Sunday, 4 December 2011


St Pancras Hotel
its been quite a while since i posted - i've had a busy November with a trip to Brussels and my birthday weekend - which included a fab overnight stay at the glorious newly revamped St Pancras Hotel courtesy of my bezzy brussel sprout, Kate.  originally built in the 1860s and designed by George Gilbert Scott (who also made the Albert Memorial) it was previously known as the The Midland Grand - a gothic delight with painted ceilings & stonework, granite pillars and a grand wrought iron double staircase.  its popularity declined after 30 years mainly due to practicalities (with 300 rooms but only 5 bathrooms with 9 baths!) and the concrete floors prevented updating the plumbing system. the building survived WWII and attempts to knock it down by London planners in the 1960s - it eventually managed to secure a Grade 1 listing and part of the building continued to be used as an entrance to St Pancras station, but it was finally abandoned by British Rail in the 1980s, when it fell into disrepair. it was only in the 1990s, when St Pancras was chosen as the Eurostar terminus, that it had a chance of rebirth.  What a joy it is to see this beautiful building restored, with many of its original features. it has a great history and its been used as setting for many films, including scenes from Joseph Losey's 1963 classic The Servant,  and if you can't stretch to a room i would highly recommend a trip to the Booking Office bar for some delicious parmesan and truffle oil chips and a bloody mary - perfect after a heavy night celebrating a birthday!
The old booking office, now the bar
Kate & Steve on the grand staircase
my complimentary slippers ("you look lovely tonight, madam")

after a weekend of being spoilt, late nights and rather a lot of alcohol -  i needed to blow the cobwebs out with some fresh air,  just as it was beginning to get cold and foggy (and feeling like winter at last after our unseasonally warm autumn).  many of the tallest buildings have recently become engulfed in old school London fog and its all starting to resemble the days of Jack the Ripper with a proper pea-souper!
the Post Office...sorry..BT Tower is disappearing
birthday mattress spotting
i did manage to take a trip on the train to Richmond and cycle along the river - but didn't make it to Richmond Deer Park to see the rutting deer - have to go back another day. 
a lovely wintery view of the river at Richmond
under Richmond Bridge
Richmond's Old Deer Park
now that December has arrived, the heating is on, and i can fully accept that its really time to start getting merry - having tried to ignore the decorations and shop windows screaming christmas since September in some cases (ridiculous).
evidence of merriment at Kate's house party in Brussels!
HOLY COW! Bart gets zen before his trip to Nepal the next morning!
the last weekend in November i went to visit my grandparents in South Wales - it was their 70th wedding anniversary (yes, SEVENTIETH!).  sadly they both suffered a stroke a couple of years ago and cannot communicate verbally - but you just need to see them as they hold hands and stare into eachother's eyes and seem to be in their own little world together - my grandad even bought new matching wedding rings as a present for my Nanna - it just warms the cockles of your heart.
the way they were....
Congratulations - Anne & George Rees!
 and so, to mark the arrival of December -  i whipped up a quick Mattressland Advent Calendar this weekend....guess what's behind each door...yup...mattresses from around the world of course!

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