Saturday, 6 September 2014

Our beautiful holiday villa in Palmoli, Abruzzo, Southern Italy

 The view of the surrounding hills and hill top towns from our terrace
Terrace over looking the property and beautiful mountain view
The house and terrace
House and surrounding property
 Terrace dinning area and bbq
Our property view from the land
 View of the villa from our land
 View of surrounding mountains
The house and terrace
The night sky littered with stars
The open plan dining area
 Dining room leading onto the terrace
 Storage in dining room
 Dining room
 Dining room
Dining room leads to lounge room
 Kitchen with oven, hob, sink.
 Kitchen with fridge/freezer washing machine and coffee machine
Kitchen and dining room open plan
Lounge room front door
 Fire place with stove in lounge room
 Comfortable lounge with uncovered original stone wall
Pretty window framed by pretty flowers overlooking the property
Bedroom with double bed and bunk bed sleep 6, with ensuite bathroom
Bedroom showing bunk bed
Bedroom with double bed and ensuite bathroom
 Amore dolce from a local cafe
Ensuite bathroom with shower, basin, toilet and bidet
 Mirrored wall cabinet over basin
 Finishing touches, towels etc
 Large windows all fitted with fly screens
The 2 en-suites are mirrored.
The little original house is rebuilt and ready for renting Spring 2015

Beautiful handmade wall tiles, towel warmer/radiator

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Our holiday home in Southern Italy

Front entrance and car parking of the little villa

The view from the terrace

The terrace is being completed this year.

The lounge room and original cottage, showing stone wall.

New solid oak country style kitchen with stone worktop and views overlooking a picturesque valley.

Double bedroom with en-suite shower room.

Sleeps 6-8

Situated in a stunning rural location with distant views of more than 8 different hilltop towns, nestled in over 3 acres of olive groves and fruit trees.

The old cottage has an original corner fireplace fitted with economical wood burner, oak beam ceiling and beautiful stone feature wall.  Split level stairs connect to the large open-plan kitchen/dining room.

Two double bedrooms each with a shower en-suite, double beds in each room, one room currently has bunk beds.
The whole house has good reliable facilities including gas central heating.

The main outside terrace overlooks amazing views of the property and has a massive extension roof with wraparound tiled patio area and bbq.
Contrada Cannovella, Palmoli, Chieti, Abruzzo, Southern Italy


Elevation 443m/1453.41ft ~ flies Bristol/Rome ~ flies London Gatwick/Naples ~ flies London Stansted/Pescara

Rome has 2 airports:
Ciampino is closer, located South east of Rome. 3 hours drive in good traffic.
Fiumincino is furthest from the house, located west of Rome. There is no such thing as good traffic around Rome, this will take 4 hours to the house.

Naples Airport is 3 & 1/3 hours drive to the house.

Pescara Airport is the closest airport to the villa, only 1 hour, however, not many companies fly into Pescara.

Car hire: is a quick search comparison site with probably the best prices all round.

You can catch a bus from the main bus terminal of Rome to Vasto (Seaside resort only 25mins drive to Palmoli).  Bus takes approx 3 1/2 hours with the Di Fonzo bus company (Italian language only but can be translated via your automatic website translator) and costs approx €30 return!

There is only 1 taxi that covers the whole of the Vasto area so must be booked in advance or organise for transfers from Vasto Bus station to wherever.

To stay in Vasto, we recommend the Hotel Rio, which backs directly onto the beach at San Salvo Marina. It is clean, warm and staff are very friendly. However, the Eden Hotel get's good reviews and is cheaper.

Search and search for Vasto Marina.

Closest hotel to our villa in Palmoli is Montefreddo which is an Agritourisimo restaurant/bed & breakfast. We have eaten and stayed there, so thoroughly recommend. Unfortunately they don't answer emails frequently enough, so you will need to call for bookings. They can converse a little in English.

Vasto has a fab waterpark is called Aqualand and they also have night time shows with good reviews and with ride names like "Kamikaze", "Twister" and "Torrent", some rides are not for the faint hearted!

House fire

It has taken over a year for me to look at the pictures my husband took after our holiday home was devastated by the fire which was lit by our Italian builder at the time!  It's taken over a year and a half to put it right, and our new builder is still completing the works with the last part, the parquet flooring, due to be laid this week.  Finally we can put the fire completely behind us and look forward to many wonderful holidays in our beautiful Southern Italian villa.

new studio shop

It's been sometime since I posted.  I've been busy...
Opening my new studio shop in Cowbridge, South Wales!
Selling not just my own designs in jewellery but the new Eat Play Love prints and E=mc2 t-shirts.  As well as many lovely originals and prints from Susie Grindey, porcelain tea lights from Luna, Spice Studio cards and beautiful homewards from Sass & Belle.  The shop is now bursting at the seams with lovely bits and bobs.

I look forward to welcoming new comers from near and far.  Located at Rear Ground Studio, 27 High Street, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7AE.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

jewellery care

I was requested by as a jewellery expert to write a blog about jewellery care.  So, after a day of research and writing, once I had completed my advise for NOTHS, I thought I ought to share it with you all as well.  Come to think of it, I might also update my website too.

Silver is one of the softest metals which is why other metals are added for strength making it 925, containing 7.5% Copper by weight.
Sterling silver tarnishes which are surface oxides with the exposure to air and the environment as well as perfumes, lotions & perspiration. It is susceptible to damage by chlorine and salt so avoid wearing silver jewellery when using chlorine or bleach, or while in a chlorinated pools and hot tubs.
Often Rhodium coating may reduce tarnishing initially however this plating may reduce the shine of the silver underneath and will eventually wear off.
925 is especially prone to tarnish in hot, humid weather.
Store sterling silver and fine silver away from exposure to air/environment. A zip/lock plastic bag is a very practical and cheap way to do this. This will be especially useful for silver jewellery, as it will cut down on tarnish significantly.
Acid free tissue is an excellent way to store jewellery.
Do not store jewellery next to heating vents, windowsills or in the bathroom. Damp and hot condition will cause the jewellery to tarnish badly.
If you have very sensitive skin which is irritated by silver jewellery it's often resulting from the small amount of Nickel added and not the silver itself.
You can of course purchase hypo-allergenic jewellery and inhibitors especially in earrings which thread through the skin.
999 Silver's purest form is called Fine Silver and is particular tone to tarnishing.
In recent years we have seen the advent of 999 in many new designers creations.
This is a recycled bi-product from the car industry and starts as fine dust bound with clay so that when it is fired at high temperatures, the clay burns off leaving the Fine Silver.
Fine Silver is far more softer than Sterling as it doesn't have any added metals to strengthen it and is therefore prone to dents and scratches.
When fine silver is used for personalisation, it as been stamped into the clay and this indent will last forever.

All silver products are prone to wear and tear so careful handling is recommended particularly when storing or transporting pieces.  So if your taking your jewellery on holiday, always separate pieces in a silk roll to avoid scratching and handle necklaces with extra care to avoid kinking and knotting.

Special care should also be taken with fine gemstone cuts which are delicate and may shatter if dropped.

Chemicals found in everyday products such as hair spray, perfume, make-up, moisturizers and creams etc can accelerate tarnishing and will often coat jewellery and therefore affect it's luster.

Due to the fact that some gemstones like Topaz and Chalcedony have been heat treated to improve their colours, direct sunlight will cause fading and therefore de-value the gemstone.
Keep jewellery from getting wet and never wear whilst cleaning or washing up as it will damage the jewellery.
If you have charms that have been thread onto coloured cord, simple chemicals used when washing up, bathing or swimming in pools will strip the colour.

To clean silver, use a good quality silver cloth by rolling the jewellery between fingers.  For tougher tarnish spots, you can use a small amount of silver cleaning liquid with the silver cloth, making sure not to press too hard as small particles in the cloth may scratch the surface or even take away the pattern after years of cleaning.
You can also clean jewellery with warm soapy water and a really soft toothbrush. Then rinse thoroughly & dry well.
The best way to clean nooks and crannies of jewellery such as diamond pave set rings is with a sonic cleaner with specialised cleaning fluid, however a soft toothbrush will also work with a small amount of washing up liquid.  You can purchase sonic cleaners online or take your jewellery into you high street jeweller.

Gold vermeil is sterling silver micro-plated with yellow gold of various grades and is an affordable way of purchasing gold jewellery.  However, whilst it will not tarnish like silver, it will get dirty with wear and chemicals, lotions, perfumes and moist conditions will corrode it.  So its particularly important to take the above measures which will increase it's longevity.
When purchasing platinum jewellery after ware it will darken in colour.

When purchasing wired jewellery it's always worth checking it has been made correctly and doesn't snag your clothes.
Make-up, body creams and hair lacquer will transfer onto jewellery especially pearls, shells and gemstones during wear but you can clean their precious surfaces by lightly rubbing with a light oil such as linseed.
It's always recommended to only put your jewellery on once all you make-up/hair and body scent ritual is complete.
Jewellery will snag tights and fine materials such as shiffon, so it's always better waiting to the last minute before putting jewellery on.
Remove jewellery when sleeping, exercising, cleaning, gardening or any other rough or physical work.
Melinda Mulcahy

Monday, 29 October 2012

Phoenix rises

Sadly we received a call from our friend Craig in Italy yesterday morning to advise that someone broke in and set fire to our little holiday villa in Palmoli. The old lady who lives up the hill saw the flames on the roof and called the fire brigade who managed to put out the fire before it started in the new extension.  Unfortunately, the old cottage with the lovely oak beams is now gone, and all but the thick stone walls remain.
The meter thick wall that separated the buildings acted as a fire barrier but the extreme heat has damaged every window, melting the fridge, boiler and electrics and what hasn't burned or melted, smoke damage has done the rest. 
At present we are shocked although as we are unable to see the damage with our own eyes, so it seems quite surreal. Luckily no-one was hurt and we have insurance but cover will not be confirmed until we meet with the Loss Adjusters in Italy thereafter the Insurers confirmation. It will be an anxious couple of weeks to say the least. Fingers crossed it will all go as smoothly as possible.
As it was our holiday house, we didn't leave anything of sentimental value, just our hearts in what we tried to achieve. Based on evidence that they didn't take anything, we suspect this incident has something to do with the builder based on our lengthy legal dispute, which was settled earlier this year in our favour but clearly the judgement of the law wasn't enough.

We simply can not comprehend what would posses anyone to do such a malicious act. We have made so many lovely friends in Italy and we would never tarnish all Italians with the same brush.

It took 3 years searching for a property, and another 3 years planning and building. We wanted to introduce Abruzzo to friends and family and enjoy our little part of Italy, and this year all our efforts were coming to fruition. Now we're back to where we started and it just means more hard work.

Of course we're bruised but by no means broken.  We are not victims and we will rebuild. From the ashes, the Phoenix rises.

Thanks for all your well wishes and support xxxx

Monday, 10 September 2012

What next?

Python clutch in natural

Dyed Python folding clutch in Turquoise
I had these really simple folding snake skin clutches made for me whilst I was away in Bali as I've been wanting to introduce a new line.....

Exotic skins

My new compulsion for exotic skins

I love love love my new watersnake tote!  Perfect everyday