New York

Have you ever spent time in Manhattan? With no agenda, just wandering around looking at what there is to be seen? I realised recently that I have not spent any serious time there since the 90s. And never with my camera. So when my Lovely Man and I had a chance to visit the East Coast last month, tacking on some time to catch up with New York was a no-brainer!

Here are the first batch of images, focussing on light:

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Photomanipulation Apps

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know I love to take photographs. I haven’t really got into hardcore photo editing but I do like to play around with the images on my iPad. here are some of the apps I’ve recently discovered.

Plastic Bullet. Adds a vintage feel (in a variety of shades) to photos.20140619-083723-31043036.jpg
Waterlogue. Turns a photo into a watercolour.20140619-083739-31059951.jpg

{Original on the left in both cases}

PicFrame. Make photo collages. IMG_0409
What are your favourite photo apps?

Weekend Getaway: Central Coast and Wine Country

My Lovely Man and I recently did a quick trip to Morro Bay and Paso Robles. I forget now how we first discovered the area, but it has become our default destination (accommodation permitting) whenever we need to recharge our batteries…and our wine cellar!
Morro Bay is a coastal town about 200 miles north of Los Angeles. It’s named after a distinctive crown-shaped rock in the bay.
IMG_2295 The rock and its environs it are marine protected areas due to the wildlife (specifically peregrine falcons) that live there. The bay has a lovely beach with spectacular views,
IMG_0391 and the lagoon is a great place to watch birds and other creatures.
IMG_0390 It’s also only 30 minutes from Paso Robles, which makes it a great place from which to explore this wonderful wine region. Each time we visit we swear we won’t buy much wine, but each time, we do. Here are some of the wineries we love:
Adelaida Cellars
L’Aventure
Alta Colina
Halter Ranch
Tablas Creek Vineyard
Terry Hoage Vineyards
And this time we made a new discovery…Re:Find, IMG_0389a distillery that uses saignėe (the juice removed before fermentation) to make some amazing grape-based spirits. Oh, dear…

Monday Pinspiration: New England Style

Back in England for some necessary chores and thinking of what needs doing to our house here. The living room is in sore need of an update! Apart from installing some bookshelves, we’ve done virtually nothing to the room since we moved in almost 10 years ago and it’s starting to look tired. The sofa, in particular, is beginning to look a little shabby.
Currently everything is pretty neutral (whites/creams and natural oak) and I’m wondering about introducing a colour. The house is “New England” style and it’s by a lake, so the obvious direction is Cape Cod/Hamptons (without too many nautical clichés!). Plus we have a beautiful abstract landscape by our friend Henrie Haldane in tones of blue and brown so it would be nice to pick up on some of those shades.
So maybe a slatey-blue sofa? IMG_0310Or tan/brown?
IMG_0283Or a mix of the two? IMG_0281I love the contrast piping on this image!
Maybe I should recover the armchair in a contrast colour? IMG_0284 IMG_0286And keep the sofa light…
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with contrast cushions?IMG_0301
(not the anchor, in case you were wondering, but I love the knitted stripes).
I definitely want to bring in some texture: rope and wicker baskets, driftwood, chunky knits and soft throws.
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Another of Henrie’s paintings would be lovely. IMG_0294And I’ve taken quite a lot of photos of the lake over the years, so maybe some should go on display? IMG_0306 IMG_0307What do you think?
All images from Pinterest

Friday I’m in Love: Bacon Sarnie

Heading back to England for a few errands and a catch-up with everyone. I’m already salivating at the prospect of indulging in some of the foods I can’t get here…

Top of the list is Bacon. By which I mean back bacon. IMG_0186There is no American equivalent. This is one of the few English things I truly miss…to the extent that I even did a course at Altadena’s Institute of Domestic Technology to learn how to make it myself. Fun as well as useful…though I have yet to source the perfect cut. I’d love to hear from anyone in the Pasadena area who knows where I can get the right part of the pig!

Bacon is best eaten as a “sarnie” or butty”, the perfect indulgent breakfast, and an excellent hangover remedy!

What do you miss from your home?

House Update: Crane Day…again…

I thought once our roof was on we would be done with heavy machinery. But no…

Once the house was done we wanted to add a pool. The original plan was for a classically-styled in-ground pool with a spa and a tanning platform, all tastefully landscaped to match the rest of the house. Then we found out how long the planning process would take and what it would cost in permits and fees before we even broke ground, and we simply didn’t want to wait. So, on to plan B.

We’re neither of us big swimmers, and there isn’t much room on the terrace, so we decided to go for an above-ground swim-spa. It has seats around the edges for relaxation, and a deeper section in the centre where one can do water-based exercises, or swim against a current. We chose one made by Arctic Spas, which arrived on a lorry from Canada, and after some palaver getting it off the back of the truck, sat on our driveway for a week or so while we did the prep work on the terrace.

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But, it weighs 2000lb, so there was no way we were carrying it around the back by ourselves! Which brings me to the heavy machinery…

First came thisIMG_4037

Which lifted the tub off the driveway, across the garden and into the back…

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And then came this little baby

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which was walked through the garden onto the terrace, where is did this…

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…and then this…

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After some maneouvring

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the pool is in place and in use.

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It’s not as pretty as we would have liked (more landscaping required!) but it took eight weeks to install, from placing the order to swimming. Yay!