Monday, January 25, 2010


This past week I have been very homesick, especially with Australia Day looming tomorrow (or today back home). Australia Day's past have seen me spend time with my best friend and her family, generally having a good old Aussie bbq, a few vinos, followed by a walk to nearest high point to watch the fab fireworks in Perth. Bonfire night eat your heart out, Skyshow beats you every time.

But this year it is cold, grey all day and dark at 4pm. I am craving the beach, some sunshine, some warm weather, a good Aussie cafe breakfast and flat white, some humour I understand without having to ask what it means, some chocolate that isn't so full of sugar it feels like my teeth might fall out, but most of all, I miss my friends and family.

Adding to all of this was the horrendous time I had trying to get to work last Friday. I left the house at 8am and didn't arrive at work until 10:15am (normally a 40 minute trip). I got to the tube station in the morning only to discover the line was going down and the train on the platform would be the last for the morning. Running down the stairs I was grateful I hadn't yet heard the beeping indicating the doors would be closing imminently, and jumped on the train, barely managing to make room for myself. I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn't have to find an alternative route to work.....and then was rudely yanked out of my little smug glow. Literally yanked out. A guy behind me on the platform pulled me off the train by my jacket and stepped on in front of me. I was a little in shock and stood there staring as the train doors closed and it pulled away from the station....leaving me behind. I decided to let it go and not let it ruin my day, as angry as I was. I then waited while 4 buses went past and didn't stop because they were so full (everyone had by then figured out the tube wasn't working). Deciding the bus I was waiting for was a lost cause I crossed the road to wait for one going back the other way, got on one and I was away. 30 minutes later I got to the closest tube station that was open....only to find they weren't letting people into the station due to overcrowding. Which meant another bus ride and then a tube before I was finally at work. By this stage it had definitely ruined by day!

London....this week you have beaten me! Next week, hopefully I will get my own back.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snowy Wimbledon

Wimbledon Park....not a womble in sight :(
Some of the local kids have made these giant snowballs which are littering the park.

We also discovered this dodgy snowman, it's the one on the right!

Swans waiting for some bread in the icy water.

Frozen lake in Wimbledon Park

Wimbledon Village

Wimbledon Park Golf Course

Another 10cm is forecast for today so though we would de-snow
the car so it's not completely iced over!

Night snow

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More snow!!!

Tuesday morning we woke up to a blanket of white fluffy snow! And by last night more had fallen and we had a good 4 or 5 inches. The car is snowed in (covered in snow plus the road snow bound), the footpaths are icy and the buses are struggling to get up the hill. But amazingly the tube is still me it's a miracle! So unfortunately we still have to go to work, no snow days for us. But more heavy snow is expected tonight so fingers crossed for are a few pics from the last couple of days.

Morning walk to the tube in our street.

Frozen lake in St James's Park.

In the park near work at lunchtime.

St James's Park, with the building where I work in the background.

Our car, second from the left.

Sun coming up this morning over Wimbledon.

This morning's walk to the tube.

NYE 2010 - Kensington Rooftop Gardens

We had a FABULOUS New Year's Eve :) :) We had friends Matt and Louise come to stay with us from back home so wanted to do something special. We booked tickets to attend the NYE party at the club at the Rooftop Gardens in Kensington. It was a very slick, well organised affair which we would definitely attend again! We were met on arrival with a lovely raspberry shooter, before heading upstairs to receive a mini bottle of Moet as we exited the lift. After a short wait to check our coats we were ready to party! Which we definitely did with champagne and mojitos all night, some dancing, and a little trying to keep warm outside in the gardens!

The gardens.

The gardens.

Deluxe mojitos, yum!

Fireworks at midnight.
And to top the night off, it was snowing as we came out of the club at 3am! Oh and the club had kindly organised mini cabs for its customers so a few steps into the cab and we were delivered straight to our front door! This is the way to celebrate NYE :)

A not quite white Christmas.

Christmas Day was spent with my brother and his partner, eating and drinking and watching
Christmas specials on TV! Along with Skyping to the family back home who were sweltering in 35 degree heat while we tried to stay warm.

This is our first ever attempt to cook a turkey, turned out very well!! My brother and I spent the week before looking at recipes and watching Jamie, Nigella and Delia trying to figure out how to not dry out the turkey. We had a lovely 5kg one from our local butcher which was free range. Only problem was, it came with the feet still attached!!! So after a bit of butchery and cringing the turkey was ready to prepare. We stuffed the neck and put garlic and lemons inside, rubbed it in butter, laid streaky bacon over the top, rested it on a bed of onions with some white wine in the pan, covered in foil and voila! Three hours later we had a perfect turkey and the best gravy any of us has ever tasted. So much so there was a little bit of fighting over who was going to eat the remaining liquid gold!

Our Christmas dinner.

The Christmas pudding alight with brandy
(for some reason this photo won't go the right way up!).

Boxing Day morning breakfast, croissants with cheese and leftover ham.
So after lots (and lots and lots) of eating and drinking, some Royle Family, Gavin and Stacey and Doctor Who....we were slumbering away trying to digest all the food!
P.S. Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for turkey and leek pie for all those leftovers....was very tasty!

Putting on the Ritz....

We...(well I!)...decided months ago we'd like to do something special for Christmas seeing as we would both be away from most of our family. After a bit of googling (my favourite pasttime) I discovered the Ritz was doing Christmas teas, complete with christmas carolers and champagne, along with their standard high tea.

So Christmas Eve we braved the ice and the cold and headed to the Ritz, for a fabulous tea!

The Palm Court at the Ritz.

Our tea....before!

Mmmm lovely petit fours.

Our tea consisted of a glass of champagne to start, followed by a menu of 10 or so teas to choose from. Jasmine for me, Assam for James. Then sandwiches of smoked salmon, cucumber, ham, cheese and egg, some fantastic petit fours, warm raisin scones with clotted cream and jam and because it was christmas, mince pies and christmas cake. Phew! And they kept topping up the sandwiches and tea which meant we couldn't possibly eat everything! Although it wasn't cheap (it is the Ritz after all), the experience was well worth it and highly recommended at least once! But be warned, you must book months in advance, even at other times of the year.