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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

Filtering by Tag: travel

The Interior Inspiration Behind this Scottish Hideaway

Sommer Pyne

Nothing makes me happier to see how our customer use our gorgeous wares to create a welcoming home. Recently one of our lovely customers, Michelle shared with us her unique contemporary retreat on the Scottish Isle of Skye. So of course we had to share it with you. And if you fancy staying here you’ll find it on Unique Home Stays who are the experts when it comes to finding luxurious and unique homes off-the-beaten track in the UK. It sounds so idyllic and I could easily see myself lounging with papers on that large swing seat.

Tori from Unique Home Stay talks with Michelle, owner of Kyn about the inspiration behind her contemporary retreat on the Isle of Skye.

KYN - Images ©  Unique Home Stays

KYN - Images © Unique Home Stays

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, we would love to start by hearing the story behind how you discovered Kyn? 

My husband and I began our search for a holiday home on the Isle of Skye at the beginning of 2017. We were looking for somewhere to escape to from our busy lives as defence lawyers. Over a year we made many trips to the island to view properties and plots, concentrating our focus in and around the Sleat peninsula. The location was the most important element of the search as we were willing to build or renovate if it was in the right location.

The drive out to view the property that is now Kyn took us along Skye's highest road climbing 279m above sea level over Bealach Udal, and the views were extraordinary. The road commences it’s descent down the mountain, curling around bends and clinging to the sides of steep slopes as it plunges into Kylerhea. I knew immediately that we had found the perfect place before we had even seen the house. Upon viewing the property, it was obvious that it required a lot of work but it was where we wanted to be.

Images © Unique Home Stays

Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays

We absolutely love the clean Scandinavian style, what was your inspiration behind the interior design? 

We took inspiration for the design from the farm buildings dotted throughout the Skye landscape. Kylerhea is a crofting township so it was important to us that the building was sympathetic to that tradition. The simple pared-back style of Scandinavian design fitted the brief, and the corrugated red tin roof on the veranda is a nod to the local farm buildings and traditional croft cottages. A simple palette of wood, tin, marble and stone help to blend the property into the natural landscape. The simplicity of the design required a concentration on quality craftsmanship, from the hand made kitchen and lights, to the porch swing made and shipped from Tennessee. 

Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays

What do you enjoy most about Kylerhea and the surrounding area?   

The beautiful scenery and wildlife. Kylerhea sits by the edge of the sea strait that separates the Isle of Skye from the Scottish mainland. Nestled in a secluded glen beneath the mountains Ben Aslak and Sgurr na Coinnich, Kylerhea is in a Special Area of Conservation and is noted for its wildlife with otters, seals, deer and sea eagles being the most common visitors.

The view across to the mainland takes in the spectacular mountain ridge known as the five sisters of Kintail. The nearby Sleat peninsula is referred to as "the garden of Skye" and is dotted with historic castle ruins, galleries, craft shops and a brewery offering whisky tasting. It is also home to Kinloch Lodge, the historic seat of the Clan MacDonald, now an award-winning hotel and restaurant.

Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
NOIR BOWL
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Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays

What would your ideal weekend at Kyn entail?

A typical Saturday usually involves a late breakfast followed by a walk to the Kylerhea Otter Hide, located about a mile or so from the house. It's the best way to see the otters, seals and other local wildlife. A dip in the hot tub may follow in the afternoon, before a sumptuous dinner at Kinloch Lodge.

On Sunday, we usually take the Skye ferry which is a short walk or drive from the house over to the tiny highland village of Glenelg. The crossing takes five minutes, then we will head to Glenelg Inn which serves a great Sunday roast. After, we collect the papers from the village shop to read when we return home.

How would you describe Kyn in three words? 

Mother Nature's Beauty. 

Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays
Images ©  Unique Home Stays

Week 2. Plastic Free Travel - Mindset and Behaviour

Sommer Pyne

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Turtles in Kastellorizo swimming through rubbish and microplastics. We regularly get nets to clean the harbour but are ridiculed by locals who refuse to do the same.

Turtles in Kastellorizo swimming through rubbish and microplastics. We regularly get nets to clean the harbour but are ridiculed by locals who refuse to do the same.

Be vocal

A lot of locals in remote islands or in other places around the world are not as aware of plastic and environmental issues as the UK. Often they have the mentality that if they didn't put the rubbish there it's not theirs to clean - when it's a responsibility for all of us. They care about tourists but don't see any connection between the environment and tourism. That means tourists have a huge opportunity to make a difference and make locals care by realising it may impact tourism. Speak up and say that you don't want single use water cups or straws at a seaside restaurant. If you're at a water front restaurant, tell them nicely that you're not eating with them if the water is filthy or if there are straws all over the beach. On the flip side - speak up and tell them how much you love their efforts if they are making efforts. We found places in Sri Lanka and Formentera with metal straws and glass jars for smoothies - so we wrote great reviews for them on Tripadvisor.

Mention in person and then rant or rave on Tripadvisor - business owners and locals will soon see that the environment impacts tourism.

We factor in extra time to sit down for a meal rather than grab takeaway - Sushi is more fun with a sushi train.

We factor in extra time to sit down for a meal rather than grab takeaway - Sushi is more fun with a sushi train.

Beach Cafe in Formentera serving smoothies in glass with metal straws.

Beach Cafe in Formentera serving smoothies in glass with metal straws.

Be a Slow Traveller

Be a slow traveller and sit down for meals. As convenient as Pret and M&S are, we now get to the airport a little earlier (totally out of character for me) and sit down to eat rather than grabbing take away. We have our takeaway containers and usually order extra to take as leftovers as we avoid plane food and snacks. It also means you are less likely to miss your flight!

Campo di Fiori, Rome - we looked for Airbnbs that were next to Rome's largest food market

Campo di Fiori, Rome - we looked for Airbnbs that were next to Rome's largest food market

Trapani in Sicily, again we chose an airbnb near the local market.

Trapani in Sicily, again we chose an airbnb near the local market.

Seeking out bulk food and zero waste shops - in Lyon.

Seeking out bulk food and zero waste shops - in Lyon.

Stay Near Markets or Agritourismos

We love picking Airbnbs so we can cook and select those that are near markets so popping downstairs each morning and collecting everything we need whilst immersing ourselves in local life. In Rome we stayed above Piazza Di Fiori and in Trapani we have the local market downstairs. It makes a huge difference living by a market as you have a real local experience every day and don't have far to carry the groceries! In Mallorca we stayed at an Agritourismo with chickens and a veggie garden that the girls could access every morning to help collect eggs and food.

Freshly picked coconut cut to make its own spoon in Sri Lanka.

Freshly picked coconut cut to make its own spoon in Sri Lanka.

Search for Zero Waste Shops

Unfortunately markets don't usually have everything. So I do a quick googles search for zero waste or bulk food shops when I arrive somewhere. The website https://www.bepakt.com/ is a great reference for a list of locations. We then spend time in our first few days checking them out and doing our shopping. Often we visit a few to cover all our needs, finding ones with milk in glass is a real treat. It gives us a sense of direction as soon as we arrive somewhere and it is a bit of an adventure.

Collecting eggs in the morning from Son Mesquida Vell.

Collecting eggs in the morning from Son Mesquida Vell.

Seeking out plastic free cheese in the markets in Sardinia.

Seeking out plastic free cheese in the markets in Sardinia.

Make Zero Waste Fun

Whether it's at a bulk food shop and supermarket, we make it a treasure hunt seeking out food with either no packaging or in glass or tin (that is readily recyclable). My kids love going on the hunt for yoghurt in glass or finding nuts at the markets to make nut milk. We also seek out local activities related to food production, such as cheesemaking or mushroom foraging and of course embrace local foods for breakfast - such as olives, cucumbers and eggs.

Foraging in Greece - carob, pomegranate and figs

Foraging in Greece - carob, pomegranate and figs

Foraging in Greece for wild figs

Foraging in Greece for wild figs

Forage

Ok, it sounds a little wanky but it's anything but! If you're in a location that lends itself, engage with your food and forage for some. If you have kids it's a great way to connect them with the environment and teach them about local flora and cuisine. Have a forage and then include what you find in your next meal. My kids hated pomegranate until they picked it off the tree themselves. The Mediterranean islands are full of wild herbs, succulents, figs and carob and of course the allusive prickly pear. France has mushrooms and sunflower heads full of seeds, everywhere has something. My daughter and I have spent a good 2 hours trying to remove the micro-needles from our prickly pear foraging experience - but it hasn't deterred us, the harder to get, the more you want it right?

Foraging in Greece - local succulents to use in salads.

Foraging in Greece - local succulents to use in salads.

Foraging in Greece - Sage.

Foraging in Greece - Sage.

Learning how to say 'no plastic' in the language of the country you are in, this is Italian.

Learning how to say 'no plastic' in the language of the country you are in, this is Italian.

Get Down with the Lingo

The best way to communicate that you don't want plastic is to learn how to say 'no plastic' in the language of the country you are in. I find people so responsive when we have clearly made the effort to learn a little bit of the language! I get the girls to look up on google translate how to say 'no plastic' in which ever language we need to use.

Beach Clean in Sri Lanka. We limited the clean to outside our house - otherwise the kids would have cleaned all day.

Beach Clean in Sri Lanka. We limited the clean to outside our house - otherwise the kids would have cleaned all day.

Do a Clean and use Hashtags

You're on holiday - it's not your responsibility to clean all the time but I feel that I can't let my kids think waste in nature is normal - and the only way to get that message across is to do something about it. We mix it up with small cleans and larger beach cleans.

For a larger clean, get in touch with a local Facebook group to see if there's anyone who can join you - just search your location and there are likely to be groups. Take pics, post on social media and use hashtags such as #2minutebeachclean #TAT #TAT*yourlocation* #trashchallenge or #3forthesea. Don't let unattractive pictures stop you posting. If you have a pretty social media account hide the waste pics in a gallery and make the leading pic pretty - the end result.

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Unfortunately sometimes the only way to do a clean is to use plastic bags as hessian aren't available. But it's a judgement call - it's better to do that and remove the waste from a vulnerable area such as a beach than leave it in nature.

Quick 2 minute clean in Croatia at the Krka Waterfalls.

Quick 2 minute clean in Croatia at the Krka Waterfalls.

My kids pick up waste all the time so I actually have to put rules around it i.e. 2 Minute Beach Clean, and teach them it's not their job to do it all the time everywhere. I also make sure that if they are building a sandcastle of fairy house they only use items from nature to decorate, not trash.

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IMG-3280.JPG

Offset your travel

Finally - as much as plastic is a problem, the greatest challenge of our time is climate change. One of the greatest ways we as individuals can reduce emissions is to reduce air and boat travel. There is already too much carbon in the atmosphere, so there's a moral imperative to not add to the problem. Offsetting comes in because we can't plant our own trees en-mass or create renewable electricity in developing countries. We offset all our travel and more using Cool Effect https://www.cooleffect.org/ and their simple calculator, getting our kids involved in choosing a project. It's a small cost - sometimes as little as £7.

Then remember - have fun! It's almost impossible to be plastic free - but your efforts to be imperfectly plastic free will make a difference far beyond the actual trash you save. You'll be influencing your children, friends and over time - regulators. When you do use plastic - do it mindfully, like you would having a treat if you follow a healthy diet. If you have a plastic binge - like one trip to M&S in desperation - use it as a time to reflect on how much plastic is created in a single purchase and how far you've come by usually avoiding it. Awareness is everything.

Turtles in Kastellorizo - who often swim through rubbish and microplastics with no effort made by locals or the municipality to clean the area.

Turtles in Kastellorizo - who often swim through rubbish and microplastics with no effort made by locals or the municipality to clean the area.

To get daily inspiration follow Jacqui on instagram @jacqui.scruby or if you want extra help to live a plastic free luxe life check out her 6 weeks online course to going plastic free www.6weekstoplasticfree.com @6weekstoplasticfree and www.jacquiscruby.com

Also if you missed last weeks blog post you can check it out here Week 1. Plastic Free Travel - What you need to pack.

MY TOP 5 BEAUTY ESSENTIALS TO PACK THIS SUMMER

Sommer Pyne

My Summer holiday has finally arrived and as the kids finish school, I find myself running around trying to shop for last minute bits, pack for the whole family and hope I haven't forgotten anything. I'm not a fan of packing but I am a fan of keeping my skin hydrated in this hot weather.

Whether you're travelling abroad or staying put in the UK. I thought I would share with you my top 5 beauty essentials. I find these are all great to throw in a travel bag or beach bag and will help keep you cool, refreshed and looking gorgeous this summer. 

Shimmer Dry Oil

Shimmer Dry Oil

1.     Shimmer Dry Oil

Meraki moisturising body oil with shimmer effect gives your body a beautiful summer glow. The oil nourishes and softens your skin while the shimmer effect reflects the light giving your skin a beautiful golden glow. The oil contains i.a. vitamin E and organic sunflower oil that hydrate your skin leaving it soft and glowing. Apply a thin layer to your legs, arms, shoulders and décolleté to give your skin an instant glow.

Grown Alchemist Amenity Kit

Grown Alchemist Amenity Kit

2. Grown Alchemist Amenity Kit

Grown Alchemist's 'Amenity Kit' includes three everyday beauty essentials. Perfect size for traveling and a great way to get acquainted with Grown Alchemist. The kit contains a moisturizing cream, hydrating lip balm and soothing hand cream, each one rich in antioxidants and botanical extracts to protect and nourish your skin.

 

Meraki Pop-up Cloths

Meraki Pop-up Cloths

3. Meraki Pop-up Cloths

These clever disposable pop-up cloths are perfect for everyday use. Compressed to the size of a coin they are perfect to take with you when you’re on the go or for traveling. The cloths come in a convenient box that fits perfectly into a bag. The box contains 60 pieces.

How to use: Simply add water and watch it unfold into a soft washcloth. A perfect travel companion.

Grown Alchemist - Body Treatment Oil

Grown Alchemist - Body Treatment Oil

4. Grown Alchemist Body Treatment Oil – Ylang, Tamanu & Omega 7 100ml

A highly absorbent Body Oil formulated with a sensuous and potent blend of botanical active ingredients that soften and smooth while increasing skin elasticity and hydration, noticeably improving skin texture and appearance. And at 100ml this is just the right size to go in your carry-on bag. Top tip - Keep in the fridge during the summer, for that extra cooling factor when you apply it to your skin.

Himalayan Salt Hydrating Mask

Himalayan Salt Hydrating Mask

5. Himalayan Salt Hydrating Mask Sachets (3x10g)

An intensely hydrating clay face mask, developed for sensitive and dry skin. This water-activated clay mask hydrates and protects your skin using powdered Althaea root, drawing out dead skin and bacteria. Gentle French Red Clay cleanses the skin and promotes blood circulation, facilitating healing to skin conditions. These sachets are the perfect size to take away with you.

Happy travels, Sommer x