Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Master Tucker

One of the things I miss the most when I am in London are my "Wheaten Greetens"!

We helped Tucker celebrate his 9th birthday with a little party and a piece of ice cream cake. He hated his new squeeky toy but has chewed up the new cork coasters! As you can see he is wearing his winter coat and does not seem to mind the cold winds whipping across the water .... but I do! It will be a short walk today!

When he plays, he plays hard but when he sleeps he is all "Tuckered out"!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OHHHH! That Silver!

This blog is dedicated to my dear friends back in London who spend a lot of time rummaging through the silver stalls at antique markets in search of that interesting and usually very tarnished piece of precious silver. While my sister was visiting me in Boston I thought it would be the perfect time to have a polishing party and share memories of our mother and our grandmother (Gekie) and how they cursed the "polishing of the silver" too! The bottom of each piece is stamped with a number and a seal that reads Barbours P. CO. International Co. Hand Chased.......Tell me it's worth a fortune! I keep it all high on a shelf where it gathers dust but gleams with great family memories. I even found this really cute silver lamp that makes a great night light for Haley when she tries to sneak in late and not wake anyone!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Opening my world!

This is a notice to all my dearest blogging friends that I am going public! That basically means that any one can look at my blog so you will no longer receive a "personal" invitation that I have posted something new. The best way for you to do this is to BOOKMARK the site and then visit it occasionally. If you want to leave a message you will have to have a goggle sign in .... or just send me an email.
This is a new adventure - hope it works!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day in the Cotswolds

We started our adventure with an easy one hour drive to Oxford. This was Rick's first visit to the historical campus so I played "tour guide" and tried to remember some of the information I had learned on a previous London Walks visit. We stopped for a treat of British sausages at Hall's Tavern.

With the help of Sir Thomas (the same navigator,Tomas-Tomas in Italy) we found the unique village of Minster Lowell. The river was high and the paths a little icey but walking through this village, the church yard, the thatched cottages, and the ruins of the manor house took us back to a time when this village was probably in it's prime. The manor farm still has a working dovecot.

We explored the quaint village of Burford and warmed up with a hot Pimms before finding our way to the B&B in Hailey called the Bird in the Nest. Our Valentine's evening was complete with a special bottle of wine, a delicious steak dinner followed by a gooey chocolate dessert....and then a short walk to our room WITH TWIN BEDS! It was a great day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

AWC Luncheon- Finally!

The American Women's Club Founder's Day Luncheon at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London was a huge success. As a fundraiser we made more money from the raffled baskets and the live auction than any of us thought possible. Over 60 members attended our "Celebration in the Park" on a surprisingly beautiful sunny February day. During a scrumptious meal we were entertained by Elle Cappella and ended with an Assiette of Chocolate for dessert...."to die for!" I am so grateful for the friends I have met in London and the bond we have formed through this organization. Thanks to all who participated in this wonderful event!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spicy Chicken-Rice Bowl

Usually Aunt Sandi is the foodie when it comes to blogging but this is my new favorite, easy, no wheat/flour, no sugar, no fat, but satisfying flavor recipe. So I thought I'd share. I order all these ingredients the week Ocado delivers and then pick up a roasted chicken when I'm out "having tea".

2 adult (starving dieters) servings!

Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Rice - Express microwave packet
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup LIGHT coconut milk
3 TBLS red curry paste
juice from a fresh lime
1 TBLS grated ginger
1-2 cups fresh steamed green beans
1/2 red pepper cut into strips 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges for garnish
1 store-roasted chicken (or 2 cooked chicken breast), shredded

In a deep saucepan over low heat, wisk together chicken broth, coconut milk, lime juice and curry paste. Add ginger, shredded chicken and steamed green beans. ***Now this can sit until your husband finally gets home from the office. Cook until heated while you microwave your bag of rice. Stir in cilantro and serve mixture over rice with a lime wedge. How easy is that?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Nursery in Esher

Our cute Mini Cooper Zip Car was not available today but we needed more trunk space anyway. I was on a mission to find spring flowers for centerpieces for our American Women's Club Luncheon at the Thames Royal Yacht Club later this week and Rick was my driver. These baskets of almost-blooming hyacinths and dainty primroses will give us a peek into springtime! And they were a bargain compared to the nursery prices in my neighborhood.

I love this has a Garden Centre (that's British for Center!), a Farm Shop, and if it wasn't February and freezing today, Pick Your Own Fruits and Vegetables. You can find everything from plants to backyard furniture and grills, smoked salmon and handmade pies to kitchen gadgets and saucy birthday cards!

On our way back to the city, we drove by Hampton Court and remembered a pub we had visited before, the Kings Arms. We enjoyed a warm bowl of potato and leek soup in front of a flaming fire with a traditional terrier or two underfoot. The car had to be back in it's parking spot by 5:00 PM and from this shot of the sunset over Brompton Road you can see we just made it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(My) Home and Gardens Feb. 2009

Our bungalow on the river, our cottage on the south shore, our place to build memories and call home....
Most of you know the story of our home in Boston. We walked through this house for 2 years, breathing in the view of the river and ignoring the repair work that was eventually needed to update this little "sail-loft" style New England Cape but when the price dropped ???(a lot!) and the homeowner threw in the (old) Boston Whaler, Rick was sold! About 2 weeks after closing, we agreed to take on our new adventure in London!

Last year, it seemed that every time I went "home" I was replacing an appliance, the dock, the roof.... something - so in October we bit the bullet and met with a local designer and contractor. We opened a wall, totally replaced the kitchen, installed wood floors, and (something I've never done) bought new furniture to actually fit the space and style of the house. Not everything is in yet, we are missing a few chairs, accent pillows, and the draperies but these pictures reflect the finished product and I am so pleased with the results. I think my home now reflects my personality, it is comfortable yet classic. Lots of spaces for people to gather, cook, eat, talk, and enjoy a glorious sunset. I am adding pops of color with a cheerful Italian platter (which I carried in bubble wrap all the way back to the States) and a red leather ottoman in the kitchen. The focus is the view and light is important so the drapes are linen and silk on black iron rods. The new wood floors are beautiful so we just added a few sisal rugs for a natural warm effect. I like it when every room has a story so Rick's sail boat and our collection of sea shells along with 2 giant clocks on London and Boston time found the perfect spot in the family room. The grandfather's clock my parents built and the oil landscape of my Mother's childhood home will add grace to the new dining room. With the new farm house table I can seat 12 easily. When my sister comes next month we are going to work on a family wall of pictures all the way up the one is safe!
I hope you enjoy the tour!