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A cabin holiday preview

I recently chronicled our adventures back at the family cabin (aka my dad & stepmum’s house…sounds more glamourous saying ‘the family cabin’) for my old friends Boden. It’s up on their blog now so you can see how Matilda & I celebrated on our time off at Thanksgiving. Here are a few outtakes, but check out the full post here!



Man the fort…

In search of a holiday this spring/summer? Yep, me too and since Mallorca isn’t for us this year please just let me live vicariously through you and book the Cap Rocat in Mallorca. For the uniniatiated to the workings of the Mediterranean, Mallorca is a Spanish island in the Med Sea. And past that sea, housed on a cliff, in a former military fort sits this boutique hotel. This hotel is a little different than most as it can list in its amenities a drawbridge, bunkers and trenches alongside an infinity pool, outdoor lanterns and the best umbrella/tent combo I’ve ever seen. I am absolutely in love with the outside setting, with that fantastic umbrella covering and persimmon red rugs. I wonder if they’ll knock the price down a bit if I just set up camp outside?

You can find out more at Mr. & Mrs. Smith or check out the Cap Rocat website where unbelievably there are more amazing photos of the turquoise sea, the sun loungers you’ll never want to leave and more torches you can shake a stick at…

Looking for more boutique hotel action in Europe, check out this beauty in Mykonos Greece or the spring/summer holiday we took in 2010, also in Mykonos! It seems like these inspirational holidays maybe do come true sometimes!


Living it Up…

When I went to Disney World as a child, I was super excited about the 20,000 leagues under the sea experience. Our family had a bit of a thing for sea things, my brother loved scuba men and my mom and I mermaids…but it was closed. And then I went years later…and it was still closed. And then I went again, and it was gone. So instead I had to pledge my allegiance to a new form of extreme living..this time in the trees and the Swiss Family Robinson house. I’d like to say it’s the gorgeous views you have, or the close contact with nature…or something beautifully poetic. But I think it’s just a childish exoticness that still gets me. You can live in a tree!? How cool is that?!  But I don’t think you even need an obsession for treehouses to “get”  Agriturismo La Piantata in Italy because it is simply a beautiful mod con boutique hotel room—that just happens to be perched in a 100 year old tree with stunning views of lavender fields. Apparently you can have it all…

There are 2 treehouse options at La Piantata, a suite 44 sq metres and a cabin at 87 square metres. There are all sorts of luxuries available, from breakfast served to your room, to the pools nearby with ‘in-water’ chaise lounges. It’s not the cheapest option to stay in Tuscany with stays starting at 330 Euros, but achievable enough for me to start saving. I’ll happily swap the winding staircase for riding zebras any day!

Looking for more interesting outdoor-ish places to stay?

Check out some great glamping locations — Part One & Part Two


Just a bit of Blurb…

Joy to the world! I’m on a roll, ticking off things on the eternal to do list. This one goes way back a few years…well ongoing really, to find  a way of seeing our photographs after the event, and one that did not involve computer slideshows. I always had good intentions of scrapbooks and uber design but nearly seven years on and no closer to finishing my ‘trip to england’ sketchbook, I thought it was time to get real. I decided to create some photobooks with an online service and had plans to design intro pages and really make my mark on it, even if I wasn’t cutting things apart and glueing them down. Hah, that was two and a half years ago. A few weeks ago I got real and bashed out a cleanly designed book that isn’t full of bells and whistles, but is in fact full of pictures (yay!) and a smattering of information with dates and locations as page folios (where you would usually have page numbers). And there is the odd quote or highlight to a place. Just enough to make me feel like it wasn’t done by someone else, but not enough to send me over the edge.

I chose blurb as the service (because I liked the logo and website. how lazy) and thought I would start with one book to make sure I didn’t get everything set up for a slew of books only to find out their books were awful or something. Originally when I set up the files back in 2008 (no I’m not kidding), they only had an online book service, where you uploaded photos and placed them using their software. I thought that would drive me bonkers not being able to have full control as I would in a design program, so I thought I’d design the book in inDesign as normal and then export it as jpegs and upload an image per page (which would in fact be an image of the design as opposed to individual pictures). Well my patience, or procrastination was a blessing in disguise as now they have a template and upload feature for indesign which meant I could make one pdf, upload and voila, it was done!

I chose the most expensive option with ‘premium paper’ and hardback cover. I didn’t want a messy dustjacket that was only going to get damaged, or a softcover that was bent. The cover is excellent as it is an imagewrap, so if you had a panoramic picture wide enough with a large enough quality you could have an image going the whole way around. I designed ours with the picture bleeding over the spine and wrapping around to the back with a solid colour back with some type. Nice and simple. It covers from mid 2004 to mid 2006 and is under 120 pages and came to £36 with shipping which was definitely worth it. I’m ordering Volume 2 tonight (while I”m on a roll, I might as well keep it going) and then I’ll probably need a volume 3,4 and 5 to catch us up to present day. I’m so excited about our little personal library of coloured books! PLUS this is a definite tick for Number 6 of the ol’ ten commandments 2010. Got to cram them all in before the arrival of Mrs. 2011 in a few short weeks!


Spanish summer…

photograph by MarsW

Last week, David and I jetted off to the southern coast of Spain (Nerja to be exact, as featured above) with the whole family of in laws for a week of pool action (playing ‘ball-ball’ a fabulous game of ughm, hitting the ball back and forth in the water, trying to avoid sending it over the edge of the infinity pool. Unsuccessful plays resulted in the ball rolling a quarter of mile down the hill), reading (I was the sad loser of the week finishing 6.5 books) and soaking in the sunshine (i’m a very uncharacteristic slightly tanner version of myself). It was relatively uneventful time, but nice nonetheless. You really can’t go wrong with a villa to yourselves perched on an oceanside cliff and a private infinity pool that stretches out into the Med. Sadly it feels like years ago already! I’ve been getting back into the swing of things at work and making my way through an over inflated google reader, but will resume posting as soon as I get my desktop a bit more organized!


Jumping Wales…

Rock climbing. Sun. Water. Whales….err or Wales…Oh the adventures we had! Last week we headed off to Wales on a group holiday of fresh air and vowel-less words (playing scrabble with a welsh version is uber tricky) and most excitingly. a foray into Coasteering. Coasteering is basically scrambling, climbing, swimming and cliff jumping your way around the rocky Pembrokeshire coastline. The area around St. David’s and St. Non’s was probably the most stunning coast I’ve ever encountered…or maybe it was the adrenaline talking. The weather was fantastic and I couldn’t get over how many colours there were…the grass at the top of the cliffs was bright green with it’s grass covering, giving way to the rock cliffs–a stunning assortment of black, orange, purple and tan…and the water. LAGOON blue! In the UK!! As I’m sure you can imagine, it wasn’t exactly the setting for camera equipment, so I’ve had to rely on the ol’ flickr (what would I do without this international pool of talent!)

So how did it work…well in short. we got suited up in our kit (wetsuit, helmet, flotation vest and old sneakers) and walked about twenty minutes from the town down to the coast. We followed along the coastal path for a bit before we literally scrambled down the side of the cliffs on an old fisherman’s path. When we ran out of rocks we jumped in..simple as that. That’s when we all thought that we were going to lose our appendages. Welsh water is freezing, summer or otherwise. But alas, we had jumped into the ‘toilet’ and were soon distracted. The toilet is this inlet in the rocks that due to something horribly scientific that I didn’t catch, well the water flushes in and out–so you are floating around wondering if you’ll still be able to take the dog for a walk if you lose half your toes, when the water level drops six feet. Just as you get over that, the water suddenly rises back again just as fast. It was fantastic! After that we climbed over some rocks, jumped in off a natural diving board of sorts…yada yada yada….took a spin in the ‘washer’. another aptly named natural feature. This time the current ran around a cropping of rocks just off of land. If you huddled close to the edge, you’d get flung one direction, only to be reveresed after about five seconds and flung the other way. Now, if I wasn’t in the appropriate gear or expecting it, yah, I would have been in hysterics being tossed around the ocean, but under watchful eyes of our guides and wearing a life vest it was such good fun! Plus, our friend Hugh sacrified his hands for the greater fun of the team by hanging onto the baracle covered rock, acting as a swing for the rest of us to hold onto and be whiplashed around the bend. Thanks Hugh!

The rest of the morning was spent rock climbing and when we ran out of rock, or found an area too difficult to cross, back into the water we went. Eventually we made our way around to a large stepped face that acted as a multi level jumping board, with us each jumping a few times from different heights. I think the max was 7 metres, but I wussed out at 6.5 due to a precarious footing and fear of heights. Another .5 metre wasn’t going to make it any better for me. Several beautiful jelly fish sightings (and avoiding as one was a ‘stinger’) later and we were climbing up the side of the cliffs again …what could top such a morning off after all that. A 6.5 hour drive back to London…ouch.

A big thanks to archidave for the stormy weather cliffs photo, zenith9 for the flowered cliffs snaps &  rolandbutter for the coasteering shot