About

Oh, hello there. I’m Jenny  – an English teacher turned blogger and freelance writer, currently trying to make a home here in Prague with my young family. As you will see from the blog, you will often find me exploring family-friendly city corners, snuggled up reading with my children or getting a little giddy over doors on Instagram. Let it never be said I don’t live a full and varied life! Here’s a little taste of my overseas story to date.

When my husband (then boyfriend) was offered his first overseas posting to Zambia, back in 2008, I was delighted. Terrified and clueless (yes, I had to google exactly where Zambia was), but truly delighted. I couldn’t wait to hand in my notice, leave behind my daily 2-hour commute and wave London-in-the-winter a less than fond goodbye. We had never got along and I felt in need of a change.

Zambia didn’t turn out to be a love affair, but slowly both me and my husband developed a deep fondness for it: the bright purple jacaranda blossom, the startlingly starry nights, the first rains after the weeks of crescendoing heat, the hard-working Zambian women and their amazing array of hair pieces, the small expat community that sucked you in and treated you like their long-lost friend. We even developed a sneaking admiration for the wildly inefficient and, what would at times seemed like, willfully confusing bureaucracy. Going to the bank was like being stuck in a Monty Python sketch, but without the laughter. What we liked best of all, though, was our home – big and shabby, with a ridiculously beautiful garden. Oh, and our dog, cats, vegetable patch, and the thrill of collecting fresh eggs from our chickens in the morning. Yep, for a while there, we thought we were Tom and Barbara (except with a gardener to do the hard work and the occasional snake for added excitement).

House and garden in Lusaka Zambia

Then in 2011, our son was born, and living The Good Life began to wear a little thin. There are only so many times you can bath your baby by candlelight (not as part of a cutting-edge sensory development strategy but because the power has gone AGAIN) or take a shower using a bucket in the garden after a night of almost no sleep (not because it was either rejuvenating or reviving but because the water has gone AGAIN) before it starts to lose its charms. In the meantime, our gorgeous house started to feel like a trap – having quit my teaching job to be a mum, and with no parks or child-centers to visit, and no baby groups to join – I was sleep-deprived and lonely. And so, when my husband got offered a new job in Hong Kong, just before our son’s first birthday, I felt a twinge of sadness to be saying goodbye, but mainly a huge wave of relief. And, yep, I realise how hugely privileged I was (am) to have that choice.

And maybe it was the stark contrast in almost every way, but I loved Hong Kong almost instantaneously. There were pavements and streetlights and a public transport system! Riding on an escalator felt like the height of sophistication. And, of course, that iconic view of the sky-scrappers against the harbour wasn’t too shabby either. Happily, the change in scene suited our little boy too – who by now was really showing what a funny, hi-speed, lovable little terror he was. He was thrilled by the playgrounds and theme parks and every new encounter was greeted by his gun-ho spirit; with the marked exception of green vegetables, and somewhat more strangely, aquariums.

Me and my little boy at The Peak Hong KongFive years later and I am still trying to keep pace, as we carry on our adventures together, although a good many things have changed. We moved to Prague in the summer of 2016, and my son, who was once my constant companion, is now at school for most the day. Instead, it is my funny little toddler girl who is always by my side, as I yet again try to get to grips with a new city.

Me and my little girl in Stromovka Park PragueSo, that’s kind of me. I do hope this blog will serve as a useful travel guide, as well as capturing something of the delights, frustrations and sometimes sheer exhaustion of our family life abroad.

13 comments

Meabh November 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Love the blog! Well done, Jenny!

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Jenny November 27, 2014 at 3:09 am

Thanks, Meabh!

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Nicole December 12, 2014 at 5:39 am

Love it! Well done for getting it started. Looking forward to reading your adventures!
Cheers, Nicole (former HK expat now in deep dark China!)

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Jenny Elliott December 15, 2014 at 2:02 am

Thanks, Nicole, I appreciate it! I’ve just had a sneaky peek at your blog too – we would love to go to Xi’an at some point, so I’m delighted to find such a brilliant resource! Hope you are finding your feet there!

Jenny

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Chris December 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Go Jen! I feel like a proud brother reading this. One day, as a father, it will make even more sense. Great stuff

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Nicole staheli April 17, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Jenny, your blog is brilliant, funny, useful, thanks! Nicole (alexis, thomas)

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Jenny Elliott April 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Thank you, Nicole! That’s made my day!

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Yen October 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Hi Jenny

Hope all is well… I came across your blog, after typing many variations of ‘Toddler friendly’ things to do in HK etc etc… And all google gives me is sites where they try and push expensive, branded things in HK… Which is not what i was looking for. So when I came across your website i thought what a breath of fresh air. Really enjoy your writing and adventures in Hong Kong… I wish there were more : )

I wonder if your able to help me or just send me a few hints and tips…

We are travelling to hk, this Dec to spend our first Christmas away from London… And im looking for ideas, authentic places that are ‘semi toddler friendly’ to take them. My understanding from my mum, is that unless you go to more westernise places, then you might be lucky to get a high chair. But before BC. My husband and I like to go to hawer places to eat, noodle bars… places that are rough round the edges but do great food.

Would you know any that are toddler friendly?

Also places that they can let loose…. Do shopping centres have softly areas for 1 year olds…

Many thanks

yen

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Jenny Elliott November 18, 2015 at 3:57 am

Hi Yen! So, thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. I am sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you – I am somewhat distracted at the moment with our new little baby girl. Christmas in Hong Kong is lovely! The weather is usually good, and the city normally isn’t too busy. I’m afraid that I am no expert at local restaurants, although just to say that your mum is right, it is unusual to get a highchair in those type of restaurants (although sometimes you get a chair that is high, with no harnesses). When our son was younger, we either used our fabric booster chair or sometimes just managed by taking a booth seat. This is a good blog though, if you are looking for recommendations: thedimsumdiaries.com . Oh and not really cheap or local, but Din Tai Fung is very child-friendly, has highchairs and does delicious dumplings!

In terms of soft play – some of the shopping centres have this (iSquare in TST probably the best example) but sadly it isn’t common place. There are often free soft playrooms in the council buildings though, here is a list: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/facilities/facilitieslist/children/playroom.html . The Stanley one is a good one to look up, if you are having a day out there for the markets and the beach.

Hope that is some help! Have a wonderful holiday!

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Scarlett Roitman September 5, 2017 at 9:18 am

What an interesting life you’ve led, and so fabulous for the children. I have never been to Prague, but you breathe so much life into the city that I now yearn to visit. Thank you for all your lovely posts – and those doors! Scarlett

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Jenny Elliott September 8, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Oh thank you so much, Scarlett! I adore your Instagram account, and so happy to have found your interesting and funny blog now too. Oh and yes – you must come to Prague – there is so much here that you would love.

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Kathleen October 27, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Just came across your blog today while checking out for things to do in Osaka on a rainy day. I love your blog! It is wonderfully written! 😊

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Jenny Elliott October 28, 2017 at 5:38 am

Oh thank you, Kathleen! You just made my morning. Hope you had/ have a wonderful time in Osaka and it isn’t too rainy! 😊

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