T wanted to go across the River Thames on Saturday. We had time to spare so we went across the river on the Southwark Bridge and came back across the river on the Millennium Bridge. I wasn’t specially planning to visit St Paul’s Cathedral, but it was along the route and it was so magnificent that you can’t miss it. Apparently, it sits on the highest point of the city of London.
We were at The Barbican today for the London International Animation Festival. We attended a screening for animations targeted at 7 – 15 year old children. I loved My Stuffed Granny, which was a really moving animation about the Greek recession. Coincidentally, I sat behind the art director and had a chance to tell him how much I enjoyed it after the lights came on.
T liked The Planets the most because he thinks they’re “real planets” in space like Jupitar, Mars, etc. He’s decorating our bed frame now with some planet stickers that we picked up from The Barbican …
We visited the Museum of London yesterday. I enjoyed myself at the museum very much, because the layout was very creative and I learnt a lot about London in 3 hours! It’s smallish so it can be finished in a day and scattered around the museum are a lot of displays that children will like.
I thought these small life like replicas were so cool! These are supposed to be an English trading port and London’s civic centre in Roman times. Oh, and the escalator is supposed to depict an underground tube station.
Met my friends for dinner at Busaba Eathai Thai Restaurant @ Covent Garden on Friday evenings. T tags along on such occasions but he usually eats beforehand at home, and doesn’t share our food. My vegetarian pad thai was yummy! So were the appetizers that we all shared, especially the fried chicken wings!
Last Sunday, we went to Hampstead Heath for a picnic with a friend. Weather was sooooooooo windy on the top of the hill. There were a lot of people flying kites and a lot of dogs running around. On our way down the hill, T fell down into muddy puddles THRICE! He was really upset with the mud on his clothes, not because it was dirty, but because it made him wet and cold.
We met friends for dinner on Saturday at Chinatown. Instead of roast duck, we tried crispy duck wrapped in pancake. It was too fried and too dry for me … I prefer the roast version. T specially asked for 咕噜肉, so he finished 80% of that dish (meat only he doesn’t eat onions and peppers) with rice. On the other side of the world, K also had 咕噜肉 with rice on Saturday!
On weekends when we’re out, we enjoy taking the London double decker buses because it’s fun to sit on the upper deck and sight see! Plenty of things to see without having to walk at all. A single adult fare is £1.45 with my Oyster card no matter how long/short the travel distance is. Children travel for free on buses and tram in London.
We were at the Natural History Museum today! This is a really crowded museum that required us to queue to get into the museum + queue a second time to get into the dinosaur’s room. We didn’t want to queue so much, so we skipped that altogether and looked at fossils instead.
The volcano room was quite awesome because you had to ride an escalator to get in … and you’re supposed to feel as if you’re going into the core of the earth!
We spent quite a bit of time at the human biology room because T likes learning about the human body. Look, I’m 12 – 13 years old in the picture!
I like visiting Ikea stores around the world! We had 4 hours to spare on Sunday … so we took a 1 hour bus to Ikea Tottenham, spent 2 hours there, and took the same 1 hour bus back to central London. There’s a small outdoor play area in this Ikea.
T saw the giraffes on my blog yesterday and said he wished he was me, so he could see them. So off we went to the zoo today! He’s very pleased with the little penguin magnet I bought for him as a souvenier. He doesn’t want to stick it on the fridge but wants to sleep with it instead.
The sign at the tiger enclosure was so cheeky! T told me at the gorilla enclosure that the gorillas think we look “like a piece of bread”, lol!
There was a children’s playground at the zoo, so we lingered there for a while to play.
It’s good to be exercising properly again! For my first month in London, I only managed to squeeze in a couple of 30 minute jogs with T at the children’s park. Today, after dropping him in school, I went for a 2 hour jog at Regent’s Park. I think I only covered 7km but it took so long because I was stopping to check the map, check and sights and take photos. I saw lots of animals in the morning … dogs, squirrels, birds, ducks and giraffes!
Random snippets about T as he makes himself at home in this flat … For now, he stands on a stool to eat his meals right next to where I am cooking because I’ve closed up the living/dining room (less rooms to clean). He does not have a table to write on so he stands and uses mine whenever he needs to write (not very often). He gets a bit of homework on Friday and sits on his mattress to complete them (was cutting shapes last weekend). He enjoys soaking in hot water in the bathtub every night before reading/supper/bed.
London has a long list of excellent (and free) museums. We will not be able to finish visiting all of them in a year. But those that we like, we’ll be visiting again and again. So far, we’ve been to the British Museum twice and the Science Museum twice. The Science Museum is very fun for young children like T because there are a lot of activities to keep them busy!
Mr K: If you’re reading this, I wish you a very Happy Children’s Day!!! Sad that I’m not there to wish you in person, but glad that you’ll be joining me in London really soon!
Instead of moving to Connaught Hall today, I moved to Goodenough College instead! Admission to Goodenough College is very competitive (I even wrote a resume for my application!), so lady luck really visited me last week when out of the blue an offer for a 3 bedroom flat came just days before my tenure for Connaught Hall started. I was able to terminate the Connaught Hall flat with no penalties (phew) because I’ve not physically moved in yet.
I am super happy with my Goodenough College flat because it has NO CARPETS. Since it’s only me and T in the flat now, it’s way tooooooo big for us. I closed up the main bedroom and the living room so the amount of space is more manageable. The kitchen is great as its so well equipped … comes with an oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, cutlery, and even china. I was most pleased with the washing machine and I did two loads of laundry immediately after I unpacked my bags!
Gosh, one month has sped by … just eleven months left in London! This collage is from some of the pictures of me and T at Cotswold. He was sulking in the last picture because he didn’t want us to walk anymore; he just wanted to sit on a bench for a picnic.
I really have to purposely plan more trips out of London otherwise the time will just zip by and before I know it, I’ll have to return to Singapore already …
When we were looking for our hotel on Saturday, we followed a map with public walking trails that brought us through the wilderness. We got lost with our printed map (no GPS and mobile reception there, obviously) and ended up being surrounded by more than a dozen cows in the field above. The cows were curious about us and started licking us. There was a black bull that was quite aggressive. Anyway, the three of us were so terrified and we absolutely didn’t dare to run away because we’re really cornered by the cows and they’re so huge and we didn’t want to appear aggressive to them, lest they start attacking us (or worse, trample T). So we didn’t have any solution except to stand still for a very looooooooong time and allowing them to lick us as much as they wanted. T was terrified (he’s even scared of cats and dogs in Singapore) but he listened to me in keeping still, keeping quiet, hugging me tight, and keeping his head buried in my tummy so he wouldn’t have to see the cows around us. After the cows started losing interest in us, we fled to the nearest gate and climbed over!
Oh my gosh, this is such an unforgettable experience!!! We spent quite a bit of effort washing up after that because we’re all so smelly and wet. Needless to say, we didn’t dare wander into any suspicious public walking trails for the rest of our trip.
Love the vegetables in London! See how pretty the tomatoes are? And they really turned out as nice as they looked =) Whenever I eat out, I’ve been opting for vegetarian mains because the vegetables here are really sweet and juicy.
Likewise, I incorporate as much vegetables as I can into T’s meals. I cook about 2 – 3 times a week for him (same as I did in Singapore) and it’s not too tedious because he eats a one-dish-meal like the pictures above. I’ll usually cook a greater quantity each time so that I can refrigerate two/three portions of food for the next few days for him. So far he’s been getting a home cooked dinner for most days of the week.
T finally turns 5 today! We’ve started celebrating for him as early as a month ago. Today’s celebration was a simple one in school with his new classmates. Classmates sang a birthday song for him, classmates sang some other songs after that, and everyone ate a fruit cup. No cake because teacher said there are a lot of allergies in this class, and besides, T doesn’t like cake as well.
To celebrate T’s 5th birthday, we met up with our friends in London for a Sunday lunch at Little Bay Farringdon Restaurant.
For starters, the adults had chicken liver, calamari rings, crab profiteroles and chicken pastry.
For mains, the adults had fish cakes, lamb steak, beef steak and vegetarian moussaka.
The food was very good and I really enjoyed the Sunday lunch. I shall be bringing KL to this restaurant when he comes to London because I am sure he will like the food too!
A few days ago, we walked to Chinatown to try the Four Seasons Duck that Selena raved about. Woah, the duck skin and fat was soooooo delish and juicy! While we were in Chinatown, we also had bubble tea, snacked on Taiwanese food and just as we were about to leave, we found a shop that sold red bean buns and needless to say, Titus enjoyed his bun very much!
This scooter is the first big ticket item we’re purchasing for T since we arrived in London. He loves scooting in Singapore and apparently, so do all the other children we see in the parks in London. We purchased this scooter off Amazon and it’s worked well for us so far. He scoots between 2 – 3km each day to and from school and there’s no more complaining that he’s tired (of walking too much). Today he even scooted 4km and he was fine!