Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Himley Manor

Lords and Ladies, I cordially invite you to come with me on to Himley Manor, nestled in the English Cotswold's.
As you drive up the crunchy gravel driveway you arrive at this 9 bedroom, 5 bathroom manor house, intricately built in local limestone. Before we go inside, let's go for a stroll through the gardens.
At the back of the manor, is a neatly manicured garden.
There is a croquet lawn, a lovely large kitchen garden, and an orchard within the grounds, and the charm of a sparkling spring-fed stream has been exploited in a series of pools, elegantly bridged by rivulets and cascades.
Stay for awhile as there is an unfenced heated swimming pool set among perfectly manicured lawns and exquisitely clipped evergreens within the walled garden. The pool room also has the use of a sauna during the summer months.
The dining room boasts a large table, glittering with family silver, seats 16, on elegant leather dining chairs. The walls are embellished by intricate trompe l’oeil wood paneling.
The sitting room is somewhat more relaxed room in this extremely grand establishment, generously equipped with the comforts of life - relaxed seating, flat screen television, bar and fridge, a table that seats 6 for writing, playing games or feeding a bunch of children. The room has French doors leading out to a terrace with a serene lake view.
The Grand Salon is a supremely civilized room to live up to - with an Adam fireplace and intricate rococo plasterwork, in addition to comfortable seating, velvet-covered occasional tables, a wealth of drapery, flattering lighting, and views of the formal gardens.
The master bedroom has a super king-sized bed, and looks out over the landscaped grounds and water features of the estate. It has an en suite bathroom with a large shower.

Want to stay in a home like this an feel like high society for a week? well you can. I found out this 20th century manor rents out upwards of $10,000 GBP a week. You can see availability here.
This is the grand description they had:
If nothing short of utter magnificence will do, if you crave Doric columns, a pedimented entrance echoed by a pedimented roofline, oeil de boeuf windows, and your own private ballroom, then this impeccable English country seat is for you. Himley Manor is possibly the most delectable des res in the British Isles. The apogee of refined, symmetrical Queen Anne architecture, this elegant Manor House, built of mellow oolitic limestone, encloses three sides of a courtyard. The vast surrounding parkland - incorporating a village and a Norman chapel - was landscaped by one of the most imaginative architects of the 20th century, creating a secluded romantic haven with formal gardens adjoining the house at the heart of a serene pastoral idyll of woods, lakes and gently rolling Cotswold countryside.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Loveliness and Simple Things

I'm so looking forward to summer, and spending more time outside, so this week I decided to put together some floral arrangements and bring the outside in.
I made two arrangements for a reasonable $8.50
The vase my dears is from the dollar store, and the greenery is from my garden. Firstly, I bought a bouquet from Food lion and cut the stems at varying heights to create a naturally collected arrangement. Then I added some teeny white flowers from our garden. One vase is on my bedside the other on the washbasin.
 It's the simple things!
My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through Earth's loveliness - Michelangelo
Painted by Susan Branch.
Talking about loveliness and simple things I had such a wonderful weekend. On Sunday the high was 84 degrees, and the sun beamed in the windows beautifully. I had my usual morning coffee and got ready for church. We have tried many churches since we've met, but I loved the church and service we went to this past weekend. The Pastors message was about God's love and grace. He also talked about how as Christians we have three ways to forgive sins; firstly by justice, secondly by mercy and lastly by grace.
Afterwards, we went for breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then drove home singing and enjoying this sun shiny weather. I usually never nap, or fall asleep but I was cuddled up with Oscar and when I awoke I felt refreshed. We went to go get a frozen yoghurt then come back to clean up our pool area in our back garden.
It was so hot out that I had my straw hat on (pretending to be glamorous, but not so much) and even got a touch of sun on my pale peach self. We looked at our clock and realized it was not even 5 yet, and yet we had gotten to do so much. Hubby went and got us Carrabas flatbread for dinner, and I settled to watch one of my favorite shows...Call the Midwife.
Have you seen it? I just love the absolute innocence and being English I like hearing the accent. If you haven't seen it, you can find past shows on Netflix. Then I watched a few other shows, and barely touched technology the whole day. It was like a summer staycation.
Have a nice week!
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Im In A Nature State Of Mind

Sometime over winter I was looking through my Instagram photos and started to realize all I was posting was foodie pictures. What I was preparing, what I was eating and where we were going out to eat! Oops!
Now spring has sprung and all my photos are of the beautiful nature outside my front door. This is our humble colonial, covered in greenery.
The dappled light covering us while we were dining on a terrace.
The morning light in the woodland corner of our garden.

Views of the Smoky Mountains from the balcony at The Biltmore Mansion, where we visited for Easter.
Or, the simple pleasures of flower arranging with the greenery and white wildflowers in my garden.

So what's the term for someone obsessed with the beauty of nature? Will have to think of some.

Monday, April 21, 2014

1st Annual Easter at The Biltmore Mansion

Hope you all had a lovely Easter. This is our first Easter, in our new home away from family, so we decided to start our own tradition, Easter Sunday's at The Biltmore. Before we left for the day we took a few photos, this is our couple picture.
This was my status before we left, it explains the bunny...
Good morning darlings! I woke up early and saw my Easter basket filled with a beautiful orchid presented sweetly by Cory. This morning we sipped on our coffee reading Matthew 28: 5-7 and watched out of our front window as an adorable bunny hopped around, he stayed around until the dogs caused a commotion. Hopefully I'll be able to do some walking today, as I have had a bruised tailbone these past few days and I'm in some pain. I'm joyful though as we have a lovely day planned at The Biltmore in Asheville, that I've been so excited for. Hope you all have a wonderful Easter!
Charlotte is about 2.5 hours away from Asheville, so we left early. This was the entrance gate to the estate. As soon as we arrived we had to get to The Deerpark Restaurant as we had reservations at 1pm for the buffet, it was nice eating and looking out to the courtyard with live music.
If your a 90's kid like me, you may recognize it as the home in Richie Rich!
Earlier in the day the lawn looked like this, with lot's of children gathered to Easter egg hunt!

The loggia has incredible views of the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and such beautiful architecture.
My hubby standing next to one of the lions at the entrance. Inside is a self guided tour, there are other ones you can take, but we read the booklet ourselves as we glanced around all the rooms. It's certainly a big house, impressively authentic, and requires a lot of walking. If your in a wheelchair I could see some challenges, but the first floor would be easy to maneuver and there is a small staff operated elevator that must go to the second floor.
The gardens were spectacular. We saw tulips in a variety of colors. The conservatory looks deceiving because it has several greenhouse corridors, all with different temperatures.

After we finished touring the house and gardens, and before we headed home, we went over to the village and had dinner at the French Bistro. It was rather delicious. It was a fun day out, hopefully we can continue this tradition.

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