May 30, 2013

Romancing the Vespa...and Mr. H in Vietnam

Wax Wane

Is it just me? Is anyone else smitten with the Vespa

Around Saigon, I here the rhythmic beep...BEEP...beep..beep...BEEP...of scooter traffic at every corner. Up to now, I have thought...'better them than me'. I have had no interest in messing around with Saigon traffic, Vespa or no Vespa...but..after riding this little baby below by way of Vietnam Vespa Adventure Tours...I admit, I was smitten. You can read all about the tour here.

May 21, 2013

When life gives you lemons...

'Lemon Tree' painted by Yael Berger @ Etsy

Under the lemon tree...

When life gives you lemons... I say, embrace them
Lemons have been tricky to find in Saigon, you often ask for a lemon and often get a lime instead. I love limes so I can not complain but sometimes only a lemon will do. Citrus fragrance notes resonate with me...give me an earthy, woodsy, 'citrusy', clear, fresh fragrance note and I will swoon. How many of you love the smell of freshly cut grass..a field of it? If you know what I am talking about...but let's not get carried away..because today I want to talk about lemons.

When life gives you lemons...drink them
My sister started me thinking about lemons..she suggested lemons to flush out toxins, enhance skin and reduce bloating. Who can say no to that? She boils up a pitcher of water, throws in slices of a whole lemon, lets it cool and sips away throughout the day. There are plenty of health benefits to drinking warm water and lemon too, you can read healthy lemon tips here.

via Mind Body Green

If you prefer the sweeter variety...make lemonade. I prefer the fresh variety with a few sprigs of mint but if you are after the sweet, why not try Ina Garten's pink lemonade?

When life gives you lemons... eat them
I am not sure if I ever mentioned that I have a sweet tooth..and a nose to seek out the finest lemon scented/flavoured sweets. There is nothing I love more than rich lemon bars, tangy lemon tartlettes,  a  moist lemon cake and that nice hot drizzle over Lisa's luscious lemon loaf. I am telling you now...that I can type this without regret as I am about to take off to the gym..where surely I will be thinking of lemons.

Kitchen art 'Lemon Meringue Pie' @ Etsy

When life gives you lemons...bring out the veggies
The lovely thing about that they create so many wonderful taste sensations. I love them on veggies..especially grilled asparagus with a touch of lemon oil. Take fresh asparagus, drizzle a little olive oil over them, add one or two slices of lemon and toss the on the grill..a Henriques family favourite. Lemon and fish..a winner. Black olives, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh herbs and a dash of olive oil and tug of lemon...sigh..delicious. Even better, a simple and healthy Pasta with Fresh Herbs and Peas with lemon zest. Who can pass up a healthy alternative, especially after thinking about all those rich desserts? How about you? What do you create when life gives you lemons?

Pasta with Fresh Herbs and Peas

When life gives you lemons...breathe them in.
I mentioned fragrance notes..of a earthy citrus variety. There are a few that never leave my dressing table and I have Jo Malone to thank for that. I adore Orange Blossom and Grapefruit..especially when the sun shines and heavy, heady tropical air hangs about. These two fragrances are like a call to attention..they lift me up and get me going. To that I add French Lime Blossom and Lime Basil Mandarin...they suit Saigon weather perfectly.

Jo Malone Grapefruit collection

and there you have it...
when LIFE gives you lemons..
I say.. 
embrace them, 
drink them, 
eat them 
and breathe them in
and if you are feeling particularly creative
paint them too!

Jacob van Hulsdonck 
Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Pomegranate

A lemon link recap...

Recipes abound.. 

Jo Malone Fragrances..
Prints and Paintings...

It seems only fitting that I should end 
with a reading selection for you...

Lemon Book Love..

For you..
BTW...the movie version 'Lemon Tree' is fabulous! You can view the trailer here.

for children..

for cooking...
where lemon is quintessential to great food

When life gives you lemons...

May 17, 2013

They told her not to look...

It was but a whisper... 
the sound of her footsteps 
as she crept quietly into the room. 

She grasped the key snugly in her hand
her breath quickening at the thought 
of what she would discover.

They told her not to look,
that was their first mistake
or was it hers?

Having a little fun
this Friday afternoon in Saigon
as the thunder claps and the rain dances
on the rooftop of Chateau Mango.

If you were holding the key,
what would you hope
to find inside the box?

The world is your oyster
let your imagination run wild...


Happy Weekend!

Jeanne xx

Photograph taken by me..
any guesses as to where?

May 13, 2013

I spy a a barn

Calling all creative, clever and artistic types..that means you.
I need those of you who may have an inkling of an idea
of what I could do with the space below. It is the hayloft in our barn. 

I have to admit, when I was first looking at the property,
those few months ago and climbed the staircase from the first floor,
it took me all of two seconds to get excited about this space.

Am I wrong? 

I looked at the door and thought one big window..


This is what you could potentially be looking at.

If you look the opposite way...more possibilities. 

I see a space..


where you could spread out 
and let your imagination run wild.


a place where you could think it out..


of course..this is Mrs. H thinking.
Mr. H might have ideas of his own.
All I know is...I saw it first!

I am thinking...


it just might be, that Mr. and Mrs. H retire from this expat life,
live in the barn one day...and are never seen again.

So what do you think?
What would you do with space?
We have an architect working on this with us...
he would love to know our thoughts.
Virtual penny for yours?

May 9, 2013

Our inner child and imaginary worlds...

Into the forest...

I wonder how many of you, as a child, liked to play in your own imaginary world. How many of you let curiosity get the better of you and set off to discover something new? This thought came back to me at 2:30am last night, as I woke from yet another jet lag stupor. It was clear that my mind was not going to rest until I wrote the I did.

A story...
When I was seven years old, we lived in a home with a deep forest behind us- trees and stone walls stretched to eternity in my seven year old eyes. I had a merry band of travellers in my brothers and sisters and the local neighbourhood kids. We liked adventures...the forest was our playground. After school and on the weekends we would set down a path at the back of our property, starting with the stone wall at one end and meander along it’s path. There was a creek that quietly gurgled alongside it and it was there that we pretended to carry out the day to day routines of American pioneers long before us. But not before we reached our secret place under the biggest pine tree in the forest…with graceful sweeps of thick pine boughs that lovingly draped to the floor below, sheltering us from the outside world. It was heaven.. an earthy pine scented green heaven.

and into an earthy pine scented green heaven where bloodroot grows..

We took frequent trips to this tree, it was ‘our place’- we never told our parents...for of course, at that age we felt they just wouldn’t understand. It was our secret world. We kept ourselves busy-pretending we lived there, each assuming tasks, foraging for curiosities-anything that could help us create the perfect shelter. It was exciting, it was our own and I have never forgotten it...ever.

where we foraged for curiosities.

 That was nearly fifty years ago and it came back to me like it was yesterday..just last week as I walked around our property at Tahilla Farm. I was with a landscape architect, a forester and my sister-in-law, exploring the land, looking for opportunities to enhance a meadow and expand our view to a mountain on the east side of our property.

Today, a view to the east side of our property...

We walked along, creating a path as we went, talking about the beauty of the trees and the animals that lived within. As we walked... I found my steps quickening… for I had spotted it…a hidden stone wall that extended from one end of our property to another. Could it be? As we walked, the pine and hemlock trees thickened, pine needles forming a thick carpet below our feet. I looked for signs of water..I looked for the sweeping mass of pine boughs cascading from the top of the enormous trees around us. I could feel my imaginary world opening it’s door.

where a hidden creek quietly gurgles and meanders...

We stopped in silence and noticed that we were standing in what once was a meadow; long overgrown…it was the perfect spot. We talked about the pros and cons of our plan, I listened intently, all the while gazing around me…making a mental note of which direction I would head on my next adventure into the pick up the trail and explore the imaginary world that still exists within me…fifty years on. You can be sure..that when I do, you will be the first to know.

So I ask you..were you a child with an imaginary world? Were you encouraged through books, stories or did you set sail under your own steam? I know many of you will have smiled from the start of this post..I am certain we lived parallel lives in our childhood.  You are my merry band of what my children used to call my 'imaginary blogging friends'… until they discovered that blogging took my imaginary world and turned it into a reality with Tahilla Farm. They are now believers.

Do you still believe? 
Do you ever let your inner child come out to play? 
For surely, we are never too old...

never say never...

To help you along your way, you can start where I started last week, with a song...

Wishing you a wonderful weekend...imaginary or not!

Jeanne xx