Beyond the Pale

Disaya: Nutcracker Sweet – Jewellery To Capture Your Imagination

Some people favour jewellery with clean, simple, lines; minimalists who worship all that is streamlined, elegant and pure. I am not one of these people. This surely comes as no surprise.

Who in their right mind could get excited about such dullness when jewellery and accessories can allow you to express your individuality, little hints of your personality glinting merrily on your fingers or twinkling intriguingly around your throat.


One of the most exciting jewellery brands I’ve seen for years twinkled at me from afar, an acquaintance posted a picture of a collection on Instagram, and I HAD to know where they were from… Disaya, came the answer.

Disaya is the brainchild of award-winning Central St. Martins graduate Disaya Sorakraikitikul, including jewellery, accessories, Ready To Wear . She is obviously very influenced by her surroundings, that particular creativity that London seems to breed so well, along with that playfulness mixed with sophistication that perhaps best describes her style.


Launched in 2007, Disaya’s range caused quite a stir, being immediately picked up by over 70 stockists on launching. It’s really quite easy to see why, as everything she designs is so full of eccentricity and has a unique charm. The pieces are designed in-house and combined with local craftsmanship to ensure Disaya’s exacting standards are met – some supposedly whimsical ranges suffer from poor quality and finishing which renders them rather tacky, in my eyes, but Disaya is head and shoulders above all other pretenders to the throne.

Disaya was The next two years saw Disaya’s stockists increase by 50%, and it is now sold in over 20 countries at various prestigious retailers including: Henri Bendels, Le Bon Marche, Seibu, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, as well as at the flagship store in Gaysorn shopping mall located in Bangkok.


Quirky and fun without being too childish is a difficult act to pull off, but Disaya have charm and wearability in bucketloads. I covet the entire Nutcracker collection, just launching this month, but so much else besides!

My standout favourite pieces have to be the Nutcracker gentlemen rings and the adorable Teddy Bear Nutcracker costume necklace – reminiscent of traditional folk-ish German Christmas decorations, they make me want to snuggle up in a huge cosy jumper while drinking mulled wine and raiding the festive chocolate box. Not that I need much persuading.



Oh and the stags head pieces, too, topped with matching pearls. And the carnivalesque horses, straight from a fairground carousel!

So beautifully enamelled, too, and gorgeous colours. Leafing through the new SS13 Lookbook I see so many pieces I would give a home to in the blink of an eye. look at that frowning face necklace! Love, love, LOVE.



Disaya also show the same imagination in their other accessories and have the most magical prints in their clothing, too. They look like something a grown up Alice in Wonderland or a modern day Marie Antoinette wold like to wear.

For me the jewellery is the most easily wearable, simply because you can mix it in with whatever you happen to be wearing. Some days I just want a touch of whimsicality, other days I may wish for head-to-toe fantastical. With Disaya, you may plump for that one special piece, or an entire outfit, and I love having that choice within a range.


The whole collection is launching on later this month, but some pieces from previous collections are available from My Flash Trash – my favourites there are the stackable strawberry shortcake rings and the darling little Gentlemen’s Accessories earring set. Great attention to detail for such itty bitty things.



I have seen so many takes on tea cup and cake-inspired cutesy accessories, but for me, Disaya does it best, and with her unique stamp on each piece they make. They are just beautiful ornaments in and of themselves – one could certainly display them in a cabinet – for me they carry a certain air of mystery and intrigue; like little objet d’art freshly plucked from a shadow box.

Disaya are even collaborating their unique style with a tea manufacturer, and of course the packaging is to die for and stamped with their inimitable charm:


“Introducing Disaya’s ‘Tea muskerteers’ ,our special collaboration with No. 57, Comes in 3 stylish flovours, including Macaroon Black Tea, Rice Pudding white tea and Apple crumble Green Tea. They are perfect Christmas present material ! Coming to stores soon…”

Your best bet is to keep an eye on their website, and think about liking their Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest news and pictures from their collections.

I can’t wait to see what they do next, it’s safe to say I am totally obsessed with Disaya. Teacups, moustaches and cats, oh my!


Wild Embroidery
July 10, 2011, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Embroidery, Etsy, Jewellery | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In a lazy Sunday morning browse, I came across a recently opened shop called Wild Embroidery, based in London and run by a very talented lady called Lu, who embroiders beautiful designs onto pendants, making them wearable little pieces of art.

Wild Flower Hand-embroidered necklace by Wild Embroidery: £15

There is something very pleasing about their simplicity, and also for the fact you are wearing a little picture that someone has hand stitched, I think.

Fern embroidered necklace by Wild Embroidery: £18

Pretty but not at all twee, the embroidered pieces are made to order and presented in chunky vintage-toned bronze frames and fob-like chains.

Daisy embroidered necklace by Wild Embroidery: £12

I must admit to hankering after the daisy…I love daisies – and they happen to relate strongly to one of my favourite books ever: The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea. Oh! And the dandelion one, too. Daisies and dandelions represent two of the characters, and it calms me to see them. You can only really understand this if you have read the book. Sorry. 😉

Dandelion embroidered necklace by Wild Embroidery: £16

Of course I also have a special liking for the Nightingale necklace, too (for obvious reasons). 🙂

“the nightingale is in love with the plum blossoms
she sings for them every night.
she can only peck once in a while, but never touch…
such is her punishment.”

Nightingale & plum blossom embroidered necklace: £16

Until next time, my lovelies,

Miss Nightingale



Being an eclectic magpie by nature, one of the features I most like about Etsy‘s website is the ‘Add to Favourites‘ heart button. It basically serves as an “OOOOH! SHINY THING!” bookmark. Once you’ve registered, you can set about quickly building up a list of stuff you , with time to go back later and peruse at your leisure.

Recently, I took the [protoype] Taste Test and found a whole new batch of tasty morsels to smack my lips over.  I found the most successful way (after taking it a few times) was to keep hitting the option to “show different items” until I found something I loved, rather than just liked. It’s not fail safe, but I think it’s a fun way to browse and was really impressed with the choices it threw at me. I made a Treasury (curated selection) of some of my absolute favourites, and shall explain what drew me to them, below…

You Are My Favorite mini print in red, by Fifi du Vie: $9.00 (£5.77)

I often tell DT (the fiance) that he’s my favourite. And you know what? He really is. I think this would splendid over his desk, and would be something for him to look at, smile and feel grateful for every day. By the way, Fifi du Vie‘s shop has loads of great prints. I especially like the “Darling, let’s be adventurers” one.

Dalia jacket by Laura Galic: $120 (£89.71)

Just exquisite tailoring, very feminine shape but with a nod to masculine style – I was obviously going to love the Victorian inspired shape, but I also really like how they’ve styled it here. I posted a comment on Twitter that I wanted one of everything in Laura Galic‘s shop – and I do! Totally my cup of tea.

Ampersand Wedding Decor by Old New Again: $32 (£20.50)

Not only would this be cute at as a top table wedding decoration (in between the bride & groom) but this wooden ampersand could be put anywhere in the house for that shabby-chic style statement ‘not trying too hard’ look. On a shelf, in a window, hanging from a plate rack – I really like having letters/typography characters around. They have a certain geeky charm.

Juliet shoes by Palmy: $74 (£48.06)

These Juliet shoes by Palmy are sturdy but sexy. I love the retro look to them – quite 1940’s-ish I think – and the fact that they look comfortable. This is the major factor for me buying shoes these days, I’m afraid, dear hearts. Having been in retail for the last 15 years, and spent more hours than I can count on my feet, the ol’ tootsies aren’t at their best. Most of the styles at Palmy are made with heel and arch supports. Magic words to those of us who stand all day, I tells ya! Palmy is a talented graduate of the Footwear Diploma of London College of Fashion course, and I have added lots of their items to my favourites!

Hand Stitched Shawl by Crochetelle: $135 (£86.16)

This hand-stitched shawl is something of an heirloom for the future, though I would certainly wear it over a maxi dress or just slung over jeans and a camisole to add some instant elegance. Crochetelle learned to crochet when she was a little girl, then picked up the hobby again.

“I recently was living in a very stressful, dirty city and felt the need to create something beautiful and I picked up crocheting again. Basically, it’s like learning to ride a bike – you never forget it! And after searching around on the internet and seeing all the beautiful, modern patterns that are available now I plunged right into it again and have been going non-stop.”

The shop really has some really beautiful designs and Crochetelle also welcomes custom orders.

Vanitas print by Kate O'Brien Creative: $75 (£47.87)

Look closely at the above picture. It’s obviously inspired by Old Master’s still lives, but if you can believe it, it’s actually not a painting at all – it’s a photograph! I love everything about this photo – the lighting and the layout of the props just perfectly capture the mood of those old paintings. Kate O’Brien explains how the picture came to be:

“I got to thinking about the works of the Dutch masters and the kinds of fruit they used in their paintings. I live in a tropical climate, but for obvious reasons, they weren’t painting a whole lot of Mangoes and pineapples back in the middle ages. So I set off to my local fruit and veg store in search of some more “classical” choices. This image is the result of that trip!”

Kate is a professional photographer and stylist from Australia, and looking through the rest of her shop, I’m really impressed by Kate’s work, the way she uses colours and plays with historical imagery. Definitely a new favourite!

Waiting for You Necklace by Garden of Sypria: $24 (£15.32)

There’s something quite plaintive about the little bird waiting on a wire – you can put any picture you like in this circular glass locket, but I’d be quite tempted just to keep this one in it, it’s very sweet but sort of heartbreaking. There, that shatters my ice-queen image once and for all. Not that I had an ice queen image – I can be turned into a blubbering wreck at the drop of a hat and am really quite awfully sentimental. Hard to believe, I know.

Anyway, yes, this necklace by Garden of Sypria is very much my sort of thing and I like the battered looking silver frame, it looks like it has survived a few things. Maybe the bird has, too.

Heading Home print by Philippe Fernandez, philippesarts: $18 (£11.49)

I was immediately drawn to the style of Philippe Fernandez‘ work, it has that fairytale quality of being darkly foreboding yet simultaneously comforting – a soft-edged air that is often found in children’s story books, as, indeed, this picture shall be.

I painted this painting for a very special children’s book that I plan to be published late this year. This specific painting is when Ponteia found her dear Mr. Kats very weak. Ponteia knew something was wrong. “My goodness!” she exclaimed. Ponteia was outraged that anyone might of hurt him. “Who did this to you, dear Mr. Katz?” With great care she scooped the cat up. Very gently, she raced home with him snuggled softly in her arms.

Wicked Witch Bookmark by Ianscafe: $5.75 (£3.67)

This is one of those really simple ideas, beautifully executed, and it works so well. What an absolutely perfect little gift for a fan of the Oz or Wicked books, too. Your book becomes Dorothy’s house, and those iconic black & white striped legs and ruby shoes stick out helplessly, beneath. “Things just haven’t been the same since that HOUSE fell on my SISTER!”

Hyphae Ring 3D-printed nylon, by Nervous System: $28 (£17.87)

3d-printing is one of those jaw-dropping we’re-living-in-the-future technologies, don’t you think? I love that artists and designers are exploring the use of this technology beyond that of engineering, for which it was originally designed.

Nervous System is a design studio that works at the intersection of science, art, and technology. We create using a novel process that employs computer simulation to generate designs and digital fabrication to realize products. Drawing inspiration from natural phenomena, we write computer programs mimicking processes and patterns found in nature and use those programs to create unique and affordable art, jewelry, and housewares.

The studio consists of Jesse Louis-Rosenberg and Jessica Rosenkrantz who met as undergraduates at MIT where he studied math + computer science and she studied architecture + biology. They live together in a house by a stream in a forest in Western Massachusetts.

These pieces of jewelery by Nervous System are at once strikingly modern and very organic in design – like pieces of coral or the model of a cardiovascular system. The story of how the designers met and what they studied totally makes sense when you see these wearable pieces of art. It’s the symbiotic relationship of nature and modern technology. Gorgeous, I love them all. P.S: I’d just like to add how very well done their photography is, and how beautiful the model is! I want to look like her. 😦

Losing My Way skirt by The Simpson: $48 (£30.63)

There are so many designs of clothes I would like to own in this shop – they look so cool and comfortable, and all of them look to be partly inspired by historical designs, which I like very much, as you can imagine. These are simple, clean-cut pieces to wear and love every day, and this red maxi skirt is particularly appealing. I’d wear it just with a little silk chemise top and beaded sandals for the summer, and with Victorian style boots and velvet jacket in the winter. Something which is both very ‘now’ and yet trans-seasonal.

Vintage Eagle Industrial Lamp at Earth Sea Warrior: $120 (£76.58)

Now you might find this odd, but I am very drawn to rusty things. Slightly decayed looking salvaged items that look as though they have been pulled from a ship wreck. When these items are placed in the context of a modern setting, together with the comfort and clutter of everyday objects around them, they take on a certain beauty – like museum pieces placed on a breakfast table, but in reverse, if that makes sense? Their ugliness is made beautiful by the oddity of their surroundings. That applies to two pieces in my selection of new favourites – the industrial lamp (above), which I love because it looks like something from Bioshock; and the old wooden/metal drawer, below.

Vintage Wooden Metal Drawer at Glass Panic: $28 (£17.87)

This drawer is pleasing both for its battered exterior with mysterious wording “half surface” stenciled on the front, and the fact that it can still be jolly useful. I see this in a kitchen, enjoying its later years in the comfort of a home, used to store balls of twine, kitchen scissors, favourite cookery books or pots of fragrant herbs.

Ember necklace by Therapy: $55 (£35.10)

Now, this little necklace probably isn’t going to cut the mustard as a perfect bridemaid’s gift (depending on your choice of bridesmaid, of course) or something to hang on the Christmas tree for your future Mother in Law; but I happen to adore these pieces made from reproductions of old brothel tokens that would have been given to their best customers. Certainly a talking point at dinner parties, I think we can agree. 🙂

Vintage Printers Blocks at Salvage Nation: $87.50 (£55.84)

Again, my liking for these old printers blocks stems from my love of typography and to be surrounded by words and letters – appreciating them as works of art in and of themselves, not just the means to an end. These would definitely have pride of place on the mantelpiece, or on a shelf along with my favourite books.

Art Deco Inspired necklace by C Henry: $130 (£82.97)

This necklace by Caroline Henry is just breathtakingly beautiful – I gasped when I saw it as a suggestion in the results of my Taste Test – it’s just so perfectly balanced, simple, elegant yet with a real dramatic presence. I would certainly wear this on my wedding day – it is very Deco in design, but timeless, too. Totally lust-worthy, as are so many of the pieces in this talented designer’s shop.

Well, I do hope you have enjoyed this amble through my latest favourites – perhaps in exploring their shops, you may find some to add to yours, too…

If you want to see all the items grouped together in my Treasury selection for Etsy, please click on the pictures below to be whisked to that page.

Until next time, dearies,

Miss Nightingale


Gargoyles & Garnets

The juxtaposition of beauty and decay shall ever win my heart, and the gorgeous range of handmade jewellery by Jess Amity perfectly encapsulates this look.

Sinister Daemon Poppy Jasper & Black Onyx Necklace by Jess Amity: $119

Sinister Daemon Necklace Close-up

Using antique hardware (a piece rescued from an old drawer backplate in the Daemon necklace, for example), Jess Amity creates uniquely wearable pieces of art that imbue the glamour of the past – very luxe Deco gypsy – with a modern, exotic twist.

Cool Labdorite & Moonstone Loop Necklace by Jess Amity: $68

Labdorite & Moonstone Necklace Close-up

It’s that pairing of imperfect, faded grandeur with little nuggets of the new that I love so much. This one, made with an antique drawer-pull and milky chips of labdorite and moonstone, looks like a cluster of mistletoe dusted with icing sugar, somehow. Simply beautiful.

The range encompasses a wide variety of styles and prices – from $11 to $633 – but all of them obviously made with love, and with that sympathetic re-imagining of otherwise forgotten objects.

Lapis Bracelet Antique Hardware Collection by Jess Amity: $42

Lapis Bracelet Close-up

Jess Amity gives us an insight into her collection by explaining how her background shapes her inspirations:

Having been brought to life in a globe trotting existence, I have lived in many places and have experienced many wondrous things. I am inspired by dreams, gypsies, tribal nomads, jungle warriors, floating through hazy clouds, concrete and rust, amoebous particles floating through the ocean of life and the desert’s desolate, yet primitive beauty.

Moss and Wood Necklace - Antique Hardware Collection, by Jess Amity: $66

Moss and Wood Necklace Close-up

I have a degree in fine art photography, but have the inability to contain myself within set boundaries. Because I constantly find myself dreaming and thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if…,” and because I loathe the current consumer society of mass produced, personality lacking, low quality goods, I apply my talents to many areas and live in a handmade and embellished world.

Carnelian Spiderwebs Necklace, by Jess Amity: $46

Carnelian Spiderwebs Necklace Close-up

(The Carnelian Spiderwebs Necklace, above, was the first item I saw in the collection and remains one of my favourites; it has an opulent simplicity to it, if that makes any sense? Love, love, love).

Expresso Agate Bracelet by Jess Amity: $38

Expresso Agate Bracelet Close-up

I approach all projects the same way that I approach life, with grand dreams, fingers crossed, the ability to love imperfections and the ability to see beauty in unlikely places.

Citrine & Garnet Lariat by Jess Amity: $39

Citrine & Garnet Lariat Close-up

The use of unusual stones in combination with the antique hardware creates a kind of perfect harmony – look how beautifully the chipped patina of the drawer-pull, below, is complimented and echoed in chunky chips of white turquoise. Stunning.

White Turquoise Droplets Necklace by Jess Amity: $48

White Turquoise Droplets Necklace Close-up

Jess Amity also sells a selection of vintage clothing and accessories, which are well-chosen and lovely, but you can probably tell that it’s her eclectic jewellery designs that have stolen my heart. 😉

Gargoyles in Chains Necklace by Jess Amity: $55

Gargoyles in Chains Necklace Close-up

Do go and browse the whole shop HERE – it’s well worth your time to snoop around and drool, as I have been doing!

Summer Jewels: highlights from the latest V&A Museum collection

I’m not sure if you were previously aware, but the Victoria & Albert Museum shop have one of the most interesting & lustily desirable ranges of jewellery and accessories a gal could dream of drooling over. With every new collection, I find a whole host of things added to my MUST HAVE list.

Here are my top picks from the latest collections. Every purchase helps the V&A… um, so that’s like giving the money to charity, rather than just treating yourself to trinkets, right?



[If you don’t get the film reference, I’m guessing you’re under 30 ;P]

Raven Ring: £60

Yes, yes, black raven rings may not exactly scream ‘summer’ to you, but these are my top picks and you’ll have to go with me. It appeals to what remains of my inner goth. This piece is by an artist who uses reproductions from her collection of vintage images, and is inspired by the bakelite jewellery of the 1940’s/’50’s.

Bow Brooch by Cilea: £90

Some of these pieces are more than I would normally pay for costume jewellery, but they are hardly run of the mill designs to be found on every other high street and are usually made in limited numbers. Also, um, it’s for charity remember? 😉

Monique Védie was the creator of costume jewellery for the house of Védie, known for their remarkable designs in richly coloured acetate and cellulose. Before retiring in 1992, she worked with many prestigious Parisian fashion houses, from Paulette to Jean Barther in addition to collaborations with couturiers such as Lanvin, Dior and Ungaro. The signature style established by Védie is continued by present Cilea designer Stéphanie Ravel.

I love this quirky brooch by French jewellery design house, Cilea. The red one would be great at Christmas (hush my mouth) but this blue is delightfully jaunty, and I like the idea of adorning oneself as a present.

Pearl Bow Earrings: £10

These cute earrings are inspired by Hollywood glamour in the 1950’s. Just darling, and very affordable. Wear with a cashmere twinset for a bit of retro chic.

Princess Necklace: £25

This necklace is also “inspired by 1950’s Hollywood glamour”, though I have to say it reminds me more of Elizabethan designs. Love it!

Pearl & Emerald Ottoman Earrings: £145

Ooh these are rather sumptuous, and somehow look as though they could have been plucked straight from the ears of a fine lady in an antique portrait. Pieces from this range have actually been reproduced from Ottoman originals dating from the period 1500-1700. They look like something Indiana Jones would give you as a birthday present, and all the better for that.

Hearts and Arrows Necklace: £85

Heart and arrows range – dating from 1610 – 1620, the original necklace which inspired these designs has a heart and crossed arrows at the centre, and was probably made in Prague. This necklace has a round heart pendant, and is gold plated with crystals. A fabulously decorative piece for dedicated romantics.

Another gold coloured piece – very unusual for me to choose yellow gold – am usually a white gold or silver gal all the way – but I think with historically inspired items it works particularly well.

Embroidered Orange Blossom Earrings: £25

Great gift for a craft-loving lady, or the discerning bride who isn’t enamored with the traditional pearls, perhaps? I think these would look lovely on someone with a Pre-Raphaelite hairstyle, all curling tendrils and wild ringlets. The kind of hair I dream of having. Bah.

Embroidered Berry Necklace: £45

This necklace, in the same range as the earrings above, is inspired by medieval samplers and early tapestries in the V&A’s textile collection. I think this piece is more ‘me’ than the earrings, to be honest. Mostly because I don’t do earrings unless they jangle. I like a bit of a jangle.

Bone Hoop Necklace by Raris: £200

There’s something quite ‘modern-day Cleopatra’ about this bone necklace by the Italian jewellers, Raris, don’t you think? Another more pricey piece, but I just don’t think this would date. Such a stunning necklace would completely make an outfit, too, making it part of your wardrobe, rather than a mere accessory. Such are the ways I justify things to myself. Happy to share. 😉

Over the last 20 years, the Raris design team have worked with high profile clients such as Bulgari, Asprey, Gucci, Lladro, Swarovski, and Waterford Crystal. Working with a variety of materials, colours, and techniques, Raris jewellery is smart, classic and wearable.

Cherry Necklace: £300

Oh *swoon*! Slightly over the top and Baroque, yes. But SWOON. Not to everyone’s taste, I’m sure, but definitely to mine. 🙂

The inspiration behind this exquisite necklace is the decoration in the Green Dining Room at the V&A, designed by William Morris. Made from hand patinated bronze with little glass beads that have been individually formed by hand, the ‘cherries’ are designed to move gently as you wear it. With an adjustable chain clasp the necklace measures 47cms at its maximum length though it also looks lovely worn shorter. Matching drop clip earrings are also available in the style, as is a brooch and simpler pendant style necklace.

Well, there are many other items I really liked, but these have to be my top picks for ME. 🙂 Go and browse and choose yours, there’s such a huge variety of styles, I really think most people could find something to treasure in the V&A shop!

Until next time, duckies…

Miss Nightingale