Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Let's Meet at the Café de Flore

It seems impossible to see September in the rear-view mirror! And with the beginning of October comes the end of the Spring 2015 shows. Paris Fashion Week wraps up today and all of the gorgeousness in my Instagram feed these past few days has me dazzled - not the street chic and collections, necessarily, although they've been lovely. But because of all the little glimpses of Paris, a place where I am forever plotting to return...

So today I'm thinking about how much I'd love if it we could meet up at the Café de Flore to rehash the runways.

I love the red banquettes, the golden light, the tiled floors, the waiters in their black and white - many of them who have been there since my first visit so many years ago - the scrambled eggs, dripping with butter. The parade of chic handbags on the arms of the ladies of St. Germain des Prés and the gentlemen who always seemed to be decked out in brightly check shirts, sport coats and interesting eye wear.

It's a refuge, a home away from home, a happy place....

Cheers, all. Here's to your happy place, wherever it may be!

And here's to the weekend a little bit early, as I'll be making it a long one, returning on Monday. Hope yours is lovely! XO

Monday, September 29, 2014

Splendor On The Greens: More Than Golf At Glorious Gleneagles

Happy Monday all, how was the weekend? Ours was full of fall treats - from a pumpkin lasagna in the oven to pumpkins perched on our front steps. Perhaps this is why even though we experienced near perfect weather during our stay at Gleneagles Resort, the photos that most capture my imagination were shot on a morning when the mists rolled in over the Perthshire hills, bringing the feeling of autumn with them.

Built in the spirit of a French Chateau, the "palace in the glens" opened in 1924 and it's beautifully updated interiors harken back to the Jazz Age, while feeling completely cozy and and current.

Every property we visited in Scotland and Iceland was a delight, but Gleneagles was tops for activities.

My grandparents raised champion horses, so I felt like I was connecting with them by spending a few afternoons at the Equestrian School taking riding lessons. And we absolutely loved meeting John Boy the Harris Hawk and learning how to hunt with him at The School of British Falconry, the world's first dedicated falcon school.

And, of course, if golf is your thing, there's plenty of that, too, with three of the best courses in the world, including the PGA Century Course, the host venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup, which wrapped up yesterday. Gleneagles is also the residence of the PGA National Golf Academy in Scotland, so is the perfect place to brush up your skills.

Fishing, Wildlife Photography, Shooting, Cycling and Dog Training are also on offer, so fueling up is a must. Fortunately,  whether you're hungry for decadent high tea in The Bar or a burger in the Dormy Clubhouse or a Michelin-starred meal at Andrew Fairlie, all dining options are delicious.

The Spa and swimming pools will have to wait until our next visit, but it's lovely to know that there are plenty of reasons to return. 

Have a lovely week, everyone. Hope yours is sweet! XO

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mad For Plaid

Happy Friday, all. Is fall in full swing where you are? Our weather shifted so swiftly from summer sun to autumn rain and chill that it took me by surprise. Suddenly it seems that the closet needs a bit of stocking. Perhaps it's all the bagpipers we heard in Scotland or the million tartan shops we passed, but plaid is looking good this season. It was all over Fall 2014 runways and the street style set has been sporting it all month at the shows in New York, Milan, London and Paris.

1/Thakoon, 2/Phil Oh, 3/Vera Wang, 4/Rodarte, 5/Phil Oh, 6/Marc By Marc Jacobs, 7/Thakoon, 8/Phil Oh

There's plenty of plaids to pick from...

But unless you're a character from the Outlander series... Or Cher Horowitz...

Too much plaid is tough to pull off. Better to keep it simple like the Duchess of Cambridge: 

Pair a statement dress with simple but chic black accessories. A wee pop of color on the ears or lips is pretty.

Any tartan in your closet this season or are you leaving it to the pipers?

Have a lovely weekend - whether you are cozied up in plaid flannel pajamas or dressed up to paint the town, hope it's wonderful! XO

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Six Reasons To Escape To Scotland and Iceland

With rain falling on the roof, it's good to be indoors, dreaming of Scottish castles and Icelandic vistas. Thanks for popping in last week for some tea and shortbread - the winner of the "Sharing Scotland" giveaway is the lovely and talented Patricia from PVE Design. Congratulations, Patricia!

And there's more to share. Elizabeth from Pretty Pink Tulips mentioned she'd love to know how we chose Scotland and Iceland as our destination. I think I've mentioned that we tend to go back and forth between my desire for arts and culture, and Mr. H.'s love of outdoors and adventure. I struggle with wanting to return to favorite spots (ahem, Paris) year after year, he is always craving something new. With a direct flight to Iceland (Iceland Air offers a free stopover) and a quick jump to the U.K., a Scotland/Iceland jaunt seemed like it might cover all those points (although the well-traveled Mr. H. had been to both spots).

But there are many, many reasons to escape to these dreamy places - here are my top six:

Spectacular Scenery: There is a rugged and compelling beauty to both Scotland and Iceland, where evidence of volcanic drama contrasts with verdant greens and sparkling blue seas.

History Lessons: We trod in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Price Charlie. It seemed as if a chapter of Scottish history had been written wherever we went -- and with the vote for Independence being debated during our stay, a gripping story continues.

Arts and Culture: Just walk down the streets of the Scottish and Icelandic capitals to find evidence of a lively cultural scene. From Edinburgh's galleries and theaters (not to mention the Fringe Festival) to Reykjavik's indie music masters (Of Monsters and Men, Sigur Ros), these are cities where art is alive and well, not just something to see in a museum.

Chic Sleeps: Want to check into a urbane Grand Hotel? Fancy an elegant country house or perhaps a luxury resort? Or maybe a hip hotel is more your style. Edinburgh's beautiful Balmoral, Inverlochy Castle in the Highlands, Isle of Eriska on the coast, gorgeous Gleneagles in Perthshire and the super chic 101 Hotel and Ion in Iceland all exceeded expectations.

Good Eats: Pack your stretchy pants. From fish and chips to Andrew Fairlie's Michelin-starred extravaganza, Scotland cooks up some amazing meals. After the 2008 crash, Iceland restauranteurs returned to their roots and traditional foods. I'll pass on the reindeer burgers, but the bread and butter alone were worth traveling for. One of our best meals of the trip was at Dill, where chef Gunar Karl Gislason puts a fresh take on New Nordic cuisine with a different menu every night.

Fun and Games: Deer stalking, shooting, fly fishing, falconry - if it's something the Downton Abbey clan might have got up to while visiting Cousin Shrimpy, you'll be able to pursue it in Scotland. In Iceland it was soaking in geo-thermal pools, riding ponies through the lava fields and hikes across a surreal lunar-like landscape.

Both Scotland and Iceland are now firmly on the list list of well-loved places we'd return to again and again. Want to pull on the wellies and join me? Or pack the heels for a stroll down the streets of Edinburgh?

What do you look for in the perfect vacation spot?

Happy Wednesday! XOXO

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Fall!

Fall crept in and took summer completely by surprise. The sunny skies, the 80 degree temperatures, it seemed impossible the perfect days would ever end. Our weekend was alfresco dinners and catching up with friends, sunshine reflecting on the lake, and coffee sipped on the terrace. But today there's a chill in the air - bright pumpkins, cozy sweaters, tall boots and the crunch of leaves under foot can't be fall behind.

Wishing you a marvelously happy autumn! I know it's a favorite season for many. What are you most looking forward to?

Have a lovely Monday - back Wednesday with more on our Scotland and Iceland travels and the winner of "By Invitation Only" Sharing Scotland Giveaway. XOXO

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Weekend In The Country: Lazy Luxury At Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Happy Friday, all. How was the week? At the current hour, votes are still being counted in Scotland, and the question of independence remains up in the air (although early reports are that it looks as if "no" will win the day). No matter your feelings on the subject, it can't be argued that it isn't a stunningly beautiful - and perhaps magical - place. And so with the weekend upon us, why don't we retreat to the countryside and relax a bit. The world can wait while we check into Inverlochy Castle, an elegant country house hotel in the Western Highlands.

After a long but lovely drive past glens, lochs, mountains and towns with names usually only spotted on bottles of single malt scotch, luxurious laziness awaits through the gates and down the drive.


There may be adventures and tours and country pursuits to be planned, but cozy chairs in front of the fire beckon and it's easy to lose an hour or more.

A leisurely walk around the park rewards with breathtaking views, and one can't help but agree with Queen Victoria who wrote in her diary, "I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot." 

There's a walled garden to discover with dahlias so beautiful they deserve a post of their own. And a few new friends to meet out in the meadows...

The dust on the croquet set may make one wonder if it's been used since the manor was built in 1863 by the first Lord Abinger... but games can wait while there is so much elegant comfort to revel in, don't you think? Perhaps another cup of tea instead.

Here's to the weekend! Hope yours brings fun and relaxation in equal measure. Let's all raise a wee dram to Scotland and wish her well, no matter how she chooses to play out her future. 

PS: Thanks for all your lovely words about our trip so far. A few of you mentioned you'd like to know how we decided on Scotland and Iceland for our holiday and what our complete itinerary covered. A round up post is coming next week, so please let me know if you have any questions about our travels, I'd be happy to answer! XO


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