Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas



Some lovely Christmas bunting, which was a gift from my BQL (British Quilting List) secret santa...



Alex waiting to open presents - I had to threaten to take the presents away to get him to pose without sticking out his tongue. Sigh.



The girls won't like this photo, I'm sure!



Ready to eat.

Merry Christmas all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in the West End



The kids and I had our annual trip up to town to look at the Christmas windows and pop in a few shops and browse around. Last year, we missed the windows as we weren't able to go up to town until the 27th, and the main shops (Harrods, Selfridges) had their windows papered over with sale signs by then - very disappointing! So this year, we made sure to get up BEFORE Christmas.

Harrods' windows were quite good this year - some years they have been a little disappointing, I thought - this year, there was a Peter Pan theme, with lots of little faeries, feathers and other miscellaneous bling.



We loved some of the little details like these gorgeous birds (Cloisonne, perhaps?) - there were some hedgehogs in the same style on the ground of the displays - quite small, the birds were maybe 4 or 5 inches beak to tail and the hedgehogs were even smaller. Lovely.



I liked these two pirates, both of whom were wearing slippers in the display - and I also liked the reflection of the passersby in the window behind (it's very hard to photograph windows, even with the flash off...)



This is the mermaid from Peter Pan - her tail was superb, but I didn't really manage to get a good photo of it, due to angels and window glass and stuff.



We then walked along Knightsbridge to Harvey Nicks, where the windows were just kind of bizarre, but in a fun, holiday-type way.

After that, we popped up to Hyde Park Corner, debated poking through the Winter Wonderland, decided against it and instead grabbed a bus to Oxford Street to check out the windows at Selfridges.



This, I think, was my favourite, though there were a lot of good ones with funky monster toys and stuff, too.




And we liked the Barbie Christmas tree.



This photo was taken inside Selfridges - standing at the bottom of the escalators, looking up. The disco balls raised and lowered (some of them, anyway). I always like to hit the Christmas shop at Selfridges as everything is at least 50 per cent off by this time of year. We always pick up a few ornaments. This year, we got a snowglobe with a polar bear inside for less than half price.

Finally, a long walk down Oxford Street to Oxford Circus, where we headed down Regent Street to have a poke around Hamley's.



The lights in Regent Street were great, I though - these big nets of lights, which looked abstract from a distance, but from underneath, were obviously stars. Fun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who needs presents?



All you really need for hours of enjoyment is a rather large box (this one had a chair from Ikea in it). This box is big enough for two of the three kids to get into at once, provided one of them is Alex... (I've just been corrected by a small boy who is sitting reading over my shoulder - apparently, both the girls can actually fit in this box at the same time. So there you go - once again, Mummy knows nothing and children know everything...)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas baking



Here's this year's selection. Some more successful than others (the knack - in the paper cases - didn't set. Tastes gorgeous, but is rather messy).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blizzard



About 11.30am. Luckily, it only snowed this hard for about an hour. We still had a pretty good amount of cover (6 inches, maybe). It was supposed to start again later, but so far, it hasn't. Which is fine. Though my eldest, who still has a day and a half of school before her Christmas holidays is hoping for more tomorrow!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Christmas decorating was done



...amidst all the coughing and tiredness, we did eventually get things a bit more festive!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More snow



This is my back garden this morning - though actually, it's still snowing at least a little, so who knows what it will look like in another hour or two. It's very fine snow, though, so it might not make any difference...




Here's a photo of it coming down on the way home from school Monday - believe it or not, this photo was taken at about 4pm. Or earlier. I know it looks like night time!




We had a visitor to our garden this morning - he didn't find anything to eat, though, so he left. But he had to go over the other side of the fence, which is a bit lower, after trying to get to the top of this one several times. The cats can do it, but he's a bit bigger & heavier!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Foggy morning



It was very foggy yesterday.








The sun was trying to break through...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Visit to Costa Coffee



Meant to post this before, but the pictures were on my phone... Alex had a Rocky Road Cupcake. This will surprise no one who knows him.



But really, we both just liked the sign!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en



One group ready to go out - Olivia (the vampire) with her friend Nina (the devil) and the friend's younger sister. They were accompanied by Cousin David, who did escort duty in a mask (and came home with a pocket of sweets to show for it!)




And here are two dead schoolgirls - Sarah and her friend Katharine.

I somehow missed photographing Alex and Keir, who went around with Keir's mum a little earlier than the others - but trust me, they looked suitably Hallowe'eny... Or is it Hallowe'enish? Hallowe'enesque?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Boo!



It's so hard to get photos of lit pumpkins! Anyway, these are Olivia's (the spider) and Alex's (his own design)...




...and these two are David's on the left (his first even pumpkin carving - not bad!) and Sarah's on the right. Next year we might have to buy a new pattern book, as the ones we have are getting kind of depleted of the best designs. Or I'm sure there are patterns on the web.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Birdworld



Today's trip out (the last one of the half-term) was to Birdworld, down near Farnham. As you might suspect from the name, it's a place with lots of birds - like a zoo, but mostly birds. I took Alex - we had a voucher that wanted using before the end of October - and he and I had a nice day out with just the two of us.

Despite his addiction to video games and Horrid Henry and other typical boy stuff, Alex is also very fond of animals - both real ones and stuffed toys - so this is just the kind of thing he enjoys. I fear it may not last much longer, though it does look like I'll be lucky enough not to have an obsession with football take over from this sort of interest.

Anyway. The birds. Here's a rather fancy duck of some sort:



Here's a penguin:



Here's an owl. The owls were mostly asleep, as it was daytime. But they are still cool.



There were loads more birds, of course - I did NOT take a photo of all of them. In fact, mostly I took photos of Autumnal foliage, etc, but Alex insisted we have at least a few photos of birds. Fair enough, I suppose.

They also had a train ride, a Hallowe'en grotto, and a special Hallowe'en themed animal show, with a talking parrot and a variety of other beasties. It was a nice day - and mild enough to be able to eat our little picnic outside without freezing to death, which is always a good thing!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Land of a thousand steps



Between the half-term holiday and the nephew-visiting-from-Australia, there has been lots of tourist activity recently. Today's item was St Paul's Cathedral - David & I went with the girls (Alex off to play at a friend's house for the day). No photos from inside the cathedral, as you aren't allowed, but here's some views from up above. Not the very top part you can get to, but the middle level (first outside level). We climbed a LOT of steps - something like 500 total. A bit more, but I can't remember precisely. The view is fairly spectacular, though...





Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brooklands



A trip to Brooklands Transport Museum today, always a successful way to entertain boys during half term.



Alex and I went with my nephew David, who is visiting at the moment, and also took along Keir, a friend who lives near us. Here are Keir and Alex sitting on Concorde.




And Alex posing as a racing driver...




...and Alex driving a plane (Keir was in the other seat - there appeared to be lots of crash landing going on).



And we even had a ride in an old car. A nice day out!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hallowe'enish



My seasonal windowsill (only occasionally - mostly, it's just got some candles and stuff on it).



We went looking for pumpkins - and no, I've no idea what the black bags are for - at our local Pick-your-own place. Which also has a farm shop, with lots of lovely cheese, including this amusing one:



We didn't buy any of this one, but we were amused nonetheless.



We also stopped by a supermarket to pick up a few other things, including a quick visit to a certain coffee concession.



And rounded off the day with a little seasonal crafting. We haven't carved the pumpkins yet - didn't have the energy to face that, also wanted them to be quite fresh for the Big Day...