Monday, 28 March 2016

Singing the blues

Hope you all had a good Easter, Passover or just enjoyed a few days off work. As a family we like to celebrate this special time with a meal together. Deciding on table décor is my most favourite thing about having a meal at home. I am always playing with different ideas to elevate a simple meal into something a little special with a great looking table.

A trip to Ikea with hubby to buy shelving meant I got to browse fabrics and cushions whilst he measured and ordered his shelving. It’s a dangerous thing to take a woman to Ikea just before Easter. I had already decided what my Easter table décor would be but when I spotted a bright blue and white cotton tablecloth I knew I had to have it! A few isles down I picked up some gorgeous blue and white patterned napkins of the same design (pity they were not fabric, but still I couldn't resist!). Three plants with dainty white flowers and three simple ceramic plant pots sealed the deal for me. Simple and yet very effective. More casual than I am usually known for, but I liked how cheerful and bright it all looked.  The bright almost Mediterranean blue of the fabric teamed with a white dinner service made the white seem whiter and the blues even brighter. I played with pattern on pattern by bringing in my Blue Willow side plates, and lightened it all with gold cutlery and gold stemmed wine glasses. A scattering of Easter eggs on the table made it feel even more casual, which worked a treat with everyone just helping themselves to whatever eggs they felt like after lunch!

After last night's storm I hope we can look forward to a week of less wind!
Until next time

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


Hi everyone, apologies for the lack of posts lately, in between real life happened and then we went away to the beautiful city of Venice for a few days.  It was our first visit and I know we’ll have to go back as there was so much to see and take in. As this is an interior design blog I thought I would share some traditional Venetian restaurant interiors I snapped with my camera as well as a few of my other photos.  I think it’s safe to say that Venetian restaurant interiors are mostly traditional in style, with flamboyant decorative details, polished wood, Venetian mirrors and spectacular Murano chandeliers.

We stayed in an Airbnb instead of a hotel as we wanted to experience a real Venetian home and immerse ourselves in the culture and I’m so glad we chose this option. Our apartment was a 17th century building with a small central courtyard, beautiful stone steps leading up to the first floor and terrazzo floors throughout the entire apartment. Our delightful host very kindly arranged a private tour with her friend and tour guide Lorenzo, a keen history buff and well versed in Venetian culture, we learned more about Venice this way than any book could have taught us and it was an interesting way of seeing Venice as we deliberately stayed away from the usual tourist spots. He tailor-made our tour to include the hidden areas in Venice where we had access into private courtyards, walked miles along winding alleys, ate loads of typical Venetian 'tapas' and seafood and drank loads of expresso! We've come back in need of a few days’ rest after all the walking!

If you’re thinking about visiting Venice, you simply must visit Burano Island. It’s a picture pretty former fishing village and home to the world famous Burano Lace making industry. I'll be doing a separate post on Burano Lace shortly. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to go to Torcello, a beautiful little island with a magnificent cathedral called the Santa Maria Assunta, home to 12th century Byzantine mosaics, maybe on our next visit. Before leaving the Island we had lunch in a very nice Restaurant called Riva Rosa – recommended to us by the elegant owner of Emilia the lace shop –  I recommend the Calamari with Polenta - best calamari I’ve tasted in 10 years!

Apart from the Murano glass shops and foundries, I found Murano a little desolate looking, the only colour was the glassware and the chandeliers, so I recommend you visit Burano first and hop off the valporetto on the way back for a quick visit to Murano where you can do a tour of the glass making factories. I also have it on good authority that not all the small/nick nack items you see in the shops are made on the island. Sad to say that some are imported from a certain country… I took a few photos of the chandeliers in a certain shop before the assistant came up hurriedly and said “you buy, you buy – you may only take pictures if you buy!” and that was the end of that! This is because the Chinese have apparently got in on the game and have started to reproduce similar looking chandeliers and to be perfectly honest it’s putting the Venetians noses out of joint, so in support of the true Murano glass makers I won’t be posting photos of the chandeliers which is a pity because they are truly spectacular in size and design (not to mention price!)

Lorenzo also recommended we take a tour of the Gallerie dell Accademia which houses a magnificent collection of Venetian art. For Euros 9 it was well worth the visit. The building itself is beautiful – even the lavatories are floor to ceiling marble.

Here are a few photos I took along the way:

Burano Island

(all photos are mine, taken with permission from the proprietor where appropriate and may not be used unless permission has been granted)

I know this post sounded a little bit like 'what to do in  Venice", but while I was looking for tips on visiting Venice, I didn't really find anything useful apart from the usual tourist options so if anyone is thinking about visiting Venice, I might be able to give you a few tips,  let me know if I can help.