Tag Archives: food

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?

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.


Slaughtering sunflowers with a single stare

Green fingers is something of a myth in my household. A fable, a rumour, a fairytale. A condition, or a promise, that we’ve heard about, searched for, but have never been lucky enough to catch and capture.

Annuals, biennials and perennials* have been admired, purchased and welcomed in to our abode but have all met with the same fate … sudden death. Much as a groom carries his new bride over the threshold, we gently grasp our chosen victims blooms and tentatively, nervously, admire their promise and hope they fill our lives with wonder and beauty on a daily basis. But really, after 35 years of slaughtering sunflowers and sweet peas, you’d think we’d know better by now.

Determined that our failings should skip a generation, or stop at ours, my husband and I have embarked on a planting project with CK. Starting simple (and because we live in an apartment without a garden) we’re attempting to grow three of our favourite herbs to cook with – basil, coriander and rosemary. Seeds, pots and compost have been purchased and despite CK’s keenness to throw the compost around the balcony rather than in the pots, they are now sitting happily on our kitchen window sill.

It’s still debatable whether they will actually germinate and make our plates but we are, maybe falsely so, hopeful. Apparently it can take up to eight weeks so breath-holding hasn’t started yet. Wish us luck, and if you have any tips they will be gratefully received.

*Impressed with my terminology? Wikipedia‘s a wonderful thing.

Parents playing truant

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but my other half and I snuck out today, just the two of us. We shrugged off all parental responsibility and enjoyed a rare day of freedom. Not only that, but we have two more days like this ahead of us. How lucky are we?!

Living away from family and friends, we’re not fortunate enough to have babysitters at the ready. Local friends are child free and have little empathy or inclination to spend time with anyone under knee height and babysitters average around 15-20 Swiss francs (£10-£15) per hour here so you can rack up quite a bill even before you’ve added a decent meal and a couple of drinks to the mix.

So we came up with a cunning plan. CK attends nursery Wednesday, Thursday and Friday while I’m at work but this week, instead of whiling away the hours at my desk, I’m being whisked around town by my handsome husband.

One day in to our three-day ‘mini-break’ and it feels great. Today, we dropped CK off at 9am and headed in to the city for a morning coffee. A little stroll and a little shop later and we were ready for lunch at my favourite Thai restaurant. While I love eating out with CK, it was so nice not to have to chop food in to bite-size chunks, pick up a regularly dropped fork or hold the straw to his lips every few minutes. In short, we were able to enjoy a leisurely lunch completely devoid of responsibility. It was wonderful!

Add to that returning to a spotless home thanks to our lovely cleaner, a warm cup of tea with a handful of extra treats, and half an hour of uninterrupted Hollyoaks, the day was nigh on perfect. Refreshed and relaxed, it was a joy to collect CK from nursery at 4pm. Even more of a joy knowing that we have two more empty days to fill ahead of us. I feel well and truly spoilt.

Lovely lunch, lovely restaurant, lovely husband

A small present for myself – tea tastes so much better from a nice cup and saucer

My favourite macaroons

A moment of peace and pleasure