CHRISTMAS IN LONDON (2ND OF 3 PARTS)

Here’s the 1st of the 3 parts series.

It has been a crazy week so this is a quick post . . . 

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It has become a tradition at our church here in London, to have an annual Candlelit and Cantata Service at Christmas. We had it on Sunday last week and it was a joyful day of worship with congregational Christmas carols, special music by the adult and children choir, as well as lots of eating and fellowshipping. The catering/event committee prepared a Vietnamese-themed meal. Thanks to the choir, catering/event committee members, cleaning crew, and others who helped out.

ClaridgesTree17_1
ClaridgesTree17

On Monday morning my friend Adiben phoned to say that she just got out of work, and we agreed to meet up for breakfast. She came over to Notting Hill and after a quick chat on where we should eat out we decided to go to this place but more on that later.

ClaridgesTree17
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In a strange coincidence, we bumped into Vic and so we abducted him.  We went to Claridge’s Hotel to see their ‘upside-town’ tree (not your typical Christmas tree, I must say, it was designed by Karl Lagerfield), walked around Mayfair, took photos of the street lights and storefront display, had pizza and tea, and walked more until it was dark. So the breakfast extended to lunch, tea, etc. 

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BondStXmas

London is magical at this time of the year; every nook and cranny of the city center is practically decked out with lights and decorations.

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Oxford Street
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House of Fraser, Oxford Street
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The Cartier flagship store, my favourite building (only at Christmas time I must add), truly stands out.

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XmasLondon17Maxi:Mavy

Our breakfast: pastries and coffee — the famous Cronut (not my fave but Adiben wanted to try it so we shared one), DKA (my fave), gingerbread and chorizo croissant (my first time to try — both very good!). I’ve been to Dominique Ansel Bakery 3x prior to Monday’s visit but haven’t done a proper review, may be after Christmas I will do a post about my dining experience there.

The last but not the least. I got to visit Maxi — my favourite one-year old girl in the whole wide world! It’s safe to say, after working with little kids at our church in the last 17.5 years, that Maxi is the best baby ever — not fussy, hardly ever cries (and when she does you’ll just see tears running down her little cheeks), and she’s just a happy little girl. It’s a joy watching her every Sunday. When she is away traveling with her parents and/or can’t come to church for whatever reason, I do miss her. It was nice being able to visit her on Thursday, we did some baking (notice her chocolate-filled face after eating chocolate chip cookies!), played a little bit and had chit-chat with Momma Mavy.  Can’t wait to do it again soon!

Two more days before Christmas. I’ve got to get some gift wrapping done tonight, and prepare for church. I wish you all a wonderful day of worship tomorrow. Love to you all, dear family and friends.

Have a happy christmas!

A Tale of Two-Foodie on a Good Friday

Unlike any other day, Notting Hill was unusually quiet and less crowded yesterday.  It was Good Friday after all, and a long easter weekend in the UK.  The week before, Adiben asked me to take her on a Christian heritage tour; the last time we did it together was seven years ago when her friend Annabel came to visit from New York.  Adiben and I met up at church before 2pm; as soon as she saw me she told me she’s tired and hungry and would rather grab a bite and skip the tour.  I was starving as well so I happily agreed.  Adiben and I both love to eat you see.  We’d blithely drop everything just to satiate our cravings and even travel to unfamiliar places to try something new. 🙂 Continue reading “A Tale of Two-Foodie on a Good Friday”

Celebratory Meal at Cheneston's Restaurant

“I am going to treat you, Sister Elna. Where would you like to go?” asked my friend Adiben over the phone three weeks ago. She recently got a job promotion and wanted to invite me to dinner, and asked me to pick any restaurant in Kensington. I wasn’t sure it mattered too much, I told her. She knows I am not picky with food and I’d rather have her decide where she wanna eat. Continue reading “Celebratory Meal at Cheneston's Restaurant”

Friends and Summer Cake

For about three years now I’ve been baking a cake every first Sunday of the month for our church fellowship to celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries of members and regular attendees, and I always try a new recipe each month.  A few weeks ago I found this recipe and replaced some of the ingredients such as Guinness (beer) to suit my palate and of course, the congregation. Continue reading “Friends and Summer Cake”

Afternoon Tea at Dukes Hotel (Favourite Haunt of James Bond’s Author Ian Fleming)

History of the Hotel:

The Dukes is not ostentatious nor glamorous, but rather a discreet hotel.  It used to be a hotel for dukes, earls, and other members of the British nobility who wanted to remain as inconspicuous as possible.  Anyone who is showy and wanted to be seen, went somewhere else.  Its proximity to the Court of St. James’s (St James’s Palace/Clarence House is just a stone throw away), made the hotel an old stomping ground of the old  British aristocrats. Continue reading “Afternoon Tea at Dukes Hotel (Favourite Haunt of James Bond’s Author Ian Fleming)”

Afternoon Tea at Sketch Gallery

Afternoon tea has certainly become an institution in London not just for tourists but for locals alike. It is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion, Continue reading “Afternoon Tea at Sketch Gallery”

Sky Garden: London’s Highest Roof Garden

London’s highest garden is located on top of the capital’s newest skyscraper, 20 Fenchurch Street, and it occupies three floors, 34th to 37th , and offers some of the most scenic and iconic views of the city. The building is the 5th tallest in the City of London Continue reading “Sky Garden: London’s Highest Roof Garden”

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Hotel

I’ve already taken tea at The Ritz several times and I would have saved a bit of money if I paid for all of them. But I only paid once back in 2001.  You see, I am a tea aficionado and could not say no to a visiting family or friend who’d asks me to join them for tea.  And they’re always willing to pay for the hefty price tag that comes with the eccentric experience of this quintessential British ritual. Continue reading “Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Hotel”

Afternoon Tea at The Langham Hotel

The Palm Court at The Langham is one of the most elegant places to take afternoon tea in London. Langham claims to be the first London hotel to serve Afternoon Tea to its guests since its inception in 1865. It is the first grand hotel in Europe and although it was damaged by The Blitz during the Second World War, it was completely restored to its original Victorian grandeur. Continue reading “Afternoon Tea at The Langham Hotel”