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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

Berlin – day 2

The morning was cold but happy and silly…20151101-GY7C2708You know those amazing pictures of people frozen in mid-air as they jump for the camera? Yeah, that’s what we were trying here. We failed. Hilariously.20151101-GY7C2710Someone is a teenager. But she was taking pictures which makes it a bit better. I have however chided her for being a zombie: people who walk around with their faces in their phones drive me nuts.20151101-GY7C2717storyboard-190Old men move like this…20151101-GY7C2722Young men move like this…20151101-GY7C2724storyboard-191 20151101-GY7C2803 storyboard-188 storyboard-189So, one of the things I loved about Berlin is how wide its streets are and how spacious it feels. And that, of course, means that there’s a lot of light, that you get to see the sun rise and set and enjoy the colours it creates. You are not always in the shade, which is a big deal at this time of year when day time is so scare.storyboard-186 20151101-GY7C2844 storyboard-187Now that’s what I cann a jump!20151101-GY7C2852

First night in Berlin

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Start and finish

These two pictures were taken at opposite ends of the day, early in the morning, just after we got dressed; and in the evening, as we headed home from a day at the zoo. From just woken up to ready for sleep.20150911-DSCF027620150911-DSCF0391


This, right here: it’s a bloody work of art and here’s why:

1) I had to get up early to do it in time for school and I do not like getting up earlier than we already have to so I didn’t actually get up early enough and had to do it in a rush; and

2) this child does not know the meaning of stillness goddamit! If Botticelli had had to paint his Venus on a constantly wriggling surface, I guarantee it would have looked a lot less accomplished and we’d all be saying “botti-whatnow?”.

That is all.20151028-DSCF091020151028-DSCF090820151028-DSCF0915

Home truths

This is our routine, twice a day: the fight for clean teeth. And it’s not just Charlie. Amélie will also lie, cheat, and fake her way out of cleaning her teeth. We’ve shown them pictures of rotting mouths, taken them for a stern talking to by the dentist, used bribes and threats and pretend indifference. We’ve shouted and pleaded. We’ve taken favorite toys away, deducted pocket money. And we’ve tried rewards and heaping praise on the good days, telling them how lovely their pearly whites are when they are actually white. None of it works. And so we’re left with this. Some days it’s a little easier. Some days he will make himself be sick just to get the toothbrush out of his mouth. So yeah. It’s not all rose-scented farts.
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