White and shade, peace and elegance

According to the information alongside this Beautiful Border at Gardeners’ World Live earlier this year, the inspiration for this space came from “the many shady spots that occur in gardens, which can be hard to make look attractive.”

It aims, and I think manages, to take a part of the garden that’s often neglected and unloved and make it lovely and stylish too. It’s simoke colour scheme of green and white, gorgeous tiles and my firm favourite ferns helps create a “magical shady border that really captures the dramatic effect of white and shade.”

fronds of fern and patterned tiles at gardeners' world live
hostas and yellow-y greens spilling over patterned tiles
spot the tile amongst the greenery

It’s also pretty good to look at isn’t it?  I’m imagining a tranquil, urban city space that’s a haven to escape the busyness of life. In reality, this was planted in a small(ish) raised bed outside the NEC in Birmingham, where it rained during our visit - that paints quite a different picture doesn’t it, and if you don’t mind I’m happy sticking with my vision over reality this time round.

What about you?

A night at The Grosvenor

You’ll remember we went to a wedding at The Grosvenor recently and for ease and a treat we stayed the night too. I mean, there won’t be many other times staying will be on our list, so it seemed rude not to. On arrival we were both wowed by the entrance and the chandelier hanging above the reception.

The chandelier in the reception at the grosvenor

Our room was a little less grand though.

Our room at The Grosvenor

And as you can see it’s similar to many hotel rooms, although they maximised the London scenes on the wall, which gives you a clue to their more usual market. I think for too much longer than a few nights we’d be running out of room in the room we had. There was cupboard space, but for a short stay we didn’t make much use of those.

I think my favourite part of the room was the soft furnishings, the upholstered chair with the desk and the floor length patterned curtains.

A desk an upholstered chair
Gorgeous floor length curtains

Both added some interest to the room, and looking at it again now, the carpet wasn’t so bad either. Though there’s not many of us that would put checks, swirly paisley-like patterns and stripes together in such a small space, but it didn’t make your eyes hurt.

From the lift lobby - we were on the fifth floor - there was a great view over the station’s platforms. I hadn’t realised before that the hotel was above the station, and even has its own entrance from within the station. Handy for when its raining and you’re in your finery, I’m sure.

A view over the station from the corridor

So there you go, a peek at our night at The Grosvenor. And in case you’re wondering, the breakfast was good, and I can highly recommend the sausages, but some of the chairs were a bit ‘tired’, but it seems the hotel is going through a refurbishment phase so pehaps the restaurant will get a refresh as part of that.

The rooms that they’ve completed are truly stunning, keeping the traditional style but with a modern touch, and are definitely worth a stop if you’re passing.

Reflecting on my week #53

This last week had a lot to live up to, and it certainly left it’s mark. But perhaps not in the way I would have expected.  It certainly started early with a taxi pickup for the airport at 4:15am on Monday morning, what on earth was I thinking of? !

Well arriving early in Rome, early enough to pick up our car hire and drive two hours north and arrive in daylight, that’s what. There’s nothing worse than having to get used to a hire car, driving abroad, not knowing where you’re going and having to do that in the car, trust me I’ve done it before - driving through roadworks in the States in pitch black springs to mind, where we ‘almost’ lost the road.

But it was worth it, and after a trip to the supermarket for supplies, this was the view we enjoyed most nights:

wine on the terrace at sunset

Yeap, getting up early is just about tolerable when there’s a holiday involved.  Our goals for this holiday were to get away, relax and once MOH saw the Italian stovetop coffee pot, mastering that was also add to the list.  

mastering the stove top coffee pot

Reading books and catching up with some blog reading was on my list, but only one of those materialised. That’s the danger of a good book or two, or four. That and the temporary rearranged iPad keyboard where the numbers & symbols button and the emoji button were swapped over, making typing anything that vaguely resembled a sentence frustrating, and full of emojis. That’s swapped back in the recent update and I feel much better for it, although I’m unsure why it was such a big thing for me as I’ve not needed to use it for that whole las paragraph...

Much of the reading was done outside though, with a bit of sun on our backs, or more accurately our fronts. The views varied from olive trees and bushes of sage, bay and rosemary which were the largest I’ve seen, to delicate roses and the pomegranate tree with its ruby red fruits contrasting with the yellow green leaves and the blue sky. 

pomegranates growing in the Italian gardens
A rose outside our Italian apartment's door

But that wasn’t quite the mark I meant as unfortunately on our second day I was sidelined by either something I ate, or a sickness bug which wiped me out for just over twenty four hours.  Losing weight on holiday is one of those rare things, or for me it is anyway, but after this holiday I’m 1.5kg lighter with a more cautious approach to eating and drinking, which often follows such tummy bugs.  The overall result is no bad thing, but the route that was less than desirable if I’m honest. 

It wasn’t all bad though, we still got out and about a bit - perhaps not as further aficionados as we might have, but there was still some time later in the week for a spot of wine tasting, so it wasn’t all bad. I had to smile though when they insisted we sat outside to enjoy the good weather, and laid us a place setting complete with a jam jar of flowers. At around 25 degrees it was unusually warm, and while many were wearing jumpers and gilets, the fact we were in our shorts wasn’t overlooked.  

flowers in a vase at our winetasting in Todi

That was a day where our credit card was exercised and some of the wine we tasted is being shipped home - I’m looking forward to it arriving - and of course we worked out the optimal shipping to bottle rate to make it worthwhile, which was preferable to ditching most of our clothes and filling our suitcase with wine...

A hilltop town means lots of ups

There were a couple of visits into Todi, the local hilltop town; once in the rain and once when the sky was at its bluest, and you wouldn’t believe the difference that made to the pretty town. And you know what there is with hilltop towns, don’t you? Yes, a long walk up as after a stressful first drive through the town, parking in the car park outside of the city walls was much more preferable, and I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous driver at all. This holiday certainly tested my hill starts that’s for sure. 

Blue skies and yellow buildings in nearby Todi

Our week ended with another early start, although significantly later at 6am for our journey back to London. A time we hadn’t seen much of during our stay, so driving through the mountains back to the autostrada through the mist was fun.  Fumbling to put the fog lights on, and all - they’re never that easy to find are they?

Little did I know that I’d be searching for the fog lights in my own car later that day too. What’s the chances, two cars, two countries, nearly two thousand kilometres apart and needing fog lights in them both - definitely not me.  But, it was a lovely and much needed chilled sort of week, which of course the week ahead (or what’s left of it) is unlikely to be.

Hey ho.