Decorating Tips, Tabletop

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

February 10, 2016

Hello dear blog readers, this is Anke with my monthly tabletop column for decor8. How are you? I hope 2016 started off well for all of you! Are you enjoying wintertime or longing for spring like I am? 
At our home, it has been the same process as years past. I cannot replace the glitzy Christmas decorations with plain elements and early bloomers quick enough. So, here are some spring tabletop ideas for you!

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

My table is set in bright colors with white tulips, hyacinths, and snowdrops. Light-colored wood, glassware, and straight, clean shapes give your table decoration a modern, Scandinavian look. 
The great thing is that one doesn’t have to spend much money on it! Jam and preserving jars in different sizes will act perfectly as flower vases, and there is good news for those who like the tablecloth. It’s from IKEA from their 365+ collection.

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

I chose small enamel cups to plant the snowdrops. Look for similar vintage ones at the flea market. Enamelware from Falcon would be just as beautiful, as would their mugs or mini tumblers.

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

Of course I had to put something playful on the wall again. Keeping up with the latest trend I went with a pennant wall hanging. There is special t-shirt transfer paper that allows you to print text or an image of your choice and iron it onto fabric. Check your local craft store – just ask one of the employees for fabric transfer paper. Easy-peasy! For the next step I cut the fabric to size, created a fold at the top and stitched, then folded in the bottom edges and ironed it, then sewed the hem at the short end of the pennant. To finish this DIY, just thread a wooden stick or even a cooking spoon through the hole you’ve created. Add baking string to the top to hang.

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

The small culinary delight on each guest’s plate was juicy lemon-rosemary-cake. If you like the combination of fruity cake and sweet garden herbs you should definitely have a look at the Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake from Holly’s new columnist Emma. I will be giving it a try soon, that’s for sure!

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

Tabletop: Early Flowering Spring Party Ideas

I wish you all a beautiful month of February! I am looking forward to meeting you here again on decor8 at the beginning of March! – Anke

(Photography, Styling, Text: Anke Illner. Editor: Jessica Senti)






Shop Tours, Travel

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

February 9, 2016

I just returned from a beautiful trip to Paris, then London, so I have a great deal to share with you but first, the highlight. My day at Merci in Paris with Artistic Director Daniel Rozensztroch. First, it was a dream come true to meet with him, not just for an interview, but for a store tour, lunch together and frequent chats throughout the day. He is such a creative man, a true artist, and I loved learning more about his life and travels which I’m thrilled to share with you now through my words and photographs.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

As Artistic Director, he is solely responsible for the overall image of this famed concept store which is a major design influencer in not only France but worldwide. Before coming to Merci, he was with top French interiors magazine, Marie Claire Maison, for 22 years as Editorial Advisor (Conseiller de la redaction). Now with Merci for 8 years as Artistic Director (Directeur artistique), it’s clear his attention to the brand, the customer, what’s happening globally in design and his own inner radar for what’s appealing fills his mind constantly and is something in which he possesses endless passion.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(One of the cafes in Merci, the Used Book Cafe, with walls of books to peruse while sipping espresso. This was born from Daniel’s creative imagination.)

Daniel combs the globe for inspiration and products to take under his wing and bring into the store but additionally, he organizes and curates massive installations in-store that frequently change, all based around themes which range from microtrends (he has the power to set them) and rising trends in either design, fashion, lifestyle, cooking or movements in thinking. He’s always watching the news to see how current events may influence or shape ideas for upcoming shows at the store. He likes to bring awareness to particular themes while also inspiring Merci customers. He likes to make people think. It’s not all about selling product to him, his passion reaches much farther than the wallet – he wishes to inspire collective consciousness to motivate people to consider their lives and the everyday decisions that they make to move towards greater positivity and joy. And products can certainly help aid in that, if you are shown the right ones, which is something he believes in as well – the power of the object and its ability to bring harmony to life.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

The current theme, for instance, is sports and wellness and is called Sport in the City. Clearly an important topic as cities globally are expanding awareness on the topic and more juice bars, sports clubs and fitness apparel shops are bursting open. Paris is currently experiencing a great awareness around health and fitness too. I observed this clearly as I saw about 50% less smokers than in times past when I had visited the city.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(We loved the Lumio lamp and walked away with one of the Marshall portable systems)

After the fitness theme, he gave me an insider’s tip that he’s worked with a team of talented people to develop a monochromatic theme based around African prints, patterns and design, which I cannot wait to see because I only think of saturated color when I think of most African textiles and furnishings.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris
Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(The men’s pop up shop, shown above. Daniel went home with that great camo coat and my friend Toni left with the camel jacket he is shown wearing. We had a great shopping day!)

What I noticed immediately upon meeting this talented man is that he listens more than he speaks. He believes in moderation, kindness, compassion, and in creating a meaningful home over time and certainly not to impress others. As we spoke, I sensed that he soaks in everything; which in turn helps him to later decipher what would be an interesting topic to explore for the store or for a future design (he is also a Designer). As a listener, when he does speak, there is something of substance to hold on to and consider later. I really appreciated this because it meant that conversation held more value and meaning, and wasn’t full of the typical surface topics which never really move you closer to the core of the person. He’s a lovely man to chat with, for sure.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(Adidas are so hot right now in Europe, especially these with the black stripes.)
Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

I also caught on rather quickly that Daniel is obsessed with everyday items that are aesthetically-pleasing but also practical and functional, from a collapsible strainer he showed me in the Kitchen section along with a Japanese hand broom, to black matte cutlery on the floor for Home. His obsession clearly is what makes him so great at curating, his attention to detail and his dedication to collecting are inspiring because I also get excited over the little things so his passion was completely relatable to me.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(I loved that they have an Aesop pop-up shop on their ground floor, I grabbed the geranium hand balm from the Auriga kit.)
Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(Upstairs, they have a gorgeous paper shop. Swoon!)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

With a home in central Paris (where he tends to his small garden, a huge trend in Paris at the moment is this sort of renegade gardener) and another in the South of France, Daniel is frequently flying between homes but even more, frequently between countries – he travels to lands far and near in search of something that will catch his eye – it could be anything and generally, not always what is obvious. The sign of a true artist is to see something in what others may walk by, tapping into one’s imagination. His imagination is always running wild and his heart, completely open and free to explore, which makes him perfect for what others may consider an overwhelming responsibility to oversee and curate one of the most influential design stores in the world.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(I spotted a sweet marbleware lampshade that I liked immediately as I began photographing the lower floor near the cafe.)

While lunching at Merci on the lower floor near the gardens, I was seated at a lively table with many languages being spoken, delicious foods constantly arriving before us, a bottle of wine because it’s France after all, and I sat across from Daniel and just felt nothing but warmth and joy as he spoke. During lunch, we spoke about Instagram (he isn’t using it currently but maybe soon, wink wink), social media and blogging in general, his role at Merci and how he decides upon the next big thing to show in-store. Here is Daniel below, this portrait of him really captures his personality well.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris
Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

It was a pleasure to be meet with someone with such a rich background who doesn’t bring ego into it. Our chat was relaxing and made me realize that there is no need to try to impress people when you are impressive enough, you know? Daniel doesn’t need to prove a thing. He is who he is and his confidence reflects that and it’s an endearing quality because it makes others feel at ease. When you leave ego out of your work, you can get REAL work done. You can do what is important.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(I loved these glass vessels in their Home section and below, all of the ceramics – quite gorgeous. I walked away with the white/black basket shown lower left on the floor for Aidan’s toys to discreetly tuck away in our living room.)
Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

After spending nearly a day at Merci eating, shopping, meeting lovely people and photographing the store with Toni, I walked away more excited to follow Daniel’s work going forward and to keep an eye on the Merci blog and IG to see what he will do for the next installation, and the next, and the next. I also want to return again soon to visit him and maybe steal some time for a coffee because I just liked him as a person. I can’t wait to see where he will go next with his imagination. For me, I loved meeting with someone who brings so much wisdom and value into his work. He’s not fresh out of college or eager, he isn’t insecure or naïve. He’s a seasoned professional, a creative guru, who has seen it all, done it all, and wants to do even more in a fresh, creative and better way.

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(Their linens are to die for. Seriously, the best linen and the best quality ever. They have table linens and an entire room of bedding, as well. You can also order it all online. I also loved the Massimo Castagna flatware with the openwork handles. 

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(I loved how many styles and periods they mix together but also how global it all is – it doesn’t look Scandi or French or Italian – it looks well-traveled and interesting, the contrasts are unique and add healthy tension, the focus is on comfort first.)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(Many of their pieces are handmade, one of a kind, like the lighting show bottom left. These are all sourced and made by hand and sold exclusively at Merci.)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(The stunning handmade Japanese pitchers on the table was a real highlight. I wanted so much to take one home and fill it with field flowers.)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(White enamelled metal flatware by Stefania Di Petrillo definitely had my attention and was something else I desperately wanted to take home with me. I also loved the black and white marble enamelware plates, which is trending currently in Europe for the tabletop. I saw it in London in all of the best stores, too. But I spotted it at Merci first!)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(I had to photograph the flowers and the simplicity of this tabletop. I loved the scalloped edges of this vintage farmhouse table. There is a lot of love in a table like that, and memories too.)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(So nice to see mustard and black, but even more, the pottery and linen… and glass. Everything was so cozy looking and welcoming but also stylish and current.)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

(I went home with the gorgeous chair above bottom right from HAY, I had to have it.)

Conversation With Daniel Rozensztroch at Merci Paris

I wish Daniel (shown throughout this post and above, with me) nothing but the best and thank him from the bottom of my heart (and my colleague, Toni, also thanks him too) for treating us like family and with such kindness – this was surely a highlight in my career that I’ll never, ever forget. And a big thanks to Toni for being the best travel partner ever and for all of the help, I couldn’t have done this without you!

Holly

(Photography: Holly Becker except bottom two photographs by Morten Toni Vinther)






Color Inspiration, Travel

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

February 6, 2016

I just returned from England and spent a beautiful day in the southwest along the coast for an exclusive tour, interview with Head of Creative, Charlotte Crosby, a special lunch at The Squash Court Cafe, and a tour of the Farrow & Ball headquarters along with a private showing of the Deans Court Home. What a great day it was because there was so much to see and just be inspired by, so first I’ll start with the tour and then wrap up with my very informal chat with Charlotte. Located in Wimborne, Dorset, their headquarters consists of several office spaces, the wallpaper and paint factory, and a showroom. When I arrived, my tour of the paint factory began so l’ll share that with you now…

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Farrow & Ball was launched in 1946 by John Farrow and Richard Ball who shared a passion for creating paint in accordance with the original formulations, using only traditional methods in making paint (and later, wallpaper) by skilled craftsman and they wanted the ingredients to be only the best quality.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

While touring, I spoke to several of these “makers” from the guys in the lab who do quality assurance to ensure that all paint pots are 100% perfect before leaving the facility, to the guys who mix the colors, work on the lines and pack the paints. They were so polite and clearly dedicated to their trade; you could sense the pride and that alone was inspiring since I always pictured factory work as being either stressful or passionless (or both).

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

I want to buy and support their products even more now that I’ve seen them being made first hand, and meeting so many of the men who work hard to create the perfect tints and tones. While touring, I heard a little story about how some of the guys get excited when they blend a color that may not be correct for Farrow & Ball (more of a happy accident) and so they pull it but they show the staff anyway because they sometimes think it’s a great color and should be considered for the next collection. I thought that was very sweet, because they too enjoy being involved in the creative process and are inspired by the colors around them, tuned in to the work they are doing and feel a sense of pride for it.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

I was also struck that none of the paint or wallpapers are mass-produced in some factory overseas. Everything is made right there in Dorset.

After touring the paint factory, it was on to the wallpaper factory only a few buildings away. First, their wallpapers are not made using ink (most today are), which is already impressive. Another thing that impressed me is that each background color on the wallpaper is painted with a layer of eco-friendly water-based paint (they have over 70 background colors!). Not only do I love that each roll is painted first but that they are using non-toxic paints and vanishes. I knew this though the moment I walked in because I have allergies and normally get headaches when I’m around paint and wallpaper but the paint factory only smelled a bit like clay and the wallpaper factory, like a newly cracked-open book.I am impressed by their dedication to producing products that don’t make your home smell toxic for days after it is installed. In fact, when I painted my son’s nursery a few weeks before he was born, I was surprised by how it didn’t smell at all. It made me feel safer to put a baby in the room.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

It was actually refreshing to be in a factory that was so bright, clean and fume-free with cheerful workers. These points really stood out for me. So now, back to the process… After the papers are painted, they then move through a large machine where they are dried.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

You can see the paint being applied above inside of the red machine, see the large brush sweeping the color back and forth? Applying paint to the rolls first gives the paper that tactile texture that their customers love so much for that truly one-of-a-kind feel.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Rolls are then stored until pattern is applied. From there, there are three different methods to applying pattern: roller block printing, flat bed block printing or trough method. I was able to experience all three and was so impressed by how much care is giving to a single roll of paper. It also impressed upon me why I love their wallpaper so much – it is so tactile and beautiful.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

I loved watching the flat bed block printing and the roller printing. The machines were working hard but none were left alone, each had a dedicated professional keeping their eagle-eye on every step ensuring the best quality. They had to even check to see that the prints were always being applied straight and that the new print that was rolled on was perfectly aligned with the one before it. The worker and the machine, were one. A strong team churning out incredible wallpaper.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

After touring the wallpaper factory, I met with Head of Creative, Charlotte Cosby (pictured below) who combs the globe for color inspiration both new and old, many of the colors are repurposed from historical properties. Their historically-derived paint colors and patterns is such an inspiration to so many who have purchased old homes and want to inject them with color that fits the style or era but others simply love to put their chalky-matte colors in their modern homes to make them even more beautiful.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Charlotte studied Management Science at University and worked in finance only to realize that banking wasn’t for her. She moved to London to work for an ad agency but still wasn’t “feeling” her job, she yearned to be more creative so she took on work as a freelance interior designer and then, gallery owner. In only her early 20’s at the time, she got a job at Farrow & Ball and her career really set off. Now in her early 30’s, she heads a team of creatives that choose new paints and wallpaper patterns for upcoming collections. A dream job to so many!

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

This is primarily where Charlotte and her team plan and invent new colors and ideas for the brand.

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

My Farrow & Ball Factory Tour

Charlotte is here showing the 9 new colors for their collection, I wrote and shared the colors a few days ago here.

I’m so glad that I was able to visit Farrow & Ball and spend time around their busy makers and creatives for the day. I learned so much about how much work is truly involved in making their products which gave me even greater respect for the brand overall. I hope you have enjoyed this tour and my photographs… I’ll be back next week with some inspiration from London and Paris for you, so stay tuned.

A big thanks to F&B for having me!

This post was brought to you by Farrow & Ball. All photography and words are my own.

(Photography + Text: Holly Becker)

 

 






Color Inspiration

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

February 4, 2016

Hello everyone! I have so much to tell you about… I’ve just returned from 5 days in Paris, then I was home for 3 days to be with my little boy, then I spent 8 nights in London. What a whirlwind adventure. It was all for work, though I had plenty of fun, so you can only imagine the overwhelming amount of inspiration that I picked up along the way. I want to share a special visit to Farrow & Ball that I had last week when I toured their factory and headquarters in southwest England, but first, I simply must share their 9 new colors for 2016 while I’m working on the factory tour post. I saw the new colors actually being made and they are gorgeous. Meeting with Creative Director, Charlie Crosby, discussing the process of color naming and development was just fascinating, too. It was great to be in the factory experiencing the process from beginning to end for both wallpaper and paint, and to chat with the color lab guys to learn how extremely dedicated they are to each and every can of paint being made so that it is just perfect. Want to see the new colors? I’m sure you’ll love them. I’ll tell you my favorites below…

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Shadow White, “Shadow White is the lighter version of Shaded White so the two are linked and work perfectly together. Both names are taken from the soft tone created when whites are covered in a deep shade.” It has a shaded feeling when used in south facing rooms. // Right: Drop Cloth, “We’ve named this colour Drop Cloth in honour of all the painters and decorators who have worked with Farrow & Ball paints for so long, as it’s the traditional name for a dust sheet. The colour has a subtle touch of mystery about it.” Great choice for east facing rooms because it appears strong in the morning and more muted as the day progresses.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Worsted, “Taking its name from city suiting often made from flat woven fabric, and the sleepy Norfolk village where the yarn was originally created.”  Looks strong and gritty in north facing rooms which can be super moody and fantastic. // Right: Cromarty, “The Shipping Forecast is very much part of the fabric of British life – warning all sailors about impending gales and wind. Cromarty’s name is taken from the Cromarty Firth estuary and conjures up visions of swirling mists.” Color changes from blue to neutrals in west facing rooms, a nice choice there.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Peignoir, “Chemise, Blazer and Babouche are all names of colours in our paint palette that have been inspired by pieces of clothing. So with that in mind, Peignoir is named after the sheer floaty garment traditionally worn by ladies while brushing their hair in the mid-20th century, perfectly summing up the romance of this hazy grey-pink.” Suggested to pair with all white in south facing rooms for a contemporary and clean look. // Right: Yeabridge Green, “This colour was found at Yeabridge House, an 18th century Georgian Hamstone farmhouse, when the original gun cupboard was removed. This vibrant verdant green had laid untouched for many years but was amazingly still reminiscent of the lush Somerset grass that surrounds the house.” Looks great in rooms with northern lighting.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Left: Vardo “A Vardo is a traditional horse drawn gypsy or Romany wagon. A similar colour was used in the intricate patterning of these showmen’s vehicles (usually over red) which is seen as an important cultural high point in decoration during the mid-19th century.” Suggested for pairing with white and for using in west-facing rooms. // Right: Inchyra Blue, “This is inspired by a bespoke colour made for Lord & Lady Inchyra at beautiful classic Georgian Inchyra House in Scotland. Inchyra Blue is used on the exterior doors of their very impressive byre (or barn) which was restored in 2013. It nestles at the bottom of a rather grey and imposing brae (or hill) so needed to have a depth to it but also be sympathetic to its dramatic backdrop and work with the moody Scottish skies.” Looks best in west facing rooms.

9 New Colors From Farrow + Ball

Both: Salon Drab, “Room names have always proven to be popular choice for us and the use of the word Salon not only refers to the small outer room of a drawing room but also conjures up a cultural, intellectual conversational hub. A two-part name, combining Salon, the small outer room off a drawing room, with Drab, a term favoured by true colourists, which simply describes a colour as lacking in brightness.” It is suggested to use this color for darker north facing rooms to make them feel more cozy.

My favorite is Vardo. Their collection really need a teal and it’s such a great color for those who love the strength of Arsenic but want less green and more blue. Vardo is gorgeous. I also love Salon Drab because it’s the perfect brown. Brown can be SO WRONG but this brown is SO RIGHT. It’s exactly the brown I saw a lot in Paris and it looks great with tons of artwork displayed against it. Worsted is the perfect gray. It’s not too light and not too dark, it’s perfectly in the middle. Cromarty is another color I like because it’s so fresh and summery. It reminds me of my childhood days at the beach.

What about you, any color favorites from what I’ve shown above?

I can’t wait to share the Farrow & Ball factory tour with you tomorrow. Stay tuned!

(Photography: Farrow & Ball)

 






Recipes

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

January 14, 2016

Hi all! Would you like to make a unique sponge cake using lemon and thyme? It’s Emma here all the way from Sydney. I am both thrilled and honored (in equal measures) that Holly has invited me to share with you some delicious recipes every month along with her other food writers – you can expect a food story each week on Wednesdays starting in February. My hope is that these recipes inspire you end up in the kitchen making and baking for your family and friends. Christmas just passed and I’m sure with all the entertaining that goes on around this time of year I bet you have eaten way too much! With lots of turkey, potatoes, stuffing a plenty, christmas pudding and sweets galore having been devoured, I have come up with a fresh and light sponge cake for your next gathering or family dessert.

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

Doesn’t this look delicious?This Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake is light, zesty and full of flavor and fresh – a lovely refreshing change after big heavy Christmas meals- you’ll love it! The thyme is so fragrant and works beautifully with the freshness of the lemon. I love serving this cake with an extra drizzle of syrup and greek yogurt, but thick cream or crème fraîche will be delicious too. Here’s the shopping lists and how to…

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

CAKE:
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind (1 lemon approx)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup greek low fat yogurt
1 1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons thyme leaves

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

LEMON SYRUP:
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind (2 lemons approx)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice

THYME SUGAR (optional)
2 table spoons thyme leaves
1/4 cup caster sugar
Extra sprigs of thyme to decorate with

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

MAKE:
Preheat oven to 180C. Plaice eggs, oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla essence, yogurt, sugar and thyme leaves in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Sift in flour and fold in until batter is smooth. Pour into a 20cm greased cake tin and bake for 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Once baked place on a wire rack for ten mins before removing from the cake tin.

Whilst the cake is cooking, to make the syrup, combine sugar, lemon juice and two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes or until syrup has thickened and then stir in zest then remove from heat. Prick the sponge cake with a skewer all over the top and then pour half of the syrup over the cake so that it soaks into the sponge.

Whilst the cake is cooling, place the thyme and sugar in a pestle and mortar and pound until the thyme leaves have combined and released their oils. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the cake and decorate with some extra sprigs of thyme.

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

Recipe: Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake

See you again soon with another recipe to make your tummy smile! – Emma. xo

(images/text: Emma Duckworth)






Ramblings

Fresh + New For 2016!

January 13, 2016

Hello dear friends and readers, I have a lot of good news to share for my 2016 plans for decor8, some of which I’ll share now! I can’t wait to tell you. First, I have a new literary agent, Maria, from Stonesong in New York City. I’m thrilled to be represented by them for my 5th book and hopefully, beyond as I would love to write more books and even branch into novel writing and I believe that Stonesong can get me there. Plus, it’s a well-respected and growing firm that represents a lot of top talent on the web so they really get it – they understand the way new media works and how influencers and our businesses work, and that is vital for any author who goes from web to print. Working with agents who don’t really understand the blogger world is seriously a waste of time, so I’m with Stonesong because they know the biz and at the end of the day, that’s all you really want right?!

Fresh + New For 2016!

The next big news is that I’ve hired a team of writers (woo hoo!) to work with me so I can travel frequently and also vary the topics more with a team of 8 globetrotting reporters, all talented professionals working in the food and interiors industry. I also have a new Relationship Manager consulting on our team, Toni (Morten), who will help me with contracts and international clients – he speaks 5 languages and is excellent with people – it’s such an honor to have him even if only for a short period. He is incredibly talented and everyone loves him – he fills a room with light when he walks in. You really want someone like that representing your business.

Last year in October, I hired another consultant who is still with us, Amelie, who is my Sponsored Content + Marketing Manager. She is just great, in fact I’m going to Paris for a week all thanks to her great work in France for me. She is pregnant at the moment, due in May, but I imagine she’ll be consulting with me again later after the baby arrives too.

And the third chunk of good news is that editorial content on decor8 will now be managed by my assistant, Jessy, with the help Amelie and I. I decided last November that it was time to continue growing and reaching higher and I couldn’t do it with a team of 2 writers and a part-time ad sales person. Especially since I’m no longer in the business of selling ads on the blog. Now I have staff and it feels good. And Jessy has been with me for several years already, so she’ll be working with my team to organize their columns, editing, etc.

All of this means that we will have content that runs on specific days as outlined below. I’m so excited about this! It will begin slowly in February but be a regular feature from March onward. We will look at the model again in December to see what we can tweak and change for 2017, but for now, this is our plan.

HOME (Monday)
Each Monday, you can expect something produced for you from one of our columnists centered on the home. One week, a home tour. Another week, a DIY project. I’ve hired a wonderful lady to give us floral inspiration once a month and Anke will stay on for the year to share more fantastic tabletop ideas. So creating a cozy home with heart will become our Monday topic. What a nice way to begin the week.

OPEN (Tuesday)
On Tuesday, I will post something centered on my travels, a fair I’ve been to, a decorating project at home I’ve worked on, special products I’ve found, etc. Tuesday will always be authored by me, no matter which topic I’ve chosen. And it will always be centered on decorating and design or travel.

EAT (Wednesday)
Our food column will run on Wednesday so you have a few days to plan your weekend menu with maybe one of our delicious cakes, meals or other sweet and savory recipes. The first food writer I’ve hired is Emma Duckworth. She is a prop stylist, interior decorator and mother of two (with another on the way!) living in Sydney. She covers all areas of styling including product, still life, lifestyle, food and interiors. Emma’s work is wide and varied including the styling for music sensation Passenger’s music video, styling ex-Masterchef contestant Courtney Roulston’s latest cookbook and her work has also been seen on Houzz and Yahoo. If you look at her work, you’ll quickly see that she is talented and knows her stuff. Today Emma joins us for the first time with her recipe creation (Lemon & Thyme Syrup Cake, yum!) that you will love so stay tuned for that. I’ll tell you about the other ladies I’ve hired soon too in the weeks ahead.

FROM THE HEART (Thursday)
I will lead a weekly column on Thursdays which will be a heart topic. Sometimes I’ll interview another woman. Maybe I’ll surprise you with a podcast or video. I’ll talk about things that are on my mind about parenting as a working mom, or maybe blogging, or perhaps sex (!), struggles in business, or anything that I’m thinking about that you may be thinking about too. You can expect that each week on Thursdays, from my heart to yours.

EDITOR’S LETTER (Friday)
On Friday, I will post a weekly letter from me to you covering what I’ve seen and loved, links to special places online, books I’m in love with, etc. It will also be my sign off and wrap up for the week. I miss posting on Fridays when I used to wish everyone a happy weekend so I’ve decided to get back to that, but with more value to you so I can leave you with interesting things to see and think about.

WEEKEND (Saturday and/or Sunday)
Some weekends may include posts where I pop in and share something, but weekend content will be sporadic and not always happening each and every weekend. But you can expect it from time-to-time. The weekly content will stick to the format outlined above, however.

So! Those are just some of the great things for decor8 that I’ve put into play in the past 13 DAYS since the new year began. I’ve been busy! But very energized to get into the new schedule and make decor8 even more valuable and interesting because my first love and passion will always be this blog. I’ve just celebrated my 10th year anniversary as a blogger and when I read this post (the first post I wrote here a decade ago) I cannot believe how far I’ve come and I have each and every one of you to thank from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to another 10 years! Cheers my dears!

xo, Holly

(Photography: Holly Becker)






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