Losing my rag over communal laundry

Had the embarrassment of being busted mid-temper tantrum in the communal laundry room by a neighbour early this morning. And it was *probably* (i.e. totally) her fault in the first place. But being English, I couldn’t bring myself to directly accuse her.

With Baby Number Three due in six weeks, my patience and inner calm has rapidly drained away, leaving me screeching, gesticulating and – in real extremes – sighing so heavily it ruffles paper. Continue reading “Losing my rag over communal laundry”

Starting a new Christmas tradition

Sorry about the radio silence. I epically ran out of blogging steam in the run up to Christmas, and then used the excuse of toddler jetlag to avoid writing. It’s now well into January so I can procrastinate no longer. **sound of sleeves rolling up and a big gulp of tea, brief pause to google ‘what is the opposite of procrastinate’?**.

We flew back to England for Christmas, and had a fab time catching up with friends and family. We tried something new this year – staggered presents. Last year we packed up the lot and carted them to Devon via London, and then all the way back to New York again. This year we decided to exchange our own immediate family’s gifts a couple of weeks early in Manhattan, and then for the girls to open one or two a day (as and when friends gave them something, providing their behaviour had deserved it) throughout our trip.
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22 helpful things to know before you move from the UK to New York

 

There are many similarities between London and New York. There’s also a whole lot of differences. Heare my top, genuinely helpful things to know before your own move to NYC:

  1. Tips. Everyone gets tipped here. Restaurants expect 18-22% for good service, taxi drivers like you to add a dollar, hairdressers, supermarket check out staff all like tips (not obligatory). Clothes shop staff work on commission, so don’t get tips. Schools may well ask you to contribute for staff and teacher tips at Christmas. Doormen, concierge and janitors in your building also bank on a generous tip at Christmas. There’s a sliding scale for how much you give each person in your building, factoring in how long you’ve lived there, how much help each one gives you throughout the year, and how fond you are of them. It’s not unusual for a friendly Manhattan apartment doorman or concierge to get $100 tip at Christmas.
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How British expats cure homesickness in New York

My homesickness  – when I get it – manifests itself in two ways. Family and food. Sometimes one or the other, but usually both. Continue reading “How British expats cure homesickness in New York”

How Manhattan dogs dress for winter

How to dress for Snowstorm Juno if you're a Manhattan Pug - New York Dogs
This Manhattan pug was ready for Snowstorm Juno

Spotting fancy dog coats has become one of the highlights of our first New York winter. It’s just not something you see in England, and is a real novelty. We’ve turned it into a bit of a game on the walk to and from school – who can spot the brightest, fancy dog outfits? So far, every owner or walker has let us swoop down and admire the dog, and is happy to let them be photographed. In January I posted a shot of a v disgruntled-looking pug during Snowstorm Juno, and it got such a great response I thought it merited a whole post.
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Snowstorm Juno

Today is Snowstorm Juno, our first official snow day here. Although I must say, New York shuts down in a v methodical way, none of the grinding-to-a-startled-halt you get when it snows in London.

We had heard about Snowstorm Juno on the news, but frankly the American media is so sensationalised, we didn’t really pay much attention until we got text alerts from the girls’ school and day care warning that all kids must be collected by 3pm and to prepare for no schools the next day (today). Then a rather startling text with a siren ring tone from New York City itself (seriously) saying all vehicles must be off the road by 11pm whilst the snow ploughs get to work. Just tried to find that message and it’s gone from my phone. Sinister, do they have a list of every New Yorker’s cell phones??
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How to survive the school run when it’s -12c

We’re back in New York after a wonderful Christmas break in the UK, and now adjusting to the reality of a school run in our first New York winter. This morning the building’s thermometer read -12 degrees Celsius.

The cold has brought some fresh challenges to the school run this term. Normally we drop B off for the morning at her little local nursery, leave her pram there, and then T scoots beside me on the way to her school. But it’s simply too cold for scooting now, T’s eyes keep filling with water (not sure if it’s the cold or the wind chill – probably both). So I’ve assembled the gigantic double buggy, and bundled them up like little Eskimos.
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Just my cup of tea – Tea & Sympathy

It’s cold. Minus 5 degrees celcius cold, with winds that T says “steal my air”. We have to allow an extra ten minutes to get the girls layered-up before school, and the doorman now gives a quick check in case I’ve forgotten to zip up B’s fancy 7am Enfant blanket again, before he shoulders the door to push against the wind.

One consequence of this cold snap is that my need for proper tea has doubled. Even headed home for 45 minutes the other day in order to make myself a cuppa before the afternoon school run. Which is NO JOKE in these temperatures, by the way.

Since being told recently by one local cafe to please stop asking for boiling water, I’ve largely given up ordering tea here, as it’s just so disappointing. Until an Anglophile school mom took me to Tea & Sympathy.
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Our first American Halloween

Fall is celebrated much more in New York than our Autumn back in the UK. Shops stock golden-leaved wreathes from September, celebrating Harvest Festival, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

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Goodbye Greenwich, hello New York

All day long I’ve had that song from My Fair Lady in my head; ‘I’m getting married in the morning, ding dong the bells are going to chime!” Except I’ve been singing “New York, we’re coming in the morning,” instead.

Tomorrow’s the big day, The Big Move.
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