Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The Etsy Design Awards 2020!

We all love finding new and unique things for our homes, but it cannot be denied that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years that we've known collectively as shoppers for a long time. However, it’s also been evident during this time, that our enthusiasm for our homes, gardens, creative visions and style cannot be hampered by even a worldwide pandemic. 

Thankfully, despite the challenges this year has brought with it, our need to personalise and be creative with the most important parts of our lives is still wonderfully catered for by the growing number of independent creatives and makers out there, who all share a passion for all things lifestyle, interiors and fashion. 

Etsy is a global marketplace for unique and creative goods where these creatives and makers can sell their wares securely and safely. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures, and when shoppers buy from Etsy, they’re directly supporting people in local communities worldwide. When making shopping decisions, it’s always nice to buy something special, something that has a story, and in a time of increasing automation, it’s good to know that it's Etsy’s mission to keep human connection at the heart of commerce. 

That’s why they built an online marketplace where creativity lives and thrives, connecting a community of Etsy sellers with buyers all over the world who are looking for an alternative ‘special something’ with an individual touch. 

For these reasons, I’m especially delighted to help spread the word about The Etsy Design Awards - also known as the #TheEtsies, which shines a spotlight on their global community of entrepreneurs, showcasing the best of Etsy across multiple categories. 

This year’s main judges include Drew Barrymore and Etsy’s Trend Expert, Dayna Isom Johnson. However, for the first time this year, Etsy will also launch its People’s Choice Award allowing shoppers to vote for their favourite Etsy Design Awards (EDA) finalist (compromising of 100 finalists from across the globe) in several key categories. 

Excitingly, Etsy has just released this year’s finalists in the awards. 100 amazing items across 10 categories. It’s been such fun looking through the entrants, and today I’m going to showcase a selection of the finalists that caught my eye. 

The best bit is that not only can you can shop all of this year’s finalists too by clicking on the items that you like, but you can also become involved in ‘The People’s Choice Award’ and vote for your favourite finalist by going to [https://tidd.ly/2EkXr9W] to favourite your preferred finalist and tag a friend in the comments on my Instagram page ‘here’ to have a chance to win a $250 Gift card. 

Happy browsing! #TheEtsies 

Contest T&Cs: https://tidd.ly/3hQKJ0j 

A 'Bespoke Binny' Lampshade - one of the Etsy People's Choice Awards Finalists, featured in my sitting room. 



2) FromFran - Espresso Cup


3) LouLou Art Studio - Standing on The Shoulders of Our Ancestors African Art


4) Rosie Pietsch - Flora Statement Earrings Tropical Colourway

5) Dani Barbe Shop - Ombre Green Stacking Ring

6) La Geometrie Jewels - Statement Earrings, Natural Sweetwater Pearls & Gold


7) YARKATE - Linen Off The Shoulder Puff Sleeve Summer Dress

8) Linen Fox - Mimosa Wrap Linen Dress


9) Lovely Linen Studio - White Linen Jacket and Trousers Suit


10) Toys With Emotions - Wooden Play Tea Set

11) OonaLoo - African Heritage Doll

12) My Mini Fam - Personalised Family Figurines

13) MiniMaki Design - Watercolour Animal Shape Cushions


14) The Completist London - Overlay Flowers Weekly Planner Book

15) Kyri Design - Illustrated Wedding Guest Place Card


16) Coconut Towers - Custom Pet Portrait

17) 9House Pet Design - Modern Style Big Bowl Pet Bowl Stand

18) LayLo Pets - Modern Mud Cloth Dog Bed


19) KG Curated Space - Vintage 1920's Pink Silk Shell Chair

20) Atelier AF Design - Antique Moritz Zdekauer Teapot & Creamer Set, MZ Austria 1884

21) The Vintage Mistress - Vintage Handbag & Gloves


22) DoDo Leather - Hand Stitched Travel Laptop Backpack

So there you have my picks - let me know which ones you like, Happy Browsing and please get nominating!

Until Next Time..

#AD/ This post was sponsored by ETSY Affiliates Link used.


Friday, 3 April 2020

Design Classics - The Special Edition Original BTC 'Hector 30' Table Light.

I'm sure that we're all familiar with the famous William Morris quote "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful', however, did you know that the quote continues...  "...The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
It's a mantra that I live by, and one that is of particular importance during times when being in our homes is so important to us.

As I write this, we are currently in a state of national lockdown due to the worldwide pandemic that is the COVID-19, and therefore, staying within the confines of our own homes is of the utmost importance in the attempt to 'flatten the curve' and stop the spread.

To some it may seem like a strange time to be writing about the design and interior details that feature in our homes,  but it is exactly at times like these that our home surroundings become particularly important to us, and why Mr. Morris's famous quote resonates with so many of us right now.

There is nothing trivial about the proven benefits of feeling happy and content within ones surroundings.  Large or small, owned or rented; our homes should be our havens - our little oasis of calm and contentment.  A place to cast our eyes upon the beautiful and personal objects and colours that make us happy, bring us comfort and peace of mind, and hopefully allow a respite from the turmoil that so often surrounds us....

Whilst it's important to sit back, take stock and be thankful for what we already have.  It also cannot be denied, that if and when we feel the need to make changes, it is a good time to support local industry - in my case British industry - when and where we can.  As an interiors obsessive, the most obvious way for me to do this, is through ensuring the careful curation and thoughtful research of the products I choose to bring into my home.

As you may know, I am a great enthusiast of mixing old and new, vintage and antique, in order to come up with my own unique version of a timeless interior style.  However, I do have a formula, and the overriding key criteria for what makes the grade in all of my choices are quality, traditional craftsmanship and classic style...

Thus, finding myself in need of a new hallway lamp, and as a long term admirer of the classic and quality designs at Original BTC, when I heard that the company were celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2020 with the launch of the special edition Hector 30, it was the beginning of a design match made in heaven...

One of the lighting manufacturer’s earliest designs, the Hector is still crafted by hand and using techniques unchanged for 30 years and in the original factory where the first prototype was produced.
In fact, the Hector 30 shades and bases are slip-cast moulded by hand, then smoothed with sponges before firing, with each component passing through the hands of ten craftspeople, over a period of six days.   Now if that isn't thoughtfully and carefully considered manufacturing,  then I'm not sure what is!  

The first light ever produced in bone china - a feature which particularly appealed to me and fits in perfectly with my classic style - the now-iconic Hector has been updated with a deliciously vintage feeling satin brass stem and retro black cotton braided cable, replacing the original satin chrome and sand and taupe.  

As a self confessed china addict, it was certainly the unusual bone china design detail - so rarely seen in contemporary lighting - that initially caught my attention.  The story behind the bone china shade is also a testament to founder Peter Bowles passion for exploring new ways with utilising traditional materials and skills...

Drawn to bone china’s translucency, Peter approached a Stoke-on-Trent tableware factory with the brief to produce a domed lamp shade and matching base. “Accustomed to making teapots, the factory manager thought I was a little barmy – but the fact the Hector is now sold in over eighty countries does suggest I was onto something," he says - and quite right too!  

For Peter, from the earliest days, quality and mix of materials was key. Unsatisfied with the finish of commonly used plastic lighting flex, Peter replaced it with woven cotton braid snipped off the family iron, now one of the brand’s best-loved and instantly recognised features, and an element that gives the lamp the beautifully retro feel that allows it to fit perfectly into my vintage mix style of decor.

The Hector 30 is seen here unlit, under the steady gaze of my children's Great, Great Grandfather, painted by their Great Grandfather, who was incidentally also named Hector!

I am particularly delighted with the way that the Hector 30's  unflouncy retro lines compliment this particular area of the landing without adding any unnecessary fuss or frills.  I wanted a timeless design that would give a nod to my love of vintage style, but without being too obvious or overtly feminine.  The finished result suits my intentions perfectly.

It comes as no surprise that - British, Timeless, Classic – the Hector is quite literally what Original BTC stands for!

Until Next Time,

This post was kindly sponsored by ORGINAL BTC


Sunday, 5 January 2020

Faded Glamour - An Interview With Pearl Lowe...

If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know that despite my love of country living and all things vintage, chintzy, home cooked and slow paced - I was actually born and brought up in London, and only made the moved from City mouse to Country mouse ten years ago...

In my old guise as 'City Paula', I worked in the fast paced world of fashion;  firstly as the PR for Elite Premier Model Agency (in the heady days of the original Supermodels, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington et al,) ending up as the Bookings Director at British Elle Magazine, where I was responsible for producing all of the fashion, beauty and cover shoots...  
Quite a contrast from my present life where I now find myself usually dressed as a Hobbit, surrounded primarily by fields and sleepy villages, and where the only high maintenance female that I now need cater to, is a canine with four legs called Coco!

I am often asked about how my own experiences have shaped my interior as well as personal style, and I am equally as intrigued to ask the same question when I see others who have made a similar decision to move to the countryside for a slower paced way of life...

Thus, I was recently fortunate enough to be able to interview the immensely elegant and fascinating style icon that is Pearl Lowe.  Known for her glamorously gothic take on vintage style, Pearl is an ex-singer turned fashion and interior designer, who now resides deep in the Somerset countryside...

Already an author of several books, Pearl's most recent offering is a beautiful interiors book entitled 'Faded Glamour' where she showcases her "trademark blend of grandly romantic and cool rock 'n' roll interiors".  Below, Pearl and I discuss interiors and inspirations... 

Did your move to the countryside redefine your interiors style, and if so, what has changed from your London days? 
I think it has, simply because there are so many wonderful antique shops, flea markets and auction rooms here in the country, that sell items within my budget. This has made decorating in the country such a dream. When I lived in London, I loved antique Art Deco furniture (I still do) but it was just so expensive, I couldn’t buy it. Our house was quite minimalist then.

Has the age and architecture of your house influenced your present interior choices? 
Yes definitely! It’s a rambling Georgian house with high ceilings, so it suits lots of furniture, fabrics and rugs.

I love the idea of faded glamour in decorating.  Do you feel that this is part of a ‘slow decorating’, ‘sustainable movement’ in interiors? People are starting to wake up to sustainability. 
One of the most persuasive arguments to buy antique furniture is the positive impact it can have on protecting the environment. Antiques have a lower carbon footprint than modern furniture & are often cheaper. Plus they go up in value & when you’re buying antiques, you’re buying a piece of history. 

Where do you source your favourite pieces for your home from?  i.e. Antiques markets, vintage shops, auction houses? 
I love to buy local, so I buy in my home town of Frome. There are loads  of great antique shops, Bric-n-brac shops, auction houses and it has the best flea market on the first Sunday of every month. 

Do you ever buy home items from the high street and if so, which shops would you recommend?Sometimes, I like H&M home, Zara home & Homesense for cushions, throws, rugs, vases etc. I like mixing it in with my antiques.

Apart from Faded & Glamour, which additional three words would describe your interiors style?
Romantic, rock-n-roll &; floral.

If there was one accessory that you would recommend to add an element of ‘Faded Glamour’ to a room - what would it be. 
Vintage lace 

What inspired you to write your book ‘Faded Glamour’? 
I love producing interior books, as they are a fantastic portfolio. I was excited to write a book about faded glamour, as no-one has created one. 

Are there any other interior designers who’s work you admire? 
I love Abigail Ahern, Rachel Ashwell, Sera Loftus, Lorraine Kirk & Marianne Cotterill

You design clothes, interiors and homewares, and you are an author several times over.  What’s next for Pearl Lowe? 
There will be spring/summer dress collection launching in the spring. I will continue to run my shop in Frome & there might be another interior book. I’m also hoping to launch my new candles.

'Faded Glamour ' by Pearl Lowe is available to buy HERE.  To see more or Pearl's beautiful work, see her website HERE, and to see her glimpses of her Instagram famous kitchen - see HERE (believe me - it's swoon worthy!)

Until Next Time,

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