Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Keeping Cool in Iceland

I've been meaning to share these lovely pictures of our trip to Iceland for a few months now - we went in April when the snow was thawing and the skies were blue, but my goodness it was cold still!

The wind was so strong - up to 40 miles an hour - so though it looked beautiful and I hoped we would do lots of walking and exploring, much of the time was spent hiding in the car! We were there for P's birthday trip and he wanted to mainly take photos - so day one we collected our wheels and did a lot of driving and exploring before heading to our first hotel, Hotel Budir

The hotel (pronounced boothir) is set on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, which is a two hour drive from Reykjavik.  To say it's set in amazing scenery is an understatement; extinct volcanoes, herds of gorgeous Icelandic ponies and the odd house or church popping up in the landscape - everything looks so tiny against the vast mountain backdrop, it is truly breathtaking. 

The hotel itself was cosy and romantic with beautiful views. The simple rooms were offset by a wonderfully cosy bar and a restaurant serving delicious and very gourmet food. All ingredients were locally sourced and creatively combined to make interesting and delicious dishes - we ate very well that night and then snuggled up away from the wind and cold for an early night and a very long sleep.

The next morning we set off bright and early for our second hotel - the famous and super stylish Ion Hotel, but more on that next time!


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{Photos by Patrick Butler-Madden}

Monday, 11 July 2016

A Beautifully Decadent Master Bathroom

Here are some pictures of the most decadent master bathroom that I have designed to date - it also happens to be my bathroom at home! It's the place where I start and finish my day; yoga in the morning (I've recently discovered Yoga with Adriene and love her teaching style) and winding down in the evening after a busy day with a long hot bath. 

Creating spaces at home where you can truly relax and feel pampered is so important. Yes a space needs to also be functional, but there is no reason that function and beauty can't always go together!

For this room I took a large guest bedroom to convert into the bathroom and create a beautiful and indulgent master suite. I have always wanted to have Victorian-style double doors between a bedroom and a bathroom and this house had the perfect proportions to do so. 

I commissioned a local joiner to make the doors as well as these beautiful wardrobes - it's a style I had admired for a long time - having mirror panelled doors really reflects the light in this north facing room and the detailing on the doors really helps to create the luxurious feel I was going for.

I am really pleased with the completed look - it really is a truly indulgent and relaxing space to hide away from the stresses of daily life. If you would like to try and re-create the look at home then scroll to the bottom of this post for supplier details.

Have a great week!


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GET THE LOOK: Victorian style bath and double console basin from Heritage Bathroom, solid oak parquet in Seashell from Fired Earth, Georgica Pond marble tiles also from Fired Earth, joinery from a local carpenter, but similar available from The Heritage Wardrobe Company, reclaimed fireplace from Ebay, Roberts Radio from John Lewis, Vogue print painted for me by a friend, please email me for details, Slim Aarons print above the fireplace, similar available from Surface View, glass orb chandelier from The White Company.


Monday, 27 June 2016

Delacroix, The National Gallery & Moroccan Rose

Last month I managed to just catch the Delacroix exhibition at the National Gallery before it closed. It was wonderful - so interesting to see works of this talented and lesser known artist, who was inspiration for so many of the great masters. Manet, C├ęzanne, Renoir, Van Gogh and Matisse all idolised his work and I too was blown away, particularly by his paintings of Morocco.

One of my favourite parts of visiting exhibitions is browsing in the shop afterwards. I love to buy gifts for people inspired by what I've just seen - I think I inherited this from my mother, as a child it seemed that Father Christmas spent rather a lot of time in the V&A or National Gallery gift shops!

So after the Delacroix I dived into the National Gallery shop, but this time instead of gifts for others, I treated myself to some amazing Moroccan rose treats and this weekend they really came in use; feeling very glum after Brexit I decided to pamper myself by decoating my bathroom with roses from the garden and run a lovely rose scented bath using the gorgeous Ren Rose Otto bath oil that I bought in the shop.  I also bought the amazing body scrub, body wash and body lotion as well as some lovely rose scented candles.

It was a full pampering exerience and definitely helped calm my mind and lift my mood!


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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Renovating a Victorian Carriage House

I am so excited to share the before pictures of a project very close to our hearts. P and I, along with our wonderful team, have been working for the past few months on this beautiful Victorian carriage house in the heart of the breathtaking Dorset countryside. It has been a hugely challenging, but we are really starting to make headway and see this historic building come to life again, which is both exciting and rewarding in equal measure. Prior to us taking it on, it had been divided up into three flats and lived in for a number of years without much updating taking place, so as you can see from the pictures, there was a lot to do!

Over coming weeks and months I will share updates on the work and I can't wait to see the finished home, which we hope to be moving into in time for Christmas, if not a little earlier. Spending time in Dorset has been such a pleasure! One of the most beautiful counties in the UK, it's where I was born and I actually grew up only fifteen minutes from this house. P and I were also both at school nearby, so it really does feel like coming home for both of us. 


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Monday, 13 June 2016

Win a Stylish Hepburn Mk II Radio

Unique British audio brand VQ have just launched their stunning new radio, the Hepburn Mk II and are kindly offering my readers the chance to win one! Available in range of 11 different colours from black, brown (pictured) to pink, mustard and teal you can definitely find a colour to suit your style. 

As well as being beautifully designed, these radios have DAB, DAB+ and FM Radio. You can also connect via Bluetooth to play all your own music, charge your phone through it and most importantly the sound quality is fantastic!

To be in with a chance of winning one all you have to do is like and share the competition post on Facebook - I will choose the winner next Monday.

Good Luck!


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Monday, 6 June 2016

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

This time last month P and I were in paradise. We have had quite a challenging year, so needed an indulgent and relaxing escape from it all. After lots of reading and research online we plumped for the beautiful Constance Le Prince Maurice in Mauritius; reading the Mr & Mrs Smith review we were sold and I'm pleased to say that it really didn't disappoint. The hotel is small enough to be intimate and private, but also has a lovely atmosphere which can often be lacking in hotels of this size and bigger. 

The staff were so attentive and the selection of food and wine at the hotel second to none - the wine list was huge - a selection made my the hotel's sommelier form all around the world, but with particular attention to South Africa. We really enjoyed trying various South African tipples in advance of our trip there next February! 

There were so many highlights at the hotel; the japanese and sushi restaurant was to die for, our romantic lunch for two on the beach (see picture above) and the floating bar and restaurant in the mangroves with resident Bull shark!

The rooms were beautifully designed with lots of natural wood finished which gave a classy, colonial feel. The spa was to die for and I also loved my early morning yoga classes in the beautiful gardens. I can't recommend this place enough, if you are looking for somewhere to relax and be pampered then it is the place to go - I look forward to trying out  the other Constance properties in future!


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{Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden}

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