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Christmas in foggy London town


Commercial Street in East London

London was rainy and cold but my heart warmed at the idea of spending five days with my youngest child Allen. It had been more than a year since we put him on a flight back to London where he lives and in “Mom” years that equals ten.

I managed to travel without fanfare escaping the bad weather and the terrorist drama on this side of the pond. I welcomed the tight security on my return and thanked the security agents each time I was asked to empty my carry on bag during the check-in process at Heathrow.  When I arrived back into the U.S., a cute little beagle sniffed out the apple that I forgot about and was missed by the people checkers in
London which meant I had to go through customs and have my luggage x-rayed again - this time they took the apple. Idea of the day – use sniffing dogs instead of people checkers – it seems dogs are also very good at sniffing out bombs.

Allen’s friend, Jaime, entertained me while he worked and she quickly became my newest friend of 2009. Her warm, engaging personality made for an immediate connection, and we had great fun traipsing around the city shopping for last minute gifts and food items for our Christmas dinner.

Christmas day was spent at Jaime’s flat with her adorable dogs, Twiglet and Scrockett. We had cinnamon roles with brandy butter icing for breakfast and sipped on Martha Stewart’s eggnog while Jaime prepared a mouth-watering dinner which turned out to be one for the “cookbooks”. It was complete with roasted Cockerel, stuffing, gravy, and a beautiful selection of root vegetables (mashed and roasted) YUM! YUM!.

On Boxing Day we headed to Warwickshire (Shakespeare's County) to visit Jaime’s family. The village where they live is quintessential English including the only Pub in town where the locals meet each afternoon for a drink and catch up on the local gossip. In the evening, we engaged in lively conversation around a beautifully decorated table complete with Waterford crystal and Wedgewood china. We feasted on venison, a selection of amazing side dishes and ended this fabulous meal with a Jamie Oliver holiday dessert, winter pudding bombe, that was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. In the morning, before heading back to
, bubble and squeak was served as part of a traditional English breakfast that also included sausages, thick toasted bread and beautifully poached eggs.

In London we dined at the The Luxe, famed Chef John Torode’s new restaurant in Old Spitalfields Market on

Commercial Street

in east
. This is also the area where Jack-the-Ripper,
’s most famed serial killer, performed his wicked deeds. If you visit
, eat at The Luxe, shop at the open market behind the restaurant and take a Jack-the-Ripper walking tour.

My least evening in
was shared with Allen, Jaime, and Luke at a local pub near Allen’s flat. It was the perfect ending to a perfectly lovely visit – great food and great conversation with amazing people. I’d like say thank you to Allen, Jaime, Brenda, Tony, Aiden, Jo and Yve for their gracious hospitality during my stay. And, to everyone, including  Arno, Adam, and Luke, as Bette Midler would say, “I had a ball” hanging out with all of you – it was great fun.

Airline Travel Tips to get through the line faster:

1. Carry proper ID: Passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature

2. Pack lean and Smart - Take only what you need and leave the rest at home (do you really need a pair of shoes for each outfit?).

3. Follow the 3-1-1 for carry-ons - 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

As always, thanks for being a loyal reader. If you like travel and food as much as I do, you may enjoy reading about about my Paris adventure.

P.S. Note to David Sedaris - I think you would really enjoy dining at The Luxe.


  • Jane 5 years ago

    Sounds like a fabulous trip and the descriptions of the meals made me want to hop a plane!

    Happy New Year!

  • Debbra Brouillette - Dallas Tropical Travel Examin 5 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip. The food sounds delicious. I hope to be able to get to England again someday... It was 1991 when I spent two weeks in Britain and I loved it all!

  • Theresa Leschmann 5 years ago

    WOnderful memories. The little pubs are my favorite.

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