Saturday, 31 March 2012

Suspicions: Confirmed.

Have you ever wondered if in China, it's just called 'food', not 'Chinese food'?

It's totally true:

Mind = Blown.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

I am Winning at Single Mumming

I am not a fan of single parenting. I have actually said to Matthew that if he dies, I will remarry immediately, just to have another parent around. There's something about the countdown to when Daddy comes home that gets you through the days. And that sounds so negative - but even when the days are really great, they can still be s-o-o-o-o-o  long.

Except this week!

Matthew has been gone for four days, and I still feel like (a) a good Mum, and (b) a rational human being! Miracle?

The weather has been fantastic, and we have been at a playground at least once a day, but usually twice. It's been an outside kind of week. So much so that this is our conversation every day when Elizabeth wakes up in the morning, and right after her nap:

E: "Mummy!! Ummm, Daddy?"
G: "Daddy is in Finland, at work."
E: "Daddy inna plane?"
G: "Well, he's out of the plane now, he's in Finland."
E: "Daddy work?"
G: "Yes, Daddy works."
E: "Daddy typing, typing?" (does tiny little typing hands - yes, this is something I have taught her, and yes, I am proud of it)
G: "Yes, Daddy is typing and typing."
E: "Daddy science?"
G: "Yes, Daddy is doing science."
E: (pause) "Outside?"
G: "Yes, we can go outside."

The best game has been "chase" with her new boyfriend Cal. I think it is true love for these two. Elizabeth sees him from across the playground, and her whole face lights up. They run to each other, and do the typical toddler hug/fall down, followed by laughing and aggressive tickling of the chin and tummy. And then Elizabeth screams and runs away and Cal chases her - it's the greatest way to spend a morning. Followed by the greatest way to spend an afternoon: both of them throw down monster naps after a full morning in the sunshine, running and screaming and giggling. Today Cal's Granny came, and brought a bubble wand. Hello, heaven?

So it's now Thursday night - I've had four days and nights of single Mumming it. And guess what: I just got back from seeing a grown-up  play with a girlfriend. And then we had a drink afterwards. Boom! I am truly, winning at Single Mumming.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Being Cultural and Clever

When Susan was here visiting, we went to the Natural History Museum - I know, first the V & A, then another museum in the same week? We are practically cultural mavens here.

We got into London for about noon, and Elizabeth was starving, so we had a quick lunch after which she promptly fell fast asleep in her stroller. Awesome! We were able to walk about the museum and look at the stuff we actually wanted to see, without having to distract her while doing so (read: without having to chase her around the museum). Also, the stroller is excellent for carrying both babies and coats/bags/leftovers etc.

When she woke up, we were in this room:

And this is what Elizabeth looked like as she woke up:
And this is what she continued to look like for the remainder of the trip:

Needless to say: Natural History Museum is where it's at.

So the part about being clever is kind of lame, but I feel the need to share. I'm always whining on here about how hard it is to get to from our house to the Cambridge rail station, and how it's always the roughest part of any journey. This is because we are less than keen to get in a cab with Elizabeth without a carseat - and even less keen to carry a carseat around London all day. We had intended for Matthew to take Eliz to the station on the bike, but it was pouring with rain that day. So I clever-ed up, and phoned the hostel that is right beside the station, and they agreed to put our carseat in their luggage hold for only 5£!! I don't know why we haven't thought of that before!! :) This discovery might completely change my life. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

This Could Be You!

We are always stoked whenever someone comes to visit us - obviously, being away from friends and family makes us super excited to see anyone at anytime. And whenever people come down (or up, or over) to Cambridge, we really encourage them to rent a bike for their stay. It is such a great way to see the city, and really, biking is just more fun.

Ask our friend, Ryan. He came to Cambridge for just one day, and rode his rented bike around like a boss. He even bike-surfed.  Yes, he did it at the end of the night, after a few pints at the beer festival at our favourite pub. Yes, he did it both towards the camera, and away from the camera. And YES, I had had a few delicious pints as well, which explains the quality of these photos.

And no, bike-surfing is not really a real thing. And no, no one else in Cambridge does it. But they should.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Hills Are Alive With The Sounds of Skiing

We went to Germany last week for a mini holiday, with our friends Nikki & Alex, and their friend Serge (aka our new friend Serge). We went to a tiny village called Bad Hindelang, which is about 5 km to the left of Austria. Okay, to the west of Austria. Whatever. It is a beautiful place, with cute little alpine villages in the valleys of the mountains.

We stayed at an amazing B & B, Pension Hirschbach -and yes, everything looked exactly like their youtube video - the mountains, the hills, even the kitchen sink. It is across the street from the bus stop that takes you right to the chair lift. Sooooo awesome. So in the mornings, we'd wake up, eat a massive German breakfast (meat, bread, cheese, more meat, more bread, more cheese, eggs, strong coffee, a little more bread & meat, some nutella and then these little chocolate-covered marshmallows?), and then get on the bus for 15 minutes and be at the mountain. Ideal. Add to that the temperature on the hill was about 15°C, and you got yourself a great ski trip.

The first day, Matthew put Elizabeth in the baby carrier on his back. We went on a few easy runs, and at the end of each run, she would squeal, "More!! More!!! More!!!". Then we went on a few intermediate runs, and whenever he'd get some speed up, Elizabeth would hold on tighter to his back. But still, at the end of every run, we'd hear this excited voice: "More!! More!!" Then all of a sudden, no more "More!" - oh, she had fallen asleep.On his back. While he was skiing. In the German Alps. Fantastic! 

When she woke up, we spent a while making snowmen and playing with her Little People in the snow, and our great friends played with her so Matthew & I could have a couple runs on our own. They are too good to us. It was great to ski again - I always forget how much I enjoy it. My only complaint about the whole skiing experience was that there was only one chairlift, and all the other lifts were T-Bars and tow ropes. T-Bars??? The whole way up the mountain?? Your legs never get a chance to rest! I missed Sunshine and their millions of chairlifts (read: millions of opportunities to just sit there for a while). Oh and, there aren't any Lifties to scan your pass for the lifts. Instead, you have this RFID card to keep in your pocket, and you ski up to a turnstile, swing your hip up to a sensor and the turnstile lets you through to the lift. I missed the hungover Lifties.

Elizabeth liked the skiing so much that on the second day, we rented her a tiny set of skis and boots. We had no real expectation of her, but Matthew didn't want to keep her in the backpack all morning again. We took her over to Schnee Kinderland to have some fun. (PS Schnee = snow.) And did we ever have fun!!! She was a rockstar! Matthew & I took turns putting her on our shoulders and skiing down the hill, and when we asked if she wanted her own skis, she was all over it.

When we took her to Nakiska in December, she couldn't stand up on the skis by herself, but she was unbelievable this time!! Our biggest challenge was the fact that she's almost two, and therefore must do everything by herself. She quickly learned to walk on skis, and could walk onto the magic carpet lift up the bunny hill - amazing! Less amazing and more scary is that she kept trying to walk off the lift onto the hill by herself too. We heard a lot of "No Daddy! Issabet do it!!!" Without further ado, here she is, our ElizaSkiBunny:

After a couple hours of skiing on her own, and on our shoulders our great friends came and found us, and offered to swap out again. Here is how we found them after our run:
Hahahah!!! Nap time for everyone! I love that they made a little sunshade for Elizabeth!! 
It's not really surprising she was so tired - it is exhausting for me to walk in ski boots, just imagine how heavy her little legs must have felt! As for me, most times when I ski, I'm sore in the thighs and bottom regions. But this time, my arms and chest were sooooo sore the next day - probably because I had to figure out how to ski while holding a baby wearing ski boots on my shoulders. And I don't believe Matthew when he said his arms weren't sore - he spent two mornings going up the baby hill with a tow-rope in his one hand and a toddler in his other arm. And then at the end of the day, he'd carry three sets of skis and poles and boots back to the locker. He's a Ski Dad now. 

We are so proud of our little ski-hase!!!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Online Shopping: Fail Again!!

You'd think that after 14 months of living here, and doing a big online grocery shop every month or so, I'd be getting better at it.


Turns out I have a complete block when it comes to predicting what we will run out of in a day or two. It's like I cannot shop in advance for essentials - I am so good at stocking up on canned goods, toilet paper and diapers, but so bad at ordering the stuff we actually eat. And when you have a tiny under-the-counter fridge, you don't automatically just buy more of everything, because then you don't have space for it in the fridge.

So last week when I put my order in on Sunday evening, for a delivery Tuesday morning (Monday's slots were all booked), I forgot a lot of stuff. This much stuff:
Haha! Yep! Milk, bread, cheese, peanut butter - aka essentials - completely overlooked. It's pretty sad that I knew we were having friends over on Tuesday night, and I knew that I wanted to make a cauliflower and broccoli casserole... but I forgot to order cauliflower and broccoli.

And even sadder is that you can amend your order up to 10 pm the night before - so I had a full 24 hours to remember to order this extra stuff, and I still forgot. Oh Georgina.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

No Fashion?! How Disappointing.

Elizabeth, Susan and I went to the Victoria & Albert museum last week.  It is a lovely museum, and has a large fashion collection. (If you're going to go to a link, I suggest the second one - it is the link to all their fun collections & articles about clothes - but if you are a big link-follower, go nuts!) I was especially excited to see all the stuff they have by Mary Quant (the original miniskirt designer, and super mod fashion queen of swinging London in the '60s) like this awesome dress:
Which, by the way, I want to wear today.

So anyways. We get to the museum (aka bus-train-tube-walk there), and the entire fashion section was closed because they are having a ballgown exhibit in May. Are you kidding me??! And I have since checked their website - uh, there is no mention of the fashion section being closed in preparation for this exhibit. Thank goodness Elizabeth was asleep - I had to talk myself out of having a 'discussion' with one of the Information people about the uselessness of uninformative webpages, but I would have woken her up. Thank goodness - those 'discussions' never end well. At any rate, we had a wander, and Susan and I looked at some 19th century sculptures, and then some Islamic art, including some beautiful tapestries, and then some great sacred silver that was used in religious ceremonies, and then a shawl made of spider silk. I'm not joking - it's a shawl made from the silk from a million golden orb-weaver spiders from Madagascar.

Then we got to the jewellery room, and just as I was designing my own ring on this super fun touch screen computer thing, Elizabeth woke up. The room was dark, with the cabinets lit to showcase the bajillions of dollars worth of ancient & modern jewellery. So when Eliz woke up, she was appropriately freaked out. And then this old British dude (read: questionable dentistry) stuck his face in her stroller and said, "Cheee-er up, love!" which really didn't help her cheer up at all. Then she had a massive freak out, and we had to bust out of the quiet, quiet jewellery room while she had a good long wail.

We headed to the cafe, and had to share a table with three ladies. This turned out to be very entertaining, as one of the three ladies was late arriving, and before she got there, we got to hear the other two complain and gossip about her, and then act as if they were all chummy-chummy when she arrived. I loved it.

Elizabeth was much happier after lunch, and we did walk through one of the sculpture hallways, that led to the gardens. Elizabeth said this sculpture was "Daddy!!"

The "gardens" was actually a shallow pool, with three wide steps around the base, and three gradual-height fountains on either side. The cement darkened from the splash of the fountain bases, and I told Eliz that she wasn't allowed to step on the dark parts. This was very effective - but she is almost two, and is a very good boundary tester:
You can almost hear her thinking, "I'm not touching it, I'm not touching it."

Most of our time in the gardens was spent listening to Elizabeth yell, "Daddy Foun-tin! Mummy Foun-tin! Baby Foun-tin!" while pointing like mad, or listening to her yell, "Buuuurrrrdddyyyy!!" at the many, many pigeons. I guess lots of 'business people' come to the V & A on their lunch breaks, since the food is not bad, and they have the option of sitting outdoors in a quiet and serene garden by a pool. Too bad for them if they went last Wednesday...

The V & A is in South Kensington, along with the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall. It is a pretty swanky area, with streets that look like this:

And really rich people live and play here, and are allowed to park their Rolls Royces and Lexuses from Dubai wherever they want.

We did not take our Rolls Royce into London that day - instead we took the tube back to Kings Cross station, and our little girl is a tried & tested public transporter. I love her - our little Safety Kid, holding on tightly.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Paris a la Georgina vs Paris a la Matthew

While Susan (Matthew's Mum) was here, we had a weekend away (!) in Paris (!!) without Elizabeth (!!!) and had a lovely, lovely time. We went to Paris on our honeymoon, and since we had our 5th wedding anniversary and our 30th birthdays this year, we felt it was a good place to go and celebrate. Not to mention the close proximity of England and France - a fantastic perk of living in the UK.

It was a fantastic weekend, full of wandering, browsing, drinking wine, drinking coffee, eating pastry, eating fabulous food, and lots of laughing and chatting. We also indulged in that glorious post-walkabout-pre-dinner nap. I adore that nap - sort of around 5 pm, when you get back to your hotel after a long day of walking, and snooze for about half an hour. Siiiiiigh, that is easily the best part of a true holiday, and Elizabeth just doesn't get it yet. The actual best part of the trip though, was that we didn't go to any museums, or tours, or real sightseeing, since we had already been there!! It was so freeing and was truly relaxed.

But I digress. Matthew has a fantastic camera. I have a chuddy point & shoot, and a Blackberry with a very dirty lens, thanks to Elizabeth. So here is our trip to Paris, with a selection of his photos versus mine. I will let you figure out whose is whose.

We did have a truly lovely vacation, and here are two little snippets of hilarity for you. We forgot to bring toothpaste - I guess the giddyness of not having to pack for Elizabeth got the better of us. We bought some in the morning, but I felt gross without brushing my teeth, and so. . . I brushed them immediately. I felt so much better afterwards.

Lastly, Matthew has really manned up this past couple years. He's taken on a few serious challenges in his professional life, braved up and moved his family across the globe, and to top it all off, he's become a pretty fashion-savvy guy. He has got great style lately - including his first pair of man-boots, complete with leather sole and heel. It took him a while to learn how to walk with the heel, but it's all worth it when he comes to a moving-sidewalk at a steep incline. I give you, my 30 year old husband:

It was a truly wonderful weekend getaway to Paris. I can't say that sentence enough: weekend getaway in Paris.