May 29, 2011

A Picnic, Vintage Morris Minor and the Chelsea Flower Show

I felt like this sweet thing upon arrival at the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday.
I thought...if I could just move this person and that person, then
just maybe I could get a picture of...something.

That's the way of these just have to be prepared.
Last year I managed a ticket for arrival first thing in the morning.
This year, I was a bit late into the game and only managed
an early evening ticket, starting at 5:30pm.

To be honest, it is wonderful to be there any time of the day.
You just have to go with the flow.
So....while I organise my photo files, I thought
I would invite you to join me on a picnic.

How about we fire up the motor on this beauty below,
a Morris Minor 1000 Traveller Estate Wagon.
I am seriously wondering if I could tuck this car away in one of
our containers on our next move. We brought two 40' containers from
New Zealand to England...what's one more when it is in the name of love?

I say, we take the car, park it under a big old tree, 
with a view of the English countryside. 

How about a trailer off the back of the car to tote along this shed?
A shed of our own and the comfort of a big old tree.
We can call it home sweet home for the afternoon.

We would not have to pack much as I would have planned a hamper
from Fortnum and Mason (here) because really...when you are going on a
just have to do it right.  Be sure to bring your latest summer hat, we must take care 
from the sun in the name of midlife beauty. My latest thoughts on that, here.

 I like the notion of bringing along a few vintage 
gardening books to keep in the spirit of the moment. 
Cameras, sketch pads, music, arm chairs, 
a few kilim rugs, overstuffed pillows....
Do you think it will fit?

I promise to pack a few surprises in these vintage suitcases to keep
us entertained. If I gave one to you to pack for our picnic,
what would you bring along?

In the spirit of a weekend outing, I am sending you best wishes
for a wonderful weekend. Short or long, I hope it is fruitful !

More on Chelsea Flower Show coming up...
an inspiration or two at a time. :)

PS..Does anyone know what has
happened to the FOLLOWERS
widget from the sidebar? A few
other thing have gone MIA
too. Same for you?

Top image- a greeting card from my collection.
All others taken by me somewhere in between
the masses at the Chelsea Flower Show.

May 27, 2011

London fog, Tate Modern and Joan Miro

The Litte Fair-haired Girl at the Amusement Park
Joan Miro, 1950

I woke up this morning and admit I felt bleary eyed and tired. It was one of those 
mornings where I could have easily slept a while longer. The skies were grey, 
I had a mad rush to get the kids off to school and then catch a train to London 
and all I really wanted to do was sleep...just a little while longer. Being one of those 
annoying people who is always giving herself pep talks, I soldiered on.

My fog followed me into London.

and a bit further,

I rounded the corner and came upon my final destination.
The Tate Modern Gallery to see the Joan Miro exhibit.

Needing further fortifications I stopped in at the Gallery Cafe 
for coffee and stared at the view. St Paul's Cathedral was in front of me, 
thru the lovely birch tree garden and over the Thames. 
With every sip, I could feel the morning fog melting away.

It is a good thing that my fog lifted because what was in store for me in this fabulous 
Joan Miro exhibit required my rapt attention.  There were over 150 paintings, drawings, 
sculptures and prints for me to pour over. This London exhibit is the first major retrospective
of Joan Miro to be held in nearly 50 years.  To be honest, I was not sure what I would think.
I went in a bit skeptical and came out a great admirer. His work is thought provoking 
to say the least. Although much of his work was painted thru desperate times 
(Spanish Civil War and Second World War), I felt a playfulness in his some 
of his work that was endearing.

The Passage of the Divine Bird
Joan Miro, 1941

A Star Caresses the Breast if a Negress (Painting Poem)
Joan Miro, 1938

Vegetable Garden and Donkey
Joan Miro, 1918

Drop of Water on the Rose-Coloured Snow
Joan Miro, 1968

I left the gallery, thankful that I gave myself that little pep talk earlier in the day.
Shortly after, the heavens above shed tear drops upon London
and I managed to catch one or two.

Wink, wink, blink, to bed for me.
Big day tomorrow....Chelsea Flower Show.
I won't need a pep talk for that one!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

More on the Joan Miro exhibit at Tate Modern, here.
Images of Joan Miro paintings from postcards
which are now waiting to be sent to my postcard
blogging friends. If you would like one, just send 
your address to me at


Need some thoughts on these Jamie Oliver plate that I came across.
Let's chat on Facebook. Click the LIKE button.

May 26, 2011

Girl's just gotta have fun!

No matter the age, 
girl's just gotta have fun!

Bee at Atlantic-Pacific is getting
a lot of blog buzz at the moment
and I can see why. She is doing her 
thing and having fun.

Ari Seth Cohen created Advanced Style,
a blog I am finding increasingly irresistible.
Ari says "Advanced Style offers proof from
the wise and silver-haired set that personal style
advances with age." Although I am not quite 
there yet, I love the message here!
You rock ladies!


I am a girl that just likes to have fun too.
I like to think that I will still be
living it up, just like these gorgeous gals above.
I say, more power to them!

Both blogs are worth a wander.
You can visit 
Atlantic-Pacific, here.
Advanced Style, here.

Images as noted above.

May 25, 2011

Travel Notes: Venice, Italy

From my travel files...1978

I felt another blog coming on....but had a good chat 
with myself and came to reason. This one will do :)
I have files busting with travel notes 
and they need a home. 
Seeing that many of you are keen travellers 
whether in person or in your dreams (like me), 
I thought you might like to come along for the ride.  
Hey, you never know, someday, you just might find yourself 
in a piazza in Venice wondering what to do next. 
You may even be having a Kate Hepburn moment, here.
You will then think to whip out your phone, 
ipad..whatever the case may be and voila...
I will be there to the rescue!  
I am hoping you will join in and add suggestions...
dreams are most welcome too.  :))

My last trip to Venice was in 1978. 
I was in my third year of University and was in awe. 
I admit, back then, I was more in awe of the men than the history 
but I will save that story for another day.
I vowed then to go back 
and I know that day will come. 
I can feel it in my bones.

Image taken by me-1978

I came across an article recently and knew it was a keeper. 
The following are recommendations by Patricial Urquiola, 
a leading designer and architect for Alessi
B&B Italia, Moroso and Mandarain Oriental
I am going to trust her judgement. :))
 Patricia has been going to Venice 
for nearly 15 years and 
highly recommends the following. 

Patricia recommends....

Take to the train to Venice, crossing the whole lagoon 
to Stazione Santa Lucia in the old centre.

Walk across the Ponte alle Guglie for brioche or frittelle 
and coffee at Pasticceria Tonolo.

Stop in a few churches along the way and 
keep an eye out for an alterpiece by Bellini. 

Lunch at Osteria Bancogiro near the Rialto Market. 
It has a lovely terrace on the canal. 
Another spot for lunch, Ostaria Da Rioba.

For art appreciation go to  Fondazione Querini Stampalia,  
Palazzo Fortuny, Punta della Dogana or Palazzo Grassi.

A wander thru bookshops, Libreria Toletta in Dorsoduro 
and Rigattieri in San Marco.
An afternoon wine and tapas at All'Arco Rialto or 
Zanzibar in the Campo Santa Maria Formosa.

Dinner at trattoria Dalla Marisa in Cannaregio.

Morning rowboat (a s'ciopon) on the canals.

Afternoon sail in a topo ( a little sailboat) to Locanda Cipriani 
on the island of Torcello..stay for dinner.

I don't know about you, 
but I sort of feel that I just took the trip after
reading that list. :))

Image taken by me-1978

These are the sort of suggestions 
I tuck away in my travel books.
The little experiences,
off the beaten track,
the ones that are often times
the most rewarding.

Have you been to Venice?
What year did you visit?
Anything you would like to add?

Reader suggestions:

From Carla Coulson...where to eat in Venice.

From Lucille....
Venice for Pleasure, here.

From Sunday Taylor...
Read a review
from A Village Life, here.

Travel Notes to the Loire Valley, here.

Article from Perfect Weekend
Financial Times: How To Spend It
Written by Maria Shollenbarger

May 23, 2011

Finding Your Writing Voice and Blog Love

Hand stitched by Marie @ Ancient Cloth

I am always touched by the kind words and generosity in the blogging world.  
I ventured into it to fill a place in my heart. Prior to blogging, I was involved 
in a full time commitment in New Zealand which I loved.  When it came time for us 
to pack our bags and move on I had to let go and it was harder than I thought it would be.  
I needed to talk about it and blogging seemed as good a place as any.

There were times when I wondered if I was talking to myself...if anybody 
could relate to what I was saying. Why would anyone want to listen to a woman 
talking about her life? I considered stopping, but then that first follower came along 
and then a comment and I then I knew I had found my voice. Someone had thought 
enough of what I said to lend encouragement, they understood. I was just as delighted 
to receive that comment then as I am today. 

Can I say, that if you are new to blogging and wondering if it is worth the effort 
( as I did many a time) I encourage you to stay with it. I am sure many readers 
who have been at it for a while would say the same. It takes time to connect. 
Our writing voices are unique to us and I believe we should stay true to it. I once thought 
of changing to be more like another and felt like I stepped into another wasn't me. 
That is when I decided that numbers don't really matter..I just had to write and photograph 
what I felt and hope that others would connect.  I soon realised that like minds 
have a way of finding each other. 

Why am I writing about this today? It all came home to me these past few weeks, literally. 
On my door step, I have found the most wonderful messages and packages from readers.
Each unique to the sender, each greatly appreciated by the receiver (me). 

With this post I am sending my sincerest thanks to Lisa in Vermont who sent me a wonderful 
collection of her favourite things..which interestingly are mine too. Lisa and I connected several 
months ago. We have been writing back and forth and discovered that we have much in common. 
I have written about Lisa with A Dream House in Vermont, here and the Dance of the Virgins here. Today, after a good dig in the garden, I went off to read one of the books she sent me, 
Two Gardeners.. A Friendship in Letters, more here
I know someday, Lisa and I will meet, it is just meant to be :)

I am sending thanks also to Ilse of Insha'llah in Bahrain, another expat, who is currently 
in transit to a destination unknown. She is a kindred spirit in that she
 loves photography and travel. It has been a pleasure getting to know her and I hope
she comes back to the blogging world when she finally settles down again.

I send thanks to the very talented Marie of Ancient Cloth who responded
 to my postcard request. I sent her one and she sent me three including
this beautiful hand made postcard that she made from vintage cloth. 
She is a sweetheart! Please stop in and tell her I said so :)

I have Lisa to thank for introducing me to Joe at Notes from Juniper Hill Farm. If you are a keen gardener or even if you just like to play in the garden, like me, you should stop in 
and say hello to Joe. I promise you will be glad you did. Joe has a fantastic blog which 
he recently created over a long and cold winter.  Joe sent me an issue of New Hampshire Home magazine with a feature article on his wonderful farm. I was delighted to receive it and have since
scrutinized properties around New Hampshire to see if a gem like it exists elsewhere. 
Mr. H has been hearing about nothing else since :)

Beate @ Sunday in Bed is another talented craftswoman and a cherished blogging friend. 
I have admired her knitted creations for sometime and purchased a blanket from her 
DaWanda shop which I adore. We are now talking about creating a 'summer wrap' and 
I have no doubt that I will be selecting another of her items in the future.
 My pick.... in the center 'A'. I can't wait!

I would be remiss in not mentioning those times, when you least expect it,
 you receive a message asking if you would like to meet. It has happened twice to me 
and in both cases there was not the least amount of hesitation. I had the great pleasure 
in the past months to meet Pamela @ From The House of Edward who I wrote about here
I feel very fortunate to count her amongst my blogging friends. Not only is she a fabulously 
talented woman, she is also sweet and kind and generous and she has Edward, 
the greatest friend one could have.

Lastly, my blogging story came full circle when I recently met Vicki @ French Essence. For those of you who know Vicki's books and blog, can I just say that she is an absolute delight in person. Smart, gorgeous, stylish, friendly and warm hearted are just a few of the words to describe her. She is a treasure!

If it were not for Vicki, I would not be blogging today. I happened upon her book, My French Life
in our local library in Auckland, New Zealand around the time we were ready to move in 2009. 
I read the first page, first sentence and was delighted to see that someone else felt the way that I did. 
I was not alone. I looked up her blog on the internet, followed along for a while and when the time 
was right, I created Collage of Life. I wrote about her here. Vicky wrote to lend encouragement 
and that made all the difference to me. I have been following her blog ever since.... to have met 
her was truly the icing on the cake ;)

More on Vicki and her books, here.

If you are new to blogging, take heart, stay with it,
go around and find others whose writing voice calls out to you. 
Talk to them, leave a comment and persevere.
When you do, it will come back to you :)

and one last time
Thank you to one and all !!

Images as mentioned above