Travel with preschool age children

When asked an expat mum said to Santa that she’d like a purple unicorn for Christmas. ‘Don’t be silly’, Santa replied, ‘there’s no such thing’. ‘OK’, said the mum, ‘I’ll have a relaxing flight back home with the kids then’. ‘Umm… let me see about that unicorn’, said Santa. I recently survived the flight from hell with our two preschoolers.…
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£20 cucumbers and 20 pence sandwiches. The weird and wonderful costs of expat life

I’ve been in Santiago, Chile for a fortnight now. It seems like most of that time I’ve spent in supermarkets. Who knew a one year old could eat so many bananas? Santiago is not a cheap city. Mind you, today a fantastic manicure and pedicure cost me just £25. Avocados and watermelon are as good as free compared to the U.K.…
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Connecting Business Class flight? Learning from my UK-Chile nightmare

Hoorah we made it to Chile! New Year, new country. It was a tough journey. In fact, as a family it was the toughest trip we’ve ever done. It wasn’t travelling with preschool age children which was the issue (on the whole they were well behaved). Nor was it the length of the journey (18 hours wasn’t fun, but the…
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Top tea rooms and cafés in York

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a tea obsessive. I’m actually a certified tea taster, for what that’s worth. I drink tea with friends and when enjoying time alone, to wake me up and to help me sleep. Needless to say, I’ve drunk my fair share of brews in my time here in York. Here are my top tearooms…
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Worth the journey: a new luxury spa in Switzerland opens its doors

Thermal baths, hot springs, infinity pools spilling over onto glacial mountain vistas. Switzerland knows how to do a good spa. From luxury hotel spas, including the aptly named Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, to the oh so chic Alpina Gstaad, and more democratic wellness centers such as Sole Uno Wellness-Welt near Basel, Switzerland has it all. And now a new destination…
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Top ten tips for German (and other European) Christmas markets

Contrary to what most British tabloid newspapers would lead to you believe, it is possible to be British and a Europhile. I love Germany almost as much as I love Christmas and I even chose my university degree based on Christmas market options. (I opted to spend a winter semester in Bavaria and my dissertation was fuelled by mulled wine).…
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A Christmas Shopping Weekend in York

It feels wrong to be talking about Christmas already and way to early for shopping. But if your diary is anything like mine, it’s most likely filling up and you might like to schedule in a weekend away from the madness of modern malls and generic high streets. When done right (avoiding the high street and last minute panic buying)…
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Mindful packing for expats (and surviving with just a teapot)

We move to Chile in January. Plenty of time, you say. Yes, but we’re getting our stuff shipped this week. As an expat for most of my life I should be used to it, but it’s turning into a logistical nightmare. I’m drinking tea to calm my nerves. I moved to the UK with my first son (Sebastian), a big…
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Top ten luxury adventures and retreats

Here in the UK we’ve skipped autumn and we’re well into winter mode. The nights are drawing in, Christmas parties feel oh so distant and even the childless around me are complaining that they’re exhausted. Add to this seasonal fatigue some frustrating foreign bureaucracy and I think it’s fair to say that us expats deserve a break. All in all…
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Sunday with a local in Moscow

A couple of months ago my brother won the lottery. Well, the lottery of life. Somehow he managed to persuade one of the kindest, most thoughtful and friendly girls I have ever met to be his wife. I get to share in my brother’s spoils too – I get a lovely sister-in-law. As an additional bonus Marina is from Moscow,…
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