Tag Archives: summer

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 FOUNTAIN

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

 

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!

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…

Pool Party at Whitecaps, Ibiza

My friend had a pool party for her birthday. I was excited as a kid getting invited to a.. well, pool party! They’re the best – you get to drink sugary drinks, run around with your friends, and swim in the pool.

The problem was the weather – it wasn’t cooperating. To say it was a bit overcast would be an understatement. It was yucky. However, we all turned up in our Ibiza chic swimwear, determined to wait it out.

The villa was right on the ocean, looking out over the waves thrashing against the cliffs below.

Whitecaps Lounger

Whitecaps Pool

Whitecaps Cove Waves

As the caterers rushed to assemble a tent before the next gusts of rain, I went for a wander around the craggy bluffs of Es Canar.

Whitecaps Villa

Whitecaps Cliff Steps

Whitecaps Steps

Whitecaps Sea

Whitecaps Ocean

Whitecaps Cove Windy

Whitecaps Cove

I love the sea. I love being close to it, breathing in the salty ocean spray, smelling the briny sulphuric tang of the surf.

Whitecaps Vegetation

Whitecaps Vegetation Flower

It was a perfect spot to sit and be surrounded by the energy of the water. I’ve been reading a book called The Sea Inside, which considers our relationship to the oceans, their islands, and the life and creatures within them.

Whitecaps Cliff

Whitecaps Couple

On the way back to the party, we stumbled upon an abandoned swimming pool from some long out of business resort. The building was crumbling, but the pool water was pristine electric blue with not a speck of debris in it.

Whitecaps Abandoned Pool

Whitecaps Abandoned Pool Sea

We drifted back to the villa where music was playing and people were starting to party.

Whitecaps View

The sun had finally showed up to the party – better late than never.

Whitecaps Girls

People got into the spirit, carousing in the sunshine.

We all clambered up onto the roof to get closer to the rays.

Some even sang opera music.

Whitecaps Opera Singer

And hugged it out.

Whitecaps Opera Hug

It quickly turned into a festive scene that went way into the evening.

Whitecaps Ladies

Ocean Rooftop Pool Party Boas

But I’ll leave off here…

With two birds of a feather, ready to party!

Amante Beach Club, Ibiza

North of Ibiza town outside Cala Llonga there is a little cove in Sol d’en Serra. Above it sits the coolest, most laid-back spot to recover from a long weekend of partying – Amante Beach Club.

It’s a restaurant, it’s a bar, it’s a beachy clubhouse. The type of place you could spend all day – literally.

Amante Beach Club Lounge

Amante Beach Club Terrace

Amante Beach Club Planter

Walk through the lounge, past the terrace and out onto the weathered steps down to the bar. Beyond the railing, is a tidy little red-beach where sun loungers can be rented for 20€ per day; it’s best to call ahead and reserve them in advance because they go quickly.

Amante Beach Club Steps

Amante Beach Club Zebra Espadrilles

I scrambled down the sand-weathered steps as quickly as my espadrilles would carry me!

Amante Beach Club View

Amante Beach Club Bar

Amante Beach Club Cove

Amante Beach Club Loungers

I wiggled down in my sun lounger, unpacked my beachbag, and happily waited for drinks to be brought to us while soaking up the intermittent patches of sun.

Amante Beach Club Relaxing

Amante Beach Club Sun Lounger

Amante Beach Club Beach

It wasn’t long laying there listening to the lullaby of waves crashing on the cobbled shore before I nodded off for a mid-morning kip.

After stirring from my beauty sleep, we tottered down to the beach for a swim in the sea.

Amante Beach Club Rocky Swim

Amante Beach Club Ocean Swim

Eddie plunged right in, and paddled confidently out into the blue waters of the cove.

But I was too intimidated by the squishy heaps of sea kelp and the rocky shore to follow suit.

Amante Beach Club Shore

Plus, I wanted to stay dry for lunch.

We piled around the table, and it was clear who had the better seats.

Amante Beach Club Lunch Laughs

Amante Beach Club Lunch Boys

But the boys perked up when the food arrived…

Spinach salad with grilled prawn skewer

Spinach salad with grilled prawn skewer

… Although they had to protectively guard their Iberian ham croquettes from our trespassing hands sneaking in to swipe one.

Amante Beach Club Lunch Croquettas

Black cod Alaska glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with a wakame salad

Black cod Alaska glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with a wakame salad

To make it up to them, we shared our desserts – fluffy whipped citrus cheesecake, and a decadent chocolate ganache.

Amante Beach Club Lunch Cheesecake

Amante Beach Club Lunch Chocolate

Amante Beach Club Lunch View

We ordered a round of espresso martinis and carried on into the evening laughing and talking.

Amante Beach Club Lunch

Amante Beach Club Lunch Talking

Amante Beach Club Lunch Talking Table

Amante Beach Club Dusk

Until eventually it was so dark we struggled to see eachother across the table!

Amante Beach Club Lunch Dusk Cove

Amante Beach Club Moon

When the moon appeared, we crawled into a taxi and headed out into the Ibiza night.

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