Friday, 27 May 2016

Chelsea Flower Show 2016 Highlights

There was a change in the air at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.
Normally I am trying to sort out the pictures and 
I feel I have to do a separate post for all the different garden categories but this year I feel that one post would suffice.

My friend and I noticed the Chelsea in Bloom storefronts weren't as big or pronounced. Sloane Street hadn't been so subdued in years.

Every time I go to Chelsea, I always toy with the idea of moving to the country to design my imaginary garden.

But that lasts a few hours until I get home and I have to prep myself to water my pots and window boxes.
Cleve West is a huge name in garden design. 
I have consistently liked all his gardens and this one was no exception. 
It won gold medal and only just missed out on Best in Show.
It seemed so simple and achievable which is a universal common trait of people who are amazing and talented in their careers.

This garden below was a crowd favourite 
I think because we all love a trimmed hedge and preached trees but it only got a silver gilt. 
Even the BBC commentators were confused.

I really didn't like the garden below.
It looked like one of those pre-election incumbent government spending in a park on a marginal seat.

The Provençal garden sponsored by L'Occitane won a gold despite or maybe due to a bold move to put a dry, twiggy, and pedestrian almond tree as a centrepiece. 

There was a highlight to using rooftops as space for pots and growing food.

This was the Harrods garden by the popular contributor at Chelsea who was also on many BBC garden shows was Diairmuid Gavin.  People love a familiar face so the crowds love him.  
He designed the garden below which was wired so the trees and the flower beds move.  
I have the video on my Instagram feed if you want to have a look.
It's a marmite garden - some loved it and some were appalled.

I don't know what was going on at Chelsea but there was a few empty stalls in the Artisan garden area.There must have been drop outs because I can't imagine people not having had applied to be there.
Does anyone know?
This dual purpose garage demonstrated maximising space and showing vertical garden ideas.

This garden was based on algorithms and mathematical formulas.
Here's the regal arch that the Queen entered through.
This was a floral tribute to the Queen's 90th birthday.
The other side looked like this and was nice but much less photographed.

Adrian Gray was amazing and I had seen him on many shows.
He is a stone balancer.
You must go on his website and see his work.

Below was one of my favourite gardens.
I think not just of this year's show but from all the ones 
I have been to.
Yes I do realise that it looks like a huge hunk of stone.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

White Jeans Rules?

 There is fashion folklore about white jeans only being worn 
after the last Monday in May which is known
in North America as Memorial Day.
The first time I heard of this was when I used to attend church every week in a US Military compound with American people who would murmur if someone wore a white dress in April.
That confuses me to this day.
But I love white jeans year round.
I love how everyone says how crisp white jeans are.
Indeed they are.
So crisp.
So fresh.
Such a light neutral that goes with everything.
That good ol' favourite fashion - casual yet chic combo going on.
So streamlined.
It highlights accessories so well.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Tales from a London wedding

I do love a wedding.
Even though I was not a bridezilla myself I do enjoy celebrating
and this is one of the few occasions where
my Anglo Saxon inner emotional life doesn't wince at sugary spoken words.

I love London weddings even more because it doesn't consume the whole weekend getting to a country/overseas venue.
But my husband and I are at the age where weddings are not as common an occurrence and going by people's timeline, I must wait for the batch of second marriages to start.

But this weekend we went to a wedding of two first timers that was in a church we walked to from home and more surprisingly which was a first of my husband - 
his first Catholic wedding.

I was raised Catholic and he was raised Greek Orthodox however he went to an Anglican school that required chapel attendance every morning and most of the weddings we have been to have all been Church of England weddings.

The couple were both Catholic via Italian / Irish / Scottish / Iranian roots and the service was held in a wedding mass.

Now this will mean nothing to those who are not familiar with Catholic services.

But I was sitting in the pew with my husband and one of his best friends who is a Hindu Protestant.

Okay let me explain.

His friend was raised in religiously tense Northern Ireland where
people like to know which tribe one belongs to. 
He used to reply he was Hindu.
But the people would further press - aye, but are you Hindu Catholic or Hindu Protestant?
He went to a C of E ( Church of England ) school so he became a HP ( for short ).

The gorgeous couple who really are lucky to have each other
I didn't think much of these slight variations of a mono theistic religion until the wedding mass.

Don't worry it's not one of those posts!

There is a bit where people will shake hands with people around you and one recites,
"Peace be with you."

I offered my hand to my husband and he looked confused and 
I didn't have time to chastise him so I offered my hand and said the peace greeting to his friend who looked at me like I was being odd and said,
" but I already know you."
My husband asked what I was doing.
I had to point out to what other people were doing the same all around us.

Then during the communion bit,
a bell is rung but they whispered that someone should turn their phone off.

The couple also received a special papal blessing and the non Catholics were asking if that was a big deal.  I had to reason with them what they would think if the Dalai Lama wrote in to express his wishes on their wedding...
But I had to laugh at the religious culture differences!

I also love the red London buses that some wedding parties will use to usher their guests to the next venue.

It is so much fun as the people on the streets and cars that 
we drive by honk their horns and start waving.

We drove past a cricket game whose appeal is so foreign to me.
But I think it has more to do with an all day excuse for drinking.

The reception was held at one of the orangeries.

Then we could either walk or take one of those trains to another orangery for dinner.

We chose to walk as the weather was perfect.

The irises were on top Chelsea Flower show standard form.
The lighting was perfect for the wedding photos.
I do wish I had more weddings to attend this year.
I might start pestering my single friends so I have a few more parties to go to!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

London Love, Barcelona, and Jon Snow

I have been in a long relationship with London and lived here on and off since 1995.
And like one does in a long relationship, it has been tenuous and we have had our ups and downs.
But I am falling in love with this place all over again which is a change as I have turned very local and can be a right whinger ( just to my family and close friends).
The Thames isn't just for show you know.
It works and maintains its place otherwise it might be filled up with dirt and over priced luxury flats might be built on it.
I was wondering what the first Queen Elizabeth would have thought of this new view of the Tower of London?

But of course I have just shown you the grander bits of London.

Check out this house built between the space between two homes?
That is the reality that tourists don't see.
But it breeds a tough lot.
I would be lying if the average Londoner would listen to the problems of a California native who might complain about valet parking and finding a pool cleaner.
I reckon this is how people north of Moscow must look at Londoners.

I have said it before and I will say it again but the park is at its peak in the spring.

I have always loved this chocolate box cottage which is for staff who work at the royal parks of London.

RIP Prince.
It seems I wasn't the only one who thinks of him when I see purple.
I over heard some others mentioning Prince at this patch in the park.

There is a horsetrail around the park but rarely do you see a group of ladies chatting away while riding.

Such a nice alternative to the morning coffee.

Meanwhile, I joined the gym.
It's been nearly 5 years since I left.
So much has changed.
You have to enter your pin number and only one door opens at a time.
So robotic.

I love Game of Thrones likes every other person and I have populist tastes in men.
Who doesn't fancy Jon Snow?

I chose this play solely on the fact I adore Marlowe did 
no one say who booked tickets to watch this.
As I was taking a picture of the set before the play started, I heard a lot of whispering and  cameras out which I thought was odd because normally people aren't interested in the sets like I am.
The play was horrid.
Not even Jon Snow prancing around in underwear saved it.
PS my friend was really analyzing his hair style being very Jon Snow - what does this mean??

I love how these two nudge each other to stay on my lap - their presence is completely therapeutic and restorative. 
They are actually babysitting me.

I put this picture on instagram and our WellFedFred added a very interesting tidbit about this brooch.
Karl wasn't challenging the hoi polloi but it is his interpretation of the brooch which stems from a type of love token on this link here which she kindly provided.

I went and replanted so many plants.
I need bins but thought the brass tub looked better as a planter.

I bet the inventor of Scotchguard was inspired by plants after the rain.