Surprise visits and long distance family relationships

Toward the end of last year my little brother, his wife, my niece and nephew moved from Bournemouth to Essex where my sister-in-law grew up. It was a big shock when they announced they were moving and of course I was gutted. Long distance relationships of any nature are hard and at times can be upsetting.

As it was my little sister’s 13th birthday on the 4th and I booked that day and the weekend off work. My mum and I decided to not only surprise my little brother and his family but also my little sister. We told her to pack some things as we were going away at the weekend. I have never been one to be spontaneous, whether thats down to my anxiety or just the lack of pushing myself out from my comfort zone, but this was so worth it.

We all got up at 4:30am, got ready and made our way to the train station to begin our 5 hour journey. It may have been long, but it was worth it to see their surprised faces when we turned up at their door.


My niece and nephew were the most excited wanting to show us their new bedrooms and toys that Santa brought them. Secretly I was the most excited I think, I just couldn’t stop hugging them. I had this incredible bond with my nephew, no matter the time it hadn’t changed. Snuggling on the sofa with me, wanting to sit next to me and be on my team for games. I love our bond! Of course, I love my niece as well, she has the most cheeky personality. My niece has an incredible bond with my littlest sister and they are so cute when they play together. To make the surprise even better my other little sister and her boyfriend arrived an hour or so after us and surprised them once more. Perfect family orientated weekend.

The weekend was filled with love, laughter, board games, yummy food and lots of cake! We also went on a walk where my nephew wanted to show us the big hill that he loves to ride his Batman go kart. He is completely obsessed with Batman at the moment which reminds me so much of my little brother when we were younger. Even though the weather was grey and miserable, we didn’t let that stop us and to warm up when we got in we had lots of yummy cake and snuggled under blankets!


I am aware in this photo the people are blurred, I have done this on purpose as my little sister, niece and nephew are young. 

Saying goodbye was so hard, you always wish you can spend more time together.

Long distance family relationships are really hard especially with little ones. So we try and communicate as much as possible via FaceTime, thank goodness for the advances in technology that allows us to see them from miles away! We also text via our family whats app group where we share pictures and talk. It can be a hard situation to adjust too that’s for sure.

Advice I would give anyone who is about to move away from their family or have a family member move away, communication is everything. Visits spontaneous or otherwise are great ways to make special memories with those loved ones. Life is too short not too.

Do you live apart from your family or have a family member who lives away from you? How do you cope with it? I’d love to hear in the comments below.



28 thoughts on “Surprise visits and long distance family relationships

  1. My brother, his wife and my niece and nephew live in London and I’m in South Wales so we try to visit each other every few months as well as keep in contact via whatsapp. Its really hard though sometimes xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so relatable. I’ve been staying away from my family for quite a long time. We are in different time zones but technology has kept me sane with frequent video calls. Still sometimes seeing them on screen is not enough and I get upset for not being able to hug them☹ Thanks for sharing the post,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I hate not being able to see them all the like I used too. But it was lovely to see them a few weeks ago. They are coming back here in February for a week. Can’t wait. Sometimes video calls aren’t enough you are right. I hope you get to see your family soon too x


  3. Aww, this is such a lovely post Lauren! It sounded like such a wonderful surprise and well worth getting up early for. Cakes, board games and family time sounds like the most perfect way to spend a weekend. Your niece and nephew sound adorable and it is so sweet you have such a close bond. I’m fortunate my immediate family is all close by, but we still have a Whatsapp group, technology really is such a wonderful thing! Thank you for sharing your adventure, really enjoyed reading this post ❤ xxx

    Bexa |

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Long distance with anyone close to you is hard. At least you got to meet up with your family members – it is always nice to see a strong bond between family members going on :). Glad you enjoyed your time out there! Hope you’ll have a chance to see your family members soon! :).

    Nancy ♥


  5. Ah, Lauren, this was such a lovely post to read! Long distance is hard. We had some family in Singapore for two years and had to keep in touch via Skype. It was OK but we missed the physical contact so much. Now we have family in Scotland and Cambridge, so we don’t see them very often but, like you, it’s always so special and wonderful when we do get together. I’m so glad you had a lovely time with your relatives and thank you so much for sharing 🙂 xx

    Lisa |

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes the physical contact, not being able to cuddle my niece and nephew is so hard. But they are hoping to come to us next month and I can’t wait. Wow, Singapore! That’s so hard! But it does make time special xx


  6. Such a good read! My father lives across the country and I completely agree that long distance relationships are the hardest. I don’t get to see him much but we do communicate often. Great advice 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like you had a lovely weekend! I relate to this so much except it was myself that moved across the country. Not quite 5 hours but still a good distance. Surprise visits are the best. I always try to visit every 6-8 weeks otherwise I become really homesick! Such a nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Awww, this is so sweet! I live far away from my family, and it’s so hard – especially because I have two little nieces who I miss a ridiculous amount. A couple of years ago, I surprised my youngest niece on her birthday, and it was wonderful! You’re so right about communication being everything because it makes it that little bit easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a lovely heart warming post. A lot of my mum’s side of the family live in the US so we don’t get to see them her often. It’s hard but always so rewarding when we do get to see them.

    Liked by 1 person

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