Mudlarking

I can’t believe I didn’t know about this for so long, after living here for almost five years! And it’s even something we can go do within the current lockdown restrictions!

For those of you who are as in the dark as I was about what this is, well, you’ve heard of beach combing? Mudlarking is like that, except along the Thames River in London; and you’re not looking for pretty shells, but rather, for bits of centuries-old-trash-turned-treasure. Centuries of lost or cast-off items that now qualify as antiques. It’s treasure hunting the whole family can do together, right here in London.

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Flying From the U.S. to the U.K. During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Well, we made it back to London. (If you didn’t read my account of flying from the U.K. to the U.S. a few weeks ago, you can read it here.)

dulles

There were definitely more people around, in both the airports and on the plane, on our trip from Dulles to Heathrow than we saw going west in July. I think we saw a lot more people in the Washington Dulles airport this time because we weren’t in an international-flights-only area of the terminal; there were plenty of domestic flights departing from the gates around us. Continue reading

Portugal Part 2: Lovely Lisbon (With Kids)

lisbon tiles

Wow, a lot has happened since I wrote Portugal Part 1: Pretty Porto (Without Kids). I feel very lucky I got a couple trips in over the winter, before the disaster that is 2020 (henceforth to be known as “The Devil’s Year”) really kicked off. Obviously, you won’t be reading about our family’s European travels for the rest of the year, as all the trips we had planned have been cancelled, but I can take you on a virtual trip to Portugal, as I recap our family holiday there back in February.

So let’s mentally hop out of the handbasket headed to hell, and follow me back to those carefree, pre-pandemic times… a whole five months ago… feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?… Continue reading

Flying From the U.K. to the U.S. During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Well, we made it back across the pond and to Virginia on Sunday. Deciding whether or not to make the journey back to the States this summer to visit family was probably a harder decision than when we were offered the opportunity to uproot and move to London with a 3-year-old and another baby on the way. More complicated.

Obviously, flying during a pandemic is risky; however, at the current time, the only people allowed to enter the U.S. are U.S. citizens, and Americans entering the U.K. are required by law to quarantine for 14 days, so direct flights between the U.S. and the U.K. are practically empty.

(BTW, I’m looking into donating to a carbon-offset project, because I feel pretty guilty about flying on a nearly-empty plane.)

Non-essential businesses have only just started reopening in London this month, and for the time being, the U.K. has things relatively under control.

Sign: Please no hugs no handshakes during coronavirus season
A local bar’s new outdoor seating on our high street last weekend, which is now closed to vehicles on the weekends

The U.S., clearly, does not. But fortunately the area my in-laws live in is not a big crowded city, and we are pretty much just staying put at their house. We recognized that this could be our only window for the rest of 2020 for flying to America to see our family. And while being locked down and not able to get to each other, we realized just how far away we really are. We decided it was important to go while we have the chance. Continue reading

Portugal Part 1: Pretty Porto (Without Kids)

This winter I managed to take not one, but two trips to Portugal within a month! I’d never been to Portugal before, but I am already hoping for another return visit.

In January, my friend Amber visited me in London again (third time! gold star for her), and we wanted to go somewhere for a three-day ladies’ weekend. Our criteria was it had to be a short, direct flight, and somewhere where it might be sunnier than London.

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