London is magical at Christmas. Everyone says it and now I believe it – from glittering window displays to lights and festive pop-ups, there’s so much going on in the capital in the lead up to December 25th. Whether you’re a fan of Winterville over Winter Wonderland, the Natural History Museum’s ice rink over Somerset House’s or Harrod’s windows over Selfridges’, there’s one spot in London that everyone can’t help but fall in love with… And take copious amounts of photos of. That place is Peggy Porschen. A beautiful pastel pink bakery a short stroll from Victoria station, that is without a doubt, one of London’s most Instagrammed spots.

Peggy Porschen Best Cupcakes in London

Christmas at Peggy Porschen Cakes in London

Festive Inspiration at Peggy Porschen

This Belgravia blogger hotspot is known for switching up its window displays and decor to match the seasons. After visiting the department stores, markets and ice rinks to get into the festive spirit, exploring Peggy Porschen’s winter wonderland should be on your list in London. Despite all the Insta hype and the queue, the atmosphere inside is calm and relaxing. A welcome break from Christmas shopping madness around the city. It’s pastel heaven with mini houses, fairy lights and wreathes, not to mention heaps of beautifully iced gingerbread to buy as gifts. The rare snowy London day and steamed up windows only added to the magical feel. It’s like stepping into Frozen, only if you’d spilled a bottle of pink food colouring along the way.

Festive windows at Peggy Porschen

Christmas Wreath at Peggy Porschen

Peggy Porschen – the Best Cupcakes in London?

Wait, how were the cupcakes? I love to bake, but I admit that sometimes cupcakes look better than they taste. Too frequently they suffer from dry sponge and bland icing. At £4.50 for takeaway (we gave up queuing in the snow), I was definitely hoping it was an out-of-this world cupcake. And actually, I was pleasantly surprised. A secret salted caramel centre oozed from inside the very moist chocolate sponge, which was topped with salted caramel pieces and creamy icing. Peggy Porschen absolutely deserves the accolade of home of some of the best cupcakes in London.

I can’t wait to visit in the new year and see how they’ve changed the window displays. This place has been on my London bucket list for some time, and to really tick it off I think it needs to be seen in every season. A worthy feature on my list of Beautiful Spaces in London and beyond. Have you been? What did you think?

with love, b.xo

 

 

 

 

This weekend, I’ve swapped the Big Smoke for the rolling valleys of West Wales – the perfect antidote to the city. It’s easy to feel anonymous in London, so jumping back into local life is a refreshing pick-me-up for someone who was raised in the countryside. It’s also a great reminder that while I love exploring the capital, there are always new places to discover further afield. Pembrokeshire may be better known for its beaches, but there’s another gem to discover: Narberth. And you’d be missing out to overlook this quirky town – ideal for foodies and interiors enthusiasts alike. After a great tapas lunch at Ultracomida (their Spanish-sourced deli is also extensive), we meandered through the colourful streets. And in truth, the antique shops and interiors havens we visited surpassed my expectations.

Twine, botanical prints and wrap at House by Betty, Narberth

House by Betty, Narberth

I loved the antique shops – it was painted furniture galore, so I’ve made a mental note to return when I move somewhere larger than a one-bed in London dimensions. But, for me, the real favourite was House by Betty – a home/garden emporium with impeccable visual merchandising. The owner, Lauren, uses everything from vintage ladders to crates and metal shopping baskets to display her products. There’s also a big focus on wood and natural materials with a charming retro twist and slight nod to the botanical trend. The brand’s aim is to offer items that are useful and not over-the-top, yet still beautiful. Despite how well their products marry together in the shop, House by Betty sees personal style as something fluid, not limited to one period, theme or colour. I really like this concept and their pursuit of timeless, useful design that does what it says on the tin. Case in point are the many utensils and stylish, wooden brushes on display.

House by Betty, Narberth

Interiors shopping in Narberth - House by Betty

If you’re ever in the area, make a trip to House by Betty and the other interesting shops and boutiques in Narberth. For endless gift inspiration and prints, visit The Golden Sheaf Gallery. Or, for furniture and unique finds, visit the sprawling Malthouse Antiques. They’re all worth a browse!

with love, b.xo

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t quite got my head around London’s paradoxes. This morning, I enjoyed a walk through the trees in Holland Park, only to emerge and be greeted by the modern facade of The Design Museum. Different areas of the city sit back-to-back in geography, but feel completely different as you pass through them. It’s what makes the capital so exciting as a new resident, and something I hope I never take for granted.

Coloured wall at London Design Museum

Designer Maker User Exhibition at The Design Museum

Rather than put the spotlight on a particular brand or stylish cafe, this Beautiful Space focuses on the development of design itself (though, we did have a great lunch at Cafe Phillies, just around the corner). The Design Museum is home to a permanent exhibition called Designer Maker User – a collection of almost 1,000 objects of 20th and 21st century design from the perspective of designers, makers (manufacturers) and users (consumers). The exhibition allows visitors to consider how these roles are interlinked; how designers respond to users’ and makers’ needs and how users or consumers influence the design process. And how all are affected by technological progress.

Everyday objects - Designer Maker User Exhibition

The crowdsourced wall at The Design Museum – a collection of everyday designs that mean something special – they’re either functional, beautiful or hold personal memories.

Choice as a ‘user’

The collection of objects ranged from road signs to Olivetti typewriters and Apple products – a wonderful mishmash of the evolution of the design of everyday objects. The things we use frequently, but rarely give a second thought. The exhibition encourages you to step back and reflect on your role as a user in the design process. How our choices impact the success of designers, how we come to make these decisions and how what we buy determines our identity – who we are, or choose to be. Some choices are purely practical, born out of cost, efficiency, comfort or requirement. While others are made for different, less conscious reasons; for example, when we are influenced by advertising or an emotional response from a certain object.

Olivetti Collection at London Design Museum

What is good design?

While Designer Maker User encourages us to consider how we view and make decisions around design, it also asks visitors to reflect on the meaning of good design. Ultimately, it’s something that is very personal to each of us. While Modernists considered good design to be synonymous with function and usefulness, others feel good design creates an emotional response from the user or consumer. Some also see good design as something that does good. They recognise the moral responsibilities of designers and their ability to produce something that can improve our lives.

Although this may seem fairly straightforward, it’s a refreshing step back from consumer behaviour. The exhibition encourages us to think about why we make the decisions we do, as well as celebrate designs that have forever changed how we live in the 21st century. If you feel like being inspired, Designer Maker User is worth a meander, it’s very Instagram-worthy, and even better, it’s free!

with love, b.xo

 

This week, IKEA hosted an immersive event at 19 Greek Street in Soho to celebrate 30 years since the brand was introduced to the UK. 19 Greek Street is a fantastic central London space that is frequently transformed and redecorated to hold pop-up events and exhibitions. Across the venue’s four floors, the IKEA house party celebrated their retro collections from the 80s, 90s and 00s. It also gave a sneak peak into the future. The floors were interactive with actors dressed up from the decades chatting to guests, in addition to real TV footage playing from the era. In the evening, the venue welcomed guests to a real house party with DJs.

Retro IKEA catalogue covers - IKEA house party pop-up

Highlights from the IKEA House Party: 80s

30 years of IKEA in the UK

IKEA House Party - 80s interior decor

Highlights from the IKEA House Party: the future

Modern IKEA - Soho House Party Pop Up

Celebrating 30 years of IKEA at the IKEA house party

IKEA’s Impact in the UK

IKEA’s concept blends function, quality and design in a way that is affordable to the majority. The fact that many of their original products, such as the BILLY bookcases and £5 LACK square tables, have become permanent parts of their collection makes a case in point. So many IKEA products are instantly recognisable. A trip to their stores has become a day out, finished off with a plate of their famous Swedish meatballs. Now, constructing an IKEA wardrobe or set of drawers is almost a rite of passage for new home owners or young couples. Their concept has been nothing but successful here and now similar Scandinavian-born brands for lifestyle products, such as HEMA and Tiger, are popping up all around the UK. Whether or not you consider IKEA’s design to constitute ‘Beautiful Spaces‘, their influence on home decor in the UK is undeniable. They have helped make living more stylishly accessible, allowing us choice and flexibility within our homes.

If you missed the chance to visit, IKEA released a short video on the house party and shared some incredible facts about our love of home interiors. They revealed that we spend three full working weeks each year looking for home decor inspiration online! If that’s an average number, I’d imagine I spend much longer…

If you want to find out more about the event, search for #WonderfulEverday on social.

with love, b.xo

 

My first six weeks living in London have flown by. It’s safe to say my good intentions for publishing new content haven’t been fulfilled as planned, but now feeling more settled, I’ve got lots of new inspiration and ideas to share. People keep asking me if I’ve found favourite new local hang-outs and brunch spots. But the truth is, there’s just so much to explore, I can’t say I have any favourites yet. I have, however, added another Beautiful Space to my list. Meet Decorum at Boxpark, Shoreditch.

Decorum

Boxpark mixes pop-up shops and a street-food communal eating atmosphere, constructed using re-purposed shipping containers. If you’ve ever been to the Time Out market in Lisbon, it feels a little like a smaller version of that. People sitting down on communal tables, chatting and tucking into some great food. Downstairs there is a row of pop-up boutiques and shops with everything from jewellery to clothes and fun gifts. It’s a clever idea to give independent brands a chance to showcase their products in London. One of the main reasons I headed down to Boxpark was to check out Decorum, an interiors brand created by Christina Karoulla. The main focus is on modern minimalist, industrialist and Scandinavian design and quality, long-lasting products. The palette is mostly greys and earthy or brassy tones, but together the collection creates a warm and inviting feel.

3 Things I Loved at Decorum

As I’m a big fan of grey home decor, it’s not difficult to see why I loved the collection at Decorum. The colour palette and materials used, like concrete, would also work really well as a contrast against indoor plants – something I’m buying in abundance at the moment. Here are some of my Decorum top picks:

#1 Concrete Clocks

Concrete Clocks at Decorum

#2 Circular Mirrors

Circular Mirrors at Decorum

#3 Industrial Lighting

Decorum Pop-Up at Boxpark Shoreditch

 

I really love the minimal, Scandinavian-chic feel of Decorum, it’s perfect for unique home decor pieces, whether that’s for the dining room or the living room. The smaller items and beautiful gift wrap (some from Katie Leamon, who I really like) make Decorum a great present pit-stop too.

Oh, and if you do fancy a trip to Boxpark via Old Street, there’s currently a cookie dough pop-up shop in the station. I am 100% going back for that!

with love, b.xo