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Paris.

I could have titled this blog SO many different things as I had already tried (and failed) to write a two part series, which described 24 fantasy hours in Paris. But, this title seems more apt, as it really was ‘just’ Paris for one, glorious child-free weekend in December. 

We arrived on Friday evening and I had forgotten how crazy this time is in the city! We arrived at Opéra Garnier de Paris about 6pm and my first glimpse was like saying Bonsoir to an old friend…

We got to our Hotel in the 5th Arrondissement about 45 minutes after this. My Hubby loves to plan our trips & thankfully we have the same taste in Hotels as Hotel Le Petit Paris was perfect.

We had our own little Balcony which also gave a lovely street view. One of the first things I did when I went out there was breathe in Paris on a Friday night. It’s been a while! Those curtains were velvet which two tone green stripes (I couldn’t stop touching them!).

Hubby has great memories of this area as a good friend of his lived here, resulting in him coming to Paris on visits when I had already left. We have stayed in this area together twice now and just love it. We were right beside Panthéon and The Luxembourg Gardens. You also have Boulevard St. Michel right next door. As it was Christmas, even the Town hall of the area was putting on a show

We ate locally that evening (I was craving simple French fare) and then went for a lovely, long walk…(Ok. I got lost. As I said – It’s been a while!) 

The next day was crisp, warm and simply stunning. I was able to take a shot of our little outdoor space and the street view left, towards Place du Panthéon

Breakfast was simple and perfect (in the café at the corner) and served just in front of one of the most spectacular doors I’ve ever seen

We headed towards B’ld St Michel on this gorgeous morning, stopping by the show stopper of a Fountain at the end

When you leave the fountain and turn right you see Notre Dame de Paris but I couldn’t resist taking a little snap of the other side of the Seine before we entered Île St. Louis…

…and then. There She is.

It was such a beautiful day, we stopped at a café nearby, sat outside, took off our coats (!) and bathed in the winter sun for a while. I had stopped at the local bakery before we got here, so after coffee, we found a nice spot & shared the cutest & yummiest ‘Bûche de Noël’/Chocolate Log’ I’ve ever tasted

As my birthday is the 22nd of December, and my birthday cake has been a chocolate log for as long as I can remember, this was like a little pre-birthday cake! After all this food, we opted to take the long route down the Seine to catch a Métro to see a friend. 

You pass ‘Les Bouquinistes‘ – the enclosed book, print…etc sellers which have been selling their wares for centuries

You pass one of the most famous book stores, in Paris Shakespeare & Co. (not the original location of Sylvia Beech’s store but a Paris institution nonetheless!)

There was a cute little Christmas market in the square nearby

You pass my favourite bridge in Paris: Pont Des Arts. It seems crazy that I love probably the simplest bridge in Paris but I think that this is nearly the reason why! 

You pass one of the best museums in the world: The Musée dOrsay which used to be a train station, hence the city names seen on the building

We then hopped on the Métro to visit an old friend, in Abbesses. This is the flip-side of Montmartre. It’s your Métro for Sacré Coeur and while many walk out of the Métro and turn left to head there, I was always turning right towards where good friends lived. This area became my playground. The subteranean station is one of the most striking in the city

My friend Thierry is a master of stone, copper, metals and precious stones. He amazes me constantly. His talents are endless and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. His atelier/workshop/store is on Rue Durantin, nearby

We reminisced in a restaurant nearby on how long we had known eachother and decided not to count the years. The area has become more gentrified, since my time, according to Thierry but it was wonderful for me to see that he was still there, talking to clients and creating his magic.

When we said goodbye, we headed back down to the area not far from Opéra de Paris again, where I had to re-visit a favourite store, Fauchon (yet more food!) which was celebrating 130 years

I kid you not, I’ve been dreaming about one of these babies for about 6 months! I chose the éclair made to celebrate their illustrious birthday. I saved it for after dinner that night.

The next day was spent as I would have spent a Sunday in Paris, many a time – it was lazy, we ate lots (see a theme?), shopped for presents and had a hot chocolate and a walk in the Luxembourg Gardens. 

Spending time together was priceless and we thank the team that was put in place to look after the kids! Being a parent is the most wonderful thing in the world, and I don’t take it for granted, but sometimes it’s really nice to simply be ‘Hilda and Austin’. 

Thank you, love, for a magical weekend … and the moment I missed the kids the most? It was when I saw the magical Christmas window’s of Printemps. I wish they could have seen them. Maybe the next time we go, they may have to come with us…

http://www.hotelpetitparis.com/

http://thierry-grave.over-blog.com/

Ideal Home Show, Dublin – Autumn ’16…

I was late and grumpy when I arrived at the Ideal Home Show on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend. There were problems on the DART line and I had had to walk to my connecting station. Shuttle Bus? Not a chance. One little moment of respite was when I was taking this photo of the Samuel Beckett Bridge

I noticed a film crew on the bridge. It turned out to be the Rubberbandits, filming their new TV series. The lads posed for a photo and made me smile.

When I eventually arrived at the Ideal Home Show, I had missed one of the talks I had wanted to attend but went straight to my favourite section: The Colourtrend Room Sets 

Eily Roe Interiors were my first port of call

What I liked: Beautiful use of contrasting colours in furniture & accessories with their paint choice: Stand out chair, statement rug and coffee tables with pretty + colourful vignettes.

Thelma Henry Interiors 

What I liked: Luxurious fabrics for a Bedroom scheme with restful tones that will appeal to many Homeowners

Lou Dela Interiors 

What I liked: The Ethnic/Boho Vibe of the Roomset. THAT rug and statement seating. 

L’Estrange Designs

What I liked: It was great to see the paint choice (Mussel) tying in so well with the rest of the scheme and Jill had teamed up with online concept store Home Lust which provided pretty accessories throughout.

Regina Rogers Fallon Design

What I liked: The bold choice of colour on the presses and…look at that floor!

Yours Personally

What I liked: The contrasting colour on the panelling and a the beautiful, classic choice of painting of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earing’

The Elms

What I liked: Sharon chose an Autumnal scheme using products from The Elms, Punchestown. The photo’s don’t do justice to that light fixture!

Homework Interiors

What I liked: As I have a little girl, I found myself loving the details in this room scheme & Clara Eloise designed many of the pieces in the room – such as the bed and pendant light.

The Showhouse is designed by a different Interior Designer each season and this time it was designed by Arlene at Ventura Design – the theme being ‘Manhattan Loft’. It had a luxurious and sexy feel to it but was very dark so extremely hard to take a decent photo of! Here are some snippets all the same

Hopefully they give you a little sense of what the Showhouse looked  like!

What I liked: The main living/bar area was luxurious and sexy (the copper & marble combination in the kitchen really worked) – as was the bedroom (open fire in the bedroom gave a cosy fee – not shown) 

There is, of course, a whole lot more going on at the Ideal Home Show but as I’m studying Interior Design, these areas are always my favourite! A fairly recent addition to the show is the The Irish Times Home & Design Theatre & I caught the talk by Lisa  Cannon on Decorating your Table

It was also nice to see Nick Munier of Avenue Restaurant signing his Art prints – a colourful addition to the show

So, if you didn’t get to go to this season’s Ideal Home Show, I hope that you feel that you just had a little trip! Does anything stand out for you? And If you did, what were your highlights? 

Bravo to all the Interior Designer’s involved! As I study my course, I start to realise how much hard work is involved in realising a scheme but if you are passionate about what you do, well, that’s half the battle. 

A Dublin Morning & a Visit to Arran St. East…

Well, it had to be a special event to take me out of my ‘Blog Slumber’, eh? I had a feeling that this would happen: as I started back to studies in October, I knew that it would be more tricky to blog…

Even so, I love my little blog and am pretty determined to keep it going while I study. I feel that it is part of the process at this stage! I received a lovely invite to the press morning at Arran St. East in the heart of old Dublin, last Tuesday morning, and was only delighted to visit their beautiful studio. On my way there, on a stunning Autumn morning, I took a few snaps of this wonderful neighbourhood

The working Fruit, Vegetable & Flower market of Smithfield is an Architectural gem with hidden details in the brickwork, telling you of it’s function

As I didn’t know this street at all, I stopped at a gorgeous café, Oxmantown that I had heard only good things about, to ask directions. 

Turned out I was two seconds away from the studio

…and the beauty that awaited me inside

…but first – Coffee!! Of course, it was served in their lovely pottery

What struck me first was the use of natural light in the studio – on this crisp, clear, Autumn day, it was enhancing the colours & textures of the pottery to it’s fullest

Collections have been put together in ‘Hamper Form’ to be bought as a House-Warming gift, a Wedding Gift…etc

And the colours gain their inspiration primarily from the Market which is directly in front of the studio

Part of their new range is the linen that you can see above – I was told that these were facecloths but I think I would use mine as napkins. The soap is a prototype and Arran St. East are working with Irish companies, which I thought was further in keeping with their ethos

As a bonus treat, we were given a tour of the potters at work and the upstairs part of the studio, where they are running Pottery classes quite regularly

  

One of two Kilns, which I thought were a work of Art in their own right!

What a workspace! And the lovely Laura was worried that it was untidy!

The room which houses the pottery wheels for the classes

As I said my thanks & goodbyes with promises of a return visit, I stopped off for a spot of breakfast at the aforementioned café, and found that they were supporters of the studio also!

Arran Street East very kindly presented each one of us with a goodie bag, and my treasured piece of pottery shall house a wee succulent soon

Ireland has such a rich history of Pottery making, so it’s really lovely to see a Dublin pottery studio thriving & creating in such an old & treasured part of the city. 

For more more information on classes, or simply the company itself, see www.arranstreeteast.ie and they are nominated here http://image.ie/interiors/article/vote-design-awards/ should you like what you see and are feeling generous enough to give them a vote. 

Autumn Interior Essentials…

Anyone who knows me will know that, while I absolutely love Summer and all that this season brings, Autumn is my season. I love everything about it and if I’m honest, the types of Interiors that I am mostly attracted tend to create a sense of what the Danish call Hygge 

A Fundamental quality of Danish culture, Hygge cannot be translated using a single word. Rather, it includes many of the pleasures we associate with everyday living – relaxing with friends, enjoying good food and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two (Source: http://www.skagen.com)

So, for this reason, I’ve included some of my Autumn Interior Essentials while maybe introducing you to some of my favourite brands.

Candles – I can already see myself eyeing up new candles for the house! Is there any cosier light than candlelight? The only thing about Candles though, is that their scent is pretty personal, eh? What you like, may not be what I like! However, one good rule of thumb is to buy the most natural made candles that you can. The Bearded Candle Makers are a super Irish company. Check them out here http://www.thebeardedcandlemakers.com14212098_1100428233378715_5348656670832830986_n Bearded

Throws – Whenever I think of Throws, I think of Avoca Handweavers http://www.avoca.com. We lived not far from the Kilmacanougue store and a trip to the town of Avoca (which many will know as ‘Ballykissangel’ from the TV show) was always a treat as you can view the weaving of the throws there, at the original store. We have this throw and even in summer, you’ll see me curled up in it watching telly!Image result for avoca handweavers throws

Rugs – I have a faux sheepskin rug beside my bed & it’s super toasty when you get out of the bed and have something to rest your toes on. For the real thing, here’s a lovely example from http://www.blarney.comIrish Sheepskin Rug

Curtains – Yup, at this point you may think I’ve lost the plot but y’see we don’t have any curtains up yet so I absolutely can’t wait to try and change that a little before Christmas comes around! I read somewhere once that Curtains are to a room, what accessories are to an outfit – that a room simply isn’t dressed if there are no curtains. We have blinds but it’s not the same for me. There is something so enveloping about closing the curtains on an Autumn night and retreating to the cosiness. My dream curtains for our sitting room are right here…ac62fec756dd11deaa5e617cb8b810e0 Silk Curtains

A ‘Huggable’ Mug! It’s Hot Chocolate season people!!!! Sure, I love a glass of wine as much as the next person but there is something wonderfully satisfying about holding a mug that fits perfectly in your hand and it’s even better if it’s full of Hot Chocolate. 2 of my favourite mugs right now come from two super Irish stores: http://www.aprilandthebear.comIMG_9678 copy.jpgand http://www.moss.ie…for when Wine O’ Clock just can’t come quick enough..IMG_0003_2_1024x1024

Do you have any Autumn Interior Essentials to add? What are your seasonal favourites?

Hoping you have the best September, whatever it has in store for you xxxx

Hilda x

 

 

 

Share it Friday #7

Happy Friday!! If you have nothing planned for the weekend after next yet, there are a few little ‘Design related happenings’ on in Dublin that you may like to know about!

I had hoped to visit Teeling Whiskey Distillery before Christmas last year to purchase 2 bottles of their fine whiskey & see the beautiful building that their distillery is housed in, but due to time constraints, I had to purchase them instead from a local off-license. I hope to visit someday soon! The weekend after next sees, what should be a fab Craft Fair, should you be in the vicinity. 

On the same day, the gals from DUST are closing their doors to move solely on-line. Their Interior Design consultancy side of the business is booming and I’m delighted to see such success. They were both very encouraging to me at the beginning of my design journey + I wish them every best wish for their sparkling future! Say goodbye to their beautiful store and check out it’s sale on that Saturday to pick up some fabulous bargains. 

And on the Sunday, the monthly Dublin Flea Market takes place which is probably up there with one of the most pleasurable ways to spend a Sunday in Dublin! Ever since a good friend of mine designed one of the posters for it, I’ve been more aware of their own beauty also and this month’s is no exception

In other news, I’ve been nominated/shortlisted for 2 Blogging awards! The first is in the ‘Best Design Inspiration Blog’ category in the Amara Interior Blog Awards in the UK

and the second nomination is that I am shortlisted in the ‘Arts & Crafts/Interior Design Blog’ category in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 

To say that I’m overwhelmed is a huge understatement. The blog came before the studies & I never thought that it would be noticed all that much. I write the blog to share my passion for Design & to receive recognition for this is really lovely. 

I’d like to say a huge Thank you to those of you who have voted for me so far and those of you who take the time to read or comment on my blog. I really do appreciate every one of you! 

Have the loveliest weekend, whatever you do! Let me know if you manage to make it to any of the above? This weekend I’m meeting one of my oldest friends for a long overdue catch up. There won’t be whiskey but there might be wine. 

Hilda xx

A glimpse inside Ardgillan Castle…

I’ve spent a lot of time at Ardgillan Castle www.ardgillancastle.ie in North County Dublin but have never been able to take the tour of inside. We go to the amazing playground which has such a beautiful view of the sea, we have visited the rose garden and have had a coffee in the tea rooms. A tour hasn’t been really on the cards with two small kids in tow, but yesterday my two munchkins were invited to a birthday party there & I had no idea that I would end up getting some lovely glimpses of the castle itself. The party was for one of my little guy’s oldest friends & one of my first ‘Mum Friends’ – not only was it a fab place for her daughter to have her birthday, I’d just like to say a wee Thanks to Sue for giving me a chance to see some of the castle as well as my kids having a day to remember!

The back of the Castle – we started the party in the room at the window which is second from right 

The kids were dressed up in period costumes and Jasper, the Jester, brought the castle to life with fantastical stories & some fun props along the way. On many occasions, we walked through secret doors to the next room.I honestly don’t know who was more excited, the kids or me…

A pretty gorgeous spinning wheel in a bedroom

I would happily have these curtains in my home! 

This lighting was in a room which had quite a lot of Taxidermy in it, and while I’m aware of current Interior trends for this, I’m not a fan! I preferred to Look Up

Rich period hues in the main Dining Room

I’m thinking this Screen Insert is pretty old…

The kids were told that there was a ghost in this photo – Can you see it?

Some pieces that caught my eye

We weren’t in this room but I can’t resist when I see an open door & glimpse some beauty! This room was light-filled and the Yellow was vibrant.

We moved downstairs to the Castle Kitchens & I got pretty excited, as this is always a favourite part of Castles for me.

The main part of the Kitchens was quite dark

In contrast to the side Kitchens, which were filled with Light

And I spotted a pretty little flat lay in the Kitchen beside

As I mentioned in the title, this is simply a ‘glimpse’ and I really hope it’s given you a little taste of what to expect, should you visit. 

The day was, after all, about a special little lady who turned 7 and we retreated to the party room downstairs for the main event!

Happy Birthday Princess! Hope you had a wonderful day xx

1st of August thoughts…

Do you feel it? If, like me, you live in Ireland, you will most definitely have felt it: That change in the air, the night’s rolling in a little quicker, the Autumn stock sneaking on to our shelves…

Today I’m acknowledging it but am most definitely not ready to say goodbye to Summer yet. My hubby goes back to work after 2 weeks of holidays and we have been eeking out the last few days of Hols with a Family BBQ, a trip to a Jump Zone + today, a fun park with the kids. 

I found this quote today (uncredited I’m afraid, so if you know who said it – do let me know!) and it pretty much summed up how I felt this morning, when I changed the calendars…

For the record, I love Sundays! 

Photo taken on Saturday of my brother + sister-in-law’s recently painted shed, dressed for a day of family fun. 

Wishing you all the loveliest August guys & I’ll see you here again soon xxxx

 

Some things change and some things don’t…

I’ll be 3 years on line in February of next year, and one place in our home that got photographed quite a lot at the beginning was our kitchen window sill. 

I would photograph it early morning, before the blinds went up & I’d often photograph it when I lit candles just before starting to cook. It was a little window into my world. 

I mentioned before that I have been trying to practice the Kon Mari Method and one part of this, deals with keeping your kitchen surfaces very clear – only keeping out what you need and use, if anything. It’s a constant battle to keep our busy family kitchen tidy but I notice that there is a big surge of tidiness when we are about to have guests (!) and today I spent most of the morning in the kitchen.

I noticed that although the kitchen window will wasn’t tiled yet, I loved everything that I have there at the moment. And that a lot of the things that I loved having there, hadn’t really changed over the past few years. I was kinda happy to see that Marie Kondo had rubbed off on me a little. I had got rid (usually charity shops benefit from my declutters) of pretty much everything I didn’t want anymore on my kitchen shelf and was left with what I love: plants, a candle, a present from a good friend, a coaster from the Joan Míro foundation in Barcelona (not seen), which I am resting my cuppa on now and a Belleek vase that I love (out of shot) which I love to fill with fresh & inexpensive flowers, usually from Aldi/Lidl.

Do you have a favourite ‘Shelfie’ in your home? I have 3! I love to mix up the mantle piece + the bookshelves. 

It’s important to have these little favourite spots in your home, isn’t it? So much of our space at home is shared, it’s important to make a little space for you! I’m currently moving my study space upstairs to our bedroom also, which I debated about a lot but am happy that I made the right decision. More on that at a later date!

For now, enjoy some summer sunshine & thanks for reading, if you got this far!

Hilda xxxx

Share it Friday #6…

Hi all! I thought I might share a few things that have caught my eye in the last while in this sixth edition of ‘Share it Friday’.

Every once in a while I make an extra magazine purchase and recently gave new Irish magazine house+design a look!

It’s published by RIAI (The registration board for Architect’s in Ireland) so obviously there is an Architectural-Slant to the magazine (!) and I found it beautifully laid out & very informative.

I promised myself a new apron when we re-vamped our kitchen recently (I know, I know – bet your jealous of my rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?!) and knew that Carolyn Donnelly had a few cute aprons in store at the moment. I got a little side-tracked when I visited Dunnes Stores  though as these T-Towels are super cute & colourful (€5 each)

This Hammock is €85, which is a really good price I think & the cushions are €40 each

I had a choice of aprons & chose this one, for it’s ‘still-summery-vibe’

…and I’m pretty sure Carolyn Donnelly designed this Tote Bag for me (€15)…

I’d also like to share with you that one of you lovely lot has nominated me for the Blog Awards Ireland and I really appreciate it! I’ll let you know when voting opens but even if I don’t go any further than the nomination stage, I’m super chuffed that one of you took the time to vote. Thank You xx

Both of my kids have now got their summer holidays and I have put my studies on hold so as I can enjoy the summer with them as much as possible. I’ll be checking in here whenever I can but for the moment…

Have the best weekend, whatever you do!

Hilda xx

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