The Somerset House
The Somerset House was the most iconic Christmas scene in London this year. Absolutely beautiful. I think a good working hypothesis is that during Christmas, London has more Christmas trees per square metre than any other city in the world. Banks, shopping centers, grocery stores, drug stores, and most public buildings have Christmas trees. But of all these, the Somerset House’s tree was the best. The most interesting and creative trees I saw this year were hung upside down outside the Axis Restaurant. And even Jack Daniels put up a tree in Covent Garden.
Earlier in the month, a friend and I ventured out on a Friday night to the V&A to see the Hollywood costumes and vintage ball gowns. Afterwords, we walked over to Harrod’s, enjoying the Christmas shopping splendor. My girlfriend picked up some Christmas pudding with Brandy Butter to take with her to Hong Kong. I opted for a few DIY luxury hot chocolate sticks from the chocolate counter.
With our Christmas purchases in tow, we headed over to the Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Cafe and Terrace where we ordered up two of England’s classic Christmas drink – mulled wine. Each was served in a cute Santa mug, piping hot, with a cinnamon stick to stir.
These are just some of the sights and sounds of the Christmas season we have seen about London. The season has been spectacular – full of surprises, beauty, new friendships, and new discoveries.
Regent Street and Oxford Street
As for today, we have started the morning off with some Christmas music, breakfast, and mimosas.
To all of our family, friends, and readers around the world, we are wishing you peace, prosperity, health and happiness throughout the new year! Cheers!
Did I mention I love October? I do. I love October. Here are
five six reasons why.
- Watching the leaves change color. It reminds me of home. Something my family always appreciated.
- Beautiful people on twitter and the blogs making things like homemade apple pie & strawberry ginger pie.
- Sweaters, boots, and scarves. Need I say more?
- The perfect month to try out a new recipe. I want to try Eat Like a Girl’s stuffed munchkins.
- Baseball. David and I are big San Francisco Giants fans (…but I grew up watching the Cardinals and have love for them too!) Makes for an exciting season this year, especially given recent history (Part I and Part II).
- Halloween. I am a Halloween nut. Love the holiday. Costumes, candy, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating.
My parents came down to visit us in Durham, North Carolina around this time last year. We carved pumpkins together and watched the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series. What a great visit! The classic pumpkin on the left was my Dad’s creation, I did the black cat, and David’s masterpiece is featured on the right.
London has shown us an amazing October so far. The small parks are inviting and the trees are beautiful.
My plan for making the most of these last October days? Zip-up my boots, toss on a scarf, and take a detour on the walk to campus.
The last day of the trip began with a delicious breakfast and a morning hike. We got the idea of doing this from seeing the mountains from the restaurant the night before. Three of us made the committment to get up early and head up into the hills.
The morning started out cloudy and a bit overcast but as we made it further up the hills the sky began to clear and the sun came out. The first thing we encountered as we took off down the trail was a small vineyard planted in someone’s backyard. We then selected a moderate trail that went up the hill. It was lightly rocky and pleasant to climb.
As we went up the hillside, you could see home scattered across the horizon, tucked away into the land. Midway through the hike, tiny drops of rain came down amid sunlight — really the lightest rain I could imagine.
It was so nice to get out, smell the air, and feel the ground beneath my feet. The hike ended by a small cafe and parking lot where we called for a cab. As we drove back to the city center, all my companions could talk about was how appropriately the hike had prepared us for cheese and wine for lunch.