Autumn is the season that sees the end to the glorious warm, skin soaking sunshine, and brings in the crisp chill in the air, that allows for open fires, mulled wine and multiple layers of clothing.
We recently found great flight deals to Vietnam and thought, why not? We needed a holiday and found 9 days to jet off. Although we left Spring Carnival in our midst, I know there will always be next year...!!
A few minor visa dramas later (I won't name names, however it wasn't MY fault!!), a mid night 6 hour stopover in Ho Chi Minh, we arrived in Hanoi. Bless cheap flights!!!!
Having been to Cambodia many many moons ago, I was undecided if I knew what to expect or not - and having planned most of the trip by Instagram tags - not joking - and a good friend of a friend that sent a god send list of Dos, Don'ts, we needed to fit A LOT into our measly 9 days. Each Pinterest post I saw talked about 3-4 weeks minimum - who has that time??? So, we took a gamble and chose Hanoi, Ha Long Bay & a quick stop in Phu Quoc.
We arrived in Hanoi & immediately both Chris and I loved it. We splurged on a nice hotel - it was our anniversary on the second day so it seemed fitting to spend a little extra. We definitely recommend this hotel: The Chi Boutique Hotel. Placed in the middle of old Hanoi, the architecture, bustling streets and of course beautiful lake are amazing. Initially we set out to walk around, follow the map and see what was around. Losing yourselves in a place like Vietnam is so much fun...there's always something happening around each and every corner. Plus you fear for your life each time you need to cross the street.
Tip 1: When crossing the road, DO NOT STOP. Just keep on walking and you just seem to get to other side with your body still in tact. Incredible.
I won't bore you with each and every single detail of what we did, ate and drank - however here's a short list of MUST do's when in Hanoi.
- Stay in the old part of Hanoi - there's a million different places, but here are the two we stayed at:
- The Chi Boutique Hotel ($$$)
- Noble Boutique Hotel ($$)
- Walk around the lake on a Sunday (they close off the streets and there's people everywhere enjoying the weekend)
- Get up at 5/5.30am and walk around the old part & also the lake. There's a local market that pops up between the early hours, but the police move them all along by 7am. It's a great thing to see.
- Have an iced coffee at Coconut Coffee (it's life changing)
Then we were packed up to go to Ha Long Bay. INCREDIBLE is the word that comes to mind. We stayed on board for 2 nights - we would recommend 2 nights to anyone as 1 night is super rushed and I don't think you can relax and truly appreciate where you are. *Sidenote: I believe they are going to stop the boats from taking people overnight on Ha Long Bay. I'm not sure when the change is occurring but try and go sooner rather than later if you can! We paid in advance, then a lady came to the hotel and took our final payment before our bus even arrived....trust me, we thought we were being duped but then the bus arrived! Make sure you book through a legitimate website and/or company.
I'll let the photos speak for themselves now....
We made our way back to Hanoi for a night before catching the flight to Phu Quoc. Which may as well really be a part of Cambodia (look it up on a map). It's this tourist island in the very southern part of Vietnam. Trust us when we say, it will be interesting to watch how it changes and develops over the next few years. Already there has been mass development and hotels are popping up everywhere, but don't be put off..it's still a beautiful place to relax and put your feet up.
We stayed at Richi's Beach Resort. It was great - good pool/beach and the head chef was an Australian who explained a lot about what was going on, what to do/not to do and was an all around friendly guy!
It was a lovely place to relax, swim and take a bit of time out before we had to head home and embrace the pre-christmas craziness!
On our last day we rented a scooter and had an experience that was completely out of this world. We text a man (who had been recommended to us from a friend - mentioned above) and we set up to meet him in this little village all the way in the north of the island. Rocking up we had NO idea what to expect, however nothing to lose! This village had no running water or power!! Reality check please. Then the guy in the pink t-shirt said, this way please -- onto a rickety boat we hopped and he drove us to his house ON THE WATER.... it was on stilts in the middle of the ocean (insert OMG emoji here). He caught us fresh fish from the fish farm below the house for lunch, pulled up fresh oysters and we just chilled on his deck at his house for the day. WHAT?!?! Yes, it's true.. we did that and it was awesome!
Recommend renting a scooter and going to the north of the island if you can. If we had more time, I'd also splurge and stay at some of the other more $$$$ resorts.. you'd feel like you reached an isolated paradise.
Ps. How amazing are all of the tiled floors?! Beautiful colours and patterns are all over Vietnam.
Our last day in Ho Chi Minh was very uneventful. It was sticky & hot & we were a bit over it to be honest. Ticking off all of the must-do's of the city, we were done pretty quickly and had to waste time until our flight at 10pm...yep a lot harder than you think and we were exhausted. If you've got 1 day somewhere I would get a hotel room - even if just for the day as it's nice to be able to shower, have a rest and base yourself!
Making your bedroom look beautiful and inviting can be somewhat challenging if you don't have the right contrast of colours and textures.
Here are 5 styling tips to make your bedroom feel as beautiful as those magazines covers -
Before you take on any of these style tips.... you must decide on a colour scheme for your bedroom. Whites, greys and taupes are our choice of tonal colouring, but never be afraid of applying some colour !
Invest in your linen ! As one of the MOST anal women - who not only washes her sheets twice a week but also irons her sheets, we couldn't recommended more highly to invest in a luxurious set of linen sheets and a duvet cover or coverlet. We spend more than 30% of our lives in our beds, therefore to ensure we get enough beauty sleep between those sheets, we must ensure they are pure comfort.
2. Cushions, cushions and more cushions
You can not have enough cushions! The more the merrier in ALL cases. Keep them different and allow them to bring texture to your bed. A tip we would suggest, is to keep the pillows symmetrical on the bed, you want the eye to see 'balance' ! If you feel like making a statement, you can add a pop of colour into your room with a few decorative cushions. Cushions are also an inexpensive way to refresh your bedroom for the seasons! A pair of gorgeous Euro pillows are essential and can make a beautiful and elegant statement to the bedroom - allowing the bed to be framed!
3. Soft lighting
Lamps are the best source of light in the bedroom. They give off a soft light that makes the room feel warm and inviting! Deciding on a lamp can be the hardest choice...Do you have a large lamp? A coloured base or a coloured shade? How is the light reflected around the room? Can you read your book in this light? Does it take up too much space on the bedside table? So many options are available.... But the best are the ones that bring height to the room, reflect a beautiful warm light and create a feature next to the bed. Ensure they're not TOO big, but sit perfectly on your bedside table and are just high enough to frame your bed & cushions.
Bedside tables hold many people's deepest darkest secrets within... personal diaries, receipts hidden from the other half and many other trinkets!! Having a styled bedside finishes off the room. They are perfect for burning a gorgeous candle, a place for a few of your latest books you have and great spot for a gorgeous ring dish. I personally love either a 'butler tray bedside table' or 'bone inlay bedside'. Your bedside should complement your colour scheme and sit high enough to your bed!
5. Position your bed
Your bed is your sanctuary. Feng Shui says your bed should be on a solid base, with a bedhead, shouldn't be under a window, and should be positioned on the opposite wall to the door, and on a diagonal to the door opening. This allows for energy to flow throughout your room. Consider the where the light comes into the room, either from the window or the door way and always try and centre the bed in the middle of the chosen wall !
Outstanding. The only word that describes this magical Hotel that is tucked away in the winery region on the Mornington Peninsula in Merricks.
Having won three of most prestigious awards 'Best Hotel in Australia', 'Best New Hotel' and 'Best Regional Hotel'... I wouldn't be forgiven to think, this was going to be an AMAZING experience. It was nothing less but.... SO MUCH MORE!!!
A mix between a Jack Rabbit and an Antelope. This 7 metre sculpture by Emily Floyd is what greets you as you drive up the gravel path towards the doors of Jackalope.
Champagne greeted us on arrival, then upon opening the door to the most sensational room with breathtaking views of the beautiful Wilow Creek wineries, we were gobsmacked. Changing our mood instantly to feel like we had been transported to somewhere on the other side of the world!!!
Every detail of this hotel has been met and exceeded. The contrast of the beautifully designed building, with it's surroundings makes it SO grand and impressive. I absolutely love restoring old buildings and the Carr Design Group have done very well to keep the original homestead, the Edwarding McCormick House from the 1870's, and incorporate it into the architecture of the hotel. This is where you'll enjoy a few pre and post cocktails at Flaggerdoot. A favourite of mine was the La Luchadora... It brought all my senses alive !
An aspect of the winery region on the Mornington Peninsula, is that they LOVE to use local produce ! And Doot Doot Doot have their own 'Kitchen Garden' which changes seasonally and therefore influences their menu. We were lucky enough to have caught the middle of Spring's harvest.... Inclusive of the most delicious Goats Cheese from Main Ridge and delicious strawberries that had been injected with Champagne!!
Jan Flook's design of the 10,000 light bulb chandelier, hangs on the ceiling of Doot Doot Doot is a feature of the hotel and utterly spectacular, and the dimming of the nights throughout your meal just adds that little bit more to the atmosphere.
The team behind the opening of Jackalope have create a magical wonderland for designers like myself. Every aspect I was in awe of, the design of the rooms is just so masculine and moody, with the custom make Zuster furniture throughout each room, to meet the feel of the room. Along with the 30 metre infinity pool that casts itself before the wineries that seem to go on for days !
You couldn't ask for a better place to spend a night away from the hustle and bustle of the Melbourne life. You would NEVER think a gorgeous place like this would be found just 1 hour out of the CBD. You are guarantee to leave feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated !!
What a view. What a place. What a fabulous night.
Thank you Jackalope.
This week we were lucky enough to have Alex from Milgate in Richmond come and show us the most incredible fabric ranges from Pierre Frey.
For those who don't know Pierre Frey, we MUST urge you to look up their website (we've linked it here for easy viewing - watch the video to gain full fabric appreciation).
A short history (cos no one likes long history's).. they are a French fabric house, founded in 1935. "Patrick Frey and his studio as well as the designers, the master weavers, printers and embroiderers that all put their know-how at the service of a common passion." Using old & new techniques, hand printing and now covering wallpapers, furniture and releasing 2 new collections each year, as a fabric house, they are truly amazing.
The quality is exceptional - and worth every dollar on the price tag. They are a designers dream to use & the outcome is always sensational.
We've selected a few of our favourite fabrics below - but keep in mind that they NEVER stop making previous designs. So that beautiful fabric from the 50s can still be made today! (Insert our mouths on the ground - yep..)
Designer Hint: They are trade only, so if you have any furniture or bedheads, cushions etc. that you want recovered or made using Pierre Frey, please let us know! We can help!!
Em and Han x
Pinterest & Pierre Frey
The ultimate question. It's two pronged really...
Firstly, let's break down the basics. Although we understand accounting (that debit credit thing), we still have to get an accountant come tax time - because let's face it, they know more than us, know the tricks and also have a far superior knowledge (at least we'd hope) because they studied accounting.. literally had to turn up and take exams to make sure the balance sheet, balanced.
So, going by this theory, we LOVE interiors, actually went and studied it because we loved it so much and now we want to pass on all of our knowledge, tips, tricks and passion for beautiful spaces to you. We can draw up cabinetry and design your kitchen; we can help choose tiles and flooring; then we can also help hire all of the trades you need to make everything a success.
You e.g. the client; then hire us because of the next prong:
This now has a few separate nibs...
1. Doing your house is a hassle if you don't love interiors and design. Who has time to look at all those house pictures, decide on a style and THEN go and spend weekends and nights trawling the internet and homeware/furniture stores to put it all together. Then it's expensive so you trawl further for discounts or cheaper prices (sometimes they don't exist) so you're back at square one and now that sofa is SOLD OUT. Plus that's just if you're doing the styling/decorating part of your house. What if you actually wanted to renovate? THE CHOICES!!!!! How do you choose ALL of that 'stuff'?!? (Hire Us)
2. You've seen this AHHMAZING room and you want to recreate it.. you've found the 'look' and now you've found the furniture, paint colours and decor - but hold the phone...it doesn't look right?! This is not what you selected in the shop..it can't be. It's supposed to turn out like the photo... (insert buh bowww noise). This is because of a few teeny tiny 'errors' in some of the key pieces, or that cookie cutter interiors don't ever really work. Did the sofa just look too big? Or perhaps your rug choice was close, but just not quite right. We're here to help you so there's no expensive mistakes AND you achieve your dream 'look' that is bespoke to your house, space and budget. (Hire Us)
3. You simply don't have the time nor the care to do ALL of the work associated with making your home fabulous - but you want a fabulous home. That's what we DO! (Hire Us)
4. You need someone who understands cabinetry design, kitchens, laundries and layouts. This person also happens to know where to find everything you need, including trades people - trusted ones!!! (Hire Us)
From the most simple of styling work to the ultimate of new home builds or existing home renovations, we are here to HELP. We can make your life so much easier & you may even end up with styles and colours that you never knew would work or that you love. It's our passion and we want to create the best outcome for you - remember that!
Here's a sneaky link to our services page.
E & H Design are here to support you in enhancing & unleashing your homes potential. We can help you realise your dream home..
Em and I have a lot in common (obviously) we studied all the same things, love our footy and share a passion for old homes that need a little bit of TLC. So, one afternoon Em said - 'I've had a great idea'.. and I reckon it was! This was how this new blog series was born.
Define diamond in the rough: one having exceptional qualities or potential but lacking refinement or polish.
What Em and I will be doing, is traipsing around Melbourne to find distinguished old homes that have been left a little too long and the years have aged them (some REALLY badly) and show you through them, talk you through what work would need to be done (even $$ wise) and then we may even give some tips on what we'd do if we had a stack of cash just lying around!
Firstly, welcome to the Albert Park Residence
A bit of history of the property: it has been in the family since 1965 & has had no one live in it for the past 6 years... to us the fact that someone DID live here even 6 years ago is mind blowing. As we walked through, the front 2 rooms were beautiful with open fire places and beautiful cornices and ceiling roses. The floorboards were wonderful and raw but it was a shock when we walked through to the kitchen and "outhouse"... is that what you call it? The photo's hardly do it justice, but it was a little bit of a must see to believe. However, an amazing large backyard and garage with lane entry awaited us. If you know Albert Park, car parking is at a massive premium so that just added a bonus tick. Ahhh the POTENTIAL!!! As Em and I scanned the outside and looked up, it's a funny feeling to share the same emotions and we just kept saying to each other... "..what you could do with this place.." & "the bones are just magical" & "Let's make money so we can start buying these and doing them justice"... (insert nice investor with money to spend and trust in E & H Design to create magic HERE)!!!
Upstairs was just another shock... tiny laughs kept escaping - WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!!! There was some nice carpet in the bedroom that overlooked the backyard, with a bathroom next door where everything was SO old I truly believe it came built with the house!! But the front bedroom was beautiful, big and the view was special. Just poking through you can see the water. Yep, cue "water views" in real estate speak!! Then Em said, what's this stair case just here? Should we go up?" ...well of course, we MUST see everything. It was literally a staircase to nothing.. just a higher water view and view out to the street. Confusing - what was that built for?! Let us know if you have any ideas because we're stumped.
Anyway, enough rambling - enjoy our pics and videos and Ep. 2 will discuss what you need to spend and tips on what we'd personally do.
Sources: Andy Csinger; Le Refuge - Marc Ange; Keemf; Collage Vintage; Frida Ramstedt; Pinterest
A few weeks ago, Em and I braced the rainy Melbourne weather and headed into the Exhibition Building to visit all the amazing brands and suppliers at Den Fair.
Imagine a huge warehouse room and fill it with hundreds of beautiful interior products - that's Den Fair. It is a texture heaven and a feast for the eyes. Walking through, there were definitely a few stand out's which we've listed below! But ultimately it's a great opportunity for suppliers and designers to meet, chat and discuss new products, new technologies and see the up and coming trends.
- Fred International (Melbourne showroom coming soon!!)
- Designer Rugs
- Kerry Armstrong Art
Enjoy our pics from the day below!
Love Han & Em x
A big part of inspiration is getting off the beaten track and going places you've never been before...it's a way to open your eyes to discovery.
Having never been to Daylesford before, I took a leap of faith and booked an Air BnB ..it looked like a cute little farm house, styled well and inviting. It was much more! Alicia was a fabulous host and we arrived to the fire going and bread and butter for toast in the morning. Perfect!
The next morning my partner and I woke up early and discussed what to do for the day... my list was a lot longer than his with places I wanted to visit, see and discover. So, being a true melbournian couple, we went for a walk about the property (#farmlife) and then made our way into town for coffee.
"Where's good for coffee?" ...the ultimate and potential morning breaking decision... bad coffee leaves a bad taste in your mouth and your wallet. So, we made an executive decision that we'd try Larder Cafe (click on the link to see it in all its coffee glory).
Then, it was a look at ALL of the shops... I think we managed to go into nearly every one, enjoying the vintage shops, beautiful women's clothing shops and of course the homewares shops. I've listed my favourites below.
Then, SURPRISE! A massage was lined up for me at the beautiful Hepburn Bath House... I was spoilt rotten! When I was picked up we stopped by Hepburn Springs to browse the incredible store Found At Hepburn. I had been following them on Instagram and it certainly did NOT disappoint!
I won't bore you with everything other minute detail about our weekend, so instead I've listed all the cafes, restaurants, fromageries and shops (and even a bar) you need to try and see if you're in Daylesford next!!!
Cafes to try:
- Larder Cafe
Restaurants to try:
- Perfect Drop
You MUST get cheese & wine from: The Fromagerie Cheese Bar (22 Raglan St, Daylesford)
Have a drink after dinner at The Belvedere Social (you could also eat dinner here too..thank me later)
And finally... the shops to spend your hard earned cash:
- Harry & Me
- Manteau Now
- Bromley & Co.
- Mill Markets
Love Han x
There is nothing better than a winter escape, to some heart-warming sunshine!! From 4 degrees to 28 degrees in 3.5 hours…. You really couldn’t ask for anything more.
To escape the Melbourne frost, my partner and I decided to set off to Tokoriki Island in Fiji, which we found out as soon as we arrived, was an absolute paradise! White sands, crystral clear blue waters, reflecting the royal blue skies, palm trees bordering the resort and just pure sunshine!
The recently refurnished Sheraton Tokoriki became our home for the next 8 days and we fell in love as soon as we were greeted by the warm smiles of the Fijian people.
Each morning we woke up to the sound of the water lapping up onto the beach, right out the front of our room... Aside from the outstanding buffet that was on offer each morning, along with a freshly brewed 'latte' for us Melbournians, we couldn't have asked for a better way to begin our day.
There is nothing better for the soul than travelling... To explore new places, try new cuisines, meet new people and most importantly, in our case, recharge the batteries.
We were spoilt with a fabulous a private cooking class by Chef 'Bev' one night. She was a delight!! We had lots of laughs while she taught us, two Fijian traditional dishes, Fish Kokoda and Fijian Chicken Curry. There were many little secrets and quirks that we were taught during our class... (which I can’t disclose here)... but made the dishes absolutely delicious!! We thoroughly enjoyed a night full of laughs, good food and delicious wine, along with a special sweet treat at the end.
One overcast afternoon, we decided to head to the spa for a full body relaxation massage.. Just because we weren't relaxed enough!!! We came out feeling like we could very easily get used to this lifestyle.
To say Fiji’s water is as warm as their people, couldn't be more accurate. We loved every moment, and thank those gorgeous Fijian people for being so welcoming and loving and making our holiday so special!!!
Love Em xxx