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Every year at about this time I start to wonder why I’m not jetting off somewhere warm for Christmas?  I start to think that it would be nice to escape the frenzy of shopping and wrapping and cleaning and baking and just relax for two weeks instead.

It would have to be somewhere in the southern hemisphere naturally and when I say escape that’s exactly what I mean. 

This is just my cup of tea.  A safari type camp on 100 acres of bushland in New South Wales, Australia.  Not exactly luxurious but pure escapism of my favourite kind, getting up close to nature.

There is diving, hiking and sailing available but the desire to curl up on that bed with a good book or two might be too strong to resist.

Take me away now!

via Welcome Beyond

The past few weeks have been ever so slightly busy and I am so sorry for the lack of posts.

I guess I just didn’t realise when we started Heart Home magazine exactly how much work it was going to be and exactly how many hours it would take.  But boy do I love it! 

Once again we have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our contributors.  The photographers and the stylists and the writers have all been working their socks off and we hope they know just how grateful we are for their help.  They are such a talented bunch and you are in for a real treat when the next issue is published on the 8th December.

The last photo shoot took place at the weekend in Amsterdam and we have a very special lady to thank.  Mariska Meijers is not only an immensely talented artist but she is one of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet.

We had a lot of fun, and yes we indulged a little! 

So here are a few photo’s that I took on my i-phone, just as a taster.  You will have to read the magazine to see the full feature.

Arianna and I stayed at The College Hotel.

Located in possibly one of my favourite cities in the whole wide world…

Dar Darma is undeniably beautiful but it is also a little bit different.  Soaring, painted ceilings and decadent furnishings maybe, but it is also more like a private home than a hotel.  Guests are invited to take their meals at whatever time they choose and where ever they choose.  “We are able to serve the meals in the suites or on the terraces, anywhere we can set up a table and make it special.”

When the heat gets too much there is a rooftop pool and beauty treatments can be taken in the hammam.

I think I might find it hard to leave.

via Welcome Beyond

Thank God it’s Friday.

Would anyone care to join me?

Sources: Image,Lucyina Moodie. blue check tablecloth, Amazon.  Stiped cushion, Black. Jug, House of Fraser. Blue glasses, Amazon. Bowl, Blue Rose Pottery.  Oil drizzler, David Mellor. Driftwood door stop, Velvet Brown. Glass bell votive, The Handpicked Collection.

I love Africa.  I’ve been a few times now.  I’ve travelled through Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.  I’ve been to countless game reserves, seen all of the big five and had the time of my life where ever I’ve been.

But I’ve never ‘done’ Africa in luxury.  Chance would be a fine thing!  So when I win the lottery, this is where I’m going.

The Ulusabe Game Reserve, part of Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson’s portfolio of
unique retreats and set in the heart of the Sabi Sand reserve on the
border of the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Who’s coming with me?

Found on Adelto

I haven’t visited India yet but it’s right there at the top of my wish list.

And although I want to visit Delhi and Agra and all of the destinations in the Golden Triangle, I also want to visit Kerala.  I want to totally relax in the sleepy backwaters, enjoy a massage or two and gorge on the food.

And then I saw this little gem on the Mr & Mrs Smith site…

A small boutique hotel consisting of just four rooms spread over two bungalows…

I can almost feel that cool polished wood beneath my feet…

and I’m certain I can hear the silence.  Apart from the sounds of the insects that is.

And with so few guests I could catch up with my reading without interruptions.

Oh, and did I mention there is also a one-bed houseboat?

Where dinner can be served by candlelight on the top deck.

And daytime cruises can be booked to take in the wildlife.

One of these days. *sigh*

The weekend started grey and wet but spirits were not dampened at the Meet the Blogger event in Amsterdam.  For some pictures and links pop over to the Heart Home magazine blog.

And then it was Sunday. 

The clouds parted…slowly at first…just enough for a leisurely breakfast, canal side…

and then the day turned into one of those idyllic summer days…a slow cruise on the waterways…the glistening of sun on water…

followed by a long lunch…a stroll…a little window shopping…too hot to do too much…

an ice cream…and then dinner with friends…a sultry evening…laughter and conversation. 

A perfect Sunday.

 

I’m off now my lovelies for a short family break.

Hoping for a little less rain than this…

Taken on my I-Phone in the Majorelle Gardens, Marrakesh during our recent trip.

Amazingly the rain just enhanced the brilliant colours even more.

Arianna and Daniel will be holding the fort at

 

 while I’m away and keeping the blog updated, so pop over and say hello.

It will be go, go, go when I get back!

I believe I may have found paradise.

Well not personally of course.  It’s a private island in the Vanuatu Archipelago in the South Pacific where there are three villages and a total of 15 villas to rent.

This beautiful island was ‘discovered’ six years ago by a couple who were sailing round the world.  It is actually owned by the community but the village elders entrusted it into their care.  Some sales pitch that must have been!

Now, 100% of the foundations profits go to help the community.

All food is either grown in the kitchen gardens, bred on the island, fished from the sea or plucked from the fruit trees.  The aim is to be self sufficient and carbon neutral.

The buildings are all constructed of wood using ecological building methods and look gorgeously rustic.  I wouldn’t mind ‘roughing’ it in these.

There may be no TV or air conditioning but it’s not all hardship let me tell you.  Just look at this over-water spa.  Now that’s what I call enticing.

Found on Welcome Beyond

Well you didn’t think I’d come home empty handed did you?

Marrakesh really is a shoppers dream.  From the bustling souks in the medina, to the new town, to La  Zone Industrielle there is temptation at every turn.  Everywhere there is a spectacular blaze of colour, tantalising scents and beautiful workmanship.  Get the hang of haggling and you might even pick up a bargain.

I was always going to buy a wedding blanket.  It was a done deal.  And I absolutely love it.  Authentic and heavy and with a satisfying tinkling sound from all those sequins every time you shake it.

I’m also a sucker for anything that glistens. So the small glass and silver tray for serving tea to guests was soon in my shopping basket.  Perfect for holding perfume bottles on the dressing table or in the bathroom.

The embossed mirror is beautiful.  Small but perfectly formed.  It doesn’t have a home yet but I’m working on it. 

The scented candles with beaten metal lids and colourful tassels have pride of place on the coffee table and smell divine.

The dusky beauty in the black and white photograph was waiting just for me.  Provenance unknown, but she will be a constant reminder to me of mint tea and the sometimes comfy, sometimes not, tradition of reclining on cushions.

And if I use the essential oils daily – good for eye bags and wrinkles, or so I’m told – I may become as beguiling as she.

The slippers are a present for a friend….maybe :-)

But oh, the things I had to leave behind.  The Ben Ouiran rug (too big for my suitcase and just a little out of my budget), the silver teapot, silver tray and rainbow coloured glasses, the punched metal lanterns (also too big but so very tempting) the leather pouf and so much more…

*sigh*

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