View of Foxton locks from a hire boat

Restoring our narrowboat in the virtual world – how WhatsApp has become our Pandoran Biosphere

Like the characters from the movie Avatar, Aaran and I mainly meet in the virtual world these days. The restoration of our narrowboat takes him to Debdale Marina and me to my laptop. WhatsApp has become our Pandoran Biosphere. “The Contact Form is up on the website,” I type into my phone. “Can you give it a quick try out for me?” “I’ve found the perfect Eye Bolt,” comes the cryptic reply. Perhaps the Avatar avatars Read more…

Carpentry on our narrowboat in Leicestershire

How we are incorporating scaffolding boards into our Boutique Narrowboat – Lesley Ann

Is there no end to the wonders of the scaffolding board? From the moment we decided we wanted reclaimed wood cladding to feature as design elements on the narrowboat, Aaran has been driving around with planks of scaffolding on the roof of his van. And with good reason. He has just finished the wooden shutters on the front wall of Lesley Ann, which will also act as the king-size bed headboard. Oh my word. They Read more…

Foxton Locks hire boat

Our canal boat weekend break – a trip from North Kilworth to Foxton to Debdale

What a beautiful weekend, we’ve had, cruising between marinas at North Kilworth to Debdale. The guys at North Kilworth have been amazing, allowing Aaran to use the slipway to fit Lesley Ann’s new top. But now it’s time to move on to Debdale, where we can lift her out of the water for the next stage of her refit. It’s given us a wonderful opportunity to take her out on the Leicestershire waterways again, and we’ve Read more…

Narrowboat interior design on the Grand Union Canal

How we’re creating a tiny bathroom on a luxury canal boat

The definition of a challenge is when you know the bathroom is going to be mini, right from the very beginning. A small space never screams “luxury” but this is what we are aiming for, nonetheless. Rejecting certain ideas (jacuzzi anyone?) is the easy part and we quickly discovered that the “yes” list was only a fraction of the “nos.” So we started focusing on the only three basics we couldn’t live without: shower, basin Read more…

Luxury canal boat hire and narrowboat holidays in the uk leicestershire

Canal boating in winter – the story of how Boutique Narrowboats began

Why can’t I hire a narrowboat in winter? My telephone enquiries were answered in a variety of no-nonsense ways by experienced boat-rental companies. My dad was travelling from Cyprus to join us for Christmas and in my head, a lovely cruise through the winter wonderland of the Grand Union Canal was just what he needed. The experts had other ideas: too cold, no staff, boats in dry dock for maintenance, canal closures and concerns over Read more…

Designing our hire narrowboat interior design on the Grand Union Canal

Our Narrowboat interior design process – fitting our vision into the boat’s dimensions

A pad of A4 paper. Some Sellotape. A ruler. These are our only tools of narrowboat interior design. A beer garden is optional, but definitely helps. We keep changing our minds. Consult the internet, boat building websites, Facebook, Pinterest. We have a vision but it doesn’t always fit the narrowboat dimensions. We measure again, scale down, snip paper, slice to fit. Every item must inspire joy. It has become our mantra.    

A bit about Boutique Narrowboats – our inspiration and our vision

The first thing you should know about us is that we are completely and utterly in love with narrow boating. We took our first watery steps into this world in 2016 and tumbled headlong into a love affair with the stunning scenery of rural Leicestershire. (And if you want to know more about that first trip, read this blog post here.) Very quickly, we realised that an annual holiday on the canals wouldn’t be enough Read more…