Barbados

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Fabulous food at Cobblers Cove

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Stunning gardens at Cobblers Cove

Stunning gardens at Cobblers Cove

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The Lone Star

The Lone Star

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Speightstown `Little Bristol`

Speightstown `Little Bristol`

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Cobblers Cove from the Silver Moon

Cobblers Cove from the Silver Moon

Claudette Colbert`s house `Belle Rive

Claudette Colbert`s house `Belle Rive

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The stunning , wild east coast

The stunning , wild east coast

Sea fans washed up on Bath beach

Sea fans washed up on Bath beach

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A little holiday shopping

A little holiday shopping

Just returned from our annual sojourn to beautiful Barbados, staying at the chic Relais et Chateaux Cobblers Cove Hotel. We had ( as always) the most wonderful time….I have come back full of inspiration; fabulous stylish surroundings, the best food at the hotel by Executive Chef Michael Harrison , who just gets better and better , dined out at The Lone Star, Coral Reef ( Sunday lunch buffet) and The famed Cliff restaurant. We swam, we ate, we drank ,we laughed with friends we meet each year and new friends just met too. Dear friends from home in Norfolk with whom we spent several jolly evenings, also treated us to a fabulous lunch cruise on the Silver Moon catamaran , ( so very much the lovelier for just hosting the six of us!).We cruised along the coast spying the glorious Oliver Messel abodes, swam in the clear turquoise waters from the steps of the cat, and ate lunch and drank copious rum cocktails and white wine spritzers to the reggae beats. A perfect day.

A perfect holiday in fact. Always such a wrench to  leave the bluest of skies and the whitest of sand and the warmest of water to be greeted with grey skies here in old Blighty. Such a treat to be in the Caribbean at this time. All booked for next year-hurrah. Bliss!

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A colourful exhibition…

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Just a quick blog post as I was told today by a visiting friend, who was asking what exhibitions I had planned to see this year, that Tate Modern are showing the fabulous works of Sonia Delauney from April 15th until August 9th. I love her work with its strong colours and geometric shapes, in fact I did a project about her when I was as Art College.
It`s a must-visit and I will be booking my ticket pronto!

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A very Happy New Year!

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I`m not really a huge fan of New Year`s Eve, but this year we decided to go for it and host a black tie dinner party at home with good friends, and it was great fun.

Much thought and planning went into the food, which after Champagne and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice (a Poinsetta apparently) , served with canapés( cucumber with spiced crab and avocado, quails eggs and celery salt, and mini sausages baked in cranberry/chill sauce , lime juice and soy), included home cured salmon (with beetroot dill and fennel) a glorious bright pink colour, local Holkham loin of venison with blackberry and madeira sauce, and an Ottolenghi recipe of meringue roulade with mascarpone cream, rosewater, raspberries, pistachios and rose petals. I have to admit it was all rather good.

We had crackers, party hats,  played silly games, we danced to my New Year`s Eve playlist,  and we started the 10..9..8.. countdown to Midnight three times until we got it right( we started too early!).

A very Happy New Year to you and yours!

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Christmas time, mistletoe and wine

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So Christmas Day has been and gone. Just like that. Well it does doesn`t it… all that build up, which in some ways is the best bit. My biggest gripe about the festive season is that it rarely snows. I don`t want to get snowed in ,but I get very fed up looking at all the Christmas cards, adverts, films et al which are all snowy and white, when usually living here it is just a fantasy.

We had a lovely Christmas. Just me, husband and son. Friends joined us for our annual foray to the lovely Church at Waterden, for the candlelit carol service on Christmas Eve-oh and the dog came too. Back to our house for festive fizz and copious canapés. We then all watched a `Christmas Carol` on DVD,( well just me actually-the others fell asleep!).

On Christmas Day morning we headed to Wells beach after settling the turkey in the oven. No snow, but thank goodness no grey, grim, rainy weather either-the day dawned bright and blue and sunny but cold-so a lovely walk on the wide sands along with a whole host of other walkers and numerous dogs. So lovely.

Present opening with a very excited Harry the Lurcher who has sussed out his doggy gift under the tree some hours earlier…best presents-a fab painting of the pooch himself; done by artist friend Mary Carlson, the huge vintage YSL earrings that I had been coveting, and wonderful books including a signed copy of David Dawson`s lovely `A Painter`s Progress, a Portrait of Lucien Freud` given to me by Tom.

My husband , like me, is very excited with his tickets for  dinner at Ronnie Scott`s and seeing the famed Saxophonist Kenny Garrett, but really I only needed to buy him his `Talking Polly the Parrot` ,as he spends more time talking to her than me!

We enjoyed a delicious and very traditional Christmas lunch- and the Country Life magazine quiz( a family favourite and Tom always wins), but no sprouts only chocolate ones for us though, and although I love cooking and make everything we eat from scratch, I do actually buy our Christmas pudding. Our favourite is the traditional one from the Carved Angel…very yummy indeedy.

The only TV we watched ( along with 5.8 million others apparently) ,was Downton Abbey-so good for it to end on an upbeat note, here`s hoping that the lovely Matthew Goode; the potential new love-interest for Lady Mary, can melt the heart of old frosty features.

So after  a few more dinner parties and pub lunches, films, and beach walks, we now have our feet up, son is now in Kenya on holiday, and we are bracing ourselves for a dinner party here on New Years Eve. Black Tie, posh food, silly hats and party games. Watch this space!

 

 

 

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Happy shopping in Hampshire

Harry at sister-in-laws house in Chawton

Harry at sister-in-laws house in Chawton

Jane Austin`s  House Museum in Chawton

Jane Austin`s House Museum in Chawton

The Globe Inn

The Globe Inn

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Husband and dog!

Husband and dog!

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The Long Barn

The Long Barn

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Sole Butchers

Sole Butchers

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Roxtons

Roxtons

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Susie Watson Designs

Susie Watson Designs

White House Brides

White House Brides

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Alresford Linen Company

Alresford Linen Company

 

Caracoli

Caracoli

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The Gilded Cabinet, Alton

The Gilded Cabinet, Alton

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If you are heading to Hampshire I can recommend some good places to shop and eat in Alresford, the home of the Watercress Steam Line.
We are just back from a lightning pre-Christmas parents-in law visitation, staying with sister-in-law in the very pretty village of Chawton ; where none other than Jane Austin ( whose birthday it is today) was born. Jane Austens House Museum, where she lived and wrote is open to the public all year.

Nearby is the lovely Georgian market town of Alresford, choc-full of elegant pastel -painted houses and gorgeous shops, so very easy to come home laden with goodies as we have done.

Have supper at The Globe Inn, which is traditional pub on the river with open log fires, wandering dogs, cool, live music, and delicious gastro-pubby food.

On the outskirts of town is The Long Barn , a stunning two storey barn surrounded by lavender fields. They are growers and distillers of organic lavender. They sell delicious and distinctly un-granny-ish lavender products, stylish home wares, plants . Christmas Trees and wreaths-huge boughs of mistletoe( we lugged one home) and a fab café .They also have various courses there upstairs to take a peek at the website.

The other shops that are a must-visit are Sole Butchers-their windows full of yummy Game at the moment, Roxtons-very tweedy/county/shooting and polo kit/trad shop and the perfect place for posh outdoor clothing, and presents for all.

Susie Watson Designs: Rather lovely ceramics and fabrics and cards by Lucy Loveheart.

White House Brides
is a rather beautiful Bridal shop with really elegant, classy frocks.

The Alresford Linen Company, which sells quirky home wares , a bit like Graham and Green, and also a nice selection of cashmere for men.

We always have lunch at Caracoli, a colourful food store/Café with great coffee and delicious food. Their enormous cheese straws , smoked bacon on sourdough toast, and their home-made scotch eggs are always a favourite.

Alresford is the perfect place to while away a couple of hours and you surely wont come home empty-handed! It was all very Christmassy and  a rather jolly start to the festive period.

Lastly do make a detour five minutes up the road to Alton and visit the oh-so-stylish Gilded Cabinet. A former pub that has had a glamourous make-over and now houses an interiors design studio and shop selling gorgeous home wares , furniture and a smattering of vintage finds.

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A very Happy Christmas to one and all…

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So Christmas has arrived to Seashell, here in North Norfolk. So feeling a little bit festive.

That is all!

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Tanner and Lawson

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Jane Lewis and Tanya Brett

Jane Lewis and Tanya Brett

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Elaine Pamphilon

Elaine Pamphilon

Shell work by Carolyn Brookes-Davies

Shell work by Carolyn Brookes-Davies

Christopher Brown lino cut

Christopher Brown lino cut

Cire Trudon candle

Cire Trudon candle

Another fabulous emporium in Burnham Market to rave about. Newly-opened Tanner and Lawson is causing a bit of a style revolution in the village. Situated in the Old Forge on North Street, this great Gallery and Interiors store ,is owned by the very gorgeous ( and very knowledgeable) Richard Swallow and John Tanner, whom have backgrounds in TV, film and display. Tanner and Lawson was previously in Columbia Road in  London. They are selling Fine Art, decorative antiques, and ceramics, basket ware, lighting and much more , by many British makers.

Tanner and Lawson is uber stylish and eclectic ,with new things arriving daily. I am coveting rather  a lot that is in there at the moment. (I adore the kilim covered chairs and stools).  They also sell delicious coffee!

Next week their bijou marquee is being put up,( giving them much more space for their wares,) which will be an ever changing gallery space. Just wonderful.

01328 738410

http://www.tannerlawson.co.uk

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