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.

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When you're chubby and in your 40s, you can feel like there's no place for you in the fashion industry. There are all these gorgeous, skinny women in magazines and on Instagram. And sometimes you can't help but feel inferior. But recently, I have started following more women over 40. More women of different shapes. And it has re-ignited my love of fashion.

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I can't believe this is my 10th Mother's Day. I feel like I should be full of confidence in my mothering. But I'm still working things out. I expect I'll still be winging it in 10 years' time. But one things continues, I keep giving it my best. I feel like worrying takes about 15% of my time. No one wants to screw their kids up. But you have to keep trying, and keep hoping that they don't publish a memoir entitled 'Why My Mother is the Worst'.

Anyway, we had a lovely day, for the most part. My son ran into our bedroom at 6.20am shouting, 'can we bring Mummy tea in bed now?!'. After Husband and I yelled at him, he ran off and I slept til almost 9am. Moozles and Dubz love bringing me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. And apparently they love watching me eat my breakfast. Every little bite of toast. Every sip of Earl Grey. Every damn year.

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My son is in Year One, and this term they are learning about space. Dubz is constantly talking about the Milky Way galaxy, so we thought a family trip to the planetarium was in order. It turns out that London's only planetarium is located in Greenwich (south east London). We decided to combine our visit with the National Maritime Museum, as well as sneak in a boat ride and lunch. And what a fun day it was.

If like us, you live in south west London, you may know that it's a bit of a pain to go from west to east London. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet, especially when there's a cool attraction that you don't want to miss. So, after we arrived at Waterloo, we decided to take the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, and then hop onto the DLR to Greenwich. While the latter offers lovely views to Greenwich - this ended up taking 45 minutes. It would have taken half the time if we had just taken two trains from Waterloo East. But sometimes it's nice to take the scenic route.

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One thing that I love about Kingston-upon-Thames is that there is always something going on. Sometimes, when we have no plans, and we don't feel like staying home, we just pop into the town centre looking for fun. A few weeks ago we had a free Saturday so we went to check out the grand opening of The Entertainer in the Bentall Centre, Kingston.

To celebrate it's opening, The Entertainer had free face painting and character visits (Dubz was especially excited about Batman and Robin Lego). And of course, there was the lovely new shop. Somehow, Dubz managed to get us to buy him a new box of Ninjago Lego. That boy is Lego-mad. And since my daughter could not be left out, I took her to Claire's to buy new earrings. In exchange for their new things, I made everyone walk around Zara with me (cue evil laugh, muwharrr).

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I love earrings, but I find it really tough finding earrings that aren't too heavy and which don't irritate my ears. Statement earrings have been all the rage for a couple of years now, but I haven't been able to join in. Not until now. I bought these earrings from a market stall a couple of months ago. They are very light and give a bit of a statement.

While wearing my new earrings from Esoteric London, I got to thinking about the history of earrings. Did you know that in ancient times, earrings were predominantly worn by men? And in ancient Rome, earrings were worn only by slaves while in ancient Greece, they were worn by prostitutes. In the 13th century, the Catholic Church forbade the piercing of ears; only thieves, pirates and lower class people continued to wear them.

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This past Christmas we decided to escape the cold of London and enjoy some Florida sunshine. My mother lives just outside Orlando, along with my aunt and grandmother, and we thought it would be nice to spend Christmas with my family and then have a few days at Disneyworld. So we swapped our woolly hats for sunglasses and headed for some winter sun and of course to see Mickey Mouse.

Many people call it Disneyworld, but there are actually six Disney parks falling under that header. Magic Kingdom is the original park in Florida, and it is considered to be the main park. It is where the classic rides are located (such as Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Space Mountain). It is where you will find Cinderella's iconic castle, you will see all the Disney princesses, and you will experience the many parades and shows featuring all of your Disney favourites.

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A few months ago, I was doing my food shopping in Sainsbury's when some denim dungarees called to me. Now, I hadn't worn dungarees in almost 20 years. Back in university I was quite a fan of overalls (as us Americans call them). They're so comfy, which is perfect when you're young and don't have a job. At first, I felt a bit apprehensive about trying them on. But they were so cute, I just had to buy them.

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January was so cold and grey. And I was off the booze, which didn't help. But come the 31st January, it was time for some fun. Some of my mum friends and I went to Wimbledon Park to check out the opening of NYEAT - a new restaurant and cocktail bar. We were quite eager to enjoy American cuisine and sample lovely cocktails.

Actually, after over four weeks of abstaining from alcohol, I was afraid to try a cocktail. I had a gin and tonic (with Brooklyn Gin - amazing!). My friends were drinking mojitos and porn star martinis, and I have to admit being a bit jealous. But as I felt buzzed off one G&T, I knew I made the right choice. NYEAT offers a huge array of cocktails. I'll need to go back when I can handle booze again.

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In the past few years, we have been making an effort to have mini-breaks and holidays in the UK. Not only is it nice to only drive a few hours before reaching the destination, but as a foreigner I love exploring the UK. There are so many beautiful towns and gorgeous buildings to admire. I wanted to share our last UK mini-break, which was a weekend in Woodstock.

Woodstock is located north of Oxford, and is home to Blenheim Palace. The palace is most known for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. When we first arrived, we went straight to Blenheim Palace. We had heard so much about it, that we were eager to explore. There was jousting on that day, as well as a jester show. After lunch, we were feeling a bit tired so decided we would return to the palace the next day (we converted our day ticket into an annual ticket for free).

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Our house is slowly coming together. I'm taking my time with the kids' bedrooms and the living room, but the guest room is almost finished. I'm still waiting for the new desk and the shutters to arrive, but I couldn't wait to show you how it looks. Ta-da! This might not mean too much until you see the before photos. But the difference is huge.

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