Tag Archives: food

Get good summer

Summer In The City
This summer will be our last in Zürich. Hopefully, our last in any city. Summer and cities do not a great pair make for me. I’m not a fan of the hot hustle and bustle but instead prefer the calm of a countryside back garden. But not wanting to let the next couple of months go to waste, I intend to get good summer.

So how am I going to do that?

1. I want to take CK swimming in the lake. After a few more trips to the baths with Paul, I’m hoping that he’ll be confident and comfortable enough to take a dip in one of Zürich’s badis (the open-air swimming baths dotted along the lake). Providing it’s not too busy and providing we’ve had a couple of weeks of sun to warm up the water, I think he’ll love it.

2. To go on such an outing, I’ll obviously need a kick ass swimsuit. My pre-pregnancy body was often shoehorned in to bikinis but after two huge babies, I refuse to inflict my wobbly tummy on an unsuspecting public. Therefore, I am on the search for a super sleek, tummy-sucking-in swimming costume. If I find one, I’ll consider this summer to be a fantastic success.

3. I want to go on a fancy-pants picnic. Not just a few pre-packed sandwiches, a packet of crisps and a can of pop. Think deliciously full, handmade sandwiches, a selection of cold meets and cheeses, cloudy lemonade in glass bottles. A proper picnic. One with a blanket rather than a park bench. Suggestions of what we could eat or drink are most welcome.

4. Photographs. I want to take better photographs. I’d really like to spend some time getting to grips with my new DSLR camera. I want to read the instruction manual and start to try out all the different settings. I’m determined to capture my boys’ childhood on more than my iPhone.

5. Becoming a better, or more varied, cook is something I’d like to focus on this summer too. I can churn out average family meals that see us through the week but none are particularly great and I often get stuck in a recipe-rut. I plan on getting all my recipe books out and picking some new meals to attempt. Maybe a catalogue of all the things we like would help so I don’t end up cooking the same thing day in, day out.

Those are the five things that I’ll be focusing on to get good summer. What would make your summer? Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to do? Or maybe something that’s been in the back of your mind but you simply haven’t found the time for it yet? Why not join in? You can read more about get good summer and how it started at Clarina’s Contemplations.


Is it really worth eating out with a toddler?

Eating out

Is it really worth eating out with a toddler? This is the exact question that Paul and I tried to answer this evening on our way home from having an early dinner in a Thai restaurant in Zürich. Yes, it felt like a nice treat. And yes, the food was great. But it did feel like quite a lot of effort. And a vast amount of our time was spent entertaining CK and mopping up spilt water (fizzy water … see, we really have been abroad too long).

So we’re torn.

On the one hand, I don’t think children should stop you doing the things that you enjoy. And we love eating out. Continuing to head to our favourite restaurants, albeit a little earlier that we would have done in the past, has introduced CK to a whole host of different cuisines. At just turned two, he’s happy eating Thai, Mexican, Chinese, French, Lebanese … basically, anything you put in front of him. There’s very rarely a children’s menu or ‘safe’ option at the places we go to so I tend to ask for an extra plate and he has a little bit of whatever Paul and I are having. Luckily, we’ve yet to go through a fussy stage with him and he loves flavours and spices.

Yes, a lot of effort goes in to keeping him occupied and sitting down while waiting for our meal (crayons, stickers, books, cartoons on my iPhone), but I’ve noticed that as he’s becoming a little older and more comfortable with his surroundings, he’s developing lovely table manners and is more inclined to sit at the table and simply chatter and giggle with us.

Can I claim that this is due to the experiences we are giving him? I don’t know. He might just be growing up.

On the other hand, I find that I’m slightly on edge throughout the meal ready to leap in to action as the fastest mopper-upper in the west. I tend to eat slightly quicker than is healthy and almost feel like I’m getting through the meal rather than savouring and enjoying it. It can feel like hard work rather than a nice evening out. Hard work that you obviously have to pay for as well.

I suppose the other option would be to opt for more child-friendly places with an accompanying play area but quite frankly, I’d rather eat at home and take him to a park afterwards. For me, eating out is about the food and the ambience and not about convenience and a few swings and a slide.

With Big Bump due in just over a week, eating out is going to become even more of a logistical nightmare. Will we still carry on? I simply don’t know. I’d like to but I have visions of trying to eat while colouring with CK with my left hand and rocking the baby with my right. It doesn’t sound particularly relaxing or sociable.

How did you continue with your social life once babies arrived on the scene? Did everything completely change or did you try to hang on to some of the things that you loved doing?

Surviving (and enjoying) Christmas when pregnant

Christmas is the one time when massive over-indulgence is not only acceptable, it’s almost expected. Parties, dressing-up, champagne, food, chocolate, more champagne, gifts, wine, puddings … a Christmas weekend isn’t complete without them.

Unless you’re pregnant, that is.

Then it becomes all about parties that you’re too tired to get ready for; heels that you can’t squeeze your feet in to; champagne that you can’t drink; and food that gives you heartburn.

So how do you survive the festive season when all you want to do is change in to your pyjamas the moment darkness falls and settle yourself in front of the TV with a mug of hot chocolate only to be in bed by 10? With my second child due in January, this is the exact dilemma that I am facing right now and here are my top five tips for getting through it:

1. Christmas parties are pretty much out for me this year. Cost is prohibitive – I don’t feel inclined to splash out on an outfit to cover my 8 month bump that I’ll only wear a couple of times, and throw a babysitter in to the mix for my son, we’ll be considerably out of pocket before we get through the front door. But also, I’ve reached the stage where nearly everything is exhausting and I know the moment we arrive somewhere, my eyelids will defy me and I’ll want to come home for some rest.

Instead, my husband and I have decided to treat ourselves to a Christmas date day. We’re both going to take a day off work when our son is in nursery and treat ourselves to a yummy lunch out and a leisurely walk around the shops to admire the wonderful displays and decorations. No fancy outfit required, no expensive babysitter to pay, and no worrying about falling asleep. It might not be as glamorous or exciting as a party but for this year, it’s perfect.

Christmas nail polish2. As soon as the Christmas decorations go up, I have an overwhelming urge to cover myself in clothes of the sequined and sparkly variety. I’ve found that being pregnant hasn’t changed this. I’m desperate for a bit of bling. Again, not wanting to make any more maternity wear purchases, I’ve opted for the cheaper option of festive nail polish – think Christmas tree green and Rudolph red. Yes, the rest of what I’m wearing may be a bit bland but my gorgeous nails make me happy.

Christmas cocktails3. I’m not a big drinker but I do miss the odd glass of champagne. However, there’s a whole array of equally tantalising non-alcoholic cocktails that you can attempt a home, my favourite being a Shirley Temple (ginger ale with a splash of grenadine). The key part for me though, is the glass. If denied what you really want, make sure that you at least make do in style. A fancy glass is a must!

4. This far in to my pregnancy, eating in vast quantities is virtually impossible. I have no space left for much food and anything more than a few bites leaves me with the most horrendous heartburn. I still plan on eating all the things that I love but in lesser quantities. Think canapés rather than plate fulls. Instead of a bowl of my husband’s yummy roast tomato soup, I’ll have a smaller portion in one of my beautiful teacups. My favourite chocolate pudding will be made in mini individual tumblers and not as a huge slab. Everything that I enjoy but on a smaller and more manageable scale.

5. And finally, if it all gets too much and you’re desperate to steal a moment to relax, think about asking for a mum-to-be pamper day as a gift. Most spas and hotels now offer packages tailored specifically to your requirements and are experienced in looking after pregnant women. Saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs should be avoided but there’s nothing nicer than a massage to relieve those aches and pains brought about from carrying your precious load. What could be nicer on a cold, winter’s day than being well and truly pampered in a warm and comforting environment?

So these are my tips for surviving (and enjoying) Christmas when pregnant. What are yours? I’d love to hear them.

I wrote this post for the Babyhuddle Blog as part of their Advent Aunt series running through December. You can see the original here and many other excellent festive posts.

My day in pictures – Monday in Zürich

By now you’ve probably realised that mine is non-stop expat life of glamour, sunshine and champagne. A truly exciting international whirlwind of travel, tanning and tempting treats. Okay, okay, I can’t kid you oh wise reader, you know it’s more about trouble with the language, trouble with the trams and trouble with the lack of cream eggs.

So here’s today in pictures:

Quick stop at the dry cleaner to drop off husband’s work suits

Food shopping at the local Coop

Paul’s off today so he’s taking care of dinner and shopping for ingredients

Pass by the urban park

Lunch at not guilty

Yummy salad – yes sometimes I do eat something other than chocolate or cake

Afternoon on the new observation deck at Zürich airport

Dinner chez moi, cooked by my very favourite chef


Date breakfast in hot chocolate heaven

- And the reason I love Switzerland #6

It’s the last day of our three-day mini-break putting CK in nursery while we stroll round town or enjoy a little peace and quiet at home so this morning we decided to indulge in a little bit of hot chocolate heaven and have breakfast at our favourite haunt of sugary delights, Sprüngli.

Frequented mainly by tourists or the very wealthy (of which we are neither), Sprüngli is home to the best cakes, treats and hot chocolate that I have ever come across. And believe me, I have tried far too many than is good for my waist line. Way too many. Sickeningly so.

For those like myself whose greed knows no boundaries, the hot chocolate comes served in a small jug with enough molten sweetness for two whole cups. What’s not to love about that?!

For extra indulgence, there’s plenty of treats that you can choose from to take home with you too. It’s basically a modern-day Garden of Eden, temptation-wise.

Tempted? They’re all so difficult to resist. A perfect place for a morning date.