Tag Archives: adventure

Sunday Selection

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Happy bank holiday weekend to you all! As I spend yet another weekend at home, I’m writing the longest list of things to do in London when I’m able to get out and about again.

I’m trying to plan the perfect first day out so I’ve been thinking about what my perfect day out looks like – where do I like to walk? What’s my favourite museum? What shops do I miss? And most importantly… Where should I get my first cup of good coffee?

If you only had one day in London, how would you spend it?

While you ponder that all important question, here’s some stuff I’ve found on the Internet this week:

With more tube strikes expected this week, remember this is what the tube service looks like for those with a disability every day of the year.

London gets deleted with a giant photoshop eraser.

Scroll down, and there’s actually some valuable advice about how to grow plants and herbs in a city.

London property developments and unrealistic journey times.

A very old photograph of the London underground.

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A Cup of Jo: 10 Surprising Things About Parenting

A Cup of Jo is one of my all time favourite lifestyle blogs. Her posts are consistent and the writing is just so likeable, for want of a better word.

As the queen of blogging prep she lined up a series of guest posts to keep the content coming whilst giving birth to her second child, including a series about motherhood in different countries. Parenting is not a topic I ever read about but learning about different countries and cultures through this perspective presented a unique take on different lifestyles.

I thought I’d round up the 10 most surprising facts I learnt about parenting, and life, in other countries through reading the posts. Here goes:

On appliances in Northern Ireland: ‘Priorities are completely different when it comes to home appliances. Washing machines are tiny. Refrigerators are tiny. I haven’t had a freezer for a year and half. But every home has an electric tea kettle. EVERY SINGLE HOME.’

On clothes in Congo: ‘Congolese women have serious style. Everywhere you look, they’re wearing fabulous, wild-colored, curve-hugging dresses. Old, young, thick, thin. There are no allowances for “mom-uniforms,” like workout clothes. If I wear sweatpants on a vacation day, the nannies all give me looks and suggest I have a dress made. Hiring a tailor for some custom work is not something reserved for the rich in Congo.”

On greetings in Mexico: ‘Mexican mamas do this really great thing where they teach their children to greet adults with a peck on the cheek. It doesn’t matter if the child is 2, 12 or 22. It doesn’t matter if the child runs into you at the local market or comes into your home for dinner. A well-mannered child will always saludar bien—greet properly with a kiss.’

On walking to school in Japan: “All the kids in our town meet in the road and walk to school together…as young as seven. The elder people in the neighborhood volunteer to make sure the kids safely cross the roads.’

On being a woman in Abu Dhabi: ‘while I was pregnant with Elena and went to the local hospital for routine visits, my husband would have to sit in a separate male waiting room.’

On street art in Mexico: ‘Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s most beloved artists, believed that art should be enjoyed by everyone—especially the working class and the poor. So he dedicated himself to painting murals in public spaces. Mexico City is all about this idea of “art for the people.” ‘

On friendliness in Norway: ‘there’s no American pressure to be friendly and “on” all the time. It’s okay to be quiet and keep to yourself. I love getting a haircut here because I don’t feel pressure to make small talk with the stylist.’

On breastfeeding in Congo: ‘Mama NouNou told me that in her experience, if there is a baby crying on the bus, all the women on the bus shout, “Feed the baby! Give it the breast!” She explained it as, “Everyone wants the mama to know that she should feel comfortable feeding her baby—no matter where she is.”‘

On community in Japan: ‘Community is everything here. The town holds lots of events, and everyone goes. Once a month everyone gets together to clean the neighborhood and local Buddhist temple. When you’re out walking around you always have to “do greeting,” which is a formal bow and hello. It’s so nice, but also sometimes I think, leave me alone! In New York I could be anonymous and never know my neighbors.’

On school in Norway: ‘Most kids here start Barnehage [pre-school] when they’re one year old—it’s subsidized by the government to encourage people to go back to work. You pay $300 a month and your kids can stay from 8am to 5pm. They spend a ton of time outside, mostly playing and exploring nature. At some Barnehage, they only go inside if it’s colder than 14 degrees.’

On midwife visits in Northern Ireland: The absolute best part of having a baby in Northern Ireland (besides it being free) is that you don’t have to leave your house for any pesky doctor’s appointments. The first week I was home with Ollie, a midwife came to my house every day to weigh him and see how I was feeling. Once she finished all her visits, the “Health Visitor” took over, and now I never have to leave the house to take any of my kids to their wellness checks. It’s amazing. I’m still trying to figure out why the U.S. doesn’t do it. It would solve so many early postpartum issues.

On birth in Congo: ‘For a woman who gives birth in one of the many tiny maternity clinics around the city, the result of not paying the bill is often hospital lockdown—for mom, baby or both. We visited a friend’s charity clinic where women can receive care for no fee, but most American women would be shocked by the conditions. We wrote about them here.’ Please take a look at the photos – Carla.

Read all of A Cup of Jo Surprising things about Parenting around the world

I really encourage you to take a look at some of these posts. Living in the UK I found that reading the Northern Ireland one allowed me to see elements of British culture, life and politics so clearly. The 12 year old boys who sit around drinking tea after pushing each other around in the mud, the healthcare system which allows you to get whatever you need during pregnancy for free and the children’s books full of dark, adult humour that is just so typically British… it all made me smile.

These posts also gave me a glimpse into how others live around the world. There are cultural elements in practice that I adore and it felt like a privilege to learn about them.

Day out: Epping Forest

Epping Forest London

E is for… Essex

Last weekend was a bank holiday which meant that we had to follow that unwritten British rule and head out into the great outdoors, regardless of the weather. So we decided that it was about time that we took a longish trip to the deepest darkest depths of the Central Line and before I had a moment to do my best TOWIE impression we were in Epping Forest, in the countryside, surrounded by trees with the sun miraculously beating down on us.

It was, quite frankly, wonderful. We walked and walked and walked and drunk in England in all its fine green glory before finding a pub, ordering a shandy and tucking into some tasty gastro grub.

Have you ever been to Epping Forest? I’d love to go back with a plan – can you recommend a walking route? 

Istanbul

Sorry for the hiatus – I’ve been travelling to the exotic, exciting, cultural, incredible and beautiful city of Istanbul! Can you tell that I loved it?!

We were there for a week but still needed much more time to explore the historic city. There will be a post to come with pictures and I’m also thinking of putting together a travel guide blog post to Istanbul based on our time there.

There is so much to see and do in Istanbul; from the historic palaces, Ottoman influences and stunning mosques to the modern museums, independent shops and incredible restaurants, diversity and adventure is guaranteed.

I’ll be back on the blogging bandwagon in the next couple of days, but don’t forget to name your dream London location to win £200 to spend in London in the meantime. You can also check out a guest post from Hilary Osborne about her London life, guiding you through what Tottenham Borders can offer.

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Exotic Drinks

I know there are far more exciting things to discover in another country than branded fizzy drinks, but a favourite part of a beach holiday abroad is drinking new flavours of iced tea and the like that you can’t get in England. How sad is that?! What other flavours should I look out for when I go away?

fizzy drinks

The London Skyline from Hampstead Heath

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The beautiful view from Parliament Hill :)

On Sunday I spent a few hours on Parliament Hill, soaking up the sun and the view. We got the Sunday papers, a cold drink and some snacks. What more could you want?

To be accurate, we technically were not on Parliament Hill, but we were nearer that side of Hampstead Heath than anywhere else.

If you are in London for the 2012 Olympics but fancy getting away from the mayhem of Central London it is a great place to visit. Hampstead Heath is bordered by Hampstead, Kentish Town and Highgate – each worth visiting in their own right.

Silent UK: Going Underground

Urban Explorers came to my attention around the time they came to most people’s attention – with their incredible photos from the Shard plastered across the media.

What fascinates me the most are their adventures underground. Ghost stations have fascinated me for some time, and while the recent BBC series ‘The Tube’ took us to Down Street station these photos deliver a slightly different look at the abandoned station.

Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman’s Park London

Postman’s Park is an emotional place in London. At the weekend it offers a quiet place to reflect, and the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice is a touching reminder of the acts ordinary people have committed in order to save the life of a stranger.

postmans park

postmans park

postmans park

 

Think this sounds familiar? It’s famous for appearing in the noughties film Closer.