How to introduce a taste of the exotic to your home

Eclectic bedroomcredit

Who doesn’t love travelling, seeing the world and learning about other cultures and customs? When you’ve arrived back home you may want to incorporate your exotic experiences into your home décor. Here are a few of our tips for doing just that.

Have faraway dreams

You may have returned home, back to your everyday lives, but you can always go to sleep and dream about your past adventures. Envelop yourself in beautiful, bohemian bedding like this duvet set pictured below from Vaulia.

Exotic duvet set available from Vaulia

Turn your bathroom into a tropical rainforest

The bathroom is where you go to wash away the stresses of the day and recharge your batteries. Fill the space with lush, architectural plants. Many exotic, tropical plants will thrive in a warm, damp bathroom environment – even where there’s little sunlight. Try growing ferns, orchids and small bamboos to create your own tropical rainforest.

Roll-top bath surrounded by tropical plantscredit

Wall to wall paradise

Wallpaper is a great way of updating the feel of a room. Bold, bright, sumptuous prints incorporating exotic birds, flowers, plants – and in this case – palm trees introduce an equatorial ambiance.

Palm tree print wallpapercredit

Map the world

We all have a wish list of places we’d like to visit before we die. Hang a large world map on your wall and stick pins into the countries & cities where you want to holiday. You could also attach snaps, postcards, ticket stubs and the like to the places you’ve already been as a reminder of past good times. We love the idea of this DIY project below where a string of fairy lights has been used to illuminate spots on a map where the maker has been.

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This massive mural of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s ‘Lady from the Orient’ creates a striking, eastern vibe. Such a stunning addition needs plenty of space around it in order to appreciate it to full effect. Keep furnishings in muted colours and accessories to a minimum.

Wayne Hemingway in front of a huge mural of Tretchikoff's Lady from the Orientcredit

Display souvenirs from your travels

When you’ve visited exciting and far-flung destinations, a way of of keeping the memories of your trip alive is to bring back souvenirs. Anything from vernacular furniture items to unique trinkets & handicrafts, beach-combed finds to pieces of locally-made jewellery. Blow up, print, frame and display your favourite holiday photos. Having them in out plain sight feeds your wanderlust – you’ll be planning that next journey in no time!

Ethnic furniture finds with blown up photograph of an African girl in traditional dresscredit


Gimme Five! Car lighter accessories

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Selection of car lighter accessories via H is for Home

We’ve made a couple of long car journeys to London and Brighton recently. Various things pop into your thoughts as the miles pass by – “I wish I had this, I could do with that”. We’ve chosen a selection of items which plug into the car lighter socket that resolve potential problems and enhance the travelling experience; whether it be playing music, re-charging devices, giving you a back massage or providing emergency air for a flat tyre!

  1. 60w car charger power adapter for Apple MacBook Pro: £22.98, eBay
  2. REALMAX® car music FM transmitter: £7.99, Amazon
  3. Portable power pack with 200w inverter and USB charging socket: £59.99, Maplin
  4. Lifemax heated back and seat massager: £39.99, Amazon
  5. Halfords rapid digital tyre inflator: £34.99, Halfords

Vacances Français

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selection of vintage travel maps of areas of France

We bought some vintage metal filing drawers at auction last month – these lovely vintage travel maps were stored inside.

vintage travel map of the Basque area of France vintage travel map of the Jura area of France
vintage travel map of the Est area of France vintage travel map of the Languedoc area of France

The covers immediately caught our eye, with illustrations by French artist Jean Colin. Born in 1912, he’s best known for his  advertising posters from the mid 20th century. In addition to Shell, he did artwork for many prominent companies such as Cinzano, Air France, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Marchal and Perrier  – and won many awards for his designs.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with a stork

These Shell guides for various regions of France date from the 1950s/60s.

detail of a vintage travel map showing the area of Montpellier

The maps inside are very attractive too – colourful & detailed, but clear to read.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with figures of a man and woman

We’d spied them inside the drawers, but a nice little bonus all the same!

Tuesday Huesday: Vintage Wimbledon

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Wintage Wimbledon travel poster designed by Herry Perry for Underground Electric Railways Company Ltd in 1931

Well it’s finally happened – Andy Murray has broken the drought of 77 years! Wimbledon has seen the first British men’s champion since Fred Perry way back in 1936. To celebrate we’re sharing this vintage Wimbledon poster designed by Herry Perry (I wonder if she was any relation to Fred) in 1931 for Underground Electric Railways Company Ltd. Prints are available from the London Transport Museum.

Friday Folks: Simon and Erin, Never Ending Voyage

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Simon Fairbairn & Erin McNeany of Never Ending Voyage

The subjects of this Friday Folks instalment are just a bit different to the artists, craftspeople and creative business owners we normally feature. Simon & Erin, founders of Never Ending Voyage, are a couple who are almost 3 years into a lifetime of travel – they are the epitome of the term “free spirits”.

Adelle & Erin met when they worked together for a few years at Community Arts North West in Manchester. We’ve been following the blog she writes (and the gorgeous photos she takes) from the very start – it fills us with pangs of wanderlust of our own!

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Who are you & what do you do?

We are Erin McNeaney and Simon Fairbairn a digital nomad couple who sold everything we owned and left the UK in March 2010 to travel the world forever. Since then we’ve travelled to South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, working online as we go.

We fund our travels through our travel blog, Never Ending Voyage and through our web design & development business. Recently we’ve moved away from client work and have begun to create our own digital products. Our first iPhone app will be out soon – it’s called Trail Wallet and helps travellers track their travel expenses easily and quickly.

Simon & Erin floating in the Dead Sea

How did you plan for and continue to maintain a life of long term travelling?

We cut our expenses right down and saved enough money to keep us going for the first year while we got the business off the ground. We sold almost everything we owned except for a few personal items like photo albums that we left with Simon’s mum, and what we could fit into a carry-on size backpack each.

We didn’t really get the business started until we’d left the UK. We started our travel blog 10 days before we left and it took about 18 months of regular updating and marketing through social media, guest posts etc before we made a regular income from it through advertising and affiliate commissions.

Simon started out doing web design & development projects for family & friends and got more jobs through word of mouth. We also had a lot of clients find us through our travel blog.

Simon & Erin with their rucksacks on their backs

Who or what inspires you?

We’ve been travelling for two years and eight months now and our travels continue to inspire us. We love learning about different cultures, trying new food and enjoying amazing landscapes.

Simon & Erin outside a monastery in Petra

What has been your greatest success?

Taking command of our own lives and taking the step to sell everything and travel permanently. And that through writing about it on Never Ending Voyage we’ve inspired others to travel too.

Simon & Erin launching a paper lantern in Yee Peng, Thailand

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to do the same?

Cut down your expenses, get out of debt and start saving. Figure out the skills you have that you could do online – writers, designers and developers are the most obvious digital nomad friendly careers but we know people who teach, consult and coach online.

We’d recommend doing what we didn’t do and getting your business up & running before you start travelling. It’s hard to balance work & travel and if you’ve already got some income coming in from your business it’ll make things easier.

All Mapped Out!

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pile of vintage travel maps from the 1960s

This collection of vintage maps was a fabulous recent buy.

detail of a vintage travel map from the 1960s

We were quite excited when we saw them lurking at the bottom of a mixed box at auction…

detail of a vintage AAA travel map from the 1960s vintage AAA travel map from the 1960s

…their bright colours and fab period illustrations calling out to us!

detail of a vintage Enco travel map from the 1960s vintage Enco travel map of the Dakotas and Nebraska from the 1960s

They’re all from the United States – most were produced by the American Automobile Association – and petrol (or gas if you’re from the US!) companies such as Esso & Enco.

Quite unusual for them to have ended up in a small northern town in England!

detail of a vintage Esso travel map from the 1960s vintage Esso travel map from the 1960s

They were obviously picked up by a pair of adventurous travelers – also in the box were old tickets, menus, napkins, receipts, notes and other bits of ephemera – all picked up along their way.

detail of a vintage travel map from the 1960s showing an illustration of 3 peaks, forest, sun, boats and water

We’ve really enjoyed sorting through them – artwork like this is good enough for framing.

detail of a vintage travel map from the 1960s

Inside, the maps are clean & bright – untouched for 50 years or so. Full of handy hints and endless possibilities.

detail of a vintage travel map from the 1960s showing a mileage chart

The thought of setting out in a convertible or camper van with a pile of these is very appealing indeed!