encouraging to have something familiar around you, so I thought I would ask, what do you have, or need, to feel connected to home? Even if you do not live abroad, there will be things that you have around you that make you feel settled – what are those items?

Posters of Penzance and London and personal items displayed on an inspiration board

Posters of Penzance and London and personal items displayed on an inspiration board

I find that food is a great connector for me, taste brings back so many memories plus it is so deeply ingrained in our experiences of family and home. I also like to have objects around my home that reflect where I came from, and personal items from my life on display (see how I made the inspiration board pictured above, here).

A Cornish bag and apron and a British sign

A Cornish bag and apron and a British sign

What would be your top three things to bring with you if/when you move abroad? Is there anything you did not bring with you that you really wish you had?

Seychelles Mama