Friday, 27 September 2013

On building the life of your dreams

Photo of Avignon, France, via here

Do you have a fantasy about the life of your dreams?
Do you daydream about the good life?
What would you do, if you could do anything?

Do you fancy the rural stuff?
growing your own food, knitting, cuddling in front of a big fireplace or stove?
Or perhaps retreating to write poetry?

Do you wish your house were all-white?
Do you hope for plain walls to fill with quirkyness?

Or perhaps you dream of an active life of doing and being worshipped and starting a new you from scratch?

Whatever you do, make sure you put your heart in it. No sadness, no regrets, no looking back.
After all, it is about your one precious life.

The Happy Turtle

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Artist: Unknown

And so, the time has come to say Goodbye to this house.
Am I happy? Do I want to get moving?
Yes , I do. 
It has been some time now that we have outgrown this place. 
Things change and we have to adapt. 
So tomorrow we pack and with God;s grace, next week will find us in our new home. 
I want to put together a post about this house.
Because it was old and neglected and we came from our home where everything was put together we thought and care, this house was a blank canvas for me. 
This helped in the transitional months since moving  here.
I took the freedom to play with all that I had, and I am pleased with the result. 
We entertained quite a lot. 
I enjoyed hanging clothes on the line. 
And being part of the neihborhood life. 

Bon Weekend, then. 
I hope you enjoy this Autumn weekend with your loved ones.


The Happy Turtle

P.S. You've probably seen that I have changed my template for the nth time and lost all my sidebar widgets ;-)
New Beginnings!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Tuesday Good Morning with...

Like father, only sweeter.
The anticipation of a warm, peaceful, happy Christmas
 { via }
 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

Monday, 16 September 2013

A young English wedding-The Blairs

Speaking of weddings, I so much enjoyed looking at the photos from Euan Blair's wedding. What a lovely young couple! He is 29 , she is 25 and they have been together for 8 years!
An interesting fashion note , indicative of fun pop culture. Fashion commentators noted that half-turkish Suzanne's blue heels were a replica of those worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Sex and the City movie.

What a beautyful picture by Alan Davidson, capturing a moment of intimacy and pride between Cherie and Tony Blair, the former British PM and his wife.
The groom's sister, Kathryn Blair.
The Blair's Buckinghamshire mansion where the wedding reception was held.
Read more here.

Inspiration Monday-Soft light

The epitomy of softer times, softer light, slightly fresher autumn days, in a newly decorated home.

This photo gave me a solution to a decorating dilema.
I have a similar console (no castors, an extra self for current favorite books and magazines-yes!) that will fit nicely halfway under the living room window.

Pribably my favorite picture for the natural wooden floors, the old table (I have two smaller ones of exactly the same design) , the modern mix of art and chairs and the wonderful wall art.

(A beautiful apartment in Northern Spain)

Book ideas via AnastasiaC

I am so not into cooking, these days. I find some ideas touching base when I think of our new kitchen in our new rental. Otherwise, these days I'd live on cheese and yoghurt!

I long for a light-filled house. I am installing our dining room table next to the kitchen. I want us to have our daily meals in a beautiful setting.
I have benches to go with my table, but I do find these chairs interesting, especially the autumn colors, rust-mustard-mushroom.

I hope you find beauty to inspire you this week,

An aristocratic wedding



I like me a good old-fashioned aristocratic wedding. Like the ones Tatler used to show us before it became a big expensive Hello with semi-trashy wannabe starlets. Oh well. Tant pis. because this week saw the wedding of James Meade to Lady Laura Marsham at St. Nicholas parish church in Gayton, Norfolk.

Mr Meade is part of   Prince William’s closest circle of friends and delivered a joint best man's  speech with Thomas van Straubenzee at the Buckingham Palace reception after the royal wedding in 2011.

Ms. Marsham is the daughter of Julian Marsham, the 8th Earl of Romney.

The wedding was attended by, among other, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Princess Catherine's sister, Pippa Middleton.

As the Bishop of Lynn who conducted the service, said afterwards:“Though I say it myself, it was a very happy service".

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The creative process:Q&A with Nancy Tillman

1.    Animals figure prominently in your books. What is your favorite animal?

   My favorite animal is my pug, Figgy.  That’s the truth!  Fig is my mascot… he sits beside me every day as I write and illustrate.  Other than that, every animal has special characteristics that draw me to it. Everyone is unique and wonderful in its own way…and each one suits a child differently.  Giraffes are so tall they are perfect to help children pick apples.  One can easily cross a stream upon a hippo.  Who better to have a water fight with than an elephant?

2.    If you could be any animal, what would you be? Why?

  I suppose I’d be a big, beautiful bird.  It would be so wonderful to fly.  I’d drop in on all the other animals. Maybe I’d be a flamingo.  I’ve always been enchanted by them.

3.    Why do you think children relate or are drawn to animals?

Children are drawn to things that stimulate them or nurture them. Animals are full of joyful surprises and funny noises… and many are great cuddlers, too.

4.    The child in I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love pretends to be many different animals.  Why do you think children enjoy pretending to be different people, animals, or things?

 It comes naturally to them, probably because pretending is so developmentally helpful. By trying on different personalities, children learn social differences and empathy for others, among many other things.  Plus, it’s FUN!

5.    When your own children were growing up, how did you encourage them to use their imaginations?

Here’s one way that I’ll share with the parents out there.  I often told my children they could scream if they did it silently.  I still have memories of my son’s silent screams.  He could let a lot of energy out without a sound!  Try itJ

My daughter, Tess, had an alter ego by the name of Jessica Reindeer.  Jessica had a dog named Candybreath.  I loved to listen to their adventures.  Once Jessica told the neighbors that her dad had died from eating junk food.  I had to explain that it was Jessica’s dad, not Tess’s dad.

6.    What was the inspiration behind the story of I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love?

 I wanted to give children the joy of becoming another creature with the comfort of knowing their parent would always recognize them.  And I always love to create interactive pages that allow children to “be” the animal either in action or in sound.

7.    Is the cover image of I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love inspired by the photograph of you with a giraffe that is featured on the back of the book?  

Yes it is!  My publisher, Jean Feiwel, loves that picture and asked me specifically to create an illustration inspired by it.  Children I’ve met on tour always tell me they love that picture, too.  That picture was taken in Kenya.  The giraffe, Lynn, licked me all over my face.  I was holding food in my mouth!

8.    Your books are heartwarming and very comforting but always close with the phrase “You are loved.” Why?  

Quite simply, it’s a message no one gets enough of.  It’s the bottom line take-away of all my books, so I always want to end with it.

9.    Millions of families across the nation have grown to love your books dearly.  What is it about your stories that you think creates such a special connection with your readers – children and parents alike?

I try to give parents words to say what they already feel for their children.  Most parents really deeply feel those words, and their children can tell.  In their early years, children are little sponges. I love knowing parents are getting those messages of love into their children before many of the world’s other messages make their way in, or before barriers go up.

10. Can you describe your creative process? How do you choose a subject? Do you have a favorite place where you go for inspiration or to work out any blocks? Do you write or illustrate first? Are you inspired by friends, family, scenery, other?

 I am inspired by the natural beauty of the world around me, and the beautiful faces of young children looking up at me.  When I succeed in reaching those children, I want to do it again and again.  Yes, there are special places that are especially inspirational to me… many countries in Africa have provided me with beautiful memories to work from.  But I could just as easily be transported by a crow that talks to me on a morning walk, or fog over a wheat field.  As much as I can I try to paint wide open spaces that children can imagine themselves in. 
Generally, I write first, although there are illustrations that I can already see in my mind.  Sometimes I envision an illustration that might influence text. 

Nancy Tillman's newest book is I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

Visit Ms. Tillman's magical website here.

 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

Monday, 2 September 2013

Posh & Polished in Lilly Pulitzer

This is me, ladies.

 Well, not literally. 
I took a personality test on the Lilly Pulitzer website and this is the result.

My favorites?

in Silk Crepe de Chine


with a flattering peplum detail at the bottom.

Are you a Lilly girl?
 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

Inspiration Monday...Audrey like you've never seen her before.

She is a style icon.

And in so many ways.

I adore the art created by artist Sandra Smith based on the iconic Audrey photos.

Found via here.

 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

September and a word about Labor Day

Labor Day is the culmination of the end of summer.
 It signals the last days of summer,  the shortening of days and the beginning of the joy and sweetness of nesting... 

But, wait! Summer is not over, yet!
Keep up the vibe with some more al fresco dining
and refreshing drinks, like this

Cucumber Lemon Cooler

with lemonade, cucumber, and some chilled vodka.
  • 2 cups vodka, chilled
  • 2 cups lemonade, chilled
  • 1 English cucumber, ½ peeled and diced, and ½ sliced into rounds for garnish
  • 1 liter club soda
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds for garnish
  • Herb sprigs for garnish (mint, basil, rosemary, oregano, or other fresh green herbs of your choice)
Puree vodka, lemonade, and diced cucumber in a blender, then strain mixture into a large pitcher. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, pour mixture into ice-filled glasses until ¾ full. Top off each with club soda and allow guests to customize cocktails with cucumber, lemon slices, and herb sprigs.
Tip: Tearing the leaves off herbs releases their oils and fragrance. Encourage guests to do this when garnishing their cocktails for a stronger herbal flavor.
Freshen up your space with some new pillowcases and throws.

Add a touch of memories with a jar of pebbles you picked at the beach.
(I know... I just watched Something's gotta Give with the girls. I love this movie!)

Enjoy light and hearty food like the above, 
salmon, seasoned with Cajun spices from Against All Grain

Celebrate with a backyard barbecue with friends.

Don't forget the ice-cream!

Pick a new recipe or two and Set a Festive Table with One Kings Lane's Labor Day Blowout Sale!


 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Poetry and Food: The Late Seamus Heaney's Poems About Food

Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, died today at 74. He was one of the few poets in the 21st century to bridge the gap between critical success and popular appeal, and he did it by writing poems filled with fleshy physicality. It’s no surprise, then, that he could write about food like the best of them.

From Sonnets From Hellas
We gaelicized new names for Poetry Hill
As we wolfed down hortatarama and houmos
At sunset in the farmyard, drinking ouzos,
Pretending not to hear the Delphic squeal
Of the streel-haired cailleach in the scullery.
Then it was time to head into Desfina
To allow them to sedate her. And so retsina,
Anchoviessquiddolmadesfrench fries even.


 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

The Hamishsphere: Greece is the Word


 Detail from John Stefanidis' house

Vogue’s International Editor at Large,
shares his photos from a late-summer trip to Greece.
See more of Hamish Bowles' photos here.
 photo SigmaUpsilonGammaKappaEpsilonNuTauRho62013-SigmaChiOmicronLambdaEpsilonIotaOmicron_zps0ebcd821.png

Classy Bling

Links of London USA

Best buys