things I love about home

Things I Love About Being Home

The morning after we got back from our trip, I woke up and thought I was in Vegas.

Er, I don’t mean the room was full of dancing girls and slot machines or anything like that (I mean, it’s a good room, but it’s not THAT good…), just that… you know that thing you sometimes get after a long journey (please tell me you know that thing, and that it’s not just me?), where you wake up in the morning, and for a few moments you’re not quite sure which of two worlds you’re currently inhabiting? I felt like that, and what was worse was that, when I’d worked out which world it was, it immediately felt like the WRONG one: I felt this huge wave of sadness hit me, and I haven’t quite managed to shake it off yet, try as I might.

I’m not going to talk about that, though. Because, well, it’s obnoxious, really,  isn’t it? So, rather than dwelling on the fact that I’m no longer in sunny California, here’s  quick list of the things I love about being back home…

things I love about being at home

01. People and pets

I think this goes without saying, but I couldn’t NOT say it, could I? We picked Rubin up as soon as we got home (He’d been staying with my in-laws, who did a great job of looking after him: their place basically IS Las Vegas, as far as Rubin is concerned…) and have spent the last couple of days catching up with family and friends. If it wasn’t for them, I’d never have come home…

02. My own bed

Our rental house was nice, but there’s really nothing like your own bed, is there? Or your own duvet, for that matter: the bed we slept in had sheets and blankets, which I always find SO uncomfortable – I basically had to fight my way out of the tangled sheets every morning, then spend the next 20 minutes carefully trying to drape them all over the bed again, knowing all the while that as soon as I got back in that night, they’d wind themselves around my legs again. I’ve no idea why sheets hate me so much, but give me a duvet any time. (Especially given that I’ve yet to meet an air-con system that didn’t make me feel like the kingdom has become trapped in perpetual winter…)

03. The Scottish Water

I’m referring here to the ACTUAL Scottish water, by the way, not Scottish Water the utility company. I have no feelings either way about Scottish Water the company, and I would’t have any particular feelings about the actual water either, if it wasn’t for my hair. Yes, you heard me: my HAIR. My hair hates all water except the stuff it’s used to, you see. I’m not sure if everyone’s hair is like this, but anytime I travel – even if it’s just across the border to England – my hair will register its displeasure by turning into a limp, frizzy mess, and refusing to behave, no matter what. That’s why I’m wearing my trademark messy bun in most of my holiday photos: any-time you see me with my hair like that, you can guarantee that either:

a) I couldn’t be bothered washing my hair that day.


b) I DID wash my hair that day, but it looked like ass.

Anyway, as I said, I don’t think Scottish water has magical properties or anything like that (It totally does, though.), but it’s the only stuff my hair likes, and if Amber’s hair ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Just ask Terry.

 04. Not having to wear sunscreen every day

At home I DO wear sunscreen on my face most days, but it’s rare that I have to wear it on my body, too: mostly because it’s rare for me to see even a glimmer of sunshine here. On holiday in a place like California, though, I can’t set foot outside without first of all applying half a bottle of suncreen to every inch of exposed skin, and man, does that get old after a while. I mean, even the good sunscreen is a bit of a pain when you have to wear it constantly: I lost at least a couple of tops to the dreaded Sunscreen Stain (No matter how careful I am, I ALWAYS end up getting sunscreen on my clothes, and let me tell you, that stuff NEVER comes out. Trust me on this. No, seriously, whatever it is you’re about to suggest, I’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked. For this reason, I normally buy a handful of cheap tops from either Primark or H&M if I’m travelling somewhere hot, knowing I won’t be bringing them back again…), and the combination of long hair and sunscreen-sticky shoulders is another reason the messy bun had to be deployed so often. I love the sun, and absolutely detest the cold, but I DO enjoy feeling clean again, and not worrying that I’m going to stick to every surface I happen to come into contact with!

05. Being organised

So, you all probably know by now that I’m all about the organisation, and get almost as excited by a set of IKEA storage boxes as I do about a new dress. Can’t quite believe I just admitted that on the internet. GOD. Anyway, as much I enjoy a bit of organisation, I never seem to pull it off while I travel, so I spend the entire time in a state of chaos (and not even ORGANISED chaos, either: ACTUAL chaos), permanently panicking over when I last saw my passport, and where that lipstick is now, because I was SURE I put it in my makeup bag, but I just spent twenty minutes emptying my makeup bag onto the floor, and wait, is that a chicken in my bathroom? My perfectly-organised dressing table has never felt so good…

06. My closet

I could never live out of a suitcase. You know those people who travel around the world with just a backpack? Those people AMAZE me. Because, even although my method of packing involves basically just empting my closet INTO my suitcase, I still always end up feeling like I’ve got it all wrong, and I have absolutely NOTHING suitable to wear. Like, when I was in the Topshop at The Grove, for instance, I had to restrain myself from re-buying this skirt, because yes, sure, I already own it, but did I bring it with me? No, I did not. And OMG, why didn’t I bring that skirt? How can I live without it? THAT’S the kind of “crazy” we’re dealing with here, folks, and that’s why I’m very happy to be re-united with my closet. What me and my debit card have put together, let no man put asunder…

(I didn’t re-buy the skirt, by the way. I wanted to, though, which is almost as bad.)

07. Home is the place without ‘last-time-evers’

Oh, those ‘last time evers’! They’re the thing I hate most about vacation: the way I spend the last couple of days walking around saying “goodbye” to everything. “This is the last time I’ll ever sit on this chair,” I’ll think. The last time I’ll ever walk through this door/swim in that pool/eat in this restaurant. I’m a sentimental fool, it’s true, but I like the fact that home is the place without ‘last time evers’: the place it’s safe to love, because you know you won’t have to leave it anytime soon: or, if you do, at least you know you’ll always come back.

There’s a lot to be said for that.

  • This is such a good idea! I have been suffering the holiday blues this week, but focussing on all of the reasons you’re glad to be back is such a nice way to stay cheery 🙂

    Sophie Cliff

    September 29, 2015
  • I feel the same way. People, MY bed, no sunscreen everyday everywhere and all my clothes are always a good welcome back home!

    September 29, 2015
  • I know exactly the feeling you are talking about, when you wake up caught between two worlds. It is so disappointing when you realize where you are and that the vacation is over.

    I have to say that duvets baffle me. What do you do if you are too hot or too cold? There is only one layer. With sheets and blankets you can throw off a layer or pull a layer back over you. Am I missing something here? I like the way duvets look and I appreciate how you can change the appearance of your bedding simply by purchasing a new cover but I just can’t make them work for me. I am almost embarrassed to admit I just spent a few minutes googling bedding habits in other countries. So sheets and blankets are viewed as old-fashioned in the U.K.?

    I’ll stop now. I just find the differences between countries/regions/personalities fascinating.

    September 29, 2015
  • Great post! And I can totally relate to the post vacation blues…

    But your list about things you love about home is great! I live in California, and the daily sunscreen is a pain (and kids who complain EVERY time you put it on, which is several times each day…). Also, that skirt is amazing; I can’t blame you for wanting to buy it again because you didn’t have it with you! 🙂

    September 29, 2015
  • I thought it was just me with the water thing! I went to merely the next county along at the weekend and my hair had a complete hissy fit. I tried to do a simple ponytail yesterday and it looked so bad I embarked on a sulk that was still going strong well past lunchtime. I ended up wearing a beret the entire holiday, which is essentially my own answer to the messy bun. The sad thing was the weather was actually nice here and I didn’t want to wear a beret! Stupid water and stupid hair! Some things about home you just can’t replace…

    September 29, 2015
  • Myra


    I completely relate to the sheet thing – whenever we are in an hotel (anywhere in the world) the first thing I do before getting into the bed is to pull all the sheets and blankets out from their tightly packed mattress so I won’t feel trapped in a straight jacket. They do still tangle round my legs but it’s better than imprisonment.

    September 29, 2015
  • Scottish water IS magic. You should see my holiday photos from Copenhagen – I look like I hadn’t washed my hair in a month.

    September 29, 2015
  • When I moved to the states I actually shipped my duvet over in our container.

    September 29, 2015
  • Sasha


    I bet Scottish water is ‘soft’ water! Most places have ‘hard’ water, which wreaks havoc on hair and skin. London has particularly heinous water which makes my hair tangly and tacky and generally blah. As soon as I go to the few parts of the country with soft water, my hair instantly behaves and the change in texture is like magic!

    September 29, 2015
  • I thought it was just me that did the “last time evers” when I go on holiday! I kind of have this love hate thing with travelling, I could never do that whole backpacking thing – I don’t know how people do it. For me its my skin that suffers when I go to a new country, it’s always like puberty all over again. Usually when I go overseas I start a count down until I can sleep in my own bed again and hug the cats – and I feel so guilty too because I’m usually having a great time…

    September 30, 2015
  • Kaitlin


    I’m a pale redhead of Scottish/Irish descent (started following your blog a few years ago in search of the Perfect Pale Foundation), and as someone who moved to San Diego a year ago…

    Everything you say is absolutely true. The water is awful — I have to do a vinegar soak every few weeks with my tea kettle to remove calcium deposits — and the daily sunscreen is a bit of a chore. If you ever make it back to the States, I swear by SunBum sunscreen. Lovely vanilla scent and I haven’t had a problem with staining in spite of my sleepy, sloppy morning applications before work.

    September 30, 2015
  • This post could have been written by me… I’m EXACTLY the same! I LOVE my own bed, I ALWAYS miss my pets terribly (I feel guilty about leaving them in the first place), I dislike washing my hair in England because the water is so soft, it’s almost impossible to rinse off the suds! And we always say, ‘this is the last time we’ll….’ just before we head home.
    Fabulous post, Amber! Really fun. Oh and welcome home 😉
    Suzy x

    September 30, 2015
  • I think everyone feels a little blue when they come home from holiday. I actually wrote a post about in August when I came home from 2 weeks on the south of France. There are some tips there on how to make yourself feel better! –

    Oh and as a Scottish redhead I totally know what you mean about the water 😉

    October 1, 2015
  • Yes on the hair thing! I spent one holiday (majorca, menorca or lanzarote, I forget which) with a tangled mess of hair that was just stuck together. I think it was the pool water that did it but it was such a pain. No amount of conditioner worked to untangle it either, I think I just had to wear it tied back all holiday and deal with it once we got home.

    October 14, 2015