I don't know about you, but November and December are always the busiest months of the year for me. Thanksgiving's on Thursday, my birthday's next week, and I am so behind on organizing anything. And because we're off to the States this year for Christmas (yay!), I feel extra pressure to get everyone's Christmas presents sorted out well in advance.
Last weekend felt like ... the last weekend I could fit everything in. I woke up early on Saturday to write all my Christmas cards (and tried to multi-task by listening to Britten's War Requiem, which I'll be performing with the Royal Orchestral Society at Cadogan Hall this Sunday - eeks!) and spent hours browsing potential Christmas gifts online.
I met Robin of Second Floor Flat for breakfast at Homa in Stoke Newington, where I had the most delicious plate of Eggs Royale: an English muffin topped with smoked salmon and two perfectly poached eggs with bright orange, runny yolks.
It was so nice to meet Robin and chat with her before her big move back to the States - something that I've always toyed with the idea of doing, but can't see myself actually doing any time soon. It's a huge move - both physically and emotionally - and because Robin's such a gifted writer, I've been reading all her posts lately with a mixture of curiosity, envy, and admiration.
After breakfast, John and I blitzed through our Christmas shopping list in Angel and visited two of our favorite interior design shops on Upper Street: twentytwentyone and Chest of Drawers, where John fell in love with this French ceramic lamp, which is handmade and glazed to order in France. It's fun to visit such beautiful, design-led stores, but it's a little frustrating as well when we find ourselves holding off on buying any of it for ourselves until we're homeowners ... which seems like such a distant, out-of-reach goal when you're currently renting in London.
Midway through our shopping spree, I got a little cranky and tired (because I'm exactly like a child) and made us stop for some tea and cake at Euphorium Bakery.
Then I decided to leave poor John with the rest of the shopping list while I went home and crawled into bed for a nap (I need my sleep!) before going to a friend's party later on that evening. What can I say? I'm such a granny. I have to nap before parties.
On Sunday, we went over to Tom and Cristy's for some pre-Christmas celebrations before they jet off to Australia (where Cristy's from) with their little one, our darling niece Dorothy. They whipped up an ah-mazing roast and decorated the table with Christmas crackers, napkins, and paper Christmas trees! It was so sweet.
Tom prepared a delicious romanesco cauliflower as one of the dishes - have you ever seen one of these little guys before? I've only seen them in photos and have never tried one; it was delicious and tasted just like cauliflower.
It's also incredibly beautiful, no? It made me want to get a veg box too, for the sheer variety of vegetables you get each week. Knowing me though, they'd probably rot in the salad drawer of my fridge before they saw the heat of a pan or oven ...
After our late lunch, we sat around playing the "guess who I am" game from our Christmas crackers (John couldn't seem to guess that he was Miley Cyrus for the life of him. "Am I American?" "Yes." "Am I a singer?" "Yes." "Am I female?" "Yes." "Am I Madonna?" "No.") and spent lots of time watching Dorothy perfect her latest skill: walking with a little walker! I managed to mangle the words to a baby's book while John made her cry with a pair of scary elf ears, but by the afternoon, we were BFFs. And we totally wrecked her nap time (sorry, Tom and Cristy!).
We ended the afternoon by tearing off pieces of this delicious panettone and talking about British politics, as you do.
I've never been a huge fan of panettone, but this one was so good. It had a very subtle orange flavor and the sugary, perfectly baked top was positively yummy!
What about you? What did you do this weekend? Hope you're having a less sleepy start to your week than I am! Yawn ...