Monday, December 27, 2010

In Stitches

About a week into holiday, I'm traditionally rendered completely unable to recall a single aspect of my normal, incomprehensibly hectic life. In this happy fog of ignorant bliss, one highly favored ritual is to locate & purchase an amazing knit project requiring loads of time, skills, and expensive yarn.

This holiday's winner is Baudelaire, which will be knit from 18 skeins of Blackstone Tweed (wool + superkid mohair + angora) in Nor'easter -- a wonderfully deep & dark blue. Complete with ruffle trim & bustle. Will possibly be done by this time next year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Unadulterated Anglophilia

Downton Abbey, created & written by Cambridge-educated novelist, actor & screenwriter Julian Fellows {see also, Gosford Park}, is a sumptuous period drama originally broadcast on UK television. Series 1 appeared on ITV during the fall of 2010 and {due to some crazy high viewing numbers} ITV has promised a Series 2 in 2011. Fabulous news, this. And equally fabulous for Americans is that Downton will be broadcast in January on Masterpiece Classic.

Although the sets {especially Highclere Castle} & costumes alone warrant a viewing, Dame Maggie as the Dowager Countess is truly perfection.  You won't want to miss this...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Gin

Along with 'severe weather' and flight cancellations comes a new product out of London. Beefeater Limited Edition Winter Gin, with its cinnamon, nutmeg, pine kernels & Seville orange peel, is made for warming body & soul during the holiday season. Among regular gin drinkers it comes highly recommended {Mom & Dad laid the first bottle to rest a few days into Thanksgiving}

Grab it while it lasts. As goes the frozen fog, so goes the Winter Gin.

N.B. Beefeater is the only international brand of gin to still be made in London

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas @ Claridge's

Yes, still in London thanks to yet another cancellation by Virgin Atlantic. As much as I love the full flat beds, Clipper Tea & tiny cupcakes, I'm switching to American -- forever. 

Thought this recent development warranted a trip to Claridge's for some tea. Not sure what you've seen or heard, but this place is every bit as amazing as it ought to be...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bond, Jane Bond

Due to what officials are calling 'severe' weather in London (2 cms of snow + a few days of freezing temps), I'm one of many still waiting for a flight out of Heathrow. Although hoping to get home for Christmas, I'm refusing to sulk. Instead, I spent today savoring the beautifully decorated windows of the fabulous shops in & around Bond Street {including my absolute favorite, Cabbages & Roses}

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Narrow

Wonderful Sunday lunch @ The Narrow, the first of Gordon Ramsey's gastro pubs. Perched directly on the Thames in Limehouse Basin, it's all the more fantastic because within walking distance from my flat.  Fabulous views and delicious hanger steak, truffle mash and apple & berry bramble.

Perfect day, perfect service. Highly recommend.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wills & Kate

Fabulous official photos by Mario Testino in this morning's papers. Really love both, each in their own way. And such a nice way to divert attention from the horrible riots.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Ashes

Here in the UK, you'd have to be pretty well-settled into a deep, deep, deep pre-holiday {alcohol-induced?} fog to be unaware of that certain cricket match currently taking place down under.  The Ashes, this sport's most celebrated rivalry, is a hotly contested enterprise taking place biennially between the UK & Australia since 1882.

The contest's odd title originates from a satirical obituary published in The Sporting Times after a match in which Australia had beaten England on an English ground for the first time. The English media dubbed the next tour to Australia 'the quest to regain The Ashes'.

England currently holds The Ashes, having defeated Australia 2–1 in 2009 {in England and, for the first time, Wales}. This year, the series is in Australia, where the UK leads 1-0 with 3 matches to go.

The match continues in Perth on 16 December.  And if you're not sure just how to watch cricket, I'd suggest taking a pint and focusing on Stuart Broad.  Despite the fact that he's been sidelined due to an abdominal injury, he's quite sound viewing nonetheless.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gray Cables

Lisa Sherry always provides exquisite inspiration, both in person & long distance via her witty blog.  Recent posts prove no exception (see her work in New Orleans with friend Susan Simpson).

This pile of jumpers created a 'love at first sight' reaction. I immediately headed out into the snow for ingredients to knit some grayish coziness up for myself.

The local knit shop, Loop London, is marvelous. A 2-storied nook full of oh-so-helpful knitter girls and amazing yarns & patterns. Nestled in delightful Camden Passage, Islington, creative inspiration abounds from the moment you step inside its narrow antique entrance way {snaps to come}.

I found the pattern for this aran cable tunic upstairs along with some amazing deep charcoal llama's wool.

It just screams tea & biscuits.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 Men Eating

The Trip is a witty 6-part series featuring British comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon that's just wrapped on BBC Two. In it, Coogan {who appears to play a character loosely based on, well, Steve Coogan} is assigned a stint as guest food critic for a UK newspaper. After being dumped by his American girlfriend, he embarks on a Range Rover road trip through the English countryside with Brydon, his self-deprecating, slightly neurotic friend.

Together, the somewhat bitter Coogan and happy-go-lucky Brydon eat their way through a half-dozen of the better known restaurants in England's Lake District, Lancashire & the Yorkshire Dales. Although there is a bit of good chat about the fabulous food in which they're indulging, the pair also spend a fair amount of on-screen time in this loosely scripted epicurian Odd Couple bickering, singing (ABBA), pontificating, and imitating other actors (both do a bang-on Michael Caine).

With any luck, The Trip will eventually make it to the States -- via either BBC America or {in its edited reincarnation as movie} some sort of highbrow distribution deal. Not really for children. Or the less than clever.  See it if you can.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Baubles, London Style

Central London's holiday lights are first lit in early November and come up at dusk every evening through Twelfth Night (6 January). Having never experienced them in the past, I was amazed by both the detail & the logistics that must be required to keep them looking fabulous. 

Here's a peek at Regent Street, where this year's theme is the movie adaptation of the 3rd book of C.S. Lewis's classic Chronicles of Narnia

And my absolute favorite, Carnaby Street {love how the intensity of the colors grows dramatically with the darkening skies}

Brilliant, no?