Merry Christmas, Gift Wrapping Inspiration + The World’s Best Chutney


It always feels strange to be rounding off another year, especially when it’s been a particularly good one. For us, the year 2014 will be remembered as the year we said ‘I do’ in front of all of our treasured friends and family who travelled far and wide to celebrate with us as we became husband and wife. We also made giant leaps in our careers this year, reaching goals we both never thought possible, and made progress with the renovation of our home. It’s been a busy year, tiring, overwhelming at times, but incredibly rewarding.

IMG_3283 I have collaborated on many beautiful assignments with immensely talented people, in particular, photographers Anouschka Rokebrand, Jansje Klazinga and Hanke Arkenbout, stylist Ciara O’Halloran, interior designer Hedda Pier and food stylist Ajda Mehmet. I shot so many beautiful homes and told their stories over at decor8 as part of my Homes with Heart column, with the immense support of it’s founder Holly Becker, of which I am deeply grateful. My work as a styling and/or interiors photographer has featured in several inspiring magazines this past year including vtwonen, Sweet Living magazin, 101 woonideeen, 91 magazine, Soffa Magazine, SisterMAG, Casa Deco and more, a goal I’ve held for years that I never thought would be possible to achieve in a foreign country. This goal wouldn’t have been made possible without the support of my agent Anne-Catherine Scoffoni.

The leaps and bounds I made this past year wouldn’t have been possible without the support I have received from, first and foremost my husband, the most patient, kind and understanding human being alive, my family who lend their support and encouragement from across the sea, and my amazing girlfriends who get to hear all about interior decorating even though don’t really care about it but love the way my face lights up when I talk about marble, colours and Lord knows what else! Trust me, once I get going on the topic I’m pretty hard to shut up. I could literally go on all day, which is why I am so grateful for the wonderful clients that hired me this year to style their homes, who have fed this deep passion of mine, and even paid me to talk and think colours, finishes and styles all day every day! I can’t wait to share with you the results of the many interior projects I took on this year.


To round off the year, I wanted to share some final images with you, which were part of the Christmas Picnic styled shoot I did for SisterMAG, in collaboration with food stylist Ajda Mehmet. I shared the full scoop of images with you yesterday of the most delicious Christmas spread all laid out on the floor in a picnic style setting. Today I wanted to share a couple of gift and gift wrapping ideas with you.

With typography being the underlying theme for the magazine, we layered in hand-lettered gift tags and labels to tie onto simply wrapped gifts. We made these simple but lovely rice paper gift labels by simply stamping letters directly onto the rice paper {torn to size against a ruler to achieve rough edges} using an individual alphabet stamp set. We had typography labels created with simple initials by Sarah Krug, which we attached to the rice paper labels and tied to the gifts using cotton string, and some hand-lettered labels to tie onto little gift jars filled with Red Cabbage and Apple Chutney.


This is what my Christmas wrapping will look like this year. Brown paper packages tied up with string, with a tiny touch of sparkle! I’ll also be making a batch of Ajda’s a-ma-zing chutney to give to my friends this year. For a week after this shoot I literally lived off this stuff, so if there’s anything you should do this Christmas, it would be to get into the kitchen and make some chutney! You’ll find the recipe below.



Makes 4-5 jars

700g red cabbage, finely diced

2 apples, peeled and diced in 1cm cubes

100g fresh cranberries

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated 

200g brown sugar

250ml orange juice

100ml white wine vinegar

1 glass red wine

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

1. Place the red cabbage, apples and cranberries into a large, high-sided pan.

2. Add the spices, grated ginger, brown sugar and give it a good stir.

3. Pour over the orange juice, white wine vinegar and glass of red wine and turn the heat up to high until the chutney comes to the boil.

4. At this point, turn the heat down a little so that the chutney is still bubbling away but not boiling.

5. Season the chutney well with some sea salt and cracked black pepper and continue to cook it, without a lid on, for about 45-50 minutes until the liquid has almost all reduced and thickened.

5. Cover the chutney and allow it to cool completely before transferring it into sterilised jars.


Well guys, it’s over and out for me. Thank you so much for following along and commenting with kind and encouraging words. If the coming year is anything as good as the last one, I’ll be one happy chappy. It’s certainly looking promising and very exciting for Avenue Lifestyle, with lots of plans and projects in the making which I am eager to share with you throughout 2015. But like all of you, I am also in need of some rest, some time with my family, to recoup and rejuvenate. I’m officially signing out but I’ll be checking in on Instagram with a peek at what we’re up to these holidays.

Wishing you all a wonderful, warm and merry Christmas and see you again in 2015! I’ll be back on 5 January with a gorgeous Copenhagen interior.

Holly x

Credits: Styling/Photography: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Recipe and Food styling: Ajda Mehmet / Typography: Sarah Krug

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