Afternoon tea in London Town

I have a confession: no matter where I am in the world, however lovely the location, a little piece of my heart always longs for England. The place of green and pleasant land – and the afternoon tea.

Tea makes everything better. In my world this is fact. And tea accompanied by finger sandwiches and baked goods is, in my opinion, a thing of true beauty. It’s been a few years since I’ve lived in London, but when I did I made it my business to enjoy the ritual of a traditional afternoon tea at a beautiful hotel as often as reasonably possible. And every time I go back to my favourite city in the world, an afternoon tea is a priority. Oh England – thank you for understanding that a love for tea is a real thing.

Here are a few of my favourite afternoon teas of all time.Read More »

A Beginning’s End

In 1998 Semisonic sang such a beautiful and poignant line: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” It was our last year of school at the time, and as far as my friends and I were concerned, the lyric may as well have been written exclusively for us. We danced to Closing Time, clinging to each other and swearing that the passing of the years wouldn’t change our friendship.

As someone who instinctively avoids change wherever possible, I’ve always felt hugely comforted by that lovely line. It conveniently pops into my mind and gives me strength whenever I’m facing down that thing we all hate: an ending. Tonight, on my little family’s last night in Switzerland, the beginning of our time here feels like only a moment ago. Now we are saying goodbye to our life here – for the time being at least – and I’m trying like crazy to keep sadness at an arm’s length and remember that although this particular beginning is ending, a new beginning is ahead. Read More »

My Little Woman of the Future

To my darling little woman of the future,

We have been learning about crossing roads, you and I. We are very particular – even if there isn’t a car in sight we will not go until there is a green man.

Yesterday we were waiting at the pedestrian crossing, your hot little hand in mine, and all was well with the world. “Green man means go!” we said in unison when the light changed. “Mummy?”, you said as we started walking. It was your thoughtful tone. The one that always tells me A Very Important Question is about to follow (like, “What colour are dragons?” or “Why doesn’t the sun melt the moon?”).

Then your three-year-old self said this: “Why is it never a green lady?”Read More »

To the Thirtysomething Mums

Dear fellow thirtysomething mum,

I see you in the supermarket, I see you at the playground. I see you at the school drop-off, I see you on the train and in the kid-friendly restaurants. Sometimes you see me too, and we exchange a little smile, an eye-roll, an “I get it” moment. More often you don’t see me – you are chasing your toddler down the aisles, watching your pre-schooler like a hawk as she climbs higher than you’d like, admonishing your kid for pinching her brother, reaching for a wet wipe, mopping up a spilled drink.

A few days ago I was at our public swimming pool, and if ever there was a stark metaphor for life as a mum in her 30s, the public swimming pool has to be it. There we all are – the stereotypes we swore we never would be – wading knee-deep in the kiddies’ pool, eyes locked on our littles – and genuinely delighted by their antics. Although we may be there in pairs or groups, our conversations are piecemeal, we cannot relax. Our focus is entirely on our children. We are tired. We are distracted. Our tankini-clad bodies are battle-scarred and utterly not what they used to be. Read More »