Robert Browning - Home Thoughts, from Abroad

There are only a couple of days left in England, and I've been thinking of this poem all month, so I thought I'd share it again.

O, to be in England
Now that April 's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That 's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!


Bath and Body Works Hobnail Candles

Have you seen the hobnail candles at Bath and Body Works?  My sister gave me one for my birthday, and I love it.  (She gave me a blue one called Peace.)  They smell lovely and look so pretty.


Threshold Performance Sheets

I picked up a second set of these Threshold Performance Sheets at Target the other day because I have loved mine so much.  They are outstanding.  They're 100% cotton, made in India, and have great elastic all the way around the fitted sheet.


Huntsman Trophy Sheffield Lamp

This lovely Ethan Allen lamp was featured in Country Living: the Huntsman Trophy Sheffield Lamp.  It's so classic.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I had heard about this book and picked up a copy: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  It's been an interesting read.  I could tell you that her organization theory is to throw everything away, but there is a bit more to it...


Pure Wool Pillow

My husband's been searching for a good pillow for years.  We keep buying them and then throwing them out because they're not firm enough!  He just found an excellent solution from The Wool Company in England: a pure wool pillow.  It's packed with 100% wool filling.  They also sell extra bags of wool so that you can add stuffing as the pillow goes flat.  Genius.


Joseph Alleman: Wildflowers

I love this large oil painting by Joe.  (It's available through Astoria Fine Art in Jackson.)  It's so beautiful.  I love horses.


Liberty Party Goods

I recently learned that Oh Happy Day has a shop.  They have cute Liberty of London party goods, like these cupcake flags and paper napkins.  Lovely!


The Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame

When we're in England, we like to listen to Classic FM.  Lucky for us, we can get the station on TuneIn.  Over Easter weekend each year they broadcast a Hall of Fame of the top 300 pieces.  We loved listening to it.  They've been doing it for 20 years and have now compiled an ultimate collection.  Amazon says it will be out in October, but we already got it on Amazon UK!


Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Wreath

I saw this lovely wreath in a recent issue of Country Living.  It's from Williams-Sonoma, and they have a great selection of natural wreathes here.


Pepsi Ginger Cola

We were in Canada again a couple of weeks ago and found this interesting product in one of their stores.  Pepsi Ginger Cola tastes like a ginger snap in a Pepsi!  Very interesting.  (I just discovered that they're introducing a fancy version in the U.S., along with an 1893 Cola...)


Brahms Op. 118, No. 2 Intermezzo in A Major

We heard this song the other day, and I thought that it was so lovely.  Brahms composed 6 pieces for piano, and this is number 2 of his Opus 118.  I found the sheet music online - now I just need a piano!  (I'm not sure who this guy is, but the sound is great.)


Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy

I think I talked about this when we first went, but I've been thinking about it again: the toiletries at the first hotel the first time we went to England were from the Spa Therapy line by Gilchrist & Soames.  We stayed at the Sofitel Heathrow, and every time I catch a whiff of one of the Spa Therapy items it takes me back!


Bulk Barn

We were in Canada over the weekend and visited one of our favorite Canadian stores: Bulk Barn.  It's so great.  They have rows of bins of bulk candy, grains, dried fruit, beans, mixes...  We got some multi-grain crepe mix and some dried cherries and some granola.  I wish they would bring something like this to the States!


The Good Home Co. Laundry Fragrance

I don't know about you, but I have not found a natural laundry detergent that actually works.  I stick to Tide, but I've gone to the liquid one with no dyes or perfumes.  So I usually add some of Mrs. Meyer's Scent Booster in lavender.  I heard about another laundry fragrance made by The Good Home Co., so I ordered some to try.  It's a liquid version with a lavender scent.  I like it (but I have to admit that my husband thought it smelled a little like patchouli on his clothes...).


Starbucks Caramelized Honey

Starbucks has a new flavor: caramelized honey.  I had them put it in a hot chocolate for me, and it was delicious!