17 December 2013

English cottage holidays in the north

Living in Yorkshire, I'm quite lucky to be surrounded by old, picturesque buildings - usually made of the traditional Yorkshire stone. Actually, just down the road from where I live is the beautiful country side hotel Oulton Hall. I've never stayed there (that would feel quite unnecessary) but I had dinner in one of their restaurants just a couple of weeks ago, and I was very impressed!

I would love to stay somewhere similar to Oulton Hall but a bit further away from home. Myself and my boyfriend often talk about going for a weekend away in the Lake District. It would be so lovely to stay in a traditional English hotel, or ever better – somewhere more private, like a cottage. Some “cottages” are more like mansions, to be fair. Just check out this mahooossive one!

But this lovely little cottage below would be more than enough for me. You could even rent it for your whole family.
I love the whole traditional look - it really reminds me of the Downton Abbey. Especially with the series being filmed here in Yorkshire! If I had lived in another era I would have loved to live around the early 1900's which is the time of Downton Abbey.
However, if the old fashioned style is not for you, there are more modern and contemporary cottages available to rent for a weekend away. The wooden one below looks so stylish, and if I could I would have built a whole house in this style! It kind of reminds me of a Swedish house. I know you read my rants about Sweden all the time, but their houses are just better! ;) 
The peaks about going for a mini break in England, and especially up in the north in the Lake District or even in the Yorkshire Dales, is that you'll definitely get your peace and quiet, and you get to wake up to amazing views like this!
 You can have dinner in your garden... (unless the furniture aren't occupied by extremely cute animals)
Or simply relax with your loved one by a roaring fire. I would definitely do that this Christmas if I didn't already have plans.
 What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to go far to enjoy the lovely side of England, and to get away from that everyday city life. I've come across a great infographic on the top 5 cottage holidays in England, which you can find at Cumbrian-Cottages.co.uk. Although, if you're all for bigger hotel stays that still have that country side feeling, I would definitely recommend my local hotel Oulton Hall. And their fillet steak is just out of this world!

15 December 2013

Dreaming away to a fantastic garden

As winter is here we may not spend as much time in our gardens, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming about how we could use the garden in the summer!
When it comes to decorating your garden most of us think in the lines of plants and garden furniture, but if space allows – why not think bigger and outside the box?
Below are some great and creative ideas for the lucky ones with bigger gardens (and bigger bank accounts). But the rest of us can always appreciate the sights and still dream, right?

Outdoor fireplaces
Installing an outdoor fireplace creates a natural meeting point in your garden, where you can spend time both summer and winter. Why not get some friends around or get the kids to go outside by gathering around the roaring fire and barbequing some hotdogs on sticks, for an all old fashioned cosy time?
A treehouse is every kid’s dream! But it’s also a great investment for the ones that are young at heart. Nothing stops you from building a treehouse as a grown up. You can always use it as an office. You’ll be sure to have some peace and quiet around you.

Garden pods
And talking about offices… Do you work at home but find that you lack space or that you always get disturbed. Or do you simply need to feel as if you’re leaving home for work even though you’re not? Why not get a garden pod? These can easily be placed in your garden, and comes in a range of different shapes and sizes. If an office isn’t what you need, then why not use it as a guest room, or perhaps a second living room? The pod in this particular photo is from Podspace.

Have you got green fingers but the cold weather is stopping you from doing gardening in the winter? There are all sorts of greenhouses you could invest in, or even build yourself, in all sizes you could imagine. Have a browse around Houzz for more inspiration of great greenhouses.

Winding paths
Tired of that old lawn, and want to make your garden look more interesting? Then paths is the answer! A winding path around the house creates a feeling of creativity and will definitely get people curious.

When it comes to creative gardens there’s nothing more beautiful than decorating with water. And even though this waterfall piano is extremely creative and simply stunning, and simple waterfall or a little creek running through your garden can add so much to the aesthetics of your home. I found this great picture on Pinterest. Remember - with some handy skills you could create this too!

A pretty pond with a couple of goldfish is a pretty sight and will definitely be a conversation starter for any guests you may bring around. Water also adds a calming effect to you, so a stroll around your garden pond can help relieve stress.
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