Monday, June 28, 2010

Just a few more pictures of London

A summer house built for a Queen, just so she would have somewhere to have picnics. Shades of Marie Antoinette, eh? This rustic folly being much larger than most average homes. The queen, though was Queen Charlotte, wife to King George the III, interesting because between bearing fifteen children, she still found time to support the arts and music, including the composers Handel and Mozart, as well as be an amateur botanist, working on Kew Gardens, where this summer house and the delightful little palace, Kew Palace stand.

There was this brick garden wall in the charming neighborhood we stayed in that had wisteria, in full bloom, climbing all over it. I love wisteria, but have never been able to grow it, as it's a little too tender for Chicago's northern climes.

The reflecting pond and garden in front of Kensington Palace. The ranks of flowers so brilliant and beautiful, the garden so serene. I wish I could walk in this park every day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some of my favorite pictures from London

Everything seemed to be in bloom when we arrived. Everything. Even the chestnut trees, which I'm not sure I've ever seen an actual chestnut tree in bloom before. They're very much like buckeye trees, which we do have in plenty around here, but it filled my heart with delight to see actual chestnut trees. Almost all of the chestnut trees in America died of the blight early in the last century. I guess there are some around, but they're hybrid Chinese and they're mostly all very young trees. Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park were both filled with massive, obviously ancient chestnut trees. So beautiful and magnificent.

We went to Covent Garden a couple of times this trip. My husband loves the buskers. There's tons of great shopping in the area too, including Cath Kidston. In the Covent Garden Market they have lots of lovely little stalls with handcrafted goods and vintage and antique wares. One could spend hours shopping in this neighborhood.

The bluebell woods in Kew Gardens are just enchanting. We spent the whole day wandering the grounds. When the bluebells are out, there's this haze of blue in every clearing it seems, under every tree, every where you look. Kew is such a magical place anytime, with trees from every corner of the globe and fantastic greenhouses, from so very Victorian palm houses to super modern desert houses.

This little staircase is in Hampton Court, the biggest of the three palaces I visited this time. Built by Cardinal Woolsey for his own residence and later claimed by Henry the VIII for his royal court, Hampton Court is simply sprawling. It's half Tudor, half Baroque, because William III tore part of the Tudor palace down, and rebuilt it, using Christopher Wren as his architect, intending for the palace to rival Versailles in size and magnificence. Thankfully, he ran out of money and never finished, so we have a remaining Tudor portion.

This picture is a little hallway off the part of the palace William III built and it leads up into the private residences. Even though no royalty have lived in the palace for three hundred years or so, it's still lived in. There are dozens of grace and favour apartments in this castle still. Can you imagine living in not just a palace, but in a palace owned by Henry the VIII? Also, I love the blue green of the woodwork, just the right tranquil shade of it.

This is the Chapel of the Old Royal Naval College, originally built as the Greenwich Hospital, a residence for injured and pensioned sailors of the Royal Navy. It's beautiful, isn't it? Just like a piece of Wedgwood china.

We spent a whole day at Greenwich, taking the Thames river taxi to get there. Which is about the most civilized public transportation option ever, by the way, with a decent coffee shop right on board! We saw baroque wonder after wonder, from a formal dining room with the most amazing painted ceiling to a small palace built for Queen Anne. But the chapel remains my favorite.

This carousel is on the south bank of Thames, near the London Eye and Jubilee Gardens. It just makes me happy to think about and too look at this picture of it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just a quick post

I just turned 39 and I'm thinking about making up a 40 before 40 list of things I want to do before my next birthday. 40 wonderful, maybe wacky, definitely beautiful things I want to try that I haven't before. It's a lot to think up and about.

So, until then, I'll leave with a sneak peak of my London pictures. Bluebells, from the bluebell woods at Kew Gardens. God, I love Kew. It's simply one of the most beautiful (man made) places on the planet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I love this

Via Apartment Therapy who got it from the flickr user Cottonblue. And I just love this room. I actually love all the pictures of her home, especially the pictures of her blue and white kitchen. Make sure to follow the link and check them out. It's all so soft and granny chic. I'm really loving the granny chic these days.

What's interesting to me though is the vociferous hatred so many of the posters of Apartment therapy had for this picture. They hated the fact that they didn't match mostly. And I have to say, yeah, they don't match, but to my eye, they go together. The soft colors complement each other and the lines of the bookcases even work together.

To me, this row of bookcases has more style and more soul than the row of matched Billy bookcases with glass doors that I have in my condo.

So, what do you think? Cluttered and mismatched? Or sweet, unique granny chic?