travel

London with Finn + Theo: Days 2-3

On Days 2 and 3 in London, the kids were still getting up at 4 in the morning, which meant that we got an early start to our days in the city. Thanks to the time zones, we seem to get up much earlier on holidays than we do back home and it’s nice, waking up before dawn in a new city, spending a few moments listening to the still of the morning and taking it all in.

There was a starbucks around the corner so I threw on a coat over my sweats (one of the benefits of being somewhere cold is that I get to wear my jammies out onto the street and not have anyone notice) and hopped over for a bacon butty + a latte. I love discovering hip brunch places with fancy sandwiches but sometimes, on cold, quiet mornings, I like how a starbucks breakfast anywhere in the world makes me feel like home.

Slow mornings watching the sunrise with my babies next to me, that’s one of my favourite parts of the trip.

First stop for the day was the British Museum. Ranked the top attraction on tripadvisor, we had to stop by for a visit. Also, it’s free, as are all the other museums in London.

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There’s lots to explore at the museum and it would have been nice to spend more time wandering the halls but with the 2 babies getting precariously close to very rare and priceless sculptures, we were out in 2 hours. I think Truett + Kirsten would have enjoyed it a little more. I’m penciling it in for the next trip.

Meanwhile, Finn and Theo were very thrilled to discover a playground at Bloomsbury Square, right next to the museum.

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Theo: The best thing about having a big brother? Shoulder massages.

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Theo: For that delightful massage, I shall offer to eat your nose.

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Finn: Ok baby, listen up, here’s the plan…

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Theo: What in the world kind of ridiculous plan is that? No.

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We had afternoon tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury (excellent scones, cakes were ok), did a spot of shopping at Oxford Street, and rounded off the day with dinner at Chinatown.

***

The third day was our designated theatre day. The husband and I had a matinee show for Book of Mormon booked and my mom would go for Lion King in the evening with a friend. This turn taking system was necessary because babies.

But first, a trip to Borough Market in the morning.

I have a little secret affair with food markets. All the pretty stalls with so much food just casually saying hi and sometimes giving me a playful wink. Salt beef sandwiches! Crackling roast pork! Pan seared scallops topped with bacon bits! Paella! Authentic malaysian curry! Fresh juices! I was feeling a little ill so I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to but my brain was all like “GIVE ME ALL OF THE FOOD!!”

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This place was baby Theo’s idea of heaven. He just toddled around pointing at everything, yelling “EAT EAT EAT!!!” This boy knows what’s what – he’s a true blue foodie.

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We had some very good coffee from Monmouth, a little coffee place just across the street. Not quite Melbourne coffee but one of the best we had in London.

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From the market, we took a stroll over to London Bridge (the inferior kind of meh regular bridge) and made our way along the river to the much nicer Tower Bridge. It was a lovely walk on a lovely morning.

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I suppose I’ll wrap up with a final word on the Book of Mormon, which was fantastic, by the way. I think this is now my favourite musical of all time, beating out both Wicked and Lion King. It is extremely politically incorrect, borderline offensive and not suitable for everyone but I found the script to be superb, the pacing was tight, the songs were masterclass and the wit was absolutely spot on.

travel

London with Finn + Theo

We’re back from London after a 10-day trip with the 2 babies.

So here’s the story to this London trip. Tickets to U2’s innocence + experience tour opened up for sale sometime in December last year. Why is this important? One thing you need to know about the husband is that he is the biggest U2 fan this side of the world and right at the very top of his bucket list is to go for a U2 concert. U2 has never toured in Singapore and if this mountain wasn’t going to come to us, we were going to have to go to the mountain. Sort of. We had to make this happen and there wasn’t very much time to plan because tickets to U2 concerts sell out within minutes. After some skillful computer clicking, we scored 2 tickets, which meant that of course, a trip to the UK was in order.

The timing of this was unfortunate in that Truett had to stay behind for school. Kirsten decided that if her precious big brother wasn’t going to go, she wouldn’t go either.

“Are you sure??” I asked her several times as I was booking the flight tickets. “This is London and Paris and Disneyland.”

“If kor kor can’t go, I will stay with him so he won’t be sad.” So she did. 1000 points for solidarity.

***

It’s our first visit to Europe and London was the perfect spot to kick things off because underneath this city girl exterior is exactly the inside of a city girl. I like being in a big city where there’s lots to do – getting lost in the crowd, discovering lovely little spots that make the place my own.

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st james park

The first 2 days in a new city, I like to make like a tourist and visit all the highlights before going off the beaten track.

Day one, both babies were jetlagging and very awake at 4 in the morning so we got in an early start to Buckingham Palace. Before we left, I had told Kirsten that we were going to visit the Queen’s home and she made me practice curtseying to the Queen just in case I saw her. I said this was very unlikely, “practically zero chance of this happening” were my exact words, but she made me practice anyway. And she’s right. One must always be prepared in case once meets the Queen.

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We got to Buckingham Palace but we didn’t get to meet the Queen. Or the Princess. Or even one of her chambermaids. Being the lowly peasants that we are, we just stood outside the gate waiting for the change of guard to happen.

No disrespect to Her Royal Majesty, but it’s horribly boring, by the way. We stood for an hour and a half getting squeezed by a million tourists, thinking that there would be some fanfare or dancing horses or something that would make this worthwhile. After like an eternity, we finally saw the top of some furry hats as a bunch of guards marched past. Okay, the hats were pretty cool, and it’s what I really wanted to see anyway, but the marching seemed very ordinary. All in all, I’d consider this a very mild success. If I could have touched the furry hat, it would have been a much bigger success.

After the new guards marched in, we tried to exit the crowd, but we were told to wait till the old guards marched out, so we had to stand there for another 20 minutes to see the tops of more furry hats.

Baby Theo was not pleased, I can tell you that. He spent the entire time yelling/demanding hi fives from strangers. Baby does not understand the importance of royalty.

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We left Buckingham Palace and crossed over to St James’ Park, which was lovely in the fall with all the crunchy autumn leaves and cute little ducks. And squirrels! There were lots of squirrels just running around having a good time.

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With so much space to explore, these 2 little squirrels had a good time too.

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From there, we walked to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the River Thames for a view of the London Eye. We could probably have hopped onto the tube to cut down on the walking but we had beautiful weather and also, we stopped to peer down the long flight of steps to the tube station before deciding that one of us would very likely injure something if we had to lug the double stroller all the way down and back up again. For most of the trip, we either hiked our way around the city or called for an uber when we were too exhausted. Most of the uber rides ranged from £5-10, which wasn’t much more than paying 3 adult fares on the tube.

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We also found a promo code for Gett, a London-based uber alternative, which gave us another £30 of free rides around the city. Sweet.

In the evening, my mom babysat the babies while we went off for a truly epic U2 concert at the O2 arena. The husband was in U2 heaven and even for a moderate U2 fan like me, it was an incredible performance.

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Quite a way to start off our first day in London, if I might say so myself. I think I rather like this city.

Theo

Baby fives

Oh hey, how’s it going? Here’s a high 5 coming to you from baby Theo. This baby takes his high fives very seriously, it’s a legit baby five phase happening here.

Like did you say snack time? Yeahh high 5. If he sees a bird outside the window, high 5. He finds dirt on the floor, it requires a high 5. Even when he’s super upset, he’ll high 5 through his tears, which is the most dedicated kind of high five one can get.

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Except when sometimes, his calls for a high five goes unnoticed, and he’s like “um, guys…guys?? Anyone???”

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And then, full on sadness. Poor baby can’t even.

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Rightly so too, because one should never a leave a baby hangin’ like this, it’s just not done. So now we have a system wherein the other kids have started taking turns to be on high 5 patrol duty. How this works is that whenever baby Theo sticks up his hand, everybody scrambles to meet him up top. ;)

***

In other news, baby Theo is now a *confident unaided walker who’s walking *everywhere on his own.

By *confident, I actually mean resembling a drunk zombie baby who’s high on having one too many brains for breakfast. You know this because his head tilts a little too far to the side when he walks like it’s too heavy for his body and the rest of him is just desperately stumbling along after his head so he doesn’t fall over.

Like this.

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And by *everywhere, I mean that he takes like 15 steps in the direction that he wishes to explore, and then sits his bum down on the floor because he’s too tired and besides, walking is for people who have no other options, such as a human slave to carry him around.

This happens every time we go out.

Mom, let’s go on an adventure! I’m a big boy and I’ll walk all on my own, c’mon let’s go!

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Hang on, I’m just gonna take a little break here.

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Mmmkay, it’s getting kind of hot and I’m not sure I can go on.

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Also, my leg hurts right here, I think it’s badly injured. I’ll need to be carried now.

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♥♥♥