Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't the Holidays Seem So Long Ago Now?

Already it seems many of us are stressed and worried and sleepless.  How did this happen so fast?

 Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn the clocks back, just those few couple of weeks?  How quickly we need refreshing again!

Here just around the corner from Pimlico Road are images of that season.  Sweet, beguiling.  The English have such a different approach to Christmas decorating than we in the States.  In fact these shop window decorations remind me of Polish, Russian or Ukrainian folk art.  And because they seem so does not make them less Christmas-ey.

I love the feathery whites and the surprising oranges and ultramarines which work so well with the little touches of piney green.  Xmas decorating in the UK comes with a lighter touch and a broader palette.  We in the U.S. feel compelled to express the season exclusively in the narrow terms of bright red and blunt green.  Why?

This artist was apparently quite popular and affordable.  He/she decorated about 5 shop fronts in this immediate vicinity and I saw other examples of the work elsewhere in London.  I would love to have this person decorate my house for a Christmas party - if I had a house with lots of lovely big windows and massive mirrors.  I think the work would look equally beautiful in the summertime.  For a Midsummer party.  

If you live in London and have the big windows and mirrors, you could.

In that theme of surprising ways to reinvent Christmas decor, what about chocolate boxes shaped as wreathes?  Did you know that boxes could be made in this shape? And red ribbons!  What's not to like?

Have you ever seen shop doors decorated like this?

Doesn't it transport you straight to the country?  Reminds me of a Christmas I spent in Somerset where they decorated the village streets with unadorned baby Christmas trees leaning out of the stone buildings just above our heads.  Makes you think of mangers!

The white branches I've seen in NY - the Italians seem to especially like to decorate at Christmas with these.  But this looks so different without the red and green Xmas lights in them.  And speaking of the bucolic, in these yet gloomy days with spring still for many two, three, four months away...........

Wouldn't it be nice to take a break from our new worries and duck into this welcoming place.  And feel as if one's been dropped into a village in the Alps?

( no! not cantelope!)

Smack dab in the middle of Central London, just off Marylebone High Street, just south of Regent's Park
 is La Fromagerie. It's a favorite of Jamie Oliver's and giving the Neal's Yard Dairy in Covent Garden a serious run for it's money.

Here not only will you find a very wide range of carefully made cheeses English and imported,

but beautiful beautiful veg:  Those lettuces are bigger than your head!  Have you ever seen SUCH SMOOTH celery root (top pic)?  Ruby carrots?

Honey from the country, still on the comb - honey from

Regent's Park!

Cakes and chocolates and glasses of  beer and wine.......Wouldn't you love to just skip work tomorrow and spend all day here with a good friend?  Gossiping and plotting?  Nibbling and savoring?

Look closely at all of these pictures.  What will you see?

But crowds and queues, queues and crowds.

This is a very popular place.  No need to wonder why.  One word describes it:



  1. There is such a long (months, really) preamble to the Holidays, and then it ends so abruptly. I always find January through mid-March to be the hardest months of the least here in winter-land. I always get the most stressed during that time period. Things weigh more heavily. I am not prone to depression (thank goodness!) but if I ever do get depressed, it's inevitably during this post-holiday, pre-spring days. THat said, I'm always up for a challenge, and I like to think of new, creative, productive ways to make these "dark months" brighter and more useful. Thanks for this prolific post with so many good pictures! OX

  2. i just love the painted windows...

  3. i have been there - and was drooling over all the gorgeous produce.

  4. Thanks Ladies - I enjoyed this one, guess I needed it too. As I told Suzanne at Sakura Snow, I appreciate the grays and darks much more from a distance. Kamana, thanks for stopping by! Did you see I added you to my blogroll last night and OOPS! DELPHINE I forgot yours - knew I was forgetting someone. Up it goes RIGHT NOW! Kamana - you take all the pictures that I DIDN'T when I was in Hawaii and never thinking about a blog. I can feel the ocean breezes when I visit your site. Pip-pip cheerio and aloha!

  5. mmm... good pictures, thanks!! I like the stick threshold--reminds me of the Wild Things. And nothing like a good fox, I say.

  6. Love those branches around the entryway! Agreed...I want the holidays back...need rest...

  7. Yes, I miss the holidays very much. It really does feel like they were such a long time ago. As always, these photos are excellent.