What I love, what I hate

I don’t actually hate much of anything, to be honest, but it’s easier to write that down than, ‘what I dislike quite a lot’.  I’m hoping to make this a regular feature of my blog as I think about the things in my life.

Today, I’m going to focus on living in London.  There’s tons of like, love, dislike and hate as a resident and an expat.  This summer, I’m hitting my 12th year of living in London, which is almost as many years as a post-university adult as I did in the US (once I hit 13 years it’ll be even…wild).


Things I love:

  • Activities. So much to do.  So very much.  And lots of it is free or low cost. And they advertise it every week!
  • Fabulous food.  There’s a huge number of fabulous restaurants and you could eat at a new one every single day for a year and still not go though them all.
  • Great markets.  I love, love, love Borough Market, though my wallet can’t handle it too often.  I can also walk to a few markets at the weekend where you get local sellers of food and household goods.  Brilliant.
  • The Transportation – this you’ll see on all the lists.  Honestly, though, being able to get around without having to drive is a pleasure.  I love being able to read while seated on the bus, get from one end of central London to the other so very quickly on the tube, and then there’s the option of riding down the Thames.
  • Walkability.  London is a very walkable city.  Even in my city suburb, I can walk a mile or two and get to a variety of shops.  And unlike where I grew up, there are actual sidewalks!
  • Diversity.  As I walk or ride around London, I will hear so many accents of both visitors and residents.  Even my field hockey club has at least seven or eight different nationalities represented (probably even more).  And it’s a lot more accepted than many other places.  I love that I have friends from all over the world.
  • Sport & Fitness.  London has so many sports to play or watch.  I love the fact that I’m still able to play field hockey at the age of 47.  And I’ve made some fabulous friends through the club (as well as met my husband through it).
  • Sun. Late sun in the summer.  When it’s sunny in June, you can hang outside in the light until 9-something p.m.  It’s amazing. Revitalising.
  • Travel. It’s so much cheaper and easier to travel around Europe and to many other places.  I love that I can hop on the Eurostar and be in Paris in just a few hours.  I can spend a day in Paris.  A day.  And it wouldn’t feel like I was rushed. How cool is that?

Things I hate:

  • Dirty.  London can be a dirty city.  I wash my neck every single evening because there is just so much grime that ends up there.  And when I haven’t taken the tube too often and then return, I get the tube snots (don’t ask).  Some areas of London are dirtier than others, but it’s certainly a city thing.
  • Transportation.  Summer tube rides stink.  And I mean they are smelly.  And hot, even though it’s not that hot outside.  It seems like the tube is often closed down or has problems.  The words ‘Weekend Rail Works’ strikes fear and anger in the hearts of London all over the place.
  • Transient.  I’ve made multiple friends and then they leave.  London is a place many people come for a few years and then they move on.  It makes friendships fast and furious at times, difficult to hold onto, difficult to make.
  • Summer.  I miss the summers of the US.  Typically, where I grew up and lived, summer was a time of sun and heat.  Lots of sun, much heat.  Not so much in London.  I’ve enjoyed a few lovely summers, when the sun comes out shining, but there have been even more where it rains or is grey more often than not.  Bah.
  • Winter sun.  The sun comes up after 8am and sets before 3:30pm in mid-Winter.  That’s if you get sun.  Depressing.
  • Customer service.  It’s okay.  But nothing like what you get in the US.  I’ve gotten used to it, but getting myself set up the first few years with phone, cable, etc, was a challenge.

I’m sure I’m missing on a few things in both lists, but you get the idea.  I could do the same if I were to write about any place I’ve lived.  What you need to know, though, is that I am so happy to be living in London.  I love my life here.  It’s LONDON!

On Being a Psychotherapist

“Oh, so you are a psychotherapist?  Are you going to analyse me now?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard those words.  Almost every new person and definitely every guy I’ve gone on a date with has uttered something about my profession.  Some people look at me with a bit of horror as if I’ll drag out into open any mental health issues they may have.  Some look at me and seem to think, “Free therapy!”.

My typical answer to the above question…”No more than any other woman would.”  It usually gets a laugh and we move on.  But the real answer is, no, I’m not analysing you for your mental health needs.  I may end up a friend and may listen to your issues/problems, but I’m acting as a friend and not a therapist.  You can bounce things off me and ask me for suggestions, and I might give you some resources, but I will never be your therapist if you are currently someone I hang out with socially.  That would be a conflict of interest in so many ways and not healthy for either of us.

Being a therapist is fabulous.  I love it.  I feel great satisfaction when I see someone I’m working with taking the steps toward better mental health and learning coping mechanisms which I hope they can use in the future.  I feel even happier when a client decides to leave my practice as they are doing well.  Like a parent, I’m hoping that one day you won’t need me any longer.  My husband likes to pretend yell at me, saying that I should be working on keeping clients not letting them go, but that’s not how I roll.  Yes, I’ll see you again if you forget some of the strategies or if life hits you hard, but I’m hoping you won’t ever need to come back.

There are moments when it’s tough to be a therapist.  When I see you in pain and know I can’t take it away.  When I see a client doing things to themselves and they can’t seem to stop.  When a potential client walks away or refuses to see me because they “don’t need help”, even when they truly do.  And it’s tough when you just don’t click with a client.  But you have to remember that it’s normal.

Being a psychotherapist is the best job for me.  I’m quite certain that I’m good at what I do.  I seem to have more success stories than failures (a lot more).  I’ve learned quite a bit in the past few years through experience and schooling.  I know that I’m a therapist that the past me would be comfortable sending a student to see.  And that makes me happy.

If you ever have questions about therapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or just want some resources, please do ask (or post a comment).  I’m happy to help.  Cause that’s what I do.  I’m a psychotherapist.

Fancy Smancy Dining

Roy and I went out for our anniversary dinner on Saturday due to the fact that he worked during the day on Thursday and I worked during the evening.  We tend to try to find a place to go where we haven’t eaten in the past.  Due to living in London, this is very, very easy.  It’s amazing how many places to eat there are in this rather spread out city.

Our favourite type of food to eat on our anniversary seems to be French.  And why not?  They do fancy very well!  This year, Roy made the choice.  And he chose Le Pont de la Tour.

Le Pont due la Tour is located in the Shad Thames area within walking distance of the London Bridge, Tower Hill and Tower Gateway stations (if you are okay with decent walks like we are).  You can also get a few buses from those stations.  The restaurant is on the water with lovely views of Tower Bridge.  Unfortunately, last night, a boat was in place right on the water in front of the restaurant so the views were not as fabulous as they could have been.  This is definitely a restaurant to go to on a warm summer night as there is some fabulous seating outside.

Now, onto the most important part, the food.  We were very pleased with our selections.  We started with oysters.  Raw oysters are amongst some of my favourite things and these were quite lovely.  Served with red wine vinegar & onions as well as Tabasco sauce, they were lovely to slurp!


During this time, we had a glass of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial champagne.  It’s a lovely, creamy, slightly citrusy champagne.  We enjoyed it and it went well with the oysters.

We then moved on to our mains.  Roy selected the lobster thermidor and I had the Dover sole with sides of new potato and carrots.  Holy moly, these were good.  It was the first Dover sole I had ever tried and I can see why it’s such an expensive fish.  I had it grilled and it was light but rich with a solid firmness to it.  Beautiful.  Roy’s lobster was also quite rich and flavourful, perfectly cooked.

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The sommelier helped us select glasses of wine to accompany our dishes, and these turned out to be fabulous.  I’m definitely finding my wine as it’ll be a perfect white sipping wine in the summer.

We finished our meal with Crepe Suzette for dessert.  Always lovely.  And then they brought over another dessert to celebrate our anniversary.  What a nice touch!


Le Pont de la Tour is a lovely restaurant with great service and fabulous food. Definitely a place for a fine meal or celebration.

Getting married when ‘older’

I grew up in a smallish town. It was part of a smallish city in PA.  The place was interesting.  It had been very vibrant in the 1800s and early 1900s but then times became hard.  It was and is, primarily a working class area.  I’d say that the majority of people get married at a relatively young age (early 20s).  And, when I went back to the area to get my MA, and worked at a local business, I definitely stood out in some ways.  I remember, at the age of 27-28 being asked why I wasn’t married.  Being told I was going to be an old maid (if I wasn’t already).  What was wrong with me that I wasn’t married with kids? Some of it was in jest, cause those guys were into teasing, but some of it wasn’t.  And I felt it.  What was wrong with me?  Why couldn’t I find the right guy?

After a few more moves in my life, I finally moved to London at the age of 35.  And it was here, soon after moving, that I met my husband to be.  At 35, I was definitely questioning why I hadn’t met someone yet.  BUT, I also didn’t think getting married was ‘all that’.  I had grown to love who I was, I knew I could do just fine on my own and I didn’t see marriage as a goal (I never truly did, tbh).  I had friends who were married in the 20s and happy, and some who were divorced.  I knew it was more about finding the person who was right for you (and you right for them) than about just getting married.  I guess, in some ways, I was also lucky that I didn’t have a burning desire to have kids.  I knew that if it happened, I’d be happy, but if it didn’t, I’d be happy as well.

So, here I was, 35, meeting a guy who pushed me to be a better person (in a good way), who supported my life and decisions and who was a far better communicator than me.  He had all the things I wanted- athletic, funny, had life skills and was willing to say that he was wrong (so very, very important!).  A few years later, I got married.  On this very same day.  It’s my 9th wedding anniversary.  He’s still athletic, though his body doesn’t respond the way he’d like.  He’s still funny, though his 12 year old boy antics drive me a bit loopy at times.  He still utilised his life skills (and makes a mean lamb curry).  And, he’s taught me to be just as good a communicator, and to be brave about saying things that he won’t like hearing.  We are good partners.  We just fit.

While there were moments when I was wondering what was wrong with me because I wasn’t married in my 20s, I’m glad that I didn’t rush into anything.  I dated a lot. A whole heck of a lot.  I moved to several cities.  I grew a ton.  I matured.  If I had met the right guy in my 20s, it might have worked out just fine, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet my husband in my 30s.  And I look forward to the next 9 years and then the next and the next!


Vinoteca Kings Cross & In the Heights

Last night, I went to Vinoteca in Kings Cross for drinks and dinner along with a good friend and my husband.  Vinoteca is a small chain of wine bars/restaurants in London.  I’ve been to a few for drinks, but never dinner.  Vinoteca in Kings Cross is at a fabulous location between Kings Cross Station and St Pancras station.  They have an amazing number of wines to choose from, including a variety that you can buy and take away.  The food choice is small but perfect – small snacks to share while having a glass of vino, as well as starters and mains.  We all ended up eating the marinated bravette (steak) with chips, which was tasty and done perfectly (note to self, order this in medium versus medium well for the perfectly cooked steak).

After we ate our early dinner (do book as it gets packed), we headed up to the King’s Cross Theatre to see In the Heights, written by Quiara Alegría Hudes.  AMAZING!  It’s a story about the lives of those in Brooklyn Heights, from love to death to hope to worry.  You feel everything.  And the music and dancing is sublime.  My husband is not usually a musical guy and he enjoyed every minute.  There were kids, young adults and a few people older than me and we all came out with smiles.  If you get a chance, do get tickets!!!

Beauty Regime

With the advent of fine lines and wrinkles, I had to start thinking about what I was doing to my face.  I’d been wearing SPF for years thanks to my fair skin which would burn with ease, so that protected me from too much damage.  But, in my mid-40s, I noticed some changes.  It was time to start using ‘products’.

I’ve been experimenting a bit, but have finally figured out a decent and flexible routine.


Mornings:  Cleansing with Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelar Water, then Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Super Antioxidant Serum (let this sit at least 15 minutes), finally Korres Yogurt SPF 30 or Charlotte Tilbury SPF 15 Magic Cream (winter)/Korres Red Grape SPF 50 or Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV SPF 50 (all other seasons).

Evenings: I use an every other day thing, but have a lazy day routine too.  All days: double cleanse using Boots No 7 oil cleanser and Bioderma Micelar Water.  Day 1 routine: Mizon snail repair products – repair cream, ampoule, eye cream, recovery gel cream and the bee venom calming cream.  Day 2 routine: Paula’s Choice products – Resist 2% BHA liquid and Anti-Aging Retinol Serum followed by Mizon recovery gel cream.  Lazy days I just wash my face and use Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-aging barrier repair moisturiser with retinol.

Once in a while I’ll use a face mask, like the one I got in my Birchbox:


This one has definitely made my face soft!

I’m sure my 20-year old self would be laughing at me and all the products I use.  I was happy to have an SPF in the mornings, a mild cleanser and moisturiser in the evening.  I laugh at myself regularly anyway.



I can’t believe I’m actually in my late-40s. It happened in December. I don’t feel that I could be ‘that old’ (note: I don’t see the late 40s as old). Unfortunately, my body sometimes says otherwise. I have chin hairs. I have white hairs in places that I never thought about when I got my first white hair in my 20s. My knees crunch and don’t like to do the things I’d like them to do most of the time. And I certainly can gain weight much more easily than I can lose it now.

I am a psychotherapist. I do Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with children, teenagers and adults. I love it and my private practice.

I am a field hockey player. I have been a goalie since I was about 11 or 12. I used to coach and I played in university. When I moved to London in 2004, I was so happy to get back to playing again.

I love cooking. I tried doing a cooking blog, but my photography skills are just not up to it and I get bored. Actually, I love food. I’m a ‘Yelper’. I go out to eat far too often.

I lift weights. Heavy ones. And I don’t go on big ol’ diets (see above – I like cooking and food). I like my protein. I will never be skinny, but I am trying to stay away from being unhealthy.

I have fabulous friends and family that live all over the world. Living overseas has definitely changed the way I look at the US and the world. I probably piss people off on Facebook all the time. I’m a bit political.

And I have a husband, a dog and two houses (one is going to be a rental). I have a good life. And I hope to talk about it more on here. I’m Mrs UKYankee. Welcome to my life. It never stops: movement.