countdown to christmas

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christmastime 2019 has been pretty awesome. life outside of holiday festivity has felt really full-on, but we’ve managed to pack in lots of celebrating and merry-making!

at the very beginning of december, ian and i took moses on a special date to go ice skating! gabriel had his nap at a friends’ flat and mo strapped on some skates at the rink at the natural history museum. we all three had such a blast on the ice! it was so fun to see moses experience this for the first time, and although we thought he would probably get sick of it after not too long, he was delighted for our entire hour session. i love that setting so much!
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^^ love both of our faces of concentration 😉 mo’s tongue out! ^^
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ian and i had our traditional christmas-lights-of-mayfair dinner date. i love being with my true love in our city, wandering the sparkle-drenched streets and enjoying dinner in a festive atmosphere. this year we went to a restaurant called dalloway terrace and the cozy ambiance was really lovely.
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whoever lives here wins…:
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moses wrote a letter to santa…
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and popped it in the post! and our christmas tree gleaming in our big bay window made us all (and we hope lots of passerbys on our street!) very happy. (although, every year i’m annoyed that the top of my tree is brighter than the bottom! i used to think this was a brand of lights thing but this year i used the sam brand for the whole thing, so i think it’s a saturation of lights problem! will try to remedy next year…)
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london christmas storefronts are the beeeeest…
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i hosted my second annual wreath workshop! a really amazing florist (who even worked on the royal wedding!!) guided a dozen girlfriends and i though making our own fresh wreaths and it was suuuuch a fun night. (last year here)
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while we were working on our wreaths, izzi (the florist) decorated my mantle with the leftover pine and eucalyptus. isn’t it fabulous?! i’m obsessed.
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we loved making a couple trips to the giving machines in our church building. moses was particularly into this. we’ve talked a lot about giving this christmas, and it’s been so great to see mo get really excited about selecting and wrapping gifts for his brother and dad, putting together and sharing food bags for the homeless in our area, and filling up a bag of presents for two families that we are doing a little “sub for santa” for. we’ve been doing the christmas joy school lessons and he loves singing “the very best part of christmastime, i’ll tell you any day: the very best, happiest part of all is the presents we give away!”
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the last of the leaves fell off the tree i so so love around the corner from our flat. i have about a thirty more pictures of these leaves on my phone camera roll … they just always stop me in my tracks when we roll by with the buggy. so gorgeous.
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big times in politics both in the uk and the us. i thought this side-by-side of very different reactions to the uk election was really interesting:
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we went with a bunch of friends to storytelling with father christmas at fortum & mason. we booked this back in september and i have been sooo excited about it ever since. (i love fortum & mason, a fabulous classic london department store, and i really love the magic and giving of santa.) it was worth the hype i gave it as we anticipated this event for a few months. the whole setup was enchanting, and it was so fun to do this as a group with our good friends. santa told a story and did some magic and shared tidbits that he knew about each child (psssst, parents helped via an online form…) when reading their name from his good list.
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gabriel was interested for the first bit, then wiggly as can be wanting to explore everything in the room, and then absolutely terrified of father christmas when he was taken remotely close to him.
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moses was enthralled with it all, but very most of all with the treats in his goodie bag. no way was he going to look up for a group picture after he got a hold of those! (i love the chaos of this photo…haha!)
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after fun with father christmas, the four of us went to two christmas markets along the thames – one down by tower bridge and one right by the london eye. it was croooowded but so festive and fun.
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in between the two markets is this area along the river called gabriel’s wharf! of course we had to snap a few pics of our gabriel there!
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i got to take moses on a mommy date to a “christmas orchestra adventure” at royal albert hall. we went with two of mo’s best little buddies and their families (ian and i decided he would stay home with gabriel, as there’s no way gabes would sit through even five minutes of this event, ha!). it was a lot of fun, especially the second half, and royal albert hall is just sooo spectacular.
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the tree outside royal albert hall … and then the next morning i took gabriel to old bond street – my favourite christmassy street in the city – while moses was at school.
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fortnum & mason, dressed up like an advent calendar!:
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moses was a star in his school’s nativity play … which was maybe the sweetest thing ever. i never want to forget walking into the school hall with ian and gabriel and seeing moses spot us among the other parents. he just lit up with the biggest smile ever. he kept waving at us and sending us thumbs up, from his cross-legged spot in a crowd of three-year-old stars, throughout the performance. it was soooo sweet.
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i love that moses goes to a church school. the next day they had a live donkey come to the school and the entire student body followed the donkey in a procession around the garden square, singing christmas songs.
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a few chirstmassy things that have happened around here that i didn’t take pictures of but don’t want to forget:
we did our traditional aebleskiver breakfast-for-dinner on st. lucia day and the kids loved being surprised by what was inside each pancake ball (we do jam, nutella, ham & cheese, and peanut butter) and even though i didn’t put on a white dress and a pine bough crown like usual (just got lost in the chaos that night!) we had a good little discussion about light, discipleship (/sainthood), and ancestors (some of mine are from sweden, that’s why we celebrate st. lucia day!).
i spoke in church last sunday, and it was so great to have the need to prepare a talk to force me to sit down, be still, and think deeply about the christmas story and the baby jesus. i shared a little essay that is in this old blog post that i love so much. i also shared the lyrics from my favourite christmas song, “in the bleak midwinter,” and some thoughts on christ’s birth as it is framed in 1 nephi 11.
we went to the london transport museum and there were so many fun christmassy things going on! a delightful christmas-themed singing time and storytime, a big area set up for doing christmas crafts, and a cozy space decorated like the north pole where we even got a peek of santa.
we went to christmas at kew, and i really can’t believe i didn’t take a single photo. there’s a trail through kew gardens with all kinds of super cool light displays, and lots of fun food stalls, and a little area with some carnival rides. the boys were overjoyed on the carousels and mo and i had a blast coming down the helter-skelter! at the end of the trail there’s a light show that projects onto the fountains in the lake – it’s so cool!

just three more sleeps until christmas!


  1. Wow, London is a great place to be in at Christmas-time. The buildings look so pretty. I especially like the advent calendar one.

    I think it’s lovely how you teach your boys to think of others at Christmas. x


  2. What is so hard about an objective headline? I don’t think anyone under 40 has had the advantage of reading a print paper that is objective in its language or has side by side opposing viewpoints in the same paper in their adult lifetime. Paper is suppose to tell the news, all the news not just what they think is news we should know, and certainly not what we should think about the news.


  3. “guided a dozen girlfriends and i though …
    And what is so hard about the proper usage of pronouns!!!? Would you say “guided I”? You consistently misuse pronouns and it drives the purist grammarians crazy. Look it up. It’s not that hard to learn.


    • hi jane. i am so sorry reading this distressed you! i actually consider myself quite the grammar nerd and like you get bothered by grammatically incorrect things (although not as upset as you, it seems!). i am usually hurrying madly to write blog posts in the very little free time i have, so i often don’t proofread and make sure i didn’t make any silly mistakes. if that really angers you, you may want to consider not reading here.

      all the best to you!


  4. Just having one more look at this blog post and the joy of Christmas in London, I noticed that the Santa at Fortnum and Mason looks like our Santa Claus and the Santa at the Plaza Hotel in NYC last week looked like Father Christmas. Just sayin’! Haha


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