Hello Everyone, I hope you are all well!

You might recall we did a photoshoot a few weeks ago in stunning Zakynthos in collaboration with The Asteri Collection. We received the most incredible response and I thought it would be a lovely idea to do a Q & A with Helen Taylor, the owner and brains behind the collection for Rae's Travel Club. So here goes:

1. Helen tell me a little about yourself

I am a mum of 4 who loves travel, design and gardens. I’ve always got a ‘project’ on the go.

2. How did the Asteri Collection come to fruition?

We first visited Zakynthos in 2010 and fell in love with the beautiful North East corner of the island. On complete impulse my husband and I decided to build a holiday home here and built our original stone built Villa Lagaria. After that I couldn’t stop dreaming about creating a business here. I knew exactly where I wanted to be located. Once we had secured the perfect location my creativity went into overdrive!

3. Why Zakynthos?

Initially it was because we had come on holiday here on a recommendation of a good friend. I just loved the rawness of it and it’s incredible natural beauty. The island is awash with unspoilt beaches, private bays and stunning olive groves full of wild flowers. It also helped that it had plenty of well priced direct flights from the UK where we are based.

4. Have you always been passionate about interiors?

Yes I have always loved creating beautiful spaces. I have enjoyed renovating several of our family homes in the UK and over the years I have enjoyed helping other people create a beautiful aesthetic in their own houses. I have always enjoyed working with a more neutral pallet and focussing on textures and layers.

5. Where did you source?

For the Asteri Collection I sourced predominately from across Europe. I visit the interiors fair Maison d’objets once a year in Paris to seek out new ideas and suppliers. I also picked up some beautiful pieces on holiday with my husband to Rajasthan. The mirrored panel in Villa Lagaria was a particular treasure that I found in a workshop in Jaipur.

6. Your attention to detail is impeccable are you naturally very organised?

I love a list!! I always carry a beautiful notebook and pen with me to jot down ideas and memos.

7. Top Tips for things to do in Zakynthos?

Oh that’s a hard one. Obviously the stunning Navagio Beach or Shipwreck beach is an instagram favourite and is featured in every travel article you will see on Greece but it is just one of many beautiful beaches to discover on the island. My favourite thing to do with the family is to pack up a cool box with loads of cold drinks and snacks and jump in a boat and pull up to a deserted bay for a bit of snorkelling and sunbathing. I am a real fair weather swimmer. I am afraid you would never catch me swimming in the cold waters off the UK but here in Zakynthos the water is like a bath and crystal clear. Totally stunning.

8. Any secret spots you want to share?

Oh gosh if I told you all of my secret spots I would be shot by all the locals!! I do however have a soft spot for the local Olive Press as Askos , Plegaki beach and our little bay close to the villas, Madraki beach.


9. If not Greece, where?

Hard question as I am totally in love with Greece. I just love the food, the openess of the Greek culture and of course the weather. If pushed I would probably say Italy as I think there is a similar culture of family and food. Two of the most important things in life!!

10. Building plans for the future.

Yes are currently discussing building a new Asteri Collection villa in Agios Nikolaos, close to the existing ones. Watch this space.

11. Your fav property

Honestly you can’t ask me that..its like asking me who my favourite child is!! They are all unique and offer something slightly different. Lagaria has the chilled mountain vibe which is perfect for when you just want to be relaxed and private while Taygeta is the sexy, cool one located close to the beach and restaurants. Maia and Antilia our smaller 3 bed villas are perfect for when there are just a few of us as they are so well located and so easy to relax in.

12. Fav pieces in the RF Collection

I love it all but for me the pieces that I will definitely be wearing this summer are the Batik Butter Crepe Palazzo Pants and Batik Butter Crepe Kaftan. Obviously I will be wearing the Greek blue version. The trousers are so useful. I will be wearing them to death this summer. I love the fact that they are so versatile and will pack so small. I always like to travel with just hand luggage and these items roll up so small so will be perfect. Obviously I am also totally in love with the Asteri Embroidery Kaftan. My daughter and my mum will be fighting me for it too. It is perfect for all generations and is spot on Asteri Vibes. Couldn’t be prouder that we have a Rae Feather dress names after us!!! 


13. When packing 5 things you don't leave home without!

I am always travelling between our homes in the UK and in Zakynthos so I have learnt to travel light and efficiently. I have little pouches for everything so I can easily locate the things I need. I have a ’sleep’ pouch with an eye mask and wax ear plugs. I am the world expert in grabbing a nap whenever I can. I call it my superpower and drives my husband mad as he struggles with sleep.. I always make sure that I have a phone booster battery and all my chargers to hand. This way I can always give my laptop and phone a quick boost at an airport or on a plane. Finally my kindle goes everywhere with me. I like the convenience of having a whole library of books on one little gadget. It means I never run out of something to read and the large font is a total bonus as I get older!!

14. Fav travel account to follow on Instagram

I love to follow @annamavridis. She is a Swedish style influencer who combines two of may favourite things, beautiful dresses shot against the stunning backdrop of Greece. Its not a travel account as such but I do find her inspiring and beautiful to follow. I need to persuade her to come and do a shoot at The Asteri Collection wearing the Rae Feather collection…I feel another ‘project’ coming on!!