Happy New Year everyone!
December, as usual, was a month of festivities, friends and food. It ended in sunny Spain where I finished the last year of my 20s under blue skies and celebrated my first warm Christmas with my future in-laws. New year’s resolutions? Learn more Spanish, organise my Etsy shop, run more often, cook more often, write more often and just enjoy each moment as it happens, especially with the chaos of wedding planning over the next six months. Have you made any this year?
Here’s a look back at December via instagram:
1. A phone booth. I’m always intrigued by people making calls from phone boxes. I associate them with rows of postcards advertising prostitutes and escorts. The one this man was using didn’t have any of the cards posted inside though. As I walked by, I wondered who he was calling and why, what his story was. I saw him later in the day inside another phone box further down London’s Bayswater Road.
2. Hari’s on King’s Road. As you’d expect from a hairdresser on the King’s Road, Hari’s isn’t cheap, but I enjoy going there once in a while. There are quirky mirrors, each decorated differently, the people who work there are lovely and there’s a bar and a nail salon at the back. Phu cut my hair this time. Instead of chat about the weather and celebrity nonsense, he told me about his Chinese/Vietnamese background, the local villages, spending the holidays with his wife’s family in Japan and stories of his own family who now live in the UK.
3. Mini casserole dishes from Anthropologie. I’ve developed a fun obsession with the kitchen section in Anthropologie. So many pretty things. I bought these mini casserole dishes earlier this month. They can go in the oven to make individual dishes like tiny lasagnes or French onion soup. I’m on the look out for some good mini casserole dish recipes to try so let me know if you have any suggestions!
4. Hot chocolate with marshmallows. A Winter staple, I love a warm mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows piled on top. Jorge surprised me with a few American treats earlier this month, one of them being tiny, fruity marshmallows. I had a box of Swiss Miss in the cupboard just waiting to be smothered in them!
5. A Winter sunset. There have been some impressive sunsets in London this month with great streaks of colour sweeping through the sky. This was the view from our kitchen window one night which, with Jorge’s plants and a bit of imagination, could almost be somewhere tropical. Unfortunately, I assure you it is not…
6. A stack of cookbooks. I’ve been experimenting more than usual with new recipes. When I don’t find them on Pinterest, I love taking my tea to Waterstones and spending some time paging through cookbooks to decide which ones I want to take home. This is a stack that I’ve accumulated over the last few weeks, so plenty to try in the chilly months to come.
7. Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies. Our new neighbours kindly brought over a bottle of champagne for the holidays so I thought I’d made something festive to send back in return. I found this recipe for red velvet crinkle cookies which are really easy to make: box cake, egg, vanilla, cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar.
8. Christmas lights on Monmouth Street. This is probably my favourite photo I’ve taken for Instagram. It was a rainy day and I went to meet my friends Danny and Lucy at Polpo in Covent Garden to pick up our wedding invitations that Lucy made! I popped into a few shops around the Seven Dials along the way and just loved the way the lights looked reflected in the rain on Monmouth Street with the silhouettes and the London cab in the middle.
9. Covent Garden Christmas. Every year, London’s Covent Garden sparkles magically for Christmas, this year the indoor market filled with giant ornaments and a disco ball. A band played Christmas music downstairs and crowds gathered around the railings to watch from above.
10. I want to be a celebrity. LA based street artist Plastic Jesus hit the streets of London recently, putting up this “I want to be a celebrity” image on Andersen Street, SW3, just off the King’s Road which is not a common spot to find street art so I was happy to stumble upon it early this month. Nearby, he also created giant lines of cocaine with a rolled up £10 note and an American Express credit card which he called “American Excess”.
11. Sloane Street, London SW7. On my last shopping venture before Christmas, the sun was glinting through the clouds and though there were puddles on the ground there wasn’t such a bitter chill in the air. This is at the end of Sloane Street where it meets Knightsbridge and you can see One Hyde Park as well – said to be the most expensive residential development ever built.
12. Christmas presents. Wrapped and ready to pack for Christmas in the Canary Islands, I have inherited my mom’s love of pretty paper, name tags, ribbons and bows.
13. An advent calendar. As part of the Christmas countdown, my brother and I always had advent calendars, where you open a new window for a daily dose of chocolate until December 24. We also used to make Christmas chains out of green and red paper and unlink them one by one to count down the days. But chocolate is much better!
14. A Christmas fire. There’s nothing like blazing fire in an otherwise cold house on Christmas day. You’d think Tenerife would always be warm, but being so far above sea level, mornings and evenings are chilly – so chilly, in fact, that we wore our Winter coats until the sun came out. Most (or maybe all) houses there don’t have central heating so a fire is a necessity!
15. The view from Hotel Jardín Tecina. For my 30th birthday, Jorge and I took a ferry from Tenerife to neighbouring island La Gomera. We stayed at the Hotel Jardín Tecina, set on a cliff, overlooking the Atlantic. This was the view from our balcony – waving palm trees and a vast expanse of sea. The silence (of everything but nature) was incredible – worlds away from London.
Find me on Instagram @LittleObservationist for more.