Balancing Acts, The Queen and Miss Claire

wall decor  Harvey Nichols London

Put your hand up if life is feeling like a bit of a balancing act these days..or rather, take a seat.
Do you ever feel like you have so much to say that you are a loss for words?
My mind is in a bit of a muddle...but I will think about that tomorrow.

Here's what is on my mind...

This afternoon on Regent Street, London

London is ablaze...in red white and blue.
It is so exciting to see, read and hear about the preparations
for the upcoming Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend. 
Up to 1000 boats are arriving from around the UK, the Commonwealth 
and the world for The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday June 3rd. 
There are festivities happening all weekend long. Our neighbourhood 
is combing forces for a street party on Monday. I have my baking orders. I can't wait!

also...

I have been searching for commemorative keepsakes.
Deciding which ones has been a challenge. I have been trying to convince myself 
that we really need this covered crown. It is just so sweet... but I can't decide.

Decision time at Peter Jones in Sloane Square.

I often wonder what The Queen must think of the celebrations in her honor.

Chelsea Flower Show 2012

The weather in London has been glorious...I call the photo below
'Taking Aim', just me having a giggle as I passed by.

Lunch break at Piccadilly Circus, London

I never tire of London street scenes...even the most ordinary 
seems extraordinary to me. 

 Regent Street traffic, London 

Speaking of celebrations...
We are so very very proud of our Miss Claire.
She graduated from high school this past weekend, 
a momentous occasion. 

Her school is rich in traditions, one of them
is long white dresses for graduation. Months ago,
I groaned as we went in search of white dresses.
On Saturday...I took it all back. She was just beautiful.

Miss Claire (left).
Her school was the perfect setting for a garden party.



and cake!



As I type away, I am thinking of Miss Clare and Miss Christine
who left at 4:30am this morning for a months trip around Europe.
They are starting their trip in Paris. Ah, to be a student again....
Claire packed with her signature blue ribbon on her sleeping bag.
She laughed when I took the photo...someday, it will be a fond memory for her.



On that note, dear mother here, is going to put her feet up and contemplate life.
I have the day off tomorrow which translates to paperwork and sorting out 
our belongings for our move.

On Thursday, I am off to explore Windsor Castle. 
Work hard, play hard...that is my motto. :)

Wall decor Harvey Nichols London.

I said at the beginning of this post I was at a loss for words.
Looking back, I guess I found them. 
Best wishes to one and all. 

Jeanne xx

Chelsea Flower Show 2012

photos~jeanne



Finding inspiration at the Chelsea Flower Show


If you were to ask me...when is the best time to travel to England?
Without a doubt, I would say...in May.
For in May, the weather is fine,
the gardens are in bloom and
there is a good chance the sun may shine.
But for me the best of all in the month of May 

Like honey to my heart

Honey to my heart~in Paris

In the spirit of optimism.
I read the following on the front page
of the International Herald Tribune this morning.

"It is like honey to my heart",
said Mohamed Mustafa Seif, an accountant voting in downtown Cario.
"For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a role to play. 
My vote could possibly make a difference."

Like honey to my heart...a beautiful expression, a heartfelt thought.

I started to think of all the things that are like honey to my heart.
My first thought..
YOU!

If you are reading this post, you are like honey to my heart.
I am touched that you took the time to read this far.
Thank you :)

Here is a thought... how about writing a list to yourself
of all the things that are like honey to your heart.
Be sure to grab a cup of coffee, tea, wine or champagne, whatever you fancy.
Find your favourite spot, relax and write.

You may discover something surprising about yourself.
I just love it when that happens!

Would love to hear if you do. :)


From Surrey to London


So much to say, so little time.
I just wanted to say thank you all so much for your comments
about the crazy life we live in. The fact that you follow and read
along is more than words can say.

On that note, if you were a butterfly on my shoulder on Sunday...
We would have taken my family back to my favourite spot, 
Petersham Nurseries , for lunch in their lovely cafe
Fifteen minutes after I took this photo you could barely move.

I had the Organic Rose Petal Pannacotta with Comice Pears for dessert. 
It was just dreamy. I had to try it to see if it actually had
 rose petals in it...it did, so delicious and special.

Australian chef, Greg Malouf, is the visiting chef at the moment
and he is most definitely sprinkling his magic over each and every dish.




Mrs. H Sr...my mother-in-law, is visiting and loves to shop. 
We get along so well. :) We had a quick browse through
Petersham's garden shop on the way out.



Over the fields and through the woods to our car, 
we passed this spot along the way...



Someone lives there, I wonder who?
I find the sign posted out front, very inviting...
I don't think that was their intention. :)




The next day, good morning London..
We stopped in at The Victoria and Albert Museum 


If you have a moment..watch the video clips for the show here.
I love a beautiful ballgown, don't you?

Up and down and around London ...to finish
with a fabulous play last night. Can't wait to tell you about it.
I need time to explain.

I will come back with more on that one... got to run.


I am off to London to meet a few blogging friends this morning... more on that too!
Best wishes for a lovely day...evening...morning...wherever you are!


Jeanne xx

PS...thanks also for reports in from around the globe on 
the postcards I mailed from Vietnam last month.
It took a month to reach you...but at long last, they are arriving!

If you would like to be added to my postcard list... I would love to add you in.
I never know when and where...but I promise to get one off to you!
You can send me your address: jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

images~jeanne
with exception of ballgowns as noted in V&A links above

A phone call and then....



Patrick.
He called...finally.
We haven't heard from him in weeks.
He has been out in the field on a training assignment.
A day hasn't gone by that I have not thought of him.
Today, I am as happy as happy can be.

He managed to locate a spot with phone reception.
When I asked where he was calling from he said he 
was standing on top of his tank in an open field.
He then sent me this photo.
The things we do for our Mom's. :)



To top this off, Mr. H arrived home from Vietnam yesterday.
We have him for a week before he returns and then....
Only six more weeks before Miss Christine moves back to New Zealand.
Only seven more weeks before we pack up and move to Vietnam.
Only twelve more weeks before Miss Claire moves to the USA
Only six more months before we see Patrick again. (we hope)

Family life with the H's.
Any wonder why I blog?
Sanity.

Thank you all for keeping me sane!
Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xx




Surrey, England : a fine spring day...


Because this feels like a rare occasion and because it may pass quickly.
I thought I would share the morning sun over Surrey. Tika and I breezed through 
the paths this morning on the way home from the school bus stop.

Yesterday we were all drowning in raindrops. It has been a cool, grey,
rainy spring, unlike the last two springs I have experienced in England.
I think I can now fully appreciate what people say about English weather.
But then the sun shines and it is glorious. It wipes all the doubts away.
In my mind, this is England at it's very best.

I have claimed this patch of woods as my own. I have now
photographed it in all seasons. I know someday in the not
to distant future, I will shed my own raindrops, longing for it.

But today...I'm happy.
The sun is shining over Surrey!


Last photo, upon my bicycle. :)

How is the weather in your part of the world today?
Sunny, cloudy, hot, cool?
We talk a lot about the weather in England.
I wonder if that is universal?

Where are you reporting from and 
what is the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Reporting from Surrey, England: 
Sunny and breezy, a fine spring day. :)

images~jeanne








A Style Journey.. do you have one?


Yesterday I wrote about how much I am starting to sound like my mother...I catch myself saying and doing things I never in a million years thought I would be doing 30 years ago. In fact, I am pretty sure I swore I never would. I recall sitting in the back of our station wagon as a scrappy teenager, me and my five younger siblings who were squabbling over some silly thing. I recall looking out the window in frustration and vowing to myself that I would never have kids, I would never be involved in the PTA (Parent's Association), I would never own or drive a station wagon, I would never live in a small town and I think I threw in that I would never marry as I was going to be a woman of the world ( it was the 70's). So hurrah to all that. I had made up my mind.

Thirty years on... I am married, I have four children, I was President a PTA, owned and drove a mini-van for several years and I just might qualify as a some version of the woman of the world I wanted to be due to our expat lifestyle. Small town...I dream of it...somewhere in Maine. I threw in a career into the mix before we started travelling twelve years ago and haven't looked back. I count my blessings everyday.

Where is this all going? My wardrobe. We evolve, I get that. Our tastes change, our shapes change..I get that. Some of us reinvent ourselves several times as we move through our 30's, 40's. 50's and beyond.. I get that...but I am stumped. I open my Pinterest 'Style Notes' board every now and again and laugh. I wonder if I am living the wardrobe or dreaming the wardrobe or is it a little bit of both? I wonder if I am showing my age, I must as I love hanging out on my 'Style Notes' pinboard...I feel 'cool' when I do. The fact that I just said that would be enough for my kids to say that I am most definitely showing my age. But that's ok...


I use to dream of Africa and safari style clothes...I still do.

via

Lauren Hutton was my style guru...she still is.

via

Jeans, T-shirts, over sized men's shirts, 
 Katharine Hepburn style... it all still works for me.



But every now and again, 
I just want to be dazzled...




wear caftans...



 and funky bling..

via


I would like to stride around town 
wearing groovy glasses...


and throw on an outrageously expensive 
but beautiful Naeem Khan coat.

via

Long skirts? 
Yes and Yes.

via

Purple Paisley Palazzo Pants?
Without a doubt!

via

and hats??

You do not want to get me started...
all this fashion talk is starting to make me giddy.

via

I often wonder what my sixteen year old self 
would think of my fifty something self. :)

Has your style changed over the years?
Do you ever yearn for a walk on the wild side?
On that note, I will leave you with this thought.

Thanks for following me on my Style journey.
I think I just avoided an identity crisis..
or maybe I am having one..
:)

Ah...the joys of life.

Mother and Daughter... by the sea


If you are like me,
you may often wonder where some of your interests/traits come from. 
Your mother, father, grandmother, great aunt... I like to think that
I have the best of all of them. I have been thinking about this a lot lately.
I catch myself saying things or doing things and then smiling as I remember...

Like laughter.
Sounds of laughter. 
I noticed lately that I sound just like my mother.
I catch myself wondering how that happened.
I think of her every time I laugh...and it makes me laugh even more.
My mother laughs a lot and many times at herself... I do too.



I have developed a love for hats...
Mr. H and my kids might call it an obsession.
I blame it on my mother. She has a great hat collection...an enviable one.
I have been working on my collection for as long as I can remember.
(BTW these are nostalgic photos of me as the little one in my arms is off to college in September.)


My mother and her hat along the Atlantic Ocean.

I even remember my first hat.

Me and my first hat on the Mediterranean sea. (70's)

My mother has a gift, she is a talented artist. 
This is one trait of hers that I always wished I had.
I know for certain, that her gift was not passed on to me, 
but I try all the same. :)

My mother's interpretation of the sea (Atlantic).


My interpretation of the sea (Pacific). 


My mother, laughter, art, hats and the sea.
All perfect to me!


Sending a big hug and wishes 
for a Happy Mother's Day to my mother.

Best wishes to you for a wonderful day..
Happy Mother's Day!!

Jeanne xx


A weekend in Hoi An, Vietnam..



Seeing that it is the weekend and seeing that very little sun has shined upon England for weeks.
I thought I would take you on a little weekend break to The Nam Hai in Hoi An, Vietnam.
With Mother's Day coming up in some parts of the world, I think we deserve it, don't you?

If you fly into Ho Chi Minh you need only to hop on a plane for an hours flight up to Danang.
Not far from the airport is the ancient town of Hoi An, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
On the outskirts, along a beach on the South China Sea, you will find The Nam Hai resort. 
You will know as soon as you turn into the drive from the main road that you are in for
something special. Can I say it in pictures? I think it says it best.

Any jet lag that may wearily hang from your body will very slowly start to slip
away within the first few minutes of your arrival.



It just gets better and better...


Even when the resort is full..you wouldn't know it.
I love that feeling, don't you?


Whatever your pleasure...
you will be happy to sip along as that last bit of jet lag packs 
it's bags and hits the road.


The Nam Hai offers unobstructed views of the sea 
from every villa and a lovely sea it is.




You can do everything and anything at The Nam Hai
or you can choose to 'just be'. 


I just wanted to be....still..
It was easy to find peace and serenity.

From the moment you walk into your villa..


to the view from the villa...


to the inside of your villa... it all says 'relax'.


As you can see from these photos...I had time on my hands.
I was thinking of you...the possibility that I might entice
one or two readers to visit this wonderful spot in Vietnam.



It could be just what you are looking for.


Not to be missed is a bike ride around the property and into
a garden...The Nam Hai garden.






These curvaceous pots are dotted along the property..
pulling you from one to the other.








Fancy a pot?


Believe it or not, this is just skims the surface of what The Nam Hai has to offer.
For those looking for action, there is plenty of it. If you like to explore, discover, shop,
meditate, create..they have all that and more. We are heading back to The Nam Hai
with the whole family to do just that.


I have so much more to show you but I do not want to exhaust you. 
I will say that the night views are pretty spectacular and the spa and the food...
I will be back with more on The Nam Hai...one day soon.

So...how did I do?
Did I entice you just a little bit to travel to Vietnam?
Would you put The Nam Hai on your travel list?

Just so you know...this is just me being me.
I have not been asked to show favours to the resort..
I just write about things I love and this spot moves me.

Very best wishes for a wonderful weekend...
may you be surrounded by the people you love.

Jeanne xx

The Nam Hai images~jeanne




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