Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mustique's Royal Visitors

The intimate 2.2 square mile island of Mustique {West Indies} is brimming this week with the buzz of Royal visitors. Albeit that the Middleton clan are not royals, they were vacationing with their newly married daughter Kate {the Duchess of Cambridge} at the Aurora Villa Resort. Prince William joined his new bride and her family a few days into the trip when he completed a business assignment.

Pippa, Kate, and Carole Middleton

The Royals are not strangers to the privately owned island; Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited the island in 1966, 1977, and 1985. The island of Mustique is owned by Mustique Company, and in turn is owned by the island's home owners. The island was bought in 1958 by Colin Tennant {Lord Glenconner} for 45,000 GBP, and he spent the next 30 years transforming the swamp land into an exclusive development.
In 1989 Mustique Island was transformed from a family estate into a private limited company with the homeowners as shareholders.

Les Jolies Eaux

Princess Margaret accepted a wedding gift of a plot of land on the island of Mustique from Lord Glenconner. It was not until 1972 that the Princess's island home 'Les Jolies Eaux' {Beautiful Waters} was built from a design that her Uncle-in-law Oliver Messel designed. The antics of Princess Margaret while at Les Jolies Eaux are legendary.
It was there that the romance developed with Roddy Llewellyn, a gardener 17 years her junior. And after returning from the Falkland Island duty, Prince Andrew romped at the island home with his once time girlfriend Koo Stark.

Glenconner and  Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret at her home Les Jolies Eaux                  Getty images

Of the 110 current home owners who own the island are Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Tommy Hillfiger, Mick Jagger, David Ross and Felix Denis. The resort island has been visited by Amy Winehouse, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant, and David Bowie who once owned a home on the island.
The Middleton's have enjoyed the private island many times in the past and are rumoured to be interested in purchasing a home on Mustique.

Aurora Villa on the island of Mustique

The news of the Middleton's and the young Royals arriving on the island has whipped a flurry of comments including the need for increased security. The Mustique Company, who owns the island, is no stranger to both notorious guests and Royal guests who require additional security. Albeit that other island guests are viewed and questioned more during this tenure, it is for their security as well that additional measures are taken. The paparazzi has increased their aggressive behaviour over recent years in the hunt for the perfect photo and have proven that they will stop at nothing to get the shot.

The quiet seclusion of the island offers guests and home owners the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters among the coral reefs. As landmarks go on an island that is only 2.2 square miles, Basil's Bar has been 'creating a vibe' since the '60's. With a mantra of 'live in the moment'; is it any wonder that Prince William felt relaxed enough on an earlier visit to belt out his rendition of Elvis' tune - 'Suspicious Minds', a'la karaoke style. William just may let loose again to serenade the Middleton ladies for the January birthdays {Kate turned 30 on January 9th, and Mother Carole turns 57 later this week}.

Here is a peak inside the Aurora Villa that the Middleton's and Young Royals are calling home for the birthday celebration trip.

Aurora Villa floor plan

private pool at Aurora Villa

one of the many porch area's at Aurora Villa

Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Dragon

January 23rd {today} is Chinese New Year's, the year of the Dragon. The celebration lasts for 15 days and is one of the most important holidays in Chinese traditions. Each year is represented by one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. This year the Dragon will be honoured.


Dragon and lion dances at the festivals marking the New Year are loud and lively. The noise from the beat of the drums and cymbals, combined with the frightening masks is believed to expel evil spirits.

On the fifteenth day the red lanterns are widely used to complete the celebrations. According to Chinese astrology those born under the zodiac sign of the Dragon are strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual and passionate...... often conceited, hot-headed and quick tempered.
Year of the Dragon babies would be born in : 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 and 2012.

Gong Xi Fa Ca !        'Wishing You Well'  {Mandarin}

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What an incredible sound

Today we received a heart tugging note and a home video from Richard's Sister. In the video Deb was at the oncology department joyously ringing a bell. Deb has just completed her fourth session of chemotherapy as part of her treatment for breast cancer.  She will continue on in four weeks with radiation.

She explained: 
'Each time a chemo patient has completed their last chemo treatment a bell is rung to celebrate. All of the patients and staff look forward to the day they can ring the bell with hope for the future, and with gratitude for the wonderful care from the Credit Valley Hospital staff in the oncology department.'

Deb is a nurse and had worked in the oncology department some years ago, she continues nursing in another sector now. She is the most fit person, and the most up beat person I have ever met. Deb runs marathons, cycles in marathons, swims, and skis. I'm almost afraid to ask sometimes what else she is doing because I can't help but feel lazy. She LOVES to be active and thrives on it, and none of this slowed her down. 
I think one of the keys to Deb's good health now is that she had conditioned her body and her mind all of her life. I cannot describe how incredible she looks and how positive she is. 

As I watched the eight second clip of her ringing the bell I couldn't help but have a huge lump choke my throat. I'm so proud of her, we all are. Deb has the love and support of a devoted husband and two children. And then there is the huge family ..... the gaggle of all of us waiting for the bell of celebration to ring.

I kept thinking from the moment Deb told us she had cancer and was waiting for the results for treatment: she's really strong, she's a nurse, she knows what this is all about. Somewhere I got the idea that it would be less frightening for her because she knows what to expect, and she knows what must be done to be healthy through this process. How crazy of me. 
The truth is that she knows more than anyone all of the details and she stood strong throughout it all. 

So there she is today on an eight second video clip ringing the bell on the wall in the oncology department, clapping her hands and wearing her million watt smile. 
What an incredible sound... the bells of celebration, the sound of applause for the gratitude and the cheers of faith.

Oh Blah !

Although I am thankfully that this January the month is not 'white' {as in snow covered}, the greyness can leaving me feeling kind of blah. Maybe we have it all wrong, maybe we do need some of the white fluffy stuff so we can have a snow day. Then we could stay at home, make cookies, snuggle down and watch old movies for the day.

The craziness of the holidays are over, the decorations are stowed away for another year. And now we wait ......  for spring ........ for sunshine ........ for warm breezes. 
And it seems so far away. 

Oh Blah !

I have so many projects to do and talked myself into the idea that doing them in the winter makes much more sense. But the days are grey and lazy.

My to-do list is pretty simple ..... some small painting projects, installing a new daybed in the spare room for our granddaughter, organizing our photo's that need to be scanned. 
I have a new camera that Richard a'ka Santa bought me for Christmas. I can sit for days playing with it and trying out the features. But it feels as if all of the images might turn out grey right now. 

Comfort food like milk & cookies makes everything seem brighter.

Normally I'm a little peeved that the stores have barely taken the Christmas tree's down and they are promoting Valentine's Day. But this year it seems encouraging to see the progress of the season, and bright spring colours landing in the stores early. A smile did come to my face when I walked into a store and saw racks of colourful jeans. Whew, I had the sensibility to buy two pairs of bright jeans in the summer. No grey there.

To my blog friends in Australia I want to say - Bless you, and thank you for sharing the beautiful images of your spring/summer flowers. You brighten the days for those of us who are looking at dirt smudges on the windows and cloudy skies.

Here's to adding a big dash of colour to the day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Red Carpet GLAMOUR

Tonight the Golden Globe awards were being presented at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. 
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual Golden Globe Awards has enabled the non-profit organization to donate more than 12 Million dollars over seventeen years to entertainment related charities.

The awards..........the nominations.......... the winners........... the red carpet. 
The red carpet pre-shows are as much of a fan fare as the awards. In addition to recognizing the talent of many actors, directors, writers, producers in television and film.....there is the fashion.

Here are my awards for red carpet fashion from the Golden Globes 2012.

Jessica Alba                    getty
My number one pick is this beautiful dress that Jessica Alba wore. Jessica was a vision of elegance in a mauve chiffon gown with seed beading and a soft drape trane. 

Julie Bowen     

Julie Bowen in a soft blush tone organza gown by Reem Acra. There were three actresses on the red carpet who wore fashions by Reem Acra. This old Hollywood style gown would be my choice.

Jessica Chastain                     reuters

Actress Jessica Chastain wore this white Givenchy gown with delicate pearl beading around the neckline and throughout the soft flow of the gown. Jessica was elegant and sophisticated.

Maria Menounos                      getty
Not many women could wear this colour of gown and look so stunning, but Maria Menounos presents a picture of beauty and confidence in this electrifying yellow bead gown. The lines of the dress are perfectly simple and gorgeous all at the same time.

Morena Baccarin                                        getty
The award for pure fresh beauty should go to Morena Baccarin. She is seductively beautiful with a million watt smile and sparkling eyes..... and I seriously want hair like hers. 
She is gorgeous and Glamourous!

Octavia Spencer                           getty
Best Supporting Actress award went to Octavia Spencer for her role in The Help. I literally clapped my hands when she won, if you haven't seen this movie you must.
Octavia walked the red carpet in her mauve ruched chiffon gown and flashed her 4 inch heeled silver Louboutin shoes. She wore the look of confidence and soft beauty.

Viola Davis                                       getty

Best Actress Nominee Voila Davis {The Help}, who always dazzles with her incredible smile, took the wattage up several degrees last night when she wore this beautiful one shoulder ruby chiffon gown. 

Helen Mirren                                    getty
Dame Helen Mirren looks beautiful in this navy gown with crystal belt and matching evening bag. Helen is glowing and always makes fashion choices that compliment her incredibly fit and toned body.

Nicole Richie                               reuters
 Nicole Richie looks stunning in this silver body hugging gown by Julien Macdonald. Her long hair was creatively styled partially up but left to flow over her shoulders {styled by Sauve hair professionals}.

Charlize Theron in DIOR

Charlize Theron was one of many actresses who wore a soft blush colour. The plunging neckline {or lack there of} was highlighted with an equally dramatic front slit and soft chiffon oversized bow.

Nicole Kidman                                getty

Stepping on the red carpet wearing the trend of a pale and soft pallet was Nicole Kidman. Ms. Kidman's Versace gown is a soft silver grey adorned with gold beading. 

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt               reuters
This is one of the rare images of Angelina smiling at tonight's award red carpet walk. With her hair pulled back severely and for the most part a very solemn look, it distracted from Angelina's beautiful gown. The white satin Versace gown is highlighted with just a touch of red, and it was perfectly fitted to her very tiny frame. 
The gown is in a classic style and fabric, and is true red carpet Glamour.

Sarah Hyland

And then there is the moment that no actress ever wants to have to face. Sarah Hyland, who is probably a size 0, had the zipper break on her vintage Dolce and Gabbana gown. Just as the young actress from Modern Family stepped on to the red carpet she felt her dress suddenly 'burst' and start to slip off of her tiny body. She retained her dignity and was escorted to the back of the carpet area where crew sewed her gown closed.
She carried on with red carpet interviews and laughed about the whole thing. 

Sarah Hyland in Vintage Dolce and Gabbana

This is just the beginning of the red carpet season ~ let the Glamour begin. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Have a GLAMOUROUS Weekend

Wishing you a weekend filled with relaxation, fun, and GLAMOUR.

VOGUE 1943

Update: Glamour Drops asked the origin of this image. I missed labeling it originally - this great image is from VOGUE circa 1943. And yes, it is a classic beauty.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Albeit that our tans have faded from the beach vacation we enjoyed in December, the memories of the beautiful resort lingers and seems to call out to us. 
Richard and I desperately (ok, maybe not desperate - but it felt like it) needed to escape to a beach for two weeks. We enjoyed the inclusive luxury of Excellence Resorts when we stayed at the Cancun (Mexico) destination twice in the past couple of years. 
This time we packed our swimsuits and headed out to
Excellence Punta Cana (Dominican Republic).

Beach Beds @ Excellence Punta Cana

The exclusive adult resorts have earned the right to boast that as a guest you will be spoiled. Attention to detail and the whim of guests needs are at the top of the Excellence menu.

The romantic getaways are surrounded by lush tropical greenery and are situated on private beaches. The Punta Cana destination we stayed in features two generous size pools with one of them rambling on forever like a river.

There are eight unique restaurants to tantalize your taste buds with an abundant selection of food ensuring that you cannot possibly go hungry. The resort labours over several outdoor festival style events each week. The 'White Night' is a beautiful evening of food and celebration under the strings of white canopies, lights, set with chairs and decor draped in white fabric. It is suggested that guests wear white for the evening which creates an elegant aura to the night. Part of this sparkling night is the entertainment program that is a well executed circus/acrobatic routine.

Circus performers @ Excellence Punta Cana

There is a different entertainment show each night and by far our favourites were the Circus Show with full acrobatic/aerial routines, and the Micheal Jackson review. The performer who portrays the late pop king has perfected the routine to the point that you believe there could possibly have be an incarnation. We discovered that the entertainment group is a talent filled pool who generously performs across a strong cross section.

circus performer

There is a great saxophone player who performs nightly in the lounge area. We always went and celebrated with a glass of bubbly ........ and a couple of dances before dinner each night.
I LOVE dancing with Richard.

Richard and I at White Night.

Adding another layer of exclusivity and luxury is the Excellence Club. This level of luxury includes private members bar, private beach area, some resorts feature private pool area's for Excellence Club guests, and of course private concierge service.

Excellence Club Beach Beds

I really enjoy being at the pool edge and swimming in the fresh water sans the whip of the salt water waves that the ocean provides. The layout of the resort and long pool allows guests to relax at the beach and make the choice to swim in the ocean or the pool. We found that the design of the facilities in the resort meant that everything was easily accessible.

The resorts offer something for everyone, the choice is yours. Swim up to the pool bar for the constant happy hour, and join in an active game of water volleyball. There is the tranquil area of the resort where you can lay by the waterfall pool and hear nothing but the splash of the water. 

Enjoy a game of giant chess or sweat through a workout at the well equipped gym {hurray for us, we hit the gym every second day}.

We ventured off of the resort one day to take in a scuba/snorkeling excursion. And although we did not take part in the horseback riding program, guests can enjoy a gallop along one of the outer beaches.

The resort employs 700 people who meet an advanced criteria that exceeds many of the other resorts in the area; the result is a definitive level of service.
Whenever we greeted one of the staff and ask 'how are you today'; endearingly they replied 'Ex-cell-en-tay'.
They truly have earned the right to boast that they are Ex-cell-en-tay.

Richard breathing in the air at the beach.

  We relaxed and enjoyed the tranquility of this beautiful resort.
The highlight of the trip was having time together...... just the two of us. It was so romantic.

In a few days I will take you on a tour of the luxurious spa.

All images by Katherine :: Glamour Begins At Home