Friday, December 6, 2013

France {Chateau d'Esclimont}

my eight year old at Chateau d'Esclimont this past summer

On our last trip to France with the children we were only in Paris.  This time, we just travelled through.  We were with family in the southwest of France, then spent one night in Bordeaux, and two nights outside of Versailles to see the palace.  For the Versailles part of the trip, I found a castle-hotel online (a little over 30 minutes away) that looked interesting.  It turned out to be one of the most memorable, magical places we've stayed: Chateau d'Esclimont.

We had two rooms in one of the outer buildings next to the castle, where we had dinner one of the evenings.

Not long after we returned home, I read that Phillipe Cousteau, Jr had his wedding ceremony at the chateau in September.  My daughter had just been working on a project about Jacques Cousteau in 5th grade and we had made a detour on our way to Bordeaux in order to visit his birthplace, St. Andre de Cubzac.  It was fun to find out that his grandson was married at this place where we stayed shortly thereafter.

Here are some photos:

our rooms

dinner outside

the mosquitos were pesky, so they moved us indoors

walking back to our rooms after dinner

Turns out my son's new wand from Harry Potter in Leavesden works well at castles.

black swan by the moat

Upon entering the town of St Andre de Cubzac is this statue of a leaping dolphin holding Jacques Cousteau's red watch cap:

I'll post a few pictures from Versailles and Bordeaux before moving on to Denmark, where we spent most of our time.  Also, a few shopping/OOTD posts.  Have been doing quite a bit of shopping with all these sales.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Target Gray + New Boots (+ dessert)

I'm slipping in one quick post on Target shopping again before I work on my France recap.  My new Cole Haan Air Cara boots arrived from Nordstrom the other day so of course I've been thinking about how I will wear them... I decided I wanted some gray tights to wear with them with black skirts and a navy sweater dress I have -- so made a trip to Target and ended up with a little more gray.  I love gray with camel, gray with navy, gray with yellow, gray with orange.  I don't really think of myself as wearing a lot of gray but it looks like I may be this season.

Here are my purchases and some snapshots of the Air Caras:

Mossimo tunic sweater in Gray, Mossimo sweater leggings in Grey, and Merona opaque tights

Cole Haan Air Cara in Chestnut

Also, my husband and children made some chocolate mousse the other night for dessert when we had some friends over.  I love the presentation in martini glasses with raspberry and mint leaf garnish (idea from family in Denmark this summer).  The glasses looked so pretty lined up I had to take some pictures:


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some London Shopping {& an app}

I set aside our last full day in London for this.  Had a fantastic time.  From the pictures I took, it looks like we spent the whole day at the food hall at Selfridges... which I must say is amazing.  We did also make it to Liberty and I have a few snapshots from that.  Also visited Jigsaw, Jack Wills, Penhaligon's, Partridges, a couple of Zaras and Next.  Most of our purchases were back-to-school clothes for the children, but I did also find some pretty Pip Studio porcelain and a few things from Cath Kidston at Selfridges.

I ate one of those slices of the Carry On Caramel Cheesecake.

My children each chose a Lola's cupcake.

"perfect pies for picnics"

pretty chocolate boxes at Selfridges

still looking at food at Selfridges

Liberty of London

flowers outside Liberty

strawberry elderberry Bellini at Liberty Cafe 

back home with coffee in my new Pip Studio Lovebirds mug

I found the Citymapper London app to be very useful for directions.  I planned routes and took screenshots to use as we were out as I didn't find wifi that often.  I like how the app let me know our walk along Oxford Street used up .4 macarons in calories (at the bottom of the second screen shot below).  Not even close to covering my morning snack, but a start.

France up next.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Target Sweaters

I'll post about London shopping next (which, going through my pictures, I mostly have the food hall at Selfridges documented) but first a little local shopping.  I went to Target for laundry soap and came home with some sweaters.  Isn't that how it is.

These v-necks are super soft and promo'd for $15 online.  I don't usually buy a lot of purple but I really like this one and the oatmeal will be a great neutral with scarves.  I sized up to large to be a little roomy over skinny jeans and those black ponte legging-pants.  (Update: I think these run a little small as a large fits more like I'd expect a medium.) Also brought home a casual cowl neck tunic, in my regular size small.

Merona Cowl Neck Tunic Pullover in Oatmeal and Mossimo V Neck Sweater in Purple Heather and in Oatmeal Heather

Back to the UK in the next post.  Happy Saturday!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Warner Brothers Studio Tour London {Harry Potter}

Our second day in London we spent late afternoon/early evening at the Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden, to see the Harry Potter exhibit.  I haven't read the books, though my children have, and we watched the movies (again) in preparation for our visit. If I wasn't a fan before this tour, I am now.  The creativity and effort employed for the sets, props, and special effects is amazing.  This tour gives a very up-close and detailed experience of the art and engineering that went into these movies and celebrates the incredible talent of the people who spent many years working at this movie studio.  Truly impressive and worth the journey from London.  We took the train to Watford Junction where you can catch a shuttle bus to the studio (2 GBP return trip for the shuttle).  Make sure to give yourselves enough time.  There are excellent directions and instructions on the studio tour website.

I purchased well in advance online.  No tickets are available for purchase at the venue.  They are timed entry tickets so require a little planning.  We started our tour around 5:00 pm, which worked really well as we had such limited time in London and were able to spend most of the day in the city, and then venture out and have the whole late afternoon/evening at this exhibit.

Photography is encouraged, except in the green screen area where they make souvenir photographs and videos for purchase.  From the lobby (where you can see the cupboard under the stairs), through the Great Hall, big room (I thought Dumbledore's office was especially interesting), backlot (see the house on Privet Drive, the bus, the bridge and have a snack), Diagon Alley, to the model of Hogwarts, the scenes are impressive.  There are interactive exhibits/activities my children really enjoyed, and plenty to read up on about the making of the eight movies.  The website has a great map here where you can click on each area to get more detailed information and interesting facts.  Here are a few pictures from our visit:

London shopping day up next and then I'll start my recap of Denmark and France.