We are a small, happy family of four. My husband, a baby, a dog and me. My husband works on a yacht. A large, luxury megayacht which tends to be based in some fairly fabulous places. The thing is, where the boat goes, we go! When she was was just eight weeks old our daughter, Coco, boarded her first trans-Atlantic flight and since then we haven't stopped. This is a blog of our rather unusual yet adventurous life. No two days are the same.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ye Olde Florida

I am so excited to have received some good blog feedback, thank you all and I hope that means you want me to keep writing?!
We have been in Fort Lauderdale for a week now and have had the treat of spending some quality family time together as well as the heart-in-your mouth drama of introducing more finger food and the oportunity to catch up with my cousin again.

Coco got to enjoy a trip to Lesters Diner, a full on proper American diner that serves eggs and pancakes with pretty much everything, grits are on the menu along with gyros... I still haven't worked out what that is yet. She was a complete hit and managed to monopolize the attention of our toothless waitress. So much so that Angus kept getting coffee refills when he was clearly saying 'no' and my eggs 'over-easy' were a little too easy. Although the food is pretty crap, the whole Lesters experience is one not to be missed.
Whilst on the topic of food, we have invested in a booster seat high-chair for Coco so, now she has the catch-all plastic tray in front of her we decided it was time to start introducing some finger food. She has experimented with the the odd floret of broccoli and baby crisp with great success so surely this was going to be a breeze? No one had prepared me for the terror of watching the stick of banana or avocado be munched up at such a rate and then quickly followed by wide eyed chokes. I was once advised that you have to trust they will clear it so I stand and watch for what seems like hours but is actually just a couple of seconds. Sure enough, Coco manages to clear the blockage, gives us a toothy smile and then picks up the next piece of food. I am a bag of nerves by the end of each mealtime but she seems to be loving it.
However, we haven't just been eating for the past week. I battled with an infection in my finger (I will fill those of you who don't know about the finger in over the next couple of days) which was agony. Seeing a doctor isn't as easy as one would imagine over here. There are specialists for everything and whenever I managed to actually speak to someone other than an automated service, they simply told me to go to the ER. Despite visions of being treated by George Clooney, this seemed like overkill to simply get a prescription for antibiotics. Anyway, Coco came to the rescue and saved us the vast expense of the US medical system when she decided to grab said finger during a nappy change and burst the infection bubble. A few good washes with some antiseptic and the infection and pain have pretty much gone!
For a bit of relaxation, Angus and I both enjoyed an afternoon at the spa with a Swedish massage. Complete decadence... gorgeous. However, I still find massages just a little embarrassing and I wish there was an international rule book. Shower first? Underwear on or off? Talk? Tip? I spent so much time worrying about whether my feet were dirty and if I should be tipping I never completely relaxed. It was still lovely though.
Nikki, my second cousin came to see us on Saturday. It was so good to see her and we loved being able to show her the boat. We even caught a glimps of the tail of a manatee which I was terribly excited about. I have never seen one and have spent many an hour looking for one so even a tail was something!
The highlight of our week however was our day at Ren Fest - or Renaissance Festival in full. This is a Medieval festival in the heart of Florida.

However, I'm not sure the dragons, fairy's, pixie's and trolls are particularly Medieval! Everyone that worked there was in costume and character. There was a lot of 'ye', 'hazzare', 'thee' and 'thou's' being spoken and some amazing costumes. Ale was drunk by the yard and turkey legs were eaten whole.

There were pirates, wenches, jesters and knights all wandering around setting the scene. Even the visiting public could dress up and some took it very seriously, although there were costumes seemed a little more S and M than 13th Century. This was an American Medieval festival though remember so it did feel a little like a cross between Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean, but such fun! We absolutely loved it, it was truly bizarre and completely magnificent.

Food time, oh joy! More heart stopping moments no doubt! Speak soon....

Monday, February 15, 2010


My first mojito since finding out I was pregnant and it was completely joyous! Not only was it one of the most delicious mojitos ever, but it was drunk on South Beach, in the sunshine, accompanied with an enormous American burger, on Valentines day, with my gorgeous husband.... oh, and my brother-in-law!

Only kidding Marcus, we loved having you around this weekend. Poor Marcus thought that he was coming to live it up in Miami and ended up sleeping on a sofa bed in our studio apartment. Yep, all three of us and the baby in one room. It was like going back to our backpacking days. However, Marcus insisted he slept better than in his corporate hotels and we loved having him so nobody's complaining.
This is our last night in Miami. I am fully 'Deco'ed' up and, I have to say, I would definitely come back here. Next time, I have visions of staying in the Hotel Victor on South Beach, bringing glamorous, sparkly dresses, and drinking cocktails in the super-cool bars with the jellyfish (one of the hotel bars had an aquarium of jellyfish that looked like a lava lamp). However, this time, I was very happy to wander the streets in my trainers with Coco in the buggy. I feel like I have got my bearings in Miami now. Next time I can hit the ground running.
Highlights of this trip were:
South Beach (I will never be cool enough for South Beach)
Art Deco Walking Tour (Really interesting, highly recommended. I love hearing the stories that your guidebook doesn't tell you.)

The Museum of South Florida (Florida has had quite a dramatic time over the past couple of centuries.)
Lincoln Rd Mall (Great for sitting in a cool cafe and people watching. Books and Books is a fab local shop, I'll leave you to guess what it is selling!)
Miami Beach Boardwalk (Great walk with the ocean on one side and all the posh hotels on the other.)

I didn't make it to Little Havana this time, that experience will have to wait.
I can't get over how Coco is taking this all in her stride. We moved to a hotel today so that is two hotels, two houses and two flights in the last four weeks but she is completely unphased. I'm not sure my feathers are quite so unruffled. The move today seemed hard and exhausting. It is the little things that you don't think about at home that just feel slightly more difficult. An example was trying to get all the washing done before packing and checking out this morning. You have to find change for the machines, you can't leave the machines unmanned... bla bla bla. It really isn't that much of a drama, everything is just not quite straight forward and today it got to me. Maybe I feel bad today because I was rushing around and took my eye off Coco for a second and she rolled off the bed... again. That's the second time I've done that. I feel so terrible and such a crap Mummy. I will not leave her on the bed ever again.
I'm going to sign off from Miami and will speak to you all from Fort Lauderdale.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Miami Baby

My first ever blog posting! Who am I writing to and for? I suppose myself. If nothing else, this will be good for posterity. I can keep these blogs like a diary and in years to come, Coco will be able to look back and see where she went in the first few years of her life.
The Miami Boat Show started today hence that being our current location. I have passed through Miami several times before, the airport, a lunch with my second cousin who is at university here and an evening at the AA stadium to see a 'Heat' game, but other than that, this is my first real visit to this flamboyant city that is so famous with the fashionistas.
My first impression was that it is a city like any other. A mass of concrete but it happens to be by the ocean and has a climate that is better than most, but there is something different. There is something a bit gritty about Miami. A dangerous, edgy, seedy undertone. I get the feeling that everyone else knows the secret and they are keeping it from me. Those sideways glances that say, "if you only knew", but I don't know and nor am I ever likely to find out. Especially as I feel like I don't even speak the language! According to my guidebook, Florida was actually Spanish until 1821 which goes some to explaining the fact that I feel like I am in a city that is a Hispanic/American hybrid. That and the fact that Miami is the self proclaimed 'Northern Capital of the Latin World'. It's not just Spanish that I am hearing though. There is French and Creole mixed in there too and I certainly feel like I am amongst the English speaking minority. I wish, I think more than anything else, that I spoke another language. Not a bit, but really well so that I could actually throw myself into a conversation with confidence and purpose. There is an elderly housekeeper at the apartment block where we are staying. She has a hunchback and can't say anything apart from 'hello' and 'baby' in English, at least that is all I have heard her say so far, but she looks as though she has so many stories and I wish I could ask her about them.
I have walked a lot over that last couple of days. We are staying on the edge of Downtown and the Design District and yesterday I walked all the way to South Beach! The Venetian Causeway was fabulous, this strip of inhabited land right across the middle of Biscayne Bay. If I lived in Miami, I think I would live on the Venetian Causeway.
Today I decided to explore Little Haiti. I wanted to see the Botanicas, the shops selling items of vodou, and the Haitian women in their brightly coloured wraps. On the way there I had naive daydreams about wandering the streets with smiling women coming over to meet Coco while I asked poignant questions about Haiti and the reality of vodou. One local would befriend us, show us around and maybe even invite us to join them for lunch?! Wrong!

I can honestly say that I have never felt like I shouldn't be somewhere more than I did today. There we were, in the middle of Little Haiti, and we stuck out like a sore thumb. It probably didn't help that our buggy is bright green, but still, we were out of our depth. Nobody smiled at us, the streets were busy with people but, I'm not exaggerating, people actually stopped and watched us walking along. This was not our place and we were trespassing somewhere we were not wanted. Nobody smiled, nobody even acknowledged us, they just stared. Time to go. We didn't get to see the botanicas, we just hotfooted it out of Little Haiti and into the neighboring Design District where we seemed to blend a little better into the background.
Tomorrow, I am going to give Little Havana a go but maybe I'll approach that with a bit more caution. Wish me luck!