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Dubai

Time to talk about the bubble that is Dubai. A place that is flashy & fast-paced. A place of glamour, wealth and opportunities. It is a place where many people put more importance on what you earn than what kind of person you are. A place where women walk ahead of their nannies with their hands hanging whilst the nanny carries their kids and their shopping. It is a place that makes you feel as if you are on a different planet. A place where the richest and the poorest of people live. A place where the buildings are made of gold. A place where you spend a painful amount of money each week on your grocery shopping. A place where setting up your basic household bills requires selling a kidney. A place where you can get a carton of milk hand-delivered to your door but where it is almost impossible to get your huge rental deposit back. A place where the people that take care of your children and look after your home won’t ever call you by your first name. It is a place that made me feel terribly uncomfortable. It is a place that gave us incredible memories. It is a place that introduced us to life-long friends. It is a place that made us stronger. It is a place that made me weaker. It is a place that made us more aware of what we wanted for ourselves. A place that made us appreciate what we had at home. A place that made us angry. It is the place where Emie-Rose became a little girl. It is a place where we laughed and we cried. It is a place where we sweated profusely. It is a place that is hot as f**k. It is a place that has non-stop sunshine. It is a place where Emie-Rose needed to use inhalers. It is a place where people skip queues a lot. It is a place where you do not have to fill your own petrol. It is a place where you can believe anything is possible. It is a place of beauty. It is the place where Emie-Rose learned how to swim. It is a place where we opened our minds. It is a place where I felt like I never belonged. It is just that… a place. We are home now. Will we stay at home? Who knows… but for now, we are home & we are happy. We are all over the place but we are home. We have lots to do to get ourselves set up again. For once, I’m not stressed that everything isn’t perfect. It is far from perfect but it works for us right now. Somehow.

Nessa Hurley DubaiFamily CoffeeEmie Rose Tribe DubaiNessa & EmieRoseBaby Girl CoffeeBoston Lane DubaiBaby GirlBoston Lane CoffeeWater BabyTribe DubaiGirl OutdoorsGirly Coffee DateBack from Dubai

Do I have regrets? Yes & No. We both needed to do it. We needed to try something different. It has complicated things but it was a great adventure. We decided that there was no point in staying any longer than we did. It was not making us happy. It felt good to come home.

Do what you have to do for you. Do what makes you happy. If you have to go, just go. If you have to come home, then come home. Wherever “home” is for you…

We all have a place that feels like home,

Nessa xoxo

If you are in Ireland, please please please check the register and have your say on 25th May….

Images by Augustine – Come in Waves

Places | Tribe DubaiBoston Lane

Mamahood Places Style

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Family Holiday

It was probably a good thing that I waited a few weeks since we got back from Sri Lanka before I wrote this post. I arrived back to Dubai from our week away exhausted and vowing I would never travel again! Yes I know…totally dramatic…. but I was a bit shook. Our journey to the airport involved a crash on the Sri Lankan highway that left us stranded at 6am at the side of the road with our toddler and no idea how we would get to the airport in time for our flight home. I have always said I would travel as much as I can with Emie-Rose but I have to say our trip to Sri Lanka made me a little more wary of the situations you can find yourself in when travelling. Whilst it is amazing to explore new places and to mix with different cultures, it can also be a little daunting to be away from home comforts, especially with kids. It’s nice to know where the nearest hospital is should you need it and it is comforting to know that you can ask someone for a bit of help and that they will understand you should you require it. Becoming a parent has made me very sensible. I have had my share of bad luck with travelling in the past and as a result I can be quite anxious. After calming down and almost forgetting about the lack of relaxation we had for the week there, I can say that I am really happy that we did experience the beauty of Sri Lanka.

Holiday in Sri LankaSri Lankan HotelTravels to Sri LankaSri Lanka BeachSri LankaArabella BreakfastBeach in GintotaGintota BeachSri Lanka InteriorsFather Daughter Sri LankaFort Printers Sri LankaSri Lanka Family Travel

Most people travel the length and breadth of Sri Lanka… we stayed around one tiny area of the country. We travelled for about 2 and a half hours down south once we landed into Colombo Airport. Our gorgeous hotel, Arabella on Boosa, was in Gintota which was about 15 minutes in the local transportation choice – a tuk tuk – from the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort. We spent two days pottering around this pretty little town where the streets are lined with colonial villas and hotels. The weather was really bad when we were there – major rain showers – so we spent a lot of time ducking into boutiques and coffee shops. Everywhere in Galle Fort is really gorgeous. I was seriously impressed. We visited the most beautiful boutique hotel here – an 18th century mansion called The Fort Printers. In my pre-Emie-Rose life, it is where I would have dreamed of staying! We stayed for 6 nights in a beach-front hotel called Arabella on Boosa, which was incredibly Instagram-perfect – monochrome with splashes of green everywhere. We stayed in two different rooms – a garden view room and the suite. Obviously the suite was so much better with a toddler as we had way more space and it also had a couch so it meant we could actually chill out in privacy there during the witching hour/when the toddler tantrums reached a peak. The decor was just gorgeous and the staff were really friendly. The food at our hotel was so good – everything was so fresh and so tasty! I loved the Sri Lankan food in general. It is worth visiting for the food alone! There is such a relaxing boho vibe going on there… signs for yoga classes and small boutique guest houses and hotels with ‘secret gardens’ everywhere.

Hotel in Sri LankaWijaya BeachMelissa Odabash Mel Dress

We visited another gorgeous stretch of beach recommended by our hotel – Wijaya Beach in Dalawella for some wood oven pizzas on the beach. We really got to relax for a few hours here as the water was less choppy than by our own hotel. The beaches in Sri Lanka are beautiful but from what we experienced the water is pretty rough and dangerous, particularly for kids. It is also worth noting that everyone gets around Sri Lanka in tuk tuks – teeny little vans with no seat belts so if like me you are terrified of travelling with your child not in a car seat then it is probably worth renting your own car and bringing your own car seat. The roads are crazy there. Our hotel offered a car seat in their transfer van from the airport which was just so handy. These little things make travelling with kids that bit easier.

I didn’t really know what to pack to wear in Sri Lanka as I was told it would be really sticky and humid. Whilst it was definitely warm, we were totally not prepared for the rain we had there. I packed lots of light and airy maxi dresses which worked well there. It’s definitely not a place for high heels so make sure to bring lots of flats. I was totally chuffed to collaborate with Melissa Odabash for my trip to Sri Lanka and I was so happy to wear one of their new Apres Beach dresses, which you can see here. I loved the long sleeves and the best thing is it didn’t need to be ironed which is amazing when travelling. We haven’t done a giveaway on Dreaming Always yet but we will be doing a giveaway for one of these gorgeous Melissa Odabash dresses – their off the shoulder Faith dress which you can see here – over on our Instagram over the weekend.

Will I be travelling with my 2 year old again soon? I am already planning our next trip… in my head for now.

What are your experiences of travelling with kids? Have you been to Sri Lanka?

It is good to be back posting on here,

Nessa x

Where we stayed: Arabella on Boosa

Who we flew with: Emirates

What I wore: Dresses from Zara & Melissa Odabash

 

 

 

Places

Dinner Conversations

Champagne Cheers

Leona celebrated a beautiful evening with great women in Cork recently. Some of the most fun ladies came down from Dublin to join the Corkonians for the night including Sooby & Marnie, Emma, Lisa Marie and Roisin. What started as simply a night out for friends to get together ended up being a gorgeous celebration of women & it got us thinking! We both share a love of sitting with people and hearing what they have to say about love, life, everything & anything. We love intelligent and intimate conversations. We also love food. We could spend our days sitting around a table just eating and chatting. This love for conversation and food has inspired our new style of Meet-Up – The Dreaming Always Supper Club. We want to share this love for conversation and food with people. The idea behind these Supper Clubs is to host a dinner at a number of different venues throughout the year around Ireland.  We will invite a speaker to lead a discussion about a different topic at each dinner… to begin a conversation. We love this concept and we hope you do too! We will of course still host lots of other Meet-Ups… these Supper Clubs are an addition to what we already do and we are excited about all the conversations and delicious food to come!

DA Supper ClubSuper Club Montenotte HotelKate and EmmaDreaming Always Supper ClubRoisin and EmmaMarnie and SoobyDA Dinner Cathy and Lisa MarieDinner ConversationsStyle SerendipityLeona and SoobyDA DinnerLeona and KateDA Supper ClubSupper Club Leona

We are excited to launch our first official Dreaming Always Supper Club very soon. So, if you like the sound of our Supper Club and would like to be added to our guest list for these events, please just send us an email to info@dreamingalways.com. As always, we really love to hear your thoughts.

We are looking forward to all the eating and chatting to be done this year,

L&Nx

Images by Gillian Horgan

Venue | Montenotte Hotel, Cork City

 

Collaborations Mamahood Places Style

Winter Brunch

What a year it has been… not just for us but for lots of people around us. We will both look back on this year and wonder how the hell we did it! It’s time to take a breather over the Christmas break and look forward to an exciting new year ahead where there is a lot more change to come for us both.

This year we found our feet with Dreaming Always. It took us a while to define ourselves and to figure out the direction we wanted to go with our features and events.  We are surrounded by the most inspiring group of women who support us and encourage us in the most incredible way. We have created a little community of women who look out for each other, who celebrate each other’s wins as if they are their own, who keep each other motivated when the going gets tough and who have created opportunities for each other and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve.

A few weekends ago we had our last Meet-Up of 2017. It was our third event that we have done in collaboration with our friends Julie and Natasha from Opera Lane. It was a beautiful morning… it almost felt like the first real winter’s morning we have had in Cork. The sun shone brightly but the cold was certainly there and as our guests arrived into the newly opened Dockland Restaurant, you could see that everyone had taken the cold weather opportunity to take out their faux fur and chunky knits.

Everyone seemed to get the festive memo and it almost felt like the first Christmas party of the season… even though it was only 10.30am – perhaps the mimosas had something to do with that!

 

Everyone tucked into a delicious brunch while Natasha, the Personal Stylist for Opera Lane, shared some festive looks she had styled from Opera Lane stores. Natasha offers a free personal shopping/styling service at Opera Lane and seriously as soon as you finish reading this, go and immediately book this service. We have both had personal styling sessions with Natasha in the past and loved them!

We have mentioned before that we started hosting our Meet-Ups as we wanted to bring an element of self-care to our events. Women taking time out of their busy lifestyles for themselves. It was such a treat to take a couple of hours out on a Saturday morning to enjoy the company of some amazing women, eat delicious food and soak up all the style advice. At the event, Leona spoke briefly about how we are huge advocates for self-care and how sometimes women are guilty of putting themselves last on the list. We believe it’s so important to take some guilt-free time out for you even if it is a quiet coffee on your own, a nice massage or meeting up with some friends for brunch. This is not ground-breaking information but we know that we are better mothers, partners, friends, daughters when we invest quality time in ourselves. The problem is that life, jobs, kids all get in the way and make it harder to prioritise ourselves over everyone else. The practice of self-care has almost become a skill and it is a skill we are determined to improve in 2018.

We harp on about our love-hate relationship with social media a lot. Depending on our moods it can really lift us or really annoy us. Social media has been the catalyst for these Meet-Ups we host but you just cannot beat meeting and connecting with people in the real-world. We truly believe that nothing beats human contact and the emotional connections you make with people when you can look them in the eye and listen to their story. We always joke that our meetups can sometimes be like a giant blind date with people coming for the first time and essentially meeting a room full of strangers. At the same time there is a comfort there and you know you are going to be ok because you’ve already bonded over Instagram.

Our Meet-Ups have really taken off this year. It has kind of surprised us a bit, to be honest, but the connections we have made and feedback we have gotten has blown us away and really has spurned on to do a lot more of them in 2018.

It seems we have found a sweet spot with these meetups – they allow people to network in a casual way, everyone is welcome and there will ALWAYS be an element of self-care to them.

We are so excited for 2018. We have big plans. We were supposed to launch our own brand of products in 2017 but we just didn’t get a chance so 2018 is hopefully our year. We want to meet more amazing women and work with more brands that we love.

We really just want to keep doing what we love and we hope to meet you along the way,

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you,

Thank you for being here,

Love,

L&Nx

Images by Gillian Horgan

Venue | Dockland

 

 

 

 

Collaborations Places

Together

Interiosity with Leona and Nessa

There was a very special atmosphere. Is it that we are all becoming closer or that we just really want the best for each other. Whatever it is, it felt magic.

We have been hosting our Dreaming  Always events for over a year now. Our first one, which you can see here, took place in Leona’s home. It was small, intimate and chaotic with our small babies. Last Friday night we stood in the most magical interiors store surrounded by incredible women feeling very proud. This feeling of being proud had nothing to do with what we had achieved but everything to do with the women that stood there with us. Incredible humans gathered together in a beautiful setting enjoying each other’s company and just being themselves. Our aim is always to create small events that are relaxed and allow each of our guests to actually chat to each other, to get to know the women they have chatted to for months online in person, to talk about what they love and to come up with some of the best business ideas and projects together. We love to see all of this happening right in front of us – it gives us such a good feeling. Women supporting women. Women just simply having fun.

This event was held at Interiosity in our home city of Cork. We celebrated the launch of their Christmas collection… in October. We couldn’t believe how perfect a collaboration it was when Aoife from Pomco PR approached us about doing an event with Nicole & Caroline from this amazing store. We both love interiors and we are absolutely inspired by their story behind the store-opening. Nessa decided to come home from Dubai and we were both so thrilled that we got to experience this one together. This just felt so perfect for us.

Dreaming of Interiosity CorkPomco PR & InteriosityTable StylingEvent StylingDreaming AlwaysGoody Bags InteriosityMagda Lukas PhotographerChristmas Magic at InteriosityDreaming Always Style EditOur GirlsNicole from Interiosity StoreGorgeous NatashaNessa Hurley (Dreaming Always), Natasha Crowley, stylist, Caryn Pick (Naturally Caryn), Magda Lukas, photographer, Rachel Hobbs and Sarah Greene-Salm (Salingers Little) Christmas LaunchEvents by Dreaming AlwaysNessa H Dreaming AlwaysEvents with Dreaming AlwaysPebble and SashEvents by DA

We are always so grateful when people come to our events. We appreciate every single person who takes the time to be there to support us and the businesses we are working with. We absolutely love seeing exciting things happening between our guests afterwards.

You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building each other up, instead of tearing each other down.

Looking forward to our next one already,

Love,

L&Nx

Images by Brid O’Donovan

Location – Interiosity Home Boutique

Collaborations Style

Enough

Home for the Summer

You are some kind of wonderful.

So many of us are driving ourselves crazy each and every day and we don’t even really know it. Striving for perfection. The perfect job. The perfect home. The perfect figure. The perfect child. The perfect family. The perfect life. Those perfect people that we follow every day on social media. Yes, you know them – the ones that just seem to constantly have their sh** together. The ones that never have a bad day. The ones who make life look so easy… so effortless… so candid… so happy… and there you are wondering if you can even get out of bed to face the day. It is 7am. Your toddler is jumping up and down on the bed and keeps hitting you accidentally in the head. Your thumb is obsessively scrolling, scrolling, scrolling… watching these people who have feeds filled with perfection. There is always perfectly fresh, perfectly crumpled bed linen and morning walks to the organic farmer’s markets completed before you have even managed to dish out the cold lumpy porridge. There is always new shoes and clean kids in beautiful organic brands featured. There is always healthy snacks for the kids that eat everything. There is always glowing skin, big bright smiles and perfectly manicured nails and lots of perky bottoms. There is always “perfection.” Some days you just love seeing these beautiful images and inspirational captions. There are days when our own minds can drive us mad wondering how other people just seem to have it all. Nobody is as perfect as their Instagram feed makes them look. Nobody.

dreaming alwaysLeona and Nessaleona and nessadreaming always leonadreaming always homeLeona and NessaLeona and Nessa

Not everyone is posting the perfect images to make us feel crap. Sometimes the perfectly thought-out, curated and styled images are posted to make people feel better… to allow them to escape. Capturing these moments takes us away from the everyday norm to a place where we can hide from floors covered in spaghetti bolognese and bed sheets encrusted with dried baby formula. More often that not there is a very frazzled, very un-glamorous woman standing behind that iPhone lens.

Be who you are unapologetically. You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

Dreaming…

L&Nx

Images by Anna Groniecka

Nessa – Dress (ON SALE – here) | Shirt (here & similar here) | Trainers

Leona: Dress (Similar – here) | Jacket (Similar – here) | Trainers

 

Collaborations Mamahood Style

Celebrating Summer

DA X SL

We haven’t done a Mama Meet-Up together in ages, not since this one in London & so we really wanted to do one before Nessa heads back to the desert. We were beyond excited to team up with the gorgeous Sarah and her husband Wayne for a dreamy Sunday afternoon at their store, Salingers Bespoke, in Cork City. They are seriously the most amazing couple to plan an event with… even at such short notice! Salingers Little have just launched their AW17 kids clothing collections and we were so happy to have been a part of the celebrations.

We met some familiar faces and also some new gorgeous mamas that we connected with on our Instagram. Our love for Instagram grows stronger after each Mama Meet-Up for introducing us to some of the best people.

DA X SLSalingers Little Mama Meet UpDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDreaming AlwaysDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLSalingers Littleda x slDA X SL DA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SL

Sarah launched her online childhood store, Salingers Little in April of this year and we are huge fans of her and her dreamy brand. Sarah is a mama to two incredibly adorable girls, Lulu & Heidi. She is the kind of woman that we just want to be around and who makes us want to just do more… plus she is absolutely gorgeous – inside and out.

These events are just something that we do for fun or as we say always… to escape. We don’t charge for tickets and we usually just keep them small and intimate so our guests can have proper chats and get to know each other. This time around we made it an open invite as we wanted to make sure lots of people got a glimpse of the gorgeous stock that Salingers Little have to offer. We wanted so much of the stock for our own kids! Leona bought this dress, these socks and this bib & Nessa bought this print and this dotey gift set. We were also introduced to a gorgeous skin-care brand called Rain who gave us goody bags filled with 100% natural, organically-certified Mama & Baby skin-care samples.

DA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SLDA X SL

Thank you so much to those of you that came and to those of you that sent us the sweetest messages about the event. We are so appreciative of people taking time to support what we do.

THANK YOU!

The end of our Summer is here. Yesterday was our last day together… for a while… we were totally heartbroken saying our goodbyes but we have had THE most incredible summer filled with the best memories and collected some crazy beautiful moments. We have so many plans for Dreaming Always, both together and apart so please stick around for lots more to come.

Do not cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,

L&Nx

Images by Brid O’Donovan

 

 

Places Style

Lisbon Style

Dreaming Always Style

Despite what people may think, us “bloggers’ do not all shop all of the time or get sent lots of free stuff but when the opportunity comes, we embrace it and spend all of our money on matching accessories and coordinating outfits… as all normal thirty-something-year-olds do, right? Our recent trip to Lisbon was our opportunity to shop guilt-free for ourselves and not for the tiny people that dominate our shopping sprees 99% of the time. Our bank accounts basically do not allow us to do designer shopping so most of what we wore is from our usual stores  – ASOS, H&M, Topshop, Zara, Parfois, New Look and Penneys.

Dreaming Always Style Dreaming Always Style LeonaDreaming Always Style ParfoisNessa Dreaming Always StyleDreaming Always OtterboxDreaming Always Style

Leona | Similar Skirt here & here, Similar Top, Sunglasses (Penneys), Bracelets here & here, Phone Case, Bag

Nessa | Dress, Shoes, Sunglasses (Penneys), Bracelet, Necklace, Bag

Dreaming Always StyleDreaming Always StyleDreaming Always StyleDreaming Always StyleDreaming Always Style

Leona | Dress, Bag – Parfois, Bracelets here & here, Hat

Nessa – Similar Top, Shoes – Penneys, Sunglasses, Bag – Parfois, Choker, Bracelet, Hat – Parfois

Dreaming Always StyleDreaming Always Style Dreaming Always StyleDreaming Always Style Dreaming Always StyleDreaming Always Style Dreaming Always Style

Leona | Dress, Hat – Parfois, Sunglasses, Earrings & Bracelet here, Necklace

Nessa | Top, Shorts, Hat – Parfois, Sunglasses – Penneys, Earrings

Our Lisbon trip now feels like a distant memory but we are already planning our next trip… in our heads for now… but we always say that it is so important to dream… & dreams do become reality… New York, here we come!

It seems that lots of you are heading to Lisbon in the next few months. You can see where we visited in our last blog post here and make sure to mail us if you want any recommendations or suggestions. We always love to hear from you.

Forever Dreaming,

L&Nx

Images by Joao Nogueira

 

Collaborations Places

Dreaming in Lisbon

Dreaming Always Lisbon

What now seems like a very long time ago, two very sleep-deprived mamas decided that they needed to plan an escape. Something to keep them going through the endless nights and long days of working and motherhood. They had once said that they would love to go to Lisbon together and so they decided to make this dream a reality.

Planning a trip away for two adults isn’t as easy as one might think. We had a lot going on at the time and so we decided to hand over the responsibility to Travel Counsellors – a travel company that we think are exceptional at what they do… incredibly personal customer service. What we loved was the attention to detail from our Travel Counsellor, as she arranged absolutely everything for us – we didn’t even have to check in for our flight ourselves. She also text us to see if we were happy with everything during the trip and sent us a sweet “Welcome Home” card in the post on Monday evening. Seriously, they were a dream to book with and if you fancy your own Travel Counsellor, you can find them here.

We both want the same thing from our travels – a sense of escape & freedom. We wanted to get lost exploring gorgeous architecture and trying local food, to be immersed in the culture and to just completely unwind. We spent most of our weekend between two gorgeous areas of Lisbon – Chiado & Alfama. We had planned to take the train to Sintra which is the most dreamy village ever but we got so caught up in exploring that we didn’t make it out there. The perfect excuse to go back to visit this gorgeous city.

Dreaming Always 28 TramDreaming Always LisbonDreaming Always Dreaming AlwaysDreaming Always Dreaming Always LisbonDreaming Always LisbonLisbon Dreaming Always

Alfama:

We got up super early… like 7am early… and jumped on the number 28 tram which luckily for us stopped right outside our hotel in the city centre – Hotel Mundial. You have to do this tram ride if you visit Lisbon but do attempt to get up early to avoid crazy queues – it is worth it!

We headed up to Lisbon’s oldest but most colourful and charming neighbourhood. Alfama is the historic soul of Lisbon and we are absolutely in love with the area. It was a tiled walls, cobbled streets and beautiful doorways kind of heaven for us. There was just so much character to the place with lots of gorgeous little cafes to stop off in along the way for our favourite local custard tarts called Pasteis de Nata. We headed back to our hotel for a little break in a tuk tuk, which are perfect for navigating the narrow streets and such a fun way to experience the city.

We headed back up to Alfama again in the afternoon by tuk tuk to have some food and sample some local wine… lots of local wine. We ate dinner at a gorgeous little spot – Esperanca da Se – right by the Se Cathedral. We also loved the interiors here and our pizza and prawn linguini nero were delish. The two of us were delighted with ourselves sitting outside watching the world go by with some chilled rose wine.

Chiado:

We also loved the area of Chiado, which was more modern and stylish than Alfama. There was lots of beautiful architecture, theatres, charming old bookshops and big international shopping brands and just so much people-watching to be done. The women were beautifully dressed and we sat in a square in the sunshine just taking it all in.

We drank pink gins and ate french fries in a really cool burger place – Honorato. For once, we just could not fit in the most delicious looking burgers after just eating lunch somewhere else but the interiors here were absolutely amazing and we had a great window seat.

We spent Sunday evening in a totally gorgeous bar overlooking the Luís de Camões Square called Le Consulat talking about just how lucky we both felt right at that very moment. The drinks were reasonably priced for somewhere that looked so high-end and the staff were so friendly.

Dreaming Always LisbonDreaming Always LisbonDreaming Always Dreaming AlwaysDreaming Always Dreaming Always Dreaming Always Dreaming AlwaysDreaming AlwaysDreaming Always Dreaming Always Dreaming Always Dreaming Always

As mamas, we are both guilty of forgetting about ourselves in all of this motherhood malarkey. We decided that this weekend was all about us. We would do exactly what we wanted to do and not feel guilty for one moment of the trip. It takes a village to try and go away for a weekend. There was so much organising to be done at home. The trip to Lisbon made us realise that you do need to escape every so often from the normal every day chores and routine. It is not about escaping your children. You do not have to be a mama to need to escape.

We all need to escape every now and then… so as to not forget about you.

Already dreaming of our next trip,

L&Nx

Images by Joao Nogueira

Places

A long weekend in The Surrey Hills

The best thing about memories is making them…

“An area of outstanding natural beauty” – That is what the sign said as we drove into the Surrey Hills on a recent long weekend break. There was never a more apt description of a place – everywhere you turned was picture perfect. Gorgeous green landscapes, rolling hills, dreamy villages and best of all… no WiFi.

We had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. Life has been hectic lately and the idea of some quality time with family in a beautiful 19th century home with no TV, phones, iPad or any other digital distractions was just what we all needed.

This was our second time staying in a Landmark Trust property and as with our first experience in Scotland when we stayed in Gargunnock House, it didn’t disappoint. The name of the property we stayed in this time was Goddards and it was nothing short of stunning. It was built by architect Edwin Lutyens from 1898–1900 and is considered one of his most important early houses, designed in the traditional Surrey style and with a garden laid out in collaboration with the celebrated garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll. The house sleeps 12 people comfortably and like all Landmark trust properties it has been restored to the very highest standard.

The Landmark Trust are a charity that take on historic places  in danger and restore them beautifully making them available to rent to the general public for holidays. They are all well-equipped self-catering buildings and the idea is to encourage and foster quality time with friends and family away from everyday busy modern lives.  The Landmark Trust properties are quite different from the mainstream rentals – none of the properties have a television, radio or telephone and given their mainly remote locations, they rarely provide WiFi.

For someone who loves being online, this is actually a great thing in my eyes as it brings you back to having real connections with the people you are away with and forces you to open your eyes  and soak up all the lovely moments together. Instead of staring into a phone when you have some time to yourself, you are more inclined to run a bath or actually read the book you’ve been trying to finish for the last few months.

The list of types of properties you can rent on the Landmark Trust site include picturesque pavilions, medieval long-houses, artillery forts, Gothic follies, clan chiefs’ castles, cotton weavers’ cottages, the homes of great writers and the creations of great architects – seriously how cool to hide away in some remote location in one of these amazing proprieties full of history and character!? Goddards has a 1920’s style skittle alley!

 

It helped immensely that when we stepped off the plane from Ireland a blast of Mediterranean-esque heat hit us. London was experiencing a mini heat wave and that was OK by us.

Our kids and their cousins played until past 10pm every night in the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen and the adults sat around the table catching up and drinking tea and wine. It was all kinds of perfect. Something happens when you and your siblings have kids – you just want them to spend as much time as possible together creating memories and developing those special cousin bonds.

You want them to look back and have the kind of carefree memories you had yourself growing up surrounded by cousins… it is very special weekends like these that create those beautiful, lasting memories.

L x