shopping

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…)

Kenya: Nairobi Markets + Sanctuaries

Visiting the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi | Hello Victoria
After our time at Shaba National Reserve, and Mt. Kenya Safari, we made the drive back to Nairobi and dropped off our rental vehicle. We had a couple of days before our flight home, and wanted to see what sights Kenya’s capital had to offer. I had read about the various Maasai markets held around Nairobi, and Richard had researched some places we could go to see animals! Together, we had a jam packed two days touring around Nairobi.

Our home base in the city was the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel. Not as fancy or luxurious as the Fairmont in Mt. Kenya, but it was in a good location, right beside one of the markets that we were planning to visit. As we had dropped off our vehicle when we arrived in Nairobi, we hired a driver for the time that we were in Nairobi. It was a great call, as he knew all the best ways around town, as well as some places to eat along the way.

Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi | Hello Victoria
Our first stop was the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to see the orphaned elephants. I had been picturing some sort of romantic scenario, where I get to hand feed baby elephants, but the result was a biiiit different. The crowd at this place was massive, which meant that we ended up at the back of a group of school children, unable to get very close to the elephants. It was a bit of a let down, as those people in front were taking photo after photo and not letting anyone else have a turn up close. If you decide to go yourself, get there early in order to beat the tour groups.

Elephant orphans at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi | Hello Victoria

Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi | Hello Victoria

However, the elephants were exceptionally cute, and it did feel good to spend money to help a group of orphaned elephants, rather than pay some zoo. Although why they are orphaned in the first place (ivory) is so sad. By the time I have kids, elephants might be something you only see in zoos.

Visiting the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi | Hello Victoria

Visiting the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi | Hello Victoria

After the elephants, we had lunch before venturing to the Giraffe Centre. Now, if you have Pinterest, you’ll probably be familiar with Giraffe Manor. (more…)

Two Days in Brighton

Artist Residence in Brighton | Hello Victoria

For a while now, Richard and I have been talking about spending a couple days down in Brighton. It’s so close by, which makes it perfect for a quick little weekend, or even a day trip by train! And of course, ever since watching the original A&E Pride and Prejudice as a kid, I’ve wanted to go. Just like Lydia!

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A little bit of sea bathing would set me up too, Mrs. Bennet. 😉

But other than seeing the ocean (I miss that), I wanted to go because Brighton is a smaller, younger feeling city. It’s got the sort of hippie-meets-hipster vibe that you find in places like Seattle or Portland, with lots of small businesses. Most of them are centered around a few small streets, called the Lanes. They can be quite busy and a bit touristy at times, but still lots of fun. In a weird way it reminded me of Coombs, if Coombs was a proper city with a university et al.

Two days in Brighton | Hello Victoria

Richard had been wanting to take me there because it’s where he went to University! He mostly wanted to show me where he used to live, and have a pint in an old pub down the lane, but it was closed when we tried to go. Darn.

Now, I mentioned that you could take the train down and do Brighton in a day, but when we tried to book our tickets a few days before, they were so expensive!! We did the math, and it would be only £20 more to drive down and get a hotel room for the night than the train! Of course we decided to choose that option, as it would give us more time to explore Brighton.

Artist Residence in Brighton | Hello Victoria

isn’t that brick wall and tufted headboard gorgeous?

Artist Residence in Brighton | Hello Victoria

Not only would this option give us more time in Brighton, it would also give me the option to stay at the Artist Residence!! I first heard about this chain of boutique hotels when we were traveling around the UK in December. We were looking for a cool place to stay in Cornwall, but unfortunately, they were fully booked for new year’s. Ever since then, I have been looking for a reason to stay at one of their locations in Cornwall, London, or Brighton (with more opening soon). (more…)