Life and Death

I attended my mom’s uncles funeral today. He’d been ill for a while and passed away 2 days ago at a little over 80 years old. I wasn’t particularly close in the last few years but I do have memories of him growing up and wanted to pay my respect to the family.

I’ve had many conversations about life and death with my family and friends. I do believe that we live more than once, although I like to justify doing certain things in my life by saying #yolo (You Only Live Once). But that doesn’t take away from the sadness felt at a funeral. Because although the soul lives on, the person you love, respect, admire and
lean on, has gone. No more conversations, laughter and smiles. No more jokes, memories and experiences.

images1IQ0WMEU

As morbid as it sounds, I have previously thought about the sort of funeral I’d like. It’s ironic because when it actually comes down to it, it won’t really make any difference to my life. Sitting at the funeral today also brought home what really matters. I have a lot on my plate at the moment and often find myself frustrated at the actions of another. I’ve always chosen to see the positive side of things but lately I feel like life’s experiences have made me cynical. And that’s not the type of person I am or would like to be.

Listening to the memories shared by the family today got me thinking of how I’d like to be remembered. Most importantly, how I’d want my son to remember me. I feel like social websites play such a big part in our lives these days and eventually what we share on social sites will be available for our children to read/see.

A few years ago I read the obituary of someone who is still young and alive. I suppose she’d written it because it’s a good way to think about how you’d like to be remembered and also what you’d like to achieve in your life. It gives you a future plan and something to literally live up to.

So I’m off to think about how I’d like to be remembered. Is it something you’ve thought about?

What I think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Unless you’ve been stuck on a desert island with no access to the internet, television or phone, you would have heard about the ALS ice bucket challenge and most likely partaken in it as well.

The #alsicebucketchallenge, like the #nomakeupselfie has gone viral in the last few weeks. People from all over the world (including ex President George Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and most of my friends) have partaken in the challenge of pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads and then posting the video to Facebook and other social media channels.

The challenge started by asking people to pour ice water over themselves OR forfeit and donate but instead we have everyone shivering AND donating!! It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s downright effective.

So what is ALS? Until recently I wouldn’t have been able to answer that question. Today I can. Als is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons travel from our brains, down our spinal cord and to every muscle in our body. When these neurons don’t travel, our muscles start giving way which affects our speech, movement, swallowing and breathing. This video explains it better.

Like with most viral social media challenges, you have the naysayers. People complaining its a waste of water, saying there are children in Africa who don’t have any water, etc. I would like to ask those people…have you ever had a bubble bath? Do you enjoy going to water parks? Have you ever bought something you don’t need? Do you always finish what’s on your plate? Left the tap on while brushing your teeth?

I understand people opting to donate and not take the challenge and that’s great too. But for the sceptics, here’s a figure for you to digest: In the last month, the ALS association in the United States has raised $94.3 million!!

And just incase that hasn’t convinced you, here’s one more video.

What’s your take on the Ice Bucket Challenge?

The Original London Bus Tour: A review

For those who know me, I love London and I love doing all the touristy stuff that London has to offer. So when I had some friends in town a few weeks ago and they were keen on doing the Original London Bus tour, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve done it before (about 5 years ago) but it’s an opportunity to see one of my favourite cities again, I couldn’t say no.

We started the tour at Marble Arch but you can pretty much get on at most stops. There are three routes: The yellow route, the red route and the blue route. They each take around 2 hours and 15 minutes (if you don’t get off). The ticket also includes a FREE river cruise. Given that I have a love for the South Bank, this is my favourite part of the tour. Tickets cost £28 (or £26 if you book online in advance) and the ticket is valid for 24hours. So you could easily do one route one afternoon and the other two rotues the following morning (if you really want to see it ALL!). Under 5’s go free.

My friend Melanie was visiting from Germany with her daughter Mia (who had just turned 3). And my friends Sonya and Anushka were here from Hong Kong and Dubai. Naturally I took S with me but decided to leave his pram at home. I was slightly worried, given we were spending an entire afternoon out, but he was amazing. Both the kids were.

10411163_10152194156026266_4218082754144610249_n

We set out at about 2:15 once S and Mia woke from their naps and got on the tour bus at around 3pm. We went down Park Lane, through St. James Park, down Buckingham Gate, up through to Westminster, across a bridge to Waterloo, across a bridge again, down Fleet Street and up to St. Pauls. Back over the river to the South Bank, past London Bride and then over Tower Bridge (my favourite view of London) and to the Tower of London.

20140805_152442

20140805_160710

We decided to get off there and get on the river cruise. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a slight breeze so thankfully the queue for the cruise didn’t put us off. The cruise is 2 parts funny and 1 part informative. The tour guides know how to keep the crowd interested, pointing out all the landmarks and making subtle jokes alongside.

20140805_171234_000

We got off at the pier by Westminster Station and decided to call it a day. The kids were getting tired and I wanted to make it home before over-tiredness kicked in.

20140805_152724

All in all it was a lovely afternoon out and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting London. It’s a great way to see the entire city and all the major landmarks in 24hrs. Children 4 years and upwards would enjoy it a lot more but our little two loved the sights, sounds, the experience of sitting on an open top bus and the idea of going on a boat. We took the tube home, literally covering almost every mode of transport in London! :)

10634248_10152194157681266_2052933349_n

Toddler’s morning out

S is currently on summer break from nursery and so apart from a 90 min nap at lunchtime, we have 10 hours a day to fill. I’ve decided to use this time to do things around London (and the UK) that we don’t usually get to do: The army museum, the national history museum, the science museum, Gulliver’s World, Peppa Pig World and general out and aboutness are on my list.

A fortnight ago I had friends in town and we did the Original London Bus Tour (review coming soon) and yesterday I had to go down to Holborn and took S with me. We got dropped off to the tube station (thanks mom!) and took the Northern Line and then the Central Line to Holborn. On the return we did the same journey but then took a bus home from the tube station. S absolutely loved it. He loves trains and buses and he’s at that age where he prefers not to use a pram, which actually makes life a lot easier for me. He knows we have to press the traffic light button before crossing the road and wait for the green man. He listens to instructions, holds my hand and understands the concept of “cars coming”. I’m loving this age and his new found independence.

Also, people are so friendly when you’re out and about with a toddler. Granted, S says hi and bye to practically everyone but people let you on the train first, offer you a seat quite quickly, S has even been offered fruit by a lady who’s banana he was eye’ing.

20140818_112341
When on the tube…

Think I need to add the Transport Museum in Convent Garden to my list of places to visit before the end of the summer.

Are there any other must see toddler friendly places you recommend in London?