Saturday, 21 August 2010

Vietnam Bound

We are heading off to Vietnam today via Bangkok, so excited. Hopefully should be able to keep up the blog as we go along, sponsored by Johanna's very kind donation of an old laptop (a thousand thank yous!)
We start of in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City as its officially called) and then will work our way up the coast to Hanoi

We have done some vague research on what we are doing but i quite like making it up as you go along and getting tips off people as i go. I can't wait to try the Vietnamese food both eating it and learning how to cook it. There is one thing that has really whetted my appetite and that is the the brilliant blog Sticky rice written by a foodie obsessed westerner living in Hanoi, his dedication to finding the best street food is phenomenal, an inspiration to us all! I very much look forward to following in his footsteps.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Isokon Party

My old friend Joe just had his 30th and to celebrate he threw a little house party. But this was no ordinary house party because Joe just happens to live in the grade 1 listed, Modernist experiment in communal living that is The Isokon Building in Lawn Road, Hampstead. 
Opened by the company Isokon in 1934 it quickly became a hub for London's fashionable elite, its early residents included 'queen of crime' Agatha Christie and one of the founders of the Bauhaus school Walter Gropius. It fell into disrepair in the 90's and after its refurbishment lots of lucky key workers were given the chance to carry on the modernist dream of communal living.
Agatha Christie once described it as 'a giant liner which ought to have had a couple of funnels' which i think is very apt especially as night sets in.

The Isokon company also specialised in iconic plywood furniture which you can still buy today from Isokon Plus. I love this old logo.
A special mention i think has to go to Joe' herculean efforts on the BBQ (mouthwatering meat supplied by Barretts of Belsize), below is only a small potion of what was consumed. Thank you Joey for a fun AND educational night! x x x

Monday, 9 August 2010

Carcassonne calling

I had a couple of hours to kill in the ancient city of Carcassonne, so i went for a little wander with wheelie case in tow.
Unfortunately with my time frame i didn't make it into the fortified part of the city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site... save that for next time. The town itself though is full of beautiful sights. I particularly love the colours of the buildings faded by the southern French sun.
All the different shades of blue on the shutters have inspired me to paint my front door, just got to get it done before winter.
Why can't all street lights be as beautiful as this or at least have some thought other than "function" put into them?

I am very partial to a retro sign and i found a few lovely ones i would happily have smashed my Ryanair baggage allowance for.
Next time i visit this region (in my fantasy world) i hope to do it by boat on the Canal Du Midi in Rick Stein-esqe adventure.
Thank you France, au revoir x x x

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Une promenade dans le pays.

We took a walk down to river for a swim with frequent photo stops
MMMmmmmmmmmmm, wine.
I love Cow Parsley (and so do these colourful bugs), its technically a weed but is so pretty and a great free bouquet of flowers.

French markets and dog walking

We went to the pretty spa town of Lamalou-les-Bains to check out the market. I LOVE french food shopping whether its the cute markets or the awesome supermarche's, even the local small village shops have the variety and quality a top end English deli could only dream of. Our shops have a lot to answer for. I'm kicking myself i didn't bring some goodies back.
Some of the buildings in town are beautiful and the home voyeur in me wishes i could have a good peek inside.
Je adore the old Grand Hotel with its crumbling pink facade and perfect blue shutters. They just don't make them like they used to. It is now abandoned, do you think i could move in and claim squatters rights?
AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH, get an eye full of the lovebirds, Laura and James to the right. Get a room.

When Laura and James adopted their pooch it was a bit fat from not being walked much by its previous elderly owners. Not any more. Peche has gone from Grande Peche to Demi Peche with L and J's doggie bootcamp. There are no large spaces for it to run in so they regularly kick it out the car and get it to chase them up the hill. Brilliant.
He is such a good boy, and i swear he's smiling when he does it! And at the top of the hill we are all rewarded with this gorgeous view (and a bone for panting Peche)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The simple life in the south of France

This week just gone i took 5 days out to visit one of my dearest friends Laura, her lovely fella James and their trusty dog Peche in the stunning Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. They look after a holiday rental in a tiny hamlet near the village of Mons la Trivalle, Herualt.
The fabulous Miss Laura Greig, my most wonderful hostess
James and Peche graciously leading me to their humble abode, Chez Pearson
Their little flat had the feel of a secret garden with the forest encroaching on them, a great spot to fire up the BBQ and relax. On their doorstep are the magnificent Gorges d'Heric. Water cascades down through the mountain creating a natural water park with hundreds of pools to swim in, jump into or fry by. Simply stunning and so much fun.
Pun alert... Gorgeous!
I heart Peche and his neckerchief fashion styling, what a handsome dog.