Category Archives: trips

Thursday…with a Yorkshire re-cap

February 16, 2017

Filed Under : Arrangements - colour - trips - Winter

This Half Term my son and my mum decided they wanted to watch films together ( as well as a couple of ‘Midsommer Murder’s’ I expect if my mum had anything to do with it!! ) for 3 days at her house in Warwickshire, which meant I was able to sneak off to Yorkshire to visit my cousin Rachel @welliesandlove … ( well we’re sort of cousins;, her Grandmother and my Grandfather were an item for years! )

Rachel’s mother sadly passed away last year which meant she has suddenly inherited her Grandmother’s boxes of vintage threads, costume jewellery and old magazines which I helped her rummage through, and we spent hours into the night looking at it and arranging it  just for the sake of it…

I also became obsessed by Rachel’s windows…particularly the round ones and now have them on my bucket list for the perfect home!

I love driving North to see friends and Yorkshire is probably my favourite part of the UK and I was able to visit a couple of other friend’s too as well as meet up with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla ( instagram @me_and_orla ) to chat about all things creative and Instagrammy for her new podcast; Hashtag Authentic, which you can listen to HERE

So, here follows my visual re-cap of a lovely few days away…
( above is Rachel’s Grandmother Louise, and both of us below with our mums and Louise circa 1986! ) ( I amused 2 small elves just before their tea time by getting them to collect items and toys in their favourite colours so I could create eye-spy images for them…) ( magazine pages from 1948…imagine what instagram lifestyle images would have looked like then! ) domestic foraging for white things with Sara Tasker after we’d recorded the podcast muted tones were replaced that evening with wine and multi coloured thread action… …which was still there in the morning! I got home to Brighton last night and this morning was inspired by my trip; Sara’s white ceramics, Rachel’s boxes of treasured bits and as always telephone boxes…

Friday…with Monteverdi Italy

August 26, 2016

Filed Under : collaborations - colour - Summer - trips

Photo 29-07-2016, 16 29 53

Deciding where to go on holiday has never been my forté…I research things a bit, usually heavily relying on images, but then I always get a bit overwhelmed, suddenly convinced I don’t have a clue and just want a magic wand to be waved; all decisions made, rooms booked, flights sorted, and then when the time comes to basically be transported in a Star Trek like way to where it is I have to be in order to relax…( and it’s the pressure to relax that usually cripples me after about 3 days into a holiday! )

So this year, I was definitely enticed by some beautiful images that kept popping up of Hotel Monteverdi in Tuscany…I wanted that nature, the hills, the calm interiors…and of course a swimming pool and fantastic food!

We wanted to split the holiday between a short hotel break in the hills and renting the amazing Casa Guidi in Florence ( which you can see here ) and so we decided on Hotel Monteverdi in Castiglioncello del Trinoro and after a straightforward car journey from Florence airport we arrived at the beautiful village. The hotel is basically the entire village with a collection of stunning gardens and rooms, housed in original rustic buildings, overlooking the Val D’Orcia region of Tuscany towards Montepulciano and Siena.

There are loads of wine tasting and foodie type trips which you can go on, with amazing locations, but to be honest all I wanted to do was quietly read a book in a gorgeous garden, and really I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing hotel garden than this…it was personal, not too large, scented, shaded and very quiet…Photo 30-07-2016, 08 09 00 Photo 30-07-2016, 09 09 11 Photo 30-07-2016, 08 09 45 Photo 30-07-2016, 08 11 36 Photo 05-08-2016, 08 37 26Photo 30-07-2016, 08 15 18 (1) Photo 01-08-2016, 09 49 27 Photo 30-07-2016, 08 20 59 Photo 25-08-2016, 17 39 26 Photo 05-08-2016, 08 13 23I’ve always been an early morning person; and the breakfasts at Monteverdi really were the best! Before the sun gets too hot, sitting on the terrace with coffee, orange juice, croissants, pecorino cheese, local salamis and perfectly boiled eggs was my idea of breakfast heaven!
Photo 05-08-2016, 08 11 50Photo 05-08-2016, 08 13 08Photo 05-08-2016, 07 11 31Photo 30-07-2016, 08 22 47Photo 30-07-2016, 07 05 18I found the best bit of being in the hotel village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro was quietly mooching around and ‘investigating’, ( as my brother and I used to call it ); punctuating reading and dipping into the pool with short walks, listening to cicadas, watching little green lizards disappearing into walls, smelling the lavender, and just looking at everything…at the views, the textures, the colours, the plants. I find it really difficult to actually ‘stop’ and the practice of really seeing and sensing where I am always calms me down…
Photo 30-07-2016, 07 04 33 Photo 05-08-2016, 10 06 56 Photo 05-08-2016, 10 09 23 Photo 30-07-2016, 07 01 23 Photo 05-08-2016, 09 15 07 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 01 48Photo 05-08-2016, 09 09 58 Photo 31-07-2016, 17 16 29Photo 31-07-2016, 16 18 45Photo 31-07-2016, 15 51 53Photo 01-08-2016, 06 40 58Photo 31-07-2016, 17 24 05Photo 31-07-2016, 16 34 17Photo 31-07-2016, 17 36 31Photo 31-07-2016, 17 27 34Although doing nothing was our priority, we did also drive out to Montepulciano, ( and  Chiarentana en route where we tasted absolutely amazing olive oils ), as well as Sarteano, the traditional, local town only 10 minutes from the hotel where we also ate some evenings…
Photo 02-08-2016, 15 22 52 Photo 02-08-2016, 15 20 04 Photo 02-08-2016, 13 54 40 (1) Photo 02-08-2016, 14 25 34 (1)Photo 01-08-2016, 13 29 42 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 08 50 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 34 54 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 40 38 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 37 47Photo 02-08-2016, 14 37 19 Photo 02-08-2016, 14 39 37 Photo 30-07-2016, 17 08 46 Photo 30-07-2016, 17 10 55 Photo 30-07-2016, 17 13 07 Photo 30-07-2016, 18 47 15But one of the other wonderful things about this hotel is the space…it’s a village after all, and during peak season in Tuscany everywhere was crazy with people, but Casteglioncello del Trinoro isn’t at all…the village is a complete sanctuary from the bustle of Summer tourism…Photo 31-07-2016, 17 37 12 Photo 31-07-2016, 17 36 47 Photo 31-07-2016, 16 45 26Apart from their fine dining restaurant there is also the lovely Enotica where you can have a quiet bite to eat, a glass of wine, wonderful cakes and ice creams,  ( as well as daily wine tastings! )
Photo 31-07-2016, 16 42 28 Photo 05-08-2016, 10 08 01And… they also have a Spa!

A spa session in the hot, late afternoon was such a treat, and the only time I have ever laid outside in a carved marble bath, water sprinkled with lavender from the gardens, listening to the cicadas…I think that this was probably the peak of my doing nothing and stopping…Photo 03-08-2016, 18 04 28 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 58 51 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 55 13 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 57 12 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 58 08 Photo 04-08-2016, 11 03 05But it was the Tuscan sunsets which completely blew me away…I have never seen such wonderful purples and pinks descending over hills, every evening…it was absolutely incredible and like some sort of natural magic trick…
Photo 30-07-2016, 19 31 00 Photo 30-07-2016, 19 31 56 Photo 30-07-2016, 19 25 21 Photo 01-08-2016, 19 32 02Photo 03-08-2016, 19 29 10And then to be able to sit in the Oreade Resteraunt in the evening watching these sunsets was amazing.

I absolutely loved the restaurant, and the Maître D, Fabio, was brilliant, as was Simone…they were so helpful and always made our meals feel very personal. On our last night, after the amuse bouche, which were like delicate pieces of taste art, we shared such an incredible local steak, carved for us at the table, with locally sourced vegetables. In fact so much of the food is locally sourced including, obviously, wines and even their beers.

I’m usually predominantly a savoury person, but I have to say that the deserts here were some of the best I have ever tasted…it wasn’t just what they were, it was how they were put together; the combinations of tastes and textures, and their chocolate orange desert is something I would  now demand as a last rite!
Photo 04-08-2016, 19 57 19 Photo 05-08-2016, 08 12 25But, as I’ve said before, it was the pottering at Monteverdi which I really loved…the doing of nothing!
Photo 30-07-2016, 08 28 48 Photo 30-07-2016, 09 12 45 Photo 30-07-2016, 07 05 18 Photo 30-07-2016, 07 58 36 ( I found an old Siamese cat there too! )Photo 30-07-2016, 08 06 26 Photo 25-08-2016, 17 40 55 Photo 01-08-2016, 07 39 27Photo 01-08-2016, 07 38 43 Photo 01-08-2016, 07 39 47 Photo 01-08-2016, 07 54 30But one of the biggest treats of all was when Costanza, ( who puts together all the beautiful and very natural flower arrangements at the hotel ), brought me a box of hand picked fruit and flowers for me to ‘play’ with…this was the absolute highlight of my stay!
Photo 03-08-2016, 13 26 55Photo 03-08-2016, 11 28 15Photo 03-08-2016, 11 36 29…and you can see what I created with this box on this post here

So at the end of the week, although we were excited about going on to stay in Florence for the last part of our holiday, it was also a bit of a wrench having to leave our Monteverdi sanctuary…
Photo 29-07-2016, 19 59 08 Photo 02-08-2016, 11 31 32 Photo 04-08-2016, 08 46 58You can have a look at the Steller Story here and more about Hotel Monteverdi here

Friday…with Italian Arrangements

Filed Under : Arrangements - colour - Summer - trips

Photo 03-08-2016, 12 34 55During our stay in Tuscany at Hotel Moneverdi, I got chatting to the lovely Costanza at the hotel who was responsible for all the exquisite floral arrangements at the hotel…she completely understood my love for colours, nature, flowers and fruits and the next day this box turned up from Costanza and the hotel…simply for me to play with!

I was completely in my element and SO happy!Photo 03-08-2016, 13 10 25Photo 03-08-2016, 13 05 40 (1)

The following photos are the visual process of that playing…Photo 03-08-2016, 11 30 23 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 54 59 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 28 15 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 27 43 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 34 00 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 32 37 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 36 29 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 47 03 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 49 41 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 09 10 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 56 44 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 03 25 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 03 25 (1) Photo 03-08-2016, 11 40 00 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 28 17 (1) Photo 03-08-2016, 13 00 39 Photo 03-08-2016, 13 26 55 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 25 50 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 15 04 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 27 07 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 18 49 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 34 55 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 43 13 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 43 59 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 36 36 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 41 24 Photo 04-08-2016, 08 46 58

You can see the Steller Story here 

Sunday…Weekly Snaps

August 21, 2016

Filed Under : Art - colour - moving stills - My Home - short poem films - Summer - texture - trips - Weekly Snaps

Photo 20-08-2016, 10 59 34

I’ve got slightly out of sync with my Weekly Snaps, but here’s a selection from the last 10 days…Photo 12-08-2016, 11 05 15 Photo 13-08-2016, 11 46 16 Photo 14-08-2016, 08 04 43 Photo 14-08-2016, 09 37 37 Photo 16-08-2016, 08 43 01 Photo 16-08-2016, 15 45 32 Photo 16-08-2016, 20 12 27 Photo 18-08-2016, 10 08 39 Photo 18-08-2016, 13 07 23 Photo 19-08-2016, 09 41 05 Photo 20-08-2016, 12 22 47 Photo 20-08-2016, 22 32 55 Photo 20-08-2016, 22 35 40 Photo 21-08-2016, 18 26 33Photo 18-08-2016, 18 24 10 Photo 14-08-2016, 11 40 07 (1)Photo 20-08-2016, 18 21 46

Photo 21-08-2016, 11 57 59Photo 19-08-2016, 15 45 01

Photo 21-08-2016, 15 57 12 my son rigged up a slide projector in the bathroom…Photo 21-08-2016, 15 12 31 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 56 26 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 11 27 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 19 11 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 06 33 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 52 12 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 42 58 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 05 24

…and also a bit of Super 8

You can see the Steller Story version here

Friday…with Casa Guidi in Florence

August 12, 2016

Filed Under : Summer - trips

Photo 06-08-2016, 13 38 30Back in March this year I was lucky enough to stay at one of the Landmark Trust Properties in the Lake District called ‘Howthwaite’ which was absolutely wonderful ( you can read the blog post about it here ). So when we decided that we wanted to visit Tuscany this Summer and spend some of the days in Florence, we also decided to book Casa Gudi, the former home of Robert and Elizabeth Browning and one of the 6 Landmark Trust properties in Italy… and it was the most amazing apartment and sanctuary for the 3 days we were there.

I loved the sheer amount of space above our heads, the furnishings, the floors, the balcony the light and basically the whole atmosphere…Photo 05-08-2016, 18 17 34Photo 07-08-2016, 14 20 10Photo 06-08-2016, 12 00 45

It sort of felt like we were looking after a special treasure for a few days and when we were out, I found knowing that we had Casa Guidi to go back to was so exciting; you step back in time and also completely out of the mad Florence tourist throng …

Photo 07-08-2016, 13 20 40 (1) Photo 05-08-2016, 16 25 52Photo 07-08-2016, 13 22 46Photo 05-08-2016, 15 21 08 Photo 05-08-2016, 21 45 58 Photo 07-08-2016, 14 24 20 There are so many wonderful paintings around, and I was particularly fascinated by the one of the living room itself commissioned by Robert Browning after his wife Elizabeth had died as it was her work space, and it’s the picture which has been the image worked with to recreate the room…Photo 07-08-2016, 14 23 39 this was my favourite door in the whole place…it was like an entrance to backstage which leads to the bathroom and a room with bunk beds up a spiral staircase…a thoroughfare for those needing to keep out of sight!Photo 07-08-2016, 14 23 10

Photo 05-08-2016, 16 21 38It basically leads through this little lobby of the bathroom to a similar door in the bedroom…Photo 05-08-2016, 16 42 10Photo 07-08-2016, 14 27 17Photo 07-08-2016, 14 27 46 Photo 07-08-2016, 14 28 18Photo 05-08-2016, 15 24 51I absolutely loved the original tile and mosaic floors as well as the collection of rugs…Photo 05-08-2016, 18 25 41 Photo 07-08-2016, 14 31 27 Photo 05-08-2016, 18 12 17 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 25 08 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 40 47 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 41 03 Photo 07-08-2016, 11 52 19Photo 05-08-2016, 18 11 27 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 22 49 Photo 06-08-2016, 13 41 47 Photo 08-08-2016, 08 04 31I thought this Victorian print of ‘The Doctor’  in the kitchen completely summed up the age the two poets lived in…
Photo 07-08-2016, 16 01 06and the light felt like I’d stepped into an old painting…Photo 06-08-2016, 09 48 52The balcony is also great and was apparently where their son had kept rabbits in the 1850’s…
Photo 05-08-2016, 15 17 30Photo 05-08-2016, 15 40 18Photo 08-08-2016, 08 03 24This is a painting of Elizabeth Browning’s siblings ( although if you watch Game of Thrones I think you could be excused for thinking they were related to Brianne of Tarth! )Photo 07-08-2016, 14 20 21Photo 05-08-2016, 16 22 56There’s an enormous door knob and beautiful entry buzzer before you even get inside, which just adds to the whole aesthetic experience, and I would really highly recommend a stay here if you want a particularly unique Florentine experience and it is literally just across the road from the Palazzo Pitti and beautiful Boboli Gardens.Photo 07-08-2016, 09 00 56Photo 05-08-2016, 13 46 57Photo 05-08-2016, 14 46 40Photo 06-08-2016, 13 48 52

You can see the Steller Story version here and visit The Landmark Trust Site here