Although we had very good reasons for moving back to England, I must admit I was worried I would plunge into regret/misery the minute I realised what we’d left behind in Australia. While I do often fear this feeling will creep up on me, so far, I’ve adapted to life back in the UK like a digestive dunked in Earl Grey – maybe I won’t be a ping pong Pom afterall!
So, here are some of the things I’m enjoying most about being back home again.
Spoiler: The Bodyguard, biscuits and sandwiches feature heavily.
It seems, you can take the girl out of England but she’ll soon come home missing Marks & Spencers.
10 good things about living in the UK
When I told a fellow expat in Sydney about our plan to move home she sighed and said, ‘Oh you’ll have good journalism again.’ It has been so refreshing to move back to a land of global news, detailed editorial and original programming – even if much of the news is filled with dreary Brexit debates.
- BBC Dramas
Speaking of journalism, I’ve got straight into soaking up everything the BBC is producing lately, especially The Bodyguard (you’ve watched it right?) and Press. I’ve been binge-watching shows on iPlayer (Stacey Dooley I love you) and spent last night with Joanna Lumley as she explored the Silk Road. (Trying to erase all memories of ghastly Aussie travel shows like Getaway!)
- Saturday night telly
For my Aussie friends I need to explain how much we Brits love a takeaway and Saturday night telly, particularly at this time of year. While in my Antipodean days we would have spent Saturday nights eating out or browsing Netflix, back home in Blighty I’ve embraced the old routine of watching X Factor and Strictly along with the rest of the nation while we tuck into fish n’ chips or curry from the local takeaway. (We ring the order through to the chippie in advance, it gets that busy!)
- Sunday papers
I’ve also embraced my old Sunday morning routine and got straight back into enjoying a bacon sarnie, with a giant cup of tea, the Sunday Times (print edition – obviously) and Sunday Brunch on the TV.
(I realise I’m making my life in the UK sound massively boring compared to the coastal walks and hotcakes that were a part of my Sydney weekends – but that’s what we do here and I’m all for it at the minute.)
This post is basically an ode to British telly and junk food isn’t it? But can we talk about how good we Brits are at biscuits. From Waitrose luxury cookies, to choc chip digestives and everything by Fox’s – my cupboards are filled with biscuits ready for dunking in giant cups of tea.
Man have I missed the convenience of grabbing a sandwich at pretty much anywhere on the UK high street. I’ve been making my own doorsteps sarnies with Tiger bread and popping into Pret/ M&S/ the local deli every chance I get coz I’m owed 4 years of good sandwiches. Also, how good are meal deals? (Australia: Imagine if Priceline did a meal deal – that would be revolutionary!)
- Cheat dinners
I’ve also been loving how many aisles English supermarkets have dedicated to dinners made easy. Whether it be M&S dine in for two deals or Hunter’s Chicken from Waitrose, I love that you can buy cheat dinners that taste delicious and no one seems to judge you for it.
- Amazon Prime
This is one that Justin is loving more than me but having a new house to furnish/make cosy has been made 100% easier by Amazon Prime’s fast and free delivery. From the hoover to hangers, we’ve had items at the door within minutes and even did a grocery shop one day that arrived in 2 hours.
- Shopping for home furnishings
I’ve enjoyed furnishing the house here a lot more than I did in Oz as there are so many different decently priced home stores to choose from. We made the most of Next’s 5-day delivery option to get the living room filled in little time and I’ve perused everywhere from H&M to Matalan, Dunelm, TK Maxx, John Lewis & M&S for all the linen, kitchenware and soft furnishings we need. We haven’t needed to step in Ikea once and for that my 6-month pregnant body thanks the kingdom.
- Cheap getaways
We’ve only been back a few weeks and already we’ve popped to the continent for some last-minute sunshine and oodles of tzatziki. Our Greek babymoon was all thanks to a last-minute deal I found for £400 each including flights, 7-nights hotel and transfers. You’d be hard-pressed to make it anywhere outside of Oz for that price – and believe me I looked over the years!
The downsides to living in the UK
Of course, I couple of the downsides to living in the UK have also cropped up already.
Cost of rail travel
How expensive are regional trains here? Jeez. To give you an idea, Justin paid £65 return for a 1 hour train to Gatwick Airport last week – that’s the same as a flight to Europe on EasyJet. So far, I haven’t left the county but I’m not looking forward to getting ripped off when I try to visit friends on the other side of London.
When we struggled to find a place to rent available on the dates we needed we considered plunging straight into buying a new build instead, that was until I realised the eye-popping prices of properties within the London commuter belt. I haven’t paid much attention to the UK property market over the last 4 years but prices seem to have gone up and up so there’s almost no correlation between what you pay and what you get. (I mean, £450k for a box-standard 3 bed squeezed next to 100 others? Purlease!)
To be fair, we’ve been eased back into life in the UK with a pretty balmy September and relatively blue skied October, so far anyway. However, we’ve also had a few days when I needed to turn the lights (and heating!) on at 3pm as zero light was coming through the overcast gloom out the window. It’s funny how quickly I’d forgotten that persistent grey skies are a real thing in England. How much do you wanna bet I have a case of SAD come January?!
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