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Holly Shops: Columbia Road in London (+ some blogging advice)

Hello everyone! I’m kicking off a new column today, Holly Shops, that will begin now and run into the new year. It will be all about places that I shop at when I travel, featuring my own photos of stores, fairs and markets along with other travel-related highlights that simply inspire me. I am frequently on the road more and more, though I remember a time when I would have loved to travel this often and envied those who did! That’s why I want to do a bit more travel writing on decor8 so that you can come with me, even if only virtually.

Columbia Road Flower Market

It’s funny though… Once you start traveling for mostly business you forget the pleasure and sometimes you miss having fun along the way. Holly Shops will help me to mix business with pleasure much more because it will encourage me to create content for this blog as I go. I’ll post Holly Shops at least once a month, sometimes more, depending on my schedule.

Columbia Road Flower Market

So let us get started! On Sunday, I was in London so I woke up early for breakfast with my friends Charlotte and Steffi and then I ventured off on my own heading straight for Columbia Road Flower Market. I’d never been so I must first confess that I wasn’t “feeling it”, you know those days where you just want to stay in bed and pull the blankets over your head? I thought that being at a flower market would be nice, but since I was due to fly home the next morning I couldn’t really buy any flowers and it was quite chilly… Excuses for sleeping in kept dancing in my mind but I dragged myself to breakfast anyway because I kept thinking that I need to be a good role model to my students. What I mean is that I preach constantly in my workshops and e-classes that they have to use their blog as a catalyst to live their best life.

Columbia Road Flower Market

This means that a blog should inspire YOU first and help you to live a happier life – to create a more interesting life because of having a blog and a blog can be big time motivation to push yourself. This often means challenges and to do what doesn’t always come so naturally, or what you don’t want to do BUT since you have a blog to write on then you need to be doing cool stuff or else you’re readers will fall asleep and the most dangerous part is: so will you. If you aren’t having some fun in your life then it’s time to use your blog as a push, a motivator, to go out there and find something interesting to do so that you can feel encouraged to share it and inspire action in others.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Think about your own blog for a moment. If you have readers who interact with you via the comments section, don’t you feel a sense of responsibility to them? If you say you will go to this or that event and that you promise to share it, then you don’t – they feel let down but most importantly (and my point) is that you let yourself down. You can push your way out of bed, push through fear and even push past self doubt the more you DO things that build your confidence level. So many of us have built up our skills very publicly – I know lots of bloggers who were amateur photographers or budding food stylists when they started their blogs but the more they worked on blogging and bettering their skills the more their blogs blossomed. This is what I mean when I say to use a blog as a catalyst.

Columbia Road Flower Market

(These ladies, The Sugar Sisters, were so good! Listen to them here.)

When I am feeling down or lazy or not motivated, I reason how I should be using my blog to better myself and how can I do that NOW? Should I go to a flower market that I don’t really feel like going to because it will give me an interesting experience and blog post? Okay, sure – why not do it because usually, 10 minutes into the adventure, I’m SO HAPPY that I pushed myself to do it. Having a blog gives me a healthy dose of obligation I guess you can say – it makes me accountable and if there is one thing lacking in modern society it’s accountability. We really need it to grow and become better people – when we are accountable to others for some things, we push ourselves more than if no one would ever watch or notice.

Columbia Road Flower Market

It’s the difference between singing in your underwear in the bedroom with your hair brush as a mic and singing at a local karaoke bar – when we’re before others, we try a little harder and this often helps us to build up our skills. There are a lot of professional singers who got started in small bars and clubs. We all start somewhere and often it’s accountability that motivates us. I’m sure those big names out there wouldn’t be as efficient if they weren’t as accountable, right?

Columbia Road Flower Market

So that is the approach that I took on Sunday morning, that I would go to the market alone and turn my adventure into a blog post. This blog post! Now let us talk about Columbia Road Flower Market, shall we?

Columbia Road Flower Market

What I didn’t know about this market is that it’s not just about flowers! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the road is lined with independent shops, tiny bakeries and cafes on either side and a few street performers thrown in for that lovely London charm. There are a few little passages here and there to, where I found a lovely bakery called Lily Vanilli and they happen to have a stunning bake book called Sweet Tooth just out, too! Girl, you know it’s true! I noticed that Columbia Road LOVES paint – it seems that every door and facade had a delicious paint color beckoning passerby’s to take a peek. I was so excited to see all of this COLOR since I was staying in a mostly gray and white part of town behind Victoria Station in Eccleston Square at the Eccleston Square Hotel which was all black, gray and white inside and out. Leaving the monochromatic decor for colorful Columbia Road was quite a happy start to my day!

Columbia Road Flower Market

When the flower market isn’t in full swing on Sunday mornings, you can shop the lovely stores any day of the week so during my visit to Columbia Road I did a little bit of everything. I loved the coffee at Lily Vanilli and the big brownie that I shouldn’t have had but hey, I hung out with some nice Londoners at a big farmhouse table near the window so it was worth it. Aside from that, I didn’t have lunch or anything because I really wanted to play photographer and take some nice photos before it became too crowded. I also wanted to spend time perusing the shops and I wanted to pick up some presents.

Columbia Road Flower Market

On Columbia Road, you will find a bunch of beautiful stores – a full shop list can be found here. I popped into Elphick’s, fell in love with Jesse Chorley and Buddug, loved the art and signage at Nelly Duff, spotted cute candies in Suck and Chew, visited Ryantown, found nice tiles and other things in SuperNice, and drooled over the ceramics in Nom. Vintage Heaven was loaded with granny chic. Oh, and I loved some of the vintage jackets with sewn on patches and fabric from Queenie and Ted.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

I am so glad that I visited this gorgeous market, aren’t you?!?

If you’re in London between now and the 19th of December, shop the Columbia Road Christmas Market that is now open on Wednesdays from 5pm to 9pm. More information can be found here.

Have you shopped Columbia Road before? Oh and what do you think about my thoughts on blogging above???

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in travel on November 29, 2012

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

As promised, I’d like to share with you the lovely property that London-based interiors photographer, Debi Treloar, has been working on all summer with her family. They’ve created a beautiful little nook called 17MPR that you can rent during your next visit to London. It’s a lovely space and gives you more than any London hotel for the money – a small kitchen, a place to sleep, a private patio, a bathroom and easy access to London. This hasn’t been blogged yet as she just opened her doors, so I’m happy to debut it here on decor8 and wish Debi loads of lovely guests! You can book this property directly through Debi or contact her through Facebook on the 14MPR page.

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

London rental: 14MPR Charming Rental

I love how Debi used vintage and modern objects and stuck to a very plush palette of greens and blues with a smattering of yellow and warm woods. It’s very fresh and inspiring and is nice for both men and women – it has personality, don’t you think?

If you happen to inquire about this rental property, please tell Debi that you found it via decor8 – she is very selective about her guests and would love to have blog readers and friends who appreciate her beautiful property – in other words, not just anyone can stay here. Thank you!

Inquire: mail [at] debitreloar [dot] com
Facebook: 14MPR

(images: debi treloar)

Posted in travel on October 29, 2012

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Several months ago I was approached by RUE magazine to spend the day with them shopping in a city of my choice in Germany. I thought to bring them to Hannover or nearby Hamburg or Berlin but since I was under deadline with my book, I sadly had to decline their lovely offer. Then I thought to refer them to Steffi from OhhhMhhh, a Hamburg-based blogger. I knew that Steffi was the lady for the job with her magazine experience.

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

This post is a bit belated as her style guide to Hamburg appeared in the last issue, number 12, but I still have to highlight it because she did a bang up job and well, Steffi is a good friend and I love to shine the light on her whenever possible because she is a tremendously supportive friend and all around total “it” girl – she rocks.

Style Guide to Hamburg

Style Guide to Hamburg

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Style Guide to Hamburg

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Style Guide to Hamburg

This Friday and Saturday I’ll be hanging out in Hamburg for a few days, I have a business meeting and I’ll be seeing my good Danish friend Charlotte and also Steffi, so I’m looking forward to being there and putting Steffi’s guide in RUE magazine to good use.

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

Hamburg Germany with Steffi Luxat and Rue Magazine

If you’re ever in Hamburg, definitely don’t miss this article which appears in issue 12 on pages 40-46. Lovely work, Frau Luxat!

(images: Felix Matthies)

Posted in travel on September 10, 2012

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

Love London? Visiting soon? This post is for you! Last night I stumbled across a most curious travel book while perusing Amazon called the London Style Guide authored by Londoner Saska Graville and published by Murdoch with photography by Jessica Reftel Evans & Martin Reftel of Amorfo Photography. It looked like such a lovely guide and definitely not ‘typical’ so I snapped it up in jiffy, ordering before retiring to bed.

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

To my surprise, this lovely guide arrived a few moments ago and as I flipped through it I couldn’t contain my excitement. Finally someone wrote a shopping, eating and sleeping guide for London that speaks 100% to my aesthetic and is free of blah blah tourist-y stops and those all too familiar recommendations that every book suggests. This guide is stylishly laid out (props to the book designer!), meticulously curated and beautifully, and I mean beautifully, shot. I love the “Meet the Londoner section” with 18 interviews of shop and cafe owners, showcasing their favorite things to see in London.

I highly suggest picking up a copy because if you intend to go to London anytime soon, you simply MUST own this guide. Even if you don’t intend to go, this book is still a lovely one to own because through it you can feel like you’ve traveled and there are all sorts of lovely things to see and read along with links to places you can look up online. It is available for download here or you can buy a hard copy in the UK here or in the US here. There is even a digital version available on iTunes which I’m going to investigate because having this guide on my iPhone would totally rock for my next trip back to London. Would you like to take a quick look with me?

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

About the author: Saska Graville has worked as a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers for 20+ years in London and Sydney. She was former editor of New Woman magazine in Australia then the features editor of The Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney. Later, she relocated back to her native London as deputy editor of Red magazine and currently is a UK travel correspondent for The Sun-Herald.

Now I’m more excited than ever to return to London this Fall!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines, shopping, travel on July 25, 2012

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