Tuesday, 21 August 2012

En Vacances...

I've just returned from a blissful 4-day holiday in Dorset - no mobile reception, no internet, no computers, no internet oh, I've already said that. It was a pretty intense experience, to be honest - and we're off to PARIS TOMORROW. 

So, while I'm off wandering along the Rive Gauche with my beloved 
(is it the Rive Gauche or just 'Rive Gauche'? Hmm. I'll get back to you on that one)
I think that you should head over here
This blog belongs to Gesci (pronounced Jessie)one of the loveliest people I've had the privilege of meeting recently and I'm not just saying that because she's said nice things about me, too. 
(I paid her handsomely, haha!)

You can meet her dogs and her cat and read all about her life living as an ex-pat in Yorkshire, all beautifully illustrated by her photography 
(you'll get a chance to meet Sophie... go and read and you'll know what I'm talking about...).

One thing you will not find out from reading Gesci's blog, however, is that she is TERRIBLE at crossing roads.
I thought she was going to die. 
That would have made possibly the worst blog date in the world ever
Luckily I was there to save her.

See you in a few days...
Alors mes amis, il faut que je parte.
A bientôt!
(I did A-Level French. Please note the use of the subjunctive. Sadly that's about all I can remember. My education was clearly worth every penny).

This time tomorrow I'll be there! Drinking champagne (it'd be rude not to...)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Prints please

While I'd love to say that I can exist happily without things it is perfectly obvious that this is not the truth. 
Who doesn't love a bit of retail therapy?
With a non-existent budget for anything, though, the wonderful Pinterest has given me a way to feel like I'm buying things without spending anything at all. 

Genius AND surprisingly satisfying.

I've mentioned my love of prints before, but a recent flurry in the re-pinning of some of my favourites made me think I'd share them with you here:

Fifi du Vie

Not a print, but I sort of wish it was.
Felt & Wire

The Owlphabet.
A flow-chart for typefaces.
Scribble on Everything
Flourish Cafe
Three-Sixty Press
Series of 3 prints.
I can't actually remember where I found these, but I unearthed the 'London' print in TK Maxx, Dundee, of all the weird and wonderful places!
Thursday Press
The Wandering Reader
Anne Wanda Tessier

I'm going to need a big house...

Monday, 13 August 2012

All things Downton

One of the consolations for the end of summer (I know, I'm being a little premature here) is the slow stream of teasers and adverts for TV's autumn schedule. 
The most exciting of these? 
Downton Abbey, Series 3.
Be still, my beating heart.
Source and review of Series 3, Episode 1.
I am excited. 
Actually, excitement doesn't even begin to cover it. 
I don't feel I'm being too personal when I tell you that my palms start to sweat and my heart beats faster simply from hearing the theme-tune. 
It's what's known as an addiction and a distinct and desperate need to get a life.

Forgive me for saying, but I was a tiny bit disappointed by Series 2 - Matthew can't walk, Matthew can walk, 'what shall we do about Lavinia', etc. - but it still had its magical moments:
Exhibit A: The Christmas Special.

I would be lying if I said I didn't just re-watch that trailer a couple of times for 'research' purposes.

So, Series 3 should prove to be an exciting romp through the Roaring Twenties and let's hope that marriage, babies, and the wonderful Dame Maggie Smith and her new sparring partner, Shirley MacLaine, feature prominently. 

What better way to spend a Sunday evening, curled up on the sofa?

My interest in the programme has been been given a slightly different slant by a recent email from a friend who said (and I quote): 
'just watching Season 1 of Downton Abbey and Mary TOTALLY reminds me of you!!!'
Erm, hello? MARY? The emotionally distant, uptight, slightly cruel one? 
Surely not? 
Perhaps the comparison was based purely on superficial points: my accent (the no longer my friend is from the U.S.), or the fact that Lady Mary likes horses, or that her love interest is a lawyer, like DPB? 
Sadly not. 
It turns out that when I shared this snippet with others of my nearest and dearest, they agreed there was something about Mary's character that was similar to mine.
Way to get some awesome feedback on your personality.
Thanks guys.

Monday, 6 August 2012

An ode to Waitrose

If you've read any of my other posts you'll know that I'm a bit of a country bumpkin (a bit? a lot).
DPB is Mr London Man (yes, that's what 'DPB' is short for).
It's an interesting combo. 
As it was the lovely man's birthday on Sunday, I decided to come and spend a few days with him in London so that we could make the most of my time in England. I'm currently sitting here at his kitchen table looking out on a view of... the neighbours' windows. 
Well, it's not exactly an elegant Georgian townhouse in SW1, but it's a lovely flat in a lovely area. 
It is also the land of the Yummy Mummy. 
Cripes, I am so hopelessly the odd one out during the day that it's quite frightening, especially if I dare venture inside the local Starbucks. 
Just in case you've never seen a Starbucks before.
Firstly, I am not a mummy (except to Polly, Fanta and Scoop, and I don't think they really count for these purposes), therefore putting me at an immense disadvantage in the SW6 daytime rankings. 
Secondly, I don't consider myself to be particularly yummy, especially because I forgot to pack a hairbrush or hairdryer and my only hair elastic snapped this morning when I came back from my run (note to self: figure out how Yummy Mummies manage not to sweat or turn puce when they exercise - perhaps they pay someone else to exercise for them?). 

There are, however, many reasons to thank the Yummy Mummy brigade, and the wallets of their City husbands, and that is the healthy number of independent shops at this end of the New Kings Road, and, most recently, the opening of a Waitrose on Parsons Green. 

No longer do the poor citizens of this part of London have to walk to Putney to enter the hallowed ground that is Waitrose. Oh no, they can now exit the tube and be inside the pristine green-and-white temple before you can say Jack Spratt. 
If you are from abroad and have no idea what I'm talking about, I would suggest that you hunt down your nearest Waitrose the next time you visit the UK. 
For now, though, I will give you a little visual snippet.
Where else in a metro store the size of a postage stamp (albeit large letter), would you find THREE different types of vanilla bean product, not including the selection  of vanilla pods? 
Don't even get me started on the crystallised ginger or the organic cat treats. 
I did not feel at all weird taking a photo of the supermarket shelves.
If I shopped here for our weekly groceries, the budget would go out of the window in less than a week and DPB and I would be eating baked beans (organic and vastly superior) forever more. 
Strangely, I'm tempted.

Friday, 3 August 2012

High Five for Friday!

I haven't done High Five for Friday for a couple of weeks, so here it goes:

1/ Driving back to England through the hills around Moffat

Loch Skeen

2/  Discovering a new bookshop near DPB's flat

3/ My cat sent me a text message...
Hmm, I guess I am now officially the weird cat lady.
It's quite strange how I'm ok with that...
4/ My big brother is in town and I got to spend the afternoon with him. 
He is possibly one of the coolest people I know.
He once stuck chewing gum in my hair and I had to have it cut out, thus leaving me with the worst hairdo ever.
I still love him, though.

5/ It's DPB's birthday this weekend. This means he's nearly as old as me.
DPB in his preferred pose.
Don't be fooled by the air of relaxation - he's ready to spring into action at any moment

Unlucky for some

My second foray into Olympic excitement came in the form of Beach Volleyball tickets - DPB's family had one spare so, deciding that one could not attend too many Olympic events, I jumped at the chance to take it. 
I know nothing about beach volleyball but the atmosphere was electric and, as the commentator told us at the beginning of the even, we were there to party. (His actual words were: 'this is not Wimbledon, make some NOISE...' I obeyed).
Canadian Men's Team Vs. Brazil
Dancers in skimpy outfits came on regularly in the breaks and they were certainly appreciated by the more, ahem, well-lubricated spectators. 
So much for British inhibitions.
As there were no Brits playing, I decided to adopt Canada, Switzerland, Australia and the USA.
Thankfully, the USA women's pair ended my losing streak.
Clearly I am an unlucky mascot...

Thursday, 2 August 2012

London 2012: Week 1

I've now been at home for just under a week, spending time with two of my brothers and my parents as well as hosting my Scottish family for a few days. 
It's been fun. 
On Monday we headed off to the Cross Country phase of the 3-day Eventing in Greenwich Park. 
As if the day wasn't exciting enough, I got to see Mary King, my childhood heroine, complete an immaculate round that eventually contributed towards the team's silver medal success the following day. 
I'm a little ashamed to say that, to begin with, I was one of the sceptics and wondered how on earth London was going to be able to pull off such an enormous feat as hosting the Olympic Games. From my experiences so far the city has pulled out all of the stops and are hosting a Games to be incredibly proud of. Beginning with the quirky opening ceremony - which had my whole family shrieking with laughter at one moment and then welling up the next - on to the fantastic volunteers and the army that are such a visible and welcome presence at every event, and the generally positive response from athletes and spectators, I think, ultimately, so far LOCOG has every right to feel things are going well. 
Even the police were friendly as we arrived in Blackheath at crack of dawn on Monday:
Little L making friends with the locals. 
The venue itself was fantastic with hardly any queueing for loos, food or drinks, despite the 50,000-strong crowd, and the course, like the opening ceremony, paid homage to all the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of the British character: 

Jump 5, complete with red squirrels on toadstools.
Riders quite literally had to jump the moon.
The view out towards the National Maritime Museum.
One of the water complexes was a scene from The Wind in the Willows
(you can just see Ratty and Moley fishing in the  water on the right of the picture).
Jump 13: Market Trader's Stall.
'My' jump: Vintage Massey Ferguson and Trailer.
The support for Team GB was incredible.
A toast to success.
Go Team GB!
The only downside of the day is that I am a total numpty and carted my camera bag and equipment all the way to Greenwich only to realise that I'd left the battery on charge at home.