Monday, 22 September 2014



Happy Monday everyone!
I do hope you all had a lovely weekend?
Ours was very much a 'catch up' weekend in the garden….it's frightening just how out of control things can get when you turn your back on things for just a week or two!  

Our efforts were concentrated on the kitchen garden, where the warm September weather had caused the weeds to completely take over! Back breaking work, but quite satisfying to turn chaos into order, and most beds are now weeded and mulched with a thick layer of manure.  Followers of my Instagram @sophiahomelifestyle, will know that it wasn't my most glamorous of Sunday activities!

What was enjoyable, was September's late harvest….here are a few of Sunday's pickings….

Cucumbers from the greenhouse...

'Uchiki Kuri' squashes...

Still an abundance of courgettes!

Beautiful Victoria plums…

Onions to be stored and used over the coming months…

An abundance of apples in the orchard…

And my absolute favourite….

Who could not love these gorgeous 'pink' offerings of Dahlias and Stocks from this year's new cutting garden….and beautiful Borlotti beans!  The perfect ingredient for a delicious Cassoulet supper to end a perfect September Sunday…

Wishing you a very happy week!

Sophia xx

Friday, 19 September 2014


Happy Friday everyone!
How has your week been?
Mine has been super busy with trying to get back to normal having been away last week.  Catching up with clients and work projects as well as getting the house organised and getting on top of the dreaded laundry….the price to pay for taking time out!

Talking of the 'price to pay'….although I like to think we have a very healthy lifestyle here at home, holidays are undoubtedly a time when many of us overindulge just a little bit!  All those delicious meals, local wines and lazing about…but hey, isn't that all part of the fun?!  

Well, Mr SH and I arrived home last weekend, full of resolve, ready to take on a stricter week, and try and lose the inevitable couple of pounds or so that can shockingly creep up on us when there have been one too many treats.  I was also keen to get back to the gym for some classes and kick start a particularly nutritious regime that would give us some much needed energy, to take on what is looking like a very busy Autumn for us.

I may be a little late to the whole 'Nutribullet' craze, but for any of you who have not heard of this amazing gadget, I can honestly say that I am absolutely hooked, and loving it!  Having heard rave reviews, I decided to invest in one not long ago, and it has now become an addictive start to our early morning routine.

Perfect for creating ultra delicious and nutritious smoothies and juices, the Nutribullet claims to be unlike any other blender.  Because of its unique blade, it breaks down pulp, skin, seeds and stems of the fruits and plants we eat, in to tiny particles, extracting every ounce of goodness.  

When I first came across recipes for 'green' smoothies….especially for breakfast….I admit I didn't find the idea overly appetising!  Always one to give things a go though, I stocked up on ingredients such as 'chia seeds', 'spirulina' and 'hemp powder' and also bananas, which give smoothies that perfect texture as well as being such a healthy start to the day. With plenty of flavour packed and nutritious berries, spinach, kale and chard in the garden, I was ready…

Ok….it doesn't look the most appealing of drinks first thing, but I promise you, it is absolutely delicious!  If you really can't face the 'greenness', just leave out the Spirulina!

It's a good feeling to know that you have started your day with a power house of vitamins, minerals and plant proteins…after just a week of getting back in to our new daily ritual, we are feeling the benefits….great for glowing skin and energy levels too. Amazingly more satisfying than toast or cereals with no hunger pangs all morning!

I have been mixing up all sorts of different combinations of fruits, with greenery,  but here is a favourite recipe to try:

Green smoothie

1 banana
Mixed frozen or fresh berries 
(I love blueberries, red currants and raspberries)
Handful of green leaves (spinach, chard or kale)
1 tsp Spirulina powder (blue/green algae that is a great source of protein, essential amino acids and minerals)
1 tsp Hemp powder (rich in protein, minerals and omega fats)
1 tsp Chia seed (rich in protein, Omega 3 and fibre)
Water, fruit juice, coconut water or natural yoghurt to dilute)

In a hurry in the mornings?  In less than the time it takes to boil a kettle, you can whizz up this powerful start to the day, so super quick and easy.

So, if you haven't got in to making your own nutritious smoothies yet, are you tempted to give it a go?  Perhaps you have been creating these healthy starts to your day for a long time?  
Either way, I would love to hear from you and perhaps you smoothie officionados out there would like to share your favourite recipes and combinations?


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, whatever you have planned….ours will be spent now trying to get on top of new overwhelming weeds and jobs in the garden.  
What did I say about 'a price to pay'?!

Sophia xx

PS. If you would like some more 'fruity' inspiration, check out my latest guest post on the Sarah Raven website's blog 'Garlic and Sapphire' entitled 'This year's fruity addition to the garden', by clicking on the link.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Six kilometers inland, high in the hills above the beautiful small coastal bay of Agni, in the North East of the Greek island of Corfu you will find somewhere very special indeed.  The magical drive up, along a dirt track through endless olive groves,  leads to the hidden gem that is 'Rou Estate'.  It was here that we as a family, plus the children's friends had the great privilege to stay last week, for a wonderful week's holiday all together.

Once a hilltop village, it was abandoned by farmers in the 60's and left for ruin.  In 2005 the entire village was bought and rescued by British Architect Dominic Skinner, who set about meticulously restoring the buildings….creating a boutique retreat of fourteen stunning holiday houses, surrounded by immaculate terraced gardens.  

With a spectacular infinity pool built into the rock face, maid service, a gym and holistic centre…it also offers all the comforts of an understated five star hotel.

With our party of eight,  we stayed in one of Rou's larger four bedroom villas 'Strelitzia'

With its floor to ceiling windows, and pale olive green shutters….

Open plan layout and spectacular vaulted ceilings….it was a holiday rental like no other.  I could have very happily moved right in!

A fabulous large kitchen and eating area looked down upon this beautiful sitting room, with other quieter areas off it, to read, watch tv or listen to music.  Great attention had been given to the interiors, with beautiful art work and carefully placed objects of interest throughout.  Every comfort and detail, both practical and aesthetic had been thought of.

The perfect home away from home….

With a view like this, across the glistening water over to Albania, to wake up to each morning, it was hard to leave... 

It is Rou's beautiful terraced gardens that it is also famous for…having attracted much media attention over the years.  Sadly taken on a slightly overcast day, and much of the flowering season over for now, my pictures don't quite do justice to what is the most immaculate and striking planting.

With plantings of lavender, agapanthus, wisteria and herbs….the blue, white and violet tones work beautifully with the mellow grey stone work of the houses, and soft grey/green of the shutters.

Evidence of the former village, in the form of original archways and an old well were reminders of what this special place once was….

What was originally the village's stone built sheep pens, is now the estate office, spa and gym…

My daughter and husband and I took time out from the rest of our party one morning to take in the magnificent landscaping, and heady herbal scent of these beautiful gardens.

Thoughtful seating areas around the gardens were tranquil places to take in the beautiful surroundings…

With candle lit lanterns and carefully placed flood lighting….you can imagine how stunning the gardens were at night.

When we could drag ourselves away from this beautiful oasis up in the hills, days were enjoyed down by the water….

Having fun in boats, hired from nearby Kassiopi…

Swimming in the warm Ionian sea, with its crystal clear waters...

…and stopping off at deserted coves for a picnic.

Not forgetting the delicious Greek food in the fun and friendly tavernas…all so fresh, with locally grown organic vegetables, tempting meze and wonderful fresh fish caught from local fishermen the night before.  

'Agni Taverna' in Agni bay...

'Taverna To Fagopotion' in Agios Stefanos...

Above were two of our favourites, and highly recommended if you are ever in either of these neighbouring coves.

Have you ever had the opportunity to visit this beautiful island, and in particular, the beautiful north/east?  If not, and you get the chance, you are in for a very special treat….

Rou Estate bookings via

Wishing you all a happy Wednesday evening!

Sophia xx

Friday, 5 September 2014


As much as I am embracing the imminent start of Autumn, I am taking a week away now to catch the last of the summer sun, heading to the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu…

A week of fun with our three children and their friends, staying in what promises to be a beautiful location on the North of the island.

I hope to look in during the week, but otherwise do pop in and see my daily snapshots of the week on Instagram…@sophiahomelifestyle

Have a very happy week, whatever you have planned and I look forward to catching up with you soon!  Thank you so much for reading me…

Sophia xx

Tuesday, 2 September 2014



Do you know what I mean by that 'Back to school' feeling?  Even though my days of the school run for my own children are over now, and of course my own school days a distant memory, September and the start of the school year stirs up a feeling of anticipation for new beginnings….

Childhood memories of the excitement of new shoes and a freshly stocked pencil case (I know, sad, but I was like that?!) are now replaced with a desire for a fresh approach to my work space and business.  From the small things like a bit of a shake up of systems and the reorganisation of my files, perhaps a new look for a change of stationary and letter head, and business cards….through to exploring further and instigating some of the bigger new venture plans that I have been nurturing for a while!

To be creative, my working environment is very important to me.  To have everything on hand but in great storage is a must…. 

….and flowers and a favourite scented candle brighten and make the dullest day seem special….

 I have had the great pleasure of working on a couple of beautiful 'studies/home offices' for clients recently…one smart, formal and manly and the other light, fresh and feminine….once drab unfinished spaces but both now transformed in to fabulous, inspiring places to work, with great storage, lighting and beautiful furnishings.  A favourite of recent projects!

 Whether you work from home, want somewhere to organise the family schedule, somewhere to write that potential novel in you, or purely somewhere to sit and plan and day dream, here are some gorgeous work spaces which inspire me….

Light and feminine…

Smart and masculine…

Industrial and eclectic...

Ultimate organisation...

Compact and bijoux…



Whether you have the luxury of a designated room to call your own, or have an organised but cosy corner of your kitchen (like me!), what do you consider the important elements for a productive and inspiring work space?  I would love to hear from you!

Wishing you a happy Tuesday…

Sophia xx

For help and advice to create your dream schemes, please contact me via my website