We planned the day full of Christmas treats. From morning to night. I spent a lovely morning with Allie rummaging through all the goodies at the One Of A Kind Show at the Convention Centre. Knowing that I had only a couple of hours before meeting up with the other girls for afternoon tea, I did my speedy, mad chicken walk around the show.
Scope. Then go back if I needed to.
I did spot some things that I really liked. Surprisingly, the one item that I bought... I had bought last year. It's a repeat gift. A repeat gift?! Yah. That's right. I gifted it last year to one friend. Then another friend came to mind this year. Nothing wrong with getting the same gifts when you're pretty sure they're gonna love it!
Then, I met up with Karen, Ray, Cathy, Wendy, Sam, Jen and Anthony for afternoon tea at Xishi. Phew! That's a long list. Karen chose the venue 'cause she's been, liked it, and wants us to try it. Xishi is essentially the lobby lounge restaurant at the Shangri La Hotel.
I was the first one there.
An older man approached me at the table where I was sitting and introduced himself. He was the pianist who would later serenade us with beautiful Christmas songs on his grand. I told him that there was no need for such introduction, since we had purposely booked that timeslot for afternoon tea knowing that he would be there to perform. We've been there before and have heard him play. Karen, in particular, is infactuated with his music, which is apparent why she is so if you've heard him play. He looked a bit surprised by my comment, but thanked me and said he's flattered.
Shortly after, the rest arrived and we enjoyed a lovely Christmas afternoon tea together.
(Not pictured : Jen, Anthony, and I. Spent more time enjoying tea and took only a couple quick shots with my phone).
As part of their seasonal offers, we also got a complimentary hot chocolate and gingerbread man cookie. (As if there wasn't enough sugar already!). Sad to say that I took a sip of the hot chocolate, and couldn't finish it all. It was so decadently rich.... too much to wash down all the sugar with more sugar. I took the gingerbread man cookie home... but it too went to waste.
A few tables away from us was Laurence Fishburne. Y'know, the Matrix? Ahh, star sightings always make your day a little more interesting for some reason.
There was a great variety of sandwiches and the scones were crumbly but fluffy. I was rather disappointed in the dessert tier 'cause they all seemed to be mostly chocolate. I would have preferred a variety. It didn't matter anyway 'cause I was so full from everything else, I didn't make it far thru the desserts. The best part was their own blends of tea. Rich enough for you to add cream and sugar if you so desire. I would recommend the afternoon tea at the Shangri La Hotel if you haven't tried it. It is a bit on the pricier side. If you haven't tried afternoon tea at all, then I still would recommend Secret Garden in Kerrisdale for a more homey alternative. Just my preference. I don't know what is more "authentic". The couple times I went to afternoon high tea in London (where it originated), it was all very glitzy rather than homey, but it may have been the choice of place.
We walked off all that yummy goodness with a stroll in the crisp air. We did a bit of browsing along Robson St. before we headed to St. Andrews Church.
Another VSO concert! I let the music lull me to contentment. Jen was super excited awaiting the Nutcracker. There is something about sitting in a church and listening to classical music or plain Christmas classics that eases your mind into a peaceful state. For the duration of the concert, you tend to forget the rest of the world... simply making you enjoy the present. The master of ceremony and the conductors were hilarious. A VSO concert is not all just around the instruments! And another thing about them? They never disappoint.
It was a wonderful winter night. Festive music. Beautiful church. Great company. What more can one ask for...