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I just read this article about how to liven up your mother child photoshoot using a full body gorilla costume.

It made me smile in recognition and nod in agreement. I am lucky enough to have the wonderful Claire Pearson take photos of our family from when Markus was a very small bump. I was so thrilled to be pregnant against the odds, that I wanted to document everything. We have had the luxury of Claire following our family across the years, capturing us, our happiness, our playing together. Capturing the moments behind the scenes, the outtakes...

The next one is coming up soon, but I have been putting it off. I am at my heaviest yet, don't feel good in my skin. Feel old, tired, heavy, middle aged. Don't want the photographic evidence, wish I could hide behind a costume, hide the fact I am getting old. But I read the article and the final photo made me cry. Don't we all want to escape our gorilla outer and unmask ourselves?

And I remember that my boys argue to sit next to me, that they poke me slightly wobbly tummy, but then come in for a cuddle, that they (mostly) light up when I come home from work. And I remember that there is a value in document all our phases and stages. I am sure I will look back at myself at 43 and tut and say "silly girl, you were so young and full of energy and loved and beautiful". So I will channel my grumpy 80 year old self, book our next shoot and embrace where I find myself and my family.

And on a gorilla related note - my boys have been singing song constantly about a gorilla with sunglasses - I thought they were sort of making it up, but it appears to be a real song and everything. Go figure :-)
"Der Gorilla mit der Sonnenbrille" Lyrics
Youtube video
We were at Heathrow today having a final cup of tea... this is the list the boys put together (scribe was Alan!) about the fun things they did on holiday - I think the week was a success! Longer post to follow. Despite my phone dying, I enjoyed the week offline and we had some really quality family time together. The boys, particularly Markus, got a bit homesick for Zurich and our flat, the last days. And now they are compeltely buzzed and won't go to sleep....but it was a great week....

London Baby!

We are packing, the boys are watching Paddington, one of my favourite kids' movies of recent times, and Markus drew this on our family wall calendar!
London here we come :-)

London calling!

We just told the kids today that we are going to London for our "Herbstferien" (October half term) - We got them to guess from the clues below!
I'm hoping that at 5 and 7 they are old enough (and with enough stamina!) to really enjoy London. We will certainly visit the Natural History Museum (especially since it features in the Paddington film!) and probably do Changing of the Guard, Planetarium etc. Also very excited to be staying with and catching up with Sal, Amit, Ish and Jay!

Before we get to London we will spend a few nights at Wheeldon Trees Farm - we've been there a couple of times before (2011 and 2014) and will spend the day with Kate and her lovely boys!

Oh, and I have finally written a blog about our summer holidays in Ireland! Better late than never...

Bilingual Benefits

I knew that we were doing our kids a favour by bringing them up bilingual in Switzerland, even if their english sounds a bit swiss and their word order is positively germanic! This guardian article explains why being bilingual is good for your brain and your mental health! It's really interesting - also explains why the culture of the country can have an impact on what you actually say in that language ie by impacting on the grammar and syntax of the language. There are several German / English examples!


This week I took a chance and brought Markus to an evening apero to celebrate the publication of "Lucky, ein Gecko auf Reisen" (Lucky the Gecko goes travelling , which was written by my friend's husband). I had sold the event to Markus by telling him that he woudl get to go with Mummy on an adventure to a bookshop, where there would be a reading from a kids book about a Gecko, and he could stay up late. He was sold.

When he found out it wasn't to be held in a bookshop, he was a bit put out (I think there had been a commercial side to his reckoning ie mummy will buy me some books!). But we sat on the tram and googled 20 amazing facts about Geckos and order was restored. He was particularly taken with the fact that Geckos can lose their tails at will, that the detached tail gets wriggling, which distracts the attacker, so the gecko can get away. The gecko often returns to his tail and eats it (excess nutrients stored their as backup!)

But I digress. I was so impressed by my mini Networker. He shook hands with many adults, introduced himself, talked to people in english or swiss german depending. And i looked at him and realized he is growing up fast. He was thrilled to get Coca cola to drink (a BIG treat!) and we read the book together before the actual reading. We bought both the author's books and came home together happy. Markus' last words? "Mummy, that was 10'000 times better than a bookshop! When is the third book about Lucky coming out?"

A bookworm and introverted networker after his Mother's heart!


Of all the races I have done over the years, I think I am most proud of this one, and grateful to my friend Anita for gently "pushing" me into it :-) I haven't been running properly for a long while now, i've put on weight and generally speaking, am not feeling too great about myself. But, it's the Greifenseelauf and I knew that if the worst came to the worst, I could just walk it :-)

So, on Saturday, we went to Uster and Anita ran it in 1:07:42 and was happy to get in under 1:10 and I did it in 1:24:16 and was very happy to be under 1:30. I did my 1 min running, 1 min walking and got round. I enjoyed the countryside, the atmosphere and the crowds who towards the end, cheer us on by name. I love the swiss :-) And I am amazed by how fit everyone is - i was overtaken by a lot of speed walkers, nordic walkers and participants who probably had a good 20 - 30 years on me!! We were both tired but happy and really enjoyed the superb organization. Oh, and I quite liked my finisher clip!

I was thinking about it on the way back. I have run 10ks faster, but if I had waited now to get back up to fitness, I wouldn't have taken part. In the last couple of weeks, I did 10km "runs" in 1:44:57, then 1:31:54, then 1:30:11 then 1:24:16. And now I have a base to work from and a new challenge of the Silvesterlauf 10k in December. I want to be able to run longer without walking breaks. I want to get fitter, lost some weight. Feel better. Silvesterlauf, here I come!

Greifenseelauf 2016 with Anita, 1:24:16

Greifenseelauf 2012 with Sal, 1:14:30

Greifenseelauf 2006 with Corinne, 1:03:06

Tweeting in the gaps August 2016

August 01, 2016 at 10:24AM:
Leaving the connaught at end of race week! Thanks @ConnachtHotel https://t.co/NxIThbi1ZK

August 01, 2016 at 05:05PM:
Welcome drinks at inchydoney island Lodge & spa! We got engaged here 15 years ago on a leap year :-) https://t.co/NvPR7VkENX

August 01, 2016 at 05:06PM:
RT @hostandcompany: @inchydoneylodge in this weekend's @IrishTimes. #thebestbeach https://t.co/S1z65tVmlv

August 01, 2016 at 05:10PM:
Welcome drinks at inchydoney island Lodge&spa! We got engaged here 15 years ago on a leap year :-) @inchydoneylodge https://t.co/WqOi73thea

August 02, 2016 at 07:32PM:
Have beach, build sandcastle! Sunny day on inchydoney beach https://t.co/lffAr9f1bI

August 02, 2016 at 11:46PM:
More fun in inchydoney beach! https://t.co/tRARpxwxmi

August 03, 2016 at 02:20PM:
Mummy I really like this hotel - it is lovely because it is close to beach. Do we have to leave? #Mgm https://t.co/YjDE2HyeLi

August 04, 2016 at 09:27AM:
Sun shines, sky is clear and blue. I really don't want to leave @inchydoneylodge! Great holiday :-) https://t.co/D68Izk8xdy

August 04, 2016 at 09:29AM:
Mummy I really like this hotel - it is lovely because it is close to the beach #mgm @inchydoneylodge https://t.co/CAnrFwxE5Q

August 04, 2016 at 02:27PM:
Nothing like a spot of lunchtime chess at the Viking triangle Waterford! https://t.co/9s5mMQamFF

August 04, 2016 at 08:15PM:
Finishing holiday how and where we started @TheSpencerIFSC playing table football! https://t.co/st18PvzW0v

August 05, 2016 at 09:04PM:
We left the spencer hotel early today & now we're home after lovely holiday! Bye Ireland :-) https://t.co/c3qc3egYfo

August 05, 2016 at 09:11PM:
RT @adamhillscomedy: Since Trump likes giving people nicknames that stick, I propose we call him Loser Donald and see if it takes off. #LoserDonald

August 05, 2016 at 09:11PM:
RT @SoVeryBritish: Knowing the situation has turned potentially fatal when a Brit says now don't be alarmed...

August 07, 2016 at 07:30PM:
Just played my first chess match with the nearly7yrold - he thrashed me! Think he's gloating much with my king? #mgm https://t.co/VCQkz69yjy

August 07, 2016 at 07:32PM:
End of lovely family holiday - meal all fresco & football on lawn at fork & bottle! https://t.co/QkvGKho783

August 08, 2016 at 10:09AM:
Bravo patrick! First day at kindergarten! #pmm https://t.co/c7jhEHLgiM

August 10, 2016 at 09:53PM:
old laptop, new laptop - both hp, but 5 years age gap :-) have spent all day pottering installing & configuring! https://t.co/wS7CGWOx3W

August 11, 2016 at 11:54AM:
Happiness is a pile of mags to read & a few days visiting dead friends in Brussels - minus kids! https://t.co/c0Od2iaJdd

August 13, 2016 at 04:33PM:
Life is good - relaxing in the hammock! https://t.co/IkDDmOFRVB

August 13, 2016 at 04:34PM:
RT @jonesarah: #tbt to this @dsipress @NewYorker cartoon from years ago that feels incredibly current now https://t.co/5QvSBdjUDV

August 17, 2016 at 02:32PM:
have reached my spa destination, room with a view for 3 days - hurrah! https://t.co/vilhSXMHXQ

August 19, 2016 at 04:48PM:
Off to pick Markus up from kindergarten for the final final time (after 2 extra weeks holiday cover!) next pick up will be from school #mgm

August 19, 2016 at 09:23PM:
Tshirt painting again - I am getting deja vu :-) #mgm https://t.co/Rjykm8LN2H

August 20, 2016 at 10:32AM:
Tshirt in 3 stages! Now for nice cup of tea before starting football pitch cake! #mgm https://t.co/3Kj0Gx4dLm

August 20, 2016 at 12:24PM:
boys' room has never been so tidy! Just the cake to go now :-)

August 20, 2016 at 02:29PM:
Belated Birthday boy very excited before football party starts! https://t.co/gvBqXWsS6X

August 21, 2016 at 10:37PM:
Emotionally drained after writing 5 blog posts in quick succession about the last months of family changes!

August 22, 2016 at 11:30AM:
First day at school! https://t.co/q2UIwALxxs

August 27, 2016 at 08:56PM:
Finished Run with #runmeter, on a new route, time 1:44:57, distance 10.26 km, average 10:13.

August 28, 2016 at 11:11PM:
why is it that they boys only use MY half of the bed to host their lego play? Hope they cleared up properly... https://t.co/N1VoLTFStG


A lot has been changing the last few months for Patrick too - finishing Kinderkrippe after 4.5years, saying goodbye to his friends, going on holiday, turning 5, having a Birthday Party and starting Kindergarten. During his first two weeks at Kindergarten, Markus was also there. The two of them fought and argued apparently. As soon as it was Patrick on his own, the staff noticed that he settled in much better. He has made loads of friends and seems to be quite the centre of attention. He enjoys playing by himself and can focus and concentrate by himself for a long while. I am really enjoying the new group of parents there at Kindergarten and being part of the Enge community.

We have changed swimming, so that it's just Patrick and I on a Friday - and again he concentrates much better during his lesson and really enjoys having time to play and swim with Mummy. We are trying to give him more space and time to do stuff with Mummy or Daddy, without Markus at the moment.

He is still as lovingly cheeky and argumentative as ever. His first response is usually to say "Really?" in an incredulous tone and he disagrees on principle and as his first response :-)

"No, not always"
"I don't like kisses"
"there is he"
"bis zum hier"


A lot has been changing the last few months - finishing kindergarten after 2 years at Enge, saying goodbye to his friends, going on holiday, turning 7, having a Birthday Party and starting school. Oh yes, and the next tooth is wobbling! Markus seems a lot happier and settled in his behaviour than a couple of months ago.

The biggest change has been the first 2 weeks of school well. We've had a wobbles, but he has perservered. He loves their swimming lessons as a class and they spent a day in the "Waldschule" (Forest school) this week. "Mummy, it was amazing!" As far as I can make out, they played in the forest, looked at bugs with magnifiying glasses ("we nearly caught a centipeded", cooked sausages ("Mummy, we all had the same fat sausages") and were allowed to use their penknives.

Markus likes watching the big boys play football in the break ("Mummy, the big boys are soooo cool"!) and has already come home showing signs of external influences - ie he said to Patrick "Das ist doch kein Weltuntergang!" (That's not the end of the world, which we have never said) and yesterday he was singing "Gangam style!!" Alan and I attended our first school class meeting. He is is a mixed class - ie kids from class 1, 2 and 3 ie from 6/7 to 9/10. It wont' be long before he is walking the kilometre to school by himself (or at least home from school to start with). Last week he and I walked home today Monday and tuesday. On Wednesday morning due to a mix up between breakfast club and school, he decided to walk himself home at 0830, which he did without incident. He was fine, I was a bit shaken up!!

Months 83 and 84

Markus still loves the planets, has started learning chess with Alan and is completely football crazy. He still remembers all the football games they played at Kindergarten - - who scored goals, had a free kick, was tackled etc. They also remember each other's pannini stickers. Oh, and we are allowed to kiss him again "I like kisses again Mummy.

Languauge stuff
that doesn't "gilt"
are we soon there?
When are we soon there?
I lost myself


Who is nice-cup-of-tea?


I am tea-drinking, book-loving, gadget-girl, british expat, who writes about living, working, running and bringing up my family in Zurich.

You can find me online @


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