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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


Sourced Market

Photos by Me

It was this time last year that we were running through London’s St. Pancras Train Station and I spotted the Sourced Market. Despite having sprinted across London to make our train, I then felt the need to stop and have a wee little wander because I wanted to look at every little handpainted sign and piece of produce. David somehow pulled me out of my trance and managed to get me to the train…but I was back in no time with a camera. I then proceeded to lose the photos… (I’m starting to sound horribly headless chicken like aren’t I !?)  but after a weekend of photo organizing, I found them! These shots don’t quite do it justice (train station floors, no matter how new, cast an unfortunate hue) but it’s a refreshingly charming stop amongst the boring Starbucks and WH smiths of the train station world!

Basically, the whole idea of Sourced Markets is to take the best produce from the markets around town and pack it into a super-convenient market that is open 7 days aweek in the middle of one of London’s busiest stations (St. Pancras is the station connecting London to Paris, as well as being a domestic station and underground stop as well). Sourced Markets believe markets encourage local food production, better reflect the seasonal nature of food, reduce food miles and packaging and help increase the diversity of food on offer. And I believe that Sourced Market reflects a gorgeous design aesthetic with handpainted signs, communal wooden seating, enhances the tone with vintage industrial lighting, utilizes good designers and supports my wooden, rustic addiction. We all have beliefs but it’s nice to see some one practicing them…

If this tickles your rustic fancy, you might also be interested in Australia’s Capital Kitchen and Brooklyn’s Glass Shop!


Capitalize on the design…

Oh goodie, another muse for my cafe obsessed brain. I’d love to have a cafe/restaurant/cafe/shop etc…well except for the whole having to serve food (too many waitressing jobs as a teen/university student has put me off).  So let’s take a vote–if I were able to create as warm and beautiful a space as the Capital Kitchen by Mim Design in Melbourne Australia, BUT I didn’t serve food, would you still come? Because let’s be honest, who needs food when there is so much beautiful industrial, rustic, scandinavian, wooden touches to feast on…oh and pops of yellow for dessert! If all goes well, I’ll think about serving lemonade.
Thanks to Black Eiffel for making me swoon!
If you like a good rustic, design led restaurant, you might check out Pizza East in East London for more!

Robin Hood Princess of Boots…

Knock it off Topshop. Seriously, too much. I can’t own every pair of shoes you release*. Do you think a pair of tights would be too ‘men in tights’ ?

* Currently under negotiation…with myself…

Andrea suede lace tie boots from Topshop


Christmas in the window…Part 2

Here is a few more of London’s shopping window displays ( view part 1 here).This first scandanavian theme from Daylesford Organic photographed horribly but was one of my favorites…not because its some elaborate display but because I loved what was in the window. Sadly, despite the fact that most items, (if not all) were sold by the shop, their online presence is appalling. All i can offer you are these wooden christmas decorations .

I have every colour of the rainbow going on in our christmas decs it seems, but would love one day to have this simple silver, white and wooden theme. I’ve been pestering my dad for some real antlers (he lives in the woods and is a source for all sorts of natural wildlife goodies)… I’d love to have them up all year round, but this christmas take on it has me even more keen.

Tip to take away: create giant pomanders (they are often created for weddings-here are two great tutorials, one from ruffledblog and one from martha stewart) but use whites/silvers instead for a giant snowflake/ornament effect. If you are lucky enough to have access to pinecones, a little hot glue and a styrofoam triangle would make an easy rustic tree. I love pinecones…the more the merrier.

This next creation really favors to my love of oversized…and for the theatrical limits of decorating for Christmas. This display from L& R bookshop in Notting Hill got me thinking…how great would it be to do a giant Santa’s naughty nice list that hung from the ceiling–flowing into the corners, behind and around a christmas tree. We used to have a Santa about 6 inches tall from Hallmark that was holding a scrolled list, and my mom had added our family’s names onto the ornament in the same style as the others. It was one of my favorite decs growing up.

Tip to take away: purchase a long roll of paper (or maybe fabric) and write names down for as long as you can…checking some off, relegating some to naughty etc. and Starting from the ceiling, drape your list around. Using fishing line or thin balsa wood or dowel rods to create creases at various points would really make this look fantastic. If you had a giant entryway, staircase or other area with tall ceilings this could be a cheap, yet dramatic decoration. And done carefully, could be rolled up and stored in postal tube for next year.


Weekend Escape…to the cotswolds

Two weeks ago I mentioned we were escaping to the country. We went, we saw, we had a breath of fresh air (followed by a week that erased it all!) and now I’m finally catching up to share. I really wish it could have been longer, but the Cotswalds really are so close we can always go back – and I think we will. We got into the old gingerbread/victorian train station in the middle of nowhere (otherwise known as Kemble) and I asked someone about a bus. It immediately sunk home that we were out of “town” as he said ‘oh yah, he’s out front right now, better catch him because he won’t be back for two and half hours’! A £1.40 charge later for a six mile journey (which is absolutely amazing) we were on our way…by ourselves….on a large bus. But we weren’t alone long as the bus driver pulled over on the side of the country road to pick up a guy and offered to drop him off at the end of the lane. Ahh…a whole different world.

Originally uploaded by 'it's in the post'

Originally uploaded by 'it's in the post'

We ended up in Tetbury, home of antiques. It was still chucking it down so it kind of hampered the lazy perusing…but we cozied up in a pub for lunch and had a bit of a wander until we decided to call a cab to take us to our bed and breakfast, regardless of the fact that we couldn’t check in for a few more hours. We arrived and were pleasantly greeted at the Rectory Hotel set in a quaint little village of Crudwell, which for all intensive purposes seemed to be a main road with two, possibly three side roads off of it.  The hotel/bed and breakfast was beautiful just the right blend of quirkiness and homeliness but without it feeling like you turned up in someone’s house (something I always feel a bit uncomfortable with). They set us up with a pot of coffee and cakes  so we could  sit and read books and newspapers until our room was ready, which was very kind of them.

We spent the afternoon utilizing the row of complimentary wellingtons standing by the door…we headed out with a brolly and slickers and made our way into the fields across the road, just ambling through, chatting and breathing in all the fresh air we could. It was soooo beautiful out in the fields, which were a fantastic golden colour…my finger was twitching to take pictures, but it didn’t seem the brightest idea to take the camera out into the downpour, it’s only protection being a 4 pound umbrella. We capped off the night with a stroll across the road to the Potting Shed Pub, which was every bit as charming as the pictures suggested ( I found out right before we left that Prince William and Kate Middletown had been ‘papped’ snogging in the carpark the Saturday prior to our visit).

Sunday morning we had our breakfast in the hotel, which was the exact kind of set up that I always envision myself doing if I was ever in the situation…there wasn’t a horrible package in sight…everything was presented as if it plucked from the farmers market…either in old glass jars, baskets etc. Homemade jams and the like. We were sitting in front of a door that overlooked the old victorian pool ( basically a rectangular reflecting pond) that was surrouned by wild countryside landscaping. The door leading out from the breakfast room was propped open by an old steel watering can. Bless. We had a bit of a tour around the grounds before packing up…and started making mental notes about what we would like to do in our imaginary garden that we’ll hopefully have in the future. It is a fantastic bit of space as it has formal seating areas, more wild gardens (that are obviously cultivated but without being too patchworky) and a semi permanent croquet course. We eventually wound around to the gate that leads to the church, as this was the old rectory for the rector who had 14 children! Church was about to start so we decided to join them. It was a slightly odd, yet completely fulfilling experience. The church was very old and gorgeous and so empty! There were probably ten people including us there… and it seems 8 of those people leapt in front of our path before we could leave at the end of the service, so excited to get visitors they were were twitching to pump us full of coffee and find out our life stories. We had nowhere to be so we decided to stay and chat to the ‘grandmas and grandpas’. I left feeling like I had just done ten bits of good service as they were so excited to see young people. Their faces lit up even more when they found out we were already married. The rules in English churches are that if you want to get married somewhere you have to be an active member in the church for three months prior to the wedding. They assumed that since we were young and visiting that we were merely checking out the church for our own purposes. It made my day I think.

Originally uploaded by 'it's in the post'

Originally uploaded by 'it's in the post'

Originally uploaded by 'it's in the post'

Originally uploaded by 'it's in the post'

The rest of the day was spent hanging out in the garden, reading and taking a walk around the village and just getting some cobwebs cleared in the head. I’ll definitely go back…