The Christmas Season

The Christmas season is upon us.
Their is a hustle and bustle in the air as
shoppers set their mark. 
Yet, on this night..

 drifts thru 
my windowsill,
snowflakes dance.
A Nordmann Fir
awaits our eager touch.
Christmas music lifts me up, 
scented candles gleam in the moonlight
all the while, a mighty army of Nutcrackers 
stand and stare. I have my list and I am checking 
it twice. I have to step out for a wee Australia 
and back. I will be returning with the best present of all,
my son. Then we will be least for a little while.
The Christmas season is upon us.
The best season of all.
Image: V&A

A little Christmas Spirit

Colin Firth and The King's Speech

My kids will say...
'Oh, no here she goes again with Mr. Darcy'
but how can I not?

I just watched the trailer to
The King's Speech.
It is the story of King George VI
and his struggle to deal with a speech impediment.

Colin Firth and Australian actor, Geoffrey Rush
are in it along with Helena Bonham Carter.

The King's Speech will be released in the UK on 7 January 2011 . 
It looks brilliant!

Geoffrey Rush always has a twinkle in his eye
and doesn't Colin look fab :)

You Tube
Images: 1&2, 3

Jo Malone and Blue Agava and Cacao

Dear Friends,
I need your help. 
I am working on my Christmas list. 
I have checked it once and checked it twice. 
At the top, is my favourite Jo Malone fragrance. 
I want to be sure that Mr. H fully 
appreciates my passion
for this fragrance....

Do you think this will work?

Dear Mr H, 
Spray me once, spray me twice
 as all I want for Christmas 
is especially sweet and nice.

They say it dances on the skin,
they say it is passion inspired 
by the rhythm of Latin music.
La musica del amor...

Scented with fresh lime, 
zesty grapefruit, 
 the heart of the rare, 
blue agava flower. 
every woman's dream, 
deep dark chocolate 
with the creamy 
vanilla spice note 
of the Cacao Bean.

Spray me once, spray me twice 
and if you are feeling
especially nice...
a cologne, a cream, a bath oil
and little drops of chocolate for el bano.
Aribba, Aribba!

Dear Readers, you think
 the whole collection
is a bit of a stretch?? 
Hmmm..perhaps, but
how about the chocolate?
Lindt, yum!

:) :)

2, 5

Annie Tempest and The Totterings

One sunny afternoon in September, 
I met a friend for lunch in Kent at the The Royal Oak in Edenbridge.  
It was there that I came across the work of Annie Tempest.
As I was leaving the pub I noticed a framed picture on the wall. 
I had a quick glance and smiled all the way home. 

 I did my usual frenzied google search and discovered
 that the answer to my question was at The O'Shea Gallery in London.

I could not have been more pleased when I walked thru the doors of the gallery. 
Not only was I greeted with a warm smile..I was in Tottering heaven. 
Everything relating to Annie Tempest can be found in this wonderful gallery. 
I eagerly stepped up to the desk and mentioned my crazy story about a pub, 
a picture of a bed, a dog and a TV.  The woman looked quizzical at first 
and then smiled.  She knew exactly what I was talking about and took me right to it.

'I don't think the bed scenes are very realistic..."

There is something about the casualness of it all..the dogs, the socks, the paper, 
the TV at the foot of the bed, the wine and I imagine a box of chocolates somewhere 
that I couldn't resist. This is not the sort of scene you imagine in a bed of such grandeur.  
I like the way the artist thinks and wonder what they would have said 
whilst watching Downton Abbey :)

Who are the Totterings? 
Lord and Lady Tottering reside at their ancestral home, Tottering Hall 
in the fictional county of North Pimmshire. They are known to each other 
and amongst their friends as Dicky and Daffy. They have a daughter, Serena 
and two grandchildren, Freddy and Daisy. The artist, Annie Tempest gives us amusing 
little insights into their lives. I have discovered that you do not have to be English 
to appreciate the delight of Dicky and Daffy. No matter what your nationality you 
are bound to find something that strikes a chord. 
They are endearing :)

"I know I said I was only going to look but it's a woman's
prerogative to change her mind, darling..."

"Darling, it's Hello! Magazine on the phone-they'd 
like to photography us in our gracious home..."

I was also endeared by this image of Annie Tempest 
and wanted to know more.

Annie started her career in 1993 with a cartoon strip 'Tottering-by- Gently' 
for Country Life Magazine. Her talent has taken her far as you can now find her 
delightful cartoons executed on china, stationary, textiles and name it, she's got it. 
You can find it all and more at O'Shea Gallery and on her website. In fact, you can probably 
find it at a store near you. Annie has a strong international following and her work now 
reaches the far corners of the world. I am thinking that Annie's work would make 
great Christmas presents for those friends with a little twinkle in their eye, just like Daffy :)

 You can find O'Shea Gallery 
 4 St. James's St.
London SW1A 1EF

Images from
and postcards purchased at O'Shea Gallery


A Royal Wedding

A wedding, how exciting! Prince William and Kate Middleton 
have finally made an announcement. They are engaged. 
The word around town is that they will marry next spring or summer, 
giving Britain its biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles married Diana in 1981.
Do you remember when Diana and Charles married?

Better yet, did you watch it and do you recall where you were when you did?
For me, it was the wee hours of the morning in the USA.
What an event and my how times have changed.
It still brings a tear...

Images 1, 2, 3
You Tube

An Afternoon on the Seine

I was told to be sure to take the boat ride along the Seine when we arrived in Paris. 
Here I sit, 10 days later, looking thru a few of my photos and the first thought 
that comes to mind is to thank the person who suggested the trip. 
If you haven't been and you have plans to go to Paris someday....
be sure to take a boat ride along the Seine.

Life happens at its own pace and for the most part it happens slowly. 
I think it was one of the things I enjoyed most.

It was a late Thursday afternoon in October and the sun was kissing the day goodbye.

Whether by boat, bridge or  land you feel compelled to stop and take it all in.
We easily fell into step with everyone else.

Everywhere we looked autumn leaves were alight.

Every little detail was beautiful.

Shadows were just as happy in their stance as the person standing 

or sitting next to them.

The big guns then came tumbling along...
Notre Dame

The Eiffel Tower

and for me, I was equally happy with birds in flight,

a perfect end to a late afternoon trip along the Seine.


London and the Wallace Collection

One of the things I love about London is the rain.
It is quintessential London to me.

I have learned how to dress for rain since moving to England.
You have to be prepared. 
Light rain coat, umbrella, the right shoes, 
rain hat and a plastic bag to hold it all when needed. 
If you have the items can handle anything.

What is so special about rain over London?
Even with the darkest skies you can find something special.

I ducked out of the rain to the Wallace Collection today.
It is a national museum within an historic London town house.
It contains 25 galleries of 18th century paintings, furniture, porcelain
and wonderful Old Master paintings along with armoury 
that my 10 year old son would love. 

Best of all is the beautiful courtyard with a cafe and brasserie.
Honestly, it is a gem and such a surprise when you open the door 
and see it nestled in the center of the building. 

If you ever need to get away from it all, rain or shine, 
visit the Wallace Collection. This was my second visit 
and I know it won't be my last.

Today, my favourite painting...

The Swing by Jean-Honore Fragonard (1767).
Pure delight!

Care for a litle foot frolic?
read here

images~J.Henriques with exception of

Taking in the Sunshine on Pimlico Road

This little fellow was just to sweet to pass up. 
Taking in the sunshine in a shop window
along Pimlico Road. 

Image ~ me

French, Italian, English...decisions, decisions

I am not sure which I enjoyed more, window shopping in Paris for women's or men's clothes.
 My daughter and I had fun looking at the Franck Namani windows on the rue de Castiglione. 
We both thought Mr. H could do with a little pick me up after checking out the windows here.

I have to say, after travelling to Rome, I thought Italian men had it all, no contest.
I had never seen so many handsome and immaculately dressed men in one place.
Now that I have lived in England for a while, I have started to think that English men 
have got the right idea.  After last weekend, I am just plain confused.

In Paris you find one store after another filled with beautiful men's clothes.
Can you say beautiful when you refer to men's clothes?
I have serious male envy at the moment.
I think I could create a day just around men's fashions
and be perfectly content ;)

and for women...

2 rue de Castiglione 
Paris 1er

How about you?
Do you have a preference when it comes to fashion?
English, Italian, French, another??

More on window shopping in Paris here