I can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now. Saying goodbye to our family and friends from home is as hard 18 months after our move to Melbourne as it was the first time around. If you’ve been following our adventure here or on our Instagram stories, you’ll know we’ve done so many things since we landed back in Manchester for our holiday from dancing to Disney, sightseeing and snow-play but nothing is as important to me as the time we’ve spent just being with the people we love.
I hope you’ve seen the film of us surprising my grandparents when we arrived 3 weeks ago (but if you haven’t, it’s here) and we’ve visited them again as much as possible since. It’s been wonderful to spend time them and with my cousins and their kids too. The kids have come alive being with their family even though the twins haven’t seen them since they were 2, but I honestly believe they know when they’re with people that love them because their laughter has been relentless and their personalities have been shining like the little stars they are.
It’s been so lovely to visit Ste’s nanna too during this trip. The cards we get every Christmas and birthday from relatives like Betty mean the absolute world to us when we’re in Australia and we’ve found a packet of Tim Tams is a great way to say thank you!
We are so grateful to my mum for letting us borrow her house for our holiday and to my sister Ciana and her husband Stuart for putting her up (or putting up with her!) They run the nicest bed and breakfast called Oak House Hotel so if you’re ever looking for a place to stay within easy reach of Manchester City Centre, check it out!
^^^Making pizzas with grandpa was a lot of fun! I love spending time with my dad, he has been such an inspiration to me to be the best version of myself all of my life and I am so proud to call him my hero. We were happy the kids got some veggies on their dinner too – winner winner, I didn’t have to cook dinner!^^^
^^^My gorgeous sisters. I am going to miss them so much!^^^
There is so much love in these pictures, I can’t even put it into words how happy they make me! We have enjoyed so many lovely Persian dinners, traditional pub lunches, picnics in the sunshine (yes, even in the Autumn weather!) and soul warming cuddles with our parents and siblings. Every single one of the memories we’ve made has restored my faith in who we are and where we’ve come from and it’s been worth every pound we’ve spent and put on (from all the curries and fish and chips!)
Having your makeup done by your best friend could go one of 2 ways and we have made an absolute mess of each others faces since we were 11 year old amateurs, but thankfully she now is a wonderfully talented artist who spoiled me with a makeover before a night out we had with our closest friends and if you would like to be pampered (and pick up a few tips too!) you can find Carolyne on Facebook – Makeup by Carolyne
Moving overseas has made me so grateful for the friends have kept in touch with me every single day even though I was hundreds of miles away. I remember someone telling me when we first moved to Melbourne that my friends would soon move on and I felt heartbroken at the thought especially about Carolyne, Jane and Dionne who have been my besties since we met at highschool 27 years ago. The shared history we have from knowing each other for most of our lives, makes me so proud that for almost 3 decades we’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. All of our friends made so much effort to spend time with us during the past few weeks, I’ll never forget the fun we’ve had and I think I’ve laughed more in these last few days than I have in the past 2 years!
I can’t write this post without telling you about my beautiful friend of 20 years, Laura and The Woodland Spa that she booked for us last week. Together we have graduated at university, travelled the world and have 7 children including a set of twins each so we feel connected on a level that has to be as close to soul mates as you can get. It really was a wonderful way to spend the day catching up with each other and even though we speak at least once a week when I’m in Melbourne, being back together was a breath of fresh air I will treasure forever.
I always felt really lucky that the mum’s of Ariana’s best friends were my best friends here too and being back together again has been absolutely amazing. The kids are all a little bit taller but that literally is the only thing that’s changed when we are back together! We went back to Ariana’s old school to see everyone that means so much to us and it was like we’ve never been away as the kids came running across the playground shouting “Ariana!” much to her delight! She even had sleepovers with her best friend Isla who has been writing to her constantly since we left England and her mum Lexi and I are so proud of the relationship they’ve maintained since they were 2 years old. We love them all so much and miss them every single day.
Last night, we said goodbye again to all the friends and family that we love (I’ll share those pictures with you ASAP!) and I can honestly say, it was heartbreaking so much so that I felt my knees give way more than once. This trip has been a really important reminder of who we are and where we’re from, I just wish it had given us a clue about where we are meant to be because this journey has been as metaphorical as it has been literal. Tomorrow we leave for Melbourne again and I am hoping I can shake this sadness in the sunshine with the lovely friends we have made there too. I guess home is wherever we are together and I’m so grateful for that.
I’ll keep you posted.
Love from Leyla