Happy Friday....



Gone Glamping....have a wonderful week-end!!

Glamping....




This week-end is our annual camping trip with friends to Suffolk.
We're not natural campers that's for sure but this is our 5th year of going with 10 other families and it's always a great week-end.

We go to a large campsite in the middle of a forest, set our tents up in a circle, build a pretty impressive kitchen on one side and we're good to go!
We arrange for a local supermarket to deliver food, our local butcher packs up burgers/sausages etc in cooler boxes for us for the BBQ and we all bring our best salads for Friday night and favourite cakes for Saturday tea.
We also have a cocktail hour each evening :)    

My children of course absolutely love it....
from the minute we arrive, they grab their bikes, find their friends and they're off....
the freedom & space for them is fabulous.

And for the grown-ups....
well, there is great food, the company of friends all week-end & lots of laughter.
Tea & magazines....cricket & games....

"Glamping" aka "glamorous camping" is increasingly popular these days....
I love our large tent & if it came with a real bed and duvet, I could probably be persuaded to go more often!!

Take a look at some of the great camp-sites on offer below.... 




"Hobbit House", Cornwall, England...my children would LOVE this!






Camp Kerala specialise in luxury tents at festivals and can also provide up to 30 large tents for wedding parties....fun!! 





Featherdown Farms...."civilised rural breaks"....
I have a few friends with children who have stayed at various Featherdown Farm locations around the UK and loved it.
It's camping but with wooden floors, a stove and proper beds! 
They provide you with a larder to cook or you can eat with them -  and all the locations are on real farms so that children can help with feeding the animals etc.



Camping in the Dordogne, France - luxury tents with a swimming pool & tennis court.

"It Was Like....Magic"


I was truly sad to read this morning that Nora Ephron had passed away in New York City at the age of 71 of leukemia.

I wrote a piece earlier this year entitled "Where I Live" which was completely inspired by a similar chapter in her book "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being A Woman".

It's not a long book but I read it and immediately wanted to be her.
Something about her, her life and her outlook on life really spoke to me, I really connected with it.
I keep it by my bedside and it's absolutely one of my favourite ever books.
Laugh-out-loud-funny, moving, interesting, relevant and written with enormous warmth.

A wonderful writer, she wrote about relationships and women so brilliantly....
there can't be anyone who doesn't in some way relate or connect to "When Harry Met Sally", "You've Got Mail" or "Sleepless in Seattle"....
fantastic movies that can be watched over and over.

She also really loved writing, books and words meant everything to her, they were her passion....
she loved reading and talked often of that feeling you have when you are immersed in a truly wonderful book & never want it to end or the joy of discovering a new writer.
I think that was one of the things I most liked about her since it's how I feel about reading too.

She was one of four daughters who are all successful writers....isn't that incredible?

If you haven't read any of her books, I highly recommend them.


Below are some of my favourite quotes of hers....

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” 

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” 


“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” 
When Harry Met Sally

“When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” 



“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.” 

“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” 
Heartburn

“There's a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don't look the way they used to, and it's not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It's because of hair dye. In the 1950's only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.” 

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.” 

“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic. 
Sleepless in Seattle” 

“I live in New York City. I could never live anywhere else. The events of September 11 forced me to confront the fact that no matter what, I live here and always will. One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived for a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.” 


"All I'm saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don't get him first, somebody else will, and you'll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband."
When Harry Met Sally



Holding On Tight....


I'm on the end-of-term-merry-go-round right now....
I've been on it for two weeks at least & we have another four weeks to go....
then it stops and finally, we exhale. 
And collapse with exhaustion usually.

I know that the summer term is always like this....
this year even more so though.
I'm on the school Summer Fair committee & it's my daughter's last term at this school so there are extra events....parties, a drama production, days spent at her new school.
The last this & the last that....goodbyes to old friends.
Happiness & sadness.

I'm really trying hard to see each day & each event not as just something to check off the list but as a moment to be savoured, enjoyed....treasured.
I'm holding on tight.

My daughter is moving from being one of 29 in her school year to being one of 260 in a year.
She now has a new mobile phone, she'll have her own set of housekeys soon & we'll no longer walk back and forth to school together each day.
I won't know all her schoolfriends or their parents.
I won't always know what she has for lunch.

We'll both be on a new & very large learning curve.

Big changes ahead.
Exciting ones.
New opportunities.
A whole new world for her.
New friends, new subjects to study, new teachers.


One minute she was four and a half years old and just starting school....
the whole family (including the 2 day old new baby brother) walks her to school, you hang her bag up on her peg with her name on it, you take a photo or five, you hand over her snack and drink, you communicate with the teacher if for no other reason than to let them know your daughter is new (as of course is every other child there!) & you are an extremely conscientious, loving, responsible parent who will be back at 3.30pm on the dot, you give your child the biggest squeeze and kiss possibly ever, then you slowly back out of the room, waving continously.
 Then you peek at her through the window trying to catch her eye although she is by then very happily playing with her new friends and having a wonderful time.
You are possibly already wearing sunglasses to hide the inevitable tears.
Happiness & sadness all at once....huge dollops of it.

Fast forward seven years & she is starting secondary school.
You kiss her & hug her - she's now the same height as you.
Make sure she has lunch money.
She closes your front door behind her 
- no walking her to school this time - 
and she's off.

A new chapter awaits....I'm holding on tight.



Anthropologie (UK)

Matches

Reiss UK

Penelope Cruz : NYC






Penelope Cruz looking absolutely stunning last night at the New York screening of Woody Allen's new movie "From Rome With Love" in which she stars.

Can't wait to see this movie.... 

What To Buy HIm...?



My husband has a big birthday coming up next month and I need some help & inspiration for a really great birthday gift.

He really loves....

food
cooking
Italy
New York City
travel
football
eating out

I think you can probably see a theme here!

I'm looking for something original though....

a fantastic print of NYC would be perfect as would a "Daddy" related print.
Also, an amazing cooking experience?
It doesn't have to be huge and a collection of smaller well-chosen gifts would also be good. 

A short flight or a train journey within Europe is also an option - his birthday is on a Sunday so we could fly somewhere for 24-36 hours.

If you have any ideas at all - a website or Etsy shop, please feel free to suggest them!

I need to get whatever it is to London by July 6 (his birthday is July 8)
and I am very happy to purchase internationally (he'd love that!) as long as the company concerned ships to the UK.

  

Product Review : Mediterranean Essentials


Live, Love, Laugh longer with MASQUELIER’s®

Mediterranean diet is good for the brain as well as well as the body. 
It has long been thought to improve heart health.

Whilst it’s pleasant to imagine enjoying long leisurely lunches of home grown and home cooked ingredients, eating freshly caught fish and sipping red wine, for many of us, it’s just not possible outside of holidays and special occasions. 
The reality of our everyday lives is busy days and rushed meals!

Scientists worldwide have been studying the traditional Mediterranean lifestyle to understand why their life expectancy was so high and people aged so well. 
Apart from the sunshine and siesta’s that are common in the Mediterranean region, their diet is widely believed to be key - high in ‘Omega’ unsaturated fatty acids from oily fish, antioxidants from virgin olive oil and specific flavanols found in red wine.

The traditional Mediterranean diet can be the key to a healthier, longer life.

MASQUELIER's® Mediterranean Essentials has harnessed three of the essential ingredients of the traditional Mediterranean diet in an easy-to-take capsule so you can enjoy some of the benefits too.

The super-antioxidants of virgin olive oil
Omega fatty acids of fresh fish
Specific oligomeric proanthocyandins (OPCs) of good red wine.

I have been trying the Mediterranean Essentials out for the past two months and definitely plan to continue taking them. 
I am a big fan of the typical Mediterranean diet and during my summers in France - apart from the benefits of sunshine - my diet is always healthier & I feel better within days of being there.

Mediterranean Essentials are available online here and cost £19.95 for 30 tablets. 

Friday Fabulousness....





I am working on creating a desk for myself, I really like elements of these two....


Love the combination of pink & green here....love the enormous bag too!

Thai tea cake with creamed coconut....as featured here  




I'm so glad it's Friday!!

A million things going on this week....
it's 5 weeks until the end of term & I should be prepared for how hectic & demanding school becomes....but I'm not!!
The second I cross 1 thing off the list, I seem to add 2 or 3 more....

I have been running & going to Zumba this week which I love, I already miss my classes when I don't go....
that must be a good sign I think.

My 3 things for the week-end :
Saturday morning coffee while my son plays cricket tomorrow morning
Sunday morning 8am walk/run/breakfast with my daughter
Finishing my book

Keeping it simple....

Happy Week-end!


Anthropologie (UK)

Kurt Geiger Ltd.

London Life : London From The Air

The London Eye and the Houses of Parliament....

Beautiful images of London taken from a helicopter very early one morning....

Buckingham Palace
  
The Shard, St Paul's Cathedral....Wembley Stadium in the distance 

The Shard, Europe's tallest building....looking towards east London....

The Albert Hall 

Tower Bridge, London Bridge and City Hall 
(all photos via this week's Daily Mail) 
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