Category Archives: Day in pictures

The Horniman Museum

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I’ve been in the UK for over 10 years now, always living in the southeastern area of London and, although I always knew about the Horniman Museum, in Forest Hill, and been once for a Christmas Carol several years ago, I have never paid a proper visit to it.

Until now. We went last weekend. Twice. I’m sure we will go back again.  The girls loved it. It has a nice big garden, with a Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, from 9am to 1.30pm, a food garden (herbs, veggies and fruits planted), a medicinal garden, musical instruments and a little pets section.

The museum per se is not that big, which is great to go around with children (they are not very patience, are they?). Having said that, it is big enough for several days of slow exploration. We went both Saturday and Sunday and haven’t seen it all. We loved the National History section and was a great opportunity to show and teach the kids about animals in general – and weirdly, about death. Another great thing about this museum is the opportunity that kids have to actually touch objects; it makes such a huge difference in how they appreciate a museum and learn about the past. I am a very sensorial person; I can understand facts better if I can see, touch, feel something, so I supposed it was great for me as well. 🙂

We ran out of time to visit the dinosaurs exhibition and the aquarium is closed until the 16th March. So I suppose we will have to go back there soon.

The Horniman Museum, part of the façade.

The “giant” walrus in the National History area. I suppose it is the normal size of a walrus, but seems giant to me.

I’m very jealous of this conservatory. I want one at home (it’s probably bigger than our house). There were some tables inside, for people to eat, but also lots of space for kids to run and shout.

 

Beatrice testing her music skills

The music section in the garden; great fun for kids and adults.

 

The museum also offers family activities on weekends. We went to three of them. The first one was the Hands on, where we all learned about and tried costumes from different countries and cultures. It was free and tickets are collected 30 minutes before each session.

Laura wearing a costume from China. One of the many that they presented.

Laura wearing a Greek costume and Beatrice wearing a Chinese dress.

 

Beatrice wearing a… construction helmet.

 

Mr. C wearing an Emperor costume. I can’t remember which country this is from. China?

We also went to an arts and crafts event, where the girls created their own Crazy Carnival Masks. It costs £3 per child.

Laura showing off her creation.

 

Beatrice with her mask.

 

We also went to a story telling session on Sunday, but I didn’t take any photos. Laura loved the two stories and left a really nice message in their guest book. Beatrice got a bit bored during bits and I had to keep encouraging her to do the actions and explaining parts, etc. The recommended age is 5+, so I guess she was too young for it. The storyteller was great, though, she didn’t mind at all the babies and noisy children in the room. This one was also free.

If you want to visit:

The Horniman Museum, website here.
100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ (
Closest train station: Forest Hill, national rail and London overground. Parking can be a bit of a pain.
Opens daily from 10.30am – 5.30pm, except 24, 25, 26 December. Gardens open from 7.15am Mon-Sat / 8am Sundays – until Sunset. Both museum and garden are free, except special exhibitions and activities.
There is a cafe inside with hot meals and snacks (at a decent price), but you can also take your own food and have a picnic there

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The season to be jolly

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We didn’t have a white Christmas this year – it has been quite mild, really, with temperatures above 10C – but ice rinks across the country take care of bringing a bit of the magic of Christmas (if you are used to it in the North Hemisphere) to us all. 

We have never been to Winter Wonderland, in central London, and we never took the girls to one of the many ice rinks across London. The trip and the crowds just don’t attract me. So it was great to find a place not too far from us, with an outdoor, but covered, ice rink. It is in Ruxley Manor Garden Centre, in Sidcup, Kent. The garden centre was a nice discovery; it’s not only a for all things for the garden but it also has a nice food market with some yummy looking fruits and veggies and other food. There are two restaurants, shops, etc. Durimg school holidays, there are activities for kids (a Circus during February half term). 

Not something for tourists though.

   
   

21 days: a (good) habit in the making

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Apparently it takes 21 days to create a habit. Just do something for 21 days and soon it will be part of your life as you were born with it. That’s the theory.

So here I am trying to create a new habit. A good one this time, as I’m full of bad ones.

Today I had a good day, for all the wrong reasons:

1) I had an extra two hours sleep, thanks to Mr. C who stayed with the girls. I needed this nap because the two came to our bed in the middle of the night and I took them back and stayed with them; I had a crappy night of sleep so hubby could rest and have energy to take them to the soft play near us.

2) He took them to the soft play in the morning and I stayed at home. To clean the house. I know lots of women that take this opportunity to meet with friends, have a massage or the nails done, or do nothing. I clean.

3) The cleaner was meant to come – she didn’t show up this week – but she was late and I had to ask her not to come. In the end it was good because I could do things at my pace.

4) Laura spent the afternoon at her friend’s house and Beatrice had a long nap. I could finish 70% of the work in the kitchen.

It’s the second weekend that we do that – he takes them out , I stay in, cleaning. I started with our bedroom. Fine, drawers and wardrobe need some love and attention, but it’s another full day worth of work. The bedroom hasn’t been messy since; not to the public’s eyes at least. Today was the kitchen. Eight bags full of rubbish and two bags full of stuff to give to charity. It still not great and there’s still some work to be done, but at least it is in a pretty decent state that can be easily maintained (so she hopes).

This is where the 21 day project start. I will try to dedicate half an hour of my evenings to keep the kitchen tidy – wash all dishes, dry them all, dry the sink, remove the rubbish, wipe the worktop, clean the microwave and the toaster. Then 15 minutes tidying up my clothes and ensuring the bedroom remains tidy. Next weekend I’m hoping to tackle the bathroom, and again, another 10 minutes to keep it clean. This will take less than an hour; pretty doable.

Living/dining, messy room, girls’ bedroom and guest’s bedroom are beasts that I’m scared of facing. I will probably work on the playroom and see how the maintenance of the kitchen-my bedroom-bathroom combo goes before I put too much effort in the others. I am actually considering taking time off work to deal with the beasts.

I’ll have to keep my progress here – in the shape of tiny posts – so I can track the birth of a habit. Bear with me.

Staring work: check out the mess behind me. This is just a tiny part of it. I also unclogged the sink and cleaned all the cupboards (got rid of old stuff, removed everything and cleaned inside). I didn’t clean the fridge or the oven (the hob was done); I only swept the floor, no proper scrub. 2015/01/img_2714.jpg
The things people collect: a drizzling pipe (whyyyyy?), a cake pop mould (which I’m planning to use) and a silicone cake tray written happy birthday… in French (whyyyyyy?). The first and the latter were freebies. I second one I bought.2015/01/img_2731.jpg
The final three bags of rubbish.2015/01/img_2735.jpg
Not too bad. Even Laura noticed. “Mummy, what happened here?”, “What do you mean?”, “the kitchen is magically sparkling clean”. This coming from a girl that doesn’t notice the chaos of the house.2015/01/img_2742.jpg
There’s still quite a lot on the table to be sorted, but I ran out of patience and energy. I have serious issues with this kitchen – I think it could have more storage (or I should have less crap), but I’m not planning in doing any work on it this year, so I have to work with what we’ve got.2015/01/img_2741.jpg
It is now to a level of mess and chaos I can live with. The “my house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy” type of house. At least the kitchen is.2015/01/img_2738.jpg

The last day of MY year

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So I decided that 2013 will end today. Just because.

Things about the last day of my year:

I woke up with a strong headache and eye pain. Because Laura wasn’t sleeping well, came to our bed and (by accident) kicked me on the eye. I cried in pain.

It was a freezing morning but a beautiful sunny day. The conservatory, after a boost of heating, is at 36C.

I’m having sweet potato and coconut soup for lunch and home made lemonade full of demerara sugar (I needed it).

I’m washing the last load of dirty clothes. Not because I finished it all (I keep finding dirty clothes everywhere), but because I had enough.

I’m almost all packed. Just one more luggage and two hand luggages to go.

Despite the rush and stress, Laura will have a final play date this afternoon, here in our home. Because life is never stressful enough.

Beatrice turns 8 months today. Cuter than ever but not enjoying her sleep that much.

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Beatrice’s Christening

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My intention was to write a post announcing Beatrice’s Christening ages ago, when we chose the Godparents, which happened back in May, just after she was born. But life was busy, I wanted the post to be special, I kept postponing it and it will come now, with photos of Bea’s special day.

It is a hard task to choose your daughter’s Godparents. There are several things to consider. Firstly, they need to be people close to the family. Secondly, you need to trust they will be good guides to your daughter. Some people think that Godparents are people that will look after your child when you die. It could be, but their “job” is not to replace you as a parent, but to provide your child with spiritual guidance throughout their lives. It’s a lot of responsibility, if you ask me, especially in those times where the world seems so messed up.

So only natural that the chosen ones are our best friends in the UK, country we chose to call home and where our daughters were born. Lelei & James, thank you for accepting the task of being Bea’s Godparents and for being there for the whole family. 😉

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Beatrice was baptised in the Anglican Church. I found the ritual very similar to the Catholic one, maybe slightly simpler. One of the major differences is the number of Godparents a child can have. The usual is two Godmothers and one Godfather if the child is a girl, and two Godfathers and one Godmother if the child is a boy. But it can be less (no less than a couple, I think) or even more than 3.

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Here are some pictures of our lovely Sunday. (I swear her hair was alright before we left the house)

Beatrice with grandma and grandpa

Beatrice with grandma and grandpa

Laura, Lelei and James - Bea's Godparents

Laura, Lelei and James – Bea’s Godparents

Laura eating an apple while waiting

Laura eating an apple while waiting

After the service

After the service

Baby Bea sleeping in Dinda's arms

Baby Bea sleeping in Dinda’s arms

"Compadres e comadres" or the parents and godparents

“Compadres e comadres” or the parents and godparents

Mr. C, Grandma, Bea, Me, Grandpa

Mr. C, Grandma, Bea, Me, Grandpa

Dindos/Godparents/Friends

Dindos/Godparents/Friends

Daddy squeezing Bea

Daddy squeezing Bea

Having a meal after the Baptism

Having a meal after the Baptism

The cake, provided by Dinda Lelei & Dindo James

The cake, provided by Dinda Lelei & Dindo James

Friends & compadres

Friends & compadres

Should we kill the cake? (It was yummy by the way)

Should we kill the cake? (It was yummy by the way)

The gift she got from the church community

The gift she got from the church community

At home, playing with the hat (that mummy forgot at home)

At home, playing with the hat (that mummy forgot at home)

Watching football

Watching football

Watching Chelsea play

Watching Chelsea play

I love my hands so much that I want to eat them both

I love my hands so much that I want to eat them both

Bea and daddy

Bea and daddy

Bea and daddy II

Bea and daddy II

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Gift and card from the Godparents, pair of shoes and the certificate

On toxic ice creams, baby training and heat waves

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You know it’s summer when the ice cream man comes with his van playing an annoying version of whatever classic song. He ALWAYS parks opposite my house. From time to time we treat Laura to an ice cream, after all, summer is such an event in this country that deserves being celebrated.

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Yeek! Ice cream yes, but blue ice lolly never again! This cannot be healthy!

Last Thursday I got a pair of (very cheap) black shoes for Laura at Primark, as She doesn’t have any shoes to go with her “pretty” dresses and we had a party to go on Sarturday. The shoes were quite big, but she didn’t care. She loves them so much that she put them on Thursday and hasn’t taken them off yet. Two more days and the shoes will be good to bin. (In case you are wondering, no, I don’t buy shoes for her at Primark, they are disposable).

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New black shoes – she even slept with them!

Last Friday our car got trapped by another at the car park. A kid parked her car on a slope and didn’t pull the hand break properly, so the car slowly rolled down until it found mine and stopped. The problem was that she did pull the hand break, so we couldn’t push the car to release mine; and she didn’t show up until several minutes later. The cars didn’t have a scratch.

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It doesn’t seem that bad now and I can almost laugh about it

It’s early to compare, but I compare anyway. Beatrice has different sleeping patterns and habits to Laura at the same age. Personally I think Bea sleeps more and much better than Laura, but since her sleep patterns is still changing, I rather not celebrate just yet.

Sadly Bea is not a big fan of the bouncer as Laura was, but we are in the process of brain washing training her. This bouncer can be a life saver if she can sleep on it for 30 minutes, while I do some work around the house. She is quite young for the chair and can’t stay for too long anyway, but at the moment she doesn’t want to stay any longrer than 2 minutes. Only time for a wee.

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Shhhhh, trying to make her sleep on the bouncer

Still on the sleeping front, Bea loves sleeping on her tummy, which is not recommended here. Oh well, Not a problem if I stay next to her all the time (taking pictures and blogging).

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Awwwwnnnnnn, she is giving me the middle finger

 

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Zzzzzzzzz

 

And finally summer has arrived!! They call it heat wave over here, because it lasts a week and it’s totally out of character. Whatever it is, we are making the most of it (except that we don’t let the girls up until 9-10pm to enjoy every bit of the sun light). I think I got more vitamin D between Thursday and now than I had from January until Thursday. And it seems that there’s more to come! I’m ready for you, sunshine.

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“Say cucumber” is the new “say cheese”

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An improvised beach: a canal and a bit of grass, what else do you need?

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Checking out the animals on a hot summer day

Life in a nutshell

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Today was Laura’s first day at the new nursery – just an hour as part of the settle in sessions. It wasn’t too bad, but she didn’t want to play with the kids, she didn’t want to go to the garden, she wanted to be where her eyes good see me. Fair enough, I would love to have a familiar face very close to me every time I start a new job.

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Sunday we all went to central London to celebrate the birthday of one of Laura’s friend from the old nursery (which reminds me that I have to write to the girl’s mother). It was next door to the nursery and 2 minutes walking from work. We went by train, which proved to be an adventure. Picture this: a pram with a 3 week old breastfed baby, a 3 years old toddler that wants to be with her mum all the time, grandparents that are not familiar with London – one of them doesn’t speak a single word of English. We should have a train from where I live straight to Waterloo, but the train was cancelled. I thought we could change at London Bridge and catch a train to Charing X, but all trains were cancelled from London Bridge, so we had to go to Canon Street (cross the bridge) and then catch another train to Charing Cross (cross the same bridge going back). On a Sunday. A sunny Sunday. The Coronation Sunday. (*)

(*) If you are not from London or UK or don’t know the city, you probably don’t have a clue about what I’m writing here. Trust me: not as bad as it sounds, but not the best of the journeys either.

We got there fine, we allowed plenty of time for this trip. The birthday was at Nando’s, at 2pm – I honestly thought that it was going to be a birthday celebration, so we had lunch before (Laura eats at 12) and the plan was to leave at 4pm. The birthday girl and guests arrived late and they were all going to order food, so the cake and happy birthday only came around 4pm. We left after 5pm and got home just after 7pm (the train to my house would have taken 40 minutes if things were working). Honestly? It was a great day. Laura had so much fun, Bea behaved like an angel, it was sunny and nice. Oh, and daddy had some me-time on his own at home and we managed to watch the game Brazil vs England.

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Speaking of (football – soccer if you are American) games, I know I always say that, but watching Brazilian matches just make me sick. Don’t get me wrong, I support my country, but I suffer so much that I get sick. I feel like after every match I am a year older. So you can imagine how many years “I lose” during the world cup, eh? The match on Sunday was a friendly, but I was so nervous and so annoyed. The team was playing well (especially compared to previous matches) but it just seemed like the English goal was sealed. And of course, the team doesn’t need to play a beautiful and brilliant football to score and England managed to score twice even though playing not as good as Brazil.

Despite trying to support England in any competition, I still cannot support them over Brazil, sorry. We should consider ourselves lucky to be able to cheer four different nations in our house: Romania, Brazil, England (GB) and Portugal. But maybe we should try to get other citizenships to increase our chances in the World Cup and Olympics.

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I can’t believe Bea is nearly a month old. She is soooooo sweet and I can’t believe how peaceful she is despite the craziness going around the house (I mean all the noises, so many people, loud TV, bright lights, etc). Second children/youngest siblings are warriors. And I might write a post about it in a near future.

She’s been trying to lift her head (she can, for a few seconds), she is rehearsing some smiles, the adorable baby noises are more frequent, her funny facial expressions are cuter by the day, she is losing her hair, she sleeps more than Laura used to but gets very cranky and cries a lot after 5pm (like Laura used to), she loves her bath, she doesn’t complain when she has a dirty nappy and she loves car rides.

Yes, I know, it is too soon to describe her “personality” like this, things can and will change, especially during the first three months, when she is still finding her way outside the womb. But I love to see all these changes and try to predict how she is going to be.

She makes some very weird noises too, some of them remind me of little dinosaurs from Jurassic Park (the first film). I don’t sleep that well at night because of these noises, I keep wondering if she is alright, or if it’s really her (and not a little dinosaur in our room). I don’t remember Laura making weird noises at all.

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My birthday is coming and I’m still not sure if I should celebrante it or not. Here is the thing: in this country, you need to send an invitation one or two months before, so people can put the date in the diary. But then, if you want to have something outdoors, you need to wait to see how the weather is going to be. I would like to have some sort of picnic in the garden, something simple and informal, but what if it rains? Picnic in the living room? Hmmm, maybe.

By the way, if you are wondering, the date is 22nd June, a Saturday. 🙂

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I’m working on a to do list of things I need to sort while on maternity leave. The list is HUGE! So far, I haven’t been able to tick many items, but I’m hoping that in the next months I can say that I’ve done more than just being a mother (between you and me, I think that being a mother is more than enough and this is why I am on MATERNITY leave for, right? now try and convince my brain and husband about it…)

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To celebrate the Queen’s coronation, a range of stamps were launched and apparently only a few households in the UK will get the chance to buy a collector’s card featuring the stamps (50,000 units are available, the brochure says).

I don’t collect stamps, I don’t collect merchandise of the Royal family, but I got my sample, just so I don’t regret it in the future.

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Life in pictures:

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