Posted on September 28 2021
I would like to think that the pandemic made me do it. But to be honest, it was about 4 years ago, I discovered YouTube. At first, I was watching the odd video or two. Now it has become a daily obsession. I loyally follow many companies and influencers. I’ve learned a lot, been fascinated by and sometimes horrified by their uploads but they’ve always entertained. They are my virtual friends, sometimes frenemies!
After being such a devoted follower, it’s time for me to spill some tea. Snuggle into a comfy chair and get ready for my personal picks and analysis of their content and sometimes larger than life personalities.
As an Interior Designer, I was initially drawn to those whose content involved renovation, design and DIY.
“Hi! We're Kelsey & Becky from The Sorry Girls! We're a digital media brand with a focus on lifestyle, education, sustainability, and self empowerment achieved through a do-it-yourself mentality. We’re a community of makers and do-ers that enable all people, especially women with the skills and confidence to create for themselves.”
The Sorry Girls are 2 Canadian friends Kelsey and Becky. Having been around for a decade, their vibe is casual and personable and they’re also absolute pros. They specialize in DIY, thrifting and room makeovers. They tackle residential, dormitory, hospitality and retail spaces. Along the way, we get to know these women personally and how they live in their own homes. Recently they celebrated 2M subscribers. That is no small feat in a world where there is so much competition and transient attention spans. These ladies make power tools look manageable and enforce the belief that no idea is a bad one, as long as you give it a try. Some of their most inspired uploads are about transforming dumpster diving finds. They even tiptoed around Drake’s neighbourhood looking for discarded gems! I love their interior design aesthetic as well as their vintage fashions. They know how to keep it fresh and fun. I also appreciate that they aren’t just following trends in home décor. They push the envelope as trend setters rather than just copying what has already saturated the market.
Another Canadian I follow is DIY Danie. I am in awe of her carpentry skills. She is also an incredible visual artist. She has that easy to love quirky/nerdy kind of personality. Not long ago she and her partner moved to the country house of their dreams. Slowly she has been reimagining each room. I love how well thought out her projects are as well as being very cost effective. She is a big fan of reusing, recycling and keeping it real. She hasn’t given in to the temptation to do everything at once. Some of the rooms were given a refresh, rather than costly and hastened overhauls. I also love her smaller DIY projects and art installations. She makes wood look very cool and she is not afraid to keep a blunder in her final video cuts. How I know that Danie is the real deal is when a room in her home is revealed, I love it, despite not being a fan of country home aesthetic. She has done it well and it shows.
Just when you thought this blog was going to be a love fest of Canadian women, sorry, cue the tea spill!
Alexandra Gater is a rapidly rising star on YouTube. It seems like overnight she went from being an editor of a Canadian magazine to running her own channel. She is cute and pink and obsessed with pompoms. Her beloved cat Lottie is her reluctant sidekick. Recently, she moved out of her “tree house” rental into a 2 bedroom Victorian with her boyfriend. Perhaps she is still best known for her bookshelf styling prowess. Even Reece Witherspoon gushed about it on social media. That’s an impressive endorsement.
However, the more of her content I watch, the more I see the Wizard of Oz’s smoke and mirrors. She is a self professed décor enthusiast, not an expert, so she doesn’t seem have the chops for interior design. I’ve been admittedly very opinionated in my comments because I really would like to see her improve. I am likely not her target demographic, which may be the reason why I sometimes feel annoyed when watching her weekly uploads. She keeps missing the mark with incorrect terminology, wayward advice, sometimes ghastly room makeovers and some of her designs are downright dangerous – an outdoor fire bowl sat atop a sisal rug, as an example. Though she is working hard to entertain and to inform, she continues to leave the same mark – her own personal style no matter the project, no matter the needs of the end users. Her furniture choices are impractical and viewers are starting to smell a rat when it comes to products she pushes as they’re freebies from sponsors. Lately she has been struggling a lot with making over her new rental with her partner in mind. They’re figuring out how to be cohabitants as well as trying desperately to merge styles. It hasn’t all gone well. I’m looking forward to when they finish making over their kitchen. This should be a make or break video.
One of the first YouTubers I started following is Hermione Chantal. With algorithms to assist, the Anglophile in me soon found many like personalities. Hermione is one of my favorites. She is a sweet girl based in southern England. After purchasing a Victorian house as a potential flip property to fix up and sell, she found herself loving the home and the process so much, she has yet to move on. Hermione has a sort of scatterbrained cuteness which works really well for her. She has a can-do attitude but doesn’t take herself too seriously. She often laughs at herself, which is so refreshing. Her projects are a combination of DIY, help from her loyal grandmother and professional trades people. She doesn’t pretend to be an expert at anything. It’s just fun to spend a bit of time with her whenever she uploads a new video.
Hermione is one of three UK (around London) based YouTubers I follow. I like living vicariously through them as they peruse local charity shops, restaurants and retail stores. I feel like I can magically transport myself to England each time I watch the videos. And during this pandemic, that outlet to escapism has been so important and necessary.
Another English YouTubers I love is Mr. Carrington. Iwan is incredibly busy as he maintains separate fashion and home décor content on other social media outlets. He is also a regular guest on a local television morning show. This stylish guy is very personable and sweet. What is it about a self-deprecating Englishman? So irresistible! He does a lot of home DIY projects, personal grooming tutorials and fashion related content.
For the last little while, Mr. Carrington and his partner have been enduring a loft extension in their home. Many homes in the UK have really tall attics, perfect for converting to living spaces. It’s how Londoners get more bang for their properties without having to move. Mr. Carrington loves his cuppa coffee, a good bubble bath and home DIY projects which include maintaining a lovely rooftop garden. He is also a mean chef with a slow cooker! He has a soothing voice and looks great on camera. Watching his videos is like spending a bit of time with a good friend on a comfy sofa.
The third English YouTuber I follow is Luke Catleugh. Luke is a young, energetic and very personable guy originally from northern England. Currently he rents a large flat in London with his bestie Zara. Luke is a fantastic cook and baker. I’ve learned so many delicious vegan recipes I would love to try, despite being a confirmed carnivore! He has a lot of stylish décor ideas. He is also great at DIY projects. Luke is also very focused on fashion trends as well. He is a heavily tattooed, affable guy you’d love to have dinner with – preferably at his place so he can do the cooking! Since the beginning of the pandemic, his roommate Zara has become a regular fixture on his videos. Having met at university, they are fantastic friends. She is the yang to his yin. They made the monumental decision to buy a house together in the city of Bath. Until that day comes, they will continue to cook up a storm, reimagine their apartment room by room and show us a good time when they venture out to the city centre for a day of shopping or dining or sightseeing. They recently got a puppy, so it’s wet smooches for all, for the next little while.
Isn’t it strange that I enjoy “haul”, “clean with me” and “shop with me” videos?! Many influencers make videos which consist of what’s in their shopping bags – grocery or otherwise. They pull out the items one by one; say what they paid for them and in some cases, why they bought the items. I wouldn’t think of watching my mom or neighbor remove their grocery shopping item by item. That sounds ridiculously dull. But why is it compelling in a YouTube video?! Their cleaning videos are just as fun. Watching my favorite influencers doing their dusting or cleaning the bathroom may seem odd, but it’s sort of satisfying if that makes sense. The shopping videos are nice because they go into their favorite stores – many that aren’t available in my neck of the woods. It’s interesting to see what retail looks like in different parts of the world.
So far, I haven’t spilled much tea. Disappointed? There is so much more to come! Please stay tuned for my next blog, where I’ll do more deep dives into interior design YouTube channels, human interest channels as well as some cooking channels and ones specific to younger viewers. Remember to have fun and watch responsibly!