A friend introduced me to Yoga in March this year. I had previously tried a few classes over the years but never really clicked with the practice. Nevertheless I was keen to accompany my friend and in exchange for Yoga, she agreed to do Pilates with me which is more my cup of tea.

I started attending two to three classes a week during lunch and soon started to enjoy these sessions as they forced me to switch off from work, emails and most importantly, breathe.

My Vinyasa flow teacher is rather quirky and she’s one of the reason I’ve kept up with my practice. She seems very intuitive, doesn’t strive for ideal poses and just seems to know what her students need!

A bit too late to preface, but I am extremely inflexible and clumsy. I’m resigned to the fact that I may not be able to do backbends or handstands in this lifetime but I do get a lot of joy from my practice.

Recently however my teacher has been focusing on fire as energy and handstand variations featured heavily in our classes to my dismay. I just lack core and upper body strength and am in only one in the class unable to do a handstand!

I was lamenting to my husband and daughter yesterday. The bear came over to me and hugged me. ‘Mama, you may not be strong, but you are very loving’.

And that, to me, is enough.

Halloween 2019

The Bear was counting down to Halloween excitedly. A chance to dress up in her costume (recycled from last year) and load up on sweets.

I stocked up at Sainsbury’s – mostly Haribos as they were on sale plus some lollies. Rather unimaginative you may say, and some cheeky trick or treaters were inclined to agree last night. ‘Is that all you’ve got? EVERYONE is handing Haribos’ he sighed, unimpressed. Luckily it wasn’t a classmate!

Hubby carved a pumpkin in record time, supervised by the Bear.

I laid out 2 large bowls of sweets and Hubby contributed a run of roses (not pictured).

The pumpkin was our only nod to Halloween decorations. Young revellers started knocking on our door just after 6pm and we handed out sweets right up to 7.30pm. Dwindling supply of sweets plus it was coming up to the Bear’s bedtime.

The Bear went trick or treating to 7 houses. She made a pact with her friend that they would visit each other’s house. Hubby drove her over whilst I was on sweets duty at home! Then the girls came back to ours along with the mum (a friend) and we caught up over a cup of tea and chocolates.

A great midweek buzz and the Bear tearfully declared she was sad to see Halloween end. I for one am glad to see the back of those Haribos!

Brunch at The Ned

It appears that everyone has been to The Ned. A few people I work with are also private members of said establishment. Having read good reviews of its Sunday brunch offering, a few friends and I booked a table months in advance for their 12pm seating. Sunday Brunch is offered on two hourly slots, starting at 12pm with the last table at 8pm.

We arrived 10 minutes early and were told to wait. We decided to perch on stools leading into Millie’s, where brunch was served. It was a bit poorly organised truth be told. At 12pm a queue started forming at the desk. We asked a waitress and she said we should just join the queue as we’d have to check in at the desk again for our table.

It was only a matter of minutes and we were seated close to the savoury food area. Our waitress explained that our £48 brunch included bottomless food plus one drink but extra drinks were on top.

There were lobsters, oysters, crevettes, salads, meats, Sunday roast and trimmings. A queue quickly formed for Sunday roast and people were fairly territorial. It was interesting to observe human behaviour and there was very little difference in general buffet decorum between this fancy establishment and my local all you can eat Chinese buffet! Sad but true.

My friends and were happy to leave the connoisseurs of Sunday roast behind and helped ourselves to lobsters, crevettes and oysters. There was plenty of interesting salads.

There was a lull in the queue and we sampled some of the Sunday roast offerings. No photos but there was a good selection of Yorkshire pudding, cheesy cauliflower, roasted root vegetables, roast potatoes, roast beef/pork/chicken.

The two hours were almost up and our waitress politely reminded us of time and ushered us towards the dessert area which offered a good selection of cheese and cakes. I opted for the latter, followed by a cup of coffee.

Food was very tasty and generous therefore I couldn’t understand why some patrons got a bit territorial. I might try their 6pm seating next time.

Hanwell zoo

We recently visited Hanwell zoo which is tucked away in Brent Lodge Park. There is limited parking nearby, a little cafe adjacent to the zoo entrance and a small playground.

Prices were reasonable and we bought the family ticket.

There is an aquarium, a reptile house, alpacas, pink flamingos, ducks, meerkats, porcupines, rabbits and goats to name a few.

It’s a nice little park, there were lots of families, some having picnics and young children about enjoying the playground. A nice day out for the Bear who has asked to go back again soon.

A break from Sunday Roast

The Bear is on half term break this week. I can’t believe how quickly the last few weeks have gone by. They’ve certainly managed to squeeze in a lot of learning and activities since the new school year began in September and there is no doubt that the children are looking forward to a bit of a break.

Just for a change from our usual Sunday routine, we ventured out for a drive and it wasn’t long before our thoughts turned to food. The Hubby suggested a little Japanese cafe he’s seen driving past the area recently. Umami, it was called.

We walked in to find a really small establishment – a table for two, another for four and a larger table for six, all taken. They also had ‘bar seating’, though not on high stools so it was perfect for us and the Bear.

Prawn and vegetable udon
Chicken katsu curry
Vegetable tempura

Service was friendly, courteous and quick. The Bear and Hubby shared the chicken katsu curry. I had a taste and it was lovely. The udon dish was for me and it was very hearty and filling. The Hubby enjoyed the vegetable tempura though there was no doubt we over ordered!

They were ever so kind to the Bear and gave her a complimentary dish of cucumber hosomaki which she gave thumbs up to.

All in all, really tasty food, friendly service and definitely worth a visit.

Look up

I’ve lived and worked in London for more than a decade. There’s much to love about the big smoke although it’s easy to forget and get sucked into the daily rigmarole. If you are tired of London, then you are tired of life, the famous saying goes.

Everyone is in a rush, heads down, dodging people when trying to get somewhere. I’m guilty of it and rarely take the time to look up.

Shame, for when you do, iconic sights like these greet you.

The Shard
Walkie Talkie
St Paul’s Cathedral
London Eye

What are your favourite sights of your home town/city?

Stand up for yourself

I make it a point to ask the Bear about her day on the way home from school. Despite open ended questions, the typical answer is ‘good’, ‘jacket potato and beans’, ‘can I have a snack when we get home’.

Yesterday, we sat on the sofa and watched one of her favourite cartoons. ‘Mama, I have to tell you something’. She sounded very serious.

It transpired that her teacher told her off for having paint on her fingers after art class, then proceeded to tell her that she was surprised that the Bear had copied someone else’s artwork! The Bear is very creative and can spend hours doing arts and craft, designing and painting. ‘This new boy is always looking at my work, Mama and Mrs X accused me of copying him’. She was extremely upset about this but didn’t stand up to the teacher as she ‘didn’t want to appear rude’.

I quizzed her on what she drew. Her eyes lit up. ‘ A slide, a football net, a swing…’ Playground equipment, seemingly. ‘Did you copy him?’, I asked. ‘Of course not’, she replied indignantly. I gently coaxed her to speak to her teacher the next day and tell Mrs X that there were no copyright issues involved. The Bear couldn’t stomach the thought of it. The Hubby joined in and told her how important it was to stand up for herself and that she could express her feelings to her teacher politely. As an incentive, the Hubby offered her £10 if she went through with it. As did I.

The Bear point blank refused. Not wanting to pressure her, we left it.

The next day when I picked her up after school, she shouted to me ‘I did it, Mama, I told Mrs X that I didn’t copy anyone. I was 1/4 filled with fear and 3/4 brave!’ Seemingly Mrs X just muttered ‘Ok’.

We paid up by the way. Asked what made her do it, the Bear said she wanted to clear her name. Fair deuce, Bear, fair deuce.