Oct 23, 2013

Settling in

We finally got internet installed yesterday. So I will be updating this blog with things London-y.

For now, just...well...we are loving the parks near our house, enjoying the good views of the tall buildings downtown, and I love our tiny little flat. We bought nearly all the furniture we need and I hang up more pictures every day, and I'm pretty proud of myself for not taking forever to make home decorating decisions like I normally do. I'm learning! Also learning that strollers really put a kink in my home design plans (and bikes! geez! stop taking up so much valuable space already!).

I just placed an order on Mex Grocer UK for salsa verde, chipotles in adobo, and corn tortillas because I'm honestly dying for an enchilada over here!!

Henry walked all the way home from the park (1/2 mile) yesterday, I was so proud of him. He's doing so great here. Eating well, sleeping like a champ, and his vocabulary is really taking off. He tells me to put everything "right rere (right here)" or "up ere (up here)". Every time he takes a big step or a big bite, he says "big boy"! He loves to "pay mamas room (play in mamas room)" and READ! Oh boy, he wants to read and play all the time, which is great considering where we were 3 weeks ago, when all he wanted to do was suck on his pacifier and watch Cars or Thomas. It was a rough transition there for awhile.

Ok, more pictures later when I have a bit more time. I have a job interview tomorrow (!) that needs some prep. Wish me luck!

Oct 16, 2013

New home!

We've been in our house for about a week now. It's really lovely here. A leafy quiet little part of London, with secret parks on every corner to explore. I'm glad I spent all that effort selling most of our furniture in DC because we don't have room for much of anything here! It's a tiny place, but ironically it has the biggest and nicest kitchen of any place I've ever lived in. Thank you, London, I'll take it!

So now that we finally have a working bank account (it only took us 5 weeks to get it set up! Don't get me started on HSBC), it's time to fill in the holes and find a small desk for our computer and also...(wait for it)...a new sofa! Mark has resigned himself to the fact that it's sofa time, and he's just removed himself from the situation, which is probably best anyway. I've been looking on made.com, and Loaf. I've given myself this week to find "the sofa" in a random furniture store in London. You know, the perfect cute and comfortable sofa that costs around $200 and doesn't need any reupholstering or anything. I've been combing the streets of London on the dry days, and nothing yet. But tomorrow I head to Chalk Farm and Marylebone. If I don't find anything, I might even resort to an IKEA sofa, that's how much I'm trying to be flippant about this sofa situation. Last time was too much, though we did end up with a nice gray sofa that I liked, in hindsight. I'm really liking the rolled arm look, like this or this. We also need a bed frame, but the mattress on the floor is actually ok for now. Henry thinks it's his little playhouse, and we have a good time playing hide and seek under the covers and reading books on it.

We love having our stuff back. It already feels like a home here, even though we don't have a place to sit. On Sunday, my friend Cristy was in town for a visit, and she stopped by with a friend. They were our first official guests and they really helped our place feel even more home-like, even though we have piles of stuff littered around our living room, and we sit on pillows instead of sofas, and we hang out on our mattress on the floor in our bedroom as our lounge area. It's a little college-y, and maybe that's why I like it, for now. It feels like a familiar casual that gets you back in touch with your former self, you know?

Oct 2, 2013

Columbia Road flower market

As soon as we arrived to London, Mark scheduled a trip back to the States to go to a conference. I tried to focus on not feeling abandoned and rather hey - I'm here in this new place with new things to see everywhere! It worked about half of the week, but then Henry and I both came down with monster head colds, wherein the only thing that alleviates our grumpiness is croissants, Cars, and the playground. Luckily, there is a playground around the corner, a great bakery around the other corner, and Cars on the ready on my laptop. I'm not ashamed to admit we watched it 2 1/2 times today. Hey, man, whatever keeps us happy, right?

Anyway, before we came down with these stupid colds, we had a grand old time exploring our new city! Last Sunday we walked about a half hour to the Columbia Road flower market in Shoreditch (or Hackney? not sure). I'd heard from a new neighbor that it was "not to be missed". Oh boy am I glad I listened to her! Beautiful fragrant cut flowers and planted flower pots, ornamental trees, ferns, ivy, you name it - it was there! It was suuuper crowded and I had a stroller, so it was sort of like swimming upstream, but we made it out with a perfect bunch of happy pink peonies. And besides the flower market, Columbia Road is awesome! The best shops - vintage, handmade, local, high-end, low-end all kinds of anything, and so much good food. Henry ate a croissant the size of his head, so you know he was happy (and he has a big head, so!) and we sat down a watched an adorable East-Londony band perform their fun music. Henry was dancing in the middle of the street, it was so good.

You'd better believe I'm dragging Mark back there next time we get a free Sunday. Officially in my top 3 things I've done in London!

Oct 1, 2013

Our flight to London and jet lag

The great thing about flying to London, Mark always said, is that you fly the red-eye and you arrive right in the morning like you never missed a beat. But, while that may work for him, it really doesn't work for our family! Boy, oh boy.

We took the 6pm flight - which was our first mistake - and arrived at like 6:30am London time. Too early to leave and too early to arrive! Henry was ok on the flight, but he was extremely preoccupied and excited, spent about 30 minutes poking around behind us (see above photo - you'd think the passengers in that row would be delighted to see a cute baby face, but they didn't even say hi, and Henry just kept waiting for them to talk to him. So sad!) and didn't fall asleep until nearly 10, then we had to wake up him at 2:30am his time and he stayed awake once we landed. We were all walking zombies, but we decided we'd walk around in the morning and take afternoon naps. We put Henry in his stroller and he was zonked by about 11, so we went back to our apartment to take a nap. SEVEN hours later, we all woke up. And then it took us about 2 days to get adjusted, but Henry was sleeping in until 10 or 11 for the first week. It was pretty great, I have to admit.

Next time we fly, we will take the 10pm flight and arrive at 10am like normal people, thank you very much. And that's what I recommend for you people, too. Unless you are like my Dad and fly all day because you are retired and don't care. :)