My month in Instagrams: November 2014

I’ll admit it, I’m not a big fan of November. Close enough to Christmas to be dark, cold and wet. Not close enough to get properly excited about it. Having said that, we’ve found ways to keep busy and have fun. Here’s a quick pictorial summary of what we got up to last month.

Painted faces

The month kicked off with us taking the kids with some friends to the Halloween Ball in Newbury. Not that any of them showed the slightest interesting in dancing, but it was an opportunity to eat at McDonald’s (sigh) and get their faces painted. Well, Isaac and Kara got their faces painted. Toby simply chose to plaster chocolate ice cream all over his face. I suppose it’s the next best thing.


It’s a long-standing tradition in my family that birthdays are celebrated by going out to my parents’ favourite restaurant for dim sum.

Our children have completely embraced this. They love the theatre of having lots of different dishes appearing on the table and the opportunity to try a variety of things. Current family favourites: crispy belly pork and wu kok (deep-fried crispy yam croquettes). The latter are my favourite dish from childhood – I remember we used to go shopping in the West End every couple of weeks and stop off in Bayswater on the way home to bring home some takeaway. I’m chuffed that all three kids now eat them too.

Now we just need to work on their chopstick skills …

Say cheese

This month’s restaurant trip was to celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday. But can you get the kids to smile nicely for the camera any more? Can we, heck.

Grandpa's birthdayLetter to Santa

I’ve written elsewhere about Isaac’s Christmas list. Being Mister ‘I hacked into the Pentagon before breakfast’, he fired up the PC one morning, typed it up neatly in Word and printed it out before I’d even wandered downstairs bleary-eyed. (Did he update and renew my anti-virus software for me, though? No. Slacker.)

Isaac Christmas list

I love the way he is mastering formal English. “Please can you bring some of the listed items.” A reasonable level of expectation too. I like that. He didn’t ask me to send it recorded delivery, though. Rookie error.

On the trail of bears, poppies and Christmas lights

A friend of ours won a private pod on the London Eye and kindly invited us to help celebrate her son’s seventh birthday on it. We go into the heart of London infrequently enough that riding the tube is still a big, exciting adventure that all three of the little ones fully embrace.

The boys are really into their London landmarks at the moment, so they loved being up on the Eye and being able to point things out. We also set off on a small section of the Paddington trail. There are 50 statues of the famous story-book bear dotted around central London to mark the launch of the Paddington film. The picture above is the one outside Downing Street. They’ll be there until December 30th, apparently.

We also stopped off at the Cenotaph, where there were still lots of poppies draped around, and then as the light started to fade we caught a bus through Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and then along both Regent Street and Oxford Street to check out the Christmas lights. We were lucky – the boys and I managed to bag the front row of the top deck for most of the ride. It’s easy to forget how hard it is for them to see anything in the midst of a Christmas shopping crowd, so the elevated view was perfect. And doing the journey in heavy traffic meant we had plenty of time to enjoy the view.

And that was our November. Now, how many shopping days before I have to do this again?

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