July 22, 2014

Hans-Gerd and Marion Get Married! Germany Part 1

This post is mainly for my memory of our dear friends Hans-Gerd and Marion's wedding, that we were fortunate to be able to attend. In Germany and I believe most of Europe, the civil ceremony is the "official" wedding. The couple has the option of then having a separate church wedding if desired. The church wedding alone, like here in the US would not count. We have known Hans-Gerd for 20+ years through David's work, but as years passed a very nice friendship formed. When he would come to the US on business, we would have him to dinner and my girls loved when he came. The referred to him as "the cool German guy." He has two daughters close in age to ours, so we always had stories to share and much in common. The fourth photo is of the happy groom with his daughters. Aren't they pretty?! It was the very first time I got to meet them. The handsome tall boys that are in the third photo down, are Marion's sons. They have got to be close to 7 feet tall! Hans-Gerd is about 6 foot tall, so you can get an idea of their height!!! Very nice guys and to see them all as a family unit was so special. They are one of those families that you want to hang out with because they are so genuine and kind. We first met Marion last September while they came to California on vacation, and we all had so much fun together we hated to see it end! When we found out that they were going to tie the knot, we had to figure out a way to go to Germany! As luck would have it, David had to travel to Munich for work in the same week of the wedding!! We are so happy that we got to be a part of their day, it was so sweet and we couldn't be happier for this wonderful family.   After the ceremony, we walked behind this beautiful building and had some proseco and snacks. Later in the evening we went to the reception which went into the wee hours of the morning! Those guys know how to party, hahaha.  The next day, they drove off to Italy for their honeymoon, and let us stay in their cool flat for the rest of our stay in Munich.   We hope to see them state side next summer!

July 18, 2014

England Part 2 London and Oxford

After we got over a bit of jet lag and David finishing up work, we took a bus on Saturday to collect Nicole in London. We were able to meet her new boyfriend Ehsan and walk around Nottinghill. I really wanted to see this pub covered in flowers, and since it was really close to where Nicole lives we were able to fit it in. After some dinner we hopped back on the bus and headed back up to Oxford.
Oh Oxford, you are a beauty! I could have easily filled this post with many more shots of all the gorgeous buildings and surroundings of this city. The lighting was go beautiful there, and all of the pictures above were not edited at all. We were able to see a lot because we went on Sunday and when David had to go back to work Monday, Nicole and I went back and roamed some more. The natural museum was stunning in both architecture and content. I took way too many photos of this place! The round building that I uploaded two pictures of was my very favorite. It is called The Radcliffe Camera and you can read about it here. Many of the buildings were used in the TV version and movie version of "Brideshead Revisited" The photo after Nicole with Ehsan, is the garden near Christ Church. So much history it would make your head spin, but some fun facts are that the dinning hall was copied for the dinning scene in the Harry Potter movies. We didn't get to go in because there were hoards of kids on study tours and many tourists, so we opted out. Also, Lewis Carroll studied and taught at Christ Church and you can read about how he was inspired to write Alice in Wonderland here. Towards the bottom of my pictures you will see the little shop that is across the street from Christ Church, and it is the very same building that little Alice would go to by her sweets. It is a darling little gift shop selling all kinds of Alice in Wonderland goodies! While we were there, there was a special festival to celebrate Alice in Wonderland. If you go to my instagram, you can see the little cup that I bought for myself, it is really cute.  The picture of Nicole with the tiny milk container was the evening we had to say good bye and but her back on the bus back to London. It was such a short visit with her, but we had some fun in with the time we had together. That tiny milk container kills me! Grocery containers in England and in Europe for that matter are so pint sized because of their lack of space. When we lived in France, it was very hard to get use to some of the packaging like the milk and rice. I felt like I was always at the store! After Nicole took off, we had a really nice dinner at Jamie's Italian. We have now been to three of his locations, and have always had wonderful meals. I highly recommend them if you are in England.
I would easily go back to Oxford if I was asked to again :)   Come back tomorrow for my Germany posts!

July 17, 2014

England Part 1

Hello! I'm back from my trip to England and Germany. We left on July 2nd and flew into Heathrow with our final destination being Oxford. We stayed about two miles out of the main city in a little village called Wolvercote. Lots of beautiful lush surroundings and many, many cute little houses with gardens most of us can only dream about! We walked to a couple dinner spots in the little village, and all the images above were from those walks. They got uploaded a bit out of the order that I wanted, but blogger, as I have griped before, always messes it up. The very top photo is of one of the dinner spots that we enjoyed called the Trout Inn, but fondly called "The Trout" by locals. This spot is quite historical you can read about it here. I like that it was mentioned in my favorite book from Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited." We ended up eating dinner there two of the nights and the food was quite good. The sixth picture down of an interior shot, is a different pub that we had our first dinner in, and it too was quite good and very quaint inside. We had the lovely strawberry Eaton mess dessert  there. England has such lovely strawberries! It rained a lot in the first few nights when we got there, and I was sure hoping that by the time the weekend rolled around it would be better weather, as Nicole was coming to spend a couple nights with us. We were so lucky with our hotel room too. For the most part, rooms in England are quite small, and when we got there we were given a very small room and if I could show you how tiny the door was, you would think it was the entrance to a broom closet! After one night in that room, many problems cropped up and they decided to give us a different one. When I opened the door to the new room, which by the way had a normal sized door, it was huge! We had talked to the receptionist earlier about adding a bed to our room when we first arrived, and she said that our room was too small, and none of the family sized rooms were available. Guess she was wrong, because that is what we got upgraded to, complete with a chair that made out into a twin. Basically we snuck Nicole in, Hahaha! They would have charged us 40 pounds per night for her, which would be roughly $68 dollars on top of the already pricey amount for the room. They never figured it out lucky for us.  Tomorrow I'll share all the Oxford pictures. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some already, and I will try not to duplicate them.  Come back for part Two of our England adventure.

June 28, 2014

Lazy Saturday

Lazy hot Saturday, leads to randomly taking some shots in the house and deciding if I should go in my studio to finish the little top pictured. Seems like I start to move around the house and I get too hot. It is about 82 right now, and I think I should give up and turn the AC on. Have I mentioned already that I'm not fond of summer and heat? Yeah, I think about a million times!!!!!
Yesterday, while exploring my front yard, I noticed that there were gardenia bushes out there. The first one I found was close to the cottage dwellers side, and I was sad that there wasn't one on my side, until I noticed that yes indeed, there was a bush mixed in there with the millions of citrus trees. Joy! I do love the scent of gardenias. Oh, and to my allergies, I say too darn bad. Aren't they just so elegant?
I'm loving the shadows that my curtains make in the family room. The breeze coming through the screen door makes for a magical shadow play on my floor every afternoon. The other night while having dinner, these little flower shadows were cast on David's neck. I was staring and smiling at him while he was talking to me, and he finally said, "what?" Well dear, there are tiny little shadow flowers all over your neck :)  The tiniest things amuse me these days.
Today is Nicole's birthday. 29 years ago we became a family when this enchanting little being entered our lives. It was probably the most beautiful summer day when we drove to the hospital. We lived way up north in the land of the redwood trees and she was born in a tiny town, very close to where a gorgeous river spills out into the sea. Such a beautiful area full of wild magic, and oh so fitting for Nicole to have been born there, for she is our wild and magical child. I got to skype with her today, and it seemed like she had a nice day. I truly wish we could have been there. Happy Birthday dear Nicole!

June 23, 2014

June Catch Up

The whirlwind that is June is now coming to a close, and I'm just now coming up for air! Long time readers know that June is a very busy month for our family and I disappear for a while on here to enjoy celebrations, and try not to go crazy doing too much.  Starting with Father's day, I made a wonderful apricot tart, where I combined a regular French sweet crust and filled it with a Thomas Keller recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. It was really nice and not overly sweet, just the way we like desserts in our house. In between celebrations, I was able to make this Liberty of London, baby dress/top for the shop. Its available for purchase in my Etsy shop, and hopefully I can squeeze out one or two more items before I go on vacation.
Our 31st anniversary was celebrated at our favorite restaurant and was  laid back  with wonderful food and drink.   David's birthday was also a relaxed affair at home after we took him out to a birthday lunch. He was more than happy to be at home, since the World Cup is in full swing!  Caitlin and Cyrous made a wonderful Indian dinner from scratch, and the birthday boy wanted another dessert made from apricot, so this time I used a recipe from "The Bojon Gourmet." It was really good, and I want to try it with peaches soon. I also made some Ice cream using Williams Sonoma ice cream starter. I had been wondering if this was easy and good, and it really was!  I bought the caramel flavor, but they have chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. They also have a frozen yogurt starter as well, and hope to try those out too. I had a photo of the ice cream, but blogger is not letting me upload it at the moment, but if your really, really want to see it, go to my instagram and see it there.

Hope everyone is having a nice summer so far!