Halloween at Home...

Do you celebrate Halloween? I am not a fan of Halloween, but when I came across these lovely images from IKEA Live Hemma I just had to post them...

{Photographer Roland Persson, Food stylist: Elisabeth Johansson}

Halloween at Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge

Last Sunday myself and some family members went to Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge which is a beautiful old hunting lodge in Virginia, County Cavan owned by Michelin Star Chef Richard Corrigan. This was a Halloween themed dinner as part of Virginia Pumpkin Festival which is an annual Halloween festival run by the local community in Virginia.

Upon arrival at the Lodge, you enter through a splendid tree lined avenue which sweeps around to the front of the Lodge into the yard at the rear. There are plenty of stone outbuildings which I presume were originally the stables/mews of the lodge. These appear to be accommodation for the lodge guests. The rear entrance of the Lodge is through an archway with lots of neatly stacked logs  piled for the many open fires dotted throughout the building. There are plenty of  small rooms and alcoves with open fires, wood paneled walls, luxurious leather couches and ornate wooden furniture. You will find lots of wellingtons, fishing rods and a few guns too in the mudroom!

We had our meal in a marquee in the front lawn. With the name 'Pumpkins, Pigs & Pints' there was obviously a Halloween theme to the menu. We had plenty of pumpkin, pork and pints of local ale and lager.  I am not a drinker so I could of done without the pints- a nice cup of tea would have suited me better. Overall the food was  tasty with lots of flavours. It was an enjoyable experience. I am not a good cook or chef and definitely not a foodie so my visit here was all about the feel of the place, the heritage, history and the luxury of the old lodge. Richard has done a great job on conserving the heritage of the building while decorating it to feel homely and stylish. It was a wet afternoon so we didn't get time to explore the gardens, however, I have heard they are beautiful with lots of woodland walks. The walled gardens along with the poly-tunnels in the Lodge Gardens are supplying Richard's London Restaurants- Bentley's an oyster and seafood restaurant off Piccadilly and Corrigan's Mayfair. I would recommend that you visit the new website Virginia Park Lodge and keep a watch out for future events. In my opinion this is just the beginning of a great new luxury country retreat in rural County Cavan.

One of the Most Beautiful Places in the World...

Apart from home (which is on a rural farm in Ireland), Mykonos is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. I love the white washed buildings with the pastel blues, greens and pinks. The azure blue skies and aqua coloured ocean adds further to the charm. The old churches and windmills are so pretty juxtaposed with the low buildings and blue skies and hilly terrain beyond. It is so clean, tidy, bright and relaxing. The cafes and bars are stylish and everything looks so good in white. I fell in love with Mykonos and hopefully some day I will get a chance to visit again.....

What is the most beautiful place you have visited? Is there one place that will always be in your memories for its beauty and uniqueness?

Some Shabby Chic Inspiration....

What can I say, I love shabby chic interiors, so feminine, pretty and romantic. There are so many gorgeous images on pinterest of shabby chic interiors in homes across the world. Rachel Ashwell is synonymous with Shabby Chic- just take a look at the images below and you will understand why. They are all from Rachel Ashwell who is a designer, author and entrepreneur of all things Shabby chic. She even opened her own shabby chic hotel The Prairie.

My home on the other hand is more country cottage with natural wood and textiles than shabby chic. While I love shabby chic and vintage items, I only have pops of it about the place. Shabby Chic is basically where you choose your furniture and accessories for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear. Some items can be distressed to look like they are antique and this is a big trend in home furnishings in recent years. The colour tend to be soft muted tones. Feast your eyes on the images below from Rachel Ashwell- aren't they stunning!

Shabby Chic from Rachel Ashwell
Shabby Chic from Rachel Ashwell

Where in Ireland?

Ireland is so beautiful with spectacular scenery around every corner you take. This summer while on my travels I stopped of at this beautiful waterfall, but can anyone guess where it is? What county is it located in?

This is one of Ireland's many hidden gems....

A Cool Cafe and Bar....

On my travels I came across this very stylish coastal theme cafe and bar called Alley in Mykonos. I love the interiors and decor with the white and baby blue. It is really stylish and fresh. Outside is as nice as the interiors. Funky chairs and stools, rope lights and pretty flowers.. We stopped off for a drink to cool us down one of the days while out and about.
P.S. That is not us in the photographs, I don't know those people but it was difficult to get a photograph without customers in it. So it was a matter of wrong place wrong time.

Do you like these interiors? Do you know of any other stylish cafes or bars?
{Images my own aka All things nice...}

{Images from Alley}

Ireland in Autumn

October in Ireland is beautiful, look at the blue skies and the beautiful array of colours in the hedges and trees. I went for a walk today around the farm, the photos show you the wealth of natural heritage here in Ireland. There is also a photo of some of the buildings dotted around the landscape including the calf house, the old hen house and a view of our cottage through the hedge. As the saying goes 'Pictures speak louder than words'. Enjoy

Some DIY Around the Home

Here is some DIY I did over the summer, but never posted it. My birdhouse which my Dad made for me was beginning to get a bit weather beaten so I decided to paint it using Ronseal Wood Sage paint. I think it turned out pretty. My shrubs are still small as they are only planted a year but they are coming along well. Did you do any DIY jobs over the Summer? You will also notice that we now have the wall to the rear of the house painted and it looks much better. So we don't have that much work left outside the house. The next work to be done is finish the sitting room which I painted over the Summer months too. I will post some photos of it as it progresses. Hope your enjoying the weekend.

An Afternoon in Athens

I hope you are not getting fed up with my holidays posts, just one more this week and it is Athens. Athens and Greece overall really surprised me, I didn't think it would be as nice as it is. I was blown away with it. If you haven't visited Greece you really should, I love it now! Athens was very warm around 35 degrees the day we visited. There was a lot more trees and landscaping than I expected and wow what can I say about the heritage particularly the archaeology- it is amazing! After all, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world- the cradle of western civilization. We visited the Acropolis, the Hellenic Parliament, the Olympic Stadium and Plaka the oldest historical neighbourhood in Athens. Here are a few of my photos.

Casual Day out in Corfu

More holiday snaps to show you, as you will know from my previous blog posts I went on a cruise recently, we spent some time in Venice and then it was on to Kotor, Montenegro for our first stop off. Our next stop was Corfu. Corfu is one of the Greek Islands. While in Corfu we visited the town, the Palace grounds and also the old fortress which dominates the east side of the city of Corfu. There was fabulous views from here and we enjoyed just strolling around and taking everything in. It was a glorious day and I even did a bit of shopping. I won't bore you with all the details as I have a lot of blog posts about my travels. The pictures say it all, enjoy.

A Morning in Montenegro

As you are aware I was on my holidays last week, the first stop was Venice which I posted about here. Next stop was Kotor in Montenegro. Montenegro has a coastline on the Adriatic Sea and is bordered by Craotia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Albania. Kotor is a lovely coastal town which is tucked away in the Bay of Kotor. The scenery and views are amazing on approach. The old town is a nice place to stop off and visit, it is full of old world charm with lots of cobbled streets and heritage buildings. It is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Below are a few of my photographs from our visit. Montenegro is an up and coming tourist destination but you have seen it here first :)


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