Archive | December, 2011

Happy Christmas!

30 Dec

Happy Christmas everyone! So the big day has been and gone and I’m now back in Putney chilling out before the start of the New Year. This year was a particularly special Christmas for me because not only did I get to spend it with M but I was also with my family in Beckington too. It was a real treat but a decision that we hadn’t taken lightly. When you get married it’s so difficult keeping both families happy, while also making sure you get to do what you want to too. That in particular was important to M and I this year because a) we barely get to see each other any more! and b) last year we spent the whole festive period travelling around the country – not vey relaxing! With all that’s happened with my dad, I felt the need to be with him this year and I was very lucky (and grateful) that M agreed to go to the SW for Christmas. And we had the most amazing time! It was chilled, fun – everyone was on top form – and, of course, in my family’s true entertaining style, there was LOTS of food! Here’s just a taster of what we had – mum’s epic turkey and my first (but definitely not last) attempt at Christmas pud. Yum!

What a beautiful bird!

My pudding - and I can confirm it tasted amazing!

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The Nutcracker

22 Dec

I broke up for the Christmas holidays today and what better way to celebrate the occasion than with a housemate outing to The Nutcracker! The English National are back performing the one ballet that has become a tradition to see at this time of year. I’d seen it before when I was very small so was looking forward to refreshing my memory of what it was all about. I’m also a suckeer for ballet! And the ENB didn’t disappoint. J had managed to get us £15 seats in the balcony and although we were second to back row, our view couldn’t have been better. In fact, it was a treat to get that different perspective of the theatre (we were at the Coliseum) and to be able to fully appreciate the architecture of the building. I’d not booked  up much theate since moving to London because when you’re a one-income family with a mortgage budgets can be tight, but now I know that bargain seats can actually be decent, I’ll be going to the theatre more often! Waatch this space for my reviews. But for anyone who hasn’t been yet, do try to get tickets for this season’s Nutcracker. The performances were breathtaking – I’d forgotten and beautiful the choreography for this was – and the score, of course, is stunning. All ingredients for the perfect night. Click here for details: ballet.org.uk

Coliseum

Carols in Trafalgar Square

22 Dec

There’s no way to get into the festive spirit more than carol singing. So when my friend C suggested we go to the charity fundraiser in Trafalgar Square last night, I had to go along. We were there to support Parkinson’s UK (parkinsons.org.uk) and it was so atmospheric being out in the cool December night air singing carols round the tree. Fortunately, C, B and I had met up in Covent Garden beforehand for a cup of warming mulled wine. Mmmm. Don’t you just love Christmas?!

Trafalgar Square

Christmas at Kings Cross

19 Dec

Popped to Kings Cross station today to catch up with the lovely Ian and Emma Scott, the masters behind our wedding photography (check them out here: ianscottphotography.co.uk) and look what I found! Right in the middle of the station is this impressive Christmas tree made entirely of lego! Wonder how many blocks it took to make…

Kings Cross

Kings Cross

Kings Cross

 

Secret Cinema

16 Dec

Where to start? Last night JP, K, J and I took part in the Secret Cinema and I can only describe it as one of the best experiences of my life. It was unlike anything I’d ever done and I could never have imagined how much fun it would be. I never wanted the night to end!

For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, the Secret Cinema is part film screening, part theatrical performance. Each screening is held at a secret location in London (although they are starting to run them nationwide now too), and the location and film are kept as a surprise right up until the moment you arrive. You gather at a location (ours was Barbican tube station) and then you are led (in our case through tiny, twisty back alleys) to the venue of the cinema. Even now, I don’t know if I could find the place again. Our screening was being held in a disused building of some sort that had be transformed into a 1940s town square in Vienna, with a hotel, bar, casino, and offices. It was like stepping back in time.

I should also mention that in the weeks running up to the screening, you are emailed clues to help you work out what the film is that you’re going to see. For us, these came in the form of telegrams and spy letter, from which we deduced that it was going to be a black and white, war time, spy thriller. But how many of those are there?! We were also told to dress in costume – trilby hats, tuxedos and overcoats for the men, and net hats and fur coats for the women. Seeing everyone else dressed up when we arrived made the experience even more amazing.

For about two hours before the screening we had time to wander around the ‘town square’ exploring all of the rooms and ‘buildings’. In each place actors had taken on the personas of people from the film we were about to see (we still had no idea what it was) and we were taken from being interogated by a Russion officer one moment, to having a hushed conversation with a man from the black market the next. It was so much fun; a real production.

We could have carried on like that all night but we were there to see a film after all! When the time for the screening, we were all led into separate rooms around the complex and The Third Man was put on show. It was fantastic watching the film and recognising the scenes and situations that we’d just been living out moments before. It’s cinema well and truly brought to life.

Tickets sell out super fast and cost about £35. If you want to try it yourself, sign up for alertsof the next dates here: secretcinema.org. I can’t recommend it enough and this blog post seriously does not do it justice. It has to be seen and experienced to be believed.

Coffee and cake to die for!

10 Dec

I said I’d go back there and I didn’t lie. Back from seeing N in Chelmsford and we returned to the most amazing cafe in the town – Cherry on Top – and this time I got pictures! I went for the same as last time – coffee and walnut – but N was adventurous and tried something new, namely their white chocolate and strawberries triple decker cake with cream filling, edible glitter and pink chocolate curls. You should have seen it! Well, you can:

Chelmsford cafe

Degas at the Royal Academy

9 Dec

Just back from the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy (royalacademy.org.uk). It was so good! Had been meaning to go to it since it opened but was hopeless at booking tickets. Then JP got in there first! Finally made it just in the nick of time as it closes on the 11th December and I thoroughly recommend it. It was really interestingly laid out showing Degas not just as a sketcher and painter but also as a photographer, a side to his work I’d not seen before. One slight distraction though (M don’t read this!) but there was a work of art (aka a Javier Bardem look-a-like) looking at the exhibition himself! Didn’t know where I was supposed to be looking 😉

Royal Academy

Thai with the girls

3 Dec

Yay! Have just come back from a delicious dinner with two of my closest friends from school. It’s not often I get to see E and L but last night we arranged to go for dinner together in our (near) home town of Bath. Where to go? The Thai Balcony of course (thai-balcony.co.uk). It’s a step away from the Theatre Royal (the best theatre by the way, often shows play before they appear on London’s West End), and has the most beautiful dining room. Dinner for my was prawn and pork dumplings (see pic below – that’s a flower carved out of carrot) and vegetable green curry. Yum! Great food, great company. What more could you ask for?

Thai Balcony

Prawn and pork dumplings - yes that flower is made of carrot!