Highlights From London + Amsterdam

Hello everyone, how are you? I'm so happy to be back at my desk writing to you today. I am so energized and inspired after my trips to London and Amsterdam, I did so many wonderful things that later, I have to write a post about some of them so you can add to your travel itinerary. But first, how are you? I loved being away again for a  tour. I spent 4 days in London and 3 days in Amsterdam and got to meet so many friends and fans that my head is still spinning from all of the conversations, dinners and meet ups. Here is a photo I took from the stage before my audience at  (#mtbams) - nearly 170 people! I spoke before them for an hour and after so many years of public speaking, this was one of my favorites to date. I really felt relaxed and I was 100% myself. I think as we grow more confident in our profession and learn more about ourselves, fear seems to slip away and we just OWN the moment and go with it. Don't you think so?

I lost my voice shortly after arriving home, it came back on Monday afternoon - ha ha but hey, that's a great reason to lose your voice - connecting live with inspiring and enthusiastic people. I signed lots of books at both London and at Amsterdam. Sometimes I can't believe how starting this blog has impacted my life and career. I nearly didn't become a blogger. To think of that truth is scary a decade later.

I have to thank both Anthropologie Europe and Meet The Blogger for receiving me so kindly and rolling out the red carpet, and to my friend and co-author for joining me in London for the launch party. It was great having Leslie there. I wish she could have joined me in Amsterdam too but she had to go back to Victoria, BC (where she lives) to tend to family business. Yet, she was still with me somehow - Leslie is always near, good friendships are just like that.


(me, from magazine (our book will be in their November issue, look for it!!!), Suzanne from and Meet The Blogger Founder Liselore of @).


(Haikje Verberk from at Meet The Blogger after I signed her book)


Anabella from who flew in from Rome, me, Leslie and wonderful at our book workshop and signing event at Anthropologie on Kings Road in London last Wednesday evening. I was SO HAPPY to see these ladies and everyone else who joined us.

All of these photos in this post are iPhone photos shot in store and conference room lighting, so not the best quality, but I still love having the memories and the chills I get when I see them. Every book still feels like the first time, and now I'm working already on finalizing my concept for the 5th book! Crazy but great!


(Styling our tabletop to show how to set the table in a creative and fun way for our guests at Anthropologie.)

Anyway, I'm so encouraged by the conversations I had and that I met so many new faces and also saw old friends whom I love dearly. I've set new career goals since returning as a result so being with out with my friends and fans was definitely what I needed. Getting out to connect with people in person really touches my heart but also refuels me. I'm such an extrovert in this way. I require outside energy to move forward so traveling and connecting in person with others is absolutely essential. As I was teaching the crafting component of the workshop, I stood there and thought that I have to teach workshops more frequently because it makes me feel so alive and cheerful. It's also very effortless for me and often, what we do that comes easy we think may not be that important or that what comes harder is the better skill to have, but I've read that you have to really let those effortless jobs be part of your life too because what comes naturally to us is something we should embrace and enjoy.


(Our book spotted at on Regent Street in London, where I bought both of my dresses that I wore for MTB and the Anthro book launch - links here: )

I can't wait to plan for 2017, I have many ideas I want to launch next year and am excited to bring you on the journey with me. For everyone I've met on the road recently, thank you for your love, support, and for buying our book because supporting authors is how we can keep writing, without that support we really can't make much of a dent. And to those who are leaving feedback on Amazon (you can leave feedback even if you didn't buy the book on , did you know that?), WE REALLY APPRECIATE the left there. It impacts book sales and the success of books, so all the feedback is super essential. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You can also buy the book at . They have some gorgeous photos of Decorate For a Party on their website too. See below.


I cannot close this post without giving a very special THANK YOU to: JACQUI, LIZ, SAM and KATE  at Jacqui Small Publishing, CHARLOTTE and SOPHIA at Anthropologie London and LISELORE, KIRSTEN and LAURA at Meet The Blogger for ALL of your help with everything! We had a great time launching our book in London and Amsterdam and are so honored to have your support.)

I'll be back to share some of the highlights from my trip which include great shopping and eating tips in London and Amsterdam. But for now, I wanted to simply pop my head in the say hello and give you a big hug and let you know I am back and blogging!



Late Summer Tabletop Style In Rich Colors

I hope all of you had a great summer season, soaked up a lot of sun and enjoyed long warm days. This is Anke and I am back from my month-long summer break with a new table styling for you while Holly is away this week in London and Amsterdam launching her new book, . Are you ready for autumn? I guess I am a bit ambivalent (as every year) as on the one hand I love autumn with its rich colors, warm light, fruit and veggie crop, then again I don't really want to let go summer.


Happily there is the wonderful month of September which is actually always sunny and warm in Germany and makes the goodbye to summer easier. For this month's table I ordered a white chain of lights, a typical decoration for a garden party and I think also a matching tool for a late summer gathering inside. This one comes from (Sweden) and can be used inside and outside.


To attach the chain, which is very light and for that reason easy to hang, I used two parts of a table clamp from . I continued with this simple and natural look by using Ball Mason glasses as flower vases and filled them with different kinds of dahlias, chrysanthemum, white bush roses, Astrantia and rosehip twigs.


On the plates are mint green linen napkins and tiny blossom bowls.


The green tumblers made of cut glass are my favorite souvenirs from our summer vacation in the Netherlands! I found them at Sissy Boy shop and they are not only good looking but also a delight in the hands. In German we say "Handschmeichler" which I think is the perfect word to describe it. :-)


Another discovery recently was cookbook (= fruit). I knew immediately that I would have to bake one of her delicious fruit cakes for this shoot! My choice fell on her Upside-Down Plum Cake and oh my! - it just tastes of late summer! No wonder as the recipe includes olive oil, blossom honey, vanilla and semolina. I served it with some crème fraîche which I sometimes prefer with cake instead of whipped cream.


And while we're on the subject book recommendation... I am waiting in suspense for my copy of Holly and Leslie`s new book ! Do you already own one? Without having seen it I know it is a firework of beautiful ideas, images and inspiration! Hopefully it arrives... delayed... next week so I can find inspiration for my next column's theme for October. :)

With this in mind, I am looking forward to see you again next month and wish you a great start into a golden October! -

(Photos, Styling and Text: )

Win £3,000 Worth of Products From Amara Living


It's Autumn, are you ready to redecorate? I am! That's why I'm so excited to share such a MASSIVE GIVEAWAY with my readers today because ONE very lucky winner who comments below will receive £3,000 worth of stock from The Amara Own Collection from (dependent on stock availability) and this contest is open WORLDWIDE. To celebrate the launch of their own label brand The Amara Collection for AW16, they wanted to collaborate with me to give cattledogs readers a chance to redecorate for Autumn/Winter. Imagine winning £3,000 worth of products - your choice?! And entering is so easy, the directions are at the bottom of this post.


But first, a little about Amara Living. Co-founder Sam Hood has spent considerable time editing and curating a collection of brands which all appeal to the loyal Amara customer, she says, “My team and I have spent the past 11 years bringing together and successfully selling interior brands which we love and have a passion for. We have the knowledge of the industry and most importantly we know what our customer wants. The beauty of an online business is that we can see, in real time, the success of certain brands and products which has allowed us to react with speed to our customers’ needs. We’ve been able to highlight our customers’ buying trends and personal tastes which has in turn helped us to create a collection we know they will love and want to buy.”

By sourcing and co-designing pieces with some of the world’s leading craftsmen, each collection will embrace all that the Amara customer associates with the e-tailer; distinctive design, quality, timelessness, attention to detail and the most exceptional customer experience. Hood adds, “It’s been a great experience to work with some of the most talented and experienced people in the industry-I’m so pleased we’ve been able to bring together all of these beautiful pieces to create the new Amara Own Label brand. By combining our own expert knowledge with our chosen brands and manufacturers, my team and I have selected and created the very best pieces we know our customers will love to have in their homes.”

With each new season, the Amara Collection will share new collections that will embrace the latest trends. The season currently focuses on Fantasy, Heritage, Graphic and Luxe. You can visit their current .


GRAPHIC - This monochromatic mix allows for shapes and patterns to take the spotlight. Sleek, modern geometrics and smooth materials.


FANTASY - A delicate mix of gentle grey tones and pastels, this look is feminine and elegant with contemporary details.


LUXE - Old Hollywood glamour inspired this look which mixes bold tones with lush texture such as silk and velvet. Luxe works well in urban dwellings and country hideaways by a cozy fire.


HERITAGE - This collection mixes glam with country. Rich colors and tones add warmth. Checks, plaids, furs and gold add a richness that is both classy and casual.

A Giveaway With Amara Living - To enter you need to do the following: 1. Comment below and tell us which is your preferred look from the collection (Heritage, Graphic, Luxe or Fantasy)

2. Follow and on Instagram. When a winner is selected, we will verify the above before announcing.

*This giveaway is open to readers located worldwide. £3,000 total value per winner. This is for £3000 worth of stock from The Amara Own Collection. Do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. Our winner will be ed by email and announced at the bottom of this post. Contest closes October 10, 2016.

Good luck everyone!

9 Decorating Ideas From J.Crew Ready-To-Wear

I don't know about you, but I'm currently so inspired by the recent  ready-to-wear show that had social media all a-buzz. Yeah, of course I love that they skipped hiring fashion models to walk their runway using everyday beauties instead... but the clothes. Oh the clothes! Everyone was wearing just the smartest looks in this presentation of beauty - so radiant.


I love the color combinations, the feminine touches, the combination of a beige work shirt with a very sweet pink hand embellished skirt, it's all such a great combination of contrasts -- and I love contrasts in interiors and fashion so much. I have used the olive with pale pink, bright pink and champagne tones in projects before and even in my new book for one of the party scenes; I really love it for interiors so seeing it in fashion gave me goosebumps.

Here are 9 ideas that I had as I looked through these images that you may be able to apply to your home.

  1. Unexpected color scheme. Olive green, champagne, gray, nude and bright pink.

2. Mix materials to add dimension and warmth - cotton, linen, satin, netting, cement, tulle, canvas, leather, metal, wood.


3. Be playful. Pink loves copper. Pink also loves plaid and cargo shorts and cement floors and nautical stripes and big floppy flower brooches and olive satin ponies. See how playful and fun this is?


4. Don't fear a good ruffle and a bright accent - perfect in a space that has a lot of clean lines and is very spare. Adds an element of fun and surprise.


5. Beige is NOT boring. I am so tired of hearing people say that about beige but perhaps vision is needed because beige can be a great base for fun things to happen. Think about your face. Your foundation/skin tone is beige or a tone of beige and then you add shine, sparkle, color, etc. It works. Your face isn't boring! Same with a room with lots of beige. With texture, a variety of tones and mi in a strong navy, some olive and accents of bright pink and orange - well, beige is still the most dominant color in this palette but it comes across as anything but boring now!


6. Dress up the casual with accessories and attention to detail. Jeans with satin heels. A stripe shirt worn off shoulder. A lace up a-line skirt. Wild beautiful hair. A big black flower on a skirt waistband. Ruffles, fringe... A very calm palette with natural materials suddenly feels very new and fresh through a good attention to detail and lovely accessories.


7. Combine "grown up" with sweet. Try to drop the idea that grown up spaces have to be very, well, grown up. Add some sweetness. This salty caramel work shirt with a very sweet and over-the-top skirt creates tension that ends up balancing this look out so well that it matches beautifully.


8. Do use classic prints. Stripes and checks and dots. Classic prints that never go out of style in fashion also look great in the home. I can see this translated into a room scheme or party, can't you? Or a little nursery? Perhaps an office for you or your partner? A three-season-porch? Your beach house?


9. Messy is good. A perfect house with no sign of personality or life is super boring and nowadays, dated too. Update your home by allowing your personality to shine. Those pants and that shirt both look like someone's toddler had fun with a can of white paint. But it's so good looking, right? I mean, I would wear these looks, no problem. So why not add your kids art to frames and put on the wall? Or your own? It doesn't have to be perfect to look good. Notice the shirts have tucked in? This look has been around for a bit, but it has staying power because it looks quirky and cute. The modern woman is WAY to busy to fuss like the ladies from the Mad Men era. Slouchy cushions, a worn leather sofa, handmade elements in the room, and most of all TOTAL ROOM CONFIDENCE. That's how you pull it off. You love your home and well good, who gives a damn what anyone else thinks. And with THAT attitude, everyone magically loves your room. The end. :)

Imagine these outfits as room schemes or as party decor in your home. How would you translate these runway looks into the home?

PS: View the entire ready-to-wear collection on .

(Photos: J.Crew and )

LONDON Meet Me Next Week : RSVP Here

Hello friends! I have very exciting news. In exactly ONE week from today, on September 28, 2016, Leslie Shewring and I will be in LONDON at  on KINGS ROAD from 7-9pm for a very special meet up, book presentation, styling and DIY workshop all in celebration of . If you want to attend, since it's after store hours and a private event, you have to to be on our guest list. decorateforaparty_launch



Together we will:

  • Show you 6 Ways To Set a Table
  • Make a project together from the book that you can customize and take home
  • Have a group photo with us showing your finished projects
  • We'll talk about the book and share some special highlights
  • We will have a book signing pause so you can buy a copy and we'll sign and add any special messages, etc. We are happy to sign and dedicate books to your family, friends, customers, etc. for holiday gift giving, too.
  • You can meet up with other bloggers, journalists and our families and friends and enjoy some snacks and drinks
  • LIMITED SEATING + SUPPLIES so . Note: Tickets cost £10, which is redeemable against purchases of £20 and over. If you only want to come to meet us quickly (or if you are a journalist and want to take photos or do a quick interview) and won't be staying for the workshops, please send me a private email ([email protected]) and I can put you on a separate guest list so you can still obtain entrance at the front door.

Because this is a private event, your name has to be on our guest list to get in to the store since it's to be held after store hours.

See you next week, LONDON!

FOR ALL WHO ATTEND please tag your photos #decorateforaparty



PlacesHolly BeckerComment
6 Ways To Decorate With Plants

Want to learn 6 great ways to decorate with plants? Before our guest authors share 6 fabulous tips, I simply must tell you about their beautiful new book for plant lovers called (German) and in English,  Who wrote it? Igor Josifovic (from blog) and Judith de Graaff (from ) with photography by and illustrations by  What a great team! This lush, green beauty came about three years after Igor and Judith initially formed their online community, "Urban Jungle Bloggers" with a under the same name. Maybe you've heard of it?


 (the book) is fabulous guide to decorating with plants and the focus is really on the plants - from the best to use to proper care, DIY projects and so much more. If you love plants this book is definitely going to make you smile. I have the English copy and it's a beautiful book filled with green inspo for every corner of your home and office. The 5 European homes inside are so fresh and very natural, not fussy, and don't intimidate - the focus isn't on fashionable high style or over budget decor and properties - it's on the plants and how people use them to create a home filled with the beauty of plant life.


In Urban Jungle, you'll meet the homeowners for each of the five stories who are based in Turkey, France, England, Germany and the Netherlands, and tour their homes to see how they style and live with plants. There are 18 bloggers who also took part in the book sharing their own nooks filled with green style. AND, if that isn't enough, you will also learn all about (and how to care for) Cactus, Succulents, Aloe Vera, Monstera, Oxalis Triangularis, Ficus elastica, Calathea, Palms, Sanservieria and Pilea Peperomiodes under Plant Portraits along with 6 crafty DIY projects and loads of plant styling tips throughout from 18 bloggers who contributed to this book, too.

Here are some of my favorite images from the book with tips on living with plants beneath each from authors, Igor and Judith.


1. Airy and playful: The plant arrangement in the living room of the French blogger and creative professional in Toulouse features a charming Oxalis and Pilea plant in hanging planters among other houseplants in this green corner.


2. Mix your pots. Dutch blogger and vintage expert waters her plants in the hallway. Marij loves to combine vintage plant pots with contemporary versions and adds her own twist with DIY-planters.


3. Across a window.  is the lush plant studio of Istanbul local Fem Güclütürk who runs her plant business close to her home and both, studio and home, boast with an eclectic mix of plants of all kinds and sizes, such as these wonderful hanging plants in her studio. It's a great way to use the vertical space for hanging plants when your room is too small for bigger plants.


5. Mix plants & matching art. In the home office of German blogger in Heidelberg, her style aesthetic mixes Scandinavian influences with ethnic patterns and handcrafted items. Extra visual effect for your plant styling: Match your plant with the adequate botanical illustrations!


6. Go Non-Toxic for the kiddies. The bright kids room at the home of German blogger features among soft toys a few plants too. In kids rooms opt for non-toxic plants without spikes or keep the cacti out of reach of your toddler!


MEET IGOR AND JUDITH: Watch Igor and Judith present their book and do a signing at  on October 1 (tickets ).

Good job Igor and Judith, thank you so much for sending me your book to review and I can't wait to see your presentation at Meet The Blogger!

(Photography: Lina Skukauskė with permission, Book cover photo: Holly Becker for cattledogs)