31 May 2011

Post Of The Month Club: May

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK


Admit it,
you were wondering where we would meet
for May's Post Of The Month Club, 
weren't you?

Well, nothing says summer like
a lemonade stand :)

Grab a frosty one

Are you looking forward to summer?
Big plans?

I can't wait to see what you have been up to in May

Just link-in below your best post in May
& don't forget to become a follower :)

Could you visit at least 2 other participating bloggers too?
That would be * fab *

And if you are looking for my button to add to your sidebar or post,
you can find the HTML code on my sidebar
So sweet of you to ask

Thank you for stopping by!

Happy June Blogging ;)

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26 May 2011

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011

I had no idea what to expect from the ultimate flower show
aka The 98th RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London


Such a feast for the eyes!

Amazing vignettes 
where you would love to just bring a book and linger

Fever-Tree's 'Tree House Garden'
Silver Medal

The designers were very approachable 
& happy to discuss their area
with take-home plant lists

'A Postcard From Wales' by Kati Crome & Maggie Hughes
Gold Medal

There were many displays of 'living' walls and roofs

Here is just one example

I loved the creativity
and pushing of boundaries

The Irish Sky Garden
Gold Award

According to the BBC, designer Diarmuid Gavin
was inspired by the film Avatar
to create this aerial garden

It moved by crane and gave VIPs a ride

This annual flower show is known for being 'over-the-top'
{which it was}

and for being hoity-toity
{which it was not}

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
Gold Award

Incredible craftsmanship & detail

This STUNNING display was covered in dried flowers
and the entire floor was draped in fresh orchids

Inside the Great Pavilion were exhibitors
specializing in
every flower imaginable



Himalayan Blue Poppy
My first time to see this rare and difficult-to-grow flower

Apparently one of the biggest challenges this year was the weather
for it has been unusually warm and dry here

Can you image the stress of having your blossoms peak on a particular day
(day of judging)?

Techniques included 
refrigerating plants
wrapping buds in cotton wool
& a gentle blast of warmth from hairdryers

And this was the place to spy the petaled contestants for 
'Plant Of The Year' Award

Like a 'Best In Show' for flowers

And the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower 'Plant Of The Year' Award went to...

Anemone 'Wild Swan' shown by Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants
'Plant Of The Year'

...Anemone 'Wild Swan'

The typical problem with white flowers is that  
they rarely offer a pure white color

Yet this delicate-looking anemone was not only 
yummy-cake-frosting white white,
but some of the undersides of the petals were a lovely purple

Can you stand it?!

And I always know I am at the right place when I see the film crew
(like on the Royal Wedding route)

More than 150,000 will visit this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show over 5 days
Here are just a few of them ;)

And I was glad to see some of these guys in the
floral spirit

Outside RHS Chelsea Garden Flower Show

Flittering between so many beautiful flowers and gardens, 
I was one happy butterfly by the end of the day

- all photos by me -

24 May 2011

Trip To Cornwall: Day Three

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

We were already talking about returning to Cornwall next year
as we packed the car

Dense with so much more to do,
we will be back

Cottage In Hampshire

Our drive home would be 5 hours, 
so we broke it up with a few stops along the way

Our first destination: Plymouth, Devon

In England,
Plymouth is the town at the mouth of the River Ply
The River Dart meets the sea at Dartmouth

These same-named American cities now seem funny to me,
named out of context

Flags fly over the Mayflower Steps
Plymouth, Devon

I was interested in coming here because Plymouth is where the Mayflower departed in 1620
One of my ancestors was on that ship

The Mayflower brought the first settlers (the Pilgrims)
to America

Equally significant to Australia,
Plymouth also sent off the first ships destined for its penal colony

I was really amazed how two countries got their beginnings
from the same harbor!

We're so interconnected :)

Mayflower Plaque
Plymouth, Devon

We visited the worthwhile Plymouth Mayflower Exhibition
which was small and therefore quick (just what the doctor ordered)

Tea House in Devon
(as in Devonshire cream)

Lucky me, I was in the land of the 'Cream Tea'
which meant tea, scones, and clotted cream available everywhere
A specialty in this part of England

Next stop was the seaside town of Lyme Regis, Dorset

Lyme Regis, Dorset

These colorfully painted houses were a surprise to me

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981),
starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, was filmed on location here

The Cobb
Made famous in film,  A French Lieutenant's Woman

Frequented by royalty, poets, writers, and painters during Tudor times,
this seaside town was also popular with Jane Austin

Isn't it charming?

Lyme Regis, Dorset

This is part of the Jurassic Coast,
famous for international fossil hunting expeditions
and quality geology (so I hear)

My son will just tell you it was 'cool!'

Fossil imprints on the rocky beach
Lyme Regis, Dorset

So after an ice cream top-up
We got back in the car to head home and saw this

Yellow fields of rapeseed!
{be still my floral heart}

Fields of Yellow Rapeseed
(think Canola oil)

And more quaint villages along the carriageway ('highway')

Somewhere in Dorset

And so here was the end of our rainbow
The most delicious and quaint country pub ON THE PLANET
(a tip from TripAdvisor)

The Chestnut Horse
Easton, Hampshire

Not only was the food FANTASTIC
but we kept talking about how we could live
in this hamlet and commute to school & work

But for now, we just have to settle with the possibility of this being our best family vacation.

- all photos by moi -
Trip To Cornwall
Day One (here)
Day Two (here)


Psst, Are you still there? 

Bloggers, please join the next monthly linky party 
next Tues & Wed
- May 31 to June 1st -

Yep, right here :)

Ooh, wouldn't this button look lovely on your sidebar?
You can grab the code from my sidebar
(more details here)

But before then,
I will be reporting from the Chelsea Flower Show

Major peeing-in-my-pants moments around here!

20 May 2011

Trip To Cornwall: Day Two

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Vintage beauty

For a quick recap, a few weeks ago
we spent a long weekend in Cornwall,
the most western county in England

I almost maxed out my camera's memory card
for it only holds 500 photos
and I took 450!

Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove was our first destination on our second day
complete with picnic tables
(or as Yogi Bear would say, 'Pic-a-nic')

Kynance Cove

The color of the water was stunning
and I love the peek of the Cornwall countryside
through the rock formations

The kids loved climbing about
and gathering little treasures from nature

As with everywhere we visited in Cornwall,
there were lots of winding footpaths to explore

Next stop was the Lizard Lighthouse
which marks mainland Britain's most southerly point

Famous for its numerous shipwrecks
off its often foggy, rocky point

Lizard Point

We walked over to this little cliffy area
to grab a Cornish Pasty

And then drove to
the dreamyland of 


I know, can you stand it?!


A charming little fishing village

Feeding leftovers to seagulls

A few boats still catch lobster, crab, and a few other local fish


There is absolutely nothing to do here
but take photos
and look around for you breath

for the views stole it...

We saw a few of these 
little 'over the gate' stands
selling honey & eggs

I can't make this stuff up!

If you can't find me one day,
I've probably locked myself in one of the cottages
And I am not coming out!

Currently I am reading a fiction book
'The Forgotten Garden' by Kate Morton

It takes place (so far) in Australia, London and Cornwall
Not a new book (published in 2008)
but if you are looking for a good read and a little piece of Cornwall
 you might want to pick this one up

So far it is a great book,
and I've been told it has a fantastic ending

- all photos by me -

Trip To Cornwall
Day One (here)
Day Three (here)

16 May 2011

Trip To Cornwall: Day One

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Thatched roof, garden gate, wisteria - what more do you need?
Bonython Estate Gardens, Cornwall

I couldn't help but notice that every time people spoke of Cornwall
they had a twinkle in their eye 
and talked about how fantastic their trip was

Beside Cornish hens, I'd never really heard of this area before

Bonython Estate Gardens

We stared our drive to Cornwall at 8p
(that's 20:00 in English time)
which I would not recommended

As a rule, England has NO STREET LIGHTS on highways outside cities
So it was very dark as we drove 5 hours to the southwestern tip of England

(may I also add that with all the miles we've put on the car, 
we've literally only seen ONE stop sign in this country)

View of Marazion at Low Tide

On a friend recommendation, we rented a cottage from Rural Retreats

I didn't realize when I booked it, 
our cottage was actually INSIDE Bonython Estate Gardens which is closed on the weekends
So we had the gardens to ourselves!

Thanks to a friendly gulf stream, this area can grow sub-tropical flora
Lucky dawgs!

Cobbled causeway to St Michaels Mount

Our first stop was St Michaels Mount

Previously a monastery, fortress, port, and family home,
this National Trust site can be reached by foot along the causeway only during low tide

When the causeway is submerged daily at high tide
a puttering motor boat becomes the only transport

Although we did plan ahead for low tide, we didn't notice the 'castle' was closed on Saturdays
But the kids did some good shell-hunting along the way

We'd love to come back when we can see more

Lands End

Our next stop was Lands End
Not the clothing store,
but the most south westerly point of mainland Britain

This area, like all we visited, had constant wind
We were surprised how beautiful blue the water was

(Above) Off in the distance you can see what is either a lighthouse or some crazy spy tower :)

And we assumed the doors in the hill were from tin or copper mining of an earlier era
Or more likely, Teletubbie entrances

Lands End

Lands End

Our last stop for the day was St Ives, a picturesque fishing town with winding cobbled streets
Although there were quite a few tourists, 
we were rewarded with delicious food
and adorable shops

St Ives
Loving the 3 types of clematis!

Cornwall is known for its pottery, Cornish pasty
fudge, clotted cream, ice cream
(Yum Yum & Yum)

St Ives

It was a long day with quite a bit of driving, 
but we were rewarded with spectacular country views of rural Cornwall in bloom

View out the car window

We went to bed with full bellies and smiles on our faces
and that twinkle in our eye

- all photos by me -

Trip To Cornwall:
Day Two (here)
Day Three (here)

Excellent Resource: Visit Cornwall.com