Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day in Oxford

A trip to Oxford today to meet up with Geoff's brother John - he doesn't live in Oxford, but it's about halfway between us and it's a nice place to spend a few hours.   We saw the Radcliffe Camera in cake (and in person, too, but didn't take a photo of that) and my another of my favourite buildings in Oxford...

Other sites included masses of bicycles, 

the alleyway by the Turf Tavern

another great building (something which, admittedly, Oxford is full of)

and an Olde Fashioned Sweet Shoppe. 

The kids (and Geoff) were like, well, kids in a sweet shop...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmassy London

Today we took our annual trip up to see the windows and lights in the West End. Frankly, I was less impressed with the windows this year, both in Harrods and Selfridges, than in some previous years, but we have fun poking around anyway. 

We had a stroll through the Food Hall in Harrods - didn't buy anything, but it's always fun to look at the way things are displayed,

such as this ice-sculpture at the lobster counter. 

We then hopped a bus up to Hyde Park, where we had a visit to the Winter Wonderland. Alex had some candy floss, and we poked around, watching the rides and looking at some of the vendors. Again, didn't buy much of anything except some snacks (and some mulled wine for the grownups!). 

It was a really mild day, so nice to walk outside. Lots of people strolling along the Serpentine apparently thought so as well. 

Not to mention a number of seagulls in puddles.

The windows in Selfridges were a little better than Harrods, though both of them were all white, silver and crystal this year. I did like this bird, though. 

Here's one of the large star lights in Oxford Street. 

The windows at Hamley's were a little better - all Lego-themed, including a large Lego Father Christmas and some dwarves, etc.  We then had a stroll through Carnaby Street and down to Picadilly Circus with a stop on the way at 

 Scoop in Brewer Street in Soho, for a small treat...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Christmas Baking

We seemed to accomplish a lot this year, perhaps because both girls were able to help with little or no supervision so three things really could be made at once (allowing for oven temps, etc).  In the centre are Jam Thumbprints, then clockwise from top we have No-Bake Peanut Butter Bites, Stained Glass Cookies, Rice Krispie Treats, Butter Horn Cookies, Butterscotch shortbread (just realised that in this photo, you can't see that those are cut out in ornament shapes because the top of the ornament was obscured by another goodie!), Fudge Meltaways, Christmas Fruit Biscotti, Peppermint Creams and Florentines. Started at about 9.30am and finished by about 3.30, with a lunchbreak - not bad!  Also greatly helped by the fact that Grandma is here and did loads and loads of washing up as we went along so that I didn't have to keep stopping and washing things...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Tree

After and Before

Sunday, December 04, 2011

In the holiday mood

We had a little trip up to town today, to the Pimlico Road/Sloane Square area, as a friend of ours was playing Christmas carols with her brass quintet to help get shoppers in the Christmas mood. It's a fairly posh area, so we didn't do a lot of shopping ourselves (some browsing, especially during the 15 minutes when it decided to rain on us), but we did enjoy wandering around and looking at things, including the

organic food shop, which was doing mulled wine and turkey rolls in a little outside stall (we bought a gorgeous chocolate brioche loaf from the inside part of the shop - yum!).

We also had a look at the camels (yes, camels - three - tended by guys in Wise Men costumes) and

enjoyed the exploits of two Jack Frost characters...

When we were bored (and cold) we hopped on a bus over to South Ken, and hit the Science Museum for an hour or so...

always fun to do.

Sarah had a go at walking across the bridge (no fastenings, just held in place with forces) but wouldn't let me take her picture while doing it. I didn't push it...

I liked this wall of bubbles...

...and we al enjoyed the lights and watching the ice skaters outside the Natural History Museum (forgot my camera, so had to rely on my phone for photos - not so good!)