i mentioned a few weeks ago that i was off skiing for the first time, thanks to aéroports de lyon. the french airport is in the perfect spot for quick and easy access to the northern alps, the biggest skiable area in the world. along with fellow bloggers lucie, laurie, niamh and millie we were given the warmest of welcomes as we arrived in lyon late on a friday afternoon, and were ushered swiftly through security, helped to pull our luggage from baggage claim, and whisked by taxi up into the snowy alps to our ski resort destination; val thorens.
the next morning we were up bright and early to meet our ski instructor and visit the ski shop ready for our first session on the slopes. i’ve mentioned that i’m a total ski newbie, so it was both an exciting and daunting experience to hit the slopes for the first time – and yes, i do mean that in the most literal of senses! truthfully, i far exceeded my own expectations with my ski abilities (i barely thought i’d be able to stand, let along attempt a run alone) but all credit goes to our lovely ski instructor pat, who was more than a little patient with us and incredibly encouraging.
with easter just a week away, i’m looking forward to a nice relaxing four days spent chilling with friends, spa-ing and consuming all the chocolate treats i can possibly manage without turning into a giant egg myself. as my first easter officially eating dairy-free, it has been wonderful to discover one of my favourite post-dairy-free-diet chocolatiers, hotel chocolat, offering a fairly extensive milk-free easter range, including some absolutely adorable city bunnies.
i know easter’s not really all about chocolate, bunnies & chicks, but since i don’t have a religious bone in my body, it’s nice to view the holiday simply as a way to celebrate the approach of spring and all the possibilities for new beginnings that this time of year holds.
in the few spare moments of downtime i’ve had in the past week or so, i’ve been soothing my weary soul with a little browse of my interiors-porn-site-of-choice (stadshem, obvs), where i spotted this super cute shades of grey apartment. i just love the juxtaposition of vintage wood grains and chocolate leather upholstery against the cool whitewashed wooden floors, as well the dark veneered cabinets & pantry in the kitchen, which give the space a cosy, homely vibe. plus, how cute is that wall mounted microwave?
it may be a compact apartment (there’s no separate bedroom) but the living room certainly feels spacious enough that the single bed in the corner is not obtrusive at all, and while also small, the bathroom with open-plan shower cubicle seems pretty perfect to me…
a few weeks ago i spent a whistlestop 36 hours in a city that i’m now eager to return to and explore in more depth. qatar might be stealing headlines just now over the infamous world cup debacle but don’t let fifa’s shambolic handling of the event put you off visiting a country which is not only the world’s richest per capita but also abundant in modern architecture, culture and islamic arts.
i had been invited to doha by ali bin ali group for the unveiling of their new katara plaza shopping mall complex, which opens its doors in 2016. the group is one of the largest retail and distribution companies in qatar and has a long-standing reputation for building successful partnerships with the world’s leading brands across a diverse range of business activities. during my trip i was hosted at the luxurious w doha in the west bay; a self-styled modern sanctuary that offers up a vibrant blend of fabulous design, cutting-edge technology and spectacular spaces, whilst peering out over the blue arabian gulf. given the whistlestop nature of my trip it was a complete delight to actually be able to take time reclining in the splendor of my room, relishing a morning lie-in in the signature ‘w’ bed (sooo comfy!) and indulging in a syrupy pancake breakfast and lazy bath filled to the brim with fluffy bubbles.
then it was off out to hit the town and explore some of the vibrant cultural locations in the city…
have you come across butterfly twists ballet pumps before? i hadn’t, and as a girl who lives her life in pursuit of comfortable flats it certainly has been a revelation to discover this chic, affordable line that is set to revolutionise my wardrobe!
the idea was conceived by four london-based (male!) entrepreneurs who identified a gap in the market for a neat, versatile ballet pump design that was easy to fold up and slip into a handbag or suitcase. from the original humble ballet pump the collection has since expanded into elegant slippers, chic pointed flats and durable boots that are perfect for festival season. the designs are highly affordable and cater for all kinds of aesthetic from classic elegance through to quirky humour, meaning there is something for everyone in the range. and what’s more, every design features a super comfy memory foam insole that promises maximum comfort throughout the day, no matter how many errands you have to run.
hugely controversial i know, but i’ve never really much of a been a fan of edinburgh. a terrible birthday spent in the city visiting an ex a few years ago, coupled with my familial loyalty to glasgow (which i’ve not visited since i was ten!), meant i’d given the city a wide berth in recent times. so, when ibis invited me up to review their design-led styles hotel, i thought it was as good a time as any to revisit the scottish capital and give it a second chance to impress.
ibis styles hotels subvert the norm in economy hotels to embrace local cultural diversity and put design elements firmly in the spotlight. they believe their guests expect much more than a place to stay, and are keen on the visual experience and the sensations that the interior design stirs; they want to stay in a hotel where they feel great. i certainly know i do!
everything about ibis styles tallies with this philosophy. design is everywhere: it steeps objects, furniture, fittings, light and layout. in the lobby of the st andrews square hotel in edinburgh i am met with hanging clusters of lee broom crystal pendants, elegant suri chairs by pedro gomes, bar stools topped with moumoute covers by fabienne thonet, and quirky plywood moose heads similar to those big game used to do.