This Week’s Favourites

I guess I’m not alone in feeling slightly down in the dumps tonight as two weeks of Christmas holiday and family time draw to a close. Tomorrow the kids go back at school and preschool and I’m back at work (luckily I work from home so no commuting in the rain). It does feel like we’ve had a proper break and, although I don’t relish the thought of having to drag the children out of bed at 7.15am, hopefully we all have a bit more energy than before the holidays.

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We kicked off this week with a trip to Hampton Court ice rink. The boys did really well, ice skating in the pouring rain and howling wind, and were rewarded with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream afterwards.

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Rain, rain and more rain meant that indoor activities were mostly on the agenda this week. Luckily there were lots of new Christmas toys and games to keep us busy like this ice cream play dough set:

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I didn’t manage to take any pictures at all on New Year’s Eve. We were invited to a party at a friend’s house but as Clemmie had a cold she and Daddy stayed at home while the boys and I went for a couple of hours. All the kids were tucked up in bed well before midnight and the hubby and I gave the televised Big Ben countdown a miss and watched a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad instead. Does it get any more rock n roll?

The highlight of my week was without a doubt our trip into town last night to see the English National Ballet performance of The Nutcracker. With the children safely deposited at the grandparents, we took the train up London just the two of us, for the first time in ages. The weather had brightened up so we went for a walk around Covent Garden, taking in all the festive decorations like the giant red baubles..

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..and the massive Rudolph complete with shiny red nose.

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We had dinner at Balthazar, which opened its London outpost a few months ago.

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Delicious food and a glass of bubbly to set the mood..

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..before we made our way to the Coliseum for the performance.

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I saw The Nutcracker a few times as a child but my husband had never seen it before. We both agreed that it was a great night out and I’m sure we will go to the ballet again in the not too far future.

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As we had some time before our train, we decided to walk across the bridge to Waterloo Station…

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..and I was reminded of how much I love this city and how lucky we are to have all that it offers right on our doorstep.

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Today has been spent taking down the Christmas decorations, hoovering up thousands of pine needles (those things get everywhere! I’m sure I’ll still be finding some under the sofa come June), and getting the boys’ bags ready for school. With the alarm set for 7am, I’m going to have a cup of tea and some chocolate (no need to rush into the January healthy eating regime!) in front of the TV before heading off to bed. Wish me luck for tomorrow morning! X

Twelve ♥

Ready to go out in H&M dress, Zara leather jacket and Miu Miu shoes.

Ready to go out in H&M dress, Zara leather jacket and Miu Miu shoes.

Weather-wise it has been a week of contrasts here in England. At the start of the week we were basking in glorious sunshine and temperatures of 28 degrees. By Friday, however, the rain had arrived and there was a definite autumn chill in the air. Not only has the temperature dropped by ten degrees, the evenings are also getting darker as I realised last night when I asked my husband to take a picture of my outfit. (Apologies for the picture quality – at the moment I’m only using my phone as I’ve been putting off the mammoth task of downloading over 500 holiday photos from my camera)

We were on our way out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant to celebrate twelve years of (mostly at least!) wedded bliss. We didn’t bother with gifts this year, although I’ve now looked it up online and apparently gifts of silk and/or linen are traditional for a 12th wedding anniversary, which does sound rather good (!’m thinking silk scarf or draped linen top..) so I might have to give hubs a nudge in the right direction. The food was lovely and, as you can see in the picture above, they had made a real effort with the table decorations (scattered rose buds and an anniversary card set the scene nicely) and gave us a free champagne cocktail. Unfortunately the service was very slow – our table was booked for 9pm and we ordered the food shortly after, but the starter was not served until after 10pm by which time I had already devoured half the bread basket. The restaurant is a relatively new addition to our little urban village and while I always like to support local businesses, I’m not sure there will be a return visit for us.

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There might have been no presents from my other half but I got a gorgeous bunch of flowers from my lovely mother-in-law.

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Today we drove up to London to attend the morning service at the Swedish Church, where we got married on September 8, 2001. No trip to Marylebone is complete without a visit to the Swedish shop to stock up on chocolate and magazines. That’s my Sunday evening sorted!

A Taste of Sweden

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Many people probably think that Sweden’s culinary delights only consist of meatballs and pickled herring but it’s a well kept secret that the country also boasts some of the best ice cream and pizzas. Good enough to rival the Italians in my humble opinion. Not to mention the melt-in-your-mouth Marabou chocolate bars and the bakeries with their yummy cinnamon buns and flaky buttery Danish pastries.
I’m firmly of the belief that holidays are for indulging and this trip has been no exception. Maybe it’s a good thing that we’re leaving in three days’ time, otherwise I’d end up the size of a house!
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Date Night ♥

Ready to go out in skirt from H&M, top from Zara, clutch by Mulberry and cuff from H&M (last year)

Ready to go out in skirt from H&M, top from Zara, clutch by Mulberry and cuff from H&M (last year)

After 17 years together (11 of them married), three children and four homes, my husband is still one of my favourite people to spend time with. Of course like all couples we argue (let’s face it family life can be extremely stressful at times) but he still makes me laugh and I value his opinion above pretty much anyone else’s.

But while we’re quite good at giving each other ‘me time’ (to do exercise, see friends etc) and socialising with other people as a couple, it always feels like a bit of an indulgence to book a babysitter just so the two of us ca go out together. Every time we do manage to organise a date night though, I wonder why we don’t do it more often. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate occasion – this time we just went for a meal at a local restaurant. We had a glass of wine at the pub first followed by a lovely two-course dinner and were home before midnight so I still managed to make it to the gym this morning.

A chilled glass of rose tasted like summer even if the temperature outside was anything but. Chorizo and king prawn skewers with chilli mayo to start followed by chicken saltimbocca with pan fried potatoes and rocket.

A chilled glass of rose tasted like summer even if the temperature outside was anything but. Chorizo and king prawn skewers with chilli mayo to start followed by chicken saltimbocca with pan fried potatoes and rocket.