December Dates

The holiday season brings out the lover in me. It’s something about those festive activities that become beautiful stolen moments and end up being wonderful impromptu dates. Not just with your significant other, but friends and family too.

These moments happen all year round too, of course, and are just as wonderful, but I cannot deny loving dates set against a backdrop of twinkling fairy lights, Christmas music, seasonal food and the hope of snow. So here are some of my favourite places and ways to spend time with the special people in my life.

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The Christmas Market

Toronto’s Christmas Market is in the beautiful Distillery District, which just oozes with romantic nostalgia of the past and brings so much flavour to the tradition of these German markets. In the UK, my sister and I would always do them together, it was our thing, depending on which city we were in at the time, we would always eat way too much free stollen and pretzels.

I think they are gorgeous places to go on dates because they engage all your senses. There is much to see and do, with divine smells wafting from cute little wooden shacks, you can try different foods together while cozying up to each other and making your way along cobbled paths. Toronto’s Christmas Market has lots going on during the week and at the weekend. Peruse the stalls, get some hot drinks and find a warm spot in front of their outdoor bonfires.

Love & Pizza

If there are two things that go hand in hand, it is pizza and my love of it. When I was living on the Isle of Man, Isola was and still is one of my favourite restaurants in the world. It is small but the food is really good. My favourite floor is their cellar, which is part of the restaurant and is decorated with barrels, lovely artwork, soft light and candles. I took Ahmed there last year while we were visiting the Isle of Man, sharing a pizza (or two) is my favourite way to celebrate loved ones.

The first time I went to Lil’ Baci in Leslieville, I got that homely feeling. You are greeted with the smell of pizza and a warm glow. The restaurant and patio have a lovely ambience, and it is always a great evening with your significant other or friends. Their pizzas are really good especially with the chillies they serve on the side. While we mostly go in the summer because we enjoy walking to Leslieville, it’s stunning there right now with all the pretty lights. Lil’ Baci is the perfect chilled out or dressed up dinner date spot.

All day, everyday

I walk past 7 West a lot on the way to ballet school. The other day they were putting up their decorations and it looked even prettier than usual through the windows. I love this coffee shop, it’s my favourite place to make time stand still while I sip on something warm. The best part is you can go whenever you want because it is always open.

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The House Beyond The Poppies

The clouds looked like many angels looking down on those poppy fields and one hundred miles east from that flower there is a house. Yes, that deserted house whose windows weep with neglect. The dust from this house seeps from its emptiness and tries to connect with the crickets in the grass – the only sound for miles.

The mound of earth upon which this house stands resents its’ sorrow and its’ ache. No wolves come here anymore – they ravaged and reaped from its’ inception and left no flesh. Their howls do not carry so far to prize away the spirits whose fingerprints cling to the walls like the damp, deep smell of darkness.

Weary we came here – too damaged to care more or less for the wreckage. The burnt candles could still be lit and the stench did not worry noses that could not smell. We found recently dead birds and saved them from the carrion and baked them for our stomachs.

We tried to sleep but could not and lit up the poppies we found a hundred miles west from here – wherever here maybe and recited Shakespeare whilst trying to shoot up. Forget Shakespeare, even God would not save us now.

Photographs come tumbling out – like love songs and words that dictate memories about the things the people here have done. We find so many broken teacups in the wreckage of this house – they must have cut the fingers of the people who bought them and broke them. We realize the people who lived here were once in love – they have left their rust all over the place.

We realize that the birds we ate, were ravens. Two ravens in mourning. It could have been an oak tree outside that they sat in once. The last of it can be seen through the weeping window, dusty, cracked and broken.

Strands of film lace the stairs, pulled from their place – stretched out over time – mistreated dreams syndicated by the wood as their final resting place. The girl has dresses and they lie all over the place still in action as though she were a bodiless being. The boy wore glasses – only the rims are left and it seems he was soulless.

This house is no more deserted than a beating heart with out its love – it is simply broken and barely alive. It stays how it does so no one will come close to it again – it cannot stand to be loved anymore. It cannot bring itself to pump the blood around, the pipes in its body and house groan – we know now this groan is one of heartache.

The oak tree bent over backwards trying to keep everything alive. The ravens died waiting for their master and mistress to come back. The windows broke when it tried to shelter the lovers from their storm and we stumbled upon it because we were tired, tired of life.

Those lovers are gone and nostalgia tore them apart.

We live here now and we breathe life into the old place.