Monday, April 30, 2012

When the weather gets rough, the bored get baking

Yesterday it rained. The day before it rained. It seems like it's been raining in London for decades We had some folks over in the morning for a playdate but after X went down for his nap, Cate wanted to do 'sumfing fun'.

We pulled out paints and she didn't want to do that. Then she announced, 'It's Emma's birthday!'

Emma is one of her dolls.

WELL! We certainly couldn't let that go un-celebrated! Cate and I baked cupcakes. While they cooled we set the kiddie table up in the lounge for a birthday tea.

Once X woke up we all sat down to decorate the cakes:
Then we sung happy birthday to Emma:
Cate blew out the candles and served up grub.

And that killed two  hours! But we all had a lovely time, despite the rotten weather!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


While on the phone with a US friend yesterday I pulled the phone from my head to talk to Cate. I said, 'Cate, just bin it if you think it's rubbish. And no more sweeties, we'll be eating dinner soon.' She replied with a typical kids comment and I said sternly, 'Don't be naughty! Or no ice-lollies for pudding for you.'

There was silence on the line.

'Hello?' I said back into the phone.

'What did you just say? I didn't get half of that.' She burst out laughing and said, 'You're a Limey now!'

Oh, the offense, or should I say offence! I quickly translated: Cate, just throw it in the garbage can if you think it's crap. And no more candy, we'll be eating soon. Don't be a brat or no popsicle for dessert.'

Blimey indeed! My daughter has a right proper British accent. She goes to school with British children and this is her talk. My husband, the Kiwi, is more British than American so he speaks like this as well. So it's easier for me to speak their Queen's English than it is for me to speak Obama's English.

But now I find myself saying 'flat' instead of 'apartment', 'mobile' instead of 'cell phone', 'cash point' instead of 'ATM', 'rubbish' instead of 'garbage', 'pudding' instead of 'dessert' and on and on. It cant' be helped.

And you know what - British English sounds so much nicer (for the most part). So I like it. But then there are the parts I don't like: 'Toilet' instead of 'bathroom' or restroom' (that's the prudish American in me) for example.

Either way, I'm quite comfortable with my British morphing. When we do go back to the USA I'm sure I'll return to my louder, brasher twang. And that's okay too.

I was amused by Nappy Valley and her assessment of having to tweak her language to fit into America. Read her post here. I feel her pain - it's the same language, just different country. We're just trying to fit in.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Fen and I are at war. Sorta. It's a typical battle over the thermostat. He turns it off, I turn it on. That's right, he turns it off! Whenever he leaves, he turns the heat off, I start to get cold and then turn it back on. When he's here, he'll turn it off at random times, I'll start to get cold and turn it back on.

At night he turns it off and by 3am we're all a bunch of icepops. I just went out and bought feather down duvets and covers for the kids because I was afraid they were freezing at night. Lo - they are now sleeping through the night due to the fact they are not waking up shivering. Which means, I too can sleep through the night (unless there is an unfortunately wee accident, someone loses his blankie or pacifier - then I must get up to cease the crying).

Yesterday, it was a case of off/on/off/on. The boiler was just serviced but I still worry it's going to break. He thinks we don't need it on all the time. I disagree. It's driving me crazy. When we went away for a few days two weeks ago, he turned it off. It was freezing in here for hours until it could warm up enough to take off jumpers/sweaters and relax. My hands were just red and sore from being cold.

I'm tired of it and yet a conversation will quickly escalate into a battle. I want to get a lockbox around the thermostat but that would probably cause a nuclear assault. Just because he overheats doesn't mean that I should remain cold, bundled up with a red nose and aching ears.

Unfortunately, the kids don't mind the cold (the little traitors) so Fen factors that into his argument. I've tried splitting the difference and just turning it down - nope. He still turns it completely off. Then I turn it on - all the way to 11.

Summer cannot come soon enough so this can be put to rest for a few months. I seriously am at my wits end over it. I didn't work my tail off, get married,  have a family, move to London just to be cold. It has to stop.

Any suggestions?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Where'd the time go?

Nearly four and a half years ago I was holding up this little angel to take her photo. It was to send to her daddy who was in Paris working while we were in NY alone. She was such a sweet little angel I didn't think it was possible to even love a child as much as I loved her then.

But then she turned into this:
That's my little Cate (in the Easter bonnet we spent a Saturday creating) at her bonnet parade today. She was honestly the sweetest, most adorable thing I've ever laid eyes on. I spent 40 minutes looking at her photos from baby until now. And at each stage I didn't think she could possibly become more adorable and sweet. But she does. And I love her more than ever.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

London Book Fair

Absolute madness! I love it. I was there all day on Monday and for just a few hours today. I've been fighting a sore throat and cold which is winning so I cut it short and came home.

I'm hoping to go again tomorrow because it's just such a thrilling adventure for a boring old book worm like me.

I ran into so many people I haven't seen in years. What a thrill. Some of them are doing extremely well, others are exactly the same. Either way, it's great to see them and to see the foreign rights folks from my office.

One of my clients - well, the international arm of that client, were at the fair and we walked around together. What a great feeling it was to meet and greet and see MY books (well, my client's books) out there being hawked and discussed. So nice to see them at the fair and doing well. The clients are fun too, so being with them was just a nice experience.

I like it when I can actually get my hands dirty with my job. Sometimes it's difficult, working from home, isolated - connected only by phone and internet. I miss the office atmosphere. but I keep my eye on the prize and keep at it. All of this is for a reason. I'll be back in my office soon enough.

So for now, I like the London Book Fair. It's still on tomorrow if you get a chance. Mind you, I think all of London is standing outside Earl's Court having a fag. I could NOT breathe going in and out from the smoke. Yuck! If you go, do like I did, take a deep breath and run for the books inside!

Friday, April 13, 2012


Fen and I decided to stay a little local this Easter Holiday so we took a train to Brighton for a night and the kids absolutely loved it. I think the most exciting part of the entire trip was the hotel pool. Neither of them could get enough of it - so what if it was in the basement, too crowded and steamy - they are water babies!

The highlight of the trip for me was walking on the pebble beach. I don't know what it is about the ocean but I find it so soothing and peaceful. The day we arrived, we stepped on the train and headed to our hotel on the beach - the Thistle - to drop off our bags and then hit the town. It was rainy, windy and chilly so we thought we'd head to Sea Life, the aquarium - no such luck as it's closed for refurbishment until later in the month. So we hit the Royal Pavilion and wandered for a few hours - the kids actually enjoyed it as they had their own headsets and the rooms were so massive. The dining hall was amazing. Can't even imagine living in such splendour: the sample meal menu for one dinner party would feed us for an entire year! Fabulous.

Then we headed to the toy museum where the kids watched the trains for ages! I got bored quickly, as I'm not really into old dolls, etc. but they loved it.

We also had lunch at JB's diner - an American style diner. I had a milkshake, something I haven't had in YEARS! it was so decadent and delish but I had that stuffed to the gills, uncomfortable feeling for the rest of the afternoon! Will wait a few more years before I do that again!

The kids LOVED staying in the hotel. Here they are watching The Incredibles before bed in their jammies.
The next day the sun was out and we went a-walking - 28 miles to be exact (I had my pedometer on). We were up and down the beach, the boardwalk, the pier, through town.  The kids played at the playground, bounced on trampolines, were on numerous slides, rides, we had  lunch on the pier, they had fun on the kiddie roller coaster, we hit the Brighton Wheel, it was a full day before we headed back to the train and home.

We walked over 30 miles throughout London the next day seeing Borough Market, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, had lunch on the Thames, went to the London Eye but it was so mad and the line was enormous, we just had icecream across from Big Ben and the houses of Parliament before heading home.

And yesterday we went to Legoland and Windsor - a HUGE hit with the kids. Walked over 30 miles there too.

Enjoy the photos as I'm off to tackle the gigantic mound of laundry and then get back to work!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Big Boy Trouble

It's a good thing X is so cute -  otherwise I would have definitely sold him on eBay this weekend. it all started on Saturday night. I was stressed out because we received a letter from the management company of our flat that I misread and thought we had to move (we don't) and there was a registered letter we needed to pick up at the Post Office (it was nothing big at all after all). The very thought of moving was so horrific I could barely function. All for naught, in the end.

So I was already fragile when dinnertime rolled around. Fen was working so it was just me the two little ones. They had ice lollies and were allowed to watch television while I cleaned up. As I was clearing dishes, stacking the dishwasher, etc. X came in and left quickly. I noticed his pop-sickle stick on the table and assumed that was what he came in for.

Two minutes later Cate came in covered in a white powder. 'Mum, Xavier is putting cheese on the rug,' she announced.

he came in, dropped off the stick and grabbed the Parmesan cheese off the kitchen table. Then we went into the lounge and proceeded to sprinkle it all over the kiddie art table and rug. Horrified, I grabbed the cheese, reprimanded him and told him to go to his room. I got out the vacuum and started hoovering everything in sight. Once that was clean I took the hoover back to the kitchen to store when X ran by in a blur.

I knew it was trouble. By the time I put the vacuum down and went back to the lounge, the sofa, the kids little Elmo sofa,  most of X, and a good part of the large rug were covered in talcum powder. Again, I reprimanded him but made him take a time out in the corner. I cleaned the whole room and was about to put the hoover away again when Cate came in.

'Aren't you going to clean our bedroom?' she innocently asked. Yikes! Sure enough: powder was everywhere in the bedroom. Took me 20 more minutes to clean that! I put X in his crib (aka JAIL) while I cleaned this time. He screamed bloody murder the entire time. Tough.

They skipped the bath because I spent too much time cleaning up. I put them to bed and then went back to deal with the dishes.

The next day Fen put the kids new bunk beds together. it took hours to complete, especially since we had to stop and put X down for a nap during the middle of the day.

Oh, it was so exciting for both kids. They couldn't get over their new beds. Big Boy bed for X and a cool top bunk for Cate. they couldn't get enough of it.

Fen went out for a drink with a friend I stayed home to field the wild man. Bedtime is 7:30 but he was up and running out of his new big boy bed of freedom until 9. I channeled my inner Supernanny and just kept at it. Eventually they both fell asleep. thank heavens, I just wanted to relax for the night but they were up and down all excited about the new beds and he was SO excited about being able to run free.

We still haven't broken his crib down yet. It's there to serve as a warning to him in case he doesn't go to sleep. Jail awaits bad little boys. He's so cute though, it's hard to stay angry with him for being a typical kid.

Meanwhile, he's going into the big boy bed and coveting his freedom while I'm crying inside at watching my baby become a boy. My little girl - well, she's practically a lady. I don't have any babies left. So sad and so great at the same time.