The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for slow living

October 4, 2018

The Kinfolk Home, Interiors for slow living, Nathan Williams, Kinfolk, Interiors books
Image from Beautiful House

I’m a huge fan of books – interiors books, art books, design books, novels, I just love to be inspired by others. There is nothing more perfect than spending a Sunday afternoon snuggled up with a good book and a hot drink with no interruptions. That’s slow living summed up right there.

One book I highly recommend is ‘The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living” by Nathan Williams. This book embodies the kinfolk mantra of slowing down and simplifying your life, the ethos I live by and hopefully encourage you to do also via this blog.

This book showcases thoughtfully appointed interiors and truly inspirational content, for those interested in interiors and slow living. It is illustrated with beautiful photographs of more considered, beautiful and intimate living spaces. 

Kinfolk home, interiors for slow living, interior design, slow living, interiors book

Slow living isn’t about luxury or laziness, nor is it about forgoing our most beloved belongings – it’s about identifying what, and whom, we simply cannot live without.

— The Kinfolk Home

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior book, Interior design, book review

Nathan Williams travelled to 35 homes based around the globe to create this collaboration of homes that have successfully embodied the ethos of slow living. The images provide great inspiration for others (you/me!) to adopt this approach in our own homes.

Slow living is the principle of reclaiming time for what we value most, identifying the things and people we can’t live without and cultivating spaces devoted to whatever brings us joy and meaning. The Kinfolk Home covers this beautifully.

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams
The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams

“Through a mix of photography styles, we are welcomed into the homes of designers, architects, photographers, entrepreneurs and stylists. Delving deeper than décor, Williams invites us to share their values, the ways those ideals have shaped their homes and the ways their homes have shaped them”.

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams, Greenterior


Inspired? Five ways to create your own Kinfolk home

  • Style with vintage pieces – avoiding mass produced furniture and accessories is green too.
  • Handmade decor – Support independent designers and artists whilst creating a stylish and beautiful space.
  • Plants – great for the environment and adding warmth and style to a room.
  • Natural timbers, rattan, linen and fur
  • Up-cycled pieces

Incorporating natural timber furniture and decor in neutral earthy tones with soft linens will help you find the perfect Kinfolk home.

the kInfolk home, plants in decor, green interior, vintage decor, unique design

I highly recommended popping this book on your Christmas list pronto, you won’t be disappointed!

(Images from The Kinfolk Home)

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Lagom: food, drink & fika

September 30, 2018

tea and cake, Lagom lifestyle, fika, eat well, healthy eating, balanced living,

If you are going to live a Lagom lifestyle, then getting the food and drink part right is not only vital, but enjoyable too! I’m not sure about you, but my day usually revolves around food, I get way too excited about my next meal!

Here are my top five tips to follow a Lagom approach to eating and drinking. If you love food as much as me, I think you may enjoy this post!

Lagom, hygge lifestyle, cinnamon buns, fika, coffeebreak, tea and cakes
cinnamon bun anyone?

  • Fika – life’s silver lining. 

Lagom culture tends to lean towards balanced meals and healthy eating. However (I hear you breathe a sigh of relief!) one thing they do insist on is Fika – to us this would mean drinking plenty of coffee or tea whilst catching up with colleagues or friends, enjoying a cinnamon bun at the weekend or sharing a table full of cakes and cookies with friends complete with pretty cups and candles. (We have already learned it’s all about setting the ambience!) Remember to keep it balanced though – one cookie is fine but stop yourself reaching for that second. It’s all about ‘just enough’.

Lagom, porridge oats, overnight oats, blueberries, healthy eating, breakfast
Image @healthy_belly


  • Cut back on meat consumption & increase proteins

An estimated one in ten Swedes is a vegetarian or vegan. I don’t expect you all to give up the meat completely, but you’ll be surprised how much healthier you will feel if you cut back to only eating red meat once a week and replacing the other mealtimes with veggie options.

Another way to increase your energy levels is the obvious – cut back on sugary foods such as breakfast cereals and replace with foods high in protein. Currently my favourite breakfasts consist of eggs and asparagus, porridge and blueberries or overnight oats. Joe Wicks has some great recipe ideas which are easy to make and take little time. Trust me, the energy you will gain from making this one switch will help fuel your morning and stop those mid-morning biscuit cravings.

social eating, Lagom, picnic, food, food gathering, hygge, food lifestyle
Image _picnicnac_
  • Enjoy food with others

Food is far more than the experience of hunger and fullness. Food is a great social role – we already all love to get together to enjoy a meal out or takeaway in, so take the Lagom approach and create a social experience around food. 

Ways to do this include prepping the food together whilst chatting in the kitchen before enjoying it around a campfire or picnic table, sharing recipes with each other, going for picnics together or holding a gathering where each person brings one dish to create a feast to enjoy together. The options are endless, but the main goal here is to enjoy it together – this includes the food prep, the eating and the clearing away. Don’t see cooking as a chore but part of the experience.

Blackberry picking, blackberry crumble, Lagos lifestyle, grow your own, cook your own, home baking


  • Forage or grow your own

At a time of global warming and with food waste almost epidemic, there is something very Lagom about growing your own and eating the fruits of your labour. Not only do you cut down on food miles but it’s affordable and you can plan your meals around what is growing in your vegetable patch or on your windowsill. If space is tight for growing your own, then get started on the balcony or window ledge. These are great places to grow herbs, chillies and different types of lettuce.

September and October are a great time for foraging in the woods and hedgerows. I have fond memories of blackberry picking when I was younger, bringing a bag full home and my mum making a blackberry crumble for our Sunday dinner pudding!

mulled wine, Lagom, spiced wine, hygge lifestyle,


  • Enjoy in moderation and don’t forget the mulled wine!

As mentioned before, Lagom eating and drinking is all about moderation. Take breakfast seriously to fuel your day and you will less likely crave the sweet treats. However, treat yourself at weekends and don’t feel guilty! Even better if your sweet treat is homemade, but if not, buy a cake, cinnamon bun, bag of sweets, whatever makes your taste buds tingle – go for it and enjoy!

And seeing as it’s almost October, I can probably get away with mentioning Christmas. Advent is a very special time in Sweden. On the four Sundays before Christmas, the candles are lit, baking begins and the Mulled wine is made – nothing quite beats a nice steaming glass of mulled wine for getting you into the Christmas spirit and feeling Hygge.

Right, I’m off to cook an apple crumble now with the apples I picked up from my neighbour’s apple tree. Happy Sunday everyone!

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Artist Residence – A quirky place to stay

September 22, 2018

Oxford B&B, Oxfordshire hotels, Artist residence, unique hotels, art hotels, quirky stays
Oxfordshire

For those who have not heard of Artist Residence yet, I beg you to read on.

I first came across the Cornwall based Artist Residence, whilst looking for somewhere for our group to stay for a Light and Land tour to Penzance. This quirky and unique hotel instantly stood out to me due to its eccentric style and arty feel.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Oxford hotels,

Who is Artist Residence?

Artist Residence is an eccentric bunch of fun and friendly places to eat, drink and sleep, inspired and styled by Artists and creatives. Currently they are located in Brighton, London, Oxfordshire and Penzance, and another opening in Bristol very soon. Clearly popular and loved by anyone who has stayed with them, their style is fun, imaginative and inspiring.

Interior design, design, Oxford stays, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, boutique hotels, unique hotels
Image credit @thecambridgest

Where it all began…

“When co-founder Justin dropped out of Uni to help out with the family B&B on Brighton seafront, he unexpectedly caught the hospitality bug, and set out to improve the business with very little budget. Inspired by the Brighton art scene, he sent out an ad for artists to decorate rooms in return for board. Hundreds of artists soon descended on the place decorating the walls, floors & ceilings with unique murals…and so, Artist Residence was born.”

This is so incredibly inspiring and shows that if you have the talent and passion for something, you really can make your dream a reality.

I love the way that limited edition art is mixed with vintage and found items to create a really unique style. Each location has an individual charm which sits in harmony with the surroundings. Their Oxfordshire retreat has a natural and rustic feel, in keeping with the surrounding countryside, whereas the Brighton retreat is more bohemian and creative, which fits in perfectly with the character of this quirky seaside town.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels
Image credit @mallyandthemoon

Don’t take my word for it though. Check out their website and my review below and start planning your next mini break!

Will it be Brighton, London, Oxfordshire or Cornwall? I’ve been a bit greedy and have planned both a trip to Oxfordshire and Penzance! Looking forward to sharing with you all soon.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels

Locations

Brighton

“The original Artist Residence, located on Brighton seafront and overlooking the iconic West Pier. With renowned restaurant, The Set, the fun and casual Set Bar with tapas, cocktails and draught beers, and a secret drinking den tucked away in the basement, this is a lively Brighton hangout with something for everyone”.


Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, Brighton stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Brighton hotels
Brighton

London

“Nestled in the quiet side streets of Pimlico, just minutes from the bustle of Victoria station, this is a home away from home for the city traveller. Neighbourhood restaurant, The Cambridge Street Kitchen, is an all day space for both locals & guests, whilst the moody Clarendon Cocktail Cellar comes alive at night…”

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, Oxford stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Oxford hotels, Oxford B&Bs,
London

Oxfordshire

“The most recent addition to the family, this is our take on the traditional English inn. The eccentric Mr Hanbury’s Mason Arms serves a creative menu of seasonal British produce downstairs, with 5 comfy bedrooms tucked away in the eaves and the grand Barn suite in the farm outbuildings – the perfect retreat after a night of indulging.”

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels
Oxfordshire

Penzance

“A Georgian manor house in the old quarter of Penzance, a seaside town perfectly located for exploring wild West Cornwall. Our rustic smokehouse restaurant, The Cornish Barn, serves up hearty portions of local meat and fish in an intimate and relaxed setting, with a log burner for chilly days and a sun-trapped garden for those glorious Cornish summers”.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, Cornwall stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Cornwall hotels, Cornwall B&Bs
Penzance

Maybe see you there!

If you are looking for limited edition Art or are just interested in Artists and designers, you might like to check out my review of Artist Laura Rich here.

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Koto – sustainable houses & cabins

September 16, 2018

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

You may have noticed from my Instagram feed that I adore a cabin escape! Being immersed in nature, along with the slower pace of life cabin escapes offer, is what I’m all about. So, you can imagine my delight when I came across Koto whilst browsing Instagram. I was so awed by the beautiful photography on their feed, along with their belief in the ethos of Scandinavian design and a slow pace of living, that I decided I simply must share with you all.

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

As you know, Green and the Great is all about embracing nature, slow living and sustainability, so Koto’s ethos behind their brand fits really well with what I am advocating.

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

So, who are Koto?

They are a team of architects and designers with a love for the great outdoors. They design and craft cabins built to the highest quality housing standards. These are luxury, architect designed, energy efficient small buildings that are beautiful and built to last. They are influenced by Scandinavian design, which of course means they are wonderfully minimalist.

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin
Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

Personally, I don’t own a lovely piece of land in the forest or near the sea, but if I did I know that I’d love to have a Koto home built, somewhere I could escape the stresses of everyday life and just be. However, the wonderful news is, you don’t necessarily need to have inherited a huge patch of land to benefit. Cabins range from open houses to small, medium and large cabins. If you are looking for some extra space, say a yoga studio, a home office or a kids playroom, then the small and medium cabins would be ideally suited. They are also delivered whole and complete directly to your site, bonus!

Cabins, Scandinavian homes, Scotland, Scottish highlands, Koto

The pair behind Koto are Johnathon and Zoe, who share a passion for creativity, architecture, design and surfing. They have spent the past decade living in Norway where their love for the natural elements and Scandinavian design began. 

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

Do check out their Instagram feed to be inspired by beautiful photography and if you are looking to create more space, then check out their website here.

 Now I’m off to cook a roast and dream of the day I can own a Koto cabin in the forest!

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin
Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

All images taken from the Koto website and Instagram page.

This is not a sponsored post, I genuinely love their designs and wish to share with the world.

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Lagom: Work-life balance

September 12, 2018

Hygge life, Lagom, work life balance, autumn feels, outdoor life, interior style
Image credit @jadorelehygge

Do you find yourself promising your family you’ll spend more time with them, but not being able to due to work commitments? Are you worried that your boss will think you’re just being lazy if you ask for some time off or a more flexible approach to work?  

Finding the right balance between your work life and your ‘me time’ can be an ongoing struggle, so let me share my top five Lagom inspired tips to help you make the changes you need to ensure a Lagom lifestyle.


Hygge lifestyle, Lagom, tea break, tea and cake, time out, interior style
Image credit @dear.emilyy

1. Take time out during the work day.

Take a tea or coffee break once in the morning and once in the afternoon, but make sure you step away from your work station to do this. It’s important for our brains to switch off, even if just for 15 minutes, to reboot. If your boss starts tutting about this, sit him or her down and explain how regular breaks increase your productivity. It’s also a great time to interact with colleagues and get ideas flowing. For extra Lagom, throw in a cinnamon bun or slice of cake once a week!

Outdoor life, Lagom, Hygge lifestyle, find time, outdoor life, me time, Chamonix, hiking
Get outdoors more

2. Leave work on time

If you take regular breaks throughout the day, your productivity will increase and therefore you will get tasks done on time. Learn to value your free time as much as your work time and ensure as soon as it’s time to leave, leave!

Lagom, Hygge life, Hygge style, cosy night in, interior style, candles, relaxing image
Image credit @hyggelifeuk

3. Have one or two worry free evenings a week

Give yourself one evening a week, say Friday, when you have an effort free evening and enjoy downtime. Sure, you might cook every night during the week, but use a Friday evening to enjoy stress free food, pop on some comfy pyjama bottoms, light those candles and do what it is that relaxes you and frees your mind. Watch a film as a family, with easy shop bought tacos or invite your best friend round for a glass of fizz or a cup of tea and catch up over nibbles. Most importantly, create a Hygge atmosphere by lighting candles and making the place warm. The key here is simplicity and relaxation.

Sunset, twilight, Hygge lifestyle, Lagom, night sky, interior style, landscape photography

4. Share the workload

How equal is your relationship? From childcare duties to household chores, sharing domestic tasks equally can contribute to happier parents and happier kids, according to Lagom. Throw out that age old notion of ‘blue’ and ‘pink’ tasks and make sure everyone mucks in. Dads/boyfriends should help with the laundry, housework and cooking, as should the mums/girlfriends help with the bins, painting or DIY. Working together decreases stress for all and makes for a happier household.

Hygge life, Hygge style, Lagom, interior style, woollen socks, cup of tea, relax, cosy night in
 Image credit @hyggelifeuk

5. Me time – Don’t forget about you!

With children, spouses, friends and family demanding your time, most of you may be shouting ‘What me time?!’

Balancing work, family and commitments can be time consuming, but it’s so important to find time out for yourself. I have done this by using part of my lunch break to take a walk every single day. Not only does this clear my head from the stresses of the work day, but it is also the time when my creative juices start to flow, and my ideas are formed. This very blog was the culmination of many lunchtime walks!

Don’t get enough time during lunch? Then give up one tv show a week or social media session and replace it with an art class, an hour of swimming or learn a musical instrument. Or simply take an hour and read a book. Use your time creatively and you will see increased focus and a boost in energy.

Hiking, walking, get outdoors, Zion National Park, me time, landscapes,

Try implementing the above over the next few weeks and see the difference. 

Stay tuned next week for my favourite Lagom tips – Eating!

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Designers: Oak Fair, Dorset

September 9, 2018

Over August bank holiday weekend, I visited the Oak Fair at Stock Gaylard in Dorset to meet and discover independent makers and designers. The Oak Fair is a special event held annually in Dorset which hosts over 200 exhibitors, so it was the ideal opportunity for me to discover talented designers to showcase on Green and the Great.

Oak fair, independent designers, woodcrafts, hand-carved tree tables,

I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was the first time I had visited, but I wasn’t disappointed. As I walked amongst the many stalls, I was fascinated by the vast array of unique and beautiful woodcraft on offer. Some pieces were being made there and then, by real people doing what they are passionate about. In my view, I think these people are incredibly lucky – they spend every day doing exactly what they love – and that in itself must be a truly wonderful thing.

Oak Fair, woodcraft, timber, rural skills, conservation, countryside, independent makers, handmade, designers
Independent makers, designers, basket weaving, Oak Fair, woodcraft, timber, rural skills, conservation, countryside, independent makers, handmade, designers

I discovered beautifully hand-crafted bowls, boards and other unique homeware items. I watched and learned about rural crafts such as hurdle-making and chainsaw carving, and discovered talented sculptors and artists.

Martin Hazell, Oak Fair, woodcraft, timber, rural skills, conservation, countryside, independent makers, handmade, designers
handmade wood products, egg holders, individual designers, handmade homewares, Oak Fair
Hamwood crafts sell unique hand-crafted wood products. I just had to buy one of their egg perches!
conygar coppice, roundhouses, glamping, structures, individual makers
Conygar Coppice produces alternative structures along with woodland products. The ironage style roundhouses are incredible and perfect for somewhere to gather with friends or for glamping. They are certainly unique that’s for sure!

My initial aim of the day was to discover individual makers and then select the very best, to offer their products though Green and the Great. I did succeed in finding incredibly talented new designers and am excited to be able to offer their work to a wider audience (coming soon). However not only this, but I also met and talked to real people and gained an insight into their lives. I also managed to squeeze in a Chew Moos Ice cream, made with milk and cream from Guernsey cows – it was delicious!

Oak Fair, woodcraft, timber, rural skills, conservation, countryside, independent makers, handmade, designers, magic wands, Harry Potter
Harry Potter inspired designs!

Craft fairs such as the Oak Fair are a great way to find unique pieces for your home, special gifts or one-off pieces. If you want your home to be different, then it’s important to look past what’s on offer on the high-street and discover the talents of individual designers. Especially because these pieces are created with passion and love and will last a lifetime. You know I’m all about sustainability and looking after our planet!

Stay tuned for the Green and the Great shop, where you can shop homewares from individual and undiscovered designers.

bird house, handcrafted bird house, independent maker, carpenter
Darren wheeler, woodturner, sculptor,artists, designers, Oak Fair, woodcraft, timber, rural skills, conservation, countryside, independent makers, handmade, designers
Darren Wheeler, woodturner and sculptor

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Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living

September 5, 2018

Green and the Great was created to share inspiration in making the most of the opportunities this world gives us. Lagom has been a huge influencing factor to the creation of this blog, so it is only right that I share with you what this is all about!

Lagom, the Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne. Flatlay by Emily Orr

For the next seven weeks, I will be introducing you to the seven principles of Lagom. My hope is to inspire as many of you as possible to introduce these practices into your own lives and in turn have a happier and more balanced lifestyle. Because happiness is free and who doesn’t want to be happy?

So, what is Lagom I hear you ask?

One of my favourite little books, ‘Lagom, the Swedish Art of balanced Living’ by Linnea Dunne, sums it up perfectly:

“Lagom has no equivalent in the English language, but it loosely means “not too little, not too much, but just enough. Lagom is accepting an invitation to spend the weekend at a friend’s house, but bringing your own bed sheets because it’s fair to share the burden of laundry. It’s having the right to stay at home with a sick child – pay intact – but never abusing that right. Lagom is buying a practical car – even if it’s not the most visually pleasing of vehicles. It’s painting just one feature wall of your lounge and leaving the rest white because doing the entire room would be too much. It’s wearing bright red lipstick, but leaving the rest of your make up understated. Lagom is having a burger but opting out of the fries, because moderation is a virtue: it’s whipping up a brand-new dinner dish using nothing except leftovers, because waste is a mortal sin”.

So how can we all adopt the “just enough” ethos into our own lives?

How about treating yourself to that one designer chair that you have had your eye on for the past year, but styling the rest of the room with vintage finds and affordable (yet lasting!) pieces. Decorate rooms in calming colours (white, grey and neutrals are popular in Scandinavian design) to create a space that is uncluttered and restful.

Speaking of clutter – declutter regularly! It’s all about simplicity and space to create an emotional wellbeing. Don’t just think of your own happiness, but that of others around you. Does a neighbour need help with anything? Offer your services for free, even if it’s asking if their dog would like to join you on your lunchtime walks!

Learn to say ‘no’ – your time is valuable, you decide where you should spend it, so say no to working late every now and then and spend more time with your family or friends.

Cate St Hill's Scandinavian inspired London apartment, by My Scandinavian home
Image credit ‘My Scandinavian home’

So, what are the benefits?

The reach of Lagom spreads much wider than Sweden in recent times. With most people under stress, working longer hours behind screens and spending less time with their families, this pressure has built up and we are all screaming out for a different ethos, one that provides us with a greater sense of balance. Not only is it affecting us as humans, but it is affecting our precious planet. Our natural resources are being depleted and plastics are destroying our wildlife. We all need to make changes not only to benefit ourselves, but to benefit this place we call home.

“With its loathing of waste and insistence on fairness, lagom is a crucial ingredient in Sweden’s recipe for success”

The main benefits of living a Lagom lifestyle are:

  1. Physical space – Conscious consumption and only spending on pieces you actually need means you have much less clutter equalling a more peaceful space to relax in.
  2. Mindfulness – By appreciating the ‘right now’ and preventing yourself from worrying about things that may never happen, you can become fully present in the moment, appreciating the good things in life.
  3. Improved finances – As you learn how to embrace conscious consumption (see point 1), you will not only be doing the planet a favour, but you will also find that you have more money left over every month. Why not invest this in new experiences or helping others.
  4. Community and belonging – By becoming a bigger part of your community and in shared responsibilities, you will feel part of a family and have a greater sense of purpose. You’ll feel good for it believe me!

Lagom is basically about making this great thing called life less complicated. It’s about enjoying the good and minimising the bad to create a true sense of balance and happiness.

If you like the sound of this, stay tuned for posts on the following seven themes, where I will explain in detail how you can implement each one into your lifestyle with minimal effort but with maximum return. (Don’t forget, please sign up for my newsletter for new posts to be sent directly to your inbox. Lagom posts will be fortnightly).

Lagom themes

The work/life balance

Food and Drink

Styling Lagom – design, interiors and what to wear

Health and wellbeing

Socializing

The lagom planet – sustainable living

An honest approach to happiness

A Scandinavian styled interior, by My Scandinavian home
Spend more time appreciating the good things. (Image credit My Scandinavian Home)

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An enchanting walled garden escape in the stunning South Wiltshire countryside

September 1, 2018

Walled garden at Pythouse gardens, Wiltshire

When you think of the deep dark countryside, what immediately springs to mind when it comes to eating out? Maybe an old traditional pub or coaching inn, with rustic beams, roaring fires and a few old men propping up the bar. Of course, there are plenty of these to be found (and I adore an old cosy pub!), but it’s also surprising what other enthralling options are just on your doorstep if you explore the neighbouring villages and towns. I live in a small town in North Dorset with little character and a lack of choices for a lovely evening out with good food and good wine. However, if I venture five or ten miles away, the surrounding villages offer plenty of unique and inviting options for that relaxing evening out or cosy Sunday lunch.

Interior at Pythouse walled gardens in south Wiltshire

Pythouse Kitchen Garden is an enchanting 18th Century walled garden, restaurant, bar and venue set in the stunning landscape of South Wiltshire. Driven by the delightful way the seasons can play on our senses, Pythouse delivers plates which are entirely coupled with the seasonality of the garden

Delicious food shot at Pythouse Gardens

“We have a simple approach to cooking our dishes. We start with produce we have grown ourselves and then look to our immediate neighbours for accompanying ingredients. The microclimate within the old brick walls of PKG treats us to wonderful bounty, from kiwis, apricots and pears to artichokes, elephant garlic and squashes.”

Homegrown green beans and basket

Each new season brings a change in the produce grown in the garden and in turn a different menu to the table. They specialise in cooking outdoors over the fire which is a pure, simple and healthy way to enjoy homegrown fruit and veg and locally reared produce.

Cake and food shot in a Wiltshire cafe
Homemade drink from the Kitchen Garden Co

It’s not only the incredibly flavoursome food that brings me back time and time again though. The chance to celebrate warm summer evenings under canvas, embracing winter with a delicious Sunday roast, high tea with the girls for a catch up, ‘the get down’ party nights or their new open mic night for an evening of dazzling local talent. The options are endless!

Wildflowers grown at Pythouse Kitchen gardens
Detail image at Pythouse kitchen gardens
Books and flowers at Pythouse walled gardens cafe

The interiors have been inspired by the surrounding gardens and nature. Freshly cut flowers adorn every table and the décor has that rustic, country feel to it which sits in perfect harmony with the outside and brings the tranquillity of nature into the venue.

Wildflowers at the walled gardens in Wiltshire
Autumn morning mist at Pythouse Walled Gardens in Wiltshire

If glamping is your thing, a new magical glamping village is tucked away in the beautiful and secluded orchard at the bottom of the walled garden. This is ideal for families, larger groups and wedding parties, offering a romantic, secluded venue.

Glamping at Pythouse walled gardens Wiltshire

There’s no mistaking that I am a country girl through and through. I love the outdoors, being surrounded by nature and a good old-fashioned pub, yet I also appreciate creativity and being surrounded by original and inspired spaces. A space where love and care has gone into every aspect of the design, the ethos and the atmosphere. The minute you walk under the archway to enter Pythouse gardens, you are taken into an enchanted place. It is peaceful, individual and inviting, yet is not pretentious in any way.

Pythouse Walled Gardens proves that you don’t have to travel miles for that perfect evening out or lunch date. Investigate your neighbouring towns or villages, better still, hop on your bike or in the car and ‘get lost’ exploring new places, you never know what you might come across!

(Some images taken from Pythouse Walled Garden website and Instagram page. Do visit their website here to be inspired and find out more!) 

Pythouse kitchen garden restaurant, bar and venue

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Step into the home of an Artist and a Writer

August 26, 2018

Large landscape painting by Laura Rich artist
Laura’s large painting, secondhand table and contemporary chairs work well together and inject personality to the dining space

For my first ‘Meet the Maker’ review, I didn’t have to look far. Being surrounded by a family of creatives, it was an easy decision to make to share the work of my artist sister Laura Rich.

Laura shares her home in Wiltshire with husband and writer David, three impeccably well-behaved children and their cockapoo, Bella. Laura takes inspiration from the Wiltshire downland and Dorset coastline to create her contemporary landscape paintings. These are sold in galleries across England and are held in private collections internationally.

Abstract landscape contemporary painting by artist Laura Rich

It’s no surprise that Laura and David’s creative talents translate across to the interior design of their home. Once a 1970’s bungalow with little character, they have transformed the style of the interior with a mix of vintage finds and unique one-off design pieces that they have collected over the years.

The living room interior of artist Laura Rich
The large light-filled living room
Ted Hughes Crow and other books in the home of artist Laura Rich
In every room, books on art, poetry, design and the classics can be found, inspiration for this creative couple

I caught up with Laura to find out what inspires her art and interior style:

Please can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a full-time painter, mother of 3 and coordinator of Wiltshire’s largest visual arts trail, The Wylye Valley Art Trail.

Where’s home?

We bought a dated 1970’s bungalow in Mere, Wilts, 18 months ago and have spent that time doing it up. We’ve converted a lower level garage into my studio and have completely redecorated the house. There was a lot of woodchip wallpaper when we moved in!

Landscape painter Laura Rich in her studio in Wiltshire
Laura converted the garage into her studio (image John Edkins)
Artist Laura Rich's studio where she paints her contemporary landscape paintings

How has art and what you do influenced your home style?

I design every room around my art collection. I choose wall colours to show of the paintings I have bought over the years and choose furniture to display the 3D pieces I own.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

In nature mostly. Big skies, there are a lot of those where we live, I often walk along the Downs surrounding Mere.

Landscape painting by artist Laura Rich above her fireplace
Laura’s own painting takes centre stage above the fireplace

How would you describe your interiors style?

Eclectic. Calm. Homely.

What’s your favourite part of your home and why?

Our living room. It’s on the first floor level with windows on three sides and is surrounded by trees and greenery. It feels like we’re up in the trees and it’s so light, we never have to put a light on during the day. It shows off my Katy Brown painting which is my pride and joy.

Two original pieces of art by artists  Patricia Jordan and Katy Brown
Two original pieces of art compliment each other, many are found throughout the house
(Mouse by Patricia Jordan, painting above by Katy Brown).
The interior of artist Laura Rich's home in Wiltshire

And your favourite piece of furniture?

I have two. Our dining room table once belonged to the writer Mary Wesley and she wrote several of her books at it. It was then owned by her son Toby and his wife Xinran, who is a famous Chinese writer, she also used to write sat at the table so it has a history and connection to us as my husband now writes at it too. The table was gifted to us by Toby and it will be passed down through our family, it’s a keeper! The second being my Frame & Cover chair. It’s handmade in the UK and the fabric is designed and upholstered by one of my oldest friends from school, Corinne Webb, she set up her company and is running it from Margate. We did A Level art together and I swapped a painting for the chair.

This dining table belonged to writer Mary Wesley
The dining table belonged to the writer Mary Wesley

Where else do you like to source items for your home – any favourite brands or designers?

I bought our Gplan wardrobe from Kernow Furniture, they’re based in Cornwall and have a brilliant range of retro and unique second-hand furniture. I also frequent the local second-hand shop called This and That in Mere high street. I have a few modern pieces from The Furniture Box too and the IKEA pieces we have have lasted us since our student days.

Wardrobe sourced from Kernow furniture in Cornwall
Wardrobe from Kernow Furniture in Cornwall
Records and a guitar adorn the walls of the bedroom of artist Laura Rich
Husband David is a writer and musician and his style and influence is evident throughout the house
A mix of vintage finds, unique designs and secondhand pieces
Their home is a mix of vintage finds, unique designs and secondhand pieces

Finally, what’s your top tip when it comes to choosing Art to invest in?

Go with your gut feeling. If you absolutely fall in love with a piece of art – whether it’s by a well-known artist or someone you found at the local church fete – buy it if you can. You might play a part in boosting that artist up to the next level but most importantly you have a piece of someone’s heart and soul which you will always love. Art should speak to you and make you feel something, if it has that impact when you first see it, it will have that forever.

Also support the local art trails. I started my career taking part in the Wylye Valley Art Trail, it’s a lot of work for the artists and some plan their whole year around them. To get visitors really makes a difference – even if you don’t buy anything, you might tell someone else who will, it’s a knock-on effect.

Cat sleeping in chair
Tom cat enjoys a nap in the living room which is filled with light throughout the day
Contemporary artist Laura Rich at work
Having fun at work!

I truly believe that to create a stylish and impressive home, you do not need to be continuously spending money. Laura has invested in a few unique pieces that although would have cost a bit more than your average high street store, will last a lifetime and be passed down to her children. These pieces have been mixed with carefully selected secondhand items sourced from junk shops, vintage stores and online, along with Ikea pieces purchased during her uni days. The result is a home which not only reflects her personality, experiences and creativity, but looks amazing too! I’m sure you’ll agree.

To find out more, please visit Laura’s website here.

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