Holiday Wish List

Well, it’s the holiday season and that means it’s time to start holiday shopping! I love to shop sales, especially around Black Friday.

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I love supporting small shops and brands locally, and when I cannot shop in my town, I go online. Melijoe Paris is having an amazing Black Friday (and now Cyber Monday) sale on so many small, sustainable children’s brands – including some of our favourites pictured here!

I picked out some lovely pieces perfect for our active lives outdoors in the countryside. But they have outfits for any occasion, no matter how casual or formal. Check them out today for the best prices of the season!

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mini post: Autumn Style

October in the Virginia countryside is our favourite time of year. Autumn has just begun and the temperatures have cooled, making this the optimal time to be outdoors. In the morning, after the mist lifts off the fields, we have a bit of dew and that lovely crisp, fall air.

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The children just need that extra cosy layer or two and they are good to play outside until lunchtime!

When we moved to America, I worried I might have trouble finding the European styles we love. Fortunately, the internet is full of options, but it can be difficult to find everything in on one site and buying from lots of shops (especially for multiple kids!) can be time-consuming and wasteful with excessive overseas shipping. Paris-based Melijoe is an amazing online boutique where I can order all of our favourite pieces in one go!

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Marguerite wears a lovely cotton romper in Liberty floral print by Belle Enfant with Collégien tights.

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Lucas loves these soft corduroy slim fit trousers by Cyrillus and his favourite new Aigle wellies.

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Melijoe not only has timeless classics from Paris and London-based brands but also some modern, delightful looks perfect for young ones to wear to school and express their fun personalities!

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I love these pieces I found from Spanish brand The Animals Observatory, whose creative manifesto celebrates the wonder of childhood through their edgy designs.

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My favourite piece of the collection is this fancy v-neck cardigan made of 100% wool. I make a huge effort to put my children in only natural fabrics, and I love that Melijoe has so many options!

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Lucas picked out these Reebok x TAO collaboration trainers, mostly because they are his favourite colour red! They are such a cool, classic design which I remember from my own childhood.

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We finished the look with a brand we’ve never tried before, a new company from Portugal called Play Up. These cotton trousers are the perfect balance between texture and comfort, perfect for running and jumping and enjoying this wonderful season. Best of all they have pockets for storing all of our autumnal treasures.

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All of these brands, plus many more are just waiting to be discovered on www.melijoe.com and my order reached me within 3 days from France! I love the Magazine section of their page, which features different brands, provides trend alerts, and has lots of useful outfit inspiration (including this recent one on their selection of drool-worthy winter coats).

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Wishing everyone a lovely autumn, filled with lots of seasonal inspiration!

xx

Joshua Tree

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Arriving in Joshua Tree

Spring has finally arrived! And to reward ourselves for making it through a tough and seemingly never-ending winter, we needed a break. White sand and warm tropical waters were the first visions to come to mind, but we decided we wanted an alternative to Florida or the Caribbean. And so our finger kind of fell on the map of California.

Flying into Los Angeles to see friends for a few days, we wanted to explore as much of the area as we could. So after a few days in sunny LA, we headed out to Joshua Tree.

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The high desert covered in wildflowers

What an incredible landscape!

To experience it best, we booked into an amazing little cabin out in the middle of the high desert.

What a wonderful oasis it was when we arrived! Impeccably styled interior, with lots of homesteader charm – including a record player stocked with classic LPs.

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Breakfast on one of the covered porches

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Room for everyone to spread out and enjoy their own little piece of the desert

What a surprise it was to see the desert in such a vivid state of bloom! Wildflowers exploded across the land in a rich palette of spring color. We even found plentiful patches of desert daisies. And of course the namesake Joshua trees dotted about in every direction. Quite a funny sight they are, with their twisty branches knarled out in all directions. They are actually not a tree or a cactus at all, but actually in the lily family!

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Joshua tree

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Daisy exploring the desert

We loved Joshua Tree National Park and were quite overwhelmed by how much of it there was to see. Far too much for us to see everything in a couple of days, but we hit the highlights – scrambling over the boulders, exploring its caves, and marveling at the lovely challa cactus garden.

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Cholla cactus garden, Joshua Tree National Park

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There was so much to see and experience in this beguiling landscape.

But by far the best bit was enjoying some quality moments together as a family!

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Check back soon to see our next stop – Palm Springs!

Getaway DC

This year has been full on. Summer slipped by in the blink of an eye. And since Lucas started nursery downtown, we’ve hardly had a moment free. We needed to press pause.

So we booked ourselves a little cabin down in the Shenandoah Valley, and took off for a much-needed getaway.

Sans child. Sans wi-fi. And after a few glasses of wine, sans a care in the world.

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Trees Forest Trail

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Leaves

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Our cabin for the evening was tucked into the most gorgeous woodland setting, where you couldn’t hear a car horn or siren for miles. The only sounds were just the lone crow, squirrels scampering across the crunchy leaves, and the swoosh of an occasional breeze across the treetops.

We settled into our cabin and lit our campfire.

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One thing we didn’t need a break from was a good meal. But unlike our usual dinners at home (which usually involve lots of prep, tons of stress to get it on the table in time, and then a forensic amount of clean up after), this time we did things differently.

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A one-pot meal we could throw in a dutch oven and kick back by the fire while it stewed for a couple of hours.

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And like any recipe that calls for a whole bottle of wine – you know it’s going to be good!

 

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Beef Bourguignon over potato gnocchi

It definitely took a while, but when you’ve got nothing else to do but sit and talk, and sip wine and look at the moon rise, you don’t really notice! Well worth the wait, we ate late and stayed up much later.

The next morning, we slept in. I know a lot of parents probably complain about a lack of sleep, which I never really understood. I have always been such a high energy person, I never missed the hours of lost sleep when I had a baby.

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But being here, I now realise how a nice, long lie-in is such a luxury for mums and dads. You don’t have to get up. That’s when it feels so good to be lazy.

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Walking

Breakfast was another easy skillet on the grill. My campsite take on huevos rancheros, we felt like a couple of cowboys as we sipped our mugs of coffee waiting for the chow bell.

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Breakfast Camping Picnic Autumn

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With the last bits of breakfast mopped up, there was nothing to do but snuggle up and just chill until checkout time.

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Hillwood Gardens, Washington DC

Hi! Fancy seeing you again!

Just thought I’d quickly check in and let everyone know our nomadic adventures continue – and we’re happy to add another pin in the map. We now hang our hat in Washington, DC. Having moved from one capital city (London), we are feeling right at home and have wasted no time exploring this captivating town.

Spring is giving way to summer, and the weather here has been spectacular. We are trying to spend as much time outdoors as we can before the oppressive summer heat sets in.

As we celebrated our third wedding anniversary, we headed to Hillwood Museum for an early afternoon picnic in the gardens.

Hillwood mansion

The estate was founded by the glamorous (and somewhat eccentric) socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. The mansion is now a museum, home to her incredible art collection and showcasing her wacky eye for interior design.

But the real delight are the gardens!

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We set right to work exploring every angle!

Hillwood Japanese garden waterfall

Hillwood japanese rock

And eventually settling in the shade to share a picnic.

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Hillwood picnic

I usually like to have a little lie-down after lunch, resting under the cool canopy, listening to the water babbling and birds crooning, inhaling the scent of freshly mown grass with every breath.

But this guy had other ideas!

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Hillwood side yard

It was the day of the big Hillwood gala and everything was looking in tip-top shape for the evening’s events. So it was a bit embarrassing when we couldn’t keep our child from turning every fountain into his personal paddling pool.

His philosophy is clearly, “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”

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Hillwood FOUNTAIN

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Hillwood japanese garden bridge

Hillwood putting green umbrella

A glorious day, impeccable gardens, and the best company a girl could ask for.

Even if you have to chase after it.

Hillwood putting green

 

The Seldom Scene

Perhaps you have noticed (or maybe you haven’t!) that I took a little break from writing over the past few months.

Although lots of exciting things have happened so far this year, I’ve been quite busy.

Much in part to this little chap!

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Say hello to Lucas!

At the beginning of the year, just before this little one came along, we moved house. Again! We now call Beaufort, South Carolina home. It’s a sleepy Lowcountry coastal town between Charleston and Savannah. We adore our neighbourhood, the outdoor lifestyle, and the weather. But it’s a bit, shall we say, ho hum.

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Thankfully, we have enough on our hands to keep us more than occupied!

Lucas quilt

June 26 Luc Blanket

June 26 Mama Luc

He’s a handful, but we’re so happy to have him along for the ride!

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The adventures continue soon…

 

Jekyll Island Club

Jakyll Island Club frontage

Last weekend we snuck off to the Georgia coast for a little getaway on Jekyll Island. The island used to be an entirely private hunting grounds and site of the members-only Jekyll Island Club, which was once described as “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”

Notable members included the likes of J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, and Joseph Pulitzer.

The club has a sinister history as the clandestine meeting place of a group of New York bankers, who met here in secret in 1907 to create the Federal Reserve. But in the bright light of modern day, it is now an inviting and gorgeous coastal retreat.

Jakyll Island Club front

Jakyll Island Club Room

We sprang from bed and headed for breakfast in the Grand Dining Room, enjoying the beautiful grounds bathed in glorious morning sunshine.

Jakyll Island Club

Jakyll Island Club outside

Jakyll Island Club outside walk

Jakyll Island Club Breakfast

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Jakyll Island Club Hotel Fire

Jakyll Island Club walk

Walking back after breakfast we passed several cottages on the island, which would have been luxurious winter homes for members of the club.

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Jakyll Island Club Cottage

Jakyll Island Club Cottage Garden

Jakyll Island Club Cottage front

Jakyll Island Club wicker rockers

Jakyll Island Club wicker rockers gaze

As Savannah is close by, we decided to pop in for a look around and a bit of lunch.

Savannah Steamboat Georgia Queen Kirks

Savannah Zos Tara Kirks

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Savannah Collins Quarter Mirror

Collins Quarter is a great little Savannah eatery on the corner of Bull Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. The menu has a distinctly Australian influence, and is an excellent choice for brunch!

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Savannah Collins Quarter Chai latte

The chai latte was exceptional! And so begins my new addiction to chai….

Savannah Collins Quarter Chai

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Savannah Collins Quarter Salmon

Poached Egg, House Cured Salmon, Potato Rosti, Cherry Tomatoes, Micro Herbs and House made Hollandaise served with Green Salad

Savannah Collins Quarter Avo Toast

Smashed Avocado served on Beaufort Artisan Bakery Toast with Feta, Heirloom Tomatoes, Micro Herbs, and Shaved Radishes topped with a Poached Egg

Savannah Collins Quarter Aussie Breakfast

Leo’s Aussie Brekkie: Chorizo Sausage, Savannah River Farms Bacon, Eggs, Sautéed Mushroom, Baked Beans & Grilled Tomato served with Beaufort Artisan Bakery Toast

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Jakyll Island Club Hotel Side

Back on Jekyll Island, we headed down to the “Rah” Bar on the riverside just as the sun was setting.

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Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Sign

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar View Flowers

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Paradise

It was such a peaceful setting for a drink and to appreciate the beauty of the waterfront.

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Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Sky

What a delightful and relaxing weekend away enjoying the stunning scenery of the south!