Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Found My Perfect English Country House, By The Way

Just a real shame it had already been bought by my gorgeous friends Alex and Pete. They bought the cottage when it was a bit of a shambles - the sort of shambles one finds in a three hundred year-old house that was never truly modernized - but after an extensive renovation the listed property is now a perfect mix of antique and modern. We were treated to a delicious dinner and some very potent Beesting cider. Gotta love a host who is unafraid to serve hooch from the local pub in a plastic jerry can.

The word cottage is a rather typical British understatement in this case.

Huge open windows everywhere - this is the bathroom. Light! Fresh air! This is the stuff us HKers can only dream about.

The kitchen is beautiful and I love that Alex's serving bowls match the exquisite blue of the walls.

Beesting Pear Cider - in season, local, and served in a refillable canister. What more can you ask for.

Bedroom views over the village.

Home In Hong Kong, August 2, 2015

After three and a half weeks of cold, I am welcoming the sight of tropical islands in the South China sea.

And the warm weather today provided the perfect opportunity to wear one of the three black dresses I bought in London. I love a black summer dress with sandals.

J.Crew dress
J.Crew belt
Lanvin sandals (very old)

Home sweet home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

And Another Sun Sets Over The Somerset Country Side

Fashion feels like it is 10,000 miles away. Last night I woke up and thought of some admin I urgently need to do when back in Hong Kong and I felt myself instantly tense up with the kind of stress that has been entirely absent for the last 25 days - but only two more days in England, unfortunately.

Best Food Of The Holiday: Pony and Trap in Chew Magna

J.Crew fabric pumps

I would love to do a fashion post - in fact I am dying to do a fashion post - but there is no fashion in Chewton Mendip. So I never wore these lovely shoes, although I did bring them, planning to wear them for lunches and dinners on my English vacation. In reality I wore Stan Smith sneakers to the loveliest lunch of my holiday, at the Pony and Trap restaurant in Chew Magna (in my defense it was 13 degrees and it had been raining for two days straight). Chew Magna is near Bristol, but smack in the middle of a labyrinth of muddy single lane roads flanked by huge hedges - not the sort of place one needs heels. And thankfully so - you don't want any distractions at the Pony and Trap because the food is so delicious, you can only think of what you are going to try next (find the Pony and Trap HERE).

I will start with dessert - if you think this is just cheese cake, I challenge you to drive to Chew Magna as soon as you can - because you are wrong.

Chilled lovage soup with fresh crab

Home made Scotch eggs

Pistachio tart

Plaice with brown shrimp

Sunday, July 26, 2015

China Rich Girlfriend And Prada

Somerset is very cold and gray today and I have read quite a bit of Kevin Kwan's new guilty pleasure novel about rich Asians. The characters are not just crazy rich anymore, now they are China rich, whatever that means. I like to call this kind of book an and-then-and-then book (and then she bought a dress, and then she went to a party, and then everyone was jealous of her, and then her husband lost all his money), although that probably says more about my eloquence than Kwan's.

At one point Kwan describes how newly rich mainland Chinese always get their first expensive outfits wrong, because they dress in head-to-toe Prada. His snobby dig at Prada comes at an interesting time for the brand, as it has seen profits fall during the last year (read more HERE). Prada argues the slump is related to a strong Pound and a clampdown on corruption in China, making less cash available for luxury buys. I wonder whether Prada should dig a bit deeper and look at its handbag designs. In my humble opinion they have become stale, and not worth the astronomical price tags. Take a look at THIS bag - it costs $2100 at Neiman Marcus, and it's body is smaller than a piece of A4 paper. Not to mention that this style seems to have been around for too many years. I wonder if Prada has decided these bland Saffiano totes should be their own equivalent of a classic Chanel 2.55? Hhhhhhhmmmmmm....... not so sure about that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Somerset July 2015 - I am not expecting to find much fashion here (although the Mulberry factory shop is 10 miles away)

We are staying in a house in a tiny village 25 miles from Bath - it's beautifully designed by Jane Clayton (see her interior design website HERE)

I love discovering other people's art - this dog without a face is intriguing - although I think the artist was too stingy with his paint

a detail from the wardrobe in the children's bedroom

Europe's most impressive building and design accomplishments always seem to be religious in nature - Wells Cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful

where now?

the church in Chewton Mendip

fields in the Mendip Hills, with Chew Valley Lake on the left

Her Majesty's Post Box

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blenheim Palace and Its Champagne Wagon

I don't think I have ever been to a better tourist attraction - that said, I was there alone with my two children, and would have to drive 40 minutes on windy country roads to get home - so no champagne for me. I very much thought of Miss Welsh in this moment, wondering what she would have done if faced with the wagon under these circumstances.

Blenheim Palace has wonderful grounds to roam and the views are magnificent from all angles.

I love looking at the wood carved details on doors and walls - this palace is as opulent as anything I have seen.

We discussed the week over a pint in the pub across the street (Rose and Crown). Our goal for this holiday is to figure out if we like the countryside well enough to buy a little cottage for weekends. I am not sure yet... I do miss city life already.

Goodnight Shilton, hopefully we'll be back soon. Stay tuned to see if our next destination, Somerset, can turn us into country squires.