Saturday, 24 December 2011

December misc.

Suddenly it was December and the leaves on the trees had been replaced with lights. Movember moustaches had been shaved off and the fast approaching Christmas period was never far from anyone's thoughts. My December so far has been good, but busy, hence the lack of posting. So here for you all, before I log off for Christmas, a December miscellany.


There have been cocktails in downstairs bars tucked behind the lights and bustle of Regent Street. There was the fondue night, great fun. Walks through the park, trees mostly bare. Cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate at the Nordic Bakery. Champagne tasting at The Hide Bar. Craft fairs with the Shoreditch Sisters, learning to crochet my first granny square at one of our knitting and craft evenings. A queue and then success getting into The Long Table, Dalston's food night market. Dinner followed by Pina Coladas on a wet Monday night with uni friends. Brunch in Southwark, poached eggs and sweetcorn fritters. Mulled cider in North London pubs. Lots and lots and lots of Snowballs (because 'tis the season). Decorating our little tree with favourite baubles and a few new ones. An office Christmas lunch that turned out to be a huge amount of fun. Late nights and struggling through work the next day. Multiple Christmas parties, scattered across London, tube journeys and night buses. A plethora of ugly Chrsitmas jumpers, seems to be a recurring theme for parties this year (I made the Christmas Tree one for M, impressed?). Bowls of clementines and baking trays of cheese straws. A quiet supper at one of my bestest's, just before we all went our separate ways for Christmas, lights twinkling in the tree, glasses of bubbly and dark night outside.


Now I am in a slightly damp Norfolk, home for Christmas with the family. I am going to be cooking, taking photographs when I can, going for long country walks when there is daylight and watching films and practising crochet when there's not. Spending time with loved ones.

Wishing you all the very best for Christmas my dear readers, may it be peaceful and magical and full of joy.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Fondue Night

Saturday December 3rd. A few friends, a couple of jugs of Snowballs, and a lot of melted cheese.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

London Love: Happiness Forgets

8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU

I am almost loathe to share this next one, because it was just so very lovely. But, it is Christmas (well, nearly), a time for sharing, and it may be that you are looking for the perfect spot to sit and sip a cocktail with a friend or two, cocooned from the dark night.

We visited Happiness Forgets in November, when the waiters were still sporting elegantly twisted moustaches, and the nights were inky black and misty, but still warm enough to venture out without gloves. We didn't get in first try, so the four of us went and drank margaritas elsewhere, leaving them with M's mobile number. Not too long after, we got a call back, returned to Hoxton Square, down the metal steps, to a table saved for us. Glasses of chilled water were brought over without having to request them (such a fan of this tradition from across the pond), then menus, and then wonderfully mixed cocktails. Friendly staff, not at all pretentious, the space not overcrowded, quiet enough to talk, whilst still maintaining a healthy buzz.

And the clincher? The 'no wallies' door policy, so very rare for this side of town.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Last of the Autumn

{or, how many different types of fungi can you spot on a single walk?}

M and I walk up to Hampstead, Saturday morning two weekends ago. Grab a flat white (him) and a hot chocolate (me) from Ginger and White then head onto Hampstead Heath.

It is as though the autumn is giving a final fanfare, going out in a blaze of glorious colour and light. And the mushrooms! So many mushrooms, in such a range of colours and shapes. We visit the pergola first, beautiful as ever, with its creeping vines and views over the treetops. Then we cross the road to the bigger part of the heath, and walk and walk, and take photograph after photograph of fungi, brown leaves, sunlight falling between the trees. I feel like I have stepped into the pages of a book, Lord of the Rings, or Hansel and Gretel, where the trees are huge and ancient, and toadstools sprout overnight from damp leaf mulch. For most of the walk we are alone, spotting dog walkers in the distance perhaps, or hearing the shouts of children between the trees, but mostly just the two of us. I am reminded again how lucky we are to have these vast green spaces in the middle of our city.

We finish the walk with cider and a pint in the Dickensian Holly Bush, and in the evening eat at the Chiswick Franco Manca where the pizzas are tasty and the bill always reasonable. Later, a house warming in a beautiful flat in Baron's Court, all tiled fireplaces and high ceilings, drinking perry and catching up with university friends.


Last weekend was a hasty visit to Norfolk to see my sister in a play (she rocked), then a dash back down to London for the Bust Christmas Craftacular, selling jams and 'Sisterhood' tote bags next to the amazing Rob Ryan. Photos from that will go on the Shoreditch Sisters WI blog at some point.

So, last of the autumn posts done. December I am ready for you.