On The 18th Day of Christmas

On the 18th day of Christmas we went to FAO Swartchz for toy shopping. This iconic New York City toy shop is one of a kind in the world. From their real life toy soldiers dressed up like soldiers from the old Royal guards to varieties of kids toys and activities, this place is every child’s dream land. You can tell it is special with the amount of people that troops in from all over the world. The long line is almost worth it, or if you are local you could just come back another day. The line was over a block on this particular day. But on getting inside, you would forget all about it.

The giant build a bear rocket makes true sounds and lightning like it is about to take off.

Friendly guards who are always happy to make kids wishes come true by taking photos with them.

On The 17th Day of Christmas

I am loving blogmas and making new and interesting contents for you all. However, editing and putting it together this period is so crazy. I wanted to be doing them live unlike those vlogmas that are prerecorded. And preplanned or with no Christmas content. Now I understand why they do that. Christmas time in NYC school is hectic and this is our first experience. Fun fact:

We traveled to America on Christmas Day which meant we had two Christmases. One in London and one in America! So the kids joined the next school season. In the UK, Christmas time is a little more mellow. Any busyness you have is self inflicted really. I was always taking the kids to winter wonderland in Hyde Park or one Panto. But at their school, they just had a Christmas jumper day and “sometimes” end of year Christmas play. A lot of parents didn’t like that it wasn’t all the time. And all the years. Maybe it was the school our kids were in but there were some years one child will have a Christmas play and the other won’t have one.

Here in America it is different. Maybe it is just NYC but there are several things going on and I love and function in all the chaos but it’s hard keeping track of especially being our first time. Last week was the younger one winter concert at school.

And like most things America which I love by the way, it was grand. The PTA were selling roses and I was wondering if I should get one because first of all he is a boy and secondly he is not used to this practice from the UK. I saw a friend buy one for his son so I went ahead and did the same. It’s the gesture that matters not the sex. Boys needs to be cheered and appreciated when they perform too. Secondly we are loving acculturating into our new homeland. And I love this practice.

Then yesterday was my oldest daughters winter concert and recital.

The baby was so happy to see her big sister on stage. She was cheering her on. Then we went to give her a quick hug and kiss. Unfortunately the PTA did not sell flowers this time.

Next is more recital from their end of year after school club concert. Then class Christmas parties. Collections for the teachers and staffs which is brilliant by the way. Instead of individual gifts, the parents make a collection and one appointment parent get the teachers something they really want. So even if one parent doesn’t have something to contribute, they still get involved.

They also have Christmas jumper day here in America but they call it Holiday attire day. There are lots of Jewish people here and not everyone celebrate Christmas so they use “holiday” more than “Christmas” here. One other thing is that the school took the kids to a theater (in Times Square) so I guess that’s like going to the Pantomime here. The rest things I filled them up on. Now we kind of have the best of both worlds. Traditions we brought from the UK and the traditions we are experiencing here too.

Top 6 Places To Go Santa Crawl in NYC

New York City is such a beautiful place during the holidays and there are so many amazing things to see and do. One Christmas traditions we do, even when in London was to do a Santa Crawl. That is when you go and see Santa in different places. I think it’s so lovely and fun especially with younger kids.

One thing I noticed in NYC that is different from London is that there is a form of continuity and resemblance in all the Santas. They all look alike. Even the brown Santas. I think this is really good because we tell the kids that it’s a fun game trying to trick Santa by going to see him in different locations. Like a Santa hunt. So them looking kind of alike helps the younger kids to keep believing that it is the same one Santa, but in different locations.

On the 16th day of Christmas we went to see the Santa at Lotte Palace Hotel, again, and I’m going to give you a list of 6 places to go see Santa in NYC.

  1. The Santa at Macy’s. Macy’s Santaland is truly magical. No wonder people travel far and new just to come here

2. Santa in Bloomingdales

3. The Santa in Lotte Palace Hotel. I love this one the best because it is very relaxing, no queue. There is a reading, you can go have breakfast in the restaurant first. There is a beautiful letter box and beautiful Christmas trees in and outside. It is truly magical during the Christmas holidays.

4. Santa at the Rockefeller’s center ice Rink. This one is not free but you get to either have breakfast or lunch with Santa while overlooking the ice rink. It is a beautiful experience.

5. The Santa at the Brookfield Place New York. Create lasting experience with the Santa at Brookfield Place.

6. The Santa at The Plaza Hotel. If you have watched Home Alone and are into Christmas movies you will know that you cannot have Christmas in New York City without a trip to the Plaza Hotel. It’s so beautiful.

On The 13th Day of Christmas.

Today I wanted to write about attending my kids Christmas concert in America for the 13th day of Christmas blogmas.

While I was working on the content it was dinner time and the kids said they didn’t like the dinner I had pre-made. They didn’t ask me for another one but seeing them eating bread and cereal was breaking my heart (p.s nothing is wrong with kids eating bread and cereal for dinner but I’m a big softy and I hate that I’m that way). So I went to start cooking something I knew they would definitely eat. A hot dinner. While trying to cook, the baby started crying and she won’t stay in her playpen, high chair or even allow the siblings to hold her. I had to carry her. Now that she’s getting bigger and longer, I don’t like carrying her in the front while cooking because one little knee jerk around hot frying oil could be dangerous. So I had to put her on my back.

While I was carrying her on my back and cooking, my back started aching. Then I remembered the deadline I had, the emails to send. I have a side business that isn’t related to blogging or instagram and I had to send something off in the next hour, my oldest daughter wanted to know where HER laptop was (I mean you used it last) and my son wanted help with his homework and suddenly I started feeling like I couldn’t breathe. It was all too much at that time.

In the midst of it all, all I could think about was that I’m sure I’m not the only mother feeling this way. Tomorrow morning I will dress up go for a lunch date, take a picture and post it and I look happy, perfect and collected. In as much as that is true, but at the moment, it was far from the truth. Normally it is hard to remember that picture takes just two seconds. Your smile and happiness is captured at that moment. The rest and previous times could be the same or totally different. In other words, we all loose our sheet* sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong not all days are like that. Maybe if they had eaten their dinner it won’t have been that way. Maybe if their dad was home from work to help it won’t have been that way. Maybe if I was a millionaire and have a full time nanny and probably a cook it won’t have been that way.

So I decided to not write about the winter concert today. There is going to be another one on Monday so that’s ok. I decided to start a new segment on the blog called “You are Not Alone Mama”. In this segments I will be posting real unadulterated feelings about motherhood and wifeyhood (if that’s a word). This is so that you know that you are not alone in your journey through motherhood. What you are feeling is not irrelevant. Many great women go through it on a daily basis. Even those with all the help go through psychological torture of guilt and feeling like they are not good enough.

Some of us have mastered ways of coping overtime. Like soldiers we are constantly on survival mode. My best friend always says she doesn’t know how I do it all. It’s not a choice for me. But like every soldier, we have our moments too.

Sometimes I would share things and ways of coping. One way to have coped with this evening experience was to order fast food meals for the family. Not having to cook would have taken that pressure away like 90%. Cooking is one of the hardest for us moms because it’s not just about giving the kids food it’s about the guilt of the kind of food. Is it healthy enough? Are they getting their nutritional quotas? You would have to shop (even online takes a while) prepare and cook the food and you do it day in day out. When it’s only you, it is exhausting. I have ordered pizzas and McDonald’s a few times because full tummy is better than no tummy. And as I was about to say just get that fast food I remembered the food service I was sponsored to post on my instagram account the other day.

The truth is I don’t have to talk about it here on the blog. But because I used it and it was indeed good and because of the promotion of getting a discount I’m going to. The service is called Yumble. They delivered home cooked nutritious meals straight to your door and you can have a two weeks worth in the fridge. Mistake I made was only doing it for the baby. For a 30% discount you can use the code: THELONDONMOM30 at checkout. Like I said I don’t have to mention the service here but they are the only one I’m currently working with to get discount for my mamas and papas (or if you just want cooked food!). I am sure there are other food delivery services out there. Taking that burden away from you is one way to cope in this crazy but wonderful journey of motherhood.

On The 11th Day of Christmas

On the 11th day of Christmas we went to Macy’s Santaland in Manhattan.

You have to book it and you could get a spot as early as 15mins. But we booked a week ahead. Seeing that it is a very popular experience during the holiday season for tourists and locals, we chose a Tuesday after school slot thinking that the queue (line) won’t be too long.

It was long. The total experience despite being on a Tuesday was about 2.5 hours.

There is a restaurant just in front of Santaland to sit down, get a coffee or snack and wait for your time slot.

I saw this beautiful lady and Mama was really her name! I asked if I could take her picture for my website and she smiled and said yes 😄

The food was very tasty and good value for money considering how everything else is expensive in New York City. After grabbing something to eat we proceeded to the Santa express. It was very long and tiring for the parents but the kids didn’t really complain so they must have loved it more.

The elves were cheeky, funny and brilliant!

There were lots of fun things to see and do along the way. So waiting wasn’t so boring.

Finally it was time to meet the big man himself.

You can request to see a brown Santa from the gate but I don’t really mind. We told the kids the original Santa was brown but we just love whoever puts on the suit.

The elf taking photos was very kind and if you ask him to take your pictures he will. Despite capturing this on my phone I still got the professional prints. It was our first time and I wanted it done properly. Maybe next year, something like these would be enough. Can I also point out that the final prints were very lovely. Even for rich ebony skin, it was beautiful. I never used to order prints from non brown photographers because of how they capture our skin tones especially those done on the spot but this one was perfect. So don’t worry, you can try one and I’m pretty sure you would love it. The whole photo package was very affordable.

Overall it was a very busy, tiring but extremely exciting day and we got to create some new memories.

**I wanted to take a quick nap before writing up the days experience after the baby slept, knowing she usually wakes up every few hours at night for feed and comfort. But tonight was different. She slept for 6 hours straight and I slept off too. Just woke up to feed her and maybe for the next blogmas I would share what I noticed made the difference tonight. It wasn’t because we were all tired, I always try to wear her out but it never worked. But this trick which was totally unplanned, did it. So come back for the 12th day of Christmas and hope you are getting into the Christmas feeling!