June 30, 2012

Doing the Loopty Loop...in England

Fifteen days and counting...
I am organising my life and that seems
to be reaching into every corner of it at the moment.
So..while I pack, shuffle and hyperventilate,
I hope you don't mind if I treat you to some of my favourite
posts. Ones that I wrote whilst finding my way around England.

Some of you are aware that I have another blog, devoted to my time in England.
I sort of hang out in both places. I try not to duplicate stories and I have been
pretty good at it so far....but there are some, I just love to visit again and again
...this is one of them. Thank you for letting me retell my story and for those
of you who have read this before...thank you, thank you, 
thank you for coming back again. :)

June 27, 2012

Roses, Vintage Finds and Friendship

Reporting from a house which is slowly getting organised.
I admit, things might go a wee bit faster if I did not take time to smell the roses.
But..that's no fun!

I thought I would be inventive.
I have been taking pics of our belongings for our shipping records.
Well...kind of.

June 25, 2012

The best remedy...

Reflections of my 'time out'  place.

I am procrastinating...but...I always say, when the spirit moves you..you just have to go with it. In the midst of sorting, moving and shuffling our belongings, I stopped and looked around. This time next month we will have arrived in our new home, new country. I am trying not to feel nostalgic about it...moving away from England. This is always the hard part. We have been here two and a half years, our shortest posting. This is when the 'should have, could have, wished we had' starts to move in. I try not to dwell on those thoughts, they never really get you anywhere. We have had a wonderful experience in England..it has changed our lives in more ways than one. 

Two and a half years ago, I sat at my computer, feeling much the same about moving from New Zealand. We had lived in Auckland for four years...roots were set. I started this blog and a few others to help me with the transition. It worked.

I wrote and wrote and wrote...and I felt better...Cry me a river
I thought about my friends and realised something...Best Friends
I reflected on life...Expat Life: comforting thoughts
I kept my sense of humour...Can I please, please, please
and then we arrived...First Impressions

All the while.. many of you left comments and offered encouragement, just as you have done about our move to Vietnam. I can't tell you how much that means to me
I came across a quote today, by Winston Churchill.

A pessimist sees the difficulty 
in every opportunity; 
an optimist sees the opportunity
in every difficulty.

I am optimistic and I am still keeping my sense of humour... strange as it may be. Last week, Mr. H and I spent time going through our belongings deciding what should go and what should stay. For 25 years, I have watched him hold on tightly to his possessions...the bags upon bags of t-shirts won at his college rowing regattas, steamer trunks filled with old comic books, knick knacks from his summers in Maine and countless other objects that he could not bare to part with. 

I had visions of Steve Martin playing a scene in the movie, 'The Jerk'...the one where he wanders
around claiming all the objects he needs...arms full, shouting out that it is all that he needs. I spent a week acting out the part...every time Mr. H picked up another object that he had to keep...I pretended I was Steve Martin.

Laughter is always the best remedy... don't you think?


June 20, 2012

My Dressing Table...deconstructed

'Woman reading at a Dressing Table
by Henri Matisse, 1919

I want to send a big heartfelt thanks to the many kind comments on my last post.
I really and truly and sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Speaking of heart...
I have had a fascinations with dressing tables...ever since I received
my first at the age of ten in 1967. My mother and father chose well
as the notion of having a dressing table has stayed with me ever since.

June 17, 2012

Living Life Large

My favourite photo of my father 'Tom'.

I have two reasons to celebrate this Father's Day.
The first is that Mr. H surprised us with a visit yesterday. We were not
 expecting to see him until we arrived in Vietnam next month. 
In the early morning hours he arrived, a bottle of my
favourite champagne in his arms. What a guy, just in time for Father's Day.

There is another man I think of and one who I celebrate quietly, 
in my own way, every Father's Day, my dad. It has been several
years since he passed but a day doesn't go by that I do not think of him.

On Father's Day I take out all my photo boxes, files and folders and
lose myself in them. I always start with one letter...the one that says it all.
My brother-in-law, Scott, wrote the following for my father's eulogy. 
Every time I read the letter, it fills my heart. 
He captured the essence of the man and what a man he was. 
My dad, a father to six children who still miss him dearly.

Scott wrote...

It never dawned on me until I sat down to write this how very appropriate it was that I met Tom in Las
Vegas. The bright lights, that reminds me of his holiday displays. The atmosphere is filled with the
same eternal sense of optimism that surrounded Tom. The gamblers unshakable conviction that the
big win is right around the corner. The belief that life should be lived large.

Living large at Christmas.
My father's Christmas lights in our front yard.

We had an almost instant connection, and spent a lot of time talking over that first weekend and many other times on his porch. I learned the first night that Tom had two things he was passionate about: his family and his work. He spoke a lot of how he cared for his family and how proud he was of his children. He wanted everything for them. Unlike many fathers when they speak of what they want for their children, he wanted his children to have things their way, to be happy in their own way. He made it clear that their happiness was his happiness.

When he talked about his work, it wasn't about deals or profits, it was about "the trill of the chase" and the pride he felt teaching his sons a way to make a living. He told me "Life's too short to do something you don't enjoy". Though the topic was business, it was clear he meant more. Many conversations over the years the topic would concern his philosophies in life. One strong belief he held is that people should always pursue what they wanted rather, than wait around for it to happen.

Tom knew how to live. He truly believed that life was meant to be a pleasure, and pursued life the way he went about everything: full tilt and in a big way. A meal at this home was never just a meal...it was a feast. A party wasn't a party unless it was a big affair. He had two Christmas trees because one was always obscured by all the presents. And pleasure wasn't pleasure unless it was shared, and the more people he shared it with, the more he enjoyed it.

My father... living large on the sea.

Tom was the most giving person I ever met, the only person I've ever known who always gave selflessly, He would actually seem embarrassed when someone thanked him, as if he thought that, had he given enough, there would be no room for thanks. He rarely spoke of what he did for people...he just did it. Tom showed his love through actions more than words, and his actions showed that he always thought of the happiness of others, and that there weren't enough words to express how much he loved his family more than anything in the world.

Tom's actions gave pleasure and happiness to everyone who has ever known him. Remembering that happiness is remembering Tom.

Remembering my dad, 
who gave me more happiness 
than a daughter could wish for.

Father and daughter living large with dance and a kiss.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

'When Great Trees Fall'
by Mary Angelou

with special thanks to Scott
for making each Father's Day 
so special to me.

June 16, 2012

Winning Bathing Beauties and a Peignoir


I have two requests for you.
The first is to join me in congratulating the three winners
of my English Givewaway.

Three ravishing beauties.
Three ravishing winners.

From the blue shores of Sydney, the blue book,
Her Ladyship's Guide to Running One's Home by Caroline Taggart....
 to Francesca @ Postcard Pictures

To the woman who could never say no to red tartan and plaid,
to one who loves her Scottish tea, the book 'Tea and Cake ' to
 Deb from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Yellow to me is about fun and warmth, two things The Queen seems to have
in spades. The Solar Queen will soon be winging her way to Melbourne, Australia
to the lovely Jane @ My Pear Tree House

Thank you all for responding to the last of my English giveaways.
There will be more...I have a few in mind once we settle into Vietnam.

My next request is to help me decide what to do about the bathing season.
I really, really, really do not like this season but with a tropical climate, I have
to face facts...or stay in an air conditioned house all day.


I am more of a 'cover-up' kind of girl.


Summer hats are easy... I have decided that one can never have to many.


Ruching in swimsuits is something that I am growing more and more fond of.


I think this one has potential...maybe in black? or red?
What do you think?

or perhaps from Anthropologie, something black.

But then again...I took one look at this cape 
and thought that it could be the solution to all my problems.


I think Esther Williams had the right idea in this cover up.


Hold that thought...I took one look at the image below,
'Peignoir in Soft Breeze' and thought...
it is white, it is light...and one could comfortably 
stand on a windy veranda looking out to sea in this outfit. 
It has sun worthy potential and would suit 
a reluctant bather like me perfectly.

"Peignoir in Soft Breeze"- 1936 Martin Munkacsi

Now.. I have to ask.
How do you hit the beach/pool?
All swimsuit or all cover-up?
Or are you like me...
waiting it out for sweater weather.

Yes..I know what some of you are thinking.
"But she is moving to Vietnam 
where it is hot, hot, hot."
To this I say...
Peignoirs work in air conditioning too don't they?
All I need is a really big fan....  :)

Happy thoughts...Happy Weekend 
to one and all!!
Jeanne xx

images as noted above

June 15, 2012

The day has come...GIVEAWAY

Personal note card of 'Sempe Dancing in the Park' @ New Yorker
Artist: Jean-Jacques Semp√©

I knew one day it would happen...I just wasn't sure when.
I picked up this card in a shop a few months ago...
thinking that someday...this is how I would feel. 
I have been waiting....

so I am not prancing through a garden,
I am not soaking up sunshine and
thankfully, I am not wearing a red vest or that grey onesie
but I do own a pair of lime green garden gloves. :)

I do have a big smile...a giddy one...
One may wonder if I am losing my marbles,
I think my dog does.

If you are like me,
we know that... such is life.
Giddy, crazy, happy, delirious...
mad as a hatter in our own wonderland.
We wouldn't have it any other way.

Tip toe through life?
Couldn't if I tried.
How about you?

On that note....
I mustn't forget to remind you 
about my little giveaway.

The Solar Queen is in the yellow dress that she wore 
to the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year. 
She has a little solar panel on her purse allowing her 
to wave proudly all day long. My Queen stands front and center
on my kitchen windowsill, giving me the royal wave as I wash along.

click on link here to view book

"There is no better way to enjoy a naughty slice of cake than with a steaming pot of your favourite tea, brewed to perfection. And whether you want to throw a tea party with your friends, or monobrew with pudding for one, this delightful book on tea and cake contains everything you need to know. Starting with how to make the perfect cuppa to planning a tea party from invites to soundtrack, to washing your vintage tea set without any tears you are bound to be the hostess from cake heaven. Packed with over 50 teatime recipes, including classics like Victoria sponge to modern fancies such as whoopie pies, cake pops and more, Tea and Cake is a charming must-have for ladies who take tea, 
and anyone who can't resist a slice of cake."

 "Her Ladyship, star of Her Ladyship's Guide to the Queen's English and Her Ladyship's Guide to Modern Manners, turns her attention to another tricky area of modern life: how to run a home * She gives you the proper advice on burning domestic issues ranging from everyday housework and how to behave around house guests to dealing with cleaners and childminders * The perfect gift for anyone who wants to run their home 'properly' but practically Ever wondered how to fit the ironing into an already overcrowded schedule? Or needed advice on how to deal with house guests whose political opinions you abhor? In this charming follow-up to the popular Her Ladyship's Guide to the Queen's
English, Her Ladyship dons the mantle of a modern Mrs Beeton to provide the answers to these
pressing domestic questions, and many more." 

The giveaway ends on Friday, 15 June at 6:00pm.
If you would like to enter, leave a comment below.
If you have already done so earlier in the week and would like
to comment again..that is ok too! 

If you are unable to leave a comment, 
you can write to me 
and I will enter your name for you. 

Over and Out. 

June 12, 2012

Detective Work-London

click on photo to view larger image

The pitter patter of raindrops can be heard on rooftops 
and sidewalks around London.

I ventured in today, walking across the Vauxhall Bridge.
With rain, wind and an inverted umbrella in one hand
and my trusty iPhone in the other, I leaned over the railing...
phone extended as far as I could..to catch this lovely lady.

She is one of four bronze figures created by English sculptor, 
Alfred Drury in 1907.
The sculptures are situated above the piers on the bridge.  
Each one represents a discipline of study..
Science, Fine Arts, Education and Local Government.
The sculpture above represents Science. 

In the photo, I managed to detect... 
One newly budded branch reaching out to embrace a woman of science.
Two lion's heads with steel rings to warn of impending floods. 
One junction, where the River Effra meets the River Thames.
One woman with an umbrella walking along the forecourt 
of the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service ('M16' building).

A bit of scientific work on my part but I think I found it all.
Did I miss anything?


June 10, 2012

My Own Bird...

January 1974
Photograph by Oliviero Toscani

I picked up this card in a shop the other day.
I liked the description on the back of the card.
It all seems so simple when you look at a wardrobe this way.

The Albini Bird
What you'll be wearing
if you're an Albini bird.
Shirts looser.
Sleeves shorter.
Hats all the time.
Sandals flat.
Skirts long.
Busy gloves and hats.
Small spots and narrow stripes 
through to checks and big squares.
A circle of black linen skirt, 
peep-toe sandals one-inch high,
black and white, straight from Milan.


My Own Bird
Shirts loose.
Sleeves rolled.
Dresses linen.
Cardigans cashmere.
Skirts long.
Scarves sheer.
Kaftans long.
Pants capri.
Jeans rolled.
Hats straw.
Sandals flat.
Jewelry simple.
Sunglasses tortoiseshell.

Tweet Tweet :)

Are you your own bird?
What are you wearing these days?

PS... I am bringing over a few of my
favourite posts from CJ..Style Notes,
please excuse, while I do a bit of blogkeeping. :)
original post: here
card via cardmix

June 5, 2012

Sing!...a special gift for The Queen

Something very special has happened. 
Gary Barlow, English songwriter, record producer, winner of five Ivor Novello awards
 with 45 million record sales to his name and head judge of The X Factor UK 
(just to name a few) was asked to compose a Diamond Jubilee track by the Prince of Wales. 
Big ask and I imagine a nerve wracking one but he did it and he did it so well.

Sounds from around the world...Gary Barlow with a children's choir in Kenya.
Photography: BBC/Mark Jones via

June 3, 2012

Windsor Castle, William Shakespeare and England's Rose

In the spirit of the Diamond Jubilee
I spent the day at Windsor Castle on my own.
I had planned it that way...
I wanted to take my time and do it my way. :)

I learned many facts about Windsor Castle...
Built by William the Conqueror (r.1066-87)
It has stood it's ground for 900 years.
Today it is the largest occupied castle in the world.
Occupies 13 acres (5 hectares).