Clinton vs. Trump: The First Presidential Debate


The first presidential debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump is today (happening  9pm – 10:30pm ET) and I am really looking forward to it. Whatever your political leanings, you cannot deny that this has been a remarkable campaign thus far, with Trump uttering extraordinary comment after extraordinary comment and Clinton seemingly adding to the list of things she has been less than truthful about.

The two very different candidates should make for an interesting initial presidential debate, not just because it is my first as a resident here, but because of the wildly different people pitching for your votes.


I am most definitely not a Trump fan, but there is no doubt in my mind that his brand of bullish, narcissistic political standings have made this campaign one to watch. From an expat perspective, I have learned the most about the political workings of this country and garnered a better understanding of what its people think and feel about issues from the reactions, retaliations and punditry that often followed a Trump musing. This too goes for Clinton, whom I am also not a fan of, with the reactions, retaliations and punditry around her campaign. What has become apparent to me is the level, and scope to which people feel marginalised with how the politics of this country has been carried out up until now. There seems to be a definite call for things not to be done the way they have always been done – political change is a shout that has got ever louder.

Marginalisation, or a thirst for political change, seems to be a big driver for voters, and it leaves me wondering what this could mean for the country. Will it mean Trump is a shoe in as he represents the opposite of what the American people have had so far? Will it mean Clinton is going to have to convince people that she is for that change too? The first presidential debate of Clinton vs. Trump may be the stone by which the political climate will be set …

What are your pre-debate predictions for how things will go? If you are reading this article post-debate, how do you think it went and what do you think this means for America?

Protect the Sacred: Standing Rock Tribe


The people of  the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota have had something to say for a while now against Dakota Access, the major oil company that is trying to run a pipeline near their home that could potentially contaminate their communities major water supply, and destroy culturally significant areas or artefacts. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are trying to protect their land, water, sovereign rights, history and ancestors. They have something they want you to hear, they have something they want you to see.

The #NoDAPL movement (No Dakota Access Pipeline) goes beyond whether you think something like this should be constructed or not, and here is why …

Selective Media Attention

There has been a disturbing and distinct lack of major tv news coverage here – although it has somewhat picked up momentum online with sites like Vox and Democracy Now covering it.

I have discussed this with a few people, and theories range from oil companies owning segments of the media and therefore controlling the narrative (or lack of it) to favour their needs, to the theory that the story does not threaten the everyday social law and order of enough Americans to warrant attention. A clear message to the indigenous populations of this country, if that theory is true, that their issues and way of life just do not matter.

Whatever the reason, and whatever you believe to be the reason, the very fact it is not being widely reported on can only hinder the movement and its success in its goals – which of course may well be the point … and if that were true, it frankly really pisses me off. ‘The largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years …” as reported by the BBC on September 2nd as part of their look into life in the protector camps is enough of a story to be a story. If it is a major event, it is a major event – so U.S. news should be reporting on it!  Any gathering that is the biggest in 100 years sounds like something this country should know about.

Why I Stand With Standing Rock

The Dakota Access pipeline is set to be constructed though/near a major water supply to the Standing Rock Reservation. If it leaked it would essentially poison an entire population.

It may never leak and all be good – but when did even risking that become an option? Oil companies may say it is safer than x, y and z … but even a possibility of it happening is enough to stand up and say no.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have stated that the government-to-government consultation that is supposed to happened from start to finish with any kind of proposals like this did not happen. Tribal sovereignty is meant to ensure that the Native populations are at the decision making process on something that effects their land at every stage – especially if there are areas or artefacts of great cultural, historical or spiritual significance – which have been found (and some destroyed by the construction company already). To not honour that is not following federal law.

Not Just An Environmental Issue

The indigenous peoples of this country are having their lands destroyed, taken away or compromised, treaties and sovereign rights are not being honoured or respected, their way of life and connection to water, land and their ancestors is being challenged in the most grotesque manner possible – even the use of attack dogs. This is going on now, yet sounds like something that happened hundreds of years ago – and the very fact I am writing about it shows that not enough has changed since those times.

Maybe with the social media #NoDAPL movement it can create enough of a challenge to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline from happening and create a wider conversation / actual push forward to serious change that is led / narrated by the nations and peoples who are involved.

So listen up, spread the word and support in any way that you can.

Follow Rezpect Our Water on Facebook and sign their petition or click on the various links thoroughout this aticle to find out more.

Expat Life Lately | Unusual Taste

expat life lately graphic

Expat Life Lately has been about keeping as cool as possible again (while wearing my new glasses) because we have had more days where the heat index temerpatures have reached over 100° … so thought it ideal to try the throwback drink from the 1990’s, Crystal Pepsi. There has also been a new flavour of Oreo come out, Swedish Fish Oreo, which I have yet to get around to trying. I like Swedish Fish (jelly sweet/candy), I like Oreo, but I am not sure about the mixture of the two. Thoughts?

If you have ever had any questions about moving abroad – how to do it, what is the best way to ship your belongings, or any other thoughts about the process, please use the question form at the end of this post to submit your query, as I will be doing a Q&A post about this soon. Thanks!

expat life lately swedish fish oreos and crystal pepsi

What have you been up to lately?

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American Life, British Accent: An Expat Perspective on the 2016 National Conventions

a british perspective on the usa national conventions 2016 graphic

It probably came as no surprise that Donald Trump was named the official Republican Party nominee for president of the United States in the 2016 national election, and that Hilary Clinton was the Democratic Party nominee … What was a surprise (to me), or I should say, a completely new first experience, was the build up to the nominations. I have not been in America long enough to have seen this process happen, so watching the RNC and DNC live on television was an eye opener.

I did not catch all of the speeches and events, but I did watch the main speakers / speeches with the political punditry that followed, on each of the 4 days of both conventions – and both conventions had a distinctly different feel. I will not pretend I do not lean somewhat more towards the Democratic party, but as a Brit, this was something I aimed to watch with an open mind.

donal trump and hilary clinton via bbc


There was a distinct difference between the RNC and the DNC – one rather obvious one was the lack of ethnic and age diversity at the Republican National Convention, however, as I was only watching from my armchair and could only judge it based on the periodic shots of the audience as shown via my television, that perception could well be skewed. What I saw at the Democratic National Convention was a real mix of people in every audience shot, and it also felt less angry, derisive and divisive than the RNC.

As a fresh pair of eyes and ears to life in America and these national conventions, I was left feeling, after watching Trump’s RNC speech, like this country is a place filled with fear and anger and that it should look to separate itself from the rest of the world. After Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC (rather than Hilary’s) I was left feeling like this country is a place of hard won progress and hope, shattering ceilings and creating a bit of a revolution (mainly at the hands of Bernie Sanders’ campaign and the youth that got on board with his political ideals).

As a person making a new life here in the U.S., I was left feeling that the America I want to be a part of is an America that looks to the future. An America that aims for progress, hope, fair treatment, opportunities, and betterment of all its people. The Republican Party, at this point in time, simply does not reflect that (for me personally). All the talk about making America great again, or going back to the good old days comes across as regressive and nostalgic, in the worst possible kind of way, because nostalgia can sometimes lead one to gloss over, or conveniently forget the realities of a place or time … and I suspect that that is what is happening within the Trump campaign.

trump vs. clinton aug 1st poll results

What was encouraging is that people from both sides seem to be very invested and involved, and it felt like the population had been politically mobilised – which was really great to see / feel. People have been able to share their views and concerns for the future, and there seems to have been a increasingly genuine discussion around where America should be heading. It was also encouraging to see the rather murky and questionable voting restrictions stuck down by federal judges in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kansas and Texas.

The race seems, at the time of writing this, to be very close between Trump and Clinton – and whatever your political leanings are, it is good to have a platform to raise your concerns and hopes for the future of this country, so I look forward to seeing what actually happens over the coming months, and I very much look forward to watching the debates between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.

What did you think of the RNC and DNC? What are your predictions for the outcome of the 2016 national election?

Life Lately | Summer in Ohio

life through a lensLife Lately has been hot – very hot. My area of Ohio has cooled off at the moment, but we had a stretch of 90s+ temperatures, which gave us quite a few days where the heat index hit over 100° (because of the humidity).

For this British redhead, that was weather to order the largest pizza I have ever seen (no oven required) try some vegetarian sushi, sample a new chocolate bar, and marvel at the strange food things I find in the supermarket (pigs feet, yo – not mine, although I did compare my trotter to the American’s enormous work boot). Everything really does go large in the U.S. … weather, food and feet!

What have you been up to lately?

everyday life in america instagram 1

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British vs. American Life

I often get asked many questions about Britain, Britishisms or my thoughts on America (the latest is that I will lose my accent, what I / the British think of the U.S. election process, and what is Brexit) I thought I would share a little collection of my favourite videos about British / American life – a little something for the weekend to tickle your English fondant fancies or excite your American Twinkies …

Do you have some quirky things that you noticed when staying or living in Britain or America? What would you find difficult to explain to a first time visitor?

Slice of Americana: Trying American Peanut Flavoured Candy Bars

Welcome to my food review blog series Slice of Americana, where I get to try different iconic American foods!

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, unless stated,  I am not receiving any payment or endorsements of any kind.

With that said, on with my review of . . . Zero, WhatChaMaCallIt and 5th Avenue chocolate bars

trying american chocolate graphic

The Information

Zero is a caramel, peanut and nougat candy bar which is covered in white fudge and has been around since the 1920s. WhatChaMaCallIt is a caramel and peanut flavoured rice crisp candy bar created in 1978 – amazing year, even if I do say so myself … and 5th Avenue is a crunchy peanut butter centred candy bar first created in 1936. All classic chocolate bars that have been around for a while and are firm childhood favourites of the American who was very excited for me to try them.

trying american chocolate 1

The Taste Test

Zero had a nice chewy texture from the nougat and caramel but the overriding taste was that of the peanut centre (just like peanut butter) which was good. The white fudge coating was very, very sweet and left a strange film on the roof of my mouth and teeth – it had a very synthetic taste and texture.

WhatChaMaCallIt has a really good texture with the crispy rice pieces and caramel, and although the peanut flavour was the least strong out of the 3 candy bars, it was the most pleasant.

5th Avenue had a really crunchy texture much like a Chick-O-Stick which was really good and a very strong peanut butter taste. It was very sweet but that got balanced out by the peanut butter.

trying american chocolate 2

The Verdict

From most favourite to least, I would order them as follows: WhatChaMaCallIt, 5th Avenue, Zero

WhatChaMaCallIt was not sickly sweet and had the most pleasant taste and texture out of the 3 candy bars whereas Zero had an overly sweet and strange synthetic taste.

What is your favourite chocolate bar? Have you tried the items that have been taste tested – what was your least favourite?

What would you like to see me try next?

a slice of americana

USA Living Costs – A Useful Guide

usa living costs guide graphic

I often get asked for information or tips about moving to the USA and one of my top pieces of advice is always to do your research about where you are moving to (this applies to any country, not just the U.S.) – I strongly recommend looking into, and comparing, the political climate, health insurance/services, average wages, social life, religious climate, crime etc … and living costs.

Average living costs is the most immediate thing that you have to make sure you have worked out correctly because the last thing you want to do is move somewhere that is going to be difficult to manage financially. You want to have as smooth a transition as possible – and money worries can be a cause of stress.

To help out those of you looking to move to the USA, I have compiled three sites that I have found particularly useful …


This site does not just offer information on the USA, so is a really good one-stop-research for anyone looking to travel, study, work or live abroad. There are USA guides, classified ads for accommodation , job listings and useful forums.

easy exapt website


This site also offers cost of living information and comparison for other countries besides the USA. It has handy tables of information that make finding what you are looking for quick and easy and also offers a salary conversion report.

expatistan website


This site has lists of information that are easily navigated and provide good basics about property prices, crime, health care, pollution, traffic, quality of life, travel as well as cost of living (broken down into average prices for restaurants, groceries, transportation, utilities, rent etc).

numbeo website

If you wish to contact me with any questions or further advice, feel free to use the contact form below. Thanks for stopping by!

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake

white chocolate & raspberry cake recipe

Ingredients (for 9 inch x 5 inch loaf tin):

6 oz butter, room temperature

6 oz baker’s (caster) sugar

3 eggs

1½ tsp vanilla extract

6 oz self-raising flour, sieved

4 oz white chocolate chips

4 oz frozen raspberries

white chocolate & raspberry cake 1


Preheat oven to 350°F

Cream butter, sugar (sieved of any lumps) until creamy and pale using an electric/hand mixer

Beat in eggs one at a time then stir in vanilla extract

Fold in the sieved flour until well combined ** use 1-2 tsp of the flour  to mix in and coat the white chocolate chips and raspberries to stop them from sinking to the bottom of the cake when baking**

Mix in the white chocolate chips then carefully mix in the raspberries

Pour the batter into a greased and lined 9in x 5in loaf tin – smooth the mixture into the loaf tin creating an even layer

white chocolate & raspberry cake 2

Place in the heated oven for 30-45 mins (I checked at regular intervals after 25 mins) and bake until nicely golden brown and a screwer comes out clean when placed in the middle of the cake

Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin then turn out on to a wire cooling rack

Once cooled, enjoy with some tea or a dollop of cream – or just as it is!

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


I am linking this recipe with The Homestead Hop – for more recipes be sure to check it out!

American Life with a British Accent: Is English Extinct?


american life with a british accent is english extinct graphic

I like to document all the things I encounter as an expat and relative newbie to living in the good ole U.S of A … including the fascinating, quirky, funny, odd, unusual or generally normal everyday life here in Ohio. Experiencing such things is indeed not particular to Ohio, or America, as I am sure many seasoned travellers, vacationers and expats have encountered much the same … feel free to let me know of any such moments from your travels or life abroad and I will do a Twitter shoutout … this is just life as I get to fumble my way through it.

The latest in the rather odd encounters that I have had as a British expat living in Ohio, occurred a few times recently, so I am wondering if this is a ‘thing’ …

you will lose your accent graphic
This has been said to me by quite a few store employees I have spoken to on my daily walks and weekly shopping trips. They very cheerfully tell me that I will lose my English accent as someone they know of through a friend of theirs … … well, you get the idea.

I can agree to the fact I have now adopted some American words just so I can be understood when asking someone for something, but it is most definitely not said in an American accent. I would not dare attempt it as I would sound ridiculous – a sort of USA twang that comes via Ireland and South Africa … it is truly appalling.

So why do people think I will suddenly stop talking in my English accent and ‘go native’. I have shown no signs thus far of having any kind of American accent, and the few British people I have met who have been here a much longer time than me, have also not lost their regional accents (I detected the Liverpudlian lady in the fruit and veg section from about a mile away like a British homing pigeon) … so, thoughts please!

a little amusement from Urban Dictionary

a little amusement from Urban Dictionary

I have adopted some American words just so the laughter and/or confusion is reduced enough for me to go about my daily tasks without greatly adding to the time it takes to complete them, but a whole change of accent seems a bit far fetched. Admittedly I have not been here a very long time, and I am still finding my feet, so I would love to hear your thoughts … have you lost your accent while living abroad? Do you think it will happen? Is saying ‘zee’ instead of ‘zed’ the forerunner to the death of my English vowels?

As always, leave a comment, as I love to read and respond to what you have to say.