Every year I drag my family visit Mayfield Lavender in Banstead. We first visited in 2013 and it has become a summer family tradition. But I won’t lie – some years I have had to force my family. Last year we had an unexpected power cut so I bribed them with the promise of brunch at a restaurant if we went to see the lavender beforehand.
There have been some visits where the children constantly complained about the bees. Or they were too hot, or too cold, or too hungry. And then there were the times where Husband grumbled about the embarrassment of taking so many photos (okay, this has actually happened EVERY time).
I can’t believe that this is my 10th Father’s Day without my papa. Growing up, he was my hero and my best friend. We would watch telly together (our favourite was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) or go to the cinema. We traveled around the world and he took me to my first West End musical. He was the official chauffeur of the household, and spent half of my high school years driving me and my friends around.
While I try to make Father’s Day special for my husband, there is a part of me that cannot shake the sadness. I wish I could see my dad, or call him to wish him a happy day. His love and support helped shape me into the person I am today. More than anyone, he was my guiding force.
During the Easter break, my family and I went on a surprise holiday. And I mean it was a complete surprise. My in-laws booked the holiday through a company called srprs.me, and none of us knew our destination. It wasn’t until we got to the airport that we were able to check the website, and discover that we were going on a mini-break to Poland. I had never considered a visit to Warsaw with kids, but found it to be utterly delightful.
If you are considering a city-break with children, I can heartily recommend Warsaw. And there are many reasons for doing so. First, it is not expensive to get from London to Warsaw. The flight from the UK is only 2 to 2 1/2 hours long. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions to choose from. And while it is a big city, ubers are cheap so it is not tough getting around.
We love exploring new places. And for ages we have talked about going to Cutty Sark. So we were excited to head to Greenwich last weekend for a visit. And although we didn’t technically set sail, we had a great time running around Cutty Sark.
Major spoiler alert – my seven-year old son, Dubz, had the best time. He wasn’t sure whether he was going to like it, but he’s always up for a day out. And he loved exploring Cutty Sark. The ship is a museum, but one that is geared for adults and children. Dubz loved pretending to steer the ship, looking through all the staterooms and using the interactive screen to pretend to sail.
Moozles is at a funny tween stage. She considers herself too old for dolls, but I think she’s too young for a lot of things. She’s barely 11, and I want her to keep hold of her childhood for as long as possible. So when we were offered the chance to review the new styling head from I’M A STYLIST, I jumped at the chance. And we were thrilled when ‘Lucy’ arrived.
First of all, these are not the usual styling heads your child may already have. Moozles actually had one when she was five, and it was abandoned after a week. The hair was gross and it was so small that she struggled to use it. The I’M A STYLIST head is bigger (almost has big as my childrens’ own heads). It comes with face gems which are super easy to apply and remove, even my seven-year old son, Dubz, managed it. There are suction cups at the bottom of the head which keeps it secure and doesn’t slide around when the children are fixing her hair. Dubz was over-excitedly brushing Lucy’s hair, and it’s a miracle that she didn’t end up bald.
The Easter holidays mean more than two weeks off school. It means finding fun outings for one’s child(ren). I mean, there are only so many times you can go to the playground. But if you’re in London or planning a visit this Easter, you should think about visiting The Shard for a fun, and different, Easter Egg Hunt.
Did you know that The Shard is the tallest building in the UK, as well as Western Europe? You take two lifts/elevators and some stairs to get to the 72nd floor, and then are rewarded with some seriously cool views. With the added bonus of an Easter Egg Hunt, it makes looking at the sites more fun.
Mother’s Day is one of those strange days. When you’re about to have a baby, you imagine idyllic pampering sessions and breakfast in bed like you see in movies and on television. And that may even happen on your first Mother’s Day. But often you will find yourself busy with a sick child or battling siblings. And sometimes you may have a partner who doesn’t organise anything. So, for those of you new to motherhood, I wanted to offer some guidance on what not to expect on Mother’s Day.
I had assumed I would have lost the baby weight when my son was a baby. But we are three months away from his seventh birthday (what??!!), and the weight has not shifted. In fact, I started 2019 with an extra stone (that’s 14 pounds) on top of the three stones gained during the pregnancy. So when the folks fromdietbon (diet ready-made meals) asked if I would like to try out their service, I thought it couldn’t hurt.
The dietbon delivery arrived at the beginning of January. Both Husband and I find it difficult to count calories but feel like it’s time to finally get our weight and health sorted. With dietbon, you get three meals, plus one snack and one dessert daily. So there’s no need to calorie-count. This really made restricting calories so much easier.
Bears have the right idea. Winter just makes you want to hibernate. Sadly, there’s no hibernation for humans. We have to keep going, even when we want to snuggle on the sofa with Netflix and cake. But I’ve decided not to let the cold weather get the best of me this year. So I’m making sure I go on weekly walks this winter.
You know that I didn’t grow up with this kind of weather. In fact, I didn’t even see snow until I was 20. And while London doesn’t get really cold weather, like some places, it gets colder than what I like. But for my mental and physical health, I need to walk. And out I go. Whether it is walking to and from school, or going for walks in Richmond Park, I’m trying to walk everyday.
For regular readers, you’ll have noticed the change in my blog and social media channels. I have gone from being ‘Californian Mum in London’ to ‘Elfa in London’ (although my website address has remained the same). Although my blog content will continue to be as before, I thought a name change was needed. So I thought I would share the reasons why.
I can barely believe it, but I have lived in the UK for 16 1/2 years. How can this be?! I remember arriving here on a two-year visa, ready to embark on a relationship with the loveliest British man in the world. I had never lived with a boy before, let alone moving thousands of miles to live with one. I was so nervous when I left California and arrived in London. But as you know, the risk was worth it. And so far, so god.