Fancy Hotel of the Week – Chateau Whistler Christmas

  We’ve just concluded a weekend of festivities for the Minx’s birthday and it feels like the New Year has finally started. I actually love this time of year as I feel no guilt about sitting indoors in front of my computer, hiding from the unremitting greyness and gloom of a Seattle January, and can actually get sh*t done. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Although Christmas feels like a long time ago now, I just wanted to share some photos of our trip to Whistler this year, mostly because we had the most wonderful time. We don’t have any family here in the States, so it’s become our tradition to drive up to Whistler and take a pampering break in a hotel. This year we managed to score a deal and stayed for the first time at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, nestling at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler’s Upper Village. And all was utterly perfect. Unfortunately for our finances it was so perfect that we might just have to return every year, deal or no deal. From the minute we drew up at the front entrance, it felt like Christmas had begun. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by   Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Yes, roaring log fires, a quite ludicrous number of Christmas trees, life-sized gingerbread houses, beautiful wintry walks across the golf course, a big Christmas dinner-dance, macarons and chocolate fondue on tap, a very hard-working Santa and Mrs Claus, and even a Christmas stocking hung on the door of everyone’s room on Christmas morning are going to very difficult to beat.

Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by
Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by

There was obviously also far too much scope for ‘sparkly light’ photos. Apologies. The Minx-sized gingerbread house was all completely edible and smelt incredible. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by The view from our room. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Not much snow (though enough for the Husband and the Minx to enjoy their skiing) but the golf course was still pretty. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by On the night before Christmas Mrs Claus read to the kids under the tree. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Then we had enjoyed eiswein and macarons in bed while watching a relaxing movie. And Santa’s special stocking delivery the following day was a really magical ouch. Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Amazing food, gorgeous decorations and quite a good band actually for the big Christmas dinner-dance.

Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by

Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by Chateau Whistler Christmas photography by It was really hard to leave.


Edible Seattle January


The Minx went back to school this morning, the Christmas tree will be packed away tonight, a watery sun is turning the lake to molten silver and finally I am back at my desk with two grumpy cats who hate the cold. Happy New Year to me.

And January has started in the nicest possible way with my very first editorial photographs in the January/February issue of Edible Seattle !

Edible Seattle January photography by

I can’t show you much until the issue leaves the newstands but here is a sneak peak at my new regular seasonal cake column (which will be appearing in every other issue), featuring my recipe for Spiced Parsnip Cake with Bourbon Brown Butter Frosting.  I will be able to share the proper photographs and full recipe with you all here in a month or two, but in the meantime I recommend that you get the magazine if you’re in the Seattle area. Loads of fabulous seasonal recipes to be found within its pages.

I also recommended to new editor Tara that she interview the inimitable Vicky Brown of Little Brown Farm whom I met on the Whidbey Island Farm to Table Workshop. Vicky gave an inspiring and thought provoking interview, and Tara was kind enough to use a couple of the photos I took at the workshop to illustrate it. Of course it is totally impossible to go wrong with cute baby goats.

Edible Seattle January photography by

Again I’ll share the proper pics of our trip to the farm with you at a later date.

In the meantime there is nothing more exciting than seeing your work in print, here’s hoping I get more used to it in 2014!


Weekend Link Love



Here is a photo from my winter wanderings around the golf courses of Whistler and here are some more tidbits from this week’s wanderings around the Internet.

This article about focusing not on goals, but on systems is really resonating with me. I’ve been trying to improve it over the last year, but nobody in our house is good at systems and I spend SO much time looking for things or reinventing various wheels. I’ve also started watching this CreativeLIVE course from Ari Meisel on the same subject and it’s definitely furnishing plenty of food for thought so far.

At the same time, I don’t think the systems within my body are working terribly well (I’ve put most of the weight I lost recently straight back on) so this article about losing weight without dieting made a lot of sense. I think there’s a lot that needs to be fixed and I don’t want to struggle AGAINST my body anymore.

This article TOTALLY works with this year’s quest for more ‘deliciousness’ in my life.

Whereas this time capsule Paris apartment is my dream home. Surely the movie of this story must be coming out some time soon?

And finally these bodymaps of the physical manifestations of human emotions are just mindblowing. Here’s wishing you lots of happiness and love in 2014!

We’re having one last weekend of festive fun – hosting a British Christmas party and then going to see the panto today, followed by SingalongaSoundofMusic on Sunday –  and then #maythelordandallthesaintsandangelsbepraised everyone goes back to school and work on Monday.


WTF Friday-Kim Kardashian’s Handbag


I thought it was about time for a good old-fashioned WTF Friday, just in case the following passed you by in all the Christmas madness.

Kim Kardashian's Handbag

While I was thrilled to get camera equipment for Christmas, Kim Kardashian was ‘lucky’ enough to receive a specially-commissioned one-of-a-kind gift from fiance Kanye West, her very own Birkin bag, hand-desecrated er, painted, by artist George Condo! Which apparently shows a naked Kim being punched in the face by naked momager Kris Jenner. Because, of course.

Kim Kardashian's Handbag

If you too would like to possess such a ‘gift’ then the basic Birkin will apparently set you back a meagre $40,000, while a George Condo original recently sold for more than $1 million, which makes it all the more sad that poor Kim is having to walk round with holes in her jeans.

And now I promise never to mention Kim Kardashian on the blog again. Apologies.


Life is Delicious


I’m not a huge believer in resolutions, though I do like the idea of taking stock and making ideas and plans for the year ahead at the beginning of January.  In fact this year I’ve decided that my new year will start on January 6th, as we’re still in full Christmas mode here  – the Minx is home from school, the Christmas decorations will stay up until Twelfth Night and we still have various gatherings and activities planned.

Life is Delicious photography by

Detailed resolutions don’t seem to work for me but I like the idea of choosing areas of focus for the year. Last year was The Year of Photography, The Year of Getting Fit and The Year of Getting Organised and I’d say I achieved one out of three (the photography), though I did make progress on the other two (and yes I DID tidy my desk). So this year is going to be The Year of Marketing (this blog is going to be a big part of that) and the Year of Getting Fit/Getting Organised 2.0.

I also love the idea of choosing a word of the year though I’ve never done it before. This year though, my word chose me.

I hit a big birthday at the tail end of last year and decided to give myself the present of a life coach and have been working with the inimitable Susan Hyatt. Though I’m very grateful for my lovely life and know I’m so much luckier than most, I wanted help with the stress, adrenal fatigue and insomnia which laid me so low this time last year and also help with building my new photography business.

We’re just starting the process and it’s been a fascinating so far, though there is still a lot to do. But the one thing coming out loud and clear so far is that I don’t stop enough to smell the roses and just ENJOY the simple things of life. That instead of rushing around from place to place that I should take the trouble to stop and just BE.

I got back from Whistler to find that Susan had sent me a special word charm necklace that she had commissioned from her best friend, jeweler Frances Cadora from Studio Fran, who makes the most spectacular one-off hammered silver pieces (I do LOVE my friends, but how lovely to have a tame jeweller at one’s disposal).

I was a bit teeny bit sceptical about someone else choosing my word, how could they know better than me?

Life is Delicious photography by

But Susan did. She chose the word DELICIOUS and it is perfect and wonderful and feels just right.  (I also feel honoured as she runs a fabulous online program called ‘Life is Delicious’ so it feels like she is lending me HER word).

So 2014 is the year that I look for deliciousness –  in food, in photography and in life in general.

Have you chosen a word of the year?  Or an area of focus? Or are you sticking with old fashioned resolutions? Or are you perfect just the way you are?  And if you want to commission Fran to make you your own word charm necklace for the year then I’m sure she’d be delighted to hear from you. (Oh and even her gift boxes are beautiful, handmade and covered with gold leaf).