19 October 2016

The L.L. Bean Man


L.L. Bean Man
Once upon a time...a dear friend told my about "this guy" who she called the "L.L. Bean Man" because he never seemed to wear anything else but L.L. Bean attire. He was the good friend of her boyfriend at the time and she thought we might get along. We eventually met one snowy Super Bowl Sunday in Manhattan. That was over 30 years ago and today I am happily married to the L.L. Bean Man.

For those of you unfamiliar with L.L. Bean, it is an American retail company specializing in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment based in Freeport, Maine.  You can read all about it here.

If you live in New England chances are you will have at least one item from L.L. Bean. If you happen be be a member of our family you will have lost count of how many items in our house are from L.L. Bean. This is what happens when you marry the L.L. Bean Man.

Before you know it...you become the L.L. Bean Woman.

Ok...yes, I will qualify this with a simple truth.
In winter, I love TARTAN as much as I love TAHILLA.
Put them together and we have a whole lotta love going on.

This has to be my favourite winter shirt ever. 
I am sure my kids have wondered on more than one occasion 
if I will ever wear anything else. 
This is a seriously comfy shirt...I just love it.

Prince Charles Edward....my fav

Can one carry the Tartan too far?
I think not!

I can not promise you will win style awards
in the following ensemble but you sure will
be comfy.

If you slip these pajamas on,
you may never want to part with them,
especially on Christmas morning.

Tartan Flannel Pajama Set 
in Royal Stewart


I love the feel of this robe...it's incredibly soft
and generous in size.

Tartan Flannel Sherpa-Lined Robe
in Royal Stewart

Pop on these slippers and you are good to go!
I even recommend them for
 a bit of light snow shovelling.

Women's Wicked Good Moccasins
in Chocolate Brown

Excessive? Possibly?
Do I care? No!

Heritage Chamois Flannel Sheet Set
in Macbeth...dreamy

Tartan aside...

Mr. H stocked up on the Extra-Large
Boat and Tote Bag.
It is the perfect size for everything...
travel, grocery shopping,
laundry, storage...
you name it, we use it.

It took six month in the making
and it was worth the wait for a pair of
Women's Bean Boot, 10" Shearling-Lined

We purchased two of these coats for the winter guests...
there is always a traveller from the Southern Hemisphere
who never fully appreciates a New England winter.

Original Field Coat with PrimaLoft Liner



You can stack it here...
 Wood Storage Rack

Carry it with this..
Dura Tough Standing Log Carrier

and store it here.
Waxed Canvas Storage Tote

Bit mad for the tartan yourself?
Check these out!

Personalized Dog Bone Pillow, Plaid

That's a whole lotta L.L. Bean love there!
Have I missed anything?
Do you have a L.L. Bean tried and true?
Would love to know.

Happy Browsing!

Jeanne xx

Post #2

Product shots via L.L. Bean

13 October 2016

The Story of Buddha...

The Mom Talk...
I recently gave one of my children 'the talk' about setting goals, staying motivated, focused and moving forwards. After giving myself a pat on the back for a mom talk well done...I turned to my blog and realized I should practise what I preach. Just 20 posts and it is already October...yikes. So...I have set my own goal, a personal one.

The 30/60 Writing Challenge..
Here it is...Thirty posts in 60 days to be completed by December 31, 2016.  It also allows me travel time and down time and thinking time in between. And...I think it will help keep my sanity. I have roughly 80 days to accomplish this task. I think I can do it...and if I am feeling really ambitious I might just hit 40 and pass the 2015 mark of 56 posts. I have a list and a lot of air miles to cover between now and the end of the year. I think it will be fun! I hope you do too!

Happy Me! 
And...I am celebrating another anniversary this month...seven years ago in October 2009 we were packing up our home in New Zealand to move to England. And I thought...why not write about this crazy life I live in? Well, I can't believe I have blogged through three country moves with one more to come. If you are wondering where that might be....stay tuned...all will be revealed in my 30/60 writing challenge. ;)

Shall we get started? #1
I want to thank you all for your very inspiring and thoughtful suggestions to my decorating conundrum. So many wonderful ideas...and similar ones too. We are all on the same page. Thank you!

Pam in New Hampshire asked me about the story behind the large Buddha wood carving that used to hang in our entry at Chateau Mango in Vietnam. I have been meaning to write about it and thought now is as good as time as any.

The story begins..
It all started in a shop around the corner from where we live in Ho Chi Minh City. It was early days, maybe a week or two after moving to our new house that I stumbled upon this shop. In fact, what drew me in was the statue sitting on the center of the table. I had seem something similar in a local museum and thought it might be a nice starter to our Chateau Mango collection. Of course, I couldn't help but notice the wood carving of the Buddha behind it...and I adored it but at 8' tall and 200 lbs I thought it might be one of those things that I would come to regret purchasing. So I left the store...empty handed.

Over the next month, I went in and out of the shop...in a state of ' do I or don't I?". In case you guessed, I am not very good with on the spot decisions...especially big ones. A month later I took Mr. H along for his thoughts...and he loved it. That did it, we bought it...size and weight would be a problem for another day. 

That day started one day later when three men delivered it and started chatting, measuring and scratching their heads on the best way to hang this more than life size piece of art. Lucky for them they only had to hang it two feet off the ground.

"Maybe if we..."

Mission accomplished, we placed it in our entry. 
For four years, Buddha welcomed us home in Vietnam.

Happy Buddha...hanging Chateau Mango, Vietnam

Buddha and Tahilla
I would like to mention that at the time of purchase, Tahilla Farm, our antique/new farmhouse in the woods of New Hampshire was just a smidge of a notion. I had yet to start my official house hunt when I bought this piece of art. The house hunt came two months later.

When I found Tahilla Farm I knew that Buddha would never see the light of day there...unless...we renovated.. and fortunately we did. When it came time to put ideas to paper with the architect I had one request...we had to allow a spot for this piece of art. We decided that the entrance was it's best shot and we 'drew it in'.

When our containers arrived this summer...Buddha was the one item I was most excited to see. It's time had come. Our construction crew had been hearing about "the big one" for over a year. Once it arrived I started to worry... that it might not work, that if might fall, I had all but given up the notion of hanging it. Then I realized...these were builders, they built our house. Surely they could handle a 200 pound wooden piece of art. I felt so much better once that clicked in my worrisome mind.

First they measured....
and I watched...nervously.

Then they measured again and 
brought in reinforcements
and I watched...
a tad less nervously.

And then they did it. 
Our Vietnamese Buddha 
had oficially found it's way home.
to Tahilla Farm.

Buddha greets one and all as soon as they enter
just as it did at Chateau Mango.
Peace reigns once again.

And that's the story of our Buddha
and its journey from Vietnam
to Tahilla Farm in the woods
of New Hampshire.

With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going
I'm already home.

Lyrics 'Living in the Moment' 
by Jason Mraz

For you..something to brighten your day. 
I hope you have a spectacular one!

Post #1 of 30.
29 more to go.

Thank you for reading along!

Jeanne xx

11 October 2016

Big Room, Little Room, Winter Room, Summer Room

We have all done it, moved from one humble abode to the next. There is no question that whenever you move houses you often do it with a hope and a prayer (unless you are exceedingly organized) hoping that you called it right and your furniture will transition easily into your new home.

That is the premise I always have worked with as we moved from home to home, country to country....a hope and a prayer. After 30 years, I managed to get it somewhat right...by barely a whisper at times, but I got it...until now.

So...I MIGHT have a decorating dilemma but then again I might not. Let's see what you think.


Home sweet home... Auckland, New Zealand 

The photo above was our living room in our home in Auckland, New Zealand. We purchased the couch, chairs, ottoman and bookcase to scale for 13' high ceilings. We filled the room, as we often do, to accommodate crowds of all sizes. With a family of six and then some you never can have enough places for people to lounge. 

And then we packed up and moved to England...where the bookcase made it into the new living room by nearly a whisper to accommodate the ceiling height of 8'. 

Home sweet home...Surrey, England

And then we packed up again and moved to Chateau Mango in Vietnam where we had a bit more breathing space, back to 13' ceilings.

Home sweet home Chateau Mango, Vietnam


And then...we packed up again and moved the room to Tahilla Farm....where the Little Room sits. Ok, I will be honest and admit that I knew from the get go that the bookcase would NEVER EVER fit into our 7' ceiling 'keeping room'*.  Not even a slight whisper was going to make that happen. It is currently in storage waiting for a barn renovation...(hint, hint Mr. H)

Bookcase aside, I was a bit overwhelmed when the furniture was placed in the room. It looked ENORMOUS compared to what was in there before...which was basically nothing. I felt like Goldilocks having a romp between rooms...this one is too big, this one is too little and this one...

I should mention that where that orange pillow sits slightly askew is my favorite spot to sit. Has been through all the houses and countries. Once the furniture went in I didn't know if I could ever sit in that spot again. It just didn't feel right...Goldilocks felt displaced.

But then a funny thing happened...often with coffee in hand I passed the kitchen, the family room, the reading nook...and plopped myself in that spot to ponder life. It feels cozy and warm and comforting...and that is when I decided to call it the Winter Room. What else can you call a room stuffed with furniture?

Home sweet home, Tahilla Farm in New Hampshire

The keeping room hearth


I know that one day soon, the hearth will be roaring and lights will be glistening, feet will be up on the ottoman...and I will be thinking about....wall color and upholstery because a creative mind never rests. It's time...and Mr. H has declared that two rooms filled with beige furniture is one room too many. So...I have things to consider...or rather you have something to consider. What would you do with this room? Wall color, upholstery? solids, patterns? It's way beyond my comprehension at the moment...but I would love to know your thoughts!

Before you carry on with that thought...here is a little insight into the family room alongside the kitchen...I call it the Summer Room. ;)


The kitchen/family room

And there you have it...our expat world merging into one. Australia, New Zealand, England, Vietnam...all our lives settled into a new/old farmhouse in New England. I should  mention that our original intention was to allow space for the big bookcase to the left of the fireplace above. Our architect rightly pointed out that it would be a shame to miss the southern light and view from the window built into the current bookcase...and he was so right.

And lastly...most important of all, I want to send a shout out to Mr. H for today is our 30th wedding anniversary. In typical Henriques style...he is in Cambodia and I am in Vietnam...we never seem to win when it comes to momentous occasions! We have postponed the celebration for a later date but today is the day when we tied the knot all those years ago. I would still follow him to the moon and back and around the world a few times!

Happy Anniversary Mr. H! 

Mr. and Mrs. H...30 years ago today.

So...what say you? 
The winter room...leave as is or give it a refresh? 
I am all eyes, your comments, as always, 
are so very much appreciated! 

Have a good one!

Jeanne xx

PS..wondering what a keeping room is? 
*The keeping room dates back to colonial times. It was often a multi-use room attached to the kitchen or part of it, compete with a fireplace or two for warmth and cooking. The historic section of our home dates back to 1790...hence the 'keeping room'.

02 October 2016

Travelling Spirit...are you ready to fly?

Lauren Bacall, Rome. 1960

I am feeling that whole 'woman on a mission' vibe that Lauren Bacall did so well. Since I last wrote I have started systematically checking my travel lists for upcoming trips to Sydney, Vietnam, Hong Kong, London and the USA. For the most part, I will be travelling solo, a mix of business and pleasure. The best part of all the air miles I am about to clock in is that I will be able to visit with my children in Sydney and celebrate a significant wedding anniversary in London with Mr. H...our 30th! I guess it is only appropriate that 30 years on we are still playing 'plane tag' across the globe.

"Sometimes the smallest step 
in the right direction 
ends up being the biggest step 
in your life."
~Naeem Callaway

Which brings me to one's travelling spirit, in particular, your travelling spirit. How do you feel about travel? Are you game or do you prefer the comforts of home? Do you say YES! when you start to read about an amazing travel experience? Or do you say YES!...but are happy to travel by armchair.

Do you find as the years go by that you are more keen to travel, or less so?

When you think about travelling...how and where do you see yourself travelling? With a partner, solo or with a group? Have you recently been on a trip? Do you have one coming up? Will you be travelling to new territory or returning to a place you feel a special connection to? Do you enjoy quiet reflective vacations or are you keen to experience it all?

Here is why I ask. In 2012, when we moved to Vietnam, I started a blog, Expat Diary Vietnam. As often happens in the blogging world, a blogging buddy, Millie, asked if I knew of Jean Wethmar who organized personal tours to Vietnam. Jean and I eventually connected and I mentioned her travel business on my blog for fellow readers looking to explore Vietnam. Another blogging friend, Linda  at Lulu's Musings was intrigued, contacted Jean, pulled together a few friends and off they went, with Jean to explore Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2013. I called them the Travelling Sisterhood and wrote about it here. I have kept track of Jean and her growing business and am excited to mention her upcoming adventures to India, Myanmar, Morocco, Greece and Paris. Kismet strikes twice as some of the original Travelling Sisterhood are meeting up for Part II in 2017 with a trip to Rajasthan. I just love that they are doing that!

Travelling Sisterhood...Travelling Spirits...call it what you like, it's pretty special when it happens. I am so very tempted to join in...how about you?

Jean Wethmar of Cape Lux Travels
If you are not familiar with Jean, I can tell you she considers herself the 'ultimate concierge'. No detail is to small, she is the consummate organizer, your 'friend in a foreign land', your 'go to' person, your 'ear on the ground'...she can do it all, happily and willingly. You can check in at her concierge desk here.

Has she peaked your travel spirit? If so, read on and be sure to contact Jean if you have any questions, she is more than happy to create a trip like no other for you!

with a fabulous small group of dynamic girls...
17 November – 3 December’16

Smell the jasmine and the saffron – taste chai and authentic naan bread.. See the glittering Taj - Visit the Pink City, Experience Udaipur and relive Goa’s very Portuguese influenced past.. Shop in all the right places! For further info- my email address  - jeanw@theapeclub.com or  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/

20 – 30 April, 2017

The mystical charm of Myanmar is attracting an increasing number of travellers and is one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. When Rudyard Kipling visited Burma a hundred years ago he described it as “quite unlike any land you know about”. To this day Myanmar remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered destinations in the world, a land of breathtaking beauty and charm that offers traditional Asian delights to all visitors. For further info- my email address  - jeanw@theapeclub.com or  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/

Then Morocco delights – 

with Interior Decorator Sally Carson
from Queensland, Australia
13 – 23 October 2017  

Sally Carson
Embark on a private, personalized tour filled with local encounters and memorable experiences. Designed to give a broad sense of the essence of Morocco, this tour encompasses the culture, the history, the warmth and generosity of its people, along with the geography and amazing cuisine. Accompanied by an English speaking driver/guide plus your own concierge and interior stylist, Sally Carsonyou will visit the major cities, majestic gorges, and ancient Kasbahs. Plus you’ll spend two nights in the High Atlas Mountains, where we will hike through the villages and have lunch with a traditional Berber family. For more info- 
my email address  - jeanw@theapeclub.com or  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/
Note(only place for 4 GlamGirls left.. 8 already paid $100 deposit etc, etc ) 

high luxury tour 
25 October – 9 November 2017

Glam Girls Lux Travels together with Go India, will help unfold the mysteries of Rajasthan, as we take you through deserts and mountains, small reclusive hamlets and bewilderingly enormous palaces, dyed clothes and scintillating embroidery, its colours and music, its dance and food which together weave an unforgettable tapestry. Rajasthan is synonymous with royalty and romance, human grit and determination. In this fascinating land, human is unimaginable without the camel-the camel is the constant companion of dry barren lands. Our brochure is still with the graphic designer..please contact me for details. For further info .. my email address  - jeanw@theapeclub.com or  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/

A fabulous look at local life with Francesca Muir – 
blogger and photographer dynamic –
1 – 12 June 2018 

An exclusive insight into the Cretan way of life, people, traditions and food with Francesca Muir 
Francesca Muir
who will take us on an exciting journey to the Greek island she calls her spiritual home...12 days on the island of Crete, home to the famous Mediterranean Diet thanks to the island’s rich soil and warm climate, and cradle of Western Civilization thanks to the ingenuity of the Minoan Civilization; learning about their 9000 year history, their culture and food. Think crystal clear azure seas; breathtaking views; a Minoan feast (cooked as the Minoans cooked 2500 years ago); mountain villages; traditional lace makers, bootmakers and shepherds; a trip to the last leper island in Europe; a private tour of the Palace of Knossos; cooking Cretan food the traditional way as well as stunning shopping – jewellery; leather goods; olive products; pottery and clothes. The perfect trip for painters, photographers, artists and writers and those interested in the anthropology of food – it’s so inspiring and there’s so much to see you’ll want to go back. For further info .. my email address  - jeanw@theapeclub.com or  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/ or Francesca Muir- http://francescamuir.com

and secret gardens of central France tour-
exclusive for just Twelve Glam Girls! 
July 2018 – Exact dates to be confirmed

Twice yearly summer sales in magical Paris are a spectacular occurrence with up to 70% off at favourite boutiques, high street chains and other fashion stores. After a whirlwind experience in the capital city, guests head to the French countryside in the Limousin region. Here you get to visit a brocante (country antique and bric-a-brack market) and explore charming, historical Boussac, the rural village in which la Creuzette is situated. You also get to feast on various culinary treats complemented with French wines. Sounds idyllic? – it is! – Chateau  la Creuzette will ensure that you have the ultimate, hassle-free luxury French Lifestyle experiences.  Oh.. we travel to the Limousin via the Loire region and spend a day at the MAGICAL Chaumont sur Loire Garden Fair (regarded by many of the la Creuzette guests as ‘better than Chelsea”) and at Villandry castle – “the most beautiful kitchen garden in the world’. For further info .. my email address  - jeanw@theapeclub.com or  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/
Travel photos and trip details 
provided by Jean @ Glam Girls Lux Travel
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Each and every one of these trips sounds fabulous and I am only too happy to share them in this post today. Jean can fill you in on all the details. Write to Jean jeanw@theapeclub.com or check out her website  http://glamgirlsluxtravels.com/

I am sharing because some of you may have a travelling spirit that is ready to fly and Jean might hav just the trip for you. No matter who, what, where and when you go....I hope your travel spirit soars!

"There are times when we stop, we sit still. 
We listen and breezes from 
a whole other world begin to whisper."
~James Carroll

Happy Travels!

Jeanne xx

PS..thank you all for your very kind words in recent posts.
I have been out of touch with my blog for some time but am
back in action. If you left a comment...I have replied..finally. 
Little late but better late than never. Yes? ;)

05 September 2016

Heart to Heart...

Misty morning in the garden, Tahilla Farm

I have had several heart to heart talks these past few days…some of the longest days that I have ever had. I talk and I talk and I talk…until I think the words will no longer come...but then they do. I am talking in silence...to myself…every minute and hour of the passing days as I take in the full measure of life and death.

23 July 2016

Bless This Mess...

Moon rising over Tahilla Farm in July.

Hooley Dooley! Has it really been that long since I last wrote a post?? In case you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth...I am still here, in a mess of sorts. A good mess.

07 June 2016

A Military Wife...

I am sharing... a post written by my daughter-in-law, Cherie Henriques. It is a wonderful, heartfelt perspective on life as a military wife. As a mother, I feel especially blessed to have Cherie by my son's side. We are both feeling an extra tug on our heart today as my son leaves for an overseas assignment. We are all praying for his safe return and are proud of him and the commitment he and his fellow officers have made to protect and serve. God Bless each and every one.

Being a Military wife...
by Cherie Henriques

27 May 2016

Tika of Tahilla…she made it!

Passing rainbow cloud…Tahilla Farm

There has been some serious nail biting going on at Tahilla Farm this week as we patiently awaited Tika's arrival from Ho Chi Minh City to Boston. Everything went topsy turvy when President Barack Obama arrived in Vietnam earlier this week. For security reasons, Tika's flight was pushed back two days. I admit it had me in a panic…something that is easy for me to do.
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