Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Palma is one of the loveliest cities in the world. It is small – small enough to walk or cycle around in one day, but it’s also beautiful, and big enough to get lost in. There are lots of small streets to meander through as your try to find your way around; from the elegance of El Born and Ramblas (it’s like a mini Barcelona), to the slightly more relaxed and uber fashionable Santa Catalina, which is where all the cool cats hang out!

Hidden away through a maze of tiny streets in the very centre of the city is a lovely, peaceful square. On that square there is a beautiful church and it appears not much else, until you spot the subtly branded Sant Francesc Hotel Singular. In August Palma is hot! We were there in early August when most people who are visiting the island are in the coastal beach resorts or relaxing by their swimming pool at their country finca. We just had one night in the city after a lovely stay in Pollensa and it was the perfect end to our holiday. The hotel is beautiful – housed in a former palace with interiors that could have been lifted from the pages of an interior magazine. And it’s cool. Physically and metaphorically. We arrived from the sweltering heat of the car and immediately felt refreshed. The reception area is super stylish and comfortable and the rest of the hotel reflects that.

After we settled in and unpacked a few things, we headed up to the pool area on the roof for a light lunch and a glass of something pink. The food was delicious (a mixture of sushi and salad) and the view across the rooftops is magical. It’s also a great place for a spot of people watching.

Once the sun started to go down, we decided to brave the heat and went for a potter around the City across to the Cathedral. It’s such an amazing building, a must see if you do visit Palma. We then headed back to the hotel (via a couple of cute wine bars that we stumbled across) to have supper at the hotel’s awards winning restaurant, Quadrat, located in the former stables of the palace. We opted for the tasting menu with accompanying wine flight and we weren’t disappointed. The food was delicious and the setting magical – we went to bed to very full and happy and had a great night’s sleep in the soft, comfy beds.

It really is a wonderful place to stay in an almost perfect city. I can’t recommend it enough.

LBM

x

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Bedroom at Hotel San Francesc

Bedroom at Hotel San Francesc, Palma

Hotel San Francesc, Palma

Hotel San Francesc, Palma

Hotel San Francesc, Palma

Swimming costume by ASOS (similar here), sunglasses by Tom Ford, earrings from Dinny Hall (similar here).

Palma Rooftops

Palma Rooftops

Rooftop swimming pool, Palma

Palma rooftops

Palma Rooftops

Palma, Mallorca

Palma, Mallorca

Hotel San Francesc, Palma, Mallorca

Palma Cathedral

Palma Cathedral

(Images by Patrick Butler-Madden)

A collection of my favourite February moments.

Oh February…definitely not my favourite month of the year – even though it’s the shortest month of the year, it somehow always feels like the longest. It’s cold, often grey and by this stage we are all totally fed up with Winter!

This year during February I have mainly been dreaming and daydreaming about sunshine. About being somewhere warm and balmy and not having to wrap up in layer after layer each time I leave the house. Oh and have I mentioned mud?! Yes the mud around our house at the moment is totally out of control. We haven’t been able to lay gravel in the drive yet as work is ongoing and the garden is one big pit of mud, which gets dragged into the house every time an animal or human comes inside. Everything is SO muddy! We hope that by the end of March the garden work will be underway and that we will have gravel soon too.

Moaning over, February has also had some lovely moments. We kept Valentine’s Day very low key this year, but did share some delicious biscuits from The Biscuiteers. They were almost too pretty to eat, but once I’d tasted the first one it somehow became easier! If you’re not familiar with them do check out their website, they have a beautiful selection and make lovely gifts too.

We also snuck away to our favourite hotel, Babington House, for a night. We love it there – it has a very special place in our hearts as it is where we married in 2012. They offer great rates to members for spontaneous stays, so we snuck off on a Sunday night with the dogs in tow. They are super dog friendly there, which we love. If you haven’t been before I can’t recommend it enough. They have the perfect balance of relaxed and elegant and the food is to die for. There is the added bonus of the Cowshed Spa, which is always indulgent and lovely. I had a mini facial and it was perfect!

Speaking of facials, my skin has been really suffering with the cold Winter weather. I’ve put together a round-up of my top beauty products to nourish your skin at this time of year, I’ve loved hearing about some of your suggestions too.

One positive thing to come of all the cold, grey weather we’ve been having, is that my daydreaming about far flung places has led me to hatch a potentially exciting plan. We have been really unsure what our next development project would be. We are struggling to find anything in the UK that excites us or that has real potential. That plus the high taxes and uncertainty with Brexit mean that we are now looking abroad and Menorca is currently top of our list. If anyone has any tips please do get in touch. I can’t wait to share our research with you. First trip is booked in for early May!

Have a lovely end of February and hooray to March and Spring!

LBM

x

Sunshine on the streets of Palma in Mallorca

Tulips and Narcissi - gorgeous Spring flowers.

Dorset Countryside

Beautiful Valentine's Biscuits from The Bisuiteers

Lola on the sofa at Babington House

My Winter Beauty Selection

Coco on the sofa at Babington House

Beautiful Dorset Countryside

 

Laura Butler-Madden's Winter Beauty Round-up

Those who know me will know that I’m a bit of a beauty addict – I’m also very brand loyal, so once I find a brand I love I do like to keep using it, which can cause it’s own issues as there are so many gorgeous brands out there to try! I also like to as much as possible to stick to natural products as I’m quite conscious about what I’m putting on my skin. I’m a huge fan of both Ren and Cowshed, which have amazing natural ranges – I have recently started using Cowshed’s new deodorant, Cow Pit, which I’m so pleased to have discovered. I’ve been looking for an effective chemical free deodorant for a long time and this one really fits the bill.

I’ve also recently discovered the brand Figs & Rouge – I simply love their range of products – the packaging is classy in monochrome and they use natural bio-active technology. I think in Winter it’s particularly important to look after and nourish your skin, so I wanted to share my top Winter beauty buys!

Laura Butler-Madden's Winter Beauty Round-up

  • First on my list is sleep! In winter I find I’m always lower in energy and so a good night’s sleep is even more important. For Christmas I was given a beautiful satin eye mask from Olivia Von Halle and it’s changed the way I sleep. In the past I have only ever used an eye mask when travelling on long haul flights, but over the last couple of months I’ve been channelling Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl and wearing it each night at home too. I can’t tell you how much it’s changed my sleep – although I don’t think I’m sleeping for longer, I am definitely sleeping more deeply, with less interruptions. And you just can put a price on a good night’s sleep!
  • A moisturising bath oil is really important to keep skin soft in winter months – my current choice is Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil from Ren.
  • It’s important to moisturise well after your bath too – for best results apply a moisturiser or oil while your skin is still a little damp – I’m currently using Moroccan Rose Otto Body Lotion, but another of my favourites is Divine Oil by Caudalie, which really does smell divine!
  • Also make sure you cleanse your skin well morning and night, but in the colder months use something gentle on your skin. My current choice is Figs & Rouge Clarifianté Purifying and I’m also loving their Hydra – Active 3 in 1 Hero Cream – perfect for dry skin on face or hands.
  • Really nourish your skin in Winter – I adore Chantecaille and I find the Aromacologie Vital Essence and Flower Harmonizing Cream perfect for these cold months, so I use those every morning and a night oil every evening – currently I’m using Själ Saphir Concentrate oil, which is a great product. Don’t be put off by the price tag as one small bottle will last months – I’ve had mine since October and it’s still going strong!
  • In Winter I wear also tend to wear a bit more make up – in summer I only wear a tinted moisturiser, but at the moment I feel that I need a bit more colour and coverage, so am using Chantecaille (I told you I was brand loyal!) Future Skin in Nude.
  • Otherwise I tend to keep my make up quite simple – YSL Touche Eclat and YSL Mascara and a slick of lipgloss…
  • Lips need a lot of care in Winter – currently I am loving Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil – it glides on, it really moisturising and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. The same goes for their Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, I love the soft colour that it gives – very natural and flattering.
  • Finally my choices for Winter scent! As I mentioned above, I have recently discovered Cowshed’s Cow Pit, which I love – it smells divine and it actually works, which isn’t always the case with natural deodorants. For perfume I’m a huge fan of Bella Bellissima – it’s a really upmarket, niche perfume brand sold in stores such as Selfridges and Fortnum’s. When it comes to scent I like to be unique and for this Bella is perfect. She has a large range with something to suit everyone. I’m currently alternating between Perfect Life and N0 3 – if you haven’t tried them before then I highly recommend popping to the counter in Selfridges for a good sniff!

Laura Butler-Madden's Winter Beauty Round-up

Laura Butler-Madden's Winter Beauty Round-up

 

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

We had the most glorious weekend with friends in New England in October – it’s taken me a while to get round to sorting all the photos of our trip, but finally I’m there! For P’s 40th birthday present we headed out to the US for a two week trip around New England. It was such a treat and we started the holiday in style by using our air miles to upgrade to First Class!

We arrived in Boston to spend the weekend with some great friends who live there – they have a gorgeous house in the Cambridge area of the City as well as a weekend house in the beautiful, leafy (which was perfect for that time of year!), sleepy seaside town of Annisquam.

As you can see from the photos, it really is a stunning place. The beaches and the clapboard houses are to die for. We pottered around the gorgeous town of Rockport (the town in the George Clooney movie, A Perfect Storm), bought some fresh lobster and headed back home after a delicious seafood lunch and walk on the beach.

That evening we wanted to catch the sunset in the bay next to their house – we were back a little late, so had to run to get there in time, but it was so worth it as you can see below! When we got home shattered from all the exertion(!), we relaxed in ourPJs, drinking champagne and eating lobster – such an indulgence and the perfect end to the perfect weekend!

The next part of the trip I’ll be sharing is our drive into Vermont to stay at the famous Pitcher Inn.

LBM

x

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

Laura Butler-Madden's Trip to New England

I have been fairly quiet over the past few months – working away behind the scenes on the blog’s new look, our new house, as well as a new website for interior design.

I have been getting more and more enquiries over the last year or so, which is very flattering, so I thought it time to take the plunge and put a portfolio website together online – the result is LBM Design Studio – I really hope you like it!

To celebrate the launch thought I would take a little trip down memory lane with you. Over the coming weeks I will share pictures of some of the rooms I have enjoyed designing the most as well as some of the rooms that have resonated most online, being shared on sites like Houzz and Pinterest.

First up is this lovely master bedroom in Battersea. It was one of the first projects I worked on and I loved this space so much – the striking wallpaper from Tapet Cafe, combined with Cornforth White paint from Farrow & Ball worked well together to create a lovely calming palette and a serene, elegant space. A calming colour palette is the basis of all bedrooms that I design – I really feel they should always be a luxurious sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.

The Vogue print in the picture above was a personal commission – I asked my talented friend Buzzy to paint it for me and he has since been asked to recreate it a few times after people have spotted it on Pinterest. I think it has been saved over 20,000 times in total, which is just amazing!

I hope you like this selection of images – if you want to recreate a look similar to this in your home, then sign up for blog updates or follow me on instagram, as I will be sharing a ‘Get the Look’ post here soon!

LBM

x