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

Decluttering and kids’ room storage. Stylish ways to hide toys away.

Hope you have had a wonderful weekend. We were lucky in the UK to have had a Bank holiday weekend, so the Monday off.

It is customary for me to Spring clean on one of the Bank holiday days, and I’m pleased to say, I managed to do some decluttering on Saturday.

I’m surprised at my renewed energy after my Summer break away.

I’ve managed to do 5 blog posts ( including this one) in 5 days. This is pretty out of the ordinary, because I usually post a maximum of twice a week.

If you fancy catching up on my blog posts, I have written about:

1.The most amazing Indian vegetarian restaurant in London that I have recently tried.

2.My newly decorated pastel workspace.

3.A super luxurious Urban resort in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

4.My Autumn Winter 2017 interiors and home decor curate for the Autumn Fair in Birmingham. Anyway, back to the subject of decluttering. I managed to fill up 5 large boxes with clothes and home decor that I no longer needed for the charity shop and friends. This seems like a good result right?

It’s such an uplifting feeling, when you can see the space in your home again. I’ve shown you an image of my son’s room, because I think we all know that children’s rooms tend to be the messiest space in the house. Do you agree that tidying a child’s room seems like an unending task? decluttering and kids room toy storage In line with the subject of decluttering, I have written a guest post for The Shurgard blog on the subject of “Stylish ways to hide toys in your kids room”

The image above is a little sneak peek of that post:

I have separated out, and organised Lego pieces by colour into plastic drawers. I’ve turned organising Lego pieces by colour, what seems like a mundane task, into a fun racing game with my son.

We each pick two colours and then try to fill the drawers as quickly as we can.

Do take a peek at more of my tips here, and I hope you’ll find them useful.

Have a lovely week all.

(All photography are by me, Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell).

Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong – a review of this new Shangri-La group hotel in Kowloon.

My parents used to own a holiday home in Repulse Bay, Hong Kong. That was more than 15 years ago. I was curious to see Hong Kong again and rekindle those childhood memories.

As we were planning a trip to Japan, we thought we would make a stop in Hong Kong on our way back to London.

We weren’t planning on a major tourist trip, just a visit to shop, absorb the vibe of the city and eat lots of Chinese food. It was also the perfect opportunity for me to review the newly opened 546 room Kerry hotel based in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Kerry hotel, is part of the Shangri-La group of hotels. It opened on 28th April 2017 and has been designed by renowned architect and interior designer, Andre Fu. Andre Fu wanted to embrace the concept of an ‘urban resort’, a modern take on luxury that is relaxed.

Taking advantage of the hotel’s waterfront location and sweeping views of Hong Kong, he had successfully transformed the hotel into a light, bright and contemporary space. I was in awe of the lobby lounge area, with its 8 metre high floor to ceiling windows, that span 80 metres, opening up onto a waterfront terrace, topiary garden and a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour. Here is the view. Check out this impressive coffee machine in the lobby lounge area, where they served their signature local coffee and tea mixture yuanyang, in addition to a reinterpretation of local dishes and cakes.

The modern fluidity of the space was punctuated by an oasis of very on trend, green potted plants, such as the Fiddle leaf fig plant and Cheese plant. How do you like the pared down elegance of the bedroom? This suite featured eucalyptus timber, anodized bronze and mineral blue carpeting.  These custom designed lights brought Asian design references into the room Doesn’t this just look so dreamy?
This outdoor lounge area was so relaxing, just look at those soft chairs with their own foot rests.

You really felt like you were at a luxury holiday beach resort, and not in the centre of busy Kowloon. Breakfast was an absolute treat at their exclusive club lounge. Can you believe that this was my starter? The absolute piece de resistance was the à la carte breakfast. Take a peek at my eggs Benedict with lobster, the best I have ever tasted. I loved the Kerry hotel’s Club Lounge so much, I spent the morning there, with my laptop, editing photos.

This was my view from where I sat. I had vouched I would not leave Hong Kong without a photo of a Classic Junk boat. I managed to capture a distant view of one in this photo. Can you see it? There was such a variety of cuisines and food options at the Kerry hotel. We didn’t feel the need to go out in search of food. Adjacent to the lobby area, is Dockyard, an all day dining restaurant. It had 9 individual kitchens, serving up street style food from Japanese, to Korean, to Indian, Vietnamese and more.

There was also another all day dining area called the Big Bay Café, serving up delicious food at separate stations according to how the food was cooked. This is Hung Tong, the contemporary Chinese restaurant, with decor designed to take guests back to the historical heritage of Hung Hom (an area in Kowloon). Doesn’t the decor look wonderful? Look at those exposed bricks, vintage inspired leather chairs and tinted glass pendants. Check out the colourful bar area at Red Sugar. They served an impressive collection of craft brews, wine and oak barrel-aged cocktails.  It was total luxury at the Kerry.

I didn’t venture out of the hotel much, as I got to experience the Hong Kong I wanted, right where I was.

Here was where I lounged, looking at the beautiful views. This was the view just before sunset. It’s making me want to go back. Hope you have enjoyed my little tour of Kerry hotel.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

( All photography are by me, Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. I was a guest at Kerry Hotel, but all views are my own).

A review of Suiran Kyoto and what to do in the Arashiyama area.

Tokyo was quite an experience, it was a melting pot of quirkiness and character.

Consequently, after the buzz of Tokyo, I wasn’t sure what would await me following my 3 hour Shinkansen bullet train ride to Kyoto.

I was expecting to see an older, more traditional aspect of Japan, with quaint little streets, filled with kimono clad Geishas and temples.
Gion, near where this beautiful orange red shrine was located, was packed with tourists, numerous shops and restaurants. So, it wasn’t as quiet and traditional as I had envisaged.

However, I did experience that unique sense of tradition and history, when I strolled around the peaceful grounds of this Yasaka shrine. As you can see, I managed to capture images of kimono clad ladies. However, they weren’t Japanese ladies, but were Chinese tourists who have hired their outfits for the day.

This was apparently ‘the thing’ for tourists to do whilst visiting Kyoto.

Even our taxi driver tried to sell us a kimono hire and Japanese hair styling package. But hey, I’m not complaining, because it was such a privilege to see these beautiful kimono fabrics and capture the images in a historical setting. I was curious what all these Sake barrels were doing at the shrine, at a cordoned off area.

After some research, I found out that these were called Kazaridaru or “decoration barrels”.

They were empty barrels on display, a symbol of bringing the gods and people together.

I also found out that there was a symbiotic relationship between the shrines and brewers. The shrines would conduct rites for the brewers, praying for their prosperity, and in return, the brewers would provide the wine needed for ceremonies and festivals. Here’s another part of the Yasaka shrine. We were lucky to have been invited to stay at Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel .

The hotel was located in the Arashiyama district, to the West of Central Kyoto.

It was wonderful to be away from the crowd and noise of Central Kyoto, yet still have the city centre accessible, only a 30 minute train ride away.

The name Suiran came from the two Chinese characters: Sui “jade green” representing the area’s verdant hills and sparkling waters, and ‘ran’ was short for Arashiyama.

The land which Suiran stood on also had a rich and interesting history, dating back to the year 794.

It used to be the residence of an Emperor, then later designated as part of the historic Tenryu-ji temple complex and then became the Summer residence of Baron Shozo Kawasaki ( owner of the known Kawasaki motorcycle industry). It felt like a place we could properly unwind.

Suiran was located on the banks of river Hozu, with views of Mount Arashi and the famous Togetsu bridge. Here’s a view of the bridge at sunset. Suiran has 39 rooms, from Deluxe, to Premier, to Suites. 17 of their rooms had open air baths (Onsens) with natural warm spa water.

This is the Gyokuto Garden Terrace Japanese suite, with Tatami mats, a tea ceremony table and purple chairs.  I was in awe of the gold artwork on the sliding door. The painting represented the four seasons of Arashiyama. This cushion covers on the bed were made out of Nishijin textile, one of Japan’s oldest textile company. In the centre of the suite, was this Japanese tea ceremony table.

On its side was the hotel’s crest in gold, depicting the moon, a symbol of Arashiyama, encircling a dragon’s claw and Japanese maple leaves.

The dragon symbolised authority and the Maple leaves represented the trees, a dewy green in Summer, and brilliant red in Autumn, that greeted guests at the hotel gates. Let’s head outside. How cute are these Japanese clogs? This was the 90sqm Japanese private garden of the Gyokuto suite.  Adjacent to the garden, was this wonderful Japanese Onsen outdoor spa bath. We got to stay at the Kyo-Tsukikoto premier Japanese style room. It was noteworthy for being the only Japanese Ryokan style room in the hotel.

We slept on futon styled beds on the Tatami mats.

I was apprehensive about sleeping on the Tatami mat, but it was actually very comfortable. You can see the paper screens leading from our room towards a private wooden deck garden.

We also had our very own Japanese onsen bath filled with Arashiyama hot spring water. The Onsen bath was a huge highlight for the family. We really enjoyed it morning, noon and night. On our first day, we got to sample the Japanese afternoon tea at the hotel’s Cafe Hassui. We enjoyed our afternoon tea with a view of the mountains and also the river Hozu.

The cafe was in a 100 year old building erected for 19th century poets. Many of these poets’ original artwork remained, along with a collection of calligraphic poems that adorned the walls. I really enjoyed this eggplant and soy bean curd quiche.  This Japanese traditional dessert served with Cacao nibs tasted so good. This was the Beef, Burdock salad, Cheddar cheese sushi roll. It was delicious, all washed down with bottomless Champagne. We also sampled the hotel’s restaurant Kyo-Suiran for dinner.  I had a delicious steamed sea bream with Spring vegetables. If you fancy wandering out of the hotel for a meal, then I highly recommend Arashiyama Yoshimura. They did the most amazing hot and cold buckwheat soba noodles that came in a set with Tempura and soup. Finally, if you love Tofu, then you have to try out Yodofu Sagano for their specialist tofu menu.

I never knew there was so many ways to eat tofu. We ate whilst sitting on Tatami mats and a low table.

The restaurant was only a few minutes walk from Suiran hotel.

If you are visiting Kyoto, I highly recommend staying in Arashiyama for its beauty.

You should visit the Buddhist Tenryuji Temple, now a World Heritage site too, with its beautiful gardens.  Alternatively, head out to the very Instagram worthy Bamboo groves, just a 10 minute walk away from the hotel.

It’s advisable to get there before 8am, to capture the image before the area becomes flooded with tourists.

If you have a chance, you should visit the Golden temple and Fushimi Inari shrine too.
Finally, I hope you have enjoyed the glimpse into Kyoto, and most of all, found out what you could do in Arashiyama.

I highly recommend staying at the Suiran Kyoto for the luxury and unparalleled service you get.

I would definitely love to revisit Suiran again during the Spring Cherry blossom season. ( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. I was a guest of Suiran Kyoto . All opinions are my own).

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