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”

Comparing pregnancy experiences between London and New York

As my regular readers will know, I’m 38 weeks pregnant with our third baby, who will be born an American. Our two daughters, now aged 5 and 3, were both born in London. A lot of people have asked me how the experience compares between the cities. Continue reading “Comparing pregnancy experiences between London and New York”

Losing my rag over communal laundry

Had the embarrassment of being busted mid-temper tantrum in the communal laundry room by a neighbour early this morning. And it was *probably* (i.e. totally) her fault in the first place. But being English, I couldn’t bring myself to directly accuse her.

With Baby Number Three due in six weeks, my patience and inner calm has rapidly drained away, leaving me screeching, gesticulating and – in real extremes – sighing so heavily it ruffles paper. Continue reading “Losing my rag over communal laundry”

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”

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – new Discovery Garden for kids

The girls and I went to check out Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s newly expanded children’s Discovery Garden, which opened recently within the enormous Prospect Park (where T and I once got lost trying to find the zoo).

Meeting up with a school friend of Ts, we had a great time wandering through the gardens, letting the kids charge off at full speed with no concern for traffic or disturbing anyone. It was wonderful watching them let off steam like that, it can be hard to find somewhere open enough to let them really run here. Little B was determined to keep up, stumping along behind the four year olds in her clumpy wellies. Continue reading “Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – new Discovery Garden for kids”

22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York

 

There are many similarities between London and New York. There’s also a whole lot of differences. In no particular order, here are some really useful things to know before your own move to NYC:

  1. Tips. Everyone gets tipped here. Restaurants expect 18-22% for good service, taxi drivers like you to add a dollar, hairdressers, supermarket check out staff all like tips (not obligatory). Clothes shop staff work on commission, so don’t get tips. Schools may well ask you to contribute for staff and teacher tips at Christmas. Doormen, concierge and janitors in your building also bank on a generous tip at Christmas. There’s a sliding scale for how much you give each person in your building, factoring in how long you’ve lived there, how much help each one gives you throughout the year, and how fond you are of them. It’s not unusual for a friendly Manhattan apartment doorman or concierge to get $100 tip at Christmas.
    Continue reading “22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York”

The Sound of Melting Snow

Swapping balaclavas for sunglasses
Swapping balaclavas for sunglasses

Literally over night, Winter has finally shoved off and given way to Spring. Continue reading “The Sound of Melting Snow”

Meeting Egyptian Mummies at the Met

It’s “Mid-winter break” this week – that’s half term to the rest of us – and T is off school. So yesterday we planned a ‘specially day’ to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue with one of her school friends.

T’s now old enough to handle a day out without the pushchair, as long as there’s not too much walking (always a risk in Manhattan). The subway is a breeze with one child on foot, and we reached 86th Street station without mishap. A quick five minute walk down Museum Mile along the edge of Central Park, and we met our friends at the museum.

 

The beautiful steps of the Met
The beautiful steps of the Met

Continue reading “Meeting Egyptian Mummies at the Met”

Snowstorm Juno

Today is Snowstorm Juno, our first official snow day here. Although I must say, New York shuts down in a v methodical way, none of the grinding-to-a-startled-halt you get when it snows in London.

We had heard about Snowstorm Juno on the news, but frankly the American media is so sensationalised, we didn’t really pay much attention until we got text alerts from the girls’ school and day care warning that all kids must be collected by 3pm and to prepare for no schools the next day (today). Then a rather startling text with a siren ring tone from New York City itself (seriously) saying all vehicles must be off the road by 11pm whilst the snow ploughs get to work. Just tried to find that message and it’s gone from my phone. Sinister, do they have a list of every New Yorker’s cell phones??
Continue reading “Snowstorm Juno”

Exploring Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Schools were closed for Martin Luthor King Day on Monday, so took the opportunity to tick off another Bucket List item – Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Had an unusually smooth ride to Brooklyn on the subway, somebody offered to help carry the pushchair at every single staircase (and there are a lot), and managed not to get lost once. Good job. Have found the secret is to write down in advance exactly which line you want and its final destination, since once you’re on the platform there are no maps or lists of stops. Oh for the London Underground signage system…

The museum is easy to spot as you walk from Kingston Avenue subway station, tiled in the brightest yellow, with crimson walls. Entry tickets cost $9, babies under 1 go free, and the pushchairs can be stowed away for free too, so it’s a pretty economical day out by New York standards.
Continue reading “Exploring Brooklyn Children’s Museum”