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.


Alas, I am not going on a transatlantic flight. On Monday, I attended a pop-up event for Air New Zealand. I was excited to try out their immersive flight experience, and see why they keep getting voted Airline of the Year. It turns out that Air New Zealand is full of style and comfort.

First of all, there are some seriously comfortable seats. Even the Economy seats were nice. And Air New Zealand offer Economy Skycouch - which means that one button turns your seat into a sofa (the footrest comes out to create a bigger area). My daughter has been on loads of long-haul flights and she always had trouble sleeping. Only when flights were empty and she was able to lie flat on her stomach was she able to sleep. Skycouch is basically the answer to every parent's flying problem.

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Planning your child's birthday party can be extremely stressful. But it needn't be. My daughter and son have their birthdays exactly two weeks apart, which means that I need to very organised so that I don't get stressed at the end of April and beginning of May. I manage to stay on top of everything and everything goes smoothly, so I thought I would share my top five tips for planning a children's party with minimal/no stress.

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Everyone is familiar with my love of tea. I drink many cups a day, and drink a variety of teas. So, when I found out that there is a National Tea Day, I was ecstatic. An entire day devoted to tea. Surely that means that I can drink more tea than usual?! This week, Whittard invited me to a tea tasting at their shop in Kingston upon Thames, so that I would be prepared for National Tea Day.

If you're not familiar with Whittard, they have been around since 1886. And to this day, they are passionate about sourcing the best tea from all over the world. I was able to sample some of their amazing teas. As a fan of Earl Grey, I was thrilled that they had several varieties, with my favourite being the Afternoon blend. It was so delicious, and I could have drunk it all afternoon.

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Who doesn't love to party?! And partying while getting to sit on comfy sofas? Even better. Last month I dragged a couple of my mummy friends to Habitat's Couchella festival. And though we were the only ones there in their 40s, we sure had a blast. You can replicate our festival fun at home.

It doesn't matter if you're stuck in the UK and not at the coolest festival in California. Habitat has launched their digital festival so that you can party from the comfort of your home. That means that the drinks will be free-flowing, there won't be queues for the loos, and you get the best seat in the house (hooray for your sofa!).

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Regular readers will know that Moozles and I often have mummy-daughter days. She has always needed a little bit of extra time with me. But then, don't all children benefit from one-on-one time with a parent? Moozles has been having some friendship issues at school recently and has been feeling quite down about it. I had planned to have a special day, but then the lovely people from Travelodge invited my family for a #LiteracyLegacy visit to London. So I thought that a mummy-daughter weekend would be just the thing to cheer up Moozles. So off to central London we went for a short break.

First stop was to check-in to the hotel and drop off our bags. Then we went to Leicester Square for our Harry Potter walking tour (one of many free walking tours offered by Strawberry Tours). London has a rich history of authors, as well as being the subject and backdrop of many a book. The Harry Potter tour was an example of the literacy legacy of London. The tour was due to last 2 1/2 hours but my girl got side-tracked by Hardy's Sweet Shop after an hour and a half, and we ran off for some jelly beans. Then we went back to Leicester Square to watch Beauty & The Beast (we both loved it).

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My family and I love a fun day out, and if there are animals - even better. At the beginning of the Easter break, we visited Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire to check out the animals and to see the new penguin exhibit. The biggest kid of our family, Husband, is crazy for penguins, and was especially excited for our visit. We were even blessed with a warm and sunny day.

Our first stop were the big cats. We were impressed that we found white lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs. And most of them were lazing about, sleeping in the sun. What a tough life. In fact, many of the animals we encountered were napping. I don't blame them. It is tough staying awake when you're sunbathing.

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The children are at their grandparents' house, which means that Husband and I are free to enjoy London as we want to. We have been sleeping in, taking long walks and enjoying meals out without packing colouring books. Yesterday, we had the most delicious lunch, and I had to tell you about it. We went to Chi Kitchen, and I have to share all the delectable dishes we ate.

First of all, Chi Kitchen is a pan-Asian restaurant. This means that it serves a few different cuisines - Japanese, Malaysian, Korean and Chinese. To me, this is Heaven. It means I can eat loads of different things that I love. I started off with the spider soft-shell crab sushi roll. It arrived on a steaming plate, which was very theatrical. Then Husband and I had dim sum. I had prawn and he had the beef Wagyu. These items are perfect for sharing, but sadly my husband does not like fish or seafood (crazy, I know).

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You know how I love a good tree. All sorts, all shapes. But in the spring my heart belongs to blossom trees. They lift my spirits. I stop to take photos of them as I walk around. I coo over them on Instagram. A bright blossom tree fills my heart with joy. We only have another couple of weeks, and then the blossoms will be all over the ground. But for now, rejoice in the blossoms. Spring is here!

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Imagine a husband and wife so vile that they constantly find ways to hurt and humiliate one another. A husband with the world's dirtiest beard, a wife who tricks him into eating worms. And there you have Mr and Mrs Twit. This disgusting couple is the creation of Roald Dahl, and this Easter they have been brought to life at the Rose Theatre Kingston.

The Twits are at their happiest when they are arguing and being horrid to one another. But then one day, Mr Twit realises that they have run out of money. So off to the rainforest he goes and steals a family of monkeys to start a circus. But these are no ordinary monkeys. But these Muggle-Wump monkeys are determined to go home, and to play the biggest trick ever on The Twits.

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