I still haven’t been in my own home for much more than a couple of days in the last week. So this week Happy and Home comes from Iceland where I have been lucky enough to participate in a gourmet food press trip to Hotel Ranga and meet old friends who live here.
I met two Icelandic girls in 1997 when I worked as a chambermaid at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, and have kept in touch and remained friends all these years – it was wonderful to see how our lives had moved on in nearly 20 years, and I’m still fascinated by tourism and hotel life! This was my third trip to Iceland, knowing someone in a country makes you feel at home so quickly. Icelandic people are incredible, warm and welcoming and incredibly good fun. They know how to tell great stories and are really knowledgeable about their country.
So Iceland always feels like a kind of coming home to me. The colourful corrugated iron cladding you can see pictured above, at an Ice Cream farm we visited, always conjures Iceland to me.
We drove through the landscape, newly awoken from a dark, cold winter and each time it appeared, the sun made the land truly come alive.
I took this picture of a little summerhouse, I love the red roof against the blue sky, nestled beneath the mountains. I can see why Iceland has become such a popular tourist attraction, we all want to unplug and escape.
Inside, Icelandic homes are often open plan, and bring the outside in with wooden floors. We noticed the difference as soon as we arrived at the airport, light wood, modern flowing lines, pops of bright colour and pictures of nature made the space feel quite unlike any airport I have set foot in. This photo below, taken at the cafe of boutique hostel Heraddskolinn, in an old school, captures that feeling.
The fairy lights are important too, while walking through the site of the ancient Viking parliament, I asked our guide from Midgard Adventure Tours how Icelanders keep cheerful in the winter, going for walks and lots of lights or fairy lights at home were on his list.
Crime is low in Iceland, the population is small, c300,000 and so the sense of community responsibilty is high, doors are left open for family and friends to come and go.
Tantaslising glimpses of the outside, framed by pretty window displays are a feature I saw lots. Windows felt like picture frames. At Hotel Ranga the dining room has large glass windows which give 180 degree views of the stunningly wild landscape. Here are my waffles and a tantalising view of the hot tubs.
Icelandic food is incredible, with a real focus on organic, sustainable, local and high quality ingredients. I loved eating at the cafe in Fridheimar, a tomato greenhouse fuelled by geothermal energy, or hot springs. For a country that is dark and cold so much of the year, growing tomatoes is a unique challenge. The tomato soup was incredible, soup and home made bread is exactly what you need on a cold day. I also loved cinnamon bread and cheese, and spicy ginger and vegetable soup made by my Icelandic friends.
Hot tubs are the norm in family homes, houses are just built with them, a wonderful sociable way to get fresh air and be warm but outdoors. We really enjoyed the hot tubs, in their wild setting at Hotel Ranga. Being at home in nature is a consistent theme here in Iceland.
It has been a wonderful weekend, I’ve learnt so much more about Iceland this trip. I know this is only a small part of what makes Icelandic homes happy, I can’t wait to share more, especially about Hotel Ranga, the food and the sights over on A Mummy Too‘s blog.
Last week on Happy and Home
I loved this Dr Seuss inspired playroom by Grillo Designs. I noticed lots of people clicking through to see 139a’s pinboard too. Thirdly, Don’t Cramp My Style had some great tips for making a happy home.
Written a post full of home love? Join up with #happyandhome
To join in, just pick a recent post that shares your love of life at home, or why not share just one picture or 3 happy and home things, click on the blue button to add your post link.
Add the badge to help spread the word. I will be reading, tweeting and sharing on whichever other social platforms best suit your post. I will be pinning here.
Please join in by commenting and/or sharing socially too – we all want our posts to be seen and shared, so pick some posts that resonate or inspire you and share them! I’ve asked the lovely people at WayfairUK to play along with sharing too, and suggested they have a weekly browse here for new bloggers to follow and work with.
Use the hashtag #happyandhome on Instagram and Twitter and tweet me @pennyalexander_ if you spot a post you think should be featured next week.
I will share some of the posts that inspired happy homes the following week. Let’s get happy and home! Penny x
Help yourself to a badge
<a href="http://www.wayfair.co.uk/aresidence/category/happy-and-home/" target="_blank"><img alt="Happy and Home at A Residence blog" src="http://www.wayfair.co.uk/aresidence/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/happyandhome.jpg" border="0" /></a>
Link Up Your Post