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One of the ways we’ve made Bushy Summers so special, is the cosy bathroom. We think that this will tempt you to stay a day or two longer.

Every detail in this room, from the brass taps and wall sconces to the pressed aluminium walls, bath towels and toiletries were chosen with love. You can completely relax in the bath tub and watch the tree tops slowly sway backwards and forwards against the sky. Such a beautiful way to relax and let your imagination wander.

Here’s how we made the Bushy Summers bathroom!

We created an entrance from the original bathroom into the shed which was attached to the shack. The shed gave us enough space to create a new bathroom. Trevor a local builder gave us a hand.

Of course, there’s views of the bay!

We insulated the room and then covered the walls and ceiling with marine ply before completely waterproofing it! Matthew being the main man.

From the minute we set eyes on those doors we wanted them @mrwolf_shop. They had to be extended at the bottom to fit the doorway. Matthew using his expertise from years of theatre experience matched them brilliantly!

They add a touch of the exotic and a splash of colour reminiscent of Greece!

Look at this beautiful old cast-iron bath! We also loved the original tin used on the ceiling of the kitchen and wanted to replicate that look in other areas of the shack. Matthew clad the whole bathroom, walls and ceiling in sheets of pressed aluminium.

He then painted the silver aluminium white to maximise the light in the room and for the fixtures we mixed garden tap components. We found the brass wall sconces in Burnie and the tin sink in the shed which we had recoated.

Relax and unwind…

… and enjoy the peace and quiet at Bushy Summers!

Tempted yet? Come see for yourself!

Book your stay! 

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Photography Claire Lloyd

It’s amazing the hidden gems you can find on your doorstep.

Don’t you just love it when you find somewhere really special?
Especially if it’s a place that serves delicious food. I love, love, love food, what can I say.

Caravan by the Sea, a family owned taverna, is one of those special places in Lesvos. At the first sign of spring I want to jump in the car and head straight there.

This divine little taverna is situated on the water’s edge in Avlaki near Petra, on the North Western side of Lesvos Island.

Only the freshest of ingredients are used in the kitchen and most of them are from their own surrounding garden.

Filio is the chef and you can taste her love of cooking in every delicious mouthful. Everything she cooks is amazing.

Stelios is the super-duper host who looks after every guest beautifully. While both Filio’s and Stelios’s mums lend a helping hand with the preparation you can sometimes find them manning the BBQ.

Caravan is secluded, which adds to its charm and with its proximity to the water all you hear is the gentle lapping of the Aegean Sea.

Visit Caravan at dusk, when the sun sets over the island and casts a beautiful golden glow to the water. It is picture perfect.

And what’s my favourite dish? Well that’s a very difficult question. I love everything! I must say though the Roka Salata and Yia Yia’s Dolmadakia are pretty amazing as are the fresh sardines and the Sfougato Pie. But I always want to eat everything on the menu!

Sadly, the season is coming to an end and I may only get one or two more meals in before Caravan closes for the winter.

My tastebuds will be waiting in anticipation for next spring.

Caravan by the Sea photographed by Claire Lloyd

Over the last year or so we’ve embarked on another project, renovating an old miner’s shack on Lettes Bay in Tasmania into a luxurious waterfront retreat – all because of a ceramic bowl.

Zsolt Faludi is a ceramicist who lives and works in Tasmania, and I was keen to interview him, so Matthew and I travelled to the Wild West Coast, where art wasn’t the only thing we fell head over heels for.

Standing on the shores of beautiful Lettes Bay, I turned to Matthew and asked, “what do we have to do to have a place around here?” Turns out, not too much, as Matthew managed to find a bloke with a cabin to sell, and it wasn’t long before we had a new project on our hands. And now, it’s time to share it with you.

Welcome to, Bushy Summers! (Book here!)


Photo by Glenn Mason

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing the process of how we restored this bayside hideaway into a nurturing space. Relax, unwind and enjoy as we show you around!

We did much of the work ourselves, guided by a brilliant local builder, and now friend, Trevor, who helped us rebuild and restore this cosy cabin.

When we bought the shack it was cream with blue trims around the windows. The door was blue too.

We had to strengthen the foundations which meant some serious digging, followed by months of stripping back the internals, insulating walls, cladding with wood and aluminium sheeting, and totally rewiring and plumbing too.

This shed was the original outside dunny. It was full of bits and pieces, some gems like the old enamelled sink which was re-coated and integrated into our bathroom.

Another great find from the shed … very useful indeed!

Whilst Matthew climbed up and down ladders for months on end, the spring became summer, fern fronds slowly unfolded and the pretty pink blossom was replaced by new season apples.

We decided on the colour midnight sky for the exterior.

Matthew cut out a handmade stencil and painted our shack number, 61, on it.

The outside of the shack has come together beautifully! We’re incredibly proud of it, and can’t wait to share it with you!

Love, Claire x

Book your stay! 

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram too!

Photography Claire Lloyd


These views await you!

 

Wow! Here we all are in a rather surreal situation.
Where are you?
Are you where you expected to be? I know I’m not.
At this time of the year I would normally be back in Lesvos, My Greek Island Home, watching blossom decorate the branches of fruit trees and spring flowers carpet the fields.
But I’m not, I’m on the other side of the world in Sydney, while my partner, Matthew is at our home in Greece.
Life can change in an instant and it has!

This is my small terrace in Lesvos with rescue dog, Trixie. From here I have views across the village rooftops and out to the Aegean Sea. Photo by Carla Coulson

The question is, where is home?
I often think about this and even more so over the last few weeks.
For me home is somewhere I feel safe and secure, a place where I can relax, create and be myself.
Is home just one place?
For me the answer is no. I love creating spaces that nurture me, these spaces are in different places and all these places feel like HOME. I am very happy going from one to the other enjoying their individuality, taking joy from each of them.
Everyone, however, is different, thankfully, and for some people that would not feel like HOME at all.
It is really important to make yourself feel nurtured, particularly while everything is so unsettling.
Take a look at your home does it nurture you? Are you surrounded by what you love?
Is it a place where you can create and does it make you feel safe?
Your home is you so treat yourself well, wherever you find yourself look for peace within, enjoy some solitude, connect with friends, take things slowly and keep a sense of humour.
Here are some photos of where I normally am at this time of year ENJOY X


A little peak into our sitting room. Matthew found this old door at the tip and we couldn’t resist white washing it and bringing it inside. To us its a piece of art. Photo Claire Lloyd

Laying the table is always a pleasure. There are beautiful flowers in our garden and I pick these regularly. There is always the village garden too. When what I’m looking for isn’t at hand in our little garden there is something to be picked from around the village. Photo Claire Lloyd


I just love looking out from our table, across the village. You can certainly get a great view of the comings and goings in the village. Paintings are a big part of our home. This beauty is by Matthew Usmar Lauder Photo Claire Lloyd


We decided to use turquoise on the shutters and doors when we renovated the house. This was one of colour that the origional owners used in their home. It is a lovely reminder of the original home. It is also a colour that pings in the Greek sunshine. Making it a happy colour. Photo Claire Lloyd

I LOVE a project and this year has started with a big bang! The bang of hammers and crow bars. We now own a little part of Tasmania. Little is exactly what it is, a small miners holiday shack thrown up on crown land in the most basic but charming way.

The little shack

A little boat I have my eye on

Serenity

Last year we went to Strahan and stayed at the most beautifully styled cottage in Lettes Bay called The Capitan’s Rest. Sarah Andrews a modern pioneer, has created this hideaway which I have enjoyed following on Instagram for well over a year.

Matthew hard at work

Destroying the bathroom

A new window goes in

On our arrival we discovered the previous guests had locked the key inside the house.
Whilst waiting for another one I wandered around taking in the beautiful surroundings of the bay leaving Matthew chattering with a local.
Matthews chat turned out to be very fruitful indeed as the local revealed that a small cottage nearby could potentially be his.
One thing led to another and before we knew it, it was.
You could say it was chance or luck or you could just say it was meant to be.

Can’t wait to continue

So now the real fun begins. Plans are afoot, and walls have been removed. We are doing what we love best of all breathing new life and love into this little shack. It will take time as our time in Australia draws to a close, but we are excited to be coming back and picking up where we left off.
Another nurturing space to create and another beautiful spot to share.
I hope you enjoy a few snaps of our work
Love Claire x

Imagine yourself staying in an authentic village on a Greek island, surrounded by the beauty of nature and swimming in the blue Aegean. Then add to that the JOY of tapping into your creative self………………… is this sounding inviting? YOU are INVITED!

The Aegean Sea, Lesvos photographed by Claire Lloyd

One of the things that we are rarely told in life, is that we are creators. We may hear that we are creative but rarely that we are creators and our lives are a form of art and the best way to create them is with joy and passion.

Most of us pass our lives not understanding what our true life’s desires are how to ignite that joy and passion within us.

You are invited  you to slow down and switch off, do a stock-take on how far you have actually come and then to set sail in your new direction and consciously create the next part of your life through the glorious vehicle of art and awakening your six senses.

In this special retreat on the island of Lesvos, four friends want to give you the greatest gift we can give you, that is to connect you to your passion. We want to inspire and guide you to find what brings you JOY, connect you to your passion and the desire’s in your heart and to show you that everybody is creative (including you)

Artist Matthew Usmar Walkswithdogs in the Lesvos landscape with his trusty assistants, Styx and Trixie  photographed by Claire Lloyd

Our wish is that you will be inspired, refreshed and revived and go home with JOY in your heart for how good the next part of your life can be, a journal full of notes, an art book full of beauty, and unique travel memories to last a lifetime.You will know and believe you are creative, had the chance to sit front row in the lives of others, now a new tribe of creative souls and that you have the ability to create the life you desire.

Me photographed by Carla Coulson Delicious velvet cushions from our home photographed by Claire Lloyd

As long-time residents of Lesvos Matthew and I offer an invitation to share our lives in a beautiful authentic Greek village where community is paramount.  We are opening our home, our hearts, the places welove and our creativity to give you a true insight into the reality of living creatively in every sense.

Together with Carla Coulson and her hubby, Francesco Cataldi the four of us combine our expertise as artists, photographers, creators of beautiful spaces, naturopath and life coach to help you uncover your deep desires, embrace them and how your passion and creativity can drive the next part of your life. The goal is JOY!

Our home where we love to entertain  photographed by Claire Lloyd

We invite you to slow down and switch off, do a stock-take on how far you have actually come and then to set sail in your new direction and consciously create the next part of your life through the glorious vehicle of art and awakening your six senses.

Each day will be a mix of focus sessions to inspire and motivate you, art lessons, healthy delicious local food, yoga or swimming, walks, boat trips and long table lunches in our favourite tavernas and at our home. There will be breathing and grounding techniques to assist you to access your intuition and downtime to reflect on our discussions, about your path, practice your new found love of drawing and art. The evenings will be spent together around a table reflecting on the day, enjoying local food and the thing the Greeks do so well, Kephi (enjoying life in the moment). Oh, and did we mention there will be Greek dancing!

Our island world  photographed by Claire Lloyd  Francesco Cataldi  giving it his all photographed by Carla Coulson

Yoga will be taught by an experienced yoga practitioner Marjaana Makela, who studied under Angela farmer, art lessons will be led by Matthew Usmar Walkswithdogs and other focus sessions will be shared between Carla Coulson, and Francesco Cataldi and me.

It’s not about going faster, achieving things that no longer count, it’s about going slower, really hearing the words of a conversation or birdsong, feeling what your gut is truly saying, tasting food like it’s the first time you have ever eaten and being revived and refreshed by a dip in the Aegean’s transparent waters. It’s about putting pen to paper or trying your first painting and learning to cut through the noise to find out what you really want.

A little peek inside our guesthouse photography Claire Lloyd and Carla Coulson

Claire Lloyd creator of nurturing spaces and photographer, artist Matthew Usmar Walkswithdogs, Naturopath Francesco Cataldi and photographer and life coach Carla Coulson, all know about changing their lives to continue to go after what is in their hearts. It’s their connection to joy, creativity and their true life’s desires that continue to drive and create the lives they wish for.

Carla Coulson looking beautiful in white

5 DAILY FOCUS SESSIONS:

CREATIVITYYou are born a creator! Creativity is not an exclusive club, you don’t need a badge or to be born into a special family. Creativity opens your heart to new experiences, people, relationships and self-esteem. It connects you to a passionate part of your soul with a feeling akin to love. All of us are creative souls and when we allow our creativity we get access to a part of ourselves that we have kept locked away. We encourage, inspire and challenge you to live a creative life and show you how and what is holding you back from living a more creative life.

YOUR LIFE’S DESIRES – Uncover and fine tune the desires in your heart and make them a big YES. We take stock of where you are in life, challenge you to think bigger and remember your dreams. We show you how to connect your desires to passion so that it will drive the next chapter of your life.

CONSCIOUS LIVINGWe let you in on the secret that allows us to continually go after our dreams and make them our reality. It’s our thoughts and beliefs that hold us back from our dreams and we show you how you can transform them and start heading in the direction of your true desires. We show you how we tap into our intuition to make better life decisions and how to direct our energy.

WELLBEING – Our bodies are the temples that house our souls!!! When you connect your mind, body and spirit you embrace true well-being. Saying yes to a bigger life full of desires means embracing your health. When you nurture your well-being you empower your soul, confidence, and self-belief.  We touch on diet, exercise, breath, the nervous system, and the importance of self-care all with joy and a new way of looking at it. 

JOY – Imagine if you could get more of what you want in life by having more fun and joy! Hard work will get you so far but joy, beauty and pleasure will fast-track it. Joy is a state of being. When you feel joy, you are present, physically and emotionally.  When you tap into joy you are at one with yourself and source energy. We show you how to embrace, beauty, pleasure in your daily life to being you more joy.

 

There is always something delicious to eat photography Claire Lloyd and photograph of me by Carla Coulson

We are Longing to share our Lesvos and our JOY with you

BIG LOVE ClaireXX

For more information and to book go to Carla’s site HERE 

 

 

 

 

Hello 2018! A little late I know. There have been a few hurdles along the way but here I am jumping into the new year with enthusiasm.

photo of me by Matthew Usmar Lauder

One of my favourite place in the world is the Greek Island of Lesvos. The beauty of the island and the generosity of its people inspire me. You may already be familiar with my book, ‘My Greek Island Home’, some of you will have read about my love for the island.

I’m so excited to announce I am embarking on a new book which will feature this beautiful island home of mine once again. I am diving into this new project with every bit of my creative energy and will be sharing the results with you in 2019. I know it sounds like a long way off but time will fly.

Recently I spent a few divine days with friends on Stradbroke Island. There is nothing like chasing the summer by travelling from one island to another, I think I am an island girl at heart.

Here are some photos I took whilst I was on Stradbroke.  Thank you beautiful Edie and Lil for allowing me to capture you once again.

Let your creativity lead you into 2018 and jump for joy!

Beautiful long beaches

Edie

pondering pelicans

Lil

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I LOVE everything about flowers! I cannot live without them. I can’t resist photographing them and they are essential in my home.  I have my favourites, big blousy peonies, wild English roses, sweet smelling jasmine, hyacinths that arrive with the spring, glorious gardenias and hydrangeas, reminding me of my childhood and my Nanna.

Flower paintings have always been a favourite too, from the intricate detail of the Dutch masters to the broader strokes of the oversized blooms painted by Georgia O’Keefe.

Today I spoke to Matthew Usmar Lauder about his passion for flowers and his beautiful flower paintings. Matthew’s flower paintings move me, each stroke is passionate.

20171206-IMG_0022 snakedsmall Matthew what is it about flowers?

‘I love flowers, I consider them to be some of nature’s greatest art. I also love their perfume, especially the rose, gardenia, and orange blossom.

What’s a favourite flower?

I adore the hydrangea. I didn’t get it when I was young, I’d see them and think of dull British suburban gardens or clinging to the sterile walls of care homes. But when I looked a little closer I got them.

They are magnificent, ballsy, robust and ever so subtle in their glorious colour. They are a joy to paint their drama and sculptural dynamic is inspiring.

Is your approach to flower painting different to other subject matter?

I paint each subject in a way I instinctively feel is right. I find nature to be everything between chaos and effective balance, with that in mind I throw myself and my paint right in the middle.

You are now producing prints of your fab flowers, what made you decide to do that?

I made that decision based partly upon demand. In the past, I have sold practically every flower painting I’ve painted, (and some individual pieces I could have literally sold two or three times such was their popularity).

Also, I have a love of printmaking which started as child when I was introduced to screen printing. Then later, after completing my Degree in fine art painting, I chose to do a Masters in fine art print making.

The print reproductions I am having made now utilise the best of modern technology, which is thrilling because they are as close to the original as possible.

Follow If you would love one of Matthews beautiful prints on your wall CLICK HERE and take a look. There are a variety available in different sizes.

Follow Matthew on Instagram @offthebrush

 

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The inspiration of a ceramic bowl took me on a journey to Tasmania to meet a complete stranger and photograph his beautiful work.

Last December I found a ceramic bowl in a small gift shop in Sydney’s, Potts Point. There were in fact two, an identical smaller bowl was hidden inside the larger one that had caught my eye. I was drawn to their simplicity. I was also drawn to their perfect proportions and weight. They felt sturdy in my hands, they also felt precious.

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I decided on the smaller one as a gift for a friend and had it wrapped. I thought about the larger bowl for next few days and made the decision that if it was still in the shop on my next visit I would buy it. Thankfully it had waited on the shelf for my return.

The lovely shop assistant remembered me and gave me some written information on the ceramicist Zsolt Faludi. She told me he worked in Tasmania but he did not have a website.

On the way home to my apartment I made two decisions. One, I would be looking for an alternative gift for my friend and two, I would be going to Tasmania to meet the man who made the bowls.

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I found Zsolt’s Facebook page at 5pm on New Year’s Eve and decided to send him a private message telling him how inspired I was by my purchases. I asked him if I could come and meet him and take some photos of him, his work and his studio. I was completely taken aback when he messaged me back within a few hours saying yes, it made my New Year’s evening. I then began preparations for my first trip to Tasmania.

Meeting the man himself was a treat he was so welcoming as was his partner, Nanna Bayer. Their home and studio are set in a beautiful part of Tasmania outside Hobart called Glen Huon. They invited me to eat with, them and we sat around and chatted for some time before Zsolt took me on a tour of studio Zona.

Zsolt is originally from Hungary and moved to Tasmania in 1984, he is a bear of a man with a cheeky sense of humour. The strength of his personality is reflected in the work he creates. The proportions of each piece are perfect and feel solid and purposeful.

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He met Nanna, who is from Finland in 2010 when they were both attending a ceramics conference in Gulgong NSW. Nanna’s ceramics are beautiful, they are more feminine and delicate. Studio Zona is the result of Zsolt and Nanna coming together, a perfect fit.

I am so thrilled to have found the bowls that not only lead me to the man but also to his equally talented partner.

I love the idea that curiosity and being inspired by something small can take you on an adventure. One beautiful object led me to take a trip into the unknown.

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Thank you Zsolt for answering my message last New Year’s Eve and thank you and Nanna for being so welcoming. To see more work by Zsolt and Nanna go to their Facebook by clicking HERE. 

Follow what inspires you for it can take you everywhere.

I have been privileged to work with a lot of incredibly talented people over the years. These people have been instrumental in the expansion of my own creativity.

I am constantly inspired by my women friends. There seems to be no end to their creativity and warmth of their friendship, I look upon them as my family.

One of these fabulous woman is Isabel Ettedgui.

Isabel and I go back a long way. We first worked together on ‘The World of Interiors’ magazine. After moving on from the magazine we continued working together on various projects including CONNOLLY 

In the late 1980’s Isabel became involved with the Connolly family. She worked with them to design a chair for Joseph. JOSEPH ETTEDGUI was London’s most influential fashion retailer. Isabel and Joseph made a brilliant creative team, not only did they continue to work together on Connolly but they went on to marry. Sadly in 2010 after 20 years of marriage Joseph died and Isabel put Connolly on hold for a while.

Last November Isabel re launched the Connolly brand, a brand she has known for the last 30 years. She found a house in Mayfair’s Clifford street and put every ounce of herself into creating an amazing shop with a home on top, a massive undertaking. She pulled together a team, developed new products and designed an exciting luxury retail space that feels like a home.

What she has created is more than impressive. Everything about the shop and the merchandise in it is pure quality. Her attention to detail is exceptional and her and her staff are like a small family.

The experience is like shopping in someone’s home, it could not be any better.

To say I am proud of my friend is an understatement.

I have loved photographing the Connolly products, I am drawn to the detail and quality of every piece.

Read below what Isabel says when I asked her some questions about her new project CONNOLLY

connolly layout My favourite knits

connolly layout2 The softest leather

connolly layout3 I love this cuff detail

connolly layout4 Babette the company mascot fits in perfectly with brand Connolly

When and how did you become aware of the brand Connolly?

It was in late 1980s when I worked with the Connolly family on designing a chair for Joseph.

Can you give us a bit of info on the company and how you were inspired to become involved?

Established in 1878. I think I fell in love with the Soul of Connolly and the idea of a fourth-generation family business. And a great family. The essence of Connolly is the classic motor racing and touring dream, coupled with a strong sense of British know how and craft in the production of the finished leather that graced the seats of the first Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Aston Martin and is still found by special request, on Ferrari Jaguar Alfa Romeo and the top classic cars. As well as amongst other notable institutions and icons like the seats of the Houses of Parliament, the desks of the British Library, the Eames chair, Concorde, the Coronation coaches of the Royal Family, to Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and the limited-edition Jaguar E type.
What has been your biggest challenge in relaunching the brand and developing its new premises?
Apart from planners and finance it has been trusting my instinct and having faith that we could make it happen.

You have a real talent in surrounding yourself with a great team. You clearly understand the importance of those people who to me feel like family. Can you tell me a little about how you go about it?

I like working with people who I have worked with before and who I trust and then add new blood in younger members who bring new ideas and different disciplines – it’s a bit like a wardrobe – strong staples and some new looks and accents. I also think women entrepreneurs prefer to create a work team family – with the same dynamics and obviously, the same problems – but it just seems to lend itself to a stronger sense of commitment and loyalty.

What has been the brands biggest achievement to date?

Opening!

You certainly know about luxury; how do you see your luxury brand developing in the next 5 years?

Honestly, I know about quality and value not luxury and I hope our customers can feel that – it’s important that customers are coming back showing their Connolly pieces from twenty years ago with pride and love. I am building the brand the old-fashioned way—relying on a close network of friends, focusing on consistent design language, high-quality products, and a strong, cohesive narrative, which takes time and deep pockets and patience. I think another two stand-alone shops maybe in Japan and somewhere by the sea… and find brilliant retail partners that know their own clientele extremely well and can and want to introduce them to Connolly in their stores.

For the most divine shopping experience visit Connolly England 4 Clifford Street London, W1S 2LG website HERE

Photography Claire Lloyd 

connolly layout6 Chunky rugged knits

connolly layout7 Wrap up in the softest cashmere

connolly layout8 Connolly shows us not just quality but also a sophisticated colour palette

connolly layout9 Perfect stripes

connolly layout10 Beautifully finished products

 

 

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