Thursday, 18 April 2013

Love Thomas becomes Avenue Lifestyle!

I am beyond excited to tell you that I will be blogging from a brand new location from now on, from my very own lifestyle blog Avenue Lifestyle.

When Love, Thomas first entered the blogosphere, it was a joint collaboration between two friends. From opposite sides of the globe, Lauren and I shared a passion for interiors and living a beautiful life. We started Love, Thomas as a way of sharing our ideas and inspiration with each other, but also with the world. Since starting this adventure, I have really developed a love affair with blogging and the design industry, while Lauren has gone on to develop a very successful business in Australia. 

Sharing, writing and living a creative lifestyle has brought me so much joy that I have started studying all sorts of things, from interior design to photography to blogging courses, as a way of fine tuning my creative skills so that I can better my little space on the internet, but also as a professional in a creative industry.

It was at a recent workshop I attended in Hannover, Germany, that everything came together. I was attending Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way Workshop at her home studio with 17 other creative and talented bloggers. The weekend was loaded with positive energy and expert advice on not only growing your blog and business, but believing in yourself too, which is can be the difference between being successful or otherwise. It was the people on that blogging course that encouraged me to believe in myself, my brand and my own specific set of skills. I arrived back home after three days of shootingshopping and sharing with a spinning head and a fresh design and direction for a new website and blog.

I want to take some time to thank Lauren, my co-blogger partner on Love, Thomas, for starting this adventure with me in the first place and giving me that initial confidence to put my words and ideas out there. She is one of my favourite people in the world, my best friend of more than 10 years. It has been Lauren that has been quietly fuelling my fire from the other side of the world. When I first started talking about AVENUE, she had nothing but excitement and encouragement to offer me.

This is my final post here on Love, Thomas, but I do hope you venture over to Avenue, where I will be posting each week about all sorts of lovely things that I hope will bring you joy and inspiration.

Thank you for reading and following Love, Thomas, and see you on the other side!


Starck Design at London's St. Martins Lane Hotel

Are you familiar with the work of Philippe Starck? This inventor, creator, architect, designer and artistic director is the creative genius behind design icons produced for major design houses including Kartell, Magis, Fossil, Flos and Driade. He is also behind the witty and theatrical Alice in Wonderland inspired interior of St Martins Lane Hotel in London's West End. I was in London last month and discovered this hip and happening hotel with a few friends. In the foyer, an interesting combination of modern fluorescent elements, dramatic columns and classic chairs meet with oversized and quirky objects atop Portuguese limestone floors. The design of the foyer is a play on proportions to give guests the feeling that they have just stepped into Wonderland.

“Hotels are no longer impersonal transitional venues but living, pleasurable spaces bursting with humour and irony...Every object, every shape, every style must have a meaning, and it is this meaning that influences us every day.” (Philippe Starck). With this, I leave you to discover St. Martins Lane with me.

St_Martins_Lane_London_30s Magazine1

Starck has designed hotels and restaurants the world over. With each design, he enjoys highlighting its singular pulse, its special vibration, to create a venue in harmony with its environment while lighting its romantic flame. He did this with St Martins Lane London, stimulating the senses with his imaginative interpretation of Wonderland in the modern foyer of St Martins Lane London.

The hotel’s no fuss, modern, white bedrooms are a soothing space to clear the mind and get a good night’s rest. Minimalist meets innovation, with a custom-designed lighting system that allows guests to set the mood in their room with a rainbow of soft coloured lights against an all white backdrop.

st_martins_lane_30s Magazine

Back downstairs, the hotel's restaurant Asia de Cuba is a hotspot for Londeners looking to enjoy a meal with a twist. The restaurant, quite obviously one of the most popular dining venues in the city thanks to a truly unique concept, was buzzing with diners enjoying the restaurant’s signature fusion cuisine in ‘sharing style’. 



The restaurant’s innovative menu combining Asian and Cuban cuisine was a perfect match for Asia de Cuba’s equally impressive decor, with dramatic columns creatively displaying art, plants and books, and pendant lights strung like spiderwebs from the ceiling. The staff were lovely and welcoming, too, which made for a really fun night out. If you are ever in this part of town, be sure to go in and grab yourself a Mohito, which comes served in a mason jar!

If you are in London and looking for a place to stay amongst it all in a vibrant and upscale way, be sure to look up St. Martin's Lane.

Image credits: 1 St Martins Lane London; 2 & 3 Louise de Miranda of 30s Magazine; 4 St Martins Lane London; 5 Dani Gudith of and cute

Friday, 1 March 2013

Back to the Books: BLOG BOSS here I come!

It's a very exciting day over here at Love, Thomas. As you may have seen in recent posts, I participated in Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way Workshop at her home in Hannover, Germany, in December. For two days, her home studio was filled with the most amazing women, all of whom were creative souls just like me. It was the most incredible weekend, being able to connect with like-minded people, be inspired and get creative. We went shopping, frolicked in the studio and brushed up on our styling and photography skills. I returned home fueled to take blogging to the next level, as well as my career as a writer and budding stylist. 

So it was without hesitation that I signed up for Holly's latest e-course BLOG BOSS, which she will be teaching this March alongside Steffi Luxat, author and the (gorgeous) face behind the German blog Ohhh Mhhh, and Irene Hoofs of the inspiring blogs Bloesem and Bloesem Kids.  

The class is filled with blogging and creative talent (way too many to name!) and I know it will be a fabulous month of learning and connecting. Some of the students I met at the workshop in Hannover, and it's great to be able to connect again. Phew! I have a feeling it's going to be a super busy month, and Blog Boss is just the beginning because next week I am off to attend Meet the Blogger London where I will be doing several inspiring workshops and a whole lotta networking with more amazing talent. And just to add to it all, Love, Thomas is gearing up for a huge facelift. EEK! More will be revealed very soon...

Let's get started, I say!

Have a wonderful weekend. Mine will be spent getting to know my fellow students and visiting a couple of pretty potential wedding venues  with my two favourite people :)


Image by Holly Becker for Decor8

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Friday project: My home office makeover

As a writer, I spend most of my time behind the computer, in my little home office. Working from home certainly has it's benefits, but sometimes these four walls can make me a little crazy. Do you get that? This week was particularly cold here in Delft and I was starting to get a little stir crazy indoors. I had a couple of hours to spare yesterday, so I decided to give my little office space the Holly touch and add some colour and personality to the space. The perfect little project to wrap up the week! 

My 20-month-old little girl, Lola, has recently discovered watercolors and I've been meaning to start displaying her artwork. So that was the starting point. I also buy quite a lot of art through Etsy as I love to have original artwork and support creative talent, and have a couple of pieces I haven't had a chance yet to frame, so I threw those into the mix. I also had a bunch of other cute knick-knacks lying around that I love, like an origami bird hanger that a friend made and gave to me, some left-over floral fabric and lace from making Lola's first birthday party dress, a hand print lola made at creche when she was one, an antique map of Delft, a pretty card I bought in London a few years ago and a pretty paper table decoration I picked up at Holly Becker's home studio workshop in Hannover last year, and a pretty button I found while shopping with Yvonne of Yvestown in Eindhoven recently. Also included here is a picture of my mum at about age 3, my most prized possession. Lola looks exactly like her, so it's quite special to have displayed. Throw in some washi tape and I got to work. The result it a fun collection of treasures which I now get to enjoy from my work chair.   

So that's that! I'll of course add to the collage as time goes on and Lola's artwork changes and I acquire other bits and pieces. But for now this has already brightened up my weekend!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend :) See you again soon!


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wedding Files: A Spring Soiree

It gives me butterflies to announce that in the spring of next year, I will be marrying the love of my life.

 He popped the question in a most spontaneous manner (almost forgetting to get down on one knee ~ thankfully, I reminded him!) the day after Christmas. After careful deliberation, we have decided upon a May 2014 ceremony and garden party with all of our most treasured family and friends who will be traveling far and wide to join us. We are planning an outdoor ‘Spring Soiree’ that is fun, relaxed and above all, romantic. The look I envision is a vintage meets boho meets rustic romantic garden party! Did that make any sense?

Because I am very far away from my family and friends around the world, who won’t be able to get involved in the planning of our big day, I have decided to document my ideas right here over the coming months to share some of the gorgeous inspiration I have come across that are forming the basis of our Spring Soiree. For me, this is a way of documenting my thoughts and ideas, and of really pinpointing the atmosphere we are hoping to create our ourselves and our guests. We want our guests to feel special and appreciated for coming to join us as we make our commitment to each other. Doing this is my way of getting everyone involved in some small way and generating excitement for our big day ahead of time. So, now that we have decided upon the concept I am thrilled to bring to you the first of many posts in the ‘Wedding Files’ series! Soak up these beautiful images and spot the little notes I have made along the way.

D'Art Photography

1. Kurt Boomer via Plum Tree Weddings  2. Amateur Couture via Indulgy  3. D'Art Photography

Harwell Photography via Style Me Pretty

D'Art Photography via Plum Tree Weddings

4. Emily Johnston Anderson via Ruffled 5. D'Art Photography 6. Unknown source

7. Karen Mordechai via Sunday Suppers  8. Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty

D'Art Photography

9. Jackie Wonders via 100 Layer Cake 10. Kristyn Hogan via Style Me Pretty

What do you think? Are you getting the romantic garden party vibe I’m sending? If you head on over to my Pinterest page, you will find my inspiration board called ‘Spring Soiree’, which is packed with loads more pretty wedding stuff!

Stay tuned for the next edition, and have a lovely week!

Holly x

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A Neon Bright Valentines Tablescape

With just a day to go before Valentines Day is upon us, I thought I'd stop by to share a few images from a recent shoot I styled and photographed in collaboration with Sonia van der Zwaan-Barrigas of Gosto Design for Houzz. In one of my more recent blog posts, you will see that I was inspired by neon pink this month, so couldn't let this romantic holiday pass without offloading some of that inspiration.

For this shoot, we were going for a fun and fresh take on a Valentines tablescape for two, using neon pink to add a vibrant jolt of colour to the scene. By decorating vases with ribbons and washi tape, we added pastel pink tones and pops of red to the romantic mix. An utterly feminine collection of single-stemmed blooms were given a Sania Pell inspired treatment of neon pink acrylic paint to their delicate edges. A lacy tablecloth and dramatic candelabra added just the right amount of contrast. Hope you like what we threw together!

Wishing you all a wonderfully romantic Valentines Day. If you'd like to read all about his shoot and find out how some of the elements were put together, click {HERE}.

See you soon!


* Photography by Holly Marder.  Styling by Holly Marder and Sonia van der Zwaan-Barrigas

Friday, 8 February 2013

Moody hues...

Just when I thought Spring was on it's way after all the snow here in the Netherlands melted away (and I spotted the first snowdrops in the park early this week while wandering around with my little one), we were hit again with wet snow, hail and freezing temperatures. So when I came across this beautiful collection of images in the latest issue of 91 Magazine recently I was instantly drawn to the moody hues of lilac, charcoal and soft pink, which really seemed to capture my sombre energy this week. The photographs by Michelle Young are to die for, and the styling by the talented Charlotte Love takes simplicity to a whole new level. 

Aren't these images just so calming and beautiful? I love it when inspiring photography and colour palettes speak to my emotions like these images did. Make sure you get your dose of inspiration from this issue of 91 Magazine! There is plenty more pretty where this came from!

Have a wonderful weekend,


Friday, 1 February 2013

Colour Crush: Neon Bright

Neon has been a big thing in the design world for months now, splashing it’s cheerful self all over the pages of lifestyle magazines. Being someone who prefers to tone things down in the colour department, it’s taken me some time to catch on to the trend. Until recently. Like a neon bright lightbulb going off in my head, the bold hue has nestled itself in my consciousness and made itself quite at home. While I can’t see myself lashing out on this electrifyingly bright trend, I do see the fun neon can bring to a space and have started loving neon pink in small doses. Here are some of my favourite neon finds.

Left: Shine Design; Right: Hviit

Adding pops of neon pink to an existing home decor item might be all that’s needed to elevate the space and add some fun. I love how a few neon polkadots applied to an inexpensive rice paper lantern adds a completely different feel to the dining space featured above, and love the effect of washi tape applied to the base of a candle! Painting the legs of a table is also a great way to introduce neon into your colour palette. 
Holly Becker for Decor8

Holly Becker of the beautiful blog Decor8 does neon to perfection, with tiny electric pink additions dotted throughout her studio. While I was in Hannover for a recent bogging workshop she gave in her home, I couldn’t help but notice the creative way Holly used neon to bring life to her tablescapes. Whether simply placing a few tealight candle holders on the table or crafting pretties from paper and fabric to string up on a fine neon thread, Holly’s got it just right.

Sania Pell

I adore how the immensely creative Sania Pell applied a tiny neon pink edging applied to the above fresh flowers. 

Ferm Living

Ferm Living are right on top of the neon trend right now, and offer different wallpaper designs in neon pink, as well as gorgeous scatter cushions. I know I am on a neon pink rampage, but I do like the neon orange and grey combo!

Pour mes jolis momes
January/February 2013 issue of Inside Out magazine. Styling by Jason Grant. Photography by Lauren Bamford

I personally feel that less is more when it comes to neon, and particularly like seeing it introduced in the form of a light fixture cable with a single bulb on the end. Loving this pink/orange colour, too.

Left: Serendipity; Right: Nice Party via Etsy
91 Magazine
If you're not quite bold enough to add neon tones to your home, try it out in the kids room! I love these neon bright kid’s beds, or a simple garland will already add some fun to any space. This one is from a shop called Nice Party on Etsy.

Have a neon bright weekend!


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Indoor Picnic: Get your cosy on!

A little while back, Houzz asked me to come up with a fresh idea for a winter shoot to inspire readers to enjoy their homes during these chilly months. Because picnics are one of my all-time favourite pastimes, I decided I would do a rustic inspired indoor picnic setting. I thought I would share some of my favourite images of the shoot here that weren’t used for the article

The shoot was set in a gorgeous local Delft studio belonging to two interior designer friends of mine, Tessa and Nathalie of Nu Interieur|Ontwerp. I wanted the shoot to have a warm and rustic feel about it, so I used lots of blankets and pillows and poufs to create a comfy and cosy setting. The food was a simple array of cheeses, fruits and a home-made pecan pie I prepared especially the night before, arranged on wooden platters and paddle boards. The fun of picnics doesn’t end with the food, so I brought along some games, books and cards to inspire readers to linger a little longer. The response to this concept was lovely to see, with several readers sharing their personal childhood experiences of picnics they enjoyed indoors. 

I enjoyed compiling this piece so much, that I invited friends over to enjoy a cosy indoor picnic at my home with us, and it was so much fun! We listened to music playing softly in the background and chatted away while enjoying a simple spread similar to what has been photographed here. You should try it sometime. 

 Want to find out what products were used in this shoot? All the details, including the recipe for the mouth-watering pecan pie, can be read {here} in the full Houzz feature.  

To those of you who are also freezing their butts off like me over here in the Netherlands, keep warm and get your picnic on!

 Love, Holly

* All photography is by Holly Marder for Houzz