Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Smell the Roses . . .

Sign in The Garden of the Senses, Sneem, Kerry.

While on holiday in Kerry recently we visited some gardens that were open to the public.   The Garden of the Senses is a lovely garden to stroll around on a sunny day, although I would like to go back there in June when the roses are all out.

The Garden of the Senses has some lovely sculptures and signs . . .

and some beautiful roses . . .

I loved this carved seat perfectly placed among the ferns and ivy . . .  very Lord of the Rings . . .

 These roses were so delicious, I just wanted to eat them!

 I fell for this rose too - a beautiful two tone rose with lovely a lovely creamy colour on the underside of the petals . . .

In a world where everyone is so busy and life can get somewhat frazzled it is so nice to wander through a garden - slowly, carefree and drink in the scents, sounds and colours of life.  It was a lovely quiet stroll in the sunshine of marveling at the sculptures, admiring the willow tunnel and gently moving from rose to rose to capture each sweet scent.  Our little stroll took not much more than half an hour but we left smiling, holding hands and relaxed.  Now that I'm back to work and there aren't enough hours in the day to finish my ever expanding to do list, I'm trying to hold on to that carefree feeling and to remind myself that even if I'm really busy that it's good to stop and smell the roses - literally!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

God's Country

Ring of Kerry

We're just back from our Romantic break in Kerry - sigh!  We (myself and my husband) had a fantastic holiday.  I had never been to the ring of Kerry before and now I understand why they call this place 'God's Country'.   The views of the Ocean and mountains are spectacular.  Breathtaking . . .

Valentia Island

Cliffs - Valentia Island

Beach at Castlecove - Ring of Kerry

Me windswept on top of a Ring fort on Valentia Island

Dry stone structure of ring fort on Valentia Island

We visited two ring forts on our holiday - one on Valentia Island and the second one near Castlecove called Staigue Fort.   The amazing thing about these forts is that the walls are dry stone walls, just stone placed on stone with no mortar.  Staigue fort one of the largest ring forts in Ireland was built about 2500 years ago!!!! no mortar!!!!!  the mind boggles . . . 

Staigue Ring Fort near Castlecove - Ring of Kerry

Entrance to Staigue Fort

View from Staigue Fort

While touring the Ring of Kerry we stayed at Picin Cottage   which was gorgeous, the perfect Romantic country cottage . . .

Then for the last two nights we headed to Kenmare and the Sheen Falls Hotel.  The hotel is beautifully situated right beside the falls and on a lake.

 The bridge over the Falls.

The setting really is glorious.  The Sheen Falls Estate is HUGE so miles of woodland and lake side walks.   We both loved this hotel, from the moment we arrived the staff made us feel welcome and were very attentive.  Our room was gorgeous - large and comfortable and the views were superb- and we had our own balcony!    While we were there we had afternoon tea by the open fire (it was the one rainy day we had the whole holiday!).  They have a spa at the hotel so we treated ourselves to massages.  The last night we had dinner in the main restaurant - La Cascade.  We enjoyed a really gorgeous meal in sumptuous surroundings with a grand piano playing in the background.  After all this luxury we were totally relaxed.  Bliss.

 The view of the Falls from our room . . .

 The view back up to the bridge . . .

Hydrangeas in the hotel garden . . .

 The view from the front of the hotel . . .

I really fell in love with this beautiful part of the world with its rugged, unspoilt landscape.   It has a quiet, majestic beauty. 

Timeless, eternal, magical . . .

 God's Country

Thursday, August 23, 2012

La Vie en Rose in Picin Cottage, Kerry . . .

Myself and my husband Niall are on holiday!!  We needed a few days away and decided to go away for a week to Kerry.   Whenever we go on holiday we always want to stay somewhere special.  Somewhere romantic, with character, away from the madding crowd and if possible  a little bit quirky.   I always check two online guides - the first is Alastair Sawday's website and then I check TripAdvisor.  I found this cottage on Alastair Sawday's website.  The cottage looked so pretty in the photos and it's located on the Ring of Kerry, a peninsula on the West coast of Ireland with spectacular views of mountains and the sea.

As I write I am sitting at the table in the adorable cottage above drinking coffee and planning the day ahead.   I just had to take some photos of this place to show you as it is everything a couple could want for a Romantic break away.

As you walk in the door there is a large living/dining room with a beautiful stone wall and beams. 
It's a traditional Irish stone cottage on the coast of County Kerry (God's Country - another name they call this beautiful part of the world).   Called Picin Cottage, the owners describe it as  a 'luxury boutique B&B' and I agree with them it is luxurious and has that boutique-y feel.  The owners Amelia and Nick are two of the nicest people you possibly meet and our the perfect hosts.  They live next door and provide breakfast each morning which is delicious.  They make their own sausages, cook their own bread and serve one of the best breakfasts I've ever had on holiday!


Upstairs is a large bedroom with a double bed dressed in Egyptian cotton and soft pillows. 

Downstairs again and you come to a little hallway and w.c.  which is soooo pretty . . .

Antique Bookstand in w.c.

And then you come to the piece de la resistance . . .

the HUGE bathroom with freestanding claw foot bath and woodburning stove . . .

 this is the most Romantic bathroom I have ever seen . . . the wood burning stove makes the room sooo cosy and there is turf and logs stacked in the corner to keep the fire going . . .

the first night we arrived Niall lit the stove, ran the bath, poured the wine and lit all the candles.  It was a lovely Romantic start to our holiday . . . 

 The claw foot bath is enormous and comfortably fits two!!

Amelia and Nick have looked after us so well during our stay at Picin cottage I will be sad to leave but already we're planning our next visit to this beautiful part of the world.

Amelia welcomes her guests with Roses from her cottage garden . . . yes, I am in Heaven . . . We leave here today for Kenmare so more updates to follow.  Hope you enjoyed the little tour of Picin cottage if you would like more info you can visit the Picin Cottage website here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blog Awards Ireland 2012 Long List Released

The Nominations for the 2012 Blog Awards in Ireland have just been released!!!

I am VERY happy to report that La Vie en Rose has been nominated in 3 categories!!!!!

Best Newcomer Blog
Best Personal Blog
Best Lifestyle Blog

I would LOVE to know who nominated me!  Who ever you are thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am THRILLED  to be nominated.   You could actually nominate yourself for these awards but I didn't (don't see the point)!   So I am over the moon that someone liked the blog enough to take the time to nominate me.  I am SO happy - you've made my day!!!!  Can you imagine what I'd be like if I actually won something!!!!!!!!  - The short list is out sometime in September so fingers crossed!!!!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Annie Sloan Paint, Fabrics, Wax, Brushes and Books at La Vie en Rose

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Clear Wax, Dark Wax and Brushes 

As you all know I am now stocking Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in La Vie en Rose.   I'm also painting vintage and new furniture with this range of paint and selling them in shop.  So, I thought I'd show you all the other Annie Sloan products that I'm now carrying aswell. 

Dresser full of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!  I painted this dresser in Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue and finished it in a layer of Annie Sloan Clear Wax

The paint comes in a beautiful range of colours, muted, faded and chalky!  This is standard range of colours available.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Colour Chart

Annie has written over 20 books which have sold over 2 MILLION copies!!!    We have 'Creating the French Look' and 'Easy Paint Transformations' in stock.    They both show detailed painting projects and painting techniques.

When I went over for the stockist training course I fell in love with Annie Sloan's fabrics so now I'm stocking them as well!!!  They go SO well with the paint - I particularly love the Faded Roses!!!

More Annie Sloan Fabrics!

This is my counter in the shop.  My husband Niall made it for me - I ADORE it!!  The counter top was made from reclaimed scaffolding planks!  Niall scraped the cement off, power hosed them, then scrubbed and sanded them down!  We then applied a very watery wash of Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint and water and  painted the top to get a limewashed finish and then finished with a layer of clear wax.  The sides of the counter were made from inexpensive tongue & groove pine boards and painted in a mix of Louis Blue and Paris Grey.  So I got my lovely rustic, chunky counter hand made for a few pound!! Thanks Niall!!!! xxxx

So now I've asked Niall to make me a kitchen island exactly like this - I just love this look (and th price!!!).  I've already picked out the stools for island - these metal beauties!!!!  So that's the next home project - can't wait!!!!

 When planning the new shop I knew I wanted to stock some small accessories and gifts.   So customers can always pick up little items - you know sometimes how you just want to buy something!!!  So I've got a LOT of candles, soaps and scented linen bags and hearts - things like that.    I thought that these little ceramic hearts were cute and actually bought a few as I thought they'd make great Christmas Tree decorations!!  Anyway, a mother and daughter (aged about 5 or 6) were in the shop today.  They started browsing and then the little girl walked up to the mother carefully holding the Angel heart and said "Mum can we get this for Granny, cos you know how much she loves God!".  Wasn't that SO sweet!!!!!!  The innocence!!!!


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