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Back to Manchester we go!

I can’t actually believe that I’m writing this blog post from my mum’s house, a place that I’ve seen in my dreams practically every night since we moved to Melbourne and it feels completely surreal! The decision to visit home took us a long time to reach as we catapulted between the pros (seeing our family and friends) and cons (the journey and cost) until we came to the conclusion that eighteen months into our Australian adventure, ours hearts and souls needed a recharge.

It’s been an amazing opportunity to start a new life down under and I feel really proud of the home we’ve created and the network of wonderful people who have quickly  become our very close friends but it has been challenging and I can honestly tell you it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders since we touched down in Manchester city! If you’ve ever felt anxiety you’ll know the knot in the pit of your stomach or the tension in your shoulders that is with you everywhere you go and it’s not something I’d ever experienced until we were effectively on our own at the other side of the world and to be honest with you, I do think it’s taken it’s toll. Just having people around that love you and that you can rely on in times of need (what I wouldn’t have given to have my mum help with the school run while I was struggling with bronchitis last month) is just one example of the stuff you really take forgranted until you don’t have it anymore. Australian sunshine is wonderful, but it won’t give you a cuddle when you need one!

So here we are and I’ve got so much to tell you about our journey back to England! The kids packed their on board backpacks about two months before we left, then unpacked and repacked them as their taste in toys fluctuated faster than you can say “PJ Masks”. They opted for a couple of their favourites, some books, activity kits from Target and iPads that we painstakingly revamped with new all-singing and dancing apps to keep them entertained during our 24 hour journey (whoever the gods are at Toca, we salute you!). I also packed a 6 litre freezer bag with lots of smaller ones filled with snacks such as almonds, carrot sticks, raisins, crackers, blueberries, protein pancakes we’d made that morning and sugar free lollies for them to suck on on take off and landing.

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The weather was 23 degrees and sunny as we set off to Melbourne airport on Tuesday evening and we laughed about the weather we were heading to as we passed the beautiful beaches !

IMG_8870^^^Look at these gorgeous faces you guys! Our trio have such a close friendship, they were at each others side the whole way. I took this picture inside the airport carparking reception, we used Easy Airport Parking and really recommend them if you’re heading on holiday from Melbourne.^^^

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Melbourne International airport must be getting some renovations done because there really wasn’t much to do while we waited to board, apart from have a picture taken with a stuffed kangaroo and appease the kids with Kinder eggs of course!

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^^^ Big, Little Lies kept me going for hours! A fantastic dramatisation of the book I enjoyed just as much.^^^

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The food aboard our emirates A380 flight was good enough and it kept coming, which broke up the journey. We didn’t realise we were supposed to preorder kids meals (you would think they knew how many kids were flying by seeing the bookings wouldn’t you?!) so they were subjected to food such as curry and rice, which I was told “is not as nice as your rice mummy”, so at least something good came of it!

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We flew from Melbourne at 10pm, which was great timing for the kids as they were exhausted and slept most of the way to Dubai. Just in case they had any sort of allergic reaction to the plane, I did the right thing that any mum should do and gave them a helping hand in the form of Vallergan. I won’t elaborate here but I will just whisper really quietly – BUY SOME if you’re going long haul with kids 😉

We landed in Dubai after 14 hours in the air and after the worlds longest transfer from the plane to the airport, we had an hour to hit the Duty Free and get onto the next plane, which again was a fantastic flight with great staff who handed out teddies and bags full of activity kits to the kids that made the journey very pleasant. As I looked out into the grey sky as we descended in Manchester, I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me that not even the horizontal rain could dampen.

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What a welcome sight our families were waiting to surprise us at the airport and no matter how exhausted we all were, it was soon forgotten about when we were back in the arms of our loved ones.

We have been waking up at 4 am every day since we landed and can’t wait for the jetlag to subside. We have so much we want to do during our three week holiday and I have so much to share with you soon. I’m really grateful to have you here.

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Love from Leyla

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