Love letters and magazines – a photo shoot with Lonely and Admire


Moody lighting, the sound of Billie Holliday’s velvety voice crooning down the hallway of a vintage theatre – that’s the ambience of our latest photo shoot with Admire magazine.

The photo shoot was a collaboration between Thomas’s stylist Ingrid Binsted-Pickering and photographer David James – setting the scene for Lonely lingerie. “Lonely is such a feminine, comfort, feel-good label. With beautiful cuts, romantic colours, the lace and straps – it’s something quite unique and special in comparison to your regular lingerie,” says Ingrid, who was inspired by 1930s Paris and young starlets getting ready backstage. Featuring local dance teachers and dancers Gemma Adams and Elly Molloy, with the Boathouse Theatre as backdrop, brought its own local charm to this set.

New Zealand-based design house Lonely is an advocate for real women, celebrating their strength and individuality. Finding beauty in the unconventional gave rise to their Lonely Girls Project, a journal that allows women to post candid photos of themselves wearing Lonely, with no touch ups. The result is a series of portraits where the natural, unrestricted beauty of women from all walks of life is proudly displayed without an ounce of inhibition; it’s a poignant campaign for positive body image. Add to it the fact that their designs are incredibly comfortable, and you can see why women are so passionate about this label. At Thomas’s this range is hugely popular with customers of all ages. In the words of Lonely designer Helene Morris, Lonely is:

“For women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves.”

Bringing to life our favourite labels is what Ingrid does best, for this spread designing a theatrical scene to showcase our two starlets, as they prepare backstage for the spotlight. Choosing such an intimate label for this magazine spread was an obvious choice for Ingrid, who calls it, “a fashion piece to be worn and seen. The minute the girls put the lingerie on they were in love with the comfort and femininity of it.” Paired with luxe robes by Cathy Campbell, you can see why these are pieces meant to be shown off.

The Lonely shoot appears in Admire’s latest edition, out 7 April – and the second to last Marlborough edition before it merges with the Nelson/Tasman spread. Working with Admire has been a dream, as they highlight local talent, entertainment and foodie culture as well as giving insight into who’s who and what’s what in Marlborough. Get your copy now.

The Lonely range is available in-store at Thomas’s – take a cue from our shoot and become your own Lonely Girl.

Lonely at Thomas's by David James Photography

Photographer: David James

Stylist: Ingrid Binsted-Pickering

Makeup Artist: Grace Simpson

Hairdresser: Ashleigh Nott

Models: Gemma Adams & Elly Molloy

Robes by Cathy Campbell

Special thanks to the Boathouse Theatre for the use of backstage.



When Marlborough made it happen

Holmdale, image courtesy of Marlborough Historical Society

Holmdale, image courtesy of Marlborough Historical Society

With housing shortages and homelessness a current New Zealand-wide issue, it’s timely to reflect on an excellent example of the Marlborough community working together to make a lasting difference for vulnerable people.

Lots of people will be familiar with the Bethsaida Retirement Village, but not all will know the inspiring story of community endeavour behind its creation.

In 1973 a group of prominent Blenheim citizens set up the Bethsaida Trust, the purpose of which was to establish a Home for the care of the frail and dependent elderly, of either sex, without discrimination as to race, religion or political belief.

Back in the early 1970s there were not many private homes for elderly people, and housing options were limited. The local priest, Father Sloane, was concerned that some elderly were effectively about to become homeless – there was no assistance from the government at the time – and he started the ball rolling within the community to create what would become Bethsaida Home for the Aged.

A Marlborough Express article written while Bethsaida was doing further fundraising after its opening, explained: “Bethsaida is unique among institutions in New Zealand caring for the aged – it provides for the totally dependent and who are not hospital cases. As such it does not qualify in any way for Government subsidy. It is dependent solely on residents’ fees for all it operational costs…”

Bethsaida and Holmdale history, newspaper heading from 1970

Bethsaida and Holmdale history, newspaper heading from 1970


Our very own Terence Thomas was one of three trustees who along with Father Sloane, took on the responsibility for making the vision a reality. These three trustees and various other volunteers in the community worked tirelessly to secure a location and ongoing funding for the home, which was eventually opened in 1973 in the old Holmdale nurse’s home on Litchfield Street, Blenheim.

Originally housing fifteen residents, the building was rented from the Marlborough Hospital Board for the princely sum of $2.00 per year. In 1988 the other Holmdale Maternity Hospital buildings – which will be familiar to many Marlburians as the place in which they were born, or gave birth – were offered to the Bethsaida Trust, and the rest home was able to expand.

Brian Kerridge and Terry Thomas at Bethsaida, Blenheim

Brian Kerridge (left) and Terry Thomas with a cheque for the Marlborough Area Health Board, standing in front of Bethsaida.

 Holmdale was the main maternity hospital in Marlborough for nearly 70 years, from 1918 (when it was purchased from James Bell who had used it as his private residence). Holmdale, in its maternity hospital guise, finally closed on 1 October 1987 and the main building became part of the Bethsaida home.

In 1992 when it was demolished (see photo below) to make way for more housing for the elderly, many Marlburians came for a final look. The history of Holmdale wasn’t entirely lost as many people bought salvaged materials from the building for their own projects and the Blenheim Riverside Railway Society reused timber and other materials for its planned rebuild of the Picton railway station at Brayshaw Park.

Jack Kundycki (left) and Terry Thomas (right) of the Bethsaida board of management with contractor Peter Heagney at Holmdale.

Jack Kundycki (left) and Terry Thomas (right) of the Bethsaida board of management with contractor Peter Heagney at Holmdale. The interior has been gutted, and the roof is being stripped in the background.” Marlborough Express 7 April 1992

While the government does now come to the party assisting elderly people with housing, Bethsaida maintains an essential role in our community being the only rest home in Marlborough to offer units for rental rather than solely for purchase.

Michael Thomas took over from his father and is now a proud trustee of the Bethsaida board. We’re very proud of our grandfather’s and father’s involvement in this great community venture (and our children think it’s great having a street named after their great grandfather!).


All of the images and newspaper cuttings above are used with the kind permission of the Marlborough Historical Society Inc. Marlborough Museum Archives.

Have you discovered this treasure trove of Marlborough history for yourself in the Research Room at the Marlborough Museum next to Brayshaw Park? If you’re interested in your family history, the history of your house, old copies of the Marlborough Express – or just love beautiful old maps and photos – then you’re in for a treat. The staff are very helpful and can find all sorts of goodies hidden away in the multitude of boxes!


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.


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.