Archive | December, 2014
Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Daily Pics: Last Day Of An Amazing Year

It’s been one of the best years of my life. Our little cherub arrived, we have each other, our health and the freedom to roam. I wake each morning feeling incredibly fortunate, blessed with more than I could ever ask for. Part wondering what we have done to be deserving and every ounce grateful. My artist friend Deb selects a word each year. Following in her footsteps my word for 2015 is “balance”. Being in equilibrium, at that continually changing point where things are harmonious, where the moment matters and is effortless in a positive way. Bring on 2015. 

 

Items laid out all over bed

We’ve managed to accumulate more stuff. Packing fast after a late wake up

 

Instructions on how to find the cricket network

Dearest Banana knows English Hubby well! Thank you my dear friend xx

 

Dad giving son medicine

Off to Sydney Bec’s for a quick drink and tips on navigating Bali immigration. Poor little Cousin curly Kiwi Frog lapping up his Panadol

 

Two couples with babies

Old and new friends, and can’t wait to meet the soon to arrive little one

 

Baby holding baby seatbelt

Off to Bali. Safety first!

 

Baby with infant life raft

Do I really need this mummy?!

 

Baby in airplane bassinet

Our happy little traveler 

 

Immigration arrival hall in Bali

Lines aren’t too bad

 

Taxi in Bali

Getting ripped off by the taxi driver – 275,000 rupees or bust

 

Lights of Denpasar

Fireworks over the horizon. Just don’t hold them.

 

Man swimming in pool

Starting the new year with a swim in our pool. Thank you for an amazing year, and looking forward to 2015 with open arms

 

Yesterday’s post: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Daily Pics: A Walk Down Memory Lane

English Hubby and I first met in Singapore over 12 years ago, when I gate crashed a leaving do he had organized for a team member of his. My Dear Kinder Friend had invited me, and coincidently it is to his wedding that we will be traveling to in Bali, in a few days’ time. Talk about things coming full circle. 

Now we revisit Singapore married and all grown up with a baby in tow, for a sticky walk down memory lane. So many days and nights we had both spent on this tiny island city. Working for various clients, getting up to mischief late into the night and early into the morning. Back then Singapore was a little backwater, starting to make its way onto the international scene. Now it feels like it’s all grown up too. 

 

Three boys names on the fridge

Leaving his mark on Banana’s fridge

 

Baby playing with new toys

Cool new toys!

 

Entrance to the raffles hotel

So very excited to get going and see some of the old hang outs. Looking forward to Hainese Chicken Rice at the bakery

 

Baby asleep in car seat

Not as excited as mummy

 

Toast box eatery

Turns out the chicken rice place is not open until lunch time, so we follow another recommendation

 

nasi goreng, kaya toast, half boiled eggs, sweet tea and milo

Traditional street food breakfast – nasi goreng, kaya toast, half boiled eggs, sweet tea and milo

 

Baby eating kaya toast

Baby Boy O is really loving it

 

Half boiled eggs

Can’t get enough!

 

Man and baby walking across street in Singapore

Off to explore our old hang outs

 

Baby in stroller infront of white church

Everything has changed. From bars to restaurants. From single to married plus baby!

 

Baby smiling

Finally awake from his jet lagged sleep

 

Baby change facilities at raffles plaza

Loving the baby change facilities at Raffles Plaza Shopping Mall

 

Clothes shop in Singapore

Indulging in a bit of shopping

 

Singapore arts center

Touristing around the arts center durian

 

Rainbow ribbons art instillation

Getting creative

 

Shenton way fiancial district buildings

Many months spent working in the financial district and Shenton Way 

 

Signs in Singapore

Landmarks

 

Fullerton quay hotel lobby

Found our way to the beautiful Fullerton Quay hotel

 

White string holding balloons

Anyone dare to pull the white string?

 

Man and woman in Singapore

Old fashioned selfie

 

Man eating sushi

Picnic lunch with throbbing techno music

 

Baby eating papaya

Getting some tropical papaya action

 

Solar sunshade

Environmentally conscious Singapore

 

Buildings along marina bay sands

All new (to us) Marina Bay Sands

 

women with selfie sticks

Seriously, what’s with these selfie sticks?!

 

Baby held over trash can

Oh no! Recycling gone too far

 

Walking through row of palm trees

Walking, walking, walking

 

Singapore bridge and Ferris wheel

Over the bridge and far away

 

Singapore lotus building

Admiring the lotus position

 

Marina bay hotel

Ship ahoy!

 

Singapore flyer

High flyer

 

Painting on wall

Creativity on the walls

 

Baby on dad's shoulders

Rest break, enjoying the Singaporean version of Glee Club

 

Front of taxi cab

Learning about GrabTaxi, Comfot, Hailo and Uber

 

Baby looking at great aunt

Surprise!

 

Baby cuddling great aunt

Instant cuddles

 

Baby receiving red packet from great aunt

Thank you for my ang pow Khoo Poh and Uncle

 

Hainese chicken rice

Two things off the check list – Hainese chicken rice and satay

 

Dinner with family in Singapore

So heartwarming to see Cousin “Charles” and his family

 

Baby with cousins in Singapore

Baby Boy O surrounded by lovely ladies

 

Baby with great uncle

Little cuddle with Uncle SK

 

Baby holding rattle cuddling great aunt

More cuddles with Khoo Poh

 

Farewell family hugs

See you all soon…maybe in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, America…?

 

Pulling farewell faces

Hope the wind doesn’t change Miss C3

 

Yesterday’s post: Made It To Singapore…Finally

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Monday, 29 December 2014

Daily Pics: Made It To Singapore…Finally

It was a long long flight from Doha to Singapore. The cunning plan was to keep Baby Boy O awake on this leg so he will fall asleep when we reach our destination – a pre-emptive jetlag manoever. Naturally he had other plans of his own and we know who’s boss on that front! Nevertheless we made it to Singapore. The missing Air Asia flight puts things in perspective. Even though we were five hours late, we arrived safe and sound. So very ready for some shut eye if only we could find the right apartment! 

Changi airport 2am

Not the 9.30pm arrival we had expected!

 

Man carrying lots of luggage

Now, was it 235 or 237? Block A or B?

 

Baby playing with toys in Singapore

After a half decent nap, Baby Boy O was ready to hit the toy box

 

Man walking by big green plants

I’ve missed Asia with its giant tropical plants and monsoon rains

 

Baby in car seat in Singapore taxi

Taxi over to east coast

 

Blonde woman and baby

Sydney Becs with jetlagged and grumpy Baby Boy O

 

Baby on cream couch

Still waking up…slowly

 

Two naked babies

Much happier when we went native with Cousin Curly Kiwi Frog

 

Chili crab dinner in plastic containers

Post massage take out dinner with the French famiile

 

Yesterday’s post: 

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Daily Pics: Delayed in Doha

I’ve heard of Sleepless in Seattle, but never thought I’d be delayed in Doha! Thank goodness for middle eastern hospitality. Doha International was an oasis, compared to American airports. Nice clean family change rooms, places to comfortably rest, service with a smile, people who know what their doing. I think they should base the next reality TV season of Survivor in JFK. That is enough to make contestants cry. 

 

Changing baby diaper in Doha airport

Diaper change time

 

Women's quiet room in Doha

Those men are just so loud, here’s a place to escape

 

Family area in Doha airport

Talk about awesome

 

Posing in front of a giant yellow teddy bear at Doha airport

Exploring the terminal. Not everyday you see a giant yellow teddy bear

 

Baby playing with orange strap

Doing quite well given its about 2am London time

 

Departure board in Doha

You’ve got to be sh*tting me. Now a 4.5 hour delay?!

 

Sitting in the quiet room at Doha airport

Off to have a nap in the quiet room

 

Man with baby dining in Marche

Lunch / dinner / whatever at Marche. Not sure that time it is, nor do I want to know

 

Mum carrying baby wrapped in blue blanket

With my superstar traveller

 

Cabin of plane

And finally we are on board…Singapore here we come!

 

Yesterday’s post: Farewell a England, For Now

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Daily Pics: Farewell England, For Now

All good things must come to an end…for now. We leave England today, bound for Singapore, with a stopover in Doha. Having spent a month in Sevenoaks and with all the Christmas merriment we have managed to accumulate more stuff than we bargained for. Packing is a major game of creative Tetris. 

 

Man fixing computer

Last minute help desk 

 

Baby lying in suitcase

Another round of packing…

 

Baby in box

…what do we do with things that don’t fit?

 

Grandpa reading nursery rhymes to baby

Yah Yah entertaining Baby Boy O with nursery rhymes

 

Turkey pie

Nothing goes to waste…yummy!

 

Grandma holding baby on floor

Loading up on the cuddles. Everyone’s sad.

 

Baby sitting on aunts knee

See you soon Aunty Ems. Come visit us in NYC

 

Tossing baby to grandpa

Pass the baby. Yah Yah’s turn

 

Christmas tree at LHR

Finally through security at LHR

 

Baby and dad in airplane bulkhead row

Thank you Qatar Airways for the bulkhead row

 

Baby in airplane seat clapping hands

So how did you enjoy your trip to England?…

 

Yesterday’s post: Christmas Toys

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 26 December 2014

Daily Pics: Christmas Toys

Boxing Day should be called unpacking day. Taking all our new toys out of their wrapping fand setting them up, like Mah Mah’s new iPhone and printers. English Hubby played 24 hour help desk, fixing and configuring almost every piece of electronic equipment in a 20 meter radius. Eco Jo dropped off the last delivery of Crimbo presents from Great Aunt Quilter and Great Uncle Golfer who were unfortunate casualties of the winter lurgies. It feels like it has been an entire month of Christmas. How wonderful!

 

Son helping mum set up iPhone

1-800-iPhone help desk

 

Christmas presents

Such thoughtful Christmas presents for Baby Boy O. A 50 year old turtle came home to roost

 

Aunt holding baby

Cuddles with Eco Jo

 

Baby posting with toy keys

Keys to the kingdom. The only piece of electronic kit daddy didn’t need to set up!

 

Yesterday’s post: Baby’s First Christmas

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Daily Pics: Baby’s First Christmas

What a day! So many lovely thoughtful gifts, and best of all surrounded by our loved ones. Aunty Ems played post lady. Mah Mah whipped up an amazing turkey roast with full trimmings, and also an extra white cake for us. Yah Yah put Santa to shame as he dished out an endless stream of presents. The singing penguin came out of hibernation. We have been thoroughly spoilt rotten!

 

Woman delivering Christmas cards

Post lady Ems delivering Christmas cards first thing in the morning

 

Kissing puffin Christmas ornament

This year’s new Christmas ornament from Project Puffin in Maine

 

Christmas morning family photo in bed

Christmas morning in bed

 

Grandma holding Christmas stocking for baby

Baby’s first Christmas. Mah mah has made it sooo special.

 

Wrapping paper and gifts all over the bed

Opening our stockings. Keeping the kids entertained. What great fun!

 

Skyping with mum and dad

Merry Christmas Australia!

 

Mum taking orders for breakfast

Taking orders for breakfast

 

Fried full breakfast

Fry up please!

 

Baby in high chair with bib

Where’s my food?!

 

Christmas tree with lots of presents

Present time!

 

Baby with crazy singing penguin

The crazy singing penguin makes an appearance

 

Family with baby

I want my presents now!

 

Baby and grandma with book

Thank you for my Sophie the Giraffe book Mah Mah. I love it!

 

Baby tasting the strap of the back pack

These presents are tasty!

 

Grandpa giving baby a present

More for me?! Thank you Yah Yah!

 

Fox's party rings

Thanks babe, just what I wanted!

 

Man holding Christmas present

Can’t do this in Jill’s mum’s car

 

Platter full of snacks

Someone take these snacks away from me!

 

Baby asleep

Opening presents, such hard work!

 

Christmas turkey

Lunch time. Yummo.

 

Baby wearing Christmas cracker hat

Do I really have to wear this mummy?

 

Christmas roast plate

Delicious!

 

Baby naked with teething necklace

Half time change of clothes

 

The queen on tv

Tradition continues

 

Baby and grandpa wearing Christmas crack hat

Christmas cuddles

 

Yesterday’s post: Christmas Eve Date Night

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Daily Pics: Christmas Eve Date Night

Lots of last minute preparation for Christmas including a much needed hair cut. I’m in two minds about Christmas. I love the tradition and being with family. I grimace at the consumerism which is why we’ve tried to edge toward more thoughtful gifts. In a perfect hippy dippy world we would make our gifts – crafts, poetry, letters, paintings – gifts that convey meaning and take thought and time to create. Gifts that arrive in slow motion, not over night shipped. I may not have fully gotten to that place this year, but the intent and mindful desire is there. Happy Christmas Eve. 

 

Christmas decorations in baby room

Mah Mah went to town!

 

Baby and grandma in kitchen

Morning chunder and cuddles

 

Waitrose checkout

Another trip to Waitrose

 

Baby with purple spoon

Loving the spicy tomato soup for lunch

 

Lunch leftovers

Last of the leftovers from the family gathering

 

Dinner at loch fyne

Chatty date night. What is your word for next year? Opportunity. Balance.

 

Skyping for Christmas

Wishing Australia a Merry Christmas

 

Santa door tag

He’s the best baby boy in the whole world. We love you more than words can describe

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Daily Pics: Photo Shoot

Photos are a way to freeze time, capturing just one moment. In an instant that moment passes and we have all changed in some minuscule way, but changed nonetheless. I love photos not because they freeze time, but because they are a reminder of a moment past. The visual stimulus can evoke strong memories, feelings, smells, thoughts, hopes, fears, ideas and more. That’s what they are. Memories. Colored by our current mood and circumstances. The stories of our lives we re-intepret in different ways with each re-reading. At the end of the day you can never really relive the same moment, which is what makes the “now” so precious. For in the time it takes to say cheese, it is gone, never to be again. 

 

Photographer with lights in living room

Lights, camera, action!

 

Man and woman on couch posing for photographs

Say cheese!

 

Man waving arms and woman taking photos

Things we do to make a baby smile

 

Family on couch with girl playing with baby

Over to City Boy Chris’ place for a curry

 

Kids and baby on sofa playing video games

Toys, toys…

 

Red Ferrari

…and more toys

 

Yesterday’s post: Sevenoaks Day

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Daily Pics: Sevenoaks Day

We are nearing the end of our stay in England and it feels like I haven’t even scratched the surface on all the things I had wanted to accomplish. So much for getting to the gym three times a week, putting together the yearly Shutterfly albums in my spare time (…what spare time?..), sending out personal Christmas cards (sorry everyone) and the list goes on and on. I always thought that being on sabbatical from work meant lots of time on my hands, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we fill time with the trivial to the sublime, and somehow it just expands like putty to take up any spare space. English Hubby keeps reminding me not to be too harsh a critic. I am working – as a mum – just not being paid it in the traditional sense, but rather in hugs and kisses. 

 

Baby in stroller at the gym

Attempting a gym session, but childcare is closed for the holidays

 

Baby sitting in white chair

So we go for a walk around town and stop at Marks and Spencer’s for a jam and cream scone instead

 

Pastries at a local market stall

Pastie and pork pie for lunch

 

Strolling through Sevenoaks lanes

Enjoying a stroll home

 

Wrapped Christmas present with tag

Time for Christmas present wrapping

 

Baby with woman at restaurant

Then off to Cote for dinner with friends

 

Baby playing with boy

Cuddles and spoons with Escargot Harry

 

Yesterday’s post: Family Tree

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Daily Pics: Family Tree

We had an early Christmas get together with the English Side of the family tree. Mah Mah has gone full out to make this a special day with goodies and treats galore for everyone. The only downside is that lurgies have reduced our numbers by four, and they are dearly missed. As usual with these events eyes are bigger than tummies, there’s always someone who falls asleep on the couch (!) and we managed to squeeze in a stroll to Knole to try to alleviate the guilt of that extra handful of cheese balls, half a dozen mini sausage rolls and one too many chocolate crackles. Eat. Drink. Be merry.

 

Man and baby in snowman outfit

Preparing the prize pony

 

Getting out the china

Getting out the china

 

Baby in snowman outfit

Rocking the snowman outfit 

 

Two ladies

Calm before the storm, Sunday best

 

Table laid out

Laying the table for lunch

 

Snacks in bowls

Putting out the snacks

 

Woman in kitchen cooking

Whirlwind of activity 

 

Roast beef being carved

Sunday roast with the most

 

People seated at dinner table

Digging in

 

Baby in high chair eating roast lunch

Getting in on the action

 

Boy and baby staring at each other

Sideshow Sam declared he doesn’t like babies…I’m not sure that’s entirely true

 

Profiteroles

Pudding madness

 

Boy with foam packaging and baby looking on

Family fun and uncontrollable giggles

 

Mum and son making faces

Waiting for the wind to change

 

Baby opening early Christmas present

Early Christmas present

 

Baby inside play tent

Awesome play tent…

 

Two adults trying to fold up play tent

…but how the hell does it fold up again?!

 

Boys playing on couch

Sugar high kicking in

 

Boys watching YouTube

YouTube fest and cups of tea

 

Woman cooking sausage rolls

Sausage roll heaven

 

Snacks laid out on the red table cloth

You won’t go hungry in this house!

 

Wedgie

The day would not be complete without a Christmas wedgie

 

Yesterday’s post: Prize Pony Continued

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Daily Pics: Prize Pony Continued

The prize pony tour continues, this time around the M25 where we catch up with English Hubby’s old friends. Fueled by jam and scones, and lots of chocolate biscuits, it is a veritable tour de force of people, places and brand new faces over the last couple of days. No rest for the wicked especially with the whole extended family descending tomorrow.  

 

Man and baby with laptop

Sneaking in a spot of work

 

Baby and grandpa sleeping

So very demanding

 

Baby being swung by daddy

Getting into the swing of things

 

Signs on the M25

Ring around the M25

 

Lunch and tea with friends

Lunching with Teacher A and Nurse C

 

Empty jam cream and scones

A spot of tea, jam, clotted cream and scones 

 

Baby on lap with dogs

Visiting Musical Hannah’s with four legged friends

 

Baby in beanbag looking very surprised

This is what it would be like to have sisters…

 

Baby surrounded by toys sitting in bean bag

…yep, just another play toy!

 

Yesterday’s post: Prize Pony

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Daily Pics: Prize Pony

Our little prize pony did so very well today. He had a lovely time meeting cousins not sure how many times removed, being the center of attention and so thoroughly spoilt with hugs and kisses. His personality is starting to emerge and giggles with it too. How much joy a little one brings. It’s lovely to know we were all once like that, and so very loved. 

 

Baby and man playing with toy octopus

You had me at pirate octopus with crinkly legs

 

Baby and man looking at a Christmas tree

So much to explore with Contract Malcolm

 

Baby being cuddled by man and woman

Loving his cuddles

 

Baby in daddy's arms

Daddy had to tear him away!

 

Chandelier in the hall

Photos under the Christmas tree in the hall

 

Pizza on a plate

Lunch and Christmas shopping in town

 

Ladies at Dartford road office

Aunty Ems turn to show off her nephew at Dartford Road

 

Yesterday’s post: Big Heart

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Daily Pics: Big Heart

The four of us grew up in the same household, yet our personalities and characteristics are so very different. With time management, organization, neatness and planning we are all at opposite ends of the spectrum. But underneath it all our values are similar. It may not always appear that way, as we each have different methods of communication, but it is comforting to know that we share memories, history and in things that cannot be defined by words. Thank for for reminding me Schoosching. 

 

Baby eating smokes salmon

Expensive taste

 

Baby eating purple bath duck

He likes duck too

 

Dad and baby on sofa

Daddy’s little boy

 

Packet of Kleenex tissues

Had enough of the sniffles. Thank you Mah Mah for these lovely soft tissues

 

Woman with robin Christmas cake

Who can resist?

 

Gingerbread man with his head broken off

Off with his head

 

Cupcake with Christmas tree frosting

How do you eat your cupcake?

 

Milk heart chocolates

Big hearts all round 

 

Sisters hugging farewell

So wonderful to be with my beautiful sister. See you soon

 

Yesterday’s post: A Hunka Hunka Burning Love

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Daily Pics: A Hunka Hunka Burning Love

Aunty Schoosching is getting the full Baby Boy O experience. Nothing spared. Morning food fest, baby Elvis dancing antics, story time at the library, afternoon grumps, bath time and bed time. I may need to check her bags before she leaves to ensure she hasn’t packed him up and stolen him. 

 

Baby in Elvis outfit

Who’s adorable?

 

Baby wearing baby outfit

Says it all!

 

Dancing Elvis baby

Tutti Frutti oh Rudy

 

Aunty and baby at story time

Such excitement! Or is that a yawn?

 

Baby looking at boxes of books

What a little bookworm

 

Baby sleeping in the stroller

Too much excitement

 

Fried calamari

Wagamama lunch

 

Baby feeding Aunty an oragami star

Feeding Aunty Schoosching an oragami star 

 

Baby and Aunty in bath

Having a good scrub down

 

Aunty getting baby ready for bed

Getting ready for bed time. Good night sweet Elvis

 

Yesterday’s post: 1000 Kisses Under the Mistletoe

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Daily Pics: 1000 Kisses Under the Mistletoe

Feeling completely zonked after a big day out in London with Baby Boy O and Schoosching. We ate our way through Borough Market and even participated in an attempt to break the world record for kissing under the mistletoe. We walked along the Thames in a historical join-the-dots, passing the site of the Globe Theatre, Millenium Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, seeing Tower Bridge, the OXO Tower, London Eye, Big Ben in the distance, Trafalgar Square and more. London was buzzing with energy. Such a wonderful day out with my kissable son and lovely sister, then came home to another delicious dinner and carol singers at the front door. Magic moments.  

 

Grandparents and baby looking at Christmas decorations

Morning surprise – tree all trimmed and decorations up

 

Baby grabbing at Christmas decoration

It didn’t take long!

 

Woman giving baby food at breakfast

Breakfast yum

 

Mum and baby with train tickets stuck to forehead

First train ride into London

 

The shard

The Shard at London Bridge tube station

 

Aunty carrying baby

Suiting up and getting warm

 

Camera crews at Borough market

Got to Borough Market just in time for a world record attempt

 

Looking up at Borough Market

Look up!

 

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

 

Mum kissing baby under mistletoe

Smooches for Baby Boy O

 

Man making Thai coconut pancakes

Worked up an appetite

 

Aunty and baby waiting for pad Thai

Smells so good, tastes even better

 

Steak pie and sweet potato fries

Next course, of course!

 

Hot chocolate in a cup with a heart

Getting out of the cold for a hot chocolate break 

 

Barrels of cheese

Stinky cheese shop

 

Fresh produce at borough market

One of the most beautiful fresh produce markets in the world

 

Boxes of red and green apples

Temptation 

 

Burger stand at borough market

Feast for the senses, spoilt for choice – Wangus for when you are hangry

 

Homemade fudge

Yummy, Yah Yah’s favorite

 

Sisters at borough market

Going crazy with #BoroughMarket1000 

 

Aunty and baby walking streets of London

Making our way across London in search of an Apple store

 

London street art

Street art

 

St Paul's Cathedral

The path to religion

 

Looking over the Thames at Tower Bridge

Crown jewels in the distance

 

London tube map

iPhone nearly out of juice. Using old school navigation

 

View of oxo tower from the Thames

Walking along the Thames

 

Walking along the Thames

Aunty Schoosching taking Baby Boy O for a dusk stroll

 

London eye and sphinx

An eye for a Sphinx

 

Trafalgar Square and double decker busses

Trafalgar Square and double decker busses. How picture perfect!

 

Apple pie

Welcomed home with a lovely hot meal and apple pie

 

Watching Christmas carolers

Finishing off the night with a musical ensemble by Christmas carolers

 

Yesterday’s post:

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Daily Pics: Visitor From Berlin

Last year Schoosching and Scoobes came to New York to Christmas with their very pregnant sister. This year we have the pleasure of seeing Schoosching in England for some very special Aunty bonding time. Family bonds flex and bend, but they can never be broken. Seeing my sister in her own skin, with her nephew, is just so beautiful. A precious gift. 

 

Baby in high chair eating watermelon

Building up his energy for a very special visitor

 

Aunty and baby meeting at the gym

Quick session at the gym where we bump into another Aunty!

 

Sevenoaks church

A walk through town to give the little one a nap

 

Woman with cupcakes

Spoilt for choice over lunch 

 

Baby and Aunty saying hello

He finally wakes to say hello to Aunty Schoosching 

 

Woman and baby with wooden spoon in mouth

Sharing a wooden spoon moment

 

Baby lying on woman sitting on couch

Who’s this person who looks like my mummy?

 

Woman carrying cute baby

Off for an afternoon walk into town

 

Baby standing in supermarket

Having fun in Tescos

 

Baby on checkout conveyor belt

Price check on aisle nine


Husband with beer

Grandparents babysitting whilst we chow down on curry

 

Man with beer

With Ruff Fred

 

Sister with beer

And Schoosching

 

Curry dishes on table

Superb meal at The Spice Club

 

Yesterday’s post: It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Daily Pics: It’s Starting To Feel A Bit Like Christmas

I read on a Facebook post a great piece of advice – before you speak ask yourself: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? A good little reminder when you’re sleep deprived with a crying baby at three in the morning. After a slow start to the day, we managed to swing into gear and slide into that familiar ‘lead up to Christmas’ feeling. Another lovely roast lunch, followed by hot footing back to Sevenoaks for carols. Made it by the skin of our teeth, and Baby Boy O didn’t fail to impress as the prize pony of the night. 

 

Baby with water bottle

Slow start to the day

 

Baby eating apple

Lunch time munchies

 

Toy lamb on bar

Is this wrong given our delicious lamb roast last night?

 

Two glasses of red wine

Don’t mind if I do…it’s past noon

 

Drawing by Isabelle

Thank you Sweet Isabelle

 

Letter from Isabelle

From a secret admirer 

 

Roast beef lunch

A rare roast. Feeling so very thankful

 

Man and daughters

Doctor Dorling and girls doing a brilliant (and coincidental) Despicable Me impersonation

 

Despicable me

Look familiar? Minus the minions 

 

Double decker busses on Oxford street

Google map’s directions

 

Christmas decorations on bond street

Through the busy streets of London

 

London streets

At prime shopping time 

 

Nelson's column

Touring all the historical sights

 

Tower of London

By car…

 

Man driving in car

…as we hot foot it back to Sevenoaks

 

Hall with chairs for Christmas carols

Making it back in the nick of time for Christmas carols

 

Baby touching mayors necklace

Touching Mayoral bling

 

Baby listening to Christmas carols

Joining in with the sing-a-long

 

Baby playing with a wooden spoon

Playing his favorite instrument

 

Baby carried by dad at Christmas carols

Being a little social butterfly 

 

Baby in Christmas outfit

Who’s excited about Christmas?!

 

Yesterday’s post: London Friends

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Daily Pics: London Friends

Back to back to back visits from our lovely London friends. Aunty Nic has been a star hostess with the mostest, double dutching at The Grazing Goat, munching on sweet treats in the afternoon and cooking the most delicious lamb roast for dinner. Champagne, pate and red wine. Great company. Who could ask for more?

 

Baby on woman on sofa

Uncle John Fitz better watch out

 

Baby little girl and woman at cafe

Lunch with beautiful Princess A and Foodie Cindy

 

Coffee bottle and ball on a coffee table

How times have changed – hitting the bottle now has a different meaning

 

Baby and three women

Delicious lunch time catch up

 

People behind a cake country

Sweet treat with Snowboard Rob, Pretty Poppy and Sweet Honey

 

Baby sitting on girls lap with a ball

Loving the attention and cuddles

 

Pate cheese and champagne

Pre dinner decadence

 

Lamb roast

Aunty Nic’s yummy roast

 

Broccolini peas and sweet potato

Yum fest continues

 

Man at dining table

Very serious and intellectual discussion with Gooey

 

Man at dining table

Debating racial profiling with English Hubby

 

Woman at the dining table

And the Middle East crisis with Aunty Nic

 

Yesterday’s post: Have Wooden Spoon Will Travel

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Daily Pics: Have Wooden Spoon Will Travel

It’s true what they say about kids and their toys. Forget the expensive stuff. Bring on the wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and wooden spoons. Thankfully Aunty Ali had an abundance of spoons we could take with us on our walk along the Thames. We had a lovely day exploring the neighborhood, walking along little side streets and imagining how this part of London would have looked, felt and smelt (not great I suspect) a hundred years ago. One thing I love about London is that people take pride in preservation. From the grand buildings to the little delectable gastropubs, they are all refurbished so very tastefully. 

 

Baby in stroller with wooden spoon

Taking his wooden spoon out for a walk

 

The Thames river at low tide

So much history the Thames must have seen with every rise and fall of the tide

 

Red telephone box

Do these still work?

 

Grand gates of Kew Gardens

Grand gates of Kew Gardens

 

Baby on grey carpet with wooden spoon

Study of a wooden spoon in grey

 

Christmas craft project

Afternoon Christmas craft project

 

Woman and baby playing musical spoons

Musical spoons

 

Woman and baby playing with wooden spoons

Spoons gone wild

 

Dinner at the city barge

Out to dinner at The City Barge with Aunty Ali and Cousin Kim

 

Fat hot chips

Scrumptious food. It was a toss up between the aged steak and soft shell crab brioche

 

Foxs party rings

This country is marvelous!

 

Flaky pastry biscuits and cup of tea

An English nightcap

 

Yesterday’s post: British Food Fest

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Daily Pics: British Food Fest

England has changed in lots of different ways. According to English Hubby, everything has shrunk to a toy land size. Perhaps it is the stark difference between driving a 32 foot RV through Texas, the land of the big, then inching our way through the streets of London in a Honda Civic. One thing is for sure, the British sure can do a mean curry and a peshwari naan. 

 

Baby holding a bottle

Baby Boy O finally got the hang of drinking from a bottle

 

Baby in high chair eating watermelon

First course watermelon. Thank you Tesco for cut up finger fruit

 

Baby eating apricot in high chair

Second course squishy apricot

 

Baby with chocolate mouse on mouth

Dessert course is chocolate mouse

 

Baby in diaper

Next comes the hose down

 

Woman with baby sitting on couch

Then off to Aunty Ali’s and dinner with Daniel-San

 

Yesterday’s post: Friendship

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Daily Pics: Friendship

Aunty Nic came to visit today and have a good olde catch up. Little did she know she would be subjected to a riveting story time at the library and lunch at Pizza Express. Just like old days meeting up in London and grabbing dinner at the tried and trusted. There was a recent news article that talked about a friendship study which found that if people were friends for over seven years, they would likely be friends for the rest of their lives. We firmly qualify. 

 

Woman crossing street with coffee

Making the trek up from London

 

Woman holding baby eating paper

Devouring story time at the library

 

Baby with woman in cafe

Playing with Aunty Tall Chris’ lips and blonde hair

 

Deer in knole park

Afternoon walk in Knole Park with the deer

 

Yesterday’s post: English Roast

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Daily Pics: English Roast

Off to Colchester to see Great Aunt S + Great Uncle B for a traditional English Roast lunch with all the trimmings. On a chilly day there’s nothing more satisfying. For English Hubby it was satisfying to finally finish his fantasy saga, a quarter of a century later. 

 

Baby reading books in bed

Reading just like daddy

 

Baby asleep on dad

So tiring being a baby!

 

Baby with silver spoon and grandparents

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth

 

Baby with great aunt

Cuddles with Great Aunt S

 

English roast

English roast 

 

English roast on plate

Piled up high

 

Baby boy o eating roast

Please sir, can I have some more?

 

Great aunt and uncle with baby

More cuddles and tickles after lunch, and of course a spoon in hand

 

English hubby with fantasy book

Finally a quarter of a century later the saga is complete

 

Yesterday’s post: Bend and Stretch

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Daily Pics: Bend and Stretch

The little one has regained his appetite after yesterday’s fever. This morning was a messy face stuffing session. It’s been a few days of people and places, and today is a welcome slow down. With a walk into town, meditation in the garden, gym session and coffee. It feels nice to bend, stretch and breathe. 

Baby in high chair stuffing his face

How much can I fit into my mouth at the same time?

 

Sun rising over house

Sunny meditation

 

Baby in hat rugged up

Feeling much better today

 

Decaf coffee

Delicious decaf

 

Baby with grandpa on couch

Just hanging with Yah Yah

 

Yesterday’s post: Sunday Fever

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Daily Pics: Sunday Fever

Sunday lunch quickly turned into Sunday fever. Nothing makes you feel more helpless than a sick baby. A little sweaty ball of fire, he was burning up, needed cuddles more than ever and just not his chirpy self. Whimpering little cries just break my heart. Thankful to have remembered to pack the baby Panadol. 

 

Baby with cold towel on head

Cold towels and mummy cuddles

 

Baby and Aunty

Sunday lunch cuddles with Aunty J

 

Yesterday’s post: Meeting Half Way

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Daily Pics: Meeting Half Way

We continue our tour with our little prized vegetable (as English hubby calls him), visiting friends and family from all over. This time over a lovely long lunch in Cambridge with the NeoNatal Dorling family and a surprise and wonderfully welcome drop in from the Lovely Anita. We gossiped until the sun set and drove home under a big round moon. 

 

Baby and grandma having serious chat

Having a very serious chat with Mah Mah

 

Sevenoaks church

A crisp morning walk into town

 

Baby in snow suit and wooly hat

Started off bundled up like this…

 

Baby in snow suit with wooly hat covering eyes

…and ended up like this

 

Baby with woman at restaurant

Cuddles with the Lovely Anita, and catching up on all the gossip

 

Two men in a restaurant

Not much has changed between old school friends, except the hair 

 

Baby and girl in restaurant

Cuddles with Sweet Fiona

 

Thai curry chips and coconut water

Coming home to thoughtful treats. Mah Mah is looking after us so well!

 

Yesterday’s post: Life

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Daily Pics: Life

It’s worth contemplating how you measure a life well lived. It’s not the material possessions accumulated, that often we hold so tightly to. Having things may make you more comfortable but not necessarily bring true and lasting happiness. Perhaps it is the connections made with family, friends and perfect strangers. The invisible ties that bond humanity together. From chance meetings with Roger Doger in the local pub, to life long relationships. Today we visited dear ones who are are exemplar of those bonds. Beacons who shine, for one day if we are lucky enough, we will each be walking these paths with grace.

 

Man and baby

A welcoming cuddle from Dear John

 

Visit to the nursing home

Our beautiful Tea Lady

 

Baby touching lady

 

Baby eating pate and crackers

Pate and crackers for lunch at the pub

 

Visit with great great aunt pat

Working his charm on Great Great Aunt Pat

 

Baby with camp Charlotte

The lovely Camp Charlotte – she would have kept him if she could!

 

Biscuits

Tea, cakes and biscuits

 

Smiling great great aunt

Always smiling, and so infectious

 

Yesterday’s post: Swimming and Bouncing

Tomorrow’s post: 

 

 

 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Daily Pics: Swimming and Bouncing

You know when you are a citizen of the world when you meet up with old friends from Canada, in England. Through the magic of Facebook Curly Sue and I realized that we would be a short number of miles from each other, which called for nothing less than an international play date at the local swimming pool, followed by a fish and chip (and mushy peas) pub lunch. 

 

Baby and lady

After being rescued from his first crèche session, we bump into Our Edna

 

Baby on pool change table

Hats off to the Sevenoaks Leisure Center for being so very baby and family friendly

 

Baby in stroller with toddler friends

Totally wiped after a swim in the toddler pool

 

Girl with ham and egg and chip lunch

Anyone for green ham and eggs?

 

Two babies in high chairs with snacks

Baby Boy J is wondering why his mum gave away his snacks

 

Two babies facing each other

Face off, David v Goliath

 

Stroller in between car seats

Why is everything so small in this country?!

 

Baby with Pom Pom ear hat

My little bear

 

Baby in a bouncer watched by grandparents

Trying out Aunt Susan and Uncle Bryan’s Christmas present

 

Baby in bouncer smiling

Bouncing fun

 

Yesterday’s post: Sevenoaks

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Daily Pics: Sevenoaks

Not too bad a night considering we’ve just crossed the Atlantic. Baby Boy O is being thoroughly spoilt with kisses and cuddles from Mah Mah and Yah Yah. Not to mention a whole new winter wardrobe, some of which our tiny little one will have to grow into, and a big bag of toys from Cape Town Harry. Most excited of all was Aunty Ems who could not wait to come over for lunch. We tried to surprise her at the Stag, but she was so excited that she left work early. Luckily we caught up with her down the lane. Unluckily she ended up in quarantine at home with shingles. 

Be by and grandma

Good morning Mah Mah

 

Baby in snow suit

Snug as a bug in a rug for our stroll around town 

 

Woman walking down Sevenoaks lane

Catching up with Aunty Ems

 

Baby with new toys

So many new toys…what to play with first?! Thanks for the loan Cape Town Harry

 

Yesterday’s post: Out With the Old, In With the New

Tomorrow’s post:

 

 

 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Dear American Airlines

Dear American Airlines,

I can only imagine that you get a lot of misplaced complaints, especially over the holiday season. I am sure you are trying your very best to be a great airline, but your reputation (or lack therof) precedes you. Rather than adding to the steaming hot pile of dissatisfaction, here are nine easy ways to make flying with you much more enjoyable:

One…Given your flight schedule is planned well in advance and most people like me would have booked and paid in full for our tickets, you are pretty much guaranteed we will show up with bags in hand. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to you when people turn up and expect a little assistance to check in. Perhaps during these times it may be a good idea to schedule more than two agents to deal with the plebs. These poor check in folks are the face of your company and bear the brunt of your poor resource scheduling. It is not their fault when they are unable to magically process a snaking long line of impatient customers who are worried that they are going to miss their flights, even though they have turned up three hours in advance. Your agents look a little burnt out. It really is a sad state of affairs when your own check in agents recommend we submit a complaint online to help them get more staff “because the company doesn’t bother listening to us”. [note, this letter fulfills my promise to do so]

Two…For a family of flyers (like us) who have to cart an infant car seat from one continent to the next, large plastic bags at baggage check can generate a surprisingly high level of goodwill. This is a common item provided by real airlines, sort of like water and pretzels. Yours is the first to suggest we just throw our infant car seat into the luggage hold without any protective covering. Obviously your damaged baggage insurance policy is rather generous and it is cheaper to compensate travelers for an important piece of kit like this, than to provide a cheap plastic trash bag as courtesy.

Three…As a business traveler I use to hate traveling on flights with babies on board. I admit I would roll my eyes heavenward when I saw some frustrated parent overloaded with diaper bags in one hand and an unhappy infant in the other. Then I became one of “those people” and an epiphany struck – passengers very naturally get annoyed with crying babies (no one likes to be stuck on an international flight with a wailing child), however babies cry more when their parents are stressed out, parents are stressed out because airlines like yours do very little to accommodate. So how about allowing parents with children to board first. Yes, first. Even before your First, Business, Premium and Priority status passengers. This may appear counterintuitive but there is sound, self serving logic to this. It avoids having your expensive fare paying customers getting bopped and bumped by parents like us as we shuffle apologetically past business men and women drinking pre take off champagne. Parents (and therefore kids) are less stressed, kids/babies pick up on the happy vibe and are less likely to fuss, elite customers can enjoy their beverage of choice without spillage and the balance of the force is returned to the universe.

Four…Once the plane has taken off, reaching a safe cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign has been switched off, it would be super helpful to have someone from your customer service team attach the baby bassinet immediately, before you start serving drinks. I promise it will only delay drink service for no more than 30 seconds, and allows the trolley to better roll down an unblocked aisle to deliver refreshments to thirsty passengers without having to navigate an infant, seat table, glass of water and unlatched bassinet frame in a weird cirque du soleil maneuver.

Five…Speaking of baby bassinet, you may want to add that to the list of things that your cleaners attend to, or even better provide a freshly laundered one like your peers at Cathay Pacific. As much as I appreciate your contribution to my son’s growing immune system, I didn’t think it was prudent to let him inhale leftover crumbs and what not from the last baby that used it or perhaps the last person that mistook it for a place to discard trash.

Six…At the risk of sounding like a precious mum, it would also be useful to have an infant seatbelt for my baby. I know my baby son is a bit of a freeloader and we only paid a 10% fare plus taxes for his privilege to sit on my lap. I would still like to think that you value my son’s well being as equally important as the other full fare paying passengers who must wear their seatbelt for safety reasons. Other grown up airlines provide infant seat belts for use during the flight. Although I periodically do strength training at the gym, your sagely advice to “have him on your lap and hold onto him tightly for takeoff” will only go so far. If we were to encounter difficulties during our ascent I doubt my heroic efforts to prevent him from smacking into the bulkhead wall would hold up to much at 130 – 150mph, let alone rough turbulence whilst we are airborn. Just in case you need to convince the bean counters in your organization to approve a requisition order, you may want to think of it this way – if my son remains safe on your flights, he will grow up to be nice and healthy, and one day he will be a grateful paying customer. There’s your return on investment.

Seven…My last baby related suggestion (I promise) is to adjust the design of your 1980’s style bassinets. The carpet blue and steel look can be enhanced by adding some sort of hood or covering. Before you dismiss this as a mother’s crazy rant, hear me out. Your bassinets sit right under that riveting display monitor that shows the flight path, time to destination, outside air temperature and all manner of very useful information. This is illuminated throughout the entire flight. It means the poor little soul who is placed in the bassinet has to fight really hard to get to sleep. I’m sure you would also struggle to snooze if your bed was placed under all the shining lights on the Vegas strip. Remember point number three? That virtuous circle of happy baby, happy parents, happy passengers applies equally here too.

 

American Airlines baby bassinet

Sleep stealer

 

Eight…As stewards of industry and proud representatives of the all-things-American brand, you may want to relook at your dining choices. Two types of sloppy cheese or cream covered pasta for dinner? A breakfast snack box totalling almost 600 empty calories which includes an orange muffin thing that has sugar listed first and an ingredients list that reads like it was concocted in a science lab? Really? Perhaps you’ve heard of the obesity epidemic? How about helping to turn the tide by offering real food and fresh fruit. We would really appreciate it and you could eventually make more money as we would remain trim and you could squeeze more passengers into economy by further reducing the seat width and shortening leg space.

 

American Airlines breakfast

Sugar high 

 

Nine…Treat your employees nicer. As much as we love overhearing closed curtain galley gossip about the most recent thing “the company” has done and how “corporate” is evil, it really doesn’t reflect well. You employ many kind, smart people who not only get us safely from one destination to the next, but they are also your ambassadors. How they feel about your company ultimately determines how we feel about buying services from you. Please don’t go down the crazy ‘we need more customer service training’ route – that is just a reeducation camp in diguise – you may want to look at simple yet important things like respect and values and perhaps your own staff would not be lobbying customers like me to write letters like this (and we come full circle back to point number one).

Thank you for listening.

Me.

 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Daily Pics: Out With the Old, In With the New

We survived Baby Boy O’s first trans Atlantic flight. He was a superstar sleeper, in spite of the bright cabin lights that American Airlines liked to imbue upon him. Dear Yah Yah was waiting for his precious cargo at Heathrow. We have learnt that it is best to de-plane last to avoid the mad rush. That being said, we did manage to leave one item of luggage unclaimed at the baggage carousel, only discovering that it was missing when we went to look for Baby Boy O’s toys. 

There was much excitement back at Sevenoaks. A grandson for the Christmas holidays is what Santa delivered. English Hubby however didn’t waste much time before he started his program of decluttering. Yah Yah’s collection of old canal boating magazines didn’t stand a chance. Shelves of old electronics were cleared, that being said relics like the old Spectrum computer have somehow become retro and valuable. 

Baby and grandad on couch with toy

Hanging out with Yah Yah

 

Lunch with family

Lunch spread at Sevenoaks

 

Baby eating cucumber

Cucumber fingers

 

Old programming book

English Hubby’s geek books

 

Tapes

You know you’re a child of the 80’s when…

 

Atari joystick

…you know what this is for

 

Atari games

Classic or junk?

 

Installation hard disks

Old skool days before the internet and cloud. These could make great coasters!

 

Yesterday’s post: Go!

Tomorrow’s link:

 

 

 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Daily Pics: Go!

Today’s our last day in the USA for the rest of the year. Off to London tonight, the first leg of our round the world expedition. Closing one chapter and opening another. Escaping the freezing weather. Thankfully we had our London clothes with us which helped shield us from the 40 degree drop in temperature.  Ready, set, go!

Baby in bothers

Started the day with a little swim in the hotel pool…still waking up after too many episodes of Master Chef Junior. Addicted and adoring Oona!

 

Mum and baby in a pool

Little dip in the pool

 

Baby and dad in the pool

Always time for thumb sucking

 

Family pool selfie

Family pool selfie

 

Baby floating in a pool

Just chillin’ out

 

Stroller bag

Pack and go! Love this stroller bag

 

Lunch at the cosmic cafe

Cosmic Cafe two days in a row. Yum!

 

Mail in car

Grand Prairie mail run, mobile banking from the car, picking up sunglasses from LensCrafters and buying a big pillow from Walmart. Done.

 

Baby in stroller with luggage

Someone’s excited!

 

Mum and baby in airplane

Somewhere above the Atlantic

American Airlines strikes again…

 

Yesterday’s post: Go!

Tomorrow post: