I had a bit of a social media / blogging detox around the end of December. I spent the last two weeks of the month at home in New York and wanted to make the most of my time with family and friends. This will be a pretty short Instagramable Moments post; there were a lot of instagramable moments, but not all of them made it on to Instagram (and sometimes it’s probably better that way)!
Here are the shots that made it up in December:
1. Bare winter branches. Before I left for New York, I took a few long walks around London to see the seasons changing from autumn to winter. This photo was from Battersea Park on my end of Autumn stroll. It was probably the most wintry image from that day. I actually love the bare branches, the cold December days, the freshness in the air, the idea of a blank slate as we head into a new year.
2. Christmas cutout cookies. My mom sent me this photo as she got a head start on the Christmas cutout cookies she prepared in advance of my trip to New York. My brother and I always used to decorate them when we were kids. Since I haven’t been home for the holidays in six years, it’s been a while since we had the opportunity. This year, though, we made it happen!
3. A rainy London walk. Jorge and I bought this giant Union Jack umbrella for our wedding in June. I think this is the first time we used it, on a rainy Sunday walk. We stopped on a random side street off of Sloane Street for a selfie. Not long after that the sun came out and it turned into a bright blue sky day.
4. Festive almond biscotti. I thought about making some Christmas cookies this year but I knew that once I got to New York, there would be an overabundance of them. I decided to have a go at a biscotti recipe instead. I’d never made these before, but they turned out to be much easier than I thought and they disappeared at the office the next day.
5. Central London Christmas lights. This year, our office holiday party was held in Covent Garden. After the dinner and drinks I decided to walk home instead of take the bus so I had a chance to look at all the lights. These were down a side street nearby, but the most impressive were probably the silver lights of Old Bond Street. London is stunning this time of year and the weather was mild enough to enjoy it.
6. Ben Wilson at work. One day, mid-December, I took a long winter walk from Chelsea all the way to St. Paul. I knew there was a pretty good chance that my buddy Ben Wilson (who I interviewed back in the days of Little London Observationist), the chewing gum artist, would be working on one of this hundreds of pieces he’s creating across the Millennium Bridge. Sure enough I ran into him and stopped for a little chat.
7. A cosy Christmas. This is how I remember Christmas to be – at home in New York, with a huge, real, pine-scented, decorated tree that my mom takes the time to perfect every year. Jorge came with me to experience his first American Christmas this year and we took this picture to say happy holidays to our friends and family across the world.
8. A 31st birthday cake. My birthday falls a few days after Christmas. Knowing that I was hoping for snow while I was home, my mom decorated my cake like a winter wonderland with edible snowflakes and all. I normally have chocolate but we decided on something different this year so she baked a 4-layer poppyseed cake with custard between the layers. It was both pretty and delicious.
9. The first flurries. Finally, just after my birthday, the flurries began. We were out for a walk when big white fluffy flakes started to fall. Though it was not by any means the first snow Buffalo had this year (did you see theh blizzard in the news a few weeks back?), it was the first snow I saw this year and the first snow of any year is always a bit magical.
10. A snowman. While it wasn’t a huge snowfall, a few inches did stick around which was enough to build a small snowman. This guy only took us around 10 minutes to pull together on our way out the door. My dad got creative and gave us black olives for the eyes, the usual carrot nose and a few pine branches that had fallen in a windstorm to use as antlers. He was still sitting on the bench (albeit antler-less) when I headed back to London.
11. The British Chippy in Buffalo. Lastly, we have the British Chippy – not in London, but in Buffalo, New York. It was rated the number one new restaurant in the area on Yelp and aparently has plans for quite a bit of expansion. We got fish and chips to take away (which was definitely comparable to fish and chips in the UK – the owners flew the fryers over) and a few pasties to eat the next day. They sell a few British sweets, OXO cubes and PG Tips on the side and the decor includes Sherlock hat lamps, a Baker Street sign and some photos of London icons.
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