Monthly Archives: August 2012

Don’t you love long weekends?

Standard

Today is a bank holiday in the UK. These are rare, so we have to make the most of them. Actually, this is the last bank holiday until Christmas! Thank goodness I have holidays in October, otherwise I would go crazy.

I’m also working today. Right now I’m on a Skype call with the US, Canada and Russia. Great, uh?

Nevermind, we had an amazing weekend, despite the weather (not as bad as I expected).

Here is our weekend in pictures:

20120827-161211.jpg

Getting ready to go out (shopping, having lunch)

20120827-161232.jpg

Cutting the “Christmas” tree down. It’s leaves are too spiky and they hurt. It will be replaced by an apple tree.

20120827-161243.jpg

The tree at the back is going away too!

20120827-161255.jpg

Looking at replacing most of the trees with fruit trees.

20120827-161304.jpg

The idea is to have all this area covered in colourful flowers.

The weekend has also seen some cooking. I’m on a diet and when I’m on a diet, I get anxious and when I get anxious I like to cook.

20120827-161328.jpg

I baked a cake (below) – butter free as I don’t have butter (or margerine) at home. (that’s the second cake in 4 days, the first one was a cornflour cake). And I added a “brigadeiro” topping (condensed milk + chocolate).

It was quite popular – it didn’t even cool down and it’s half gone. Recipe later.

20120827-161338.jpg

It wasn’t all about desserts; today we had spinash & pouched egg and gratin potatoes (with roasted chicken) for lunch. It was improvised but yummy. Gratin potatoes are pretty easy to make and are a great alternative to plain roast potatoes (careful if you are on a diet!).

20120827-161355.jpg

Hope you all had great weekend and were up to something fun! Share if you dare. 😉

Decoration issues

Standard

20120826-203102.jpg

One of these days – I think it was Wednesday, when I worked from home – I got annoyed that I had a million things to do in the house for about a year now but had not move a finger to make things happen.

We (as in husband) is not a big fan of painted wall – for him, walls should be white – so I got some wall decals to give some colour to our bedroom.
Apart from our bed and one side table, everything is white, even the temporary curtains.

But the decals were there, for months and months and I couldn’t find the energy to put it up. To be honest, the stickers as I received them, without any form or shape, didn’t ressemble the stickers I bought on Amazon. I couldn’t figure out how to sort them out. So I decided to improvise. What was meant to be one big image, became three small ones. And took me hours to put the together. And the more I look at it, the more defects I find.

Husband like it though. And it wasn’t until I mentioned that the bedroom was becoming a girlie room that he realised that we have too many flowers around. Ironically, I’m not even that girlie (or girlie at all).

I’m now trying to figure out how I am going to sort the rest of the bedroom. And also sort Laura’s bedroom. But this is a topic for another day.

Laurinha’s stories

Standard

20120826-200856.jpg

“Baby” Laura (I know she isn’t a baby, but she still seems a little baby to me) has some funny moments. I’m pretty sure most babies got through similar phases, because I read stories from friends with kids and even random people and I’m always thinking “Laura does that too”.

She is at the stage of pretending to sleep. One of the few early memories I have is pretending to be sleeping when my mum got home, and this was when I was only 2.

Not only she pretends to be sleeping, but also adds some snorring to it. Adorable.

Today she was singing Twinkle Twinkle little star (one of her favourite’s) and added “buni, buni in the sky”. Buni is granny for those not familiar with Romanian.

Another one of her favourite hits, Old Macdonald, got a new character today. Daddy always asks “and what does he have on his farm?” so she can choose what animal comes next. Her answer: apple. As usual, next question was “and what how does the apple do?”. Her answer: yam, yam, yam. Like he was chewing.

Speaking of Old Macdonal, we were talking about diet and food once and MacDonalds was mentioned. Immediately, she added “i-a-i-a-o”.

Laura doesn’t call herself ua-ua anymore. She is Lau-la.

And another cute little thing (one of millions, I can barely keep track) is when she crouches, hold her chicks between her hands, make a sad face and says “Laula is sad”. Just for fun.

Cute, but also a bit rude: when he shouts “Go away” to any of us. If before was “Stop!” with her finger pointed at us, now is Go away with an angry face and her hand blocking our way.

Rude, but cute: her mega burps post-milk. I can’t help but laugh. And because I laugh, she fakes another one. Only a child can make burping a cute funny thing, uh? Or maybe because I’m the mother…

New phases:

1) we removed one side of the cot and she now sleeps in a bed. A bit late, but let’s name and shame here: daddy was reluctant to move on to the next level.

2) Tuesday is her first day in the new nursery. Only one our, as it is settle in session. When I tell her he will start at school, she seems extremely excited. Let’s see how it’s going to be in real life.

That’s all ‘baby news’ for now, folks.

52 objects: week 2

Standard

20120826-195230.jpg

20120826-195241.jpg

20120826-195248.jpg

  • What it is: ‘Giant’ rings
  • Where they come from: The ‘scrumbled’ one comes from Brazil; I bought ages ago (10 years?) and the second one was bought this year – or last – from H&M.
  • Where it is: When they are not on my fingers (I don’t wear them together), they are in a metallic box (not the Betty Boop one) where I keep my accessories.
  • Why it was chosen: I love big rings, but I don’t think they match my hands type: my fingers are small and chubby. But I love these two rings and wear them even thought they might not look that nice on my hands. It’s the perfect case of “screw the norm” (which isn’t something I do very often).
  • What else? I don’t wear rings as often I would like to, mostle because I tend to forget about accessories. But when I do wear rings, these are definitely my first choices.

Pub lover

Standard

I love pub food (not sure since when, but I have a feeling that since I arrive in this country, almost 7 years ago). Of course, there are some really crappy pubs, but there are some pretty good ones as well. Pub food is English food as its best.

Now, here is a controversial statement: I love JD Wetherspoons, a chain of pubs in the UK. Although it is a chain, all their pubs have their own names and if it wasn’t for the banded menus and same food served, you wouldn’t even notice they are part of a chain. Some say it’s old men’s pub, some say it’s students-I-have-no-money pub. Truth is, old men like a pub at 10am, it just happens that a lot of them go to Wetherspoons, and Wetherspoons serves massive portions at very cheap honest prices.

We used to go a lot when we were childless, but we don’t have any very close to us now. Well, not extremely close, but we finally managed to visit one 10 minutes by car from us. It’s massive, new but has the same characteristics of other pubs of the chain: family area and a little library. The main problem for me is finding a dish tasty enough that fits my calorie intake. Boy, how their dishes are caloric! 1000 calories per dish in average. But they are smart and they want to please the crazy people on a diet (why would you go to a pub if you are on a diet? Oh, yes, to socialise, of course) and they highlight all dishes (apparently, over 50 – or 70?) under 700 calories. WOW. Their salads are under 400 calories (I’m not impressed), but they have other tastier stuff and if you plan your day ahead, you can even have chips for lunch. I had the combo ham-egg-chips and it satisfied my cravings for hearty (haha, I love this term…) comfort food.

So, if you are visiting London, don’t forget to check one of the JD Wetherspoons. The ones in central London are slightly more expensive, but they are still good food at an affordable price. Also, pub food can be a hit -and-miss, and I’ve tried loads of Wetherspoons and was disappointed only with one or two.

P.S.: This is not a gastro pub.

An English Heritage member

Standard

Whislt visiting Dover castle on Sunday, the lady there managed to convince us (ok, me, and I convinced husband) to take two adult membership for their English Heritage programe for a year. We actually got 15 months.

The English Heritage membership allows you to go in for free in over 400 historic sites in Great Britain, some of them quite popular amongst turists (Stonehenge). Very few castles and palaces are “expensive” (£10 a head), but several are ver affordable (£4-5).

The reason I was easily convinced to get the membership is because hubby & I are pretty lazy and we easily swap a day outdoors, visiting different places, to a BBQ in our garden. So with the membership we will have to go away a few times to pay off.

Dover Castle and Battle of Hastings ground are both part of the English Heritage, along with Charles Darwin’s House, Elthan Palace (both very close to us) and The Osborn House (in Isle of Wight); the last three in my little bucket list.

Each member can also bring up to SIX “children” under 19. Not sure why you would do that to yourself, but there you go.

20120821-073307.jpg

20120821-073325.jpg

The images above show the map of GB with red dots representing all places you can go in for free or with a discount, and the guide with all these places, address, and other info.

Membership for a year cost £42 per adult (there’s membership for life as well, around £900 if I’m not mistaken).

For more information, go to: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/membership

P.S.: I’m not getting any commission to sell their memberships. I just truly believe it is a nice thing to have if you leave in England.

Sunday in Dover

Standard

We planned to go to Cantebury on Sunday, but since my in-laws have been there (Mr C and I haven’t though), we decided to go to Dover instead.

Another long way to get to the destination, over an hour, but little Laura behaved quite well on the way there. By the time we got there, she said ‘no more car’. Poor kid, had enough of the hot trip. Oh yes, the air con is not working and nobody does anything about it.

Dover is one of the accesses to the continent and on a bright day you might be able to spot France. We didn’t. It was cloudy, foggy and a tiny bit cold when we arrived, but it got better towards the afternoon.

We went straight to the castle, and left the cliffs for later. The castle is huge and on the top of the hill. It’s a nice place to go with older kids – they had some activities happening, and also some “actors” dressed in medieval costumes that interact with the visitors.

The king was in one of the rooms, where his throne is, answering the questions of the visitors – it was really funny and interesting, but not for Laura. She couldn’t understand what the guy was saying and she was hungry – so she started screaming “papa, cocoh [chicken], batata, potatoes, cocoh, and batata and potatoes”. So we had to leave.

There was nothing around, so we ended up in the restaurant of the castle. Unlike the pub we went in Hastings, the food was below average – and was expensive for what it was. There was limited option: Sunday carvery of beef, sausage or beans. The meat was hard, but Laura liked the sausages. It was actually the only thing she ate – didn’t even want the potatoes.

She liked to run around, climb the hill and all staircases, but was bored with the museum and more informative bits. We couldn’t see the whole place, as the pace with a 2 year old was quite slow, but overall I think Laura was brilliant the whole weekend.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay longer and visit the cliffs because a due to a communication error, we only packed TWO nappies and OF COURSE Laura decided to poo FOUR times. Bless her.

So we cut our trip short and went to Tesco to buy an extra pack of nappies and decided to head back home. We were all exhausted.

Here is a photo of the little one, sending a kiss to all of you, and looking cute, despite the three pony tails (if they can be called that).

20120820-172218.jpg

p.s.: more photos and info to come later.