For the second instalment of our Iceland trip, I want to take you to the stunning Ion Hotel in Thingvellir National Park. As I mentioned last week, the weather while we were there was beautiful and sunny…if you were sitting in the warm cosy indoors looking out, as the wind was up to 40 mph some days!

And there isn’t a more perfect place to sit and stare and the amazing landscape than at the Ion Hotel.

The glass-walled Northern Lights bar was the perfect place to sip cocktails at the end of our exhausting day exploring. It would also (as the name suggests) have been the perfect place to watch the Northern Lights, but we weren’t to be that lucky on this occasion.

The hotel is perched on the stilts at the foot of Mount Hengill and even though it’s only an hour away from Reykjavik, it feels worlds away. The start design of the hotel exterior is perfectly reflected inside with super stylish, minimal interiors. The polished concrete floors are complemented by soft sheepskin chairs, warm fireplaces, soft fluffy duvets and stunning artwork; supersize images of Icelandic ponies decorate the bedroom walls.

Whilst on the topic of Icelandic ponies, I need to say that I LOVE them and am in awe – they are so adorable, hairy and brave – beautiful little creatures bred survive the extreme weather conditions there. Amazing! Every time we drove past any I made Patrick stop and take lots of pictures, some of which are below. Just gorgeous and so tiny compared to the vast landscape that surrounds them.

Back at the hotel, the restaurant served delicious and elegant Icelandic food – dishes we tasted included arctic char and lamb carpaccio. We were exhausted so ate quite early then had a quick night cap in the bar {to take in that amazing scenery one last time} before crawling into our very cosy bed.

It was a stunning hotel and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Iceland. As with the rest of this trip, we booked our accommodation through i-escape.

Next week the final part of our trip and a stay at Hotel Ranga, where the rooms are quirky and the food was out of this world!

LBM
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{Images by Patrick Butler-Madden}

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!
LBM
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{Photos by Patrick Butler-Madden}

{Image by Patrick Butler-Madden}

After hibernating through the first half of January with my head down, as there was so much work post Christmas break to catch up on, P and I have since disappeared off for a few weeks of warmth and R&R to one of my favourite places in all the world, Sri Lanka. 

I have been longing to share our travels with you and have some amazing hotels and properties to feature, but the internet speeds have not been conducive to uploading lots of images. The posts will have to wait until we are home next week.


In the meantime I wanted to share this beautiful picture of a slightly moody sea just outside Galle Fort. 


A belated Happy 2015 and see you all next week!


LBM

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Despite being married to a very talented photographer, we are very bad at hanging pictures and artwork on our walls; it’s always one of the last things we do having moved into a new home. We have literally thousands of stunning images taken by P to choose from, but despite this our walls are still bare. Probably because we have too much choice and P is always too busy to printing anything!

This post is my way of kickstarting the process…I am in love with and have just ordered one of the images from this lovely collection on Lumitrix, a pioneering online gallery selling work by contemporary photographers. They sell limited edition prints from a selection of talented photographers and each image retails at a reasonable £50. 

Photographers include Alice Temperley’s little sister, Matilda and the super talented Astrid Harrisson who took these beautiful equine images. She has travelled to all corners of the earth, from the mountains of Mongolia to the foothills of the Andes, in a bid to understand horses and cultures where they are found. Having grown up with horses around me at both home and school, I am a huge fan and can’t wait to have one of these beauties hanging in our home!

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{Images via Lumitrix}

Upgraded to Business Class on the way out!

View of the city from my cab into Manhattan…
Georgetown Cupcakes in Soho!

A favourite with Katie Holmes & Suri…

And with me…peanut butter fudge…amazing!
                               Amazing architecture…
                                         
                                It’s all in the detail…

The Freedom Tower – beautiful and sparkly in the sunshine.

New Topshop ballet pumps…

Perfect for exploring this wonderful city.

    A beautiful lamp I spotted in Tribeca…


    And a golden sunset as I head for home.