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

November 29, 2012

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

(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.

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

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?

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

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?

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

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!

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Travel

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

October 29, 2012

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.

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

14MPR Charming Rental For Your Next London Stay

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)

Travel

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

September 10, 2012

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.

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

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, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

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.

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

Style Guide To Hamburg, Germany

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)

Books + Magazines, Shopping + Products, Travel

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

July 25, 2012

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)

Travel

Wayfare Magazine

March 23, 2012

Hello lovely friends! It’s Friday and the sun is huge in the sky here shining all around like a total show off hot shot and I love it! The best part is that it will continue throughout the weekend and be hanging around for all of next week so I can get out and about to some gardens and parks, bring my camera, and snappity snap snap! Speaking of being out and about…

Wayfare Magazine

I JUST found out the scoop yesterday over at Little Brown Pen about Wayfare magazine and I flipped through the pilot issue of this lovely travel-focused e-mag about to make its grand debut this summer. Seems my friend Nichole knows (and blogged about) her meet up with the Prêt à Voyager blogger who works for Wayfare, Anne Ditmeyer (the magazine’s art director) which is how I found out about it. Good news travels fast thanks to wee little things called blogs and Nichole is always in the loop. She’s SUCH a star.

Wayfare Magazine

Wayfare is, in a nutshell, a more fancy pants travel mag meant to one up the cheesy newsstand variety out there since it’s presenting itself as more than just a place to find generic travel destinations. To me, Wayfare is all about embracing the wanderlust lifestyle that so many seem to have, especially lately. Most of us not only dream of travel but dream of leaving it all behind and relocating to our dream destination.

Wayfare Magazine

It’s funny though, ever since relocating from Boston to northern Germany, I’ve spent a lot of time discussing wanderlust with my friends here and in other European countries and unlike my American pals, a lot less of them are interested in relocating to a new country to start all over again. When I poll my American girlfriends it’s like 8 out of 10 want to relocate (mostly to Paris!) and nearly all of them would if family and jobs didn’t tie them to their current spot. If you have entertained the thought of leaving it all behind, feel like taking a virtual vacation, need new ideas as to where to travel or simply want to live vicariously through others, Wayfare promises to feed your wanderlust cravings with stories of daring souls who are out there doing their thing.

Wayfare Magazine

Wayfare Magazine

Wayfare Magazine

Wayfare is as much about travel and relocation as good presentation and well written text. Great layouts, good looking fonts and the fact that they go beyond theme parks, NYC, Paris, Vegas, London and Rome gives it a major thumbs up from me. Not that I don’t like mags featuring top destinations but hey, it’s cool to see what’s going on in Burundi, Ontario and western Oregon for instance — which their pilot issue just-so-happens to cover.

So there you have it, another e-mag on its way to digital newsstands nearest to you. Check out their pilot issue HERE.

(images: screenshots from wayfare mag)

Inspiration, Travel

Mood Board Books To Inspire

March 19, 2012

Hello friends! I’m in one of those writing moods today where words just bubble forth like some kind of crazy fountain! It’s a great mood to be in because now I’m home and no longer traveling so I CAN write on decor8 regularly again and it feels wonderful. I always miss blogging and the practice of writing daily when I’m on the road, writing is total freedom for me. Another freedom, or shall I say creative release (sounds weird but it really is), is when I pull together things visually into handmade books. I’ve been doing this for ages, since I was a little curious kid, and it started by pulling pages from teen magazines and Highlights magazine then collecting them into photo albums with those giant clear pages… You know the ones that you peel to stick in your pages on that strange adhesive so when you lay stuff on it the paper sorta sticks, then you press the clear page on top. Yeah, those old school albums, woot!

Mood Board Books To Inspire

I filled those things with inspirations from magazine pages to stickers, letters from penpals and labels from things that I liked. I also used blank journals and diaries or handmade books that I made by stapling together copy paper with a stapler to form a gutter down the middle. I started doing those in the late 1970’s when I was maybe 6 years old and I continued making them my entire life – writing in some, sticking things in others – I had sticker books, inspiration books, books I wrote and illustrated with my own stories, and diaries filled with secrets and wishes and how I imagined my “adult” life to be — which usually involved becoming an author, marrying a cute boy, having a baby and living in another country in a really nice house.

Well… Little me ended up wanting the same goals as I grew older and I often wonder at times if that clarity came through the consistent exercise of capturing my imagination and dreams into something more tangible like the books that I made over the years? I believe that the more you either write down or visually share with yourself and/or others, the more you capture your imagination in a sense and freeze it,  perhaps it helps put you on your way to gaining a bit more clarity as you make your way through life. Interesting to ponder, right?

Mood Board Books To InspireThis spread was inspired by a home we shot in the English countryside recently. I came home and pulled this together using images that felt like the home I had worked in in the same color palette.

I almost want to challenge you to test this theory on your own life and to see if, after a year of consistently maintaining private journals and books, whether or not you start to gain a better sense of self. We’re constantly evolving so there is never an end point to all of this since we’ll be growing as long as we live (or at least lets make that our goal!) but the act of conscious “slow” living vs. hectic “speed” living IS something we really want to do, at least that’s what I find most attractive these days as I see the hectic path is ultimately reallyyyyyyy boring and makes time go by much to quickly.

I’m wondering now if all of this tapping in and recording our inspirations, goals, heartaches, lessons learned, ideas, etc. is what enhances the experience of living in a way. What do you think?

Mood Board Books To InspireThis is a capture of fabrics and ribbons that I collected while in London for a project from various stores like Liberty and VV Rouleaux. I wanted to pull them all together in one place because now I’ll always remember them in case I want to work from this palette in the future on another project.

I thought to go along with my words that I’d share a few images that I took with my iPhone today of these mood board pages that I made in a book over the past six weeks – they show some of the impressions that I’ve had on the road while I’ve been working on my next book. I didn’t feel like writing my impressions from each trip in a diary because I have to write so much as it is INSIDE of the actual book and on this blog that the thought of writing a diary during this time made me a bit tense. I still, however, wanted to keep track of my inspirations along the way so I thought to do it in a visual way instead. Plus, it ended up inspiring me through a bit of a creative challenge. This book gave me a chance to record things with a glue stick and a few minutes of my time. I shared this with our Blogging Your Way Road Trip students recently in New York and they seemed to be very inspired by it. I hope you are too.

Mood Board Books To InspireThis was pulled together based on the same home in the English countryside that had inspired me so, so much. I used found items, washi tape, paint swatches, buttons, clips, etc. to pull together a paper that reflected the mood of that home.

Creating visual records can be very inspiring while you’re doing them but also to look back on them, for me at least, I inspires me all over again. For instance from this book I am able to recall the exact things that struck a chord with me on certain trips — seeing them again gave me some new ideas for the future.

Remember… Mood boards don’t have to be on actual boards on your wall. As I taught last year in the series of Mood Board Workshops in the US and London for Anthropologie, mood boards can be on a wall, in a book, in a manilla folder, in a mini mood board book (aka portable photo album with clear sleeves) or an inspiration wire which is horizontal and hung across a wall, window or above a sofa or bed – anywhere that you want really – where you can tack on what catches your eye at the moment. Visual recordings like this can be enlightening, especially as you begin to see patterns in your thinking, spot a theme or discover new ideas.

Mood Board Books To InspireThis is a spread that I created using tears and bits that I’ve been collecting in my desk drawer for several months. I noticed everything I had collected there fit together in a strange way so I decided to put them in the book so that I could refer to this later. I love seeing how gray, cream, goldenrod, industrial elements, strong graphics (like numbers, silhouettes and maps), polka dots and a bit of olive green can work with a touch of a floral fabric that is a bit country. Again, it’s all about capturing moments and collecting them someplace outside of our own heads (or a desk drawer).

What I love about the books that I’ve been creating at home since I was a kid is that, unlike a board or string or something that’s a bit decorative and public in your home that others potentially see, you don’t have to edit out anything or hold back in your books. It’s also different from a blog or Pinterest because your book can be private and a total immersion into self. Often when you compose mood boards at home or online you tend to hold back for some reason whereas a book that you can store can be less about sharing with others and more about sharing with yourself, personal growth, learning and saving to look back on for years to come. You can include themes that may be too embarrassing to share publicly or explore topics that you may feel are too private to pass around within your online social network. It’s a very nice way to bookmark your life visually and I love it.

Mood Board Books To InspireThis was created when I got back from Paris a few weeks ago. Some visuals that reflected how I saw Paris…

I hope this post today inspired you somehow to be a bit more active when it comes to recording your thoughts in a more visual, organized but still fun and freestyle way. Always take time to absorb your surroundings, then collect them into something tangible so that your inspiration can be tapped in to during those “creative rut” periods…

What do you think of this idea to collect visual notes into small books at home? Do you do make these too? If so, post them on your blog and share the link below if you’d like so we can see them!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

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