Christmas usually comes with a lot of traditions that vary from family to family. It's been a while since I lived at home (about 9.5 years) but I try my best to continue the traditions I grew up with, and make some new ones. Putting cloves in oranges isn't a new thing and we used to do this as kids as it is easy, smells great and looks good. I just couldn't remember how sore your fingers get from pressing the cloves into the orange skin. When we were younger we would hang these in the window but I made a couple to put in a bowl on the dining table. Instant Christmas at home.
With a visitor in London and it being December there is nothing to do but have a wander in the city. And while my dream is not to walk along Oxford Street among the hordes of people that are desperately trying to find that perfect present, there is something magical about the Selfridges windows around Christmas. My favorite was the one above, and I usually hate spiders! Must be something with all the gold and the excess of it all, our house is positively paired down when it comes to Christmas decorations, too much and the tiny apartment just ends up looking cluttered. But I did make some things the other day and possibly purchased a tiny tree to hang it all on. Pictures might be coming.
Where we live there aren't too many nice looking, independent cafes to frequent. There are about 4 Costa's withing 10 minutes walk of our house but I would rather go to an independent cafe if there is one, so when one of the local places closed down, I was a bit surprised and unhappy. But fear not, they have re-opened and now it looks like a cafe that should really be in trendy South/East London and not trusty old North West, but I'll take it!
The decor has improved (think industrial elements, black metal, exposed lights and dark wooden surfaces) and so has the menu. I was starving so went for a pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries and it was delicious. Crispy bread, lovely pork with not too much BBQ sauce and a little bit of cheese to set it off. The only thing I would change would be the fries, as they were not worth it. I was debating asking for a salad instead but just didn't bother, and once I tasted the potatoes I wish I had. They were just a bit soggy and boring, so I left them alone and focused on the sandwich. Which was more than enough and very filling. Finished off with a lovely coffee. I think maybe I have to go back next week to try something else off the menu.
Although we live in a tiny apartment in a semi-ok area in London, in my head, we have a house to fill with stuff, and I shop accordingly. So as you can probably imagine, space is a bit tight with all the things I hoard. I think the idea is that in the future, when we do have a house, I will have stuff to fill it. I don't know, but I know I love getting things for the house more than things for myself. And I am partial to get anything as long as it is below £10, much to the husbands frustration. I know he thinks it's excessive, if we have towels already, why do we need new ones in a different color? Good point. Anyway, my newest purchase is this copper "house" from Tiger that lives on our windowsill and gives a home to my very overgrown succulent. I should probably look online for information on what to do with a succulent that doesn't fit it's pot anymore. Maybe tomorrow.
Oh Sunday, how lovely to see you! Today my mum is arriving for a quick visit, she is staying until Thursday which means a couple of days off, time spent in central London and food, glorious food. There is also a creative Christmas craft evening planned, and of course I can't wait! So yeah, next week is a good one, just have to make this one last workday this week a good one too. Happy Sunday!
One of my favorite things about the Christmas period is the lead up to the festivities. I love when the Christmas lights are lit, people are starting to think about presents, Christmas cards are being written and sent and it's Advent. Growing up we would do things surrounding the advent period in school, and my favorite part is still the advent candles. In Scandinavian countries most families will have some sort of advent candles to light, one for each Sunday in advent. This Sunday, November 30th, marks the first Sunday in advent, and I have my candles to light. Although I am forever trying to decide on an advent candle holder that can come back year after year I haven't found something I really like so this year I got cube candles from Ikea (perfect for scandi inspired Christmas stuff) and decorated them with red and gold colored baubles in different sizes. Definitely a low cost and easy solution and the candles are big enough to last all the way through December.
For our wedding (yes, more than 6 months ago) I decided that our sweets table would be useless without some gold love birds on it. And I had to make them myself. Normally this is not a problem, but I had this idea about 5 days before we were due to walk down the aisle, so timing was not great. The lovely thing about being a craft supplies hoarder is that I had both gold paint and oven bake clay lying around the apartment. Who doesn't, right? So I went all crafty and hand shaped two birds, which I was pretty happy about, and cooked them in the oven according to the instructions on the packet. Not that they look the exactly the same, that would be very difficult, but they did look pretty cute on the sweets table. Can't say they made the biggest difference, but after they were made I was much calmer. Anything to calm a stressed bride!
Last weekend a friend from out of town was visiting London with her family and she had a very tight schedule so the only time a group of us could meet up was late Saturday evening. While having to grab dinner a bit last minute, Central London on a Saturday evening is a tough place to find a table in a restaurant. So what to do? Go to Chinatown of course. I can't say I have been to all the restaurants and there might be better places than where we usually go but I quite like the Lido restaurant. The service is brisk and efficient, the food is good and the menu is very very long.
Normally we pick a couple of things from the menu and share, but this time we decided to go for one of the set menu, with some dim sum thrown in. Because, why not? We started off with mixed starters and the best ribs I have ever tasted. Need to go back and have those one more time.
Then the dim sum made an appearance. I can't say it's the best dim sum ever, but it was pretty good. But it was when the crispy duck made an appearance that I was happy. The duck was perfectly crispy and lovely with the plum sauce and some fresh cucumber it was exactly what I wanted, the only sad thing is when it's all gone and you are licking your fingers wishing there was more.
Then the main courses arrived, a selection of sweet and sour chicken which was not too sweet and still crispy, egg fried rice, vegetables and sizzling beef. While all good, they had nothing on the crispy duck and those ribs to start, they were delicious! After the meal, we rolled out of the restaurant and down the road to Brasserie Zedel for a drink, there was definitely any space for dessert.
Picture from Unspalsh
Yesterday I had the nicest day possible, spending the whole day at home and organizing papers, shelves and drawers. My kind of Thursday. And today is another workday, I am ready. It's going to be a busy weekend and I have been preparing by getting my fill of the internet.
Thanksgiving printables, not that we celebrate the holiday much over here but it's always good to have a reminder to be thankful.
A well written piece on women and size, just to make us think a bit about our bodies and why we are so worried about being a certain size.
This makes me want to get a plant and then leave it with a colleague while I go away. Not sure they would be as creative, but I can always hope.
Love this for the walls at home. I already have way to much wall art to put up, but I can always dream.
Kitchen skills to learn before 30, suitable reading as my 29th birthday is around 2 months away.
We have started to plan what we are going to do on new years eve and while the plans are forming, my outfit is far from finished. Maybe this black dress should come live with me?
How interesting to see a bit behind the scenes with Kate Moss?
And there is something we need to address, which is of course the launch of the Christmas ads. Think I'm joking? Never, these things are big business her in the UK. Every year the big companies put their creative hats on and compete to make the best Christmas ad. Usually John Lewis win, and this year, well they have definitely done it again (not that I don't love M&S's adorable fairies). I think I might be in love with Monty the Penguin (of course, he is a penguin) and I urge you to have a look at the video below. My favorite part? The look on the boy's face when he gives Monty a fish finger. Absolutely priceless.