Monday, 11 July 2016

first summer campout

Hooray!  First camp of the summer was a huge success.  Four families, blue skies, messing about on the river and great cook outs, all made for the perfect weekend away, just a couple of hours drive from home.

The Deschutes State Park recreational area was fabulous camp site for a couple of our first time camping families - hot showers and flushing loos always help!  Fun games ranging from cricket, tennis, soccer and boules, with a little fishing (with two catches), and a lot of messing about on the river thrown in, kept everyone busy and happy.  Cold beer and hot chilli kept us even happier.

And of course, the icing on the camping cake is always the huge pile of s'mores that get eaten!  Bring on the next trip.

Monday, 16 May 2016

a clutch of clutches

So many stylish clutch bags (purses) around this spring.  My own collection is made up mostly of leather, muted tone clutches but my eye has been drawn towards some super bright fun ones this season, perfect for adding a splash of colour to an outfit or just carrying for fun.  Here's a few of my faves (and it's obvious that I have a penchant for tassels!!)...

Image 1 of Star Mela Embellished Clutch with Metal Disc Trim

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

bring on spring

Hello again.  Long time.  No Blogging.  It feels like most of my favourite bloggers and myself are a little distracted with other things in their lives these days and blogging has taken a back seat for a while.  Has Pinterest, Instagram etc become the quicker easier social media fix these days?  Anyway, I'm here and if you're reading this, then you are too and that's great.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, Spring is teasing us.  Two days of sun. Two days of rain.  Blossom on the trees.  Wind blowing gale.  Light jackets.  Scarves.  Heating on.  Doors and windows thrown open!  Argh!   Thursday we are supposed to hit 84 degrees, but just for one day!  Let's just get on with it and bring on Spring in full force please!

Spring Break has been and gone in a flash.  We had a wonderful family trip to Arizona (in search of sunshine of course), and it did not disappoint.  Yes, yes, we all know how bad the sun is for our skin, but it felt oh so good to feel the warmth on my skin again.  The need to wear sunglasses, sun screen and light breezy clothes, and to sip Margaritas and eat tacos sitting outside in beautifully lit terraces as the sun set.  Palm trees swaying and cacti blossoming.  Heaven after the grey wet PNW these past few months.

Six days in a fun hotel with pools and lazy river and more pools, split in the middle with a three day trip to the Grand Canyon.  And WOW!  Just WOW!  What an amazing place.  It was the first visit to the GC for myself and the kiddos.  The Huzz and been 20+ years ago.  Incredible.  Vast.  Stunning and so changeable throughout the day.  We did a 40 minute flight in an eight seater plane over the South Rim and Eastside.  I did great for 20 minutes.  The next 20 minutes were mostly spent looking into a brown paper bag!  Motion sickness I hate you!  The rest of the trip was stunning.

Back home and life has taken on that count down to the end of the school year!  Did I really say that? It's hard to believe that June 17th will be here before we know it and my kids will have finished 1st and 7th Grades!  

We've finished Basketball season (2nd place, hurrah),and we are just starting Track & Field season for the teenager.  New spiked running shoes are in the house.  Personal Bests are being discussed.  He did so great in his first season last year.  Here's hoping he loves and and does just as well this year.   I know I love watching him and yes I'll be that mum bellowing from the bleachers in my best English voice, getting looks from the other parents and daggers from the boy!

Spring Cleaning has taken a hold of me!  Trying to get stuff done before the good weather arrives and I want nothing more to do inside our home.  A repaint and rearrangement of Ruby's bedroom has long been discussed and is so overdue.  Lots of decisions on artwork to be made - the Huzz has a vast collection of photographs that we'd love to get onto large canvas.  Yard landscaping will be tackled too.  And that's just to get us going.

Here's to Springtime and warmer days.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

national carrot cake day

A Party Without Cake Is Just A Meeting - Or Is It? - 5 Birthday Cake Alternatives | Sundays and Somedays:

National Carrot Cake day (who decides this stuff ?!).

I do love a slice or two of carrot cake.  But I have never made one myself.  So I think today could be the day!

I've had some wonderful and some really not so wonderful carrot cakes in my life.  The worst was in a cafe in the Netherlands and was so dry and flavorless with barely any carrot to be found.  The best was at The Little Cupcake Bakeshop in New York City and was unbelievably moist, lots of carrot, walnuts and spices and toped with delicious cream cheese frosting (a must for me).  Perfection.   I swapped my Hummingbird cake with my friend's carrot cake and she never got it back!

So now to recreate something of equally good standards at home!

Here's a selection of what looks to be some of the most delicious carrot cakes around and a couple with a little twist of there own...

Carrot and pistachio cake. Beautiful!:

INCREDIBLE CARROT CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING {Simply classic, but probably the BEST recipe out there.  And that cream cheese frosting is so creamy, perfectly sweet and very stable!}

Carrot Cake with Orange Curd

Thursday, 14 January 2016

here and now

Here we are a 12 days back into real life after our UK Christmas & New Year trip.

Snow and ice gave us a slow start to the New Year with the first day back to school cancelled and a late start the next day.  That kind of threw us off our restart game.  All the snow gear was grabbed out the closet and the kiddos spent half the day sledding in the neighborhood and then drinking lots of hot chocolate and watching movies.  Maybe it was a blessing in disguise to ease us in.

I got online and ordered pair of Ugg boots on that snowy day.  My first pair.  Happy warm cozy feet.  

The Huzz is still in Europe.  Me and the kiddos, we travelled back here alone.  We are missing him.  Two sleeps to go and his back with us.  Reunited.  It will feel so good.

I've started my fitness off pretty well.  Three 5k runs in 4 days.  Two yoga classes.  Pat on the back for me.  That must have taken care of at least 5 of the sausages rolls I had over Christmas!!!


The Christmas tree came down on Sunday.  Reluctantly.  It feels so bare.   I am not taking away the lanterns or little white houses glowing with candles on my fireplace.  I am not ready for all the Spring stuff appearing in the stores.  I am looking forward to more cozy winter days and nights at home.


Thinking of a trip over Spring Break.  I suggested Alaska to the Huzz.  He wants beach and sun.  That sounds perfect to me!  Planning now needs to begin. 

Struggling to deal with my now 13 year old son.  He seems to think he's become all grown up in the month since he became a teenager.  I am apparently treating him like a baby!  Argh!!!   Help this is all new!

I binge watched the very last season of Parenthood during the evenings on my own this past week.  Loved it and cried a bucket load!  Love that Braverman family.

Happy Wednesday.


Sunday, 10 January 2016

a christmas recap

Carte de vœux - Lucille Michieli:

Welcome to 2016.

Ok we are 11 days in, but it's still all new isn't it.

We arrived back home in Portland on 1st January (at 11.57pm to be precise), returning from a fabulous busy family fun filled two weeks in the UK.  A trip long awaited and that of course went by in a flash of partying, feasting, drinking, feasting, gift opening, festivities, fireworks and did I mention feasting!

London looked fab, of course.  Street lights, Christmas trees, wonderfully decorated store windows.  My only regret was that we didn't have time to see more.

I really loved taking the kids to a Christmas Eve carol service gathering outside the local church.  With my mulled wine in hand and singing all carols (very) loud and clear!  My son, now 13 and full of runaway hormones, had a look caught somewhere between embrarrassment and amusement looking on at us.  My kids hadn't ever attended a carol service, so this was a totally new and wonderful experience for them.  I shall be seeking out more in their future.

Days rolled into one another.  Family, friends, cousins meeting cousins for the first time, seeing aunts and uncles that we hadn't seen for more than 4 years in some cases.  Sadly not seeing everyone we'd hoped to.  Feeling we are missing being closer to everyone.  Holding on extra long for goodbye hugs.  Tears or laughter, joy and sadness.

Lots of champagne, gin and tonics, sausage rolls, mince pies and chocolates!

It was a Christmas well spent.

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead filled with good things.


Monday, 16 November 2015

ear bling

365 days of the year I wear little black onyx stud balls in my ears.  I've worn this style forever (this is my 3rd pair).  Even on my wedding day!

I've tried and tested other earrings. Studs, loops, dangling ones, big big big ones!  But always come back to my much loved and treasured black studs.

But now I'm thinking a little ear bling would be fun for the upcoming party season and up my game in the glamorous ear department!  An ear cuff or crawler.  Just on one ear (two would be over the top, for me anyway).  These are some of my favorites...

Image 3 of ASOS Mismatch Rose Cluster Ear Cuff and Single Ear Stud

Olivia Palermo x Baublebar Anderson Ear Crawler Set {under $50}:

H A P P Y   S P A R K L Y   M O N D A Y   T O   Y O U!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

national chocolate day has arrived!

It's a very good Wednesday when I wake up to hear that it's National Chocolate Day!  Bring it on!

I'm not a crazy chocoholic, but can be more than tempted to indulge when there's some good stuff around (and that firmly excludes anything Hersheys!!!!).   One of my favorite chocolate bars is the Dutch brand 'Tony's Chocolonely" which the Huzz brings home from his very frequent trips to the Netherlands.  But starting just a couple of weeks ago, my favorite local Portland grocery store, New Seasons, has started selling it (and is the first store in the whole USA to do so!!) so no more waiting for the Huzz to unpack his suitcase! Lucky me.

Milk (always my favorite)
Dark Almond Sea Salt
Milk Caramel Sea Salt
Dark Coffee Crunch
Dark Pecan Coconut
Extra Dark


H A P P Y   C H O C O L A T E   D A Y!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

fall(ing) into fall

Well summer has well and truly ended!  I've had the early morning walks in the dark with our dog Harvey, when I've had to pull my Hunters and my rain jacket!  Not pleasant at 7am, even before my first coffee!  The endless summer did actually end, of course it would - this is Oregon!

Thoughts obviously turn to keeping cosy, whether that's a feeling achieved with food, surroundings, ambience or style.  The change of season is welcome.  I absolutely LOVED our extended summer this year but definitely am feeling that Fall has made a welcome appearance.

Five things I'm going to enjoy this Fall are….

Wearing this fabulous skirt.  I purchased it from Marks & Spencer as soon as they were previewing.  I love this 70s style, and the hype around it being a "must have" was justified.  Beautifully designed and so well made, and the suede is perfect and makes you want to keep stroking it! 

This gillet from Zara caught my eye on Le Catch.
I pretty quickly found myself clicking on 'Add to Cart'.  Love it.

I'm determined to be more adventurous in the soup department.
Not just good old veggie soup, made with whatever veggies happen to be in the refrigerator!
This Lemon Chicken Orzo soup is going to be near the top of my list…

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup - Chockfull of hearty veggies and tender chicken in a refreshing lemony broth - it's pure comfort in a bowl!

This Fall Sangria.
I'm planning on serving this at a little gathering with friends at home next week.  Delicious.

White Pumpkins.  My favorite.

Are you ready to decorate for fall but have a tight budget? Try one of these budget-friendly simple DIY Fall Mantle Ideas. Easy enough for anyone to do.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, 16 October 2015

national dessert day

Yes its National Dessert Day!  What a tasty Friday!

We don't have dessert at home after every meal.  Sometimes some ice-cream or fruit.  But that doesn't mean I'm not partial to something sweet at the end of a meal, usually when out for dinner or with friends.  Here's a few desserts that would finish any meal and fit the bill perfectly for today.

Blueberry-Ricotta Tart

the sultans pavlova | Tanya Zouev

churros with chocolate espresso dip | drizzle and dip

Happy National Dessert Day!
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