london christmastime with my celebration soulmate

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i’ve only ever met one person who truly understands and shares my intense enthusiasm for and delight in festivity, holidays and pretty things.

my friend brittany is my celebration soulmate. it is so satisfying for me to experience festivity, holidays and pretty things with her. {see the dinner parties we’ve hosted together by scrolling through these posts}

when i fist saw the christmas shop at fortnum & mason (one of the loveliest stores on the entire planet, in london’s fabulous mayfair district) back in october, i texted a picture of the gorgeously decorated tree in the corner to brittany. somehow that turned into us furiously texting back and forth about the possibility of her coming to visit for a few days in december right before christmas (something we’d talked about happening ever since i moved here). someone that turned into her buying a plane ticket the very next morning! and soon after that there was a planning spreadsheet and a few giddy phone calls. and then, on the saturday before christmas, she arrived!

we had a pretty awesome few days thoroughly enjoying the pure and peculiar magic that is london at christmastime together, along with baby mo! (and ian sometimes too :) )

here’s some pictures from our adventures…!
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^^ borough market any time of the year is totally wonderful. at christmastime it’s just even better! // bitt loved this sign that we found at a cheese stand because her middle name is brie! she tried to convince the cheese sellers to sell her the sign, but no dice – ha! ^^
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IMG_2729^^ ^^ on saturday night all four of us went to kew gardens to experience “christmas at kew,” a series of light installations and other fun festive tidbits set up around the vast botanical park. this tunnel of changing coloured lights was pretty mesmerizing! ^^ ^^ there were also fields of lightbulbs “dancing” to music and of fire-lit torches, and marshmallow roasting stations and whimsical lawn decorations. and…IMG_2736
^^…a laser light show on the big glass house and across the lake. pretty cool. ^^
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^^ on monday morning, brittany and moses and i hopped on a train to hampton court palace. i had seen lots of adverts around tube stations, etc that made it seem like hampton court was super dressed up for christmas … which is just barely was in reality, haha! our whole experience was muuuuch less christmassy than expected, but it was still fun to share this cool place with brittany! ^^
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^^ i love this tutor garden, those neat little statues, that red brick, and that friend! // can you handle mo’s face in this selfie?! ^^
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^^ the little dash of christmas decorations we saw around the palace courtyards – underwhelming but still really pretty! ^^
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^^ it was fun to see the ice rink in front of the palace! ^^
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^^ when we got back to london, we made a stop by harrods. the interior was sooo crowded and claustrophobic, but the outside!! pretty magical. ^^
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^^ a stop by the natural history museum tree/rink // brittany had found a list of all the best hot chocolate spots around the city so we tried coco from about five different places during her visit! ^^
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^^ we spent a good hour on tuesday morning in the queen’s bookstore (whatever that means), hatchard’s. it’s a really lovely place made even lovelier by the hints of christmas decorations! brittany might be my favourite person to go to a good bookstore with. homegirl knows her literature and delights in the written word. ^^
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^^ and then we went next door to fortnum & mason. i’m always a little conflicted on if i love f&m or liberty (both fabulous london department stores) more. but the fortnum & mason windows just blew me away this year. i love them so so much. ^^
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^^ the theme was together we’re merrier and each window showed different scenes of two characters that don’t usually get along well getting along swimmingly. here’s the wolf and the sheep, and the polar bear and the penguin, resolving their differences for the sake of christmas. ^^
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^^ the boy and the brussels sprouts! how darling is this?! ^^
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^^ and the early bird and the night owl coming together to share a christmas cracker?! i love it. ^^
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^^ and here’s some glimpses from inside the store. it’s just so so pretty and charming and perfectly lovely. ^^
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^^ we were oohing and ahhing and sighing and giggling, like we do. ^^
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^^ ^^ the crown jewel of fortnum & mason in the later months of the year – the christmas shop!! ^^ ^^
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^^ i just adore this wall of christmas crackers for sale, with a giant cracker above! i bought some pretty crackers for our christmas eve dinner. ^^
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^^ i mean, that staircase. and the goodies at the bottom! ^^
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^^ after tearing ourselves away from fortnum & mason at last, we walked down old bond street (my favourite street in london at christmastime – more photos here)  ^^ and across regent street to liberty.
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^^ ^^ weren’t liberty’s christmas windows so fabulous (i’ve used that word a lot in this post, haven’t i?!)? you can’t tell in the still photos, but those figurines were dancing! ^^ ^^
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^^ the theatre bunting in the atriums! love, love, love. ^^
IMG_3044 IMG_2977 ^^ the next morning we walked from my flat over through bloomsbury and swooned over all the perfectly festive and pretty doorsteps along the way. ^^
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^^ one of which was the entrance to a home charles dickens used to live in (and has since been converted into a museum!) ^^
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^^ the house was filled with dickens’ own furniture as well as lots of christmas greenery decoration. i really loved the experience of going to the dickens museum at christmastime, especially because ian and i read a christmas carol together every december. ^^
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^^ the desk where dickens wrote great expectations. nbd. // moses loves brittany. this is not the only photo in this post where he is starting up at her adoringly! ^^
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^^ a couple pictures i snapped as we walked from the dickens museum to our afternoon tea appointment at brown’s hotel back in mayfair. i really like the wildness of that wreath, and the cuteness of those little holly plants for sale! ^^
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^^ i experienced my very first afternoon tea with brittany a year and a half ago, and therein realized my intense love for this fancy, fun british tradition. brittany is absolutely my number one ideal person on earth to share afternoon tea with. we went this time to brown’s hotel for their “festive afternoon tea” and it did not disappoint. we walked into this ^^ cozy, gorgeous, christmassy atmosphere (live carols being played on the grand piano) …
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^^ and somehow got the best seat in the place next to this warm fire exquisitely adorned with frosty garlands! (i took this photo after we’d done most of our afternoon-teaing. please note that moses has left his mark with toys and wet wipes in my chair – ha!) ^^
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^^ every detail was just perfect – from the welcome drink (mulled, spiced, fruity, warm perfection) to the silver tea kettles to the delightful herbal infusions… ^^
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^^… to the scrumptious finger sandwiches to the perfectly fluffy scones and decadent clotted cream, to the golden stitched napkins to the super pretty and tasty cakes! ^^
IMG_7526^^ we decided we’d grown just a bit more mature since our last afternoon tea together and were able to keep the giggling to a minimum. it was such a fun couple of hours! ^^
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^^ snapping some photos around mayfair after tea … i love that britt captured this of me trying to capture the magic in a picture with a baby on my front and a diaper bag on my back :) ^^
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^^ we tubed up to notting hill just to see the churchill arms and its dozens of christmas trees. i mean, isn’t that just awesome? ^^
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thank you for coming, brittany!

it was really wonderful to so heartily and delightedly soak up christmastime in london with my celebration soulmate!

8 comments:

  1. So beautiful!! Make sure to send her a picture book of your adventure!

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  2. Looks like an absolutely fabulous London Christmas time!
    Just out of curiosity (don't answer if you don't want to): when you do afternoon tea, do you actually drink tea? Since I know Mormons/LDS do not normally drink tea, right? Although I know that sometimes a distinction is made between herbal infusions and actually black/green tea? Just trying to understand!
    Hope your Christmas was as wonderful as the time leading up to it! Also: happy new year!

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    1. hi! herbal tea is a-ok and i love it! i always get herbal teas at afternoon tea.

      thanks so much! happy new year to you too!

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    2. Ha, that's good to hear! I'm a huge (herbal) tea - also black/green - addict, so life without a nice cuppa wouldn't be complete :) Looked like a scrumptious afternoon tea!

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  3. Yes!!!! We did such a good job Christmas-ing. I'm so so so glad we made it happen. xoxo

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  4. Also, we didn't "somehow" end up with the best seats in the house. We ended up in front of that fireplace thanks to your bravery and charm!

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  5. Beautiful, festive photos of what sounds like a beautiful friendship

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  6. Love these pictures. So happy that you shared them! Some year we've got to be there in person!

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