What with my upcoming trip to India, I’ve been struggling to find time to fit in writing around all the planning. And when I plan a trip, I really plan a trip. No bars spared, I will put all my energy, concentration and every waking minute into making it as incredible an adventure as it can possibly be. I may end up completely drained and about to pass out from exhaustion but it will all have been worth it in the end!
For this trip, as well as getting an extortionate amount of tips from other bloggers and twitterers (the #travelindia hashtag by Poonam has been super helpful), I have been reading up on India from my stack of books. This is something I always do when I go away and I think it’s a great way to research.
I’ve also been collecting a delicious list of food, food and more food to eat while we’re away. The list is so long that, at this rate, I don’t think we’ll even get time to see the Taj Mahal! Foods such as thali and dosas have been making me dribble since reading about them, and drinks like chai and lassi sound oh so good.
The fact that it is now December has not been lost on me. Christmas is looming and I haven’t even given it a second’s thought. The closest I’ve come to buying any presents was taking my little sister to meet JLS and get her album signed a couple of weeks ago (and no, I did not get anything signed for myself!). I have not even browsed the shop windows for any presents, and the Christmas tree and decorations are staying firmly shut away in the cupboard at home. I’m not normally this miserable at Christmas, honest. Usually at this time of year, you’d see me jumping up and down with excitement, begging me to stop singing cheesy Christmas songs. But because I’m going to be away this year, my very first Christmas away from my family ever, I am desperately trying not to get into the festive spirit. This way, when it comes to Christmas day and I wake up in the middle of a hot desert in India, with no sack full of presents from Santa, no yummy roast made with love (and a few arguments) by my nan and grandad, and no silly games to play (and again, argue, over) with the rest of the family, I think I may just cry 😦
But I am really looking forward to having a completely different Christmas away from home, just me and Alex. I’ve tried to make it as different as possible from our normal Christmas, by timing it so that we will wake up in the middle of the Thar Desert on Christmas Day. This, at least, will make it a Christmas to remember.
Between all the travel planning, I have managed to squeeze in a couple of fun adventures in London though.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a Lapland in London event at Ice Bar sponsored by Cosmos. Not only was the Ice Bar somewhere I had wanted to go for a while, but I also love Lapland and it’s one of my favourite family holidays from when I was younger. Okay, I wasn’t that young, I was a teenager, but if you go to Lapland, it’s pretty much the law that you HAVE to sit on Santa’s knee however old you are!
Because this was a blogger event we were treated to free drinks all night and I have to say that the Northern Light cocktail was chilled to perfection and fitted right in with the theme of the evening.
We started off with a bit of fun – some ice sculpting! In a team with Kasha of Lines of Escape and Jess of The Fly Away American, we attempted to recreate a polar bear, the original of which received the obligatory oohs and ahhs. Kasha and I took a more gentle approach, while Jess hacked away at our polar bear (losing us a big chunk of its behind in the process!) and we ended up with something that looked less like a polar bear and more like…erm…a jagged lump of ice.
We then donned our Little Blue Riding Hood-esk cloaks and thick gloves and made our way into the -5°C Ice Bar where the walls, bar, tables and even your glasses are all made from ice straight out of Sweden. Despite the cosy gloves, my fingers started to get a bit numb towards the end and my glass starting melting where I kept taking sips from it! So the 40 minute time slot you get inside is perfectly enough!
I also managed to squeeze in a catch up with Kasha this week. Despite me being born in London and living here my whole life, I left the choosing of the venue down to Kasha, even though she has only lived in London for the last year, as she seems to find some great little spots. And this one was definitely a good find. Bibimbap, a South Korean café style restaurant in Soho, which proved to be very popular from the queue that was waiting outside before the place even opened. Neither of us had ever tried Korean food but it was surprisingly tasty and has left me wanting to go back again.
Adventures aside, trying not to get into the Christmas spirit is proving to be very difficult when the streets are filled with bright twinkly lights and a giant snow globe in London’s Piccadilly, work, friend’s houses and restaurants are full of decorations and Christmas songs are on repeat in every shop I go into. But even though I won’t really get a traditional English Christmas this year, I know that it will be one I will never forget.