A baby on the way, saying goodbye to Greece and new challenges

A baby on the way, saying goodbye to Greece and new challenges

Oh my goodness have I got a shock for you all. Yep, you guessed it. As the title of this blog suggests, our family is soon to become three, we’ve waved goodbye to Greece and moved back to the UK.

Hang on. What? Wait a minute. I know what you’re thinking…Weren’t they happily settled in Greece living a dream lifestyle that so many people envied? Weren’t they eating spinach and cheese pies for breakfast in the sunshine with a smug smile? We were indeed, but we’ve spun life on it’s head and made some huge decisions. Keep reading for pregnancy news, our departure from Greece, new challenges and how supermarket ‘Greek style’ feta cheese is a crime against humanity.

Why we’ve left Greece…

I know it’s a lot for you to take in, but back at the beginning of November 2020 we left Greece, packed up our car and drove back to the UK across Europe. There are multiple reasons for our decision, so I’ll try and cover them all:

  • Firstly, like everyone else in the world, the last year has been tough. We’ve felt really isolated away from our friends and family and the thought that we couldn’t get home in an emergency was horrible. Usually we’d have welcomed streams of friends and family to come and stay with us throughout the summer, but this year has been very lonely.
  • On top of feeling lonely, there’s been the financial pressure too. We managed to make ends meet but only by making a sacrifice and spending time apart whilst Mr SN travelled back to the UK for work. With no eligibility for the furlough scheme in Greece and England, it was a real stress to make enough money to survive, plus being apart didn’t suit us at all. We’re best friends and hate to be separated.
  • Although we did really well and made enough money to see us through, we could foresee the 2021 tourist season being a disaster too, so our financial struggle wasn’t over.
  • We could foresee the virus and the consequences of it lasting for a lot longer than people were anticipating. In our opinion, jobs, travel, tourism etc aren’t going to bounce back overnight. This left us with a lot of uncertainty.
  • Finding out I was pregnant changed our whole world upside down and we (I in particular) wanted family and friends more than ever. I worried that without the support of loved ones, I could become depressed. Similarly, I didn’t like the thought of our child missing out on the close relationships with our families. My sister is pregnant too, so our children wouldn’t have seen each other very regularly.
  • We’ve always talked about creating a community of like minded people, which is much more difficult to bring to fruition with a language barrier in the way. We were/are still craving the feeling of being part of something with meaning, whatever form that may come in, e.g a community swap shop, a tree planting program, a commune, running workshops etc. Also, we knew that by living in an isolated location in a foreign country, we were unlikely to be able to fulfil that need.
  • We dreamed of creating our Cretan lifestyle in England.

What Greece has taught us…

In so many respects we found what we were looking for in Greece. We now know that a simple life really does make us happy, as we suspected it would. The only thing missing were the people we love. Without realising it, Greece was in many ways an experiment, a dress rehearsal, to see if our dreams and ideas could work. We needed to practice what we preached and by moving to Greece it was attainable and achievable.

Now, armed with heaps of knowledge (made through copious mistakes!) we’re able to apply these principles to our next venture. We don’t regret a single thing; living in Greece for two years was one of the best experiences of our lives. Some people will think we’ve failed, but we view it as the next chapter. We’re not the sort of people to sit still, and in reality our life in Greece was never going to last a lifetime – there are too many other adventures to conquer, plus change is necessary for growth. Mr SN and I need constant challenges and a changing horizon.

“Living in Greece for two years was one of the best experiences of our lives.”

Greece has taught us how little we value material possessions and perfectionism and how much family means to us. Living in Greece has given us a confidence that can’t be erased. Having returned to the UK, we’ve noticed how scared people seem of the smallest things. The Greeks couldn’t care less what they say or do, they are genuine, they shout and live with passion. I think everyone should do two years in a rural Cretan village, it changes your mindset for the better and makes you more carefree. Let’s shun socially accepted practices…what’s so wrong with drinking raki from plastic cups at 10am as we peruse the village shop? Why can’t children drive pick-up trucks…Okay, I guess I can see the reasoning for that one, but I’m totally okay with the raki.

Living in Greece wasn’t just about: Geraniums, olive groves and goats. It was about the people, learning to live in the moment, enjoying the simple things, the strength of family and community, traditions, pride, passion…and lets face it, the weather and food are blooming amazing. It’s a beautiful disarray of haphazardness…we will always love it.

Life will never be the same for us, Crete changed us for the better. I now put tahini on my toast and look at garden snails in a different light. Silly rules are for breaking, a bit of corruption is fair play, parking cars in the middle of the road is a great idea and minimum wage in the UK seems like a fortune.

Our journey back from Greece…

Within two weeks of making our decision, we were leaving Crete. We could foresee the borders shutting if we didn’t act swiftly, and there were lots of loose ends to tie up, most notably finding a home for our dear, beloved chickens. Thankfully our wonderful neighbours took them on and they continue to live a heavenly life in the Cretan countryside.

We packed up our car, obtained passports for the cats and dogs, paid outstanding bills, put winter tyres on the car, and got stuck behind a flock of sheep. As the sun began to set we wandered around Villa Theodora reminiscing about our wonderful Cretan adventure, before locking the door and heading for Heraklion to catch the ferry to Athens.

Sometimes you have to make a drastic move if you want things to happen. Half hearted ideas aren’t going to get you anywhere. You need to kickstart the process, and then a chain reaction of events will lead to new opportunities. Waiting for something to fall in your lap won’t happen, you need to chase it down.

Settling back into the UK…

First things first, you will not find anything about my thoughts and feelings on the virus here. If I’m tired of it all then you must be too, and I suspect that you read this blog to escape.

Settling back into the swing of the UK has been strange, not just for us, but for the animals too. Dora-dog thought that walking with pedigree-types around the park were behind her, Ivy the puppy saw grass for the first time, and the cats, Nancy and Ruby, are bemused by the lack of olive trees to climb.

We’re living in my parents annexe and my sister, her friend and my parents live in the main house. It’s busy and chaotic…sort of like the Waltons, minus the porch and swing seat. The little things notice the most, like the fact that the mail arrives at the house, rather than the customary visit to the local kafenion to collect it, and it’s peculiar to flush paper down the toilet. People queue without even talking to each other and pay a fortune to park the car. We’ve still got Greek license plates on our car, so we’re taking full advantage and parking Greek style, where we see fit…£1.20 to park in town? you’ve got to be kidding…none of the shops are open…send the parking ticket to Crete.

Me and my sisters…and Ivy the puppy!

We’re on a mission to find our simple lifestyle here in South East England. It’s the place we ran from because we couldn’t find what we wanted, but we’re back with determination, ready for the challenge.

Baby Sidestepper is on the way…

Right, enough of the melancholy, let’s get down to the exciting stuff, I’m very excited to tell you all that I’m 5 1/2 months pregnant with Baby SN. He or she is due in mid June and we can’t wait to become parents. I’ve been very reluctant to tell you until now, as it seemed like I was tempting fate, but having just had my 20 week scan, everything is looking healthy and normal, and for the first time in my life, normal is exactly what I’m looking for.

Trying to capture a family photo is hard work when most of them have four legs!

It’s incomprehensible that it won’t just be Mr SN, the animals and I for much longer, but as the weeks pass and I feel it moving and kicking inside me, it’s becoming more real. In a lot of respects, it’s given us even more determination to create an idyllic lifestyle, not just for us, but for baby SN too.

What does the future hold?

We’d like to invite you to the next chapter of our lives. This is not the end of our adventure, this is the beginning of the next phase. From this point we’ll be searching for our Greek lifestyle in the UK, along with the impending arrival of a little baby. We’d love you to stick around and help us out, we need your support and opinion. I know that some of you read this blog purely for an injection of Greece, and I understand that I can’t satisfy that anymore, but I can assure you that we will never settle for ‘normal’ and this blog will continue to be a quest for a simple life

Our dream is to live alternatively in the UK. We want land, animals, sustainable living, community, a work life balance and plenty of homemade cake. I want goats and sheep, Mr SN wants to keep bees and make honey, I want to make my own feta cheese…’cause the stuff in the supermarket here is disgusting. It’s a crime to call that stuff feta when you’ve had the real thing. Real feta is creamy and moist, not dry and overly salty. Sorry, rant over.

I know, I know, I’m a dreamer, this isn’t possible, we should grow up, get a mortgage and worry about putting the dustbin out on the right day. But that’s not us, we won’t give in, I refuse to conform. I want my child to know what living in Greece is all about.

Conclusion…

I’ve been so worried and scared about informing you of our changes. I’ve envisaged you tutting, rolling your eyes and never looking at this blog again, but then I remember how lovely you all are. You’ve supported us and encouraged us with everything we’ve done so far. The easy option for me would have been to abandon this blog altogether and leave you wondering what happened to us, but I couldn’t do that. I feel excited for everything to come and I hope that you can continue this journey with us.

We’re at the end and the beginning, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot along the way. Most notably that: a) You should always make your dreams a reality, b) You can’t live for other people’s expectations, and c) travelling across Europe with two cats, a dog, a car sick puppy and a little baby in your tummy is easy…as long as you have a Mr SN by your side.

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100 thoughts on “A baby on the way, saying goodbye to Greece and new challenges

  1. Congratulations to you both with the baby on the way news.

    Welcome back to England, but I hope that Greece will still play a part in your lives and I look forward to hearing how you are getting on in the next phase of you adventures. Decisions are often not clear cut and I’m sure you will miss many things and you will have a valuable new perspective on life.

    1. Thank you, Greece will definitely always play a major part in our lives, it’s shaped who we are in many ways. We have so many ideas and dreams for the next phase 😁

      1. Ihr beide seid so ein bewundernswertes Paar!
        Wir sind Berliner (Deutsche), die in Kalyves ein Farmhaus mit Olivenhain haben und leben hier und dort halb und halb.
        Wir wollten euch gerne auf Kreta kennenlernen, weil wir aus denselben Gründen Griechenland lieben: simple life 🇬🇷 und auch mehr über euer Zusammenleben mit den Kretern zu erfahren. Habt ihr das Haus noch?
        Ich wünsche euch viel Glück weiterhin und Freude und Liebe mit eurem Kind 🍀
        Herzlichste Grüße von Sabine
        P.S. Ihr werdet Wiederkommen 😉

        1. Dankeschön! Es hört sich so an, als wären Sie uns sehr ähnlich. Wir werden in Zukunft in den Ferien nach Kreta zurückkehren. Alles Gute 😊

  2. Hi there

    Great to read your latest news! Congratulations! Can quite understand the move. What I want to know is what has happened to your home and the place you were renovating? I would love to have seen that.

    1. Hiya, We’re looking at selling our house Villa Theodora, and possibly selling Walnut Cottage too, although we aren’t certain on that one. Part of us wants to keep a bolt hole, and the other part of us is hungry for new adventures in different parts of Greece.

      1. Wow!Congratulations on your upcoming birth,and thankyou for the update.You both came into my mind today,and I remember you being featured on the tv show too,which I loved.At the end of the day,happiness and health is more important than anything else.There are several groups on FB I belong to for alternative living/opportunities so maybe you could look at those.If you do sell your property in Crete,please let me know.We are looking for a place in Crete to spend our remaining summers in.Thankyou for your honesty and good luck for the future.

        1. Thank you! We’ve already had a lot of interest in Villa Theodora – if we decide to sell Walnut Cottage then I’ll post it on the blog so that everyone can see it.

    1. Hello 🙂
      We’re selling Villa Theodora, and possibly Walnut cottage too, although we’re still deciding that one. Part of us loves the thought of having a base, but the other part of us loves to explore and have new adventures. I could definitely see us with a motorhome!

  3. Wow! That was a blog Full of surprises! I have eagerly awaited your blog posts since watching you on a TV programme & was wondering where you guys had got to!

    Congratulations on your wonderful baby news! Something bright in the world we are currently living in.

    I am sure that whatever you decide to do will be an amazing adventure! I can’t wait to read the blogs going forward.

    1. Haha! Lots of bombshells all at once! Thank you so much, We’re very excited for the next chapter. We have plenty of ideas and dreams for the near future, so I think everyone will still enjoy our unusual life!

  4. Wishing you luck in SE England ! I’m sure you’ll achieve what you’ve put your mind to ! It’s been nice following your Cretan adventure, l’m sure your English adventure will be just as marvellous !
    It’s a bit bloody cold at the moment (here in France, too), but that just means one thing for me : Spring is just around the corner !
    Take care !
    Tony in France (and in Greece when we manage to get there).
    Ps : what a lucky child having people like you as parents !
    Pps : have you kept the house in Crete ?

    1. Thank you! I think the English adventure will be just as exciting, we have lots of ideas swirling around our heads at the moment. It’s definitely chilly, we’ve just come in from walking the dogs over the fields and now we’re warming up with a hot beverage!

      Awww thank you, our child definitely won’t be sat in front of the tv eating junk food 😂

      We’re going to be selling Villa Theodora and possibly Walnut cottage too…we’re undecided if we want to be tied to one part of Greece, or have more freedom to travel the whole country and islands. We’d love a motorhome!

  5. Congratulations to you both. The pandemic has caused havoc worldwide and you are doing the right thing moving to the next chapter, with family in support and close by.

    Really looking forward to reading about you guys sidestepping normal in the UK. Good luck to you both.

    Keep the blogs coming. Are you keeping your two properties in Greece for holidays in the future, when everything settles down? I bet your Greek friends and neighbours were sorry to see you go.

    Stay safe.

    1. Hiya, I’m so glad that people will continue to read about what we’re up to, I love writing this blog so much. We’re going to sell Villa Theodora and possibly Walnut Cottage too…still not sure yet. Whatever happens, Greece will always play a huge part in our lives.

  6. Hi both
    Was wondering what happened to you as hadn’t heard anything for a few months.
    We met you at Gatwick last year sometime you were flying back to Crete.
    Really envied you’re lifestyle as I’m sure a lot of people did.
    We’re still dreaming of going back due to lockdown. Hoping to spend next winter there.
    We’ve got a house in Sitia so can’t wait to go back. Congratulations on the baby you’ve probably done the right thing but it must be devastating leaving that lovely lifestyle and you’re home there. Expect you will go back for holidays in the future.

    1. Hiya, oh yes I remember meeting you! At the moment it’s still such a novelty to have our friends and family around, so I haven’t been missing our life too much yet. I’m sure there will be times when we yearn for it, but we’ll always go there for holidays, so we’ll get our fix. All the best.

  7. How wonderful and congratulations! Your blog resonates not because of the place you’re in but because your beautifully chosen words transport us to universal ideas and themes. Keep writing, keep connecting, keep blogging. All the very best. Maria x

    1. Thank you so much, I really hope I can continue to provide enjoyment and escapism in the form of my writing – it gives me so much pleasure 😊

  8. hello
    what an adventure so far and more adventures to come…..very brave decision to come back to the UK but completely understand….hope you can return to your lovely little greek home some day…all the best …jen xxx

    1. Hiya! Yes, plenty of adventures to come. Life is like chapters in a book, we’re at the beginning of one at the moment. All the best.

  9. So pleased you are continuing with your blog, have so missed hearing from you althoughDes and Barb keep us informed of what you are up to. So pleased with the baby news, I have asked Ellie to hold on to things for you as her two are growing so fast, in a way it would be good to know if it’s a g or b, I don’t think a little boy would look good in pink, ha ha, stay safe and give us a call when you can, sending all our love from great-uncle Fred and great Aunt me, x x x

    1. Hiya! It’s taken me a while to feel confident to write again, but I’m really excited keep it going. You know us, there won’t be a dull moment! Mr SN was tempted to find out what we’re having, but I was desperate for a surprise, so we didn’t find out! Speak soon. xxx

  10. Congratulations on your impending addition. I sympathise with the difficulties you must have faced during these horrible, scary times, it really makes you value the importance of family being close by. My son lives in Bristol, I am In South Wales and it seems like forever since we were together. We only have the Bristol Channel between us, it must have been dreadful being as far apart as you were. You can still chase your dreams in the UK, West Wales is a wonderful area to explore for an alternative lifestyle. The pace of life is sublime, I switch off every time we visit the area. Take care and look after your “bump”

    1. Thank you, Wales looks idyllic, it truly does. I hope that we can prove that finding this lifestyle is possible close to home. There are plenty of challenges ahead, but we’re ready!

  11. Good on you both…youv’e done it…. instead of just wondering should we or shouldn’t we follow a dream, as most of us do. Congratulations on the news of your baby. And success in whatever you do next is bound to be on the horizan in your new venture.

    1. Thank you! We’re so glad we moved to Greece and didn’t listen to people telling us that we’re foolish. I Know that people will probably wonder why on earth we would give up and come back to the UK, but I have a feeling that Greece was just the beginning for us, not the end. All the best 😃

  12. I will definitely continue to read on. In fact a sustainable life in the UK is probably more attainable than the dream of living in Greece and it’s reassuring to know that things don’t always go to plan. Best of luck and congratulations!

    1. Aww thanks so much, I’m really hoping that achieving something closer to home will appeal and inspire to lots of people. Greece was idyllic, but unrealistic for most people. Creating a simple life in the UK will be much more difficult, but we’re relishing the challenge!

  13. Hi…I’ve been following your blog since I saw you on the channel 4 show …a new life in Greece…its such a shame but I could understand the decision…especially with the current covid situation…it looked lovely out there where you were living…I’ve been create several times..and I live it…id like to think one day me and my partner could own something over there as a retirement home…

    What will you be doing with your properties…Will you be selling them on or letting them out..?

    1. Hello, I wish you all the best with your dream of owning something out there, it really is wonderful. We’re going to sell one, if not both of our properties, but we will always return to Greece to get a fix of the culture…and the sunshine!

  14. You’ve made a huge decision that could not have been easy. What happened to your place you were building? Was it sold? Congratulations on new baby arriving. He or she will be a fellow Gemini. You’re going to have fun.

    1. Hiya! We haven’t sold either of our properties yet, but we’re going to be selling one, if not both of them soon 😊

  15. There is no failure in admitting defeat. You have done so much more than many other dreamers. I wish you well in whatever direction life takes you.

    1. Thank you, rather than defeat, we just see it as the beginning of the next adventure. I think that Greece was just the beginning of many challenges and adventures to come. Once you’ve made your dream a reality, you have to decide if you want to stop dreaming, or move on to the next dream 😊

  16. Good luck to you both.
    We are in the process of buying a ruin in Fres and looking to move to Crete permanently for all of the same reasons as you. i tink with one exception which is not going to go away.

    Our society in the UK has degenerated so much that it is our main reason for leaving the UK.

    The crime, the sheer lack of respect for others, the lack of empathy and peoples self promotion and self importance.

    The absolute greed of the majority and the pace of life which is becoming unsustainable.

    I used to wake up early each morning between 5 and 6 and there were very few cars on the road. Now at 5 am the A27 to and from Brighton is really busy and that’s with lockdown.

    I am so looking forward to our life in Crete. We are older and will not have any financial strains so it will be different to your experience and no chance of a new addition unless we buy a pigmy goat or three! 🙂

    1. Hiya, I can understand your feelings completely, we ran away for the same reasons. I see what you mean, and Crete is a complete contrast in so many respects. I feel that there are so many people that feel the same way, and since returning home we’ve already begun tapping into local community projects, supporting small businesses, finding like minded people etc. I think you have to delve under the surface of the UK to find what is just everyday life in Crete. All the best with your plans, you should definitely get a few goats!

  17. Hello, I’m so sorry, I love Crete, I return to Panorm regularly, I was looking forward to meeting there … what did you do with your house? I keep my fingers crossed that you will succeed in your dreams in the UK.

    1. Hiya, We’re going to be selling one, if not both of our houses. We love the thought of having a base in Crete, but the other part of us is hungry to explore different areas of Greece. Thank you, we always get there in the end:)

  18. Congratulations to you both. I’m a vet nurse in Northamptonshire and we also have a house in Viran Episkopi. We have the best of both worlds xx

    1. Mr SN is a veterinary nurse too (although his certificates ran out years ago, so he tends to do reception and admin more than nursing nowadays) We just worked out that he’s been in the veterinary world for 21 years as he started when he was 14 as work experience!

      The best of both worlds sounds like a great balance 😃

  19. Wonderful news! Congratulations to you both. I shall continue to follow your progress because if you’re able to trailblaze finding a Cretan lifestyle here in 🇬🇧 similar to the way you lived in Crete then, I for one will gladly continue to take inspiration from your happy blog! Wishing you all the best – and please publish your best feta recipe!

    1. Thank you for your support! There’s definitely no way we’re conforming and giving in!
      Just the thought of feta is making me hungry!

  20. Do you watch the latest Ben Fogle series on Channel 5…all people with ideas like yours living the alternative life. I am sure Ben Fogle would love to hear about you! Looking forward to your next blog post!

    1. We absolutely adore the Ben Fogle series, it’s our favourite programme – we watch it avidly! When it gets to the end of a series we feel so sad! It always gives me hope that there are other people out there that feel the same as we do.

  21. Welcome back !! I totally understand I returned to the uk from Tenerife, pregnant with a 3 year old in 2005 for similar reasons ( family & friends ,lack of work( no pandemic obviously)and never looked back we have an acre of land , a cottage , dog, chickens , veg patch and are part of a fab rural community in Norfolk we brought a lot of Spanish life with us which we’ll never lose the hardest part was selling our property there ( it took 7 years !!)

    1. Oh thank you, I love your comment so much…this gives me hope that we really can achieve it here. I know it’s possible if you want it enough. I’m so happy that you found what you were looking for 😊

  22. Congratulations and best wishes to both of you. I will miss hearing about your experiences in Crete – but I hope to hear about how you fare pursuing how you want to live in the UK.
    Keep safe and well,
    Lynne

  23. What wonderful news!! Congratulations to you both!!
    Be lovely to watch you both creating that Greek style of living back here in the uk xx

    1. Thank you! We’re very excited for everything to come. Creating Greece in the UK is going to be really fun – You might see us herding a flock of sheep down Hurstpierpoint high street soon! 😂

      Hope to bump into you and Barney soon 🙂

  24. Hello,
    I admit that I will miss reading about your adventures in Crete, seeing the pictures, but …
    as you wrote, it’s the beginning of a new chapter. What a wonderful thing to be able to make a reality of your dreams. The best of luck and looking forward to continue reading about this new chapter.

    1. Hiya! Thank you! It was a difficult decision, but we’ve discovered that once you’ve fulfilled your dream, you have to decide if you want to stop dreaming, or move onto the next one 😁

      Thanks for your support, the blog will still be filled with adventures…just with less sunshine!

  25. `Congratulation on the forthcoming baby and best wishes on the next step of your adventure. Hope you find a way to be in the UK that is in harmony with your values and gives you the lifestyle you are looking for.

    Look forward to reading future adventures on your blog.

    1. Thank you! It’s going to be an uphill struggle, but I’m sure it will be even sweeter when we get there 🙂

  26. Hi to you both sorry we didnt meet up gain last year when we were in Crete…if I could buy back the house I would but finances do not allow and now at our age I feel we wld go nearer the coast and amenities. I’m glad you enjoyed yr time there ..never give up on yr dreams life moves on …. and congratulations on bump. It was an experience I will never forget hvg built both houses on the plot of land I chose myself and managing to live there for 6 years. I understand your struggles well. We hv discussed returning some time in the future but will probably rent in the long term so we can move around the island. Meanwhile enjoy your new life back in the UK and hopefully we will meet again in the future…take care and stay safe xx

  27. I would like to wish you both the best, i so admired you both for what you achieved in Greece.
    Take care and all the best for the future

  28. I congratulate you for having had the courage to climb out of the box to experience life in a far less authoritarian place than that which England has become. It saddens me that you are now obliged to abandon your dream. I too am a returnee who enjoyed living in Greece for ten times longer than yourselves. I miss, daily, the freedom of jumping on my mechanaki, barefooted and headed, to putter into the village for daily supplies. I miss the banter over shots of ouzo at the store, the breakfasts of souvlaki and beer at anytime of the day or night. The festivals; the worship of being; the freedom to live in a way many might believe to be dangerous. I yet have my home there but have not visited for a year now, nor do I expect so to do anytime soon. I fully understand your reasons for returning but can but wonder, had not covid predicated its extreme authoritarian controls, whether you may have chosen otherwise.

    1. I think that really the virus just forced what was already coming. We could have stayed longer if we’d wanted to, we weren’t really forced back as such, it was our choice. As much as we love that way of life, our friends and family mean more to us than anything else.

  29. I watched you on C5, recognised the backdrop of Panormo and made contact. You both helped us so much with our holiday home there and on our next visits we met (you’re as lovely as you came across on TV).
    We sincerely hope that you are able to hold on to Walnut Cottage so that you and your family can have the best of both worlds too but if that’s not possible then we know a lovely little place for a holiday let!
    Andrew and I wish you both a wonderful new chapter here in Blighty.
    Steph, you were born to write so you keep going and we, along with many others, will continue reading 🙂

    1. Awww thanks Emma, it was a pleasure to meet you both and help out 😃 Thanks for reading, I’ll continue to write:)

  30. Hi there,

    A hard decision to make, but totally understandable in the circumstances, globally and personally. Things change in life, sometimes when you least expect them to and you need to just go with the flow. The old saying “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” is very apt. What a great time you both had in glorious Crete and who knows? you will surely have many more adventures to come, both here and abroad. Many congratulations on the impending birth of Baby SN. Stay safe all of you.

    1. So well put, life has a way of suddenly changing and steering you in a new direction. We don’t like to get too comfortable for too long – it’s easy to become stagnant.

  31. Another well constructed and interesting blog, Glad you’ve set everyone’s mind at rest (at last) there have been lots of worried people out there. So many responses – have not read them all yet -hope they were all positive. Looking forward to hearing more SOON..

    1. Thanks Pat, you’ve always been so kind to us. It’s good to be back on here again, I’ve missed you all 😄

  32. Congratulations to you both!
    I’ll miss your updates from Crete and reading about places we also know and love but we will return as soon as we can. In the meantime I am looking forward to following you on your next exciting chapter. Thanks for taking the time to write.

    1. Thank you, I’m excited too. I always get a bubble of excitement when things change and there’s a bit of unknown! Now I have bubbles of excitement mixed with baby kicks 😂

  33. So pleased that you have brought the dog and cats home to the UK with you, Congratulations on the baby news and please keep on with your blog , I would definitely keep walnut cottage for you and your kids to spend happy times there in the future seeing as you put so much blood sweat and tears into renovating it . Look forward to your next blog and take care .. P.S. our Corfu holiday has been canceled for this year ,, oh well there is always next year xxxxx Dave J Whitlock..

    1. Thank you, you may be right about Walnut Cottage, I suspect we’d find it hard to say goodbye to that one.

  34. First of all Congratulations on the Baby news, wishing you both all the very best!

    Secondly it is so good to have you back! Your writing and your photography has always made your blog such a happy read. Just so pleased that you are all safe well and together. You two seem to be seriously made for each other, you obviously have a good supportive family and friends, and those things above all else, will see you through whatever life you decide to go for next.

    You’ve been brave, you went for your dream, you worked hard, you did what most people would love to do, but never get round to it. Be proud, stay adventurous, keep dreaming and here’s wishing you a long healthy lifestyle wherever you want to be.

    I will certainly keep reading!

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments and support😊 We feel like we’re made for each other – there’s no-one else I’d rather share my life with than Mr SN:)

  35. Congratulations on the impending arrival. I hope you manage to fulfill your dreams though I’d be a bit hesitant about SE England, the most crowded and expensive part of a crowded and expensive island. As a previous reply said, maybe West Wales or North Scotland?

    1. Thank you! We’ve already had a few interesting leads in the area, so although it’s not easy, we will keep searching 😊 There’s something very appealing about the wilderness of Wales and Scotland, but we’d still be far away from our friends and family, so we’ll keep searching here for the meantime.

  36. Firstly Congrats to you both Steph and Matt!!
    Secondly, I wondered where you had gone to??
    Well, what can I say, apart from good luck for the future, its a shame you have returned to UK, as my partner and myself are hopefully moving to Kokkino Chorio near Kalyves, in the next 3 months, or as soon as we can get vaccinated,to start a new Adventure in our retirement, we were hoping to meet you both too!!
    I will keep looking out for your blog and keep you and others informed about how things are going via your blog, if that ok with you of course!?!
    So for now, Stay safe, look after each other, and I hope things work out for you all!! Best, Toni + Sue

    1. All the best with your imminent move, I’m really excited for you both. Definitely keep us informed, we’d love to know how you’re getting on 😃

  37. Wow I just read you Blog! Big Congratulation from Sydney..
    I have enjoyed reading about you life in Crete, obviously wishing one day I could do the same?
    I can totally understand with the current times that you have chosen to go back to the UK.
    I’m an expat from Birmingham living in Sydney totally different country obviously but I am married to a wonderful Greek man, so most of the things you write about makes me laugh!
    Just like you and Mr SN we only eat imported Greek feta from Greece, Dodoni it the best! haha
    Stay Safe and take of yourself.. till your next blog 🙂

    1. Thank you! Wow Australia, I’d love to visit there one day. Your husband must feel at home with the Greek-like weather there. Agreed, only the best feta makes the cut!

  38. Congratulations! I love reading your blog and I love reading the latest installment!! It doesn’t matter where you are, your dreams can still come true and SE England is beautiful. Wishing you all the best for the next exciting chapter!

  39. Well, congratulations. I came across your blog at the end of 2020 and have enjoyed reading about your adventures.

    It seems to me that your present choice is the right one, your own family being especially important when having a baby. And as you suggest, this isn’t the end of your adventures – far from it – but very much a beginning of some new ones. As for work, housing etc, you’re both the kind of people who make things happen through dedication and hard work, so I’m sure that will come good, and there’s so much more to life than money. Life may be tough at times, but you’ve worked through that before and know that you’ll come through again.

    My very best wishes to the 3 of you for your future together.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, I really feel like you can understand our mind set and who we are. Whatever it takes, we’ll make it happen 😊

  40. My wife and I wish you all the best for the future. We have followed your exploits, ups and downs. We have lived here in Western Crete for 6 years, although like you we have missed family, the internet is a wonderful thing. The last time we were in the UK was in 2019 to see our new granddaughter, we have followed her progress ( she was born at 26 weeks) avidly with photos and video and face time its not the same. We retired here and enjoy all the aspects of Greek life, have acquired a dog ( Boxer) a puppy which ate poison, 4 cats of which two remain. We love it!

    1. Ah thank you, I’m glad you’ve found everything you want in your retirement. We can relate to your accumulation of animals completely! Crete is an amazing place 😍

  41. Congratulations both on the baby news. Always sad to leave things behind but always great adventures ahead. I have really enjoyed reading your blog, just an opportunity to get away from the constant virus news. Wishing you all the very best and do hope you continue writing, take care.

    1. Thank you, on to the next adventure! We promise there’ll be plenty more to come…the blog won’t just be about changing nappies and nap times from now on…although there may be a little bit of that 🤣

  42. Wishing you all the very best! Its great you’ve made the best decision for you & your human & furry family. I look forward to hearing more about your next adventures with baby SN by your sides. ☺️

  43. Ps i meant to say, we also live a simple life in Kent in the UK.. Like others here said.. Its definitely possible. ❤️

    1. Ooooh that’s not far from us! I’d love to know more about your setup. It keeps me going to hear about people that have achieved it here. If you have a sec, send me an email about your lifestyle. I’d love to know more.

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