Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Royal Kensington Gardens in bloom, Tales from the French Riviera andother stuff

Forgive the poor editing but if I don't get this out then I never will and that might become a habit so this will be a pictorial stream of consciousness/diary sort of thing.

This was the lovely tulip planting situated in the Italianate section of
Kensington Gardens which is by Lancaster Gate.

It's one of my favorite bits of Kensington Gardens.
Not only were there great flowers but it's birthing season.
Dotted around the Serpentine were new families of ducks.
Speaking of birthing...

And of course in the edifice on the way left is Apartment 1A which is the London home of the Cambridges.
Looks peaceful here but...
 It was surrounded by Japanese press, Australian channel 9, the AP, ITN and a few passing people like moi.
You forget it is a "royal" park sometimes but there are reminders.
Here are some guards practicing for the Queens Parade in June.

Went to the South of France for a few days.
I forgot how nice it is - off season.
Otherwise during the heights of summer it really isn't to my liking and way too crowded and all the angst and insecurity of city folk gets magnified.
Maybe it's the shedding of clothes into swimwear or the hopes and dreams of possible mating that applies to both men and women.

It's pretty now but it can get pretty ugly in other ways.

It's been years since I went.
I told myself twice I should never go again.
First was when the Siberian ex gulag prisoner / bodyguard told my friends and myself that we could not lean on a column by our table in a St Tropez nightclub because some gangster bitch (literally) had paid 250,000 euros for the privilege of dancing on the podium exclusively for the month of August.
This was a decade ago when 250,000 euros was a lot of money.
( I am being facetious people.)

Then I made an exception and went to the Riviera with Mr CSW a few years after that incident.
We were staying in a lovely hotel for some R&R and some Russian magnate insisted on flying his helicopter and parking it by the hotel pool.
With people like that, you can't exactly have a word with anyone.
But he did make us laugh because he wore animal print speedos with a sailor's cap and smoked a cigar like Popeye by the pool.

But you get my drift.

There is architectural evidence of some characters that are down these parts.
Very dirty rotten scoundrels.
Do you see the almost ancient Roman villa above and below?

It has been deserted for more than a decade because an Arab multimillionaire decided he would just build what he wanted and just pay the penalty by not adhering to planning permission.
But the socialist French council kicked in and didn't give him the easy option of paying the fines but deemed it uninhabitable and is still empty.

Was it W Somerset Maugham that said about Monaco - where the weather is sunny but the people are shady? Well with pink cars like this...

This pink building is part of the Monagesque government buildings.
Doesn't it look like it's in Vegas pretending to be in the south of France almost?
Speaking of shade, it was a refreshing change to need it.
But I rediscovered the beauty of the south of France and was reminded how it became such a popular destination.

There are lots of walks by the coast that offer incredible fresh air and views.

My friend who lives there knows a lot of spots and paths known only to locals and took me for the first swim of the season.

The Jack Russell joined us too.
It was just the three of us!
Yes the water was about 14 degrees but the plus side is we had it to ourselves.

This is what you can do in a park in Monaco.
You are allowed to walk with your dog and throw rubbish away.
It's a blast!

Here is a picture of a boat that is sinking - sorry for the blur.
But the Med is actually quite treacherous.

This is the famous hilltop villa where Karl Lagerfeld has used as a photoshoot for many of his personal work and Chanel ads.
It's one town out of Monaco.

Monaco reminds me a bit of Hong Kong.
Dense high rises and ridiculous prices of homes.
But it was quite nice to wake up to the beach.

The preparations for the Monaco Grand Prix were already in place.
These pics are for you Louise!

It was fun driving pretending we were in the race.

This next picture won't mean anything unless you play the video game.

We went to the finals of the Rolex Masters which is the Wimbledon of Monaco.

It rained and I got blamed for bringing it over.

But playing resumed and Prince Albert was there in this royal box.
Without Princess Charlene...Rumour mills are busy!

Yellow is gorgeous.
Loro Piana never gets it wrong.
Here is the yellow turned apricot with the sun blushed roses in my window box.

I have been posting pics called live rose cam on my facebook and I got a few messages from a few friends that I was turning into an old lady.
Aren't we all!?

I need a spiralizer because strips aren't the same.

But considering we got a Vitamix and now aren't using it I am reluctant.

Fresh almonds ain't all that.
Such a disappoitment.
Plus almonds use so much water so now this is the new guilt food and eating it or drinking almond milk is the new not recycling apparently.

I can't get over how much I love Millie.


  1. Quite glamorous post! For some reason St. Tropes and monaco have never appealed as a travel destination, although I would love to see the Mediterranean. Guess I am just not much for conspicuous consumption! Your pics are fab and have taken me there anyway! And yay for Millie!

    1. I don't know if it's glamorous judging by the pink rolls but it has both concentrated positive and negative traits. I still love Italy better but it's another hour on the plane...Millie is just my heart warmer!

  2. Does anybody like the French? From my one trip to Europe..yea, I need to get around to posting about that..I got the feeling the Italians aren't very fond of them. Met one and he was quite nice although hardly spoke English and my high school French has been all but forgotten. Anyway, lovely pictures of a lovely trip. Every time I see a dog I immediately think of/ miss my pups.

    1. Short answer is no. Not even the French. But my other gives as good as she gets and speaks to them in Korean-and for some reason it works and they back down. I would love to know how your trip went! You must miss your pups but do you think you might get another? A rescue one perhaps? You can't replace but there's going to be a different special love there. X

  3. I'm fasting today to recalibrate my appetite and that vision of "Russian magnate in animal print speedo"' is all I'll need to stay resolute.
    Great pics of blooming gardens!

    1. Spring in London is the best time to visit.

      Yes that guy still makes me laughs wish I took a pic!

  4. Flowers make my heart sing, so I'm loving all the images.

    Can't speak highly enough of Hotel Belle Plages Brougham in Cannes. Stayed there in the off season 4 years ago nearly to date, with my mr and the kids, 9 year old girl & 7 year old boy. They couldn't do enough for us and we have vowed to go back there. Think they thought we were mad traipsing around with the kids all the way from Australia but the kids were well behaved ( but who wouldn't be if you swim in a roof top pool overlooking French Riviera!). Thank you as this post brought back beautiful memories. Den xxx

    1. You were very lucky especially if they thought you weren't going to be regulars. It has its good points and I think off season is the way to go and I shouldn't be so harsh! It's nice to travel isn't it bc you get to relive the memories again ;) xx

  5. Ahhhh!!! I love all these photos - thank you for the ones of the Grand Prix preparations, and yes, I do recognise the tunnel under the hotel. I can't believe how clear the water is, so beautiful. I am bound and determined to visit one day! (PS. my parents-in-law have a Vitamix, but they do use theirs all the time, to make "health" drinks with things like chia seeds and kale. Maybe cocktails is a better idea.)

    1. The tunnel under the fairmont hotel is most recognisable for most teenagers who play the games or follow the circuit. I'd say at least visit once but water can't get murky and this was particularly clear with perfect conditions otherwise the water is like a carpark in a shopping mall on a Saturday. Mr CSW juiced one week then he got sick and blamed the juice..!!

  6. Gorgeous! And you do make me laugh. What is up with the speedo/sailor's cap combination? I've seen that a few times and assume it's the same guy but suspect it's just a 'look.'

    1. It's a look because I think Popeye made a real macho impression on the, plus funny enough most of their girlfriends are as skinny as olive oil!

  7. Oh, your window box is just beautiful, and so well color coordinated!

    Thanks for the quick visit to my home town, which I miss dearly. KP looks beautiful but I'm sure it is quite the zoo with the latest arrival.

    Nice to see all the beautiful scenery from your recent trip. It is a shame about some of the characters you've met though. It would put me off from visiting too.

    1. Some of the other plants need pulling out but my attention has been on my roses which have been stellar this year! The park is my surrogate garden snd brings me joy without the work...SoF is a funny place but the recent trip has reminded me of its original beauty.

  8. Much as France is fantastic, I'm not a big fan of the heavily touristy bits at Monte Carl and St Trop. That water looks very inviting though, and I'd be up for a swim in that cold azure sea. I've done the drive round the circuit too. And the one at Le Mans.

    I'll gloss over the whole Princes thingy, but I noticed Hyde Park is looking suddenly beautifully florid when driving through. So nice to see the Horseguards. London is fabulous for tourists, but as locals it's easy to forget just how great it really is, until you see the pics!

    You must have a microclimate with such beautiful roses already blooming! My bluebells, blueberries, wild violets and wild strawberries are in flower, but the roses are a long way off!

    Milly looks like such a cutie, and a great excuse, if one were needed, to get out in the park in the 'sunshine'. What happened to the weather?

    1. Found this naughty little 's' that had wandered off from it's 'princes-'

  9. I have no witty quip or obeservation to make, but I really really enjoyed reading this post and looking at the pictures.
    Enjoyed the stories about the holiday-ruining Russians!

  10. I visited Monaco on a day trip as one of the excursions on the cruise last year - beautiful but always leaves me feeling like I want to change my business plan to become a multi millionaire! So cool that you went to the Rolex Masters - I've always wanted to go to Wimbledon, but Monaco would be extra cool! Yes yes get a spiralizer - it doesn't take up that much space and if you're not using your Vitamix, do send it my way. Oooh fresh almonds sound interesting - send them my way too! xx

    1. Well if you became multi millionaire the tax benefits would counteract the real estate prices there! dFresh almonds were so not nice though Colleen!! xx

  11. The Gardens look utterly fabulous - London really does come to life in spring, doesn't it?

    1. London is the best in spring and there is a special spring fever here!

  12. Naomi, I am late to this post. Loved it! First London looks beautiful right now. Fun seeing all the little ducks and flowers in the park. How lucky you got to the South of France in Spring. Looks amazing and interesting about all the pink. The beaches are beautiful. I've considered getting a Vitamix, but I am afraid of using it just for a while and then not...Probably very typical! California is the land of almonds, but I haven't seen those green kind ever. Hope you are having a good week. xo Kim

  13. Oh Naomi THANK YOU for this post. I can't help it, I still want to go to Monaco! I have a bit of a personal reason, my grandparents went there in the 1970s, won big at the Monte-Carlo casino and I want to go there and wear a 70s-style floral dress, drink champagne, and do a bit a gambling just in memory of my grandmother. Re pave, now I have to rethink my position on it, based on what your mother said! I do only want a tiny stacking ring to wear with other rings and I think I will take a pass on Tiffany's version, they want so much money for the tiniest micropave ring you ever saw. Have my eye on another jeweler. I need some pave on my hand when I get to Monaco! You will laugh but I am planning on hitting up a fun wine bar near here next weekend, drinking prosecco, and watching the Monaco Grand Prix on their big TV. Did that last year with a French/Italian friend of mine who gave me the scoop about Monaco while we watched and it was so fun! xx

  14. First was when the Siberian ex gulag prisoner / bodyguard told my friends and myself that we could not lean on a column by our table in a St Tropez nightclub because some gangster bitch (literally) had paid 250,000 euros for the privilege of dancing on the podium exclusively for the month of August.
    This was a decade ago when 250,000 euros was a lot of money."

    You are so funny! I was prepared for the worst with Sth of france - one friend said Nice is not nice, but I actually loved it and it still had a lot of charm. Love your photos of it, makes me want to go back.

    So fun to see snaps of Kensington Garden, my old stomping groung, we spend literally hours and days and years there , especially when the kids were little

  15. The gardens are lovely, the Riviera beautiful, your roses, too, but your Millie is the sweetest of all. It is only reasonable that you should love her so greatly.


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