Don’t get me wrong – I love being an expat. I love being able to roam around the beautiful streets of a historic city, not having to pile on a thousand layers before leaving the house in November and, of course, the delicious red wine (amongst other things).
But I won’t get carried away writing about this, as this is not a blog about the bonuses of being an expat – it’s about what I miss from home. And with Christmas fast approaching, the void that was once filled with home comforts becomes more profound than ever before. I’ve always been told that it helps to write down your feelings, so I thought I’d do so in the form of a top 5 things I miss from home – and publish it!
So, here’s my list. If you think there’s anything I’ve missed out, go ahead and leave a comment below and add to it!
- Decent fitting lingerie. I’ve always found it extremely difficult to find a bra that fits well on the continent. Apparently in most European countries, there is a direct correlation between back and breast sizes teamed with a common opinion that women with fuller figures can not wear sexy underwear. I’m sure many women can attest to the fact that this certainly should not be the case!
- Affordable and tasteful fashion in consistent sizes. Maybe I’m picky, but I’ve spent my years shopping based on British sizing and tailoring. Most male expats I know complain about not being able to find a low cost, stylish suit or double breasted shirts in their new destination. I’ve had moments of horror in shops, when I suddenly find that I’ve jumped up three clothes sizes overnight. I miss knowing that I can walk into a shop, find some clothes I love, try them on and then not have to part with an arm and a leg to walk away with them!
- A kettle. I want a brew of the tea that I brought over from my last visit home. What’s this? I have to boil the water in a pan? No, thank you.
- Affordable homeware. Without risking the fact that you are going to have the same living room as all your friends (thanks, Ikea), the general spend on stylish homeware on the continent is extortionate. Furthermore, as a resident in Spain, I was surprised to find that the average shape for a pillow is an extremely long rectangle. This becomes a problem when my pillowcases don’t fit!
- Children’s books and games in English. Arguably one of the benefits of bringing up children in a foreign country is the richness in culture they are exposed to and the (almost) automatic fluency attained in two languages. However I do agree that it is also important for children to have access to educational books and games in their mother tongue to aid in their development. I was therefore disappointed when I recently struggled to find a decent gift for my nephew’s third birthday.
For the above reasons, it was a pleasant surprise to hear that Littlewoods Europe have recognised the problems that British expats face and are lending a helping hand. They have recently launched in Spain, France, Portugal and Germany and also deliver to the Balearics and BFPO.
They’ve done their research, too. They have identified the products most British expats miss, such as big brands in women and men’s fashion, children’s books and toys and great products for your home abroad. They also provide a service that is essential to the expat lifestyle. They will ship your goods over to you for just €5 or for free if you spend over €50 on your shop before 30th November 2009 – perfect for your Christmas shopping rush. Recognising the fact that when shopping online you run the risk of items not being suitable, they also offer a 14 day home approval guarantee.
On behalf of British expats across Europe, I heave a sigh of relief