My Favourite Things

Everybody has them… those little things in their lives that bring them so much joy. That piece of jewellery, that item of furniture that you bought that you love or the handbag that you spent a months salary on. These are MY favourite things.

My bed
This sits at the top of the list for good reason…some wise person told me that the majority of your life will be spent at work or in bed, make both places great places to be! This is so true!! When we bought our house we decided to buy a really good quality mattress which we love. I adore our White Company, Egyptian cotton linen that feels so cool and luxurious. We have a down duvet and pillows and the most decadent aspect of our bed is our down mattress protector from The White Company. This was a gift from my sister in law and it is thicker than our duvet! Getting into bed at the end of the day is like a beautiful, feathery hug! What more could you ask for really…

Artwork from our travels
We always try and purchase a piece of art when we travel. We have recently hauled all the paintings out from their storage place and decided to display them. I love how artwork turns a house into a home and each piece has a story. I look at each of them and I am reminded of some of the wonderful places we have been to and the memories we have created there.

My fragrances
I have many fragrances but these 3 are my favourite. The Davidoff, Cool Water is my “go to” summer fragrance. It is cool, fresh and floral. Dolce and Gabbana, The One is my winter/evening fragrance. It is warm and exotic and suits a cold winters day or an evening out, perfectly. My Clarins, Eau Ressourcante is my every day fragrance. I love this fragrance because it is subtle enough for everyday use and I have been known to actually wear it underneath other fragrances. These 3 are the ones I use the most… as you can see by the almost empty bottles!! (at least my birthday and Christmas is coming up! *hint, hint*)

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Charm bracelets
I received my own lovely bracelet as a gift from my bestie on my 30th. At the time, I had spoken to her about my mothers bracelet and how wonderful it was and how I wished I could get it back (long story…). When I opened my little box and saw the new bracelet with the “C” on it, I immediately got all teary! Since then, I have managed to get my mothers bracelet back and my sister and I chose which charms we wanted. I have now given her our mother’s original bracelet with the cleaned and polished charms that she chose. The remainder of the charms will be put on a new bracelet and worn by me with pride and joy. Its amazing how one small item can produce so much emotion.

Our garden
So much hard work, love and attention has gone into our garden. Matthew has done most of the work and I love him for it. I don’t have very green fingers but I love beautiful spaces so when I told Matthew what I saw our garden looking like, he turned what I had in my head into reality. Honestly, this is the best “room” in the house.

The Nespresso machine
I am a lover of all things coffee but I am quite fussy. I like freshly brewed coffee and the stronger the better. Our Nespresso machine offers us the opportunity to have fresh coffee at our finger tips. We love this little wonder and can’t remember our pre-Nespresso days… No instant coffee here, people!!

Of course, there are so many more favourite things, I could go on for days. Emily’s bedroom with all her little trinkets is such a happy space, some of my books including Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom and the Ken Follett collection.

Other special pieces of my late mother’s jewellery that remind me so much of her. My beautiful Carol Boyes serving spoon and salad servers. My lovely big dining room table for family meals and dinner parties… the list goes on. It is great to look around you and feel appreciation for the lovely things you have worked hard to buy, the memories that some items bring back for you and the beautiful pieces that are passed down from generation to generation. What are your favourite things?

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10 things I LOVE about Rome

I have the wonderful privilege to work for a global company that allows me to manage events all over the world. One of my most recent accolades is my company’s contribution to an international congress that took place in Rome and Florence. I was lucky to visit Italy twice before the event for site visits and meetings with suppliers and we even managed to piggy back off one of these visits, to have a very quick family city break! Both hubby and I fell in love with Rome. It is a wonderful, colourful, vibrant and extremely friendly place to be! I have collated 10 of the top things that we loved so much about this amazing city.

1) The weather
It is the small things that count! We were there in November as a family and normally, in London, you would be wrapped up snug with hats and jackets but we were actually walking around in shorts and sandals! As a South African who dreads the gloomy London winters, it was so lovely to be outside, basking in the sun like a rock lizard! See those blue skies for yourself at the Spanish Steps!

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2) Gelato… of course!
Not sure if I even need to say anything about this really because not only is the gelato WONDERFUL, it is Italy at the end of the day… what else would you eat in Italy???

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3) The food
So… of course, there is more to Italian food than pasta and pizza but really this is what I was most excited to experience and it didn’t disappoint. Naturally, there are other fantastic foods to enjoy like parma ham, various Italian cheese and the wine… oh my… the wine, it is too delicious to even explain! Needless to say, we drank our fair share of the wine too.

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4) Caffè Taza D’oro
I was introduced to Caffè Taza D’oro when I was in Rome on a site visit to pick the hotel we would use for the event. It is nestled in a side street just off the Pantheon. I was taken here by our event agency for a quick coffee break and instantly fell in love! With no seating area, it is typically Italian. You get your coffee, stand at the bar and drink it. We decided to have the iced coffee. It is strong, cold and creamy. It was so delicious, I took hubby back on our visit and it was as good as I remember. Would definitely recommend this little gem.

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5) The St Regis hotel
In the end, this was the hotel that was chosen and might I say, It was a good choice indeed! Honestly, one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in. It is a truly beautiful hotel and in a wonderfully central location with one of the main shopping streets in Rome just around the corner. The service was impeccable, the food amazing and the rooms outstanding!! They were so wonderful with Emily that they left a few gifts in our room for her.

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6) Colosseum and surround
I don’t think it is any secret that the Colosseum is of course one of the most famous Roman landmarks. It is truly something to behold. The surrounding area is equally beautiful. You cannot believe how the area has been preserved! Angie from SilverSpoon did a post just this week on the Aroma restaurant. It looks like a wonderful place to treat yourself to a beautiful dinner with the Colosseum as your backdrop.

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7) The Vatican
The cathedral is amazing. I felt completely overwhelmed being in the Sistine Chapel. That ceiling was so amazing, I had to just stop and be quiet and enjoy what I was seeing. Emily of course could not fathom the immensity of what she was experiencing so spending an entire day (Which you could easily do) was out of the question so we saw the major points and then headed off for some lunch. Definitely worth your time.

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8) Shopping
This is Rome. Of course the shopping is amazing! Not just the abundance of leather goods on offer but the shopping in general is great. There is something for everyone and of course, who wouldn’t indulge in a Italian designer handbag while you are there?!

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9) Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
We hosted our drinks reception and dinner at this amazing venue. It is steeped in history which you can find on their website. With it’s Baroque style in interior design and the array of galleries, you can so easily be swept away with it all. It houses the most amazing tapestries, paintings and statues. Truly a fairytale evening with many delegates talking about it for days afterwards!

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10) The Fountains
You will find fountains on almost every corner. It is an absolute delight and makes you want to discover more and more of the city. Of course the most famous is the Trevi fountain which is truly amazing but I was more taken with some of the smaller ones on secluded Piazza’s away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was a welcome retreat and for some reason, being around water always calms me, centres me and makes me feel rejuvenated. The drinking fountains have clean clear drinking water so take an empty bottle with you and drink spring water to your hearts content!

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This is an amazing city and one of my favourites so far. I would love to hear your favourite bits of Rome if you have been. But for now, I am going to look forward to my Italian dinner tonight (In London) and dream of my long, warm days in Rome.

Ciao for now.

Bank Holiday Weekend – Staycation

The bank holiday weekend is here!! Normally, we would try and do something exciting like go away for a city break somewhere but having just come back from a South African holiday; we will be staycationing this weekend. I thought I would include a few things that we plan to get up.

Go for a stroll in the park
This is always a favourite of ours. We have a beautiful park a short walk from our house with a duck pond that Emily loves! It is always wonderful to get outdoors as a family and get some fresh air.

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Go Cycling
This is one of our all-time favourite summer activities… We absolutely love cycling and Emily adores being on the back of the bike. If the weather permits, it is always a great few hours to hop on the bike and set off through some of London’s beautiful forests and cycling routes.

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Braai/BBQ
YES…. For us weather is never a problem when it comes to having a braai and rain or shine, it is a MUST on a bank holiday weekend! This is a great time to catch up with friends and family. Sometimes, Matthew and I will braai just the 2 of us, open a bottle of wine and sit in the garden while the sun sets.

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Do some Gardening
Now is the perfect time to wonder down to your local nursery and purchase a few seasonal flowers to jazz up your garden! Emily really enjoys being daddy’s little helper in the garden and she is such a smart little thing, she has already been asking about buying flowers for the garden.

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Visit your favourite coffee shop
Bank holiday weekends are a great excuse to hide away in your favourite café with a cup of coffee and a book. One of my favourite cafes is Le Pain Quotidien. They have the most delicious food and fantastic coffee!

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Bake something delicious
I really enjoy being in my kitchen and while I am a much better cook than I am a baker, it is a great excuse to spend some time trying out a new recipe. Emily loves to help around the kitchen and the messier, the better.

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So, if you are staying at home for this bank holiday weekend, there are loads of great things to do that will rejuvenate your body and mind. For me, there is nothing more wonderful than spending quality time with my family and friends during my time off work. They truly are my oasis and my life line and I cannot think of a better way to spend my extra time! What are you getting up to this weekend??