Tag Archives: Garden

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!

Hillwood japanese garden

Hillwood bridge1

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.

Hillwood picnic dada luc

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!

Hillwood lawn run

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.”

Hillwood fountina

Hillwood fountain mama luc


Hillwood Japanese garden lilypads

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


Petersham Nurseries Candlelit Carols

Petersham Nurseries is one of the gems of suburban London. It’s not your typical garden center – it’s possibly the chicest, bohemian greenhouse wonderland I’ve ever encountered.

The vast grounds near Richmond were saved from developers by an Italian businessman and his Aussie wife, and they’ve since redesigned the gardens, opened a Michelin star restaurant, a rustic teahouse, and a vast garden shop full of salvaged homewares, antique furniture and vintage garden décor.

And it happens to be the premier place in town to rekindle that old-fashioned Christmas spirit!

Petersham Nurseries Teahouse

The event was a candlelit evening of Christmas carols and shopping!

Petersham Nurseries Shop

As we entered the packed dirt-floored nursery, we were handed a ticket for a free cup of mulled wine. Crumbly mince pies were also on hand to nibble as a group of singers from Barnes Choir filled the café with the beautiful harmony of Christmas carols.

Petersham Nurseries Mulled Wine Ticket

Petersham Nurseries Carols Mulled Wine Mince Pie

Petersham Nurseries Carols Sip

Petersham Nurseries Carols Santa

Petersham Nurseries Carollers

Petersham Nurseries Carols Tree

Petersham Nurseries Carols

The space was heaving with fir trees and berries, shiny red baubles, and twinkling fairy lights – it was a magical Christmas dreamland!

Petersham Nurseries Shop Plants

Still humming “Jingle Bells”, we wandered around perusing the shop! My eyes didn’t know which way to look first – left or right, up or down. Every inch of the place was covered in vintage prints, gilded mirrors, antique chandeliers, homemade wreaths, scented candles and soaps, and heaps of Christmas ornaments.

Petersham Nurseries Shop Walls

Petersham Nurseries Shopping

Petersham Nurseries Shop Putti

Petersham Nurseries Shop Baubles

Petersham Nurseries Shop Crocuses

Petersham Nurseries Shop Mirror Reflection

Petersham Nurseries Shop Hobnail Pitcher

Petersham Nurseries Shop Baubles Tree

This shop is one of my top recommendations for finding unique Christmas gifts!

And I couldn’t pick a place with more charming Christmas cheer.

Broughton Castle

British people have a saying, “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” The phrase is taken to mean that everyone has the right to do as they please within their own home, and no one can enter a dwelling without invitation. On a weekend trip up to the Cotswolds, we stopped in to see one of the finest private moated manor houses in the country, Broughton Castle.

Located outside of Banbury and made of magnificent golden honey limestone, the core of the house dates from 1306. It has been home to the Fiennes family since the 1400s, and has appeared on-screen in films such as Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Jane Eyre (2011).

The owners open the house and grounds to the public on select days of the year, and we seized the invitation to have a poke around.

Broughton Castle Entrance

The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse

Broughton Castle Outside

Broughton Castle Landscape

Broughton Castle Shells Window

Broughton Castle Viscount Falkland Portrait

I have to admit it’s a bit weird roaming around a complete stranger’s home – no matter how magnificent. However, the interior is so perfectly cared for and preserved, it feels rather like a museum. As I became more and more lost in the details and grandeur of each room, I began to forget the sense that I was somehow intruding.

Armor on display in The Great Hall

Armor on display in The Great Hall

Broughton Castle Great Parlour Wallpaper BUST

Ornate Plaster Ceiling in The Great Parlour

Ornate Plaster Ceiling in The Great Parlour

Broughton Castle Bedroom Dragon

Broughton Castle Portraits

Breezing through the drafty stone corridors, and up the creaky wooden staircase to the long carpeted gallery filled with art and antiques, we amusedly nosed around the historic chamber rooms.

Broughton Castle Bedroom Wallpaper Chair

I freaked for this gorgeous wallpaper in the King’s Chambers, hand-painted in China with impressive detail in the 1800s.

Broughton Castle Bedroom Wallpaper

We were even permitted to climb out on the roof and look down over the luscious green landscaping and gardens.

Broughton Castle Roof

Broughton Castle Roof Panama

Broughton Castle Roof Shot

Broughton Castle Garden

The last room to see was the Oak Room, an opulently panelled drawing-room with an oak interior porch put up by William, the 1st Viscount.

Broughton Castle Sitting Room Doorway

Broughton Castle Sitting room fireplace

Broughton Castle Sitting Room Books

Broughton Castle Sitting Room Door

The Oak Room led out into a perfectly coiffed garden with neatly manicured box hedges and a smattering of pastel pink roses.

Broughton Castle Outside Garden

Broughton Castle Outside Garden Looking

Broughton Castle Outside Garden Arch

Broughton Castle Outside Garden Bench House

Broughton Castle Outside Garden Bench

Broughton Castle Outside House

Broughton Castle Outside Walking

Broughton Castle Outside Side View

Broughton Castle Outside Side Walking

We weren’t the only ones roaming the grounds on this beautiful day!

Broughton Castle Cows

Broughton Castle Cow

An udderly amoo-sing day in the country!

Thank you to the owners of this remarkable property for letting us have a captivating peek inside.

Fulham Palace Picnic

Summer is fleeting. Before we know it, August will be gone and with it those sunlit balmy days perfect for an afternoon playing outdoors. Saturday I woke up with the curtains fluttering in the breeze and a radiant blue sky peeking through the window. It was a day so glorious, practically tugging me out of bed – a day that screamed “picnic”!

So we packed up the hamper and made a break for Fulham Palace to claim our perfect grassy patch in the sun.

Fulham Palace London

Picnic Fulham Palace London

Blankets laid out, we plunked ourselves down, cranked up BBC Radio 6, and uncorked an icy bottle of rosé. As if the planet’s hottest supercouple Brangelina haven’t done enough to better this world, now they give us this beautiful pale pink vintage from their Provencal estate.

A tip for judging rosé wines – the paler pink the color, the better. Pale peach and blush colored wines (like Provence and Pinot Noir varieties) are crisp and dry, while the bright fuscia and coral tinted ones (such as White Zinfandel) contain extra sugar making them sweet.

Picnic Roberts Radio Miraval Rose Wine Fulham Palace

Toasting the Jolie-Pitts, I scurried off for a glimpse inside the Palace’s walled garden. I felt like I was sneaking in, despite it being open to the public, because there wasn’t another soul in sight! I admired the flowering beds of this beautiful oasis before scampering back to headquarters and flopping down in the sun.

Miraval Rose Wine glass Fulham Palace Picnic

Fulham Palace Walled Garden

Fulham Palace Walled Garden Beds

Picnic Fulham Palace Walled Garden Flowers

New Yorker Picnic Blanket

Looking up at the sky, watching the clouds drift by, I took turns browsing my magazine and catnapping.

Picnic Clouds Blue Sky

Picnic Reading The New Yorker

When we got hungry, we cracked open the hamper and tucked into some summery British foodstuffs – chargrilled, lemony asparagus starter…

Picnic Open Hamper Fulham Palace London

Picnic Asparagus

Followed by something a little more American (well, South American)… chimichurri bavette steak with southwestern quinoa salad and fresh sriracha gaucamole.

Picnic Steak Bavette Guac

And something unquestionably American, bold and spicy Buffalo wings!

(I’m not the biggest fan but my redcoat hubby loves them!)

Picnic Whole Foods Wings

Picnic Watermelon Fulham Palace

Picnic Watermelon Break Share Fulham Palace

Picnic Watermelon Sunny Fulham Palace

Picnic Watermelon Fulham Palace Bite

We spent hours out in the sun. When we ran out of things to read and nibble and chat about, we staggered up and slowly strolled back home.

Picnic Dress Fulham Palace

Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show used to signify the start of the English summer season, the first in a series of social events that took place within reasonable reach of London to keep people entertained while Parliament was still sitting. There isn’t much of an English society scene left, but the Chelsea Flower Show is said to attract more FTSE 100 chief executives than any other social event and draws thousands of visitors through each year.

This year was the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show, and last Monday night was its Charity Gala and Auction Preview.










hosp1Enjoying the Garden Terrace hospitality suite.

After a chilled glass of champagne, I needed to check out the shops!







shop7This grassy tote certainly fits the Chelsea Flower Show dress code.

My wonderful RHS guide took me on a whirlwind tour of the pavilion and the show gardens –  the highlight was walking on the gold medal-winning Centenary Garden.








gard1If this is the start of the season, it’s going to be a lovely summer!