Aug 14, 2014

We are moving!

The impossible has happened! We are moving out of our shoebox Highgate flat to a slightly larger shoebox in West London! I have the contract sitting in my inbox right now to review, and we should have it signed, sealed, and delivered by next week, then we move mid-September. I'll be about 32 weeks pregnant at our move.

Definitely one of the craziest decisions we ever made was to move to London, and we really had no idea what to expect other than - they speak English there, how hard can it be? Turns out, kind of difficult! It is hard to move to a different city, and even harder to move internationally and figure out how to do banking, grocery shop, navigate a new culture, and be a foreigner. We have grown to love it here. I think summer sealed the deal for us. 70 - 75 every day and the occasional rainstorm to keep it real. One thing that attracted me to our current Highgate flat was the natural light and white walls. It is something I realize that I need in my life: lots of light. I did the english basement thing for a year, and I was scratching the walls by the end of our year-lease. Side note: they call basement apartments "garden flat" here. Isn't that much more appealing than a dank basement? ;) While I'm happy to be moving on, I will miss the leafy quiet of Highgate and our first little flat here in London, with all its quirks (weird neighbors, foxes going through our garbage, middle of the night dance parties in the flat above ours (or clogging?! someone hates us upstairs).

Our new flat is just the next step I was hoping for. In terms of square footage, it's not too much bigger than our current place, but we have a huge front room/dining room combo, a nice big bedroom for us (a long narrow bedroom for the nursery), and most of all huge windows in every room on a second story terraced home. I cannot wait to move in and get settled before the arrival of baby girl.

I was talking to my sister in Virginia the other day (who is currently getting induced and should have her new baby here any minute now!) about how small our homes feel. She said to me: our place is just so tiny, I just wish we could move. Our place is only 950 square feet!
I just couldn't help but laugh. Our NEW place is 720 square feet and it feels like a palace to me! I think our current flat is somewhere around 600 square feet.
Funny how perspective can change your mind about something.

Anyway, this post is quite rambling, but I wanted to record my thoughts on how happy I am to be finding a new little spot in London, looking forward to exploring West London and finding our favorite parks, cafes, hidden gems, etc. that come along with a new neighborhood. It's hard to believe we've been here nearly a year.l

Aug 12, 2014

Hampton Court Palace

A few weekends ago, we woke up Saturday morning with a blank slate and I put in my vote for Hampton Court Palace. Unable to think of anything else quickly enough, Mark was forced into a Saturday of train travel and palace gazing, under the rainiest of skies. The rain held off for our entire hour-long journey out to Hampton Court, but as soon as we got off the train to walk the 5 minutes to the palace, the skies opened up and that was pretty much the end of any hopes for a dry day.

We spent most of the day hopping between huge palace kitchens, Henry VIII bedroom and great halls, and even got outside to admire the gardens (so many amazing gardens - even a hedge maze, my dream come true). We learned more about the strange life of Henry VIII and more about his 6 wives and how they made the palace their own during the short or long stints as queen. Did you know he was married to his first wife for 20+ years? I didn't know that. And that he only became moody, head-choppy Henry VIII after a bad accident that rendered him with a bad leg and possible brain damage. We watched a PBS documentary on netflix about Hampton Court palace and Henry VIII last week and it was a nice companion piece to this tour.

Anyway, I digress. The palace was beautiful. The gardens were breathtaking. Henry (the 2 year old, not the former King of England) loved running around outside when the rain would break for a little while and we had a little chase through the hedge maze that I will always remember. We loved the strangely manicured triangle trees behind the palace, the koi pond, the royal tennis courts, and the huge palace kitchen. The palace is set right by the Thames river so it is quite idyllic and peaceful. I can see why it was a favorite of the royal families for a time. Just a simple country house away from the hustle and bustle of London. Right. 

Lots of photos of our day out below! Including a photo of yours truly with a barely there bump (oh how things have changed) and a happy frolicky Henry. And gardens. Lots of gardens. 

Aug 7, 2014


Today I've just decided to take it easy and not feel guilty about it. Most days we get out of the house and do something fun, but in the past 3 weeks have mostly been spent looking at a million different potential homes in neighborhoods all over London (and London is soooo much bigger than any other city we've lived in, especially when you are taking public transportation everywhere). I think after all the flat hunting, baby growing, and 2x getting sick from eating my veggies (for some reason with my pregnancies I cannot eat many raw vegetables - my stomach can't process all that fiber. It's frustrating!), my body is like - hey, you! I'm done! Not to mention Henry, who has been the biggest trooper of all, is really done with being dragged around to meet agents and see flats after our trip out on Tuesday.

Henry has been watching cartoons and playing on my phone all morning, with the occasional handful of pretzels or blueberries. I've been taking care of paperwork to (hopefully, fingers crossed so hard) nab the cutest little 2nd story flat on a leafy street with Holland Park and some great museums and a huge mall right around the corner. And researching birth centers in our new neighborhood. And starting to plan a little beach vacation to help us all take a much needed break from stress and craziness. All while sitting in my comfy chair with the fan pointing directly at my face.

27 weeks pregnant. Taking a break for a day. Baby's orders.