🌳 Charming 🇬🇧 British 🌳 Spell ✨

My New York loyalty, French education and Mediterranean pride, as well as a very busy summer move-logistics schedule upon my arrival to London almost a year ago, made me quite resistant to an instant British infatuation… Initially, I didn’t find that there was anything particularly unique or novel that I had not enjoyed or experienced in a prior place I lived in or travel to… but what I didn’t realize is that London had a lot of what I actually loved or enjoyed in one place and mixed in a harmonious way that made me feel increasingly at home. I gradually realized that London is brilliant in how it seamlessly mixes between the urban feel of a major city and a quaint calm village-y vibe in certain parts – all within minutes of each other. As the sun made its way back to this island and as I started to increasingly trust my nanny, I had the chance to discover more hidden gems both in my neighborhood / Chelsea (which offers lovely birds singing in the morning, cherry blossom filled streets, Camelias, a crazy squirrel that hangs on the edge of my garden’s tree branches and amazing “bespoke” shopping…) and beyond. This past bank holiday weekend was particularly inspiring, as I had the chance to enjoy a lovely tea time with friends in Mayfair, explored the Wallace Collection and the icing of this culinary and visual treat was spending a day in Cliveden – a gorgeous estate at Taplow, Berkshire set near the River Thames, which includes a mansion that was previously home to an earl, three countesses, two dukes, a Prince of Wales and the Viscounts Astor! Cliveden was described in a journal entry by Queen Victoria with the following spot-on words: “it’s a perfection of a place,…the view is so beautiful”. Thanks to a Relais & Châteaux hotel now operating the mansion and the National Trust’s amazing work maintaining the estate, one can truly relive this estate’s prior glory and create a fairytale getaway just 40 minutes from south west London! My daughter kept on asking me if a princess actually lives in the mansion and at one point an employee of the estate overheard her and came up and told us that the latest Cinderella movie was filmed in part on the estate! However it was only when he pointed to the clock and confirmed that it was the clock used in Cinderella that he truly succeeded in capturing both her (and my!) imagination… each hour the clock bells rang to signal the time, my daughter’s eyes would open widely and a smile would instantly appear on her face as she relished in her British Cinderella moment… a magical moment that caught me off guard every single time and filled me with an instant rush of childhood dreams and motherly joy…

Cliveden

Cliveden

Cliveden House

Cliveden House

Cliveden House

They didn’t go for white walls…

parterre

Parterre

parterre

Parterre

Horloge

The clock featured in Cinderella 2015

Parterre

Parterre

The Long Garden

The Long Garden

street style

Street/Garden Style

bird baby

Baby meets Bird/Tree

The River Thames

The River Thames

boat

The River Thames

woods

In the Colorful Woods

LoOse Yourself!

Hanging out in the Victoria and Albert Museum I was reminded of the creative ways 18th Century fashionistas showcased their silhouettes while adding sophistication and story to their looks. While tight body outfits definitely have their place in a woman’s wardrobe, playing with loose effects (in the right proportions of course!), can throw in a unique edge and flow to your look and when contrasted with tight closing in the rest of the outfit can still highlight the hard work you’ve put into your silhouette. So don’t be afraid to mix it up and if you’re in London and want to try on the effect, head to the Victoria and Albert Museum where you can try on a wide petticoat… Now of course, you won’t be streetstyling the 18th Century look (although it would be priceless to see someone try that in a crowded city! Weddings however are fair game… done that! 😉 ) but what you can definitely do is loosen your streestyle looks with wide-leg trousers or harem pants…

Right: Adjusting dress volume to nowadays city life where living spaces are shrinking compared to Left: Mantua and petticoat illustrating the grandest style of court dress in the 1740’s and 1750’s in England. This mantua is a display of decoration in Rococo embroidery along with patterned silks and printed textiles. The dress can be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

My favorite on the run, comfy and passe-partout outfits