Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Living Room (In Progress!)

Here are a few shots of our living room. We are still not completely unpacked and organized yet, so I am reluctant to shoot the rest of the house. The living room is in decent order though. Given that it is less than three weeks since our things arrived and given that most of the unpacking is done when Charlotte doesn't need our attention, we're pretty happy with our progress. We still have a few items left to purchase, but the place is well on its way to being a comfortable home for us. Here is a little tour of how things are looking:

We will eventually get a desk to go in the back left corner behind the couch (see the arrow?). We have also ordered a beautiful blue chair to go where the computer currently lives (see the other arrow?).

Here is our chair. It won't arrive for another five weeks or so, but we're hoping it will be worth the wait!

This is our makeshift computer area until we find a desk. This area will eventually be home to the blue chair.

To the right of the makeshift computer area is a great big bookcase. We still need to find homes for all the items currently living on the top of the bookcase and we need to purchase some storage baskets for that middle row of shelves.

I was happy to get most of our books and knick-knacks displayed on the top two rows of squares. Here is a closeup of a couple of the squares:

We still need to find a good way to hang the super heavy framed picture you see below. We're hoping it will be up soon!

This is our sweet little backyard. We'd love to get a cute little dining set for out there, but it is pretty low on our list at this point. Charlotte spends a lot of time gazing out the windows and we love having our own private outdoor space to relax in. We have so many windows that it feels like it is part of the living room!

So there you are. There is still a lot to be done, but we're happy with the progress so far.

Monday, 30 May 2011

A good choice

The three of us celebrated a minor milestone yesterday as it was two months since we moved to London. We enjoyed spending a few moments thinking back to those last few hectic days in Washington:

bidding farewell to our lovingly renovated home,

our well-used car,

and our dear companions Milton and Cowboy;

saying good-bye-for-nows to great friends;

and saying to one another countless times, "can you believe we're moving to London in three days (two days, tomorrow, today)?"

And we recalled how we felt sitting at Dulles, our half-dozen-plus bags checked, waiting for our flight to depart. It felt a bit like we were going on vacation, but it was made surreal by the knowledge that we weren't coming back. I think I said something like,
"It feels like we're moving to Jamaica, but permanently."
To which Bethie replied, "no, it doesn't."
"But you know, I mean because we're going somewhere we would ordinarily consider a vacation destination, but we're just staying there."
"Well, and the weather's the same. Beaches, too. And everyone calls you 'mon.'"
"Right, OK."
We felt liberated--a bit like it was the last day of school--but in hindsight it would have been more reasonable to be scared out of our minds. But we weren't.

And we still aren't, two months on.

As we hope is clear from these pages, we're having a marvelous time.

And the best part is that it feels like home, not vacation. Sure, we have more people to meet and more days to pass before London doesn't feel like a new place, and we miss our friends back in DC, but London already feels comfortable.

And sometimes on those occasions when we talk about where we might buy a flat someday or where Charlotte could go to school, we smile at the possibility that moving here was a very good choice.

Friday, 27 May 2011

And the winner is . . .

There were so many great submissions for our caption contest! It was hard work, but we narrowed it down to three:

  1. "...Early Roman baby butt-wipers are very rare on the continent yet it seems that nearly every English village has a working example -which may explain the typical Briton"s weakness for potty humor..!" -Anonymous

  2. "Ponce De Leon Vindicated: American Couple Discover Fountain of Youth" -Molly

  3. "Lady Cuthbert's 17th century statue of the Great Baby of Sandringham, praised for its realism, regained its burnish after recent revitalization." -David/Anna

The first was an anonymous entry that no one stepped up to claim, so we took it out of the running. Then we flipped a coin between the remaining entries. And the winner is . . .


Here is the official product:

Congrats Moo. Thanks for making some sense out of that bizarre picture.

Now let's get to the good part: the chocolate.

Molly will be receiving five English chocolate candies. Here is a description of each one:

Starbar: "a chewy cosmos of peanuts & caramel"

Maltesers: "chocolates with crisp, light honeycombed centre"

Double Decker: "Cadbury milk chocolate with a soft, chewy nougat top & crunchy cereal bottom"

Crunchie: "milk chocolate with golden honeycombed centre"

Yorkie: "it's not for girls"

Yes, that really is the description:

Looks like she'll have to give that one to her husband.

Thank you all for your hysterical submissions; you all had me laughing out loud! And don't despair, I promise we'll do another chocolate contest in the future. :)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Happy Five Months, Charlie!

How time flies. In some ways it feels like Our Little Loveday just arrived, and in some ways it feels like she's always been a part of our lives. Yet, it was only five short months ago that we were anxiously awaiting her arrival in far away Maryland.

Here is what Charlie is up to these days:

-She is mostly sleeping through the night, but still wakes up every now and then in need of some comfort, her dummy (that's what they call a pacifier here) and sometimes in need of a snack.

-She gets up for the day as early as 4:30 (ack!) but sometimes surprises us and sleeps until 7:00.

-She loves to be tickled.

-She still shows no interest in eating solid foods (although we're already looking into making our own baby rice cereal and other beginner foods!).

-She is an extremely easy going and happy baby. She'll smile at anyone and will let anyone hold her.

-Her hair is coming in a bit more. She has one particularly long hair in the back that is ahead of the game.

-She now cuddles her pink Snuggle Bear at nap time. It is unbelievably cute. (FYI, I first wrote "unbearably cute" and then deleted it. You're welcome.)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

SHE (finally) ROLLED OVER!!

Charlotte and I were enjoying our morning ritual of earl gray, Wheatabix, and BBC channel 1 when, out of nowhere, she rolled over! She was happily playing on her playmat (thanks Aunt Annie!) and rolled from her back to her stomach. I hopped up off the couch and ran over to her and made a huge fuss. She got so excited that she rolled back over before I could get a picture!

Jason and I are happy that she has finally reached her first mobility milestone. Even though she was a bit behind on this one (many babies first roll over as early as two months) we're not fazed. She'll probably be walking before we know it!

Since I failed to get a picture of the big roll, here is a picture of Charlie enjoying some tummy time a few weeks ago:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Caption Contest (with a chocolate prize!)

Jason, Charlotte, and I had a lovely time visiting our friends Naina and Josh in Wimbledon last weekend (yes, that Wimbledon). We got to see their new digs and then went for lunch and a stroll up to the Wimbledon Common to tour some lovely gardens nearby. Down a secluded path we came upon a strange font in the middle of a garden. So of course we had to do this:

The sad fact is that this is our first family photo since we got this one while visiting my family in The Vern not even two months after Charlotte was born:

Regardless, I've been trying to come up with a good caption (New Yorker style) for the bizarro-font-photo but I'm drawing a blank. Any ideas?

Given that there are over 100 of you that visit this site every day, I'm convinced we can come up with at least one good caption. Just for fun (and because I love you all so much), if at least 10 of you respond with caption ideas by the end of the week, I will reward the writer of my favourite caption (yes I just wrote favorite with a "u") with a package of assorted English candy bars (they are far superior to the US bars. Trust me). But there must be at least ten! Put your thinking caps on and give me what you've got! Do it for the chocolate!

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Budget Conscious London Tourist Guide

Visiting London doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some travel tips for the budget conscious.


Eating in London can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of ways you can save money when out sightseeing. While eating out can be enormously expensive here, groceries are generally cheaper than they are in the states. If you aren't up for packing your own lunch, most grocery stores (Sainsbury's, Tesco, etc.) and drug stores (Boots, Superdrug, etc.) offer a wide selection of sandwiches, many available for only £1. Find one of the many lovely parks to sit in and have yourself a lovely little picnic. You could even buy yourself a beer or bottle of wine to enjoy with your meal as drinking in public spaces isn't illegal here as it is in the states. You can get a four pack of beer or bottle of wine for around the price of a pint in the pub. (If you're super cheap you could even pick up some Sainsbury's Basics beer for 99p!)

Another budget friendly option would be to eat at a place like Pret A Manger that offers wide variety of reasonably priced sandwiches (made fresh daily). A sandwich, chips, and a drink at Pret will run you around £5 or £6.

Even if you are on a budget, you can't pass up eating at a pub while in London. A pub meal will generally cost you around £15 per person (assuming you only have one pint). If you keep an eye out for deals and special offers, however, you could get away with much less. For example, our neighborhood pub, The Landor, offers their entire lunch menu for £5 every weekday! There are most certainly similar offers around London, so keep your eye out!


Every tourist has their list of "must-sees" while in London. If you don't have yours yet, check out a site such as Time Out or Rick Steves' website to compile your own list.

Most of the museums are free/donation only; you could spend a week in London just exploring the many amazing museums and art galleries! However, it is hard to pass on some of the hardcore tourist attractions such as the Tower of London or the London Eye. While totally worth the money, neither of these attractions are particularly cheap (around £20 per person). However if you order your tickets online (and this is the case for many London attractions) you can get a slight discount.

Another fun way to save money while in London would be to sign up for websites such as Groupon or Living Social and keep an eye on them in the months/weeks before your trip. These sites offer serious discounts on dining and activities that could be fun while you're here (I just recently saw a traditional tea service offered for 60% of the regularly advertised price!).


London is an incredibly easy city to get around. The tube and a pair of comfy shoes can generally get you anywhere you need to go (unless you're traveling with a baby. In that case you should consider bus travel as the tube stations aren't particularly easy to navigate with a stroller). Getting an Oyster card will not only allow you to get a discount on tube and bus travel, but will also let you look like a local at the tube turn styles. ;) An Oyster card costs £3 (you purchase it for £13 but it comes with £10 on it). I would budget around £5 per day for travel if you're planning on tubing around a bit.


Here is an idea of what you can expect to spend per day in London:

breakfast: £5 for pastry and coffee/tea
lunch: £1 to £15
dinner: £7 to £20
travel: £5
activities: £0 to £20

So you could probably budget around £20 to £50 per day depending on your food and activity choices. Of course if you are staying at a place where your breakfast is included (Chez Hungerford, for example) you can get the price down further.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pics from the flight Jason and I took to on the London Eye in 2009:

Feel free to post your thoughts/ideas/questions in the comments section below this post!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

LIVE Abbey Road Webcam

This is hysterical! People are constantly recreating the famous Beatles album cover. I watched for a couple minutes and was surprised how many people I saw posing for pictures.

(You'll notice that the cars all stop for pedestrians because the intersection is at a "zebra crossing" where pedestrians have the right of way. This is in contrast to most other intersections where traffic seems to have the right of way.)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

Teacher's Pet

Charlotte has been doing really well at her nursery school. All of the caretakers talk about what a pleasant and happy baby she is.

In fact, more than one of them has confided in me that she is everyone's favorite and that the caretakers from other rooms often come over to visit and hold her. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that she's the youngest baby at the nursery, but we like to think it might also be because she is such a wonderful baby.

According to the staff, she eats well, sleeps well and even has a boyfriend named Alfred.

As we've mentioned before, Charlotte gets a little report card for each day that lets us know all about her naps, input/output and activities. Activities for a 4.5-month-old are pretty limited, but we absolutely love reading what she's been up to. Here are some of the highlights:

-Charlotte had fun playing in the garden with her friends.
-Charlotte was swinging and smiling to herself in her new baby swing.
-Charlotte cuddled the teddy bears and kissed them.
-Charlotte was babbling and smiling with Alfred.
-Charlotte played with two duplo blocks.
-Charlotte enjoyed circle time. She bounced and laughed while listening to the songs and stories.

The other day as I was out on a walk with some mummy friends, I saw a group of adults and babies enjoying a lovely day in the park. I quickly recognized a few faces and realized that it was Charlotte's nursery class! We walked over to say hi and the caretakers got up and fussed over Charlotte and even held her "friends" up to her pushchair for her to see. It was so sweet and made me so grateful that we found such a happy environment for her to spend time in.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

What we've learned so far (part 2)

-Branston "pickle" is my new favorite condiment.

-Apparently you can drink in public. Go to your fridge and get a beer and go on a walk.

-Cookies are cookies if they are flat, round and full of chips, nuts
and what have you. Any other cookie is a biscuit.

-"Cake" seems to refer to any sort of sweet, raised pastry (donuts, muffins, etc.)

-they don't use the term "noon" here.

-Most coffee shops offer a "flat white" which, as far as we can tell, is just a latte with less milk.

-People here dislike American football for the same reason most
Americans dislike soccer: they think it's boring

-"Tea time" here doesn't necessarily mean time to drink tea; it seems more to refer to an afternoon snack. Charlotte got a book from the library about a polar bear family and it ends with "mum brought a fish home for tea!".

-News headlines take some getting used to. If a person falls off a
balcony during a party, the headline could be, "PARTY FALL GIRL IN

-Dates are written with the day first, then the month and then the year. I forgot to do this when I applied for Charlotte's daycare and they thought I wanted to begin December 4 and not April 12!

-Ribena is a drink of choice.

-Umbrellas can apparently be called brollies, which is adorable.

-People here think it is amazing (and not in a good way) that most
people in the States are left to pay for their college educations and
health care pretty much on their own.

-There are a lot if stores whose main three products are alcohol,
cigarettes, and fresh fruit.

-"Streaky bacon" is what we would consider bacon. Their standard bacon is flavorless and bland in comparison to what we're used to!


squash=juice from concentrate (you call it this even after it is made)
tank top=vest
hob=stove top
the letter "z"=zed
the letter "h"=haych

This website is a great resource for newcomers to London. I wish I had discovered this earlier:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sleepy Baby

Charlotte and I took a bus over to Lavender Hill today to meet some friends (it is a lovely walk through Clapham Common to get there, but we were running late today). On the way there Charlotte started looking very sleepy. It was too cute not to share!

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