Wednesday, 27 April 2016


A GOURMET, GARDENING, ANTIQUING AND INTERIORS WEEKEND.....IN THE BEAUTIFUL COTSWOLDS.






With a suggested weekend filled with the above by Mr. W....how can a girl refuse!  He knows me well, and this sweet lovely thought, which indulges all of my passions, brought us to the beautiful Cotswolds recently, which many of my Instagram followers will know.  

We stayed at The Close Hotel in the beautiful town of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. A former 16th Century Town House, and now a stylish boutique hotel.





With beautiful gardens in which to relax (a little chilly when we visited sadly), yet right in the centre of Tetbury on Long Street with a tempting number of interior, architectural salvage and antique shops.   Shopping heaven, and I have to say that a couple of beautiful stone lion for the garden made their way back home to Kent with us, but more of that in another post!




The Close Hotel has just eighteen rooms, and has been stylishly decorated in an individual contemporary style, yet still keeping its beautiful traditional features and elegance.




With a bold colour pallet, interiors are cosy and warm.  Very comfortable bedrooms, all individually decorated, a lovely dining-room and brasserie serving delicious meals using local produce, and a great bar serving delicous signature cocktails...we were certainly spoilt.





Having arrived in rain and grey skies, we woke the next morning to blue skies and sunshine...perfect weather for making our way towards the northern Cotswolds.


Passing through the stunning, picture perfect village of Bibury...




With its beautiful and much photographed river running through it...a haven for wild life...this sweet little chap was learning to swim.




Next stop was the much acclaimed Burford Garden Company and I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about.  Now I know why!




My few snaps do not fully capture by any means, the vast variety of garden related items sold.  Extensive buildings housing plants and garden related prducts of course, but also beautiful interior accessories and furniture, an art gallery and fabulous cafe and delicatessen.  Below is a photo of some of the gorgeous orchids for sale, just some of many stunning varieties.  Of course, these favourite white ones caught my eye!



 I was so distracted driving through one gorgeous picturesque Cotswold village after another, that sadly forgot to take any pictures.  But any of you who have visited or seen pictures before, will know how utterly perfect the honey coloured Cotswold Stone houses are, most with immaculate front gardens and surrounded by their traditional dry stoned walls. 



Late morning brought us to Daylesford, which I have long been wanting to visit.  Being a fan of their beautiful organic deli cafés in London, I was keen to visit their main organic working farm and farmshop in Daylesford itself, just outside the village of Kingham in Oxfordshire.





'Farmshop' does not even begin to describe this unbelievable set up, created by the multi talented Lady Bamford, whose drive and passion for organically grown and artisan food,  and all round organic and sustainable living are beautifully showcased in the stunning collection of barns and buildings.  






Gorgeous 'Bamford' clothing on display in the Bamford Barn....I loved their fresh, understated, simple lines, all produced from beautiful natural fibres.


Striking topiary in the central courtyard...




...and you can just imagine the incredible scent in the flower room.




The main farmshop did not disappoint, with its wonderful selection of artisan food products, a butchery, bakery and beautiful displays of freshly harvested organic vegetables from the farm.









Delicious artisan cheeses and beautiful pale pink 'Chateau Leoube' rosé from their own Provencal Vineyard were yummy treats to take home.




With two gorgeous stylish restaurants,  serving delicous organic food,  a beautiful selection of kitchen ware and interior accessories, the 'Bamford Spa' in another of the stunning stone barns, an extensive range of inspirational courses and the loveliest of holiday cottages to rent.....well quite frankly, I think I could be tempted to move in for a while!



Although we would have been very happy indeed to have lunch at Daylesford, we had a booking for Sunday lunch at their own cosy pub, 'The Wild Rabbit' in Kingham.




This 18th Century pub, restaurant and rooms has been given the same stylish attention to detail as the rest of the 'Daylesford' empire.



So warm and welcoming as you enter the cosy bar, which opens up in to a light and bright dining room, with a view of the chefs cooking in front of you.  All ingredients are of course organic from the farm,  and our delicous traditional roast beef and yorkshire pudding lunch was undoubtedly the best I have ever tasted.




We shall most definitely return and hope to stay next time, in one of the beautifully decorated rooms.




A perfect end to an inspirational and lovely couple of days.  If you haven't visited any of the above, then do put them on your wishlist...you won't be disappointed.

***



To see more of the daily things that inspire me, do follow me on Instagram @sophiahomelifestyle

Wishing you a very happy Wednesday,

Sophia xx

Monday, 11 April 2016



A SPECIAL DELIVERY...




Saturday morning brought damp, dreary weather....but it also brought a very exciting delivery!



For my 'big birthday' in December,  Mr. W commissioned a bespoke piece of art for my birthday present from the very talented 'Arcangel Metal Work', based in Hertfordshire, who design and make beautiful bespoke metal pieces from staircases, furniture, gates and water features to garden sculptures.






My wonderful present was a stunning 8ft tall stainless steel garden sculpture...



Having been closely informed throughout the design process, we knew that Paul at 'Arcangel' had designed me a beautiful stainless steel spiral...



With a stunning beaten patina at the base, leading into a high shine steel edge which catches the sunlight beautifully, contrasting with matt silver edges....I absolutely adore it!


Now to be securely anchored to the ground on a concrete base...my beautiful piece of art is here to stay, to be enjoyed for many years to come hopefully.








What a lovely and unintentional coincidence that it is in the shape of an 'S'.....it was obviously just meant to be!






Thank you so much to my wonderful and thoughtful 'Mr. W' for the best birthday present ever....and to 'Arcangel' for creating something so very special.  














***

Wishing you a very happy week ahead...

Sophia xx

Monday, 21 March 2016

A SPECIAL FAMILY WEEK IN THE MOUNTAINS...





It really was the most spectacular and clear view as we flew in over the Italian Alps to Turin the other weekend, and I don't think I have ever seen the Alps from above look quite so beautiful!





With our three children, my eldest son's girlfriend, daughter's boyfriend, and youngest son's best friend joining us, we were a (jolly!) party of eight.
We returned for the third year running, (regular readers may remember a previous post from last March?) to beautiful 'Frantze Le Rascard' a small hotel positioned up the mountain on the piste, above the small Italian ski resort of Champoluc.

Built in 1721, this very special place has been lovingly restored by the lovely Francesca and her family who we adore.  Greeting us like family, with so much kindness and thoughtfulness....we felt like we had returned 'home'.






Reached only on skis, or by skidoo after the piste has closed for the day, arriving here is really quite magical.  Having all skied there late afternoon, after a wonderful lunch in the village, the pictures above show daughter Georgie and her boyfriend Jamie skidooing in having retrieved the last of our suitcases!












Each morning, apart from one when it snowed hard with wonderful fresh powder snow, which made us skiers happy.....we woke to beautiful blue skies and sunshine.




Just heaven for a full day on the slopes...



The eight of us skied hard (some faster than others....I can't quite keep up with my super fast children these days?!) but rest assured, it wasn't all go!





There were relaxing coffee breaks in the sun...








Fun long lunches...







And of course, the compulsory 'Aperativo' time, before cosy evening dinners in our gorgeous mountain 'Rascard' hideaway.  There was also a very special evening (sadly no pictures!) that Francesca arranged for us....sitting around the camp fire in a magical nearby cave, with mulled wine and our son Patch and fellow guests singing and performing.  A truly memorable experience!









A big thank you to my wonderful family and our lovely guests for the best week ever...you were all fantastic company and so much fun!  

Lastly a very big thank you to lovely Francesca, Simonetta, Antonella and 'Dad' for welcoming us so warmly, cooking such delicious nightly 'feasts' and looking after us all so beautifully at magical 'Frantze'.  We hope to see you soon!

*****


Sophia xxx