just thought i'd share my thoughts with you all. We have just returned from a very short (2 week) trip to the UK after almost 2 years here in Adelaide. We flew with Singapore Airlines from Adelaide to Heathrow and we would recommend the airline for those travelling with children, the cabin crew were great!
Heathrow airport was our first shocker!! What a cattle market that was! I'm not sure if we are just not used to seeing that many people any more or whether it is just an awful place to be, especially with 2 tired young children and me a grumpy 6mth pregnant woman!! (poor Rich had a lot to put up with bless him)
The next thing was how incredibly cold it was as soon as we got off the plane......Our little girls had asked santa for snow to build a snowman with grandad, but blimey we got a bit more than a sprinkling! :-) Never again will i complain about an Adelaide winter lol!
I managed to get plenty of shopping done despite the bad weather conditions and to Rich's delight we never made it to a shopping centre as such. I still managed to spend a months wages though and bought pretty much what I had plannned on getting. Next disappointed me, but Debenhams more than made up for it. Primark was a dream and I had my fair share of time in TK Maxx too. La Senza had a sale on and i revelled in all the beautiful undies that I treated myself to. £5 for 2 bras or swimsuits!!!! We have enough clothes and toys for our expected little girl now to last until she is a year old lol! Tesco was fantastic!! Oh how I have missed the British supermarkets, I filled my trolley with chicken bisto, prawn cocktail crisps, twiglets, thorntons cakes and other delecatble christmassy fayre that now adorn my pantry cupboard after a close shave with the beagle in customs on the way back! (He was very excited by my bag filled with goodies, but alas, when he found a plastic bag full of Carys's wet pants from the plane he soon became far more interested in those!!lol!)
We also had christmas day with our families and the girls got so many presents that along with my shopping and bits of furniture we left behind we have had to organise Pickfords to ship some of it over!!!!!
We managed to scale the M25 and M1 without too much disruption, but the 50mph speed restrictions were a bit of a bind. The first few days were a bit emotional as you can imagine seeing our mums and dads and siblings for the first time in ages and them seeing how the girls had grown. It was lovely to spend time with our families seeing them with the girls and talking just like we had never left.
We had a tight schedule to keep to in order to fit everyone in to 13 days and this was totally mucked up by the horrific blizzards that ensued over the next few days. Dad measured it and there were 20 inches of snowfall in 24 hours!!!
We were totally snowed in and couldn't move the car at all. In fact, when it did stop, it took Rich and my dad 3 hours to dig the car out! we had much fun trying to drive up the street to get to the main road, this in itself took the help of 6 of dads neighbours and several more hours, all of them delighting in the fact we were visiting from Aus in such bad weather lol.
For the majority of time after that driving conditions were terrible with loads of lorries and cars stranded or upturned on the hard shoulders and traffic moving at a snails pace. We thought about getting to meadowhall for xmas shopping but abandoned the idea to Rich's absolute delight when we got stuck in traffic for the millionth time!
Sadly we didn't get to walk in the peak district or go to the Yorkshire Dales or visit many of the places we wanted to like we had hoped, but we did go to the pantomime which was fantastic - Aladdin in Nottingham, and we went on the santa express steam train at Elsecar Heritage centre, which was quite possibly Lizzies highlight of her short life when she met santa and he "PROMISED!!!!" her an icecream maker (of which I can't find for love nor money in the shops the git!!) We also built a magnificent snowman and igloo and had heaps of snowball fights. We had an absolute ball with the kids out on the garden and they were thrilled to have experienced the snow. I don't think we could have picked a time like that again if we tried, but to be honest I wouldn't change it, it gave us lots of extra special family time with our loved ones which of course was the main reason for going back to the UK in the first place.
I will say though ,that both Rich and I struggled with the smallness of everywhere. My mums front lounge and kitchen measures smaller than my master bedroom! But it wasn't only the houses that seemed small to us, the sky seemed lower, obviously the great weather didn't help, and the the roads were very close together and felt cramped somewhat. Everyone seemed to be in such a rush all of the time and we thought that not many people expressed good manners while out and about (something we have gotten very used to here in Aus, always a thankyou or g'day and have a good day etc) The news was full of woes and the recent student protests dominated everyones conversation. It does seem that Great Britain has fallen from grace somewhat, and the government doesn't really know its arse from its elbow on how to put things right. VAT increase, bill increases, tax increases and the much disliked student fee increases have really taken its toll on the people and it shows. Also, the sheer number of foreign immigrants amazed me, I didn't hear many yorkshire accents while out and about in town. Although I won't harp on about that, being an immigrant here myself!
All in all, we had a fantastic holiday and it was brilliant being with our families again, but, we now know that we definately made the best decision possible by remaining in Australia to bring our family up. we are all very very happy to be HOME here in Adelaide.