Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ambassador Kate

I am so pleased to announce that I am now the UK & European Brand Ambassador for Samantha House JewelryCue happy noises and spontaneous jig step!  

A few days before my move, Samantha graciously welcomed me into her home studio (snippets of which can be seen above) and, over tea and homemade biscuits warm from the oven, we talked about our partnership and plans for our English and European Invasion.  I love Samantha’s energy and spirit, not to mention her pastel pink hair (yes, that’s her pink hair in yesterday’s Instagram post) and I’m so super psyched to be working with her!  This is going to be SO FUN!

The cases of jewels have yet to arrive, but when they do, you can bet that you’ll be seeing a lot of them featured here.  Her work is really amazing and beautiful and different, which I lovelovelove.  Next week I’ll show you the first pieces she made for me (like, made them right in front of my eyes, it was incredible) and tell you a tale of love and loss.  Until then, don’t be shy and check out her (our!) blog and like her (us!) on facebook.  We have big plans so stay tuned… and have a super duper weekend! 

@ladykatherine

Now you can be with me while I eat sandwiches, cry at bars, snuggle with Le Chat and go on all kinds of glamorous adventures!  Just follow along on Instagram and it’ll be like we’re together all the time!

I stole the Redcoat away from Cox Quarters last night and we had a very necessary chat about our current state of life and I broke my rule about crying in public.  BUT I COULDN’T HELP IT!  I mean, I have a lot of emotions right now.  Besides, it was bound to happen at some point, so I’m glad it happened in a dimly lit corner of the Hotel Du Vin bar.  Speaking of bars and drinking establishments- what is with the no music thing in this country?  Doesn’t Drinking Hall 101 clearly state that music is integral to creating a comfortable ambiance?  It doesn’t have to be trendy or anything, but some light background music is important.  Just turn on some Vivaldi or something, pretty please?  I mean, it’s difficult to tell secrets and have a quiet cry with all this silence. 

Inane Drivel & Pretty Pictures of Wisteria

I’ve lived in the UK for an entire week without managing to get hit by a car, offend someone, or start crying in public. So far, pretty damn good! Here are some notes on week number one.

-Writing from the iPad today because David and I foolishly packed only one adapter in our luggage coming over here and it’s being used to power our iMac, which he is currently using. My laptop is dead and I’m too lazy to walk to Boots for another adapter so… This is a stupid story and a hugely idiotic way of saying that the formatting might be weird in this post. Also an absurdly long-winded way of advising you to always pack multiple adapters!

- Someone left me a voicemail the other day and even after 15 listenings, I still can’t figure out what the hell they’re saying. Seeing as only 5 people in this entire country have my number, I very much doubt the call was intended for me, but regardless it makes me feel very insecure about my British telecommunication skills. ‘Ello..?

- I’m lonely. I miss my books, I miss my friends, and I miss knowing things- like where to go shopping or what bar has Bollinger by the glass, etc. I had to ask someone which coin was 10 pence the other day and because I was soaked with rain I couldn’t even pull the Cute American shtick. Embarrassing!

- Eggs here taste better than eggs in the States. Eggland, indeed! Most of the other grocery food taste better, too. Especially ginger biscuits!!

- I’ve had two urban fox sitings in the past week! This is very exciting because foxes are my spirit animal. My honorary spirit animal is Tilda Swinton who, now that I think about it, is quite fox-like herself.

- The train makes me very sleepy and I know for a fact that I will pass out one day coming back from London and will get robbed or something [touch wood!]. I need to find something to help me stay awake for the hour long journey… Tequila shots, perhaps? Weird Al polka music at high volumes? Recommendations are welcome…

- David has a whole bunch of vintage African art this his mother bought when they lived in Africa. I must remember to take a picture and share it with you.

I guess that’s everything worth noting. Yes, I realize most of my notes (i.e. all of them) were not at all interesting, except maybe the Swinton-Fox parallel… and I must look into that further!

Until tomorrow, xox!

Put a Crown on It

I went to Windsor Castle yesterday with a friend who’s visiting from the States.  Generally I’d be like, yeaaahhh, I don’t really do all that tourist stuff, but I was beginning to go stir crazy here in Cox Quarters and it turns out a trip to see the Queen was just what the doctor ordered. 

The inside of the Castle is gorgeous in that Royal English sort of way and even though visitors aren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside, I’m sure you can imagine the ornate splendor of the decor- lots of bedazzled sabers, stodgy old paintings, gold leaf… you know.  Luckily for this post’s sake, the outside of the castle is just as beautiful as the inside and, when we weren’t dodging rain showers, Lori and I had a great time gallivanting around the grounds, taking pictures, and asking each other questions like, “If Kate Middleton really loves her Pottery Barn dresser from college, do you think they’ll let her move it into the Castle?” and “Do you think there’s a secret modern wing full of Banksy originals and BoConcept furniture?”  I mean, are all the Royals still super gung-ho about the Victorian aesthetic?  Prince Harry needs a proper bachelor pad, after all…

@ The National Arboretum

After four full days in the new flat, I’ve decided to dub our new home Cox Quarters.  This place has been occupied by a steady stream of testosterone-charged young men for the last five years and the scuffed walls, layers of kitchen grime and utilitarian decor are all in serious need of a tasteful touch.

As I’ve been thinking about my plans for the flat, my mind keeps going back to the National Bansai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum in DC.  Ever since visiting a couple weeks ago, I’ve been obsessed with the chlorophyll rich greens, the teak wood, and subtle greys and browns of the bonsai trees.  The bonsai exhibit was breathtaking (I love that the trees are described as being “in training”) and the crisp colors made me feel clean, serene and refreshed.  I’m thinking some grey-white paint, teak furniture and manicured houseplants are definitely in my future.

As much as I’m drawn to the beauty of bonsai, I’m also fascinated by the art and philosophy of bonsai.  How lovely that some of these trees have been in training for hundreds and hundreds of years and have been cared for by just as many people.  Just as a bonsai artist must know when to trim and edit a tree’s growth pattern, so must a small business owner know when to trim and edit their business growth (and an artist their craft).   As much as you try, you oftentimes can’t plan exactly how your business will grow and change over time, but you can adapt to make sure your growth is properly tended to.  Bonsai business- how lovely! 

And just to update everyone- Le Chat safely arrived in the UK on Friday.  She’s acclimated wonderfully to the new space, though she is quite afraid of the step-sons who are approximately 2,000 times her size and 100 times louder.  Let’s just say she and I are having a lot of quiet time together in the bedroom, with the door closed.   xox

For My Mother

Dearest Mother,

Yesterday wasn’t Mother’s Day in the UK, but I still spent most of my day thinking of you.  I wish so much that we could have spent the day together because I think you’d love my new home and I know for certain that I would love having you here.

We started our afternoon with a Sunday roast at The Black Pig, which was simple, fresh and oh so lovely.  We finished our meal with whiskey and espresso in the garden behind the pub.  The wind was cool but the sun warmed us and we were comfortable with our jackets on.  After we finished lunch, David and I went for a long walk through the village, stopping briefly to watch a cricket match in the park.  David explained the game to me but I wasn’t paying close attention and I still don’t understand how it works.  There were flowers blooming everywhere on our walk and I know you would have told me the names if you were with me.  The air was clean and fragrant from the blossoms and I missed you very much.

I love you, Mom.  Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

xoxo,
Kate

USA IN UK

 To catch you up on the last 24 hours:

  • Our darling kitten was denied flight approval at the airport last night.  Not because she didn’t pass her medical exam or because she was misbehaving, no no no…  She was denied access because her cage was too small.  Though the carrier we had allowed her to stand, comfortably turn around, eat, drink, and travel domestically within the United States (keep in mind that a flight from Boston to California is longer than a flight from Boston to London), it didn’t allow her to do jumping jacks or run on a treadmill (which, you know, we humans are given enough room to do when we fly…), so she was denied access to fly with us.  This has been upsetting for me and David for a number or reasons, but we are incredibly thankful to a number of amazing friends who have taken care of Le Chat, purchased a new carrier for her, and have loaded her onto tonight’s flight to the UK so we will be able to receive her tomorrow.  Friends, I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and willingness to help us through this very stressful situation and I cannot adequately express how excited I am to see my little kitten tomorrow! 
  • David and I landed in London without any hiccups (except the aforementioned incident) this morning and have since set up camp in our Hobbit Flat in Tunbridge Wells (photos of drab drapes and rugby shoes above).  It’s grey and rainy here, which is appropriately depressing.  Our social calendar is booked for the next couple days, but I am most looking forward to getting things* figured out so I can start working on some exciting new projects.  YAY! 
  • I accidentally locked myself out of my Gmail account.  You see, I had 2-step verification set-up to access my account and realized this morning that, seeing as my US mobile is no longer active, I will have no way of receiving my text message verification code.  Ergo, I cannot access my Gmail until the nice people at Google decide I’m not a hacker.  This is both a happy escape from real life obligations and an enormous inconvenience.  Strangely I can still access Blogger… ta-da! 
  • My new roommate (step-son) has been amazing in helping David and I get situated in our new (David’s old) home.  In my mind, this flat is far from ideal and I can’t wait to get the paint samples out and start DIY projects to make it look beautiful!  Stay tuned for before and after pictures- everyone loves a makeover!  
  • I haven’t even been here a full day yet and I already have Ginger Biscuit crumbs all over my sweater.  This whole tea-time thing may just be my greatest downfall… 

Tomorrow is a busy day and David is already sleeping beside me so I too am going to turn-in for the night.  Again, an enormous THANK YOU to everyone who helped us with Le Chat!  I am so thankful for having an abundance of wonderful people in my life and I’m literally weeping just thinking about how awesome my friends are.  Gaaahhh!  XOXOXO.

*Banking, mobile phone, apartment organization, toothpaste purchases, etc.

Remember Me

An incredibly thoughtful friend made these little Remember Me bracelets for me to pass out to my friends at a going away party last Sunday.  The instructions were simple: tie them on a friend’s wrist and when they fall off, that person has to get in touch with me and see how I’m doing.  Isn’t that sweet?

My friend only made a small batch of these bracelets, but I think this is a great idea and want to make more so I can mail them to friends all over!   I also think they make great wedding presents and birthday gifts.

Le Chat Goes to the UK

For all of you who are wondering, yes, we’re moving the cat with us.  Of course we’re moving the cat!  Le Chat, as many of you know, hasn’t always been my favorite friend, but I’ve really grown to love her over the last few years and the thought of leaving her behind in America makes my eyes swell and my mouth get droopy.  She is such a sweet kitten and she’s really pretty, too- especially now that she has a brand new haircut* to show off her sleek physique (she’s the Kate Moss of cats- so skinny!) and keep the shedding to a minimum!

I’m going to be honest, getting your cat to the UK isn’t the easiest (or cheapest- oy!) process in the world, but it’s not as difficult as it once was.  The biggest bummer about the whole thing is that animals are not allowed to fly in the cabin on flights to the UK.  Ergo, Le Chat will be stuck in the belly of the plane while David and I pick our nails and feel like terrible cat parents as we strain our ears for sad kitten sounds over the noise of the jet engines.  I mean, Le Chat freaks out when she has to take a trip in the car so I can’t imagine how inconsolable she’ll be flying alone in a dark and cold plane**.  Ohmygosh, I’m going to start crying right now just thinking about it…  I am such a horrible cat owner!  BUT, at least she doesn’t have to be quarantined, which the government no longer does so long as US kittens have proper shots, a passport thingy, and a microchip in them. It’s all very official.

We are very excited to get Le Chat established in her new home so she can become a refined UK Cat and speak with a British accent, etc.  I really hope she keeps her cool on the plane and doesn’t hate us for moving her so far away so we can be a happy family on the other side of the pond.  Yay!

*If you live in Boston and need an amazing cat/dog groomer, you have to call Eddy (617.866.1690).  No only is he meticulous with his fur buzzing, he also comes to you.  How awesome is that?  He has a little cat grooming truck which looks like an ice cream truck if ice cream trucks didn’t play music and had what looked like a small vet office, not kitchen, in the back.  We’re really going to miss Eddy!  He is so so wonderful!

**I don’t really know if it is going to be dark and cold. I sure hope it’s not, especially considering how crazy expensive her plane ticket was!

Something Pretty

It’s been a weekend of farewells and hugs, flowers and love.  We’re excited and exhausted and can’t believe we leave in only two days!  There is still much to do and many people to squeeze.  I hope I can fit in all in over the next two days!  So off I go to my next adventure (a birthday dinner for a wonderful friend) but in the meantime I will leave you to stare at these stunning flowers my friend brought to a party (a going away party… sad) yesterday.  They make my heart sing! 

xox