Immeuble Bizarre!

Much to my surprise my 3 year old was serving as somewhat of an art tourist guide during our latest trip to Barcelona! After our first encounter with a modernist building, she reacted “immeuble bizarre!” (eng. weird building) and since that caught our attention, she then went on to say that everytime she spotted a building she felt was out of the norm and most often that would turn out to be a Gaudí building or another very original modernist building! So when we went this morning to the Sagrada Família I was perhaps more excited to see her reaction to that fantasy of a church than seeing this architectural marvel myself… and I wasn’t disappointed! After we stepped out of the cab, opened the stroller and made sure we grabbed the 200 moving pieces we dangle around with us (e.g. gloves and scarfs we don’t need but just in case…), I finally told her to look up and in an instant her eyes grew wide open and she said “maman maman immeuble TRÈS BIZARRE! with such a sense of accomplishment that she had found that “building” that she might have convinced herself that she made it appear by her dedication to this spot-the-weird-building game! While she was mesmerized by the grandeur of the church, what ultimately captured her imagination was a small ladybug that is sculpted on one of its main door… that ladybug and the curiousness of its presence became the subject of her long monologues and questions afterwards! Today was a very sacred family day at the Sagrada Família…

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Silueta de Barcelona

Stylish and unapologetic, Catalonia’s capital captured my imagination from the first day. I really think we’re gonna be very good friends… She dresses her buildings in couture-like detailed designs, juxtaposes them with ultra modern buildings, drizzles the art of a visionary artist here and there and throws in a beach for good measure!

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Routine Sweet Routine

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Coming back to the routine can be tough after an exciting and eventful vacation but I’ve learned through the years to appreciate returning to the order and predictability of my routine and particularly now that I have two kids, the routine’s structure makes it easier to manage them (as they inevitably get spoiled and lose good habits due to gifts and treats here and there by friends and relatives… one of my main concern was their eating and sleeping schedule which was, despite my best efforts, a bit chaotic during the vacation as I could not control relatives insisting to spend more time with them or giving them this or that treat!) The transition back though is inevitably though as you have to deal with the unpacking, cleaning and the very early morning run to the grocery store to get your daughter breakfast before her first day of school and then convincing her that she has to now go back to school! Ultimately however there’s a time when you feel that the wheels are in motion again, and precisely then you should look for a calm moment and take a small celebratory / reflective tea break! In any event I think that small daily rituals like a tea break make a hectic routine much more bearable so make sure to carve out some time for yourself on any day!

The Anglesea Arms

morning walk chelsea

There’s a pub in my neighborhood called The Anglesea Arms, as soon as there’s a shred of sunlight, its terrace gets flooded with drink and sun-seekers… the mood in it is often contagious and the crowds overflow to the streets. One way or the other I end up passing by this place on weekend afternoons with my family and just as my eldest is throwing some sort of fit and my baby daughter is demanding to be held…My husband and I inevitably look at the crowds, then each other and grimace a nervous resigned smile and keep on strolling our two kids away into a non-pub / kids friendly environment. I’m sure many mommies out there have that place in their neighborhood, which just like The Anglesea Arms, is the constant reminder of how much their lives have changed since they used to hang out carelessly sipping a drink with friends at a bar terrace on a weekend morning. These days my weekend ritual starts, not much later after the last Anglesea Arms enthusiasts are forced to go home, inaugurated by my morning alarm / aka my 3 year-old daughter shouting in my ear: “maman j’ai faim! / mommy i’m hungry!” (an earlier stint occurs as well sometimes, while Anglesea Arms revelers are probably counting down their shots, by my daughter shouting “maman, pipi!”)… So she’s got my attention, I remove all the bed linens and open the garden door to let in the freezing air to force my husband out of bed to help. I head to the kitchen to prepare my toddler’s breakfast and then head back to the bedroom to find that my husband has still managed to stay asleep and before I get a chance to say a word, inevitably, baby # 2 starts crying and I have to go breastfeed her. It’s at that time that my husband usually wakes up and passes by the nursery to ask me what we’re going to do today and it’s usually at that point that my baby # 2 burps all over me and that my daughter starts shouting from the kitchen that she wants more Cheerios…

Despite the increasingly grey and wet weather in London these days, I refuse however to be imprisoned at home over the weekends caught in attending to one then the other or acrobatically attending to both and generally find that it’s easier to distract the kids outside the house so I endeavor to make my best to head out of the house as soon as possible. There’s of course a lot to get done for that to happen: showers x 4, getting dressed x 4, etc… Slowly but surely however we do head out (I’m glad to report that we hit a 10am record yesterday!) + 2 strollers and having gone through our 100 items checklist of things we need to have done or need with us on the go… On our way, we often pass by The Anglesea Arms again, which by then is of course empty and my husband and I stare at the place, our well-groomed and calm kids, then stare at each other, take a deep breath of fresh air and unreservedly smile and keep on strolling into our new parent identities…

2Kids ➡️ 1Piece

Long shunned by a younger me as dated and dull, one-piece swimsuits have not only made a comeback in fashion generally but I have found myself naturally leaning towards them now that I have two kids to minimize perpetual wardrobe malfunctions. Thanks to the many original one-pieces these days (with retro looks being my favorite) you can still make your fashion beach splash while splashing in peace with your kids!

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