Friday Fun: Just Sitting and Watching the World Go By

I admitted in my Inside and Out book tag that I don’t actually read all that much outdoors. However, if I had a beautiful porch, deck, terrace, balcony or whatever you choose to call it, that would be my favourite indoor/outdoor compromise for reading. (In fact, that’s exactly what I did back in the days when I visited family in Greece. Saved me having to listen to hours of gossip about people I didn’t know!) If you also add in a fabulous view… well, my inspiration might know no bounds.

A little read, a little chat, drinks at sunset. American mountain cabin, from weheartit.com
Modest balcony overlooking the St Croix river, Keller Architecture, George Heinrich photo.
Mountain lakes are my favourites to look at, not necessarily to swim in. From Georgiana Design on Tumblr.
A less basic seating experience, from Annahepfer.com
Coming back to Greece and my favourite island, Santorini. I really need to go back there soon, although probably not in such luxury, from Insider.com

Friday Fun: Romantic Bedrooms

I’ll be honest: what is being flogged as romantic in most magazines or travel brochures makes my skin crawl: tacky decorations, lots of pink and red, a bathtub at the foot of your bed (all the better to hear the gurgle of water draining, see a spider crawling out of the plughole and have to choose between romance of scum residue or scrubbing the bathtub immediately after use). So I’ve had to create my own definitions of romance.

It might get too hot in summer, but a bed in a greenhouse is the perfect place for reading. From soyvirgo.com
A treehouse is also a great option, although you might have to fight the bugs for bed occupancy. From Airbnb.com
Great views and lots of soothing greenery with this day bed. Plus, who can resist a feline friend? From merchantdesign.blogspot.fr
OK, mood lighting can enhance romance, they’re right about one thing, but I think the view and the sound of waves might also be helpful. From bocadolobo.com
It’s all about the view in this one as well. From bocadolobo.com
However, the most romantic bedrooms, to my mind, are the ones where you also have a comfortable reading chair and plenty of books to hand. From homedesignlover.com

Friday Fun: Amazing Courtyards and Patios

Still here, still pretty much housebound, and no plans to travel too far afield. But who needs to, if they’ve got such wonderful courtyards in their own home? I hope they come complete with a gardener who knows what they are doing, because they can’t count on me to keep anything alive and pretty.

I’ve always craved a place to gather with friends outside on balmy summer evenings and tell stories. From simplybestwoman.com
Courtyard in Mexico from Contemporist.com. Photo credit: Lorena Darquea.
Water features are so soothing, and I like the idea of having a swing as well. From arielbrazil.ga
Another inside outside room from Arch Daily. Photo credit Denilson Machado.
Tunisian feel in this simple to replicate courtyard, from simplybestwoman.com

 

Friday Fun: Homesick for Romania

I was supposed to go to Romania this summer to celebrate my parents’ 80th birthdays (they are on different days, but both in the same year). I was hoping to take the boys for a hike in my beloved mountains, but instead will have to make do with these pictures instead. The first few pictures are from places that were within easy travel distance from Bucharest, so I used to go hiking and skiing there at least once a month when I was a pupil and a student. The last batch show the four seasons in different parts of the country.

N.B. I left Romania in the mid 1990s because it had a corrupt government, merciless exploitative capitalism combined with nostalgia for communist strong men, and because young people seemed to have no future there to fully develop their talents. There are still plenty of things wrong there, but I’m seriously thinking of moving back there in retirement at the latest.

One of my favourite places: the Sphinx on the summit of the Bucegi mountains. From Turist de Romania website.
Not far from there, Cabana Stana Tarla above Sinaia. From Booking.com
A little bit further away, sunset over the Caltun Lake in the Fagaras Mountain range, from muntii-fagaras.ro
The Seven Staircase Gorge near Brasov, photo credit Ionut Stoica. Not recommended if you suffer from vertigo!
Spring in the Apuseni mountains, from events.in
Summertime in the Retezat nature reserve, from Icar Tours.
Autumn is always spectacular in the mountains, from travelminit.ro
Last but not least, winter in Bucovina, with its traditional wooden churches. From The Romania Journal

Friday Fun: If I had those home offices…

Working from home has not been as peaceful and productive as many of us imagined it would be while we were cursing our commute, but nevertheless many of us are now hoping that organisations are more open to a hybrid model of working. A couple of days at home every week would really make all the difference – and would certainly be a pleasure in any of the home offices below.

You can’t go wrong with ladders or spiral staircases, as we’ve established. From Wall Street Journal.
Even if you have long, awkwardly shaped rooms… But where do people get all these high ceilings from? From weheartit.com
For those who like it darker, more traditional, this comfy office with reading armchair and window seat has it all. From Pinterest.
But many of you might prefer an office (again, with ceiling height) with a view. It would require a LOT more bookcases, from my point of view, though. From Decoist.
This one has the shelves, but does it have the view? From home-designing.com
This one ticks both boxes: lots of shelves and lots of views! From Decoist.

Friday Fun: And Breathe… in New Zealand

This Friday Fun post is pure escapism, nothing political about it at all… but for some reason all of today’s houses seem to be located in New Zealand. A country I very much hope to visit some day. Most if not all of these pictures are taken from the wonderful website ArchitectureNow.co.nz

Villa in Wairarapa, photo: Simon Devitt.
House designed by Strachan Architects, photo Patrick Reynolds.
House on Lake Wakatipu, photo Paul McCredie.
Kawau Island bach, photo Alex Wallace.
This house is not about the view, but about the rather lovely inner courtyard. Photo: Samuel Hartnett
The perfect beach house? Sorry, not sure of photo credit, but I couldn’t resist sharing it.

 

Friday Fun: Turquoise to Lift the Spirits

When life and all those around you give you the blues, you can respond with a similar but much more cheerful shade of aqua. Turquoise is a mood lifter for me, hopefully for you too!

You can go the full turquoise paint treatment, as in this room via Architectural Digest.
Or a mere accent of the colour on your tiny balcony, as shown in Designrulz.com
It looks fresh and fun combined with red in a child’s room. From Pinterest.
Or quite classical with white sofas. From Impressive Interior Design.
This reading corner would keep me cool on the warmest of days.
But it’s at its best when you combine with a seascape. From Southern Studio.
So that it melts into the view, as in this house on the Turks and Caicos. From House of Turquoise.

Friday Fun: How I would furnish my house if I could…

Today’s escapism is more down to earth – pieces of furniture that I would like to own some day and that could really take my home decorating style up a level. As you can see, I have rather eclectic tastes, so they might not all go well together!

Modern Italian bookcase design – for an endless space, from archiexpo.com
Memories of balmy evenings sipping cocktails – British colonial style may be problematic in origin, but it does look lovely. Photo credit: Tom Harper.
Scandinavian sofas and that ceramic stove, from Dmarge.com
One of my favourite collections (Naturaliste) from one of my favourite shops in France: Maisons du Monde. Just like a museum.
That large white display cabinet has been on my radar for the longest time. I wish I’d bought it when I still had the chance, at Maisons du Monde.
Dining table for long dinners with friends, from estiloydeco.com

 

Friday Fun: Dream Hotels for When We Travel Again

In the spirit of pure escapism, which is what these Friday Fun posts are all about, here are some hotels that I can but dream of… and which might not be available to me even after the restrictions are eased, thanks to their formidable price tags. However, it’s not necessarily the luxury that I’m talking about, but the blissful and harmonious merging with nature.

The view from the balcony of the Hotel Palafitte in Neuchatel, Switzerland is better than any cruise ship offer.
Another view of Hotel Palafitte, from the hotel’s website. What’s not to like about a room on stilts?
Miles from anywhere in Norway, Juveit Landscape Hotel, from Uniqhotels.com
The pool of the Tierra Atacama hotel in Chile. From kiwicollection.com
Hotel Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, from the hotel’s website.
This hotel opposite one of Australia’s most iconic sites looks like a collection of tents, but oh, the luxury inside! Longitude 131, from hotel website.

 

Friday Fun: Piglets to Cuddle

It’s been such a busy week once more and perpetual exhaustion seems to be the general frame of mind for me. So no new reviews, not even a summary of the many films I’ve watched in the last fortnight. Merely my grandmother’s favourite animal to look at and cuddle. Initially, I was scared of the piglets, because they would follow me everywhere. Now, I’ve grown to love them, not just because they are cute (and surprisingly clean) but because they are also very intelligent and trainable, like dogs.

So small, that this bunny can mother him/her. From Magical Nature Tour website.
Bigger and wiser. From pigbrother.co.uk
How can you resist that little face? From Pinterest
Gambolling like a lamb in the field. From White Pine Healing Arts.
There’s always one looking the other way, isn’t there? From the Derbyshire Times.