22 December 2011

A little Joy

I am pleased to say I have planned my first adventure for 2012! I am escaping to Paris in April with some of my favourite friends (apparently Paris in the springtime is the best!)

I'm doubly excited to be travelling by eurostar, Oh how wonderful to be able to go on holiday without getting on a plane! So classy! one day I hope to be able to travel the whole world this way!

I'm already thinking of what we should do: I think an evening boat cruise and a show at the Moulin Rouge are definitely in order! Also after being completely captivated by the Film Hugo I'm looking forward to pretending its the 1930's, surely the best time ever to be in Paris!


20 December 2011

New Lists

Now, I think January is a vile enough month as it is without thinking about resolutions, so I think I will set mine before we get there!
I've ticked off Ten things from my list since starting in August and I've got eight more to add to the list: I've highlighted in red the ones I'm specifically aiming to do in 2012: A lot of the usual ones I suppose, lose weight, travel, spend less money and more time (with friends)! Wish me luck, and I will wish you all luck and joy in your 2012!

The list

1.        Own a cat or dog
2.       Take a course on Sewing
3.       Own a Property
4.       Go on a yoga Retreat
5.        Drive around America for 3 months
6.       Own an Apple Computer
7.        Write a Book
8.       Own a beautiful sofa
9.       Get a job working with animals
10.     Get married
11.      Go to a Roller Disco
12.     Be in a play
13.     Weigh 9.5 Stone
14.     Give a lecture about Animals
15.     Go to New Orleans
16.     Go on a cruise down the Nile
17.     Travel to another Country by train
18.     To have a Christmas tree decorated entirely with food: candy canes, pomanders, gingerbread men.
19.     Host Christmas in my Home
20.    To have my 30th Birthday in Las Vegas
21.     Visit Miami
22.    Get my picture in the Bath Life Society Pages
23.    Live in another country (again)
24.    Paint a room
25.    Buy furniture from Rossiters
26.    Make £100 selling old clothes on Ebay
27.    Visit Cardiff
28.    Go on a cruise
29.    Go to a Christmas market outside of the UK
30.    Go to a Car boot sale
31.     Go to a Village Fair
32.    Bake fabulous Courgette + Strawberry Cupcakes to raise money for a good cause

New goals

1.        Visit Edinburgh
2.       Visit Japan
3.       Travel through India on the Maharajas' Express
4.       Visit Chicago and find a speakeasy
5.        Own a kiln – Sort of a follow up to the goal of doing a ceramics course!
6.       Make chutney
7.        To not buy any clothes for 1 year (01/01/12 to 01/01/13)
 So, the rules will be pretty simple:
I can buy underwear, shoes and bags should they be needed. But no clothes. I can accept clothes should they be gifted to me, cos I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth!
The overall plan of course will be to make more use of what I have in my wardrobe, maybe alter a few things, and to make do and mend!
8.       Spend more time visiting/hosting friends (at least once a month)
Achieved goals

1.        Take a course on Ceramics – Booked for Jan 2012
2.       Buy a fabulous watch
3.       Join the WI
4.       See a Play in London
5.        Go to a Twenties themed party as a flapper
6.       Make cushions for my home - I have done this although they are small and very amateur! I shall resolve to improve upon the last efforts
7.        Have a Facial and a manicure
8.       Embrace vintage infatuation
9.       Host an afternoon tea party (holiday tea party – roaring success)
10.     Stay in a 5* Hotel


19 December 2011

Portsmouth Festivities

A quick post to tell you about my lovely weekened with my lovely friends in Portsmouth. We had a delicious 3 course festive meal at ABarBistro definately one of portsmouths hidden gems, and then onto the dolphin in old portsmouth for whisky and gingers. Lovely! xxx


12 December 2011

Gloomy Monday

I usually think these type of life affirmations are a bit corny but this one seems relevent as I enter a new year with a pretty gloomy feeling of my life going no where whilst everyone's around me is really getting going, I have a feeling of missing out; missing people, missing opportunities and acting too late. After a lovely weekend everything feels exceedingly dark and exceedingly cold:

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins”


5 December 2011

Shotguns and Chelsea Buns

Reader, It was never on my list to join a 'Shotgun and Chelsea bun club' but my word I'm glad I did anyway! Sarah, A new friend introduced to me by the Lovely Eleni, mentioned she was going to this exciting event and I couldn't resist tagging along! I am a complete beginner in clay pigeon shooting but I very much enjoyed learning. Here are a selection of piccies of me destroying some clay pigeons :)

I didn't get any pics of the Chelsea buns but I can assure you they were delicious and devoured with gusto by some very cold and hungry ladies!

Rob, our fab teacher can be seen in the pics, said, and I quote  "Now Sarah was on fire, I hope she keeps it up because she's a natural" I don't think I've ever been so proud! and certainly never been a natural at anything! I can wholeheartedly recommend this as a exhilarating hobby! (I'm not sure, after doing it once I can class this as a hobby, but I have every intention of making it one :))


2 December 2011

Newport and The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age (1865-1914) was a rich and complex period in American culture; a time of Vast industrial fortunes and monumental architecture.  By the turn of the 20th century, many of the nation's wealthiest families were summering in Newport, including the Vanderbilts, Astors and Widener family who constructed the largest "cottages", such as The Breakers.They came for a brief social season to grand, gilded mansions with elaborate receiving, dining, music and ballrooms
This is national trust on a grand scale, there are 9 houses all in this one town that are now beautiful museums: The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, The Elms, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House, Kingscot, Marble House, Rosecliff. Many of the cottages were demolished and converted into apartments or offices in the 1930s when the owners could no longer afford their tax bills.(before income tax came along, people could keep all the the money they earned)

We visited the 3 grandest houses: The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House

The Breakers and Marble House were Vanderbilt Houses were both completed in 1895 costing Millions of Vanderbilt money (of which they had oodles, as railway tycoons) and the Elms for the was built by coal baron Edward Berwind in 1901. (You're not supposed to take photos inside the mansions so I don't have half as many pics as i'd like to show you, but I managed a few sneaky ones.....

All three 'cottages' were a joy to look around, on a far grander scale than anything i've seen before, but as always with such historical houses, the lives of the people that lived in them were just as fascinating as the houses themselves, in no particular order here are a few biopics of the women that lived in these houses:

Formidable pioneering feminist Alva Vanderbilt Belmont played a key role toward the ultimate success in women winning the right to vote. (she's also responsible for the chinese tea house in teh grounds of Marble house, photo above)

Alvas' daughter Conseulo Vanderbilt married the Duke of Marlborough and moved to Blenheim palace in the UK. These american heiresses were called 'Dollar Princesses' as the aim was to marry them off to european aristocracy, the husband got the money and the wife gets a title.

Gertrude Vanderbilt,was 19 years old when she first stayed at the Breakers, and describes in her memoir  "I am an heiress. When I first realized this, I was terribly unhappy. I wanted people to want me for myself."
She wanted to be an artist, which was not a typical role. She took sculpture lessons, and set up studio in Greenwich Village and Paris. She married Harry Payne Whitney, who had own fortune, became a renowned sculptor and founded Whitney Museum of Art. (Her room was one of my favorite of the rooms because her sculptures and paintings are displayed in there).

Gladys Vanderbilt had her "debut" to society at the Breakers. As was the custom of the time, these American heiresses were raised to marry European royalty in order to attain the title and prestige: Gladys became a Hungarian countess in1908; she inherited Breakers 1934.

Well, I hope this has been educational and inspirational! There is so much to learn about Newport and families like the Vanderbilts, I couldn't even scratch the surface! but I did take some nice photos and now you know what to do if you ever find yourself around Rhode Island!