Tag Archives: England

Design Inspiration: Henrie Haldane

On my last trip to England I managed to connect with the talented painter Henrie Haldane. We originally met through a women’s business network and I was instantly captivated by her work. Lovely Man and I commissioned this 20140731-081248-29568428.jpgfor our house in England, inspired by photographs I’ve taken of nearby lakes.

She now lives in Spain and the colours and light of her new home shine through in her latest works. 20140731-071513-26113813.jpgWe commissioned another painting, in a darker palette inspired by this20140731-071513-26113055.jpg and on my current trip I’ve finally been able to see it in place.  

 Isn’t it gorgeous?

Henrie can be contacted via her website



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Filed under Art, Decor, England, Happiness Project, House Updates, Photography

Friday I’m in Love: Conkers

Growing up in the English countryside, conkers were a big part of Autumn. As soon as (and sometimes before) the spiky seeds cases began to fall, my schoolmates would be gathering up the biggest and trying out various curing methods. Days later, small knots of children would stand in the playground, cheering or groaning as prize specimens conquered (pun intended) or were defeated – ideally smashed to smithereens.

Today I still love conkers – more correctly, horse chestnuts – though as a decorative item rather than for any competitive games. They look beautiful piled together in bowls, at least until they dry out and the shine vanishes…

photo photoThank you to Mum for braving the English weather last week to collect and photograph these for me!


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Filed under England, Nature, Plants, Seasonal Pleasures

Summery Summary

Happy Labor Day! While the distinction is irrelevant in SoCal (where September is often the hottest month of the year), for most Americans today symbolises the end of the summer. So it seemed appropriate to mark the day with a summary of the summer chez nous.

Work on the house has seen less progress than we’d like. We do finally have a fence at the back of the kitchen garden IMG_0708so that’s one promise kept, but the original doors on what used to be the kitchen proved to have termite damage and it has taken FOREVER to get new ones. Hopefully, once they arrive it should be a fairly quick process to finish the floor and paint the walls. That said, the spa area is almost complete…IMG_0712expect a longer post soon!

As distractions, there was a wonderful weekend in Charleston with my Lovely Man IMG_0697and visits to family in England and France. IMG_0713As to the rest, just kicked back and enjoyed the summer!


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Filed under California, England, France, Gardens, Happiness Project, House Updates, Photography, Travel

Friday I’m in Love: Sweet Peas

I defy anyone not to love sweet peas. Totally girly with their delicate, pastel-coloured petals and sweet scent and completely impractical for anything other than decoration. But irresistible nonetheless. These are from my father’s garden in England.


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Filed under England, Flowers, Gardens, Plants

Friday I’m in Love: Lavender

Lavender is a versatile plant. Beautifully scented and highly decorative, it can grow in damp English climates



and hot Mediterranean ones.


It has a myriad of uses, from perfume and aromatherapy, to cakes and teas. It is popular with bees, but also repels moths. Wonderful plant! IMG_0500


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Friday I’m in Love: Lilacs (again)

While lilacs (syringa) can survive in California, they need attention to really thrive. Lilac in England is a completely different proposition. Given the minimum of care, it typically runs a little wild in a garden hedge or the back of a border.
But when the results look (and smell!), so good, why not?20140612-204910-74950908.jpg

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Friday I’m in Love: Bluebells…again

Bowood House, near Calne in Wiltshire, is a fine example of an English Country House. The gardens and part of the house are open April-November and are well worth a visit. Every spring the owners open their justly famous Rhododendron Walk to the public, and this year I was able to go. But though the rhododendrons are spectacular, my interest was elsewhere…


And then I realise just how pitiable my own efforts were this year! Back to the bulb catalogues…

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Filed under England, Flowers, Gardens, Happiness Project, Nature, Photography, Plants, Travel