We’ve been reminiscing as a team about our pre-Covid travels in Europe and our experiences in the UK. As I am originally from the UK, and have lived in Australia for just 5 years, there is still a lot that I miss about the little island. If you have been to the UK or are planning on going in the future, you will definitely experience these things, so here’s my top 5 things that I miss about the UK (in no particular order):

1. Marks and Spencers. This is not your average department store and you will find them all over the UK. M&S is a bit of a British institution. I lived close to the second largest M&S in the world actually worked there through uni. My staff discount was spent in seconds! I was more excited than I should have been recently to find a M&S in Singapore when I visited there (probably the closest you’ll find one this side of the pond) The best thing about M&S is the food! The pre-made sandwiches, snacks and dinners are fantastic and much higher quality than average packaged food. They are a bit more expensive but well worth it -enjoying a platter of pre-made sandwiches whilst watching the tennis on Henman Hill is a must-do! (sidenote: M&S is also great for undies)

2. Whist we’re on the topic of food (and I am starting to sound slightly food obsessed) -you’ll also discover the fabulous “meal deals” that are available in all the main supermarkets: Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and Asda. For just £3 you can get a sandwich, snack and a drink. Absolutely cheap as chips and perfect for lunch breaks at work. Coming back to Aus -you’ll find yourself discussing which was your favourite sandwich filling -prawn mayo? (which I can’t find anywhere in Australia) Egg & Cress? Ploughman’s? The choice is endless, as is the selection of “crisps” which will provoke another prime discussion.

3. Another thing that I miss about the UK is just shopping in general. Primark or “Primani” as it’s affectionately known sells good priced clothes with a great selection of fashions and again has become a bit of an institution. You don’t have to worry about packing too many clothes for your trip to the UK because a quick stop here will get you fixed up. On the “high streets” that you’ll stroll along you’ll find endless clothes stores with quirky items you won’t find anywhere else, making you the envy of your friends when you return.

4. Next on the list is: The Theatre. If I had to pick, I think this one might be top of the list. There was nothing more exciting when I was young than getting dressed up for a trip to the theatre to watch a musical. Currently, I have seen 15 plus shows and when I was recently back in the UK for Christmas, I made sure I managed to fit in watching at least 2 shows: “The Lion King” and “Thriller”. I may be biased but, in my opinion, the West End theatre is the best in the world.

5. Finally, one of the top things that I miss about the UK is that world-famous British sense of humour. I grew up in a town close to Reading -the birthplace of Ricky Gervais -and his dry wit is common amongst Brits. My college experience was very much like an episode of “The Inbetweeners”. Travel limitations due to Covid have made me a little homesick and recently I joined a “Brits in Brisbane” group to share some “banter” about the above commonalities over a cider!

The list could go on, but I’ll save it for next time. If you want to chat about anything to do with travelling to the UK, living and working over there, I’m always keen to have a chat, don’t hesitate to send me a message: Jackie.d@anzuk.education.