Our friends Luke and Shyla took us to see the Guy Fawkes fireworks during our trip to England last weekend. It’s been years since I’ve seen fireworks up close enough to hear the music and enjoy the atmosphere of being surrounded by a crowd of other people enjoying the display. We were also delighted to see how much Hayden also loved watching the explosions. I was a little worried that the sounds would be too loud for him, and he did often jump, but he spent most of the time with his little eyes wide open in amazement. Eventually his dummy fell out of his mouth and he waved his arms around as if to say “this is the most amazing thing I have ever seen”. He was entranced the whole time, sometimes gurgling along with the music, other times simply silent with wonder. I loved watching his smiling little face. I think that this is the first event that we have both enjoyed together at a similar level – the pretty colours and spectacular lights. A super fun night for everyone.
Posts Tagged “london”
Sep 28 2010
I caught the Eurostar for a long weekend to see Mum and Josef who are house-swapping in England, and on Saturday Mum and I had a day out in London. We had some delicious Phad Thai at Thai Pot near Leicester Square, and then trundled down to the Lyceum theatre to see a matinee performance of The Lion King musical.
The place was packed full of families excited to see the adventures of Simba and his friends. The opening act, The Circle of Life sung by Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, was especially spectacular, as the whole theatre came alive with the animals of Africa everything from elephants rumblings up the aisle to hornbills flying overhead.
After the performance we wandered down to the Royal Horseguards Hotel for some afternoon tea. With silver teapots, finger sandwiches, warm scones and pastries, we nibbled our way through the afternoon while watching the hotel guests mingle in black tie for the evening out on the town.
I had such a wonderful time in London. I am so lucky that such a charming city is less than two hours away. How amazing it is to be able to catch a train under the English Channel and just pop out the other side. Best of all, our delightful hosts Luke and Shyla were waiting to greet us on the other side. While Adrian and Luke spent the morning at the British Humanist conference, Shyla and I celebrated our free thoughts with the rituals of shopping and drinking tea. They even graciously permitted me to spend the night in their georgeous apartment. I was bestowed with the presence of their cat, Suma, kindly watching over me while I slept. I opened my eyes in the middle of the night to find her perched on my pillow, staring intently at me. When I said “Hey Suma”, she freaked out and fled from the room. Luke claims that she was whispering “I’m just a dream – I’m a dream” as she disappeared. Playing with their charming kitty really made me want some of my own.
Over two days Shyla guided me through a bunch of wonderful British stores and I bought a range of scarves, Cadbury caramel eggs, and a “Keep Calm and Carry On” card. This is one of my favourite propaganda posters. It was one of three posters designed in 1939 during the war with Germany. While the other two, ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory’ and ”Freedom is in Peril’ were distributed immediately, this design was held in reserve in case of invasion. The poster was forgotten for sixty years until it was discovered folded up at the bottom of a box of books by Stuart Manly of Barter Books. They framed it and put it up on the wall of their bookshop. So many people asked for copies that it is now one of their most popular products.
Jun 10 2009
Another extraordinary experience in London was my visit to the Smythson bespoke stationery office on New Bond Street. For our one year wedding anniversary, Adrian bought me a hand-engraved copper die of my full name written in Saint Germain, and commissioned a set of social cards on Mayfair Smooth White with Deep Purple ink. On the weekend I was lucky enough to visit the flagship store to discuss my options of using the same die to commission some personalised writing paper with my favourite stationery company.
We were ushered to the back room, and sat down with a gentleman called Christopher who placed an extraordinarily large and thick book filled with hundreds of samples on the mahogany desk in front of us. I was lucky enough to have my friend Shyla by my side, an expert in both paper and design. She was an excellent consultant and a great source of support and enthusiasm through the difficult decision making process. I told her that I would like to have a splash of purple, perhaps purple tissue lining and a violet ink colour for the letterhead.
Then, of course, there was the choice of paper. Nile Blue, Bond St Blue, and Park Avenue Pink did not work well with violet. So we were left with the choice between Mayfair Smooth White, White Wove, Ermine White Laid, Cream Wove, the pale brown Marston Mill, or the pale green-grey Three Crowns. None of them seemed to stand out above the crowd. Then we turned the page and caught sight of the daring peppermint coloured Glen Clova. Our assistant told us that this paper had been designed for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday, but warned us that it was now at very limited stocks and would not be renewed. It has a unique watermark that reads “Smythson Glen Clova” when held up to the light. It was inspired by the area near her childhood home of Glamis Castle (also the setting for Macbeth). He told us that there would be enough for one order, but no refills. The co-ordinating correspondence cards were already unavailable.
With Shyla’s encouragement, I decided to take the plunge and choose the bright and vibrant colour combination of green Glen Clova paper with Violet accents for my set. Our assistant then revealed that he had chosen the exact same colour combination for his personalised stationery, and pulled it out to demonstrate. I am not sure that Miss Manners would approve of such unconventional colours, but I am excited to see the result. The last decision was the size of the paper, and we decided on Kings (203mm x 159mm), slightly larger than Dukes and smaller than Imperial. The paper is milled in Scotland, and then is cut, pressed, and folded by hand in Wiltshire. The boxes should arrive by courier in three weeks.
All photos from Smythson