Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Interesting architecture - I'm just in love with French shutters....
I'm not sure when we shall have the opportunity for another sojourn in the sun as tomorrow I begin a new venture...a three year commitment to a Bachelor of Science degree...am I completely crazy I ask myself? It all seems a bit 'other worldly' as I sit here on a lazy Sunday afternoon (don't think there will be too many of those for the forseeable future!) Anyway, I shall keep you posted - wish me luck & I hope to find the time to come over and catch up with all your news soon...not sure how much time I shall have so if you're wondering where I've gone, it's just to a comfy sofa with a pile of reading material! Whatever your plans for the autumn (or Spring if you're in the southern hemisphere) enjoy!.........s
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Outings are a military operation complete with snacks, lunch, drinks, potties, clean clothes, clean shoes etc. A walk up the lane becomes an adventure...the smallest diversion in the day is a memory to be treasured and talked about for a long time....these small people are a constant reminder to stop, look and listen - life is all about the here and now - smell the roses and celebrate the everyday.
After a last walk to pick blackberries and feed ducks on the canal, we have waved them off wedged into the car between bags of nappies, travelling highchairs & travel cots.....having enjoyed their visit immensely but secretly thanking our lucky stars that we are off to France tomorrow a deux with no necessity to take along any other parapheranlia apart from our own clothes, shoes, reading materials and a camera......ah yes, the joys of (grand)motherhood........s
Friday, 3 September 2010
We nestled into the sandy dunes and watched yachts racing in the harbour with Spinnaker Tower glistening in the background and far reaching views beyond to the Isle of Wight...
We wound up the day stopping at http://www.thefishhouse.co.uk/ for oysters and champagne...a perfect end to a perfect day........s
Thursday, 2 September 2010
White powdery sand, sun drenched beach grasses and bleached to pale gorgeousness beach huts.......answer tomorrow!..........s
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
I found a place in south London called Crumbs and Doilies and they came to my rescue with dozens of beautifully decorated indulgent cakes (two sizes - diet and don't care..) On Saturday morning, we set off early for London, complete with topcake, ribbons etc., collected the cupcakes and zipped down the A3 to Petersfield to the Real Flower Company to collect some of their magnificent scented garden roses to decorate the finished cake. We were lucky enough to find they had some 'chocolate' coloured roses in stock - hard to see from the photo, they are a burnished pinky chocolate colour. Off we went, now laden with buckets of roses, be-ribboned boxes of cakes, bags of ribbon and a fragile iced topcake. The tower doesn't close to the public until 6.00 p.m. and it was about 6.20 p.m before we managed to get everything into the fast lift which whisks you to the top - 30 minutes before the guests were arriving & a seven tier confection to assemble! It was finished with literally moments to spare and I slipped on my high heels as the first drinks were being poured! Talk about stress! This is the end result - I think they liked it - there wasn't a crumb left at the end of the night so I'm presuming they did! I'm crossing Wedding Cake Supplier off my list of potential business ventures as I type this......
Monday, 23 August 2010
Lydia Gifford is photographed at Giffords' Circus - you can read more about Giffords' Circus in a post Sarah at http://www.semiexpat.blogspot.com/ did a while back. I love these photos - you can almost forget they are trying to sell you something! You can see more about the idea behind the photos at http://www.lkbennett.com/life%20is%20the%20occasion.
Have a great week & don't forget - Life IS the occasion....enjoy it........s
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Her name is Olga Wilson and she has a business in Vegas called Dott Photography - She puts a small selection of her work on the blog part of her website and it was there I have to say I saw the best wedding photography I think I have ever seen. Today, she posted some of the brilliant shots she took of Neil and Sam's wedding last week - I truly think they are the most innovative, clever and inspirational photos - she has captured the fun loving spirit of both the bride and the groom and given them a series of images of their special day so beautiful and original.....
Do you remember the days when wedding photography meant taking photos of the bride getting ready, the groom shaking hands with the best man, the happy couple standing in the doorway of the venue and some photos of all the relatives looking bored? (That was if you could round them all up at the same time and get them to stand still for long enough!) The result was usually an album filled with photos of wooden looking couples, nervous looking bridesmaids and startled guests which then gathered dust in a cupboard....not any more!
I sent the link to my GG in Sydney and got a reply to the effect that no matter where her wedding takes place, she is going to fly this talented girl to take her photos! (she must be good!)
Take a look & let me know what you think! http://www.dottphotography.com/
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Today, 11th August, on the terrace of the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas, my handsome boy will marry his fiancee and girlfriend of 11 years...
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Firstly, my darling baby girl was packing her case to return to Sydney uni for the start of the new semester - we have tried (unsuccessfully) to convince her to travel light (I couldn't quite work out what she could possibly be bringing with her when she arrived here as her chest of drawers in her bedroom was completely stuffed full of her clothes, along with the one in the guest room). Nevertheless, after a 'massive clearout' when she was feeling up to it and the glandular had subsided a bit, when the inevitable day of packing bags for the return trip dawned, this was the scene:
A couple of years ago, we invested in some luggage scales and what a great investment they turned out to be - I'm sure they have saved hundreds in over-weight baggage charges......when they were pressed into action, I breathed a sigh of relief.....she proclaimed her bags to be well within the allowed weight and off we went to Heathrow (yet again.....)
On arrival at the check-in desk, we duly loaded the bags onto the luggage scale and noted the solemn look on the face of the girl checking her in...she pronounced that the bags were 'at least six kilos over' - I looked at my GG and she responded with a puzzled expression...pressed further, she explained that she had only weighed the large one! We never actually got to the bottom of why she thought the other one was either weightless or would be disregarded by the airline! Oh, the innocence of youthful naivete! This girl has obviously never had to stand in a very long queue and hand over a very large sum of money because she couldn't bear to be parted from a large section of her wardrobe....
After some sweet-talking from the LAB (whose sales and negotiating skills come in very handy on such occasions) and the removal of a large coat from the bag - which she carried over her arm but still went onto the aircraft (not in the bag admittedly....)??!! she was on her way....
Another journey to Heathrow early this morning (not by me this time!).....my son and his fiancee were flying to Las Vegas to be married on the 11th August....the main topic of conversation for the last few weeks has been........no, not the venue, flowers, food, guests or accommodation.......but the troublesome problem of how this diminutive girl was going to transport her HUGE dress from here to there....
(This is a model wearing a very similar dress from the collection by the same designer)
I visited them last week and also pondered the mission ahead....THE DRESS had to be moved so that I could sleep in their guest bedroom (it actually took up most of the space in the room!) I took with me suitcases of varying sizes and we all put our heads together to solve this mathematical problem - one VERY large dress + one VERY small girl + a possibly tight squeeze in the storage locker in the aircraft cabin = a BIG headache; or, alternatively:
one VERY large dress inside a VERY large suitcase checked into the hold + an inattentive baggage handler = an even BIGGER headache...
Eventually, it was decided that the best course was not to let THE DRESS out of sight, resulting in son, girlfriend and dress all boarding a flight to Vegas this morning - at last contact, all were happily ensconced at the pointy end of the plane (frequent flyers saved for a long while specially for the occasion) and the champagne was flowing......happy days........s
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Maybe a painted white wooden bench, perfect for a sit down and a few minutes in the shady scent of some climbing roses before exploring more.....
The lavender has been at its best in the last few weeks....we have certainly been getting our money's worth from our National Trust membership! Gorgeous, gorgeous English gardens...I take my hat off to the army of dedicated gardeners who keep these gardens looking like this...they work tirelessly to bring their gardens to the peak of perfection during the summer months & perfect they certainly are.....
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Meanwhile, the BF has arrived and the M.H has become tourist central with mother/handmaiden now also undertaking the role of tour guide....resulting in lots of driving to destinations near and far. Boyfriend and GG are ensconced with her brother in Hampshire this weekend so mother/handmaiden/tour guide gets five minutes to update you all!
We enjoyed what was probably the hottest day of the year so far at Hampton Court yesterday:
The day before - a visit to Mottisfont Abbey, a National Trust property in the Test Valley in Hampshire. The walled garden is magnificent and the property is situated right on the river Test with it's clear cool water and abundance of trout...just beautiful; if you get the chance, do go. (Note - This is probably one for mother/handmaiden and her friends....I got the feeling that Aussie boyfriend and GG weren't quite as appreciative.....)
As lovely as all this summer bounty is, there has been an underlying sense of melancholy this past week. I mentioned in a previous post that my dear friend in Sydney had received bad news at Christmas time. She had been on a revolutionary treatment and we were all hopeful for a good outcome. I spent some happy time with her recently in Sydney and we joked that when we used to talk about our upcoming 50th birthdays (we were only 3 months apart in age), spending it in Sydney's RPA hospital wasn't part of the plan...A week ago on Friday I got the call from her husband I had hoped I would never receive....she died early on Friday morning and her funeral was held on Tuesday....I am so, so sad that I will never again enjoy a laugh over morning coffee with her or have our usual late afternoon chat about what's on the menu for dinner. Her daughters are the same age as mine and my heart breaks for them....
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
It's been ages since I managed to update you with my news so here I am...back in the depths of the countryside and happy to be home. However, I'm not so happy that my GG has had to finish the university semester early and join me because she has been suffering (badly) from the after effects of glandular fever. It's truly debilitating and is really taking it's toll on her health. It was wonderful spending a few weeks in Sydney and having the opportunity to see her perform brilliantly well in the College play but I don't really know how she managed it - the effects of glandular are well documented and can take literally months (with lots of TLC) to dissipate.
The recommendation from all the medics is 'take it easy' - all the rest in the world doesn't seem to be making a whole lot of difference so homeopathy here we come.....(thanks Jeanne, I think it's the only option when you're exhausted from all the Doctor's visits)
Any suggestions gladly received! Meanwhile, I shall continue to languish in my imaginary hammock whilst running up and down three flights of stairs with quantities of vitamins, bowls of fruit and juice and hope for a speedy recovery! Hope all is well with all of you - I have been checking in to see what you've all been up to - apologies for the lack of news from the M.H - will try to do better!
Thursday, 20 May 2010
This was the view out towards Sydney heads - the water looked so inviting and I was reminded of so many picnics on this beach..fish and chips from the 'Bottom of the Harbour' accompanied by a bottle of icy cold bubbly....
Friday, 14 May 2010
Within the boundary of their property they grow these: Magnificent roses, white and profuse - to me, the two don't go together....rose gardens mean lush, green, damp.....don't they? Another anomaly which is Australia....
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
to surprise my G.G for her birthday on Thursday & boy, was she surprised! I hadn't told her I was coming and after arriving in Sydney on Sunday afternoon I thought I would send her a casual text on Monday morning and ask where she was....she said she was in her room at Sydney Uni so I hastily drove over, parked up and made my way to her room, knocked on the door and......well, I can tell you it wasn't me she was expecting to see when she opened it. Tears all round, lots of hugs and a wonderful reunion was had by all. She will be 20 on Thursday so I have made a reservation at one of Sydney's best restaurants and all I need to do now is get over the jetlag enough to enjoy it. Yesterday I was running on adrenalin but today the zombie like state has kicked in and I'm not quite sure if it's breakfast time or time for bed...but never mind, I'm so happy to be here and able to celebrate her birthday, watch her perform in the College play and, as a small bonus, it's Mothers Day here on Sunday! Will keep you posted!..........s
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
They take off (do balloons take off? Or do they lift off? Or float off?.....whatever) from an area close by to the Royal Crescent Hotel....fortuitously this happens at about the same time the LAB has had enough of trailing from shop to shop with me (apparently the most difficult shopper according to various sources so I can't blame him really)...
agree that this is an excellent idea and that he should order me a G & T, glass of bubbly or whatever the tipple of the day might be and that I shall be 'along in a few minutes'.
About (on average) an hour later I join him at one of these tables in the garden of this magnificent hotel and we enjoy a post-stressful shopping aperitif whilst admiring the balloons by now climbing high above us.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
This photo of the Queen with Prince Albert was taken by Roger Fenton - the couple are in court dress, having just attended a 'Drawingroom' - an occasion at St. James's Palace where people were presented to the Queen.
This dress of silk, lace, gold braid and seed pearls was designed for Victoria by Eugene Lami and is thought to be the most glamorous of the surviving clothes made for her. It was for the Stuart Ball in 1851 and inspired by the Court of Charles II. The couple were apparently fond of costume balls and hosted and attended many. In the coronation year of 1838 she attended the theatre or opera 36 times and gave a whole series of balls at Buckingham Palace, nine of which featured Johann Strauss the elder and his orchestra! By the time she wore this dress, she had already had seven of her nine children....look at the size of the waist!
I learned so much I didn't know and saw a whole new side to Victoria...it has definitely re-awakened my interest in her and the elements of her character which maybe became suffocated by the overwhelming grief which overtook her when her beloved Albert succumbed to typhoid fever at the tender age of 42 on 14th December 1861 at Windsor Castle. I thought I might not bother to go and see this - it looked a bit 'same old, same old' but I'm really glad I did. Go if you get the chance and if not, have a look at it in more detail at http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/.
Monday, 12 April 2010
We are so lucky to have a number of beautiful English 'country house' hotels nearby & to celebrate the LAB's birthday yesterday, decided to visit Lucknam Park, a luxurious property & a member of the Relais & Chateaux group of hotels, for lunch. They have a michelin starred restaurant 'The Park' but unfortunately it's not open on Sundays so we had to 'slum' it in the Brasserie instead!!! The grounds are magnificent - how about this garden room, complete with wicker furniture and a working fireplace?
Glorious gardens, bursting into life:
Attached to the brasserie (where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of local pork, sorry no photo, I was ravenous by the time it arrived and demolished it before even thinking to record the food!) is the Spa...a place of tranquil luxury where I wouldn't mind spending a day or five....you can buy a membership which enables you to use the 'facilities' including the gym, pool, steam room etc. for a mere 2,475 GBP a year (excluding treatments!). After your spa session, you can have your hair done by the resident (very popular, book 6 weeks ahead) hairdresser and meet a friend for lunch in the Brasserie - or book in at the equestrian centre for an afternoon of riding! What a gorgeous place....check it out at www.lucknampark.co.uk.