Feast Marlborough and the Saint Clair Half Marathon coincide for one lively weekend


Saint Clair Vineyard Half with Thomas's - MarlboroughNZ.com

One weekend in autumn draws a huge crowd to Marlborough, but not for the vineyard rows turning spectacular shades of crimson, amber and gold against clear blue skies. It’s the chance to participate in a wildly popular event that delivers an intimate way to sightsee Marlborough’s vineyards: the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon. Thomas’s joins the excitement again as an official sponsor of the event on May 13th for another sell-out year. There are lots of ways Thomas’s will be participating in the weekend events, starting with extended store hours to include Sunday following the race.

Icebreaker at Thomas's

The Saint Clair half-marathon has been drawing entrants throughout New Zealand for over ten years. This year, guests travelling to Marlborough will be treated to an added bonus, the launch of the newest foodie festival in the country, Feast Marlborough. The inaugural event takes place the same weekend as the half-marathon, celebrating Marlborough as a producer of fresh, local delicacies and world-class wines in a series of mini-events.

Feast Marlborough with Thomas's

Pork bao buns with Thomas's for Feast Marlborough's street party

Friday kicks off Feast Marlborough’s three day celebration with a street food fair right outside the store, where our own Thomas & Sons Café will join other local food producers and restaurants to show off the region’s best fare with amazing street food in downtown Blenheim (3pm–7pm). Renowned chef Martin Bosley is leading the charge and there will be incredible seafood, Asian pork-belly bao buns (that’s us!), Mexican and other delicious street food on offer. Turn up, enjoy some late-night shopping – Thomas’s will be open until 7pm – enjoy a great meal, and get your weekend off on the right foot. Saturday night’s Feast Marlborough offering gives the half-marathon participants a chance to celebrate their efforts with several venues hosting unique dining options, and finally Sunday closes with a collaborative brunch. What better way to celebrate the mum in your life (Sunday is Mother’s Day after all!).

If you need a bit of inspiration for what to wear on the big day, check out our range online and make us your first stop for insider knowledge on the best fashion, from competition time to kicking up your heels. Mons Royale and Icebreaker offer great options for Marlborough’s fluctuating temperatures that will see you through a cold morning start to a heated finish on race day. We also carry the latest from KowTow, Karen Walker, Ted Baker, Ketz-ke and more, for an instant uplift after you peel off running gear and join the celebrations.

See you on Friday night for the street food party, Saturday at the finish line, or come and see us in store on Sunday for a relaxed shop, coffee and brunch.

Best of luck to all the competitors, whether it’s your first time or your tenth. You’ve got this!

Thomas’s opening hours for the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon & Feast Marlborough weekend


  • Shop: 9.00am – 7.00pm
  • Café: 8.00am – 7.00pm


  • Shop: 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 3.00pm


  • Shop: 10.00am – 3.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 2.00pm

Photograph of Marlborough vines: MarlboroughNZ.com


Marlborough Book Festival – time to cosy up with a good book

Thomas's supporting the Marlborough Book Festival

Who’s heading along to the Marlborough Book Festival this weekend? Aren’t we lucky to have such an incredible line-up of top New Zealand authors descending on the region – with Bill Manhire, Kate de Goldi, Charlotte Grimshaw, Witi Ihimaera and Rachael King just a few of them.

The book festival is a fantastic event for Marlborough and an important cultural festival which we’ve been very pleased to help promote since its inception in 2014. Keep an eye out for our new window display put together in conjunction with the book festival trust. If that doesn’t make you want to dip into a great book we don’t know what will!

We take great pride in our window displays here at Thomas’s and have a team of talented people who work on them. This book-lover’s dress (as seen in the photo above) was conceived by Ingrid and Hanna. The concept was based on a previous Christmas window we did, with the book pages replacing Christmas decorations. Hamish and Cathy laboured over this little dress one evening and the night-time effect was captured beautifully by Peter Burge’s photograph. The lovely old books used as props come from our extensive archives – it’s amazing what you accumulate after 103 years!

On that note, there’s a beautiful book in store that would make a good present for someone who loves cooking, Gjelina – Cooking from Venice, California – is filled with sumptuous recipes and images from the celebrated Los Angeles restaurant. And if you need cosy accessories for winter reading we have beautiful Le Forge lamps, Citta candles – how about Gingerbread Soy? – and a selection of gorgeous throws. For more on the featured products in this window, check out our website or come and see us in-store.

It’s great to see a few other shop windows around town getting behind this wonderful event. Watch out for our coming window displays with new stock arriving – in all departments – in August. We’ll be sharing some spring/summer trends with you in our next blog too.

Shop at Thomas's Marlborough for great reading and accessories

Winter winner! Kate Duncan design evening at Thomas’s

Thomas's Design Workshop with Kate Duncan, May 2016 (1)

Our first event with interior designer Kate Duncan drew a sell-out crowd – and it looks like we’ll need to get her back again for those who missed out, and for those thirsty to know more now we’ve whet your appetite!

With her five years of art and design training and her two decades’ experience in the interior design industry, Kate has some real authority on her subject. She is also passionate about good design – and just as passionate about dispelling the myths of bad design – and we felt lucky to have her here sharing her philosophy with Marlborough locals.

Thomas's Design Workshop with Kate Duncan, May 2016 (2)Kate’s talk covered how to approach a home design project, a brief intro to the design process, some insights into what’s popular in home design currently – colours, fabrics and furniture – but also how to future proof your home so it doesn’t become a victim of the dreaded fad!, and she offered some great tips on how to cosy up your home for winter – good lighting being key among them. All the while she left us drooling over the beautiful photographs she’d curated to illustrate her points.


Now we can’t begin to do it justice here, but here are some key takeaways from Kate’s talk:

How to make a happy home that endures

  • Try to buy natural materials that will last and improve with age – metal, timber, wool, leather, cotton, linen. So what if your sheets are creased or your dining table has “character”! Your house is to be lived in and much better to surround yourself with natural, sustainable, beautiful materials which get more interesting with age, than those that will deteriorate quickly and end up in a landfill.
  • The key to future proofing your scheme is classic design. And this may not be what you think! According to Kate classic design can cover any number of styles but it boils down to clean lines, balanced proportions, good materials and quality construction. Your sofa, dining table, bed or sidetable should outlast you!
  • The importance of your home’s connection to nature for your health and happiness (it’s true, the stats say so). Make sure your home is oriented to the view, whether that be the beautiful Marlborough vineyards, mountains or sea, or your own lush garden. And Kate says that no one need miss out; if you don’t have the luxury of your own view – bring the outdoors in with living plants. And again, using natural materials in your house will always help towards a happy and healthy home.

Looking for inspiration?

Check out this beautiful ‘Capella’ solid teak buffet and ‘Bogart’ leather sofa from SM Interiors. We can order these (and many more) for you at Thomas’s. Shop our homewares here – or come in and let us order the perfect piece for you!

Citta Throw at Thomas's Department Store in Marlborough, NZ

Snuggle up with this beautiful purl stitch wool throw from Citta

Have you considered wooden bowls – check out these delectable ones from Nest – or their luxurious natural linen bedding.

Thank you!

Lastly we want to extend a big thanks to everybody who attended last week and made the event such a success.

Come along and talk to us in store about how we or Kate can help you purchase the right, long-term items for your happy home.

And watch this space for our next exciting design event!








Thomas’s Team tackle Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

Thomas’s Paula and Jamie, Two of the 2016 Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon Competitors

Thomas’s Paula and Jamie, Two of the 2016 Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon Competitors


We were thrilled to support the ever-more successful Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon again this year. At Thomas’s we love getting behind such a great flagship event – and we want to thank the organisers for doing such a marvellous job putting on not only an incredible occasion but also promoting Marlborough so well.

Competitors had a ball, judging by the fantastic feedback they gave the organisers and the rate at which tickets have been selling out for next year’s event! (You can read more of a debrief here). If you haven’t already done it, you really ought to add it to your bucket list.

Our own Jamie and Paula (in the picture above) were pretty happy with their race, and happy with their stylish Mons Royale merino gear. Paula, who was doing her fourth Saint Clair Vineyard Half thought it was “a totally amazing day” and loved hearing the comments from those runners there for the first time. She wore the Mons Tech top for the race, “Despite the heat it performed really well and looked good too!” Check out our Mons Royale range here.

Mons Royale sportswear at Thomas's, Marlborough

You may have heard that we originally had a somewhat larger Thomas’s team entered, and while we don’t want to sound like we’re making excuses … the rest of us had to man the shop and our stand at the race as it was such a big weekend for the store!

Following the sporting challenge, we’ve got a bit of a design challenge happening here over winter. Keep an eye out for our next blog – a follow-up to the packed-out event held at Thomas’s with the inspiring Kate Duncan, interior designer.


Building Beautiful Homes – Introduction to Design with Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan and Thomas's, Building Beautiful Homes

If you’re planning on building a new house, renovating your current one, or just updating your well loved spaces so they function better and truly reflect the people living in them – then grab a friend and come along to our evening of wine, nibbles and words of wisdom with qualified interior designer Kate Duncan on 26 May.

Kate has an impressive background with a Bachelor of Spatial Design from the Auckland Institute of Technology where she specialised in Architectural Interiors and graduated first place in her year winning the Atrium on Elliott prize for Excellence and Professionalism in Design. Her work since has included upgrading a block of A-listed Heritage Buildings on Vulcan Lane in central Auckland, designing a range of furniture – several items of which are still in production today – and then opening and running her own busy and successful interior and spatial design company, Trinity, in Grey Lynn, Auckland.

Since moving back to Marlborough in 2006, Kate has continued to design under the radar while bringing up her family, with work including private residential homes, a hairdressing salon in post-quake Christchurch and a series of projects for a Marlborough winery.

Kate believes good design is about meeting people’s needs:

“The key is to create spaces where people can live and be happy, be themselves and connect with each other. This means simple, beautiful, quality design that is accessible to everyone.”

Thomas's Homeware, bowls plus marble boards


“We are faced with media pressure to have our houses ‘finished’ and magazine ready but we have to take time to build our homes, and build them over a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to leave gaps and don’t feel you have to fill your house up with cheap stuff right now. Give it time. Stories should be attached to each piece in your home, whether it’s something that’s been passed down through the family or something which is new and has your story attached.”

“And we should think about why specific products are a good investment. Natural materials improve with age and the odd scratch not only doesn’t matter, but actually enhances its beauty. We want a dining table that shows its love – that you can have a conversation over and bring up children at.  We should be designing with natural materials – real timber furniture, real leather, cotton sheets, wool throws and furnishings – locally raised Merino wool so we’re supporting our farmers is even better. There is an absolute intrinsic connection between what you buy and what is happening in your town.”

Keen to expand our homewares offerings, our staff got talking to Kate last year and an exciting partnership began.Thomas's Marlborough, homewares

Along with Kate we believe quality, timeless products that are ethically and locally made are imperative to good design. In Kate’s words:

“Thomas’s is such a great family run store which has been here for 105 years. Let’s keep money in the local economy rather than buying out of town. We all need each other. I’d like to encourage people to spend local and to buy things that will last, that you might even pass on to your children – sofas that you can sit on for 30 years, not five years.”

Come along to Thomas’s Homewares department at 6pm on 26 May and you’re in for a treat as Kate discusses:

  • the most important aspects to consider in any successful project
  • a brief introduction to design theory and design process
  • design forecasting and how to future-proof your scheme
  • a presentation of some of the latest fabrics, furniture and finishes
  • seasonal tips for dressing your home for the upcoming winter weather

Over the coming months we’re going to feature more about Kate’s inspiring design philosophy and how to make it work in your home. Watch this space!


Thursday 26 May, 6pm start

Thomas’s Homeware

Please RSVP to office@thomass.co.nz or call 578 6369

Drinks and nibbles provided


Team Thomas’s Running Hot!

A big shout out to team Thomas’s, racking up more than 1000 kilometres in training for the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon – and there’s still four weeks ‘til race day!

Ten of the Thomas’s team have signed up to take part in the Vineyard Half next month, trading up comfy summer sandals for running shoes and forgoing after-work drinks for early morning training sessions, in a true test of grit and willpower.

This is the second year we’ve entered a team, and co-owner Tim Thomas says while we originally entered to support a fantastic Marlborough event, we’ve also built team camaraderie and energy through collectively working towards a common goal.

“We see this event as a good thing for Marlborough and local businesses which all benefit from the influx of visitors to the town,” Tim says.

“It’s also a great opportunity to get our staff involved, we’ve had a great time training and building up for it.  And while race day itself is loads of fun, all the training and anticipation has been a catalyst for motivating and energising the whole team.”

“It’s an incredible event, we want to be a part of it.”

It’s important for businesses to support local events, and this year Thomas’s has extended their support and partnered with the Vineyard Half as sponsors, says Tim.

“These events are so important to the region, if we can show visitors a really good time – not just at the event itself, but for their whole stay – maybe we can get them to stay longer, or return with their families at a later date.”

The Vineyard Half’s commitment to raising money and awareness for Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa, cemented our support of the event, because of the impact the terrible disease has had on their family.

Their Aunty died of bowel cancer in 1996, only three months after diagnosis, and their father Michael recently had a close call, serving as a wake up call for the family, Tim says.

Early detection is key, so raising awareness is crucial and something we hope to achieve with our involvement in sponsoring this event.”

Keep an eye out for Thomas’s at registration, where we’ll be displaying some of our gorgeous designer outfits from Kowtow, Kate Sylvester and KetzKe – you might see something special to wear at the post-race function Revelry.

We also stock a full range of Icebreaker and Mons Royale gear, so if you find you’ve left home without your socks or running top – pop in and see us, we’ll make sure you’re sorted for race day.

Enjoy the event, have an incredible day, we look forward to seeing you there.