Alice in Wonderland (Opera Holland Park )

I very much associate Holland Park with cups of tea. My grandmother, who loved her afternoon tea parties more than most, lived spitting distance from the park and often we would have a couple of cups after a stroll through the Kyoto Garden.

Not that Grandma’s tea parties were mad, of course.

Opera Holland Park

Today, the Smalls were special guests of Investec as they sat down on the Yucca Lawn (behind Holland House) to watch the opera, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Opera Holland Park

The performance kicks off in a Grimthorpe pet-shop where Alice, sheltering from the rain with her family, first meets The White Rabbit. And from there, the 12-piece orchestra (conducted by Natalie Murray Beale) takes a roving audience on Will Todd’s age-appropriate journey in Wonderland.

Opera Holland Park

We encounter Humpty Dumpty, a slightly alarming (male-looking) Queen of Hearts at the Mad Hatter’s tea party…the ditzy Duchess and a truly hilarious White Knight.

Opera Holland Park

Opera Holland Park

Just over an hour of performance engaged the audience of varying-aged smalls and I hardly saw a squirm in the crowd.

Opera Holland Park

Opera is not really my cup of tea – said Small on the way to the car park but I DID enjoy that…In essence Lewis Carroll’s Alice is always a crowd pleaser but Todd ensures that the musical experience is just as accessible as it is mysterious.

As we headed home for a real cup of tea, the Smalls insisted on visiting their great grandparents’ memorial bench. Take a picture and send it to heaven, they suggested.  No stranger than a talking rabbit, I suppose.

Opera Holland Park

A huge thanks to Investec Opera Holland Park.  Sign up here to be first to hear about their musical performances.

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home-peekers delight

Are you a home peeker? I mean, do you love sneaking-a-peek inside people’s homes? Just a crack in the curtain, a slightly open window or delving inside those glossie mags?

Made.com Piggy Bag Or are you the type to delight in viewing a property on the market… simply to see what lies inside those brick walls?

Actually, I’m not sure why I’m asking as I KNOW you do. Made.com –Brent Hoberman’s online designer furniture shop – has just informed me that a whopping one in 20 of us have even gone as far as to use binoculars or a camera to see inside a neighbour’s house!

Made.com Piggy Bag But that moment of glee – when the recent renovated offers us a full home tour – is now going to be common place as Made.com has jumped on this fettish of ours. Just last week the furniture retailer launch a massive keyhole called MADE UNBOXED – their very own social furniture network!

Made.com Piggy Bag You can search for other MADE.com shoppers who live near you (or further afield) to see what they have bought, and then see how they have used specific pieces in their home.

Go on. Take a peek.

The MASSIVE union jack piggy bag is sold here from Made.com for a bargain £59… and is a firm favourite inside our house as well as outside in the garden.

 

 

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a barn at Camber Sands

Quite a few of my (London) readers have asked me recently for bolt hole recommendations for much needed weekend breaks away from the city smoke.

Camber Sands barn holiday

only 5 minutes walk to the glorious Camber Sands

However much of a city girl I am, I do love the chance to run across a field and to paddle in the sea.  Lady Y found a converted barn in Camber Sands (close to Rye) and so I jumped at the chance to spend a week in close proximity to my Oldies and my Smalls.

timthumbThe (three-bedroom/two-bathroom)Barn is one of the 7 Camber Holiday Cottages run by Georgina and Richard Holt.  The large open plan sitting room/kitchen/dining table with cathedral beamed ceiling suited us perfectly as we all hung out together.  The shabby chic decor gives it a very chilled out vibe and I can imagine it would be super cosy in the Winter, with its log burner.

Camber Sands barn holiday

my bedroom was suspended in the eaves of the barn

Camber Sands Barn holidayOutside, the private garden saw a record number of football games, shell and stone painting, a regular washing load being hung out in the tropical weather and Lord Y doing a little work on a garden chair.

Camber Sands barn holiday

Here is a taster of what we got up to locally:

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle

the extraordinarily beautiful village of Winchelsea

the extraordinarily beautiful village of Winchelsea

exploring the Tudor streets of Rye

exploring the Tudor streets of Rye

enjoying the Kent berries sold on the roadside

enjoying the Kent berries sold on the roadside

with only ONE day of showers!

with only ONE day of showers!

And on one day we visited Dungeness, an extraordinary place… worthy of its own post

If you are interested in renting The Barn or any of the other properties on the Camber Holiday Cottages website, do give the Holts a call on: 01797 225 202

 

 

 

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Britain’s only desert, Dungeness

While holidaying at Camber Sands, we took a trip to an unusual village along the coast.

Dungeness Classified as Britain’s only desert, Dungeness is one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe and home to two nuclear power stations.

Dungeness

Dungeness power stationsIf all this isn’t enough for one small village, there are two lighthouses and the area is also deemed to be a wildlife sanctuary.

IMG_6861The village is clearly occupied by fishermen, whose boats lie on the beach, artists and those trying to escape the pressured outside world.  But perhaps the most famous residential home in Dungeness is Prospect Cottage, formerly owned by the late artist and film director Derek Jarman. The cottage is painted black, with a poem, part of John Donne’s “The Sunne Rising”, written on one side in black lettering.  Jarman lived here for the last six years of his life before he died aged 52 of AIDS related illnesses.  Lady Y had read about the garden (the main attraction as his partner still lives in the private home) and how it reflects the bleak, windswept landscape of this peninsula.

Derek Jarman's house and garden

Derek Jarman’s house and garden

Another house of Dungeness is represented on the cover of Pink Floyd's album "A collection of great dance songs".

Another house of Dungeness is represented on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album “A collection of great dance songs”.

After climbing the lighthouse, we took a 1920s steam train to New Romney and back (after lunch).

Dungeness1920s steam railway Dungeness 1920s steam train Dungeness

As we left this intriguing place, we bought with some pretty delicious fresh fish from the infamous Snack Shack for our dinner.

 

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