We started our celebration at home, decorating a bit for the first time in years….
We hosted new son in law and daughter Casey for an early Christmas dinner and then popped up to Northern California for a visit with granddaughter Sam, followed by granddaughter Layla, born this year, and Malayna, almost four! Malayna is sporting her new outfit bought for her during an outing to Sarasota earlier this year. She loves its and will love wearing it with her sister Layla's 12month old version as soon as she grows into it!
A Christmas Eve visit took us to Son Brian's house which he and new daughter in law Kelly have made into a warm welcoming environment. It was a beautiful evening.
We stayed at the lovely boutique Valencia hotel in Santana Row and met good friends Char and Rose (30+ years and counting) for a delightful dinner outing.
Christmas Eve had us joining our daughter Lucia's and husband Ethan's parents at their inviting home where we were treated to a beautiful dinner, nice company and the delight of children at Christmas.
All of the above provided much needed relaxation with family and friends, which is always good for the creative process.
On the spur of the moment, I think we made the plan about three days before Christmas, we decided to spend some time in one our favorite cities, London, England! Fortunately Mark and I have similar travel personalties and were excited to spend a few days absorbing the many museums and artistic images that London has to offer.
We previously stayed at Citizen M, a new hotel concept popping up in larger cities. The rooms are small, with large beds, all conveniences controlled by a tablet in the room, modern in decor and the lobby is a huge living room with books and computers, and food and drink where people can spend their social time, using the room mostly for sleep. I like it, so we elected to go back. The neighborhood is between southwark and london bridge stations and home to a lot of new restaurants, and the Tate Modern. It was walking distance to Tower of London, the Thames, Borough market and if ambitious Convent Garden. We were ambitious clocking between 17,000 and 20,000 steps each day we were there.
Here is a view of the close by iconic Shard. The trip to top seemed prohibitively expensive and not something we needed to do, but the visual from ground is breathtaking.
I had never previously been to Tower of London, which I found fascinating. The amount of creative craftsmanship and beauty put into weaponry was so odd to see. I sadly still have not seen the Crown Jewels as the queue was way way too long the day I chose to be there. But it was a fun visit.
I have a lot more photos to share from the various museums we visited, the favorite probably being the Wallace Collection. Again there was a huge weapon collection with incredible detail and yes beauty….odd.
I have a lot of beady inspiration, so the artist date concept worked well here.
I will leave you with a festive and opulent vision from one of the spectacular Fortnum and Mason windows.