This Too Shall Pass

I just want to scoop him up and tell him it's all going to be OK.

The Burning House

This is an interesting project. The Burning House asks people to submit a photograph of the things they would take with them if their house was burning to the ground.

A lot of the photographs are quite stunning in and of themselves. There are lots of ipods, ipads, iphones. I guess we can assume they represent the photo albums of the past. Also, I was surprised how many people included shoes (lots of men actually). And one guy even included a pair of socks! Your house is burning to the ground and you are worried about a pair of socks? Lots of cameras and an extraordinary number of knives (again, the men). It makes me think the project has really morphed into more of a "take a photograph of your ten favorite things". There is a heartbreaking entry from a woman who has actually lived through this nightmare. She chastises some of the other entries - "You have way less time than you think". Her photo includes just four things:

There are, of course, lots of pets. And I was happy to see a few included some artwork - passports are replaceable folks.

It's an interesting project and stimulates some good conversation. Overall, A good use of the internet I think. I would take my hard drive, my pearl earrings & wedding ring and as much of our artwork as possible. What would you take? Click the link above to see more, or submit your own.

Dreaming about . . . the Cape Winelands

And staying at Babylonstoren, a Cape Dutch farm in the Drakenstein Valley.

Just 45 minutes from Cape Town. Yes, this is definitely on the wishlist!

Kevin Burger

I have always loved this painting of Venice by Kevin Burger. It hangs in Martha Stewart's Skylands estate.

See more of Mr. Burger's work HERE.

Charm Bracelet

I have always wanted one . . .





1. Vintage via Mary Margaret Lang 2. Juicy Couture 3. Betsey Johnson 4. Marc by Marc Jacobs 5. Tiffany & Co.

Huntress with Buck

This breathtaking photo by David Chancellor won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize in 2010. The subject is 14-year old Josie Slaughter, a skilled hunter from Birmingham, Alabama. It is part of a series called 'Hunters' and was shot in South Africa.

I'm hoping to see it in person the next time I am London. It completely mesmerizes me.

Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford-Upon-Avon, famous for all things Shakespeare, is just a few miles down the road from us. We spent a lovely day picnicking, site seeing and walking around the town last weekend.

Some shots of Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is entombed.

 We watched a lawn bowling tournament.
  We had no idea what was going on. We are not sure they did either.

It was a lovely day indeed.

a Geography Lesson

This is so great. Carolina's geography teacher gave the girls an assignment last week. The assignment was the following:

Using an OS (Ordinance Survey) map, plot a route from your home to Warwick Castle. Then take the route and make notes about what you pass along the way, including any major landmarks. Take a picture of yourself with the map in front of your home and then another picture of yourself with the map at the Castle. Note what went wrong, if anything, how long it took (was this true to your estimate) etc, etc. You get the idea.

Well, I am fairly certain that Carolina's teacher is not aware of where we live, so she is either going to be very amused or very annoyed when she sees this:

We're thinking she should probably clue her teacher in and/or choose another destination, but we're going to let her come to that conclusion (or not) on her own. We are not too worried about her navigation skills. When we were in Barcelona, Will gave her the map and had her get us from place to place (walking) while we were site-seeing. It worked out most of the time and even when it didn't we still ended up somewhere cool. It was Barcelona, after all. We also have her negotiate all of our airport situations, from getting us to connecting flights, through customs to finding baggage claim. We've never ended up in the wrong country. She's good.

Cinco de Mayo - An Adventure in Eating

A few weeks ago Cinco de Mayo was rapidly approaching and we still had not found a Mexican restaurant in all of middle England. But, Will was out on his bike one day and he found it:


So, I did my due diligence and checked the Trip Advisor reviews and I don't know why I ever really do this because they were like all the TA reviews - all over the place. Everything from "This is the best restaurant ever!!" to "I will never eat at this craphole again!!". Trip Advisor merely exists to confuse me and make me second guess every hotel and restaurant decision I have ever made.

Anyway, back to Chicos. I must preface by saying, we LOVE Mexican food - hands down, our favorite. Other than our friends and families, it is the thing we miss the most about America. So, with much anticipation and high hopes we're off to Chicos. Now, I understand we are nowhere near Mexico and I should have suspected there might be a problem when I realized the owner was Eastern European (merely meaning "not Mexican"), but there is no possible way this meal could have been less Mexican if it tried.

The "tortilla" chips were Doritos. DORITOS. Whaaa? As soon as they were served, Will picked one up, examined it, looked at me and said, "Do you realize what this is?" Now, in fairness, there were tortillas and meat and shredded cheese, but what is the most important part of a Mexican meal? What is the thing we rave about to our friends? Yes - it's the salsa and guacamole. It's the chips and the margaritas. At Chico's the salsa and guacamole were bland, runny and clearly straight from the shelves of Tesco. And if there is any group of persons who know less about Mexican food than the owners of Chicos, it is the people who make "Mexican" condiments for the supermarkets of Great Britain. Things were not going well. The "sour cream" was Ricotta. RICOTTA. It was all so confusing. I will not even discuss the margaritas, just suffice to say they could have been the inspiration for a game entitled "Guess The Alcohol!".

In the end, I really just wanted to help them, because if they could get their guacamole/salsa/chip thing together - if they knew that a key ingredient in a margarita was tequila - they just might have a chance. I felt like pulling the owner aside and saying, "Listen, I'm from America, which is right above Mexico. I can help you! How 'bout I bring my salsa and guacamole recipes over and perhaps, also introduce you to sour cream? Can we talk about the inappropriateness of Doritos?"

So, while I anticipate my future career as a restaurant consultant, those of you who live anywhere near a real Mexican restaurant, go and enjoy a burrito for me. Heap on the fresh salsa, toss back a tequila-based margarita and thank the Almighty for guacamole that has been made using avocados. You lucky dog.

Love to all!

Food :: Asparagus Gruyere Tart

Asparagus is one of the few veggies that has been looking good around here lately, so I decided to make this (from Martha Stewart):

I have to say, I was pretty excited that mine turned out looking so much like Martha's. That NEVER happens! Here is mine during prep:

and after cooking:

The best part is that is was really easy and my daughter loved it. When children eat vegetables it's always a "good thing". Find the recipe at Martha Stewart.

Around the Web this Week

It's an endless forest of distraction, the world wide web. But, if you spend enough time there, you can find some pretty cool stuff. Here is what I found this week:

photo via Style Files

Over at the Style Files I found my dream home located on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

I have been wanting to write a tribute to imprisoned Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, but you should just read this one at That's Not My Age. It expresses my feelings exactly.

Anne at Pret-a-Voyager posted a really good interview with travel blogger Wandie Kabule. She rocks.

Decor8 interviewed interior designer, Jan Eleni and posted photos of her amazing home. Gorgeous.

And finally, HonestlyWTF posted this amazing photograph:

 It's by Hendra Sanjaya at
See you next week!

the Skillmans Need a Dog

One of the most difficult things about this global living we have been doing has been the fact that we cannot have a pet. And by pet, I mean, dog. We are dog people. The three of us actually sit around and have major discussions about what kind of dog we will get someday. Carolina makes lists of breeds and we all have to pick our "Top 3" and then she calculates and formulates and figures out what would be the best for us based on this information. Then she makes us pick our "Top 3 Names" and she analyzes to see if there is any crossover or enough similarities to make some sort of hybrid name. I'm telling you - this family NEEDS a dog!! Something tells me that we might end up with more than one. Anyway, I came across these adorable creatures the other day and thought, "These might do for now". Seriously cute no?

Their names are Maggie and Oatmeal and they are made from recylced newspaper fur!! At $198. a piece they almost cost as much as a real dog, but they are like works of art. I found them at Olive & Cocoa. Maggie is a Labrador and Oatmeal is a Cavachon. So adorable.