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
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:
It doesn’t have to be huge, as this inside/outside space in Paris demonstrates, from
Even if there is no room to actually sit on the balcony, this charming flower arrangement is worth it. From Design Cafe.

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: Venturing Out into the World

We’ve spent a lot of time in home libraries, cosy reading nooks, even under the stairs over the past few weeks. So it’s high time we looked at inspiring contemporary architectures (hopefully well insulated and far away from peeking eyes) set in amazing landscapes. Welcome to spring, Easter, and nature’s rebirth!

Mountain home designed by Kelly Stone Architects, from OneKindesign.
Canadian lakeside home, photo credit: Maciek Linowski, from Contemporist.
Semi-underground ecological home from the Netherlands, from
Marataba Trails Lodge in South Africa is more of a hotel but I wouldn’t mind living here all year round, from
‘Cottage’ may be an understatement for this house set on its own island on New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, designed by Bossley Architects.

Friday Fun: Simply Too Cute…

Today I offer you a hodge-podge of cute decorating ideas, which make me dream and wish myself somewhere far, far away…

Adorable conservatory ideas, from Pinterest.
The perfect little patio, from
Cosy bedroom and reading nook, from
Apparently, you can build one of these swings yourself, from
I have to admit I rather like the safari style, even though it harks back to colonialism. Luxury safari lodge from

Friday Fun: Bringing the Outdoors Inside

It’s not really possible with the English weather, but I do have friends in South Africa, France and Portugal who practically live outdoors in the summer months. Here are some houses to inspire you to bring the outdoors inside – at least in your dreams.

You can always start small, with a greenhouse or conservatory. From Instagram.

For braver souls, an almost outdoor shower. From ApartmentTherapy.

Making the most of narrow strip of land to build on, this house in Sao Paolo. From

The anything but minimalist outdoor porch of North America. From Decoist.

The open all windows method of ELM & Willow house, from

Last but not least, Cate Blanchett’s covetable abode in Sydney, from Pinterest.

Friday Fun: Out on the Patio

Who wants to spend time inside, when there are such pools, patios and views beckoning? In this hot weather, however, don’t forget your sunscreen, floppy hats and books to cover your faces (tablets are just not the same thing…).

Zinc House, from
Zinc House, from

Spanish villa, from Architectural Digest.
Spanish villa, from Architectural Digest.

Greek villa, photographer credit Prue Roscoe.
Greek villa, photographer credit Prue Roscoe.

Oriental theme, from
Oriental theme, from

Roof garden, from Domaine Home.
Roof garden, from Domaine Home.

Armani's house, Architectural Digest.
Armani’s house, Architectural Digest.

Bring the Outside Inside Houses

Another mainly visual post for the weekend. Now that Spring has sprung (or is doing its best to spring here in the Northern hemisphere), we are eager to bring the beautiful outside indoors. Or I would be, if we didn’t have a building site just opposite our garden. So instead, I dream about places such as these…

Domaine de la Dombes, Ain, France
Domaine de la Dombes, Ain, France

Simple, escapist…

From the Ask Kissy website.
From the Ask Kissy website.

Over the top…

Mountain cabin, Decoist.
Mountain cabin, Decoist.



Deceptively simple…

I think a trip to the garden centre might be in order.

Caged Beauty

Soft pad-pad of measured pace,

she saunters up the plank – three, four –

meanders down the slope – five, six –

a pause, a whiff of one’s Siberian neighbour through the fence,

then around the corner on shaggy feet

her relentless pursuit of majesty recommences.


He rests on the hilltop, meanwhile,

so quiet, so strong,

his gaze languorous mid-distance,

surveying his shrunken kingdom.





At 3 precisely the doors lift.

Each enters their separate tomb,

devoid of life or decoration,

where an unhunted, unchosen lump of dead meat awaits.

No need to pounce or devour,

They nuzzle delicately with perfect table manners,

yet denied the pleasure of companionship,

except for the dozens of pairs of eyes

and flashbulb concert outside.


Pictures courtesy of my son.