Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

Bit late...sorry!

Strolling in Richmond Park with the kids

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

London Life - The Pale Man and the Harrods Perfumed Ladies Toilet

I thought I would start another title for blogs in which I can add any random thing I have observed from life in London...London Life!

Now the title of this blog does refer to two different events that did however take place on the same day, but are totally unrelated, just in case you were wondering what the pale man was up to in the perfumed ladies toilet in Harrods.

This weekend I spent the Sunday in London again and once more stopped in Harrods to use the bathroom. They have always fascinated me, the toilets in posh locations and while I have always held the washrooms in Harrods in high esteem, since making the trip to Dubai, have found them, this time, to not quite measure up.

The Ladies Washrooms at Harrods do, however, feature a range of designer perfumes that are free to use. So after taking care of the business you went in for, you can then sample a designer perfume to try and convince the world (or at least the rest of the store) that you smell like you belong there, even if your jeans, t-shirt and comfortable walking shoes beg to differ.

It makes you feel that little bit special.

Well, it would if you sprayed yourself with moderation, and managed to avoid giving yourself a headache for the rest of the day. I'll know better next time!

On the way home from London, while waiting for my connecting bus home from the station, a man walked past me. A very, very pale man. My first thought, "Get some sunshine!". Then I stopped. And remembered. I too have a very pale complexion and even though I have some lingering sunburn that could almost pass as a tan, I have no right to call anyone else pale!

What's more, recommending sunshine to someone that pale...I should have known better. So I apologise, Mr Pale. I am the same as you. I just got sidetracked by my sunburn-posing-as-a-tan!

How's that for some totally useless information about London Life? I can go one better. The girl who served me in Harrods, her surname was Barbosa, which left me thinking about Will Turner and Captain Jack Sparrow for the rest of the day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

You'd have to wait another 500 years for a shot like this! Here is King Henry VIII and one of his wives, floating down the Thames on his way to Hampton Court Palace as part of the celebrations this weekend of the 500th anniversary of his coronation. (He must be having a good day...his wife still has her head!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Settling In

Since it's been about four weeks since I first arrived in London, I think it's time I blog about how I have found my first month in my new city.

One thing I have to say is that it is so different from last time. Mind you, last time I landed first in a small village at the foot of the Scottish highlands in the dark of night, on my own and unexpected by the hotel I would be working for. This time, I have to say I have landed on my feet. I was met at the airport by family and whisked off to my new home, all in the sunny light of day and then off to a good old Aussie BBQ. It couldn't have been more different from that cold, dark September Sunday back in 2003.

I started work on the Monday after I arrived and my first few weeks as a nanny were very easy and relaxing. The difference between my pervious career and my new one is glaring. For one thing, I look forward to going to work now, my migraines have gone and I probably only take about two phone calls a day, if that! Now that I've been working for four weeks, and having picked up two extra days work for this school term, I've found that I'm really busy and it's such a change from being bored and stuck in an office with no window. These days, my day consists of trips to the playground, football in the park, flying to New York in imaginary aeroplanes in the backyard and driving a huge 4WD through the narrow streets of London. More adventure than I ever had in an office!

I have also been playing the tourist in my own town, and have seen so much already! Sunday is usually my day off and so I head into the city to explore. Here are some of the places I've seen:

Albert Memorial in Hyde Park

St Paul's Cathedral


Buckingham Palace from St James Park


Big Ben and Houses of Parliament at Westminster

The London Eye

Carnaby Street, Soho

There is still so much more to see but I have time to do it all!

The weather has just been amazing. The sun has shone most days and although I know it won't last, I have been enjoying it while I can.

Thinking back to all the dramas I had last time, especially moving to Manchester and setting up the house with gas and council tax and all that "fun" stuff, I am sure that it prepared me for this move. I had some idea of what to expect. The only thing that I had bit of trouble with was setting up my bank account,even though it was nowhere near as difficult as last time. Once again, if you're planning to move over to the UK, I highly recommend buying a bank account package before hand.

So, after being here for just over four weeks, I have an Oyster card and am thinking in pounds rather than Australian dollars. I know there will no doubt be some tough times, but at the moment I am enjoying the smooth ride. It really helps to have family so close.

If anyone out there is thinking of making the move, I say just do it. It's an amzing opportunity and I intend to make the most of it!

I'll try to look out for some interesting observations on British life to blog about. I did see a three-wheeled car the other day...watch out for Mr Bean!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

Vapor trails in the sky, taken from my (rather dirty!) loft window

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Women's Institute

Tonight I went to my first meeting of The Women's Institute and I have to say, inspite of myself, I had a great night.

My only idea of The WI, as The Women's Institute is called, has been from the movie Calendar Girls, based on a true story where women from the WI strip off and pose in a calendar to raise money for cancer research after one of the member's husbands is diagnosed. If you haven't seen it, it is a good one - one of my mum's favourites!

While I knew that when I went along tonight that they would not ask me to be Miss April, beyond that, I really had no idea what to expect. I was a bit apprehensive that I wouldn't fit in to the WI mould. I did know that the WI is all about cooking (don't do that), sewing (can do that, but choose not to) and a whole range of other assorted homemade delights (my sister got all of those talents!). What I didn't expect was to find a group of women of all ages who just loved getting together, sharing interests and chatting over coffee.

The speaker of the evening was an alternative healer and life coach, which was, well, alternative. She did have some good things to say, in amongst the chanting and belly dancing!

Who knows? I might go again next month...and I may just learn how to make the perfect cake. Please don't hold your breath though!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday Snapshot

Walking along South Bank, with St Paul's Cathedral and "The Gherkin" in the distance

Friday, June 5, 2009

The New Career

This has been a pretty busy week and it's so good to be busy at work...it's been a long, long time!

My new career as a nanny is going great. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier, instead of wasting away inside drab, grey offices with no windows.

This is what my "working" week has involved so far: day trip to Ham House to explore the gardens and enjoy delicious scones under a shady tree in the Orangery, feeding the ducks on Ham Common with ice creams under the tree, football in the park, taking a sneak peek at movie-making-in-progress next door, strolling to and from work along shady country lanes...I could go on!

As my nanny job is only part time, this week I have picked up two extra days working for another family for the school term, boosting my salary. Life at the moment is very good!

When I haven't been working, I've been getting out and exploring the area, and doing a bit of shopping. One thing I have noticed is that of all the new clothes I've bought, they have all been colours! When I was working in the office, I pretty much wore just black and white. It's great to have more colour in my life!