Friday Fun: Still in the Garden

Yay! Finally some time off for a week! I might even do a spot of emergency gardening (aka ‘keeping things under control’), but I doubt that my garden will ever look as pretty as the ones below, unless I bring a proper professional gardener in.

I have that slightly neglected flagstone look down pat though… From Southern Living.
What a dreamy little place for afternoon tea, from the Tumblr account of A Little Bit of Silliness.
I do have some roses in my garden, but it would be glorious if I could get them to trail around the door like this. From Gardenista.
Now that’s what I call a border. No lupins in my garden though, as they are poisonous for cats, but what a riot of colour, shapes and sizes! From Judy’s Cottage Garden.
Sitting and dining with friends until late… My dream life. From Dreieckchen on Pinterest.

Friday Fun: Who wants to read on the balcony?

Many of you have complained that reading outdoors has its downsides: creepy crawlies, hayfever, too much glare from the sun, the heat… So how about these balconies for a tolerable compromise? I should add that it’s a shame that not very many British homes have usable balconies, possibly because the weather is not that conducive to sitting outside to read and write… or else developers are trying to cut down on costs.

Not all balconies are strong enough to take large container plants, but when they do, the results are gorgeous. From shakemyblog.fr
Great to socialise, although I would demand plenty of quiet time for just me and my cat to read here, from Home Art Mania.
Some balconies are really an extra room, especially with such a dreamy view. From Home Art Mania.
Tropical look is what I adore, and this Brazilian designer is truly fantastic: IvaniKuboPaisagismo.br
It doesn’t have to be huge, as this inside/outside space in Paris demonstrates, from Gardenweb.com.
Even if there is no room to actually sit on the balcony, this charming flower arrangement is worth it. From Design Cafe.

Friday Fun: Vintage Cities

Having mentioned favourite countries and places in my last post, I thought I’d unearth some historical pictures of a few of my favourite cities. I’ve tried to acknowledge where I found them, but if those sites did not respect copyright issues, I may not have credited the correct place. What strikes me is that these European cities all look quite similar: I don’t know if it’s the grandiose architecture, or the black and white pictures. I’m sure it would be a different story if we looked at a different continent.

Bucharest in the 1930s, from RomaniaDacia.wordpress.com
London, Ludgate Hill in the early 1900s, from A London Inheritance.
Old Vienna, Kartner Ring, from Hip Postcard.
Lyon from the quay, late 19th century, Monovisions.
Berlin, Hallesches Tor, about 1890, from Monovisions.
Rocck’n’roll on the Quays of Paris, 1950, photo by Paul Almasy.

Friday Fun: Back to Househunting in France

You all know my love of French chateaux – I think I may have featured almost every single one of them in past Friday Fun posts. But there are still beautiful houses left in France – the so-called ‘maisons de maitre’ (mansion, estate), which range from the modestly bourgeois to the magnificent. All of the below are for sale on the estate agents’ websites listed below.

  1. Normandy-type villa near Rouen, from Patrice Besse.

2. Classical style near Bordeaux, from Moulin.nl

3. This should be big enough for the entire family to come visit in Dordogne, from Anthouard Immobilier

4. I can never resist this fearful symmetry, in Lot et Garonne, from Legget Immobilier

5. This errs onto the chateau side of the spectrum, near Bernay, from Ivan Ballini Estates.

6. But I would be quietly content with this more modest endeavour, near Berry, from Terres & Demeures.

[I am not sure I will continue with Friday Fun though, as, in addition to it being resource hogging, this new formatting for the pictures and inability to add text directly is too much of a kerfaffle.]

Friday Fun: How to Read Outdoors

A couple of the readers commenting on last week’s post expressed some misgivings about reading indoors in fine weather, while others admitted they weren’t that keen on reading outdoors. Although in my youth I used to read outdoors (most notably when I was supposed to be looking after my grandmother’s animals – e.g. I read Anna Karenina in the cherry tree, stuffing myself with cherries and losing the cow in the process), I find the insects and the noise of other people’s mowers and barbecues put me off doing so nowadays. However, these gorgeous settings might make me change my mind.

Sadly, the WordPress block editor has decided not to allow me to add any text directly below the image, so I will have to produce a little bit of text in-between images. Can you just quit ‘improving’ things all the time, WordPress?

  1. Above: cosy reading and writing nook, from Decor Renewal.

2. Of course, it helps if you live in a forest. From Book Bub.

3. This is so bright, you might be able to even read here after sunset. From The Backyard Room.

4. If you’re an Italian prince and want the Rolls Royce of garden loungers, this one from Patio Productions should do the trick.

5. I struggle to read for a long time in a hammock, as my back starts aching, but it’s a lovely feel. From Better Homes and Gardens.

6. If all else fails, a garden bench in the shade will do as well. From The Garden Glove.

Friday Fun: Reading and Forgetting About the World

Everyone may be rushing to go outside and escape lockdown conditions, but there will always be some of us who don’t mind staying indoors and reading… especially in cosy reading nooks such as these.

I mean, you’re practically outdoors with this attick library, aren’t you? From Pinterest.
A more classical interpretation of the librar, but Il
A lamp, a ladder, a cushion for the back, this one is for a reading pro. From Design Swan.
From the cosy to the monumental – from Blender Artists.
I can only assume the bookshelves are somewhere close by, but this is a great seating arrangement for reading. From Architectural Digest.
Couldn’t resist this vintage little photo, which might very well be a representation of me reading back in the days when I cared less about my back.

Friday Fun: Secret Gardens Around the World

It’s not just the British gardens that are beautiful, of course. Here are some more hidden gardens all over the world, where you can forget about the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Orchard Central roof garden in Singapore, from Time Out.
My old favourite haunt, the Jardins Secrets Vaulx in Haute Savoie, France, from jardinez.com
Tsitsikamma National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa, from Travelground.com
Sinkhole in Australia transformed into a secret garden, from Australian Traveller.
Sitio Roberto Burle Marx in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is not just a fantastic garden but also one of the most important plant collections in the world. From Transfer-Arch.com

Friday Fun: Secret Gardens

My garden is a weed-infested, often soggy mess with its heavy clay soil and my lacklustre plant knowledge (and laziness), but I do love to see other people’s gardens, especially if they hint at being half-way secret and tucked away. And, let’s face it, gardens in the UK are simply magnificent!

The Hampstead Pergola in London, from Time Out.
The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow, from The List.
Braco Castle gardens, Scotland, from The Guardian.
Greencombe in Somerset, near Exmoor, from The Guardian.
Barnsley House, Cirencester, from PlantsGalore.com
Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens in Wales, from plascadnant.co.uk

Friday Fun: Favourite Colours

Since you all liked the white and blue colour combination from last week’s Friday post so much, here are some more blue and white houses for you to admire. I have been so in love with this colour combination all my life, that I think this might be the reason I got married into a Greek family…

The ideal Greek beauty, Mykonos Island. © Aflo Relax / Masterfile
Ibiza villa, with tiles reminiscent of the Copacabana beach, foto Frank, from gestalten.
Tunis once again provides the perfect colour scheme, from Women on the Road website.
Portuguese beauty in Aveiro, from allaboutportugal.pt
It’s not just the Mediterranean, the Scandinavian look works with these colours too. From The Front Door Project.
The Americans also like their white clapboard houses with blue shutters and doors, from Country Living Magazine.

Friday Fun: Virtual Holiday Homes

Looks like the safest form of holiday planning this summer will be virtually – so here are some perfect holiday homes to dream about!

Tunisian villa, from Bonnefoy Michel website.
Villa in the Peloponnese, from Pretty Greek Villas site.
Villa in Egypt, from Katameya Real Estate.
Villa in Algiers, from DestiMap.
For the fastidious and more luxury end of the market – Bali villa from MyMove.com
However, I have a hankering for this more traditional (and certainly not downmarket) villa, also in Bali, from Smart Travel Asia.