some exciting things have gone down for us in the past few weeks! here’s a list:
1. london burst into fantastic autumn glory.
2. we spent a saturday in cambridge with ian’s aunt and uncle who are living there right now. they took us to a super cool zoology museum (the boys loved it!), inside kings college chapel (we’d been a couple times before, but it is stunning every time!), and to the cambridge american cemetery (which we didn’t know existed and which is really gorgeous and moving!). it was a fun day with family!
3. we celebrated bonfire night/guy fawkes day! i can’t believe this is the first time we have properly commemorated this random holiday that i was really into back when we lived in the states (see parties i threw here, here, here, and here). we went to a big party at our friends’ communal garden and it was pretty epic. a huuuuge fire and really really impressive fireworks show. the boys loved it!
1.1. more autumn gloriousness…i adore the yellow tree outside our bedroom window!
4. christmastime came to london! decorations are going up and we’ve been to a couple of light switch-on parties. the first was on 7 november, on carnaby street in soho. i took the boys through the crowds and it was crazy but fun. carnaby street always does light displays that aren’t super christmassy but always super cool. this year there’s an under the sea theme! and there were fireworks at the switchon.
after the countdown and fireworks, i took the boys to the christmas shop inside liberty london. it was a bit stressful navigating through the aisles full of fragile ornaments with two very excited little boys (!!), but it got all of us pretty pumped about christmastime!
i used to be a very staunch adherent of no-christmas-stuff-before-thanksgiving-it-dilutes-the-magic! but we are now on our fifth christmastime living in a country that doesn’t celebrate thanksgiving and i’m on board for christmassyness in november. it doesn’t dilute the magic – it just extends it! but … i am not floating straight past thanksgiving! i make sure we heartily celebrate the holiday of gratitude that i adore. this year we decided to make our thankful tree out of real autumn leaves (rather than paper ones, like we have in the past). we’ve been noticing and collecting beautiful leaves all over our city, pressing them in ian’s old economics textbooks, labeling each with something we are thankful for, and then covering a wall in our reception room!
5. i went on a little girls’ getaway with three of the moms that we did joy school with last year. it was sooo awesome. and very exciting to spend some time with just girlfriends, out of the bustling city. we stayed at a cozy little cottage in the countryside. we chatted late into the night by the fire, walked the public footpaths enjoying the gorgeous foliage beside the vidid england green, ate at a lovely country pub and made a yummy breakfast together, laughed while sharing stories from our pasts and commiserated/buoyed up while talking through parenting challenges, and visited a fairytale castle. it was good for the soul. love these friends so much!
our airbnb, which used to be a horse stable hundreds of years ago:
i woke before my friends on sunday morning, so i headed out for a solo walk. i was stunned by the beauty of the pinkish clouds, the ruddy foliage, the green green green hills – all of it wrapped me up and helped me feel so close to god. my heart was at peace in a way it really hadn’t been for a long time. it was so quiet. it was wonderful.
outside our cottage, and walking country roads:
leeds castle is so beautiful! the grounds and the interior were both so impressive, but we hardly took any photos because we were talking, talking, talking … like we had been the entire trip. it was so nice to have conversations without our kids interrupting us every ninety seconds, haha!
as we were leaving the grounds to head back towards london, we were stopped in our tracks by the moon hanging in the sky above the castle and moat. magic!
6. the other day, when we were walking through kensington gardens, enjoyed the beautiful colours…
…gabriel noticed a helicopter in the sky. we realised that it was headed straight towards us, and we were right by kensington palace. as we saw the copter head to land, we raced across the grass to get close to it because we knew someone royal was probably inside! and then we saw duchess kate get out and walk into the palace…!!! my heart was racing! it was pretty exciting. (yes, i know that is a horrible picture … but trust me, that’s her in the foreground!)
4.1. we were on our way to another lights switch-on party – this time in marylebone. christmastime, yay!!!
moses was so psyched about the carousels…and gabriel rode on one for the first time!
we met daddy on his way home from work, excited to ride the ferris wheel, but they shut it down right as we got into the queue! luckily our consolation prize was the fact that santa came out of his grotto across the road, so we got to give him a wave and high five, and then his elves gave out gifts to all the children still there at the very end of the event. hooray!
yes, christmastime is here! the ice rink at the natural history museum, which we pass with some regularity, is glittery and busy, and the next few weeks will be full of london christmas magic.
7. a couple of nights ago, ian and i went to a mat kearney concert! he is one of my favourite musicians ever, and it was so so fun to see him live. i was shocked by the venue – it was so tiny! there were like 500 people there, just standing in a medium-sized room. i listened to a few mat kearney songs on repeat when i was training for and running my marathon, so lots of memories and feelings of empowerment came flooding back to me during the concert. it was such a fun night.
and now ian and moses are on a daddy date trip in berlin! while gabriel and i are partying together here in london (i am reveling in the ease of caring for just one child, ha!). it has certainly been an exciting november!
and we are so so thankful! for all we have.
Wow, the lights in London look great. A very exciting time to live or visit there.
I often find that the trees are more stunning in November than they are in October.
Glad you made it to a firework display. I’m so glad we still keep that tradition in the UK.
How exciting to see Kate.
I live in Berlin! It is a wonderful city. I hope Ian and Moses enjoy their trip. 😊