So this is pretty special for me so I hope you will allow me to indulge myself to celebrate a little bit! As you may know, the Amara Interior Blog Awards is an annual event to honour and celebrate bloggers who write about interior design. It’s a tight knit community here in the UK and so having an organisation honour what we do is pretty cool. The yearly awards always mean a big run up and just being nominated is a thrill. For the last 3 years, with your help (because we have to ask for votes!), I’ve managed to make it to the shortlist in the DIY/Crafts category and have attended the ceremony at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. And while I absolutely love getting the chance to be there, I have sadly never won my category!

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Russell and Jordan from 2 Lovely Gays, Sarah Akwisombe and me! Photo by John Nassari

If you watched the ceremony on the live stream, you’ll see that for the third year running now, I STILL didn’t win my category! Am I surprised? No, not really. I’ve said in the past that I don’t think Swoon Worthy is a particularly good fit for the DIY/Crafts category because despite the fact we do a lot of DIY around here and I do the odd crafty post, it’s not really the main focus. Based on the criteria the judges use to choose a winner, those blogs who do make crafty projects their focus seem to nearly always win. So yeah, I wasn’t really all that surprised when my name wasn’t called out! Instead, it went to Melanie Lissack who was a worthy winner!

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Obligatory flattering mirror selfie when getting ready for the ceremony!

However, what took me by complete surprise is when they got to the end of the awards and they announced the biggest honour of the night, The Blogger’s Choice Award. This one is not voted by a judging panel but instead, it’s voted by all the shortlisters who choose their favourite blog to win. And well when they called out my name as the winner, I was absolutely floored!!

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My thought process at this point, “DON’T FALL, OH GOD DON’T FALL.” Photo by John Nassari

This to me was far more touching than a win in my category. It was my fellow bloggers – the ones who understand the commitment and the hard work it really is to run a blog – who voted for the sites they love and wanted to see win. With absolute no disrespect at all to the judges, being honoured by my friends and fellow bloggers was such a tremendous accolade and I can’t even begin to put into words how genuinely grateful I am. After the awards, I had so many lovely people coming up to tell me they voted for me and I can’t tell you how amazed I was at that. It was just such an incredible moment and one I will not soon forget!

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Sophie Robinson, Me with my award and Sponsor, Firmdale Hotels / Photo by John Nassari

The Ham Yard in London is an utterly fabulous venue and it was so nice getting to hang out with my fellow blogging besties! Sarah Akwisombe and I got ourselves ready for the night at the amazing Curious Apartment which I’ll be telling you all about very soon and then it was just a whirlwind of cocktails and canapes with Bianca from French for Pineapple, Emily and Susie from The Pink House, Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style and getting to chat with Sophie Robinson, the truly loveable host that she is. I also had the chance to meet a few of the bloggers I just love – Olivia from Lust Living, Jessica Zoob, Jenny from Seasons in Colour, Maxine from We Love Home, Jordan and Russell from 2 Lovely Gays, David and Mark from Forward Features – oh my goodness, I could go on and on! It was like the Glitterati of the Interior Design World! So much fun!

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IBA 2016 Winners! Photo by John Nassari

So please let me take a moment to thank YOU, my dear sweet wonderful readers who voted for me to get to the award ceremony because I wouldn’t even have been there without your fabulous support. And at the risk of sounding like this is some kind of ridiculous Oscar acceptance speech, I really do need to thank my fellow bloggers who have always been so encouraging to me, so inspiring themselves and who have supported me for so many years. And a big thanks to Amara and the Ham Yard Hotel as well as the sponsors who consistently throw such a gorgeous glam event!

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Not the most flattering picture I’ve ever taken but hell yeah I’m sharing it! Photo by John Nassari

Thank you as well for all the lovely messages I received on social media on the night – my Twitter just went mental and I did my best to thank everyone individually but if I somehow missed it, please know how thankful I am for all the support!

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Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style, Maxine from We Love Home and I enjoying some celebratory bubbles! Photo by Anna Lysik

So, after 3 years, I finally have my Amara! Now I just need to find a suitable place to display it! Ha!

A little shout out as well to some of my fellow award winners who are all lovely people- Congrats! Go check out Jenny from Seasons in Colour (Best Colour Inspiration Blog), Forward Features (Best Design Inspiration Blog), Melanie Lissack Interiors (Best DIY/Craft Blog), 2 Lovely Gays (Best Stylist and Interior Designer Blog), Stella + The Stars (Best International Blog), The Pink House (Best Newcomer Blog) and Sweet Pea & Willow (Best Organisation Blog). All the winners here!

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  • KateOctober 24, 2016 - 12:27 pm

    Huge congratulations and well deserved…and can I just say how fabulous you looked in that frock!ReplyCancel

  • claudiaOctober 24, 2016 - 12:47 pm

    SO well deserved! Well done Kim!

    Claudia xx

  • melanie lissackOctober 24, 2016 - 12:55 pm

    Great post – so well deserved your award! Huge congrats!ReplyCancel

  • MichelleOctober 24, 2016 - 1:49 pm

    Congratulations-so well-deserved!! You looked beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • TrishOctober 24, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    Huge congrats, what a great honor. You are so gracious in your mention of all the other winners on the night. Well done Kimberly.ReplyCancel

    • Kimberly DuranOctober 24, 2016 - 4:08 pm

      Thanks so much Trish! The other winners were pretty awesome, I have to say – definitely worth checking out :) xxxReplyCancel

  • ArielOctober 24, 2016 - 2:24 pm

    Congrats! XOXOXReplyCancel

  • Debbie FitchOctober 24, 2016 - 3:56 pm

    Congratulations Kimberley!! What a wonderful and well-deserved recognition for you. Best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • ToniOctober 24, 2016 - 3:59 pm

    First off… You looked fabulous!!! Maybe do a makeup tutorial!? Kidding (not) . You so deserved to win .,. So, so happy for you. You are spot on in your design plans, one of the reasons I love your blog is you go into details of WHY you choose this over THAT. Another reason is when your plan does not work, you are quick “on your feet” with another design, might be your second or third choice but you pull it off!! Sincere congratulations on the award. I hope you are still smiling large and proud .. you deserved your peers voting for you. 👏👏👏ReplyCancel

    • Kimberly DuranOctober 24, 2016 - 4:10 pm

      Oh you sweet thing! Haha on the makeup tutorial!! You are too sweet Toni and your words mean a lot to me. Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been on a high for the last few days, I admit! Ha! xxxReplyCancel

  • SueliOctober 24, 2016 - 3:59 pm

    A very big congratulations to you. Well deserved!
    You look so beautiful in all the photos.

  • AmandaOctober 24, 2016 - 4:07 pm

    Kimberly… Congrats!! A well-deserved win! And you looked so beautiful in your dress! Can I ask who the dress is by? Have a lovely day!ReplyCancel

  • JamalaOctober 24, 2016 - 4:09 pm

    Congrats! You truly deserve it! You’re on the rise and there’s no stopping you…keep inspiring others and we’ll keep cheering youReplyCancel

    • Kimberly DuranOctober 24, 2016 - 4:14 pm

      Oh Jamala, what a lovely comment! I couldn’t do it without my readers and I’m so grateful for all the support – it really does mean the world to me xxxReplyCancel

  • CarrieOctober 24, 2016 - 7:43 pm

    Congratulations! So exciting and so happy for you! Yes, you truly deserve it!ReplyCancel

  • AlixOctober 24, 2016 - 7:48 pm

    Congratulations Kimberly! Well deserved and I love that dress, you look amazing!ReplyCancel

  • SharonOctober 24, 2016 - 8:35 pm

    Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Alison StevensOctober 24, 2016 - 8:37 pm

    Hi Kimberly,

    I’m thrilled for you. Of course, your blog is wonderful and never fails to inspire, but your warmhearted advice and generosity of spirit is what makes me return all the time. You recently sent me some advice about starting a blog ( which I am working on)and I was so touched by your comments and help.

    Keep up the wonderful work.

    Alison xx

    PS, I have been showing my OH the wonderful pictures of your recently updated kitchen. Think I have him on side…………..!ReplyCancel

New interior shops seem to be popping up left right and centre in the Manchester area recently and as someone who complained just earlier this year about the lack of great interior shops, I’m absolutely thrilled at their sudden proliferation. The latest shop to grace our fair city is one you may already be familiar with and it’s one of my favourites for finding gorgeous design-led items – Oliver Bonas.

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I’ve been a fan of the online store for quite a few years. In fact, the little yellow settee in my living room is the Love Tub, just one of the stunning velvet furniture ranges they carry online.

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Oliver Bonas ‘Lovetub’ in my living room

I’ve often admired many of their items so when I heard they were (finally!) launching a branch right in Piccadilly Station in Manchester, I couldn’t wait to see everything up close and personal on the launch day.

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And of course, I wasn’t disappointed. I was creating a shopping list as I was walking around in my head and when the lovely Georgie on the till asked if I’d seen anything I liked, she laughed as I rattled off around 20 different items I loved! Yes, it’s pretty easy to do as you’re taking in all the gorgeousness on offer.

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The shop itself isn’t huge but the high ceilings and airy displays makes it feel like it’s never ending. Not just that, but every spot is well stocked with lovely items I am desperate to add to my home (and let’s be honest, my wardrobe).

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I admit, I was REALLY tempted by that beautiful buttery soft jacket for autumn. Le sigh.

Most of their product lines are created by Oliver Bonas design team so you’ll find lots of unique items you won’t find anywhere else and their beautiful branding and packaging is evident everywhere.

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Their homewares are affordable as well as beautiful. I saw so many items that I knew could work anywhere in the home like this marble style cushion with fringes and those cute pastel desk lamps in quirky colours.

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Of course, I wanted pretty much everything on this shelf to organise all the jewellery and makeup in my dressing room. Everything feels like it’s substantial and well made and of course, there’s plenty to choose from for the perfect finishing touch.

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I actually don’t know how I managed to walk out of the shop without that palm tree jewellery holder. Or the giraffe. Maybe I should have just gotten both.

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There are also plenty of prints, frames, stationary and books to fill up your shelves.

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I added that fab pop art Debby Harry print to my imaginary shopping cart in my head as well.

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A lot of London-centric books there – perhaps the ones focused on Manchester will be coming soon?

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Who doesn’t love pompoms? No one. That’s who.

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Want to stock up your bar cart? Here ya go.

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I don’t care how trendy pineapples are. I want them all.

The great news is that there’s a very good likelihood there’s an Oliver Bonas near you, with over 50 stores in the UK. True that most of them are in London, but I was told of plans for expansion to plenty of other cities if you’re happy to wait. If not, and even if it’s a bit of a journey to get to your nearest physical store, there’s an incredible selection of wares online so you can shop in the comfort of your pyjamas and a nice cuppa (or a glass of wine, I won’t judge).

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The staff are super friendly and happy to help as well. If you do pop by the Manchester Piccadilly store, do tell them I sent you! Their opening hours are Monday through Saturday 7:00am – 7:30pm and on Sunday, 10am-6pm.

Have you had a chance to check out Oliver Bonas yet? Any favourites of what I’ve shown today?

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I was invited to check out the shop for the launch but was not compensated for this post – I just wanted to share!

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  • Julia@Cuckoo4DesignOctober 19, 2016 - 12:13 pm

    Love what I’m seeing. I want the marbled pillows. So prettyReplyCancel

  • SophieOctober 19, 2016 - 12:49 pm

    I love Oliver Bonas, they always have lovely home bits. Sophie x


  • AlixOctober 19, 2016 - 6:48 pm

    Aahhh think I’m going to have to go and get that giraffe dish, love it!ReplyCancel

  • Alice DOctober 19, 2016 - 11:24 pm

    I looooove this! That pink and gold splatter cushion – holy moly. Hopefully they’ll open a bigger shop in Manchester, we need more home ware shops for sure! Alice xx

  • PaulineOctober 20, 2016 - 2:14 pm

    I love Oliver Bonas, so I hope we get a store near us. I have to agree with the Debbie Harry print, I think that’s going on my C list, as well as a few other bits xxx
    Keith says thanks Kimberly lol xxReplyCancel