A winter’s day in Bloomsbury, London.

I miss London. What else is new, eh? I had the most beautiful weather there in December. 4 days of sunshine – it doesn’t get much better than that. Especially considering that was pretty much all the sun expose I got in December. :P January wasn’t much better in that respect. Those past few days, however, have been wonderfully sunny. I love sunny winter days, they’re magical as far as photography goes. The light is wonderful even at 11 am, which is so rare!
Anyway, here’s a winter morning/early afternoon in Bloomsbury, London. I hadn’t seen that part of London before. I went there primarily to visit the Charles Dickens Museum but I then had a blast walking around because Bloomsbury is just magical. I definitely need to go back and explore some more.

Blindingly blue skies over St. Paul’s.

The museum was fantastic. I took some photos in there as well but I fear they are far too Christmassy for a February post.

I love these houses.

The loveliest shop window.

Back at One New Change.

A sight I’m sure I’ll never tire of.

Ice skating in London.

This was my third Advent Sunday of 2014.

I love the Natural History Museum in London. There are so many interesting things in there — I’ve only been there once but I feel like I could spend days there and never get bored. Apart from it being an amazing resource of various information (there are dinosaurs inside there, do go! :P), it’s an absolutely gorgeous building as well. And in the winter, it doubles as a stunning backdrop to a small skating rink.

There’s a Christmas tree in the middle and they softly play Christmas tunes while you skate and it’s all incredibly festive and heart-warming.

We went early on a Sunday morning so the session was busy. But I remember walking around last year on Monday morning and there were much fewer people there. I just have to keep that in mind for next time. ;) Anyway, it was fun because people were really well-behaved and everyone looked jolly.

Though I have to say, those skates…. they were bloody ridiculous. I’d never worn plastic skates before and it was brutal. I kept thinking of my Edeas back home, wondering whether they miss me as much as I miss them. :P
(Also check out the bloke on the right, squatting considerately in order not to ruin our picture. :D)

So now I can cross “Go ice skating in London at Christmas” off my bucket list and add “Go ice skating in every single ice rink in London at Christmas” to it.

So long, 2014!

Dear friends,

I hope 2015 is brilliant for each and every one of you.

❄ It’s been a tough year for me but I learned a lot and I’m very grateful. 2015, I will do my best and I will do it with love, joy and a thankful heart. ❄

Stay safe tonight and may 2015 be the best one yet! Much love to you all.

xx Kate

Last Advent weekend snapshots.

The third Advent Sunday deserves a post of its own so I will get back to it later. This was the last Advent weekend.

I finally wrapped my presents. Usually by that time I have everything down but this December has been super hectic. I’m hoping for next week to be much less so.

We finished our Christmas biscuits.

We brought Eda here last Wednesday. She’ll be staying for a couple of weeks and I’m so glad to have her around!


Yesterday we put up our main tree. It is a wee bit different this year, we didn’t use so many of the decorations we usually put up but I think it’s even prettier this way. It’s silver & gold with some red accents and there are 4 special ornaments on the top: an ice skate, a London phone booth, a Christmas tree and a nutcracker.

And this is what we’re going to be busy with tonight.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas Eve and that you are spending it with people you truly love. Happy Christmas!

The second Advent weekend.

Here’s my second Advent weekend in photos. We spent most of it doing our Christmas baking. It was so much fun, I really love baking — I just wish I’d eaten less of the dough. I can never resist, though. :P But there were other things, too.

It was St. Nicholas Day on Friday. What happens is that in the evening on the 5th, there is St. Nicholas with some angels and devils walking among people (or, alternatively, standing on a stage) and St. Nick asks the kids to say a poem or sing a song and when they do, they get some treats. The angels are helping, the devils are trying to spoil everything and catch all the naughty kids, stuff them in a bag and take them to hell but of course the goody-two-shoes brigade don’t let them. :P

I wish they’d get some new decorations. It’s the same every year for as long as I can remember.

Also on Friday, we had this superb raspberry and chocolate pie for pudding. I just had to take a photo of it even though I didn’t make it. (It came from my favourite vegetarian bistro.)

And I saw my friends in the evening, after a very very long time.

Back home, we finally made the first eggnog of the season.

And we used it to make snowballs for the first time ever.

This was the beginning of all the baking.

Ha! Result! They’re not finished yet but still, it’s not a bad day’s work, eh?

These are my favourite.

And these make your house smell of vanilla. It’s heaven.

Also I took my mum skating. It was the first time in 20 years she was on the ice — and she handled it fabulously. She said she couldn’t wait to go again.

She looks so pretty and happy on the ice! Ice skating suits her.

Meanwhile, I worked on my spiral (it’s definitely improving) and some other stuff.

I want my own ice rink for Christmas. :P

Admittedly, some less pleasant things happened last week/weekend but I’m resolved to keep the Christmas spirit alive by trying to be as positive as possible and not let anything ruin it. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s so worth it!

How was your second Advent weekend?

Christmas jumpers.

I really need a new Christmas jumper. It’s become a tradition to buy a new one every year and I take that very seriously. :)

Two of these are from Topshop, one is from Next and the other one is M&S. Next appears to have a really impressive collection of Christmas jumpers this year so I hope they’ll still have them next week when I finally get around to it. I’ve got my eye on the one with the skating robin.

So, Christmas jumpers. Yay or nay? If it’s the former, I shalll require pictures. :P

Advent market.

Last Saturday, a traditional Advent market took place in a small town not far away from where I live. Me and my little sister go every year. It has now become a tradition. We don’t really care that it’s pretty much the same every year or that it’s really tiny. It is our favourite way to ring in December and Advent.

The guy in the middle stall sells the best crisps ever. I can never resist.

Traditional (and delicious) cakes on the left, cheeses on the right. I hardly ever end up buying the cakes because there are just so many sweet things around to eat all throughout December that I don’t feel like adding to it. They’re delicious, though.

My sister’s becoming a real pro at posing.

So many wreaths to choose from…

My sister ended up choosing this one. She always goes for purple — and I have to say I’m rather fond of the silver/purple combination myself!

This one was beautiful as well.

There are mountains of cheeses everywhere. My kind of market.

They also sell a lot of traditional Christmas decorations. Some of them are gorgeous.

I love the little toadstools!

There were I think 4 different school choirs singing carols there. That’s pretty much my favourite part of the whole event.

My sister ran into her friend there and they both graciously posed for me.

After about an hour, we were way too cold so we hopped into our car and went to check out the Christmas decorations in a nearby department. They have different ones every year so it’s always a bit of a surprise. Not sure how I feel about this tree, though.
Also… I accidentally took my 50mm lens with me and thus couldn’t take a proper photo of the tree (as this was the furthest I could stand). Shame on me. :P

We took pictures by a reindeer.

And I wandered about a little bit. This is my hometown and I don’t visit nearly often enough.

It’s a town that’s full of beautiful, functionalist buildings. I love how unique and unlike other towns it is.

Then we went back to the department store, took some more photos and headed home.

I can’t imagine a better way to spend the first Advent weekend.

I spoke too soon.

This is what I woke up to this morning. It’s not much but it’s snow!

There were some itty bitty icicles, too.

They only switched on the lights on those trees last night. They’re so beautiful and it’s such a pity that they’ll only be on for a few weeks.
(Christmas lights update: they’re not working tonight. There just has to be a glitch every year, right? They put it up way too late and it’s glitchy. :P)

The trees are still encased in ice and it’s beautiful. When the wind blows, you can hear the branches clink. It’s stunning, albeit dangerous.

I took these on my way to the gym in an attempt to document the first snow of the year, even though I only had my camera phone with me.

So what’s the weather like where you are? Has it snowed yet in your neck of the woods?

Icy trees and our advent wreath.

The last month of the year has begun. To me it’s one of the most beautiful ones but it’s also tough because no matter how much I try not to hurry, there seem to be so many things that need doing that I have difficulties managing them all, despite usually having a head start. And I know I’m hardly the only one who feels this way. I hope I will be able to take it one step at a time and find joy even in the most tedious tasks because everything is now heading towards Christmas and that in itself is a beautiful thought. And I wish you all the very same.

This is what I woke up to this morning:

Gorgeous, even if a little dangerous. We’re hoping for some snow but right now it doesn’t seem very likely.

Last Friday, we brought home our advent wreath. It is a custom-made one (my mum’s friend makes these and she’s brilliant) and I really love it. It’s silver with some red accents and I have to smell it every now and then because I can’t get enough of the scent.

Cinnamon sticks are always nice.

I’m a big fan of these ribbons.

I think it’s my favourite one yet!

How did you celebrate the first Sunday of Advent? Have you got any nice traditions for this time of the year that you’re really looking forward to?

O Christmas tree(s).

There are only three days to the start of Advent. I’m so very excited and very determined to enjoy every single day of December — because for me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. It might be a little tough because, for some reason, the last month of the year tends to be super busy. However, I have so many plans already how to make the most of the season and I hope that there will be time to take a couple days off and just enjoy the magic.
To get us into the Christmas spirit, we’ve already put up two of our trees. (We have a big house and I insist on having a tree in my bedroom so the number of trees can really add up quickly. :P) One of them is silver and gold, the other one is silver and purple. Unfortunately, I had to get rid of the white tree from last year because the top of the branches got terribly yellow and it looked horrid. I have no idea how that happened because for the two last winter there were maybe 5 sunny days altogether and therefore I didn’t expect such a thing to happen.

Have you started getting for Christmas yet? And what are your plans for December?

Tree #2. I really love the lights. When they’re off, they look like giant snowballs and when they’re on they’re all sparkly and huge and wonderful. ♥

My bedroom’s all festive now.