Christmas at Downton Abbey

How does one prep for a trip to England?  Why you blitz thru episodes of Downton Abbey of course!  Which is what I did prior to a trip we had taken 2 years ago (late in posting but I’ll get over it)……

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My family quickly became familiar with the opening strains of my new found love as I binge watched one after the other after the other after the other…I was hooked!  haha😛

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What quickly grabbed my attention was the beautiful and romantic backdrop of Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), the wonderful story lines, and of course….those AMAZING outfits!

Ok….now I HAD to see it in person!  Only they close to the public after the summer season. Not to be put off by this, I emailed them and received information back that Highclere would be putting on a Christmas Fair sometime in early December; but as of yet dates were not firm.  So I planned our itinerary in the hopes of being there for the Christmas Fair and stalked the website so I could grab the tickets as soon as they showed up online for purchase.  After a few months of waiting……OMG! I got our tickets!

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Once we were in England we enjoyed touring London, Bath (“Hello!” Jane Austen fan here!), and the fairytale Cotswolds with its stone cottages and thatched roofs.

When time came for the “Downton” portion of the trip we stopped into a few memorable film locations which was a lot of fun.

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OMG!  I can’t believe we’re actually HERE!! Happy Happy….and VERY excited!

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Unfortunately photos were not allowed inside, but it had a homey feel with photos of the real owners on display which I found nice to see.

For millinery fashion with a Downton Abbey vibe, Peak and Brim designer hats was one of the booths at the Christmas Fair Market.  I walked away with 3🙂

After all the shopping inside, I trekked over to the Highclere Castle gift shop (and came out with a few more things that I had to have)😉DSC04195

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Here’s a little bit of fun for the Christmas season……Downton Abbey style😉

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Also an ode to another fun period show Mr Selfridge.

Cheers!

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When the weather turns cool…

When the weather turns cool and you look outside and see a grey leafless landscape…thoughts turn to warm weather dreaming and the plan begins to form for an escape to the beach.

Now ….where’s that passport?!🙂

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Find your Passion

Live your Passion

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It all started with a mirror

Last weekend, hubby is standing at the kitchen counter writing a TO DO list for things he wants to get done around the house. He then made a fatal error…

HIM: “Is there anything you want done around the house?”.
ME: “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ummmmmm, can we (him haha) change out the mirror in the downstairs bathroom?”
HIM: “Sure”.
ME: “Yayyyyyyyyyy!!”

The mirror in question is situated in the bathroom of the forgotten realm–
The basement.
In order to turn on the bathroom light, you have to stick your hand into a little cave created by a horrid medicine cabinet (we accept no blame! our 1970’s house came like this). In the 3 years we have lived here, and the small number of times I’ve been in this uninspired space-I’ve found it annoying.

Wouldn't this annoy you too?

Wouldn’t this annoy you too?

Ugly....

Ugly….

So off we went to our local home building supply store to get a few odds and ends….and of course the mirror.

Once inside I quickly found a simple clean lined mirror. Then Mr Handy made another mistake. He asked me “Do you want a new light too?”
(he’s an electrician by trade and Mr Handy to me🙂 ). Not one to pass up an opportunity, I did a happy dance in the aisle so he knew my answer was a “YES!”

With mirror and light fixture in hand, we somehow found ourselves in front of the vanity cabinets. He turned to me and said “I suppose you want a new vanity too?” ME: “Am I allowed?” (I ask this as he’s the one that will be doing all the work….I’m the creative genius and he’s the one that makes it happen….the Yin to my Yang, the salt to my pepper). Not one to let an opportunity go, I quickly picked out a fairly inexpensive vanity (as per usual the first one I liked was the most expensive so it took another scan to find “the perfect one”). When I turned around, Mr Handy was standing in front of the toilets and said “I never did like the one that’s there, it reminds me of an outhouse hole because it’s so round”. Now that we had a new mirror, light, vanity, toilet….we realized we’d need a faucet to go with our vanity, then might as well get a new toilet paper holder and towel bar….then a new shower curtain bar, and of course a new shower curtain to go in our soon to be refreshed bathroom.

How we came out of the store looking:

Yes, we DID get a mirror! haha

Yes, we DID get a mirror! haha

It wasn’t until returning home that we realized the base of the old vanity had the flooring cut out around it when originally installed. Our new vanity has legs. Hmmmm…..now we need new flooring.
If we’re changing it out in the bathroom, we might as well change it out in the little kitchen area, and because the stairs to the back door are there……..we might as well change that out too (a hideous green that was the rage 30 years ago). So now “we” (Mr Handy) are ripping out some of the kitchen, putting a new window into the stairwell, and giving the entire area a fresh paint (might as well just get it all done at this point). My job will be to paint the lower cabinets that we are keeping, source out a couple of inexpensive wall sconces, and put in a tile backsplash (I’ve never done this so it should be interesting).

That is how asking for a mirror, turned into a full out basement renovation.😛 Stay tuned for updates!

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Stairway to Heaven

Heaven

During a girls trip to the Dominican one year, my friend Patricia had taken a very cool photo of the staircase leading down to the beach. As a memento of our trip & as a thank you for the invite to our vacation property, she wanted to gift a framed copy of it to me.
I waited in anticipation….and waited…and waited…..and then…..on a couples trip she & her husband recently joined us on…

She one-upped herself!
Smiling on the staircase

(the railing was added after our girls trip)

Definitely worth the wait.🙂
My lovely friend had commissioned a local artist to paint the staircase from the original photo- which made it an even more special and thoughtful gift. She called “Stairway to Heaven”, because the beach IS Heaven….isn’t it?!

Stairway to Heaven

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(Patricia hanging onto the painting for dear life! There’s a reason people from all over the world come to Cabarete to Kitesurf!!)

Now when I see it hanging on the wall, I will forever be reminded of what a wonderful friend I have.
Art by Samantha Chilvers

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Cabarete Glow

morning calm

ocean glow

The Power of Cabarete

Cabarete Beach Houses

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Live your life in COLOUR!

Live your life in colour

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Good Morning Cabarete!

Lightness of Heart

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Free and Wild!

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Escape to the Dominican Republic

Vacation Beach rentals in the lush North Coast of the Dominican Republic

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