10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards

We interrupt your regularly scheduled holiday decor inspiration and serene house tours to bring you Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards. In case you are just tuning in, I traveled to London about a month ago to attend the awards as a shortlisted nominee for Best Written Blog.

I didn’t win a thing, but an impromptu week in London with your best friends is one heck of a consolation prize!

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards.

After the awards…on the steps at One Marylebone. Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Yep.

When my: partner in crime, most loyal supporter of Hello Lovely, favorite photographer, and beloved sister, Jo, decided she should accompany me to London since it is her happy place – I was thrilled. With my husband unable to get away from work that week, it was slated as a girl trip. When Jo’s husband decided he wanted in on the shenanigans, the trip was fast turning into a friendfest. Then, just days before departure, my husband’s schedule opened up so he was suddenly free to party!

10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards

Wait, secrets? I don’t know. They’re kind of random and cheeky (and may not make a lot of sense to non-bloggers).

SECRET NO. 1: Cherish the awesome blog readers whose votes landed you on the shortlist and on the plane for an across the pond vacay with best friends who just happen to be family.

We decided to rent a home in Holland Park and live like the locals there while exploring history and sites of the city (and taking photos of doors in Notting Hill!).

While the husbands attended a concert in London, the sisters attended the Amara Interior Blog Awards.

Here we are posing for a few photos on the balcony of our Holland Park flat before we headed to One Marylebone for the ceremony.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Michele and Jody. Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

I have two younger sisters, and it is Jody and I who tested positive for BRCA2 genetic mutation and embarked upon a previvor journey together, undergoing prophylactic surgeries and reconstruction TOGETHER...read about it here.

SECRET NO. 2: No need to dress conservatively for the event!

I had chosen a purple gown for the evening but changed my mind when I felt like sort of a frumpy mother of the bride. So I went for comfort and conservative. My outfit was simply pulled from my closet (black lace pencil skirt which unfortunately was ill fitting due to weight loss so the waist was rolled down, and I look like I have a belly; sequin shell by Michael Kors; blazer from J. Crew; shoes are Kate Spade).

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Jody. Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

My cutie little sister wore a navy floral dress, super chic navy ankle boots, and a fleecy white jacket. It had ‘party’ written all over it and was just perfect. Jody used to run a designer showroom at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and now enjoys selling posh apparel from her closet.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Getting Ready for the Event

No glam squad and not much fussing – just pure fun getting ready together in the vintage apartment which had horrible lighting!

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Me.Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

We double checked to make sure we got a decent photo before heading to the tube.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Yes, indeed, these sisters walked their tootsies off in London! It was FUN in spite of the fact I was only a few weeks post-op.

Aside: I wore pantyhose. Had not worn those in decades, but I was going for a grownup look, and I mean…what if I ran into Meghan or Kate?

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

We were awestruck when we arrived to the venue…violet gorgeousness!

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

One Marylebone. Photo: Clément Lauchard

Isn’t it romantic?

SECRET NO. 3: Amara attends to all of those details which make design savvy invitees feel honored and special. Amara founders, Sam and Andrew Hood truly embrace the world of interiors and the creatives moving within it.

We knew the evening would be beautiful when we were greeted by these lanterns and those lovely doors at One Marylebone (a landmark former church designed by Sir John Soane, with smart spaces for events including weddings).

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

One Marylebone. Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Isn’t the glow chic and club-like?

The neo-classical building was formerly Holy Trinity Church, built in 1826-28, and designed by famed architect Sir John Soane.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

One Marylebone. Photo: Clément Lauchard

How in the world did this Midwestern mama end up in a historical London church illumined like Prince’s Purple Rain with a congregation of likeminded bloggers?

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

One Marylebone. Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

We snapped a few selfies straight away.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Then we explored One Marylebone’s architecturally brilliant interiors a little on our own, stopping at a mirror for a moment of sass.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Sparkly chandeliers and all sorts of classic design elements to admire.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Is there a slightly more hip way in late 2018 to say “Jo’s brows are fleeky?”

After our exploring, we made our way to the cocktail party where all the nominees and designers gathered. We found a table just like the one below as the room began to overflow with guests.

SECRET NO. 4: Arrive on time to get a great spot at the party – the fashionably late thing would have prevented us from feeling as though we were in charge…ha!

We sipped Prosecco, nibbled mystery treats like these salmon lollipops, and chatted with new friends.

Which new friends?

In particular, these two gorgeous Brits (by all calculations, they were likely the youngest attendees), who were gracious enough to share laughter with the Over-the-Hill-Olsen-Twins!

SECRET NO. 5: Age matters not when bloggers of interiors and design enthusiasts gather…there’s a language we all understand.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

We loved connecting with the London blogger on the left (Apartment 19 – nominated for Best New Blog) and her delightful friend. Photo: Clément Lauchard

And below is my favorite photo of the night from Clément Lauchard!

Can you feel the love?

Merci, Clément!

(I think I may have been lobbying for my new friend to go on a date with our eldest son.)

SECRET NO. 6: Don’t negotiate an arranged marriage at a cocktail party. Just don’t.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

#IamNotshy. Photo: Clément Lauchard

We met some wonderful magazine editors, designers, and art curators before the ceremony as well before heading into the main event.  Just before the ceremony, we finally ran into an American nominee from Texas!

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

SECRET NO. 7: Keep track of the time as you sip so you can snag seats together with your pals in the gallery for the awards!

Time for church, brothers and sisters.

In lieu of pews, it was Louis Ghost Chairs – with violet glowing royally in the chapel.

The host of the awards, Michelle Ogundehin, was polished, eloquent, funny, and a true fan of interior blogs. Bravo!

SECRET NO. 8: The event is international in scope, yet few nominees outside of the UK were present…which is one of the reasons for writing this post!

The after party provided more fun people watching, and though my sis and I tried to get a moment and photo op with the Design Twins, they were much too in demand, and we were not about to stomp on their sweet buzz.

Can you spot us in the crowd below?

After the awards, we chatted with two charming friends of the lovely Greet Lefèvfre – a Belgian art-historian and her daughter, Yasmine Naghdi, a principal ballerina with The Royal Ballet. They were representing Greet for the event since the award-winning Belgian Pearls was up for another award and she had a prior commitment. How sweet of Greet to arrange for the meet! (See what I did there?)

Watch beautiful Yasmine in a rehearsal for “Sleeping Beauty” here:

SECRET NO. 9: Do a bit of research and plan to connect with bloggers and designers you admire. A high percentage of bloggers I know are introverts, but awards night is a friendly safe haven for shy folks too.

Before saying BON SOIR, it was time to swing by the coat check for goodie bags.

SECRET NO. 10: Amara’s yummy designer swag bags are not at all skimpy or shabby, sister…you’ll not mind schlepping this one home.

We made time for a few more selfies.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Finally, don’t miss this insider recap of the awards for 2018…you’ll sort of see us (look for Jo’s white jacket!) out of focus at around 2:50 when the show’s host is interviewed:

A huge MERCI BEAUCOUP to the blogger who snapped this photo of us just before we left in which our legs look extra long and Barbie-like. That is MY kind of photography voodoo, lovely blogger!

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

I am grateful to AMARA for orchestrating such a memorable event for the nominees and their guests.

Interior blogging is frequently an isolating venture without any company spa days or holiday dinners, so a night of smiles, sparkle, and solidarity is a welcome treat for the community indeed.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Secrets from the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 in London.

Stay tuned for more from London, and if you’re in the mood for English lovely…

English Country Kitchens

Lovely White English Cottage

Classic English Townhouse

Notting Hill Doors

Peace to you right where you are.

~michele

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14 Comments

  1. Marilyn S.
    December 5, 2018 / 5:37 am

    Thanks for sharing and taking me away with you on your exciting ,fun and anticipation filled night out . ….and in true Billy Crystal form —-you looked mahvelous!

    • michele
      Author
      December 5, 2018 / 7:56 am

      Ha! Thanks for coming along! 🙂

  2. Beth H
    December 5, 2018 / 6:09 am

    Thank you for sharing and glad you made it to London! Sweet post.

    • michele
      Author
      December 5, 2018 / 7:55 am

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  3. Connie
    December 5, 2018 / 8:10 am

    Thank you for the virtual trip to the blogger awards! Wow!

    I giggled when you said the photo “made your legs look extra long and Barbie-like”. I’m betting you’re much taller than I am and your legs (lovely that they are!) ALWAYS look long and Barbie like compared to my little short 5′ 0″ frame. Hahahha! And I thought your outfit looked fabulous! Classy yet with party-going clearly in mind.

    Lovely images, lovely venue, lovely ladies. So much lovely in the world. 🙂

    • michele
      Author
      December 5, 2018 / 9:50 am

      Thanks for sharing in our joy and laughter. I have no idea how that voodoo worked with the photo, but I’ll take it! xox

  4. Jojo
    December 5, 2018 / 9:14 am

    What an amazing adventure! Can we turn back time and do it again? Oh wait, NEXT YEAR!!!!

    • michele
      Author
      December 5, 2018 / 9:49 am

      Thank you for making all that magic happen – you make everything sweeter, and I love you. xox

  5. Joanna
    December 5, 2018 / 9:38 am

    I’m so happy that you & Jo were able to enjoy the Awards together. True partners in crime. Lol
    You looked beautiful and we’re easy to spot with your platinum blonde hair. Win or not, it was an amazing experience.

    • michele
      Author
      December 5, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Thank you! We are crazy together, and that beautiful girl gives me wings! xox

  6. Kristin
    December 5, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    WOW just WOW!!!

    • michele
      Author
      December 5, 2018 / 8:44 pm

      I love that reaction! xox

  7. December 6, 2018 / 6:52 am

    You and Jo are so chic! Thanks for all the tips although I’m quite sure I’ll never attend a blogger award gala!! Looks like you had a fabulous time. Can’t believe you were only a few weeks post-op! Girlfriend!

    • michele
      Author
      December 6, 2018 / 7:26 am

      Isn’t she cute? You never know! I didn’t think I would find myself across the pond for it. It was fun to feel fancy for a minute and see London to boot. But I would not recommend that level of exercise so soon after surgery in your 50’s. I tried my best to keep up with my posse.

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