Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Dress

A beautiful Catherine, a stunning dress, a glorious occasion!
Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, we applaud you.
Enjoying every moment of this occasion, and you?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

The day before the wedding.....

I caught the early morning train into London this morning to see
how the wedding plans were coming along. I picked up these 
postcards as a memento of the occasion. 
Today is the last day that we can say Miss Catherine Middleton.

I spoke a few days ago about the incredibly warm weather we have had and just as 
I predicted, grey skies and a cool breeze are upon us. Never thing you never travel 
without in England is a good umbrella. I am sure many will be prepared and I imagine 
Catherine and William will be smiling through it all regardless of the weather.

Rain or is all 'go' in London.

Westminster Abbey was closed today in preparation. I was one of many
standing at the gate, trying to imagine what will take place tomorrow.

From this point, my focus was Buckingham Palace via St. James's Park.
The park was a wonderful spot to take a morning stroll.

This little guy thought so too :)

 Along the path and thru the trees came Buckingham Palace...

and the people...
The tents are going up,

 the ladies are attending to their royal wedding bonnets,

 cameramen are making their final adjustments,

  reporters are talking the talk,

the police are making their rounds,

young girls are taking advantage 
of every photo opportunity,

everyone is ready,

the celebration is about to begin.

All eyes will be on the royal couple at 1:30pm (London time) 
as they wave to the crowds before them. 

and where will I be, you might ask?
In the comfort of my home, with my recent purchase of Devonshire cream,
Fortnum and Mason's finest cut grapefruit marmalade, strawberry jam and 
tea alongside a freshly baked batch of buttermilk scones (made by me). 
The fine china will come out for my tea time occasion and let me tell you,
 I will be one happy lassy :)

Best wishes for a wonderful wedding day and weekend, wherever you are :)
Happy Wedding Bells!!

Jeanne xxx

images ~ me
with exception of postcard
of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton
an background postcard of London.
and Fortnum and Mason's High Tea Cup.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuscany, women's lib and a big group hug

I am sitting in our garden, the sun is setting, the birds are chattering around me, our dog, Tika, is staring at me with great intent ( I have no idea why) and I admit I am feeling blissfully content. Nothing like a long weekend to set things right. 

Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?
This pretty sums up the long weekend for me. We have had amazing weather here in Surrey/London. I am soaking it up knowing the weather will change again in a few days. It was just enough to add a touch of colour to our garden, pop in a few veggies/herbs and add a new trellis for my Sweet Peas.

Morning Walk....
I wrote about a morning walk for Easter and we managed a few. Today we visited Claremont Landscape Garden, a National Trust property which is conveniently located in the town we live in. I think the weekend had the same effect on everyone else. Just a pleasure to enjoy it all. More here.

Women's Lib...
I have started reading and typing letters written to me by my grandmother who passed away in 1975. The letters were written in the 70's and I saved them all. Now that I am older, I feel a stronger connection to her. My aunt is reading along and commenting which is making the experience that much more rewarding. I enjoyed my grandmother's references to 'women's lib', a term that was bandied about frequently back then. She was all for it, the more so the better. I plan to type the letters and create a book for my daughters and family members so that we can cherish and remember her together.

Now that it looks like we may be moving on again next year, I am having a serious think about what I want to accomplish in a year's time. The thought has put me on an energetic path. I have attacked the boxes in our garage with gusto (I have been staring at them for the past 16 months). Things are coming in the house, rooms are shifting as I feel the need to nest to make the most out of our time in England. Next on my list is more lists...I have been making good use of these magazines and books.

Big Group Hug...
Many thanks to those of you who passed on such thoughtful comments on my post Making a House a Home. You are very kind and your words are most sincerely appreciated. I am making my rounds this week...and plan to stop in to say thank you all very soon!

Tuscany Colour...
I have been organising my posts (part of the nesting process) and trying to categorise them. Lists are tucked away here and there across my blogs. I started with 'writing from the heart' and am working on 'travels with my camera'. I will leave you with a few pics that I have posted on the textures and colours ofTuscany, here.

Best wishes to one and all during this last week of April. The big event is on Friday ( Royal Wedding)...who will be watching??


Monday, April 25, 2011

A Puzzling Dilemma

How do you feel about puzzles? I often thought this was one of those long ago past times. 
My father was an avid puzzle fan. I assumed he found it relaxing and a good way to get his 
mind off the stresses of the day. I always enjoyed the times when I was able to sit with him and 
pop in a few pieces. There is something very calming about tackling a puzzle, it absorbs you.

I had an idea a few weeks ago on ways to improve quality family time. I poked around
 in the garage for a while and found an old puzzle. I popped it on the dining room table,
spread out a few pieces and waited. It was like bees swarming to honey. First my son,
and then Mr. H and they have been at it ever since. Working side by side, they talk, 
strategize and sit in contemplative silence...together.  Except, now I have a problem.


 Mr. H is looking for greater challenges. A package arrived the other day with a 3000 piece puzzle 
of an African safari scene and our dining room is now a puzzle shrine. The table, the side table 
and a few trays  are covered in masses of puzzle pieces representing zebras, lions, giraffes 
and a host of other animals. He is now captain of his puzzle domain. He is on a mission and 
I fear next, he will set out to conquer the world.

It is a puzzling dilemma. I think it is time to set down some rules.
Any suggestions? Do you have any puzzle fans in your family?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Morning Walk

A morning walk on Easter Sunday
sounds perfect to me :)
Best wishes to one and all for a glorious day!

A Morning Walk
John Singer Sargent

Mr and Mrs William Hallett ('The Morning Walk')
Thomas Gainsborough

A Morning Walk
John Singer Sargent

The Morning Walk
Georges Seurat

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making a House a Home in New Zealand

To me, making a house a home is one of life's greatest pleasures.
Our time living in New Zealand was very special to me.
Not only did I meet wonderful people, I had the chance
to create a home and memories that I will always treasure.

I have been thinking about New Zealand a lot lately. My daughter, 
my friends, the sights, the sounds, my garden and our home. 
We still own the house and have been lucky enough to have
a young family living in it who are enjoying it as much as we did.
One day we will sell it...we can't hold on forever but for now,
it is nice to look back and think what used to be. 

We were fortunate to have NZ House and Garden look at the house
in the same light. The following was featured in the magazine while we lived 
in the house. It was a fun project from beginning to end.

Upon entering the front door....

I always refer to our decor as 'early miscellaneous' or 'eclectic chaos'. Some of you may 
recall that Mr. H is a keen traveller and collector of the unusual. There was a time 
when all his belongings were allocated to one room. Over the years, they started to sneak 
out and make their way around the house and then a funny thing happened. 
I started to like them too.  Following in Mr. H's footsteps to Africa and Papua New Guinea 
did the trick for me. I have since given in and embraced it all. 
With the help of a wonderful local decorator and friend, Kaye Coleman. 
We made it all come together.

The room above changed many times during our stay. 
It was always in a state of movement. I blamed that on my mother!
She used to do the same thing when I was growing up. 

You don't have to look far to find a bit of 'Americana' in our home. 
I love having things around to remind me of New England.

The kitchen table and chairs below were made and purchased in Australia. 
The sculpture on the wall above the table is made of rivers stones and native 
greenstone by a local artist, Jacqueline Kampen, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Mr. H's joy of collecting runs deep. Many of the accents around our home 
came to us by way of his grandmother. Another well travelled woman...
we were very fortuante that she was.

Each piece has a story in our home. If you ever come to visit, I advise you not to
ask Mr. H the story behind each piece. You will be there for a while. Be warned!

The sleigh bed is another New Zealand purchase, made of Kauri wood, by Rose & Heather.
The chair and painting come by way of Mr. H's grandmother. I will write about her
home, Si Petite, another time. It was a real treasure,

The collagraph below of the American flag, was created by an American artist, 
Ann Wenniger. I wrote recently about my time in Rockport, Massachusetts (here). 
Each time we visited we would stop in at Ann's gallery to say hello. My mother used 
to take painting lessons from her and after a long chat with Ann one afternoon, 
she inspired me to do the same. She is a gifted artist and inspiring woman. 
The type of woman you never forget. 

In the beginning....before our subtle renovation ( another story) 
and here I am taking in the sun (per instruction of photographer) 
by the pool, trying not to look so obvious :)

Mr H. and I spent many a morning, afternoon and evening sitting on that front porch.
A perfect summer evening was spent with feet up and a glass of wine by my side.

It was the perfect spot for reflecting on the day.
Thank you for letting me share!

Best wishes for a lovely Easter break...
Jeanne xxx

Images by Matthew Williams for NZ House and Garden
and the last shot by Unlimited Potential.

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