Author Archives: Californian Mum in London

About Californian Mum in London

Hey! I'm a California gal who moved to London in 2002 to be with my British bloke. Come read about my adventures living in London, being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, coping with a tea and cake addiction and trying to assimilate into British life. Don't know where I belong, but can't imagine living anywhere else.

This past week has been the February half-term break, so I took the week off from my blog to hang out with my little monkeys. Sometimes, at the end of half-term, I feel a bit sad that the children have to return to school. This is not one of those times. Yes, we have had some fun times. We did a lot - including baking, seeing the new Batman Lego film, playing in Bushy Park, spotting the Butterflies at Wisley, watching lots of Netflix, having haircuts, enjoying play dates that wrecked the house and drinking milkshakes at Ikea.

But the kids were both tired and cranky for the first few days. And the girl was disagreeable for most of the 10 days. So I spent most of the evenings feeling tense and needing to unwind after dealing with tantrums. And tonight I am on the sofa, not-so-tense because I know tomorrow will be mostly peaceful. I adore my children but, my word, I love some peace and quiet.

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Every year, my family and I visit RHS Wisley to see the butterflies in their glasshouse. There is something so special about seeing more than 6,000 exotic butterflies fluttering around. And while the children enjoy it, I especially love it. It is so calming seeing all their beautiful colours and patterns. And there are such exotic flowers and plants in the glasshouse, coupled with the heat that is needed to keep the butterflies alive, that you feel like you're somewhere tropical.

Children can do more than walk through the glasshouse. Wisley have a spotter's guide (for which they ask for a £1 donation) so the little ones can looks for specific butterflies and find out their names. We have been going since 2014, and I love looking at photos from previous visits to see how much Moozles and Dubz have changed.

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We all get into a rut sometimes. I basically wear four similar lipsticks, all of a reddy brown or pinky brown colour. I remember trying pink lipstick as a teenager and realising that it didn't suit me because of my brown lips. Actually, it is my brown upper lip that changed the pink colour and then my lips didn't match. But 41 is a lot easier than 18, in so many respects. And I've recently started to embrace my very full, brown lips.

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Husband and I try to have one or two mini-breaks each year, without the children. Even if it's just for one night, we both feel re-invigorated having uninterrupted couple time that lasts longer than two or three hours and which occurs far from our sofa. I can't believe I'm the only person who isn't that lively and interesting on a Friday night after a long week mothering my socks off.

For the past five years, we have kept the breaks to the UK as there are so many wonderful, nearby places I have yet to explore. I actually have a bucket list of UK cities that I would like to visit in the next few years. I guess there's no hurry, but I am a bit impatient. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we visited Bath. The lovely people from eviivo had invited us try out one of their award-winning properties, so how could we say no?!

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Isn't it starting to feel like winter will never end? The Christmas decorations are gone and the house is feeling a bit blah. So I've been thinking about how I can cheer up the house, and I think some pastel kitchen accessories, glassware and tableware would help bring some spring into my house.

1. Pink Tablecloth - I love a tablecloth, and have one or two for each season. I had to throw a couple away recently because my children are animals and they wreck everything. So I prefer to buy inexpensive ones that are pretty but that I don't care too much about ruining. I love this blush pink, with the grey stripes on the edge keeping it from looking too girlie.

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I know that I am juvenile. I know this because I sniggered when I first heard the name of this town. But Lacock is no dirty joke. The village, which is pronounced 'lay-cock', is located in Wiltshire. And it is utterly charming. This may seem like a random place to write about, but this is where Husband and I spent this morning visiting.

Husband and I have been in Bath for the past couple of days, and when we checked out of our B&B this morning, we were advised to visit picturesque Lacock. The village dates back to the 13th century, and looks like it has been frozen in time, except for the cars. If Lacock looks familiar, it is because it is often used in period dramas, including Remains of the DayDownton Abbey, and 1995's Pride & Prejudice (it was the village of Meryton!). Lacock Abbey was featured in a couple of the Harry Potter films, which makes it even more popular as a tourist destination.

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There is something so satisfying about cursing. A crazy driver cuts you off; you stub your toe; or maybe you're telling a funny anecdote to your friends. During these, and many other situations, an 'oh dear' or 'meanie' just won't suffice. Sometimes only a curse word will do. But when many of us became parents, we tried to reduce our cursing. I know I did. I didn't want my precious little angels picking up my bad habit. And I was quite successful for the first seven years. But in the last year, my love of swearing has returned. And with a vengeance.

Last weekend, while my daughter was doing her homework at the dining table, I was on the opposite side of the table chatting with Husband. He gave me some surprising news and my initial response was 'F*ck me'. As soon as I said the words I looked at my eight-year old daughter, who was only a couple of feet away. I had hoped she was too engrossed in her homework. She was not. She smiled while still looking down at her paper. The secret was out. Mummy has a potty mouth.

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We watch a lot of kids' movies. Sometimes they are funny, and sometimes I find myself bored out of my mind. Last month, my family and I were invited to watch Sing at the Odeon in Leicester Square. And to be honest, I did not have high expectations. I thought it might be one of those films that showed the best bits during the trailer/advert, and then the actually movie would be a bit boring. But I am happy to say that I was mistaken.

Sing is a pleasant surprise. There is a strong plot (I don't want to give too much away but it does involve a talent show). The main characters are complex and lovable. There were plenty of laughs, but there were also some sweet moments. And the music is superb. Dubz spent a lot of the film dancing around on his chair. He even got up at one point to boogie. It was beyond cute.

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How can a child be so cute, yet so infuriating at the same time? Dubz has had a rough week. He hasn't gotten enough sleep and has thrown tantrums most afternoons. And then today, after brunch, he just went a little crazy and was hitting, and sitting on the floor holding my leg, fighting his sister, and trying to sit in the middle of the road. We were out with friends, and it makes it so much tougher to catch up when you're navigating bad behaviour. And then we got home, feeling frazzled and stressed.

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Let me start off by saying that I have wanted to watch a Cirque Du Soleil show for years. But Husband always refused to go saying they were probably overrated. Last week, I was invited to the opening of Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall and I got to finally see for myself, if the Cirque Du Soleil hype was worth it.

I won't leave you in suspense. I loved the show. I went with one of my mummy friends, who had also never see a Cirque show. And we were wowed. I wasn't actually sure what to expect. I knew there were acrobatics, but I thought it would just be one act after the other. In fact, it is the story of a mother and daughter (Miranda) who have been exiled to an island. A boat crashes and some castaways wash ashore, including Romeo who falls in love with Miranda. The couple's relationship is at first thwarted, but luckily there is a happy ending.

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