Monday, December 20, 2010

Let's just say this case has a... distinct smell to it. A certain... paranormal bouquet.

Well, the weather outside is frightful... I don't have a fire, however. Compared to outside, it is delightful in here though! I'm curled up, in many layers with my hot water bottle. I'll admit, I'm not enjoying the snow as much as I might because I have the concern of whether my flight (scheduled for a few days from now) will be able to go. Still, only one more day of work to go so no point in getting stressed about the weather. See - I am trying to be positive!
It's easy enough to be positive after a throughly excellent weekend. It was my work Christmas lunch on Thursday. We were booked into Old Orleans for lunch and although my halloumi and spinach burger contained neither halloumi nor spinach, it was very tasty. As with the pub quiz last week, I really enjoyed spending some social time with my colleagues. As we were eating lunch it started to snow, and it continued after we had decamped to the pub. I got home early enough to meet a few friends for a coffee (much needed after a few cocktails with my lunch) and I had a quiet evening in with Nic and a DVD of Meet Me in St. Louis. Thankfully I was working from home on Friday, which meant I was able to have a little bit of a lie-in. I pottered around and got some work done during the day, and that evening we headed out to the Somerville to meet some friends. The plan had been to have an early evening, but it never works out like that when we go to the Somerville! This was further complicated when, as we were leaving, a fellow patron collapsed and the landlord had to call the ambulance. It was very dramatic. The man hadn't been drinking very much and the landlord suspected he might have had a stroke. I'm not sure what happened - he sent us on home, but it was pretty shocking to see the man just fall off his bar stool and hit the floor.
Nic and I were up bright and early on Saturday morning. We were off to London to see It's A Wonderful Life at the NFT and also to do a spot of Christmas shopping. It wasn't snowing when we woke up, but it had started to snow by the time we were leaving to walk to the station. Nic and I wrapped ourselves up well, and really enjoyed the walk through the snow to the station. We caught the gorgeous Wrexham and Shropshire train down to London and it snowed for the entire journey. It was beautiful to be speeding through the snowy countryside, enjoying breakfast and chatting to each other. We even saw Father Christmas in the buffet car!

Me on the Wrexham and Shropshire train. Not too sure why I'm holding this leaflet!

Our breakfast - toast and jam and coffee

Nic on the train
When we got off the train at Marylebone there was a little bit of snow, but not a great deal. There was a tube strike, and the Bakerloo line was suspended so we walked along to Baker Street to catch the Jubilee line to Green Park, and then on to the Holloway Road. You can see a little bit of the snow in this photo:

Me in snowy Marylebone. The beret and boots are from Topshop, and I'm wearing my Fever Paddington coat and Robin dress. And, of course, my beautiful Joules bag.
By the time Nic and I got to the Holloway Road, about 15 minutes later, there was about 3 inches of snow on the ground!

My feet in the snow. This got less fun as the day wore on.
Although Nic had been to the Holloway Road before to meet a friend who works there, I hadn't. I always like to see a new bit of a familiar town, and this was no exception. It looked very pretty in the snow, and it was worth the journey. Nic was taking me to the Vivien of Holloway shop to buy me my Christmas present.

In the snow outside the Vivien of Holloway shop. By the time I was finished in there, there was a lot more snow!
I liked the Vivien of Holloway shop a lot and would definitely go back. I've admired their dresses for some time now, but was always reluctant to order one online without having seen one in real life first. One of the very helpful ladies in the shop took my measurements for me (lucky I was wearing a fitted dress, really) and helped me pick out the correct size, and then let me loose to try on lots of frocks. I didn't go quite as wild as I did at the Aspire launch, but I wanted to make sure that I was getting the right dress. And I did! I sadly didn't get any photos of me prancing around in amazing dresses and the incredible petticoat I tried on because it was too dark in the store, but maybe I'll put up a picture of the dress Nic bought me later in this post. The snow continued to fall pretty heavily as I was in the shop - and apparently a couple wearing snow goggles spent some time peering in through the shop window! We were both ready for a coffee after our efforts, and on wandering down Holloway road we found this amazing pub:

The Coronet
It's a Wetherspoon's pub, in an old cinema building! I couldn't get any good photos inside because it was too dark, sadly. It's definitely worth visiting if you're in the area. It's full of big photographs of the stars of classical Hollywood cinema - including a beautiful display of photos of Fred Astaire. The coffee was grand, and it was nice to stop but I really didn't fancy eating there as the food looked grim. We headed back into town, stopping at the Princess Louise on High Holborn before lunch.

Nic in the Princess Louise
After lunch we decided we'd had enough of shopping so walked along through Bloomsbury and Holborn to the British Musuem. There was hardly anyone on the streets, and the snow made everything look very pretty:

Bloomsbury Square gardens in the snow

The British Musuem in the snow
We were only able to stay in the museum for about an hour - it was closing early - but we did have enough time to visit the Medieval Europe room and a beautiful exhibition of clocks. I'm ashamed to say it was my first visit to the British museum but I shall definitely be back, if only to see this chap again:

Look at this lovely creature
The snow had turned to slush and our walk down to the Southbank took ages. I had to take tiny little steps because I kept sliding; it's a miracle that I managed to stay upright all day! Our route took us through Trafalgar Square, which was eerily empty, and over the Jubilee Bridge:

View of Westminster from the Jubilee bridge
I was extraordinarily glad to sit down in the bar at the BFI and I treated us both to a cocktail. Sadly, on checking the train times it was clear that it was going to be too risky to stay for the film - the train we were planning on getting home was showing as cancelled as Chiltern were running an emergency timetable. We finished our cocktails and hauled ass back to Marylebone.

The delicious Cosmopolitan made for us in the BFI bar. It's one of the best ones I've ever had, with burnt orange oil and everything on top. Also the alcohol definitely made it easier to trudge through the slush to Westminster tube station!
I was so glad we didn't have to wait too long for a train because by this stage we were both really tired. I'm disappointed to have missed the film but it's not so bad. Nic and I have both been lucky enough to see It's A Wonderful Life on the big screen before (on our undergraduate Hollywood course) and also we have it on DVD. I really did not want to get stuck in London overnight! When we got back we got straight into bed with a cup of tea, watched Friday night's Peep Show and went to sleep. Rock and roll, I know, but trudging through the snow was so tiring. Still, I really enjoyed my day out in London with Nic - we always have so much fun together.
As Nic and I will be spending Christmas with our families rather than with each other, we celebrated a mini Christmas yesterday. Nic woke me up early and, after making a cup of tea, we sat down next to the Christmas tree to exchange gifts.

Our little Christmas tree with gifts and selection boxes underneath
I was very excited to give Nic his gifts, and very relieved that they had all arrived in time! My favourite was his Doctor Who t-shirt with The Master on it:

I was tickled pink with my gifts from Nic, which included some pretty earrings and two Spencer Tracy films. I was really touched by the oddly shaped gift that had been puzzling me - it was a beautiful champagne bowl. I have some very pretty champagne flutes, but I've wanted a champagne bowl for some time (especially after my recent Mad Men viewing) and I was very happy that Nic had remembered, and found such a pretty one as well. As it was our Christmas celebration I was allowed to put on my new dress. Annoyingly, the Tara Starlet petticoat I ordered online to wear underneath it has not yet arrived, but I think you'll still get an idea of what the dress looks like:

Vivien of Holloway Halterneck Circle dress and Vivienne Westwood cherry Lady Dragon shoes
It is so pretty and I am delighted with it. Obviously it was too cold to actually wear the dress yesterday but before I put on some warmer clothes I had some fun parading around in the dress:

I like the halterneck. You don't have to tie it, which makes it much more comfortable to wear. I also really like the lapped zip - much prettier than a concealed one

Pretty bodice

Even the label is pretty, how about that?!

Some of the earrings Nic gave me for Christmas

Twirling around in my new dress
I did put on some warmer clothes after this. Lots of layers, and wellies. Still, it was fun while it lasted!

John Rocha for Debenhams dress. Not pictured: many, many layers underneath it.
Nic and I wandered into town for a walk through the snow and a browse around the markets, before getting ready to spend the evening with friends. Wonderful Lysy and The Scientist were holding a Solstice dinner for a few friends, so we tramped up through the snow to their house to celebrate the festive season with A LOT of food. We veggies had some delicious McSween's vegetarian haggis, which went perfectly with The Scientist's roast potatoes and the champagne I had brought. We were spoiled for desserts - Lysy's yule log, N's apple cake, Sugar Plum's peach muffins and Lauren's candied clementines. We settled down to play Kill Doctor Lucky while we digested, and then walked the snowy walk home. It was so cold when we got outside that I could feel my heart fluttering and, by the time we'd reached the bottom of the parade both mine and Lauren's hair had frozen!

Lauren's frozen hair
I attempted to get in to work this morning but was thwarted by the weather: my train was delayed, and then cancelled as it got stuck behind a broken train on the tracks outside Leamington. I wasn't too upset - I was only going in to the office for a meeting, which I had a feeling would be cancelled anyway. And it was! So on the whole, I've been very happy at home today. I've been huddled under blankets with a hot water bottle, periodically swearing at my work computer but it has been comparatively relaxing. I'll be spending the next few days watching the weather forecast to gauge my chances of getting home for Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed for me - I'm cautiously optimistic.
Now, off for a cup of tea and to watch Any Human Heart on 4OD. An exciting life I lead! I hope to be back in the next few days so stay warm, my dears. I'll leave you with a few more photos of Leamington in the snow:

Saturday must have been a quiet day in the cinema

Dormer Place

Geese on the frozen Leam