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Etsy Made Local + Win lots of Etsy Goodies!

etsy made local event london shinythoughts


Etsy Made Local London 2015

You might already know that I <3 Etsy – Remember that time I went to Brighton to meet a group of local sellers? Well now I’m getting involved in an awesome project with them and you could get involved too!

I’ve been so inspired just by browsing my weekends away on Etsy, plus I’ve felt pretty good about supporting young creative businesses. That’s why when they asked if I’d like to create my own mini edit for their Etsy Made Local event, I was jumping on the ceiling!


selection of Etsy product colourful shinythoughts edit


Etsy Made Local gives you the chance to shop straight from the makers in your local area so you can see, touch and takeaway unique, hand made items just in time for Christmas! Think clothes, food, toys, art and homeware. At the London event there’ll be pressie wrapping masterclasses, nibbles and artisan coffee for you to sip as you peruse over 50 stands for the perfect gift and admire the walls of inspiration.

I’m so excited to have my Etsy picks featured on a wall along with 4 other really cool bloggers including The Frugality and Little Big Bell. And you’re excited because you can shop from or win my picks just by instagramming my wall at the event and tagging @Etsy_UK and @ShinyThoughts! Better get on down there!

custard cream cushion nikki mcwilliams and woolcouturecompany chunky knit throw

your + me wall hanging by connie clementine and banana print by jenny sibthorpe


The Vinyl Factory tucked away in Soho’s Carnaby quarter. Check out all the deets here. Want to say hi? I’ll be popping in on Saturday so do come over for a hug!


Friday 4th of December Late night shopping, 4pm – 7pm.

Saturday 5th of December, 10am – 8pm.

Sunday 6th of December, 11am – 6pm

woven dip dye necklace and i like cats poster etsy

Can’t make it?

If you’re not in London, there are 13 other towns holding their own Etsy Made Local, be sure to check out your nearest on the map here.


As well as having the chance to win my edit at the London event, I’m giving away a useful £250 Etsy voucher to spend online! Best Santa Of The Year Award is coming your way.

Simply comment under the Etsy photo on my Instagram (make sure you’re following both @ShinyThoughts and @EtsyUK) letting me know your favourite item/s from my edit to be in for the chance! I’ll announce the winner this Friday (4th) when the event first opens. Good luck!


Jalal Designs yellow leather satchel london etsy fairy cakes pin badge and the small print cases phone

the small print cases phone cover memphis style and acrylic necklaces etsy

Loving these Etsy pieces? Shop my edit here


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The Scarf Skirt

british tartan outfit

blue velvet heeled ankle boots asos

brit-stitch red satchel made in england leather bag

bright yellow door london

blue suede heeled boots asos

asos plaid check scarf wrap skirt

boden navy peacoat and heels

blue velvet booties

highgate village windows

navy, mustard yellow and red outfit

British Style

Wow, could I look any more stereotypically ‘British girl?’ Collarless navy coat, red satchel, ankle boots and tartan, I could well be dressed for a 70s magazine feature. Look a bit closer though and you’ll see it’s a bit kookier than that. Velvet blue ankle boots? Bet they wouldn’t have had those back then. Mini skirt wrapped around like a scarf? Cute! Plus the yellow sweatshirt is louder than even the most outrageous wallpaper of the time. I think I’ve gotten away with it!

I had my eyes on this check mini skirt with fringing, which can pretty much be translated as a scarf wrapped around your waist, since the ASOS press day earlier this year. Want to go all out? Match your scarf skirt with it’s co-ord cropped jacket and propel yourself into the 80s! BTW, If you don’t already know, ASOS are going hard at Black Friday with 20% off everything. EVERYTHING. Happy shopping!


highgate village london flowers autumn

flower stand highgate

bright yellow jumper for autumn

highgate village london flowers autumn

What I Wore in Highgate Village:

Coat – Boden / Skirt – ASOS / Boots – ASOS / Sweatshirt – Cos / Satchel – Brit-Stitch


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4 leafy day trips from Brisbane

day trips from brisbane green, leafy, wildlife


Where to go from Brisbane for a green day out

Heading to Brisbane any time soon? If you’re staying in the city then this Brisbane guide may be for you. If you’ve got a little more time, want to escape the CBD and want to see what else Queensland has to offer, then I’ve made four suggestions of day trips from Brisbane below!

From waterfalls to botanic garden ponds, sand and sights, escape to the Aussie coast or hinterland and start planning your leafy day trips from Brisbane.


kings beach caloundra queensland


Kings Beach, Caloundra, Sunshine Coast

Kings beach in Caloundra was the first place I touched down on Aussie sand and get into the southern hemisphere’s waters. It’s funny to look back and think about how apprehensive I was to get into the water, let alone bounce over waves. Fast forward 2 weeks, it was near impossible to drag me out of the sea!

There are several beaches around the Caloundra peninsular, Dickie beach for surfing and shipwrecks and Golden beach for peaceful strolls but Kings beach‘s positioning means it’s just the right side of safe and sheltered. The promenade takes you straight over the rocky outcrops to the sandy beach plus there are restaurants and pubs inland, grassy areas for games and fountains for kids to play in.

TIP: If you’re thinking of staying in Caloundra for a weekend, head down to some of the smaller beaches too. I caught sight of my first pelican whilst kayaking, the most incredible sight on my trip!


It takes just over an hour by car to drive from Brisbane, northwards to Caloundra (public transport will take you around 3 hours.) Find yourself a spot to park in the residential streets and wind your way down to the beach. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

caloundra palm trees blue sky

kings beach caloundra new queensland coast

beaches in caloundra near brisbane

kings beach caloundra 2 hours from brisbane

ian street caloundra town red roof palm trees


Glasshouse mountains


Glasshouse Mountains, Sunshine Coast

Continuing with the north of Brisbane, but not quite as far as Caloundra, you’ll find the Glasshouse Mountains national park. A collection of funny shaped volcanic peaks, this is hikers paradise! The mountains are clearly visible from miles around and one even looks like a gorilla so you know, worth seeing!

Our hosts worked us hard and at 10am on our third day we found ourselves at the top of Mount Beerburrum! This might have been a sensible time to go though as already the heat had us nearly toppling off the sides! It’s all worth the near-vertical clamber (honest!) for the sight of the surrounding mountains amongst the giant butterflies make for a victorious view.

TIP: There are various walks in the area, some involving rock climbing and others way more chilled. Apparently Mountain View Road Maleny is the best place for photos, just FYI.


Mt Beerburrum is just under an hours drive from central Brisbane off Steve Irwin Way. There are signed carparks for various walks. Mount Beerburrum Track is tarmac and takes around 1 hour.

Glasshouse mountains twisted tree


Canyon lookout gold coast hinterland walks


Springbrook, The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Time to head south down to the very bottom of Queensland to the Gold Coast! Springbrook was one of the highlights of my whole trip and really lets you witness the massive breadth that the Queensland countryside offers. I’ve not seen much of the world so I was walking around with my mouth open, snapchat in front of my face for most of this circular walk, but even the most experienced traveller is sure to find it enjoyable.

After winding your way up Canyon Creek, park up and take in the view at the lookout then it’s time to start the trek! Taking you down into the rainforest and vines, under water spraying rock outcrops, past a waterfall and plunge pool and back up the rock side, it’s an amazing education in the diverse plant life and all the creatures who live around it. Think trees with roots like spiders, plaited vines, paths through split rocks and bird cries you never knew existed.

TIP: You’ll need a well earned rest afterwards so head to the kooky Rosella cafe for the best home cooked lunch you can get. Just be patient as it’s pretty much just one old lady whipping up all the meals!


Springbrook is an hour and a half from Brisbane by car and includes a very winding route. Bring those travel tablets!

Canyon lookout gold coast hinterlands crack in rock split rock face canyon lookout rainforest gold coast twisted tree with vines growing around the trunk rainforest australia


Mount coot-tha botanic gardens tropical dome


Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane

Time to finish on somewhere a little closer to home! This was at the top of my list of things to do in Brisbane to the point where I kept nagging about it. Finally, on our last day we paid the Brisbane botanical garden at Mount Coot-tha a visit to try and see as many of the 20,000 world plants as we could!

My favourite part was the glass house with all the various palms. Who knew there were so many types?! If you’re pushed for time, make sure you’ve at least seen the native Australian section. You’ll likely see a cockatoo, or cocka-two amongst the Grevillea.

TIP: It’s worth heading to the busy cafe at the end to make your way to the look out point photographed at the top of this post. There’s a simply story of Brisbane’s history mapped out on placards so you can leave having learned something too! Got more time? Head to the observatory next door, the library or take a walk around the forests.


Mount Coot-tha botanic gardens are around 15 minutes from central Brisbane and are open 8:00 – 5:30 and are free to enter. Parking is available around the entrance.

the tropical dome mount coot-tha palm leaves tropical dome mount coot-tha Signs at Brisbane botanic gardens
australian plant communities lake mount coot-tha botanic gardens


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Halterneck at Sunset

seventies style look with button up denim skirt, asos halterneck crop top and radley bag

view over the sea and boats in the bay of manly in sydney at golden hour

seventies style look with button up denim skirt, asos halterneck crop top and radley bag

manly yellow parasols blue sky

seventies style outfit on manly beachseventies style look with button up denim skirt, asos halterneck crop top and radley bag

bright red bike manly beach

halterneck crop top outfit manly

asos sunglasses on frame chain summer


Golden Hour in Sydney

There’s nothing like catching golden hour when you’re on holiday and there’s especially nothing like golden hour on Manly beach. Manly in Sydney is beautiful enough on a bad day but on this Saturday evening, the whole harbour came alive and showed its true romantic side. Perfect for shooting this seventies inspired outfit!

I never thought I’d find myself wearing a halterneck top again but then you try it on and realise it’s actually pretty flattering, and glam… and hey Farrah Fawcett. 12 year old me would have loved this!


white leather birkenstocks on the beach

sunset manly outfit

sun kissed skin back and plaited hair beach

sunset beach outfit manly sydney

radley mini keats white bag chain belt denim


Hugo’s, Manly

We stayed with friends on this Sydney part of our Aussie adventure, one of whom just so happened to work in Sydney’s best pizza restaurant overlooking the bay. Even though we’d had pizza twice in a row the nights before, there was no way we were going to turn down priority seating in this swanky eatery. And anyway, pizza.

Everything about Hugo’s was perfect from the tables’ view over the sunset, to the incredible pizzas that earned Hugo’s its title. The fig topped one was my fave. A surprisingly light topping and subtly sweet flavour like I’d never had before. It’s worth getting the ferry from Sydney Harbour for!

Stay tuned for more Australia posts!


See what I wore in Byron Bay ›

hugo's Manly best pizza in Sydney

hugo's Manly best pizza in Sydney

sunset from Hugo's pizza manly

hugo's Manly best pizza in Sydney

sitting on the dock of the bay in manly at sunset

manly wooden jetty

seagull on the wooden jetty manly at sunset

What I Wore in Manly:

Halterneck top – ASOS / Skirt – ASOS / Sandals – Daniel Footwear / Bag – Radley / Belt – Black & Brown / Glasses chain – Frame Chain


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1 Day in Brisbane: Laneways and mainstays

brisbane ruver view cbd


Welcome to Brisbane!

Two weeks ago I was sunning myself in the Southern Hemisphere having the time of my life. We visited 5 different places in the 2.5 weeks we were there and out first stop was Brisbane, the third biggest city in Aus and the biggest in Queensland. Here’s what I saw and liked. It’s just a few places to start if you’re planning your own trip!

Ice cream sorbet

bridge over brsbane river ferry


Brisbane’s Southbank strip is a cultural hub, encompassing the theatres, another university, museums, a big wheel and even a Vietnamese peace temple juxtaposed next to buzzing man-made beaches and the towering CBD opposite. It’s a pretty strange sight seeing kids splashing around in pools and bright yellow sand with a sky scraper in the background! Be sure to meander under the blooming arching pergola of bougainvillea which stretches for ages.

red brisbane music building

temple brisbane Nepalese Peace Pagoda carvings temple in brisbane Nepalese Peace Pagoda bell brisbane in bloom flowers lane

University of Queensland

Whilst a cities’ university wouldn’t normally be on my list to see, unless you’re visiting OxBridge, UQ is definitely worth an amble around. Catch the City Cat cruiser ferry down the Brisbane river to the south and hop off at the namesake port. Take a stroll around the lakes and into the Great Court to get a sense of the scale of the history (over 100 years) and legacy. Spot turtles and lizards next to the fountain and marvel and some of the modern architecture. Wish my uni had looked like that!

UQ university of queensland lake

CBD Brisbane

Winn Lane

If you’ve done your research, you’ll see Winn Lane come up as the indie hideaway to head for. Fortitude Valley, a thriving night time hub for clubbers hides a supporting emerging talent bed and artistic community. Growing from the ashes of last night are small and slightly secret shops, hip places to eat, florists and cute bars. Head to Winn Lane for Ben’s Burgers, which I didn’t try but looking at them, they couldn’t not be good, Kunstler magazine hut, The Outpost and Sunday Social and support the local talent.

winn lane stickers stairs

winn lane fashion shop kunstler magazine winn lane

kunstler magazine art shop indie

kunstler magazine shop

kunstler shop brisbane

bens burgers winn lane

winn lane record shop

Bakery Lane

Opposite the entrance that leads around to Winn Lane is Bakery Lane holding the incredible I <3 Brownies shop, which sells nothing but heart shaped brownies of every flavour, The Botanist cute home wear and flower shop, a modernist cafe and other boutiques. Above the units sit artists studios, incubating the talent of Brisbane. It’s only been around since January this year and feels fresh and cool. By the time you visit you’ll hopefully spot an even newer laneway (due to open very soon with even more indie goodness!


bakery lane cacti pot pink

Brisbane flower shop bakery lane


Want to get deep into the Brisbane hipster coffee life? Brew‘s your first port of call. Head fown the dodgy looking end of Burnett lane and head towards the a carpark (edgy.) Continue down and under ground for a flat white a friande cake. Watch the cool kids working away on their Macs whilst you chill on a wine keg. Up the other end of Burnett lies a few swanky post-work bars and a great looking restaurant called The Survey Co which is apparently a fantastic restaurant so head there after you’ve done a lap of the neighbouring shopping streets.

coffee shop carpark brisbane underground

underground cafe

Doughnut Time

Doughnuts are big business in Australia I quickly learned. BIG. As are the actually dimensions of the pastries themselves. Bacon topped one anyone? We opted for the good old salted caramel and boy was it good! There are two Doughnut Times in Brisbane but the original one on Alfred Street is the one. Queue up, yet the goods and go. Look out for a great interiors shop on the same street or walk to the corner to the Alfred & Constance bar. Open ‘until they run out.’

doughnut time shop front

doughnut time big doughnuts

Lots more from my trip to Australia to come!
Can’t wait? Take a look at my Instagram hashtag


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