So Much to do, so Little Time!

It’s been a super busy time here.

More fixing of the broken tooth! Catching up with friends and family, sneaking in a few days of work in the South of France.

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Meanwhile, a friend of our sister in law, Andrew Rees, has just become the 1st deaf man to swim the channel. Raising money that will go towards helping deaf athletes to compete in the Deaflympics in 2017. Steve had heard of this event but Debs had to admit she was embarrassed to say had never heard of this until now. This guy really is inspirational and puts most of us to shame. Words cannot describe just how amazing this guy must be!

Deb spent the bank holiday doing her bit for the Bursledon regatta, making a costume out of a sheet and some feathers, volunteering and selling raffle tickets for the gallon of wine and whisky draw to ensure that the 150 year old regatta can continue. This is part of her family history, having a dad who was an apprentice in the boat yard over 60 years ago make her a true local to the area. She has spent many an hour covered in mud as a kid looking for hidden treasure from a bygone age of old sailing ships.

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This week saw Steve and Debs rushing around, Regatta one day, Isle of Wight the next day for Steve’s family gathering, then driving up for a stay over night at Gatwick to catch an early flight out to Marseille the next day. (We stayed in the bloc hotel, gets a thumbs up from us 👍)

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Fly back 4 days later for Steve’s Mum and Dads 50th wedding anniversary and the Milley famous garden marble run, with a drop of lovely English rain,Vodka and Gin jelly shots, garage bars and stuffing ourselves with cheese and pineapple sticks and sausage rolls made by our nieces and nephew.

Sunday was lunch with our friends Frankie and Jon the next day and of course not forgeting Clover the dog too..🐕

Then only 2hrs to pack for France and back on the road to Dover and on to the M25 car park!
Off to bed in a great little B&B minutes from the port with the loveliest of hosts and the best breakfast. (Ever need a quintessentially English B&B to stay whilst in Dover check these guys out. 299 London Rd Dover. Great price and so close to coming or going from the port! 🛏🛋🛀)

So here we are sitting on the ferry, prescription sunglasses for Deb, no… Debs Ralph Lauren glasses are still sat in the door pocket of the hire car in Marseille!!! And yes, there are words for this but not ones we shall type here!

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So off to call the car hire firm, hope someone realises that the designer glasses they pocketed from the valet of the hire car are prescription and that they can’t see through them, returns them, is Deb that lucky??? We shall see, no pun intended!
So off we go to get an email of Debs prescription from opticians and try to get a pair sent to the vineyard in France? Here’s hoping!

1st off the ferry and on route to our next stop in Champagne. 🍾🍾🍾🍾

Live Happy

Debs and Steve

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Hobbit Festival Family Fun, Rain didn’t stop play!!

Land, wash, pack and off again.

Time to have the family reunion! Stuff the car full of duvets and linen, a host of food and drinks. Small snacks for the journey and off we go.

Sign post to the pub

It’s been a long time since we’ve all been together and we have all lived different lives around various places. Looking forward to a good get together and time to chat and huddle around a good old campfire with everyone hoping Deb doesn’t try and break out into a song. She must be the only one who’s claim to fame is that she once got beaten by a dog and a drunk man at a singalong game!

Well
● Mum has got plumper. 🤔
● Steve has less hair. 👀
● Sam is still far browner than the rest of us and still has no money. 💳
● Matt still has the biggest bushy beard. 🙄
● Nikki is adjusting to a new life as she says goodbye to teaching in the UK to fly to Myanmar in Asia to teach for the next 2 years. 🛫
● Ollie is missing as new job on the go! 😓

Where did we go?

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Glamping in Davidstow, near the coast of North Cornwall and one of the places where the Great British cheddar cheese is made.

On route we came across the sign, Guinness World record attempt for the most sheep sheared in 9 hrs. So plans changed and off we go in search of the farm. In true English fashion the rain starts and we find ourselves at the farm. Vote for the most inappropriate dressed people in a farm in the rain goes to the Millies, flip flops and summer dress!!!

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The farmers were really friendly and the place was packed, luckily we were rescued by a man with a ladder so we could see, only to later realise that it was being live streamed in the other barn.. So we take our seats in the Barn Bar, with cornish pride real ale and cider on the go and watch the world record get broken. Matt Smith, 32, sheared 731 ewes in nine hours beating the previous record of 721.

The event even made headlines around the world and was live streamed to audiences in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Iceland and Ireland.

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Finally we arrive at Belle Tents Camping and settle in. We have everything we need to have our own private English Hobbit Festival.
● RAIN
● Tents
● Camp Fire
● Undercover BBQ
● Bar tent
● Music
● Hot showers and flushing toilets

And a box of fancy dress items!

We have a great time in the rain, intermittent sun and more rain. Building fires and toasting marshmallows and having a boogie to Sam’s music selection, didn’t know we liked Bossa Nova? Chat to our hosts Laura and Dave and their current workaway volunteers from Spain and hear tales of their travels and lives.

Steve, Matt and Deb have a go at log chopping and fire making (no elf and safety here) while Sam and Nikki have a catch up on Sams travels to Bali, Australia, New Zealand and Nikki chats about her new job in Myanmar.

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During the days we drive to little villages on the coast stopping off to wander around eating chips and hide in cafes out of the rain and fighting off seagulls. Plus side of this was Nikki being a coeliac managed to fill up on gluten free Cornwall scones and cornish pasties.

During the nights we have a Christmas day, Easter and birthdays to make up for all those we have missed as we are never together at the right time of the year. If you ever need a gluten free birthday cake in the UK, we can thoroughly recommend the one in Sainsburys, lovely and bouncy and not all crumbly. Yes, Deb really has been saving, chocolate bunnies and penguins and bought christmas socks, crackers, tinsel and mulled wine!

A great time was had by us all, everyone is wanting to make this an annual event so time to put the thinking cap on to make it bigger and better next time!

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Back home and Steve’s finally decided it’s time to shave off the festival beard as its afternoon cream tea at a castle tomorrow, let’s hope the dentist can repair Debs broken tooth in the morning too! Then off to the Forest of Dean for more glamping…. Really must start some travel planning for December.

Live Happy
The Millies

 

Lost in the BIG Forest

Here we are, in Lapland for the midnight sun.
So yes we over packed! Torch, why on earth did we pack this when in the midnight sun? Answers on a post card please as WiFi is not very avaliable here.

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When did we become so reliant on technology? Imagine a world without being able to Google everything from where you are going, to what you are going to do when you get there. Where’s the local shop, the petrol station?

Sweden has the answer! Talk to the people and get the best places to go or help when you’re lost!

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After an overnight stop in Lulea, night at a festival and our 1st experience of it being so light at 23:30, we head off in our hire car. (Which, we must say was a totally different experience to Greece) We went for the cheap one and ended up with a brand new Volvo V40, so off we go… Deb singing random ABBA tunes along the way and Steve doing impressions of the Swedish chef off the muppets.  OK, we know what you are thinking and we agree, what a pair of muppets they are!!!

We drive around and get closer to our floating shed, Huuva Hideaway watching for moose and reindeer but instead seeing hundreds of dark tree stumps with roots sticking out.. Then we see them, mummy and baby reindeer but we were so unprepared as we had pretty much given up! Snapping away, we manage a white fluffy reindeer bum as they move so fast..

So off the beaten track we go, up and up a gravel track until we have no idea where we are going, then it’s time to give in and ring our host and ask for help, we were so close but they came to meet us in their car and take us the last couple of kilometres. So we arrive at a cool little shed bobbing on a lake, so cozy and full of everything we need. In true Swedish style we have a log burning sauna/shower and a compost toilet.

20160717_084029Steve gets to do man things, fishing, building fires and Debs spends too much time photographing the same thing over and over again.

Out hosts have a restaurant up on a hill over looking the river and valley and Finland called Utblick. We decide to book a table and pop up the road to dinner, slight problem.. We get lost.. VERY LOST.. 1 hour later we find a man and ask the way to be told we are about 10 km out! What a sense of humor, he says , “You are in the big forest now, only restaurant around here is the one where you are the meal for the mosquitos” Kindly the guy says “follow me I’m going part of the way” and off we go.

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The meal was amazing and setting was just perfect. Henry is an amazing self taught chef who produces food up to the standard of some of the top chefs back in the UK. Sorry vegetarians, but out here Reindeer is on all the menus and is very yummy and we also had another local speciality, Kalix roe, which we shared as we weren’t so sure on what we were getting but turned out to be rather good too.

The people out in the North Sweden wilderness really understand how to live off the land and what is around them, we hear all about moose flower lemonade and sit sipping Lapland liqueur.
We spend some time with Pia and Henry and had a look around their lovely homestead, learning about life in North Sweden and Steve has a chat about food, hunting, fishing and chainsaws.

DSC03058Then off we head to Sorbyn to stay in a wooden hut near a lake. You can’t believe just how quiet it is. There is no white noise, no planes flying over your head, total peace! You can hear your own heart beat. Think this has been the best nights sleep ever had! Then you get to go exploring for animals, moose, reindeer, bears, beavers plus you can do so much fishing, hiking and canoing there too. The midnight sun will give you so many different displays and each day gives you a different show of hues, accents and cloud formations making you see nature in a new way. It’s a great place in the summer although so many people seem to only go for the winter for the aurora borealis and snow activities.

20160717_192132Off now to hop across to Finland and then go find the Arctic circle to jump over 😉

You will hear from us again next week, space ships and all!

Live Happy

Debs and Steve

One to Many Man Hugs!

So we have finally detached from work, like a tooth that the dentist can’t seem to pull out but got there in the end.

Steve has been finding it so hard to leave and Deb will finally stop popping up all around work. If you worked with Deb you will know exactly what this means. 🙄

How did people act?

  • So many cuddles and man hugs, many more than we ever expected!
  • Most are really pleased for us and came up with 101 ways to climb in the rucksack and suitcase or become our sherpas along the journey.
  • Then there were a few stragglers who just cut you off…

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McLaren Automotive has been an amazing journey for the both of us and may not be the end as you never know where life may take you. In the words of Bruce McLaren, “Life is Measured in Achievement Not in Years Alone”

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By the end of the last day we were settling just nicely to the new life, sat in a old english country manor house over looking beautiful landscaped gardens, sipping champagne and munching our way through an afternoon tea. Could get used to this!

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Time to reflect on our journey through life so far and realise that we are two very lucky people to be able to have this adventure. We may have been through some very tough times in the past, but as the saying goes “What Doesn’t Kill you Makes you Stronger”

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Day one of our new adventure, we are sat in the airport waiting to fly to Sweden, then an interconnecting flight up to the Arctic circle for the midnight sun. Only a 4 hour wait plus 2 hrs delay between flights. So glad I packed some snacks, even though we knew it was going to be expensive, we didn’t expect it to be that expensive…. Nearly £10 for one sandwich and £5.00 for one coffee. So the action plan, fill empty water bottles from the taps and after much wandering around we found the cheapest items, 2 burgers and a slice of cheese, £4.00, strangely the queue here was rather long?

Swedish people are so calm, the 1st one I spoke to, just in a shop said, “Welcome to Sweden Have a Great Time” Think we are going to like it here 😊

Mean while, back in the UK our nephew Jake was busy winning medals and cups for cricket. 1st Junior Hampshire County Champions then going on to become Southern Counties Winners. Well done Jake!!

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One of our daughters is also now on countdown to the final days as a teacher in the UK as she soon jets off to teach in Myanmar for the next 2 years and settle into a new way of life.

Time for us to sit back and watch the never ending sunset of the midnight sun completely lost as to what time it is, very strange feeling.

Live Happy
Debs and Steve

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Nearly There……

So, Steve is just hitting his last week at work and it’s going to be a lonely one as his team all head off to their next event in Belgium.

Meanwhile Deb has been doing a bit here and there to earn a few extra pennies to help towards Sweden as we are starting expensive 1st… We have been looking at couch surfing although hit the problem that everyone is on holiday so spaces are limited especially when you go to places like the Arctic Circle, so it’s off to a hotel in Lulea we go!

Steve’s last day is the same day we head off to the airport so perhaps we shall have a treat on route rather than come home? Maybe an English afternoon cream tea is calling!

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Straight after this is time for the family hobbit festival down in Cornwall. Let us explain. Our daughters are both traveller types too.. One is just back from 18 months travelling Bali, Australia, New Zealand, back to Bali and then back home to sunny Newquay UK, working freelance as a surf instructor. The other is just about to fly out to Myanmar in Asia for 2 years to teach so very rare we meet up all together, so July is the time!  We have found us a glamping camp, with fire pit, barbecue and bar and as we are all short, it is being named hobbit festival for a few days! Really looking forward to it 🙂

Surf photo courtesy of Surf Sistas

Planning has started for our French and Austrian trip in Sept.. So let’s make it all about wine.
Currently looking to head through the wine regions on the way to working in a vineyard in the south of France.
The list is growing,
Champagne
Chablis
Burgundy
Beaujolais
Rhone Valley
and then down to the final destination in Saint Tropez..

Thoughts are already moving towards what we do in Nov? We have had a few offers that sound interesting so who knows? No more English breakfast or roast dinners!

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It’s amazing how many things change when you do something like this? We have started to re-engage with our neighbours, meeting people who we have only ever seen drive in and out of drivewways and Deb has been given the opportunity to help at the local regatta down on the Hamble river. Theme for this year is Rio Carnival, so sure at some time Deb will have a feathery head piece on 😉

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The scariness of no income is starting to also kick in now. Spreadsheets are in progress and super analysing all we spend underway. Steve is already getting bored with Deb saying, do we need it or just want it! Negotiations have already started with Steve on the cancellation of the full sky TV package. It’s also amazing what you can make out of a 5kg bag of onions that only cost £2. It’s so difficult not to worry about getting a job when we complete our travels. You can’t help but peek at job adverts and talk to people about future roles.

YES!  
It takes courage and self belief to do this and not something everyone can do but looking forward to all the learning, challenges and problem solving ahead! Our current favourite quote from a friend is “you will be fine, cream always settles at the top”

So what have we have learnt so far.
WORK
It’s hard to give up a job and go to nothing and hard to talk to each other about it as you don’t want to cause your other half to go into a wobble as you both feel you have to support each other.
FLIGHTS
Think about the cheap early morning flights. They may not be as cheap as you think. As we live 1-2 hours away from the London airports the trains don’t run that early, you miss the bargain off peak train tickets, you can’t put people out by asking for a lift, so your choices become, go up on the train the night before and sleep at an airport hotel or on the floor, if you pick a hotel suddenly it’s the same cost as hotel and parking. Taxi’s are just too expensive. Must get better at this as airport parking kills the budget!
IMAGINATION
Imagine yourself during and after your travels, what does it look like. Set yourself goals to ensure you are always going in the right direction and never be afraid to re-evaluate them from time to time as your life evolves.

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BE REAL
It’s not always going to be a dream life and things will not go to plan and the plan will always be changing. Challenge yourself to be more resilient.

Time to go pack again. What do you take to the Arctic Circle for the midnight sun?

Live Happy

Debs and Steve

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