Jamie’s Italian in Bath, England

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My family and I recently went out to eat at Jamie’s Italian restaurant here in Bath, England.  They are located in the heart of Milsom Place which is just minutes away from both the Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths.  We do not eat out a whole lot as a family of four and so our evening was highly anticipated as a fun family night.  My preteen sons had as much fun deciding what to order from their children’s menu as my husband and I did from the Quick and Easy dinner menu.

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We have been to Jamie’s Italian restaurant before and have had a great time.  Our recent trip would live up to our expectations for our return visit.  My husband and I both chose a few different dishes from antipasti, pasta, and secondi and shared.  It is the best way to enjoy so many great options that they have to offer.

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We chose a southern Italian wine which is from close to where I grew up in Italy as a child.  I highly recommend this Zabu to pair with your pasta dishes on your next trip to Jamie’s Italian.
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Maddox enjoyed his Five-A-Day Picnic box while his brother Ronan was very happy with the Secret Seven Gnocchi.  There are so many great choices for kids that makes coming here a winning choice over all. BRPcopyright2017_JamiesItaliani-2372 BRPcopyright2017_JamiesItaliani-2376 BRPcopyright2017_JamiesItaliani-2379 BRPcopyright2017_JamiesItaliani-2382 BRPcopyright2017_JamiesItaliani-2383 BRPcopyright2017_JamiesItaliani-2385

I feel that the food is something I can trust to always be delicious.  What really made our experience delightful was the helpful and attentive staff who were both welcoming and friendly.  It was like being back home in Italy and we left with more good family night out memories.

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Let me know what your favourite things are to order at Jamie’s Italian in the comments below.

Survive Holidays with the In-Laws

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How to Survive Holidays with the In-Laws
Traveling back ‘home’ for the holidays can be stressful enough. For an expat family with third culture kids it packs its own bag of stresses. Throw the challenges of a vacation with the in-laws into the mix and the combination could have you counting down the days till you head home. To make your next holiday a smooth one I have compiled a  list of dos & don’ts to help you survive holidays with the in-laws:

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DO: Book and Go on that Holiday
Have the opportunity to go on holiday? Pack those bags and leave any reservations of what could happen at home. Whether you are having a stay-cation at home and having the in-laws as guests or meeting else where, there is always the possibility everything will work out just right. Focus on the positives as a family and make a list of things to look forward to on your holiday.

DON’T: Over Plan the Holiday
When planning a holiday with different family units it is best to not over plan. A little structure can keep the days going, while too much can be confining and restricting. This is especially important if you are traveling across many time zones or with children. If there is already tension between families, giving people enough flexibility and wiggle room can help fizzle out drama before it can build up.

BONUS TIP! Plan more than one option at the same time so that people can decide in the moment which activity they want to participate in. Just remember to be okay with what people decide as it is their vacation too.

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DO: Take a Day Off
Do something else. Just because you are going on a beach holiday, doesn’t mean every day needs to be on the sand.  Why not take a day off and go see a movie.  When we went to Walt Disney World our family unit decided to take a day off and visit the Kennedy Space Center. When we went on vacation to the Jersey Shore we took a day off and went to an amusement park.  Doing something different can help give everyone a break and a little refresher if things get overwhelming.  Not to mention more photo opportunities and chances to make new family memories.

DON’T: Insist on Doing everything together as a Group
Just as you should not over plan it is also key to not hold expectations that everyone will do everything together through out the entire holiday.  It is okay and also beneficial to separate into smaller groups and experience different things.  By working with the different age groups and interests you can keep the excitement high while keeping the drama low. Giving people time away can make the time back together as a group with a closer sense of togetherness with an opportunity to share as a whole.  It also stops people from feeling left out or missing out on an activity they have their heart set on experiencing.

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DO: Have a back up plan to Recharge
Just as you may pack aloe vera gel to treat sunburns that could happen, plan a few back up plans in case of family stress.  Find what will work best for your family and choose your back up plan to recharge for the rest of your holiday.  It could be engaging in exercise, having a lie in, spending a moment together with a good book, etc. Keep the emphasis on flexibility and your family.

BONUS TIP! Keep it simple. You do not need to explain in detail your plans to the rest of the group. Just let them know you are doing something as a family and will rejoin them soon.  Not only is your aim to keep everyone happy but your family can focus on the fun.

DON’T: Force everyone under the same Roof
Since we all need a good sleep and a place that can help us relax and feel secure, room arrangement may be another red flag if looking at putting everyone in the same house.  Will everyone have adequate space?  If rooms contain en suite bathrooms, will all families have one?  Will there be space for the kids?  Will the early risers and the night owls each be able to enjoy the space without disrupting the rest of the group. The best intentions cannot be a cure-all family drama.  If the past predicts an upset or future explosion, perhaps putting everyone under the same roof is not the best idea.  Remember that everyone is coming with their own expectations of their holiday.  The worst that can happen is having a blow up with out a place people can feel safe.  Holidays should be fun and let the space where you go give that luxury to everyone attending.

BONUS TIP!   If you are sharing a house, remember to keep communal rooms accessible for all parties.  ‘Clean as you go’ is a great tip for when preparing meals in the kitchen but can also apply to rooms where you are creating memories.  Before you move on to the next room, pick up so others can enjoy the space.

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DO: Be Flexible  
This term has come up a bit already but is a key to surviving holidays with the in-laws.  You may hit bumps in the road with the holiday, a plan may not go as planned, people need a break, etc.  Just go with the flow and if you need to take a moment to recharge.  As long as your family is enjoying themselves, focus less on the plans.  This also holds true if family drama gets to be too much.  You cannot control what people will say or do, but you can take your family out of the equation.  Make moments to remember and back away from any toxicity.

DON’T: Compromise about what Matters Most (and establish clear boundaries)
This is key when traveling with your children on holidays with the in-laws.  Even if you do X,Y, and Z when at home, you may only get to do X when with family.  Before you go on holiday figure out what matters most to your family and find areas where you can be more flexible.  Next may clear boundaries with your in-laws as to help avoid future fights or upset feelings.

For example food and what people choose to eat can be a trigger when getting together families from different cultures and countries.  Even two families from the same town will have different diet requirements and expectations.  If this the area that matters most to you, decide on some clear boundaries to ensure easy communication.  One solution could be having your family eat one meal together every day where you can not only plan the meal but spend time together as a family unit. You can also ask to get your own groceries and make your own meals. The important part is making sure everyone is away what the plan is and that your boundaries are not to make things difficult but that it matters most to you.

BONUS TIP! Even the most clearly communicated guidelines can be ignored.  Prepare yourself  in advance with how you will handle the situation.  Setting the bar realistically instead of putting too high expectations on others may be easier. At least you will be prepared in advanced before having to hit combat mode when on your holiday.

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DO: Plan alone time with your Family
On our last trip I had a huge emphasis about doing things together alone with our children.  As a working mother who works two jobs and can spend an average of 2-5 hours in just walking (for a commute from home, school, and work) I do not get a lot of family time.  I really needed this vacation to recharge and connect with my kids and husband as well as make memories for us to keep.  I made a point to spend one afternoon of the eight days just with my kids and did an arts project to make our own Mickey mouse ears.  We had a nice moment together and created something we got to enjoy at the days following in the parks.

DON’T: Focus too much on the toxicity
If people around you are being negative or bringing toxicity into the holiday, do your best to not dwell on it. Do not play victim to bullying, narcissism, or guilt trips. The one thing I have experienced over and over is that people may react a certain way or say things that have nothing to do with you. While it does hurt to be the punching bag to someones inner problems or struggles, just remember that you matter and life is beautiful. Focus on the good and if you need to take a moment to recharge, be flexible and step away.

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DO: Aim for a bonding experience
Go in with a positive attitude and embrace moments that open up to making good memories. Holidays can be like hallmark movies and bring people together in the end. Even if things go south, at least you will know you tried.

DON’T: Lose heart if worse-case scenario happens

Have you had prior bad experiences with your in-laws? Sometimes as try as you might, history will just repeat itself. Remember you cannot control how people will perceive you or how they will react. But keep your spirit high and know how much your family loves you.

BONUS TIP! Have a phone a friend.  Is there a friend or outside family member not going on the holiday that you trust?  When things get really rough, never be alone.  Phone that person and let it out.  Keeping everything inside can not only ruin your holiday experience but continue to grow and fester.  It is always okay to ask for help and that is what your friends (and family) can do for you.

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DO: Let your kids be spoiled

Grandparents generally like to spoil their grand kids. If this applies to your in-laws than what better time for it than a holiday.  Just remember you are allowed to say no and you are allowed to spoil your own children instead if that is your choice.

DON’T: Make uncomfortable situations when money is involved

There are few things to avoid generally in conversations and money is part of that list.  If issues surrounding the cost of things occurs on holiday be cautious.  If your holiday is being paid for be careful as it can come with a higher price than you may be expecting.

BONUS TIP! Meals out can always come with different expectations.  Before getting to the restaurant be assertive and find out how the meal is being paid.  The worst that can happen is that a meal is ruined over something that could have been prevented.

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Surviving Holidays with the In-Laws can be done but do not lose heart if there are still bumps along the way.  Remember you cannot control the actions or words of others, so family drama may still rear its ugly head.  Focus less on the right or wrongs, which can lead quickly to anger, hurt feelings, and misperceptions.  Being respectful of each other’s differences and family styles is important, especially when involving cross cultural issues.

Which ever way your holiday goes remember that it will eventually end.  Even if everyone gives a 100% and is on their best behaviour, remember the wise words of Benjamin Franklin.

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” 

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Ask your Disney World questions

Love all things Disney?   My family just got back from our Walt Disneyworld trip this past holiday season. I look forward to sharing our photos and highlights with you. I would also love to answer any questions you might have about spending your vacation time at Walt Disneyworld. Comment with your question below or ask me on one of my social media channels. 

I Voted Remain

 

 

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While election talk has been filling up my social media news feed from my American compatriots, across the pond we have been in great debate on whether to remain or leave the EU. Today on the 23rd of June it was a big day for myself for three reasons:

  • It was my first time to vote in the UK.  I was born in England to American parents and have been a dual citizen.  Since moving back to the UK in 2011, this was my first time to exercise my vote.
  • Voting alongside people across the UK has been really meaningful for myself as a Third Culture Kid (TCK) where explaining a cultural identity is not a short answer.
  • Being able to vote ‘remain’.  When I received my UK passport in 2004, confirming my dual nationality status, there were several things about which I was excited.  One of those was being able to work or live in any country in the EU.  I have brought this up in discussion so many times that it was what I thought of first when hearing we might leave.

This morning I needed to fit in voting alongside our normal day-to-day routine of getting the kids to school and myself into work.  We left the house shortly after 0700 when the polls opened and wondered if there would be long queues.  It was not very busy yet and I was able to walk right in, vote on the ballot, and start our walking commute.  The only thing I was a little sad about was no ‘stickers’ as in the US election I voted in when back stateside.  So when I came across an American in Bath who had gotten ‘sticker-ed’ at the train station, I made sure to get a photo.

Was proud to vote Remain today.  Did you vote?

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Best of Travel Tuesday

As Travel Tuesday comes to an end, Diana from Diana Elle Blog has gathered up the Past Prompts + Co-Hosts from over the years, creating a shortcut for anybody looking for blogging inspiration.

 

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Co-Host: Belinda

October 2013: Favorite Travel Photo Travel Partner/Favorite Photograph from a recent trip

November 2013: Relationships.

December 2013: Destinations during the holidays.

January 2014: A random one?

Co-Hosts: Melanie & Tina

February 2014: Share your Travel Tips.

March 2014: best, worst, and/or strangest food you’ve encountered while traveling

April 2014: Three Places 1)Loved the most 2)Want to visit 3)Current City

Co-Host: Kaelene, Sammy, & Van

May 2014: All about languages

June 2014: What’s your travel style?

July 2014: Travel Bucket List

In August 2014 we got three new co-hosts: Amy, Jessi, and Camila

Sept 2nd, 2014: Unexpected Destination

September 2014: Interesting or weird layover experiences

October 2014: City or country?

Co-Hosts: Courtney, Cynthia, and Yalanda

November 2014: Best and Worst Cuisines

December 2014: Favorite travel memories of the year

January 2015: Travel Misadventures

In February we got three new co-hosts: Amanda, Caity, Marcella, and Michelle.

March 2015: Local legends | The urban myths and stories you have come upon while traveling, in your expat, life, or ones from your hometown.

April 2015: Where I come from and why I left

May 2015: Festivals and celebrations while traveling

June 2015, two new co-hosts: Christine and Sara

July 2015: Favorite travel partner and trip

August 2015: What is your worst / most embarrassing / biggest travel fail / travel experience?

Co-Hosts: Courtney & Lauren

September 2015: Where will you go?

October 2015: What’s a hidden gem that you have stumbled upon while exploring a new place?

November 2015: Travel and Packing

Co-host: Anna

January 2016:Most Memorable food experience

Co-Hosts: Anna, Christy

February 2016: A Sporty Adventure

Co-Hosts: Anna, Christy, Diana

March 2016: Movies and Travel

Co-Hosts: Christy, Diana, Rachel

April 2016: Hidden Treasures

Co-Hosts: Diana, Rachel, Katrina

May 2016, That’s this week! Share your favorite Travel Tuesday memories for the #BestOfTravelTuesday. We are hoping this link up is also a “greatest hits” collection, so we’re giving you the option to include additional favorite Travel Tuesday related posts.

 

A Compass Rose and a New Course

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A couple of years ago I took my blog with a new name and set sail for a year of blogging every day while I was able to work from home and take care of my family after moving to the city of Bath, England. It was an amazing time to make use of my corner of the internet while exploring our new place that we would soon call home. Since then it has seen its peaks and valleys of activity through our day to day in my so-called expat life. I have had my blog since right before my eldest son was born and I have enjoyed being able to share our life with those of you whom, by whatever means, stumble upon this page. A Compass Rose blog is now eleven years old and I am ready to take it on a new course yet again.

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A Compass Rose and a New Course
I recently share a blog post that I had written back in 2013 when taking part in #Blogtember with a group of other travel, expat, and lifestyle bloggers. It was about mental health week and my own experiences with Overcoming Klonopin. I was really intrigued by the selection and number of people from my facebook friends who not only took time to click through and read the post, but comment on the thread. It has made me think about where I would like to direct my focus in this new passage. I want to share more with the intent to help, to inspire, and to make people smile. I believe in the past my blog has tried to find its way, strugggling to fit into the blogosphere, while remaining relevent to my current interests.

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I have started brain storming ideas and focus points for this new chapter and I am hoping within the next week to be able to fully push through with this new chapter. It is looking to focus on both my current professional life, my creative side outside of work, and sharing to help others. I know for me the worst part of life is when you are in the depths of a moment and feel that despite the number of online friends available, the the ones you know in real life, you have no one to talk too. I will be here. I can always listen, if you need someone. I am here.

Comins Tea in Bath

I manage and work as a barista in a speciality coffee shop, Picnic Coffee, in the heart of Bath, England. I joke with my customers, whom ask about my American accent, that I moved back to England for a proper cup of tea. There is much truth to that statement as well as the whole tea culture that you will find when traveling to the UK or with travelling Brits on vacation. Likewise tea (and coffee…remembering my loyalties) is a huge part of life all around the world.  I love to experience this part of culture as a Third Culture Kid whether on my travels or in my so-called expat life.

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I recently had the opportunity to visit Comins Tea in my current city of Bath after hearing many great things about it from my tea enthusiast co-worker.  It is located not far from my work near the Royal Theatre and Egg Theatre. As I had gone alone, I chose a table near the back with a good view of the entire room. While minimalistic in style there were some beautiful posters on the wall that kept pulling my attention.

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I got to meet one of the owners of Comins, Rob, who was able to go over their extensive tea menu.  If you are hesitant on which tea to order, the staff are very friendly and helpful with informative knowledge of the different teas.

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I went with the Genmaicha Uji, a smooth and flavourful green tea, to compliment the japanese dumplings I ordered for lunch.

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I was able to brew my tea to the perfect amount with the timer and then just enjoy the moment of not having a care in the world. The environment is very laidback, chill, and reminded me of being home in China town on Hawaii.

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Thank you to the staff at Comins Tea for being so welcoming. I look forward to visiting again on my next day off. I highly recommend experiencing tea here on your next trip to Bath. Check out their website and facebook page for upcoming events as well. Definitely a tea-rrific time!