Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Here we are again…mid January, 15th to be exact and it’s been labelled Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. This year I must say I have to agree. I’m most definitely a glass half full kind of person, but this year I am finding January a real struggle!

How is it that we are only halfway through the month?! It feels like it has gone on for weeks already and the weather, don’t get me started on the weather… in Dorset we have mainly had torrential rain and very high winds and there is mud everywhere…

I am finding myself missing City life or even better, dreaming of moving abroad! Top of the list today are Sydney and Madrid 🙂

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

On that note I want to share with you our latest project in Menorca – sadly we can’t live there as it’s a business investment, but right now I would give a lot to be sitting on the terrace sipping a G&T! It’s 20 degrees there today and the forecast is pretty similar all week.

Having finished the house in Dorset last August, Patrick and I are both missing renovating…it only ever takes a few months before we’re ready to start the next project. Because of the bleak political and economic landscape in the UK at the moment, we have decided that it’s not the best time to be taking risks and planning other development projects over here, so last year we decided to look further afield.

We discovered and fell in love with Menorca last Spring (having spent a lot of time over the years on the other Balearic Islands). We decided to invest in a house there that we can add our style to as some point, but first and foremost something we can rent out as a holiday let.

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

We are hoping to use it ourselves a bit during the winter months (why oh why aren’t we there now argh?!) and then rent it as a holiday let through the Spring into Summer and Autumn.

I’ve just listed the house on Airbnb so if you’re feeling like me and desperate to get a holiday booked in, then do check it out. I’ve added at special offer that will run until 9th February – the first three bookings will get 20% off.

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Anyway enough moaning from me about the weather and Blue Monday – I hope these lovely sunny pictures help lift your mood and I’ll be back next week with more blog content. It’s taken me a few weeks to get going this year, but now I’m back there are lots of things I’m really excited to share with you over coming weeks.

Next week will be part two of our property development journey – in case you missed the first instalment, here is the link. And here is the link again to the Menorca house on Airbnb in case you want to book a getaway!

So until next week, stay warm and happy.

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Madden's Menorca Home

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

And here we are at the end of another year…I don’t know about you, but I feel that this one has totally flown past! December is one of my favourite times of the year – decorating the house is always such a pleasure and Christmas is the perfect end to a busy year; time with family and friends to relax and unwind.

This year I decorated the house super early so that it was ready for my blogger lunch that I hosted on December 1st. I made the mistake of feeling pleased with myself for being so organised and having a glittering house to enjoy for the whole of December. A few days later the tree had died, so we were left with weeks of indecision as we waited to see if we could make it last the course or not. In the end we put up a replacement tree at the last minute on 23rd December!

I hope you have all had a wonderful month, and year for that matter. I am so excited to welcome 2018 tomorrow and have lots of exciting things to share with you in the first few weeks of January. I have been really enjoying the quiet few days between Christmas and New Year for reflection and also for planning ahead and getting a little bit organised for the new start next week.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year and a magical 2018!

Laura x

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

Laura Butler-Maddden's December Moments

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Following on from my blogger Christmas lunch last week, I have had lots of emails and messages asking how to create a similar look at home, so I thought I would dedicate a blog post to the styling of the event.

As with a lot of my design work, the idea for the table and room decoration evolved quite organically. We have a lovely long dining table that is fairly narrow and also adds a sense of rustic charm to an otherwise elegant room. I wanted to enhance this by including real foliage and lots of lovely candlelight.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the tableware I knew I wanted something white, but not too formal and with a bit of interest and fell in love with this set by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion from John Lewis. I matched this with some simple yet classic Reidel glassware, also from John Lewis and gold cutlery to add a bit of elegance and sparkle. The set we are using here is from Ikea, but you can also get a similar set from La Redoute.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the candles I chose these beautiful candelabra from Anthropologie to make a real statement on the table and then hid some beautiful tea-light holders from Sophie Allport amongst the eucalyptus. I commissioned a local florist to make me a simple garland from fresh eucalyptus, the beauty being that when it dries it still looks lovely, so I’m hoping it will be with us until Christmas! The lovely grey candles in the candelabra are by True Grace from John Lewis and come in a range of colours.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Keep scrolling down for more product info, plus I’ve listed all links to items at the end of the post.

The key to creating a rustic yet glamorous look at Christmas is to actually keep things quite simple, but include lots of fresh foliage and candlelight!

Laura

x

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with John Lewis and contains affiliate links to products which, if purchased, may result in a commission payment. As always, all styling and view are my own.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas


Shop the look: Plates – Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, Glasses – Reidel, Cutlery – similar from La Redoute or Ikea, Candelabra – Anthropologie (sold out, but similar here), Tea Light Holders – Sophie Allport, Garland – real eucalyptus, but similar here, Crackers – gold from John Lewis, Candles – True Grace also from John Lewis.


Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

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Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Food is something that is really important in our household – both Patrick and I love to cook (he is much more talented than me in this department, but I am enthusiastic and can make a mean roast!). As we are getting closer to Christmas, we are starting to think about things we can make for all our guests and this year we are trying to be creative and make something delicious, but that also has nutritional value.

That’s when I had the idea to collaborate with a wonderfully talented cook, Alex, who runs amzing Dorset vegan café, Feed the Soul. Alex is raw vegan and the café reflects this – I had never realised how delicious cakes without wheat, dairy or sugar could be. A total revelation and Alex has agreed to collaborate with me on the blog over the next few months to share some of these delicious and virtually guilt free treats!

First up is a large raw cacao and caramel cheesecake to share – planned with seasonal entertaining in mind.

I hope you enjoy it – next month I’ll be sharing her brother Nick’s (who runs Feed the Soul with her) hot chocolate, which is insanely good. But for now, below is how to make this beautiful cheesecake.

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

INGREDIENTS

Base and balls for decoration:

1 1 /2 cup dried activated almonds

1 cup cashews

1 1/2 cup dates

1tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp cacao nibs

4 tbsp cacao powder

2 Tbsp cacao butter (melted)

Pitch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Filling:

4 cups soaked cashews (soak for at least 2 hours)

1 1/4 cups of plant based milk (I like oat or coconut the best)

1tsp vanilla powder

1/2 cup liquid sweetener (maple, coconut nectar)

1/2 and 3tbsp melted coconut oil

5 tbsp melted cacao butter

1/4 cup cacao powder

4 medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Cacao drizzle

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

3tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tbsp of walnut oil/sunflower oil/ avocado oil

Pitch of salt

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

METHOD

To make the base:

Place the almonds, cashews in a food processor and blend until they are the consistency of couscous (we want the base to have a nice texture). Now add the rest of the ingredients and pulse a few times so that the mixture is nice and sticky.

Line a round cake tin. Put most of the mixture into the tin and leave 1/2 a cup to make the balls to decorate. Roll with your hands into small balls and place into the fridge.

Press the base firmly into the cake tin, place into the fridge to set while you are making the filling.

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

To make the filling:

Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender (I love to use my vitamix) apart from the dates, cacao powder, coconut oil and cacao butter. Blend until very smooth. Now with the blade running pour in the coconut oil and cacao butter.

Split the mixture into two bowls, make sure they are as even as you can.

Pour one back into the blender. Blend again adding the dates and another pinch of salt.

Keep back 1/2 cup of this mixture to then pipe with and pour the rest on top of the base.set in the freezer for 1/2 hour.  With the 1/2 cup of this vanilla caramel filling place in a pipping bag and pop into the fridge.

With the rest of your filling place in the bender and add the cacao powder, you may want to add a splash of plant based milk if it seems to thick. Once the first layer is set pour over the cacao filling.  Set in the fridge over night.

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Cacao drizzle:

Blend all of the ingredients together until nice and smooth.

Carefully take the cake out of the tin and now you can have and decorate.

Drizzle the yummy drizzle randomly onto the cake.

Take out your pipping filling and let it warm up for 15 minuets. Pipe all around the edge of the cake however you feel then place the balls around the cake. Add flowers if you really like why not have fun and make your cake look as good as it tastes.

This cake will be best stored in the fridge for a week. If it lasts that long!

Laura Butler-Madden Food Post

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

This post is in collaboration with Feed The Soul

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Laura Butler-Madden's Dorset Home

On Friday, I hosted the first of what will hopefully become an annual tradition, the LBM Christmas Lunch. The plan came about back in the late summer – chatting with a fellow blogger we were discussing the fact that as a blogger (or anyone self-employed without a team working for them), you don’t get to have a Christmas party and you miss out on the opportunity to mingle with other likeminded people, as you’re all working away, dotted around the country on your own!

Social Media (particularly Instagram) has been a great tool for connecting people and I have already met a number of lovely people through it, some of which have become friends in real life too. So I thought hosting a lunch would be the perfect opportunity to get a group of ladies with lots in common, together in the same room, in real life!

We woke on Friday to the most beautiful, sunny morning. Frost on the ground and the excitement of December 1st in the air – even the sheep seemed especially happy!

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Piers from the Kitchen Garden Company, who were catering the event, arrived bright and early to get everything set up. We had a delicious menu planned; to start with there was a choice of mulled wine or cava (Juvee y Camps, which is our favourite and served at our wedding) accompanied by hot-smoked salmon (fresh from the fire), Celeriac soup shots and kitchen garden pigs (see above).

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Piers and his team also set up a lovely fire pit area outside in the sunshine, complete with hay bales and sheepskins for comfortable perching. Lola also loved the smell/warmth coming from the fires!

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Lunch

With the help of some lovely brands, I had put together goody bags for all the guests, housed in these lovely stockings from Sophie Allport. Inside each stocking was a whole selection of treats; a mini scented candle and Christmas mug, also from Sophie Allport, gorgeous homemade mince pies and apple juice from Kitchen Garden Company, a lovely gift from local brand, Bramley, a candle from the gorgeous new range from Medusa Apothecary, a pretty potted succulent from Cherryade Store in Poundbury, beautiful personalised leather bound Wardrobe Notebook from Noble Macmillan, a gorgeous Christmas decoration from Also Home and a personlised notebook from the wonderful Papier, who also did the invitations and the menus for the lunch. Such a treat and I am so grateful to all the brands who got involved and made the wonderful goody bags possible.

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

For the table decor, I wanted to create an elegant and stylish look, with a hint of countryside chic. I will be doing a full post on how to create this look at thome later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Laura Butler-Madden's Home at Christmas

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Jo Prado, Lindsay (@stylistmum) & Lola

The sun was still beaming down on the courtyard when everyone arrived, so we had our drinks and canapés outside by the fire – such a treat for December, we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day!

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Antonia (@tinkertailoronline) & Sophie (@sophielindsay)

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Laura Butler-Madden's Christmas Table Design

Plates from John Lewis, Cutlery from La Redoute, Candle stick from Anthropologie and tea light holders from Sophie Allport.

After an hour or so of sunny chats, selfies and silliness, we headed inside to the warmth for the main course; wood-fired winter chicken, rosemary roast potatoes, butternut squash, braised red cabbage and crispy kale, served with Domain des Vigneauz Viognier 2016. Pudding was mulled pears, ginger ice cream and homemade honeycomb served with Domaine l’Ancienne Cure, Monbazillac 2013.

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

A lovely afternoon was had by all – we ate really well, drank lovely wine and had a good catch up about all things blogging, Instagram and Christmas. It’s something that I really hope to make an annual tradition….watch this space!

Laura x

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Photographer, Sophie Lindsay

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Rhiannon (New Life N Style)

Laura Butler-Madden's Blogger Christmas Lunch

Coco exhausted by all the festive fun!

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

 

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