Travel for curious families

3 top tips for ice skating at Natural History Museum

TweetIce skating is a regular part of the Christmas season for us. Maybe it’s because I grew up with visions of myself twirling on ice like Dorothy Hamill (the US equivalent of Jane Torville in singles skating). This rarely happened. I grew up in a semi-arid desert, the nearest rink an hour and a half drive away. These days in London, you’re never far from someplace where you can get your skates on....

11 British gifts to give Americans

TweetA couple of years ago I wrote a post about the 8 British gifts to get Americans (that I would never give to a Brit). Whoa! People went crazy for this post. It was the Strictly Come Dancing, the hit record of posts. Styles and tastes move on, so this year I’ve updated my (modestly) blockbuster post. These days so many gifts are the same no matter where you are. Living in London, that means I’m...

The problem with thank you cards

TweetThe gifts are unwrapped, the leftovers are in the fridge covered in foil, and Christmas songs have lost their lustre. That means only one thing in our house: the race to complete thank you cards is on. On my husband’s side of the family, we draw names and everyone buys one “big” present for someone else. This is good, since there are 5 siblings along with their partners and children. That...

The best holiday ice skating in London

TweetOver the past several years my family and I have criss-crossed the city trying out different ice skating rinks. I’ve loved it since childhood, when I would force my mother to drive from 2 1/2 hours to the nearest ice rink so I could pretend I was an ice princess. (I have a great picture of me trying to do an arabesque on ice — the minute my mother hit the shutter, I hit a chink in the ice and she...

Where to shop this weekend to help London children

TweetWhen you go out shopping for affordable, thoughtful and delightful gifts for family and friends this weekend, you can also help give to Kids Company, the charity that helps disadvantaged children. The usual sidewalk scrum at Oxford and Regent Streets will be replaced with a completely pedestrianized experience, with the streets closed to traffic. It’s called the American Express Shop West End VIP (very...

Review: The ice rink at Westfields London

TweetJust as blockbuster screenwriters all get the same idea at the same time (annihilating animal virus almost wipes out humanity, obscure comic-book hero gets reimagined as self-consciously cocky metrosexual), several years back a lot of the premier tourist attractions in London all had the same brainstorm: let’s open an ice skating rink! In truth, you wonder why they waited so long. As winter fun goes, ice...

All I want for Christmas is this song inserted into my brain via microchip

TweetI can safely say that until about a month ago I had never heard of the band Bowling for Soup, but suddenly I’ve heard about them from a couple of sources, which for me – in my “so not hip to the music scene” zone – is a LOT. (It might also mean that BfS is not cool. I find I’m OK with that possibility.) In catching up with my blog reading, I found Him Up North’s...

The best flash mob ever

TweetI saw this video on @allisonpearson’s Twitter feed and I was something like the 14,489,882nd person to see it, so I’m hardly on the breaking crest of its popularity. But the juxtaposition of the food court and the singers’ clothes with the beauty of the song somehow really brings Christmas to life....

A magical night of Christmas storytelling in Henley

TweetAvril Lethbridge was disenchanted with Christmas seasons animated by the latest Nintendo or Apple accessory. As a result, this granny decided to do something about it. “I dreamt up this very silly idea of a walk around trees, which are lit, and the trees tell you their stories.” A simple idea: to create a holiday experience connected to nature and storytelling rather than frenetic stores and shopping. And...

8 British gifts to get Americans (that I would never give to a Brit)

TweetI’ve updated this post with new ideas and links. Go read it here. In an era when every shopping mall and high street plays host to the same set of shops, one of the exciting things about living in a different country from your family is that you can actually give them gifts that surprise, astonish and delight – things that they would never buy themselves because they couldn’t. This year...

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