Farmhouse update - 1 month in!
Not counting our days left though. Loving our time here 💕 We are still pinching ourselves...
A typical day here involves at least 3 cups of tea, sitting out the back in the green garden looking out at the valley, watering the garden, walking the dogs, occasionally a workout 🏋️♀️
We both work 3 days weekly, earning an income (yay)!
We have done some amazing walks with the dogs to all different locations around Kent. This countryside really is a beautiful part of the UK.
We went down to the coast near Brighton to a place called the Seven Sisters- a 21km walk along the white chalk cliffs (we only did part of it). Had the dogs on the lead so they didn’t run off the edge haha!
Fergus is still a young one, he is very cheeky and loves eating poo (yuck!) 💩
Doris is so smart. They love the water so anytime we are near water they go for a swim 💦
More fun times ahead with Jess’ nan & pop visiting soon... To be continued 😄
24 May 2019
Week 2 in our dream home (we never want to leave) 💕
Lauren is working every Monday-Wednesday at Tunbridge Wells Hospital as an occupational Therapist. So far so good! Working with a lovely team of girls and driving the car to work.
Jess is getting work as a supply teacher (casual) however it’s the end of the school term so it’s limited..
So on our days off, we are just enjoying this amazing house, hanging with the dogs and going on walks, driving around and exploring the area.
One of our favourite places we visited was Bedgebury, a mountain bike park. We took the bikes and the dogs and rode around and the dogs followed! So much fun and a good workout.
A bit about the dogs...
D O R I S - the black Labrador. She is pretty close to perfect. Such a kind and patient girl and so well behaved. She is a great role model for Fergus!
F E R G U S - Fergburger, the Hungarian vizsla is a lanky buffoon! He is so funny, loves cuddles and needs attention. Also a well behaved friendly doggo!
18 May 2019
Our next house sit is 11 weeks long- ending on 25th July! We are super excited to ‘settle down’ for a little while as it’s been constant moving around since we arrived here.
B R E N C H L E Y 🌻🌷🌾
Our farmhouse is located in the Kent area, near Tunbridge Wells, about 45 minutes train from London Bridge. It’s such a beautiful place. Green, spacious and quiet!
Pippa & Christian who own this house are now our ‘UK parents’ and have been so generous and accommodating- we are so lucky to have met them! They have 2 boys our age but they have moved out to university.
So Doris & Fergus are the 2 rascals in the house that steal all the attention. They are 5 and 2 years old and are the most well trained and friendly dogs we have ever met. They are the dream 🐕 🐾!
The house is a big beautiful British farmhouse with a huge backyard + vegetable garden. We are so lucky to be able to drive their car for 11 weeks! Spoilt rotten we are.
Having a ball so far... adventures TBC👩🏻🌾😄🚙
12 May 2019
W I M B L E D O N 🎾
The home of tennis was our next location for house sitting.
It was a short but sweet stay, we had only 5 nights here looking after a 12 year old doggo named Maggie. She was a cutie! Sort of the girl version of Mingo, but not as pretty as Mingo.
We had a few fun nights in the house- a 3-storey terrace, cosy and clean!
We had a few familiar visitors this week- Holly and her two friends Katie and Jade- who are starting their Contiki tour from London. They are having a fun time, Holly didn’t shut up so she must have missed me 😂. We had burrito bowls for dins!
Our other friends Lou & Kiel came over for a baked dinner treat, we celebrated their engagement 💍❤️
We loved Wimbledon and the area is somewhere we will possibly consider living for a bit! We visited the high street shops and walked around past the All England Tennis Club- hopefully we can watch the Wimbledon in July (July 2-14) 🤞🏾
We can’t wait for our next house sitting chapter 😝 stay tuned... 🏡
5 May 2019
Our 2 weeks in Greenwich comes to an end... 👋🏼
Side note: We have learnt a lot about house sitting since being in the UK. There are definitely pros and cons. So ultimately, we are living in someone else’s home, using someone else’s things and as a visitor we have to adapt- otherwise don’t be a house sitter! Even if there are some things we would do differently in our own houses, we always come away saying we are very grateful for people allowing us to stay in their homes for free 💕.
We loved Greenwich and what it has to offer; great markets, close proximity to shops, restaurants, pubs and bars and the huge Greenwich Park in our backyard! We could live here - it’s far enough from the craziness of London but close enough to still see and do everything. Get the ferry to Cutty Sark, bring a picnic blanket and chill out & watch the world go by at the park, grab some yummy goodies from the market to nibble on... easy afternoon!
Bye bye Greenwich 🌳... On to our next house sit 🎾🎾🎾
22 April 2019
G R E E N W I C H 🌳
Currently in our second week in Greenwich. We are minding Frodo, an old black lab who is full of beans and thinks he’s still a young pup. Our house we are minding is a Vicarage, so the vicar and his wife of the local church live here. This house is located literally next to the national maritime museum and their backyard is Greenwich observatory park! Pretty epic location. We are here for 2 weeks all up.
The house is very old and run down.
We have barely explored Greenwich yet as we have both been working!
Lauren started a job in Tunbridge Wells Hospital 🏥 working 3 days per week as an OT - so far so good!
Jess is doing supply teaching on and off, to fit in with my schedule and also thinking about Frodo the doggo...
So there’s a little update of our crazy nomadic lives!
We hope to explore Greenwich further at the end of this week for our final days in this green, luscious and buzzing part of London...
Keep your eyes peeled 🍌
20 April 2019
Last days: My first big oopsy moment 🤦🏽♀️
We were on the express bus to the airport in Madrid when I was looking at the plane ticket to figure out which terminal we had to get off at. Then I had that sinking feeling, 6:00 flight? Hang on. That’s 6am! It was currently about 4pm... uh oh, we missed our flight thinking it was 6pm! I broke the news to Jess and she took it well as always ❤️
We bought new tickets and flew to Mallorca (island next to Ibiza) a few hours later. All worked out with a bit of money lost, but no biggie!
We arrived in windy Mallorca and checked into our hotel. This place is full of German tourists, who knew! Being Easter weekend it was a tad busy. We ventured to Palma, the main city (which looked similar to the other Spain city’s). It didn’t really have that ‘island’ feel we were hoping for, especially with the cloudy weather. We relaxed all day and got ready for our early flight to our new home in London..
Adios Spain, it’s been fab 🇪🇸👋🏼
19 April 2019
Madrid Part Two 🇪🇸 ✌🏽
We had a lazy time for our second visit to Madrid, it was nice. After travelling for almost 3 weeks, it’s pretty normal to feel exhausted and not want to do anything for a couple of days. Especially when someone (Jessica) is recovering from her sickness and catching up on sleep.
We stayed in a really friendly hostel - Sungate one - super cosy and had free brekky and dinners, winning!
We spent most of our time hanging out in the movie area on the laptop, catching up on life. We walked to a great park, Parque de El Retiro, found a nice grassy spot to have a little nap in the shade one sunny afternoon.
The no.1 highlight of Madrid was to see Jess’ favourite musician Ziggy Alberts play a gig. She lined our trip up to fit in with Ziggy!
It was great fun, and to see a Byron bay surfy dude up on the stage made us feel slightly closer to home.
We visited the great food markets again and ate more spanish tapas... Now off to our final destination!
17 April 2019
M a l a g a 🎡🌇
We hopped on another bus a few hours south east of Seville to a coastal city called Malaga. We arrived to the prettiest sunset and went for a walk along the pier and harbour with the many tourists. This place was unexpectedly popular with at least 3 cruise ships to be seen, but I guess it is Easter time so the parades are going on all over Spain all week!
Jess had been a bit sick with a chest infection, so we took it easy in Malaga. We walked to the top of the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro (old historic fort and castle remnants looking over Malaga). We still did a lot of walking and visited the main beaches in the city (mainly rocky beaches) but still great to lie in the sun and relax, which is what we did. We would love to get a car next time and do a drive along the southern Spanish coastline, as we have heard there are some amazing beaches to visit.
The vibe is relaxed city style and it felt safe, but don’t need to stay too long here!
14 April 2019
Seville’s architecture is really beautiful, like white stone cathedrals and buildings, little balconys, narrow windy streets and green trees, plants and flowers everywhere - it’s just a picture perfect place. Especially with bright blue skies, we were lucky!
We decided to have an afternoon picnic and sit with the hundreds of Spanish locals on the grassy park area along the main river that runs through Seville. We went to a really nice deli, Productos De La Sierra, who kindly cut us a plate of fresh hams, chorizo and prosciutto, olives, cheese and a fresh baguette. We sat in our picnic spot for hours, played some card games and watched the sunset.
We visited some of the cathedrals, palaces and castles. We thought it was better to look at their beauty on the outside and go for bike rides in the less touristy parks.
Seville, you have our hearts 💕
Seville, the city of love 💕☀️💃🏿🍷🌳🌷
We were blessed with perfect shorts, skirts and sandals weather. We arrived back into Spain by bus in the afternoon and checked into our 8 bed dorm. We had a very interesting, sleep free night in that room... never again haha!
It was the beginning of Holy Week (Semana Santa- the week leading up to Easter Sunday) so the crowds were increasing and streets were buzzing! They were setting up for big parades with wooden chairs and red cloaks hanging off the balconies. Catholic religion is very important in Spain. Easter week is a bigger event than Christmas and it is a huge week of celebrations, then 2 weeks following Easter they have a massive festival called La Feria de Abril, this year held in early May, where everyone parties until the early morning every night, full of traditional spanish dance, girls wearing colourful flamenco dresses, drinking and lots of food.
Unfortunately we weren’t staying in Seville for the festival, maybe next time!!
12 April 2019
Southern Portugal Road Trip & SUP session . . .
We hired a car and explored the Algarve coastline (southern region of Portugal) for 3 days. Driving in Portugal was super easy! We visited cliffs and watched the surfers ride the waves, went to plenty of lookouts and forts and visited towns all with classic Portuguese terracotta houses with white roofs, along the way.
We got up early for sunrise 🌅 and went on a SUP tour at 7am, it was so beautiful gliding over crystal clear and smooth waters and exploring the endless caves on the coastal cliffside.
Lagos and southern Portugal is a magical place and perfect beach getaway ❤️ 🏝
L A G O S 🏖☀️🍷 🇵🇹
Ahhhh we found the BEACH at last!! Just a little reminder of home. Nothing better then taking our shoes and socks off and walking barefoot along the sand... the ocean water, however, is still very cold being in the northern Atlantic region. But so refreshing 💙 We must go for a swim before we leave Lagos!
We stayed in a hotel called Carvi Beach Hotel, located right on one of the picturesque beaches along the south coast of Portugal and only 10 mins walk from Lagos town. Such a beautiful hotel, great service and friendly staff.
Lagos central has a chill beach vibe, I can imagine everyone walking around in bikinis or boardies in the middle of summer. The night life would get wild, although in mid April it’s a pretty quiet scene! We enjoyed a few nice seafood dinners and cocktails whilst in Lagos- why not! We also ate some epic local grilled chicken. It really is so tasty and fresh!
Our stay in Lagos was nothing but fantastic and we WILL be back! 🏖
8 April 2019
Quick trip to L I S B O N...
When we arrived it was raining ☔️ bit of a bummer! We had a plan to visit a place called ‘Sintra’ which is an amazing old town with colourful castles and gardens. Unfortunately due to the weather we decided we will spend our only day exploring the city of Lisbon.
We did a big walk around the streets, trying to walk off all the food we have eaten. Lots of hills in Lisbon!
We went to the old town and got quite lost in the lanes and streets. There are lots of cute trams 🚃 running through all the streets in Lisbon- it’s what Lisbon is famous for.
The buildings are very unique, all different colours with patterned tiles and graffiti, & the streets are cobblestone and quite narrow. We visited the harbour and went to a food market called ‘Time Out’ which is a great place to eat and drink, it has a funky atmosphere.
Of course we tried some Portuguese tarts and chicken. Simply YUM!
The sun peeked through the morning we were leaving- until next time Lisbon!
6 April 2019
CIDER HOUSE EXPERIENCE (Sidreria)...
We visited Txirrita Sagardotegia - the only cider house within Donostia where we could try a selection of 6 ciders from local Basque Country. It was fabulous and we highly recommend it (just don’t eat beforehand!).
The 6 course feast included:
- Cod soup, crispy pancetta & chorizo 🍵
- Fish omelette 🍳
- Fillet of cod with creamy sauce 🐟
- Medium rare T-bone Steak 🥩
- Cheese & quince paste 🧀
- Cheese ice cream & walnut sauce 🍨
- And of course, unlimited cider fresh from the barrel 🍺
If we had more time, we would have loved to visit a traditional cider house in the basque country which is a short bus or taxi ride away from the centre of town. The Spanish waiter recommended that we visit: Zurriola, La concha, Ondarreta, Gros beach & Peine de los Vientos... So we will add them to the list!
Well now it is time to move on from this food fest and explore a little place named Portugal... which may also be a food fest?!? 😅 Bring it on!
PINTXOS BAR HOP: our favourites in San Sebastián!
👉🏼 Sidreria Beharri: Variety of bar top pintxos
👉🏼 Senra Zaharrean: Great cheesecake (La Vina across the road was our first option for cheesecake but it was closed for renovations 😢)
👉🏼 La Mejillonera: Mussels with different sauces and toppings... amazing!
👉🏼 Bar Borda Berri: Slow cooked veal cheek (yum!) and pigs ear (not so yum 😋)
👉🏼 Sirimiri: Octopus (winning dish) and squid ink croquettes, and the BEST sangria in San Sebastián (Lauren’s opinion!)
👉🏼 Gandarias: Spanish cider and duck breast tapas- delicious!
👉🏼 Lete Taberna: A variety of pintxos including mushroom pie & brie cheese and caramelised mushrooms.
Note: We usually tried 1 pintxos in each bar, it is hard to resist as they all look and taste so delicious!!
SAN SEBASTIÁN (Donostia)... 💕 🏖 🍷🍽
Only 2.5 hours on the bus from Santander, and not far from the French border, sits this picturesque town! It is quite a popular tourist destination, it was pleasant in April but I do know it gets crazy busy in the summer (this is my second visit!).
Unfortunately we had a bit of crappy wet weather but we did get a few moments of warm sunshine to enjoy the outdoors ☀️
We had 3 days in total to explore San Sebastián, and boy did we spend it well. Our main activity for this destination involved eating and drinking. We ate an epic paella, millions (not exaggerating) of pintxos and even visited a cider house with a 6 course meal included... food galore!
Safe to say one will never go hungry in San Sebastián. The quality of the food really is outstanding. And the drinks- vino blanco, fresh cider and sangria are all spectacular. You can tell the Spanish from this Basque region take a lot of pride in the food and drink they serve.
4 April 2019
More fun in Santander...
We had some great food in Santander, our first introduction to ‘pintxos’ bars, where they line the bar tops with an array of what we would call canapés or finger food of all different shapes, sizes and combinations. Our favourite was Plaza de Canario, where we had some sangria in the bars and then after 830pm we ventured to a bar called ‘Canadios’. We randomly selected different pintxos to try with wine to accompany, delicious!
Although we had some rain and the temperature was fairly cold (about 10 degrees), I still managed to eat an ice cream from an icecreamery called ‘regma’.
We visited a famous architectural museum ‘Centro Botín ’, turns out we aren’t very ‘artsy’ and didn’t understand any of the artwork showcased inside. It was a laugh.
Overall our short 2 days in Santander was great and we would recommend to stop off at this place if visiting northern Spain! 🏄🏾♀️☀️😍
3 April 2019
S A N T A N D E R
What an amazing place! We hadn’t heard of this place before but we were told all of the towns along the northern Spain coast line are beautiful. Not wrong!
Santander is about 2 hours west of San Sebastián. We arrived at our cute hotel, basically right on Sardinero beach on a warm and sunny afternoon! We took the opportunity to put our sandals on and walk around and lie on the warm sand. We still needed a light jacket for when the sun disappeared.
Sardinero beach is one of the most popular swimming spots in the city, famous for its surfing and during summer it gets completely packed out.
We did a great walk to the Magdelena Peninsula, which has beautiful gardens, picnic areas and a Royal Palace. If I were royal, this is the spot to live, right on the water looking over the bay of Santander and the stunning coastline.
31 March 2019
We ate lunch at a market and you guessed it.. More tapas! All delicious. We visited a few major clothing outlets on the way back to our hostel, it was amazingly busy everywhere (although it was a Sunday so I guess that is normal!)
Next activity: ⚽️ Real Madrid vs Heusca at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium 🏟.
What a fantastic experience! Jess had bought tickets 5 days prior online. The hardest part was trying to navigate the metro, we ended up just jumping the gates and catching the train. The trains quickly filled up with soccer (football) fans. It was quite easy to find our way to our section with the help of some Spanish workers.
The game was a hoot, exciting start with the underdog team scoring early and giving Real Madrid a run for their money! But in the end, RM came out with the win in the final minute- of course! The atmosphere was good, but we are sure it can get more exhilarating at the BIG matches.
We will be returning to Madrid in about 2 weeks, so to be continued...
🚶🏽♀️ Walking Tour Tips & Tricks - Madrid
Spain time goes a little like this: wake up late, eat a big lunch, have a siesta (afternoon rest) then eat a big dinner at around 9pm.
We signed up for a free walking tour and met in the Plaza Mayor. Our tour guide, Jovan, was great, a real historian and definitely earned his tip!
Here’s some quick tips:
Best Food Markets in Madrid:
- Market of San Miguel (very touristy and can be overpriced)
- San Anton
- The Gourmet Experience
- Platea Michelin
Best to see a show in Madrid (rather than other cities) as their are less tourists!
- Plaza del Conde de Miranda
Free tapas with drink:
- El Respiro
- Das Meigas
- Petisqueria (site 2 is preferable!)
The weather turned and it started to drizzle, lucky we had an umbrella handy! Some of the main highlights on the 3 hour tour was the Restaurante Botín (worlds oldest restaurant founded in 1725), Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace of Madrid...
30 March 2019
🇪🇸 🇪🇸 We begin in Madrid 🇪🇸 🇪🇸
We both had never been to Madrid before. The most we knew about the city is that World Youth Day was here, it’s located in the middle of Spain and pickpocketing is common.
Well, the city of Madrid really beat our expectations! We stayed 2 nights in a hostel which was really hidden on the 6th floor of a building block. It was small and clean, we shared a room with 4 other girls.
On our first night, we were hungry and ready to go eat some Spanish delights! Our hostel receptionist recommended we go to ‘100 Montaditos’ which serves 100 different types of tapas (small plate or portion of any type of Spanish cuisine). We ordered a variety of different breads topped with delicious cheese, meat or veggies. We tried a glass of sangria too, good start! We then strolled through the bustling streets and plazas of Madrid We ended up at another beauty, a ‘chocolateria’ which serve some of the best churros with chocolate dipping sauce in Madrid 🤤...
25 March 2019
Well that was an interesting week!
We made our way to our next house sit in Crockenhill (Kent area) about 30 minute overground train trip from London. We looked after Ian and Pamela’s animals- 3 cats and 20 something chickens/hens/geese and ducks! I might add that they were all rescue animals...
The cats were pretty easy, we only had to feed them and they were pretty free to do what they wanted. The birds involved getting the gum boots on, gloves and jacket and entering the bird pen out the back. We had to replenish all of the water buckets with fresh water, feed them corn and pellets, and some birds even liked a hose down!
The house was full of collectables and very unique and cosy. We visited London a couple of times to do a few admin duties and Jess worked one day during the week. We are glad we were only at this place for 1 week as it was a bit isolated for our liking.
Nevertheless, we had a great week and will move on to our next adventure. Where will it take us??
23 March 2019
Activities in Itchenor:
We only had 8 days in this posh little village. To get around we had 2 of Willy’s awesome road bikes (he loves his gadgets!). They were so great and easy to ride. There is neat cycle track called the Salterns Way (wheelchair accessible too!) that is a flat track which winds around the backstreets and through the green fields. The track winds from West Wittering (home to one of the UKs famous beaches which has actual sand, not just rock) all the way to Chichester. We went for a beach walk with Willy and Claire on day 1 with Alfie, it was freezing cold and windy, but still refreshing to be on the coast of UK. In West Wittering we did our grocery shopping and ate at a great cafe called Drift In. West Wittering reminds us of Byron bay, just a lot smaller.
We met with John and Diana (Chris Gosbell once stayed with them when he was travelling at 24) and they showed us around Chichester and took us out for a pub dinner. That was special ❤️.
14 March 2019
Itchenor House Sit: 14th March - 23rd March
What a great week we had in Itchenor. It is small sailing village near the south coast, about 15 min drive from Chichester. Claire and Willy welcomed us with a beach walk & roast chicken and salad dinner. Alfie was our new pup for the week, 13 years young. Springer spaniel and so cute! He loves his walks, treats, cuddles & sleeping. The home we stayed in was beautiful and spacious, a huge green grassy backyard with lots of plants and flowers. Our bed was SO comfortable and cosy, we struggled to get up every morning. Lovely Claire said she didn’t want us to go hungry while they were away so she stocked up on frozen pizzas and some of the essentials and even made us a fresh loaf of bread! Claire even made us a house welcome guide with pictures included. We felt very spoilt from the moment we arrived in Itchenor. We hope to visit again in the future and come back during the summer time ready for the beach weather ☀️
7 March 2019
Activities in and around Bushey Heath:
We visited a town near Bushey Heath called Watford which is only 15 min bus away. We went there about 3 times and looked around the shopping mall. It has our favourite Mexican place (Tortilla) and just about every fashion store you need (Zara, H&M, primark). It even has an Apple store.
One night we went to a stand up comedy show in Watford, what a laugh that was and we were the lucky victims at one point!
We had some drinks in Brixton with our friends one night after we went to the Y Travel Show in Clapham.
We also tried out the local pub The Three Crowns and had a roast pork pub lunch with Lou and Kiel who joined us on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
When Lucy and John returned home, they took us to see a show, about an extreme mountain climber, Leo Houlding and he talked about his crazy Antarctic expedition.
When we weren’t out and about, we were relaxing at home with the doggos, watching Sky tv and movies and I did a bit of baking and cooking!
28 February 2019
28th February - 14th March
We house sat in Bushey Heath, NW London, for 2 weeks looking after 2 wonderful rascals: George and Toffee, while Lucy & John went on a holiday to Sri Lanka!
Lucy was an absolute gem! She even let us stay and extra night at the end. We were so comfy in their big house with a huge backyard and of course, central heating!
George (2yrs old) and Toffee (8 months old) were a load of fun. We went on at least 2 walks a day, they absolutely loved getting muddy. We had drizzling rain basically everyday with some snippets of nice sunshine.
The high street of Bushey Heath had the best italian (Olivios) and wenzels bakery. We ate a lot of baked goodies!
We did our grocery shopping there too and cooked at home almost every night. Jess worked a fair bit (8 days) while we were there and luckily her travel was only a 15 minute bus ride away! So easy.
We had such a nice house sit it was sad to leave! I’m sure we will be back again one day.
10 February 2019
10th Feb - 27th Feb
We did a house sit in Banstead, Surrey area, looking after 2 dogs (Sydney and Banjo). We enjoyed having a whole terrace to ourselves, 3 levels high and nicely decorated place. We slept in a beautiful guest room with an ensuite bathroom. The downstairs had a big kitchen, laundry, toilet, large loungeroom and dining room. We took the dogs on daily walks and explored the high street of Banstead. It has everything you could possibly need and was an easy 2 minute walk from where we stayed. Jess was on school holidays for a week, so we had a fun week off relaxing, walking, exploring and eating our way around Banstead and other local towns. The bus was the easiest way to get around, transport is pretty awesome here! Jess surprised me with tickets to see Cirque de Soleil (belated Birthday Present)… The gymnasts and performers are all crazy! We visited Epsom and Sutton, lots of shops to look at. Well our first house sit was a success! Looking forward to our next adventure!
6 February 2019
6th Feb - 10th Feb
We arrived in London town!
We stayed at the W14 Hotel in Hammersmith. About $600 for 4 nights, breakfast included. Not much else cheaper than that in London! It was cold when we arrived, under 5 degrees. We visited the city via the tube and buses and explored some of the sites. We visited this HUGE Westfield in Shepherds Bush twice. Mainly for the Mexican food (Tortilla)… we were hungry and it is delicious. So many people visiting this shopping centre, it would be scary to come here at Christmas! We also visited our work agencies to get all our paperwork and start the employment process. Time to settle into London life!