30 July 2011

Post Of The Month Club: July

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

It's here, it's here!

Time for another
Post Of The Month Club Meeting :)

Today our Club will meet in a summery space,
perfect for these mid-summer days
(or mid-winter for some of you)


Look, I wore something special for the occasion


Here's a drink of sunshine for you


and a little virtual party favor for joining today


Alrighty then
To our meet & greet

- Bloggers, just link up your best post of the month -
And see, you've already done the work

- Share the love by visiting a few other blogs and say 'hi',
if you can -

- Would you like to add my button to your lovely sidebar so more can join the fun? -
Yep, we'll do this the last day of each month

- Don't forget to become a follower here too -

Don't be shy
Jump in :)

Happy August Blogging, you ray of sunshine you


25 July 2011

Going Local: Buy British

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Poppies Amongst The Wheat

Driving through Kansas,
you drive countless miles before you see where one farm starts 
and another begins
It feels very corporate

Yet in England, farms are small and family-run
You easily see the walls or hedgerows that mark
where each farm begins and ends

Cotswolds countryside with sheep, horses, and crops
(and rain)

There is tremendous encouragement to 'Buy British' and 'Grow Your Own'

Clearly Will & Kate made an effort,
for an impressive number of Royal Wedding elements were British

A supermarket giant, Waitrose, has a campaign to support British farmers
by offering what appears to be only British produce and meat when possible,
bringing the idea of global Fair Trade to a local level

This helps protect the countryside I have come to love

You often can buy direct from a farmer at the garden gate or at a farm shop

And because so many things grow well here,
the country provides well for itself

From beekeeping & henkeeping to gardening
many are doing it successfully on a smaller scale
in their backyard,
more widely than in the US


Time for another Post Of The Month Club day - yea! 

It is a great way for you to promote your best work
and meet other fantastic bloggers

Join me July 31st & Aug 1st

Yep, right here :)


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

All bloggers are welcome to join
It wouldn't be the same without you!
(more details here)

- all photos by me -

22 July 2011

A Weekend In The Cotswolds

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

I am blessed with the dearest family 
that is willing to go on another Mommy Adventure

This time to the Cotswolds

Last Autumn we visited the Cotswolds region that spans 6 counties
for our fabulous Feather Down Farms tent-camp experience (here)

This time we were back in search of a special NGS Open Garden in
Ashton under Hill in south Worcestershire
I'd read about in my latest The English Garden magazine

Home built of typical Cotswold limestone

It is a rural area of quaint villages and farms

Typical town from car window

Why go so far to see a garden, you ask?
{ I'd go farther actually }

Well, the whole town of Ashton under Hill has pulled together for the past 33 years
to open private gardens to the public (24 gardens this year)

With more than a hundred people in the village involved,
you see folks selling tickets, ice cream, tea, & plants
and assisting with traffic and parking

It really is a village-wide affair as a fundraiser
for their local church and community center

Don't you just love it already?

Each garden was unique
ranging from formal gardens to meadows

(Below) Curiously it seems common throughout England to buy a bag of compost or manure,
cut a hole and plant into it

I was most excited about this garden (below)

I don't know if it is new, or just new to me
but these swimming ponds seem to be gaining popularity

As it was explained to me, 
a California style swimming pool looks out of place in an English garden
but a pond's appearance can be enjoyed year-round
and fun for taking a dip when the weather is warm enough

Water plants such as water lilies and iris flag are planted in an underwater shelf
Newts, dragonflies, and other creatures hangout at the pool
(no fish)

Although there is filtration, there are no chemicals

They say it is like swimming through fresh rainwater or milk

Artificial Swimming Pond

Sounds heavenly, and I love the look
Don't you?

{Sigh} It was such a perfectly perfect weekend
filled with tadpole catching and delicious local food

Thanks for coming along with me, my buttercups :)

- all photos by me -

15 July 2011

Another Listy-Loo

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Time to post my ongoing list of differences between
the US and England

 There is actually a reason for me to adopt the English accent
Automated prompted calls can't understand my American one


A Stag & Hen Party is a bachelor & bachelorette party


'Yummy Mummy' is a common term for a pretty, fit, well-dressed mother


Many houses have names, not numbers for their address


Jumble sale = Rummage sale
Boot Sale = A gathering of cars selling stuff out of their 'boot' (car trunk)


All signs are in English only (not in French or Welsh also)


There are no fire hydrants here (water tapped into main line under manhole cover)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

- all photos by moi -

12 July 2011

Pheasantly Surprised

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

I have been surprised by how many pheasants I see running around in the wild
Such colorful gorgeous birds in the countryside
with a very distinct call

Apparently the Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) was first introduced 
by the Romans and Normans in the 10th century as a game bird, 
originating from Ancient Colchis (now Georgia).  
It became 'extirpated' (locally extinct) from most of the isles 
in the early 17th century due to over-hunting.

It was a rediscovered game bird in the 1830s, 
and has been reared extensively by gamekeepers ever since. 
Although 30 million pheasants are released annually, 
most survive less than a year in the wild. 
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is trying to increase the wild population 
by researching improved breeding methods.

Hunting was formerly an elitist sport, and to an extent it still is
 of game birds, hares, and deer. 
Fox hunting has largely been made illegal. 
Many past Kings and Queens have been avid hunters; 
although Queen Elizabeth II does not hunt, Prince Philip does.

Fox in our backyard
Known for stealing shoes & scavenging rubbish bins

Which leads me to the interesting topic of UK gun control. 
With one of the strictest firearms legislation in the world, 
the UK has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. 
Handguns have been almost completely banned for private ownership. 
Police officers routinely do not carry a firearm.

Interestingly, even Great Britain's Olympic shooters fall under this ban, 
who can only train in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands,
the Isle of Man, or abroad (namely Switzerland).  
Although the government granted special allowance 
for the shooting events for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 
only 5 permits were given to Olympic British Shooters to train in Great Britain. 

- photos by me -
Source: Garden Birds, Wikipedia 123


09 July 2011

Trip To France: Provence

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

So it was a bit of a stretch to drive 
from the Cote d'Azur to rural Provence for a day trip

But my husband being the superstar he is
drove 31/2 hours to get me there
(we got a little lost, so it took extra time)

All grown in pots

To be honest, I was surprised how barren, open, hot & dry this area is;
I've become accustomed to the cozy villages of England

With a bit of a shift in my view
I was ready to see what Provence offered
especially photographically :)


Many of the villages were perched on hills
to provide safety during periods of turmoil in the Middle Ages

80% of the world's lavender comes from Provence

The lavender is in full swing July - September

Vineyards, wheat, lavender, sunflowers
Crop land, yes, but no livestock

View from Bonnieux
Lavender Fields (left side)

This home decor inspiration location
has attracted people by the bus-loads

Of all the towns we visited, Bonnieux was my favorite
due to lack of crowds

Artisan Village
Saint Paul De Vence

I should have researched the road less-traveled

But it was a lovely road nonetheless

in Roussillon

Multi-layered tiled roofs are common in Provence
As are shutters to keep out cold winter Mistral winds
and baking summertime heat

If you close your eyes,
perhaps you can hear the background music of the cicadas,
a symbol of Provence

Have you grabbed your glass of wine yet?
You cannot miss the flavor of the area

And although the land did not provide much color
The human prints definitely did

Not to mention 
fresh produce sold everywhere

Fresh Radishes & Lettuce For Sale At Market

I'd like to return in Spring to see 
the flowering almond & cherry trees
and fields of poppies

my camera & I will be back
one day

- all photos by me -

Trip To France Series
Part I: Monaco & A Royal Wedding (here)
Part II: Cote d'Azur (here)

Linking to Modern Country Style

06 July 2011

Trip To France: Cote d'Azur

And so our adventure in France continues...

The French Riviera had an elegant retro feel to it

With pebbled beaches

Jute mats comfort barefeet

There were cyclists everywhere

A reminder of the upcoming Tour De France
(not in this area this year)

Motorcycles too

Love the 2 wheel pizza delivery

And a charm that only France has

Love these shutters, lamps
& view down street

Wonderful restaurants literally on the beach
offering the freshest of seafood

Au revoir, Cote d'Azur

- all photos by me -

Trip To France Series
Part I: Monaco & A Royal Wedding (here)
Part III: Provence (here)

02 July 2011

Trip To France: Monaco & A Royal Wedding

We just returned from a vacation in the South of France - a real treat for me, for I hadn't been beyond Paris

Monaco-Ville (Old City), Monaco

We had talked big, of renting a fancy convertible car for our week of relaxation
But ended up renting a VW Golf  :)

We daydreamed of renting a small yacht too
but found ourselves in a kayak for two :)

Fontvieille Port, Monaco

So we harnessed that little Golf
and headed to Monaco for the day -

Home to the Monaco Grand Prix, 
James Bond filming location,
the late Princess Grace Kelly,
second smallest country,
tax haven with famous casinos,
and the world's highest GDP per capita

Although clearly this area was dripping with money,
everyone we saw was just a plain Jane tourist like ourselves

And silly me, couldn't figure out why they were flying so many South African flags

The Palace Of Monaco

Am I the only one who didn't know?
There is a 2 day royal European wedding this weekend
between Prince Albert II of Monaco 
and former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock

You can see the wedding itinerary here,
which includes a concert by The Eagles 
and a reception all citizens are invited to attend

HRH Prince Albert II & Miss Charlene Wittstock

We saw lots of security at the Nice airport and 
expensive cars to pick up the guests for the big day
(no famous sightings)

It was definitely a day we won't soon forget

You know I have to throw in some flag trivia...
I didn't know it was possible for two countries to share the same flag!

Even if you are not a flag nerd like me,
you have got to admit that is interesting

To be continued...

unless otherwise noted,
all photos by me

Trip To France Series
Part II: Cote d'Azur
Part III: Provence

Source: Wikipedia