Governors Island – fab family day trip

Summer is here, schools are out, cue anxiety about how to occupy the kids for 12 weeks. Governors Island is a fantastic place to escape the sirens, traffic and scalding hot, smelly sidewalks of Manhattan, and charge about on huge stretches of open grass.

Just 800 yards from Manhattan (we can actually see it from our window), Governors Island feels like a totally different world with its 172 acres of grass, playgrounds, cafes and eerily empty, decaying buildings. Continue reading “Governors Island – fab family day trip”

What I’ve learnt, one month in as a family of five

Baby J is now one month old, which feels both quick and extraordinarily slow, considering I have been awake for almost all of that time.

Adjusting to life as a family of five has been an eye opener. You have to think through the logistics of the entire day ahead and who will be picking up which child when (T & B are at different schools), and meal times. Endless, endless meal times. Continue reading “What I’ve learnt, one month in as a family of five”

Giving birth: London vs New York

Well, Baby J arrived two weeks early, the very day after I posted a comparison of pregnancy experiences between New York and the UK, so it seems only fitting that I write a follow up piece comparing the births (my two eldest were both born in London in the local NHS hospital). Continue reading “Giving birth: London vs New York”

Exploring the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the latest in Operation Explore New York. Located in the Upper West Side, it’s a good choice for young kids with short attention spans.

Together with T’s school friend L, we headed first to the new ‘America to Zanzibar, Muslim Clutures Near and Far’ exhibition. T and L made a bee-line for a two-story dhow boat exhibit complete with a fun contraption to haul goods up and down. There were also exotic fruit and spice markets which the kids could examine and sniff. L’s mom and I were drawn to the Turkish tile puzzles. You know, the ones with a square missing and you have to slide the pieces around to recreate the original picture. Loved those as a kid. Continue reading “Exploring the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)”

Starting a new Christmas tradition

Sorry about the radio silence. I epically ran out of blogging steam in the run up to Christmas, and then used the excuse of toddler jetlag to avoid writing. It’s now well into January so I can procrastinate no longer. **sound of sleeves rolling up and a big gulp of tea, brief pause to google ‘what is the opposite of procrastinate’?**.

We flew back to England for Christmas, and had a fab time catching up with friends and family. We tried something new this year – staggered presents. Last year we packed up the lot and carted them to Devon via London, and then all the way back to New York again. This year we decided to exchange our own immediate family’s gifts a couple of weeks early in Manhattan, and then for the girls to open one or two a day (as and when friends gave them something, providing their behaviour had deserved it) throughout our trip.
Continue reading “Starting a new Christmas tradition”

Piecing together some time for myself

Drum roll please, I’ve finally finished T’s quilt. For all you non-quilters out there, this is not a small thing. This is a really big thing. It’s taken over two months of snatching time away that really ought to be spent on useful things like emptying the dishwasher, checking the credit card statement, tidying up toys and cooking supper… Even this blog has taken second place.

Instead, I’ve been hurrying home from the school run, putting BBC Radio 4 podcasts on (got to keep up with Woman’s Hour and The Archers), and sewing. It’s been heaven.
Continue reading “Piecing together some time for myself”

How British expats cure homesickness in New York

My homesickness  – when I get it – manifests itself in two ways. Family and food. Sometimes one or the other, but usually both. C’s mother is staying with us at the moment, the extra pair of hands with the kids is so appreciated after all these months out here just the four of us.

Yesterday I took advantage of the childcare during Spring Break (that’s Easter holidays to us Brits), and nipped out for an afternoon’s English nostalgia with my v. pregnant friend from University and fellow New Yorker, H.

We met at my old favourite, Tea & Sympathy, and gloated over the menu. Welsh Rarebit with bacon and baked beans. Bangers and mash made with actual, real English sausages. (Have to agree with T; American sausages do taste weird). A pot of leaf Earl Grey tea and a sticky toffee and pudding with custard later, my craving for English food was sated. I’ve blogged before about this cafe, and can’t recommend it enough, with the one caveat that it’s not big enough to handle small children. Once they’re old enough to appreciate a full English afternoon tea, then you’d be able to enjoy it with kids.
Continue reading “How British expats cure homesickness in New York”

Skating in a winter wonderland

There’s something so iconic about ice skating in New York. It feels like you’re in a film.

Some old friends flew out from London last week, and gave us a great excuse to hit the classic tourist spots. See the Rockafeller Center Christmas tree? Tick. Admire the 5th Avenue window displays? Tick. Go ice skating in Central Park? Tick.  Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island? Tick. Go out for a bit of live music at Cafe Wha in Greenwich Village? Tick tick tick. It felt v gratifying to be the local rather than the tourist, and made me realise how much of the city I’ve explored and am now a part of.
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Exploring Ellis Island

Apologies for the unusually long silence since the last post. Realised it had got out of hand when a friend emailed to check everything was OK. No cause for alarm, folks, just the combination of a busy Thanksgiving, buying and wrapping Christmas presents, and last but not least, taking on the extra challenge of making B a quilt for Christmas. It’s coming along pretty well, actually; have been reading up on quilting blogs for all the different stages involved (sooooooo much preparation), and it’s nearly finished. When it’s done, I’ll upload some photos as have so enjoyed the project. But it has sucked up all the time usually spent on this blog….

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Continue reading “Exploring Ellis Island”