.: Syon Park Christmas Lights :.

I know it’s February and probably everyone is thinking about Valentine’s day, on how to celebrate it or ignore it completely (I’m the 2nd) but since it’s still winter, Christmas still comes to my memory. Truth is I’m just massively late editing my photos.

If there’s one thing I love about Christmas it’s the decorations and lights. London is absolutely brilliant for the Christmas Lights lovers. Last year I went to Kew Gardens this year I went to Syon Park which is really close by anyway and I have to say I was really impressed.

What is your favourite place for Christmas Lights?

.: Home :.

After quite an emotional post here, time to share the photos from Christmas day.

Ok, maybe I need to explain what Christmas means for me at home. It means being all together, in peace (and although this might be taken as granted, it’s not always the case), and following the traditions of a lifetime and making a few on the way.

We start by celebrating Christmas on the 24th Dec Eve (Consoada), which is when the family gathers around the table. Before that normally means buying “bolo rei” (our traditional cake) and wrapping last minute presents. For me it means recheck all the stuff I’ve brought with me from London.

This year we had a Cod-war. This was one of the traditions we’ve decided to break a few years ago. Rather than having the traditional boiled and boring cod (see more about Portuguese christmas tradition here) we’ve decided to try different ones. Last year we had baked cod with clams which is absolutely delicious. My dad wanted to ensure we would have a good dinner with no surprises therefore he wanted to prepare the same. Not my sister though. She loves surprises and trying different food. She wanted a special cod baked in corn-bread. It seemed like a complicated recipe, and it really was. While my dad had finished dinner we were still half way there with ours. But it was good fun to try to prepare something together. (If you can read Portuguese this is the recipe)

Cod Nr 1 – declared the winner of the night – Cod with clams

12376450_10206350874625512_2108891449608715519_n

Cod nr 2 – It was really good and an interesting mix, but we should have baked the sweet potatoes at the bottom a bit better. I’m sure we’ll improve next time.

12375968_10206351000828667_4317909673228678129_n

My sister also did a lemon tart.

1934472_10206351106831317_7183345847089775633_n

We also have port wine after the meal (there’s always a good reason to have Port). Rather than sharing gifts on the eve, we all go to bed and leave it for next morning. When we were kids we used to wake up really early and jump in our parents bed with all the excitement of the presents. Nowadays it’s my dad that wakes us up. We had breakfast together than we pick my grandparents and group in the living room to open the presents. But there’s another twist here. We don’t open all at the same time. No. Tradition at home says that it’s the oldest that starts first and we all wait for each other. We all like it that way 🙂

After lunch as a family (yap even more food), we normally go out for a walk on the beach. The perks of being a south Portuguese. The weather, much like in London, was really mild and luckily quite sunny too.

DSC06084 DSC06081 DSC06060 DSC06052 DSC06049 DSC06030  DSC06012

And I couldn’t resist photographing my sister and the new hat

DSC06085

DSC06018

Next day it was time to get back into the UK. Once I was back in London, we’ve ended up preparing Cod for the 2 of us as well. So Cod nr 3 is a kind of a tortilla and a well know traditional dish (bacalhau a bras).

1916652_10206361929981889_4828447944311236872_n

How do you celebrate your Christmas? Any special moment or memory you would like to share?

.: Kew Christmas Lights :.

Why did I wait so long?
I know about Kew Christmas lights ever since I moved to this area, and that was 4 years ago. Yap 4 years waiting to go! I guess the best tip is don’t leave it to the end. The weather in December and January tends to be quite rubbish so the best is to go at the beginning. This was the first weekend of the Kew Christmas Lights and finally I’ve booked tickets in advance.

My photos are a bit rubbish because I didn’t took the tripod with me. His photos will be a lot better because he was clever whereas I was the lazy one. But regardless of the quality of my photos

The fire garden was one of my favourite. Just looking into the fire and watching the flames was so relaxing and warm!

I totally recommend you to go there. Loads better than the overrated Christmas wonderland. There are not many market stalls, but they are spread along the gardens in case you need a hot chocolate to keep you going. I also had a hot dog before returning back home and it was quite tasty.

The night trail is available until 2nd of January, for more information visit the Kew Gardens website.

Have you been at Kew Christmas Lights before? What’s your favourite Christmas Market in UK? (Oh yeah, to me nothing beats the german christmas markets)