Sunday, July 31

le week-end: on the water

hello darlings!  i hope you had the most lovely weekend.  i was lucky enough to spend time with family and best friends, today waking up to the most beautiful summer's day on the massachusetts coast, a morning kayak excursion into the calm bay {perhaps the best vantage point for hidden-from-the-road waterfront mansions!}, giggling and reading magazines on the beach, sipping a san pelligrino limonata and finally exposing my fair english complexion to the bright new england sun, mint chocolate-chip ice cream from the most charming local, quintessential danish shop, a long walk in the cooling air of a beautiful sunset, and the most relaxing sunday evening.  

this week will be filled with dissertation reading and writing, {better} blog posts, and, perhaps, a little time to work on my tan ... how did you spend your last weekend of july?  hope your monday begins perfectly & bon soir.  xx hillary 

Saturday, July 30

my marylebone: farmer's market & more

hello dearies!  after days of packing and unpacking, traveling sans internet, catching up with family, and of course, playing with my beloved golden retriever, oh and a much-needed mani-pedi {gold nails and coral toes!}, i should be back to blogging daily!  but before i move on to those things that will come, a look back to my {former} neighborhood, the-hidden-jewel-of-london
my final bustling sunday morning at the marylebone farmer's market, savoring the beauty of it all, some vendors selling crisp lettuces, juicy tomatoes, sweet cherries, delicate flowers, and fragrant lavender, others baked goods and oh-so-british savory pies, still more with dairy, cheeses, farm-fresh eggs ...  british organic farmers, artisanal bakers, and passionate producers, making it so easy to eat so well ... 
eating seasonally, just from the source, is so much more fun than from a silly supermarket, don't you think? {oh and tastier and better for the environment and less expensive too!}
and then a final stroll down marylebone high street, with so many delicious restaurants: french, tapas, british organic, and my very favorite pub, painted in dark grey, isn't the little man on the sign so darling? and a famous travel bookshop, and perfect bouquets ...  
... and, best of all, no swarms of tourists ...
and, lastly, a walk through regent's park, treading slowly and leisurely, but deliberately, to let it all sink it, an ancient weeping willow under which to read, families laughing and playing, a moment of solitude and reflection amongst the roses, and heading home, the unmistakable perfection of colonnaded rows of gleaming white pre-war buildings, property of the crown.  and me, excited to begin, but teary-eyed for it to end ...  

but, you must remember, marylebone is our little secret, as in no telling the tourists!  

now off to run errands and see oodles of family and a best friend. so happy to be home.  have a perfect summer's weekend.  xx hillary

Thursday, July 28

simple sweet: chocolate mousse

image via {here}
hello mes chéries!  sitting in heathrow at the moment, at an adorable english pub in an enormous wing chair, surrounded by rustic upholstered stools and deep padded leather sofas.  my very last dose of british-ness {parting is such sweet sorrow}.  but strangely, cannot stop thinking about my favourite recipe for chocolate mousse!  so here it is, an amazingly simple, incredibly delicious recipe that you can whip up in no time, with ingredients you may have on hand, and which is an ideal ending for a romantic summer meal with a beau... 

to serve four, just mix together 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread {aka nutella} with 1/3 cup crème fraîche.  add 1 1/2 teaspoon coffee or hazelnut liquor, if desired.  then, in a separate bowl whip 1 cup heavy cream until it holds soft peaks.  reserving some for garnish, fold the whipped cream into the hazelnut/crème fraîche mixture, spoon into serving dishes {even large wine glasses would work}, and chill for at least 20 minutes before serving {topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream, of course}.  so simply and so impressive.  

bonne idée, non?  xx hillary 

p.s. not officially finished until i was home sweet home!

Wednesday, July 27

je suis désolée

hello darlings!  my deepest apologies for not having posted for two full days now!  but it has been trés busy busy with packing and goodbyes, and america is tomorrow.  i will resume posting from heathrow in the morning, but for now, i hope your past two days have been so lovely & bon soir.  xx hillary 

Monday, July 25

lovely links for a new week

image via pinterest
hello darlings!  i hope that your monday was the perfect start to a brand new week.  and for today, some links that i've gathered especially for you.  charming entertaining ideas, an amazing beauty website, home libraries, stationary, and delicious blueberry pancakes.  and the most adorable image of a mother and baby giraffe.  i had no idea how much j'adore giraffes until i began this blog (beaucoup! beaucoup!).  only three days until home.  oodles of packing and errands until them, and inevitable tears with an au revoir to dear friends and my london, but i do hear the massachusetts coast beckoning...  enjoy & bon soir.  xx hillary 

image via pinterest
the look of my next weekend {sigh}

Sunday, July 24

entertaining inspiration: garden party

images via pinterest
hello mes chéries!  i hope you are having such a lovely weekend.  after what seemed like ages of dreariness, summer has resumed in london, and the morning was spent strolling around the marylebone farmer's market and, then, lounging under an ancient willow in regent's park under a sparkling blue sky with a new novel, the laughter of children and quiet content of those basking in the warmth of the summer sun all around, a perfect day after a celebratory evening, which lasted late into the night around a kitchen table of inspired conversation with london friends to miss.  

but the weekend offered plenty of moments to ponder my most recent entertaining obsession: a garden party.  quite a british brand of fête, my imaginary garden party would be an ode to the magic of a mid-summer night's dream. hors d'oeuvres and rosé champagne and elderflower cordial on silver beaded trays, women in flowing pastel dresses and men in linen suits, mingling at twilight around a flowing marble fountain.  then dinner under the stars along a long table with mis-matched vintage chairs, floating chinese lanterns overhead and white lights.  finally, dancing on the terrace, illuminated by the light of a full moon, with clandestine hidden benches for whispered romance & a secret embrace.
and as a parting gift, firefly lanterns to guide the way home. 
images via pinterest
aren't these images inspiring? what are your ideas for a garden party? if i had a garden party of my own, you would be invited.  your name calligraphed onto thick, beautifully design invitations sent through the post, of course.  enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a summer's sunday evening & bon soir.  xx hillary

Saturday, July 23

vintage safari: true at first light

images via pinterest
the destination/literature combination for this week is ever so slightly less luxurious than last week's cannes, but in no way less glamorous: 1920s safari.  full of colonial adventure, romance, khaki, big-game hunting, flowing mosquito nets floating over four-poster beds in white tents under vast expanses of star-studded ski, kilimanjaro looming in the background.  teddy roosevelt, english aristocracy, and ernest hemingway.  and i believed all was lost after the second world war..

..luckily, i was mistaken.  a friend, equally enthralled as i by all things of pre-war grandeur, most recently introduced me to cottar's safari service.  founded in 1920 by a family inspired by teddy roosevelt's adventures in east africa, cottar's has continued the classic tradition of the glamorous safari ever since {minus the big-game hunting these days}.  

images via {here}
white tents and brown colonial furniture, persian rugs, flowing mosquito nets and glowing fires, and all of the romance of those old black and whites.  kiera knightly even did a feature for vogue here in 2007, and the 'press page' of the website is absolutement filled with high-profile, endless praise.   

cottar's and its notion of 1920s safari camps brings such novels as out of africa to mind, naturally, but a slightly lesser known tale is that of ernest hemingway in true at first light.  published by one of his sons posthumously, it contains anecdotes of heminway's reign as a safari guide and his time spent there with his fourth wife, hunting and fraternizing with the local tribe, a symbolic struggle with a dangerous lion, laden, of course, with colorful, tragic figures, and his beautifully evoked scenes and subtle romance.  one of his lesser known works, i would recommend it as a most serious hemingway fan, but also as a glimpse into the glamour of an age both past and preserved.  and it may be the next best thing to a proper cottar's safari.
images via pinterest
will true at first light make your summer reading list?  i've just finished age of innocence and am now onto the help to balance out this literary tour de force with something more lighthearted.  what are you reading?

i hope that your weekend is off to the most beautiful start.  although it's still too cool to sunbathe, the sun has finally shone through the london grey.  xx hillary 

p.s. want to channel hemingway/1920s safari style? a charming look for late summer/early autumn:
image via pinterest

Friday, July 22

color du jour: mint green

hello mes chéries!  just a quick post to let you in on my {mild} obsession with mint green.  for interiors, clothing, accessories, and everyday objects alike, mint green lends its combination of sweet and refreshing everywhere it lands {not unlike it's namesake ice cream, my favorite, mint chocolate chip}.  i think it whispers an air of not-too-sweet, sometimes sophisticated, sometimes vintage charm.  it lends romance to a lightweight, flowing gown, or makes sun-kissed skin pop in bolder looks.  i know lilac/lavender is popular this season, but at the moment i prefer refreshing mint to these soothing purple hues, and it shall be the color of my first mani/pedi back in the us {less than one week!}.  do you have a current color obsession?  or thoughts on mint green?  and how darling is the mint green footed tub? pour moi, bliss!
all images via pinterest
i hope that you have come to adore mint green, too!  and that you have the most lovely day.  only hours until le week-end.. xx hillary