Growing up I always wanted to be bold with my fashion choices, wearing strong colours and mixing patterns with pride. But I realised some time ago that’s not really me. As I spend so much of my time juggling a busy day job, freelance work and this blog, travelling and parenting, I usually crave comfortable clothing, with simple but elegant lines.
I always try and keep things as simple as possible when it comes to my wardrobe. For the sake of easy travel and having time to enjoy my coffee in the mornings, I usually stick with muted colours: black, grey, white and sometimes a bit of blue. My flat is an oasis of pale colours which help me relax. And the same goes for my jewellery – I always look out for timeless pieces, with clean, elegant form, but with designs bold enough to stand out so I only need a couple of key pieces to carry when I travel but I can still make an impression. So when I was asked by JewelStreet to choose a piece from their collection to review for the blog I jumped at the chance.
As soon as you land on their website, you know you’ll have trouble leaving. It’s a treasure trove of independently designed jewellery, featuring the work of artists from all over the world, and some very close to home as well. Their collection ranges from just £30 to the high thousands, with a variety of styles from trendy bold pieces, to high-end classical jewellery. The sheer amount of choice made me a bit indecisive so I decided to stick with rings, as they’re the type of jewellery I usually enjoy buying and wearing the most.
After scouring page after page of things I *really* wanted, one ring suddenly caught my attention – it was Allison Bryan’s Cigar ring. This stunning 9 carat gold band has clean, beautiful lines, but its visible texture gives it personality and boasts its handmade quality. I was in love.
The ring arrived within a couple of days, presented beautifully in a gorgeous ring box, and I was immediately smitten! I couldn’t wait to take it out for a wander, and there hasn’t been a day yet when I haven’t worn it – it’s just one of those forever pieces I think. I’ve taken it to the park, showed it off at a travel blogging conference in London last weekend and I can’t wait to take it to France in a few weeks. Must remember to take it off before I go in the sea though!
Coincidentally, it turns out the ring’s talented designer Allison is also a travelling and working mum who had stumbled across my blog when she planned her family trip to Lisbon! It’s such a small world, and I love that even though you’re buying something online, you’re still connecting with the designer who made it. This is why I thought it may be nice to have a little interview with Allison, to get to know her a bit better, and for you to know the designer behind the ring too!
Allison Bryan, Jewellery Designer
Tell us a bit about you
I’m a jewellery designer based in London, originally from California but I grew up all over the world. I’m a trained architect and that definitely influences my work – I design jewellery that is minimalist yet beautiful and easy to wear.
I’d love to know more about your background. When did you know that designing jewellery was your calling?
I started out in architecture and later moved into the art world, managing major private and corporate collections. But after a few years I started really missing being creative and making things. I had always been interested in jewellery and I got really into the technical side of it. Eventually, around the time that my son was born I took some time out and trained as a goldsmith in Hatton Garden which is London’s traditional jewellery and diamond quarter.
Where do you find inspiration for your jewellery line?
In architecture and in travel.
Which destinations have you found to influence your work?
I designed the latest collection in India and I think it definitely comes through but in a very subtle and abstract way. I was very inspired by all the different types of palms in Goa and tried to incorporate some of those forms – which can be very architectural – into the pieces. I also spent seven years of my childhood in Mexico and traditional Mexican silver is a huge influence.
How was your holiday in Lisbon?
Loved it! We are hoping to go back to Portugal again this summer, hopefully to Comporta or Cascais. I found your blog while I was researching the trip as we were travelling with our then 3.5 year old son and it was so helpful. I’m always looking for things that both he and my husband and I will enjoy rather than making holidays either totally kid-centric or totally adult-centric. We loved Lisbon for the combination of being able to spend a family day at the beach and then go out and have an amazing grown up dinner in the city. We used your beach guide extensively! Favourite restaurants were Peixaria da Esquina in Lisbon and Monte Mar in Cascais.
And finally, any tips for juggling it all?!
I think it’s important to be adventurous and to find out what works for you and your family rather than listening to what everyone else says you should or shouldn’t do! Whether it’s in terms of travel or work/life balance. If you’re easygoing and open to new experiences, chances are your kids will be, too.
Thanks Alison for the interview – such an inspiration!