holidays


Halloween in the Bay (2013)

Halloween is celebrated in America on 31 October each year. It tends to kick off the winter holidays, and is celebrated by kids and adults alike. Traditionally, Halloween is preceded by a trip to the supermarket, or pumpkin patch, to pick out a pumpkin to be carved shortly before the holiday. If you are planning on dressing up in a costume, it’s also good to plan ahead. Thift stores can be a great resource for finding gently used costumes, or unique items to make your own costume. Halloween Parties, Haunted Houses, Carnivals, and Parades are other popular activities, and then […]


Going Home: Surviving and Enjoying the Trip

We’re counting down now. Less than a week until we make the epic journey back to the UK, going home to visit my husband’s family for Christmas. I should be overjoyed to be going back. I lived there for 10 years, and it will be wonderful to see family, old friends, new babies, and visit some favorite places, I am, however, filled with dread rather than joy…


Taking your baby home for the holidays? Read this first.

Like many Bay Area expats we’re taking our baby home this Christmas and I’m already prepping for the long journey back to the UK. We’ve done one other long-haul flight with him and several shorter ones. This is what we’ve learned so far: Call your airline before you fly On long-haul flights babies less than 25 pounds can sleep in a bassinet, but these are only provided if you’re in the bulkhead seats. Contact your airline in advance to bag these early. If you forget, ask at the desk when you check-in if they have any spots still available. Even […]


Why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday

Thanksgiving, which is held the fourth Thursday of each November, is my favorite holiday; the one I missed most while I was living abroad in the United Kingdom. I describe Thanksgiving (to my non-American friends) as Christmas, without the presents.  Growing up, my mom always hosted Thanksgiving. She would spend all morning cooking and several days before doing all the prep work. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins arrived around noon, and the chaos began. There were usually 15 of us crowded around a couple of tables, stuffing our faces until we were too full to move. As everyone in my […]


Catch the Spirit: Halloween 2016

We arrived in the US in August, so the first major American holiday we experienced, and one of the most exciting for the kids, was Halloween. We’d all seen enough American TV shows to know that Halloween was a big deal here, not at all like at home in the UK, and when piles of pumpkins and giant inflatable decorations started appearing in the stores in September (not to mention pumpkin-flavored everything in Trader Joe’s) the kids were overjoyed. From low-key to all out In the UK, Halloween is pretty low-key. Not many people decorate their house and kids only […]


Save Money (and Still Enjoy Your Life) in the Bay Area

When lawyer Kate Dowing announced that she would move out of Silicon Valley due to the exorbitant housing prices, the story went viral. It emphasized what many Bay Area residents know all too well: If you come to this affluent area for other reasons than working for a major tech company, life will be very expensive. Here are some ideas to save money and make it work nevertheless.

Save money - a small car is cheaper to run