I’m thinking of starting a new tradition: spending a few days in London around Christmastime. I did it in November 2016 and then again in December 2017. And both times, it was amazing! London is one of my favourite cities and I just love Christmas. And since London tends to go quite Christmas-crazy as of mid-November, it’s the perfect place for me! Two fun facts for you guys from that trip:
- I learned that the British Library has a copy of every book ever published in the UK. What I would give to get my name in there someday…
- And I encountered the most amazing language play while on a bus tour of the city: “Artists, writers and philosophers who lived in squares and loved in triangles.”
We were only there for three short days, which included a day-long bus tour, a trip to West End and walks through the city. Now, to be honest, these walks usually lead us through shopping streets, obviously completely by chance… So we got a lot of shopping done!
We stopped by most of the big department stores like Harrods, Debenhams, Selfridges, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer. We also spent quite a bit of time in the Primark and Disney Store on Oxford Street! So let’s start with the Disney stuff: I found this amazing Baymax mug (from Big Hero 6) in the Disney Store. It’s huge, like almost cereal bowl huge, but I love it! On the insides are little faces showing human emotion from terribly sad to very happy. I love this detail indicating “don’t talk to me before you see the happy face appear on the inside.” At Primark, I found a fun pajama top which combines my love of Disney with my love of books. It has a picture of Chip from Beauty and the Beast with the inscription “my weekend is all booked up”. Love it!
Being the Harry Potter fan that I am, means that of course, I couldn’t come home with some new Harry Potter merch! So I went a little crazy at Primark and came home with a beautiful Hogwarts throw, a cauldron mug, and a nightshirt.
In one of the department stores, I forgot which one, I also found this amazing Niffler teddy bear. It’s just the right size to sit on my bookshelf between all my Harry Potter books. It even has a little pouch where you can store coins (or whatever else you want of course).
I also bought a bunch of tea in several department stores. I absolutely love green tea, but here in Belgium most stores only sell basic green tea or green tea with lime. But London has so many flavours of tea, it’s almost dizzying. So I bought a bunch of amazing mixes, based on green tea with fruity accents.
And last, but certainly not least, books! Since I only had small luggage and couldn’t take too many extra bags back with me, I didn’t buy too many books. Only three! And three books I’m really excited to read! Here they are:
- The Christmasaurus: The Musical Edition by Tom Fletcher
Publication date: November 17th, 2017
The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have an extraordinary adventure. It’s about friendship and family, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible… The Christmasaurus: The Musical Edition includes 14 songs on CD, all written and performed by Tom Fletcher, accompanied by a full orchestra with performances by Giovanna Fletcher, Carrie Hope-Fletcher and Santa Claus! And listen out for newcomer Max Reader singing ‘Someone More Than Me’ and Harry Judd on drums in ‘Afraid of Heights’.
- Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Publication date: October 4th, 2016
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool. Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.
- Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Publication date: October 10thn 2017
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city and confront her deadly fate once and for all.
I had an amazing time in London and I’ll definitely be going back this year (in 2018). Probably again around Christmas, because it’s just such a magical time there!