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