Updates

And boom! just like that 2 months passed by, it’s now July here in L.A and it’s a sweaty one I tell ya!

Some things that have happened:

  • We had the Halsteads over for two weeks at the end of May. 4 adults and two children under the same roof, I have no idea how many strawberries we went through! It also meant 2 birthday celebrations, 3 trips to Disneyland, one including Summers first time (I’ll write about this in a separate blog post) many trips to Target and a weekend being reunited with some friends in San Diego.
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A lil bike ride around Coronado Ferry Landing, San Diego
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Summer practicing her wizardry at Universal Studios 
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our little Minions 
  • we celebrated our first July 4th and spent the daytime with our Korean/Canadian friends eating Italian food – nothing better than celebrating the country you’re in with a big slab on lasagne! And then on to our friends house who are currently residing in Abbot Kinney to watch the fireworks from their rooftop garden. It was a beautiful day full of food and laughter. Lots of ooohs and ahhhs all around, but to be honest it seemed that our neighbourhood had been practicing for this day for a few weeks as we would hear one (just one) firework go off at the same time every single day. And everyday it would make the same dog bark.
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our first 4th July experience 
  • Summer learnt where her belly button is and needs to check its there around 3 times a day. She gives it a little poke and then looks around to show anyone and anything that will have a look.

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  •  I passed my driving test have been driving around like a boss. When I say boss, I mean I can safely drive myself to friends houses, the mall and Summers classes. I still have to tell Mark every single time I get in the car so someone knows what I’m doing, and there are some days where I am literally filled with so much anxiety about even thinking of getting behind the wheel that I’ve almost cancelled a few appointments,  but once I’m in it’s all good and I am actually starting to enjoy it!

 

  • I’m so very nearly finished on the project I’ve been working on over the last few months. It’s a children’s book I’m illustrating based on Noah’s Ark and its about helping children to use the potty. It’s a fun story but of course with it being Noah’s Ark, I have had to draw most animals twice! It’s been a bit of a struggle trying to find that working mumma balance and find myself most nights working once Summer has gone to bed at 8pm until the wee hours of the morning. It will all be worth it in the end though! Here’s a sneak peak of the flamingo.

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  •  Apart from having Nursery rhymes and Moana daily on our tv, we have managed to catch up on a couple of programmes. Have any of you watched these? I’d love to know your opinions.

Master of None – maybe I relate to this more as I have experience being second generation in an asian up bringing in a western culture, but this series has a nice warm feel about it and the tall dude, Arnold really does make me laugh. Him and Dev are definitely a comedy duo.

Flaked this one is more about location. It brings nostalgia to Mark and me as when Summer was first born  we would watch an episode when I would feed her in the early early hours of the night. It was back in London when we knew about the idea of maybe moving to LA but nothing was official and it was all a big dream. Second season on and we are watching it and knowing all the streets and places they’re hanging out in. Once again it’s the other characters, in this case Cooler That makes me laugh. I want a friend like him and his positive attitude.

Okja– this film came onto Netflix recently and I loved the whole art direction of it. Feels like a mix between a Miyazaki film and a Wes Anderson. The vfx of Okja are so impressive and make you want to have one of your own.

Big little lies we have just started this one and I can feel myself getting into it. My first impressions of it were that I have actually met some mums similar to the ones in the programme which makes me chuckle, I’m intrigued to see where this one goes and also makes me want to visit Monterey. It looks beautiful!

So that’s it for now!

What have you been up to?

When the parents are here…

So my parents left today and suddenly the feeling of when we left them 5 months before all came flooding back and obviously I got a bit emotional.  3 weeks went super fast and it’s so much to write in a blog post as so here’s some highlights and summaries- get comfy.

Week 1

  • we picked my parents up from the airport and my mum had literally got about 30 different dresses for Summer ranging from fitting her right now until the age of 3! Each dress we pulled out Summer ooooohd and ahhhh’d and examined each dress. It was this point I realised we have a very girly girl
  • then Suddenly Summer got very sick and clingy and high temperature and the what’s that noise? Oh, it’s her cough that sounds like a seal. Hello Croup. Nice of you to join us a week before her big party.
  • Mark passed his driving test! That was Wednesday, Friday we get a new car and Saturday he’s driving to Santa Monica with a whole car full of things for the party day.
  • the big party. 8am and the bbq is already going and our house is brimming with food and all the best smells. By 11am we are by the beach reserving our area and blowing up balloons and inflatables. Everyone starts arriving and big smiles everywhere. My family from all over California start showing up as does the fog and marine lay. The party girl is asleep on her Lola for about 2 hours of it but when she wakes all her baby friends are here and she gets to blow the candle out and eat the biggest slice of cake to herself. She is loving being one.
  • then our surprise guest arrives. My cousin Christina surprises us all and has got a flight in (or 3 flights actually) into LA from New Jersey! Everyone is happy, especially her mum who she hasn’t seen for 2 months. Then everyone back to our house – didn’t know we could fit that many people in there but we do and Moana is on for the birthday girl. Drinking and eating carries on late into the night and everyone smiles from a brilliant day.IMG_0012IMG_0008
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    blowing out the candles with the Birthday Girl
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    crazy cousins 

    Week 2

  • new car and long drive to San Diego to see the family. We all stay at auntie Yollys huge house and make use of their pools. So many family members in and out of the house and so much food to go along with it. It was actually pretty good this time around as we got to explore more with the car and San Diego really is pretty!
  • we met up with Jocelyn, my high school best friend, can you believe we both have children now? So crazy! We hung out at Seaport Village – it’s very pretty there with lots of little boutiques and places to eat along the harbour. IMG_0102

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    Jocelyn and Harley at Seaport Village, San Diego 

Week 3

  • back to LA for some tourist time with the folks.
  • Universal Studios was super fun even though I had never seen this much rain fall in one day in LA before. It started out a bit rocky where everything goes wrong (yeah we did leave our bag with EVERYTHING in it at Starbucks right at the beginning) but it turned out to be a great day and the rain worked in our favour as there were no lines at the Harry Potter ride (which is amazing I might add) and we got to see a lot, there is so much to see that we ended up getting the SoCal discount card so we will be back soon!
  • my parents tried the metro! We went from Grand Central Market to eat ramen and then to Hollywood boulevard to see the stars. Like everyone says, it’s not as nice as you would expect and it’s only one road that’s good. But they did enjoy it. We got to experience downtown LA too- which not gonna lie, did scare me a bit with an active baby and parents who don’t really walk very fast.
  • Getty Villa was the place that everyone told me is very parental friendly and you should go. They’re not wrong – so much to see, mum loved all the pretty flowers and herbs and the gardens. Dad liked the architecture and learning about the Greeks and Romans, Summer loved the fountains and Mark loved the views. And me, I loved just being with all of them there as a family.
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    Grand Central Market food goodness

     

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    Getty Villa Views 

     

    We also went to other places such as the Observatory, Getty Center, Venice canals, Santa Monica pier etc and all along the way taking a million photos and making even more memories. Overall the whole trip went really fast, but it was so nice to have them here. It’s such a joy to see their faces when they’re around Summer and the fact that they could teach her new things such as “thank you” and “no, no, no, no (complete with finger wiggle) are moments that I am going to cherish forever. Now they’re back in UK and I am counting down the days till we see them again, but for now our freezer is fully stocked with all the food a girl could want. Thanks guys, we love you.

So if any of you have parents coming to visit or are going on a holiday out here and need some tips, then I will be happy to help!

 

10 things about living in LA (the good stuff)

I can’t believe it’s only been just over 3 months since we moved here,  and a part of me can’t believe we’ve actually already been here 3 months already. This is one of those moments when time and logic don’t seem to be working side by side for me, everything feels so slow and yet so fast at the same time.

I’m not gonna say everything has been a bed of roses and its fair to say that we had a few low points in the first 2 months, there were battles with landlords/banks/shipping/permits etc but I guess that’s normal when moving to the other side of the world – we don’t know. We’ve never done anything like this before!

But since 2017 arrived we seem to be finding our feet a bit better and getting some kind of “routine” down. I’ve made some friends here and we’ve worked out where to get our groceries, best sushi, art materials – you know, the essentials from:)

So I thought now would be a good time to write down my top 10 (no particular order) of things I really like about living in LA. It would be interesting if I still feel the same a year down the line.

1.Green tea matcha frappuccino. The BEST refreshing drink around. It’s not too sweet and its green so it looks like you’re being healthy.

2. Culver City  – everyone says that you need to drive in LA, but with Culver City where we are residing we seem to have a lot on our doorstep. I mean at the bottom of our road is a hospital, Starbucks AND Sony Studios! we decided to live here as we it’s where Mark’s work is based and we thought at the beginning at least it would be good to not have much commute time. Plus we had Alee and our friends already living here which made it very appealing.

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3. Our new tableIt was one of those things I had envisioned before we arrived here that we would have this big table and we would have family meals there and have sketchbooks laid out ready to just draw when we want. And since it’s made itself into our living room it’s been exactly that, I am loving the games nights we have around it with our friends. right now I have a half -done puzzle waiting for me to finish it. But, we don’t have any chairs yet so we’re sitting on our boxes full of boxes from our shipping.

4. How soft the towels come out of the dryer. So apparently we’re spoilt as we have a washer and dryer in our apartment! In UK this is standard but not so much here, you’re good if you have one in the same building as your apartment, but to have one actually inside is pretty unique. I am LOVING the ways the towels come out so warm and fluffy, makes me feel like we’re staying in a hotel. But it does make sense why there are scenes in Friends and Big Bang Theory where they hang out in laundrettes all the time – ah the joys of learning life through sit coms.

5. Unlimited data on my phone. I know this one is a bit of a first world thing to bring up, but honestly I feel so lucky to have it! To have this in the UK would be super expensive but out here it seems to be the norm. I’ve found this most helpful when we are lost on our random outings and also those occasions where we need to calm Summer in her car seat – queue Bare Necessities on Youtube on repeat!

6. The sunny weather. It’s very cliche to put this in but it’s true. The weather is so glorious, well its supposedly is. We just happened to move here in the wettest winter since forever (right now there’s actually a storm outside) but when the sun does shine its so lovely! The whole place comes alive and everything just feels that much cooler. I like the vibe that goes with it too – so many places to get ice cream, beaches, everyone on skateboards, sunglasses and cold drinks everywhere! and the sunsets are just stunning.

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8. Amylee – she’s my cousin, but she’s more than that. Even though we grew up in different countries we always laugh so much when we’re together, since we’ve moved out here she’s helped us out more than we can imagine- even took us (and our millions of bags) in on the night we had nowhere to live! It’s also amazing to see how much Summer already loves her. It’s such a comforting feeling knowing you have family this nearby when you’ve moved so far out of your comfort zone. Thank you Alee, for the continuous help, the Backstreet Boy drives and the many Ramen’s we will eat together.

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9. Mina and Yuna – I will make a separate blog post about these two as I have so much to say about them, but they need to go on my list as they’re one of my favourite things that have happened to me since we’ve moved out here. Mina and Yuna are amazing and they like to eat ice cream. Here’s a pic to prove it.

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10. Target  – Fun fact, when we first moved to US and were living in the hotel I went to Target everyday. Literally everyday – you would think with no actual home I wouldn’t be able to find things to buy but I really, really did! It’s been our saviour on many occasion and then when Jocelyn introduced me to the Bullseye app it was a game changer. All that choice and the prices pretty low – what’s not to love about that magical place.

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That is a Target Face 

So there you have it. There’s my list – materialistic it may be  it’s these things that make a place feel more like a home and less like a holiday. Looking forward to expanding this list with our time here.  What would you add on yours?

To The Lady On The Bus

 

To the lady who was on the bus with me from Abbot Kinney to Culver City. Thank you so much for the bracelet you gave to Summer.

Summer was crying because she wanted to get out and crawl around, which she couldn’t as the bus was packed and she was strapped to me like a little kangaroo. I know you thought it was because she thought she was hungry and decided to tell everyone on the bus you thought that, at first I couldn’t hear you as the screaming from Summer was pretty loud and so you came to sit nearer to me.

As I am British and therefore used to people just staring at the wall  or looking at their phones on public transport I was a bit reluctant when you wanted to start a conversation with me. But I’m glad we did and your singing really did calm Summer down. You then were kind enough to take off your plastic bracelet, you had to pull over your hospital band and other bangles too just to take it off. You told me to give it to Summer when she was old enough to wear it and I said I would.

Summer saw the bracelet though and immediately wanted to tug it. As we were getting off the bus I let her hold it as it was making her so happy, a little too happy and excitable that I didn’t realise that she had dropped it just as we were stepping off the bus. It wasn’t until the bus pulled away that I noticed she wasn’t holding it anymore.

So I am very sorry that I am not able to give it to her when she’s old enough to wear it. But I do want to remember you and the kind gesture, and to thank you for breaking down my barrier of thinking strangers (especially on the bus) are all a bit strange. It’s hard to sometimes get past the first appearance of someone before you see how big their hearts are.

Flower Child

Today we said we will start being healthy: reality hit – just a little over 2 months until Summers birthday and we are planning on spending the day on the beach, therefore we need to look good! I mean, I’m gonna be taking a million pics and want to be able to look back at them without wanting to cry at myself!

So now we are going to make better choices on what we eat. Thank goodness the end of Peppermint mocha frappucinos (yum) will be off all the menus!

Mark and me were going to have driving lessons with my cousin Marv today and he lives in Santa Monica so we thought we would go to the shopping area early and get some lunch. On our healthy buzz I suggested going to Flower Child as I had been there before with Caroline and enjoyed it and Mark had never been. 

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So, in LA I think there are certain ways you can eat when going out. There’s the all you can eat life – where you can get a burger with all the toppings you want and embellish it with all the sides with a side next to your side. Or you can go super healthy life – where everything you eat is Earth friendly and super fresh. This is THAT kind of place, where people go after their yoga session and discuss their latest retreats over arty coffees #latteart

Summer had fallen asleep so it actually felt like the old days when we would go out for lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Mark even managed to get the sketchbook out and trying out the new pens we had splurged on the day before ( who knew there were so many different types of black pens…apparently Mark did, and we had to test them all..all of them) 

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So the menu  at Flower Child is made of different bowls or main ingredients and then you pay a little extra if you want to add meat. I went for the two bowl option of spicy cauliflower and smashed potato and then added beef steak on top. If I had some gravy it would have been like a mini roast dinner! but it was still so darn delicious

Mark went for the already made up  “forbidden” rice, we weren’t too sure what red japonica  was but went for it anyway. In his words, you didn’t need the meat as it was already so tasty. So I’m guessing it was a big hit.

I started looking around and taking in the interior and noticed that everyone here had great style, you were even allowed to bring your dogs there. I spotted quite a few lil pups begging for food under the table. This place even have a place to “park” your yoga mat!

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It is slightly pricey, but the quality of the food is good so you can justify it, but think it might be just a special occasion or a nice place to take friends.

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The First Weeks of November

This is Steph. She’s awesome. We met at university and bonded whilst burying burnt sausages in the sand on Bournemouth beach. We then moved to London together and have no idea how we survived the first 6 months since neither of us had secured jobs, just desire in our hearts knowing that’s where we should be. When she told me that her and her partner in crime, Will, are travelling for minimum 9 months I was so excited for them, then she told me that she will be stopping over in LA I was even more excited!

So Steph with her super awesome organising skills messaged me a few a days before and had an itinerary all worked out, even down to where to eat! We were going to La Brea Tar pits! This place has its own magic. Who knew such amazing creatures like woolly mammoths used to roam the central streets of LA before any of these big celebrities did! It’s a really nice place and loved seeing the actual atrcheologists hard at work and cleaning up the bones.

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Actual archeologists cleaning the bones up real good

Social security office

If I want this blog to be real on how I have spent my days in LA then I have to write about the social security office, as that’s where I had spent a good few hours a week with Jennifer and Summer. After our first initial visit to register for our numbers we went back the week later to see if we can get our number before we get the physical copy. Your SSN is like your identity out here, I have been told by many people that you should never carry your card with you or give out the number willy nilly. Without it  means that we can’t really rent a home, open bank accounts or get phone contracts and most importantly Mark can’t get paid. These are some of the reasons we wanted to get the number early.

Kidville – 7th November 2016 

There’s this special place called Kidville that Alee introduced me to. It’s a place to take your kids to where they can go nuts and let out all their energy in the soft play gym.

And this happened to be the place where Summer could really stretch her legs and perfected her crawling.

There is no turning back now for her. I need eyes on the back of my head.

They also do classes there and we enrolled to Rock n Rollin Acoustic. I had been to baby classes with Summer in London and once you get into the swing of them they are amazing, I loved seeing how babies react to different sounds and songs. But this class was on another level. Since Summer was in my tummy Mark had been playing guitar to her so she loves them. Now this class involved the teacher and his guitar and another teacher who sang and harmonised. Harmonised! We were in for such a treat and the quality is so good. Summer enjoyed herself so much! And when Grandma puppet came out she couldn’t take her eyes off it! It was so nice to find this class and left singing the Baby Beluga song all the way home.

Anniversary celebrations

 

we celebrated 3 times…3 years of marriage = 3 celebrations (not really, it just happened!) 

27/11 – Moana

After a long drive back from San Diego we  managed to escape in the evening to watch Moana. Our anniversary is on Wednesday and it made more sense to watch it then to make it special, but somebody couldn’t wait that long so we had to see it tonight. Alee to the rescue and she came over after she was done at work to watch sleeping Summer.

It was worth the wait, I loved Moana- the music made me have goosebumps and the renders of the whole movie was so beautiful. All the characters were well thought out and sometimes random. The only thing missing (which isn’t that big a deal) is there was no love interest, no Prince Charming- which isn’t a bad thing, just guess it being a Disney movie and Moana being a “princess” I thought they would have someone. Guess I’m just a big soppy romantic at heart.

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Who knew that buying bath mats would make your house feel cosier – non anniversary information, just thought it was blog worthy! (hah!)

30/11 – actual anniversary

Everyone tells you that your actual wedding day goes so fast so savour the moment, but I honestly think it didn’t go fast at all and love reminiscing about the little things that happened that day. I caught myself thinking quite a few times saying “this time three years ago I was…” and each time it still gave me butterflies and filled me with the fondest memories. I can’t believe its actually been three years since we got married, so much has happened.

Once you’re married, there is a tradition that every year is represented by gifts made from certain materials , in theory this makes it easier to find gifts –  but if you’re like me and sometimes get carried away, you end up innocently telling people the wrong information and getting wooden gifts instead of leather! oops.

I ended up meeting Mark after work and we went for really good sushi at Sake House by Hikari

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Sex In The City Crunchy RollSpicy shrimp tempura and cucumber, topped with tuna, jalapeno, and spinach tenkatsu

and we were in pajamas by 8.30pm watching The Walking Dead – so romantic!

 

 04/12 Downtown Disney 

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Before we even had our flights booked to move to US we had it in our heads that we will spend our next anniversary at our happy place, Disneyland. Ah, it’s got so many special memories for Mark and me and the thought of being able to go there as it’s “just down the road” made it a perfect excuse to go. But, realistically it’s a 45 minute Uber ride away. Not one to give broken promises Mark said let’s go!

But….the more we thought about it, we realised that if we went into the actual parks we couldn’t go on many big rides unless we went alone as we would need someone to stay with Summer, and although we would have loved her to actually meet the real life Olaf and Baloo we can also wait until she would actually remember. So we compromised. we went to Downtown Disney. Now this place has its own magic and is full of great stores so we could do our Christmas shopping  And being so close to the festive season the place was covered in beautiful twinkly lights that made everyone smile. I had been saying to Mark that I hadn’t felt too Christmassy this year but then we discovered Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel  which had one of the most memorable Christmas trees I had seen in a while, I mean look at it!

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It was enough in there to even make Scrooge feel festive.

We managed to buy a lot of gifts (or ourselves a lot of gifts) so came home very happy. One thing I got myself was this amazing pin from Up. I don’t know where to put it though!

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