Monthly Archives: May 2013

My Blog’s Archive Faves from 2005 – 2013

Day 21, Tuesday: A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

This was my original header I created in 2006 for my blog design when it was called ‘Mummy Paparazzi .  I have always clung to my ties to having been born in England and the Union Jack has always been prominent in the design.  It was not until 2012 I started thinking about changing the blog title and changing the theme from a mummy blog to a Travel, TCK and Expat Lifestyle Blog.  

I have not yet made a Archival of popular or favourite posts so completing today’s prompt took me a little longer than I had expected.  I put some of the most popular posts in categories below.  Since I have only really joined the community of bloggers as of 2013 there are many posts since 2005 (back when the blog was called Mummy Paparazzi) that do not show up in popular searches.  My very first post Waiting in the Wings was written fifteen days before I gave birth to my first son.  I love to look back through old posts and find things from which I had forgotten. For example Get Cheese-y Wit it is about the pet mice we had in Hawaii. The older posts are photo heavy as it was more about sharing recent snaps of our life with my parents. Then with the loss of my dad and dealing with a shaky marriage, blogging again fell to the sidelines.  I have never kept up the blog when things in my personal life were not as great as the photos I was sharing. It took moving to Europe in 2011 to start our Expat life that my blog started coming back to life every week with a new post. Bon Fire Night was my first post on November 5th, 2011 since my blog was resuscitated back to life. I love that post because I got to share a favourite childhood memory in the present with my husband and sons in our new life in England. Christmas in London and Leaves in London may be my favourite posts from 2011.  In 2012, I started sharing a lot more of my fashion photography and guest posts on Manifold Magazine (A Night out in London). However I think my favourite posts are New Years with our self portrait holiday photos, Doctor Who Experience, Snow Day, PopArt SuperHero Party, Saturday Picnic, and Halloween. All the posts below come from the most popular and favourite posts of 2013.  As this is the first organized look of posts through out the time of  A Compass Rose (and Mummy Paparazzi), I hope you will have fun checking out the links and exploring the blog.  It has evolved since its creation eight years ago and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store. 
A Personal Look:
Travel Posts:
TCK & Expat Posts:

I am a TCK & an Expat
My Expat Life
Moving Abroad
A Few Favourite (Expat) Bloggers
Saying Goodbye to Friends Pt. I
Saying Goodbye to Friends Pt. II

Ugly Tourists Make Me Uncomfortable

Q: Do you have a favourite post from my blog that I have not mentioned?  I will be making a better archival page for ‘new readers’ soon and would love any feedback or advice! x


*photographs found here belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

‘We like to Read’ #1

Having just experienced my youngest turning six years old I am reminded of all the things that happen as your children start growing up and getting older.  One aspect is slowly getting rid of things that they outgrow and deciding which things to keep for sentimental reasons.  My children seem to just grow up so fast before my eyes and with them their clothes, their toys, and their books.  As I was organizing their bookshelf today I came across one of their favourites.  It is co-written by one of my favourite actors growing up as an 80’s child.  
The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin and Roz Chast.  The children’s book is a humorous look at the alphabet presenting rhyming couplet of each letter with silly characters children are bound to enjoy.  
“O. Old Ollie the owl owed Owen an oboe. But instead bought him oysters at Osgood’s in Soho.”
I really love the illustrations that depict different stories for through out the Alphabet, some a little more silly than others and some are just utter nonsense at its best.  Now that my boys have moved on to chapter books, they will still return to this one at bed time every so often.  Just now we get to each read a page and try to out do each other in the best voice inflections we can muster up before bedtime. 
While I ponder over what books we should keep on our shelves and which ones to pass on to the charity shop, I hope you will take a look at this book and see if your family enjoys it as much as we have.  The only thing better would be to own a voice recording of Steve Martin reading it aloud. 

 Today I am linking up with my friend Fritha over at Tigerlilly Quinn.  You might remember we met up at Bristol Fashion week together.  She has started  a collaboration with other blogger mums to share the books we either read to our kids or that were our favourites growing up.  The idea is to share the memories we hold from our childhood story books and the memories we create now as parents with our children.  You can also check out her Pinterest board where you can pin your posts as well.  Head over to Tigerlilly Quinn and add your name to the comment so she can invite you to the board.

The idea is to publish your book posts on the first and third Monday of every month and you can link up at any time during those two weeks. 

One Hundred and Five

Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share Something you’re struggling with right now.
This is me last summer and fall while eating paleo, doing strength training, and taking coconut oil. 

One hundred and five. That is neither the current temperature nor my weight. It signifies how many days I have successfully blogged in a row without fail.   Although you’ll see blog posts on here as far back as 2005, blogging as I have in the recent months is a new thing for me. It is no longer about just showing photo updates of my kids to my family. I went from 5 readers in January to over a 170 in May. Through finding my purpose in blogging I have found my voice. To have blogged every day since Monday the fourth of February is a big deal for me. I have successful done something every day for three full months. 
However that is not always the case in my life. Perhaps it’s my continual transitional life that has programmed myself to constantly start things without always seeing the end. 
Which leads me to the subject of the prompt. I have been struggling recently with commitment to exercise and eating cleanly. I’m very great at starting an exercise regime and do great and planning to stick to paleo. I can do a couple of weeks and then I usually miss a day which somehow leads to a long enough ‘break’ that Im back to finding the commitment again to start all over.
I have had good streaks in the past. I was doing great last summer/fall while temporarily stuck at my in-laws for a few months. Perhaps because exercise and food were the only two things I could control in my life at that point while being treated and controlled like a sixteen year old by people who like to control and step in when I parent. I was sticking to paleo and was concentrating on weight training and interval training to lose fat and tone up. I have quite a boyish figure and I somehow was transforming my body to have a waistline and the appearance of curvy hips. My husband, who was back at home in England, saw photos of my progress and cheered me on.
However I have now gotten into a rut of not exercising. While my diet is void of fast food, pre-packaged food filled with preservatives, sodas, and junk food it is not strictly paleo. I do eat fats, but the good kind. Meaning nothing that says ‘low’ or ‘non’ in front of it. However thats not only what I have been eating as of late. Abs are made in the kitchen an I have covered mine quite well recently a lot of white flour, white rice, white potatoes and white sugar. I used to not even have sugar in my house but bought it for baking and then let it slowly creep into my meals because the lazy side of me thought it was easier than getting a spoonful of honey. The other white ingredients have been reintroduced and used more out of necessity while things have been a bit tighter around her financially. My typical paleo breakfast of eggs, bacon, avocado, blood pudding, and tomato got replaced with porridge that I started eating with my kids. 
I’m not overweight. I am glad I have a much healthier body image than when I was growing up.  However I am now carrying extra weight in fat in my mid section. Since I have had two kids via csection that means I have harder work ahead of me with rebuilding my abs.  After being a slave to the scale with horrific eating habits in the past It’s not my weight in numbers that upsets me. I know a number on the scale cannot tell me how much fat I lost and how much muscle I have gained, since muscle weighs more than fat.  All extra ‘fat’ weight goes straight to my tummy and the way my clothes are fitting right now upsets me. Especially because I know from experience that even if I had not worked out at all, but had done strict paleo, I would be looking at a flat stomach right now.  I have done the vegetarian and vegan things many times before and have done the extreme limiting of ‘calories’.  What I can tell from results is both get me ‘skinny fat’ and eating a paleo diet of meat and veggies with good fats like bacon and avocado and eating way more colories that way has gotten me skinny toned.  While my younger self stressed over the scale of being a perfect 100 and fitting in my size zero jeans, I just want to to toned with muscle with as little body fat as possible. I do not care what number the scale says, what size clothes I fit in, or how many calories I am consuming.  But results do not come without action. 
That is what I am currently struggling with and what I hope to over come. 
With my vow renewal only two and a half months away in August I know I need to start working harder if I want to see change. 
I have blogged every day for 105 days, certainly I could stick to getting my body in shape before 02.08.13, yeah?
Q: Any advice or motivation you can give me that had worked for you? 


*photographs found here belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

A Few Favourite Bloggers

Day 19, Sunday: Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them.  There are several blogs I check daily every morning for new posts and stalk follow on twitter. I tried hard to share with you only five but you get seven instead. 😉 

Aspiring Kennedy
I love Lauren. We go back to summer camp in cabin 5 and later as students at University. I love reading her blog because her infectious fun personality really shines through her posts. That and I love that we now have more in common as adults now that she also lives the expat life in England and is now raising a daughter. While her blog now has a proud mummy element as she now embarks on life as a parent, she still sticks to her original theme of a lifestyle blog. If you like to live vicariously through other expat and travel blogs, Aspiring Kennedy is perfect as Lauren is always off traveling somewhere new or trying out a new cafe for afternoon tea. 
American Expat with a daughter in London, England.

Expatria, Baby
I knew as soon as I found Erica’s blog that I was here to stay. As a photographer I am in love with her style of expat lifestyle and travel photographs. Her blog truly documents her expat life as a mummy blogger. Indonesia had not been on my radar before but now as an avid reader of Expatria, Baby I have added it another place to which I would love to travel. What really draws me to Erica is her true expat spirit of adventure and exploring the world around her with her daughter in tow. She has a great way of showing what life is like through her daughter’s eyes too.

Canadian Expat married to a Swiss, with a daughter in Indonesia

From There To Here
I have only just recently found out about this blog and it is already one of my favourites. Jay now lives in Norway but also previously lived in Gabon, Africa. I love to read about the places she has been and she writes so eloquently and paired with beautiful photographs. She does a really great job at taking the reader along on the ride in her posts as you travel vicariously through her blog. I look forward to getting to know her better and reading more about her life now in Norway. Oslo has always been one of my favourite places to where I have traveled and so her current location was a magnetic attraction when I first found out about From There to Here.

Canadian Expat in Norway

Casey Cote
I have to admit that I really love Casey’s blog, We Took The Road Less Traveled, because it is a life I had hoped my husband and I could have experienced when he was in the military. Having been stationed in Stuttgart as a girl myself, I love to read about Casey’s life in Germany as a military wife. I love that they take full advantage of their time stationed abroad to enjoy life on the economy and immerse themselves in local culture. She is currently on vacation seeing more of Europe and following her travels is favourite thing about her blog. Her posts are full of life and I find it so fun to read about and see the photos from their latest adventures in Europe.

US Military Wife stationed in Germany

Twitter: @CaseyCote

Living in Another Language
As a nomadic person by birth I am not surprised that I can find kindred spirits in others that live across the world. Amanda is definitely one of those people and I have really enjoyed getting to know more about her through her blog and talking with her on twitter. It can be fun seeing what you have in common with other bloggers. She is also a military brat, is living the expat life, and is also married to a guy who loves to cook and work on motorcycles. While some bloggers show photos of their kids, she has an adorable bunny named Jazz. I think its cool because my husband and I had a bunny named Pippin (and later renamed Harriet when we found out it was a girl) when we first got married too. Since I live in Europe I love following along to her life in Asia. She is a photography lover and so you get photography filled posts and Instagram updates of her life in Korea.

Former military kid living the Expat life teaching in South Korea

Lost in Travels
Chelsea’s blog has been one of my favourites since I found it through another blog where her eye catching button was displayed. I have not stopped following her blog since and have enjoyed getting to know her better. I come away from Lost in Travels blog with the motivation that if you want to do something or go somewhere, you should do it! After getting married she and her husband left the US to travel the world, experience new cultures, and share adventures together. It comes off to me like a modern day expat fairytale, something I would have dreamed of as a younger nomadic girl myself. She keeps it real as she shares the heart of life living and teaching in Korea. Plus she does a great job at sharing her own experiences to aid others in life as an expat and with advice for having a blog. I love that she is very genuine and caring and I ;look forward to continuing following her adventures around the world.

American Expat couple teaching in South Korea

Across the Pond

I found Meg’s blog through Lauren (blog mentioned above) and became an instant follower. I love following her blog because as a person she comes across as having a huge heart and from hearing her story, she comes off as being a very strong individual. She moved abroad with her previous relationship and to go to school and started her blog to document and share her experiences in Europe. She now is getting ready to leave and repatriate back to California as a newlywed to a man from Northern Ireland. I really look forward to following their story as they begin their new life in the US together. As I follow mostly expat and travel blogs, it will be cool to see her life married to an Irish expat in Sunny California.

Newlywed Expat in Scotland getting ready to repatriate back to California

Thank you for looking through some of my favourite blogs, these are some extraordinary women and they all inspire me to continue to live life internationally. I think the general theme is ‘Girl Gone International’ which is the name of an amazing magazine I now have the pleasure of taking part in and of being involved. You can follow on twitter at @girlgoneintl, online at the website:


*photographs found here today do not belong to me but to the blogs to which I have credited. 

When My Daddy Returned from the Gulf War

Blog Every Day In May, Day 18.  Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt.

I’m not sure if there are any photos of me in my school uniform from my days of primary school in Norfolk.
This photo however was taken near the same age with my father in one of those fun period dress up places. 
Most of my favourite memories are from years growing up in Europe and many of them include my dad now that he is really gone.  One of the best memories I have is when I was finishing up a day from school.  It was the afternoon and I had just completed a game of field hockey with the other girls and we were now changing to go home for the day.  A classmate ran into the room and exclaimed to me that my father was outside.  I remember shaking off the news with out a care because I knew my dad was not there.  He was a world away. He was in a desert.  He was not in England and certainly not at my school.  Grabbing my belongings I left the school building to be proven very wrong as my eyes met  my fathers.  I remember the way he looked. He looked so tall (from my short stature of being a young girl) and so tanned.  I do not remember my father every looking so dark. He was smiling and I dont remember if I dropped my bag or ran with it under my arm. But I ran all the way to be greeted by his arms in a hug.  To be honest my eyes are filled with tears as I write this because it was such a happy memory.  Times when I wish I had my father now I wish I could just close my eyes and open them again to see that same smiling face.  To be able to give him one more hug. To hear him say ‘I love you’. 
This is an excerpt from my post Living In England During the Gulf War


*photographs found here either belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Coffee @ Camden in Bath, England

I headed into town today despite the fact that I will have nineteen children at my house tomorrow for my son’s party, and there is still much to do in preparation.  I felt like being spontaneous and so I met up with my husband on his lunch break to try out Coffee @ Camden in Bath.  Technically it is in Camden which you can get to from the Bath city centre in a mere five minutes.  If you happen to come on a nice day I highly recommend sitting outside.  Their back patio area is very nice and has a picturesque view.  Which was lovely especially when the sun hid back behind the clouds and it got a bit colder.  
My husband ordered an Americano with the Camden Club, which is served with kettle chips, and I ordered a cafe latte and the Frittata from their lunch menu.  The Frittata was delicious and it came with a side salad, bread, and chutney. The best part was being pleasantly surprised by the fact that the bread was still warm.  I could easily order the same thing next time if I do not try one of their five variations of panini. 
Since this was a rare ‘day date’ with my husband, I decided to treat myself to the cupcakes I had seen photos of from their Coffee @ Camden facebook page. I paired my vanilla cupcake with a hot chocolate complete with cream, marshmallows, and sprinkles for a full sweet sugar fix.  It hit the spot.

When you come you must ask about their amazing chili jam.  We bought a very large jar of it a week back from their stall near Milsom Place on a weekend. It literally goes quite well with anything. Toast,  chicken, eggs, crackers, or even just off a spoon. We must have tried it on almost everything because our jar is now almost empty. Otherwise I would have shared a photo with you. Maybe with the next jar. 😉 

Coffee @ Camden is open Monday thru Friday from 9am – 5pm 
with breakfast being served until 11am.  You can view their full menu here.
Coffee @ Camden
2 Claremont Terrace, Camden, Bath, BA1 3EH 

Choose to Smile

Day 17, Friday: A favourite photo of yourself and why

A   S M I L E 
When I first read the prompt my thoughts went into two directions. Do I be vain and post one of my favourite self portraits or be sentimental and show a rare photo of myself with my dad.  While searching I realised that I really do smile the same way in my photos and that is lips closed with a slight up turn of the corner of my mouth favouring the left side.  You will hardly ever see me smile and showing my teeth.  I have small mouth and I have small teeth and I have always felt a bit self conscious about it.  Even after having braces and getting them off I still smiled the same way.  

T R A I N I N G   M Y   S M I L E 
Having come from a theatre background where I have had to train myself to walk a different way or hold myself differently for a character, I have tried to train my smile.  This means looking in front of a mirror and trying to train myself how to move my lips and hold my jaw so that I can smile showing teeth without looking really weird or that it is very forced. So far I have failed.  Or I am just too self conscious with the way I feel I look when I do.  I can tell I have my father’s mouth because I often see him in my smile.  However I loved his smile and when I try showing my teeth I want to delete the photo immediately from the camera.  

A  T A L E   O F   T W O   S M I L E S 
The two photos above were taken within a minute of each other with a very outdated cell phone last summer, hence the bad grainy quality. However the photo on the left is one of my favourites because it is finally a photo of myself smiling with my teeth that I actually love.  I honestly see a lot of my younger sister in this photo and since I love Zoë dearly it probably adds to my ‘why’.  It looks so carefree and candid. It made me second guess why I always smile with my lips closed because it looks so natural there.  I love the smile too because at the time I was dealing with people who were misdirecting anger towards me against my family and the choices we made. 

W H Y   I   L O V E   T H I S   P H O T O 
Its a reminder to me that though you cannot control the words or actions of others you can choose happiness in your life. If others choose to be upset, angry, bitter, ignorant, selfish, and take things personally you cannot force them to change.  I have lost too much of my happiness and the happiness of my family on trying to get acceptance from those toxic people in my life.  People can change, but it has to be their choice.  So choose your happiness.  Choose to Smile!

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.” 
― Chad SuggMonsters Under Your Head

Q: What Makes You Smile? 


*photographs found here either belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved |