Saturday, December 27, 2008

ahhh! A quiet after-Christmas morning....

The storm hit about the time we landed in Boston and it just kept snowing! Rick tried to keep up with the shoveling but it just kept snowing!!! The mail box suffered from a "hit and run" but Tucker loves this weather. Here's a beautiful shot out our kitchen window of the frozen scene on the river.

I had a great Christmas...a Mah Jong set and a new "evening" Mah Jong purse for Tuesday nights plus A NEW KITCHEN!

Now that the snow has melted and the days have warmed up we are enjoying walks with Tucker and watching the sun set over the river from the hot tub with a cup of the last of the Hot Buttered Rum.

In a few days, all of us will be boarding a plane for London. The new wood floors will be sanded and stained while the house is empty. We have a fun week planned for the girls including New Year's Eve with Sir Elton John, an evening at the Ice Bar, and tickets to see one of my favorite plays, The Jersey Boys.

I hope all of you are enjoying a quiet after-Christmas too!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Special Shop in Sloane Square

With only two shopping days left before Christmas, here is a special treat!
(You can click on any of these pictures for a closer look!)

Just around the corner from the Oriel Restaurant (my favorite for mussels) in Sloane Square is a wonderful shop named after the eccentric owner and designer, Basia Zarzycka. We met her and she is delightful! She took the time to walk us through the store explaining her ideas behind her creations....she reminded me of a real life Alice in Wonderland. The front window draws you in with an exquisite flower pedal dress displayed among the bling of jewelry you have to see to believe!

If you look up close among the statues of dogs, monkeys, and silk flowers you can find jeweled shoes, feathered hats, extravagant brooches, crowns that would make royalty envious, evening bags, hair combs for your French Twist and jewelry of every size, shape and gem! It is truly a sight to behold and such a just have to stop by when you are in the neighborhood.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Christmas Goose

Lessons from Geese.....
As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in 'V' formation, the whole flock adds greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

The lesson.....
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another!

As all my London friends head back to the States for Christmas or prepare for family to come and visit them here, I thought this lesson says it best -
Thank you for the thrust you have given me through out the year and Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Nothing quite gets me in the holiday spirit more than a shopping trip
and I can't think of a better place than right across the street at Harrods!

Now I'm not saying that any of these things are on my list but as we like to say in the south, "Just because I'm on a diet does not mean I can't look at the menu!"

Could those be SALE signs before January?

The food hall has everything from curry and chocolate to specialty teas,
even Krispy Kreme Donuts and sushi!

One hour is enough time for us to pick up a few special gifts and now I think Rick deserves a stop at the local Pub for a pint of beverage. It's Christmas time after all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The German Christmas Markets

The Christmas season in Germany is no time to stay indoors, bundle up in your winter coat, hat and gloves and experience the Markets with us!

I can only try to write about our recent experience at the Christmas Markets in Germany if you promise to use all your senses as you read along. The towns we visited were magical, out of a Disney movie - Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Idsteiner, and Konigstein. Our gracious hosts and guides for the weekend were our friends Ray and Maria and Angela and Eric and all their incredibly talented and tolerant children. Our travel companions were our special "Canadian" friends Karen and John who kept us entertained with stories and magic!

The eyes of excited, cherry-cheeked children, bundled in winter clothing light up at the sight of the treasures they, Christmas tree ornaments and candy piled high in the rows of wooden stands hung with evergreen boughs and lights. Little Gracie could not wait to ride on the merry-go-round and train while looking out for St. Nicholas. The all-American teenagers with us head straight to Starbucks for frozen coffee treats! In addition to the Nutcrackers I am always searching for, many other handmade crafts and toys are for sale. Traditional wool clothing, handmade jewelery, beeswax candles, wooden angels, handpainted glass ornaments....even wooden kitchen spoons!

The cold air smells of Gluhwein, delicious hot mulled wine from mugs inscribed with the city and the year and a motif of the city. Add to that the distinct smell of Lebkuchen -gingerbread cookies, licorice or anise, hot apple cider, roasted chestnuts, sugared almonds, crepes with Nutella and bananas, potato pancakes and sausages cooked on open grills. Can you smell it yet?

Frohliche Weihnachten! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just another day in London!

First there were inspections, then the bands marched by, then the guards on horseback, and finally the horse drawn carriages. The Queen's Procession was brilliant, very impressive!

The Royal Procession, escorted by the Household Cavalry, takes the Queen from Buckingham Palace down The Mall (where we were standing!) to the House of Lord.

The crown and the sword of State are transported to Westminster by coach ahead of the Queen. Cannons can be heard all over the city indicating that she arrived at Westminster. Only the Monarch can call a Parliament together and no business can take place until the Queen reads her speech. I'm thinking Hilary Clinton would love this tradition!

The police and the Queen's guards take this very seriously...some how they knew we were Americans ya'll ??? We had a great spot to take pictures!

And at the end of the Procession...the Queen's very modern and very efficient "pooper scooper" cleaned the streets!!