favorite sofa

One account that I always check during a coffee break is @bartsboekje. Maartje’s Dutch humor on her Instagram Stories makes us laugh. Her realistic way of photography makes us drool. Her destinations want us to pack our bags and go.
Yet most inspiring is her drive for building this business from scratch. Like many entrepreneurs we admire, Maartje did not follow a straight road to become a travel influencer. She discovered her passion and talent whilst doing different jobs and created her own space along the way.
To get a better understanding about how @bartsboekje got where it is today, we asked Maartje about her journey.

“When and how did you start your business?”

After graduating as a copy writer and from art school, I worked at a PR company in Amsterdam and later a fashion producer at ELLE magazine. Besides arranging the shoots, I would write about the places we visited. Even though the magazine would only have a restricted number of pages devoted to travel, I wrote all of my favorite places down and kept this as a side project. When people started asking me about the so called travel book, I realized this was my dream come true and quit my day job (six months pregnant at this stage) to focus on @bartsboekje.
The name? My dad used to call me Bart. So my side hustle became Bart’s Boekje (Bart’s Booklet in Dutch).

“What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned whilst running your own business?”

 Don’t worry about criticism. Worry when people stop their criticism.

“You live in one of the prettiest cities on earth: Amsterdam. Can you tell us about your home and your interior?”

Just over two years ago we bought a house that really needed a lot (A LOT) of work. We changed some things around, making the kitchen upstairs (where the bedroom was) and the bedrooms downstairs (where the kitchen was) so that we had the rooftop garden with priceless city views next to our kitchen. The black marble table here is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house, so is the white sofa.

“What is your go-to place when it comes to styling your home?”

I do love the Noordermarkt on Mondays. It’s vintage heaven!

“What trips are still high on the bucket list and of which destination you just can’t get enough?”

After just ticking the Maldives off, I would love to travel through Argentina. And Brazil, And… actually the list is quite long.
I can’t get enough of Spain. Especially the islands Ibiza, Formentera and Mallorca, they are all so stunning. Also Cape Town and surroundings is a very favorite now after making a special about it. Oh, and New York. Always New York!

Maartje is 38 and lives together with her husband Dirk and boys Vito of 1,5 and Willem of 6. Follow her on her trips on @bartsboekje and @coolcapetown. You can also get travel tips on all of her destinations on her website.

MAARTJE’S FAVORITE PLACES: Can Sastre Ibiza | Los Enamorados Ibiza| Bellocq tea atelier New York | Babylonstoren Cape Town | Finca Les Coves Spain | Maman New York |

Photography by Marilyn Bartman

a peek inside of Maartjes livingroom
Bartsboekjes treasures
Ibiza vibes in the bedroom
Bartsboekjes living room


Parajumpers for winter

Boys are always planning their next adventure. Whether it is an outing or our next family holiday, it always has to be something active. Having the right gear is a great starting point and that is why we are ready for our Parajumpers.

Dubai is not known for her cold winters. Yet we will be spending the end of year in Holland where temperatures will be low and rain is guaranteed. And to be able to enjoy long morning walks in the woods and afternoons on a windy beach, we are preparing early this time.

Feeling the comfort of the materials of these Parajumpers, the boys can’t wait to wear them this winter. We had a little trial run in our recent holiday. But we are in the need of some sub zero’s now.
The coats are made for extreme weather conditions and excessive use. So no doubt that the kids will be warm and snug on our upcoming end-of-year outdoor adventures.

Are you already making plans for the end of the year? Heading to the tropics, craving the cold or staying put? Let us know!

SHOP THE LOOK: Parajumpers from Smallable | Check out their Instagram accounts @smallable_store and  @parajumpers_official  #smallable #parajumpers

Parajumpers for winter
Parajumpers for winter
Parajumpers for winter
Parajumpers for winter
Parajumpers for winter


The highs and lows of fronteriors

As you might have seen, @fronteriors – the side hussle that I started with fellow stylist @houseofhawkes – opened her virtual doors last month. It was a dream of ours to make furniture. And with a long and colourful history of #ikeahacking, the notion of designing a unique and stylish collection of doors, tops and sides to fit IKEA furniture frames was the ideal business concept for us to pour our passion and creativity into knowing there would be highs and lows.

The highs

We were SO excited to have a @fronteriors pop up exhibit on Sunday at my office @nasabdubai where people could get an up close and personal look at the colours, textures and newest editions to the fronteriors collection.
With over 50 people showing up, a discussion about entrepreneurship with Pratyush Sarup, Head Of Programming at Downtown Design and so many enthusiastic reactions to the furniture, we were on such a high. Or as we say in Dutch: on a huge pink cloud.

The lows

Outside however, grey clouds were forming. Something that actually does not happen often in Dubai. And due to the sudden and heavy rain, our exhibition space Nasab flooded.

As you can expect, our bubble of the incredible launch was bursted. Hard! We unfortunately had to close down the pop up exhibition and write off some of our beautiful cabinets.

High-highs and low-lows is what entrepreneurship is also about. You will see a beautiful front end on websites, Instagram feeds and blog posts. Yet there is always, always (!) a back end. A back end filled with hurdles, mistakes, challenges and in this case, flooding.

But it will not get us down. After cleaning out our flooded exhibit and drying our tears, we will just work again on what makes the front end look so nice.

Having an own business is exciting, exhilarating and bloody hard work. But it is so worth it. Do you want to know more about starting a business and building a brand? Then let us know in the comments below.

PS: To still celebrate our launch, we want to let you know the fronteriors web shop did not flood. It is open!
With the code LAUNCH2019 you will receive a 10% discount till the end of this month.

Photo credits: Live Loud Girl. Marli Smith, Natelee Cocks

The highs and lows of fronteriors
The highs and lows of fronteriors
The highs and lows of fronteriors
The highs and lows of fronteriors
The highs and lows of fronteriors
The highs and lows of fronteriors


Evolve - but never grow up

If you are a hard core follower, you might know that this Blog started out with just a name in a note book and a passion for beautiful design. Without any mastermind plan (or knowing how a blog actually worked), I started sharing inspiration. And so the journey of becoming an interior stylist began… But now it is time to evolve into Live Loud Girl 3.0

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