shopping

2 Days in Bucharest

2 days in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

Way back in June, Richard and I had the opportunity to travel to Romania for a wedding! Man, how time flies! I just got around to going through the photos that we took, and thought I would write up a quick recap of the things we did and places that we went.

We were technically there for 4 days, but since Richard was the best man in the wedding, there was a lot of time spent doing wedding related stuff. Everything we did could be easily crammed into two days.

Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

Walking the streets in Bucharest | Hello Victoria

Romania wasn’t exactly a country that was on either of our bucket lists, but we enjoyed the opportunity to check out someplace new. It’s been described as “the new Berlin” (since I’ve never been to Berlin, this didn’t really mean much to me), and definitely has a lot of new bars and coffee shops popping up all over the city. It’s a city that seems ripe for development; I couldn’t stop admiring all the old buildings around town, and kept wishing people were buying them and fixing them up. Buuuut despite the lack of a squeaky clean exterior, there are a lot of new restaurants and ‘hipster-type’ hotspots all over the capital city that are worth a look.

Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

Architecture in Bucharest, Romania | Hello Victoria

The best place to start is definitely the Old Town, which is full of cafes, bars, and plenty of tourist shops if you’re feeling the need to buy some sort of fridge magnet or tacky shot glasses. It’s quite small, so you can walk around it pretty easily and admire all of the buildings. And, if you’re hotel is located a bit outside the old town, why not walk through a park to get there?

Bucharest has plenty of nice old parks all around the city, which are great in the summertime. If we’d had more time I would have wanted to walk through more of them to get to/from Old Town and our hotel. However with the wedding activities, it was often more prudent to simply get an Uber. (Oh, and if you happen to visit Romania, make sure you use Uber! It’s so insanely cheap in Romania, but also incredibly reliable. We used it to get everywhere, including getting to and from the airport.) (more…)

Visiting Camden Market, London

Camden Market, London | Hello Victoria

The other day, I happened to be near Camden Market for work, and thought I would wander the shops a while. If you live in London, then you’ll already be quite familiar with Camden Market, but for those who haven’t been, let me explain. Camden Market used to be this hub of alternative fashion, music, etc. The main street has tattoo shops and piercings aplenty, but lately tends to have become overrun with tourist traps. Once word got out about Camden, it got less alternative, and suddenly has 30 shops selling tourist kitsch along with the tattoos.

Camden Market, London | Hello VictoriaCamden Market, London | Hello Victoria

The main street is the kind of place to head if you’re in the market for a cheap pair of sunglasses, or phone case. But it’s the market itself that draws me in! Part food market, with open air stalls, and part handmade/antique sellers hawking scarves, jewelry, and the like. In the fall, it’s the perfect place to find a new scarf, or toque, and in the summer it’s a great place to find a new pair of sunnies, or a new bag! But in my case, it was the perfect excuse to try a fancy hot chocolate I had heard about.

Camden Market, London | Hello VictoriaCamden Market, London | Hello Victoria (more…)

Hello Lovely: Abstract Paintings

Abstract paintings by Lola Donoghue | Hello Victoria

abstract paintings by Lola Donoghue

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll know that I’ve been trying to make a couple of abstract paintings for our living room. I’ve been having a hard time, and keep starting over because I don’t like how they turn out. The problem I have with painting something myself, is that I know I made it. I would probably like the painting if someone else had done it, but when I remember every brush stroke, I think it looks amature. Weird right? Does anyone else automatically hate their own handiwork?

I keep looking at photos of other paintings by artists that I like, but I don’t want to simply copy. I’ll probably never truly like my own work, but it’s cheaper than the alternative. Or at least that’s what I thought. There are lots of artists out there on places like Etsy these days, that can actually be quite affordable. Here are a few of my favorites.

Etsy

Lola Donoghue’s work were probably the first abstract paintings that I fell in love with. I’ve had my eye on her painting “Turn Left at the Pitch” for years now, and apparently she only has a few prints left, so I may need to buy it quick. She tends towards recognisable shapes, in bright colours, with plenty of pink and teal. She’s almost always on people’s lists of affordable abstract art, and for good reason!

Abstract paintings by Lola Donoghue | Hello Victoria

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I recently discovered Dan Hobday’s work and can’t believe how affordable his stuff is. I especially love that he does sets which pair together well for diptychs and tryptichs. There is a fair range of abstract styles, unlike many artists who tend to stick to one ‘look’.

Abstract paintings by Dan Hobday | Hello Victoria

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Camilo Matiz is another Etsy artist who does fairly colourful abstract paintings. They remind me a bit of Lola Donoghue’s work, with the colours and shapes.

Abstract paintings by Camilo Matiz | Hello Victoria

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Minted

Like Etsy, Minted have been a great resource for affordable art. Not only do they sell prints for the home, but they also do plenty of cards and other personalized items. They sell individual prints, as well as whole gallery walls, if you’re new to coordinating artwork.

Abstract paintings from Minted | Hello Victoria

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Hello Shopping: H&M Home

H&M Home store interior | Hello Victoria

H&M Home store photo from Ideal Home

Unless you’ve been asleep for the last 20 years or so, you’ve definitely heard of H&M. Their low priced clothing and accessories have been a staple in many people’s wardrobes for the last few decades – as the second largest clothing retailer in the world, it has stores in 62 countries. You’ve probably been to one before, and mostly likely own a piece or two of their clothing. But did you know that they also sell home decor items?

I first heard about H&M Home a few years back, but hadn’t seen any of their items until I moved to the UK. There are a few stores here that sell their home decor line, but otherwise you can purchase it online. As with their clothing, the home decor items are current, on trend, and cost effective. Pretty much the perfect thing for someone like me, ha! Our flat still feels like it needs more finishing touches and accessories, yet I don’t have money to burn on frivolous things.

Most of the items that they sell are kitchen/table based, as well as some pillows, picture frames, and other items. I wish they had furniture or lighting, but I still love the rest of the stuff they have. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they sold sofas and tables? I can only imagine how sleek, minimal, and functional they would be.

So, have you seen their stuff in stores? Do you like it as much as I do? Here are some of my favorite H&M Home items in stores now.

Textiles

H&M Home textiles | Hello Victoria

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Convent Garden Antiques Market

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Covent Garden is known for being a part of London full of designer shops, and fancy restaurants. Wander around this area and it’s all Chanel, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton as far as the eye can see. But, if you visit on a Monday, you’ll find something quite different from the usual finery.

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Every Monday the Apple and Jubilee markets at Covent garden make way for antiques! Once home to fruit and vegetable sellers back in the day, these markets are usually home to stalls selling handmade wares and lots of touristy kitsch. The antiques you find on Mondays are a refreshing reprieve from what you find the rest of the week. They tend to set up a bit later than most markets, so if you end up there too early, just wait until closer to 11 or 12. I thought that being there around 10:30 would be late, but half the sellers were still setting up their wares. (more…)

Hello Lovely: French Seam Details

French mattress cushion inspiration | Hello Victoria

french mattress cushions from Restoration Hardware

A while back I found myself obsessed with french seam mattress cushions. A bit weird of a thing to be obsessed with, but I loved their look. The French seam adds a lovely detail to ordinary fabrics that is subtle, but just makes the item look more tailored. A bit fancy… how french?

So as I’ve been drafting up ideas for upholstering our bed, or making floor pouffes, I keep coming back to the idea of french seams.

Right now, I am thinking of making a sort of bed slipcover for our white MALM storage bed frame. Something that won’t involve taking the whole thing apart, but will make it look like I did. 😉 In the end it’ll look sort of like this bed, but with french seams all along the edges.

Upholstered bed frame inspiration | Hello VictoriaUpholstered bed frame inspiration | Hello Victoria

Restoration Hardware bed frame

I figure I can add some plywood to make the headboard taller, then pad with foam and batting. After that, I’ll make a bedskirt to cover the base, and a fitted cover for the headboard. I may even make them all one piece, but I’m unsure as of yet. Does that make sense? The headboard will have seams all around like the one below.

French seam headboard inspiration | Hello Victoria

french seam headboard inspiration

My original inspiration came from this bed’s headboard. Then when I was googling more inspiration, I came across some photos of headboards with simple bed skirts, and my idea was realized. It’ll be easier than trying to upholster each piece of the bed frame, and then put it all back together. (more…)

Visiting Old Spitalfields Market: Traders Market Days

Spitalfields Traders Market | Hello Victoria

When I first moved to the UK, and Richard and I were setting up our flat, I wanted to find some antiques. My style tends to run a bit eclectic, and I like a good mix of new and old furnishings. As we were buying so much stuff at IKEA, I wanted to find some antique markets in London that I could visit without having to drive a few hours. One of the first that popped up, was the Old Spitalfields Market. But the thing with this market, is that it only does Antiques on Thursdays, and has what it calls a Trader’s Market most other days. It also does some other one day markets (sometimes just once a month), so visit their website for more information.

So if you’re in the market for antiques, go on Thursdays, but the other days are interesting too! Spitalfields has a number of food trucks and stalls, and even just completed a new food hub, dubbed the Kitchens, in the middle of the market. If you’re in the neighbourhood, it’s a great place to grab lunch! When Richard and I stopped by recently, we were on our way to another part of London for dinner, and just wanted a snack. He had some prawn dumplings from Dumpling Shack, and I got a lamb shawarma from Berber and Q. As he put it “I won” the afternoon snack competition, because my food was waay better value for the money, and looked awesome!

Spitalfields Traders Market | Hello Victoria

I had seen someone else receive their shawarma and thought, that looked good! Nothing beats melt in your mouth meat, tahini, chili sauce, and pickled jalapenoes!

Spitalfields Traders Market | Hello Victoria

But food isn’t all Spitalfields Market has on offer! Around their new kitchens hub, the market has begun constructing scandi style stalls for their traders. It used to be more fold out tables and white fabric, but now each vendor gets a little wooden booth.

During the Trader’s Market you can find plenty of handmade and local clothing, accessories, and jewelry. I got a lovely necklace from Richard last year, from trader Littlesmith – a custom bar pendant with the GPS coordinates of where we met. (I know – he’s a keeper!) I would say that more than half the stalls cater to women, with scarves, purses, dresses, and jewelry taking up more than their fair share. However, you can find leather jackets, funny silk screened shirts, antique maps, and artwork. A little something for everyone. (more…)

Hello Inspiration: Fireplaces + Accessories

Fireplace inspiration | Hello Victoria

gorgeous aged brick fireplace from Jacquelyn Clark

This past Christmas… the tree was decorated in the corner, glowing houses were on the credenza, and we had constant Christmas music and warm drinks on hand. But still, something didn’t feel right. It wasn’t quite cozy enough for Christmas, and I think I have put my finger on it. No, it’s not the lack of snow here in England… it’s the lack of a fireplace in this flat!

We have turned on the fireplace videos on Amazon Prime or YouTube, but it just isn’t the same. You need the crackling sounds, wavering light, and smell… oh the smell! Especially cedar! Just heaven!

Richard and I both miss having a fireplace, especially in this cold January season. It’s probably the one thing we wish for most in this flat, other than a second bedroom. We would probably rather have a working open fireplace than a dishwasher!! We can tell where a fireplace used to live in our flat, because of the vent down by the baseboard. Curse whoever ripped it out!!!

So, it’s only logical that I have fireplaces on the brain, and their relevant accessories!

On a recent gift guide, Emily Henderson’s team listed this match striker + holder. I don’t know why, but I have always loved matches! It’s kind of a weird thing to love, but as a kid I remember my parents had this round match box with very long matches in it, and I loved it and always wanted to use them. Maybe it’s the pyro in me, but using matches is fun.

So when I saw this match striker, that doubles as a place to store your matches, it was love at first sight… until I saw the price tag! $50 for a wee match striker! So I started searching for more match striker/holder things, and found some even more expensive! Who knew these were pricy designer items?!

Match strikers | Hello Victoria

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Here’s a list of my favorites, both expensive (in case you’re the type with oodles of cash to blow on silly things – lucky you ;)) and less so. It’s my new favorite thing to have on a mantle, which I don’t have… yet. Someday, we will buy a house and it WILL have a fireplace. Honestly, that’s non-negotiable for us.

Built in wood storage inspiration | Hello Victoria

built-in wood and blanket storage from Heather Bullard

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Hello Shopping – Currently On My Wishlist

Artfully Walls collaboration with Anthropologie | Hello Victoria

Artfully Walls collaboration with Anthropologie via Refinery29

Okay, so I’m currently off work because of a recurring knee injury (I’m able to walk, but my job is pretty physical and I can’t quite carry 50kg of weight on this knee). It’s given me plenty of free time, and I’ll admit that I spend too much of it browsing sites on my phone, looking at things that I can’t buy.

There are a few things in particular that I’m eyeing – things that I’d love to get for our flat. Top of that list are new mugs (we have a bunch of mismatched mugs Richard has collected over the years, which aren’t really my style), decorative pillows for our bed, and artwork for the walls.

For the mugs, I’m really gravitating towards any ceramic pieces that look handmade. I’m completely in love with all things speckled and ‘imperfect’ looking. Sure, I’d love dinnerware or serving pieces to match, but for now would be easily satisfied with just a handful of mugs. These ones have really caught my eye.

Speckled mugs | Hello Victoria

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Aren’t those first mugs from Habitat great? And at only £25 for four mugs, they’re not too badly priced. So many places have crazy prices like £15 for just one mug. Richard and I keep looking for something like these ones, but every time it’s just too high of a price per mug. When you want to buy at least 4 of them, it adds up quickly.

And even though it’s not a mug, and a different style altogether, isn’t this jug amazing? I’m not sure why, but I’m really into having pretty jugs for dinner parties etc. Not that I’ve hosted one in a while… need to get on that!

Blue watercolour jub from Trouva | Hello Victoria

Blue Watercolour Jug

For the pillows on the bed, I’m still thinking of getting a long bolster pillow, possibly in some kind of african mudcloth print, or turkish rug material. But just one pillow isn’t enough for me (although Richard reeeaaally doesn’t want me to add a lot of pillows) and I’d like to add a couple larger ones behind the bolster. Ideally they’d be something kind of neutral, like beige or grey, but have texture and interest. How about these? (more…)

Visiting the Borough Market in London

Borough Market in London, England | Hello Victoria

When my parents came to visit back in August, we spent a few days in London before heading off to Northern Ireland. They had been to London before (hence only spending a couple days), but they wanted to see where we lived and worked. As for me, I work in the Borough Market!

Borough Market in London, England | Hello Victoria

I’ve been wanting to do a blog post highlighting the market for a while, but don’t exactly take my camera with me to work. This was the perfect opportunity for me to play the tourist, and get a couple snaps of the market stalls. I wish I had taken more photos showing all the great stuff… but my hands were too busy eating!

Borough Market in London, England | Hello Victoria Borough Market in London, England | Hello Victoria

The Borough Market is London’s oldest food market; one form or another has been around for about 1,000 years. Given how long it’s been here for, you can assume it’s going to be good. And you wouldn’t be wrong! It’s located just near the base of the shard, and is open 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday). It’s basically the food hub of London. If you want to sample interesting cheese, produce, bakery products, etc. from all over, then this is the place to go. If I had lots of money, I would pretty much do all of my grocery shopping there. (more…)