The Bank Holiday

This bank holiday I was in the countryside and it was sunny ☺️.  We did countryside 🌳things such as walking to the pub and drinking pimms 🍹, eating lunch outside 🍴🍻, having tea outside ☕️🍰, going for another walk 🌲, losing the dog 🐶😳, finding the dog 🐶😃, having some more tea 🍰☕️.  It was a very good weekend.  On Monday I went to watch the polo 🐎at Guards Polo Club (thank you Alice and James 😃) and I wore my new Maruti ankle boots I am so pleased with 😘 (I found them in the Clapham Junction TK Maxx, last Thursday 😍).Alice xxxIMG_2550IMG_6640IMG_6963IMG_6972IMG_6999IMG_7080IMG_7022IMG_7020IMG_7026IMG_7030IMG_7044IMG_7064IMG_7070IMG_7053IMG_7074IMG_7052IMG_7082IMG_7083

The Easter Egg Hunt

This Easter we hunted for eggs, as this seems the correct thing to do on Easter, and it is really very exciting to find many small brightly coloured chocolate eggs hidden about the garden.  The history behind the easter egg hunt is rather vague - there are references to the Easter egg as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus, the egg symbolising the tomb from which Jesus arose.  Our Easter Egg hunt was comprised of small chocolate eggs wrapped in foil, mainly thanks to Cadbury's and hidden expertly by Daddy and Willie.  We had a lovely time, although it was a rather blustery day - Pip very sadly wasn't allowed to join in - chocolate being bad for dogs and all.Alice xxxIMG_4395IMG_4399IMG_4405IMG_4421IMG_4403IMG_4416IMG_4437IMG_4408IMG_4414IMG_4438IMG_4439

Spring Time

Pip 🐶 and I had a walk around High Beeches Garden 🌳this week - and it was so sunny, and beautiful and it really feels as if spring is finally here.We discovered many wonderful camellias 🌺 and some magnolias 🌸 - the purple flowers of Magnolia Lanarth are beginning to appear, however the lives of the flowers of many have been brutally cut short, by the nasty frost.Most excitingly - Camellia Lady Vansittart 🌺, my favourite Camellia in the garden, is just starting to flower.  It is the most magnificent tree as it has red AND white flowers, some just red, some just white, some white with red stripes and some pink with white tinges.  It really is the most delightful tree, and it is worth a visit to the garden to observe just this tree with it's many coloured flowers in all their magnificence.It was such a beautiful day ☀️ - I am so excited for more spring and sunshine.Alice xxxIMG_4044IMG_4052IMG_4056IMG_4070IMG_4079IMG_4081IMG_4090IMG_4102IMG_4105IMG_4107IMG_4116IMG_4115IMG_4144IMG_4150

February Flowers - The Plant Lesson

It was rather grey and cold  ❄️❄️☔️ today (I still am not enjoying the cold weather) but Pip 🐶 and I decided to venture out.February is a good time of year as, although it feels like the cold may never go away and it is dark and dreary and freezing, the flowers are beginning to appear 🌱🌸🌺🌼.I find it very reassuring that every year, despite the cold❄️, the trees 🌳 and plants 🌱 begin to flower 🌼, it is definitely the best sign that spring is on it's way - a dash of bright colour 🌻 amongst all the dark greens and browns.So Pip 🐶 and I went to investigate, and found much to look at.Daffodils 🌼are out in force, despite the cold, and we found some lovely little Narcissus cyclamineus with their heads bowed down.  I always think these little daffodils look a bit like tiny horses 🐎 with their ears back, suspiciously investigating something on the ground - they are rather sweet!  The narcissus bulbocodium are also dotted about, their little trumpet-like 📣 petals are always so delightful - they are definitely more bossy than the cyclamineus.There are crocuses (or croci) 🌷 just starting to open their petals - I love the lilac and orange combination, they are very non-fussed flowers, they just flower where and when they feel like it, without too much worry of what anyone might think - Pip and I came across a solo crocus growing in the middle of the path..The magnolias 💐 are still tentative, they haven't opened their furry buds up to the cold yet, I always think the many huge buds make them look like some prehistoric creature lying in wait 🐉.The faithful snowdrops 🌾are sprouting up everywhere, I love their plant name 'galanthus' from the Greek gála 'milk' 🍶 and ánthos 'flower' 🌼, it sounds rather like a character from Game of Thrones 🐲.We found a very brave cherry 🍒 , Prunus okame, which is a really warm pink against the cold greens.  I love 💕💞💘 cherry 🍒blossom 🌸 a very large amount.AND most excitingly, the Camellias 🌺 are emerging, and we came across many bright pinks 🌺 and pale pinks 🌸.I really like Camellias 🌺, they are one of my favourite flowers, I prefer the ones without the bright yellow stamens.  We came across a lovely Camellia japonica 'Australis' - a very good pink indeed, magenta, with beautifully arranged petals, I also love how the just emerging buds 🌷 look, so fairy tale esque.Camellias 🌺are part of the Theaceae family and they originate from the Eastern Himalayas, Japan and Malaysia - they are happiest growing by streams 🌊 or on rocky hillsides 🗻.  They have been cultivated in China and Japan for over 1000 years (a very long time) and were first cultivated for the oil 🏮 from their seeds, then for tea ☕️ (you can actually buy tea made from English Camellias at Tregothnan- made from Camellia sinensis - they sell it is Fortnums too, if your after some in a hurry) And then just because they are pretty to look at. There are around 200 species of them and they were named after the Jesuit ⛪️ botanist 🌿 Georg Joseph Kamel.  The petals 🌺 of the flowers are exquisitely arranged and the trees 🌿have wonderful dark green leathery leaves.  They are really very splendid.We had a quick plant lesson ✏️📚 over supper, so now everything is a little clearer...Alice xxAlso I'm now on Blog Lovin' 😊 - you can follow me here  👍IMG_2745IMG_2698IMG_2705IMG_2711IMG_2743IMG_2763IMG_2718IMG_2728IMG_2734IMG_2742IMG_2802IMG_2801

A Day in the Real Countryside and a Trip to Selfridges

So I have been asked what the word 'edgy' means from a confused reader (my father) - so I thought to make it clear to all I would give you the definition according to the internet:

edgy
adjective
 
1. tense, nervous, or irritable.
"he became edgy and defensive"
synonyms: tense, nervous, on edge, highly strung, anxious, apprehensive, uneasy, ill at ease, unsettled, unstable; 
 
2. informal
at the forefront of a trend; experimental or avant-garde.
"their songs combine good music and smart, edgy ideas"

 No. 2 is the important one.So the day before yesterday I went to the countryside 🌳🍃.  National Rail 🚂 also seem to think Wandsworth is not in London - I despair.    Anyway I spent the day with Pip and Barney - who are excellent companions, and really don't mind at all that I am unemployed.  We went for a walk in the sunshine ☀️ - it was a beautiful frosty day.  Pip is feeling quite over enthusiastic about life at the moment - (I would say 'edgy' definition No. 1 would apply to his current disposition) and I think the walk 🚶 did us all good - the only destruction that took place, whilst I was in charge, was the tearing apart of an out of print Hillier's Trees and Shrubs book 📗....  we think perhaps it's a teenage thing.The three of us also visited Granny 👵- and we spoke at length about Dolly Pentreath, the last woman to speak the cornish language apparently, and about my Great Grandmother, who was the youngest but one of her father's 15 children - can you imagine...  her mother had 6 daughters 👭👭👭.  She must have had real Mrs Bennett Syndrome...  Granny also thinks Barney is 'obstinate' which I think is very unfair - he just isn't.IMG_1640IMG_1536IMG_1560IMG_1571IMG_1548IMG_1551IMG_1538IMG_1574Yesterday I got on my bicycle and took myself over to Selfridges👗🎀👠.  I really like Selfridges, particularly floor 2 where all the good things are.  I like it because they have all the designers in one place, and because you are allowed to actually touch the clothes and even try them on.  You can roam to your hearts 💗 content, with only a few 'can I help yous' and see all the new collections in one place.  I never try things on (except shoes) and I really should.  I have a friend who was once convinced by an Alexander McQueen sales assistant that she must try a dress on - and it ripped 👗💔.  I mean, I just don't know what you do in that situation - it's not like TK Maxx where you tell sales assistant in the cloakroom that 'you really love it, but it's not for you' (whilst making sure the damaged item is well hidden) and then scarper from the shop at a fast pace and pray the next time you come back it's not the same person on duty.... (Ok I'm really not that bad, I do usually confess...)I really do love wandering about Selfridges - there is such an excitement about seeing so many beautiful designs 👗💘 in one place all so carefully displayed - I get really quite elated 😍 once I arrive on the second floor  (it's not quite how Holly Golightly 🚬 feels about Tiffany's, but I imagine a similar vibe).  I also like that they play upbeat almost club like music 🎶 - it's quite fun.  This time I found some real delights:IMG_1634IMG_1616My first discovery were some Simone Rocha dresses that looked like they were made out of candy floss (not sticky) and clouds.  I would probably only ever where such a thing if I happened to end up at a party in an Art Deco house in Palm Springs 🌴 - that would be great:IMG_1593I enjoyed these Dries Van Noten shorts immensely, and a fun necklace - I love overstated jewellery like this, the kind that your Barbie would wear - but actually you just wished it was in your size:IMG_1594IMG_1595Then a peak at these fantastic Alaia dresses - waisted dresses are the best, and look at the way they hang -  they do them in black too:IMG_1602IMG_1603A nice Pucci dress (I don't always get on with Pucci that well) but I do love a good pink and orange combo:IMG_1607I adore what Alessandro Michele is doing with Gucci - I really like the touch of the traditional, that green and red signature stripe with things like this - particularly the silver jacket 💙💙💙:IMG_1608IMG_1611Roksanda is great - because she does geometric patterns in bright colours, and because she makes skirts like below.  And this gem of  a shirt (I don't get on with buttons very well, so the use of shirt studs on a crisp white shirt, combined with the coloured stripes on the cuffs really is magical):IMG_1599IMG_1601IMG_1604And then Miu Miu.  I wish I had the opportunity and the resources to wear head-to-toe Miu Miu one day a week.  Just because.  It is always so different and so fun and I love the daring of the designs - such as these snakeskin and glitter shoes (these are not my thing) but they fact that they exist is just so good.  I loved the jewels, and I quite want the scent.  I think for Miu Miu I would become the consumer who buys the perfume or the sunglasses - just to own a touch of the magic.  An almost, but not really affordable, very own piece of Miu Miu 💘:IMG_1618IMG_1598IMG_1617IMG_1596I spotted a few other things - Givenchy sequin skirt ⭐️⭐️🌟 (so many twinkles), a superb dress by Toni Maticevski, Moncler ski jacket in bright orange, a beautiful blue suede Loewe handbag (I once saw someone in Milan with the Loewe Amazona bag in tan with magenta pink handles, and have never seen it since - it was so wonderful, and I really do want it) and the Chanel quilted bag in shiny bright pink and bright blue - YES Chanel.  Oh and the most hideous Christopher Kane duo - a full length red dress made of hearts and a jacket made of rubber (seriously?).IMG_1626IMG_1613IMG_1633 IMG_1636IMG_1629IMG_1606I had a quick whip around the shoes - I like the heels on these Sophia Webster shoes - I think excellent if you want a little bit of jazz to your wedding shoes:IMG_1620IMG_1621But really everything was looking quite beige, in colour and in attitude.  Except some silly Stella McCartney flatforms - I also got overexcited by the fur coat the lady in the background is wearing (probably should stop taking creepy sneaky photos of people I don't know) - fun fur coat though....IMG_1624It was a lovely excursion - perhaps I will go back soon and try some things on.Alice xxx

Do Be a Darling amongst the Cyclamen

The Darling

A recent trip to Amsterdam took me to 'De Negen Straatjes' or 'The Nine Streets', actually three streets, intersected by two canals, which are lined with charming independent boutiques.  The idea of the 'concept store' has really taken off in Amsterdam, and each clothing store is carefully curated like a gallery, but with the added bonus of the visitor being allowed to play with the items on display.My favourite was The Darling, a delightful shop on Runstraat 4.  Walking into The Darling made me feel as though I was entering the enviable walk-in-wardrobe of a good friend.  The clothes are beautifully displayed, the walls are covered in small prints and there are hydrangeas in vases.  Best of all, you can order a cupcake and cup of coffee and sit on their upstairs balcony, if you need need a break from browsing.The Darling sell a range of simple pieces in elegant fabrics - new, vintage and own brand items.  Their underwear particularly caught my eye, but the item I had to buy was the 'Darling' jumper.  I don't know if it was the connotation of the word 'darling' in English - it always seems to me slightly tongue in cheek, and makes me delightedly think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, in which everyone she meets is 'Darling' - 'Step on it darling....'.I wanted to do a photo with the Cyclamen flowers, as they are looking wonderful at the moment in white and purple.  These perennial flowering plants are so dainty, and also strong.  This species, Cyclamen hederifolium is native to the UK and pushes it's way up through the soil during the Autumn.  The nose of the flower faces downwards, the five upright petals look almost like little wings and they have dark green, patterned ivy-esque leaves.  Coming across clusters of these little flowers at High Beeches garden, growing under the dark cedar tree (cedrus atlantica glauca) you might almost think you had wandered into an enchanted forest.  A perfect setting for a photograph with my new The Darling jumper <3.Alice xIMG_4190 The-DarlingIMG_4191         Top image:Photographed at High Beeches Garden sitting under the Cedrus atlantica Glauca tree among the Cyclamen flowers.Jumper: The Darling; Trousers: Zara; Shoes: Elia B; Unicorn clutch bag: The White Pepper; Ribbon: MacCulloch & Wallis.Photographer: Sarah Bray @SarahBray50Bottom images:Photographs of The Darling in Amsterdam, taken by Alice Bray