It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I love Christmas – that’s certainly no secret. I can happily spend July onwards plotting gifts, food, playlists… you name it. This year I was a tad more restrained and have resisted the traditional Christmas excitement until December – get ready to see a lot more Yuletide cheer on here! To kick things off, I thought I’d share the first thing I did to get into the Christmas spirit…
When I think of Christmas, I picture beautiful lights, glittering department stores and rustic markets. The most wonderful place to see all three is London, right?
And what better excuse to visit than taking your little sister on her first ever trip to the Big City? I love introducing people to new things and watching Kate‘s face as she took in the giant buildings, crowded streets and the terror and intrigue of the Underground was most definitely priceless…
So where did we go first? We waltzed down Regent Street to Hamleys, of course! A pretty perfect first stop as it’s a total treasure trove for children… and the childish. With seven floors of toys, games and demonstrators (I never realised how much I wanted a car that can drive on the ceiling until I saw one) you can easily get lost in there for hours. We caused some alarm for the lovely lady at the door who couldn’t help but comment: “You two look like twins! Sisters don’t normally look so alike!” – I’m not quite sure how to take that when Kate is 13 and I’m 22…
After a mammoth exploration of teddies, gizmos, gadgets and a life size Lego replica of the Royal Wedding, we were feeling peckish. Lunch was the next stop (after a quick browse in Liberty)! This was my turn for a new experience – my first trip to the much hyped Honest Burgers. This burger joint has had so much love and attention from my favourite bloggers (and several celebrities – but alas I didn’t bump into Richard Curtis) that my expectations were sky high. If I’m honest, I feared this burger was over-hyped and wouldn’t live up to the amazing things I’d heard. I am pleased to say that as soon as I took my first mouthful, I fell victim to the Honest Burger buzz. This was my culinary Shangri La. The burger exploded with flavour, the rosemary salted fries tantalised my tastebuds and just editing these pictures is bringing back the taste… *drool*. A quick nod to the little touches – like the juice served in jars and this gargantuan chalkboard – it really made the experience for me.
The winter winds of London quickly turned my carefully dishevelled barnet into something resembling a hair-do Kate Bush might have sported in the early Eighties – if we can just ignore this fact for the rest of the post, that would be most excellent. I’ve been very excited about debuting my new coat on She Wore Ribbon – and here it is! I’m not exactly buying into the “pink trend” and please be assured I will be donning it with pride after the fad passes. Pink genuinely cheers me up on a frosty morning and makes the daily 7am commute bearable. I’m also wearing an Oriental inspired shift dress and my River Island boots, perfect for stomping around the city but even they didn’t prevent my sore feet by the end of the day.
Of course, there were slightly more educational elements to the trip than Liberties and Lunching. We took a leisurely stroll around the National Portrait Gallery to check out some monarchs and bearded people before heading over to Trafalgar Square for some fresh air and silly photo ops.
Last time I went to London, I bumped into Darth Vader – imagine my surprise when I bumped into this friendly Storm Trooper! After watching tourists getting told off for sitting atop the lions (naughty) it was time to show Kate the loveliness that is Camden market and to introduce her to the fun activity that is haggling! She left with a Harry Potter necklace (a Time Turner to be specific, if you’re as big a Potterhead as Kate) and two vest tops, whilst I grabbed some tortoiseshell Wayfarers, a present for my friend in Hong Kong (top secret, of course) and a silver filigree pocket-watch necklace.
Of course, when one is taking in the sights of London, one cannot simply skip over Harrods, can one? Kate was excited to see the the world famous department store, which obviously looked divine, all stylish window displays and glittering lights set against the 5pm inky blue backdrop. I loved the “Harrods Express” theme – with each window decorated like a vintage train carriage. This flower display was inside the building, I loved the riot of colour, but it’s about the only photo I took there – it was packed and very hot. Not so enjoyable when you’re tired and hungry and all these London crowds are starting to get a bit much for your small town sensibilities.
There may have been a slight incident after leaving Harrods where we had to walk for nearly an hour just to find an open Underground station… slight nightmare, but we made it in the end! I left London with aching feet, a flat battery, a picnic of M&S food from Waterloo station and the knowledge that my little sister had one of the most exciting, hectic and fun days she could have. A perfect introduction to Christmas – huge thank you to mama McMullen for such a brilliant day!