Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just you and me in London...


A little whimsy today as I look back on a few photos I took in London yesterday.
My daughter, Claire and I set out for an afternoon to the Tate Modern gallery. 
Her first visit and I was only to happy to introduce her to it.
I wrote about our visit here

As to the photographs...if you were alongside me, we would have...

Looked out to a view, standing inside the Tate....



We would have then moved to the outside terrace and discussed the beauty 
of St Paul's Cathedral on the city skyline.


Exhausted by the collection at the Tate, we would have walked along the Thames, 
looking back to catch the skyline lighting up for the evening.


Along the way, we would have remarked on the beauty of the twinkling blue lights above and
the little fine feathered fellow walking towards us.


We would have stopped, just to stare at the magnificence of the London Eye
and Big Ben popping up to greet us.


Lastly, before crossing the street to the train station we would have smiled
at the genius of Annie's Cafe on wheels where the food is "Freshly made just for you".
We would have then wondered about Annie, who she is, how she came about
to owning a cafe on wheels and where her travels take her day to day.


From there we would have caught the train out to 
Surrey where a full house was waiting for us. :)

Well that was fun, I should take you along more often. 
Where would you like to go next??

If you are feeling in the mood for a little artistic expression...you can join me here.


Betty, 1988 by Gerhard Richter
image via Gerhard Richter
Best wishes for a very Happy New Year!!
May it be filled with peace, love and joy throughout the year!


Jeanne xx


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Farewells and Daffodils


I walked down our stairs yesterday to see my sons bags sitting, all packed and ready to go. My heart skipped a beat, had that time really come already? It seems like yesterday, that we were watching him in his ceremonial whites, as he graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon. I can tell you though, for all my maternal sadness, he was one young man who was ready to go. He was what Mr. H would say, 'a mighty happy chappy' because he had heard the magic words from Qantas....'You have been upgraded to Business Class'. I drove him to the airport and had him all to myself. We talked about his new home in Darwin and what he could expect. The conversation then moved onto more important matters...visits from me. I gave him a list of interests... art galleries, shopping, spas, tours of the Kimberley, Katherine Gorge, Arnham Land...just a few things.  I imagine now, he is flying somewhere over the Bay of Bengal on his way to Australia. I take heart as I think of our move to Vietnam in July and the distance it is to Darwin. Far closer than where we live in England...I think he is going to see me more often than he thinks... :)



 So..here I sit this fair morning...trying to make sense of it all. My desk has been in disarray for weeks...travelling has a way of doing that to you. I have woken these past few mornings feeling more like my usual self.  This morning my first thought.. 'she is back'. I just have to figure out what that means... :)


Perhaps it was the sound of birds outside my window. 
They have been having a right ole time of it these past few mornings..
right in tune with all the Christmas festivities. 

I then glanced out my kitchen window with coffee in hand to spy 
this little bit of sunshine...on December 28th...
has Spring arrived in England??



Lastly...thru my kitchen window, I can also see our sunroom
which is closed up for the winter. On my shelf, sits a few of my old paint brushes.
I haven't touched them in years. 


Maybe when we move to Vietnam, I will pick them up again...

Best wishes for a lovely day
from still sentimental in Surrey.

Jeanne xx

PS... I just realised my umbrella from India is sitting behind Patrick's bags.
My little way of staying with him. :)

images~me


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Through the Woods in Irish Tweed....


It was one of those days...when you walk in silence so that you can admire the beauty around you. 
We ventured through the woods, down the lane, over the pass, across the fields and past Polesden Lacey. This National Trust property is a 30 minute drive from our house and a beauty in all seasons.
The picture below is of me... if you pass me in the woods in winter, you will most likely find me in my favourite Irish Donegal tweed hat and scarf. One woman, one dog, one camera...walking in the woods, trailing behind her family..taking pictures along the way. Crazy lady is more like it. There are very few photos of me as I seem to always be the one taking them...except for today. :)







Monday, December 26, 2011

Following the light...


This is the first I chance I have had to sit in peace and quiet today...with only 30 minutes before the close of Christmas 2011. It has been a wonderful day and I hope you were blessed with the same. I have been thinking all day on the homily given by the priest at our Christmas Mass. He spoke about a pilgrimage he took to the West Bank town of Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity. He described his passage through the church, the birthplace of Christ, where he kissed the star that marks the exact spot where Christ was born. I smiled as he spoke because I was travelling with him through my photos. I was walking with him side by side. I visited the church last year and was in as much awe of this holy site as he was. The image above came to mind, in a church that was filled with tourists, I wanted to find the peace that I felt at that very moment. I looked up and followed the light... just before the door I noticed the hearts. I found my picture. This is a message to simply say that I wish for you all..love in your life, peace in your heart and happiness throughout the coming year.

Happy Holidays to one and all...I hope you are able to share it with people you hold near and dear. Thank you all for your very kind Christmas wishes, I feel very fortunate and honored to have so many wonderful friends around the world. I look forward to reading and following your stories into 2012. :)

and with that, I say goodnight...

Jeanne xx


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sentimental in Surrey



She sits in her favourite comfy chair, with her daughters around her, for their annual Christmas movie night. Time seems to have slipped by so quickly, so frantically...these past few weeks. It is nice to 'just be'..if only for tonight. I am especially contented tonight for having spent the day in London and best of all to have spent it over a long lunch with a very dear friend. Mr. H calls her my 'oldest friend'...a phrase that she and I are aghast over. We like to say that it the longest lasting friendship of our lives. We met when we were 14 year old. She was the 'new girl' in school. I recall seeing her in the distance in the coolest pair of purple bell bottom pants I had ever seen. I knew at that moment we were destined to be friends. It has been a friendship that has lasted 40 years and today we laughed, giggled and cried...just as we did all those years ago. I think I just had one of the best Christmas presents ever..in fact, I know that I did!

Speaking of Christmas...I came across this porcelain figurine in a shop window in Dresden earlier in the week. It is the sweetest little thing....with a very dear price tag (Euros). No surprise as it is the very finest, a Meissen, entitled Girl with Skates .  It reminds me of my daughters...sentimental fool that I am.

Speaking of sentimental... you can see twinkling lights and raindrops falling over Sloane Square, here and view the exquisite jewellery designs of Pippa Small, here.

Ahh... sentimental thoughts of friendship, Christmas, twinkling lights and raindrops on this Friday night in Surrey with one of our annual Christmas favourites... Holiday starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. You can enjoy the scene below, here. :)




Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in 'Holiday'
Image from here.


Sending you best wishes for a lovely Holiday!
Jeanne xx


Say it with red and fuchsia and....


Can we just say it with red?
I say, grab bunches of deep reds, 
kisses of fuchsia, blushes of pink, 
dashes and lashes of green...
whatever grabs your fancy
and have a merry time arranging 
bright beautiful holiday bouquets.








and while you are at it...if you have a love for the colour green, as I do...
wouldn't this be lovely for the holidays....



Just a quick post for a little holiday inspiration.
It was just the ticket for me...hope it did the same for you.
:)

Images 1-2 Carolyne Roehm
Image 6 Branca

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Saxon Christmas

On this day...views from Dresden, Saxony, Germany... a view to Bruhl Terrace, birds in flight over the Semper Museum, Christmas Markets, the first cantata in Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BMV248) and an angels call. After a whirlwind tour from England to Australia to Germany and back to England...we are home. One of the best places to be.  I hope to bring you more of our travels to Dresden...with a list of things to see and do if you were ever to visit. More of that when life settles down, until then...

An Artist's View...

Brühl Terrace alongside the Elbe river in Dresden, Germany. 
Comparison above to a painting by Bernardo Bellotto ( 1722-1780).

Looking up at the Semper Museum in Dresden.


Sunset over a Christmas Market

Christmas Spirit...



A woman in red, with her own unique style, bravo!

With music in my heart, Bach's Christmas Oratorio...


Lead by John Eliot Gardiner and performed by the 
Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists... 

and an angel's call for a joyous holiday... 

Golden angel sitting atop the Dome of Kunstakademie Academy of Arts in Dresden

FROM MY HOME TO YOURS... WISHING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY,
PEACE, LOVE, JOY...AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR. 
:)

Jeanne xx

images~me
Video~ You Tube 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas #4: for Armchair Travellers


Greetings one and all...just back from Australia with all sorts of travelling ideas for you! I am thinking big comfy armchair, a cup of tea...or a glass of wine and a great book. I have a few books that I recently discovered, some old, some new. There might be one or two here, that may interest you. :)


From Paris....
If you looked at my travel bookshelf you would wonder why I would want to add another book on Paris. It is just too hard to resist..they are all so special. Paris by Janelle McCulloch is filled with wonderful photography and what I like best...inspirational destinations...bookstores, vintage boutiques, galleries, garden, shops, neighbourhoods... A list is not essential when in Paris, but when time is of the essence it surely helps.  You get all that and more in Janelle's book.


Image and interview with Janelle HERE


To Italy, France, Greece, India and Australia...
If you have not discovered Carla Coulson, you are missing the works of a brilliant photographer. When I picked up Carla's recent book, Chasing a Dream,  I admit it was difficult to put it down. In fact, I did a spin around the bookstore and went back to look at it again. If you love photography and travelling the world...by armchair, be sure to check out Carla's book.

Image and review HERE


From backpacking across Europe, Australia, England, USA.... at 50../
To be honest, I think this is my fifth copy of 'Gang of Four' by Liz Byrski. I seem to purchase it with every trip to Australia and pass it on to a friend as soon as I return home.  I love this book, it is one of those feel good, coming-of-age (at fifty) kind of stories. Four friends, each on a journey, the kind that could easily happen to you. 


Book review HERE, image HERE.

To France and Australia....
I discovered Australian author, Alex Miller, with 'Journey to the Stone Country' and was compelled to read all his books from that point on.  Sometimes you find an author that 'speaks to you' and there begins the journey. Since moving from Australia, I have fallen out of step with his recent novels. I picked up 'Lovesong' and wished for more room in my luggage for 'Autumn Laing'. I am sure it won't be long before it finds it way to a bookshop in England. 



Images and information on the novels by Alex Miller HERE



From Chennai, India to London/Devon.....
I attended a dinner on a recent trip to India. I entered the room not knowing a soul and left with one of the most enjoyable memories of my trip. Amongst the many fascinating women I met that evening, was Ruth Khanna. We talked about life, work, family, careers and dreams. Ruth had recently written her first novel, Paper Boats, and I knew from the moment she mentioned it that I had to read it. I finished the book last night and it left me wanting more. I take that as a good sign and look forward to telling Ruth all about it.

Ruth Khanna's review HERE


To India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam, The Philippines, China, Korea and Japan....
What better way to travel than through food! I love Charmaine's curry pastes and marinades. They were regular features in our pantry when we lived in Australia. With our recent travels to India and impending move to Vietnam, I think this book will make a nice addition to our cookbook collection.

Visit Charmaine Solomon's website HERE

Lastly....while we are talking travel, I was absolutely glued to Australian, Maeve O'Meara's SBS TV episode of French Food Safari (available on DVD) on my flight from London to Sydney.  It was worth every minute!

Read about Maeve and her Gourmet Safaris HERE




AND.....I just discovered Maeve's Vietnam Gorgeous Safaris
A big YES from this side of the world. Who wants to join me?? :)
I think Maeve is fabulous! Go Maeve!

There you have it, put a woman on a plane round trip from Sydney to London and
she will come up with all sorts of suggestions...of the travelling kind.

I hope you found something of interest here....maybe a gift idea for you or a friend?

Either way, I send my very best wishes for a wonderful weekend.... 
Happy Holiday Planning!

Jeanne xxx

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the road...a country town in Australia


From the Southern Highlands of Australia.


I could not resist...it took travelling all the way to Australia (Bowral, NSW)
to come across the little book fellow above. Such clever Aussies. :)

Across the road, from this book shop....a cafe, filled with well read books
... a book lovers dream.  A peaceful spot...with plenty to read..someday.


My cameras were packed away, so, I had to 'make do' with
my phone and Instagram. It's been a whirlwind tour..
rainy days, sunny days, beautiful gardens, quirky little shops,
fantastic 'flat white' coffees which this book lover ADORES..

Speaking of books, I have so many new ideas...can't wait to share.
A few here...Paris by Janelle McCulloch... Carla Coulson's new book, Chasing a Dream ...
fantastic Asian cooking by Charmaine Solomon, Bill Granger and one that is at the 
top of my Christmas wish list....Indochine, Finding France in Vietnam by Luke Nguyen...
I found them all in a bookshop HERE.

Off and running again...until next time...





Friday, December 09, 2011

time traveller....


Etsy

It is December, the clock is ticking and I am off again. This seems to be the way 
with the month of December in our family. Moving house, moving countries, graduations, 
celebrations...remembering loved ones. It is a momentous month..my biggest challenge.

Presents to family and friends, spread from sea to sea, are on their way. Teachers gifts,
baking, decorating and Christmas trees are all accounted for. I have a few more presents 
to go and I managed to sneak in one for me while writing this post...the necklace above. 
It is to mark the passing of time with my family, remembering that no matter where I am 
or what I am doing, there is nothing like the time spent with them.

Two weeks and counting until Christmas...just a few more things....
a trip to Australia, a celebration, a visit to a Christmas Market
in Germany and then....back to England for Christmas.... HOME (for now). :)
Just two more weeks....ready...set..go!

Before I go...
I want to send my sincerest thanks 
for the very kind comments left on my last post.
My boys and I are most appreciative. You are the best!

Best wishes...
Jeanne xx

A family of time travellers in Botswana.
image~me

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

one happy mama...


Is there an age when you should stop referring to your youngest child as your 'baby'? 
I am sure if I read the latest in child psychology books I would find this is a big 'no no'....
but I can't help it. He is my youngest, my baby and he is turning 12 today.


 Connor is nearly as tall as me....I am 5'8"....

He has celebrated seven birthdays in Australia, three in New Zealand
and two in England. 

He will enter his teenage years, next year in Vietnam.
He looks at the move as another adventure.

Connor likes to keep track of how many countries
he has travelled to over his lifetime, at the moment he is 12 for 12.

He is American but has never lived there, I hope someday that he does.

He calls Australia home.

He loves to read... especially history books.

Connor and our dog, Tika, have swum through life, side by side.


They do everything together....



Over the weekend, he asked his best friends over for a sleepover party.
We took them to see 'Hugo'. I could not think of a better film, 
it was enchanting, the type of story he loves.


Tonight, we will celebrate his birthday at his favourite Chinese restaurant.
He loves Beef with Oyster Sauce. :)

My baby....

Happy Birthday Connor!




From my youngest to my oldest...

In five more days, I will see my eldest son....Patrick.
He truly is all grown up.


He will graduate from Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Australia.

Patrick on left
One happy mama...am I.. :)



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