Krakow

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Back in January my friend Chloe and myself went on a last min long weekend to Krakow, Poland. The freezing day temps and snow/icey conditions didn’t hold us back. If anything it added to the magic of the city.

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Krakow is a the second largest city in Poland situated in the south of the country. The former capital’s old town and jewish quarter hold a rich history and showcases many medieval architectural features such as the remnants of the old city wall. The central Rynek Glówny, market square, holds the cloth hall a Renaissance era market and St Mary’s Basilica and an array of restaurants, shops and bars.

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Here is St Mary’s Basilica in daytime and night. The building stands alone against the blocks of smaller buildings which shine lights onto the church during the night. We didn’t get a chance to go inside the building but we passed it daily and noticed something different each time. We stayed in serviced apartments just off the main square and a less than 2 min walk from this church. The perfect location to walk or cycle anywhere in the city.

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Our first night was spent mainly here – the Pinball Museum. A tricky to find (we walked past it a few times) gem when we did walk in and down to the basement museum we found a bar with one beer tap and a guy to pay entry. We paid the equivalent of £5 each for endless entry all day. We planned on only being there for an hour or two but ended up being there for 5 hours… The place was huge 4/5 different rooms with mainly pin ball games but also shooting, Pac-Man, space invaders and other classic games. It was so much fun. The perfect start to the weekend and an easy activity after a long day traveling.

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We couldn’t go to that part of Poland without paying a visit and our respect to the remains of Auschwitz. We chose to do a combined tour of the Auschwitz camps and the salt mines a good choice if you don’t mind a long day.

Auschwitz was, as expected, haunting. The numbers of people that were forced there, held there and killed there are incomprehensible. When you’re doing the tour so much information is being fed to you it’s only on the way back that you start to sit down and think about the numbers. The main thing that I didn’t realise and couldn’t believe is that some of the victims actually bought tickets to go to this new and exciting way of living. They were so innocently naive about where they were going from the buying of tickets to the communal ‘showers’. How did they know it would be so terrible? Or were they already conditioned with fear to obey?..they would have seen the fear in others eyes and been scared of the authority in suits. I guess we can only think of something so terrible because we’ve seen the war and it has already happened.

The salt mine was a lighter tour. Still as amazing the depths they’ve mined to and they’ve even built a cathedral which holds weekly mass for the miners. Crazy stuff and worth a visit.

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Saturday morning we ventured out for brunch at Mr Pancake. It was AMAZING. Don’t eat before and don’t expect to move for a while after.

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For the rest of Saturday we rented bikes and took to the streets. It was such a good way to do the Jewish quarter and around the city walls. Glad we had gloves though it was mighty cold!

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Here are a couple of sights we saw. The random street art and the tightrope sculptural bridge.

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Photos of the cloth hall at night and Chloe walking into it.

On the Saturday night we decided to take on the Polish vodka with the the Krakow Bar Krawl. Highly recommend it. Not too expensive and you get to visit lots of bars, lots of drinks included and meet a lot of interesting people (shout out to Justin from NYC and Dale’s Stag do). The only thing I don’t recommend is doing it the night before you fly. What a hangover. We were not ok. Chloe’s dad had warned us about under the counter vodka and he was right. But still worth it.

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GO TO KRAKOW!

Beth Victoria

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Embroider with meaning

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Embroidery has in the past few years become a cool creative activity. As the record player and vinyl became a trendy thing to have and own – embroidery is now a trendy thing to learn and do. I  also got on the bandwagon a couple of years ago. It’s a great activity for when you’ve occasionally got 10 mins to spare, there’s no pressure to finish it all in one go.

There are some beautiful pieces being made out there. Like the below ones from Sarah K. Benning and Namaste Embroidery.

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But there is also a great, wonderfully subtle and strong movement towards saying some powerful things with the thread. A movement that I love! Get it all out in a beautiful and creative way.

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These are more patterns from Namaste Embroidery. A subtly strong statement within a beautiful presentation. I would hang this on my wall! This is actually an embroidery pattern – so you can make it for yourself! Find it HERE

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Feminism and self-worth is always great. This little embroidery is small and subtle but packs a big ol’punch. Find it HERE

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The final creator I am featuring is Moonrise Whims not only do they create these fun and funky worded pieces they also create works such as below. Full of weirdly intriguing imagery and beautifully finished pieces of art.

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They also created the piece in the cover photo. An expressive piece that I feel everyone can relate with!

I have quietly admired these works and creatives on Instagram for a while now and wanted to write this short post as a nod to them and their work. Obviously this is a tiny collection of the protesting embroiderers. Please get in contact if you know of anymore and give all these and us a follow on insta!

Happy stitching!

Beth Victoria

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12 Etsy Finds

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Here we go again with a collection of Etsy items that I currently love. Etsy has a lot of random items on it but if you dig deep enough you can find lots of beautiful things too…like Beth Victoria wallpapers and tables!

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1 – Bud vase 2 – Incense holder 3 – Lamp 4 – Hanging planter

How cute is that incense holder! Also love the bright pop of blue in it too! The vase no.1 is also such a great piece for a dining table or mantle piece. Subtle but gorgeous.

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1 – Earings 2 – Metal planter 3 – Mugs 4 – Earings!

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1 – Coffee Table 2 – Wall Art 3 – Mobile 4 – Coffee Table

The leg and base of that first coffee table is just so beautiful and different. In love with the geometric design!

Hopefully my digging has found some gems that you like and can help you on the way to finding more. Another set will be coming up in a month or two so keep an eye out for that!

Thanks for visiting, Beth Victoria

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Prague

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Recently I went on a little trip to Prague. Well actually it wasn’t that recently but I’ve finally got around to getting the photos off of my phone and onto my laptop. So here are some of the photographs that I took whilst away and a few recommendations of food, architecture and of course beer.

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 Getting the most obvious of Prague landmarks out the way first with a classic night time photograph of Charles Bridge. We found a nice little view point with a bar and blankets, set up camp just before sunset and then waited till I could get a typical shot. It was worth it!

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After waiting for the Charles Bridge photograph we were pretty hungry right next door was a very fancy restaurant we decided to go all out on the first meal with a tasting menu and matched wine. The restaurant was called Restaurant Mlýnec and the food was delicious with a little bit of dry ice theatre. If you can deffo worth a visit.

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An art deco cafe – worth a visit for the interiors but not the food.

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Frank Gehry’s dancing house, also known as Fred & Ginger, is not one of his most well known works – you’ve probably heard of the Guggenheim?But the building is interesting in shape and how it is a contrast with its surrounding more traditional designs. Go see and go in.

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Churches in Prague are sooo pretty. We went to a couple I don’t have a recommendation for the churches just wonder around and you’ll find some. Also if you look really closely at that last image the face is Michael Caine so that’s something.

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This is an interesting art piece that a lot of people just walk past not seeing. This is called Man Hanging Out… if you google the sculpture you can see it in detail. The guy is actually Sigmund Freud and the sculpture, by David Cerny, is depicted in this way to signify his fear of death. The sculpture apparently gives people a fright and calls into the emergency services aren’t rare!

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Obviously there is a lot of ‘To dos’ I’ve missed out of this blog post. But I would deffo recommend a visit to Prague to see all the wonders for yourself. I’ve finished the post with two view point photographs- because the best part of seeing a city is seeing all it’s beauty from afar. The second and last image is my favourite after walking up Petrin Hill there was a break in the trees and this was the view. So Gorgeous.

So go to Prague!

Beth Victoria

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What I’ve been up to…

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I’ve been quiet because I’ve been busy!

Nearly a year ago I started a new role within a very successful and well known interior design company. Designing hotels all day is a lot of fun but it doesn’t leave much time for much else! Now I’m settled in I promise to get back into regular blog posts… I’d like to think they’ll get better with the experience I’ve gotten from the day job…

Heres some images of what I have been up to!

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Learning the process of getting a set of concept images translated to fabrics and materials is something that I’ve really enjoyed so far. It takes time to find the right items but when you do you see a concept come together. The above images shows the process of this selection process to create boards.

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The above two boards are examples of the concept boards finished.

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Depending on the desired client to the hotel and our clients taste adding a playful element like some ping pong paddles brings a fun and personal touch to the boards.

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One thing I’ve learnt is to throw as much at the boards as you can in the beginning and then filter the items down. This board, however, needed a lot of finishes to be seen on it so the editing down wasn’t needed. I like the addition of the door handle – adding finished pieces always helps clients visualise your ideas. Also, I improvised here a little bit with the white napkin folded in the corner. It is meant to represent a little bit of a ceiling sculpture we had designed… it works!

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Another key thing that I’ve learnt is to utilise all the different materials available. Bringing in colour from tiles, metals, glass and other items makes a board stand out.

I’ll get on with writing more blog posts and keep posting updates on what I’m doing and learning at work!

Thanks for reading

Beth Victoria

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5 Etsy Finds

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Another look at some of our favourite items that Etsy has to offer.

Floating Dressing Table

£230 From Urbansize

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This shop holds a range of sleek minimal designs like this dressing table. I love the simple lines and clean finish along with the functional jewellery rail for keeping necklaces untangled and ready to wear.


Scaffold Board Desk with Hairpin Legs

£160 from Tcindustrialvintage 

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The re-use of these scaffolding boards as a desk is a common design that I love. The boards paired with the hairpin legs make for a simple yet statement vintage industrial piece.


Mid Century Modern Plant Stand

£31.33+ From HookAndStemCo

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Inspired by the 50’s this stand is the perfect way to introduce plants and pots into the home. The pots aren’t included but there are four different types of wood and four sizes to choose from. Not only do these look amazing but also this Canadian company plant one tree for each purchase. There’s no excuse not to buy one or two!


Eiffel Style Dining Chairs

£117.99 for a set of four. From MOF Home

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These padded dining chairs are interesting and perfectly retro. The eiffel tower legs are gorgeous and the lines are matched with the detail in the seat padding. These chairs come in four colours the black and white seen above and a bright yellow and green. You can buy them as individual pieces for just £33.99 and in sets of 2s or 4s. I think I need them.


Tiny Succulents

On sale! From Sedumstore

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Sedumstore is a cute little shop that sell a range of different little plants (that would look great in our tiled coffee table.) There is a wait to get these as they have to be grown but they are discounted and available to pre-order now. A few people have asked where to get plants to go in the middle of BethVictoria.com’s coffee table and so just wanted to throw this in the post to show another option than the local garden centre.

Check out the coffee table here.

Bethvictoria.com

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A simple blue design

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Today I’m heading off to Portsmouth and so I’ve based this mood board on a light and airy blue seaside-y feel. I started with the fabric from harlequin and the light, wooden furniture. This fabric is great for being able to tie in a range of different shades of blue within the accessories and lighting. Using the neutral furniture also means that the room is easily changed – simply just swap out the accessories with different colours.

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Hopefully the weather in Portsmouth is as light and airy as this design…

Bethvictoria.com

The products:

Paint: Little Greene Gauze (106) | Fabric: Harlequin Estrato Denim/Nude/Sky | Bed: Ercol Shalstone | Bedside table: Ercol Shalstone | Ceiling Light: George Nelson Criss Cross Bubble Light | Lamps: Pooky Bluebell Table Lamp & Elsa Table Lamp | Sofa: Ercol Salento, Vernaldo Driftwood | Accent Chair: Made.com, Lars | Cushions: Made.com, Harbor Cushion, Blue Coral & Paloma Velvet Cushion | Bedding: White Company, Charlcombe, Silver Grey | Throw: John Lewis Moet Knitted, Spruce | Side Table: Swoon editions Reid White Tripod | Coffee Table: Made.com, Range Round Table | Vase: Dartington Crystal Little Gems Urn Posy | Terrarium: John Lewis No.023 | Artwork: Stuart Roy, Blue Horizon.

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We made a table!

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Instead of throwing away the above troughs that I made for my MA degree show I decided to, with the help of my Granddad and his workshop, turn them into coffee tables!

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Having come up with a design the first thing to do was create a higher base for the tiles so that the edge wasn’t too deep. Easily done with Granddad’s tools!

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Then we attached the hairpin legs that I bought from Wicked Hairpins. I went for the three rod leg because I thought that the wooden trough with the tiles would be heavy and so the extra support was a safe bet.

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The next step was to layout and stick down the tiles to either side of the coffee table. It took ages to find these tiles. I wanted a specific colour and style of pattern similar to that seen on the buildings in Portugal. These ones are from Milagros a Mexican shop that sells a range of handmade tiles and other goods.

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The first idea for the table was that it would be the tiles and then a strip of grout… not the best idea as it seems. Having grouted the table (above image) we left it dry and it cracked – so back to the drawing board.

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After another indecisive gap I decided on these little mosaic tiles from a local bathroom store. This worked so much better than the grout. So then the table was pretty much done just needed to paint it. In the design the centre section is to be filled with succulents. It has been left empty for now in case it needs to be transported anywhere.

And here’s the final piece!

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It had its ups and down but I got there in the end. I also have the materials to make another one which will hopefully wont take as long to make as this one did! Huge thanks to Granddad and his patience with my unexpectedly difficult design.

It is also now available to buy on Etsy!

Bethvictoria.com

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Raphael The Drawings at The Ashmolean

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Before reading this post it is a good idea to read Michelangelo vs Sebastiano so that some of the references back make more sense!

“Raphael’s hand generated lines that gave shape to his pursuit of eloquent forms” From the Ashmolean’s supporting text

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Raphael self portrait, 1501

In a similar manner to the way that a young Sebastiano would approach his works a young Raphael, as seen in the self-portrait above, works in a rough, almost carefree manner. But his work is far from carefree as he works on the proportions and final image on the canvas rather than in a series of working sketches before hand, to get the precise composition, level of detail and anatomy accuracy that the subject deserves – all whilst in his teens.

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Head of an Apostle, circa 1503

His work seems to quickly develop from the early ‘have a go’ style of his self-portrait, through large collections of sketches and workings of smaller sections of a picture. The sketch of the Head of an Apostle above shows Raphael’s ability to bring a sense of movement to a simple black chalk sketch. The lines are swift, the hatch shading and flowing curls of the hair evoke the feeling of movement and enhance the gesture of the turning face.

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Madonna Studies, 1511/13

Through all of the sketches that Raphael did he grew as an artist and fed his grand appetite for learning. The sheets of sketches shown within this exhibition, as with the one above where the central sketch is surrounded by smaller studies of figures and buildings, have pen studies juxtaposed with soft pencil studies – a burst of workings from the mind to paper. Giving a sense of a need to get things down onto paper.

 “With his voracious appetite for new stimuli, Raphael studied the battle scenes designed by Leonardo and Michelangelo and the antique sources that inspired them.” From the Ashmolean’s supporting text

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Raphael’s studies after Michelangelo’s David, 1507/8

It has been noted that Michelangelo was throughout his career jealous and threatened by young Raphael. So, Raphael’s work that took Michelangelo’s and developed it further, adapting it for his own purpose surely added salt to the wound!

Raphael took Michelangelo’s David and scaled him down changing our perspective of him and developing him from a statue to a sketch that conveys movement and depth. Raphael did not just take the ideas from Michelangelo, he fused visual memories of the sculptures, classical reliefs and print sources always seeking to create a greater expressive energy. He confronted these influences with his pen using drawing to understand them and adapt them, putting his mark on great imagery and making it his own. 

Here is what we found most interesting… 

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The Heads and Hands of Two Apostles, 1519–1520

Raphael’s ability to draw heads stood out in this exhibition. From larger refined sketches like the above to little sketches in the corner of a sheet full of other sketches they all had the same ability to show the subject’s emotion. From the warn lines of the elder gentleman to the smooth skin of the younger, Raphael captured a point in time in the subject’s life on their skin and their feelings in their emotion.

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Study for the Massacre of the Innocents, 1509–1510

In the same sense as when a character within a film or TV program breaks the fourth wall* and you get a slight feeling of confusion and in some cases unease, when you notice the lady running straight for the viewer in Raphael’s Massacre of the Innocents the work seems somehow more realistic and unsettling. This woman and child running forward are seen all throughout the development and in the final presentation of this piece. It gives the sense that the mother is running to you for safety and the fact is that you as a viewer cannot do anything about it – it puts you in the scene and that’s what makes it unsettling, but brilliant.

*The fourth wall is a theatre term for the invisible line or imagined wall that separates the stage and actors from the audience. The audience can see through this wall and the actors cannot. In cinema this is ‘broken’ when the actor would talk directly through the camera and screen to the audience.

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Drapery Study for a Sibyl, 1511-12 and Study of a Horseman for the “Repulse of Attila”, 1513/14

As well as Raphael’s studies of various faces, his workings of drapery stood out within the sketches. He created movement in the material using dark and light shading to produce the various folds, and to show the body of the figures underneath the material. Here Raphael’s variety and delicacy in pose and character within these unfinished sketches of Sibyl respond to Michelangelo’s more weighty and masculine female imagery. He also used white chalk to add extra depth to the figures and material highlighting where the light would hit the body and accentuating the muscles and folds.

The exhibition succeeded in showing how studies in simple medial fuelled the development of a young artist to an established one. Our only criticism is the limited space for circulation in the first two rooms.

By far, our favourite part of the exhibition was to watch on video (at the end of the second room) the processes that Raphael would have used to make his studies. Seeing how he used a stylus to create inductive traces before working over with pen. To understand how sketches were made in the 1500s and understand what it would have taken to create the images changed the way that you viewed the sketches. The last room of sketches seemed even more interesting as you began to see the pre-workings and imagine the process of their creation. The video that showed his process would change the whole exhibition if it were viewed earlier.

Thank you for reading!

Bethvictoria.com

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Our wallpaper in a new nursery

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We’ve just recieved these images from a recent customer of our wallpaper in a newly decorated nursery within their home.

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Always nice to see where the wallpaper ends up and the different types of rooms that the versatile design and colours go into.

Bethvictoria.com

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