A Summer in Provence

November 3, 2015

As winter sets in here in the northern hemisphere, it feels like a good time to reminisce on the summer that was - and probably start planning the next! We spent two weeks in Provence (Langeudoc-Roussillon if we're getting out the compass), although, as a reknown book will testify, a year probably would have been a better option.

We stayed in this stunning home we found on Homelidays and boy was it a good one. We wanted to move in here. Permanently. Everything was beautiful. The house, the garden, the furniture, the plates! No stone was left unturned and it made for a truly beautiful holiday experience. My notebook was full.

Just a 10 minute drive from the beautiful village of Uzès, about a half hour's drive from Avignon, we had heard great things from friends, and read excellent reviews online, and this charming, sun-drenched town definitely lived-up to its reputation.

I'd be lying if I said we didn't spend most of our time lounging by the pool at our villa, but we did venture into Uzès a few times to soak-up Provencal life. The food market at Place Aux Herbes (Wednesdays and Saturdays) is reknown across France and a must-see, but get there early to beat the crowds - and the heat! Shopping in Uzès is also excellent and I was surprised at how many wonderful interiors stores were on offer, selling that particular brand of chic Provencal style we all want to emulate. Les Affaires Etrangerès was my pick of the bunch, with an eclectic selection of ethnic and artisanal homewares and decor. I wanted one of everything. There were also many fabulous Brocante (Antique/Bric-A-Brac stores) in and around Uzès, where many a French vintage treasure can be found. Sadly, few had websites, but you will inevitably stroll past them on your wanderings.

If you're holidaying with kids and looking for a day trip in the area, La Bambouseraie (a sort of Botanical Garden of bamboo) and Pont du Gard (a spectacular ancient Roman aqueduct) are both wonderful.

So there it is, friends. A perfect summer in Provence that now seems like a distant memory, but will be in our memories forever.

Did you stay anywhere amazing this Summer past? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

{ All photographs by Kate Paillat for Maurice & King }

Five Lovely Things

May 23, 2015

Summer is upon us here in London, and with it comes all the lovely things we've been dreaming of throughout the long Winter months. Fewer (and lighter!) layers, bright homewares, holidays in warm places, spring clean-ups and new blooms. Here are five things that have passed me by this last month, putting a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

1. The beautiful people at Archery Collections have branched out into gorgeous new homewares to compliment their stunning range of handmade jewellery. This Mexican Flokati Rug had me at hello. This Lambswool Rug is on my NEED list too.

2. These city maps for little adventurers by The New Voyager are my idea of parenting perfection. Inspired by their family's travels around the world, the maps are designed for children to read and navigate themselves. Handcrafted and beautifully illustrated, by the very talented Keiko Brodeur of Small Adventure, we're also assured all the recommended spots are very "parent-friendly".

3. After a long winter with black and various shades of grey wool on high rotation, this perfectly pink ensemble has me jumping for summery joy. Dress, Velvet by Graham & Spencer; Bag, Pomandere; Scarf, Dosa - all available at The Cross.

4. I'll admit, I let out a very uncool squeal when I saw this pom pom storage basket by Rose in April. But seriously, pom poms?! And in navy, no less. If you're surrounded by boys, as I am, then you'll understand how sweet this victory really is.

5. I ask you, is there anywhere more lovely than London in Spring? The city is burgeoning with greenery and new blooms, and the smell of jasmine is on the breeze. I pass this brightly coloured doorway everyday, and every time I swear it gets prettier.

{Photo credit: 1. Archery Collections, 2-5. Maurice & King}

The Cotswolds (with kids!)

April 10, 2015

We recently returned from a wonderful weekend in the stunning Cotswolds district of England, and I felt compelled to share some of our finds here with you. As many of you know, travelling with kids can be exhausting challenging and chaotic haphazard and you can often find yourself in recommended "child-friendly" hotels and restaurants, wistfully remembering the days when you used to be cool. Alas, we were determined to have a long weekend, a stone's throw from London, that the whole family would enjoy, and we were not disappointed. Here are a few gems we discovered on our journey...

We usually steer clear of any kind of "themed" activity parks for kids (the wounds of LegoLand run deep) but Adam Henson's Cotswolds Farm Park is a step above and a winner with young kids. Set on gorgeous, rolling Cotswolds hills, it's an interactive farm filled with rare breed animals (think incredible rams with huge curling horns, cattle that look more like buffalo and black sheep of nursery rhyme fame) where kids can get up-close and personal - hand-feeding goats, holding baby chickens and bottle-feeding lambs. There are also impressive mini ride-on tractors for those of us with little boys running the show. The organic farm shop and cafe, with picnic lunch area if you prefer to pack your own, make this an all round winner for the full Cotswolds farm experience.

The range of places to stay in the Cotswolds can be overwhelming. Hotels, B&B's, Cottages, Farmstays.... We found this sweet cottage on Trip Advisor and absolutely loved our stay. It was a fantastic place, nestled away in a sweet little village on the Cotswolds edge. The owners, James and Paula, were wonderful hosts and made every effort to make sure our stay was a good one. We loved being tucked away from the larger, more touristy, Cotswolds villages with the freedom to jump in our car and explore them during the day. As Londoners, there is also something to be said for complete, blissful silence at night!

If you're a larger family, or you like more of a village scene, The Wild Rabbit in Chipping Norton or Dormy House in Broadway are both lovely and excellent at accommodating children, in style. If you fancy living the dream for a few days and staying on a working farm, Cotswolds Farmstays or Feather Down Farms are your people.

The Cotswolds region is truly a sight to behold and there are no mysteries around why it's listed as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Leafy, winding roads are met with picture-perfect, rambling village scenes at every turn, with enough flora and fauna to make you feel like you've stepped into the Beatrix Potter box set. Of the larger villages, we found Bibury (pictured above), Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water to be particularly picturesque, with the sort of Cotswolds village scenes we had imagined. Driving between these places, through some of the smaller villages, proved just as charming - Churchill, Little Rissington and Idbury among our favourites.

The Model Village was a highlight and a must-visit with kids. A sweet little one-ninth scale replica of the Cotswold village Bourton-on-the-Water, with everything from in-situ cars and green-houses, to amazing tiny bonzai trees. This miniature village was a delight for all for us.

The Burford Garden Company was recommended to us by the lovely people at Winebear in Chipping Norton (note: great coffee here too!). It's essentially a huge garden centre, but the brilliant outdoor playground and amazing gourmet cafe and deli make this place a winner with kids, and a welcome pit stop between car stints.

There are no shortage of places to eat in the Cotswolds and we found that just about every village pub was as child-friendly as it gets. Warm, welcoming, relaxed, with comfort food in abundance and plenty of space, often outdoors, for kids to explore.  A few favourites we encountered were The Fox Inn near Burford and The New Inn near Wotton-Under-Edge. If you like the quaint pub vibe but with a more gastronomical menu The Kings Head Inn in Bledington and The Kingham Plough in Kingham are worth a visit.

Do you have any favourite spots in the Cotswolds? I'd love to hear!

Kate x

{Photographs by Kate Paillat }

Urban Walls

January 15, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to try out some of the fun wall decals from Urban Walls, and I must say I've been impressed. If you're in the market for livening up your walls, but, like me, you're a total commitment-phobe when it comes to wallpaper, paint and other very permanent decorating options, Urban Walls are your guys. I was on the lookout for some fun decals for the boys' room and found their little hello and chalkboard decals particularly sweet. I am the official 'Fun Police' and don't let the boys have free-reign on the chalkboard (I foresee chalk scrawls extending on the walls way past the chalkboard perimeters!) but I love it for writing little weekly memos for them to ponder on. The Urban Walls range is extensive, so be prepared to be overwhelmed with wall-adorning options, but there are so many fun ideas for kids rooms - you can be as creative as you like, and still keep all those permanency-phobias in check. Kate x

{ All photographs by Kate Paillat }

Our Home Tour on Design*Sponge

September 24, 2014

I was so honoured to have a sneak peek of our lil' old London flat featured on (blog royalty!) Design*Sponge last week. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, this is probably old news (sorry!) but I had so many lovely comments from readers wanting to know where I had sourced a lot of things in our home, so I felt like a little tour here with a few more details was in order. It's taken a lot of patience and creativity to make our little rental our own, and there are so many things I still have in store for her, but for now I'll sit back and admire how far we've come. You can read the full article on Design*Sponge here. Kate x

{ All photographs by Kate Paillat }

Australian Aboriginal artwork, "Untitled" by Lady Dixon Nimarra; Kantha blankets Gypysa; Recycled plastic rug Fab Habitat; Red check basket Oxfam; Bolga basket Mozi; Jute bowl Table Tonic; Danish teak tallboy Great Dane; Bear & Bird print by Gennine; Turn Off Your Computer print by Laura Berger; World Map Paper2; Animal portraits Berkley Illustration; Dream Catcher Made by Mosey; Dog cushion Robin & Mould; Paper toy sacks Uashmama; Backpack Fjallraven; Saucer chair, Australia print and children's chair - all vintage.

Top: Australian Aboriginal artwork, titled 'Bush Plum - Aweyle', by Lena Pwerle; Sofa bed Muji; Cable knit throw Country Road; Woven ottomans IKEA. Middle: Australian Aboriginal artwork, titled 'Water Dreaming', by Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa; Dining table & chairs Ercol. Bottom: Australian Aboriginal artwork, titled 'My Father's Country', by Mitjilli Napparula; Danish teak tallboy by Great Dane; Bolga Basket Mozi; Velvet armchair - vintage.

Toaster Dualit; Handwash Aesop; Tea towel Fog Linen; Australian Aboriginal artwork, titled 'Bird Dreaming', by Janelle Eggley Napaltjarri; Bentwood Ash bed Muji; Sidetables IKEA; Knit throw Country Road; Danish chair - vintage.

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