27 April 2011

When is camping not camping?

When it's Glamping!

Glamorous camping! It really makes me chuckle when new words like this are invented - others I've appreciated recently are chiconomy, Scandi chic and fauxdenza (thanks Anna of Door Sixteen)!

For a few years, when we were children, my family went Eurocamping, which was I guess a pretty comfortable way of sleeping in a tent - camp beds and bedding, a fridge (containing complimentary stubbies and bottles of Coke - very exciting if you are 10!) and cooking equipment were provided for us. It definitely didn't qualify as "roughing it"; however, I wouldn't really say it was glamorous. The comfort of the big red Eurocamp tents don't come close to some of the canvas palaces I've seen recently. 

Ian Belcher in the recently pubished "Guardian Guide to Camping" (free with the Guardian on Saturday 16th April), declares, "Glamping is not camping" and that "increasingly exotic luxury camping with its scatter cushions, wood-burning stoves and vintage flourishes are all very well . . . but you're just a tentpeg short of a hotel." So he asks "Why bother?" What he says is perhaps fair enough, but I certainly wouldn't quibble if someone invited me to stay in one of these examples of camping luxury:

Image from here.

Image from here.

Image from here.

22 April 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

This mat from Idyll Home caught my eye in the current issue of Ideal Home magazine:

Image from here.

It's suitable for indoor or outdoor use as it's made from recycled plastic, and comes in other colours too. I think this coral coloured one would look great in my hallway. It's also really reasonable at £27, and long enough to be a hall runner as it's 175cm long.

I'd never heard of Idyll Home before, so I took a look at the website. I'm really glad I did as I found a treasure trove full of unusual, eco-friendly products for every room in the house. The company is based in Shropshire, UK, but source their products from around the world. Prices vary - I thought the price of the mat was fair, but others like £95 for this cushion, are on the pricey side (even though it would be perfect for the sofa in my dining room when I've finished painting).

After browsing the website, some of my other favourite items are:

The Bamboo Spike Lantern

The Hamman Towel

John Robshaw Opium Cushion

Asian style Laquered Cabinet

Marilou Throw with Pompoms

Blue Metal Box

Fingers crossed that cushion goes into the sale soon!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

21 April 2011

What to give a 2 year old?

Torin will be 2 on 15th May, so I'm beginning to put some thought into his party and present. Last year David and I bought him this play tent as his main present:

Image from here.

A few weeks ago, I picked up these cute wooden dominoes for him in the Habitat sale:

Image from here.

David walked past The Futon Company in Bristol earlier and saw this brilliant kids' deckchair in the window:

Image from here.

So, we've got a few ideas, but apart from these, we're a little bit stuck on what to give him. Any suggestions?

19 April 2011

More tea vicar?

This weekend we got to stay at the beautiful Rectory Hotel in Crudwell, Wiltshire, as David's brother and his wife had a blessing on their marriage in the church nearby.

The front entrance that we decorated with white voile bunting.

The boutique hotel is in the old village rectory and is owned by an interior designer and his partner. I wasn't surprised to hear that he was involved in interiors as the hotel is beautifully furnished and decorated.

The back of the house from one of the walled gardens.

Our room was the second and third windows from the right, on the first floor. The room overlooked the fishpond, which was once a Victorian baptism pool!

The hotel has 3 acres of fantastic Victorian walled gardens, that have been very well looked after, and planted sympathetically. It was so lovely to relax on the lawn with a newspaper on Saturday morning - we had grandparents and uncles to keep Torin entertained!

As we had Torin with us, and our niece stayed in our room with us, we were given the family suite, the Sudeley room. It came complete with his and hers sinks in the ensuite bathroom (that was bigger than our family bathroom at home!) and a massive four poster bed. 

Our room. Can you see the lovely navy leather Roberts radio on the dressing table?

The relaxed atmosphere throughout the place was in part due to the beautiful weather we enjoyed while staying there, but really the credit has to go to the calming decoration and eclectic furnishings, as shown here in the bar area:

The welcoming bar.

Thank you Paul and Bec (yes, my sister-in-law is also called Rebecca Mellor!), for a lovely weekend!

All images from here.

13 April 2011

Down at the bottom of the garden . . .

I love it when the weather begins to turn and we can start spending more time outside. Never has this been more important to me than now, with a toddler in tow. The sun comes out and behold, we can add an extra room to our house - the garden!

When I was pregnant with Torin, I spent a couple of days sunning myself in the middle of the lawn while I watched my parents, brother and David lay a patio and build a shed at the end of the garden. Apparently I wasn't allowed to do anything to help so I reluctantly agreed to stay beached on the rug! 

The end of our garden is a bit of a sun trap and so it's a great place for us to sit and relax at the end of a sunny day - we made full use of it over the weekend. 

Didn't realise until now that Torin's pull-along dinosaur was in this picture - he must have sneaked it in as I'm sure I moved it!

As I said in a previous post, there is still a lot of work to do in our garden, but this is so completely different to what we had to contend with when we moved in. The whole of this area was covered in some kind of massive prickly bush that had taken root everywhere! My mum and I spent ages digging it all up and then raked the whole lot over after levelling the earth. It was hard work! 

Where the plants are in the foreground isn't finished yet either. There used to be a greenhouse on this part of the garden - I have no idea why it was put here, as it effectively blocked off the rest of the outside space. Before they laid the patio and built the shed, my little work party had fun demolishing the rickety greenhouse. We were left with a concrete slab that has gradually broken up over the two years since the greenhouse was taken down. It had become quite dangerous actually, as it was getting very wobbly and Torin had become quite partial to dancing on it, oh, and vacuuming it (!) with his toy vacuum cleaner. 

Our options were to clad the concrete with decking, or to break it up completely and remove it. We chose the second idea, as it wasn't structurally sound enough to clad - we would have had to build a frame that sat over the entire thing. So, David had fun at the weekend breaking up most of the concrete and digging over the soil. Quite excitingly, he found several slabs of slate underneath the earth - we'll definitely use that elsewhere!

We're now hoping that the weather will stay warm and we'll be able to finish this little project so we can enjoy it over this summer. We're planning to lay turf over the area and then join it up with the rest of the lawn.

Do you have a favourite place to enjoy the sun in your garden?

12 April 2011

How we use our rooms and other stories.

Image from here.

The other day David and I were thinking about our house and wondering how it had been lived in since it was built way back in 1900. What type of people had lived there? Could Torin be the first child to grow up in it? How has the layout of the rooms changed?

By coincidence, I stumbled upon this article on the BBC News website today. It begins by asking how many rooms there are in our house, and then goes on to explore how the British have used the different rooms in their homes for different purposes over the years. It seems that the living room is ripe for extinction as people can no longer afford the luxury of a room with relaxation as its sole purpose. 

The idea is also going to be looked at in a new BBC series called "If Walls Could Talk", which begins tomorrow on BBC4 at 9pm.

11 April 2011

Spring tulips and lovely sunshine.

What a glorious weekend! Hope you had the sun where you are.

My parents came to stay and we were able to spend most of our time outside because of the lovely lovely weather. When they arrived on Friday, they gave me two bunches of pretty tulips:

The windowsill behind the sink in the kitchen is one of my favourite places to display flowers - you can perhaps see from this picture that we can't see our garden from this window, as it is at the side of the house, so I love to have flowers here to bring a bit of the outside indoors.

On Saturday, my brother and his girlfriend, and David's brother came over and we all went to Bute park in the centre of Cardiff, for a picnic. We sat in dappled sunshine underneath blossoming trees, and drank in the beautiful spring day. A lazy walk back to our house via a sunny beer garden completed a relaxing day. 

6 April 2011

My son kiely has good taste.

Sorry that my ability to post has been a bit patchy of late - I'm still painting the living room and dining room and it's taking a while! Plus, Torin has a heavy cold and is taking longer to settle at bedtime, so evenings are flying by at the moment. We're slowly getting there though, so I'll hopefully be able to post some before and after pictures soon.

In the meantime, at the bottom of this post, there's a little peak at the colour of the chimney breast in the living room - cosy huh?

I also wanted to show you the lovely presents that Torin gave me on Sunday for Mothers' Day. David helped him to make me a card (how cute!), and Torin gave me the bag of presents on Sunday morning. As you know, I really like Orla Kiely, so this present was a big hit. The Multicoloured Car Print gift bag contained a set of Multi Scribble Stem Print Postcards and a Multicoloured Stem Print mug.

I think I'll frame some of the postcards and display them in our bedroom (and, probably around the rest of the house!).

1 April 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it would be rather amazing to have a bedroom like this?

Image from here.

It must almost be like sleeping outside, and the wonderful view of the garden adds wonderfully to the calm feel of the room.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!
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