The Nutcracker

Yesterday, James and I went to the Royal Opera House to see the Royal Ballet's version of the Nutcracker. It was so much fun and very relaxing-enough I had to keep poking James so he wouldn't fall asleep! We saw it last year but this year was so much better because we actually had decent seats. We had £5 tickets last year and only saw like half of it, including bits of the stage crew doing scene changes because we were so high up and so far over. This year, no stage crew just beautiful music, beautiful costumes and beautiful dancing!


Christmas in the West Midlands

Every year for the holidays I go to my boyfriend's parent's house in the West Midlands. Its about 2 hours outside of London by train. His parents live in a very old cottage in the middle of the country near Shropshire, Telford and Staffordshire. Its quite fun because as with English tradition we have Christmas pudding for desert and open Christmas crackers (prizes that include a gold crown hat and a joke to tell around the table). The cottage we stay in has two fireplaces and it was very nice to sit next to a fire after a huge meal. Here are pictures from the day:

This is James' parent's house. It is fully functional but the house is 250 years old and in some parts of the house it is 500 years old---OLDER THAN AMERICA!


The christmas Table
Sarah--James' sister and her son Alex (7 months)
James' niece-Hannah (2 1/2 yrs old)

James wearing his Christmas cracker hat!

In England--Holly leaves grow all over the countryside. I thought it would be cool to post what they look like in the wild!
This is the countryside around where his parents live. Its always VERY green!

Countryside houses
Blymhill is a village next to where his parents live and this used to be the old post office. It is now someone's house (they have just left everything this way!)

This is the Village Hall in Blymhill (Like a community center). We sang Christmas carols just outside next to a big tree here and had mince pies and mulled wine.
Blymhill church--this is the church James' parents go to. Some parts of the building date back to the 13th Century.


One of the best things about Christmas

One of the best things I like about Christmas is all of the movies that are on. I love a good holiday flick--the sappy endings and how no matter how many times you watch something it still makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Growing up I spent most of my holidays watching the greats. Here are some of my favorites:

Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer--I have no idea how old this is but I love this show and have watched it ever since I was young.

Charlie Brown's Christmas---Who doesn't love this show? I secretly could relate to Charlie Brown and I love this part where they pick out the tree. Even the small straggly pathetic trees deserve a chance!

The Muppet Christmas Carol----I love anything muppet and particularly with this story I think its a fun show to watch every year.

I get choked up every time in the part where they salute the general at the surprise Christmas party. This is an absolute Christmas classic--The Oldies are always the goodies.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation--what can I say it makes me always giggle.

A Christmas Story--haven't seen this in a while but I still remember the boys getting their tongues stuck on the pole!
It's a wonderful Life: One of my favorite all time movies---I always cry at the end without fail and surprisingly enough it consistently makes me appreciate my life and my blessings. I think movies that are the best help you grow and are uplifting--this movie does this and every year you can guarantee I will watch it again and again.


The Lion King

Can I just say I loved this? James and I went to see this last night and it was absolutely brilliant. It was very similar to the Disney movie and for this reason would be great for little kids to go. The differences were that all the animals were played by people with fabulous costumes. After a while you forgot you were looking at a person singing but it definately looked like the animal! What I loved the most was the music--such haunting African rhythms and melodies. I believe a chap named Lebo M contributed in this arena- he grew up in Soweto South Africa. (Elton John did a lot of the music too---Circle of Life gave me shivers). The best part of having all of the African music added was that you walked away not only appreciating the Disney movie but feeling like you had visited Africa as well. (Can't wait to go in real life!) The whole thing was well worth the ticket price and seeing it in a theatre I hadn't been in was fun too. The Lyceum is huge and very ornate and the seats are the most comfortable in town. Anyway if you can't tell I had a good time!


Love these to Pieces!

Although it can be the bain of my existence at times, I love the times where I can indulge in really good food. These are some of my favorite at the moment--ah such sweet memories!
Green & Black's dark chocolate-- made from 70% cocoa. Very sweet and you hardly need any to at all to feed those late night chocolate cravings.

Yes, another Green & Blacks's ---but this really deserves a mention because when you think of how vanilla icecream should be this fulfills every expectation. True Bliss especially with fresh fruit in the summer.

This is a brand started by the Prince of Wales and every bit of profit goes to his charity. Every bit of this is perfect and I really love the tarts and short bread biscuits. Can't have them very often because they are so rich!