Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An English Wedding Weekend

This English town and country wedding featured on 100 Layer Cake caught my eye not only because its absolutely lovely in a very English way but also because the couple live internationally, had guests flying in from around the globe and wanted to host a weekend of events for their guests who had travelled so far to share this celebration with them (something I will have to do for my own wedding if I get married over here).

The couple, Lisa and Rory, welcomed their guests with a riverside picnic and then an evening BBQ, complete with lawn games.   The wedding venue, The Old Belle in Hurley, Berkshire, had enough room to accommodate all 140 wedding guests, so everyone could settle in for the weekend.

The wedding ceremony and reception will filled with fantastic detail that felt very English in so many ways.

(How great is this photo?)

I also love the story about the table settings.  Fitting with the fact that the wedding was being held at an inn (US read: pub that also happens to be a B&B), each of the tables boasted a faux-pub name.  Each table setting then featured a toy tying in with that theme.  For example, The Royal Wee (Head Table) - mini paper crowns, The Pig & Whistle - pigs, The Stumbled Inn - vintage silver boot shot glasses, The Barge Inn - mini origami paper boat hats, The Slap & Tickle - game bird feathers, The Stag & Legless - stags, The Well Read Lion - lions, The Cock & Bull - cockerels for girls, bulls for boys, The Juicy Pear -juicy ripe pears, The Insipid Carrot -baby organic carrots with stalks, The Drunken Duck - ducks, The Spotted Dick - vintage silver dessert spoons (and if you don't know already, spotted dick is an English dessert kind of like bread pudding with raisins and custard).

This wedding was photographed by Caught the Light and Merry Lee Harrington of Forever & Ever Events was the wedding planner.

(Photographs from Caught the Light, Forever & Ever Events and 100 Layer Cake, links above)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

London Guide: Stein's Richmond

My apologies for getting off to a late start this week. I must admit, I had a very relaxing and indulgent weekend, and then had to travel to Reading yesterday for work (I'm not sure those are good excuses).  Anyway, I promise that the restaurant in today's London Guide was worth the wait!

Stein's opened on Richmond riverside in 2004, with a second branch opening in Kingston-upon-Thames in the last couple of years, and is an amazing place to spend even a remotely nice day on the riverside, let alone a gorgeous English summer day.  Providing "the Bavarian experience," Stein's has a huge menu of genuine Bavarian and other German cuisine and, as its name suggests, an array of German beer served in steins (you can get pints too, if you're not quite in it for the drinking).  However, if you are seriously in it for the drinking, be aware that their license stipulates that you have to order food with your beers. 

The riverside location of Stein's makes it a difficult place to get a seat on a sunny day, and you may have to queue.  Alternatively, you can make reservations.

The food at Stein's is seriously good.  I've only been to Munich once, and it was back in 2008, but from what I remember, this food definitely hits the mark for taste and for authenticity.  The menu is fairly extensive, so you can get smaller plates of sausages with various potato side or, if you're in a group, they have some amazing looking sharing platters.

I have only been with K during our local weekend wanderings (we are fortunate enough to live a short walk away), so we've just ordered sausage plates.  The first time, I ordered the M├╝nchner Bratw├╝rst with panfried potatoes, sauerkraut and salad (pictured below), and K went for the chicken schnitzel with potato salad (also below).  I have also had the currywurst, which was delicious. I cannot eat here without ordering at least one pretzel (read: no less than two), especially as they have that sweet German mustard and, for some reason, I don't feel guilty about filling an entire plate with it.

I need to round up a few friends and entice them down to Richmond (most Londoners feel this pocket of London is far too west, but they don't know what they're missing), because there's a giant sausage feast for 8, which they serve on a meter-long wooden board, suspended on steins and overflowing with German delights, that I have my eyes on.  

I took an Instavid, which also involved a stunning plate of currywurst, but I couldn't figure out how to upload it to Blogger - shame.

This will certainly be a regular for me from now on - I just wish it hadn't taken me nearly two years of living in the neighbourhood to discover it!

Ratings: (numbers out of 10, £ out of 4)

Drinks: 9
Food: 9
Atmosphere: 9
Service: 8
Price: ££
Overall experience: 9.5

(Images: mostly taken by me, for once, a few c/o Stein's)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

La Dolce Vita

Photographer Gray Malin has produced another brilliant collection - this time, on a 2,000 mile road trip to visit 22 of Italy's most famous beaches.  The series La Dolce Vita was inspired by the glamourous Italian Riviera lifestyle of the 1950s and 60s and sought to capture the nostalgia that the retro-vintage beach umbrellas evoke.

I followed along as Gray Malin shot this series on instagram, using the hashtag #MaisonItaly.  I love this collection even more than his last, and will definitely be ordering a print.

Definitely check out the full collection.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's a Boy!

The wait that began long before Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Wills and Kate) got married is over with the arrival of His Royal Highness the Prince of Cambridge.  Welcome to the world Baby Cambridge!

This may be the first time in the birth of a British monarch that some people are actually disappointed that its a boy, largely due to the change in the primogeniture laws meaning that, if it were a little Princess, she would have become Queen over any of her little brothers or other male relatives.

Believe it or not, a lot of babies in Britain have gone unnamed for the last few weeks, awaiting the arrival of Baby Cambridge - due to parents who wanted to avoid giving their own offspring the royal moniker and those who wanted to celebrate and honour the fourth in line to the throne by giving their child the same name.

At the time of writing, we are, of course, still awaiting the name of the new little Prince. For the record, these are my picks for Baby Cambridge (no, I have not put any money on the naming, like so many others have):

Prince _______ of Cambridge
1. Arthur
2. George

3. Edward

In celebration, and until the new royal bundle is presented to the public, some photos of the previous baby princes and their mothers.

What I would really like to know - what are the chances of getting another bank holiday this year?

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