Going places: last minute ideas for a summer break

Maybe you are super-organised and maybe you are already thinking ahead to where you’ll be heading in your half-term break (or even, gasp, summer 2015). Or maybe you have left it all to the last minute, and are looking to get away this summer. However you book your holidays, put these family-friendly hotels in your Little Black Book for fail-safe options for all ages.

 

 

Canary Islands

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The Spanish hotel group Barceló Hotels & Resorts are well regarded for their family-friendly properties, based all over the world. Their properties in the Canary Islands are currently offering 15% off bookings until October – perfect for half term or last-minute deals. Highlights include the recently refurbished Barceló Santiago found on the southwest of Tenerife. It has its own beach, sea views, three swimming pools and spa. Its kids club caters for 4-12 year olds and offers a range of activities and sports for all to partake in. www.barcelo.com

 

Switzerland

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Offering an authentic Swiss experience with a child-friendly focus is the luxurious Beau-Rivage Palace. Hidden away in 10 acres of private gardens with spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, it features three restaurants, two bars and terraces, two tennis courts, two swimming pools and special programmes for children (as well as a playground). The impressive hotel comes into its own in the summer months with its bicycles for hire and its own seven-seater electric boat that guests can hire to navigate Lake Leman. Furthermore, it offers a host of inspiring activities for children including the new pastry lessons and cooking classes with the hotel’s chef, flower arranging for both adults and young ones, treasure hunts and tennis camps. www.brp.ch

 

Vietnam

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It may not be an obvious choice for families, but for the adventurous few Vietnam has become a real option of late. Direct flights from the UK mean getting there is easier and new family-friendly hotel openings mean that a stress-free time can be had by all when you arrive. Take The Nam Hai in Hoi An, for instance. It has launched a ‘Kids Activity Villa’ and special summer activity schedule for ages up to 12 years. Lantern making, coconut leaf art, excursions and gardening lessons are just a few of the activities on offer. The villa-based property is situated on its own beach and is just a 15-minute drive outside the UNESCO town of Hoi An. It has its own cookery school, tennis courts and a nearby 18-hole golf course designed by Colin Montgomerie. www.thenamhaihoian.com

 

 

Devon

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Ideal for those wanting to stay put in the UK this year, is the charming South Sands Hotel found on three-time Blue Flag winner South Sands Beach in South Devon. The perfect family summer holiday base, the hotel is surrounded by rolling hills, sandy beaches and a never-ending coastal playground. Delightful. In addition to the hotel’s 22 bedrooms, it also has five Beach Suites which are self-contained two-bedroom apartments – so ideal for those wanting a little more flexibility. New for this summer is its I-Spy children’s photography course. Teaming up with the innovative photographic venue in nearby Salcombe, the course gives kids up to the age of 12 an introduction to photography, allowing the children themselves to create and produce the images. The hotel also has a rolling roster of activities for all ages, including sand castle competitions, crabbing, sailing, hot air balloon riding and horse riding along the beach. www.southsands.com

Mauritius

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Taking the notion of keeping the children happy to a new level is the tropical resort Anahita in Mauritius. It has opened a dedicated Kids Adventure Park offering a host of activities for pre-schoolers through to teenagers. There are mini jet skis, quad bikes and zip wires as well as pedal karting, trampolines and a giant inflatable castle. There is even a mini town with specially designed traffic signals and mini electrical cars. The hotel also has specific age-related kids clubs while parents can kick back in the five-star surrounds in a choice of suites or villas. The resort is found on the secluded east coast and has spectacular views of the mountains and Indian Ocean. www.anahita.mu

 

The green, green grass of home: garden styling

There’s no better time than the height of summer to stylize your garden according to the latest trends. From making your green space a holiday destination in its own right to recreating a festival feel at home, the latest gardens have the fun-factor firmly at their heart.

 

Dining

Furniture at John Lewis

Furniture at John Lewis

When the sun is out and the weather is balmy, there’s nothing like eating al fresco for feeling that bonhomie that only summer can bring. One major trend that has gained momentum over the past few years, and which perhaps has encouraged us to dine outside continental-style, is the popularity of rattan furniture.

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Furniture from John Lewis

Once only found in the confines of conservatories, the new weather-proofed rattan furniture has suddenly reinvigorated our garden dining rooms, transporting us from mundane to Miami. While, well-established homeware stores, such as John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com) and Neptune (www.neptune.com) sell an interesting array of styles, from traditional to modern, if you are after a cohesive garden look with matching sofas and loungers, it’s advisable to head to a rattan specialist, such as White Stores (www.whitestores.co.uk), which stocks a huge variety of styles and price points.

 

Pesaro Sofa Set from Neptune

Pesaro Sofa Set from Neptune

 

Maze Rattan at White Stores

Maze Rattan at White Stores

The rattan fashion also lends an organic, ethnic feel to our green spaces. It’s a trend that has been echoed from many of this season’s catwalks and can be boosted with tribal-print pillows, tablecloths and floor cushions. Choose a colour palette of burnt oranges, taupes, blacks and browns, animal prints and geometrics to bring a touch of the exotic into your garden.

 

Cane Line outdoor rugs at Go Modern

Cane Line outdoor rugs at Go Modern

It would not go unnoticed that many of these hotel-like tables and chairs would not look out of place in a chic dining room. It’s a marker of how the lines between garden and home have become blurred. To complete the homely feel outdoors, source garden rugs (available from Go Modern, www.gomodern.co.uk), footstools, large garden mirrors and even ornamental chandeliers to bring the indoor-look outside. Ornamental wooden dining tables, such as the Versailles teak dining set from Alison at Home (www.alisonathome.com) and the modernist, lava grey Core range at Go Modern (www.gomodern.co.uk) are alternatives to the rattan style but are also high in the style stakes and are poles apart from traditional patio furniture.

Versailles teak dining table at Alison at Home

Versailles teak dining table at Alison at Home

 

Cane Line Core furniture at Go Modern

Cane Line Core furniture at Go Modern

 

“Summer entertaining is no longer confined to one area of the home,” points out Nicola Gidlow, buyer for outdoor living at John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com). “It often involves using the kitchen, dining room and garden to host your guests. To add a sense of unity between the areas, harmonise your indoor and outdoor accessories by using complimentary cushions, plant pots and decorative accessories,” she advises.

 

Maze Rattan Texas at White Stores

Maze Rattan Texas at White Stores

Rob Mead, head of marketing at White Stores, agrees: “There has been a growing leaning towards the garden becoming a true extension of the home. Living-room style furniture – such as the large sofas and feature daybeds from 4 Seasons Outdoor – are really popular at the moment. The comfort factor is also high in importance – large cushioned recliners, cosy chairs and dining sets, such as the Valentine & Brighton range, all give a feel of relaxing and set a hotel-like scene. Style harks back to the 60s, with a pop-art feel.”

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This 60s influence is indeed another key influence this summer. The brightly-coloured Acapulco Chair (shown above, available from www.boqa.com), for instance, made from woven, vinyl cord is in vogue again. First produced in the 1950s and gracing many homes and gardens come the early 1960s, the design classic comes in a huge choice of shades, from turquoise to popping pink, and their retro-modern aesthetic suddenly looks of the moment again.

 

Rattan at Out There Interiors

Rattan at Out There Interiors (and below)

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Jenny Hurren, director of home emporium Out There Interiors (www.outhereinteriors.com) has also noticed the ‘60s influence: “The trend for retro furniture has spread outdoors this year in a variety of ways. We’ve noticed a resurgence in popularity of intricate and open weave rattan in various colours. These lightweight and eye-catching chairs and tables are perfect for creating informal lounging and dining areas on your patio or lawn.”

Joules Garden Furniture at Garden Trading

Joules Garden Furniture at Garden Trading

Meanwhile, for smaller gardens, affordable bistro sets are good options for dining à deux. Choose candy-coloured metal, such as the Joules Garden Furniture Set from Garden Trading (£115, www.gardentrading.co.uk) and the Primrose Garden Furniture from Oliver Bonas (from £59, www.oliverbonas.com) for a young, vibrant look. Alternatively, choose an ornate wrought-iron style, such as the Chatsworth Bistro Set at Dunelm (£79.99, www.dunelm-mill.com), for a more traditional, French-inspired theme.

 

Primrose Garden Furniture at Oliver Bonas

Primrose Garden Furniture at Oliver Bonas

 

Chatsworth Bistro Set at Dunelm

Chatsworth Bistro Set at Dunelm

John Lewis’s Nicola Gidlow continues: “If you have a balcony or small urban garden, bistro sets make an ideal choice. They can fold away when not in use and are available in a wide range of colours and materials.”

 

Tuscany linen at Line Me

Tuscany linen at Line Me

Advising on creating the perfect dining space, Inga Lukauskiene, designer and owner at Linen Me (www.linenme.com), which sells fine linens for the home and garden, says: “Use vibrant, colourful tablecloths and napkins when eating outside and decorate tables with scented candles and seasonal flowers to create the perfect summer garden party. It’s also a great idea to have plenty of throws and cushions on hand to ensure friends and family feel warm and cosy when the temperature drops. Remember not to iron your table linens if you use them outside, the natural linen wrinkles make them unique and even more special.”

 

 

Lounging

Combining the best elements of your garden – a space to be at one with nature and your own private escape from the stresses of everyday life with a practical, social purpose – means that the garden has become our go-to space when we want to relax.

 

Marks and Spencer's

Marks and Spencer’s Navita Zigzag daybed

Enhance the comfort factor by investing in garden corner sofas, deep seated chairs and oversized day beds, such as Marks and Spencer’s Navita Zigzag Day Bed, which also channels the ethnic print theme already mentioned (£1,399, www.marksandspencer.com). Maximise the time spent outdoors with a feature patio heater or authentic clay chimnea. Hang hammocks in pretty prints between trees (a selection is available from www.outhereinteriors.com) and set up reading corners with piles of brightly-coloured pillows and cushions.

 

Chimnea at Dunelm

Chimnea at Dunelm

Chiminea at White Stores

Chimnea at White Stores

Hammock at Out There Interiors

Hammock at Out There Interiors

Janet Dixon, chief designer at fabric and homeware specialists Barker & Barker (www.barkerandbarker.co.uk), comments: “Use colourful, eye-catching fabrics in the garden with strong statement designs to create a bright focal point and bring the comforts of the inside outdoors. More and more of us are wanting to expand our living spaces to the garden, lazing by the pool sipping champagne seems the perfect way to spend an afternoon. How to recreate this can sometimes be a challenge as size and space can be an obstacle. Where possible try to create areas that are going to be used for different activities such as eating, sitting and relaxing.  Large comfy sofas, coffee tables and a fire pit will be the perfect place for friends to sit and chat over a drink, while dining tables can turn a summer BBQ into a more elegant, yet informal space.  Add mood lighting in the form of candles or solar lighting to create a cosy and intimate atmosphere.”

Landscape Landscape

Accessories by Barker and Barker

Accessories by Barker and Barker

You can also make a bold and dramatic statement in the garden by contrasting bright textiles and accessories with black fencing and dark wood decking. More commonly seen in Japanese-inspired gardens, the use of black provides a stunning backdrop for plants and gives a modern edge to a garden.

 

For those wanting to maximize relaxation time, it’s also essential to keep your garden low-maintenance, with easy-to-manage hardy plants and by using quality materials that don’t need a lot of upkeep when it comes to patio and decked areas.

Decking by Trex

Decking by Trex

Trex eco-friendly decking is low-maintenance and high performance making it ideal for creating stylish spaces with the bonus of being hassle-free (www.trex.com/uk). Bryan Fairbanks, executive director of International Business Development at Trex, explains more: If you want to spend more time enjoying your garden, then choose low-maintenance materials that only need soap and water cleaning.  As Trex is a wood-alternative decking, it resists fading, stains, scratches and mould growth. It is made from recycled materials so it doesn’t splinter, meaning you can go barefoot all summer long. It also comes a range of different colours. So if you fancy a Tuscan villa feel, then we can provide it with the Tiki-Torch shade. Trex can handle the outdoors for decades, so you can spend weekend after weekend relaxing in the comfort of your own home.”

 

Colours by Farrow & Ball

Colours by Farrow & Ball

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Outdoor spaces can also be livened up with the clever use of colour. Sarah Cole, director of paint experts Farrow & Ball (www.farrow-ball.com) gives her advice: You don’t have to have acres of land or lots of garden furniture to create an inspiring outside area. Even repainting a window box in a bold colour, like Charlotte’s Locks, can upgrade the look and feel of an exterior space. Look at metal railings, wooden summer houses, and masonry walls as potential areas to freshen up with new shades of colour. For a stylish and considered look, try replicating the themes used in your interior rooms outside. Carry on a natural feel by adding shades of Cooking Apple Green or Dorset Cream to wooden benches, or celebrate a love of contemporary design by using cool greys such as Dimpse on exterior walls.”

 

She also advises: Accents of strong colours like St Giles Blue, Brassica and Babouche make outside areas look fun and exciting. Try painting garden furniture Arsenic for a dramatic look, or create art outside by painting garden stools in a strong pink like Nancy’s Blushes.”

 

Playing

Ramp up the fun-factor in your garden and you might begin to see it as an alternative mini holiday destination (if the sun shines that is!). Can’t get away this year? Then create a staycation in your garden and invite your friends around to share in the good times.

Picnic-ware at Sainsbury's

Picnic-ware at Sainsbury’s

 

Give a holiday-at-home feel by sourcing brightly-coloured picnic wares, floral prints and seaside-inspired accessories, such as those found at Sainsbury’s (www.sainsburys.com).

 

Pear Daybed at White Stores

Pear Daybed at White Stores

Lauren Bennett, Sainsbury’s outdoor buyer reveals her inspiration this season: “Striped picnic blankets, white wicker baskets and kitsch floral cushions are all at the heart of this summer’s collections. They can be paired with Memory Lane’s melamine outdoor dining range for the perfect outdoor dining experience with friends and family this summer. Practical and stylish, our new paper tableware ranges offer trend-led products, such as candy-striped straws, honeycomb pom poms and sundae bowls, along with napkins, plates and cutlery, making outdoor entertaining both easy and affordable.”

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Garden Glory hoses

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Add a touch of humour into your outdoors with witty accessories, such as the Swedish brand Garden Glory’s garden hoses, which come in pink, black, grey, white and gold with reindeer wallmounts (www.gardenglory.se). While, giving fairytale connotations, are the fairy and fleur-de-lys garden spikes and handcrafted twig-like garden benches at Des Res Design (www.desresdesign.co.uk).

 

Items by Des Res Design

Items by Des Res Design

Wall Bracket 02 Garden Furniture

Adding interest and reflecting the changing landscape of a garden are the affordable, mirrored sculptures from In Spaces (from £290, www.in-spaces.com). Meanwhile, you’ll find a veritable feast of enlivening goodies at quirky homeware brand Cuckooland – from its fun weathervanes to rainbow-hued hammocks, hanging globe chairs to Aztec-inspired outdoor rugs.

Garden Flames Sculpture

Garden Flames Sculpture by In Spaces

 

Combining a retro feel with a nod to the good old seaside holiday is the return of the classic deckchair, albeit jazzed up with inspiring prints. Check out John Lewis for retro styles (www.johnlewis.com), Smart Deco for arty, contemporary versions (www.smartdeco-style.com) and Out There Interiors for pastel prints (www.outhereinteriors.com).

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Deckchairs by John Lewis

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Deckchair by Smart Deco

 

“Deckchairs are ideal for adding a sense of fun and injecting some colour into your garden,” says Nicola Gidlow, buyer for outdoor living at John Lewis. “This year we are selling frames and slings separately and have a range of eye-catching designs from Missprint.”

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Hammock by Cuckooland

Globo Chair by Cucooland

Globo Chair by Cucooland

 

Nautica Swing Chair by Go Modern

Nautica Swing Chair by Go Modern

Swings, hanging chairs, giant outdoor games, colourful tents and playhouses also add a sense of joy and playfulness to a garden. For something extra special, Master Wishmakers create luxury bespoke treehouses, gazebos and playhouses (www.masterwishmakers.com). Brand and marketing director Nino Rosella comments: “Families want to introduce the fun-factor into their gardens but this process is rarely a seamless and personal experience – especially if it revolves around off-the-shelf products. Before designing even commences we believe it’s so important to really delve into the detail; who will use the garden and for what purpose? Only with details like this can we bring a client’s imagination to life. It’s this journey that allows us to create a product or environment that someone can cherish for years to come.”

Adventurer's House at Master Wishmakers

Adventurer’s House at Master Wishmakers

 

If your budget doesn’t stretch to bespoke play-rooms, then don’t fret. Creating the ultimate summer garden is easy to do. String up pretty lights in trees, hang bunting, such as the practical Oily Rag bunting made of oil cloth (www.oilyragfabrics.com) which you can leave up all summer, and decorate tables with pretty linens and charming lanterns. It will give a festival feel and a hip glamping vibe.

Oily Rag

Oily Rag

Outdoor Garland Lighting by Out There Interiors

Outdoor Garland Lighting by Out There Interiors

 

Out There Interiors’ Jenny Hurren agrees: “Forget formality this year and create a fun festival feel in your garden with deck chairs, hammocks and swings hanging from trees. Think music, games, bottles of beer and kebabs barbequing on colourful bucket grills. Garland lighting adds to the festival feel and keeps your space inviting all evening long.”

Lantern by Pastel Lane

Lantern by Pastel Lane

 

Meanwhile, Hannah Browne, owner of Pastel Lane, an online emporium inspired by English country living (www.pastellane.co,uk), gives the last word on creating an evocative space: “With their flickering light, pretty lanterns look beautiful dotted around the garden and are an ideal way to enjoy those relaxed summer evenings for longer. Place free-standing lanterns on tables, walls and at the edge of pathways to create an inviting ambiance; lanterns also look great used as table centre-pieces, add flowers for a laid back festival style. Complete the cosy, party look with hanging lanterns; with their lovely warm glow they are perfect for nestling in trees.”

 

 

 

This feature also appears in the august issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine, as part of my monthly series of features on interiors and garden style.

Cheval Three Quays: review

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I’ve always dreamt of having my own pied-à-terre – a little city abode I can flit back to after moonlit walks along the River Thames. My wish list goes something like this: the dream pad’s location has to be in the center of London, on the river, of course. It has to have heart-swooning views over impressive sights and cool, modern interiors – the kind that wouldn’t look out of place in a design showroom – with a little flash of originality. Staff would be a bonus, but, hey, I’m not that demanding – I’d be satisfied with a little help now and then. A concierge to book the hottest restaurants and the latest shows would be the icing on the cake.

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Most of the time I’ve resigned myself to the fact that these cravings are the stuff of fantasy. And then I visited Cheval Three Quays, a new collection of luxury serviced apartments, next to the Tower of London and found myself – gasp! – within reach of the dream.

 

Available for short or long-term lets (from one night to even one year), the concept of serviced apartments means you can have a taste of urban luxury living without the eye-wateringly obscene property prices that would otherwise rule out everyone except Russian oligarchs. The idea is perfect for those who crave privacy but don’t want the formality of a hotel.

 

This collection of 159 residences includes a choice of one and two bedroom apartments as well as three-bedroom penthouses. Offering flexible living to families, business visitors and tourists, the sleek apartments give the style factor in spades and the bonus of having one of the most fantastic locations in London.

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First impressions are impressive. An ultra-modern lobby, complete with a contemporary, twinkling chandelier feature, deep-piled rugs and slick sofas, gives an air of exclusivity. Uniformed staff are on hand to check you in and help you to your apartment. And what an apartment you’ll find.

With interiors designed by Forme UK, it’s an utterly chic and contemporary concept. The living area brings the wow-factor with its floor to ceiling windows giving sweeping views over some of London’s most famous historic landmarks. A spacious balcony with dining table means you can make the most of the stunning setting and the never-ending movement and fascinating fracas of the river scene below. If you’re lucky your apartment may look directly out to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge – a scene that can never disappoint.

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Inside, meanwhile, modern taupe linen sofas are contrasted with mustard velvet armchairs and highlighted with vibrant orange silk pillows. Silvery-aqua wallpaper is a subtle backdrop to the elegant space. Flat screen televisions, Bose iPod docks and air conditioning bring a satisfyingly high tech spec to the apartment as does the adjoining kitchen with its gleaming stone surfaces, sleek cabinetry, Krups coffee-maker and Siemans appliances.

 

The bedrooms continue the overall neutral colour palette and also have the same little flashes style and floor-to-ceiling windows. Padded headboards extend up the wall and the large, and extremely comfortable, beds, with their 1950s-style silk bolsters, are just what you’d expect from a five-star offering. There are also flat screen televisions in both bedrooms, contemporary dressing tables and spacious wardrobes.

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Unlike most London properties, and many London hotels, space has not been skimped on. Bathrooms – there was one en suite and one stand-alone – were huge with vast walk-in rainforest showers and state-of-the-art facilities. A nice touch was the fact that the amenities were not bland, corporate-style toiletries but rather the luxury ‘homemade-style’ products by Arran Aromatics’ Feel Good Formulas range. Practical considerations of modern-day living have also been taken into account, so there’s a little study area for those who need to keep an eye on work, as well as a nicely tucked-away, well-equipped utility room with washing machine and tumble dryer, making it ideal for families and businessmen/women alike.

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Then there’s the location. On the north bank of the Thames, Cheval Three Quays is situated in the heart of the true City of London, with its mix of quaint, cobbled streets juxtaposed against glittering modern architecture. You can saunter along the Sugar Quay walkway, taking in the views of Tower Bridge, The Shard and The Gherkin. It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump over Tower Bridge to The Tate Modern, the local galleries around Bankside, the Globe Theatre and buzzy Borough Market. While you might want to make the most of your swish kitchen, you are more likely to be tempted out to dine at one of the many restaurants on your doorstep – whether it be at Butlers Wharf or perhaps at one of Shoreditch’s inventive pop-ups. Having trouble deciding on what to do or where to go? Then consult the in-house concierge, on hand 24-hours a day, who can book the newest openings and source tickets for the latest shows and exhibitions.

 

You can’t stay in five-star surroundings without five-star services, and so each apartment also has a housekeeping service available as often or as little as you require. Cheval Three Quays is well-thought out, beautifully designed and completely seductive. A home-from-home for some, maybe, but it’s a little dream come true for others.

 

 

Prices start at £1,974 per week in a one bedroom urban view suite– which equates to £282 per suite per night. For further information and bookings please visit www.chevalresidences.com or telephone 0207 341 7052.

Please note that over the next three months guests who book room 7P, a Tower view one bedroom apartment, will find the total profit of their stay donated to the six service charities associated with the Tower of London ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation, marking the 100 year anniversary of the First World War.

Cleaning up

Day Three of my Purifyne Cleanse juice trial and I cannot sing their praises enough.

All in all I have lost 2lbs over the three days – and that is with simply having one juice as breakfast and another after lunch, followed by a healthy dinner.

While weight-loss was not an intention of doing this, it is a wonderful boost and an indication of how healthy the drinks are. Best of all though, is that I feel healthy and energised.

Today I was left with my final two juices: Thrive – a carrot, apple and ginger mix – is what I started my day off with. It is backed with beta-carotene and helps to fight off infections. A tasty way to kick start the day.

My second juice was Pure Green, a cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, lime and lemon mix. A stronger tasting juice, I had this over ice and sipped it as I was working mid-afternoon.

Both boost your immune system and help you feel in tip-top condition. Not sure if it was an illusion, but after three days, I felt my skin looked better and I felt less bloated and tired.

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While the juice service may seem an indulgent way of trying juicing, the many benefits for me outweigh the price. By the time you buy all the fruit and vegetables needed to make such concentrated juices, and taking into account the convenience factor – this has my vote every time. Whether you can afford to incorporate this into your lifestyle or even if it is just an occasional boost to keep you on track, it’s worth every penny. Perfect prep, just in time for the summer holidays, too.

Visitwww.purifynecleanse.com for more information.

Raw beauty

Day 2 of my trialling the juice service from Purifyne Cleanse. I woke up feeling refreshed and less bloated. Checked the scales and I was 1lb lighter, so with a spring in my step I decided to follow yesterday’s example of having a juice for breakfast and an additional one with my lunch or as a mid-afternoon ‘snack’ break.

 

Eschewing my normal breakfast (natural yoghurt, granola and coffee), I opted instead for Green Supreme – a scarily-looking green juice made from apple, cucumber, kale, spinach, lemon and ginger. It was a zingy wake-up call – and perhaps not as sweetly palatable as the others in my pack – but I was buoyed on by the thought of all the goodness I was putting into my body and finished it full and satisfied.

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Working from home has its downfalls – and that is the kitchen is never far to wander into for a snack here and there during the day. Today, however, I managed to work through to midday and I opted for the Sweet Digestion juice as a post-lunch boost.

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This was a refreshing blend of carrot, pineapple, ginger and cinnamon said to help the cleansing of the body’s major organs and effective in countering inflammatory responses.

Again my appetite seems to have been kept at bay and I lasted until dinner without the usual reaching for a small snack. Without the juices being already blended and waiting for me to drink, this would definitely be a lot harder to keep up but two days in, I am sold on the idea and I can see that – money being no object – this would be an easy solution to a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Read more on my juicing tomorrow. Visitwww.purifynecleanse.com for more information.

 

Liquid lunch

Finally I’ve succumbed to the health trend that seems to have taken hold with everyone this summer. Juicing. Not for me though is struggling with a juicer and tons of fruit and veg, instead I’ve taken the easy route with Purifyne Cleanse‘s genius juice delivery service.

 

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The idea of juicing has always appealed but I’ve never been quite organised enough to commit to the idea – having enough fresh fruit and vegetables in, knowing what to put in each one to keep it from becoming boring and having enough time to be able to do it effectively. Purifyne Cleanse alleviates all of those problems, with its fresh delivery service via courier (they pre-arrange a delivery time with you so you can be on hand to refrigerate the juices).

 

The nutritionally dense, organic, cold-pressed juices are freshly prepared daily and can be delivered nationwide. Every juice has almost 3lbs of vegetables and fruit within them and with cold-pressed juices retaining 50 times more vitamins, minerals & enzymes, than any other juicing method, they promise endless nutritional benefits.

My cold delivery arrives

My cold delivery arrives

There’s a wide range of programmes to choose from  – such as the new 5:2 juice plan, detox cleansing and weight-loss and an interesting choice of blends, to stop you getting bored. I opted to try the just-launched three-five day Juice Pack, £89, ideal for those who are too busy to mess around juicing themselves or for those who want an extra boost and not the full commitment of a full-on juice detox.

 

The four packs available – Anti-Aging, Immunity, Fitness and New Mothers – have been created in collaboration with leading nutrition, beauty and fitness experts. They contain six bottles of organic juices which can be used as meal replacements or simply as healthy additions to your diet.

 

My choice was the Immunity Juice Pack, designed by Vicki Edgson, one of the UK’s most respected nutritional therapists, and which contains Vitamin-C rich juices to supercharge your immune system and to keep you healthy if you are feeling tired or run-down.

 

Day 1

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I started my morning off with the Morning Liver Bliss with its mix of carrot, apple, beetroot, ginger. Surprisingly filling, this is packed full of Vitamin-C-rich plants which helps the body to function at its optimum levels and it is also a good source of beta carotene. It tasted delicious and I felt light and healthy afterwards (but full enough to avoid snacking).

 

Getting me through to lunch-time, I opted for a healthy salad and pitta bread with my second juice of the day: Very Berry – the most delicious of my three days.

 

 

 

IMG_4575IMG_4579

Containinng carrot, apple, celery, blueberry, blackberry and mint, this juice has super immune boosting properties due to its vitamin C and A rich ingredients.

I found that I became aware that I was flooding my body with really healthy ingredients and so the thought of snacking on refined foods became off-putting. Because I was taking the juices with food, they became almost like my snack-replacements albeit extremely healthy and filling ones. All in all, a very successful first day!

 

Read more on my juicing tomorrow. Visit www.purifynecleanse.com for more information.

 

Answers on a postcard

Some of the world’s best spas are finessing their treatment menus in order to offer a bespoke service to meet individual needs. It means that whatever problem you may have, there’s a spa solution for you.

 

 

BEST FOR DETOX: Hotel Tannenhof, Austria

Hotel Tannenhof 5***** St. Anton am Arlberg

It may sound like an oxymoron, but bon vivants will be pleasantly surprised with the new detox package on offer at Hotel Tannenhof, an exquisite seven-suite property, based in the mountain village of St Anton in Austria. The uber-luxe hotel’s five-day experience puts a new spin on the concept of ‘going without’. First up are the treatments. Wonderfully indulgent – detox here does not mean deprivation – and so the package includes a variety of pampering seaweed and mineral mud body wraps, massages, facials and reflexology treatments spread out over five days. Personalisation is key so guests are given an initial in-depth consultation and your therapist adapts each treatment to your likes or dislikes and diarises according to what works best for you. Fitness is also tackled – in style, of course – with private yoga sessions, mountain hikes led by your own personal guide and ski passes for the duration of your stay. So far, so good, but mention the words ‘detox spa menu’ to a hedonist and they are likely to run for the hills. Except, joyfully, here it’s a highlight. The hotel’s gourmet chefs cook up a delectable – yet healthy – range of feast-like dishes, such as rich watercress soup with hazelnut and truffle and turbot served with spinach, artichoke and olive. Juices and warm drinks are available on tap as are homemade canapés and a ‘detox deli’. Fancy something different? It’s not a problem – just ask the obliging staff for whatever you desire. It’s that kind of place.

Tannenhof Sankt Anton am Arlberg Hotel Tannenhof 5***** St. Anton am Arlberg

Having converted the original 23-room hotel into a much more intimate offering, the owners wanted to emulate an upscale home-from-home experience. So you’ll discover a welcoming team of 20 staff, catering to a maximum 16 guests, who provide a service that is discreet and exceptional. The same goes for a the surroundings – with expansive suites boasting their own dressing rooms, huge bathrooms and terraces with jaw-dropping panoramic mountain views. Each one has deep carpets, Austrian linens, wood-burners and pressed stone baths (so that the bath water stays hotter for longer). Other well-thought out details include digital music channels in the bathrooms, all-inclusive mini-bars featuring local delicacies and a rolling art exhibition throughout the hotel. If this is going without, we’ll have more of it.

hoteltannenhof.net

The five-night Detox Package costs €3, 750 per couple, all-inclusive with the exception of flights. BA flies to Zurich, from London City Airport. ba.com

 

 

 

BEST FOR STRESS: Canyon Ranch, Miami

21-Rock Climbing - Copy 25-Stone Basin Vignette 31-Rooftop Pool

If the idea of rubbing shoulders with the world’s most glamorous jetsetters won’t cause your blood pressure to rise even further, then head to Canyon Ranch on Miami’s fashionable Collins Avenue for a new, slick approach to stress-busting. Renowned for their results-driven therapies, the Canyon Ranch brand has long been beloved by celebrity names since it launched in Tucson 30 years ago. While this and the Lenox, Massachusetts property are traditional health resorts, the more recently-opened Miami outpost is unique in combining Canyon Ranch’s serious health credentials in a luxury, boutique hotel setting. With a staggering 54 treatment rooms, 40 fitness classes per day and a menu book bursting with cutting-edge treatments, this is also the largest spa in Florida – a vast place catering to the wellness needs of the glitterati. The original Art Deco features (from its former life as the iconic Carillon Hotel) have been blended beautifully with hip David Rockwell-designed interiors. It goes without saying then that the all-suite hotel, each with an ocean view, is impressive, but expect to be wowed further by the wellness expertise on offer.

7-Guest Suite LR 8-Suite Bedroom

The new Mini Stress Buster package, for instance, is aimed at offering a positive, life-changing experience to time-poor individuals. Like all Canyon Ranch offerings, it has been designed by leading wellness professionals. Acupuncture, one-on-one meditation, massage treatments and a healing energy consultation are personalised and combine to make even the most frazzled urbanite unflappable – even when you happen to bump into Eva Longoria in the dressing room.

canyonranch.com

A four-night stay at Canyon Ranch Miami with Healing Holidays (healingholidays.co.uk ) is from £1,525 per person based on two sharing. Price includes return flights with four nights’ accommodation in a one-bedroom suite and includes the Stress Buster package.

 

 

BEST FOR HOLISTIC WELLBEING: Fusion Maia, Vietnam

1.Fusion Maia Da Nang - Lead 4 9. Fusion Maia Da Nang - Spa 1

Thanks to its pristine landscape, rich cultural heritage and a recent crop of design hotels, Vietnam continues to reign supreme on the travel connoisseurs’ radar. Adding another jewel to its crown is the innovative beachfront Fusion Maia retreat, based in Da Nang, Central Vietnam. A first of its kind for Asia, its irresistible USP is that all spa treatments and wellness activities are all-inclusive as part of your room rate – meaning you can be pampered as many times as you want during your stay without worrying about the costs mounting up. If that wasn’t relaxing enough, you’ll feel the stress of everyday concerns melt away just wandering around the resort’s idyllic tropical grounds, which has a cascading waterfall at its heart and villas with their own courtyard garden and pool as standard.

With a huge choice of treatments and activities on offer, not to mention the 50 therapists waiting to ease your cares away, it can be mind-boggling even knowing where to start. So to make sense of it all, a genius colour-coded system – based on aromatherapy blends – is in place. This also extends to the resort’s Natural Living program, a range of lifestyle classes and activities – think tai chi, yoga, meditation, cultural workshops, beach walks and guided excursions. You can match your treatments with your activities and even with what you eat, from the nutritious – and utterly delicious – spa cuisine on offer.

SONY DSC

Unlike many other spa retreats that offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, Fusion Maia specializes in its personal touch. From its wonderful holistic treatments (highlights are the Mindful Energy therapies and the chakra-balancing massages) to its glittering Asian-fusion restaurant with show kitchen, the place has been designed to nourish the body and nurture the spirit. It’s a real gem.

maiadanang.fusion-resorts.com

A seven-night stay at Fusion Maia with Healing Holidays (healingholidays.co.uk) is from £1,635 per person based on two sharing. Price includes return flights, private airport transfers, seven-nights’ accommodation in a pool villa, daily breakfast, unlimited spa treatments and access to daily activities.

 

 

BEST FOR HARMONY: The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland

_TAG060-SixSensesSpa _TAG065-SixSensesSpa _TAG078-SixSensesSpa


When the much-anticipated The Alpina Gstaad opened its doors for the first time earlier this year, the chi-chi holidaymakers who usually frequent the glitzy ski resort were agog. The first hotel to open here in 100 years, it took 15 years in the planning and cost an eye-watering $337m to build. Suffice to say that the 56-room resort in Oberbort, the most exclusive part of Gstaad, is seriously luxurious. Singing (with perfect pitch) rather than shouting its wealth – much thought has been put into memorable details. Gentle nods to an Alpine sensibility (think beautiful hand-painted Swiss dressers, specially sourced by antique specialists) are juxtaposed against modern-day indulgences (state-of-the-art lighting, contemporary open fires). Best of all, though, is the spectacular Six Senses spa.

Facade_1_HighRes SSS_FlotationPool_1_HighRes SSS_RelaxationsArea_2_HighRes

The vast space is packed with state-of-the-art facilities, which include an authentic hammam, floatation room, colour therapy room, sensory pods and heated water-beds. The two pools – inside is a 25m lap-pool and outside is a heated version surrounded by manicured gardens and mountain vistas – are the highlights. While you can revive tired muscles after a day on the slopes with intense massages or invest in a hi-tech QMS Alpina facial, the expertise here lies in the spa’s Ayurvedic packages, with its very own Ayurvedic doctor on tap. Lifestyle consultations, Kati-Vasti (a nurturing back treatment), and the Ku Nye Bodywork (a Tibetan treatment to strengthen the body’s flow of energy), are crafted around each guest and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. The piece-de-resistance, however, is the two-and-a-half hour Tree of Life Signature Ritual, which helps to promote vitality and includes a Himalayan salt exfoliation, a vital energy massage, a liver pack and gentle cleansing with a facial massage. You’ll find the new you in no time.

thealpinagstaad.ch

The Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultation starts at £50.50 for a half hour session. Rates start at £327 per room per night during the summer season.

 

 

BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS: Simply Healing, West Sussex, UK

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Feeling wiped out and found you’ve been putting on the pounds of late? Then head to Simply Healing, the UK’s best-kept beauty secret, for its intensive five-day Weight & Inch Loss Juice Detox. Housed in a picturesque 19th century manor house, overlooking the South Downs, the countryside retreat is renowned for delivering serious results in a nurturing environment. Run by detox expert and healer Vivien Kay, a choice of programme is on offer – weight-loss, general well-being and fertility – but all have the same focus of eliminating toxins from the body.

Simply Healing www.jamesbedford.com Simply Healing www.jamesbedford.com Simply Healing www.jamesbedford.com

An intensive consultation kick-starts your journey, which is based around a diet of freshly-made fruit and vegetable juices, broths and colonic hydrotherapy. If that sounds daunting, don’t fret. You’re kept nicely busy with the team of experts on hand and a wide itinerary of treatments. Detoxing body wraps help the inch loss, while body scrubs firm and contour, deluxe foot treatments draw toxins out of the body and meditation classes empower the mind. Guided woodland walks, to get a blast of fresh air, anti-ageing facials and nutritional guidance are also included. At the end of the day, early nights beckon in the comfort of your stylish and cosy room. While your personal aims are a focus, it’s not all-encompassing for its all-rounded holistic approach that Vivien and the team put emphasis on. Yes, you’ll feel lighter and re-energised but you’ll also be equipped with the know-how to continue a healthier way to live when back at home. It will leave you glowing in more ways than one.

simplyhealingcentre.com

The Simply Healing Five-Day Inch and Weight-loss Juice Detox Plan starts from £1,600, including a wide variety of treatments and consultation.

 

This feature is also in the August issue of Kensington & Chelsea Magazine.

INTERIOR TRENDS REPORT 2014

From powder pink bedrooms to tropical kitchens, the latest trends in interior design have one thing in common: impact. Here’s how to adapt the latest key looks in your home.

 

LIVING: Urban geometrics

FIRED EARTH

FIRED EARTH

One of the key trends of the season is the use of geometric patterns. Whether you give a nod to the theme by adding in directional accessories – think hexagonal shelving and chevron-print cushions – or invest big with flooring or wall-coverings, these simple but bold designs make a big impression.

geometric -hr3

GEOMETRICS FROM OUT THERE INTERIORS

geometric - hr1 geometric - hr4

Hexagons, triangles and squares in interesting shape combinations are essential to this trend, and, although they have a 1970s-retro feel about them, there’s nonetheless something intrinsically modern about this look.

SienaChair

SIENA CHAIR by the SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

PARIS CARVER CHAIR by the SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

PARIS CARVER CHAIR by the SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

 

Specialist in handcrafted furniture, The Sofa & Chair Company (020 8752 8938; www.sofaandchair.co.uk), supplies a wide selection of luxury furniture for the home and its interior design consultant, Martin Slabbert agrees that the geometric print is currently having ‘a moment’: “Geometric prints are almost never-out-of-fashion,” he says, “and this year, they are more on trend than ever before. But you don’t have to go big and bold to master this style, as classic monochrome prints are the perfect way to add interested to a living room.

 

“In 2014, patterns are more delicate than have been seen previously – almost as though they have been sketched,” he continues. “This is perfect for smaller rooms, and keeps this look up-to-date and far from the typical 1970s aesthetic. For an easy update just add some printed scatter cushions, or to make a real impact, go for floor length, patterned curtains.”

 

HARLEQUIN'S LANDSCAPES WALLPAPER

HARLEQUIN’S LANDSCAPES WALLPAPER

HARLEQUIN'S LEONIDA DESIGNS

HARLEQUIN’S LEONIDA WALLPAPER

For inspiration, fabric and wallpaper specialist Harlequin (0845 123 6815; www.harlequin.uk.com) has a range of abstract patterns available, from its just-launched Zambesi collection – a sumptuous range of velvets – to its Landscapes wallpapers, which feature statement, horizontal stripes.

 

FARROW & BALL'S CHROMATIC STRIPE

FARROW & BALL’S CHROMATIC STRIPE

Chromatic Stripe BP 4205

Continuing the bold stripe theme is the popping Chromatic Stripe selection of wallpapers available at Cambridge-based Farrow & Ball (01223 367771; www.farrow-ball.com). Its Parquet wallpapers will also give a room interest, taking the traditional ziz-zag pattern from floor to wall.

CHICAGO by GALERIE WALLCOVERINGS

CHICAGO by GALERIE WALLCOVERINGS

 

For a more fine-tuned take on covering your walls, however, Galerie Wall Coverings (01892 700730; www.galeriehome.co.uk) has a selection of geometric wallpapers, including the Art Deco-inspired Chicago, which are a more subtle take on the theme. For a whole selection of graphic designs, check out the huge range available at Paint and Paper Emporium (01223 506136; www.paintandpaperemporium.com).

 

BRINTON'S PADSTOW CANDY SPOT CARPET

BRINTON’S PADSTOW CANDY SPOT CARPET

Innovative shapes and intricate patterns on textiles and rugs are also an easy way to translate this trend. For an utterly committed take on the look, however, choose a floor covering, such as Brinton’s new Padstow Candy Spot carpet (www.brintons.co.uk) or floor tiles, such as the bold Artist Palette collection from the Stone and Ceramic Warehouse (www.stoneandceramicwarehouse.co.uk).

ARTIST'S PALETTE FROM STONE AND CERAMIC WAREHOUSE

ARTIST’S PALETTE FROM THE STONE AND CERAMIC WAREHOUSE

 

Renowned for their fashion forward tiles, Fired Earth’s (0845 293 8798; www.firedearth.com) tile category manager, Caroline Gow comments: “There’s a noticeable trend towards using bold, geometric pattern throughout the home. Walls and floors have tended to be given the role of neutral backdrops but they offer endless creative potential if you let them take centre stage. Fired Earth’s latest ranges include everything from eye-catching 3D-effect Graphix tiles, to the exotic curves of the Arabesque collection which can be mixed and matched or used in striking blocks of colour to create very different effects. The Casino range offers a contemporary, decorative take on monochrome, and all three of the new collections are made from low-maintenance and hard-wearing porcelain so they’re ideal for busy households.”

ARABESQUE WALLPAPER FROM FIRED EARTH

ARABESQUE TILES FROM FIRED EARTH

 

 

LIVING: Playful mood

Mix-matched furniture, clashing colours and ombre-effect walls all combine to create a playful twist on a living space, giving a youthful, current feel.

 

 

LAUREN WALCOTT COLLABORATION AT ANTHROPOLOGIE

LAUREN WALCOTT COLLABORATION AT ANTHROPOLOGIE

ASHLEY LONGSHORE COLLABORATION

ASHLEY LONGSHORE COLLABORATION

Source eye-catching accessories and home décor from urban lifestyle stores, such as Anthropologie (www.anthropologie.eu), which has collaborated with painters Lauren Walcott and Ashley Longshore on a range of fun, painted animal cushions.

 

 

OUT THERE INTERIORS

OUT THERE INTERIORS

 

Furniture at home-emporium Out There Interiors (www.outthereinteriors.com), meanwhile, includes French-style armchairs upholstered in funky, stripy fabric, gold cabinets and vibrant, postage stamp rugs.

 

CHANDELIER FROM OUT THERE INTERIORS

CHANDELIER FROM OUT THERE INTERIORS

“I am not a fan of serious sitting rooms,” Out There Interiors director Jenny Hurren says. “Playful pieces and pops of colour draw the eye, bringing life to your space.  Try a bold rug or non-matching stripy armchair to sit alongside your sofa, play with scale by placing a huge lamp on a small table, or hang a flamboyant chandelier off centre or in an unexpected place.  If you don’t want to take the risk with an expensive piece experiment with cushions and lamps, they are brilliant, non-permanent ways of ‘quirking up’ your space.

“Playful and eye-catching pieces are also great for drawing attention away from unattractive elements such as UPVC windows or woodchip wallpaper,” she continues. “There’s a lot to be said for creating a feast for the eyes – it can cover a multitude of sins.”

LOMBOK SUNSET by HAND MADE TO MEASURE

LOMBOK SUNSET by HAND MADE TO MEASURE

You can also bring a room to life by choosing vibrant textiles to frame a window or to upholster a key piece of furniture as a focal point to a room. For instant impact, team Hand Made to Measure’s (01625 837 404; www.handmadetomeasure.com) Ferdinand Sunset fabric – a vivid orange and purple stripe – with oversized florals.

 

FERDINAND SUNSET by HANDMADE TO MEASURE

FERDINAND SUNSET by HANDMADE TO MEASURE

Not for the shy, is the latest trend in ombre-effect walls. Start with the darkest colour at the bottom of the wall and graduate the shade to a lighter tone towards the ceiling. While candy or flouro colours give the wow-factor, a more sophisticated take on this is to use lighter colours – washes of pale greys or blues – so the effect is more ‘watercolour’ rather than ‘poster paint’.

 

LIVING: Dramatic glamour

CABINETS by SHIMU

CABINETS by SHIMU

Teal Cabinet 2 Teal Slim Cabinet 4

Dark, moody walls set off with metallic or mirrored furniture is an instant hit if high-end glamour is your goal. Paint walls black or midnight blue and contrast with Chinese lacquered furniture, such as the teal and pink cabinets available at Shimu (01274 610961; www.shimu.co.uk). Make a focal wall with mirrors, such as the vintage set of mirrors or the black and cream flower versions at stylish homeware store Oliver Hayden (0844 3350 710; www.oliverhayden.com).

 

FLOWER MIRRORS by OLIVER HAYDEN

FLOWER MIRRORS by OLIVER HAYDEN

Oliver Hayden’s director, Bernice Say, comments: “If you have a flair for the dramatic, a black and red colour scheme will appeal. It offers a bold palette with the ability to create a variety of different styles. Silver and mirrored surfaces are a wonderful compliment to this scheme. This look is pure glamour.”

 

MILLINER CHAIR by JOHN SANKEY

MILLINER CHAIR by JOHN SANKEY

Sumptuous furnishings – such as the handmade velvet chairs stocked at John Sankey (www.johnsankey.co.uk) – and decadent pieces, such as the deep fuchsia ottomans, black cocktail chairs and orange velvet Demi Lune sofas at The Sofa & Chair Company (020 8752 8938; www.sofaandchair.co.uk) are the ultimate ways to make the look work.

 

DEMI-LUNE by SOFA AND CHAIR

DEMI-LUNE by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

 

ALLEGRI OTTOMAN by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

ALLEGRI OTTOMAN by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

 

DEENA BENCH by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

DEENA BENCH by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

Interior design consultant, Martin Slabbert, at The Sofa & Chair Company, comments: “Interiors have become far more glamorous this season, moving away from the shabby-chic aesthetic which has been so popular in recent years. The use of clean and classic colour palettes; black, whites and even mirroring is a great way to add a subtle touch of opulence to your home. High gloss black flooring is also making a come-back, a trend I am happy to see return!”

 

 

SLEEPING: Layered textures

Cosy is key to the latest bedroom styles. Use an assortment of different textures for a modern approach to a traditional aesthetic and go for a blended, mis-matched look. Contrast cushions in different fabrics and don’t be afraid to mix modern with the new – a floral eiderdown on a silk covered duvet, for instance, works really well.

 

BALLINA IRON BED by THE

BALLINA IRON BED by THE ORIGINAL BEDSTEAD COMPANY

Traditional iron bedsteads, such as those available at The Original Bedstead Company (020 7351 1955; www.obc-uk.net) are perfect for this look – giving an old-time sentiment to a bedroom. To add in a contemporary twist, choose unusual textiles, such as Vanessa Arbuthnott’s (www.vanessaarbuthnott.co.uk) Bohemian range with its natural scenes in a grey and chartreuse colour palette.

 

BOHEMIAN by VANESSA ARBUTHNOTT

BOHEMIAN by VANESSA ARBUTHNOTT

To create the ultimate retreat, layering is crucial – but keep it neat. Set up small tableau of curiosities or collectables on chests of drawers or occasional tables, pile on the bedcovers in contrasting prints and create feature walls with vintage hand mirrors or small oil paintings in a similar colour palette. Check out Oliver Hayden’s quirky accessories for inspiration (0844 3350 710; www.oliverhayden.com).

CROSBY MIRRORS AT OLIVER HAYDEN

CROSBY MIRRORS AT OLIVER HAYDEN

 

HEARTS at OLIVER HAYDEN

HEARTS at OLIVER HAYDEN

 

 

 

SLEEPING: In the pink

Whether it’s soft blush or rich raspberry, pink is making a comeback. Taking its cue from last season’s catwalks (where the shade was featured by virtually every designer), the colour – used correctly – can look modern and sophisticated.

 

FUSCIA DRAWERS by OUT THERE INTERIORS

FUSCIA DRAWERS by OUT THERE INTERIORS

Director of Out There Interiors (www.outthereinteriors.com) Jenny Hurren, comments: “Pink bedrooms don’t have to scream Barbie!  Soft pink and grey is a wonderful colour combination, for instance, and creates a relaxing, sophisticated room. Think pastel pink bedside tables with copper lamps and sumptuous textiles – gorgeous!  When it comes to hot pink, don’t go overboard. One piece is perfect, a statement chest of drawers or sumptuous upholstered linen box for example. Allow it to own the space, then choose complementary neutrals to sit alongside.”

CAMERON OTTOMAN BED by FEATHER AND BLACK

CAMERON OTTOMAN BED by FEATHER AND BLACK

Essentially a romantic colour, using too much pink in the bedroom is in danger of being too ‘frou frou’ and feminine, especially if you are sharing with a male partner. Keep it modern and subtle by dressing a clean-lined ottoman bed, such as the Cameron Ottoman bed at Cambridge’s Feather and Black (01223 366282; www.featherandblack.com), with the Poetica range of fabrics –faded glamour in style – from Harlequin (www.harlequin.uk.com).

Harlequin_Poetica_10_ER

POETICA RANGE from HARELQUIN

Harlequin_Poetica_11_ER Harlequin_Poetica_12_ER

For bolder schemes, use bright, fresh detailing – such as the oversized floral Tamika wallpaper, also from Harlequin (www.harlequin.uk.com) and contrast with gold or mirrored furniture for an atmospheric boudoir. Minimalist lovers need not shy away from the shade, either. Contrast a clean, sparse aesthetic with a candy-pink wall colour, such as Farrow & Ball’s (01223 367771; www.farrow-ball.com) Nancy’s Blushes – and your room will be instantly updated.

NANCY'S BLUSHES by FARROW & BALL

NANCY’S BLUSHES by FARROW & BALL

 

SLEEPING: Keep it zen
Like no other room in the house, the bedroom is all about calmness and serenity. Echo this feel with your furnishings and décor. A combination of complimentary pastel colours – think aqua, pale blue and grey – look elegant and understated.

HAND PAINTED WARDDROBES by RENCRAFT

HAND PAINTED WARDDROBES by RENCRAFT

Hand Painted Wardrobes 002

Highlight areas, such as a dressing table, with clever lighting – source antique bronze lamps or gilded bedside lights for a sophisticated contrast against light wall colours. And hide away the clutter. Fitted wardrobes, such as those supplied by Rencraft (www.rencraft.co.uk), in contrasting pastel colours to the rest of the room, will give a seamless, peaceful look.

LITTLE GREENE

LITTLE GREENE

Soft fabrics and vintage-style wallpapers with pale prints also create a subdued backdrop. Cambridge’s Paint and Paper Emporium (01223 506136; www.paintandpaperemporium.com) has a fantastic selection to choose from, such as the 1950s-style Hampstead by Little Greene – a fine detailed paper in black and white.

Window coverings are also key. For high-ceilinged rooms, hang curtains – in silks and velvets – that drape along the floor for a decadent, sumptuous look. Alternatively, shutters can create a beachy feel to induce a laid-back holiday vibe.

SHUTTERCRAFT

SHUTTERCRAFT

Ryan Jarvis owner of Cambridge’s Shuttercraft (01223 581 339; www.shuttercraft-cambridge.co.uk) agrees: “Interior window shutters are a highly versatile window covering that can provide the perfect balance of light and privacy to help create a tranquil atmosphere to relax and unwind in.Shuttercraft Cambridge offer the widest range of premium window shutters and can even custom colour match their shutters to compliment customers unique style and zen.”

 

KITCHEN: Shine and shimmer
Kitchens have come a long way from simply being a practical hub of the home. They are now being ‘dressed’ just as any other room would be; and the more glamorous the better. Cabinets in gemstone colours – think emerald and sapphire – are accentuated with brass taps and mother-of-pearl splashbacks. Meanwhile, glimmering surfaces in bold hues, such as the Cristallino Blue and Cape Cod Green, available at Granite Transformations (0808 271 6672; www.granitetransformations.co.uk) elevate the kitchen to the most design conscious room in the house.

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

The use of glass in a kitchen can also bring a polished look to the space. A bank of glass cabinets, such as those available at Nicholas Anthony (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk) can house statement vases or crockery, while pretty glass chandeliers can contrast nicely with sleek, modern cabinetry.

MAGMA KITCHEN by CERAMIC

MAGMA KITCHEN by THE STONE AND CERAMIC WAREHOUSE

 

A white on white look (think: white flooring, cabinets and lighting), matched with gleaming white tiles, such as the Magma stone tiles available at The Stone and Ceramic Warehouse (020 8993 5545; www.thestoneandceramicwarehouse.co.uk) can make as much of an elegant statement as a colourful scheme does.

 

Meanwhile, gold, silver and copper elements – taps, practical accessories and ovens – are key materials for those looking to stay one step ahead when it comes to interior design.

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

 

Tony Nicholas, managing director at Cambridge-based Nicholas Anthony kitchens (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk), also identifies the trend: “Silver is a soft, sleek iridescent element in a kitchen. In fact, the use of metallics will enhance an expression of modernism and glamour while shimmering surfaces deliver opulence. The use of metallic increases a sense of warmth and value in any kitchen interior.”

 

 

KITCHEN: Tropical heat

Turning up the heat in the most modern kitchens is a new tropical theme, played out in exotic leaf motifs, natural textures and the use of greens of all shades.

 

FRUTA FUENTE at ANTHROPOLOGIE

FRUTA FUENTE at ANTHROPOLOGIE

Against a neutral backdrop, you can play with the theme by adding in brightly coloured accessories, such as the exotic hued platters and jugs, available at Anthropologie (www.anthropologie.eu), and bright, zesty lighting, such as the green Wan pendants at Christopher Wray (www.christopherwray.com).

WAN PENDANT at CHRISTOPHER WRAY

WAN PENDANT at CHRISTOPHER WRAY

 

Whether you go for emerald shades or lime green, this look is all about being bold. Clash your greens and use natural textures such as sisal rugs, palm-print wallpapers and Waikiki print fabrics. Plantation-style painted shutters, such as those available at Shutterly Fabulous (www.shutterlyfabulous.co.uk) give an ‘island’ feel to a space and can be used as a bright focal point if painted a popping colour in an otherwise neutral kitchen.

 

SHUTTERLY FABULOUS

SHUTTERLY FABULOUS

Tony Nicholas, managing director at Cambridge-based Nicholas Anthony kitchens (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk), comments: “Shades of green offset with contrasting materials such as wood, glass, plastic, concrete and steel can create a tropical escape with a soft urban edge. This look works extremely well in both kitchens and bathrooms. Informal interiors with using nature’s shades and finishes can enhance a sense of comfort.”

 

KITCHENS: Future luxe

Most of all, when it comes to our kitchens, we want them to work hard for us – and work well. Available soon are a new generation of intelligent appliances, which will mean we’ll all be cooking clever. Ovens and fridges controlled by apps – even when you are not at home; oversized fridges (four doors anyone?) with inbuilt tablets and intelligent thermostats that automatically reduce energy consumption are coming to a kitchen near you soon.

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

It goes without saying that a luxury home for these new devices is essential. Invest in a handle-less, sleek kitchen by Nicholas Anthony (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk) or a contemporary, glossy model at By Design (01223 248409; www.bydi.co.uk) to complete the futuristic vibe. The latest kitchens offer space-saving features and hide away all the practical items that are kitchen essentials but which you may not want on show. After all, innovation that looks good is hot right now.

 

This feature is in the July issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty for the long haul

The latest beauty launches are perfect for seeing you through the endless days of summer. Here are my top ten summer sizzles:

 

Soak it up

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The Greek island of Santorini is the inspiration behind Korres new Santorini Vine range. The Santorini Vine Body Milk, £10, smells just like a holiday in a bottle with its green apple, floral, citrus and peach notes. I also love the bold blue and white packaging, too, which mirrors the Aegean waters and Cycladic architecture of the Greek islands. Ideal for use after basking in the sun, the body milk sinks into limbs immediately and provides long-lasting hydration with its combination of almond oil, active aloe, provitamin B5 and shea butter. A little mention, here, too, of its sister product, the Santorini Vine Shower Gel, £8, which is just as divine. www.debenhams.com

 

Reviving wash

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Bubble T’s Moroccan Mint Tea Reviving Shower Gel, £8, has a unique tea-infused formula blended with super fruit extracts, such as goji berry, and is inspired by the Taiwanese drink – Bubble Tea. The vivid green shower gel is an amazing morning pick-me up with its refreshing peppermint scent. It is also blended with white jasmine and sweet spearmint said to energize and revive. www.bubbletcosmetics.com

 

Everyday luxury

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Deeply replenishing, Argan Oil’s Ultra-Rich Body Butter, £8.99, is ideal for skin that has had too much sun. The intensive moisturiser feels really decadent and has an air-whipped, non-greasy texture. I love the exotic scent, too, which lingers on the skin for hours after applying. Made with a blend of Argan oil with four other oils, Baobab, Kukui, Moringa and Sacha Inci, this rich body butter is fabulous restorative leaving skin enriched and silky. www.boots.com

 

The big reveal

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Use Pulpe de Vie’s Tickle Me Body Scrubbing Butter, £14, a week or so before you hit the beach and you’ll have incredibly smooth and even skin to show off. Its rich buttery texture melts into an ultra-soft cream when applied, removing dead skin cells and softening dry and flaky patches. Using a fruity mix of tomato and blackcurrent waters, sourced from Provence, as well as apricot kernel powder, this body exfoliator also smells as good as its ingredients. www.absolutelydivine.co.uk

 

Spritz it on

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Baylis & Harding’s new Great Body range has a sophisticated new design ethos. Based around wildflower botanical extracts, the collection of five body-care products includes the Body Mist, £6, which is ideal for travelling. It refreshes and firms the skin and quenches with instant hydration. It also has a lovely, light floral scent to revive the senses – perfect to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day. An honourable mention also goes to the line’s new Body Lotion and Body Firming Cream – both £6 each and both great additions to your summer regime. www.waitrose.com

 

Foot first

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One of my favourite new brands to launch recently is the British label Ruby Red. The botanical skincare range is inspired by a traditional apothecary ethos but with an added contemporary urban twist. Its Cooling Foot Cream, £19, is just the thing for relieving tired feet when travelling. Containing natural essence of peppermint as well as shea butter and sunflower seed oil, it instantly refreshes tired, aching feet and legs. It also helps to heal cracked heels and rough, dry skin. www.rubyredcosmetics.co.uk

 

Divine cleanliness

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Another find from Ruby Red is its glorious Reviving Body Cleanser, £17. This is one of the most wonderfully scented shower gels I have ever come across. Containing lime, red mandarin, coriander and cedarwood, it is fabulously cosseting yet enlivening at the same time. It softly foams and does not dry or irritate the skin, thanks to its botanical extract of aloe vera. It also does not contain any SLS or harsh detergents, so is kind for all the family. Although no doubt you’ll want to keep this one to yourself. www.rubyredcosmetics.co.uk

 

Crowning glory

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Perfect for packing light, NHP’s Top Ten Perfect Styling Cream, £16.80, has everything you need for perfect hair all in one spray. The intensive, multifunctional treatment is rich in organic Argan oil, Macademia oil and Panthenol and repairs, tames, gives shine and body and protects against heat damage. What more do you want? www.beautybyzara.com

 

Scent from heaven

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One of the latest trends in the fragrance world is perfume for hair. Ideally suited to the summer months, it is a subtle way of wearing scent. Cool new brand Hairy Jayne’s Hair Perfume and Heat Protector, £9, takes the theme one step further by adding in an anti-frizz ingredient so it becomes a perfume with a purpose. A choice of three scents, citrus, floral or musk (my fave is the floral), is available and they give hair a long-lasting freshness. Meanwhile its shine enhancing formula means hair is non-frizzy and smooth. www.hairyjayne.co.uk

 

Eye, eye

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After any flight or long journey, skin can become tired and saggy, especially around the eye area. Target dark shadows and puffiness with Pond’s Institute Eye Contour Cream, £7.99. The gentle formula keeps the eye area fresh and hydrated. Formulated with vitamins A, E and B5, it improves the skin structure and cares for the sensitive area. www.pondsinstitute.co.uk

Timeless beauty

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She’s an icon, a legend even, but instead of the 80-year-old Joan Collins hanging up her handbag in lieu of hanging out at St Tropez, say, or the Dorch (surely, there’s no better for the queen of the screen?), the actress has rather launched a new make-up collection. And rather lovely it is, too.

Styled in a 1950s meets Art Deco design, lipsticks are housed in heavy gold cases and shadows in expensive-looking compacts. The Timeless Beauty range aims to be attainable and effective for all women of all ages.

“Looking good and feeling great is the right of every woman no matter how old she is,” she says. “Beauty is timeless.”

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Priced between £12-£50, the range is affordable and fantastic quality. My favourite is the pointy, 50s nail varnish (love the popping pink Fontaine shade and the fact that they are all named after the characters she has played). The eyebrow pencil also gives fantastic definition, the blush is just the right side of peachy while the genius Paparazzi Ready Compact Duo pairs together a pressed powder and Divine Lips lipstick (there are eight shades to choose from) in a super-glam compact.

Renowned for her glamour, Joan Collins has called upon her many years in Hollywood as inspiration for the collection, using many of her ‘insider’ secrets to create what she calls the ultimate line of make-up for any woman. Timeless.

www.joancollinsbeauty.com