mirrormirror Blog with Paola Thomas

Written By: Paola Thomas for decor8 Greetings decor8 readers! My name is Paola and I run mirrormirror, an online lifestyle boutique which specialises in beautiful, unusual and luxurious products made by up-and-coming designers and craftspeople. I also maintain a blog about running my business, trying to run my business with a small baby in tow, my design inspirations, living in London (Notting Hill to be exact), and my upcoming relocation to Seattle, Washington - all while trying to remain sane.

NOTTING HILL - OH MY!

I'm lucky enough to live in the heart of Notting Hill in West London. I know, drool. I moved here ten years ago and am still madly in love with this incredibly diverse, eclectic, vibrant, colourful and inspiring neighbourhood. For many years it has been the heart of London's West Indian community, which is why every year it is home to the Notting Hill Carnival, the world's biggest carnival after Rio. It has always had a Bohemian reputation but in the last twenty years its beautiful Georgian and Victorian houses - all painted in different pastel colours - have attracted a host of wealthy media people, bankers, and celebrities. And through the middle (and literally 50 yards from my apartment) snakes the world-famous market on Portobello Road, where antique teacups jostle cheek by jowl with pumpkins and apples, and young designers, making their first tentative steps towards superstardom, rub shoulders with eccentric purveyors of vintage clothing.

The area has always been renowned for its small specialist shops. Within a ten minute walk from my home I can buy eclectic and unusual interiors pieces from Graham + Green, frivolous girly gifts and clothes from Coco Ribbon (both of which were inspirational in setting up mirrormirror), organic baby clothes, every type of exotic spice at The Spice Shop, Diptyque candles, cookery books from a specialist bookstore and, of course, travel books from the shop made famous by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in the 1999 film, Notting Hill. Being a serious foodie, I'm also inspired by an old-fashioned butchers in an Edwardian shop, the magnificent Mr Christian's deli and, since I'm half Italian, a most marvellous Italian foodstore called Tavola Delicatessen owned by renowned chef Alastair Little. There's even a Sardinian deli with a full-size (though still tiny) Fiat car in the window. And don't get me started on the restaurants!

I'm just starting a series of posts on my blog about the shops of Notting Hill and it would be lovely if you could all join me on a little virtual trip to London. Holly has made me blog of the week so you can peek in on my posts all week long, and beyond, for that matter. I can't wait for you to join me...

SEATTLE - SOMEBODY HELP ME!

I'm also writing to ask for your help. As previously mentioned, together with my husband and baby, we are moving to Seattle at the end of September for three years (I'm going to try and keep mirrormirror going remotely which is an entirely other story). Could any decor8 readers recommend some great design-y boutiques (especially for homewares), food stores, and interesting specialist shops which will stop me missing Notting Hill too much? Or even tell us which neighbourhoods would be best for us to search for a house? I'm a city girl at heart, as you can tell, so we want to live in Seattle proper, but would love to live in a neighbourhood where there's plenty to do for a young family. Help!

Thanks Paola for the introduction! Here are some of my Seattle suggestions (right column under "seattle"). I'm sure readers have some ideas for you, too.

If you'd like to learn more about Paola, click here for a complete interview.

(images from mirrormirror)