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What else we did on our holiday....

So the first part of our staycation were trips to Neuchatel, a wildlife park and many lake outings in Zurich (by myself, in the rain, in the grey, in the sun)!. Then we went to Lugano for a few days. More details here :-)

The last part of the two weeks has been staying at home, getting sh*t done. I say that - the boys mostly played with lego, but they did also do a huge clear up of their room and I took bags and bags of stuff to the local Brocky.

There's also been a fair bit of lounging around, watching star wars movies, playing games on devices, watching pointless TV, and reading!

We also put up our fabulous lego portraits, I cleared up boxes of memories and sorted out my half (okay, my two-thirds) of the bookshelves. We also cleared clothes, cleaned the flat and I booked our October holiday in the sun - here at Sagres. Can't wait - only 7 weeks to go before the next school break!

Click here for all the family holiday photos

Family Holiday in the Tessin

After a week of staycation, we decided to head down to the Tessin - the southern part (italian-speaking) of Switzerland. We stayed in the Villa Sassa in Lugano, which was lovely. I can recommend their spa treatments! We arrived Sunday afternoon and left Weds lunchtime, but managed (with the help of a hire car) to fit in a lot.

We did a day trip on Markus's Birthday to The Splash and Spa, then Monte Tamaro. The "Splash" complex was awesome - 5 huge slides which were pretty cool, a huge wave pool, and two other swimming areas with bubbles and jacuzzis. The boys loved it and stayed in until their fingers got wrinkly! Monte Tamaro was also great - fantastcic views, playgrounds, walks, and an epic toboggan run!

Click here for all the family holiday photos and see below for more..

Markus' Birthday - 9 today!

Markus - you were 9 yesterday and we celebrated on holiday! And today we celebrated with the rest of your presents at home.
You are growing up so fast, into a smashing boy. You care for your friends and your brother, are concerned that things are fair, have great ideas on what to do ,what games to play, which books to read! You make us laugh, and talk about everything, in particular stars wars stories :-)

The happy birthday hamster came on holiday too! You got a few presents on your birthday, then we spent the day at a fantastic swimming park, then went up a mountain. You said it was the best birthday ever! We had tobaggons and mountains and rainbows, then a posh meal in the hotel restaurant with suprise candle on your suprise pudding!

Back home today you got the rest of your presents and a cake (from Sprüngli!)
lots of lego, a scooter, water bombos!

Resolutions Update - July

I can't lie - it's been a horrible couple of months. Lots of work upheavals and stress, too much work, not enough support - and my perfectionist stress monster took over. I went to Dr who referred me for some extra help. i had a few weeks of working reduced hours and managed to catch up on some sleep and rest. I still haven't fundamentally figured out how to work differently and this worries me. I was doing okay until April, and then it gradually fell apart. I've been doing a lot of reading over the holiday and I need to go back to work with a different mindset and some different protective barriers and some more support mechanisms in place. It also doesn't help that I am very overweight now, feel old and achey and am comfort eating. Something else to tackle when I get a bit more energy back. I've had 2 iron infusions iin last 6 months, but haven't seen a massive difference yet. but at least I went and got help from the Dr.

1. No alcohol -
have been alcohol free for over 7 months now - not missing it at all - am feeling a bit cheated that life is still rather tough in general (despite not drinking) and that I haven't seen a shift in body weight or shape. But, if I had continued drinking, I would certainly be doing worse and feeling worse that I am now.
2. Running has taken a back seat - as I get more stressed, the first thing to go is any exercise, which is quite frankly nuts. I need to figure out how to make this a non-negotiable part of my life! I am on a 3 day streak with the 7min workout (which I am feeling rather hard) - aim is to do 30 days straight, then increase my exercies. I also need to get back into my yoga at home and I am also debating hot yoga round the corner!
3. Blog daily  - Am using my holiday time to catch up with the backlog - really want to blog daily for the rest of the year - i know it makes me feel better
4. Read 100 books -  60 read so far, on target! Have had some really good reads recently, plus some comforting re-reads. The abundance of my books makes me feel better - and i have just ordered a new kindle! ..

Still enjoying my daily CALM meditation - is still going strong - according to the app - 188 sessions,  1,960 minutes in total

The other app i'm using is called Daylio - it's a mood tracker and micro diary and am using it to track what I do each day ie AF, exercise, learning, work at home - and to see how my mood coincides with this.
Patrick has now finished Kindergarten - he only had 6 months in the new place, but made friends and had fun. He is so ready for school though. i gave him a nice black notebook (similar to a moleskine) and he sits for half an hour "writing" his "Geheimsprache" (secret language in it) - he is very serious about his homework! Ad this week asked me when we could build the desks that fit under their beds! He seems to be learning German and english ready by osmosis!

When you catch him on his own, he will talk nineteen to the dozen and is incredibly empathetic and helpful. When he's with Markus (particularly when he, Patrick, is tired), then fireworks fly. Patrick provokes and Markus responds. We're all working hard to helpful Patrick control his anger and frustration.

Patrick, now more often that not, known as Pat, loves playing games on my iphone, again we're trying to help them restrict this time. He's just about learnt to ride his bike, but is not very confident and needs more practice. We still go out on my bike with the follow-me attachment. He loves swimming and football and like Markus has joined the Zurich Lions rugby club. He apparently has an amazing spin throw!

Most often said expressions
Why would I?
No, I'm not going
I'll make you a deal...

Favourite expressions...
what had you said?
Did you remember when?

Funniest thing Patrick said recently...
"I hate it when she says maybe. Try again and aim for possibly"

Notes from March 2018
- doesn't like kisses
- does like Mega Hugs
- Do you know why? Do you know what?
- Helen!
- Alan!
- Do you still remember when?
- I remember it!
- Cuggly toys
- Lent me the Sorgen monster
- I banged my head (again) on the bunkbed and he brought me goat, then Sorgenfresser ("becuase it is so fluffy) and then the red spotty blanket, then his knitted blanket and then put the small orange muslin on the bump on my head!
- PLaying the counting the rental bikes game
- Can we play the naming things game? Animals or people or just things?

Months 84, 83

Months 82, 81, 80


The last months have seen Markus finish 2nd class - he improved his math skills a huge amount and German is still coming along. We're focussed on him really catching up next year. We've also just started reading in English together - using Harry Potter. I deliberately didn't teach him any english so far, but I've been reading to him for years. We're skipping the phonetics bit, since he knows how to read in German and I don't want to confuse his German sounds. So we're recognizing words from the context and learning the rest!

He's got his friends from school and former friends from Kindergarten and has a better social life than me! The Friday Night "Pizza Party Kino" is still going strong. He's a strong and happy swimmer now, he's taking a break from lessons which is probably okay, since he's been going regularly since he was a baby! He's obsessed with football and has joined the Zurich Lions Under 10 Rugby Club. He's filling out all of a sudden and we're now focussing on healthy eating and getting more exercise. We both do my 7min workout each day. I am proud that he can do full pressups, and gutted that I can't!

There's still a lot of fighting and arguing with Patrick, but we're working hard to calm that down. And the best bit is the grown-up conversations I have with him, on all matters of topics. Give the chance he'd spend all day on my ipad playing star wars / lego / clash of clanes, but we're working on a system to curtail it!

Notes from March 2018
- Using Helen / Alan
- Bottomless pit
- Still holds my hand
- excitement at Harry Potter Films
- Reading together
Months 107, 106

Months 105, 104, 103


My Task Addled Brain

I am obsessed with finding the perfect way to organize myself and get more sh+t done. For a long time I had all my to-dos in Outlook. Then i put them into Evernote. Then I spent several years with idonethis.com and then in 2017-2018 with Swipesapp.

And now I've decided to go all out with Google. I've moved my contacts and calendar and todos to Google. I'm resigned to managing 2 agendas - work and home. And i've just bought a smart notebook and pen from Moleskine, which allows me to write in the paper diary/smart planner and it syncs with Google Calendar. If I write neatly, it has a pretty good success rate.

So there you have it.  I am an organizational nerd. And i'm now reading "168 Hours: You have more time than you think" by Laura Vanderkam. Am hopefull of picking up some ideas on how to think differently about the time I have, the choices I makes, the priorities I set. I'll report back!

Stuff I got done 2017-2018 with SwipesApp

Stuff I got done 2014-2017 with idonethis.com

My Funny-Faced Boys.

So our monthly photos continue, but the struggle to get a few good versions is eternal.
Here are the best of the recent "out-takes" (she said graciously...)

I love seeing the changes in my boys over time and I love the fact that they still do play along. And every now and again, I even get a good photos of both of them together. Here are the most recent ones, including the one with the new Rugby Kit!

Tweeting in the Gaps, March - July 2018

March 05, 2018 at 04:54PM
Suddenly it smells like spring! https://t.co/qxOBJOTfQd
March 05, 2018 at 10:10PM
Thrilled to be tweeted about by my favourite blogger @office_mum. Bloggers who pen odes to their sofas, unite, you have nothing to fear except slowly sagging upholstery! https://t.co/B6nqJVgvfA
March 07, 2018 at 11:38AM
The Bob einiges aka the unicorn venn diagram, courtesy of a work colleague! #bobtheunicorn @unicorntraining @sabine_gori https://t.co/kh7ZnAtSTX
March 08, 2018 at 08:09AM
Deep in discussion on the merits of imaginary waterguns! #mgm #pmm # waitingforsummer https://t.co/CNDQHzHLrT
March 08, 2018 at 11:08PM
The 2018 Corporate eLearning Movers And Shakers List -
congrats @dswaddle! https://t.co/mAsXwyvSwt via @elearnindustry
March 09, 2018 at 10:56PM
Can i highly recommend that everyone listens to @spiderhound? awesome! https://t.co/u3hLLqQQcA
March 10, 2018 at 10:35PM
Brilliant interview with @spiderhound https://t.co/OzuAHzmqp6
March 11, 2018 at 10:26PM
love this! Feedback from a 96-year-old Guardian reader made my day | Paul Chadwick https://t.co/r7AwwSaSzZ
March 29, 2018 at 12:43PM
Easter bunny bob & bird friend wish you a weekend full of sunshine, chocolate and renewal! #bobtheunicorn @unicorntraining @sabine_gori https://t.co/JXguxmahUa
March 29, 2018 at 10:21PM
RT @tiggsybabes: @SP_EnergyPeople today's excuse of not being able to give us an appointment to fit the re ordered part is there's a fire drill onsite. Day 21 of no working boiler
April 04, 2018 at 09:00AM
The joy of a morning off & a train ride with a coffee and time to read! https://t.co/HvMj7tohRR
April 04, 2018 at 09:05AM
RT @SwissCGNY: It's @Spotify's big day! The company is going public and @NYSE intended to pay homage to the company's Swedish roots, but flew our flag instead 🤭 It only took 15 minutes to fix this mistake, but no worries our Nordic friends are humble and we are neutral, so no tiff will ensue😉 https://t.co/9k8wAtYVBQ
April 04, 2018 at 09:09AM
RT @tiggsybabes: @SP_EnergyPeople I was excited that an engineer was coming tomorrow, but our 26 days without central heatinh or hot water isn't a priority and the app is cancelled
April 07, 2018 at 02:31PM
Ooh look, mountains! #spring #scorchio https://t.co/QM9PfJTrYr
April 07, 2018 at 08:05PM
Spotify: Swiss or Swedish? Whatevs, says New York, flies the wrong flag https://t.co/sXFh9kwQdh via @TheLocalSwitzer
April 07, 2018 at 08:12PM
Zurich, Switzerland's chocolate capital https://t.co/AGdfZ5Q193
April 10, 2018 at 08:23AM
#lifeisgood. A sunny spring walk to work! https://t.co/g8GGzQpnHs
April 11, 2018 at 09:16PM
Interesting piece by a first time caller to the Sams...https://t.co/bL5w4kjkfv via @MetroUK
April 15, 2018 at 01:41PM
Beautiful spring day up on the uetliberg - too many people on my path though! #spring #mountaintherapy https://t.co/gOFBeKXlly
April 17, 2018 at 12:23AM
RT @mattbarnfield1: My beautiful boy has lost his favourite thing in the world known simply as Bear. Jack is autistic and this scruffy bear has been his best friend and companion. He is completely devastated and would be so grateful to find him again. Twickenham, Teddington and local area. Pls RT https://t.co/Rv45Cft0s9
April 22, 2018 at 12:21PM
loving watching the #VLM2018 - I will run the London Marathon again some day - maybe for the @samaritans ? Good luck to all the @Run_Mummy_Run runners.
April 26, 2018 at 05:42PM
Its s hard life! Relaxing at Parco San Marco! zipline, donkeys, pools & hammocks! Everyone is happy :-) https://t.co/799Dra5wTV
April 28, 2018 at 10:48AM
Beautiful sunny morning and we‘re the only ones in n the pool! #pastyirishbritboys https://t.co/rW0SjUbcGS
April 28, 2018 at 12:58PM
The donkeys, the zipwire and my water babies! https://t.co/2B9GMT1fVg
April 30, 2018 at 10:43AM
well, that's another Spring ritual done.... not to wait for the autumn rejection :-) #vlm19 https://t.co/6grMYEY4fN
May 02, 2018 at 11:49AM
Patrick, its a Bunker-Verbesserung! #growingupbilingual #germanenglish #bringingupboys https://t.co/Ja4OiLq4Jz
May 02, 2018 at 11:52AM
RT @growthengineer: "Evoking Curiosity and why it’s the secret sauce for a successful training program"

https://t.co/L2RdsWaTeq by @juliettedenny on @LinkedIn https://t.co/tYcf2FMJJq
May 06, 2018 at 06:29PM
First paddle of the season & inaugural feeding of the ducks! https://t.co/A8XHKl9tZD
May 06, 2018 at 06:52PM
I fear this is only going to end one way! https://t.co/Ob3EwoWIZA
May 18, 2018 at 10:21AM
Nice way to start my day off - belated birthday bundle of books, plus my kickstarter jacket turns up in time for my berlin adventure! https://t.co/gIhloeoFuj
May 18, 2018 at 01:19PM
Made it! Me and my new haircut on the train to Flughafen. Next stop Berlin. Not been there since 1994 :-) https://t.co/qPUm4Ywstj
May 19, 2018 at 02:06PM
24 years after my last visit - Helen hits berlin! https://t.co/tqkm9SvVXS
May 19, 2018 at 05:42PM
Berlin in 17‘263 steps - we esrnt our beer! https://t.co/m8LsdO1iKZ
May 21, 2018 at 02:02PM
Waiting at tinsy tiny Tegel Airport to fly back to ZRH after fab weekend in berlin! https://t.co/Ieve3asNKi
May 31, 2018 at 12:15PM
My lunchtime view! https://t.co/nt8Ez81HDP
May 31, 2018 at 09:41PM
First ice cream of the season from the wonderful Gelatia di Berna (handily just opposite school!) https://t.co/6jc0voEcAQ https://t.co/JArc2bbqZX
June 03, 2018 at 11:09AM
This may be the only time in my life I’ve coordinated nail polish with handbag! https://t.co/Lq2hqP0l7O
June 09, 2018 at 11:39AM
Saturday mornings - this is how we roll! https://t.co/3NJU2xj2Jx
June 12, 2018 at 10:29AM
#LTSF18 hurrah learning technology summer forum hadd started! What has inspired us? https://t.co/FB2T9NjfsZ
June 12, 2018 at 10:39AM#LTSF18 @amybuvall talks creativity, abba, kiwi fruits & being Bowie:-) https://t.co/rDA49Vn67h
June 13, 2018 at 05:44PMRT @helengrantsays: Argh. As the Mum of the house, why is it always MY problem when people can't find stuff??!! Honestly, one of these days I'll have the British Museum ringing me up wanting to know where the Ark of the Covenant is.
June 17, 2018 at 11:32AMA slobby day at home with Netflix and my LEGO self portrait! https://t.co/FAFPtCT2yd
June 17, 2018 at 08:51PMa face emerges! i think I look better in LEGO! https://t.co/W6sLyoPNzn
June 18, 2018 at 01:03PM„Forest spa“ during my lunch break! #Zurich https://t.co/U8o1hQyuqB
June 30, 2018 at 05:49PMThe LEGO face emerges! https://t.co/JYrRPrp87c
July 03, 2018 at 05:57PMWe loved watching. But 2 sad boys "this is my favourite team with my favourite player" ds1. #integration #swissfamily https://t.co/uIFTTBcMFN
July 07, 2018 at 11:36AMFinished LEGO face! https://t.co/XR6gFPPKMn
July 10, 2018 at 11:17PMLove is... Doing a sneaky late night wash so football mad 6yr old can wear his swiss kit tomorrow for the Eng CRO game :-) https://t.co/BXHbWn7TVb
July 14, 2018 at 03:24PMWe've just broken up but the break to school sorting, bag washing, pencil case filling and shipping is done! Hurrah for the holidays!
July 17, 2018 at 08:41PMA 2 hour "bake and frantically ice fest" in time for P's 7th birthday tomorrow! #pmm https://t.co/9eWrYpPAHo
July 18, 2018 at 05:54PMWaiting for birthday boy P! #pmm https://t.co/2vt2Px3FEm
July 18, 2018 at 05:58PMFollow the birthday balloons! https://t.co/lZm7N3779h
July 21, 2018 at 12:09PMI run a tight financial ship! #cantstarttooearly #mgm https://t.co/bvwIVcRK9C
July 23, 2018 at 10:34PMYay! we can go on our summer holidays! Passport has arrived #gottalovetheirishembassy! #pmm https://t.co/bFEoEDkG8s
July 23, 2018 at 10:35PMthe nerve centre of the flat - the fridge and cupboard where I stick everything up! #analogueparenting #vainattempttostyincontrol #gottalovewipedrypens https://t.co/S8SudL61Us
July 27, 2018 at 06:58AMAnd we’re off! All good so far :-) #mgm #pmm https://t.co/HGApbw1SQv
July 28, 2018 at 01:33PMFun with small boys so far .... https://t.co/zEG2GfjoH8

We're on our Staycation!

So it's been decided - we're staying here in Switzerland for our 2 week family holiday. I am half disappointed, half relieved. I'd been too busy to book us a holiday, and left it until the last minute, once i was back from work in Poland. But this weekend and start of week we've done a few trips in Switzerland and had time to chill at home. It feels good and we all need the rest. So far we've done a day in Neuchatel and a day in St Gallen. Today we're at home and off to do cycling and swimming in the lake.

There rest of our 2 weeks will be a combination of rest, doing jobs at home, more day trips (maybe even overnight in Lucarno or Lugano), plus maybe a little spa break for me :-) And i'm booking us a little beach holiday for the October Herbstferien (autumn holidays).

So there it is...

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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