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First night in London

Shopping

After our legendary afternoon tea at Grosvenor House, we did some window shopping in London. No one does Christmas lights better than London. No one. It was great fun walking around Oxford Street and Regent Street and hitting some of our favorite places like Liberty London.

Liberty London

Liberty London

I love Liberty’s stationery section. It’s amazing and huge and there are always great gift ideas!

Stationery at Liberty

Stationery at Liberty

We capped off the evening, taking the kids to Hamley’s Toy Store!

Hamley's

Hamley’s Toy Store

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Dress like Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus I shared the latest Marks and Spencer’s Christmas advert yesterday, but did you know that you, too, can dress like Mrs. Claus from the advert?

I really love this concept. You can buy her dress, her jacket, her sweater or you can buy the teenage sister’s shoes! It’s the ultimate sell. Why can’t all ads be like this?

I’m filled with the same level of glee as when I discovered I could raid the wardrobe of Emma Pillsbury from “Glee” or Jess from “New Girl.”

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas advert

Following my post yesterday about John Lewis’s Christmas advert, I present an alternative take on the Christmas advert with Marks & Spencer‘s latest.

Read the rest of this entry

John Lewis Christmas advert 2016

You know Christmas isn’t Christmas until the John Lewis advert comes out!

The last couple of John Lewis Christmas adverts have been kind of a bust for me (especially the weird man in the moon advert from last year, which I didn’t even blog about because it was so ridiculous – but I did laugh at the Guardian’s take on it. As an aside, this style of writing is why British newspapers completely kick American newspapers’ big fat bums.)

And without further ado, here is this year’s advert — which I really like. Animals bouncing on trampolines! It’s simple pleasure tied up in a big red bow!

What do you think? Yay or nay?

And … I’m back!

It's a Small World
How was your holiday season? I hope you had a wonderful one! Apologies for the radio silence these past couple of months. It’s been an incredibly busy time for me and my family — like most holiday seasons — but I haven’t been able to quite find the time to add blogging into the matrix.

My mother-in-law came to visit in November from Cornwall and we had a great visit. One of the highlights of her trip was taking her to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for the first time right before Thanksgiving! Our kids had a blast and if you’ve never been to Disneyland during the holidays, I’d highly recommend it! It was my first time visiting when the park was completely dressed in holiday splendor and we had a lot of fun seeing some of our favorite rides like It’s a Small World and Jungle Cruise get redone for Christmas.

Other Disney highlights:

* Seeing “Aladdin” stage show at the Disney California Adventure
* Watching the holiday parade at Disneyland
* Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan and Soarin’ Over California
* Fried chicken dinner at the Plaza

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some other adventures I’ve had over the holiday break. Stay tuned! In the meantime, have a wonderful three-day weekend!

What the “Love Actually” cast looks like now

Colin Firth

How has Colin Firth fared since “Love Actually” was filmed in 2003? Read on…

We are only weeks away from Full-on Christmas Movie Season (hurray!) and so I bring you this glimpse at what the cast of “Love Actually” actually looks like now via Buzzfeed.

You know, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley and the list goes on… Take a gander!

John Lewis’ 2014 Christmas advert

Nothing says “Christmas is coming” quite like John Lewis’ annual Christmas advert.

Here’s this year’s present.

What do you think? Do you like #Montythepenguin? I’ll admit that I cried the first two times I watched it. (It’s definitely an improvement over last year’s bear advert, but not as good as the 2011 version)

New year, new pasta

Trish MarsomHappy 2014 to you! I hope you had a wonderful holiday break!

We traveled down to Southern California to visit some of my family and friends before Christmas, enjoyed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day here at home, and then headed to Lake Tahoe for a few days of R&R with friends! It was sadly snow-free, but still splendidly beautiful! We were able to do some ice skating, tubing and sitting in front of a roaring fire drinking hot chocolate. Idyllic!

I decided to kick off the new year by cracking open some cookbooks and finding a new lunch recipe that the kids might enjoy: Nigella Lawson‘s Spaghetti with Marmite recipe sounded deviously simple so I gave it a try. “I haven’t as yet found a child who doesn’t like it,” she wrote in “Nigella Kitchen” and I was sold.

What a recipe! It is so savory and great! My son had three helpings! I had two! My daughter had one! And my husband, who hates Marmite, enjoyed a bowl and couldn’t detect Marmite in the flavor (although he did comment that the kitchen smelled a little Marmite-y). Try this recipe for a quick, no-nonsense pasta dish that kids (and grown-ups alike) will love!

Spaghetti with Marmite


Spaghetti with Marmite

Serves 4-6, depending on age and appetite

12 ounces dried spaghetti
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp Marmite, or more to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Cook spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water

When the pasta is almost cooked, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the Marmite and 1 tbsp of the pasta water, mixing thoroughly to dissolve. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water; then drain the pasta and pour the Marmite mixture over the drained spaghetti, adding a little reserved pasta water to amalgamate if required. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

Why “The Holiday” may be the most underrated holiday movie there is

The Holiday

How picture perfect is Kate Winslet’s character’s cottage in Surrey?!

This weekend, we kicked off the post-Thanksgiving period by watching “The Holiday.” There is so much that I love about this film — and am happy to see that I’m in good company with one of Buzzfeed’s staff writers, who hits on all the high points of what makes this movie one of my favorites this time of year.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas advert

Wow. It’s not even December yet, but John Lewis has unveiled its 2013 Christmas advert – this time, an animated tale about a hare and a bear.

I’ve blogged before about how much I adore their annual holiday adverts and I do like the heart of it and Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” (We bought it on iTunes last week and it’s been on perpetual repeat ever since!)

What do you think? Yay or nay? I’m finding it hard for any Christmas advert to live up to the sheer Christmas magic and Britishness of this one.