What is it about the Mediterranean region that we find irresistible, both as a holiday destination and as a source of inspiration for the way we live our lives? The climate is an obvious attraction, but in our view there's much more to it than that. In this blog, we want to explore 'why we love the Med' and in so doing, give you an insight into the origins of Nisi Living and why we wanted to create a lifestyle brand encouraging others to 'live more Mediterranean.'
The inclusive, sociable nature of Mediterranean living is firmly imbedded in the DNA of its people. This welcoming, 'open door' characteristic has been imported into our way of life thanks to Eleni's greek heritage. You can't beat an impromptu gathering of friends and/or family fuelled by copious amounts of food and drink, which Mediterranean people always manage to conjure up from nowhere! It's perhaps the most endearing trait of Mediterranean people and, thankfully, one that we can easily adopt here in the UK. The whole family is always welcome, age is no barrier. The UK has started to embrace this inclusive attitude; for example, restaurants up and down the country are now encouraging family dining and long may it continue.
Whether it's Italian 'antipasti', Greek 'meze', or Spanish 'tapas', Mediterranean cuisine is perhaps the clearest expression of this sociable, sharing character. Platters of delicious food to share whilst hotly debating the topics of the day, that's the Mediterranean way! An array of colourful dishes, combining the freshest and tastiest produce. When our children were very young, a selection of tapas dishes while on holiday was a brilliant way to introduce new flavours to them; as a result, our boys are always ready to try something new - they won't like everything but within a wide selection, there's always something they love!
When we look at new products for our tableware range, platters and sharing plates are always high up on our wish list. And at home, we regularly use 'Dauville' pebble dishes for olives, dips and canapes, whilst the 'Gerona' range with its bold, indigo splatter design is the perfect platform for colourful Mediterranean cuisine.
It goes without saying that the Mediterranean climate lends itself to a wonderfully vibrant, outdoor lifestyle. Outdoor leisure activities during the day, with not a gaming device in sight, followed by 'alfresco' dining at night, aided of course by a bottle of the local vino. Whilst we don't benefit from the same climate, there's a lot we can do here in the UK to maximise our 'outdoor living'. If you have a patio outside, make it as comfortable as you can using outdoor rugs and cushions and maybe invest in a firepit for additional warmth during the chilly evenings. Our latest project involves transforming a small room that used to be our boys' TV room into a sociable space with a corner bench seat looking out onto the garden patio. As the evening cools, we can retreat inside but still enjoy the garden from the comfort of our 'banquette'. Well, that's the plan anyway, watch this space to find out how our project evolves.
Colour & Scent
Almost everyone has fond memories of at least one Mediterranean holiday. We certainly do - perhaps a sundowner on a magnificent beach, or a spontaneous flamenco dance in a back street tapas bar. For us, such memories are often ignited by the colours and scents that we asscoiate with the Med. Bright pink bougainvillea draped over a white-washed wall; the 'lapis' blue doors and shutters of a Greek hillside village; the heady aroma of jasmine filling the air as night falls.
It's the bold colour combinations and aromatic smells that, whilst not unique, are typical of many Mediterranean destinations. In selecting pieces for our home as well as for Nisi, colour is a major factor. A splash of lapis blue next to fuchsia pink against a white background can be intoxicating. A nod to the Med, without transforming the entire house. Again, this is our approach with the new home project: off-white walls and ceiling (Slaked Lime by Little Greene) with aquamarine upholstery for the corner seat and a selection of colourful cushions and prints (mainly shades of blue and pink).
It's said that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and similarly with style, it's a very subjective thing with no absolute right or wrong. When we think of Mediterranean style, there's a broad spectrum to consider, from traditionally rustic, through 'beach boho' (think holiday villa in Ibiza) to modern Mediterranean. The great thing is you can combine a range of styles to suit your taste and way of living. We particularly love the cool minimalist white background with sleek furniture lines, accessorised with warm textures of rattan and brightly-coloured textiles. A mix, if you like, of boho and modern Mediterranean, but let's not get too hung up on labeling the style, the important thing is that you feel comfortable in your living space and that it serves a purpose in terms of family living and entertaining.
Yes, the Mediterranean is about the weather and its beaches, but it's also about the people, the way they live, their culture of inclusiveness and spontaneity. It's about the colours, textures and scents of the surroundings. It's about the food, the wine and the Mediterranean 'spirit.'
We hope this has given you an insight into why we love the Mediterranean way of life and why we created Nisi Living; perhaps it has even inspired you to make a few little changes at home with a view to living more Mediterranean!