Atmospheric Moody Skies and the Gorgeous Moors of Lancashire


Home has been somewhat redefined for our family over the last couple of years.  Paul is from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire then Cornwall, I am from Lancashire.  We met in London then after a few years moved to Kent where Chaos and Mayhem were both born.  When Mayhem became seriously ill we were lucky enough to be visiting my family in Lancashire and as he was hospitalised for over a month in Alder Hey, Liverpool, we were blessed with having their amazing support; Being so close to ‘home’ was just what we needed at that stressful and emotional time.  In Alder Hey I was in our little booth in the Cardiology Ward with Mayhem, and Paul was just five minutes walk away with Chaos in the amazing Ronald McDonald House, both became a second home as we were ‘living’ there for such a long time.
Cardiology Ward, Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Mayhem’s illness is the reason that we packed up our belongings and left our busy working lives and home in Kent, in search of a some well needed quality family time.  Whilst Mayhem recovered we had the chance to spend some amazing family time together and travelled, living in Portugal, then Spain.  At the end of this month it will be two years since the anniversary of his operation to remove the tumour and life for us is changing again.
Living a more simplistic life, not competing against society, spending money on clothes and possessions and enjoying being outside, exploring our environment and living in nature was so very idyllic.  We chose to spend our savings having family time together, but spent them we have.  We don’t want it to end but need to get back to work and earning money to support our family.  During July we headed back home to the UK, to Lancashire to visit family, friends and predomanitely to sell, sort and sift through our 80 square foot storage container.
The task was indeed immense.  Oh my, so much stuff!  It is hard to imagine how much you actually accumulate.  We had a two bed flat in Kent, rammed full.  Before we put our possessions in storage we got rid of a load, and by that I really do mean tonnes of useless stuff, given to charity, sold on selling sites and dumped at the tip.  It was only when we stepped back and looked at all of our possessions that we realised that our materialism was out of control.  I had enough clothes and toiletries to run my own department store and the boys, ditto.  Paul didn’t really have that much stuff, apart from his treasured skateboard videos/t-shirts and at least ten identical pewter tankards from his rowing days, oh and all of the parifinalia for his two bicycles.  Even though we thought that we had only kept the things we actually wanted when we revisited our storage container we were again amazed at what we had actually kept.
So many unused or unworn clothes, the wrong size, the wrong look, out of date, out of style, out of control…just too many!  Yes, I’m the guilty party here.  The majority were bagged up and taken to a local shop that pays 45p per kilo, some to charity and some sold on eBay.  Who really needs five different coats, only two of which you actually like or ever wore?  Yes, it is nice to have a variety of clothes, to look nice and dress for the weather, but when you have limited space practicality takes precedence and so the clothing culling began!
 It was one thing that really hit us smack bang in the face when we returned to the UK.  After living in the Portuguese and Spanish campo (countryside) and getting back to basics was that we only spent money on our essentials.  The need to have the newest, the greatest, the best label, car, toy, outfit, make-up, hairdo…were all pretty irrelevant, but in the UK they are a major part of everyday life.  It shocked us both to witness and remember how very ‘convenient’ life in the UK is, but equally how very difficult too.  We bought a second hand car and caravan whilst there as you generally pay a fortune for such things in Europe.
Why is it so much more expensive…because…and here’s the thing…people use their cars, caravans and pretty much all of their stuff, until it breaks, until it cannot be repaired anymore, until it has completely died and death and worn away to nothing.  A five, ten, fifteen year old car is not frowned upon, not at all, it is normal.  People do not judge you by the age of your car, the label of your clothing, or the size of your TV.  It is indeed an easier life as you do not need to compete. Just enjoy.  Oh and of course the English Summer.  Lancashire is indeed so lush and green for one very good reason, the rain.  Oh my, it rained every single day.  Torrential downpours, drizzles, showers and constant rain, every type of rainfall you can imagine, we had it.  Not quite the 40º constant sunshine we had come from!
Atmospheric Moody Skies and the Gorgeous Moors of Lancashire
After a month we finally had enough sold through the plentiful online sites and made numerous trips to tip and charity shops that we were happy with the little that was leftover.  We packed up our car, named ‘the beast’ by the boys, as it is rather large and needed to be to pull our laden caravan, hitched up and headed off for the ferry. More about our Road Trip here.
So what next?  After realising it was time to get back to work we wanted to use our skills and training as teachers but in a more free and simplistic way and still spend as much time together as a family as we could.  So we’ve decided to continue our search for a more simple life and have headed back to live and work in Portugal.  No housesit as yet, this time, but we have the caravan to live in until we find our place.  One thing we have realised, which I am sure that most of you already know, is that it really doesn’t matter where we live; as long as we have our family together, we can make anywhere a home.
Mission Mindfulness


Post Author: Topsy Turvy Tribe

Paul & Andrea ex-pats escaping the rat race with Chaos (aged 4) and Mayhem (aged 2) along for the adventure.

47 thoughts on “Home


    (August 26, 2017 - 10:43 am)

    How lovely that you have found a lifestyle that works for you and your family.

    I’m curious what job opportunities there are in Portugal? It sounds lovely.

    Kamsin recently posted…What makes you come alive?My Profile


    (August 27, 2017 - 8:16 am)

    You guys are an inspiration. I know it’s not always easy but it sounds like the best kind of life. Wishing you well in the next stage of your adventure.
    Tara recently posted…My Sunday Photo – August 27th, 2017.My Profile

    Michelle | michwanderlust

    (August 27, 2017 - 10:33 am)

    Loved this post. I spent 9 months in South America, mostly living in a very rural community, and coming back to Singapore was a huge change. Adjustment is definitely a challenge. I miss the simple life there every day! Glad to hear you’ve found something in Portugal 🙂
    Michelle | michwanderlust recently posted…Hiking the Quilotoa Loop: Sigchos to IsinliviMy Profile


    (August 27, 2017 - 9:44 pm)

    #thesatsesh ohhh I am so glad that you came to join our new linky, this post is awesome! I love the idea of minimising and we are trying to cut back on necessities so that we have more finance to travel. I hope you enjoy wherever the land takes you, but your right – no storage container can hold anything of true worth, its what lives and breathes around us.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:57 pm)

      Yes to more travel! A friend recently asked me how she could reduce her spending as she wanted to afford a holiday, after a few minutes it transpired that she went food shopping every other! Not only was it costing her a fortune but time. Experiences with our loved ones are definitely so much more valuable than stuff!

    Hayley@ Mission: Mindfulness

    (August 27, 2017 - 11:02 pm)

    Oh my – you always leave me food for thought when it comes to lifestyle changes. I too hate all the ‘stuff’ we seem to accumulate and am doing my best to get rid and make sure we get too much more unnecessary crap – someiimes it can be so suffocating and life is definitely about people and experiences NOT materials. The fact that you are both teachers and that you were in Kent makes me also think about my situation – as you know I’m a teacher, and I teach in Kent (just)…. Mmmmm what to do! Portugal in a caravan sounds fab and I look forward to reading more about your adventures! #thesatsesh xx

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:55 pm)

      Thank you Hayley, I think as long as we are mindful (couldn’t help it, sorry) about our consumerism then we’ve won the battle. Experiences are definitely better, every single time and we are hopefully making some awesome memories for our children to treasure. Teaching is very hard work, especially in London and Key, but it seems like you enjoy it and have time for your lovely family too and as long as you are happy that’s all that counts!

    Imperfect Mum

    (August 28, 2017 - 7:14 am)

    Living in Holland I find the Dutch much less materialistic when it comes to appearance and almost embarrassed by new cars etc they don’t tend to waste money. I hope you find work to continue the fabulous lifestyle you have. #thesatsesh
    Imperfect Mum recently posted…#PointShoot: Stewart’s ParkMy Profile

      Imperfect Mum

      (September 1, 2017 - 1:30 pm)

      Popping back to say thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉
      Imperfect Mum recently posted…Best of #ablogginggoodtime July & AugustMy Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:51 pm)

      Thank you, it’s good to know that the Dutch aren’t as materialistic, it really is a bit scary how consumerism is king now in the UK. It’s only when you’re out of it that you can the full picture!


    (August 29, 2017 - 10:42 am)

    Ah I have been wanting to read since I saw your IG post and only just getting to it. You are so right about materialism. It is horrible and controlling yet I am, like many, a slave to it and fully wrapped up in it. It has dawned on me more and more of late. I have long been wondering whether you would return to the UK or continue to stay abroad and now I know. I wish you and your family all the very very best with your new adventure and look forward to continuing to follow your journey! xx
    Tammymum recently posted…#Pointshoot…Strops and SunshineMy Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:48 pm)

      Once we made the plunge we really didn’t want to go back to the rat race and our old lives in the UK. The hard bit is leaving, once you’ve packed up and left anything is possible!


    (September 3, 2017 - 9:36 am)

    This is great post – and such a great insight. I think it’s true that so many of us get hung up on “stuff” and allow things like the type of car we drive to define us, or to be a status symbol when none of it is what really matters. I’ll be back to catch up on your archives and the rest of your story because it sounds incredible! #KCACOLS
    Caro recently posted…Me and Mine – August 2017My Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 3, 2017 - 11:02 am)

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Please have a look at the archives any time

    Ann Hickman

    (September 3, 2017 - 5:53 pm)

    Home is where we are I think. The kids call home where ever we go back to… so if we are on holiday in a caravan, that is home. At nana and papas, their house is our home etc etc


    (September 3, 2017 - 7:55 pm)

    This is fab,I must admit I hoard lots of stuff, including clothes I’d love to fit in but doubt I ever will again, I really need to get myself sorted and get rid of so many things we really don’t need anymore. #kcacols

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:32 pm)

      I had so many was scary, it really does feel good to get rid of them and only keep the things you need (and can fit into). Good luck with your decluttering!


    (September 4, 2017 - 9:24 am)

    You are absolutely right about how material things can clutter up your life. I wish you the best of luck, and I’m a wee bit jealous to say the least!
    Thanks for linking up to #globalblogging

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:30 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment, it really is such a relief to get rid of so much clutter!

    Heather Keet

    (September 4, 2017 - 10:19 am)

    Time is our most precious commodity, I love that you embrace your family time with such enthusiasm! #GlobalBlogging

    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    (September 4, 2017 - 3:12 pm)

    Such a journey you have been on together but the key is doing it together. You are such a strong family unit and will be happy where ever you are. Wishing you all the happiness in Portugal. Popping by from #KCACOLS

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:27 pm)

      Thank you Fiona, we really do love being together as a family so yes, we would definitely be happy anywhere!


    (September 4, 2017 - 6:05 pm)

    Wow! how inspirational. I’m a teacher and a bit of a nomad at heart and I would love this but my hubbie is the total opposite and would craze locational stability. Good for you though and until your children are older why worry?Good luck…..I hope your plans for work materialise. #familyfun

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:25 pm)

      Thank you! We are going to be teaching at the a local alternative international school when it reopens at the end of September so we are getting there and the boys are loving being outside all of the time. There is a great community here in Portugal.


    (September 4, 2017 - 7:51 pm)

    Gosh what a journey your family has been through. I hope that all works out for you now in Portugal and the caravan isn’t you home for too long #GlobalBlogging

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:24 pm)

      Thanks Chloe, although we are loving being in the caravan at the moment we’ll have to wait and see what winter holds 🙂


    (September 5, 2017 - 10:23 am)

    Can’t wait to follow your story. It’s inspiring. #triumphanttales

    Karen, the next best thing to mummy

    (September 6, 2017 - 10:02 am)

    This sounds exciting if a little daunting too, will keep it away from my husband’s eyes as he always has itchy feet and this would encourage him even more to want to move on#mudpiefriday@_karendennis

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:17 pm)

      It is daunting, a lot of the people I know wouldn’t even consider it, but I must admit I’ve always loved travelling and a little adventure…you never know you might love it too if you let your hubby persuade you to move!

    Karen | TwoTinyHands

    (September 7, 2017 - 8:40 pm)

    We’ve a lot of stuff too if you really look. I think we do a good job in not buying lots though we have very little waste. I love how you’ve come through the worst of times to where you are now so inspiring. ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…All Things Change on the #FamilyFunLinkyMy Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:10 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment and for hosting Karen. It’s really hard not to accumulate tonnes and tonnes of possessions but as long as you are mindful and conscious of it, then that’s half of the battle over.


    (September 7, 2017 - 8:46 pm)

    I think that this is just beautiful! Whilst living in the States, my husband and I realised how materialistic we had become. Everything is available at the snap of a finger. I want becomes I WANT WANT WANT… I’m pleased we moved back home to South Africa. For us, life has become simpler again. I must admit though, I am jealous that you have gone through your entire container, I’m still wading through ours… Need to get rid of so much stuff!! Wishing you all the best and thank you for linking up with us this week! #globalblogging

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 8, 2017 - 3:08 pm)

      Oh you know how hard it is then Jacqui, it’s such a relief when we got rid of that container, big burden off our already crammed full of stuff lives. Good luck with yours!

    Cassie Parish

    (September 11, 2017 - 4:46 pm)

    You are beyond inspiring. I really don’t know if I could do what you’s have done although I often say I would.

    Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS Come back soon.
    Cassie Parish recently posted…Mummy’s first day at preschool. My Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 23, 2017 - 7:41 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment Cassie, sometimes it takes a huge change in your life, to change your lifes.

    Mrs Mummy Harris

    (September 11, 2017 - 11:31 pm)

    Im ridiculously jealous of your simple lifestyle! It really is amazing what different cultures see as essentials! Good luck on your new journey!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow!

    Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes

    (September 14, 2017 - 9:38 pm)

    I always love your updates! Home is wherever you are, as long as you are #KCACOLS
    Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes recently posted…When did things change?My Profile

    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    (September 17, 2017 - 8:56 pm)

    After a day of tidying, cleaning, and clearing out our house, your comments about materialism feel really pertinent. I’d always considered it endemic across Europe, but it’s interesting that you feel it’s not the case where you’ve been. It can definitely feel like it has you trapped in the rat race to maintain that lifestyle. Wishing you guys all the best in your next adventure. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 23, 2017 - 7:35 pm)

      Thanks for hosting and commenting Katy, it really is only because we stepped way out of the rat race that we could really examine it for what it was. If we still lived in a city in Portugal or Spain I think we would be the same but living in the countryside in the middle of nowhere really does make you realise your priorities!

    Laura - Dear Bear and Beany

    (September 18, 2017 - 1:58 pm)

    As I was reading this I thought I can’t imagine you coming back to the UK after your time abroad living a different lifestyle. I’m so pleased you’ve made this decision and I wish you all the best in this next step. I can’t wait to continue reading all about it.Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (September 23, 2017 - 7:32 pm)

      Thank you so much Laura, glad to join in again, will do more soon!

    Susie at This is me now

    (September 28, 2017 - 9:14 am)

    Aw this is such a fab post. So happy you’ve found a lifestyle that you’re now happy with. You’re right about materialism, I’m sure it’s worse here than lots of places. We’ve just cleared out one bedroom and I was amazed at what we’d kept and didn’t need. Even just books and DVDs that never got read or watched. Sorry I’m commenting late form #SharingtheBlogLove xx

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