9 Aug 2019

Caminito Del Rey, Malaga | World's Most Dangerous Walkway?




Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain
Is caminito del rey the world's most dangerous walkway, hiking in malaga spain

"Risk taker" and "thrill seeker" aren't two words that would describe me. It's not that I haven't done some cool and slightly hairy things in the past, but on my recent trip to Malaga with AC Hotels I'd say I certainly ticked one of the boxes off properly - with a 8k walk along the "World's Most Dangerous Walkway". Well, that's what Google likes to label it anyway...

When Hollie saw that I might have the opportunity to explore one of Spain's more dangerous pursuits, it was a firm no...No way, no how. And I must admit, the articles and stories which I'd seen online didn't install me with the greatest of confidence either. But then, a little further digging suggested that the whole cliffside walkway - which cuts through one of Malaga's most beautiful regions, along with the early 1900s hillside railway - was actually fully renovated in 2015, taking on extensive repairs to tired parts of the hike, while also creating a whole new modern walkway which now sees thousands of visitor's feet each day. Sounded pretty resonable to me.

Sure, it could be very silly if you messed about or stay glued to your phone screen a little too long, but it would be wrong to label "The King's Little Path" as dangerous. It was definately high up, and and some points the pathway does become narrow, but to called it dangerous would be sensationalism.

That's not to say it wasn't a sensational experience. In fact, the hike through Caminito del Rey in 32 degrees heat was one of most amazing experiences of my life, and I'm so pleased I said yes to the opportunity. Scary at points, almost unbearable heat throughout, and some of the most stunning views I've ever seen in person. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Mat.

18 Jul 2019

Malaga Travel Diary

ac hotels malaga review
ac hotels malaga review
ac hotels malaga review
ac hotels malaga review
ac hotels malaga review
 A stay at AC Hotels Malaga, the ideal location

Trip part of a paid project w/ AC Hotels

On the odd occasion when an exciting opprotunity drops in my inbox I start to feel very anxious and overwhelmed by the end of the email. These feelings hit when AC Hotels approached me with a travel commission; to visit two of their newly renovated hotels in the South of Spain and explore both cities while documenting my time via Instagram. Sounds ideal! But in the back of my head I was thinking about the other incomplete projects I was juggling with at the same time.

This is by no means a problem, a busy schedule is what I'm after as a full time freelancer, but I don't love the anxious feeling that can appear when my battery on low-power mode.

Then usually it just takes Hollie to snap me out of it - telling me to grab those exciting opportunites and make the most out of them, because you really don't know if that opporunity when present itself again. And I'm so glad I did.

So I found myself walking head-on into a wall of heat as I puffed across the sun-bleached runway at Malaga airport. Prepped as much as I could be with only a few days notice.

Hey Malaga.

mia coffee shop speciality coffee malaga
mia coffee shop speciality coffee malaga
A welcomed break from the direct heat at Mia Coffee House 
everyday street details in malaga
everyday street details in malaga
everyday street details in malaga beach
everyday street details in malaga

I've decided to lay low on the words and leave it to the photos this time. Next up, a hike around Caminito del Rey and 24 hours in Seville.

Mat.

9 Jul 2019

Our House Tour, Updated






Porch Tiles by Tops Tiles, Desk by Dan Marc, Wall Mounted Shelf by IKEA x HAY, Lamp by Anglepoise x Paul Smith

the porch, hallway and my office


[Features gifted items]

Whoa there, has been a long time coming! I seem to share an interior update maybe once a year, but this is probably the first time I've done the full shebang - the full house tour. It's pretty surreal to think we've been homeowners for nearly three years, and it honestly feels like yesterday since we were plastering white paper on to our windows for curtains and having dinner from the floor.

A lot has changed at number 23, both me and Hollie are incredibly proud of the work we have done on our humble 1930's semi-detached plot. The small tweaks, the big builds, the epic DIYs (if anyone remembers last summer's back garden fence project?!), the investment pieces and the last minute repair job - the whole thing is a massive learning curve, and something that has helped us grow as individuals.

So let's have a nose around:








Sofa, Coffee Table, Chair, Planter, Bar Accessories, Picture Frame by West Elm [gifted], Magazines via Coffee Table Mags, Byredo Candle via MR PORTER [gifted], Jacket by Kestin Hare [gifted], Bar Cart by West Elm

 the living room

About three months ago we embarked on an interior styling project with American furniture and homeware brand West Elm. We have a bunch of items by the brand already - including the mid-century walnut bar cart, which we received as a wedding present - and they'd been enjoying my interior content which I'd been sharing on my Instagram page. So they approached us with an idea; pick out some stuff from their website to integrate into our home, documenting the styling of each item across my social accounts, blog and follow up with a feature on their website. Ace!

It's an on-going project as things are always changing around ours; with corners taking a reshuffle on a weekly basis, new things being built [my father-in-law made our dining room table], and adapting the rooms depending on the weather, aka if the bi-fold doors are open we need to move certain things out the way.

So as you look though these photos you may spot a few things dancing around depending on when I first took the photo :) We both really love this space and spend most of our time there.

Dining Table create by us, Dining Table Chairs, Sideboard, Rug + Vase by West Elm [gifted], Serving Bowl + Wooden Block by ARKET [gifted], Candle by Wxy [gifted]

the dining room

This is the space I've always struggled to photograph, but still one of my favourite areas in our whole house. Where all the good stuff gets eaten. The slight jut-out from our living room / kitchen area was created by the previous owners, and if you look at the original plans for the house you can see that our now-dining room was once part of the back garden. 

The skylight brings loads of natural light in even when it's a dull day - slightly defused by the privacy glass we had installed (we don't want our neighbours seeing what we're eating!) - and the red brick wall is sympathetic to the original time period.

The West Elm sideboard and chairs worked perfectly with our style, which is somewhere between mid-century Americana and Scandinavian, but I would still like to add a little more colour and interest above the wall. New lampshades needed too.

Table Lamps by Menu [gifted by Utility], Vase by H+M Home, Drawers by IKEA, Hanging Lamps by Anglepoise

 the bedroom

One of the first rooms we decorated was the bedroom, and it's probably the most simplistic in the house. I'm terrible at sleeping, even at the best of times, so the idea was to create a relaxing space, free from clutter and void of anything too distracting. The result is a airy, neutral space, filled with soft sandy coloured walls, beige linen bedsheets and subtle brass fixings. 

For the long terms plan we aim to get rid of the grey carpet and restore the original floor boards to a liveable state, add a nice big rug, heavy curtains and away we go!


Sideboard by IKEA, Planter by West Elm [we bought that one], chair by Made, cushions by Anthropologie

the front room and back garden


One complete room vs one total work-in-progress. I realise that I'm not really showing off these spaces so well here, but I'm planning to do a full video house tour over on IGTV soon - then I'll be able to get in deets a little more.

The front room is a cosy kinda place, heavily influenced by the art deco and mid-century design movements, with an added bit of Asian travel and 50's Americana. Ok, that probably sounds well schmancy, but it works, honest. You'll see, soon.

And that leaves us with the back garden. The biiiiiig ongoing project. Currently we have four tub chairs, a small round table and two plant pots, sans-plants. We're planning to build some wooden planters around the edge in the same style as we built the fence, and create a dining area in the opposite corner, complete with pergola, tall plants and maybe a space for a small bbq. We'll make that happen soon!

I hope you have enjoyed a little look around our home. As things change I'll try to keep updated you via more blog posts and such, but until then if you'd like to see more of how we created each room then be sure to check out my highlight tabs on Instagram.

Mat + Hollie.

14 Jun 2019

Our Museums + Galleries: An Untapped Wellbeing Resource



A familiar theme forms when I'm preparing for a trip away; book my travel, research, research, research, then pack my bags. With heavy weight given to the middle bit, I consider the planning and map-making to be the key to a decent couple of days away. Good for my head, and good for whoever I'm with.

Always on the list; local cafes, coffee shops, craft beer bars, design stores and museums + galleries. As I've got older my tastes have changed; I'll now seek out the coffee shops with a more considered approach to service and the interior, and cafes with a nice balance of personality, but one constant which hasn't altered are the museums. Since a teenager I've always loved spending time nosing around museums; an hour's wander at the British Museum in London with a buddy, a solo visit to the Manchester Art Gallery taking in a photography exhibition, or learning about something more historical like the Trencherfield Mill in Wigan. It's part of what I've always enjoyed.

Art Fund recently approached me with the subject of how 30 minutes of leisure activities a day is the key to improved wellbeing, which got me thinking about why I've always liked making time for these exhibitions + well designed spaces around the country. It's the perfect thing to do when you're riding solo, but when a buddy tags along you'll find yourself chatting about subjects that generally don't cross your mind. 


For context, here are some of the findings from Art Fund’s Calm and Collected report, a study into how regularly visiting museums and galleries can contribute to a greater sense of wellbeing:

- 53% of adults said they had recently felt some level of anxiety on any given day, with 34% describing that anxiety as being at a ‘high level"
 
- 27% of adults feel guilty about taking time for themselves
 
- Only 41% say they have a hobby or activity that they regularly make time for, there is still plenty of scope for improvement – and that’s where art can play a more significant role
- While 51% of those surveyed say they would like to visit museums and galleries more regularly – and 63% say they have at some point visited specifically to ‘de-stress’ – only 6% of us actually visit at least once a month
 
- Those who regularly visit museums and galleries as part of their overall lifestyle tend to feel much more satisfied with their lives, and in the social study, those who visit a museum or gallery at least once a week report a range of benefits, from learning new things to finding space to reflect



So why are we increasingly feeling so anxious? I'd be the first to say that I feel the pressure which social media and a freelance lifestyle seems to evoke. I have great days and crappy days, and it's generally down to the pressure I've put on myself to be earning, to always be "on" and by comparing myself to others. I am finding the balance though; switching off totally isn't the right tact for me, but if I pinpoint the times where I do feel de-stressed I would have to say a lot of those moments are when I'm making time for the things that feel right. Museums + galleries fit in perfectly.

I'd never proclaim that the job role I've found myself in is "hard work" - it's a job I love, and therefore I feel fortunate to have found my place - but it would definitely benefit my own wellbeing to pursue more of the things I love to do in my spare time. I visit a museum maybe once a month, and leave feeling content and usually a little closer to the person who I'm with, so why don't I make more time for these visits? I'm not sure I have an answer to that.

"Do more of what feels right"
What I tell myself when things aren't going to plan 


Investing in yourself maybe isn't a subject we think about all that often. The Art Fund study shows that we are aware of the benefits of pursuing activities which contribute to our wellbeing (listening to inspiring podcasts, reading, exercise, socialising without phones etc), but it's the keeping it up bit that I reckon I struggle with. So this is me making a pact with myself to do more of what feels right, on a regular basis. The UK’s museums and galleries seem to be that untapped resource to wellbeing that many of us are seeking.

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Through the National Art Pass (an annual membership which gives you free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historical places across the UK + 50% of entry to major exhibitions including those at the British Museum, Tate, and the Design Museum) the Art Fund is encouraging us to say ‘yes’ more often to the things that make us happy. So when was the last time you dedicated a bit of time to visiting a gallery, what did you see + how did it make you feel?⁣⁣