Apr 28, 2014

Family in town

Today, and for the next couple of days or weeks, we are coming down from our visiting family high. We've had family in town for the past month and not a day passed that wasn't completely fun and fulfilling. Marks parents were in town for a week and just left yesterday. We woke up this morning to an empty house. Mark back at work, no air mattress in the living room, no grandparents to play with Henry and dote on him. Just me and Henry - the OG. So we did our best to make the most of it. We watched a little trains, then took a bubble bath, then took ourselves out to lunch at Sable D'or for fancy sandwiches and juice. I mean, it's not much but it's a pretty perfect morning in my mind.

I need to dig up some pictures to post, but we toured the heck out of London this past week. Tower of London, Borough Market, St Pauls eventide, Matisse at the Tate Modern, the V&A, the British Museum, the Natural History museum, Hampstead Heath, afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, Liberty...we were all pretty beat by the end of the week, but happy to have enjoyed great company, only one rainy day the entire week (museum day! perfect.), and Henry had the time of his life. He keeps asking for Tootie and Pop Pop this morning, even though he knows they left. I think he must think it's easy to just go see them - what are we waiting for? :)

Anyway, transitioning back to just the three of us is a harsh wake up call, but lucky for us, May is just around the corner and I can practically taste my first British summer. Come to me, sunshine and warmth!

Apr 8, 2014

Primrose Hill

Last month, the Saturday forecast was 70 degrees and sunny, so we trekked over to Primrose Hill for a picnic. It was the nicest weather we'd had since we moved here in September, and it was the nicest weather we've had since that day! It was a warm weekend, flowers blooming from the earth and on the trees. It turned cold again, and it's been in the 50's and 60's for the past few weeks, so I am glad we took advantage of that fleeting sunny day when we had the chance! Primrose Hill is the most beautiful spot of earth, looking onto Regent's Park with amazing views of central London. Not the easiest place to get to, but I like to make it even more difficult of a trip by swinging by St Johns Wood for bakery and produce items from the famous Bread Shop and nearby gourmet grocer. It's a beautiful area and if we move anytime soon, I wouldn't mind living close to these sweet little spots in London. 

Apr 4, 2014

Paris on Valentines day

I thought it would be fun to spend Valentines day in Paris, so we booked last minute eurostar tickets (Henry travels free) and used Marriott points to stay at the Vendome Paris Renaissance for 2 nights with its great location right by the Tuileries gardens. We spent the 48 hours bouncing between museums and restaurants. The weather was typical for Paris winter - cold, rainy, and gray. Similar to London! But without the bad dreary rap - how does that work? :)

We did the Louvre on Wednesday night, getting lost in the Egypt wing and we didn't bring Henry's stroller because of all the staircases, so we were carrying him and all generally exhausted by the time we left. But we saw the Mona Lisa! And Napoleon's apartment! And so many things. Thursday we spent the morning eating and shopping our way through the Marais - breakfast at the Legay Bakery, early lunch at L'as du Fallafel, ice cream at Berthillon on Ile St. Louis, quick walk through Musee Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and finally, metro back to Bastille for our only fancy dinner at beautiful Bofinger where Mark ordered the whole ocean and I ate a tender buttery Dover sole. And Henry was a gem.

Ice Cream at Berthillon

The beautiful atrium at Bofinger

Thursday we walked back to the Marais for breakfast in the Merci cafe/library, 5 euro for toast - ouch! Afterwards, we did a little shopping in the Marais - Mark purchased some new waterproof boots, I window shopped, then we had lunch at the sweet little Breizh Cafe for crepes. I'm still dreaming about them. We decided to walk to the train station, and walked to the best bakery of my life, Du Pain et des Idees and shopped some of the cute childrens shops in the Canal district.

Breakfast at Merci

Crepes at Breizh Cafe

 Pistachio snail pastries at Du Pain et des Idees

A few thoughts on traveling with toddlers in Paris: compared to London and even NYC, it's much harder to travel with a stroller. Many of the museums we visited did have elevators but they were often small and cramped and had long lines. The two fancy/non-bakery places we ate at (Bofinger and Breizh Cafe) were kind about letting us leave the stroller in the entrance, as there was no official place for them. The metro is a joke - so many stairs, so be prepared to carry the stroller! Everywhere we ate, especially Bofinger and Breizh treated us really well. We made early reservations so we were the first ones in and first ones out (done with dinner by 8:30), and our waiter at Bofinger even brought Henry a complimentary juice cocktail! It was really thoughtful, and as road-weary parents we appreciated the gesture that our toddler was welcomed to be there. We bought him a little travel case and put new notepads, crayons, pens, stickers, and cars to play with, so it was a special treat every time we ate out. If we go back to Paris, I think it's worth it to eat somewhere nice at least once, so this is a good way to do it. We found Paris to be open to toddlers, but definitely not as baby-friendly as other places we've traveled to like Rome or Costa Rica where they just fawn over the kids!