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Europe | No Place Like Travel
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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Daily Pics: Sunday Roast

Spoilt rotten today with beautiful weather and a delicious day with the family. English Hubby was is sports heaven – tennis, Grand Prix and rugby. Baby Boy O was in food heaven, hoovering up Sunday lamb roast and walking for food. I was in a happy place too, surrounded by all my very favorite people, soaking it up before having to leave for a week.


Little minion is addicted to bananas


And anything that daddy eats!


Autumn is nigh


Reading with Mah Mah


Picking up all the goodies


Climbing into daddy's chair


Sunday roast lamb with mint sauce


Finishing before we even start


My plate


Baby Boy O's plate


So hungry he's eating the spoon


Showing off his cooking skills




On return from Henley


Home for the next four nights


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Daily Pics: Hello England

Given the little one was so very tired and so very thrown off schedule, he was a good as could be expected on the flight. Lady Luck was on our side. We moved from bulkhead seats to a three seater row, long enough for Baby Boy O to stretch across and catch some shut eye. Mummy on the other hand dozed fitfully, worried her little dumpling would roll off the seat and onto the floor. Note to self: need to buy another seat for upcoming trip to Australia!

Our little traveler adjusted beautifully. Nothing like sunshine and a walk to the playground to reset the circadian rhythm. He was having fun with Mah Mah and Yah Yah who broke out all the old toys to his delight. I get the sense that someone is going to get spoilt rotten over the next week. Grandparent's prerogative!


Safety is his first priority


Plane plane


Hello England


Hello Yah Yah!


Recycle...daddy's toys


Playing with Yah Yah


Off to the playground


Monkey has seen better days


Leaf with a view


Daddy's playground




Friday, 18 September 2015

Daily Pics: Grandparent’s Day

A year ago we were off to Vancouver to see Gong Gong and Poh Poh for the very first time. Today we make the journey in the opposite direction to London to see Mah Mah and Yah Yah. We thought we had travel arrangements licked with a cunning plan to travel at 5pm, reaching the airport and getting through security by 6.30pm at which time Baby Boy O would sweetly fall asleep allowing us to have a bite to eat before we boarded our aircraft for a 9.30pm departure. The reality was hitting rush hour traffic, getting stuck in the security lines without a family fast lane, then having our flight delayed until 12.30am. The annoying combination of bright fluorescent lights, constant announcements over the speakers and an over tired toddler was a lesson in patience and gratitude. English Hubby kindly reminded us that our slightly diverted travel plans is nothing compared to what the Syrian refugees are going through right now. Keeping it all in perspective.

Baby boy o eating Chinese food

Getting his fill of cheap Chinese


Family selfie

The three of us


Baby boy o in new car seat

Big boy car seat


Baby boy o holding on to pole

Pole dancer


Baby boy o pushing trolley with luggage

Pushing with all his might


Baby boy o pushing luggage

Giving daddy a hand


Baby boy o sleeping on daddy

Sleep attempt #5


Swaddled over dads head

Sleep attempt #9


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



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



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!



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!





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



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:




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:




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!



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.



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



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:




Thursday, 16 October 2014

Daily Pics: Around The World In 91 Days

Airline tickets are now booked. In December we will depart on the next leg of our nomadic lives, with stops in London, Singapore, Bali, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and back to Dallas to resume our road trip. 91 days hopping countries, and continents via plane. Lugging baggage and adjusting to time zones with a little one in tow. All I can say is thank goodness for our brilliant travel agent who helped us through a monumental booking exercise – juggling a multi-city gig, making flight times as reasonable as possible and planning with precision to avoid rush hour traffic en route. As John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team genre use to say, I love it when a plan comes together. 

Really looking forward to quality time with family and friends all round the world. 

  • Thanksgiving in Dallas: ~24 Nov to 1 Dec
  • Christmas in London: 1 Dec to 27 Dec
  • Years’ end in Singapore: 28 Dec to 31 Dec
  • Wedding in Bali: 31 Dec to 7 Jan
  • Sun n Surf in Sydney: 7 Jan to 13 Jan
  • Chinese New Year in Melbourne: 13 Jan to 23 Feb
  • Hanging out in Hong Kong: 23 Feb to 28 Feb
  • Lounging around Los Angeles: 28 Feb to 2 Mar
  • Returning to the RV in Dallas: 2 Mar onwards, heading east

Planing frenzy: Tickets – check. Travel insurance – check. Request for bulk head bassinet seats – in progress. Visas – to do…

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Pub lunch at the White Rock Inn

England has a cosy place in my heart, and nothing is quintessentially more English than an afternoon pub lunch. Piling into the car with the in laws we headed off into the countryside of Kent. We meandered down a small country lane, passing an old stone church where the groom was standing in the doorway awaiting his bride, and pulled up to The White Rock Inn.
Old English pub with road running past

Kentish pub – The White Rock Inn

There’s a familiar ring to an English pub. Low ceilings, straight benched bar stocked to the rafters, beer glasses within reach and the polite hum of conversation and every now and then a crescendo of deep jolly laughter.
Fully stocked English bar

Afternoon pint or three…

Table at the pub with place settings

Ready for lunch

All the favorites were on the menu. There’s an unflappable national obsession with prawn cocktail with Rosé Marie sauce, the obligatory lamb roast usually features on the menu and a selection of spud inspired side dishes spanning chips, mash, baked or otherwise.
Fork and spoon on a board

Getting ready for s gastronomic delight

The lamb roast with brandy infused sauce could not be refused, followed by a spotted dick for pudding. Just the name itself…Who can resist?!
Menu with desserts

Anyone for a spotted dick?!

No afternoon pub lunch would be complete without a sprinkle of rain. Nevertheless overcast skies only add to the cosiness of a full belly and warm pub.
Small shed with organic egg sign

Fresh from farm to table

Ivy growing on brick wall

Fresh after a sun shower

Country road with green farmland and road sign

Country lane in Kent

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Mistaken Identity of a Fritatta

Another gorgeous afternoon in New York City.  Especially on a day like this, food should match the sunshine.

In my mind’s eye, there is a simple equation: sunshine + blue skies + light breeze = fritatta for lunch.  I’ve always pictured beautiful people in Spain sitting outdoors, drinking cava and devouring delicious fritattas.  They are all bronzed to perfection, without a care in the world.  Fritatta = magical faraway land of long lunches, followed by serious siestas.

But alas! My fritatta friend is an impostor.  As I’ve only found out today, he is in fact Italian.  It is his close cousin, the tortilla, that actually hails from Spain.

Fritatta cooking in a pan

Fritatta del Giorno


What separates the two I hear you ask?  Apparently it is the egg factor and the use of an oven.  The fritatta is dominated by the egg mixture, whereas it is only used lightly to bind the vegetables in a tortilla.  Both are cooked in a pan, but the fritatta is then slotted into the oven to finish.

Technicalities aside, a fritatta is such an easy and delightful sunny day lunch.

Fritatta on a plate with arugula and toasted almonds

Italian fritatta with arugula and lightly toasted almonds


As I savor the taste, I can’t help but notice that all roads seem to lead back to Rome.  Perhaps someday soon I’ll stop procrastinating and finally write about last week’s trip to Italy.

In the meantime, boun appetito!


Fritatta del Giorno (read: add in whatever is left in the fridge from last night!)

  • 1/2 cup of onions
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of quarter inch thick sliced potatoes
  • 1 cup of diced veges. Red peppers, corgettes, eggplant or similar seem to work well.
  • 4 organic cage free eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of creamed corn (Ah huh! A magic ingredient that keeps it from falling apart)
  • Dashes of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated grana pardano stravecchio or parmesan cheese

In a small skillet on medium low heat, cook the onions and potato slices in a tablespoon of oil for 5 minutes.  Add the remaining vegetables and cook until they soften, but are not fully done.  Remove the filling from the skillet and set the filling aside.  Wipe the skillet clean, add the remaining olive oil and heat on the stove top.  Preheat the grill on low.

Beat the eggs in a bowl, and add the creamed corn.  Season with salt and pepper.  Once the skillet is hot, pour the egg mixture into the pan.  It should bubble around the sides.  Let it cook for 1 – 2 minutes, then add the vegetable filling directly into the pan.  Let it keep cooking on medium high heat until the edges start to firm up, and the center is still a little floppy.

Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the fritatta, then place the skillet under the grill.  This should firm up the center of the fritatta, and also melt the grana cheese, making a delicious slightly saltier top.  Keep watch, and when the egg mixture looks solid on top but still jiggles a little when you shake the pan, remove from the broiler.  Removing at this point and letting it stand for 5 minutes will allow the fritatta to keep cooking to perfection.

Break out some cava, prosecco or what ever takes your fancy and enjoy!

Serves 2 – 3.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Tuscan Goddess

Here she is.  Let me introduce to the world…Eve.  She arrived May 25, 2011, early evening.  Perfectly formed, all shiny and new.

Marcato Atlas 150 Pasta Maker

Eve, the pasta goddess

A delicious reminder of last week – under the Tuscan sun, where we learned to turn glorious eggs, 00 flour and water into golden pasta.

Ah, Eve – she who offers up temptation.

A souvenir that will just keep on giving.  Admittedly, said pasta maker was ordered on online to save having to lug 8lbs of shiny love home on American Airlines.

Speaking of 8lbs, if the snug fit of my skirts are anything to go by, resistance seems to be futile in Italy.  Tuscans are all true blooded foodies and locavores by birth.  Farm fresh isn’t a marketing slogan in that part of the world.  Of course it’s farm fresh.  There’s no need to assume or advertise otherwise! Who wouldn’t fall in love with a region where good food is taken seriously, to the extent that restaurants can be shut down for days, just on the back of a complaint?

Mental note to oneself: before turning out the first batch of carb filled goodness, I must remember to roll slices of bread through Eve to absorb leftover grease and oil from the lovely Italians who put this ingenious contraption together.

Is it strange to feel such adoration for a shiny inanimate object?