Holiday roadtrip to Estonia from UK and tips for travelling with dog

Our holiday road trip started this year just with me, S and Lonni. Rest of the family joined us later. It was hot and Lonni tried out every fountain we could find. I wasn’t really sure were people’s looks disapproving or admiring. Lots of people asking, how’s Lonni coping on 3 days trip/8-10 hours driving a day? To be honest, we quite often forget she’s in the car. She sleeps most of the way and just waking up bit confused, if I break to hard 🙂

She has to stay in the car on the crossing from England to France, which takes about an hour and half, but she seems not to be traumatised by that and as soon we get off the ferry, we try to find beach to let her run a round before heading of to Germany. This time the beach we chose, was full of hunters. We decided not to take risk to get shot and drove bit further from Calais, where we found the beach with no sea to see 🙂 Lonni managed to find the bit of muddy water. She was absolutely disgusting and smelly – ready for our stop in Antwerpen.

The first night we stayed near the area,  where the iron curtain used to be. We stopped for dinner in Duderstadt, beautiful German town. 

We stayed close-by at Herzberg in the lovely apartment .

It was newly decorated, very clean, with small kitchen and very spacious walk in shower.

Lovely place to stay with the dog, beautiful Harz countryside and some lovely walks too. Pity we didn’t have more time to look around. It’s off the route a bit, but we love taking the road trip as part of the holiday and often try to find places, which are more interesting than roadside chain motels.

Second day we drove in Poland. Lovely country, where is so much to discover. We stopped at Wroclaw – the charming university town with beautiful old square, river and lots to see. People are friendly and always happy to help you. It’s so much cheaper than in UK or in Estonia. Real gem worth visiting. There are lots of places to choose, when staying in Poland.  This time we stayed roadside motel, which was ok, but the lady who runs it was bit surprised and shake her head, when we showed up almost at midnight with Lonni. I think her son advertises the place as a dog friendly and not telling her 🙂 She told us not to let Lonni in the bed – like we can stop her while we are sleeping 🙂 Other than that it was ok. Lovely breakfast and off we went to our last stretch of the journey.

I usually start to feel home already in Germany, food is similar to Estonia. Poland even more so. Lithuania feels like “Hey, I’m home” – rye bread, potato salad, pork and so on.  Even there is still all day driving to do.

Our must stop in Lithuania is Marijampole. Because it’s on the right place, where we need break from the driving, they have lovely park with lots of fountains and streams we can cool down us and Lonni (but also where is good chance to lose all your phones – long story, happens only to my husband!) and there is handy cafe next to the park with the terrace, we can have our lunch and I can get all excited about ordering all familiar foods I have been missing.

Few tips for having road trip to Europe with your dog:

  1. Check that your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date. It has to be done 21 days before entering to UK (other countries in Europe don’t seem to care about it). The vaccine is valid for 3 years so no need to do it every year but also no harm  (at least didn’t see any side effects to our dog)
  2. Goes without saying, she needs to be microchipped, but it was only checked entering UK.
  3. You need the pet passport. Plan it advance as it varies how long it can take. In our case it took 2 weeks from applying. You can do it through your vet.
  4. Don’t expect your vet knows all rules about travelling with your pet – do your own research. The best resource for the current laws is
  5. Before entering UK, your dog need tapeworm treatment. It’s given as a pill and the vet has to sign the passport. It needs to be given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before returning UK. Find the vet in advance in the country you visiting and book your appointment. If you travelling in different countries do your calculations correctly and don’t miss the time frame for the treatment.
  6. In our route the only ferry, which doesn’t let pets out the car is between Dover and Calais. When leaving your dog in the car, leave the windows open. I used to leave something to chew for her but I don’t think she ever touched anything. It’s only 1.5 hours so most of them are absolutely fine with it. You can leave bowl with the water.
  7. If it’s you first time travelling with the pet give her lots of practice. Take a long drives, leave her in the car for some periods, not on the hot days of course! Lonni used to get car sick, when she was younger, but she grow out of it.
  8. Stop at least every 3 hours and give your dog at least 10 -20 minutes stretching , especially if it’s a big dog as there isn’t much room in the car.
  9. Take your own food for dog with you. At least for the duration of the travel. We don’t have much time to go supermarkets and we’d like to use all our stops for sightseeing . Also you dogs stomach might get upset with the new food and all the excitement.
  10. Have a poo bags with you! Lots of them! In every pocket and bag you have! You don’t want to be middle of nice town square next to the big pile of poo and nothing to clear it up.
  11. Have your dog bed with you for hotels and camping or where ever you staying. It will be something familiar for her in the new places you visiting. (even so Lonni prefers our beds 🙂  )
  12. Have a bowl for the water in the car and lots of bottles of water for you and for your dog. Offer her drink whenever you stop.
  13. If you feed your dog with anything like we do, it’s handy to have little plastic box with you, when you have breakfasts or meals in the hotels, so you can take bits of meats, eggs, fruit (yes, Lonni loves melons and banana) and other things for your dog. Also it comes handy if you only find big tins of food in the supermarket and want to use only half of it. If you only use dry food it’s won’t be necessary.



First world problems – series of the unlucky events.

If you think you haven’t done very well recently, maybe following will cheer you up and make you realise you life is not too bad after all.

Last week was pants in every sense.

Wednesday started with the car crash! Ok, not a crash, it was lucky accident. Another car drove into my car, but it was my fault as I came out from the side road. And it only happened, because I trusted someone else in the traffic. Just like my last crash 25 years ago! Lovely lady stopped her car to let me come out of the most dangerous turning I have to take daily bases past 10 years. I thanked her and started to move really slowly and there it was, another nice lady just drove into me! I have no idea how I missed it. It was horrible grey morning and her car didn’t have lights on. I don’t know why it’s not law in UK to have lights on 24 hours? It’s a law in lots of European countries I have driven and it’s not about you seeing better, it’s about other drivers noticing you early enough to react!

On the same afternoon, I was on a way to see Bill Bailey, which was birthday treat for my husband.
I got stuck most horrendous traffic jam. I love Google maps for navigation and for letting you know problems on the way, but this time it just really failed me. The access to motorway was closed and Google map didn’t think so. It tried to make me do U-turn and send me back to the road, which was closed! OMG! That was stressful! Its bit difficult to navigate and drive same time and the language I used to shout out on top of my voice can’t be written down here! I got to the show on time and so did my husband after travelling in and out of London few hours by train. At least show was brilliant!

Not to mention few issues at work so I had to stay late, which turned other plans upside down.

Our lovely Lonni have put bit of a weight on and we thought it’s a good idea is to go on the field and play Frisbee with her. She loves it. She holds her frisbee in her mouth and then runs between us, when we playing another frisbee. We had good fun with all family. Have I said I’m quite competitive – especially in sports? So when my husband throw the Frisbee and it came straight line towards me, I thought it’s the good idea to stop it with my face! Specifically my nose and eye! It’s bettter to sacrifice your face than drop the frisbee, isn’t it? I had sparks coming out of my eyes and blood from the nose! It was entertaining and painful, I laughed through the tears. I have lovely black eye now 🙂

Sunday we had lovely day out at Camden Market. This was K birthday treat. We had smashing day under the hot sun, with yummy food. K learned to use her newly owned bank card and purchased lovely Bart Simson denim shirt. Guess what happened? Somehow it ended in S bag and then we lost it. Only realising it, when we got back home. I felt really sorry for her, even though she put brave face on. I just felt so down and sad about it all and crawled into the bed and wished the week would be over! ( S did buy new shirt for her online though)!

Anyway I needed to get it out so maybe I feel less sorry for myself. There are real problems out there and I should consider myself happy not to be affected by them.

Looking back more positively:

  1. Nobody got hurt in the car crash
  2. I made it to show and we had lovely time
  3. I learned few new things while stuck at work
  4. I can cover my black eye quite sucessfully with make-up
  5. And Keiti will get new shirt thanks to the internet (and daddy)

So all is good!

Looking forward (or not) less eventful week!


Easter Holiday – No CrossFit for few weeks :(

The Easter Holiday is over and I’m back in reality of the everyday life 🙁

I managed to extend my holiday to the week and I can’t remember, when I last could take time off to just be at home and spend time with my children, without the need to rush somewhere or actually going to the holiday. It was lovely! I slept 9 hours and more! We went to the local swimming pool, went to the cinema to see “Power Rangers”, which I actually enjoyed and almost cried!!?? We went shopping for some necessities, like school shoes and more socks – boring stuff and had lunch in Nandos. So I did nothing special but it was so enjoyable. I even had haircut! I haven’t been at hairdressers over a year now and my hair looked really sad.

New haircut

Haven’t had so many compliments very long time.

We did go away on Good Friday to have a mini holiday at the Kent coast.

cousins at seaside

We had walks at seaside, met up with family and had a good laugh, visited Margate, which was big surprise. I haven’t been there since children were small and I kind of remember it being quite run down place with the nice beach. For my surprise it was lovely, great seaside atmosphere, nice antique and retro shops, lots cafes and pubs, it was especially nice on the pier. We even found one Scandinavian café and had compulsory Cinnamon bun.


Only negative side of the holiday was – I haven’t been able to do CrossFit for almost 2 weeks. I have done something to my “good” leg/knee few weeks ago and I can’t train properly. I did try carry on and even managed to PB my back squat, but decided not to do CrossFit for few weeks in order to get back to it quicker. It seems I got tendonitis after doing workout, which included over parallete burpees and I was actually quite proud myself doing so well. But following day I felt pain in my knee/around the knee and actually my another”bad” knee become suddenly the “good” one. “Oeh!” old people problems 🙂

I felt quite down because of it. CrossFit is my therapy and it keeps me happy or exhausted so I don’t care about s**t and not many things can annoy me then 🙂  But looking to the bright side, I had week off from work and spent lots of time with my children and I was quite active other ways. My leg feels much better now and I have planned to go back to the training tonight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good with doing some mobility at home so my knee feels still bit stiff. I just find really hard to take 20 minutes at home to do it, I usually have to choose either doing exercise or getting full 7 hours sleep.

I wasn’t pleased with the “Project 30” development beginning of the months, so after complaining over it in the last post lovely Lindsay from LJL Coaching urged me back to join her FB group and record all activities/food/moods over the next 2 weeks and this really have helped me so the weight goes in right direction again. Thank you, I really needed that! Only the few days away from home and indulging with some ice cream and chocolate eggs hasn’t been kind to me and I got a bit of a shock on the scale this morning, but I’m back on tracking my food today and feeling determined again so hopefully I will see more pleasing result from now on 🙂


2016 – what a year!

Another year has gone. It feels like only yesterday I wrote about our 2015. The 2016 has been emotional roller-coaster, not personally, but for the world and I think lots of decision made in 2016, will affect us all years to come.


Like always the biggest event on the first month of the year is our dear son birthday. Other than that I can’t remember much going on. Just recovering from the Christmas, getting back to the school/work/Crossfit/tennis/football/scouts routine with all family.


I have managed to save photos from my lovely cousin visit to somewhere secret, so only picture I can find is the one in the Facebook 🙂 How did we manage before the Facebook?? It’s weird, how you see the place you live through eyes of your guests, when you showing around. We just don’t notice, how much history and interesting places there are around us. We went to London, visited Tower Bridge – first time in 14 years, I have been living here, only an hour trip from London 🙁 We also went to Cambridge and the weather was unusually warm to February.

Rare occasion of Collins family playing tourists in London!


Getting more difficult as I have no idea what’s happened in March??  Oh yes, we had Timo’s birthday party, because it’s really hard to organise anything straight after Christmas, so it’s not so unusual to have his birthday celebration just before Keitis 🙂 The Easter was really early this year and we were stressing over the Timo’s Secondary School options.


Ok. For April I can find lots of dog and cats photos in my phone. We really have to get our act together and be more creative with our diaries 🙂 🙂 Keiti was only one, who actually did something exciting and went to skiing to Austria. On 25th of April I had one year from starting the CrossFit, dragging everyone else in the family into as well 🙂


May is birthdays month (Keiti and Simon) and our anniversary month as well and we so lucky to have 2 Bank Holidays in May. There were cricket matches in village green, which are so British and I have finally got hang of with the rules of the game now. There were beautiful sunsets and our first meals out in the garden, which almost feels like being on holiday. There is the Eurovision, which everyone hates but still watches 🙂 We had night out in London for Simons birthday, went to see QI recording, which was real treat. Our lovely daughters birthday, just can’t believe I’m a parent of this lovely young lady – how did it happened? We found duckling in our garden, who we tried to get back to his home, running around the village and knocking to the neighbours doors, carrying him in the plastic box. He got finally rescued by Rosina Animal Centre, with the help from my lovely neighbours and duckling was named Terry! 🙂 Terry was released after the month, back to the bond, where he hopefully found family or at least new friends. We went to our annual camping trip to the border of the Devon and Cornwall. We were blessed with the best weather with lots of sunshine.


Our camping trip continued in June, only to get back, when the rollercoaster started. We learned, what BREXIT means – maybe not, as we still don’t know, how it will actually happen, but it definitely have shaken up the world politics. I even have BREXIT flowerbed in our garden 🙂 I needed to channel my frustration somewhere, I weeded and dag and it actually looked quite decent in the end. 🙂 I baked cakes for the Antique Roadshow at Ightham Mote and cook huge paella for 150 people at the Ightham music festival.


July was all about Timos last month in primary school. We had mums night out at the school summer ball. Our children primary school has been such big part of our lives past 10 years, so it is very different now, not to drive up the little village lane to drop off or pick up our children. There were lots of parties for mums and quite few for children. I have met so many lovely ladies during those years and I was sad, when it draw to the end. We also went to the local farm strawberry picking picnic with live music.  I must say I didn’t pick any strawberries 🙁 but enjoyed the crowd and live bands. We spent day at Whitstable, when children did waters sports with scouts.End of the July, when children finished the school they were off to scout camp to Jersey, so we had 10 days without children – first time since we become parents! We had mini holiday in Poole and met up with my friends from the volleyball days for my friend’s 50-s birthday at Wiltshire. We visited Chilli festival at Dorset. I love summers! We get up for so much more!


August is our usual holiday months, but we didn’t go to Estonia this year. Instead we spent some time at Deal, found fantastic sandy beach in Broadstairs and first time ever in UK, I went to swim in the sea! The waves were amazing and we all really loved it!


Back to school! Both our children are in the secondary school, which has started new era in our lives. Keiti completed her first ever mud race and she did incredibly well. Very impressed with her. As I said before, Crossfit has changed us all 🙂


There was some baking but most importantly there was mini break in Milan, with my bestest friends. We laughed 4 days in a row and I love my friends dearly for that. We had lots of delicious food and wine and we chatted for the years we haven’t seen each other. Also, we are selfie queens 🙂 Thank you girls – I love you!


Watching football in freezing cold, trying new recipes, lots of Crossfit and tennis, dog walks. Just the everyday routine. But I didn’t mind it 🙂 and of course the world shocker – Trump became American president – oh dear!


Finally, end of the year! lots of rushing around to get ready for the Christmas, shopping, cleaning, organising. Oh! Had great Christmas party with my CrossFit buddies, lovely family Christmas, beautiful walk after festivities. What I like overall – sitting in my dining room, TV entertainments are on, fire roars, candles flickering, I haven’t bothered with make up, I have comfy leggings and top on, chatting with my far friends in Facebook and writing summary of my year. It’s best place to be.

I wish you all Happy New Year! And I really hope that 2017 brings us more clarity and common sense.










Looking back to 2014

Another year has whizzed past. I flipped through my photos from last 12 months. Even I think now, not much happened, actually we have been doing things and going places.

Jälle on üks aasta möödunud ja eile ôhtul vaatasin aasta jooksul üles vôetud pilte, mida on kogunenud suurel hulgal ja ma tôesti peaksin neid sel aastal paremini organiseerima ja môned ka välja trükkima. Kuigi hetkel on tunne et me suurt midagi mööduval aastal teinud pole siis fotosid vaadates vist ikka tegime küll.


Keeping up traditions we all met up in London at Simon’s brothers’ family on New Years Day, having great food, playing games and having a laugh. I’m really glad that our children grown to be so close and always having a great fun, when they are together even the ages go from 4 to 16. Simons’ brother cooked yummy paella.

New years Day

Traditsiooniliselt külastasime uue aasta esimesel päeval Simoni vemnna peret Londonis, sôime hüva roogasid, mängisime igasugu mänge nagu muusikaline viktoriin, Uno ja lihtsalt naersime. Mul on hea meel et kôik lapsed oma vahel nii hästi läbi saavad kuigi vanused on 4st kuni 16ni. Simoni vend valmistas meile maitsva paella.


In January there is always Timo’s birthday to celebrate. It’s pity that it’s so close to Christmas, as usually I don’t feel like thinking about it at all after the Christmas madness, so usually his party stretches to the February, when we get our act together.


Jaanuar toob kaasa ka T sünnipäeva aga tavaliselt olen ma jôulumöllust alles nii kurnatud, et selle tähistamine lükkub tavaliselt veebruari kuusse.


The February starts with my birthday, but I don’t think we did anything special this year.

Veebruar algab minu sünnipäevaga aga me vist ei teinudki midagi erilist sel aastal

Timo had great party with her friends at Chatham ski centre, where they practiced mountain skiing.


Timo pidas oma sünnipäeva koos sôpradega Chatami suusakeskuses, kus neid ôpetati mäest laskuma ja muid  suusa trikke.

Also I organised little get together for family with films, popcorn, sweets, Coca-Cola to celebrate the winter birthdays in Collins family. There are 7 of us with birthdays on a coldest time of the year. You can read about it here.

Samuti korraldasim ma väikes pere ürituse filmide, pop corni, kommidega, et tähistada talve sünnipäevi Collinsite peres.


We had wonderful weather in March as I have some photos from our walks to proof.


We got together for P birthday, which was gorgeous sunny day.


Märtsis oli fantastiline ilm, mille tôestuseks on pildid jalutuskäikudelt.Me saime ka kokku P sünnipäeval, mil tegime ka jalutuskäigu parki ja ilm oli lausa suvine.


Also I gave Russian and Scandinavian dinner parties away at auction in Keiti’s school, which were very nerve racking but huge success and I was complimented a lot.


Samuti oli minu jaoks tähelepanuväärnu Vene ja Skandinaavia ôhtusöögi korraldamine, mille ma panin välja Keiti kooli oksjonil ja mis sôi nii mônegi närvirakku, kui kokkuvôtteks läkid need ülimalt korda ja ma sain hunnikute viisi kiidusônu.


We had our annual family get together for Easter at the seaside cottage on St Margaret’s at Cliff. I, S and children camped outside as it near impossible to fit 17 people to the 2 bedroom Victorian Cottage, but we love it!


Toimus igaastane Collinsite Lihavôttepühade kokkutulek vanaema majakeses St Margaret’s at Cliffe. Mina ja S ja lapsed telkisime aias kuna pea vôimatu on mahutada 17 inimest kahe magamistoaga Victoria aegsesse majasse.



May is busy month in our family – our wedding anniversary, Simons’ birthday and Keitis’ birthday. But most memorable event was our mini break in Cornwall. We camped in almost empty campsite, which meant we had our own private field. We visited countless sandy beaches, had lots of nice meals and despite a rain had a wonderful time.


Mai kuus on meil Simoni sünnipäev, pulma-aastapäev ja Keiti sünnipäev. Aga Mai kuu kôrghetk oli Cornwalli reis. Me telkisime peaaegu tühjas kämpingus, mis tähendas, et me saime enda kasutusse privaatse välja. Me nautisime paljusid , hingematvalt ilusaid liivarandu, sôime arvukaid maitsvaid sööke ja hoolimata vihmast oli see üks ütlemata tore reis.




In June I was involved with organising Estonians Midsummer party, which meant peeling 50kg potatoes and making Estoian”Mulgi puder” , doing lots of shopping and carter around 400 people.


We also had lovely evening at strawberry picking at nearby Stonepitts Farm, with live music and picnic.


…and I baked some cakes.


Juuni algus möödus eestlaste Jaanipäeva korraldamise tähe all, mis tähendas 50 kg kartulite koorimist Mulgi pudru jaoks, suurt ostlemist ja 400 inimese toitmist.

Samuti oli mei armas ôhtu lähedal olevas farmis, kus korjasime maasikaid, nautisime muusikat ja korraldasime pikniku.

Küpsetasin ka môned tordid.



I went to the best concert ever at the Royal Albert Hall – Coldplay. I was probably blagging about it quite a bit on my FB account, but I very rarely go to the big events now days so it just got me all excited.


We also had another lovely weekend at the cottage to celebrate the start of the summer holidays.


And summer can’t go without breaks at the seaside as often as possible, so we had some lovely days at Whitstable.


Juulis käisin ma maailma parimal kontserdi, kuhu jôudsin tänu mu armsale sôbrale, kellele mainisin môni aeg tagasi, et üks band mida näha tahaks on “Coldplay” ja siis mu soov täituski. Aitähh Kadi!

Juulis veetsime ka nädalavahetuse meie mere äärses majakeses, et tähistada suve vaheaja algust.

Ja kuna suvel ei saa ikka ilma mereta siis veetsime ka toreda päeva Whitstables


The biggest change for us has been not going to Estonia in August. Seems that children life become busy with camps ad we couldn’t leave until second half of the August and then the summer is almost over and it seemed bit pointless to travel through the Europe for 3 days, when all things I’m looking forward to see and do in Estonia would be over. So we made the decision to have a week holiday in Normandy instead. You can read about it here.


In august I also started to play tennis and Cardio tennis, which is huge step for me as haven’t managed to do any sport properly since I had my knee operation. I must say – I loooove tennis, it’s fun and cardio tennis is an enjoyable killer  🙂 . I also started to train following the program from couch to 5K and I can happily to say that I run 5K almost every weekend now, sometimes even twice.

Suurim muutus meie tavapärasest Augustist oli – me ei sôitnud Eestisse. Lastel olid laagrid ja muud üritused ja lôpuks oli juba augusti teine pool kui oleks saanud liikuma hakkata ja eEstis oleks juba suvi möödas ja kôik üritused, millest olen oodanud osa vôtta oleks juba möödas olnud. Nii et otsustasime see aasta hoopis Prantsusmaale, Normandisse nädalaks puhkama minna.

Augustis alustasin ka tennise ja cardio tennisega. Minu jaoks on see suur samm edasi, kuna pole ühtegi sporti korralikult teinud alates ajast kui mul pôlveoperatsioon oli. Tennis on lahe! Eriti cardio tennis, mis on tôeliselt raske aga nauditav. Samuti hakkasin jooksmas käima ja vôin nüüd uhkusega öelda, et suudan 5KM joosta ilma kokku kukkumata.


We organised event in London Telegraph Hills with Estonian food and Liisi Koikson – fantastic combination.


Tegime ürituse ühes Londonis. Mulgipuder, rummikoogid, peedisalat, rukkileib ja Liisi Koikson. Fantastiline kooslus!

Lonni had a visit from friend.


Lonnil käis ka sôber külas.


I had lovely visitors from Estonia, but unfortunately didn’t take my camera with me.

.. and Halloween.


Oktoober tuli toredate inimestega eestis aga kahjuks ei ole ma ühtegi pilti sellest teinud 🙁

… ja Oktoober läks Halloweeniga.


Scandinavian Christmas Market – 3days of heavy labouring, but it was such positive vibe. Deffenitelly will do it next year as well. Thanks you A and L to inviting me.

Here Estonian ambassador in London eats my cooked food.


And the Christmas Do-s started already.

Müüsin skandinnavia jôuluturul Londonis, mis oli väga raske töö aga oi kui palju rahuldust pakkuv. Kindlasti tahaks seda teha ka järgmine aasta, Suured tänud Liina ja Anneli, et mind kampa kutsusite.


Ja loomuliku avati juba novembri lôpus jôulupidude hooaeg.


Christmas party season continues

Collins family traditional celebration in our house was successful as ever – games, laughter and too much food.


We had few lovely walks, to get over the guilt of eating too much at festive season.


Jôulupidude hooaeg jätkus,

Collinsi pere traditsiooniline Jôulu pidu meie majas oli edukas – sai mängitud, naerdud ja liialdatud söögiga.

Pühade ajal tegime môned jalutuskäigud,et leevendada süütunnet ülesöömise pärast.

I think it was another busy year! New years Eve it was only as four had some food and wine and Champagne for midnight. I also made my family pose for family photo as usually I’m not in many photos, but with help of the technology you can see all 4 of us sending you kisses ( that’s us trying to do “kiss” faces 🙂 )

Kiss faces 2

Have a great 2015!