Well, I suck at time tracking. My old friend Summer used to poke fun at any shopping experience she ever shared with me simply because I am extremely tactile and get easily distracted in any commercial setting. The ambiance is just right and it is the perfect storm for a person like me to wander, get fascinated, and touch everything I see in a shop. I will walk in, determined to get just a pair of socks for the kids from John Lewis and will somehow walk out carrying a sequin purse, a piñata, three plush towels, a crystal chandelier, and of course, a new coffee cup for Lumberg, (minus the socks for the kiddos I naturally forgot to buy). IKEA excursions are particularly difficult for me-so much to touch, touch, touch. Should any premises I have ever visited get robbed after my time there, my finger prints on everything will make me a prime suspect. My distracted and tactile ways have also diffused to my blogging habits. All my intentions are there to stay focused on it, but interruptions in this thing called Life always deflect me from coming here to sit and gather my thoughts. It’s been weeks since my last blog confession, and I think rather than beat myself up over it, I have to accept that life nowadays has taken on a new speed on cruise control. I still love yapping in my own little digital atmosphere, but priorities are well, just that. Priorities. But, I am here now and as I sit down to digitally jot some thoughts, all is well in my little world. I truly find this portal quite relaxing for me, I really need to get here more often.
My rascals are thriving among the royalty we live around and are doing great. We are coming up to a year here soon and they have settled into life here with flying colors. School is flying by and they’ve become so smitten with it, and Lumberg and I couldn’t be any happier. A month off now awaits them as Easter break has begun, and the evening after the last day before break, Little Miss Stubborn was beside herself in tears. I could not console her to stop shedding her water-fall tears and to reassure her that the month off will go by fast and she will soon be reunited with her teacher, friends, and classroom. I guess that’s a good sign. I’m constantly comparing myself to them when I was their age-Little Miss Stubborn started reading chapter books when she was 6, and the Albino Hulk now knows at what hours he needs to replenish his meals at, because he has learned to tell time and appears to have gotten the hang of this concept fairly quickly. I was certainly older than them when I got the hang of these two life-essentials. Alas, with their new-found wisdom, I can no longer resort to my ways of ‘lying’ to my kids about simple things such as ‘Yes dear, it really says here on the box of cookies that you can only have one if you clean your room’, or ‘Well, well. Look at the time. The clock says it is time for bed because it is showing 8:30 already!’ (when it actually isn’t). If one could physically ooze pride stemming from one’s kidods, I would be a sticky amoeba-shaped blob.
Living in London it is easy to get caught up in the events of the Royals, especially the ones classified as my peers. I confess, I sort of wish I was pals with the Duchess. (Admit it, you have thought this too). She’s classy and composed but I bet off camera and away from events, she takes goofy selfies with her clan while wearing a shirt smeared with baby food, and perhaps may sigh loudly when Duke William puts an empty (dijon) milk carton back in the fridge. She simply must have the grooviest of stories because well, her experience in Life seems to be just like the fairytales predicted in terms of her literally meeting a Prince. I really think we’d get along and her wardrobe has classy written all over it, (I’m not implying I am classy because I am not -i.e., I wear pants in the winter because I loathe pantyhose and hence won’t wear a skirt/dress. I cannot emphasise the word ‘loathe’ here enough when it comes to stockings). Better yet, it would totally cool if we were the type of friends who borrowed clothes from one another from time to time (in the summer, preferably), but I don’t think she would use the words ‘totally cool’ to explain this jubilant and convenient friendship, simply because she speaks the Queen’s english and I don’t. Technically, I couldn’t fit into her clothes, so I’d settle for purses or other accessories and even though her vestibule is certainly larger than mine, I think she’d be a fun friend to have. We could engage in funny ‘my father-in-law is more funny than your father-in-law’ stories while munching on scones and aperitifs. I bet Prince Charles hasn’t fed his infant grandson Gatorade whereas my father-in-law has when Little Miss Stubborn was a wee little one, simply because she showed interest in the colourful liquid. It’s cool though-him and I laugh about it (now) and he’s even been dubbed ‘Gatorade Grandpa’. Truth be told, Gatorade is far better than what my dad accidentally fed me when I was 3, which was champagne. Being new to the Great White North back in 1982, the English language had all sorts of tricks up her sleeve for people who come from a different land. ‘Serve Chilled’ was interpreted as ‘Serve Child’, coupled with the fact that the bottle of champagne had strawberries and fairies all over it. Bedazzle a bottle like that in front of a person who has been in a new land for a very short time, and this sort of stuff happens. The alcohol percentage fell accidentally on blind immigrant eyes and innocently it was given to my sister and I to celebrate my grandma’s visit the night she arrived from the mother land, (Poland). My dad sincerely thought he was feeding us a fun juice. And how fun it was, let me tell you. My babcia assumed her grandkids were bubbly and giddy to see her, but she never knew it was literally the alcohol talking as we were accidentally and elegantly shit-faced little kids. To this day, my dad still can’t believe he did this.
As I just proved, I do indeed wander off on verbal tangent explorations and so to swing back to the topic at hand, that being, I’m sure Prince Charles hasn’t fed his grandson Gatorade or Champagne. Or, maybe he has. We will never know. But I imagine the Duchess and I could laugh over that. Her and I could also meet up at Zara because she digs Zara, and I do too, (OMG!). With her impending delivery coming up soon and with bated breath, the whole city is waiting for the birth of the second Royal munchkin and chances are I will be watching the tabloids as well. If we were close, I would naturally compliment her on her hair in her first post-labor photo with the little one, because that’s what BFF’s do. Anyways, long story short, like a true Brit, the life of the family living in the numerous strikingly large houses scattered around central London has peaked my interest.
In my last entry which feels like from prehistoric times now, I wrote about my obsession with the Tudors. This lead me to explore how the throne of England has been passed on through the ages and in a nutshell, it’s complex. Let me start at the end with the current family known in their reign as ‘The Windsors’, but what is their last name?! This baffles me. If the Queen was filling out a form for an online delivery of IKEA to the palace, what would she write in the Surname column?! Super Google came to the rescue and I learned that the Queen’s last name by marriage is technically Mountbatten, because she married Phillip Mountbatten. Queen Elizabeth Mountbatten. That also means my BFF, the Duchess, is also technically Duchess Kate Mountbatten, no? Or is she hyphenated with Windsor? If not, then conveniently, her initials didn’t change. (Mine did after I married my Prince. Now my initials spell out MAF, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I found a bar in Milan with the same name. T’was a fun groovy place. Good memories).
Going back to where my interest began, after the Tudors dynasty phased out, England was ruled by the Stuarts who were the first Kings of an unified and United Kingdom. Under the Stuarts, the rule of the King was nulled for 11 years when England was an actual Republic. A real Republic, here, in London!!!!! But, by 1660, the King stormed in and began cleaning out empty cups, glasses bottles, and food scraps from the 11 year Republic rave. Afterwards, the Stuarts continued to rule as a monarchy for a few more years until 1714.
Cue the Germans.
In 1714, the relay torch of rulership was passed to the Hanoverians. At the end of the Stuarts there was no direct heir so a distant relative took over. The first was King George and he paid little attention to England and reigned mostly from his post in Hanover, hence the name of the era. From 1714 to 1901, England was ruled by this family and culminated with the notorious Queen Victoria who married her beloved Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were like the Brangelina’s of their time, except for the fact that the Queen and Prince were first cousins. This fact alone sort of leaves me with verbal tumbleweeds because they had 9 kids.
Queen Victoria remains the longest reigning monarch because she ruled from 1837-1901, almost for 64 years. This marriage also produced 40 grandchildren, and 37 great-grandchildren. Lastly, their union was legendary in the sense that she fell into deep mourning and never recovered after his death in 1861-should you stroll through the south side of Hyde Park and see the Albert Memorial by the Royal Albert Hall, then you will know a little more about the history of these two land marks. Under her rule, England became a wealthy and prosperous nation. Good job Queen Victoria! (Once, at a concert with my old friend Megan, when I caught the attention of a band member on stage, I innocently and foolishly yelled out ‘Good job!’. Most normal people yell out things like ‘I f%$@&ng love you!!!!’, or ‘You f%$#*&ng rock!!!!!!!!’. Not me. Like a talking square I threw my hands in the air and yelled ‘Good job!’, flashed a thumbs up, and proceeded to scream with the other fans, begging for an encore as we enveloped the bottom of the stage. Even the band member looked confused and embarrassed for me. In my badass defence, I was 16). Anyways, back to the Royals (and it should be evident why this title is borrowed from Lorde’s trendy single. Good Job, Lorde!).
From 1901-1910, England was ruled by the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, and essentially, the descendants from this family are still the monarchy today. In 1910 however, King George V changed the name from the House of Saxe to the Windsors, due to the political situation at the time. So incredibly fascinating this is for me-apparently someone, somewhere on Lumberg’s maternal side of the family was part of the Stuart rule. In a way, that makes me a Royal blogger.
London has so much history to offer, it’s truly mind blowing. Walking the streets I find myself often trying to imagine a glimmer of what my surroundings must have looked like back in the day. Today London is a marketer’s cocaine and one cannot blink or take a step without being directly or indirectly bombarded with one establishment or another wanting to get into your pockets. I would have loved to see, if only for a second, medeival London, street-less London, London with the sounds of horses and not horns, and London without all the dazzling architectural accessories along the banks of the Thames.
It’s been a while since I’ve commented on the great and not-so-great commercial establishments or events I have stumbled upon in my adventures here. I have a few minutes before I end because my body hasn’t fully caught up with the hour advancement from the weekend, so for me it still feels like its 11:30, and not 12:30. If you’re a parent of young kiddos in London, you need to get this magazine sent to your house. It is called Little London and they also publish a version for the really young roommates living in your house, Baby London. Both magazines are full of fun articles, fun shops for clothing and accessories, and suggestions for great things to do around town that are enjoyable for both kiddos and parents. It is published 6 times a year and offers news on the latest books, for places to holiday with the family, and allows the readers to partake in fun contests. It’s a great glossy for any trendy parent, a must-have if your little ones are growing here.
As a family day out, Bockett’s Farm south of London needs to be on your list. Travel to Leatherhead and from there you can catch a cab for the 5 minute ride to the farm, or if you’re like us, get a cousin to pick you up and drive you, (we’re Royals, remember?!). The amenities are fabulous and there is so much thought put into this establishment, it’s no wonder it runs so smoothly. The kids didn’t want to go home and wanted to continue bouncing around on the inflatable toys, riding the pedal bikes, feeding animals, dressing up scare crows, riding ponies, greeting baby animals that were literally just born, and running around on the indoor playgrounds. Parting with £10/person for admission is easy to do here and you won’t regret coming. My only complaint-the food shop didn’t have scones. (But that’s just my addiction to scones and earl-grey tea with milk rearing its ugly head). Don’t let that stop you.
Tick tock. My time is up. It’s time for bed. Tomorrow I will update my Project 365 photos. As for when I will write next, I will leave it as, I hope it’s sooner than later. Happy Easter-we’re off to the Cotswolds!! I will leave the easter-egg hunting for the kids as I snoop for scones.