Thinking outside the box with LRB...


I found the most extraordinary use for my old issues of the 
I have had trouble locating Christmas wrapping paper 
in our new adopted home (Vietnam)...
and thought, why not? 
It is a great read, interesting, beautifully presented...
why not say it in words?

I imagine the book loving friends of mine
will appreciate it too!

I talked myself into parting with a few...the rest
are cherished, especially the ones with covers
created by the late Peter Campbell.




If you are not familiar with the London Review of Books...
I highly recommend it. 
You can read more on my thoughts 
about it here, here and here.

The Thames and the journey's end


One winter's day, 
I passed over the Thames River
to make my way to Waterloo station.

I looked down and was entranced by the water..
the weight of it, the motion, the colours 
and thought of the journey's end
for everything and everyone 
who passed at that moment in time.








If you are in London one winter's day, 
grab a coffee and take a stroll along the Thames.
Look closely...there is so much to see. 
I promise, you will not want to miss any of it.

View over the Thames River to St. Paul's Cathedral from Tate Modern.




Finding my way in Vietnam...


My English Pashley bicycle and me...happily riding
the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Some may wonder where I have been....my last post was some months ago.
Some will know that I have moved, one week after my last post
on Juy 3, 2012... to Vietnam.

I had plans...I was planning to write on this blog from afar.
Then something happened, I had hoped it wouldn't.
I felt homesick...for England.
Silly thing that, I am not English, and we only lived in Surrey
for two and a half years. The shortest expat experience for us yet.

But it happened...not the first time and surely not the last.
I found it hard to even visit the blog....I did not want to mix emotions.
When you move to a new home, a new country...you need to stay focused.
Staying stuck in the past never did anyone any good, surely not for me.

You learn to look at life as a series of layers...beautiful travel layers.
Our time in England was one of them...wonderful people and experiences.
Our lives are richer for each and every one.

I feel better about it now...I have hit the three month stretch.
I separate the first year into three, six and twelve month increments.
With each, comes an ease, when you start to feel more comfortable 
and accepting of your new surroundings.

Then...one day it hits you...it is not over.
Whose to say what will come next?
In an expat world...you never say never.
I could be walking the streets of London once again.
In fact, one way or another, I know I will.

That's the moment when you accept your move
that's the moment when you come back to a blog you missed, 
to say... I am not far away...just Vietnam. Even better, I am
 a 'click' away to where I write more frequently @ Collage of Life.

I know many of you join me there already...and I thank you immensely for that!
If others have wondered where I have been
and would like to continue the journey with me.
You can meet me in Ho Chi Minh City...here.

I will not close this blog down...because you never know...
I could be finding my way around England once again...
fingers crossed. :)

Until then, you can find me at Chateau Mango..
writing away... here.




images~ jeanne

London You're Beautiful




I first came across David Gentleman's work in Hatchard's book shop on Picaddilly in London.
I have had my eye on a few of his books and was delighted to read about yet another. 
The only problem is deciding which one... you can read all about 
London, You're Beautiful..An Artist's Year...here


Go  here  to view other books by David Gentleman. To get up close 
and personal with David, go here or...



images via

Travels to Château de Chambord




"Chambord is truly royal-royal in its great scale, 
its grand air, its indifference to common considerations"
Writer, Henry James


Château de Chambord is one of the most magnificent buildings I have ever seen. If you are planning a trip to the Loire Valley, I recommend putting this château at the top of your list. Chambord dates back to 1518 and owes it's conception to François I. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have drawn up plans that were ultimately made into a model by Le Boccador.  Many famous masters of their trade had a hand in the creations of Chambord over the centuries. The château is a masterpiece of the Renaissance period and is rich in history.  
Love, war and much more breathed thru it's walls until it was sold to the State in 1932 for 11 million francs.  Every portrait tells a story and there are plenty of them with 440 rooms to fill. I could go on and on but I will stop there and let the photos do the talking for me. It was a challenge to get it all into a single frame, both inside and out, but I had fun trying. You can read more about Château de Chambord, here.












Anne-Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchesse de Montpensier
by Jean Nocret



 Magnificent Proportions.

Text reference: Châteaux of the Loire
The Green Guide by Michelin

images~me

 PS..
Thank you for your words of encouragement regarding my bat story. (here)
I was heartened to hear that many are quite familiar with these
little night creatures and take them in stride. :)

Antiques Road Trip


Charles Hanson via

I am a latecomer to this party... 
I have never been one for the BBC Antiques Roadshows
even though I know the show is hugely popular in the UK. I have watched them on
occasion but it has not been enough to bring me back again and again. I imagine
if I had a treasure trove of family antiques gathering dust somewhere or if I was
an avid collector of antiques, I would be right on top of it.

But....
Last night, I was ironing my new pile of vintage English linen,
 when I happened upon Antiques Road Trip and thought to my myself...
now we are talking! 

Charles Hanson and Charlie Ross via

In particular, the dynamic duo of Charles Hanson and Charlie Ross
It could have been the car they drove around the English countryside
 in search of antiques. It could have been their quest to find a bargain 
so that they could later turn over a profit in an upcoming auction. 
It could have been their bartering skills (of which I have none) or it could 
have been the unusual objects they were drawn too of which there were many.

No matter...
I was smitten and smiled all the way through the show.
The show has that English humour which I have grown to love.
 I also learned a thing or two about haggling over a price.
If only I had watched this show last week.
It could have saved me a pretty penny.

I am the one....
who walks in to a shop, falls in love with an item
and makes no attempt to hide it. Putty in the shop owners hands.
That was me yesterday...tomorrow, watch out!

I did not buy anything on this trip but often look back and think
I could have, should have. The nice thing about living or visiting England,
is that there is plenty more where this came from. 
You just have to get out there and look.








If you would like to learn more 
about the BBC Antiques Road Trip shows.
You can start here.

top image as noted
bottom images ~jeanne

Travels to Loseley Park in Surrey...



I have come to the conclusion that every stately English home should have an exceptional garden.
This is only because they do. I happened upon Loseley Park after a call from a friend who said that I was not to miss the May Fair on the grounds of Loseley Park. She is one of those woman who has a keen eye for shopping opportunities and whose judgement I trust explicitly.  Imagine my surprise when I drove up to find this estate as well.  I was delighted!

After filling my market basket with a few treats, I ventured over to the property for a little 'look see'.
I quickly realised that 'little' is not a word to associate with Loseley Park.



 Loseley Park was built in the time of Elizabeth I and is still the home of the More-Molyneux family.
It is said to have changed little since 1562 when Sir William More put his hands to the first stones.
Calm, grace and subtle beauty are used to describe Loseley Park and I would have to agree.
I did not have time to go into the house and will save that for another day/post. What I did manage to venture into were the beautiful gardens, all five of them. The Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Flower Garden, White Garden and the Organic Vegetable Garden. They are so immense and so beautiful that it was almost too much to take in on one visit. I can see that several trips will be required to truly appreciated this stately home.

Have a wander with me.....




 Rosa Cornelia, a hybrid musk rose.



At the end of this extensive wander, this was the most welcoming sight of all :)


More on Loseley Park, here.

images~me

Original post... here

A Royal Globetrotter and her Diamond Jubilee

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Tuvalu, South Pacific 1982
Picture: John Shelley/Rex Features  via
The Queen is a woman after my own heart.
She is the most travelled head of state in the world and by many
estimations the most travelled human being. 
Surely that would make her the most travelled woman in the world?

I recently picked up the book,  'The Royal Tour',
a Royal Collection Publication. It details tours and visits
 of Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth.

Book available via The Royal Collection here

Today marks 60 years on the throne and
261 official overseas visits and 96 state visits to 116 countries.
The Queen has never stood in a queue at Heathrow Airport
only because she does not have one. 
Her first trip abroad was to South Africa in 1947.

The Queen and a young boy in Nigeria, 1956
Picture: Rex Features via

In her 60 years as Queen, she has travelled to:
Algeria, Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Austria
 Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda
Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei
Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Cocos Islands, Cook Islands, 
Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep., Denmark, Dominica
Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France
Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana
Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait
Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, Morocco
Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, 
Norfolk Island, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal
Qatar, Russia , Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, 
Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, 
Spain, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Sudan, Sweden, 
Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, 
Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, 
United States of America, Vanuatu (New Hebrides), Vatican City
Western Samoa, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

I have highlighted the countries I have travelled to over the years as a comparison.
There are a few missing for me and even then I could not imagine
 travelling to so many countries.  I secretly love the thought!

My hat goes off to possibly the most travelled woman in the world.
A Royal Globetrotter in her Diamond Jubilee year.

Travel information via The Telegraph here


For those of you who enjoy Royal watching, especially around the Diamond Jubilee,
I spent the day at Windsor Castle this week and have written about it on my other
blog Collage of Life. I know some of you only follow me on this blog.
To that end...for you...


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).

Official residence of The Queen
Often used by The Queen to host State Visits.
If you go, be sure to see: the State Apartments
On exhibition now, a must see..
You can visit Windsor Castle via video here.

St. George's Chapel holds the tombs of ten sovereigns 
including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, 
and Charles I. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, 
King Charles VI and Princess Margaret also lie buried in the Chapel.

The castle is so rich in history, it requires a good read and visit to take it all in.
I am not sure if even then, one could fully grasp the full scope of this magnificent castle.

Interior shots are not allowed...so I had to make due with what I discovered outside.
If you would like to explore Windsor Castle in more detail...start here.
I promise you, the interior is most definitely worth a visit.

My discoveries....
Up, up and away.. after all, it is a castle. :)




     "Oh Romeo, Romeo...wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I'll no longer be a Capulet." 
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet 

Windsor Castle has a way of making you think like that.




Here lies the Moat Path which leads to the Moat Garden.


There was an error in this gadget