Charleston Cup

The Charleston Cup was established in 1786 and has been a highlight of the lowcountry racing season ever since. The event was not blessed with perfect weather this year, but we slipped on our wellies, slung on our field jackets, and made the most of it!

Charleston Cup 2015 Tent Picnic Basket

Charleston Cup 2015 Wellies

Charleston Cup 2015 Wellies Picnic

Charleston Cup 2015 Picnic

First order of business was to find our friends in the infield to drop our basket, grab and drink, and go for a wander round the grounds.

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Goers Tents

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Catering Food Service

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Open Bar

Charleston Cup 2015 Tent Catering Food Flowers

Charleston Cup 2015 Tent Mimosa

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Goers

Despite the mud and intermittent drizzle, there were lots of equestrian enthusiasts out to support the races!

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Shirt

Charleston Cup 2015 Lady with Equestrian Skirt

Including a few of the canine variety!

Charleston Cup 2015 Puppy

Charleston Cup 2015 Puppy Dog

Charleston Cup 2015 Puppy Dog Pet

Charleston Cup 2015 race Marshall Red Jacket

We headed to the paddock to eye up the race contenders.

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Race Horses_

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Race Horse 5

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Race Horse 1

And got a little sneak preview of the big prize!

Charleston Cup 2015 Silver Trophy

Then it was time to find a prime spot to get close to the action, before the start of the first running.

Charleston Cup 2015 Races Cheer Sideline

And, finally, they were off!

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Flag

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Start

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Run

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Jump Early

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Jump

The crowd went wild with excitement, as you can see…

Charleston Cup 2015 Races Cheer

Between races, everyone freshens up their beverages and socializes while waiting for the next contest.

Charleston Cup 2015 Mimosa

Charleston Cup 2015 Oak Tree

Charleston Cup 2015 Paddock Dapple Grey

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Spectator

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Track Run

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Race

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Close

Charleston Cup 2015 Oak Tree

Charleston Cup 2015 Race Horses Track

Charleston Cup 2015 Chevy Tent Sarah Eddie

By the end of the day we were certainly a little muddy and chilly, and in need of a hot bath. But two very happy racegoers indeed!

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Hilton Head Car Show

Americans love their cars. They pretty much have to. With no thriving rail infrastructure and unreliable public transportation, it’s how most people here get around.

Nowadays most automobiles are imported from abroad, but years ago the United States was the largest and greatest automotive manufacturer in the world. Some of those classic cars are still around, and motorheads across America flock to car shows to get a glimpse of history.

We headed down to Hilton Head, South Carolina for this year’s Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance… Arriving by private plane, of course.

hilton Head Car Show Cirrus

Nah, just kidding!

hilton Head Car Show Track View

hilton Head Car Show Track

The event was held on a golf course – of which Hilton Head has many! It was the first day of November and 80 degrees in the shade. I’m still getting used to this whole not-needing-a-jacket thing down south!

We had gorgeous sunny weather to wander around the greens looking at beautiful cars.

hilton Head Car Show Porsche Hybrid

1966 Shelby GT350H

1966 Shelby GT350H

hilton Head Car Show GTO

hilton Head Car Show RR

hilton Head Car Show Dupont

hilton Head Car Show RR Real

hilton Head Car Show RR Silver Side

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda Style

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda Style

1963 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB

1963 Ferrari 250 California Spyder SWB

The “Ferris Bueller” Ferrari was particularly popular. As he says in the film,” It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

Lots of other classics were on show. This VW van made me want to grab a surf board and head for the west coast.

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Microbus Deluxe

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Microbus Deluxe

But if I could have my pick of any car at the show, it would be this wood-paneled Chrysler Town & Country sedan. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

1947 Chrysler Town & Country Sedan

hilton Head Car Show 1947 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith

hilton Head Car Show RR Blue Interior

Looking at all these magnificent automobiles just brought to my attention how badly I need to learn how to drive a manual transmission! I’m ashamed I’ve made it this far without having learned. I guess that’s what years of living in big cities with taxicabs and subway systems can do to a gal!

There were also some motorcycles thrown in the mix…

hilton Head Car Show Motorcycles line

1968 Triumph

1968 Triumph

But I think I found something small, sporty, and simply perfect for me – a vintage Borden’s ice cream trike!

hilton Head Car Show Bordens Ice Cream

Since I always brake for ice cream!

It was a great end to a day at the car show.

Hurricane Joaquin, Sullivan’s Island

Hurricane Joaquin was in town for the past few days, and left quite a mess behind.

It hasn’t stopped raining for the past four days!

Sunday morning I’d had enough of being cooped up indoors. So we pulled on our wellies and waterproofs and walked round the neighbourhood.

There wasn’t really anywhere to go that wasn’t under water!

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Flooded Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Walking

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Flooded Water Level

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station Back Yard Garden Flooded Picket Fence

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Station 19 Walking Streets

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Ion Drive

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Boathouse

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Boathouse Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Ion Lighthouse Flooding

The path to the beach was now a lake!

Even the most serious looking off-road vehicles didn’t attempt to drive down it.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Land Rover

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Lighthouse Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Lighthouse Flooding

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Walk

We simply trudged on, determined to get to the beach.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Ion Station 19 Beach Path

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Ion Walk

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Ion Station 19 Beach Path Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach

The sea was a little bit rougher than usual – but the landscape was strikingly serene.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach View

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Umbrella Wellies

I kicked off my shoes and strolled barefoot alongside some of our neighbours taking the dogs out for a walk.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Dog Catch

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Dogs

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Sailboat

Eventually the rain began to taper off into the lightest drizzle.

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Sailboat Water

Hurricane Joaquin Sullivan's Island Flooding Beach Sailboat view

We are proud survivors of our first coastal hurricane!

Adios, Joaquin!

Fleurie, Charlottesville

Spending one night in Charlottesville, Virginia didn’t leave us much time to explore – so we headed straight downtown to check out the bustling pedestrian mall and see the sights before dinner.

Charlottesville downtown pedestrian mall

Charlottesville downtown founding fathers

Charlottesville chalk

Charlottesville City Hall had installed a huge chalk wall for the public to celebrate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. We took a moment to exercise our freedom of speech – or freedom to doodle!

Charlottesville chalk writing

Then we hit the shops! I was so happy to come across Caspari’s American outpost (the other is in Paris). I used to shop their products at Partridge’s in London – and this was my first visit to their bricks and mortar store.

Where interior design inspiration abounds!

Charlottesville Caspari store

Charlottesville Caspari dining

Charlottesville Caspari showroom

My little head was on a swivel – so many ways to beautify a home!

Charlottesville Caspari dining table setting

Charlottesville Caspari shelving

I had to stop and coo over these preppy dog accessories – and ponder the question ,“Exactly when will we ever get a puppy?”

Charlottesville Caspari dog accessories collars

As the shops shuttered up for the evening, we traipsed down to dinner at a little French bistro called Fleurie.

Charlottesville Fleurie entrance

Fleurie Charlottesville patio terrace outdoor al fresco dining

The perfect quiet little spot to dine al fresco in downtown Charlottesville!

Charlottesville Fleurie cheers drinks

Fleurie Sip Drink Cocktail Final

Chilled Tomato Soup with salmon rillette

Chilled Tomato Soup with salmon rillette

Lobster Bisque with tarragon

Lobster Bisque with tarragon

Gnocchi, Bleu d'Auvergne Fondue, sweet pecans, cherry tomatoes

Gnocchi, Bleu d’Auvergne Fondue, sweet pecans, cherry tomatoes

Herb Crusted Halibut, summer squashes, white wine sauce

Herb Crusted Halibut, summer squashes, white wine sauce

Wolf Creek Grass-fed Beef Sirloin, Gnocchi Parisienne, Leeks, Bordelaise

Wolf Creek Grass-fed Beef Sirloin, Gnocchi Parisienne, leeks, Bordelaise

I’ve been mostly steering clear of sugar and gluten this summer, but when I’m out at a nice restaurant all rules fly out the window.

Not one to be put off by an imminent sugar crash, it was time for dessert…

Vanilla Bean Créme Brulée

Vanilla Bean Créme Brulée

Peach Pithier, Raspherries, Vanilla Ice Cream

Peach Pithier, raspberries, vanilla ice cream

Petit Fours: Chocolate hazelnut truffles, Lemon meringue tarts, Cherry financiers

Petit Fours: Chocolate hazelnut truffles, Lemon meringue tarts, Cherry financiers

lemon_tart

Summer nights like these are the sweetest!

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

On a recent trip up north, we pulled into beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia – to pay a visit to the fabled home of American founding father Thomas Jefferson.

He was waiting in the parking lot to greet us.

Thomas Jefferson bronze statue Monticello

A shuttle bus collected us from the Visitor’s Center and rumbled up the hill where we got our first glimpse of Monticello.

TJ designed and began building this place in 1769 – at the ripe old age of 26 years old, after inheriting 3,000 acres of plantation land from his father.

Monticello landscape wooded green

Monticello front entrance portico

It’s a truly graceful design. And the views from the top of the mountain aren’t bad either…

Monticello brick path view

Monticello side profile

Monticello deck side view2

I love the side decks branching out from each side of the house. I found TJ’s lime tree, close at hand for those sunset gin & tonics on the terrace I presume.

Monticello deck lime tree

Monticello deck sundial

Exploring the greenhouse piazza

Exploring the greenhouse piazza

Monticello deck sunroom porch window

Monticello kitchen

The Monticello foundation is refreshingly frank about the role that enslaved people played in everyday life. Jefferson owned more than 600 slaves over the course of his lifetime. They laboured on the plantation as field workers, gardeners, carpenters, textile weavers, blacksmiths, and household servants.

It’s astounding that with all that free labour, Jefferson still managed to die with over $2 million in debt. In his will, he bequeathed freedom to only five men – a great hypocrisy in regards to his belief that “slavery [was] contrary to the laws of nature” and that everyone had a right to personal liberty.

Monticello kitchen shelves

I can’t reconcile how Jefferson could advocate the abolishment of slavery, and even eventual emancipation of slaves, but still be a part of society that was growing more and more entrenched in the proliferation of slavery. The sad truth is that he is partly responsible for instilling in white American culture the notion that blacks were inferior. America is still grappling with the wounds of slavery and racism to this very day.

Log cabin dwelling for slaves

Log cabin dwelling for slaves

Monticello back lawn

It was a gorgeous day to stroll the grounds and explore the gardens, which symbolise the pioneering spirit of life in colonial America.

Monticello gardens hill landscape

Monticello gardens tree

Monticello gardens corn

Monticello gardens rosemary

Monticello gardens coupolla view

I could have spent all afternoon in this little brick pavilion with its double sash windows and extraordinary views across the rolling Piedmont countryside.

We wandered down the hill behind the house upon the family cemetery, to reflect on the obelisk marker of Jefferson’s grave.

Monticello grave fence emblym

Isn’t it surprising he didn’t mention being the third President of the United States as one of his accomplishments? Instead, he wanted to be remembered for his writings and for founding the University of Virginia.

Monticello gravestone

And how romantic that he died on the Fourth of July, fifty years to the day after signing the Declaration of Independence! Fellow signer and American revolutionary, John Adams would die on the same day, just four hours later.

Monticello gravestone gates

For all America’s complicated and dissonant history, this place is certainly a part of it.

Back at the Monticello discovery center, we tinkered around with some of Jefferson’s inventions, including a replica of his letter copying device.

Monticello letter copier demo

Monticello letter copier demo discovery

With our heads full of ideas and information, we stopped off at the Michie Tavern to debrief and reflect on our Monticello visit – over a mug of tavern ale!

Mitchie tavern sign

Mitchie tavern

Mitchie Tavern beer

Mitchie Tavern tavern ale

Mitchie Tavern beer sip

I’m so glad we had the chance to spend a day at Monticello and learn a little bit about the life of Thomas Jefferson.

In the words of the man himself, “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”

St Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine was a fortunate stop whilst we were in Florida visiting some dear family friends. I had no idea that it’s America’s oldest colony, settled by Spaniards in 1565.

It was also the first of only three walled cities ever constructed in North America; the other two are Charleston, South Carolina (English) and Quebec City, Canada (French).

They just don’t build ’em like they used to!

The old city sits on the gulf of the St Augustine Inlet, the waters dotted with boats and the Bridge of Lions connecting the colonial quarter with Anastasia Island.

Bridge of Lions, St Augustine

Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine

St Auguestine Waterfront View Boats

St Auguestine Waterfront View Water

A stroll through the old city gates takes you to the oldest wooden schoolhouse surviving in the United States.  It was built in the early 1700s, when St. Augustine was still under the rule of Imperial Spain.

Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the US, St Augustine

Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse in the US, St Augustine

St Auguestine Old Schoolhouse Flowerbox

St Auguestine Courtyard

The streets are lined with colourful shops and boutiques that reflect the influences and traditions of the early settlers from Minorca.

I have been on the hunt for some nice pieces of coral for the beach house and found plenty to choose from here!

St Auguestine Coral Shopping

St Auguestine Coral Closeup

St Auguestine Coral

St Auguestine Park Gazebo

St Auguestine Castillo Front

We toured Castillo De San Marco National Monument, part of the U.S. National Park Services. It’s a great example of the “bastion system” of fortification where angled walls jut out in a star-shaped design.

St Auguestine Castillo Courtyard

St Auguestine Castillo Rooftop Turret view

St Auguestine Castillo Turret

St Auguestine Castillo Rooftop Turret landscape

St Auguestine Castillo Roof View

The roof of the fort is lined with old cannons, some of which have beautiful European casting techniques.

St Auguestine Castillo Cannon Blue

St Auguestine Castillo Cannon

St Auguestine Castillo Rooftop view

St Auguestine Castillo Little Turret View

To beat the heat, we stopped at Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops and bought a few fruity lollies to cool us down. The Cucumber Lemon Mint was amaaaazing – and I have a feeling I’ll be recreating a homemade version before summer’s over!

St Auguestine Hyppo Pop Flavours

St Auguestine Hyppo Pop

Our next destination on the whistlestop tour was the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. I’m sad to say I couldn’t get a decent photo of the lighthouse because the sun was sitting directly on top of it. But the Keepers’ House and grounds were so quaint and peaceful it was worth the visit.

St Auguestine Lighthouse

St Auguestine Lighthouse Gate

St Auguestine Lighthouse View

St Auguestine Lighthouse Trees

St Auguestine Lighthouse Path

Lots more to explore in this area for sure! Until next time…

Home Beach Home

It’s been quite a journey, getting to South Carolina from London, over the past few months. But we finally found the perfect beach shack and we’re all snuggled in! I guess you could say I’ve even become a bit of a homebody.

Station 19 Outside front door orange

Station 19 Living Room Sofa

Station 19 Living Room Mirror

Station 19 Kitchen Side Counter

Station 19 Kitchen Counter

Station 19 Guest bedroom Chest of Drawers Side

Station 19 Guest Bedroom Flowers

Station 19 Guest Bedroom Flowers Nightstand

Station 19 Bedroom Pillows

Station 19 Screened in Porch Beach Cottage

I’ve been getting down to work in the kitchen, testing out some classic Southern recipes… and a few of my own, like this Georgia peach gâteau.

Station 19 Pie Cloche

Station 19 Pie Cloche Cover

Southern life is treating us well. We’ve found the perfect compromise living 15 minutes outside of Charleston, but right on the beach in Sullivan’s Island. After all, we haven’t moved from the greatest city in the world to be downtown with all the tourists, college students and fixie bike hipsters. Life’s better on the water!

Sullivan's Island Beach Welcome Sign

Luckily, we’re 2 blocks from the sand – so we’ve been taking advantage of morning walks on the beach and late afternoon swims in the ocean.

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach path

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach path Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Waves Sand Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Houses Lighthouse Landscape

Sullivan's Island Boardwalk Beach Dunes Landscape

We didn’t waste any time finding our favourite restaurants on the island. On this particular occasion, we were off to brunch just up the road. We’re lucky we can walk everywhere, exploring our new neighbourhood on foot.

Sullivan's Island Sidewalk

Sullivan's Island Blue Doll House Victorian

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Steps

Obstinate Daughter is relatively new to the island – like us! But it’s already been making waves in the area for it’s coastal Italian influences and local ingredients. We heard about it practically before we even got unpacked, and now we’re working on making ourselves regulars.

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Steps Up

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Interior

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter BarMary

Their Blonde Bloody Mary is epic. And in case you’re wondering, that’s pickled okra speared on the garnish.

Sullivan's Island Obstinate Daughter Bloody Mary

Seasonal vegetable frittata with basil and mozzarella

Seasonal vegetable frittata with basil and mozzarella

House ham, farm egg, fontal cheese, garlic aioli

House ham, farm egg, fontal cheese, garlic aioli

Our brunch was slammin’ – I will keep coming back until I try everything on the menu.

Sullivan's Island Beardcats OD

Life’s a beach – and I really can’t complain!