Hello strangers! Stella and I were on a break, as Ross Geller would say. Not that kind of break though, don't worry, but the sunny holiday type [insert massive annoying smug face emoji here] where you spam everyone on social media with mouth-watering shots of pool parties and sandy beaches, with a large 'piscine de rosé' in hand at all times (that's how we crazy French call a glass of rosé with lots of ice cubes in it, fyi) . Anyways, we are back in Lundun Town and with a bit of a bang! No post holiday blues for us this year, for two exciting reasons.
Numero uno, can you spot the little Amara Interior Blog Awards badge that casually says 'Shortlisted Blog' on the right (or below, if your'e reading this on mobile)?!?! Yep, that's right, Stella + the Stars made the final shortlist of 5 top blogs in the Best Newcomer Category! This means that I am now psychologically preparing myself to attend the fancy awards do at the end of October at the even more fancy Ham Yard Hotel in Soho (designed by the design genius that is Kit Kemp, no less!). Massive merci again to all of you gorgeous people who voted for me - I lost consciousness in the middle of the playground when I found out... That's how happy and grateful I am...
And numero dos, a very good way of avoiding a post-holiday induced nervous breakdown is to fly back in the middle of London Design Festival aka the equivalent of London Fashion Week of the interiors world. This year, I had to miss the big one, Decorex, sadly (too busy sunning myself in St Trop for my friend's wedding) but I managed to make it to Tent London (in trendy Shoreditch) and for the first time 100% Design (in, well, slightly less trendy Olympia/Hammersmith, but in a fabulous venue nonetheless).
I know a lot of designers and interior stylists find the whole show trail a bit of a pain in the derriere, but for me it's one of the highlights of the year. I got more excited than Stella when we took her to the zoo. Tiiiiigers! Coooooopper lamps! If you've never been to an interior design show, It's a bit like getting lost in a gigantic place that is a cross between a big casino in Las Vegas, Heathrow Terminal 5 and the first floor of Westfield. Aka my absolute heaven! Yes, it is possible that you loose track of time or any sense of reality for a whole day, as well as any logical notion of money and what is affordable ('Of course, I would love to find out more about this £2,300 copper lamp, please send me the deets!), and you can find yourself slightly dehydrated after spending 5 hours on your feet with no water (I tend to forget to drink when I 'shop'); BUT, it's also where stylists and interiors journos get their inspiration, a preview of the latest trends and up-and-coming designers, and generally what's the latest cool stuff that's about to make headlines in the interiors press.
This year, I fell in love with a handful of new brands and designers. Here is my top 10 highlights from London Design Festival. *Warning: may cause excessive drooling*
1. Tables from &New
2. Lighting and furniture from Delightfull
3. Every single thing from Sé
4. Chest of drawers by Lorenzo Cereda
5. Ceramics by Sena Gu
6. LED book lamps by Ali Siavoshi (you can use your own books to customise the lamps!)
7. Artist-made wallpapers by Feathr
8. Colourful rugs by Sonya Winner
9. New collection of animal shelves from Ibride
10. Quirky lamps from Boboboom (who happen to be based in my hometown Marseille!)