Last Saturday early evening I headed to my friends' new house near Cirencester for a sleepover. They have built a stunning New England style home on Summer Lake which is part of the Cotswold Water Park in a beautiful rural area in the Gloucestershire countryside, with 147 gravel-quarry lakes, formed over time and enriched with diverse wildlife and natural resource. Summer Lake is the last of the lakes to be developed and there will be 45 of these luxury detached lodges.
I arrived at 8pm as the sun was setting. The house was bathed in the early evening light and the setting sun over the lake was simply magical. One lone paddle boarder glided past in a world of his own.
There were six of us and we ate a leisurely supper with the doors open and the evening air wafting in
Smoked salmon blinis with caviar with champagne for starters!! Don't you love the Lalique caviar bowl with its dolphin lid and feet?
A main course of chicken breast skewers and sweet corn on the barbecue, stuffed peppers with taleggio and a potato salad
I prepared the dessert of strawberries and blueberries with fresh basil
I was in awe of this gorgeous fruit bowl carved out of a huge piece of wood
The next morning the sun shone and I could really appreciate the lake and surroundings. Some of us bird watched with binoculars, others dozed in the sunshine. The indoor/outdoor flow of the house works so well.
After rising around 10am and having a coffee & croissant breakfast we headed into Cirencester about 10 minutes away. I've never been before and found it to be the most delightful, quintessential English town with the beautiful church of John the Baptist in the centre.
The centre of Cirecenster has some fabulous architecture. In one of the shops on the main street was a fantastic antiques market which was a rabbit warren of rooms. I could have spent hours there browsing.
We stopped for a liquid refreshment at the Kings Head hotel opposite the church. It has been beautifully but sympathetically designed inside
We sat in the roof garden in the sunshine
The hare is a bit of an icon in Cirencester and there is a hare festival every year in the town
Very stylish leather chair or is it a sofa?!
Love this light
Down in the cellar there are some fantastic rooms for private parties.
My friends hired this room in the cellars for a private party. It was being set up for a wedding.
Then it was back to the lake house to pack and return to London. Who needs to go abroad when you could own a house on a lake like this one!!
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Sorry for my radio silence since my last post on 31 October - in the run up to Christmas I was manically busy with client work and in January I headed to Sydney for five weeks.
I thought I'd kick off with one of the highlights of my Sydney sojourn - the coastal walk from South Coogee (where I was staying) to Bondi, a distance of about 10k with some of the most spectacular scenery. I did this walk last year with a friend but this time it was just me, my iPhone and my DSLR. The weather was cloudy, windy and about 26C so perfect for a long walk.
A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to Charleston, the home of the Bloomsbury Group, to do a lampshade painting workshop with Cressida Bell who is the talented artist granddaughter of the artist Vanessa Bell and daughter of Quentin Bell. I wonder if you are as passionate about the Bloomsbury Group as I am? I devour books about them and have often visited Charleston, Berwick, Firle and Monk's House.
Petersham Nurseries is one of those places that is good for the soul. It is all about beauty and style, both outside and inside. I'm there at least three times a month and have rarely left there empty handed!
It's a half hour drive from my home which takes me across Richmond Park, another place that is good for the soul. It's hard to believe that you are in a big city when you are in the middle of the park surrounded by trees, bracken and deer.
It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post mainly due to been manically busy with client work but I also had a two week break in Italy over Easter. As many of you know, I was married to an Italian and lived in Italy for ten years so it’s my spiritual home and I try and go back at least once a year. I stay with friends who live in the Piemonte region and we usually jump into their camper van and head off somewhere for a few days.
Last week I took a friend to the Chelsea Physic Garden for lunch and a wander. I'm a member of the garden and I love to pop in there to sit and read, have lunch or tea & cake, or a wander. I find it a real little oasis in the middle of Chelsea and a source of inspiration.
We parked in Battersea Park and walked over the prettiest of the bridges over the Thames, the Albert Bridge. I whizz over the bridge on my moped but can't stop to admire it or the view so it was a treat to be able to walk over it and take some photos.
esterday I spent an absolutely amazing day out in Sussex with a friend on a "pilgrimage". Having been to see Charleston House and Berwick Church three weeks ago and becoming obsessed with the Bloomsbury Group, I wanted to return to see Monk's House, the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf and also to visit the church in the village of Firle where Vanessa Bell, her live-in lover Duncan Grant and Vanessa's son Quentin Bell (from her marriage to Clive Bell) are buried.
It was a perfect English summer's day - cloudless sky, a lovely cool breeze and temperatures around 25C. Be warned now, I'm afraid this blog post is serious photographic spam!!
For those of you who don't know Charleston House, it is the home of the Bloomsbury Group and became a country outpost for a group of artists, writers and intellectuals. It started in 1916 when the painter Vanessa Bell, her husband Clive and their two sons Julian and Quentin moved there from London on the recommendation of her sister, the writer Virginia Woolf. With them were another painter Duncan Grant and his friend David Garnett. They rented the late 16th century farmhouse and despite the house having no hot water or heating, guests increased the household. It became a rather unconventional household of friendships and relationships - they didn't separate or divorce, they just reorganised!!!