Pages

Search This Blog

Popular Posts

Style makeover in newcastle- autumn outift
My style code makeover was gifted to me a year ago.

It's been just over a year since I had a personal style makeover in Newcastle with North East-based stylist, Helenlee Loves. If you read my previous post all about my style code, you will know how life-changing this was. I regularly use the tips I picked up from Helenlee and the handy Facebook group set up for those who have had a style code session.

It's the night before Black Friday and I am very aware of just how much my shopping habits have changed. Previously I would see a deal like the current 25% off Topshop, and go crazy buying loads of items based on trends I'd seen online. I'd end up wearing things once or twice before realising they were either out of fashion or just didn't suit me. I would do charity shop runs nearly every month with bags of clothes I had hardly worn. Sound familiar?

Now that I know exactly what shapes to look out for, as well as my best colours, I really do feel like I don't need to buy into trends or have the exact same items as girls I see on Instagram. I have started buying higher quality pieces and using sales like Black Friday to purchase items I have been looking at for a while, and I know will truly suit my wardrobe.

Without further ado, here are some of the main lessons I learnt from my style makeover with Helenlee Loves. I hope you find these tips helpful when looking at your own wardrobe and think twice before buying a ton of fast fashion in the sales!

Style makeover in Newcastle- autumn leaves surround girl in autumn colours

Buy quality over quantity

I thought I'd start with this one as before my style code makeover I would say my wardrobe was packed with cheap items which weren't quite right but I'd usually bought in a sale and couldn't resist. I recently changed career and bought a house, so I am not able to regularly buy expensive items. However, I now tend to use any birthday or Christmas money I receive from family to buy items of a higher quality than I used to, and just select pieces that will complete my wardrobe.

I still buy items from H&M as I find their items really good quality and timeless. I recently bought this pleated skirt in two different colours as I really felt it would complement my wardrobe. Turns out I've worn both colours a number of times and I am nowhere near sick of them so I am very pleased with my decision! I try to think of a number of different ways I will style an item now before I invest in it, and I give myself a few days to think about a piece before buying it.

Helenlee Loves also recommends to leave a new item of clothing where you can see it hanging with the tags intact for a few days. If you find you are reaching for it to match other items, then that is great and it is an item which will fit well in your wardrobe. If you find you don't actually reach for it and find limited occasions it is useful for, then it probably needs to go back! Helenlee Loves is one of my favourite Instagram accounts to follow for useful tips like this which help me to stay on track with my style code.

I am not saying not to buy anything at all this Black Friday, but if you do, make sure you pick pieces which will work with your current wardrobe and go for the best quality you can afford.

Style makeover in Newcastle- pleated H&M skirt

Make different colours work with your palette

If you haven't yet had your style code makeover, it can be hard to know what exactly suits you. Now that I know I should be going for deep, dark autumn / winter colours I find this really helps me focus when I enter shops. I had never noticed until now but some store layouts are actually set out in colour palettes, so I can focus on the areas of colour I know I will suit. I haven't given up on all colours which aren't in my colour palette. 

This green is not right for me, but I love the jumper so much at this time of year when I am cold one minute and hot the next when I get inside, as it is a very fine knit. I find if I layer it with this scarf which is more suited to my colouring, I can get away with it. Try different tonal combinations and make sure the colour closer to your face is more suited to your colouring.


Don't be afraid to buy second-hand

I've been really thinking about sustainability since I had my style makeover. I realise more and more how much of an impact 'fast fashion' has on our planet. I haven't given up on cheaper brands entirely, but if I do purchase their items I stick to basics which I know I will still be wearing in years to come. My wardrobe just doesn't change as much now!

I have also started buying items on eBay, as I like to buy higher quality items but don't necessarily have the budget to pay for brand new clothes. I have picked up a few tips through playing around with eBay filters and after securing an amazing Reiss jumper for £11 last week which is currently £115 in store, I thought I'd share my advice for finding bargains.

1. Search for the specific brand and size you are looking for. The more detail in your description the better. I searched 'sparkly jumper reiss size 8' when looking for my jumper.
2. Sort by ending soonest. This saves you finding something you love then waiting a week to see if you win the auction. (This might only be an issue for impatient people like me, but if I'm in the mood to shop I want to see things that might be available soon!)
3. Inspect photos carefully and ask questions if you aren't sure or want further measurements.
4. Don't bid too high, too soon. I tend to do some very active bidding in the last two minutes or so and it usually serves me well - this is easier to do when you've found the auctions ending soonest so you know you are available to bid straight away.

Follow Helenlee's magic formula

This will sound so simple when I describe it, but has really changed how I plan outfits and particularly helps me when packing for a trip away. Helenlee's magic formula is to wear a plain or neutral colour which works with your colouring. You then add a patterned item, in this case my favourite autumnal scarf from H&M. Finally add a pop of colour and try to generally keep this the same across a number of items. 

It's not perfect for my style code but I find myself drawn to this rich, warm shade of yellow. I now have a jumper and this bag in the same shade and I feel like I can mix and match them with this scarf with its hint of yellow to make many co-ordinating outfits. For a weekend away I can take just this bag and scarf as my accessories and it makes outfit planning so stress-free!

Style makeover in Newcastle- plain pop print

Consider investing in a style makeover

I really wanted to share how much my style code makeover has changed the way I approach my wardrobe and clothes shopping in the hope that it might help others to avoid buying unnecessary clothes in the Black Friday sales. I feel like a year later I really understand way more about myself and my personal style, it's like a light bulb has been switched on in my head! A style code session would make a great Christmas gift for your list and you can read more about it on Helenlee's website.

I hope you've enjoyed reading some of these tips and you find some amazing deals in the Black Friday sale for items you will get use out of for years to come. Meanwhile I will be trying to stay away from clothing sales and instead hovering on travel websites looking for Mexico deals for next summer!

Style makeover in newcastle: pinterest pin

My style makeover in Newcastle: one year on

Style makeover in newcastle- autumn outift
My style code makeover was gifted to me a year ago.

It's been just over a year since I had a personal style makeover in Newcastle with North East-based stylist, Helenlee Loves. If you read my previous post all about my style code, you will know how life-changing this was. I regularly use the tips I picked up from Helenlee and the handy Facebook group set up for those who have had a style code session.

It's the night before Black Friday and I am very aware of just how much my shopping habits have changed. Previously I would see a deal like the current 25% off Topshop, and go crazy buying loads of items based on trends I'd seen online. I'd end up wearing things once or twice before realising they were either out of fashion or just didn't suit me. I would do charity shop runs nearly every month with bags of clothes I had hardly worn. Sound familiar?

Now that I know exactly what shapes to look out for, as well as my best colours, I really do feel like I don't need to buy into trends or have the exact same items as girls I see on Instagram. I have started buying higher quality pieces and using sales like Black Friday to purchase items I have been looking at for a while, and I know will truly suit my wardrobe.

Without further ado, here are some of the main lessons I learnt from my style makeover with Helenlee Loves. I hope you find these tips helpful when looking at your own wardrobe and think twice before buying a ton of fast fashion in the sales!

Style makeover in Newcastle- autumn leaves surround girl in autumn colours

Buy quality over quantity

I thought I'd start with this one as before my style code makeover I would say my wardrobe was packed with cheap items which weren't quite right but I'd usually bought in a sale and couldn't resist. I recently changed career and bought a house, so I am not able to regularly buy expensive items. However, I now tend to use any birthday or Christmas money I receive from family to buy items of a higher quality than I used to, and just select pieces that will complete my wardrobe.

I still buy items from H&M as I find their items really good quality and timeless. I recently bought this pleated skirt in two different colours as I really felt it would complement my wardrobe. Turns out I've worn both colours a number of times and I am nowhere near sick of them so I am very pleased with my decision! I try to think of a number of different ways I will style an item now before I invest in it, and I give myself a few days to think about a piece before buying it.

Helenlee Loves also recommends to leave a new item of clothing where you can see it hanging with the tags intact for a few days. If you find you are reaching for it to match other items, then that is great and it is an item which will fit well in your wardrobe. If you find you don't actually reach for it and find limited occasions it is useful for, then it probably needs to go back! Helenlee Loves is one of my favourite Instagram accounts to follow for useful tips like this which help me to stay on track with my style code.

I am not saying not to buy anything at all this Black Friday, but if you do, make sure you pick pieces which will work with your current wardrobe and go for the best quality you can afford.

Style makeover in Newcastle- pleated H&M skirt

Make different colours work with your palette

If you haven't yet had your style code makeover, it can be hard to know what exactly suits you. Now that I know I should be going for deep, dark autumn / winter colours I find this really helps me focus when I enter shops. I had never noticed until now but some store layouts are actually set out in colour palettes, so I can focus on the areas of colour I know I will suit. I haven't given up on all colours which aren't in my colour palette. 

This green is not right for me, but I love the jumper so much at this time of year when I am cold one minute and hot the next when I get inside, as it is a very fine knit. I find if I layer it with this scarf which is more suited to my colouring, I can get away with it. Try different tonal combinations and make sure the colour closer to your face is more suited to your colouring.


Don't be afraid to buy second-hand

I've been really thinking about sustainability since I had my style makeover. I realise more and more how much of an impact 'fast fashion' has on our planet. I haven't given up on cheaper brands entirely, but if I do purchase their items I stick to basics which I know I will still be wearing in years to come. My wardrobe just doesn't change as much now!

I have also started buying items on eBay, as I like to buy higher quality items but don't necessarily have the budget to pay for brand new clothes. I have picked up a few tips through playing around with eBay filters and after securing an amazing Reiss jumper for £11 last week which is currently £115 in store, I thought I'd share my advice for finding bargains.

1. Search for the specific brand and size you are looking for. The more detail in your description the better. I searched 'sparkly jumper reiss size 8' when looking for my jumper.
2. Sort by ending soonest. This saves you finding something you love then waiting a week to see if you win the auction. (This might only be an issue for impatient people like me, but if I'm in the mood to shop I want to see things that might be available soon!)
3. Inspect photos carefully and ask questions if you aren't sure or want further measurements.
4. Don't bid too high, too soon. I tend to do some very active bidding in the last two minutes or so and it usually serves me well - this is easier to do when you've found the auctions ending soonest so you know you are available to bid straight away.

Follow Helenlee's magic formula

This will sound so simple when I describe it, but has really changed how I plan outfits and particularly helps me when packing for a trip away. Helenlee's magic formula is to wear a plain or neutral colour which works with your colouring. You then add a patterned item, in this case my favourite autumnal scarf from H&M. Finally add a pop of colour and try to generally keep this the same across a number of items. 

It's not perfect for my style code but I find myself drawn to this rich, warm shade of yellow. I now have a jumper and this bag in the same shade and I feel like I can mix and match them with this scarf with its hint of yellow to make many co-ordinating outfits. For a weekend away I can take just this bag and scarf as my accessories and it makes outfit planning so stress-free!

Style makeover in Newcastle- plain pop print

Consider investing in a style makeover

I really wanted to share how much my style code makeover has changed the way I approach my wardrobe and clothes shopping in the hope that it might help others to avoid buying unnecessary clothes in the Black Friday sales. I feel like a year later I really understand way more about myself and my personal style, it's like a light bulb has been switched on in my head! A style code session would make a great Christmas gift for your list and you can read more about it on Helenlee's website.

I hope you've enjoyed reading some of these tips and you find some amazing deals in the Black Friday sale for items you will get use out of for years to come. Meanwhile I will be trying to stay away from clothing sales and instead hovering on travel websites looking for Mexico deals for next summer!

Style makeover in newcastle: pinterest pin
Flowers arranged at Katherine's florst- christmas bouquet
AD- I was kindly invited to experience a number of floristry masterclasses with 
Katherine's Florist in 2019, and wanted to share my experience with you all.

I am definitely not the most creative person you will ever meet, but this year I have tried my hand at flower arranging a few times and I am a complete convert! It is a seriously relaxing way to spend an evening, especially when prosecco is involved, and I wanted to share my amazing experience with you all as it's a really fun and different activity to do in Newcastle.

I first attended a Bubbles and Blooms class at Katherine's Florist in Gosforth back in February time, when I had never tried my hand at flower arranging before and felt a little nervous at the prospect of unleashing my (lack of) skills! I needn't have worried so much; the team at Katherine's are so lovely and make everyone feel welcome from the moment they step through the door. Even when I felt like my arrangement was going awry, there was always someone on hand to help me sort it out. Even if you don't feel like a naturally creative person you would be surprised at how enjoyable it is just taking time out to do something different.

Spring flowers at a class in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist
Beautiful surroundings for a floristry class
Each class followed a fairly similar plan. We would arrive from 6pm to a glass of chilled fizz and a nice chat with the staff at Katherine's and other people taking the class. I've met some lovely ladies each time I have been to the florist and really enjoyed chatting to new people.

One of the talented ladies at Katherine's would then demonstrate how to make the arrangement; always making it look easy of course with very clear instructions. I liked how they would include tips for aftercare, and I have really learnt how to make my flowers last longer when I get them home.
Orange roses- flower arranging in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist

Then it was over to us. We would each be given our own, spacious flower-arranging station with all the materials needed for our bouquet as well as our own scissors, paper and tape. The staff were always on hand to give advice, help us out, and of course top up our glasses of prosecco. Each time I have created something different and it has been great to see how a group of girls with the same materials have all come out with their own unique design. Without a doubt I would happily book myself onto future classes with friends and family and personally think that £25 is a great price for the quality of flowers you get to take home.

Orange roses- six examples of flower arrangments at a floristry class in Newcastle

I thought I would write a post at this time of year as it's that time when people are wondering what on earth to buy adult family members for Christmas. A floristry masterclass makes such a lovely gift idea for the flower-loving lady (or gent!) in your life. Mums, aunties, grandmas and other grown-up relatives can be so tricky to buy for which is why I love to get experience gifts for something different. 

It's nice to exchange the usual toiletries and makeup every year but I do think it ends up being quite repetitive and in a bid to be more environmentally conscious, I like to treat people to experiences when I can. I personally would be absolutely delighted with the prospect of a nice day out with a friend or family member and the chance take home a gorgeous bunch of flowers hand-crafted myself!

autumn bouquet I arranged in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist

This autumn bouquet was probably my favourite of the year. Katherine's always use a mix of textures and colours, with the mini apples and purple oriental cabbages making this bouquet completely unique.

The first few dates for 2020 classes have just been released so I thought I'd share all the exciting events Katherine's Florist have planned. All Bubbles and Blooms classes take place in their beautiful shop in Gosforth just outside of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The January class in particular seems like such a lovely idea for a Christmas experience gift or date in the diary to catch up after the busy period is over.

~9th January 6-8pm: Make a colourful Tulip hand-tie with scented Genista and elegant foliages.
~6th February 6-8pm: Make a rustic, wicker heart arrangement enhanced with stunning red roses.
~12th March 6-8pm: Make your Mum feel like a Queen for Mothers Day with a fabulous, floral crown.
~2nd April 6-8pm: Make an Easter inspired, rustic, garden hand-tie to brighten your home.

Floristry Class in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist- flowers and materials on table to arrange our own bouqet

To book onto any of these classes I'd recommend emailing Katherine's at social@katherinesflorists.co.uk. The team are very friendly and responsive over email, so will be happy to answer any questions you might have. I really hope you've enjoyed reading about my experience at Katherine's. Is flower arranging something you would like to try your hand at? Please let me know in the comments!

Floristry Classes in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist

Flowers arranged at Katherine's florst- christmas bouquet
AD- I was kindly invited to experience a number of floristry masterclasses with 
Katherine's Florist in 2019, and wanted to share my experience with you all.

I am definitely not the most creative person you will ever meet, but this year I have tried my hand at flower arranging a few times and I am a complete convert! It is a seriously relaxing way to spend an evening, especially when prosecco is involved, and I wanted to share my amazing experience with you all as it's a really fun and different activity to do in Newcastle.

I first attended a Bubbles and Blooms class at Katherine's Florist in Gosforth back in February time, when I had never tried my hand at flower arranging before and felt a little nervous at the prospect of unleashing my (lack of) skills! I needn't have worried so much; the team at Katherine's are so lovely and make everyone feel welcome from the moment they step through the door. Even when I felt like my arrangement was going awry, there was always someone on hand to help me sort it out. Even if you don't feel like a naturally creative person you would be surprised at how enjoyable it is just taking time out to do something different.

Spring flowers at a class in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist
Beautiful surroundings for a floristry class
Each class followed a fairly similar plan. We would arrive from 6pm to a glass of chilled fizz and a nice chat with the staff at Katherine's and other people taking the class. I've met some lovely ladies each time I have been to the florist and really enjoyed chatting to new people.

One of the talented ladies at Katherine's would then demonstrate how to make the arrangement; always making it look easy of course with very clear instructions. I liked how they would include tips for aftercare, and I have really learnt how to make my flowers last longer when I get them home.
Orange roses- flower arranging in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist

Then it was over to us. We would each be given our own, spacious flower-arranging station with all the materials needed for our bouquet as well as our own scissors, paper and tape. The staff were always on hand to give advice, help us out, and of course top up our glasses of prosecco. Each time I have created something different and it has been great to see how a group of girls with the same materials have all come out with their own unique design. Without a doubt I would happily book myself onto future classes with friends and family and personally think that £25 is a great price for the quality of flowers you get to take home.

Orange roses- six examples of flower arrangments at a floristry class in Newcastle

I thought I would write a post at this time of year as it's that time when people are wondering what on earth to buy adult family members for Christmas. A floristry masterclass makes such a lovely gift idea for the flower-loving lady (or gent!) in your life. Mums, aunties, grandmas and other grown-up relatives can be so tricky to buy for which is why I love to get experience gifts for something different. 

It's nice to exchange the usual toiletries and makeup every year but I do think it ends up being quite repetitive and in a bid to be more environmentally conscious, I like to treat people to experiences when I can. I personally would be absolutely delighted with the prospect of a nice day out with a friend or family member and the chance take home a gorgeous bunch of flowers hand-crafted myself!

autumn bouquet I arranged in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist

This autumn bouquet was probably my favourite of the year. Katherine's always use a mix of textures and colours, with the mini apples and purple oriental cabbages making this bouquet completely unique.

The first few dates for 2020 classes have just been released so I thought I'd share all the exciting events Katherine's Florist have planned. All Bubbles and Blooms classes take place in their beautiful shop in Gosforth just outside of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The January class in particular seems like such a lovely idea for a Christmas experience gift or date in the diary to catch up after the busy period is over.

~9th January 6-8pm: Make a colourful Tulip hand-tie with scented Genista and elegant foliages.
~6th February 6-8pm: Make a rustic, wicker heart arrangement enhanced with stunning red roses.
~12th March 6-8pm: Make your Mum feel like a Queen for Mothers Day with a fabulous, floral crown.
~2nd April 6-8pm: Make an Easter inspired, rustic, garden hand-tie to brighten your home.

Floristry Class in Newcastle at Katherine's Florist- flowers and materials on table to arrange our own bouqet

To book onto any of these classes I'd recommend emailing Katherine's at social@katherinesflorists.co.uk. The team are very friendly and responsive over email, so will be happy to answer any questions you might have. I really hope you've enjoyed reading about my experience at Katherine's. Is flower arranging something you would like to try your hand at? Please let me know in the comments!
Autumn walk now I have returned home

I find it hard to believe that a year ago we had recently moved back from an amazing few months in Singapore! When we got back I wrote a post all about reverse culture shock (yes it's totally a thing!) and I opened up about how the first few weeks / months felt. Sometimes settling back in to your 'old life' (I don't like to think of it as my 'old life' actually, but more on that later) can feel as hard as moving somewhere new.

Fast forward a year and we've now been back home longer than we were away. So much has changed and I thought I'd write a little honest and chatty post about the reality of settling back into UK life after the expat experience. If you are new round here, then you can read my post here about why I decided to move abroad as it will give you a little more context!

Initial feelings when returning home after living abroad

It really sucks at first. I know I need to check my privilege and I am fully aware of how lucky I was to be able to experience Singapore life, but that doesn't change the fact it sucks when it's all over. One of my favourite bloggers, Beth Sandland, wrote a post recently entitled 'I don't want to go homeand it really sums up how I felt when we had to leave.

Of course leaving was a choice. Sort of. I wasn't working in Singapore and I knew that I would struggle to find a job there without some further training (I have recently completely changed career) and it just isn't somewhere which is great to live without lots of money. I'd never say never about returning some day, but in the end it made sense to come home when we did.

Autumn light

The things that sucked when we returned home

I thought it would help if I actually delve a bit further into this feeling, rather than just saying 'it sucks' like a petulant toddler. There are so many positive aspects about moving back and I have become a way more grateful person since experiencing life elsewhere but some things didn't feel great at first. 

Back to usual routines

It feels like a huge comedown after experiencing new and exciting things practically every day when you're suddenly back in the land of bin days, frosty mornings and lengthy commutes. This took a while to get my head round and I found myself craving new and exciting things to do. I think this is where some people would have that epiphany that life on the road is totally for them, and I think that can definitely be an amazing long-term option! For me I knew I just had to be patient as I could list endless reasons why I was happier being back in the UK.

Lack of regular travel

This is something which I am still not used to as I love getting away to explore unknown places. We live in Newcastle, which is a city I love but I don't love the lack of cheap, direct flights. I genuinely think if travel is your passion then you must base yourself somewhere with good flight routes otherwise you will find yourself either bankrupt or dissatisfied from lack of trips! You can read here how I find cheap flights now we are back in Europe.

I think the good outweighs the bad here, and whilst I do dream of being able to nip away for cheap weekend breaks, I love my home and I am willing to travel less than I could from somewhere else.

Some things had to change as I just wasn't willing to slot back into the same old life I had before we left. Elements of it were great but I have really changed in the last few years and wanted my lifestyle to reflect that. It felt like an exciting chance to have a new start!

Autumn walk near home

Big life updates after a year

Buying and decorating a home

This has been an amazing experience and one which I am so grateful for. I find that the lack of cheap flights from Newcastle has led me to prioritising home-related purchases instead of booking as many trips away. I really found the lack of a proper home base difficult as an expat and this would be my number one reason why I prefer being at home overall. One of my most-read posts ever was about what home means to me as many of you resonated with how confusing it can be.

You don't need to own a home to have a base, and so many people enjoy travelling longer term, but this is something I am extremely grateful for and brings me so much joy. It may be in part because of the next big life change I am going to talk about....

Adopting two cats

A few weeks ago we adopted sibling British Shorthair cats, aged 7 and they are amazing. I need to go back and edit my post about what home means as I now can't imagine it without pets! These two furry babies completely soak up all the love and affection I've got to shower them with!

Returning home after living abroad: one year on- halloween

Total career change

If you have followed my blog for a while you might have already read about the fact that I decided to totally change career a couple of years ago. You can read my favourite post here about why I ditched the 5 year plan. This is part of why I find it hard to even recognise my old life, pre-Singapore, as I just wasn't in the right career at all.

I can't quite believe that within a year of coming back I have got a full-time job in a brand new field and can actually say I am HAPPY! I don't absolutely dread Mondays! I can't tell you how good that feels. If you are unsure if you're in the right field then I would really recommend taking some time out with a note pad, writing down everything you want from a job / your life goals (it does get quite deep) and this can really help you focus on what you want to do. It worked for me!

Moving home after a stint abroad really does make you re-evaluate your life and it might just be the ideal time to look at a new career or even just a company move in the same field. It is hard to just slot back into the same life so don't be worried if you are in the same boat and you find it is time for a change.

Change in attitude

When you return home from living abroad not everyone is bothered. That sounds blunt, but it is very true! People don't always know what to say or how to identify with this life you have led which is a million miles away from their reality. You might not have spoken to everyone as much as you expected whilst you are away. It is totally OK to take a step back and evaluate your friendships. This is a fresh start after all! 

I must say that I feel very lucky to have some amazing friends who have always been there, and despite a few months of less contact we are still as close as ever and I have slotted back into groups quite easily. I have loved meeting new friends though and mainly have my blog to thank for this! It's important to throw yourself in your life back at home and this includes making like-minded friends. I have so much to thank blogging for, and helping me to settle in back at home is something it has really helped with.

My attitude towards other people has definitely changed. I used to try and be a friend to everyone and always check in with friends, I don't try to do that any more. I keep my circles small and make the effort with those who I know will always be there. I am much happier for this.

Returning home after living abroad: one year on-  a winter walk

Future plans

This is a scary one for me as I don't do big 5 year plans any more. My main plan is to always choose happiness, and to make decisions based on happiness for myself and my loved ones. Money doesn't interest me any more! Seeing the way of life in other places like Cambodia and parts of Bali has really made me re-evaluate my life and doesn't show any sign of diminishing even a year on.

Travel plans

As at the time of writing this I have zero plans to move abroad again. Never say never, but for now I am really happy to stay put in the toon. I have more proper holidays now and enjoy a shorter break with a bit more luxury (although I now realise how expensive holidays are outside of Asia!).

Plans for 2020 are in the making, but I am rounding off 2019 with trips to Prague and Istanbul which I am so excited for. I have had five months of no travel after a cancelled trip to Turkey as we have focused on doing up our home, and I have realised that I can find happiness without always chasing the next destination.

Expat life in my every day life

I wrote a post in May about how I try to bring some of that expat magic into my day-to-day life and none of that has changed at all. I try to see more of my home city and have had some fantastic days out recently which you can read about in my monthly round-up posts. I make the effort to eat out for my work lunch break at least once a week, going for totally different cuisines and definitely not the usual sandwich at my desk.

I am very proud to say I went on my first ever solo trip this year, on a press trip to Aberdeenshire. I wrote a post all about this first solo trip as it was a big one for me. You'd think as an only child I'd love my own company but I am actually rubbish at being solo. So to find that I actually enjoyed it and would do it again felt like a miracle - I'd say that is testament to how much Singapore changed my outlook. You can read my honest blog post about my first solo travel experience if you are interested.

This has quickly turned into some kind of annual round-up or a new year post, but maybe each year after expat life is like my own mini new year celebration.  I've been to Asia and back, completely changed my career and at the end of the day I still like to sit at home with a glass of wine, stroking my cat babies and watching Netflix. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Returning home after living abroad: one year on- Gibside hall walk

Returning home after living abroad: one year on

I hope this is helpful for some of you who are ending your travels soon, or perhaps it will provide comfort to those who would love to live abroad but can't for whatever reason. I love living in the UK, I enjoy the cold days as I'd rather have that than constant humidity. I embrace every cup of Yorkshire tea and will never take proper gravy for granted! Singapore I loved you so much, but this is my home now.

Returning home after living abroad: one year on: pinterest pin

Returning home after living abroad: one year on

Autumn walk now I have returned home

I find it hard to believe that a year ago we had recently moved back from an amazing few months in Singapore! When we got back I wrote a post all about reverse culture shock (yes it's totally a thing!) and I opened up about how the first few weeks / months felt. Sometimes settling back in to your 'old life' (I don't like to think of it as my 'old life' actually, but more on that later) can feel as hard as moving somewhere new.

Fast forward a year and we've now been back home longer than we were away. So much has changed and I thought I'd write a little honest and chatty post about the reality of settling back into UK life after the expat experience. If you are new round here, then you can read my post here about why I decided to move abroad as it will give you a little more context!

Initial feelings when returning home after living abroad

It really sucks at first. I know I need to check my privilege and I am fully aware of how lucky I was to be able to experience Singapore life, but that doesn't change the fact it sucks when it's all over. One of my favourite bloggers, Beth Sandland, wrote a post recently entitled 'I don't want to go homeand it really sums up how I felt when we had to leave.

Of course leaving was a choice. Sort of. I wasn't working in Singapore and I knew that I would struggle to find a job there without some further training (I have recently completely changed career) and it just isn't somewhere which is great to live without lots of money. I'd never say never about returning some day, but in the end it made sense to come home when we did.

Autumn light

The things that sucked when we returned home

I thought it would help if I actually delve a bit further into this feeling, rather than just saying 'it sucks' like a petulant toddler. There are so many positive aspects about moving back and I have become a way more grateful person since experiencing life elsewhere but some things didn't feel great at first. 

Back to usual routines

It feels like a huge comedown after experiencing new and exciting things practically every day when you're suddenly back in the land of bin days, frosty mornings and lengthy commutes. This took a while to get my head round and I found myself craving new and exciting things to do. I think this is where some people would have that epiphany that life on the road is totally for them, and I think that can definitely be an amazing long-term option! For me I knew I just had to be patient as I could list endless reasons why I was happier being back in the UK.

Lack of regular travel

This is something which I am still not used to as I love getting away to explore unknown places. We live in Newcastle, which is a city I love but I don't love the lack of cheap, direct flights. I genuinely think if travel is your passion then you must base yourself somewhere with good flight routes otherwise you will find yourself either bankrupt or dissatisfied from lack of trips! You can read here how I find cheap flights now we are back in Europe.

I think the good outweighs the bad here, and whilst I do dream of being able to nip away for cheap weekend breaks, I love my home and I am willing to travel less than I could from somewhere else.

Some things had to change as I just wasn't willing to slot back into the same old life I had before we left. Elements of it were great but I have really changed in the last few years and wanted my lifestyle to reflect that. It felt like an exciting chance to have a new start!

Autumn walk near home

Big life updates after a year

Buying and decorating a home

This has been an amazing experience and one which I am so grateful for. I find that the lack of cheap flights from Newcastle has led me to prioritising home-related purchases instead of booking as many trips away. I really found the lack of a proper home base difficult as an expat and this would be my number one reason why I prefer being at home overall. One of my most-read posts ever was about what home means to me as many of you resonated with how confusing it can be.

You don't need to own a home to have a base, and so many people enjoy travelling longer term, but this is something I am extremely grateful for and brings me so much joy. It may be in part because of the next big life change I am going to talk about....

Adopting two cats

A few weeks ago we adopted sibling British Shorthair cats, aged 7 and they are amazing. I need to go back and edit my post about what home means as I now can't imagine it without pets! These two furry babies completely soak up all the love and affection I've got to shower them with!

Returning home after living abroad: one year on- halloween

Total career change

If you have followed my blog for a while you might have already read about the fact that I decided to totally change career a couple of years ago. You can read my favourite post here about why I ditched the 5 year plan. This is part of why I find it hard to even recognise my old life, pre-Singapore, as I just wasn't in the right career at all.

I can't quite believe that within a year of coming back I have got a full-time job in a brand new field and can actually say I am HAPPY! I don't absolutely dread Mondays! I can't tell you how good that feels. If you are unsure if you're in the right field then I would really recommend taking some time out with a note pad, writing down everything you want from a job / your life goals (it does get quite deep) and this can really help you focus on what you want to do. It worked for me!

Moving home after a stint abroad really does make you re-evaluate your life and it might just be the ideal time to look at a new career or even just a company move in the same field. It is hard to just slot back into the same life so don't be worried if you are in the same boat and you find it is time for a change.

Change in attitude

When you return home from living abroad not everyone is bothered. That sounds blunt, but it is very true! People don't always know what to say or how to identify with this life you have led which is a million miles away from their reality. You might not have spoken to everyone as much as you expected whilst you are away. It is totally OK to take a step back and evaluate your friendships. This is a fresh start after all! 

I must say that I feel very lucky to have some amazing friends who have always been there, and despite a few months of less contact we are still as close as ever and I have slotted back into groups quite easily. I have loved meeting new friends though and mainly have my blog to thank for this! It's important to throw yourself in your life back at home and this includes making like-minded friends. I have so much to thank blogging for, and helping me to settle in back at home is something it has really helped with.

My attitude towards other people has definitely changed. I used to try and be a friend to everyone and always check in with friends, I don't try to do that any more. I keep my circles small and make the effort with those who I know will always be there. I am much happier for this.

Returning home after living abroad: one year on-  a winter walk

Future plans

This is a scary one for me as I don't do big 5 year plans any more. My main plan is to always choose happiness, and to make decisions based on happiness for myself and my loved ones. Money doesn't interest me any more! Seeing the way of life in other places like Cambodia and parts of Bali has really made me re-evaluate my life and doesn't show any sign of diminishing even a year on.

Travel plans

As at the time of writing this I have zero plans to move abroad again. Never say never, but for now I am really happy to stay put in the toon. I have more proper holidays now and enjoy a shorter break with a bit more luxury (although I now realise how expensive holidays are outside of Asia!).

Plans for 2020 are in the making, but I am rounding off 2019 with trips to Prague and Istanbul which I am so excited for. I have had five months of no travel after a cancelled trip to Turkey as we have focused on doing up our home, and I have realised that I can find happiness without always chasing the next destination.

Expat life in my every day life

I wrote a post in May about how I try to bring some of that expat magic into my day-to-day life and none of that has changed at all. I try to see more of my home city and have had some fantastic days out recently which you can read about in my monthly round-up posts. I make the effort to eat out for my work lunch break at least once a week, going for totally different cuisines and definitely not the usual sandwich at my desk.

I am very proud to say I went on my first ever solo trip this year, on a press trip to Aberdeenshire. I wrote a post all about this first solo trip as it was a big one for me. You'd think as an only child I'd love my own company but I am actually rubbish at being solo. So to find that I actually enjoyed it and would do it again felt like a miracle - I'd say that is testament to how much Singapore changed my outlook. You can read my honest blog post about my first solo travel experience if you are interested.

This has quickly turned into some kind of annual round-up or a new year post, but maybe each year after expat life is like my own mini new year celebration.  I've been to Asia and back, completely changed my career and at the end of the day I still like to sit at home with a glass of wine, stroking my cat babies and watching Netflix. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Returning home after living abroad: one year on- Gibside hall walk

Returning home after living abroad: one year on

I hope this is helpful for some of you who are ending your travels soon, or perhaps it will provide comfort to those who would love to live abroad but can't for whatever reason. I love living in the UK, I enjoy the cold days as I'd rather have that than constant humidity. I embrace every cup of Yorkshire tea and will never take proper gravy for granted! Singapore I loved you so much, but this is my home now.

Returning home after living abroad: one year on: pinterest pin

Blog Archive

Social

Follow

Subscribe to new posts

Copyright @ Melis Living. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign