MMBZL have left the building!

We did it!

After a 32 hour straight shift of filling boxes and packing them tightly in every last corner of loft and eaves spaces, we finally made it out of our house on Friday afternoon and are spending a lovely weekend visiting family & friends in Shrewsbury, Kidderminster and Sanderstead…

Lara:- ” Mummy, are we on our trip round the world now?”

Well I guess we are – first stop Shrewsbury! The children have been so busy with school plays, sports days, swimming galas and school trips etc… they took the last week of packing very much in their stride – a little out of sorts but soaking up the excitement of coming home every day from school to see which rooms had been emptied and cleaned.

They spent the last week ‘camping out’ in the dining room! Ben has been suspicious of the many bags of stuff leaving the house bound for friends or charity shops but luckily our rapidly overflowing rubbish bins went unnoticed!

They found it hard to choose anything to take with them and asked me to choose for them (they may live to regret that – or thank me their backpacks are nice and light!) and they made no complaint when they came home and found all their toys packed and gone. It already feels good to be nearly clutter free !

It was a rather strange but huge relief to finally get there and shut the door on a very empty home ready for tenants to move in on Saturday…. We have ‘dumped’ our rucksacks and cases in a room at Martin’s office now needing a very carefully sort and final pack ready for 11th July.

To everyone to keeps asking if we have booked accommodation in Rio yet (with rather concerned faces) its very near the top of Monday’s to do list, I promise!


Healthy eating – our last supper

Two days to go till we move out and two weeks and a day till we fly off to begin our family gap year!

We’re in serious chaos – many of our belongings are already in the loft with half packed boxes still all over the place!! Hey ho, we’ll get there! Thanks to friends Jo and Jo who’ve helped fill, carry and label boxes:)

We have just had our last supper at home together – making do with what’s left in the freezer – oven chips with cheese, pizza, fish fingers and garlic bread. Hmm! Now all we have left is ice cream, vodka and gin – in fairly large quantities – should be a fun evening packing…


..although some people have crashed out early…looks like I may be on my own for the evening packing shift!


Naked Walls

With only 6 nights before we have to be completely out of our house we actually started packing in anger yesterday. The first thing to come down were our paintings and the naked walls make the house feel very different and not ‘lived in’.

We were concerned about Ben, Zoe and Lara’s reaction when they returned from school but they dashed excitedly from room to room savouring the spaces and showing no sign of distress that their beds and many toys had ‘gone’. Only Lara asked about the missing TV! I think many kids would have a bouncy castle in the lounge rather than furniture?

Oma on Trampoline in Lounge

Something to keep the grown ups happy


Two in one night!!!

I’ve never sold a car privately in my life except to friends and family and now I’ve sold two in one night!   Not bad as I only put them on Autotrader at the weekend, have had a lot of phone calls but these were the first viewings!  It felt quite sad to wave goodbye to the Toyota, and Zoe shed a few tears!

A parting shot!

We took a deposit for the Mini which goes next week but it’s perhaps best to keep it on the driveway and not risk a prang on the school run!  However, definite cause to celebrate, a big task ticked off and money in the bank to help fund our travels!

We also did a lot of clearance at home today, but the house still looks a tip and none of the boxes have made it into the loft yet!  The kids came home and took everything out of boxes I’d lined up for garage storage and Ben retrieved books Martin had just thrown in the rubbish bin – a 15-year-old road atlas and a manual for an unrecognisable 1990 gadget and asked if he could go and sell them on the pavement outside! I hope he will sell strawberries at Saturday’s school fete with the same enthusiasm!

Only a phone call away

I’ve been following the hoo haa about Nancy being left in the pub by Mum and Dad and felt a touch of empathy as we have encountered a similar situation ourselves. It certainly did not surprise me to read in the news that it had happened to many other parents but what amazed me was the ‘commentators’ who thought these unfortunate children be taken into care immediately or worse! It must be wonderful to be so perfect but I am not sure their kids will want to be escorted to the loo as teenagers, I can see it now:

Mum: Hold my hand Kevin, roads are dangerous.

Kev: That’s SO not cool Mum!

Mum: When you leave home you can do what you like.

Kev: But Mum, I’m 32!

Mum: Exactly and I don’t want you talking to strangers again.

Just what age children can cross the road by themselves is a subject I’ll probably come back to. More

One month to go

I saw the news today about the Camerons leaving their 8 yr old daughter in a pub because they both thought she was with her other parent! If you’ve read our earlier blogs you’ll know why we can sympathise! More

The kitchen sink

Another popular question about our family gap year is how are we going to carry all our stuff? Are we taking a lorry or four wheel drive overland? I am guessing that this is the sort of thing that people have in mind:

Go anywhere transport (Credit

Perfect for the wilds of Africa where anything else just won’t cut it. More

Budget for our Gap Year?

George Osbourne with Budget Box

in happier times

I thought I would try and answer some of the top questions we are asked about our family gap year starting with our budget.

When I was younger the budget for travelling consisted of More

Out of Office

old word processor

The height of innovation

With the lack of progress in gap year preparations I thought I would tackle some easy wins, what could be easier than my ‘Out Of Office’ or ‘OOO’ if you live on TLAs.

I started my business before email, in those days the telephone on my desk had a dial and wonder of wonders More

Digital Nomad?

Dromedary camel in outback Australia, near Sil...

Nomad transport?

Our lovely kids have come to call our family gap year a ‘holiday’ and rather than dent their enthusiasm we have not shattered the illusion just yet (lucky they don’t read the blog every day, Horrid Henry is more interesting!).

So will life on the road be much of a holiday? More

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