Friday, 30 December 2011

A Christmas Feast

For having to stay in NYC for Christmas, I think my friends who also couldn't afford the $600 tickets to California and I, did a pretty good job of making it something special. Christmas Eve that is, Christmas Day was a wash that I do not even need to get into here. So at first we decided we were going to do a gift exchange where you pick a name out of a hat and get one gift for someone — but then in the giving spirit of the season we decided, what the heck, why don't we each get everyone a present. I mean there were only four of us (and one added last minute surprise guest). And with the gift giving we would have a proper feast. 

I got really into cooking when I was living in Germany last year, but since I have been back in New York it's been harder to keep up for various reasons. But I got back into it for Xmas Eve and decided to make something I had never cooked before. A little risky for a special day, but I wanted to make something festive that looked amazing (or maybe a little scary for some) and hopefully tasted the same. So I bought each of us a whole trout and kept the heads for dramatic effect and made this recipe, along with some seared scallops. With the side dishes the girls made, it all turned out pretty delicious. 

But back to the presents: I had never really exchanged gifts like this with friends before but I'll tell you it was a good idea. We hang out with each other pretty much everyday, so I guess it was no surprise that we all ended up with perfect gifts that suited all our likes and styles. No faking an "Oh I love it" when opening a Christmas sweater from your Grandma this year. It was sweet and fun and we all felt like Christmas even though we were far away from our families. 

I took a bunch of photos while we cooked (look all the girls wore purple!) but my camera died right before dinner so the rest of the night went undocumented, maybe for the best as we may have been a little overindulgent with the wine. Naturally. Hope you had a special holiday too! Here's ours: 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

An England Day Trip: Bolton Abbey

I told you a little about my UK holiday already here and here but there was one lovely little day trip out of Manchester that I wanted to share as well, and I might have another up my sleeve for later. But anyway, Manchester itself is a fun city with cute little cafes and funky bars, but sadly it is not the prettiest of places. Trees and parks are not its forte, but just outside the city (and unlike NYC there was actually a car to get into) is everything a nature lover is looking for from rolling hills, rivers, lakes and that British countryside greenery. I'd been wanting to explore the outer areas the whole time I was there but the usual laziness, city and travel plans got in the way. But the last day we made it out and despite the pretty frigid temperatures, Manchester decided to give us clear blue skies and sun. Lovely. 

We drove about 45 minutes to Bolton Abbey, a beautiful old church and cemetery on a river surrounded by hiking trails. I got a little obsessed with watching the British TV series "The Trip" while I was there (that and "Frozen Planet" {I do miss having a TV, I'll admit]} and the Abbey was one of the many places Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon visited on their culinary expedition. Unfortunately the river was too high to reenact Coogan crossing it on the slippery rock path. The dude even almost brought a change of clothes incase he fell in the freezing water in his attempt, but thought it would seal his cold and wet fate if he did. But we did get to go on a lovely little hike, breath some amazing fresh air and talk to the little old man that ran the church. Have you ever noticed how little old men that run churches in England love to chat? I love little old men. Here are some pics: 

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Song on Repeat: "King Rides By"

The woman I spent my younger years listening to in all her (and mine) melancholic glory is back. Meow. Well kind of. This track is a remix of Cat Power's 1996 song "Kings Ride By" with Filipino boxer and politician Manny Pacquiao mesmerizingly getting into it with a punching bag for the video. Giovanni Ribisi directed it, did you know he and Chan Marshall (AKA Cat Power) are going out? I didn't until today. I also found out she is working on a new album.

I'm mildly excited for that — but you know it is true, sadly, the older I get the less exciting new music is and the less likely it is to really change my life the way You Are Free did back in the day. But anyway, no need for any of that negativity. I really did love her, probably why it's the song on repeat for this grey wintery afternoon. I loved her for her beautiful raspy voice, depressing lyrics, classic cool girl grunge style and her insane onstage antics. Were you at the show where she hid behind the curtain for half of the concert or the one where she lip-synched rap songs the whole time to a booing audience? She is a nutter, or apparently was. Gotta love her for it though. 

The Young Boss

Been seeing pictures of a young Bruce Springsteen allover lately. Although I always knew he was a hottie, I am finding him irresistibly dreamy at the moment. Irresistibly dreamy. 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Party Time!

My favorite thing about New York is my friends. Sure I love that there is something to do (maybe a little too many things) every night, different kinds of people every where you look and a bustling all around you like no other place I've ever been. Yes I love these things, but if I left it all behind for greener and maybe easier pastures, the hardest thing to live without would be my friends. And I've done it once before, so I know. In this hectic city, they are what keeps me sane, well somewhat.  

And last weekend we all got together — not that we don't pretty much every other weekend — to celebrate the holiday season. As we expected, the original guest list dwindled down with last minute cancellations and competing Christmas parties, to pretty much just the normal crew plus a few. But we didn't let that stop us from getting all fancy and dancing around the Christmas tree all night long. Who needs a massive crowd to make it a party, right? Just as long as you are surrounded by the people you love — that's the recipe for a great night in my book. And it was:  

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Random Sunday

NEW YORK CITY—Santa drinking, 1968.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Fun in Manchester and Glasgow

I haven't told you much about my time in Manchester and Glasgow as a lot of it was spent simply hanging out, catching up, drinking tea by the fire, going on walks, watching man TV, taking baths, eating pasta, working on the little children's book I wrote (more on that later) and hanging out with a little child. Just time with people who are so close to me but live so far away. Amazing yes, but not too much to report on there. But then again, what a good time we had just being us and being silly. Going out and having fun, staying in and having fun, from evenings jumping on the bed with my niece to late nights in the Northern Corner wearing hats and being ridiculous with new friends. Oh and there was my brother channeling Elton John, Nick eating a really big fish and two year old Sadie cooking us all dinner. I do seem to have a few photos of that: 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Gimme Some Skin

I wore a sheer top with only a bra underneath out one night last weekend. More provocative then my usual attire yes, but it was black and my skirt underneath was high-waisted and ultra-long so only a bit of skin showed and it was covered. My girlfriends thought it was cute or didn't even notice but my friend that's a guy thought it was crazy I would wear such a thing. But you know, the sheer trend has been around for awhile now and my attempt at it was pretty subtle compared to some. Ahem:
At least she didn't forget her socks...But anyway, I don't actually want to discuss the fact that this Italian fashionista (who has been popping up around the blogs for awhile now) wore such a get-up to an afternoon lunch in NYC. I want to talk about skin in general. It's everywhere! I posted about my obsession with but fear of wearing cutout dresses a bit ago and since then the trend has skyrocketed. Bits of skin, whether shoulders, rib cages, stomachs or backs are peaking out all over the place. And just in time for winter. I almost bought one in Manchester but I chickened out at the last minute. But maybe by the time spring rolls around I will own and feel confident enough to wear such a thing. I did just join the gym and this might actually just be a blog post to motivate me to go there this afternoon. :)
via Mr Newton (same with sheer on at the top)