Tuesday, January 20, 2015

London Christmas Festivities

We were so excited that our friends, Brendan and Tiffany, from Houston decided to come to London and spend Christmas with us!  This is the day they got here.  We went out to Heathrow to pick them up.  Then it was our job to keep them awake until bedtime.  So, we took them to central London to walk around in the cold all night.  That's away to keep someone awake.  At least it worked up us.

 Westminster Abbey was looking rather festive that night.

Big Ben was not as festive, but still beautiful nonetheless.

The next day Brendan Tiff went out sightseeing while we ran errands, but later we met up with them at the Natural History Museum.  I had never been.  It's huge.  We only saw a few wings.  We started with my personal favorite: Dinosaurs! (RAWR!!!!)  But what was hilarious, is that most of the casts they have of dinos come from Utah.  Apparently, Utah is where all the cool dinosaurs hang out.

We also had fun touring the hall of mammals.  Don't mind the weird one in the back, I'm not sure what exhibit he's from.

 And then we found the new baby Death Star.  I guess the Museum is growing it until it's ready to launch into space.

After the museum we headed to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.  It was a huge christmas market and amusement park put together for one crazy extravaganza.  The amusement park section was seriously bigger than Lagoon (the amusement park in Utah).  It actually had the wild mouse roller coast in it, plus countless others and it was free to get into, and it was a temporary park.  We were in shock and awe.  Utah, take note, we need better amusement parks.  

The boys wanted German bratwursts so badly all night, and finally got their wish.
The Christmas booths were adorable.

The next day we sent our guests out for more sightseeing at the Tower of London, whilst we prepared for our Christmas party.  We invited some friends over for festive goodies and reindeer games at our place.

 A very merry time was had by all.

Monday, January 19, 2015

December: Leading up to Christmas

The holidays definitely took their toll on my blogging.  However, not to fear I have many posts planned to get caught up with life over here across the pond.  

We were so excited to spend Christmas in London.  The city was pretty festive and we enjoyed just walking around and taking it all in.
 Some of the best street decorations were around Oxford street and Regent Street.  This is a view up Tottenham Court Road from Oxford.
 We have been missing some of our American food, especially a good burger joint.  Even though I don't eat cows, I still love the fries, shakes and a good veggie burger.  We have discovered the BEST burger place, EVER!  Dare I say even better than Five Guys and Smash Burger?  I know it's absolute heresy to say it but I think it's true.  Gourmet Burger Kitchen or GBK now has our vote 100%.  Their Nutella shake and rosemary skinny fries are to die for.  Anyone that comes to London, seriously skip the fish and chips and go to GBK, you can thank me later.
Down on the South Bank there was an Alpine themed winter market.  There was a Cider Lodge set up with drinks and a DJ, and right next to it was a pine tree maze.  They had tons of booths with the most delicious food ever and real hot chocolate, like chocolate shavings in dense milk kind of hot cocoa.

 I didn't realize London could feel so foresty.

 We, of course, had to take the dogs out in their festive Christmas Jumpers.  The crowds went wild over them.  We had to stop every 5 feet for people to pet them and give them loves.

 In the spirit of winter I made my Grandma Joyce's clam chowder.  Finding canned clams proved to be quite difficult.  However after visiting several different grocery stores I managed to wrangle some. The result was divine.  This soup is not something one would want to even look at if you are on a diet.  I think smelling it alone is probably enough to gain a pound.

 Porter turned 32!  I made him a yummy American breakfast complete with hash browns, pancakes, and orange juice.
 I also got him this sweet boxing shirt.  It may be one of the best shirts I've ever found for him as far as geek mash ups go.
 So many windows in London were filled with Festive Christmas Food.
 We wanted to go out to dinner in the city for Porter's birthday.  We ended up in the Soho area and we walked around but nothing sounded good.  So we ended up back in Wimbledon at our favorite pub, The Dog and Fox.  Porter had a delicious Lamb stew that smelt divine.  The waitress even brought us Christmas crackers for his birthday.  I think we would call that birthday a definite success.