I had my mum, Professor Lorna Rosenwax, in London this weekend visiting from Perth. Visits with my mum appear casual, spontaneous and relaxed (for mum doesn’t like fuss) but I can assure you that behind the lassez-faire approach, more hours have gone into planning this visit than the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
So armed with superior knowledge and experience, I am coming to the rescue of expat sons and daughters the globe over with my helpful tips on how to entertain visiting relatives.
I call these #Activitiez4Mum.
Walk here. Walk there. Walk Regent’s Canal. Walk the Embankment. Walk the parks: St James. Regent’s. Green. Walk after breakfast. Walk to lunch. Walk in the rain. Walk in the sun. And if your parent is exceptionally chatty or demanding, walk them to Manchester. #walk
2. Take a coffee break.
About 10.30am is the ideal time to break for coffee. If not, you might have a caffeine-withdrawal induced argument when parent or child has been deprived of their morning cappuccino for too long (note: even though it is just hot water, hot milk and coffee, there is no such thing as a Long Black in London. Trust me. I have asked). #englishcoffeesucks
Anytime of day is time for a cuppa. The need usually comes on quickly and there is a window of about 15 minutes in which to get parent to a hot beverage vending location. Don’t forget that the tea cup needs to have a delicate lip on it otherwise the tea goes cold and the aesthetics of tea drinking is ruined. #teapot
4. Galleries, markets and movies
Mums love this shit. Stroll the Tate Modern. Wander Borough Market in search of baklava (OK. That totally was for me). Watch a movie and eat a choc bomb. To really get into their good books, suggest another movie for the following evening. #Winning.
5. Raw food restaurants
Knock mum’s socks off with a walk to Tanya’s raw food restaurant in South Kensington. Can’t hurt that you pass fabulously expensive clothes shops on the way there. See point 6 below.
Sample the delicious raw salad and marvel at the colour, texture and taste. Order a key lime pie and mum is in food heaven and you are moved to number one spot on the favoured child list. Zoë Rosenwax, take note. #favechild
Have a conversation that goes something like this:
Mum: Your wardrobe has a lot of black in it. You need colour. And dresses. More pretty dresses.
Me: I just don’t know where to start. I need help.
[Walk from Holborn to South Kensington for lunch, breaking for coffee in Mayfair, with me making helpful contextual comments about the post code through which we are strolling]
Me: … Let’s walk through Hyde Park… Look how pretty Serpentine Lake is! Such lovely flowers…. And here is Harrods… Oh and look, here we are on Brompton Road, South Kensington. That store is called Joseph, where I bought my gorgeous Altuzarra dress from for my cousin’s wedding.
Mum: We should look for some light coloured pretty dresses for you.
Me: (acting surprised) What a great idea, mum.
Mum: What about this one? [Holds out a ruffled colourful Peter Pilotto with a white background]. And this one! [Black Altuzarra with white and cream accents and white trim].
Mum: Get in the change room. Try on the dresses and get some heels on to match.
Me: Yes mum.
Winning outcome: two new dresses for me and a satisfied mother.
7. Get a gelato
Mums love the process of looking for an excellent gelato place. They love popping into different ice cream shops and oooohing and ahhhhing over the frozen delights. Hours of entertainment #gelupo
8. Get a piercing
When all else fails, take mum to Maria Tash at Liberty and make her wait whilst you get your Tash Rook pierced. #libertyxmariatash
Just like children, when mums become rowdy and hard to handle, pop them in front of Antiques Roadshow or Great British Bake Off with a cup of tea and some baklava.
So there you have it. A few very helpful tips for how to occupy your parents when they visit. You’re welcome.
Written by Lexi Rosenwax
Alexi “Lex” Rosenwax is an Australian-born investment principal working in asset management with new market development, corporate strategy, origination and M&A experience, supported by a background in law and management consulting. She holds an Executive MBA from Cass Business School, a double undergraduate degree of Law and Commerce from University of Western Australia (with a semester at Uppsala University, Sweden) and is admitted to the bar in Western Australia and New South Wales, Australia.
Lex is a keen supporter of charities and was involved in her own charitable start up – BT4BC Black Tie for Breast Cancer (www.bt4bc.org) with close friends to raise money for the Prince of Wales Hospital Cancer Centre in Sydney. She also authored the newsletter at, and ran events for, global women’s charity, Zonta. She is currently a Young Patron of The United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) in the UK. She is a lover of all things aesthetically pleasing including, but not limited to, shoes, bags, summer, hiking, beaches, yoga, boxing, Spanish, vegan food and styling men.