Category Archives: shopping

‘Tis a season to be jolly…

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And it’s Christmas… Again! Geez, it feels like yesterday that we were celebrating Xmas.

Our local Mall has a very bizarre (in my opinion) poster in their car park. It says It’s the season to be jolly… Generous”. It’s an ad for a shopping mall. Trying to make you spend money and buy presents. And associating generosity with giving presents. Dude, want to be generous? Give your time to people.
And a smile. Your most precious assets. Come and help me paint the walls of the comservatory and I’ll make you lunch and we can chat and laugh. There. We both being generous.

Don’t worry, the conservatory is painted, lucky you. But you get my point, right? Yes, giving presents is nice, helps the economy, but it doesn’t mean that you are not generous if you don’t give presents to people, especially lots of presents.

We are going “light” this Xmas, not because we decided to go against capitalism or whatever, but because we have enough and really don’t need any more in the house. Soon we will need to adopt the policy of “to get something in, something else will get out”. Well, I would love to be giving things away if I had the time to spare on selecting and giving them away. And I’m alone in my quest here – hubby is against throwing even rubbish out!

Back to Christmas. Laura is very excited about it. And we are excited about her excitment. The only thing Might not work that well is putting them to bed with all this excitment in the air. Sleeping is something that we don’t hear and see much in our house, so I won’t be surprised if little ones decide to wait for Father Xmas all night long.

I still need to wrap Laura’s present – if this is even possible – but we are figuring out what we will do about it. I mean, how Santa will bring it to her.

And once again i didn’t have time – and maybe nor will – to write Xmas cards, get little gifts to the teachers and neighbours, bla di bla. Honestly, the little time I had to spare, I had other things to do (like paint a conservatory? Feed the family? Do the laundry?) and thankgoodness this seems to be the mentality of the majority of the people here (except for the cards). So, it’s something like “I don’t give you anything, you give me nothing and everyone is happy”. Deal?

Not even a good light to take photo of the girls for a ecard, people. Can I pretend I don’t celebrate Xmas then? 😉

It just happened too fast.

One thing I want to try to have this year though is my list of things I want to do next year. It’s such a waste of time but I can’t help it: I love lists!

I should start with a list of things I want to do before the end of the year. 🙂

Life in the UK: supermarkets

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I love going to the supermarket on my own and hate going with the family. I also dislike packed places so lately I’ve been shopping online.

In the UK there are 3 major grocers and several other ones. The biggies are Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, my favourite being the latter (I like their own brand food), the least favourite being Asda (prejudice maybe?) and the chosen one being Tesco.

It’s not that I like Tesco (I don’t) but it is the one I find the easiest to shop online. And I just downloaded and used their mobile app and loved it! They also have this “price comparison” system whereby by a day or two after you shop on their website, they send you an email saying how much you saved buying with them. If the shopping was more than it would have been with others, they give the money back (up to £10).

Do I recommend Tesco? Not really. If I had a big Sainsbury’s near me (I used to have a huge one near my previous house), I would prefer to shop with them. I don’t have any Lidl or Aldi (German chain?) next to me, so I can’t go to these ones. And I am yet to try Waitrose again to see if they are competitive in prices as they clain to be (Waitrose is know for it’s high quality and prices). I also tried our local butcher and, although they are slightly more expensive than the grocers, the quality of the meat is much better and it is a way to support the local shops.

The prices of food in the UK have increased substantially in the last 4-5 years. I’ve noticed from my shopping basket that I probably spend twice as much for the same things – I can’t say the same about eating out though, which is weird. The worst part is that the price went up but the quality of the food not necessarily improved (horse meat anyone?).

This is NOT an sonsored post

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

How to make friends (or not) – part 2

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Last Tuesday I wasn’t in the mood to cook, so we went to Ikea. Yes, I am the type of person that goes to Ikea to eat, sorry to disappoint you. ;P And, no, I didn’t buy a single pin (miracle).

After lunch, we asked if Laura wanted to visit their kids area, which is a enclosed soft play area where parents can drop off their kids while they go shopping. We left her there and went to wander around. I was holding Bea on the sling, but very uncomfortably for both of us – I don’t know how to use this thing properly, when a couple approached us and said they had exactly the same sling. I promptly told them I hated it because I couldn’t feel comfortable and thought that Bea couldn’t either. So the girl told me it was because I was using it wrong.

After showing me a couple of ways to hold the baby in it, we started to talk and they were talking about their baby (1 year old boy) and asking about us. We said our goodbyes, nice to meet you, bla bla bla, and were heading our ways when the girl asked my full name. I thought she wanted to figure out where I was from, but she was actually adding me as a friend on Facebook.

Some people might think it is weird, but I was glad she had the initiative. They seemed very nice, had a small child and live not too far from us. Why not meet again for a chat or a coffee? And adding people on Facebook is a pretty safe way to make friends, at least for me, since I don’t share much on Facebook anyway. Even if I did, I think I share more on the blog…

I now know what to do when I meet a stranger that has some things in common with us. Facebook them!

A trip to Bluewater

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I’m not a big fan of trips to shopping centres/malls. I find them a bit claustrophobic, I feel like I’m a prisoner and all you can see around is a mass of people and shops. So it’s a rare thing to find me in one.

We went yesterday, because hubby was curious to visit Bluewater, a mall not too far from us (35 minutes by car, without traffic). I’ve been there twice before, one for work and one when I was on maternity leave, Laura being around 3 months old, I think. I wanted to spend my gift vouchers from John Lewis and wanted to stop at Mothercare, so I thought “why not?”. Bluewater is not a very traditional shopping centre – there is a lot to do outdoors, especially for kids, like play areas, gold courses, lakes, etc. Shame that the weather here is not the best for these type of places.

I can’t remember what time we got there, probably close to midday as we were very hungry, and we left around 15:30. It was enough to let Laura exhausted, grumpy, annoyed and annoying and I have to say that I had more than enough too. We had lunch at Giraffe (ok, but no big deal) – a kids friendly chain, but it was my first there, ice cream at a italian ice cream kiosk, I spent my vouchers and got what I had to get from Mothercare, Laura played in the outdoor kids area (free), went twice to the bouncy castle (£2/5 min) and we had a 15 minute boat ride in one of the lakes (£6/15 min). It was fun but, as I said, exhausting.

In terms of shopping malls, from the ones I visited in the UK (Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Westfield Stratford, Trafford in Manchester, Bullring in Birmingham, Lakeside in Essex and Bluewater in Kent), this might be the best one when it comes to location x kids’ area x outdoor space x shops (that are relevant to me). But if I can chose, I rather shop on the high street.

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Argh!

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Survived the first day at the new job. It was great, but also weird. People seem to be very nice and friendly and the company is an interesting place to work for. But there will be challenges and it won’t be easy. And that’s all I’ll limit myself to say at this stage. It was just one day and I think I’ll have a better idea in 3 months, if so.

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Tired should be my first name. I’m constantly tired, no matter how much I sleep. Having said that, I haven’t been sleeping much and haven’t been sleeping well. Neither has Laura. Goodness me, she has been sleeping really badly. I thought (hoped?) that this nursery thing was supposed to make her tired and sleep better, but nah. In the last couple of nights, specially, we had troubled evenings. She’s been waking up around 5 times a night, and she wants milk all the time! I am exhausted.

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On a cute note, now she is saying “mama” whenever she is upset or “in trouble”. It’s sweet and funny.  Last night, when daddy was trying to put her back to sleep, she was crying “mama, mama, mama” and I couldn’t help but smile. I didn’t go to her because I was exhausted, but it was very sweet to hear it.

Speaking of moaning, she is in this moaning phase, complaining of everything, especially if she doesn’t get what she wants. It’s not a proper cry, there are no tears, and as soon as she gets what she wants, she stops – at least for a couple of minutes. It annoys me, but I understand that she cannot speak her mind up.

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I organised my wardrobe (mum, be proud of me!). I went through every single piece, tried everything and separated them in three groups: 1) the ones that fit/I wear/Will promise to wear,  2) the ones I like, but are too tight, so I’ll give them until December to fit again, 3) the ones that I can’t be bothered so will go to charity.

It was a great exercise, because now I have a clear idea of what I have. And I don’t have much, but I have enough to wait until the end of the year (Christmas?), when I will hopefully be slimmer slightly less fat. I also have a clear idea of what are my priorities in terms of clothes. For example: I don’t need any fresh/summer dresses. I have enough for the British summer (which is gone, by the way), or long shorts, or sandals. And a pleasant surprise: I don’t need bras either – I thought mine didn’t fit me, but now they do. Things I need: thick tights and shoes (comfortable, more autumn/winter ones) and one or to pair of boots. Things I would love to have, if possible: a pair of All Stars (the last one I had – and the only one I can remember – was at the age of 12). And a big black handbag. Oh, and I decided I want a poncho.

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Look what I found by chance: http://annies-eats.net/. Shame I’m on a diet.

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And to wrap up this post, lemme share something with you (I wasn’t going to, but I can’t keep it just to myself!!!). Here is the latest purchase for our dining room:

Our newest piece

Nearly a year ago, I posted some mood boards for our living and dining rooms. At that time, I had in mind a rustic feel to the dining room, mixing black-and-white and natural wood. Time passed, husband wasn’t totally on board, we couldn’t find any natural wood furniture that wasn’t too pricey, Ikea won the battle and the room ended being mostly black-and-white-with-orange-and-golden-curtains-with-touches-of-red. A total mess. But we found the piece above for a good price and we decided to go completely crazy and add the natural wood touch to the room.

So, please, if you don’t like it, just comment on the weather. I’m already too insecure on my own.

MAE: PODE EMBALAR O JOGO DE JANTAR QUE JA TEMOS ONDE GUARDAR!!!

Goodbye and hello!

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Today was my last day at work. I felt very sad – at some point it even physically hurt. But changes are good, changes are needed. I’m starting on my new job on Thursday – I wished I had more time for myself, but one can’t haver everything.

Playing with mum's hats

This past week was a nightmare. So much to do but still had to leave at 4pm to be able to collect Laura at the nursery. Poor thingy wasn’t that great this week. It seems like she is teething again and hasn’t been in a great mood. But she is not too bad either. She gets funnier by the day.

'This one fits perfectly'

As soon as we get home, she goes to the kitchen, points to the cupboard and gets a bit angry that I don’t understand what she wants. Well, I don’t understand “uh, uh, uh”. She needs to speak, not uh-uh-uh me. Because I don’t “understand” what she wants, I simply put her on the table and let her open the cupboard. Cheeky monkey, she knows exactly where to go: the cookie box.

Hmmm, there's a black version as well

Today, although tired, she was in a very good mood when she got home. She danced, laughed, talked to and played with the flowers I got from work… She went to bed a little later than usual, mostly my fault – I took my time to start her bedtime routine, still overwhelmed with my day at work.

Lemme try this one...

But she is still and despite a troubled start, she fell asleep on her own, in her cot, without me having to rock her for ages (I did rock her, but because I wanted to cuddle her a bit).

We have a bank holiday on Monday, the last one until Christmas. No plans. Seems like hubby will have to work, boo hoo. He is having a hard time at work, with a lot to do.

All cutsie to go out - last weekend

As for me, all I want is to rest and to organise the mess here. It’s driving me crazy. I also need to buy some clothes for the new job. And shoes. And bags. No biggie. I know exactly what I need and won’t buy anything extra.

Sleeping in the new car seat. So uncomfortable...

Can you believe it’s almost September? Four more months and 2011 is gone!