Category Archives: Shopping

Buying Local & Riverford

Today’s prompt for Blogtember states, “Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.”  
Do not get me wrong, I love to shop.  Especially if it means I am shopping without the kids and with either my husband or friends.  I could spend hours just browsing the store, whether I buy anything or not.  However in our life as expats we are not doing all that much shopping like we used to do when we lived stateside.  As a mum I tend to feel guilty if I buy something for myself and not for my kids first.  I live in a house where someone is constantly outgrowing something or needs something for school.  With all the growing my sons do they equally do a lot of eating.  So when it comes to conversations about shopping in my house it usually has to do with food.
Living in England has made food shopping so much more enjoyable.  When we lived in Brighton we used to go to the grocery store once or twice a week to just pick up a few items that we would need for the next few days.  Whatever we bought we had to walk home with and so it made it really easy to stick to a shopping list.  Since moving to Bath we have discovered the joys of ordering groceries online and having it delivered. Genius idea! It is as simple as going on the computer or smart phone to make up your shopping list, pay, and then schedule the delivery date. 
We have recently stopped ordering our groceries from the chain stores and started ordering from local farms. We have tried out two different places and have decided we like to order different things from both places to fit our family’s needs and budget. It is organic from our local farms…what could be better?  I can even tell the quality difference in the meat from what we have gotten before.  I was a eating a mostly vegetarian diet in the US because I did not really care for meat, but here it just tastes so much better.  Plus the fact that we can get this quality food in our budget makes me want to do a song and dance. 
I had heard about Riverford from my fellow expat friend and had been wanting to try it for sometime.  I regret not ordering from there sooner.  Their service is amazing and when they delivered for the first time I got to meet both our driver and our local Riverford Vegman for Somerset. I love that the meat comes packaged nicely, lined in sheep’s wool with ice packs. Plus they ask for the packaging back so that it can be reused.  With your order comes a nice letter and recipe booklets for the food of that season.  It is like christmas morning opening up our veg box to see what is inside. It has made our cooking even that more interesting as we work around what comes in our delivery.
We found Somerset Local Food Direct online when searching for places that delivered raw milk.  If you have never had the very first sip from a newly opened jug of raw milk, you are definitely missing out on a taste of heaven.  We get two at a time, freezing one and putting the other in the fridge.  We have tried a few different other things from them as well, like venison burgers and were very pleased indeed!  We have decided to definitely continue ordering our milk and our bacon from Somerset Local Food Direct.  The bacon is the best I we have gotten from any grocery store, butcher, or online store.  It is thick and I actually find the fat edible and do not cut it off for being rubbery. Our delivery man is the sweetest and so friendly.  I was sad about not having my milk delivered like when I was a kid, so having my ‘milk man’ back has been a highlight for my expat life. 
If we were to go to the grocery store we would need to either walk thirty minutes or take the bus and pay per person that was going to the store with us. We then would have to fight through the crowd, deal with whatever mood our kids are in (because little boys love shopping for food), try to not put in anything that we did not initially come to the store for, and stay in budget. After waiting in the queue and paying we would then have to carry all our bags home.  Instead we spend about fifteen minutes online ordering the food to have it delivered.  I honestly hope we never live somewhere that I do not have this option.  It has made life so much easier.  I would not want to go back. 
We like to use Riverford and Somerset Local Food Direct.  
Q: Do you buy local? Where are your favourite places to do food shopping where you live?

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

Expat to Expat Q&A: The Basics of Day to Day

It is time for the next month’s installment of Expat to Expat: Q&A with Belinda and Bailie.
Every month they put together a series of questions for expats to answer from around the world.
Have a question? Make sure to contact them with your ideas for next month! 

1. What is your favorite food store in your city and why?
I like both Sainsburys and Morrisons. We get our groceries delivered to the house from Sainsburys. Food shopping has never been easier now that my husband can order from his phone and it gets delivered straight to our door. 

2. For your answer to number 1 is it ok to buy the store brand items or do you pay extra for a name brand? 

Yes the store brand items are great from both stores. Morrisons has a great pesto that has natural ingredients in comparison to the name brand and costs way less. 
3. What do you think is the best way to get about your city? i.e. bus, bike, car, etc
We do not have a car and so we get around most by walking. When needed we take the bus, unless its the four of us and then we will take a taxi since it is cheaper. My husband will ride his bicycle occasionally to and from work. I think all forms of transportation work well in Bath, England however there is limited parking if you are driving by car.

4. Which store do you turn to for basics like toilet paper or cleaning supplies?
Again this would be Sainsburys since we get all our food and basic supplies delivered from their store in town. When we run out of something that we need urgently I will pop down to the convenience store on our high street.

5. Where do you think is the best place in your city to get a cup of coffee (or beverage you prefer) and catch up with friends? 

 There are so many great places in Bath and the surrounding towns for tea or coffee with friends. I recently took my mum to the Regency Tea Room at the Jane Austen Centre. I recommend trying the Jane Austen blend if you come to Bath to visit.

6. What was your “eureka, I’m practically a native” moment?
I was born in Oxford and I lived in Norfolk later on for a few years as a young girl. When we moved back to England as expats in 2011 it had been about seventeen years since I had last stepped foot in the UK. So despite the fact that I am a dual citizen I moved here not knowing all what to expect our life to be like living here. I could not explain fully how wonderful it was for me to go eat out and see beans on toast on the menu. This has been one of my comfort foods all my life, and I used to be questioned strangely or made fun of by americans when I was living in the US. Then I realized everywhere that sold jacket potatoes (baked potatoes) also offered them with beans on top. I thought that was a ‘bonnie-ism’ and realized that it was just part of my culture from growing up in England. That was the moment I realized I was finally ‘at home’. For a highly nomadic person as myself, a third culture kid, who often wonders where ‘home’ would be that was a huge Eureka moment. 

7. Does your real accent get in the way?
Yes it can sometimes. I think about it a lot when I am out of the house. I am aware of how the American accent stands out and I will not speak out about bad service because of my accent. Now a days I use a lot of the english Vocabulary or pronounce things they way they are spoken here without having to think about it first. Which really helps out though I still have a strong american accent. It just takes time to assimilate to the language and accent. The store I mentioned above, Sainsbury’s, you pronounce it without ‘u’ so that it sounds like Sainsbrys. I realized upon talking with a fellow expat friend that people here will not correct you if you say it wrong. I had been saying that store name wrong for a year and a half. So perhaps my accent does not get in the way that much. However when meeting new people, they will get fixated on my accent and want to know an exact place my accent is from which has on easy answer if an answer at all. So I do wish that one day I will have such a soften accent that I can talk to people without it being an issue.

I am happy to introduce you today to my featured sponsor 
for the month of August, Gillian from Gladley.  
She is also an expat, but a Brit living in the USA.
Recommended Posts by Gillian:
Be Friends with Gillian: Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram

*photographs original to A Compass Rose blog

Bristol Fashion Week – Spring Season 2013

I was very honoured to be chosen by British Style Bloggers for the ‘Day in the life of a catwalk reporter’ competition.  This was my first fashion show to attend here in England.  The last fashion show I attended was Tucson’s Fashion week in the US  and covered fashion shows in Hawaii while I was living on the island as a fashion photographer.  I really enjoyed being able to compare my experiences with Bristol Fashion week while getting to meet the other fashion bloggers.  Since I have relocated to England I have noticed the differences between street fashion of women in England compared to what I have seen in America.  Women wear a lot more denim and jeans in America where as here everyone appears to have a signature style.  Be it a good or bad, it is their style.  It is hard not to be inspired when among the other fashion bloggers at BFW with their personal style choices.  I love how women in England take more chances with fashion and really grab from what is current on the runways of London, Paris, and New York.   I left with not only new friendships but with new ideas about what to wear for the current spring season from what I saw on the catwalk and on my fellow bloggers.

I loved seeing how they transferred looks from the runways to the high street as they showcased looks from stores within the mall at Cribbs Causeway.  The show began with the James Bond theme and men looking dashing in monochromatic suits.  I was instantly hooked as I photographed from a prime location at the end of the catwalk.  For Men’s wear my favourite looks were from Austin Reed and River Island. There were a lot of prints from monochrome to colour, but my favourite were the  french inspired prints from Marks and Spencer.  Between those dresses and the retro swimwear from Fat Face I have been motivated further to go on vacation in style.  The children models truly stole the show with their dancing down the catwalk in Next and Gap Kids.  They were all looks that were perfect for those of us who shop the high street to implement for our own personal style for 2013.  

I leave you with one question.  
What will you be wearing this Spring and Summer?

They began with James Bond music, dancers and men in black tie.
Fashions from Dorothy Perkins with menswear from River Island
Tap dancers outfits from River Island
Selected accessories from Accessorize
Footwear from Soletrader
Designer sunglasses from Vision Express

Fashions from John Lewis

Fashions from Marks and Spencer

Fashions from Fat Face
Children’s fashion from Next Children

Fashions from CC Viyella with menswear from Austin Reed
Children’s fashion from Next Children
Footwear from Jones Bootmaker

Fashions from Timberland

Fashions and Technology items from John Lewis
Hair styled by Tomlinson Hairdressing

Fashions from Wallis and menswear from Next
Selected accessories from Accessorize
Footwear from Dune

Fashions from Marks & Spencer
Designer sunglasses from Sunglass Hut

Lingerie from  Ann Summers
Flamenco dancers’ fashions from Phase Eight and Next
Footwear from Dune

Fashions from River Island
Children’s fashions from Gap Kids

Fashions from various retailers at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway

(…is this kid not the cutest? I may be biased as a mum, but I thought his dance moves stole the show)
*All photos belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved |
**Interested in photographic services by Bonnie Rose please contact 
***This was an article published at Bristish Style Bloggers. Click button above.

Dick Willows Farm Shop

This past week I had the opportunity to go to my first farm shop, since relocating back to England.
Dick Willows is forty minute walk from our house making it quite convenient.
Sadly Dick Willows is leaving its location just as I find this gem.  
The silver lining being that while they are here everything is currently 30% off.
On Friday I was taken here by my friend Libby and we browsed around, 
enjoyed a chai latte with scone, and then picked up a few food items. 
She also introduced me to how amazing the combination of 
chutney, cheese, and bread/crackers and how delicious it can be.
So the following day, despite the heavy cold rain, I dragged my family back with me.
It ended up being lovely despite the weather conditions.
The boys had a lot of fun browsing the antique section
as they hunted for treasures to purchase.
Ronan finally settled on a cool dark red dragon figure.
I found some vintage fabric for which I plan to make couch pillows.
Maddox picked up vanilla fudge and Ryan found his cider.
You can actually come to Dick Willows and do cider tasting.  
I should add that if you are in the Bath area you can still purchase the cider
from the weekend market in town. 
All in all it was a great two days out and I am still
quite gutted that its closing down.
Yes. The cider is really that bright orange.
It tastes quite yummy too.

Valentines Day Gift

I have been asked ‘What and why would be the best gift idea’ for Valentines Day?’ 
For me days such as these are another excuse for me to have my DSLR out and my iphone camera ready to take photographs of memories to share and cherish.  The most important aspect of my life is my family and those precious moments we share together.  The best gift I could give or receive would be a memory for us.  One of my favourite things about living in England is being outside and taking country walks.  A Valentines day themed picnic  would be a perfect place to stage the day.  They say ‘that the way to man’s heart is through to his stomach’ and bringing themed foods like bacon hearts and chocolate dipped bacon roses would definitely make my husband happy.  To be fair though I would be just as happy. Definitely a pretty out doors location, good company, good food, good wine, and photographs to remember the moment forever. 

With much thanks to Pinterest these images are not mine, and you can find out more about them by clicking: 1) Valentines Day Picnic with themed Stationary 2) Bacon Hearts 3) Lamb Rose Bouquet which is something I would love to give to my Valentine.

 For the meat lover in your life! “Beef Bouquet” by British butcher Antony Bowness of Quality Standard Beef and Lamb located in Tewkesbury, England”

Let me ask you now:  What would be your best Valentines day gift idea and why?

25 Weeks and Counting Down

Looking for date night outfits, I was inspired by the dress I wore at a wedding five years ago.
Keeping with the blush and pinks with the fascinator for the English in me. 
On the second of August, 2013 my husband and I will have been married for ten years. This weekend will be eleven years since we had our first date.  A third of my lifetime has been married  to Ryan.  So much can happen in ten years. We have been through more than I would wish on anyone to have to experience.  So much thrown at us that it almost tore us apart irrevocably. Sadly in our military community we witnessed so many divorcing and calling it quits.  Yet having come through it all it has made us closer and stronger than ever before.  So in twenty five weeks time my husband and I will be reaffirming our love as we renew our vows.  Every week I will be blogging a ‘Wedding Wednesday’ post as we count down to the big day.  
My husband and I in Paris last summer for our 9th Anniversary in the city of Love.
Though not taken on the day, we had been married 5 years at this wedding we attended.
This was my ‘Sex and the City’ Carrie inspired ensemble.
The fascinator was a DIY that I made myself out of a broach and feathers. 
‘He wore black and I wore white’ – Nancy Sinatra ‘Bang Bang’

 I have set a new years resolution for myself and though it be February, I do not see it too late to start one.  I aim to take so many more photographs where Ryan and I are both in the frame together.  Looking back through old photographs to post for this blog I realized that we have so many of just one of us, while the other person took the photograph. My goal is to better document our love for us to cherish and look back on when we are truly ‘old and gray’.

The lack of couple photographs aside there have been many anniversaries and huge chunks of time where we have not been together due to the military and other circumstances out of our control.  I do not like missing important dates or being apart for long time, let alone an evening.  I really do cherish every moment we have together for life is uncertain and far too short.

One thing that I have definitely learned in the last ten years is you cannot let the words and actions of others come into your marriage and break you apart.  You have to be team.  If you let other people, be they acquaintances or family, speak ill of your partner or do things that could cause friction and stress you have to block them out.  What I love so much about Ryan in this moment in time where we are today is that he blocks out the toxicity of others and holds me close with so much love.

* Photographs belong to Bonnie Rose and cannot be used without written consent.
** Wedding photography by Angela Alexander.
*** Fashion & Beauty images from 

Food Shopping in the UK made Simple

I would like to take you back a few years to when I was living in Hawaii, USA courtesy of the United States Air Force.  When it came to eating and food Ryan and I found ourselves in the melting pot of asian cruisine from the Phillipines, Vietnam, Thailand, and China (to name a few). Our eldest was 2 and our youngest was born in Hawaii and they grew up there asking to eat sushi, pho, fish, and shrimp for meals.  It was not the typical food from mainland USA but it became the norm for my family.  If we were not eating out we were buying our groceries from the commissary on base.  Usually twice a month we would go and fill up our shopping cart till it could hold no more just like the other military families.   If you were not careful shopping at the commissary could be like a mother on her own shopping at Target.  You leave with a cart full of items and many of which were not on your original shopping list.

Let us fast forward to my husband and I moving to England.

After we had graduated from living in a hostel and eating homemade sandwiches, we found a room to rent and could start buying groceries to cook real meals.  However we walk or take public transport everywhere. The ‘american style’  of shopping is not going to work here. The nearest grocery store was far off and we would have to be smart about which items we chose because they would have to be carried all the way back home.

When we moved out of Brighton to the town of Haywards Heath we were now a short five minute walk from our town’s grocery store.  It now became normal to go to the store every day or every other day for one or two items.  It was on the way home from work and accessible.  We do not have a car to take home bags and bags of groceries.  We get what we really need and we carry it home.

I look back on shopping in the USA now and I cannot imagine doing that here in England.  Our fridge contains what we need for the week and we possibly fill up one small cabinet space with items such as teas, oils, spices, baking items, rice and porridge oats. The pantry we have has items like sweet potatoes and onions, extra toilet paper roll and unused kitchen appliances like a microwave we now never use.  Its about simplicity. There must be a need and an immediate use.

 So we do not have a pantry full of unused boxed and canned items full of sugar, salt, and preservatives   We may have to get creative if a zombie apocalypse happens. 😉

Luckily for us there are no zombies. However we did get creative and resourceful.  This week was our second time of having groceries delivered to the door.  Ryan spends a few minutes on his phone ticking off items we need while seeing what specials are on offer.  Then the items come at a scheduled time in colour coordinated bags to tell me where they need to be put away.

I feel spoiled.

To think of walking with the kids to the bus station, to wait for a bus, to get to the store where I have to find what I need while being swarmed by many other shoppers, only to have to wait in line and then carry everything home is just exhausting having to type in this blog. Plus have I mentioned we got our organic veg box?  I am in heaven.

* Photographs belong to Bonnie Rose and cannot be used without written consent.