Post-apocalypse; or surviving jet-lag, & vacation review

Jet-lag. Oh, you fun little treat. If jet-lag were the ‘it’ item of the month, then I would be in luck. Because jet-lag is certainly living large and in-charge in my life this week. We are post 6 days since we returned from the US, and I’m still hitting snooze to the point where I’ve started taking my alarm into bed with me so I don’t have to get up to hit reset.

Nicht gut, meine freund.

Tomorrow the kids go back to school, which means I have the school run, which means the alarm will be going off at 6:15. I’m having trouble going to bed before 11, falling asleep before midnight, and rarely sleeping all night long {last nights highlights include obnoxious drunks walking down the street at 3 am, the dog throwing up at 4 am, and then she decided at 7 am that she’d like to get up and go outside. Note: dogs do not care that you would like a nice sleep-in.}

61 days.

61 days left on the Great London Adventure and I am most looking forward to the fact that we will be spending 9 of those days in other countries {Ireland, Scotland, Norway} I am, as they say, done. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is definitely at home in Seattle. It seems strange that I am so looking forward to going back to one of the rainiest places, but when you have views like these just driving down the freeway, how could you not want to be there??

IMG_9829

FullSizeRender 6IMG_9845

Seeing that -those glorious mountains- never, ever gets old. Even in awful phone snaps.

I had planned to blog about the Spring 10×10 but I ended up not taking my computer with me on holiday, and that’s good; as I would have had zero time to actually write anything. We pretty much spent vacation {especially our brief trip to Seattle} going from 6 am to 9 pm without much of a break. The days were full, and productive {the kitchen is fully planned and picked, our contractor has already picked up our granite slab we chose at the warehouse. that’s a post for another day.} I did take some admittedly terrible selfie outfit shots which you can find on my Instagram. At some point I might get around to writing more about it.

The trip to the US was really good, and we managed to go a great hike with my sister in law aka The Hiking Guru. The day truly was spectacular {even if it was 4.2 miles!}

IMG_9982

IMG_9957IMG_9958IMG_9967IMG_9978

IMG_0014

You could even see the skyline of New York City in the distance at one of the lookout points.

IMG_9961.JPG

I can see many hikes ahead in our future back in Seattle {which is kind of the mecca of hiking/outdoor activities}, because we all really enjoyed it. We also enjoyed a walk around Princeton and the campus, which I had never been to before (the campus, I’ve been to the town a few times). The weather turned so nice we stood outside eating ice cream in the shade and didn’t even get cold. {I love NJ in the spring!}

Vacation is always welcome, even if I am glad this was our last back and forth to the US {because all I want right now is a nap}. Even though we were crazy busy most of the days, I definitely know that I felt relaxed in a way that I never am in London. Maybe it’s just being home, in my own country, or in my city, but I think it might be awhile before I get the expat itch again.

It might be a good long while indeed.

 

*journal style blogs are out it seems, but I’m in the thought of who gives a peach?

Gifts for giving & getting

Since it’s only a few days until Christmas*, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things for those last minute shoppers. Some are things I have, and some are things I’d like to have. Naturally, books are pretty high on my list for both (as always), starting with this one that I have:

51fixfzve0l-_sx423_bo1204203200_

Lost Ireland by William Derham. It’s a beautiful book full of pictures of Ireland past; buildings, great stately homes, etc, the majority of which no longer exist. For me, as someone who has been researching and celebrating her ties to her Irish heritage (my paternal great grandfather immigrated in the early 1900’s from Dublin), it’s a wonderful way to reconnect to the places I’d love to know more about. Each section of the book covers a county and provides some general history of the area, and there are descriptions of each building pictured, and what happened to them. It’s a great book for an Irish history lover.

An accompanying volume would be Ireland: A History by Thomas Bartlett. A book I checked out so often from my local Seattle library, I finally decided to just buy it.

For lovers of historical fiction, I’ve become addicted to Philipa Gregory’s novels, flying through the Cousins War series (which covers from Edward IV through Henry VIII and how they came to power). Of course these are fictitious, but draw on real events – marriage alliances, beheadings, struggles – which give you a sense of what life was like during these times. I’m on the final book of the Cousins War and moving on to the Tudor Court series. I started (out of order) with Three Sisters, Three Queens – which I didn’t know was a series when I bought it. It’s the second book in the Tudor series, but it definitely hooked me onto Philippa Gregory, whom I hadn’t been interested in previously.

9781471133015.jpg

In my opinion, you can never go wrong with books. These are a tiny glimpse of the ones on my list this year:

510Zi2sfZdL._SX435_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I’ve been pinning Gerhardt Richter paintings almost daily, and recently watched the documentary, Gerhardt Richter Paintings. His work is fascinating and beautiful, and this volume would make a lovely addition to my collection.

515ykGZXybL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The Nature Of Beauty by Imelda Burke is a another volume on my list I’d like to have. Goodness knows I’ve spent enough money in her store, Being Content. If you want to learn about organic skincare and clean cosmetics, then this is the guide. I’m trying to move in this direction as much as possible. If we think about our skin being the biggest organ, and then think about what we regularly put on our skin…changing my small makeup collection into skin-friendly items seems like a no brainer to me.

I saw this at my local Waterstones, and it just seemed like a fun book. Q&A A Day For Writers. Goodness knows I could use a jumpstart back into my writing, which used to occupy 70% of my time. I still have all my little scraps of receipts with my writing on it, sometimes even chapters of things. The characters would talk to me (and no, for a writer, that IS normal… really)

518UHVHbl0L._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I had meant to include other items in my list, but books are the main things I buy. Of course, I wouldn’t mind anything from Zady, an ethical clothing company. I love this sweater:

SHOT_002_066.jpg

Hello winter, come on over. You can never have too many sweaters. Full stop.

I’m pretty much head-over-heels for this sweater from Chinti & Parker as well, but it’s well out of my comfort price zone.

cd4bfeb05e79d417420d335ad5295330.jpg

I find this Polly Wales ring to be very unique and stunning. And in the world of sameness these days, unique is good.

23530a9e7641a207649163ff29688824.jpg

What’s on your gift giving or receiving list this year? Are you a last minute shopper?

 

*it’s very strange here in London, there’s no mention of any other religious December holidays, like Hanukkah, or Kwanza. in America, everyone knows when the dates these holidays are celebrated. here, it’s just….weird.

Monday Monday

It’s Monday.  Another week starts.  Of course it’s HASAY Truth Day.  Ugh.  I did okay this week. I went running yesterday (in the 75 degree temps not my most brilliant move maybe) but it felt good to get out there.  I’m getting this whole breathing while running thing down (thanks David at Dadshouse for the tips!) and that is good.  It means I’m still alive when I get back to the car. With visiting mil this week and Hubby taking days off I ‘ll be able to get out again. And bonus I don’t have to worry so much about the bikers on the path cutting me off into the bushes or the naked children on the beach during the week. Nudity and Bonn who would have thunk it?
I think I yogaed a few times this past week and other than the chips and the dreaded cookies (whose name I promise not to ever mention again) I stuck to a healthier eating plan this week. Now that blueberries are in season mm hmm.  Okay the the ice cream under the blueberries maybe negates it a bit but I swear there were more blueberries than ice cream.  We only went to Starbucks twice I think and so okay I had a 5,829 calorie latte macchiato at brunch yesterday and all that prosciutto and lovely chorizo with the marbled fat… and lets not forget the fresh mozzarella…
Where was I?  I don’t know either.  
Anyway. I hear it was Memorial Weekend.  I love this holiday because it is the kick-off of sumer and the lake.  Did I go to the lake?  No, I ran along the river and saw those naked children swimming in the filthy Rhein river though. Right alongside the commerce barges. Yuck.
My car is currently not loving moving in reverse. She coughs. That is definitely not a good thing.  Poor Lucy must have caught a cold from the kids. Probably a Not Covered By Your Lease kind of cold. No warning lights to speak of but she’s been out of sorts for a few weeks now. I am thinking I will simply pretend there is nothing wrong with her until she either breaks down (please no!) or until a light pops up telling me what the heck is wrong with her. This is a great plan huh?
Other than a houseguest it’s been a slow weekend (well there were the books). Not much to write and too much to read.  
How did you spend your holiday weekend? Did you do anything I wish I could have done? And yes this is a randomish post even though it’s Monday.

It’s Back-to-School Monday


The little dude is back to school this morning.  Holiday is over.  I can’t say how sad we all are about this.  It was a chore to wake both kids this morning (not to mention getting myself out of my super soft warm cozy bed).  I hope he has a good first day back.  He seemed fairly alert and awake when he headed inside the school.  Always a good sign!

We are getting ready to start planning out our holidays for the next year.  There is a big sale coming up on airline tickets (I won’t tell which or when or you will all get the tickets instead of me 🙂 so we want to be ready with our school holiday dates.  I’ve left a message at Boo’s school for next year to get the info on the holiday schedule.  I see Rome and Scotland on the horizon.  We are heading to my hometown in late July for a visit and my cousin’s wedding and I am excited we already have our tickets (4 tickets – Chickadee will have to start getting her own seat in two months!  Yikes the big 2!).  Wherever we end up going I am looking forward to going someplace fun and maybe warmer than here.  I am hoping we may also get to take a weekend trip at the beginning of May since there is a holiday.  
After reading the book I talked about in my last post (it was so good!) I am really interested in going to Weimar and seeing if they have a memorial set up or if part of the concentration camp has been preserved.  I read it was one of the largest in Germany.  Obviously it is not a trip with children in tow and not a happy type of trip but something very important and with so much history I really don’t want to leave Germany without visiting one of these sites.  Remembering what these sites where, how they came to be and what they represented is important.  Since I studied this in high school and these horrible events ended just a few short years before my parents were born, it would just be very powerful to see them in person.  
If we don’t study the past we are doomed to repeat it right?

Post Party and New Car Day

We are post party now by one day.  I think the kids had fun for the most part.  We only had four kids plus Boo because one had left for holiday already, one was sick and one never rsvp’d.  So five was the magic number of the day.  One child was pretty wild so we spent a lot of time outside between activities.  Rather I should say hubby and the kids had fun outside.  Little Chick and I stayed inside (I thought she’d get knocked over by the big kids) and cleaned up or organized the next event.  The apron coloring was a pretty good success.  Most of the kids enjoyed doing it.  (one exception.)  Pizza making was also a hit and I think they turned out pretty yummy.

They went outside and in again and again between pizza making and sundaes and eating.  The cleanup wasn’t so bad either.  
Once blogger cooperates I can get some pictures uploaded.  Currently it keeps giving me an error message.
Today is also exciting; it’s new car day.  I know J had asked what we were getting.  I will wait until tomorrow (unless I can get a good pic by the remaining daylight tonight) to upload a picture.  Hubby is taking my car today and picking up the new one on the way home from work.  The kids and I are skipping the event because it takes place at 5 which is prime witching-whining dinner hour around here.
If you do iTunes head over there for the free song of the week – Ana Laan’s Paradise.  It’s from the Latin section and is very mellow and fun.  I like it.  I may just have to get the album for our upcoming trip.  
We are heading to New Jersey for a week for the Easter holiday.  It was a very last minute decision but we snagged three last row seats on Continental for a good price (Chicky is still a lap child for a few more months.)  We are looking forward to a ‘home’ visit very much and stocking up on our diminished US staples.
I will try the pics again in a bit, it’s time to wake the little man for school.  I have a feeling if I let him he’d sleep till noon today!