February 8, 2015

Being Mary Lennox: Exploring Blenheim Palace

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden
In one of mine and Miss Cozy's very favorite books, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 10-year-old, orphaned Mary Lennox travels from India to live with her uncle at the imposing, mysterious Misselthwaite Manor. Burnett's descriptions of the manor, the grounds and surrounding moors stick in the mind and imagination.
Miss Cozy's imagination was in overdrive experiencing what Mary must have thought and felt facing her new life, from seeing the manor for the first time, to finding solace in the garden...
 “I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us” 

 In the wonderful Spring weather, we explored the house, the grounds and the wonderful hedge maze with our wonderful friends... 

 We searched the hedges in vain for a secret garden door ... no luck this time...
 “Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world," he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment.” 

June 11, 2014

Next Up: Beautiful Blenheim Palace!

Apologies for the "blog pause," we've wrapped up the school year and I have free hands once again :)
Join us next for a beautiful look inside Blenheim Palace, spectacular interiors, stately exteriors... 
Next post: The Tour!

May 9, 2014

Walking the Grounds of Cliveden House

An Awfully Exciting Adventure
Part Two: Cliveden House
After our sweet tea at The Doll's House in Harrow, my friend drove Miss Cozy, myself and her two dear, little boys to beautiful Cliveden House to allow the kids to run off some energy around the extensive grounds in beautiful Berkshire, about 45 minutes outside of London.
We sped along the country lanes to the house, a stately home turned luxury hotel, once famously owned by the American Astors, but first built in 1666 by the second Duke of Buckingham.
We parked on the pebble drive and made our way to the house, the children running ahead and my friend and I enjoying the beautiful daffodils and fresh air.
(click to enlarge)
Beautiful fountains and pristine landscaping led the way, and an Italian clock tower loudly bonged the time...
Gates and ancient stone walls provided seats for the children when they got tired on the way...
And spectacular breezes and sunshine met us when we reached the house, sitting for a bit on the portico...
...and enjoying this view of the beautiful gardens.
The children played while we chatted, then we headed down to the beautiful parkland...
 Our eldest (and happily independent!) children explored the paths ahead...
...and we strolled my friend's toddler son behind them.

 Ancient trees ripe for games of hide and go seek...
 ...and a beautiful storybook playground and Wendy house-turned-gift shop rounded out our visit. After a good play and gingerbread men in hand, we drove home for a good sleep, ready for our next day's adventure together!
Next Up: Blenheim Palace...

April 30, 2014

Flight to London & Tea Time in Harrow

An Awfully Exciting Adventure
Part One: Flight & Tea in Harrow
Miss Cozy accompanied me to London this Spring during her spring break vacation, we booked a red eye flight for the way there. This bought us an extra day, but also was a mighty risk with a nine year old in tow!
Our plane "Miss Sunshine" was a good match for its jolly passengers :)
 On the flight we got snuggled in with dinner, pillows, blankets, a stuffed animal and favorite children's movies and Miss Cozy managed to sleep about 2.5 hours of the 6-hour flight. I stayed awake with liters of coffee determined to keep a watchful eye on my chick! 
When we flew into the sunrise, cracks of light started to show around our window shade. I knew the poor kid would be wiped out, but we had to start the wake up process!
 Favorite ginger ale for me and juice for the girl!
When we neared Heathrow and started to descend, exhaustion faded away and was replaced by excitement -- so many adventures ahead! 
The early morning view was beautiful...

We made it! Miss Cozy kept a very close eye on the map the whole flight :) She couldn't believe the amount of water that separated us and her "Aunty" in England!
 Aunty, a bestest friend of 20 years made when I was in school in London, is honorary family, and her two sons honorary cousins!! They picked us up at the arrivals gate to big hugs and lots of squealing! (that was from me :)
Being wise, Aunty knew we'd be hungry, but also slightly delirious, so we made reservations at this gorgeous little tea room in nearby Harrow. I don't know how or why, but Miss Cozy adjusted without sleep without problem, we enjoyed our little meal and chatted away. 
I had a jacket potato, a favorite from my student days (baked potato) and another coffee!

 Miss Cozy had a scone and saved the little jam for Aunty's boys :) 
She told the lady at the till it was the best scone she'd ever had.  
 We walked a bit round Harrow, home to the renowned boys' school, and were bowled over that spring had sprung already in the UK. At home there was still snow on the ground!! It was so nice to see the flowering trees and green grass...

  Next up: Beautiful Cliveden House!

April 17, 2014

Bon Voyage Party: London Calling!

"Would you like an adventure now or shall we have tea first?"
Tea first, I think!
Our extended family joined us for a bon voyage bash for Miss Cozy, who was joining me on a Spring jaunt to London to visit with our wonderful friends, and was beside herself with excitement over the plane ride alone! 
I imported some English favorites, namely Bakewells! Some petit four, macaroons, shortbread and mini cinnamon rolls also served as tea treats.
I used some of the sweet things we have around the house for our party table -- plenty of Cath Kidston, our trusty Corelle plates, teacups from Anthropologie, teapot from a local shop (bought for our royal wedding tea!) and vintage Hazel Atlas stripey tumbler used as a vase!
Pizza and fruit rounded off our celebration, and Miss Cozy wore her "Off to See the World" t-shirt from Gymboree for some really cute photos :)
I filled these little party favor suitcases (Amazon) with licorice allsorts (my absolute favorite ever) and red and blue M&Ms for the non licorice eaters :)
Taking a page from Cath Kidston's book on decorating, I copied some cute displays I've seen in the CK shops in prior years -- mixing vintage memorabilia with modern items. 
For Miss Cozy's run up to the trip, I gathered all our favorite books on and set in the UK in a pretty red wicker basket for her to enjoy and pulled out the photo album I made for her from her last trip to England, when she was a mere three years old!
My sweet baby wore this sweet tee from Gymboree to see off her big sister and got to play with her little cousins during the celebration!
By the front door we collected these fun things for a little travel vignette -- 3 party ceiling puffs were our clouds and a silhouette plane print out "flew" through!
Next up, Tour England with us!
Of course I have loads and loads of Easter fun to share as well, but let's take a little blog trip first! :)