Remembering our first American Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve found myself getting a bit nostalgic for the New Yorkers’ way of celebrating. Here’s the article I originally wrote back in 2014 about our first American Halloween…

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Hurray! Shortlisted for the Mumsnet Blog Awards!

Literally beaming with delight here, as I’ve heard I’ve reached the shortlist for Best Writer in the Mumsnet Blogging Awards #MNBlogAwards. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, I can’t tell you how great it feels.

Now, having made it this far, I would rather like to actually win. So, I’d be really grateful if you could take (another) two minutes to vote for me again. Continue reading “Hurray! Shortlisted for the Mumsnet Blog Awards!”

Tips for expat families starting New York schools

Many New York schools start term again tomorrow, closed since mid-June (Yes. Summer vacations really are that long over here).

For any expats gearing up for their first New York school experience this term, here are some tips. Continue reading “Tips for expat families starting New York schools”

Exploring the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is the latest in Operation Explore New York. Located in the Upper West Side, it’s a good choice for young kids with short attention spans.

Together with T’s school friend L, we headed first to the new ‘America to Zanzibar, Muslim Clutures Near and Far’ exhibition. T and L made a bee-line for a two-story dhow boat exhibit complete with a fun contraption to haul goods up and down. There were also exotic fruit and spice markets which the kids could examine and sniff. L’s mom and I were drawn to the Turkish tile puzzles. You know, the ones with a square missing and you have to slide the pieces around to recreate the original picture. Loved those as a kid. Continue reading “Exploring the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)”

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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10 reasons to live in Battery Park City with kids

Teardrop Park
Teardrop Park

One of the most daunting things about moving a young family to New York (especially as an expat) is picking where to live. Manhattan, Brooklyn, or way out in Connecticut? If Manhattan, which part? Each neighbourhood has a really distinctive personality, and you want to get it right. After a great deal of street-pounding and house-hunting by C, we ended up picking Battery Park City.
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Checking for horns – school interviews for three year olds

This week we flew our three year old out to New York to meet the schools we had short-listed on our previous visit. The interviews seemed to go well, since both offered her a spot.

With the help of a schools broker through relocation specialists, NYC Navigator, C and I had flown out earlier to view four schools that still had places available for this September, and narrowed it down to two. They were all incredibly warm and inviting, but explained that they would need to meet the child before they could offer a place. Presumably to check for horns. Continue reading “Checking for horns – school interviews for three year olds”

Poxy Chickens – vaccine differences between the UK and New York

Met another mum at a local Greenwich playgroup this morning who’s just back from a year in Manhattan with two kids very similar ages to ours. I invited her round for tea and she’s reeled off lots of useful information, including fact that some New York schools require a chickenpox vaccine certificate.

I didn’t even know it was possible to get a vaccine. Only last week I saw a notice on the nursery doors warning of chickenpox going round, and thought “Oh goody, so they can get it young”. Surely a vaccine is much better. Made some calls. Turns out it’s actually not possible to get it done in the UK anyway, since one of the two vaccines is no longer stocked here.

For a full list of the vaccines usually given in New York, click here.

C’s back in New York again this week. Massive rush to get all his laundry washed and ready for packing again. We’ve made a little recording of him reading The Gruffalo, to play to the girls at bedtime. They love it. And so do I.

 

Greenwich, London to Greenwich, New York

So. We are moving to New York. C’s boss is heading over and wants him to come too, so all four of us are heading over for the next few years. It’s the perfect time, really, since our two girls haven’t started school yet, so we won’t be disrupting them too much. The eldest one, three year old T, currently has a touch of an East London accent and refuses to believe that “somefink” should actually be pronounced “something”. Heaven knows how she’ll sound in a few years. The littlest one, B, is only a year old so I suppose an American accent is inevitable for her. For both of them, probably. Strange to think our children won’t sound like us.
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