Countdown Abbey (II)

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God bless us all, it’s finally that time again!

I can’t believe I arrived home from our “Grand Tour” of Patagonia JUST in time.

It’s all too exciting!

I’m literally dashing off this post as I’m unpacking (wet clothes from our suitcases-nice) and drinking way too much coffee waaay too late in the day.

But stay up I must!

I hope you’ll all be watching with me and for those across the Pond and Down Under please feel free to chime in, with judiciousness of course (omg-I spelled that correctly the first time. Note to self; perhaps more coffee less wine…)

And…

May I just include a complete non-humble brag and mention I attended a party during the Christmas Season where I met a lovely relative of Lady Mary’s who told me that L.M. reads Slim Paley!!

Swear! Fetch the smelling salts

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management slimpaley.com

A great friend of mine who lives in Britain says this season is an absolute cracker.  She’s been awfully good at not letting anything slip while whetting my curiosity just enough.

She also sent me this absolutely divine and massive antique book;

 “Mrs BEETON’S BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT”

published in 1912 and weighing in at no less than 2,040 pages.

I’m quite sure Mrs. Patmore kept it handy.

‘Isabella Beeton (1831-1865) the eldest child of an extended family of 21, was required from an early age to see to domestic arrangements. After her marriage to a small publisher, she began to contribute to his Domestic magazine. In 1861 her writings were published in book form for the first time. An immediate success, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year and nearly two million by 1868! One of the most famous of all cookery books it also contains advice on household management, childcare, etiquette, entertaining and employment of servants.’

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“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her”

Can we get an AMEN?! :-)

Mrs Beeton's slimpaley.com

Sadly, Isabella Beeton’s life story was not a happy one. She lost her first child at only 3 months of age, her second to Scarlet Fever at 2 and poor Isabella died just days after giving birth to her 4th child when she was only 28.

Downton Abbey-esque or what?

A BBC drama based on Isabella Beeton’s life aired in 2006 and a documentary by Sophie Dahl in 2011.  I would love to find both.

OK, must wrap up before the show begins!

One Final Downton Abbey Recap before Tonight’s American Premiere HERE

And, if you’re so inclined;

Exactly One Year Ago

& last but certainly not least,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

xox SP

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Hanging Around

lakeside hammock, Muskoka, Ontario

 Perched on the edge of Lake Muskoka, Ontario,

A heavenly hammock swings between a pair of perfectly placed trees in the garden of our friend’s charming old cottage.

It just doesn’t get much better than this.

I’ll spare the Jim Croce song, but “If I could save time in a bottle…”

This would definitely be one of those times.

BTW, have you ever been to Lake Muskoka or the Lake Region of eastern Canada?

Lake Muskoka

This is how beautiful it is. For miles and miles and miles.  No filter, plain & simple.

Put it on your list.

But once again, I digress…

hammock on deck

I told you I was still putting up a hammock post.

September, Schmmeptember.

beach hammockI could possibly have saved this for my “Indigo” post-which, in my timely fashion, should debut just before Christmas.

Cause I know when one hears the word “Christmas” one instantly thinks Indigo!

porch seat hammock

But for real, who doesn’t adore the promise of a cozy hammock with all the dreamy, romantic emotions  they evoke?

A macramé cocoon twisting gently from the creaky ceiling of a sleeping porch, a mattress ticking pillow, Hudson Bay blanket thrown over the edge and a great book nestled within?

or perhaps it’s more

Robinson Crusoe meets Swiss Family Robinson with Johnny Depp lurking behind the nearest palm tree, whittling you a coconut vessel from which to sip your rum. Together.

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Hey, It’s all good, Matey :-)

At the other end of the spectrum…

hammock under the trees

This romantic vignette helped inspire my English Country Garden Tastemaker Tag Sale on “One King’s Lane” last week.

indoor hammock, tile floor

I also think it’s awfully fun to hang a hammock indoors, given the right setting, don’t you?

I’ve never done it, but never say never, though I think they’re especially great in a young person’s abode.

Lots of dash for little cash.

Besides,extricating one’s self from a hammock can take some manuoevering manuveouring effort.

black & white hammock photo

I love this photo, but I’m sure I’d have that basket weave deeply imprinted on my entire body for the rest of the day.

Ahh, once again, the ageing process…

it’s a beautiful thing.

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Fancy bathing in a hammock big enough for two? check out  Splinterworks.co.uk

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Here’s one sporting my favourite combo of black & white, plus a handy thick rug placed strategically underneath for a two-martini roll out.

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The pinnacle of Hammock Chic- the woven leather one by Hermes

I’ll take two, on either side of the fireplace thank you very much.

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And a most charming turn on a nautical hammock, a vintage boat brought indoors.

Don’t you just love creative people?!

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2013 A Space Hammock. For the ultimate threesome.

Info HERE

Hammock in Greece

Or the perfect old school hammock swinging gently above the olive groves of Greece.

Pass the feta please.

seaside hammock

Tropical, indoor, old school or space age

Let’s face it. Hammocks rock.

Bora Bora

At the Nui Nui in Bora Bora

Paging Fletcher Christian…

Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian

sigh.

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Here’s to sweet languorous dreams of a life lived slowly…

But only 9 more months ’til next summer!

Australia-you’re not even allowed to say a thing right now!

Happy September All

xoxSP

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All uncredited photos from Tumblr or pinterest

CIAO ORVILLE

fashion, popcorn

When you think of Summer do you think of popcorn?

Drive-Ins, Summer movie dates, pool parties..

It’s not the first thing, mind you, but I think of it.

Oh, let’s be real, I think of popcorn just as much in the winter.  I’m a complete kernel fiend but it was a so-so (desperate) segue into the post.

BTW, Do you think it’s easy to find a photo combining fashion with popcorn?!  NUH-UH Girlfriend.  Was so excited when I snapped the above window in NY!

But  I’m thinking about popcorn pretty much every day, now that I’m on my gluten-free trial period (I hate the word DIET).

In fact it was one of the very first things I looked up before deciding whether or not this G-F choice would even be doable for me.

Because It’s absolutely, positively, your chances are zero, IMPOSSIBLE to get me to go to the movies and not eat popcorn.

If I’ve been to Bouchon for lunch and The French Laundry for dinner and you say let’s go to the movies I will at least get a medium, butter 1/2 way down.

No Sharesies.

Butter 1:2 way down trick

Here’s an insider’s trick for the cinema: establish two straws at different levels of the bag and shoot the “butter” down the straws.

Don’t judge.

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24 carat good news?

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There’s NO GLUTEN IN POPCORN :-)

Now I know there are a million & one different ways to doctor popcorn. Whether you like it sweet or savoury, the possibilities are truly endless.

Basically, when it was suggested to God He create the perfect vehicle to deliver every possible flavour, He created popcorn.

I like both sweet & savoury, though I’m partial to salty for sure.

When I first moved to London, not all theatres even sold popcorn and if they did it was only sugared, which horrified me, but after my boyfriend put an end to bringing my own (spoilsport) I grew to sort of like the sweet stuff. Amazing how the human body adapts under pressure.

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But enough about ancient history and uptight old beaus who care about car smells.

I have this great tip for popping corn that I’d like to share with you.

popcorn maker

First, I would highly recommend dumping your microwave popcorn. I hear it’s very unhealthy and possibly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Just saying. I certainly have no idea if this is a valid accusation, but what I do know to be true is that freshly popped corn is way more delicious and only takes a few minutes extra to make, so why not make the switch?

Another benefit to popping stove top style is you may choose healthier oils such as olive, or coconut, for example. Who knows what Redenbacher really puts in that reservoir of goo at the bottom of the bag?

Pre-popped popcorn stores really well for at least a week. Make it when you have time, store in the same type of container you would keep cereal in and add the fixins’ when the movie starts.

Which is how we get to the popping tip below…

We were staying with dear old friends in Lake Tahoe earlier this year and I commented on how incredibly good their popcorn was (as we were watching an incredibly bad movie)

I was digging for every last ‘Old Maid’ (what’s your euphemism for un-popped kernels? I admit my old British one is so politically incorrect :-()

My friend said it was all in their friend Khalil’s “Top Secret Tip” which she gave me permission to share here;

KHALIL’S TOP SECRET POPCORN TIP:

Slow  roast  the  kernels  first!!!

I know. omg. Shhhhhh. Promise not to tell any other blogs…especially that Pioneer Lady.

popcorn tricksWhat looks tastier-These?

slow roast popcornOr these?

So, the secret’s out of the bag. Do with it what you will.

It does take some time and yes, skills to achieve just the right deep golden colour before cranking the heat up and commencing a popping.

On my stove it takes about 15-20 minutes but it is old and the gas control is either “Rainy Campfire on Survivor!” or “Industrial Kitchen Bake Off”

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have one or two “Incidents”

Who amongst us hasn’t thrown a ‘seriously burnt popcorn’ microwave away?? (our score is 2)

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I’m thinking of spreading a bag of kernels on an oiled cookie sheet and slow roasting them in the oven, as I do with steel cut oatmeal, to see if I get the same results.

Popcorn kernels may also be pre-toasted and saved to pop later, but I’ve found they don’t save for very long, maybe 3 or 4 days.

Then for some reason, husbands can’t get them to pop anymore and they burn.

They burn badly.

And your “Ray Donovan” Sunday evening viewing will be scarred.

As if you’re not being scarred enough just watching that show.

Truffle sea salt

A few of my personal fav’s; “Olive Oil & Sea Salt” butter from “Land O’ Lakes” (new, at least to me) , ghee, celery salt, Sriracha, Old Bay Seasoning, parmesan cheese, truffle salt…you know the drill.

stove top popcorn maker

I totally love the popcorn maker I asked for last Christmas after reading about the perils of micro-waved popcorn.

I’ve never looked back.

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Charlotte-Olympia-Movie-Night-Shoulder-Bag

Charlotte Olympia leather bag.

Thanks to L & E & especially Khalil!

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orville

Ciao Orville Baby. It was fun while it lasted.

XXXSP

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Eye on NY

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Well, hello there!

My itinerary took me to NY recently where skies were blue and I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with my older son. The weather was stunning. Really hot, but not too steamy. In other words, absolutely perfect for walking from one end of Manhattan to the other.

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I flew on Virgin America, connecting from Santa Barbara airport via United.

In the off chance that you ever find yourself booking this itinerary, let me share 2 important details with you;

1) “Virgin America” is 1 of only 3 airlines “United” does not have a baggage agreement with.  Apparently they’re “Frenemies”

2) The “United” terminal is at the absolute opposite side of LAX than the “Virgin America” terminal.

I had 55 minutes to buy a cart, yank my bags off the carousel, run to the bus, pull said bags off bus, find another cart, check in to Virgin, recheck my bags, and go through security again.

If you’re a man, you’re probably thinking “Why did you even have 2 check-in pieces of luggage and a carry-on when you were just going to NY?”

What a silly question.

 Needless to say, I lost 3 lbs and a cocktail was required immediately upon boarding.

BTW,  Is “my other ride’s a spaceship” new, or did I just notice it for the first time? I love that! I needed a dose of humour by this point.

L1150338Happily ensconced in my lovely hotel in NY, all travel turmoils forgotten (as you just read, haha) I was happy to hit the ground running.

It seems almost every city block in NY offers a photo op if you’re keeping your eyes peeled

L1150337Speaking of peeling…a wall down by my son’s neck of the woods reminds that “Art” is always in the eye of the beholder

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We ate well, especially dinner one evening at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya

Would definitely go back. (BTW, not just sushi)

IMG_5020Not sure if it was the heat, but I also decided to chop off my long hair. I will probably cut a few more layers still, but I was nervous to do anything too drastic all at once.

I don’t think the last 6″ were doing me any favours anyway and I’m loving how much easier it is to blow dry.

Just in case you’re looking for a good stylist in NY, I went to Chris Lospalluto at Sally Hershberger’s Uptown. He’s low-key and adorable.

IMG_5011There were a lot of these going on already, but I was more in the mood for walking than shopping.

L1150324That being said, I did drop into Barney’s shoe department which was like a hill of fire ants. I feared for my life. Not enough to leave mind you, but I was mighty scared just the same. Aside from the predominance of fluorescents, yes, still (upcoming post) I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot of brogues, saddle shoes, and flats in the coming months. Adorable if you can carry them off.  I saw Muiccia Prada in person recently and she was wearing a knee-length gingham dress, ankle socks and saddle-y brogues. Of course she is Muiccia Prada, worth 7 billion dollars due to her fashion sense and was on the cover of the NY Times Style magazine last weekend, but as much as I appreciate her iconoclasm, I have too strong a fear of looking like Betty Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” to attempt this look at my age.

OK, maybe with some wide trousers…

L1150287One day, the designated meeting point with my son was at ABC Carpet down on 17th. Truthfully, I could have spent the day in there, but the weather was so divine it would have been sinful (and my son would have killed me) so we walked around downtown all day instead. Such great people/dog/window watching there, especially on hot days.

Back to ABC though-these gorgeous chunks of blue bottle glass caught my eye as they reminded me of the paths at Lotus Land in my very own Montecito. Wouldn’t a few of them be great just strewn across a summer dining table with tons of candles?!

l10307891You may read more about Lotus Land in one of my older posts HERE

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And in my latest “I LIKE IT. WHAT IS IT?” department;

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One of the coolest things we spotted were “My New Flame” LED “candles” in the Ingo Maurer showroom in Soho.

They are hard to explain but you can watch a really short video of how they work here

As you can see, the circuit board controlling the flame is visible in the taper of the candle. 128 LEDs on each side allow the “flame” to be seen from both sides. They  come in red or black and can either be hung from the ceiling in a cluster, or table mounted as they run by battery. So modern and talk about a conversation starter. I’ve had a pair of the Ingo Maurer “Campari” lights over my kitchen sink in Sun Valley for years and I love the warm glow they cast, especially during the winter.

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Lastly, I leave you with this bike, in my boy’s neighbourhood

IMG_5051 “Art” once again, in the eye of the beholder.

( I told you “fluoro”‘s still hot. Can you believe people still litter?? For shame! )

xox SP

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Slim Paley Daily #6

Baby-Monkey-Art-for-Nursery

Happy Monday and welcome to Slim Paley Daily #6

a wee post dedicated to our furry friends.

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because first there was this little guy that a friend forwarded to me recently.

263f124cb0ac11e2a97a22000a9f18aa_7“Ray Charles” is a blind rescue puppy whose cuteness definitely needed to be shared.

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Then I came upon this feline femme fatale on Instagram

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No one gets between her and  hair washing night.

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Then my subscription to “C” arrived, one of my very favourite magazines,

featuring LA based artist Sharon Montrose

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 who photographs all species of animal “pouched, slithering, winged and hoofed” in studio

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and reproduces them in small to wall-covering size here at; The Animal Print Shop

As “C” says, what a fantastic idea for kid’s rooms (or the kid within us all :) )

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Lastly,

Take a couple of minutes to upload and watch the video link below.

ABC’s “Splash” eat your heart out.

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Giraffe Splash

*Take the viewing format out of HD for it to load faster-in the bottom right hand corner of video

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Baby Animal Photography Pictures_Bear Cub

baby bear hugs to you all, furry and not so much… xx

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