Adding some Hotter pastel travel sandals to my holiday wardrobe

* This post contains an item that was gifted

One of my pre-holiday rituals is working out what to pack, that might sound an obvious thing to do, and it is, but bear with me. I have a tendency to overpack, I realise that that might also not be news, but my ploy now is to get out what I want to take, review it, prune it and try again. What I’ve learnt from this approach is that while I still overpack a bit, it’s way less than before, but also it’s a good way, for me for working out the flexibility that the clothes I take will bring.

Planning my holiday wardrobe

On the left the bottom white, navy, brown with pink spots and pale blue pile is my shorts.  To the right is my t-shirts and on top are vest tops. It’s far from a capsule wardrobe, I’ll admit but already I can see that I have options, with vest tops, t-shirts and shorts all earning their place in my suitcase. 

Which is good news, as for our upcoming holiday we’re combining a city stay with a walking holiday, and while both will be casual unless it’s super hot then I’m not much of a shorts in the city kind of girl,  I’ve  got some 3/4 length trousers lined up for there, plus a slightly smarter pair for evenings, which will also double up for the walking part of our holiday for evenings, and if we’re unlucky on not so sunny days.

But, as ever, it’s shoes that are my achilles heel (pun not quite intended).  Something comfortable to wear walking around the city, and then again practical for a proper walking holiday in Portugal’s Serra Arrabida on the Setúbal Peninsula, which we’re led to believe is virtually undiscovered.  With walks generally over 10 km each day, the longest walk is 18 km - a circular walk at that on day four,  and terrains that include forest tracks, country lanes, valleys and ridges proper, supportive and comfortable footwear will be needed. 

And that’s often where I struggle.  I have plenty of footwear, and more recently I’ve acquired plenty of flatter options too, but still none that I’d deem appropriate enough for such a trek.  So when Hotter offered me the chance to add their travel sandals to my walking holiday wardrobe and I realised that the pastel colourway was in ‘my colours’, how could I refuse?

hotter travel sandals will fit right in with my holiday wardrobe

When they arrived, my instincts about how well they matched my wardrobe was proved right.  There’s pinks, lilacs and blues as well as the greys, and holding them up against the clothes I’m planning to take shows that.  Trying them on  was the icing on the cake, they’re as comfortable as I’ve come to expect from Hotter shoes, and so I’ve a feeling that any dragging my feet on that long circular walk, won’t be due to my footwear. 

* This shoes were gifted by Hotter Shoes to review, I’ll be sharing how they - and my feet - fared on our upcoming walking holiday, as usual all views and opinions shared here and in my future posts are and will be my own.

Are bi-fold doors our next project?

Bi-fold doors are probably going to be our next project. And that's quite a scary thing to write down. Because somehow writing it down - or typing it - makes it a bit more real. It's something we've been thinking about for a while, and it's coming to the point where we need to start thinking about it properly, getting quotes and getting builder's advice too, to see what's possible and what we can afford.

We've seen all sorts of bi-fold doors and we know the ones we settle on eventually will have as slim sightlines that matches our budget, because we want to see our garden through those doors, not block it out. So that will most likely mean lots more researching on luxury aluminium bifold doors.

We've been through many iterations of what we want, and I still don't think we're there.

We know that our large oak doors will go. They still look good, but aren't as energy efficient as newer, more modern doors would be. And in any conservatory, this has to be a consideration.

We already know we want a single door that opens independently without sliding, to make nipping up the garden either to empty the compost or to water the greenhouse as easy as possible. We want the sliding part of the doors to finish on the right hand side of our opening, so that they're out of the way and we (most probably me) won't walk into them.

We even know what colour we're after. We started by wanting to match the doors to the British Racing Green steels of the roof, but have since settled on a steel grey colour. It's a more modern look than the green and is likely to help the frames blend in and give the illusion of an unobstructed view.

outdoor living and eating

Our conservatory has a slightly unusual design; one wall is brick, two sides are doors and the final side is windows. The roof is strengthened glass supported by RSJs. It's quirky and a great space, and it deserves to continue to add its personality to our house. One of the windows has misted and needs replacing. We've considered having a double set of bi-fold doors and replace the run of windows with another set of sliding doors. We no longer think that's a go-er though, as we don't think the benefits will outweigh the costs. If we had more space around our patio, it'd be worth it, but we don't so now it's more likely we'll replace the windows that tilt to provide ventilation, which will be an improvement on the current design.

We're a fair bit away from hanging out the fairy lights on our patio, but it's good to have something to aspire to!

outside fairy lights

So we know there'll be bi-fold doors and replacement windows, but there seems to be little sense to spend money on these unless we look at the roof, which is over twenty years old, and the pointing in the brick wall. The floor too, could do with some attention. And it quite quickly all adds up into a much larger project doesn't it?

A while back at Grand Designs Live at Excel we saw some innovative plasterboard, which was one of Kevin's Green Heroes.  I'd be very tempted to look at something like that for any conservatory, let alone our north facing one as in our house it's the room that needs the most help.  Quite recently we've ruled out the sunken wine cellar as a viable option - it had been a serious consideration - and well, we've ruled it out in this house, but not forever. So maybe one day, who knows.

And if all the potential building work isn't enough, an almost as big a challenge is finding somewhere to store my lovely dresser! And all the other junk we have in the conservatory says MOH.  But well, you know I like a project and voicing this project here, as you know, is part of how I start to think about them. So this is a watch this space, but don't watch for too long as it might take a while for things to start happening.

I'm keen to know if you have bi-fold doors if you love them or not, and what advice would you give if you were putting them in now?  Leave a comment and let me know, I'm at the listening to all views of my project so open to ideas.

This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.

Planning a pre-Christmas room revamp with Kent Blaxill

If you're anything like me you'll probably know there's something about this time of year and Christmas preparations. Whether it's working out your festive plans or planning some decorating so the house is as tip-top as it can be, for me this time of year is always about planning. I was in our top spare bedroom the other day - we call it that because it's on our top floor, and to distinguish it from the spare bedroom on the middle floor - and it struck me that this is now one of our plainer rooms.

Although since it was decorated two years ago - how quickly has that gone - we have added some pictures, it's still relatively plain. It is a light and airy room though and I still like blue-green colour we chose from the Farrow & Ball paint chart.





So when Kent Blaxill got in touch, I looked at their website and started to wonder what I could do to spruce it up a bit ahead of people coming to stay over the festive season. While I still like the blue-green, I'm less sure about the cream. I think it's a bit too yellow, but I know there's a lot of painting if I want to change it and I'd need to pick my moment mentioning this to MOH...
But I thought I'd look and was pleased to see that they're stockists for both Farrow & Ball paints and wallpapers and Crown Trade Paint. When we decorated before we used Farrow & Ball paints for the walls, but not for the ceilings. And if I were to paint this room again it'd be a tactic I'd repeat.

Although giving the walls a lick of paint would definitely spruce the room up, it wouldn't really do anything to remedy the plain-ness. So I moved onto the wallpaper section. So much choice! There's an extensive range with a couple available to buy online, and so you know what you're getting there's a free sample service too. I used it and my samples were quick to arrive.



My masterplan was to add some interest on the curved wall with wallpaper, but I wanted something with a light background and with a pattern that wasn't too busy. The samples above are (from left to right) Farrow & Ball's Feather Grass in grey, which is a large border design which reaches 1m 40cm up the wall. I liked this but I'm not convinced it's right for this room. It would though look great in a hallway.

The middle sample is from Little Greene's 50s Line Papers range and it's called Cones. I like the design and the Lint colour, as well as the gold colour of the pattern, but I think this wallpaper is more uniform than the wallpaper I imagined - although if you asked me, I wouldn't be able to describe it!  The last sample is also from the Little Greene 50s Line Papers and is a design called Hampstead and I love it! Again the print is gold in colour, but not too gold and the colour is officially called Cloister. I showed it to MOH and he liked it too.

Of course if I had this wallpaper I'd definitely need the cream paint replaced for something on the cooler colour palette - and I've not mentioned that yet.

Have you got plans to do any decorating to spruce up rooms before Christmas? Or is it just me that's mad for even considering it - I'm interested to know so please comment and let me know.


This is a collaborative post with Kent Blaxill, but all words and opinions are my own.