A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

Achieve Living Room Enlightenment – Sensatori Lounge Love

Sensatori Fethiye


Blue is my new favourite colour. Blue is a colour that lets the mind relax and tap into it’s deepest creativity. Today I thought I would let it take me to some living room enlightenment.

Over the weekend I went on a press trip to Turkey with Thompson Holidays to the brand new five star Sensatori resort, Fethiye. Sensatori is a blending of two words, ‘senses’ and the Japanese ‘Satori’ meaning ‘moment of enlightenment’.

What struck me was the way the resort plays on your senses, from the taste of Turkish delight and Turkish apple champagne as you arrive, to the sound of the breeze rusting through the wild grasses and palm trees, to the other worldly scent of the shampoo, to the feel of a shaggy rug under your toes, to the sight of imaginative modern interiors with plenty of dramatic twists. It is living room enlightenment I am on the hunt for today.


pool side grasses at sensatori fethiye


Sensatori Piano Lounge

The piano bar gave me the inspiration for today’s post, I loved the chocolate, teal and stone hues, the use of pebble like shapes for the tables and the richness of the wooden floors. These pendant lights looked stunning and really make the bar area feel like somewhere you want to linger.


Sensatori Fethiye Piano Lounge

Sensatori Fethiye Piano Lounge

Sensatori Fethiye Piano Lounge - 1

Coastal Inspiration

The tub arm chairs mimic the sea and sand, while the coffee tables are like giant pebbles. Long banks of sofas lend themselves to lazing and chatting, The deep blue cushions and black frames lift the sandy hues and bring a more sophisticated evening feel to the lounge, while remaining strikingly contemporary. Silver light fittings bring glamour and palm trees bring the outside in.


Sensatori Fethiye Photos of the Piano Lounge  - 3

Sensatori Fethiye Piano Lounge

Sensatori Fethiye Piano Lounge


On holiday I forget everything…

I’ve picked out a few items from Wayfair, inspired by the interiors at Sensatori, but with more of a homely feel; you can absolutely take inspiration from this piano bar area for home interiors, but reaching enlightenment or ‘satori’ at home requires a slightly softer look, and, as we head in a little reluctantly into Autumn, some cosy throws too.


On holiday I forget everything


On holiday I forget everything by penny-alexander on Polyvore

Top rowOn holiday I forget Everything Cushion, Brooklyn blue knitted throw, chocolate cushion.

Second rowBilly Arm Chair in Blue (also in grey), surf coffee table.

Third row – Blue Pearl arm chair ( also in stone), pebble coffee table, Pedro teal arm chair.

Fourth rowPedro arm chair in Natural (also in graphite, teal, plum, olive), Galaxy oval coffee table.

Bottom rowblue cushion, Tunworth wooden box coffee tables, Brooklyn brown throw

Have you achieved living room enlightenment yet?

It’s flying up my list of home projects…


Disclosure I was a guest of Tui News Room for this trip, all editorial and opinions are my own.  Please see Thompson Holidays for more information on the resort.

6 creative playhouse ideas



I was a child of the 80s, I have such vivid memories of marching up the cul-de-sac I grew up on, to my friend Laura’s house, my little wendy house tucked under my arm, all set for another long summer day of setting up camp.

This week my 6yo was gutted to discover I had given our wendy house away. I’m first to admit my attempts to clear the clutter of long forgotten toys are occasionally premature, and result in pangs of guilt and replacement purchases. As I type this, he is camped out in the garden in the pop up tent we found to replace it. You really can’t beat a tent, a den or a hideout to prolong kid’s outdoor play, but you can think outside the toy box a little….


A long term investment


i remember reading once that rather than buying a playhouse, you should buy a shed, kids quickly outgrow playhouses, but they don’t outgrow wanting a den, a space to chill, or craving privacy from the rest of the family. A summer house is a multi functional space that many members of the family can use over time. A wise investment. Wayfair have a fab range of styles of shed. I love this one.


The real deal

4 Person Rapid Tent


For slightly older kids a real tent is the perfect solution. It is something to grow up with, giving them a more independent experience when you camp as a family and a tent to use when they are old enough to camp alone, meanwhile they also get to play out the authentic camping experience at home. You can get a 2 man pop up tent for only £23 currently, easy enough for a 6 year old to put up alone, or pictured above is a slightly larger 4 man tent.


For the playhouse purist


I love this little wigwam, it is just one of many I have eyed up at Wayfair. It makes me terribly nostalgic for my childhood, I think it reminds me of an old duvet or pyjamas, I think many a happy childhood memory could be made here.



For the Modernist

At £692 the Hobikken playhouse is an investment, but if you want to retain a stylish modern home, whilst gaining the largest floorspace on the indoor playhouse market, this could be your ideal play home.




For those with a wild imagination

I love this play garage playhouse, the attention to detail and fabric make it so pleasing to the eye, unlike the polyester one I had as a kid. There are all sorts of lovely themes, I picked out garage, but what about pirates, fairy princesses, a barn or a beach shack?


Play Garage Playhouse

Trampoline Tent

Another way to incorporate a den into the garden is to buy a trampoline tent, they make less of an eye sore of trampolines, provide shade and double up as a den. Drag some cushions and sleeping bags out and camp out on your very own bouncy bed!




And of course, you can’t beat a blanket over the washing airer, washing line, picnic table, or whatever you have to hand.

When did you last play in a den?

Travel: Home from Home – The Crown Hotel, Wells-Next-The-Sea, North Norfolk

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 1

I love finding a home from home. The Crown Hotel Wells Next the Sea, North Norfolk has to be one of the best hotels we have stayed in, in terms of its dog and family friendliness, as well as all the boxes it ticks for grown ups too. The decor is gorgeous, it feels like staying in a country home, it is a real luxury treat, yet kids and dogs are warmly welcomed. Visitors without dogs or children are also very welcome and if you dropped in for a romantic weekend as a couple, you would feel equally at ease; it is a great space for accommodating different guest needs, with lots of peaceful nooks and crannies.

The recent refurbishment of this old coaching inn is very clever, our family room was a home from home, rather than a sofa bed for the kids, or paying for a second, and often very expensive adjoining room, there was a little kids’ room behind our bedroom. I say little, it had a single bed and bunk beds, so could accommodate a family of five, six with a camp bed or travel cot. So while the kids do what kids do in hotel rooms (jump, leap and generally get over excited) you can do the same, but in the peace of your own super luxury quarters.

The Crown Hotel Wells - 2

The decor is gorgeous here, and there’s plenty of it to take inspiration from – plump cushions, tapestry on the walls, antique and vintage style furniture. Max the dog photobombed this shot, but it was the gorgeous chair and silver mirror I was trying to show you.

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 4

And I wanted to give you a sense of the wallpaper, lots of layers and textures make the rooms feel really grand and sumptuous. Sage and purple is a really calming colour scheme, but it is kept from feeling too sleepy by pops of red antique leather chair, the ornate silver mirror and light fittings.

There is an enticing view over out to Wells, over stunningly coloured lichen on the rocks, suggestive of the sea, which is only a 10 minute stroll away. We absolutely loved North Norfolk, I will leave you with some links to ‘what to do’ posts later, but there are stunning swathes of unspoilt beach, great food, beautiful villages and chances to get close to nature calling you. It’s an absolutely wonderful part of the world to retreat to. The Crown Hotel really tops all that natural majesty.

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 5

The bathroom was lovely and spacious, I liked the way the window had been turned into a mirror and the gorgeous roll top bath was the perfect way to finish a day of walking and exploring North Norfolk – one day my house will have one too! There’s a shower unit too, tucked out of sight.

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea - 7

Lucky Max got his own bed, next to the radiator, some doggy biscuits and his own towel, which after a few muddy walks, he needed.

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea - 2

There were lovely treats for us too, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and flapjacks!

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 2

There is even a thermos in case you want to take a warming drink on a brisk sea walk with you!

The Crown Hotel Wells - 1

We loved that the dining room was full of books. Kids’ books as well as grown ups’ books. I think books really make you feel at home. There was even a wicker basket of baby and toddler toys at breakfast time.

The Crown Hotel Wells - 5


The children were the only ones in the restaurant when we dined, but were treated really brilliantly by the staff, like mini adults. It was fascinating to see how well they responded to that, they even tried some new foods. The food was as incredible as it sounds on the locally sourced and seasonal menu.

Dogs are welcome in the less formal, but just as enticing bar area, which also has larger tables for dining. I love that shabby chic chest, there’s a lovely nautical feel to this room, you could imagine the characters who might have travelled through when it was a coaching inn.


The Crown Hotel Wells - 6


I will leave you with the willow pattern breakfast tea cups, which again, with the lovely pine tables, made me feel very at home, admittedly they are nothing like my home, but they reminded me of my Grandmother’s home, which is a very good home feeling indeed.

I think that hits the nail on the head of what I liked most about The Crown: it feels lived in, like staying with a really grown up relative, who has invested in great antiques, classic and comfortable furniture, plus has the time and life experience to layer together lots of lovely home inspiration with pieces that tell a story. Oh, and did I mention they happen to live by the most stunning stretch of British coastline too?


The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea iphone - 6

Get the look!

Inspiration for the home is everywhere, here are some of my favourite picks from Wayfair.co.uk, inspired by our stay at the Crown Hotel, Wells-next-the-sea.

Crown Hotel Wells

Clockwise from top left: D and J Simmons Berkley MirrorAncient Marnier Vintage Studded Leather Chair, Urban Designs table lampOceans Apart Recycled Trunk Chest.


Need to know

The Crown Hotel, Wells-next-the-sea, North Norfolk

This was part of a review weekend organised on behalf of Visit North Norfolk. You can see what we got up to in North Norfolk, when we weren’t being spoilt rotten at The Crown here, here and here.

House Fantasy: Beside the Sea – New Nautical

Georges Fish and Chip kitchen Nottingham


Who doesn’t dream of living by the sea? Once upon a time I lived on the seafront in Hove.  I can’t lie, after you’ve lived by the sea it is hard to settle. Landlocked Nottingham is far from the sea, but it was here at George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen that I found today’s seaside house fantasy. I know, it has been far too long since my last house fantasy.

I was immediately struck by these fisherman’s lights, at the bar and I’ve since spotted a gorgeous blue pendant light at Wayfair today. But I also love the pale blue bar front, like beach huts in Wells-next-the-sea. The overall look reminds me of a Sarah Waters novel I read, Tipping the Velvet, the main character works in her families oyster bars in Whistable. It’s definitely got a Victorian seaside feel and a dash of industrial.  I’m calling it new nautical.

I always remember my Mum singing this song and I love the little jars filled with driftwood. I’ve spotted a lovely collection of these roped jars here. Wooden crates for Condiments are such a clever idea. Fish cushions inject a bit of fun, but fish themed patterns can also be a more subtle way of playing with a nautical theme.


Georges Fish and Chip kitchen and National video game arcade Nottingham - 3


The restaurant building has dramatic high ceilings and has a specially built mezzanine floor, I love the tiling and copper lights, you can also just spot the brightly coloured metal tea pots. I’ve always fancied a more open plan house with a mezzanine….I digress, back to nautical.


Georges Fish and Chip kitchen Nottingham


The mezzanine is home to beach hut booths, now if I can’t have an actual one on a beach, I would love a beach hut in my home, wouldn’t you? I was also hooked on these hooks which hang the light fittings. I love the more industrial take on the nautical theme.


photos Georges Fish and Chip kitchen and National video game arcade Nottingham - 04


The door handles are these amazing fish, and the large glass doors give you a glance across to Victorian Nottingham.


photos Georges Fish and Chip kitchen and National video game arcade Nottingham - 02


The toilets have porthole mirrors…


photos Georges Fish and Chip kitchen and National video game arcade Nottingham - 07


The roped glass continues in the toilets too.


photos Georges Fish and Chip kitchen and National video game arcade Nottingham - 09


And the wallpaper is hilarious…


photos Georges Fish and Chip kitchen and National video game arcade Nottingham - 10


if you’ve enjoyed this, do visit George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen in Nottingham, or read more about the family food experience here on my personal blog, and check out my Fisherman’s Huts style Pinterest board. A bit of fun, but it seems to be enticing a fair few followers who share this particular house fantasy.

Follow Penny Alexander’s board Fisherman’s Huts on Pinterest.

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