Ode to the Bromley Court Hotel

DexBromleyFlowersAs part of our relocation deal, Matt’s new game studio placed us in the Bromley Court Hotel, perched on Bromley Hill, for two weeks while we find a more permanent home. When we snooped the place online, we thought it looked great – pretty and relaxing. We were right. They nailed it.

The interior of the hotel is this interesting mix of homey and grand. I mentioned previously, the restaurant is really great. We splurged for a single dinner here and it is probably my favorite UK meal so far.

I complained a lot about our time in the hotel and should be clear – it has nothing to do with the hotel itself, and everything to do with the inevitable misery of two adults and a baby having to share a small room for two weeks.

Here’s a peek at some of the interior: 

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Brentering: What we’re loving, a dozen days in

BrenteringLoveBoy, I’ve used this space to complain a lot, haven’t I?

It’s not all bad.

In fact, some aspects of this have been quite terrific, as we’d hoped this adventure would be.


Matt’s studio, and therefore, our home base, is located in Bromley, an outer burrough of London. It is wicked cute, with all the British touches you imagine: roundabouts, peaky white houses with dark wood trim, and pubs plunked into the middle of residential neighborhoods.

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Brentering Update: Are you close to a house?

Perhaps we will move into this home, before we all lose our damn minds. Perhaps.
Perhaps we will move into this home, before we all lose our damn minds. Perhaps.

Last night, I dreamed that my friend and I were camping in the woods near the hotel, close enough that we could see Matt and Dexter, but keeping our distance as we fervently gathered supplies, so they wouldn’t spot us.

I think my subconscious is telling me I need a break from sharing a cramped hotel room with my husband and son. It’s not even being subtle about it.

I have some fun, photos-and-jokes-filled updates for you guys, but there are a lot of questions about our living situation so let’s take care of some business. 

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Our First Tea Time: The Lavender House

The Lavender Room 7Our day-to-day schedule is not so bad, now that we’ve moved, considering we’re all cramped into a single hotel room and we’re five hours ahead. But we do frequently find ourselves wishing for an afternoon snack to tide us over till dinner and then yesterday, it finally dawned on me: That is why British people have afternoon tea. DUH.

We saw the cutest little teahouse a few days ago, on the same block as the laudromat (called a launderette, here) where we washed some clothes. It is called The Lavender House and when we tried to head in while we waited for our stuff to dry, we were told they were closing. (It was 4 p.m. Not a lot of demand for tea after that.)

So we went back today.

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Dexter Ian: Sixteen Months Old

Dexter Ian is sixteen months old today.

Well, folks, we skipped fifteen months. We were deep into all of the logistics of moving and getting rid of our stuff and securing paperwork and I’m pretty sure we were also visiting family and I was sick as hell…. it just didn’t happen. It is my deep hope that Dexter will emotionally recover from this oversight.

So, strap in. We have a lot of ground to cover.

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Officially Brentered

Sometimes, it just takes a breakfast buffet with your own tiny pot of coffee to make things feel okay again.

A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I've ever traveled with in mu life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.
A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I’ve ever traveled with in my life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.

Yes, we’re officially in the UK. I know this because when I browse the internet, the ads and suggested links are turning British. Oh, and also when I look out a window I see England. Yes, the trip over here, and first day, were like tiny little hellscapes. Let me tell you why.

As previously reported, our friends Pete and Megan and their adorable puppy Lola graciously opened up our home to us until things got sorted. It was great to have some extra time with them, and the few extra days did buy us time to handle a few things outstanding – mainly, even after shedding or shipping probably 90% of our belongings, we somehow still had too much stuff.

Most of you probably haven’t gotten rid of most of your stuff to move overseas. I know I hadn’t. It is difficult, but not for the reasons you’d think. We actually didn’t find it hard to let go, for the most part. What I didn’t initially grasp is that inventorying every item we own is really just a series of thousands of tiny decisions. I don’t know about you, but I do not make every decision perfectly, the first time, and that’s what led to us overestimating the suitcase space we’d have and coming to Megan and Pete’s with way too much stuff. So once again, there was sorting and decision-making and repacking and despite our best efforts, we ended up leaving behind a small pile of things, for which I am about to issue an apology to Megan and Pete, but maybe Lola would enjoy some of Dexter’s toy balls.

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Brentering, Deferred

So, despite selling our house and being bon voyaged, we are still in Florida. I will attempt to make a very, very, very long story short.

This is the actual crate. I'm so happy Dexter's wagon fit but Matt thinks that space would have been better used another way. We've agreed to disagree.
This is the actual crate. I’m so happy Dexter’s wagon fit but Matt thinks that space would have been better used another way. We’ve agreed to disagree.

In order to apply for our visas, we had to obtain a passport for Dexter and then send the whole family’s passports, plus Dex’s birth certificate, our marriage license (all originals!) and a two-inch thick sheaf of paperwork to the British government. The visas were approved while we were visiting family up north, and because the package required a signature, we arranged for it to be delivered to our home Friday, the day after our return to Orlando.

From there, the plan was to spend the weekend packing and discarding, with a break for a bon voyage party Saturday evening. We’re having a 200 cubic foot crate shipped to the UK, and that pickup was Monday morning. Sign papers to close on house Monday evening, officially get out of house Tuesday morning then fly over Tuesday afternoon.

Except, when the package arrived Friday, it only contained Matt’s passport and visa. Dexter’s and mine, along with our important documents, were missing.

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Dexter Ian: Thirteen Months Old

13Months (2)Dexter is 13 months old today.

This is a good, good age. He’s starting to appreciate our connections through interactions, and will do things specifically to make Matt and me laugh. Dexter is willing to try new foods, and if it seems like during dinner he can make you laugh at that time by rubbing his hands through his hair, well darn it, he’s not going to let two food-covered hands stop him. We can successfully teach him some rudimentary skills, like pushing the different-shaped blocks into the holes of his sorter toy. He imitates noises and gestures and silly faces. Dex received some musical instruments for his birthday, and he likes playing his xylophone, banging his drum and chewing the end of his drumstick. He’s generally a happy kid who is in a good mood, and so much fun to be around.

Let me tell you about our mornings. I’m almost always up first (babies CHANGE THINGS) and get his bottle into hot water. Usually, I then get back into bed and Matt gets him out of the crib when the bottle is ready, lets Dexter push the button to turn off the noise machine, deposits him with me, leaves the socks he’s going to wear that day on the end of the bed (we’ll come back to this), then heads into the shower. Every now and then we go get him up together which he seems to find confusing. While Matt showers, we finish the bottle – I always expect to doze off but never do – then Dexter immediately gets up and crawls around the bed until he finds the socks. We play dumb games with them that usually involve me putting them on my head or his head and then him pulling them off, and then Dex crawls around on the bed, patting the headboard and giving me 2-second hugs, until Matt returns. Dex likes to play with Matt’s belt buckle while he’s getting dressed, and then while Matt sits on the bed to put on his shoes, Dexter gives his Daddy reassuring pats on the back. Like this:

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