Welcome to the Gili Islands, Lombok


Gili islands beaches travel review
Visit Gili islands impeccable white-sand beaches

The Gili Islands off the north-west coast of Lombok, Indonesia, are truly special. The tropical island getaway has something for everyone; picturesque white sandy beaches, stunning coral reef, deep turquoise seas and most favourably, no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions.

Transport on the Gili islands
Explore the serene islands

The word ‘Gili’ actually means ‘small islands’, with the most popular of the small island locations being Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili  Trawangan.

Previously renowned as a backpacker haven, Gili Islands now attracts a diverse group of worldly travellers looking for the perfect tropical escape.

The pristine waters around the three islands are abundant with thriving corals and thousands of species of tropical fish, attracting popular PADI dive companies and serious divers, as well as those looking to take it easy and snorkel the impressive array of sea life.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Trawangan

We arrived at Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, by boat from mainland Bali. The journey typically takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by ‘fast boat’ from Padang Bai.

We dropped our bags off at the hotel accommodation and hired bicycles. Immediately the feeling of freedom from noise, fumes and chaos created by the lack of vehicles is truly liberating. There is a real ‘laid-back’ feeling about the whole island, so leave your suitcase at home and pack a weekend bag with only your favourite beach shorts, sandals and t-shirts.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Our island transportation

Gili Trawangan is a 2.5km total round trip, which is achievable to cycle in under an hour – and not at all challenging even after a few Bintang local beers!

The island has two very different sides. The west coast (which is the opposite side to the landing dock) is very chilled and is ideal for daytime sun worshippers, surfers or to view the most amazing sunsets. You will find bars and restaurants dotted along the beachfront. The surf is small yet enjoyable, and boards can be hired on the beach at around 100Rp per hour. By contrast, the east side of the island (which is where you dock, and accommodates the many dive centres) is much livelier.

Admittedly, we arrived during the holy month of Ramadan and with most of the island population being Muslim, the party scene was quiet during this time. However, it is important to note that Gili Trawangan is labelled ‘the party island’ so be prepared for lots of young travellers and sun seekers during the high-season.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Casa Vintage bar and restaurant offers an authentic Jamaican menu

Beach restaurants - Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel reviewAlphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Air

In contrast to Gili Trawangan, Gili Air  (just 20 minutes by local boat or 5 minutes by speedboat) is undoubtedly less ‘touristy’. A laid-back travel destination with cool beach bars and simple cafes, however over recent years the island has seen luxury accommodation developments added along the beachfront.

Gili Air offers low-key, unspoilt nature with the idyllic beaches and great surf locations. The views from the island are stunning but the east coast offers probably the most dramatic scenery with views across to Lombok and Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mt Rinjani.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Meno

And finally, the island of Gili Meno; the ‘couple’s island’. Gili Meno island is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly peaceful haven in the tropical sun with uncrowded beaches, beautiful clear seas, tranquil evenings – and a guarantee of no rowdy bars or full moon parties!

Gili Meno is a haven for those seeking an unspoilt island escape. With a population of only 400 people, the entire island is possible to explore and walk around in just 90 minutes.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Have you visited the Gili Island’s? If so, comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Timeless Home Styling: French Interiors

Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment

Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartmentÉmilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartmentTake a look at this dreamy Parisian apartment owned by interior designer Emilie Bonaventure. Hidden away in Pigalle in the 9th arrondissement, the feminine space offers a discreet and elegant refuge from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant French city.

 

The high ceilings, marble fireplaces and herringbone parquet flooring creates a calming sanctuary, whilst retaining a sense of French simplicity.  

Give your home space a dose of Parisian chic and opt for designs with calming neutral hues and blends of white, ivory, cream and caramel tones. Offset with geometric patterns and lighter textures to make your scheme work for the summer season and beyond…

 

Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment Émilie Bonaventure French interiors parisian apartment

MASTER THE LOOK & SHOP THE EDIT:

French home styling tips oka chair
OKA CHANTAL FRENCH-STYLE ARMCHAIR, OAK FRAME £895.00

 

French home styling tips
John Lewis Flokati Rugs, Natural £35-£115
French home styling tips John Lewis Boutique Hotel Silk Bedspread, Natural £180.00 - £260.00
John Lewis Boutique Hotel Silk Bedspread, Natural £180.00 – £260.00

A weekend in Amsterdam


Take a trip to Amsterdam over the Easter break and make the most of the four-day weekend in the cool, stylish and laid-back city. We highly recommend that you rent a bike like a local and cycle along the many canals, browse the boutiques, pick up trinkets from the canal-side markets and browse the vibrant art scene. You’re never far from a cool coffee shop to stop and take a break to people watch.

Rich with cultural history, Amsterdam has something for everyone. Architecture, museums, and galleries to rival any large city, a vibrant nightlife, traditional bars serving local beers to high-end nightclubs attracting world class DJs.

We loved the city so much and can’t wait to go back! Share with us your favourite places to visit in Amsterdam in the comments section below!
The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam. The Alphabet Lifestyle guide on things to do and place to visit in Amsterdam.

Mediterranean-Inspired Garden Goals


Architect Marc Appleton and Joanna Kerns’ dreamy Californian garden oozes rich memories of summers spent in the Mediterranean, sipping on chardonnay in the warm evening’s sun. With a dreamy mixture of northern Italian and southern French influences, we adore this garden setting and simply cannot wait to take inspiration and apply it to our alfresco events this summer!

Small Apartment Top Tips: No wardrobe, No worries!

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment

Are you struggling to find space for a wardrobe?  These inspirational clothes storage ideas make us want to throw out our wardrobes and make our clothes and accessories part of the room decor. Very on trend. What do you think?

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via digsdigs.com
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via Apartment Therapy
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Apartment Therapy
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via My Interior Inspiration
Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via Home Decorating Trends

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment

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For small apartment storage tips
Image via smart schoolhouse.com

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment

Wardrobe home storage ideas small apartment
Image via flemarie.fr

Langkawi, Malaysia


Who wouldn’t be excited to spend the New Year holiday in Langkawi with family? Langkawi lies amidst over 100 mountain islands just off the coast of mainland Malaysia. The interior of the main island is a fusion of paddy fields and jungle-clad hills. Despite attracting luxurious 5star hotels, the island has managed to maintain an idyllic rural Malaysian island vibe.

Getting there…

We travelled from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur, spending two incredible nights visiting street markets and temples such as the Batu Caves – an iconic Hindu temple and shrine.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Alor Street Food Market
Try the street food at Jalan Alor street markets

Langkawi is just a short 2hr flight from KL. An alternative route is via Thailand. Ferris, from as little as £20 sail from KohLipe Koh Lanta and some of the other southern islands of Thailand.Langkawi

Langkawi…

Waking up on our first morning to beautiful white sandy beaches, it was hard to drag ourselves away, so Day 1 was spent literally lounging around.

The Datai Bay, Langkawi
The Datai Bay, Langkawi

Feeling rested, we visited local shops, restaurants, craft stalls and our favourite night market in Pantai Cenang.

Langkawi night market

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Visit Cenang for local food, cheap massages, reflexology and local gifts to bring home.

Langkawi night market food

Most of the beach front hotels collect their fish deliveries every morning from local fishermen. We were able to pick our fish straight from the boat and book our table from the beach.

Jala restaurant langkawi malaysia
Try the fresh fish at the seafront Jala restaurant within The Andaman hotel
Local fishermen delivering food to The Andaman hotel
Local fishermen delivering food to The Andaman hotel

A not to be missed attraction is the Langkawi SkyBridge; the longest free-span and curved bridge in the world!  The SkyBridge can be accessed via a cable car ride 2.2km up to the Mount Machinchang escarpment to the summit at 708 metres above sea level to see the incredible views of the island and UNESCO Geopark.

Cable car to the Langkawi SkyBridge
Breathtaking views of 550 million-year-old sandstone outcrops, waterfalls and Langkawi’s rainforest – one of the oldest jungles in the world.

Langkawi skybridge cable car views

Skybridge - Langkawi

Explore some of the beautiful beaches. We recommend visiting the Tanjung Rhu beach located in the north of the island and our the idyllic beach at the Datai Bay with white sands and crystal clear waters.  Take lunch at the Andaman Hotel or The Datai and visit the Geo Spa at the Four Seasons hotel on Tanjung Rhu.

The Datai Bay beach
The Datai bay beach
Fourseasons.com
Four Seasons spa

If you are looking for activity and water sports then head to Chenang Beach where you can find all the usual water sports, including a jet ski adventure that takes you through some of the island caves, mangroves, eagle feeding and dophin spotting. The only way to see some of these cast away beaches is by jetski or boat, so you really need to book on a local trip and go see.

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Play golf at the The Els Club Teluk Datai, arguably one of the best courses in Malaysia. We had to chase monkeys from the greens before putting out, and a friendly dog kindly chased off a monitor lizard from the fairway! Where else can you find animal adventures on a golf coast?!

Monkey Langkawi Els Golf Club

monitor lizard langkawi

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Penthouse Architecture: Ian Simpson

Ian Simpson architect manchester luxury lifestyle

This week we’re coveting renowned architect Ian Simpson’s amazing Manchester Penthouse, set on the 47th floor of the Beetham Tower.

Designed by Simpson himself, the 2 storey apartment complex covers the top 2 floors of this incredible Manchester landmark and boasts an amazing olive garden consisting of 30 spectacular trees and a 23-foot tall garden. It really is an incredible home!

Let us know what you think below.

Get The Look: 10 ways to style a tan leather sofa


Whether you’re loving a cool and modern look or a bohemian eclectic look, the tan leather sofa is making a big statement. If I had to choose my one time favourite home essential it would be this timeless piece of furniture. A great investment piece, it will see you through many years And through different style changes. There’s something warm and comforting about an aged leather sofa. It manages to be sleek and stylish while there’s still something warm and comforting about its timeless elegance.  And what’s more, you can relax with the knowledge that it’s only going to get better with age.

Tan leather sofa large interior space high ceilings
2016 HKLIVING catalogue photographed by Paulina Arcklin

Tan leather sofa home interiors

Add large artwork, grey walls and a handcrafted rug to create drama

Home interiors Tan leather sofa open plan living space
http://www.alexandervanberge.nl/portfolio/interior/

Sleek, timeless and stylish!

Interior design tan leather sofa rugs texture
http://www.dimagiohomedocourideas.xyz/home-living-room/weekend-loves-links-1-29-coco-kelle

Pair a classic Chesterfield design with neutral accessories for a modern look.

Tan leather sofa black and white photography
Saved from planete-decor.fr

Tan leather sofa black and white artwork

…Or create contrast with black and white images.

You don’t want to invest in a new sofa? Easy – simply update your room by adding a classic accessory in tan leather or try a footstool…

Tan leather
Tumbler.com

…or a modern leather chair.

Interior design ideas tan leather sofa textures cushions

Introduce vintage accessories for a bohemian vibe, or mix dark colours and luxe fabrics to create a rich elegant look.

Interior design ideas tan leather sofa

Share your thoughts below!

Lifestyle tips for a healthy heart

HEALTHY STEPS TO A HEALTHY HEART

HEALTHY STEPS TO A HEALTHY HEART

EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS: Raw nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados. Enjoy monounsaturated fats such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans and butters made from these nuts, as well as avocados—all great sources of “good” fat.
Diet and lifestyle tips for a healthy heart alphabet lifestyle

EAT LESS TRANS FATS: Found in partially hydrogenated or deep-fried foods and saturated fats from fried food, fast food and high calorie snack foods. Diet and lifestyle tips for a healthy heart alphabet lifestyle

 

EAT MORE NUTRIENTS: Found in colourful fruits and vegetables—fresh or frozen and prepared without butter.
Keep fruit and vegetables at your fingertips. Wash and cut fruit and veggies and put them in your refrigerator for quick and healthy snacks. Choose recipes that feature these high-fiber ingredients, like veggie stir-fries or fruit salad

EAT LESS PACKAGED FOODS: Especially those high in sodium and sugar.
Slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust and wean yourself off the craving for sweetness.
Cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate, and cakes. Instead, eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your cravings

EAT MORE FIBRE: Opt for cereals, breads and pasta made from whole grains or legumes.
Diet and lifestyle tips for a healthy heart alphabet lifestyleTry a new grain. Experiment with brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta and bulgur. These alternatives are higher in fiber than their more mainstream counterparts — and you may find you love their tastes.

EAT LESS WHITE BREAD: Avoid white or egg breads, sugary cereals, refined pastas or rice.

EAT MORE OMEGA 3 AND PROTEIN: Trade red meats for fish, shellfish or poultry. Eat omega 3 fatty acids every day. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, or herring and flaxseed, kale, spinach, and walnuts all contain polyunsaturated fats that are vital for the body.

As Omega3 fatty acids have a range of profound health benefits this month we’ll be adding OmegaMAX 1000mg from Simply Supplements to our daily diet.

Healthy heart - fish oil supplement
Click to order super strength Omega 3 fish oil supplements

This high strength fish oil supplement that contains concentrated levels of the highly acclaimed polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are essential building blocks for many cells in the human body and perform a number of essential functions.

We’ll also be tracking our daily activity including heart rate, steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed and monitoring our sleep patterns by using a Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Wristband

Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Wristband to monitor daily activity and sleep patterns.
Click to order Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Wristband

For more information on leading a healthy lifestyle and tips on reducing your risk of developing coronary heart disease visit The British Heart Foundation website.