The start of the month marked my 31st birthday.
With so many limitations having been put in place since the beginning of last year, I really milked the celebrations this year….
My birthday landed on a Friday, so James took the day off work, and we went to pick up a Christmas tree.
We moved into our flat in mid-December in 2019, so we didn’t have a chance to get a proper tree then. And last year, we just had a little one.
This year, we decided to go all out and make the most of the festivities!
The seller told us that this tree was 5 foot and James is 6’3…
But it’s perfect.
Sophia very kindly ordered me an amazing selection of Japanese/French patisseries from Kova Patisserie, which I’d been wanting to try out!
My favourites were the Japanese Souffle Cheesecake and Strawberry Shortcake.
If, like me, you’re a fan of light desserts that aren’t too sweet, then I’d thoroughly recommend them!
For lunch, we popped over to Westfield’s and tried out Mrs Chew’s for the first time.
I went for the roast duck and roast chicken with rice, and it was a touch on the salty side but still yum!
We were both big fans of the Christmas tree ornaments in John Lewis.
After all that shopping, we headed home for a rest before heading out to dinner at Le Petit Citron, a local French restaurant that I’d been wanting to try for ages, and it didn’t disappoint!
The next day, as per tradition since our 18th birthday, Em and I celebrated together with our school friends at the Real Greek, served by a waiter who didn’t seem to understand the concept of veganism (“But are you intolerant or allergic?”).
Big thanks to Harry for this charming, homemade vegan avocado chocolate cake!
Continuing the celebrations at All Bar One, where one of the barmen seemed to think that he was in Coyote Ugly.
James did a brilliant job of decorating our tree!
And big thanks to Nikki for this awesome T-shirt 😀
He was adamant that this mermaid Santa was too creepy for our tree, but I wore him down in the end…MWAHAHAHA!
The following Sunday, I met up with Sarah for a very successful day of charity shopping in New Malden, which has now become my favourite place for it in London.
Almost everything in this Oxfam was £1.99 and there were some great finds in there!
For Sarah’s first foray into Korean food, I decided to take her to SCJ Bibimbap and Chimaek, where I’d visited before and loved.
The Mixed Mushroom Bibimbap is incredible.
As is the way that my chin merges into my neck.
Thank Christ for Instagram filters.
James doing his ‘exercise’
Tina and I have developed a tradition of going for a fancy meal on our birthdays as a treat.
Now, The Fat Crab isn’t fancy as you end up getting sauce all over your hands and there’s a little metal hammer for you to bash the crab shells open…but if you know me, you’ll know that shellfish is my all-time favourite food so we went ALL OUT.
One of the volunteers at work had recommended this place and I’d wanted to try a seafood boil for ages.
So, who better to go with than my fellow foodie/seafood enthusiast, Tina?!
I went for the local brown crab, a handful of clams and corn on the cob in the Whole Shebang (their homemade house special seasoning incorporating flavours from their garlic butter, lemon pepper and cajun spices).
The sauce was delicious with the crab, which was rich with roe *insert heart eyes emoji*
I went for medium spice but would probably try the mild spice next time, as the clams and corn really soaked up the flavour which was a touch too spicy for me.
Nevertheless, I emerged victorious and thoroughly enjoyed it!
The Barbican Conservatory has been a place that I’ve wanted to visit since I moved to London – I even had it on my ‘post-quarantine to do list’ that I wrote back in May last year.
So glad that Han was up for joining me to check out the free Conservatory x Akari Cloud exhibition that’s currently running until 2nd January 2022!
Once the sun had set, the Barbican felt like the perfect backdrop for a film.
We walked over to the Millennium Bridge and the views were rather good.
St Paul’s Church.
Remember when I said I’d learn to recreate that Sinigang Soup I had in St Leonards?
I loosely used this Shrimp Sinigang recipe (I didn’t have some of the veg they mentioned, so I improvised with what I had. I also used a little jar of tamarind paste from Waitrose, as I hadn’t had a chance to visit the Chinese supermarket for tamarind pulp) and served it with rice noodles – it tasted great and so easy to make!
Canopy Market near my work looking magical.
If you know, you know.
My favourite tiramisu croissant bun from Buns From Home.
The Teryiaki Salmon Bento from Eat Tokyo is SO GOOD.
At James’ family’s for Christmas.
Glad to see that the Hogwart’s vibes are still going strong.
Really enjoyed this book and learnt a lot from it.
An excellent sunset from the flat.
I realise this looks like it’s been edited but I promise that it hasn’t.
Finally got around to reading a copy of The Happy Newspaper that Sophia sent me for my birthday last year and it was so wholesome that it made me cry.
These two sections stood out for me.
I truly believe that a 4-day work week will be beneficial for everyone.
Looking after a baby should be the responsibility and right of both parents – without the worry of not being able to afford to spend this precious time together.
There’s a reason that Finland has been the world’s happiest country for four years running…just sayin’
December was quite a busy and snap-happy month so thank you if you’ve made it this far! 😀