Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jolly Old

England, 2012

I was thinking about the differences between England and America the other day. Or New York, in any case, since I make no claims to be an expert on America as a whole.

One of the things that always strikes me about the UK is the lack of urgency. It's by turns endearing and infuriating. You step into a pharmacy on a hunt for something simple like cough drops and it's just...a process. The man behind the counter seems to contemplate your purchase as though he's surprised to have a customer and has never before seen this curious object that he now happens to be selling. He turns it over in his hands like it's a moon rock or something (which takes quite some time.)

Try to get a quick cup of coffee and the pace is just glacial. You spend twenty minutes, easily, trying to catch your waiter's eye to get the bill. In a practically deserted pub the tables are somehow all "fully booked."

I suppose I've lived in New York so long I'm used to the bustle and start to find the slowness here draining rather than relaxing.


London, 2012

Starting to feel a bit homesick (and tired of living out of a suitcase.)

Will and I keep joking that given how much we have both travelled we should really be a bit more expert by now.

And the stuff! We brought so much that our poor suitcases might need to be retired when we get home. And yet I never seem to have just what I need at hand.

I seem to be perpetually searching for a missing baby sock or hair brush or computer charger or giraffe teether or contact case.  Not to say that this doesn't happen back in Brooklyn, but at least there I have some semblance of a system in place to combat my disorganization.

Axel has been a trooper with all of the disruptions to his routine, and I know that when the next trip pops up on the horizon we will undoubtedly say yes. But I do feel a bit badly when we are carting him around without a lot of down time. I suppose that's because I require a lot of down time, and when you are visiting family you generally don't come by a lot of it.

I think this globetrotting just takes it out of us.

The funny thing is that I always find travel a bit like this. I am always the one with some ginormous Moroccan side table in my carry on luggage, wondering if I've lost my mind, swearing I will not push myself to the limits the next time. And yet I never seem to learn to pare things down (the stuff or the schedule.) A glutton for punishment, perhaps?

Saturday, December 29, 2012


London, 2012

After a week or so in the country, Will and I were feeling a little antsy for some urban exploration.

We sort of threw a pin at the map and spent Friday exploring the area around Hoxton Square, which really reminded me of Williamsburg.

Lots of pop up shops, converted old warehouses, and fancy / scruffy barber shops. I felt right at home. London can be so disconcertingly twee and tweedy (when you stick to the west, that is.) So it was sort of interesting seeing a place that paralleled Brooklyn so exactly.

We only had a few hours, but poked our heads into a great clothing shop and cafe called Aida, a restaurant called the Tramshed, and saw tons of cool little boutiques. It definitely seems like one of those neighborhoods where local knowledge would be a big help, but that's sort of part of the fun.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Miracle Cure

Axel, 2012

Axel has had a rotten cold for the past few days (what is it with holidays and getting sick?) Today he seems to be in slightly better spirits, getting a kick out of ogling his image on our Christmas card and trying ice cream for the first time. I am a firm believer in the healing powers of dessert.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas, Part Two

Surrey, 2012

Above: Axel wondering why his mama has dressed him up like a garden gnome. In head to toe cashmere, by the by. He's a bit under the weather today but favorite present to date.

Christmas Morning

Axel, 2012

Axel rocked his striped pajamas and infamous Santa hat for Christmas morning in Surrey. We had homemade sausage patties for breakfast (thanks to his papa and a very traditional English butcher), and it took hours to get through all of the gifts.

We are now taking a pause with some champagne before the big feast.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012


London, 2012

England before Christmas is all about the food...planning old fashioned meals, fighting over picturesque tins of tea at Fortnum and Mason, hunting furiously for obscure ingredients (peeled hazelnuts), and sourcing meats at butchers that are older than time.

This obsession with cooking in a very traditional fashion makes things quite festive and funny. People take things like, say, bread sauce, very seriously. Suggest a short cut, and people are really undone.

The good news is we are probably not going to starve.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Notting Hill

London, 2012

We spent the day taking care of holiday errands on my favorite street in Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove. Boujis baby stores galore!

We started with lattes at Daylesford Organic and took a break for lunch at Ottolenghi; Axel charmed everyone along the way in his little woolly sweater. It's getting dark here at around 4, so the days fly by, but it's always fun poking around London in the rain.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Festive, Foggy London

London, 2012

Earlier in the week I was busy wrapping up the presents we (bravely? ill-advisedly?) lugged across the ocean and bustling to a few meetings with some English editors for work.

Axel's grandparents babysat while I did a little bit of last minute shopping as well.

For whatever reason, I find (window) shopping in London so much more fun than in New York.

Perhaps it's just that everything is new to me, but I love all the cozy wares at Jigsaw, the fabulous cook books at any old book shop, the pretty little tea tins in the traditional food halls...and, of course, the children's wares.

Axel really doesn't need any new clothes right this second, but wandering around the city set me off on a nostalgic English clothing kick and I couldn't help squealing over these little boys' rain boots from Hatley and admiring this handsome little rain coat from Seasalt. Tomorrow, we're heading to Notting Hill for more perusing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

World Traveler

Axel, 2012

What time zone am I in?

Nineteen Weeks

Axel, 2012

We have created a ferocious pear monster.

Last night, while the grown ups ate vacherin and pears for dessert, Axel got a taste of some of the latter. He approved, and consumed a quarter of a pear (pureed) without hesitation.

He looks a little worried in these pictures, but he was gripping that spoon in his little fist like Do. Not. Take. Away. My Pear.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Scotland, 2012

Saturday night we attended a beautiful, traditional Scottish wedding in the school chapel at Glenalmond College (very Hogwarts, n'est pas?)

We had venison for dinner, followed by sticky toffee pudding in the school's grand old dining hall, and I sat next to a fellow named Rupert who told me stories of having been dropped off at boarding school at the ripe old age of 7.

On Sunday we took a turn around the gardens at Gleneagles, where we spied this giant golden eagle, who looked like he might have fancied Axel for breakfast. Then it was a long rainy drive down to England, where we arrived at Will's parents' house late last night.

There was a slight hiccup with our flight (which may or may not have involved us trying to check in at the wrong airport), so we ultimately decided a road trip was the simplest option. Our Scottish sojourn was a little harried thanks to getting sick and travel issues, but we are now showered and rested in London and glad to be mostly in one place for the next 3 weeks.
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