Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

World-wide-Instagram-meet-up-12-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The last 2 weeks have been busy both at work and at home.

My weekends have been running on all four cylinders but I love it!  I’m truly grateful to be able to experience, with my family, the fun and colour that London and life has to offer.

There are not enough hours in the day. Every second counts.

Instagram has not only been a window to an exciting world outside, but also for me, a crucial outlet for creativity, especially during my free time.

Social media is not just all screen time, there are true tangible connections to be made.

Instagram turned 5 years old last Tuesday.

The weekend prior, I decided to hop on a 4 hour River Thames cruise with fellow London Instagrammers, to celebrate this milestone, at the 12th World wide Instagram meetup.

It was such a fun event and I met loads of lovely like minded people.

I was rather obsessed with that clear confetti balloon above, and after battling the breeze, I managed to photograph Big Ben and Parliament through it. Colourful-street-in-London-Theed-street-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The celebrations continued the next day, on Sunday, with another insta-meet up organised by Elle aka miss.lucifer on Instagram.

We explored some colourful streets in Southwark. blue-door-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We discovered some beautifully painted doors. Love this blue, and look how unusual that door knocker is. red-door-London-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I certainly couldn’t miss this very British Pillar box red door. Vespa-GT-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We then headed to Lower Marsh street, near Waterloo station, for some coffee at Scooter Caffe.

What a characterful venue. Adorning its walls were an eclectic collection of vintage scooter memorabilia.

Outside the cafe, to be expected, were some cool scooters.

I couldn’t believe the scooter above, had my initials, GT on it, in gold too! Love the sky blue compartment box and that animal print seat.
Vespas-at-the-classic-car-boot-sale-London-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell This must surely be the male version of the one above. A classic Vespa Piaggio.

I’m already conjuring up an image of a tanned Italian beau, impeccably dressed, with mirrored shades and deck shoes, leading the dolce vita lifestyle, as he scoots effortlessly on the coastal road. Excuse me for the imagination overdrive.

Such a gorgeous dusky blue don’t you think? Volks-Wagen-camper-van-in-blue-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Shifting swiftly from dusky blue scooters, we soon encountered this cute blue camper van at the Classic car boot sale, in King’s Cross, London. The-classic-car-boot-sale-London-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I managed to get an interior shot to show you. Classic-car-boot-sale-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Now for a classic car in that same pillar box red.  Anna-Mae's-mac-and-cheese-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell How cool is this? A gold coloured van serving Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese.

Do you sense the vintage vibe in the attire of the attendees? Vintage-dresses-at-the-classic-car-boot-sale-London-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Perhaps I would have fit in better, dressed in one of these colourful outfits for sale. Le-Touessrok-resort-and-spa-relaunch-Shangri-La-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell So, aside from the weekend Instagram walks, I have been busy attending launch parties in the late evenings after work and school runs.

Last week, I attended the party to celebrate the pre-opening of Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & spa in Mauritius.

No, I wasn’t in Mauritius, although I wished I was.

It was at one of London’s coolest landmark, the Shard, with its bird’s eye view of the city.

Mauritius came to us that evening with bespoke cocktails, food, art, singing and dancing.

Le Touessrok will open on 1st November 2015 after an extensive 6 month renovation.

After seeing the beautiful images of the resort, I’m now seriously tempted.  Great-Northern-hotel-Tribute-portfolio-Starwood-hotel-photo-and-styling-by-Little-Bigg-Bell Then, there was the amazing party to celebrate Great Northern hotel’s opening under the auspices of a Starwood Tribute portfolio hotel.

The night was filled with Champagne, cocktails and amazing food from the hotel’s renowned restaurant Plum and Spilt milk. There were photo booths, portrait drawings, my favourite macarons and a special guest appearance by the singer, Ella Henderson.

The Great Northern hotel, now a Victorian landmark, was first opened in 1854. It was designed by Lewis Cubitt, the architect behind Kings Cross railway station. It was regarded then as a status hotel during the golden age of steam with railway hotels.

I’m all for the Tribute portfolio hotel concept which was introduced in April 2015. The idea was to allow distinct hotels acquired by the Starwood hotel group, to maintain their own independent boutique branding. So you get a unique hotel with access to a powerful distribution, loyalty and sales platform.

If you are planning a visit to London, you should try this hotel out, not only for its unique Victorian railway era charm, but its amazing central location and I can seriously vouch for the delicious food.

I can’t wait to try out the other Tribute portfolio hotels. Fabric-of-India-exhibition-with-Good-Earth-at-V&A-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell You must by now think I spend most evenings drinking cocktails, but I can tell you this is not the case.

After saying that, I’m about to talk about cocktails again. Last week was London cocktail week, so I guess there was reason to celebrate.

I must say that the most delicious concoctions were to be had at the Good Earth party at the Victoria and Albert museum, to celebrate the launch of the Fabric of India exhibition.

My two favourites were the Lychee Martinis with rose and the Saffron infused orange cocktails.

It was such a fun party. The best part was when the audience of all ages burst into an impromptu Bollywood dance when music played. It was quite a colourful sight, as ladies in bright saris and a few gents danced in a coordinated routine, just like the movies.

The Fabric of India exhibition was showcasing the stunning world of handmade textiles from India that spanned the 3rd to 21st century.

Did you know the word Indigo came from the word India? I was fascinated to learn about the origins of various dyes and the techniques in dyeing, weaving and embroidery. There were even videos showing master artisans at work.

This exhibition is a definite must go if you are in London.

Good-Earth-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I was so happy to discover Good Earth. I must admit I have never heard of this brand before but I’ve been told it is very big and the to go to homewares shop if you do visit India.

You can get an idea of the collections they sell in this beautifully illustrated book that I was given on the night. Good-Earth-India-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell This fine bone china mug featuring elephants and entwined palms is called Periyar. I enjoyed sipping tea from it whilst perusing perusing my book. Good-Earth-2015-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Here are a few more pretty things from Good Earth. Good-Earth-coasters-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Check out these coasters. In fact, the party that night was adorned with colourful silk umbrellas like those seen on the fabric coasters.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. A look into my after hours life as a blogger but taking in all that a vibrant London has to offer.

Have a great week all.

Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Does Fashion inspire the colour trends in interiors or is it vice versa? It’s that egg and chicken argument. Who is the trailblazer?

I have an inkling, although I am not privy to information, that it is a collective movement. The coming together of industry experts to tease out what the new season colours and trends should be. After all, this would make economic sense right?

I was so excited last week when I was invited to the Peter Pilotto catwalk show at London Fashion weekend in the Saatchi gallery by Carpetright.

Carpetright was partnering London Fashion weekend, by supplying the event with a luxury carpet for the Shop the Catwalk lounge and rugs for the VIP Luxe lounge.

I decided to dress up for the event and do that fashion blogger thing of getting my photos taken.

I say this with a blush, as many who know me, are aware of my aversion to the camera. But I always tell myself to step out of my comfort zone.  Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell-in-JCrew I decided to colour block my look in my favourite hues of mint, coral and powder pink. My dress is from J Crew and my handbag is from Kate Spade New York.

My hair was braided in a reverse fishtail with a distressed look by Elements salon and my photo was taken by Karolina Ubaniak . Little-Big-Bell-photo I’m loving how the subtle pastel tones of the walls complement the colours of my dress. Here we have fashion and exteriors going hand in hand. Peter-Pilotto-colourblocking-and-interiors-London-Fashion-week-2015-Little-Big-Bell Carpetright inspired this post because they interviewed me about my thoughts on the influence of fashion trends in interiors.

To be honest, the words didn’t quite flow on camera that day as easily as they should.

Perhaps I could be forgiven, for there was a slightly eccentric lady tiptoeing and gesturing at me as I was being filmed. Nobody I knew, but she seemed interested in me, gesturing for me to stand tall, to tuck that tummy in ( that made me feel self conscious) and to project one’s voice. Perhaps she was an opera teacher?

Anyway, back to the topic of fashion and interiors trends. The advantage of being a FROW for the day, pardon the expression, but I’ve always wanted to say I was front row, was that I could shoot the collection up close.

I have selected the catwalk photos that I took at the show and combined them with the interiors trends that I predict are going to be the most likely.

Peter Pilotto’s collection was inspired by board games from Ludo to Scalextric. See if you can guess what games they are in the outfits I have photographed.

Colour blocking was a predominant feature in the show. Combinations of blues, greens, dusky pinks and golden yellows.

(Image source: Catwalk photos are by Little Big Bell, interiors photos by Remodelista and Mel Yates) Farrow-and-Ball-2015-Little-Big-Bell I was quietly proud to see my colour block predictions come true. The above is the moodboard I did for Farrow and Ball a month ago.I chose Pitch Blue, Arsenic, Green Blue, Pink Ground and gold.

It would be fun to colour block a room in any of these combinations. London-Fashion-weekend-1-2015-Peter-Pilotto-into-interior-design-Little-Big-Bell The same colour palette was set against white in some of his other outfits.

For those not brave enough to paint or combine huge blocks of colours, then setting a similar palette against a neutral backdrop could work well.

(Image source:  Catwalk photos by Little Big Bell, interiors photos by Marij Hessel and Marie Claire Maison). Little_Big_Bell's_home_1_photo_by_Geraldine_Tan My living room is essentially the lighter tones of that palette set against a white background.
Citrus-colours-in-fashion-and-at-home-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I love colour block accessories. Here on my sofa, you can see my navy and yellow handbag and a pair of navy aqua shoes, which I previously purchased from Boden.

The mint, yellow, white and brown colour block handbag is by Rebecca Minkoff. I bought it at the London Fashion Weekend sale event, prior to the Peter Pilotto show.

Dare I say that I bought it within 5 minutes of entering the sale room. Good thing we were quickly ushered upstairs to the show, otherwise I might have done real damage to my bank account. Boden-and-Rebecca-Minkoff-handbag-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The colours of these handbags are totally at home with my sofa and cushions don’t you think?

(Image of bags and front room by Little Big Bell)

The blue-denim-trend-interiors-Little-Big-Bell So, colour blocking in blues, pinks, greens and golds for both fashion and interiors is a trend to contend with. What else do I predict?

Blue Denim, I think is a front runner. But many will ask ‘Is denim really a trend?’ and will challenge by saying that denim never really went away, being such a common wardrobe staple. However, I think you know denim has come to its own when those who never consider denim, start wearing them.

I think this has much to do with the continuity of the 70s trend that emerged earlier this year. Think dungarees, pinafore dresses, flares and A-line skirts.

I think this will be a micro trend that will hit the interiors market towards next Spring and Summer. I’ve created a collage of inspiration above.

We may soon start to see recycled denim used more for interiors DIYs.

Image source: 1 + 2 (top)  Frayed Language 3 At Home in Love  4 Lush Home  
Joules-plaid-scarf-throw-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Plaid will also be another micro trend. I’m already seeing it as fashion in shops for this Autumn/Winter.

It’s definitely the perfect cosy and colourful pattern to inject into interiors with the approaching colder months.

The above photo is of the super soft and warm oversized Heyford woven scarf that I was given by Joules. It’s so soft, warm and large that you could use it as a mini throw too. Valentino-handbag-London-Fashion-weekend-2015-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I end by showing you this beautiful colour block Valentino handbag, a photo I snapped at London Fashion weekend. This is definitely on my Christmas wish list.

Hope you have enjoyed my colourful fashion meets interiors post. Wishing you a lovely week ahead.

(Photography by Geraldine Tan of Little Big Bell)

(This post is not a sponsored post. Carpet Right invited me to London Fashion weekend).

Villa-Olivio-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The kids were back at school, the Winter coats were now seeing light out of storage and I was back to the daily grinds of work. Summer had truly drawn to a close.

In stepped the lovely owners of Rozenkelim, to my rescue from the Autumn blues, with an invite to their sunny villa Olivio in Datca, Turkey.

Datca is renowned throughout Turkey for its natural beauty and climate. It has an authentic Turkish feel with relatively few foreign visitors. The villa is a scenic 2 hour drive from Dalaman airport.

I will be showing you how I found colour inspiration in Datca.

Villa-Olivio-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Rozenkelim is a wonderful shop selling the most beautiful of carpets and rugs . Light rozenkilims are extremely rare, the one in the picture above has been recreated from an original, hand woven in 100% wool.

I have styled the rug against those delightful bubble gum pink outdoor chairs. Just love how the pinks from the rug pop out to complement the cushions. Villa-olivio-datca-turkey-styling-and-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I’ve decided I really need that rug in my front room. Those minty greens, pinks and blues will definitely fit right in at home in London.  Villa-Olivio-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Villa Olivio is a restored olive mill that sleeps 6 people. It was purchased in 2006. There is even an original olive press in the kitchen. Villa-Olivio-view-and-Drye-towel-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The view of the Aegean sea and Greek islands from the villa was stunning.

Datca is surrounded by mountains and pine forests. Almond trees, citrus groves and grapevines thrived well there.

There were lots of olive trees too. In fact, waiting for us in the kitchen, was a bottle of olives from the villa’s grove. Villa-Olivio-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The nearest sandy beach was only 3km away, in the Turkish village of Mesudiye.

But who needed a beach when you could dip in this wonderful pool? My towel from Drye makes its colourful appearance again. Rozenkelim-rose-bath-mat-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Look at that gorgeous turquoise bath mat with roses. It’s almost as blue as the water. Rozenkelim-rug-and-cushions-photo-and-styling-by-Little-Big-Bell Blue is indeed the ‘in’ colour and Datca was definitely on trend. You will see what I mean in a moment.

Here, I have styled a party scene on a blue patchwork rug.  Mosantimetre-coffee-pot-and-cups-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The rugs come in a variety of colours. Here are some of the swatches. Which one will you pick?

This coffee pot and cup are Turkish handmade designs by Mosantimetre. Imagine how much nicer coffee at the villa tasted served from this. Olives-in-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell My first venture out of the villa was to Doga Pansiyon. We were invited by the new owner for an authentic Turkish breakfast.

Doga Pansiyon will soon change its name. Renovations were due to start. It will be transformed into a creative retreat with workshops. I will update the information here when it opens.

Olive trees lined the pretty courtyard and I simply had to capture this shot. Doga-Pansiyon-Datca-Turkey-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I could have easily laid in the shade on those comfortable loungers and napped.  Authentic-Turkish-breakfast-Doga-Pansiyon-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell This was our authentic Turkish breakfast. An omelette from the eggs laid by the kept chickens, sun ripened tomatoes, olives from the trees, crunchy cucumbers, local Turkish honey, fresh fig jam and baked bread.  Authentic-Turkish-breakfast-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I’m seriously making myself hungry looking at these photos. Are you getting hungry too? Look how red those tomatoes were, they were so sweet and juicy. Eski-Datca-village-charm-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Once bellies were filled, we set off to explore the nearby quaint town of Eski Datca.

Look at that cute apple tree, the cat that photo bombed at the right time and that gorgeous blue wooden gate.

Now, remember I mentioned how Datca was so on trend with the colour blue? Well, this cute village’s main accent colour is blue. Eski-Datca-village-visit-Turkey-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Blue windows and doors.

I wonder who sits in those upholstered padded chairs in the garden? Definitely a slow living vibe here, great for watching the world go by. Eski-Datca-Turkey-street-vendors-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Now for the colourful bit of Eski Datca. A cobbled street, lined by traditional Turkish ladies selling their crafts. Colourful-crafts-at-Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I was so busy photographing these beautiful necklaces, that I forgot to buy some. Here I am typing and looking at them again, regretting not purchasing a few for my daughter. Eski-Datca-colourful-Turkey-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell So much colour inspiration in Eski Datca. Eski-Datca-makers-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell It must be such a happy feeling for these street artisans, to create with bright and cheerful colours everyday.

There I was, being typically me, thinking they should create an Instagram account and sell online. Colourful-wall-decor-Datka-Eski-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Their Instagram account would surely be stunning. Just look at this. Colourful-wall-decor-Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I’m still kicking myself for not buying anything there. Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Blues everywhere. Do you spy the painted blue pot on the ledge? Doga-Pansiyon-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell In fact, I’ve noticed that they painted all their recycled pots that same blue. Colourful-ceramics-Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Okay, I must admit, I didn’t leave Eski Datca totally empty handed.

I spent ages photographing these two brightly coloured ceramics from Sevo seramik, that in the end I just knew I had to purchase them both. So I did! I will always remember bright and colourful Eski Datca when I look at them.  Colourful-ceramic-houses-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Sevdeger Kanturk, the ceramist, had been making these miniature colourful ceramic houses in her workshop. They were all piled up in trays.

She kindly let me invade her workspace to arrange them on a marble table for a photo.

The locals must have thought I was a very strange visitor. It’s the design blogger in me, anything for a colourful photo and I’m so pleased I did it. Aren’t they so cute?

Blue-and-red-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Here’s a little modern element to the village, a coca cola fridge at the local grocers. That red and blue combines so well don’t you think? Colourful-Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell I was sad to leave this colourful paradise but another treat awaited us. Eski-Datca-by-the-beach-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We drove to the beach near Eski Datca. It was a warm day and the locals were swimming in the refreshing blue to cool off. Coffee-at-the-cafe-Inn-Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We were invited to try an authentic Turkish lunch at the Cafe Inn. We were told they made the best coffee in town and it sure didn’t disappoint.

The coffee mug was so cool that I had to photograph it to show you Grilled-red-peppers-with-feta-and-pinenuts-Cafe-Inn-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We ate these most delicious grilled red peppers with Turkish feta and pine nuts. Turkish-lunch-at Cafe-Inn-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell These pastries stuffed with spring onions, meat and sesame seeds were mouth watering and good. Ice-cream-Eski-Datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Next to Cafe Inn was this ice cream stand. Love how the wafer cones have been stacked up like a bee hive. Sultan-Mehmet-Ali-Aga-mansion-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell After lunch, we had a tour of the former mansion of the sultan Mehmet Ali Aga.

It is now a boutique hotel but the original features and decor of the rooms have been maintained to look as they were in the past. Mansion-of-sultan-Mehmet-Ali-Aga-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell This ornate blue door led to the sultan’s former bedroom, now often used as a honeymoon suite. Sultan-mehmet-ali-aga's-room-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the sitting room. Sultan-Mehmet-Ali-Aga-mansion-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell and the opposite end leading to the bedroom door.

grounds-of-sultan-mehmet-ali-aga-mansion-datca-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the courtyard. Isn’t that bright pink canopy of bougainvilleas so pretty? Cacti-at-the-garden-of-Sultan-Mehmet-Ali-Aga-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell There was an impressive jungle of cacti in the garden too. Fiat-126-in-pink-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Just outside the hotel was an abandoned car. You can see why it caught my eye. It’s that bubblegum pink again that I so adore. I have been reliably told by my Instagram followers that it is a Fiat 126. Datca-Turkey-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Hope you have enjoyed the post as much as I have enjoyed hunting the colours of Datca down to show you.

Have a wonderful week ahead.

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