Expat Update: December 2016

Another month gone already!  Here I’ll be looking back on what I’ve been up to this month, the places I’ve been, the highs and lows, life as a Brit in the States and other random things I’m finding interesting this month!

Expat Update

Days living in the States: 139

Where I’ve Been


  • Iowa: Epworth, Farley, Dubuque, Dyersville, Peosta
  • Illinois: East Dubuque
  • Wisconsin: Dickeyville, Hazel Green


  • England!

December Highs


My birthday weekend was AWESOME.  I was surprised with flights home for one thing!  My American family pulled together and surprised me and the other half with flights to England for the Christmas break.  Not going to lie, I cried!  I was so happy!  I also saw the CP Holiday Train, visited the Dickeyville Grotto in Wisconsin and have Brunch at Timmerman’s Supper Club in Illinois!

I won a beautiful pair of snow boots from a competition that the lovely Danielle at The Thought Card was running…I literally never win anything and this prize couldn’t have come at a more perfect time!

Simon's Shoes Snowboots

December Lows

The cold.  My goodness.  My job even had a 2 hour late start because one day it got so cold.  In the UK we rarely get below around -4c…in Iowa it’s been around -20c for a whole week. I’m terrified of driving, I was so tense one day when it was snowing that I even hurt my shoulder!

I also drove in the worst fog I’ve ever experienced! It was at night on windy country roads and I couldn’t even see the front of the car! There were a couple of moments where I freaked out because I had no idea at all where on the road I was even positioned!!

Blog Progress

I’m all set for another year of blogging! Renewed my domain for another year!  I hit all of my targets that I set myself this year, or obviously next year I’m setting the bar even higher!  I plan to work really hard on the blog in the new year, adding some more visa/expat tips, visiting some more Midwest destinations, checking out a couple of new countries etc.  I plan to write a book too…(see below!)

I use my laptop daily but for my trip back to England I’ve left it behind!  All of my social media will be done just using my iPod and I’ll do the odd blog tweak using the home computer at my parents.  The idea being that I give myself a little bit of a break for once!

British Item of the Month

I went round my American In-Law’s for Christmas dinner and I took along Christmas Crackers…a British tradition and they went down so well!  My little Sister-in-law even said it should be a tradition that they now do every year!  Most crackers are full of cheap nasty plastic toys but I wanted to make a good impression so found these ‘Tom Smith’ crackers!  Inside there were cardboard Christmas Tree decorations that I thought may be a nice item for the family to keep.  I was really impressed at how sturdy the decorations felt, they didn’t feel cheap.

Tom Smith Traditional Cube Holiday Crackers – 6 Pack

American Item of the Month

Of course my new snow boots have to be the American Item of the Month!  My pair are red and can be bought from Simon’s Shoes or the black or brown version can be purchased through the link below!  They are waterproof and the website states that they’ll keep your feet warm in temperatures as low as 10f/-12c!

Bos. & Co. Women’s Holding Snow Boot

Book of the Month

I smashed my 2 books a month challenge out of the park this year, I read a total of 33 books during the whole of 2016!  You can check out my 2016 category challenge here!

Books read = THREE

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Girl Online: On Tour – Zoe Sugg

Heads in Beds – Jacob Tomsky

Book of the Month: Heads in Beds – Jacob Tomsky

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality

I’m slightly obsessed with books by people that are working in the travel industry.  They don’t even need to be necessarily written amazingly well, I just love reading about all the ‘secrets’!  When it comes to travel jobs, it almost seems like the dream job but there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes and I just find them so interesting!  For example, a Summer Camp Counsellor sounds like an awesomely fun job but there’s definitely some tough times! (Maybe I’ll release my journal one day…food for thought!)  Heads in Beds is written by a guy who has worked behind hotel check in desks for years and years.  This book is mainly about his experiences at ‘luxury’ hotels New Orleans and in NYC.

What’s Coming up in January/2017

Well the first part of January I’ll still be in the UK!  I plan to pig out on all the English food I’ve been missing (Greggs Sausage Rolls, Fish & Chips from a chip shop, Yorkshire Puddings!).  When I come back it’ll be back to the day job.

For the rest of 2017 I should be going to the Woman in Travel Summit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in April.  Then in June, at the moment I’m definitely booked to fly back to England for a month and I’m be going to Austria for a week with my Parents.  I’m HOPEFULLY squeezing a a week to Belize in before I fly to England but that’s not booked yet.

I have a bucket list of places I want to visit in the Midwest, for example ‘Mineral Point’ in Wisconsin which was once upon a time home to settlers from Cornwall – UK, which I’m hoping may feel like my home away from home!

At the end of the year I plan to release a book!  It’ll be all about the reality of relocating to another country and I don’t plan on holding anything back by making it sound like it’s a walk in the park.  Often when you’re a blogger, people only see the filter version of your life but in my book I plan to be completely honest and include the very real feelings that go on ‘behind the scenes’, it’s not sunshine and daisies every day, believe me!  Of course it’ll also include a whole bunch on the adventures I’ve been on and all the fun parts too!

Don’t forget to follow me on my Social Media Channels!


Phew! Have a great New Year everyone!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking.  It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site!  As always, opinions are my own.

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