- Holidays Are Coming Advert
The run up to Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier each year, for us there are two key events that marks the beginning of Christmas, the Coca Cola Trucks advert on the television and the Red Cups at Starbucks! In recent years, the trucks have actually been touring the country and Jason has been lucky enough to see them – much to Dee’s annoyance.
- Gingerbread Lattes – from Starbucks
Speaking of Red Cups, as the days get colder one of Dee’s favourite ways to unwind on a pre-Christmas afternoon off, is in Starbucks reading a good book and sipping a gingerbread latte.
- Crimble Crumble – from Pret a Manger
We have a lot of issues with traditional Christmas desserts, both of us hate Christmas Cake and Dee doesn’t like Christmas Pudding, but we love Mince Pies. Obviously, homemade ones are the best, however when we need refueling whilst out Christmas shopping, we love the Pret slices, a mince pie with a spiced crumble topping, perfect for the Christmassy pick me up.
- Philosophy Gingerbread Cookie shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath.
Dee is addicted to Philosophy’s shower gel & bubble bath, they are perfect for long soaks in the bath tub or a quick shower. As she also loves gingerbread, this has become her favourite Christmas scent.
- Winter Wonderland – N/A
Whilst we do love the idea of a Dickens Christmas in London, we all know the snow here is that horrid grey slush, or the Thames will never freeze for us to ice skate on, so instead we need fake snow and man-made ice-skating rinks. Winter Wonderland is an amazing mix of little market stalls, places to eat and drink and hundreds of fun things to do – from ice skating to the circus. For a lovely evening you can sip alcoholic hot chocolate or mulled wine in the heart of Hyde Park pretending you are in for ski chalet in the Alps.
- It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
This film is everything that makes us feel Christmasy and seems to be timeless. The fact that it is still so popular today makes you wonder how on earth it didn’t actually do all that well when it first came out in the cinema all those years ago. How did people get that warm fuzzy feeling about Christmas without seeing Jimmy Stewart going through the ringer before being helped back on his feet by Clarence the Angel. Remember every time you hear a bell ring, it means that an angel has just got it’s wings.
I love a cream tea. It comes from many a Summer Holiday spent in the South West with my parents when I was young. My Mum has a particular responsibility for getting me onto them. I have never been one for a controversy but in some parts it does stoke the passions. The age old question of What to do first?
Apparently it depends on where you are from if you are a local. I personally have always applied the Clotted Cream (liberally) over the scone and then put a dollop of jam on top. This apparently is the Devonshire method.
In Cornwall they pour scorn on this and apply the jam first, sometimes with some butter beforehand and then place the cream on top. This is the way my mum does it.
For what it is worth I use the cream first as it is a replacement for the butter. Never thought anything of it really, always done it that way. Either way though they are a great treat and tasty however you want to put one together.
We were hoping to find a new Halloween themed Afternoon Tea in London this year – but all we could find was the Chocolate Tea at the Hilton Park Lane, which was enjoyed a few years ago. So instead we decided to have Afternoon Tea in one of our dream locations…
… Palm Court at the Langham Hotel. Of the several options available we went for the Wonderland Tea with champagne (of course).
Finally, the dessert course… mini strawberry meringues (served on lollipop sticks), mini Victoria sponge cakes, banana cupcakes decorated with a mini fondant banana and chocolate and raspberry tortes.
This was an amazing treat, definitely one of our favourite locations for Afternoon Tea, The opulent comfy chairs, silver flatware and piano player in the Palm Court provides the perfect setting for a traditional Afternoon Tea (or High Tea which they serve in the evenings).
Autumn (or Fall) for Americans also marks the start of the “Football” season and as such attending a football game is often included in Fall Bucket Lists, we included it on our list as we do enjoy a football match – however being unable to travel to Liverpool this year, Jason opted to attend a rugby game instead – seeing as it was at Wembley we are going to include it here
Halloween is Dee’s favourite holiday, as a result we go all out decorating the house like most people would at Christmas, pumpkins and Jack O Lanterns, friendly ghosts and fake spiders all around the house.
The end of October is also Dee’s Birthday, it was the perfect opportunity to indulge – Hot Dogs and Champagne at Bubbledogs, Dinner at Asia De Cuba and two afternoon teas.
I think one of the reasons I love autumn so much is my love of pumpkins. For years I was envious of my American friends who get to enjoy gallons of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, and mountains of pumpkin pie during this time of year. Luckily we are catching up on this side of the Atlantic, Starbucks now sell pumpkin spiced lattes and Libby’s canned pumpkin puree is available in several supermarkets (as well as fresh ones).
One thing that I had noticed on Instagram and Twitter were people going to Pumpkin Patches to “pick their own” pumpkin, and I knew this was something I wanted to do! A quick hunt on google and I found Crockbridge Farm near Weybridge.
So on Sunday morning we popped in the car and headed along to the farm. Unlike the American counterparts the pumpkin patches in the UK can’t offer the “pick your own” experience as we tend to have an early ground frost, however they did have a fake patch with several different varieties including fabulous munchkins.
As yesterday, was the first day of Autumn we thought it was time to create a new bucket list. This time of year is a particular favourite for us, both our birthdays in are in Autumn, it’s a great excuse to eat a lot of food we love (Turkey for Jason and Pumpkin Spiced everything for Dee) and cozy nights in. As a result the list reflects this.
Again, we have put the list in a frame (something we forgot to do for the summer). This way at the weekend, instead of wondering what shall we do we can look at the list and pick an option – we are also hoping some of the items can be prompts to get us to blog more – as we have been neglecting the blog lately.
See how we have already started decorating the house for Halloween, with these autumnal Next votive candles (unfortunately they are not on the website).
Set back off Chiswick High Road is the Brickoven, since taking over the sight a few years ago they have pulled down the trellis out the front to create a lovely outdoor courtyard perfect for dining. Brickoven is to all intense purposes an independent pizza restaurant, as they only other branches are in Milan – don’t you just love that!
We went last week to make the most of the sunny days (let’s hope that wasn’t the end of the summer), and enjoy al fresco dinning in the patio area.
Opting to use Kamut flour and no yeast, the pizza bases in Brickoven are very thin – a lot thinner than any of the other places we have tried. (This base is also supposed to be good for people with a wheat intolerance). Without a doubt these where also the largest pizzas we have had on the challenge. Served on a long thin oval wooden board
As always Dee went for the Napoli – this version was just mozzarella, oregano, and anchovies on the tomato sauce. I would have liked some additional toppings – capers or olives, but settled for the chilli oil to spicy up the pizza.
Jason ordered the Parma – tomatoes, mozzarella and parma ham. As with the Napoli the ingredients were quite plain, a number of other restaurants would have topped the pizza with herbs or would have put something with the ham like mushrooms or onions. The lack of extra ingredients didn’t detract from a very tasty pizza, the extra thin crust meant that although the pizza was quite large, you didn’t fill up with dough.
- Address: 66 Chiswick High Road
- Website: Brickoven Milano
- Average Price: £9.35.
- Just Pizza or Other Mains: Traditional Italian.
- Vegetarian Selection: Good.
- Dessert Options: Good.
You can see the rest of our W4 Pizza Challenge reviews here.
Baskin Robbins is the World’s largest Ice Cream chain and last year they opened an outlet on Chiswick High Street. They are famed for their 32 flavours which consist of 31 regular flavours plus one special flavour of the month.
Being Amercian some of the flavours are a little unusual and American themed like Bubble Gum and Mississippi Mud flavours as opposed to the Gelato type ice cream outlets that go very traditional. They also do a small range of Sorbets and Frozen yoghurts in their 32 flavours and if you fancy an ice cream birthday cake or a waffle or brownie to go with your ice cream scoop, then this is the place to come to.
- Address: 159 High Road, Chiswick
- Website: Baskin Robbins
- Price We Paid: £6.20
You can see the rest of our W4 Ice Cream Challenge write-ups here.
Last year on the Kate Spade website they published their list of things they loved – simple things everyday things that gave them pleasure. Like eating cake for breakfast, or taking a roadtrip, the perfect red lipstick or postcards. The design team eventually turned all these “things” into a beautiful coffee table book. This book was the inspiration behind our own “Things We Love” section each month.
Taking this idea a little further we are starting a tumblr to add a few of our favourite things – like a modern day version of the Sound of Music classic song.
Foubert’s is a local landmark in business since 1978, originally as part of the hotel on Chiswick High Road, (now the High Road House). They moved around the corner to Turnham Green Terrace in 2006. Although, it is advertised as a B&B and cafe it’s the ice cream that keeps the locals queuing around the block. Real Italian ice cream served by the same couple for over 30 years. Offering over 20 flavours – some more unusual (Blue Banana or Apple Pie) some more traditional – (vanilla and chocolate chip) of Italian gelato. We opted for one scoop of hazelnut (which was extremely nutty) and a double cup of mint choc and strawberry (fueling Jason’s fruity-minty obsession).
- Address: 2 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick
- Website: None
- Price We Paid: £4.60
You can see the rest of our W4 Ice Cream Challenge write-ups here.