Travel & Adventure :: Hope House

In my desperate attempt to find last minute cottage rental, I came across this gem - the Hope House in Mousehole.

If you are headed to Cornwall, here is the link: The Hope, Mousehole.

 We ended up in Bath, which was really beautiful and we had great weather. Hope you all had a nice weekend!

In Fashion :: Black & Tan

I love this black & tan Polyvore created by Cary Randolph. Chic and comfortable - a rare combination.

This brunch has turned into dinner.

This brunch has turned into dinner. by caryrandolph featuring opaque tights

Happy weekend to you!

x, Beth

Mother's Day

My Mother's Day was a sunny Sunday at Charlecote Park. You never know what you are going to find just down the road from your house in this country! See for yourself ... 

The National Trust has taken care of this gorgeous estate ever since it was given to them in 1946 by the Lucy family who had owned it since the 12th century. The Lucys arrived here in England with William the Conquerer (did he have a last name I wonder?). The massive country house was originally built in 1558. Queen Elizabeth I visited soon after. These days much of it, including the interior, is Victorian. The gatehouse, and most of the outbuildings are Elizabethan. There is a small parterre just above where the house sits on the River Avon. The grounds are a huge deer park with very non-skittish deer (though too skittish to touch, because, of course, I tried). We wandered around for quite a while, just happy to soak up some sun and be surrounded by the beauty. At the Orangery, we had tea and something Will said was a scone, but I think maybe it was a teacake.

It was a very good day. And I got the best Mother's Day card EVER from my amazing daughter. She has set the bar very high indeed with this homemade treat full of humor, wisdom and uncharacteristic sweetness. I love that kid. Did everybody have a good Sunday?

Sunny Sunday

I saw this on Pinterest and had to pop over to Etsy and check it out. I LOVE this! I think I have to get it for my daughter's room - it's just perfect.

From The Wallaroo on Etsy in lots of colors.

Happy Mother's Day all you American Mommas!

x, Beth

A Tale of Two Weddings

Some of you asked about my reference to marrying my husband twice. So I thought I would share the story on what is the 12th anniversary of our first wedding. Oh, how I wish I had digital pictures of that lovely, lovely day. Imagine a white, sandy beach, a turquoise ocean, a bride in a simple satin skirt with a small train, a spaghetti strap silk & wool tank sweater on top. A string of pearls and a custom tiara (of course), made to look like a cluster of stephanotis with tiffany blue crystal centers. A groom in khakis, a white linen shirt and a navy tie adorned with flowers that look just like (the bride thinks) the ones on the tiara. Both are barefoot, of course. Picture a handful of ridiculously loyal family and friends, tanned and maybe slightly tipsy from a day by the pool drinking margaritas.

We understood very little of the ceremony, but somehow we knew what to do and say and, more importantly, we were married by the end of it. It was something else I tell you. At dinner a mariachi band serenaded us. It was so perfect, sometimes it seems like a dream. And yet, there was something missing - mostly lots of people we loved and cared about (and we knew loved and cared about us). Our get-away wedding was really special, but, as the years passed, we realized how blessed we had been in marriage and that a large part of that blessing was because of the people around us who had supported our marriage through thick and thin. We came to realize that is something to celebrate, and since so many people were not able to be at our first wedding, we wanted to do it all over again. So, we started to talk about it. 

But then, bigger plans came along. Actually a big plan came along - a move to Africa. And that plan took so very much of our time and energy. And just when I had let my dream of marrying my husband again fade away, he proposed to me. Yup - got up in front of a big crowd of friends (and our daughter!) and asked me to marry him that coming weekend! And before I could get all stressed out about how I was going have a wedding that weekend he informed me that all I had to do was show up. Everything was taken care of - the dress, the church, the officiant, the music, the reception, the food, the photographer, the invitations had even been sent!! My crazy husband along with a lot of our crazy friends had pulled this whole thing together. They were throwing me a wedding!!

And so that Saturday in June, just a few weeks before we moved to Africa, a limousine showed up at my door and after a day of pampering (mani, pedis, hair & makeup), I was delivered to the most charming little chapel in the woods where I exchanged vows with the person who has helped make my life the most incredible adventure I could ever imagine. And all day, at each little discovery of how someone had contributed, or sacrificed to make this day so special for us, I was reminded how very rich and blessed my life was.

photos by Roy Bradley and Sarah Armentrout

So, that is the story of my two weddings. I have to say, I love the idea of doing it again - just the two of us, somewhere really remote and special to us. Hmmm ... I'm picturing a mountain top in Swaziland ... stay tuned!

x, Beth

Curated Links

photo from Made In Pretoria
I am currently obsessed with the blog of DIY goddess Anna Banana at Made In Pretoria. That is her photo above. Check out her blog for everything from jewelry to cupcakes to fake Louboutins - she is fearless in her craftiness!

I am bonkers over the Original London Underground coat racks featured by Will over at Bright Bazaar . I love anything that combines re-purposing and organization. Plus, Will's blog is full of happiness and light.

Have you guys seen the photo shoot Jamie at From Me To You did with Kelly Framel for Kelly Wearstler's clothing line?! It's fabulous times three, which is a lot of fabulous. (2) x Kelly + Jamie = Lot of Fabulous.

I am a hopeless romantic - I buried this part of myself when I was in my 20's trying to be a standoffish cool person, but the truth is I love LOVE and, therefore, love celebrations of love and, therefore, love weddings. I have already married my husband twice and if he asks, I'll do it again. I also love anything related to 'the story behind the story'. So, when I found the Moment Junkie, well I knew I had found my people. It's the wedding photographer images that don't necessarily make the album, but are the moments that tell the story behind the scenes. It's wonderful and I hope you enjoy it.

And since I can't send you guys any link love without including something to chow on, I've included the Guilty Kitchen's Avocado Cilantro dressing via Pinterest. I have not made this yet, so I'm not giving a full endorsement, but it includes my two favorite things ever in the food department, so I'm not sure how it could go wrong.

Lastly, I've got Spring on my mind and while my head is ready, I'm pretty sure my body is nowhere close. I'm talking about a good skin sloughing people. I found two lemony do-it-yourself body scrub recipes, so now I just have to decide whether I want to go salty with Mrs. Lilien's, or sweet via Momtastic.

Yesterday, I went to the V&A Reading Rooms in London for a London Bloggers meet up. It was good to see my friends again and catch up with everyone. It was also good to just be in London again. I no longer live in fear of the underground or any type of public transportation. I did not even map out my route and I only accidentally surfaced once!! (Embankment is a confusing station). I may have become overconfident by the end of the day, when I got on my train and realized I had not even checked to see if it stopped at my station. I had to humbly disembark to check the boards, but all in all, I have jumped a major hurdle in my effort to spend more time exploring London. Stoked. I also did some whirlwind bargain shopping at Zara where I drastically expanded my wardrobe in 20 minutes for £35. I am a shopping ninja.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Wishlist :: Keel's Simple Diary

I have been trying to keep a daily journal for years. I even have a really beautiful leather bound one given to me by a friend before I moved to South Africa. I do write whenever anything significant happens, but I lack some serious discipline in keeping a daily record of my life. This blog helps a bit, but you guys don't get the whole story. Trust me, you don't want the whole story. So, I'm thinking the Keel's Simple Diary might be the answer. It's full of clever prompts to get you thinking and writing creatively. Check it out:

It comes in two volumes and lots of fun colors:
 and for those of you on the go ... there's an app for that:

I think this might be just the bit of structure I need to get me writing daily. Now, how to pick a color?
Find the Keel's Simple Diary HERE.

Happy Monday!

x, Beth

In Fashion :: One For The Boys

I just spent some time over at Mr. Porter picking out stuff for my husband (who might possibly resent my attempts to dress him, but it's just so much fun). I love Mr. Porter - a well curated site for very fashionable boys. These are my latest favorites:

A navy tuxedo (sooooo Cary Grant this) ...

Some retro tortoise shell sunglasses.  Preppy ...

A very posh Brigg umbrella - we take our umbrellas very seriously here in England ...

I love a simple, elegant timepiece ...

And, the best for last. This gorgeous leather bag (also from Brigg) ... which I would totally keep for myself.

That was fun! And I only spent one billion dollars! Seriously though, Mr. Porter is having a sale, so check it out. I am on a mission to spiffy up the men of this world. I was never happy with the poor wardrobe selection for my Ken doll, and things have gotten only marginally better since. Well dressed men are so rare that when we see one we all kinda freak out a little and point and take pictures. Or is that just me? And the Sartorialist?

Let's hear it for the boys.

Oh, Hi there pretty bird ...

Hi guys! I have been a busy bee behind the scenes of this blog the past few days. I've got some really great stuff coming your way, but in the meantime, please enjoy this chicken. I love this guy so much I made a color palette from him over on Kuler. Have you checked out Kuler yet? It's an Adobe program where you can create your own color palettes, or have one generated automatically from a photo. It's fun. Go check it out.

photo credit: Peter Stubbs

Also, I'm pretty sure this is not a chicken. Anyone know what it is?

London Week :: The End

Let's wrap this London business up shall we? The last day was just a day of wandering about and popping in and out of shops and restaurants. We hit Oxford and Regents Streets, Carnaby Street and Liberty of London (heaven on earth possibly). We went to Bond Street for Will in search of the perfect velvet jacket. And then, yes we are crazy, we went to Harrods! It was nuts, but fun to be there on the busiest shopping day of the year. It was a good way to end our trip, as we were so ready to head back to the quiet English countryside after all the madness. Here are some shots from Liberty. I am having what I like to call, a 'Diana Ross' hair day. Diana rocks the big frizzy hair doesn't she?! I rock it when I run out of hair product! My hair + London weather - hair product = very, very big hair.

We had so much fun and I'm very thankful for this little stay-vacation. I'm headed back to London later this month for a London Bloggers get together. I can't wait to see my London blogging buddies again!

Later this week, I will be re-capping and/or introducing different posts related the the various topics I cover on this blog. I thought the new year would be a good time to get organized and focused here.

I hope you all are having a great start to 2012!!

London Week :: Day Four

Honestly, I tried not to over-plan this trip. We do live just up the road from London, and we will be back, so there was not a ton of pressure to see everything. But THIS day, this day was planned like a military maneuver. And I executed it like a 4 star general. There may have been the occasional "your going to need to pick up the pace" type statements. But, all in all, it was a good, if very touristy, day. We arrived early morning at the Churchill War Rooms. I know, right?! War Rooms!? I'm telling you - this place is so, so cool. This is the bunker facility where Churchill and his staff were safe from German bombings during WWII and where they would do all of their planning and communications for the war. It remains today, exactly as it was during the time it was used and it is absolutely fascinating. It is part of a larger Churchill museum which is one of the the most well done and interesting museums I have ever visited. My pictures are not good - it is really not a place to take pictures as it is an underground bunker but here we go:

And because that was not enough history for one day, we headed to the Tower of London, for some more. And what history. Being able to stand in the exact place that Anne Boleyn lost her head is just crazy to me. I was fascinated by the carvings on the prison tower walls and we especially enjoyed the Beefeater tour - very entertaining and informative. It was also a special treat to see the Crown Jewels as I had been wanting to see the Cullinan Diamond - the world's largest diamond found just down the road from where we lived in South Africa. We also ate lunch at the cafe here and I must say, it was quite good. Tower of London is not to be missed if you are coming to town.

 In the late afternoon we headed to Starbucks for a break, and it was there that I took my first nap in public. Yes, I was that tired. I took a nap. In Starbucks. Well anyway, I needed it, because next, we went ice skating in the moat at the Tower! Well, not exactly the moat - but where the moat would be if there was a moat. It was so, so fun and even though we had a few falls, it was a highlight of the trip. After ice skating we had dinner on St. Katharine's wharf and took a stroll over the Tower Bridge.

What. A. Day. I am exhausted reliving it! Good times.