October 30, 2016

A Quickie Giveaway....


I am jumping right in here to say I am offering a quickie giveaway and am delighted to do. I just want to do it...to say thank you for your readership in my own special way. It's been a while since I have had a giveaway.  For me, it has to be something I am loving at the moment and this week I am loving a book by one of my favourite Aussie magazines, COUNTRY STYLE.

October 29, 2016

Taking a "CHILL" day...in Australia

Big view on a cloudy day in Sydney.

Hello from Australia!

I am taking a break in Sydney to visit with family and friends. I have had a few questions about our Sydney connection and decided this is as good a time as any to fill you in. So here's the scoop.

October 19, 2016

Sharing the LOVE....The L.L. Bean Man


L.L. Bean Man
Once upon a time...a dear friend told my about "this guy" who she called the "L.L. Bean Man" because he never seemed to wear anything else but L.L. Bean attire. He was the good friend of her boyfriend at the time and she thought we might get along. We eventually met one snowy Super Bowl Sunday in Manhattan. That was over 30 years ago and today I am happily married to the L.L. Bean Man.

For those of you unfamiliar with L.L. Bean, it is an American retail company specializing in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment based in Freeport, Maine.  You can read all about it here.

If you live in New England chances are you will have at least one item from L.L. Bean. If you happen be be a member of our family you will have lost count of how many items in our house are from L.L. Bean. This is what happens when you marry the L.L. Bean Man.

Before you know it...you become the L.L. Bean Woman.

October 13, 2016

The Story of Buddha...at Tahilla Farm

Pam in New Hampshire asked me about the story behind the large Buddha wood carving that used to hang in our entry at Chateau Mango in Vietnam. I have been meaning to write about it and thought now is as good as time as any.

The shop around the corner..
It all started in a shop around the corner from where we live in Ho Chi Minh City. It was early days, maybe a week or two after moving to our new house that I stumbled upon this shop. In fact, what drew me in was the statue sitting on the center of the table. I had seem something similar in a local museum and thought it might be a nice starter to our Chateau Mango collection. Of course, I couldn't help but notice the wood carving of the Buddha behind it...and I adored it but at 8' tall and 200 lbs I thought it might be one of those things that I would come to regret purchasing. So I left the store...empty handed.

Over the next month, I went in and out of the shop...in a state of ' do I or don't I?". In case you guessed, I am not very good with on the spot decisions...especially big ones. A month later I took Mr. H along for his thoughts...and he loved it. That did it, we bought it...size and weight would be a problem for another day. 

That day started one day later when three men delivered it and started chatting, measuring and scratching their heads on the best way to hang this more than life size piece of art. Lucky for them they only had to hang it two feet off the ground.

"Maybe if we..."

Mission accomplished, we placed it in our entry. 
For four years, Buddha welcomed us home in Vietnam.

Happy Buddha...hanging Chateau Mango, Vietnam

Buddha and Tahilla
I would like to mention that at the time of purchase, Tahilla Farm, our antique/new farmhouse in the woods of New Hampshire was just a smidge of a notion. I had yet to start my official house hunt when I bought this piece of art. The house hunt came two months later.

When I found Tahilla Farm I knew that Buddha would never see the light of day there...unless...we renovated.. and fortunately we did. When it came time to put ideas to paper with the architect I had one request...we had to allow a spot for this piece of art. We decided that the entrance was it's best shot and we 'drew it in'.

When our containers arrived this summer...Buddha was the one item I was most excited to see. It's time had come. Our construction crew had been hearing about "the big one" for over a year. Once it arrived I started to worry... that it might not work, that if might fall, I had all but given up the notion of hanging it. Then I realized...these were builders, they built our house. Surely they could handle a 200 pound wooden piece of art. I felt so much better once that clicked in my worrisome mind.

First they measured....
and I watched...nervously.

Then they measured again and 
brought in reinforcements
and I watched...
a tad less nervously.

And then they did it. 
Our Vietnamese Buddha 
had oficially found it's way home.
to Tahilla Farm.

Buddha greets one and all as soon as they enter
just as it did at Chateau Mango.
Peace reigns once again.

And that's the story of our Buddha
and its journey from Vietnam
to Tahilla Farm in the woods
of New Hampshire.

With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going
I'm already home.

Lyrics 'Living in the Moment' 
by Jason Mraz

For you..something to brighten your day. 
I hope you have a spectacular one!

Thank you for reading along!

Jeanne xx

October 11, 2016

Big Room, Little Room, Winter Room, Summer Room

We have all done it, moved from one humble abode to the next. There is no question that whenever you move houses you often do it with a hope and a prayer (unless you are exceedingly organized) hoping that you called it right and your furniture will transition easily into your new home.

That is the premise I always have worked with as we moved from home to home, country to country....a hope and a prayer. After 30 years, I managed to get it somewhat right...by barely a whisper at times, but I got it...until now.

So...I MIGHT have a decorating dilemma but then again I might not. Let's see what you think.


Home sweet home... Auckland, New Zealand 

The photo above was our living room in our home in Auckland, New Zealand. We purchased the couch, chairs, ottoman and bookcase to scale for 13' high ceilings. We filled the room, as we often do, to accommodate crowds of all sizes. With a family of six and then some you never can have enough places for people to lounge. 

And then we packed up and moved to England...where the bookcase made it into the new living room by nearly a whisper to accommodate the ceiling height of 8'. 

October 2, 2016

Travelling Spirit...are you ready to fly?

Lauren Bacall, Rome. 1960

I am feeling that whole 'woman on a mission' vibe that Lauren Bacall did so well. Since I last wrote I have started systematically checking my travel lists for upcoming trips to Sydney, Vietnam, Hong Kong, London and the USA. For the most part, I will be travelling solo, a mix of business and pleasure. The best part of all the air miles I am about to clock in is that I will be able to visit with my children in Sydney and celebrate a significant wedding anniversary in London with Mr. H...our 30th! I guess it is only appropriate that 30 years on we are still playing 'plane tag' across the globe.

"Sometimes the smallest step 
in the right direction 
ends up being the biggest step 
in your life."
~Naeem Callaway