Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin hunting!

It's time to pick a pumpkin!

Wow! So many to choose from--where do I start?

Big or small, orange or white?

Oh! This scarecrow looks like he could use one!

Maybe these fake leaves would help too! All these trees here in Texas still have their green leaves on them.

This is HARD work--gotta' snack,

and sit a spell.

I think I found my favorite,

a little one like me!

Yippee! From the pumpkin patch to the pizza place. Let's go celebrate.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween in London

It's almost Halloween, and each year I see more and more signs of the holiday in London.

Harrod's has their displays

as does Peter Jones.

A few store fronts are getting in the spirit,

of bats, spiders and ghosts.

I've seen one house decorated--very unusual, maybe Americans are living there.

Krispy Kreme has jumped in with the theme, but  the new treat in town is

the Cake Pop.

 Knew it couldn't be long before they made their way over the pond from America. Harrod's has the first ones I've seen. Perhaps they would be a special treat for any trick or treaters, even though they are few and far between in my neighborhood. Halloween is really a very new tradition in England, with more and more interest every year. Especially in this decade.
Of course, London would be a great place to celebrate Halloween. You could take the Jack the Ripper walk that we did last week, or go to the Halloween Chocolate Tea at the Hilton on Park Lane. How about a visit to the London Dungeon, the Vampire Arcade at the London Eye, or Boo at the Zoo? X Factor has a Halloween theme this weekend, or you could find all sorts of ghosts at the Tower of London.
Maybe the real Halloween party is at Wembley Stadium where the 49'ers and the Broncos are supplying the thrills as they meet for a little Sunday night Football--American style!
What would you do if you were in London for Halloween?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Introducing Lauren

Climbing her way up in the music scene is my friend, Lauren Pritchard.  Lauren, a beautiful young woman of 22 years, and I first met at church in London a couple of years ago. She had recently made her way there from the US to work on recording an album of songs she had written herself. After an incredible amount of hard work and determination, her album is set to be released on October 26!
Wasted in Jackson tells the story of her life since "escaping" the small town of Jackson, Tennessee at the age of 16 to pursue bigger dreams.

She left for Los Angeles, where she fell on some hard times after a spell, and was taken in by Lisa Marie Presley to live with her and her daughter. Later she was enticed to go to New York to play in the Broadway cast of Spring Awakening for over two years, and then it was off to London to work on her debut solo album.
You'll find it to be a mix of R&B, soul and gospel all wrapped up in an bluesy package. Exciting things are happening in her life. She has been touring the last few months, making a name for herself in the UK, appearing on the Alan Titchmarsh show last week, being praised by many journalists both sides of the Atlantic, adored by Topshop's online blog Inside Out, and most recently being selected to be the iTune Single of the Week starting October 26 for 7 days. You can download her single, When the Night Kills the Day, for free during that time.

Be watching stateside for her performance on Jay Leno on Monday night, October, 25th. You can follow her career path and listen to the video of her new single at her website. She's delightful, she's charming, she's a rising star. Catch her as she begins to soar!

Photos from Lauren's website.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Antiquing at Epsom Downs

It was a pretty fall day when we headed to Surrey for the Epsom Downs Racecourse for their Antique Fair. Surrounded by rolling hills, the racecourse is put into extra use when antiques are the stars of the day, and not the horses.

Most of the vendors were set up inside and all were eager to wheel and deal, as well as educate you about their items for sale.

Up for sale was jewelry,

vintage linens,


and of course, silver.

I thought this set was especially pretty--mustard pot, pepper pot, and salt cellar,

but this was my only purchase for the day. Silverplate Sheffield from the 50's--not so old really, but a fun piece that I think I can use so many ways.

When you head to an antique fair, you never know what you'll find. Some of the more "exotic" items were found outside. A pair of prosthetic legs,

a vintage hair dryer,

 a stuffed cat,

a tattoed, long hair dealer, selling a stuffed rat and

 skeletons just in time for Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sit, Stay, Love

Last spring, I mentioned that something very exciting was opening just down the street from my London home. Many of you guessed from the clues that I gave that it was Anthropologie, the American lifestyle store which is so very popular in the States. The building, located on the corner of King's Road and Flood Street, was originally a gentleman's club built in the 1920's which has seen several renovations, most recently as an antiques center. More about that here.

Guess who has left behind her career of banking in the US to work there? My own daughter-in-law, Cristen, who has moved to London for a couple of years with my son. She loves playing, I mean, working there.

The design of the new store, its second European shop, intentionally preserved some of the original architectural features, 

including the beautiful skylights and stained glass.

The design team on staff keeps it interesting, and Cristen tells me it's all for sale. See the horse laden down with merchandise?  Gone! Could have been ours for the right price if we had jumped on it sooner.

Not only is it a fashion mecca, but the gifts and housewares departments are fascinating.

Something for everyone!

The store is known for being dog friendly, with an open door policy and treats and water available for shoppers' dogs. Recently, they sponsored a Doggie Day called Sit, Stay, Love to benefit the Battersea Dog and Cat Shelter.

The competition began when a winner of the waggiest tail was selected, followed by 

the winner of the Snappiest Dressed in her teal coat who was so shy that she hid under the table, right beside the winner of the Dog that Looked Most Like Its Owner on the right.

In addition to the neighborhood dogs, some came from the shelter

and charmed us with their tricks.

 At the end of the afternoon, they left us begging for more, and a few marked their territory for a return visit in the days to come!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cuisine With a French Flair

So to wrap up a series of blogs about Paris, I could hardly close without mentioning French cuisine. It was a dominant theme in our weekend together. Remember I told you I was there visiting a friend who had rented an apartment for 3 months? Well, here she is, enjoying her Cordon Bleu cooking class, one of her "dreams come true."

The weekend I was there, she took an all day class on fish, and we reaped the benefits that evening back at the apartment. Four courses of fish--can't beat that!

The availability of fresh food in every neighborhood is only steps away from your doorstep--the cheese shop,

the local butcher selling poultry

and fresh beef and pork.

Avoid this butcher though, unless you know what you're getting--horse meat. The first clue is a horse's head above the shop. You still see a few of them around town.

Every shop selling food makes an art of their displays.  Candy at La Cure Gourmande,

olive oil at Oliviers and Company in the Marais,

patisseries on every block,

always works of art.

Macarons of every color and flavor,

bons-bons in rainbow colors from the Japanese Patisserie Sadaharu AOKI,

and colorful-----WAIT...., how did this photo get in here? Looking like eye candy, but certainly not, this is the selection of toilet paper at the luxury toilet boutique at the Printemps department store--Point WC, it's called. New and deluxe, and certainly not free, if you want to read more about their strategy of luxury toilets at several locations in Paris, you can read more here. A whole new market to explore, with an offer of a personal shopper to make your experience more pleasurable.

How did I digress?