A Year Of Matchy Matchy

24 December 2014

matching set co-ord trend

So this post has nothing to do with Christmas but since it's unlikely that I'll be in anything but pyjamas for the next few days, I thought I'd do a round up of how I wore my favourite trend, the co-ord.  Back in February I confessed my love for the humble set but I didn't think I'd end up finding 12 variations that I'd love so much.  Looking back at them now, checks and minute patterns seem to reign supreme though things did get a bit livelier in the Summer.  As I prep a proper 2014 round-up it does make me nostalgic for warmer times, I can't be dealing with all this thermal business for much longer.  Bring on the longer days and sunshine I say!  What has your favourite trend been this year? 

how to style a co-ord

I hope you all have a great Christmas!  I'm sure I'll be piping up again before the New Year, but will take the next few days to catch up on reading/neglected US TV as well as stuffing my face.  I am so excited for turkey!    

Bastille

21 December 2014

bright yellow jumper casual outfit

Looking back at these photos from my trip to Paris proves a stark contrast to my life now, wrapped up in a blanket after cleaning the kitchen.  Back when things were a little more exciting on our Parisian Xmas trip, a spot of shopping and visiting a chocolate factory were our main aims.  Merci was just as I'd remembered it, with the much-Instagrammed red Fiat 500 out in front and a covetable lifestyle sold within.  It was tricky for me to buy Christmas presents there because they would have all been for myself, there were travel journals, maps that you coloured in yourself and the perfect edit of pared down basics.  Even the more sensible basement floor manages to make things like hardware and lightbulbs seem desirable.  How do they do it?  I can't imagine getting this excited in Wilkinsons! 

Bastille sign Paris
Merci concept store in Paris red fiat 500
Merci concept store in Paris
winter outfit ideas
Alaine Ducasse chocolate factory Paris
Nike flyknit trainers and polka dot paige jeans
uk travel bloggers

Jumper - COS
Jeans - Paige
Trainers - Nike

Isn't it crazy to think that I barely wore trainers a few years ago and now I have enough pairs to almost rival my chunky heel collection?  I spotted a fair few Nike wearers in Paris too, almost a sort of default uniform especially in Le Marais.  That's probably where the similarities stopped, in terms of my outfit it was less Isabel Marant and more Wonderwoman.  I rediscovered this bright yellow jumper when I popped home, I think I avoided wearing it for a while because it seemed so crazy but now it seems perfectly cosy.  Sometimes it's nice to have some distance from some bits of your wardrobe so they seem new again, who knows what I'll be bringing back after the Christmas break!

Alain Ducasse chocolate factory Paris
Merci concept store in Paris
Merci concept store in Paris
galeries lafayette food hall
galeries lafayette food hall
galeries lafayette

After a morning wandering around Bastille, it was time to head west to the more hectic Boulevard Haussmann for lunch at Galeries Lafayette.  I like their thinking here, there's a whole department store that's pretty much dedicated to food, so if your designer budget is lacking then there's always cake.  It was worth popping to the main store though to see the ridiculously opulent upside-down Christmas tree, my 35mm didn't quite do it justice but hopefully you get the idea.  Oh, to have a full frame camera! 

How To Win At City Breaks #1: Amsterdam

19 December 2014

Best places to visit in Amsterdam
I feel like I have city guides coming out of my ears at the moment!  Before I share all of my Parisian discoveries, it's only fair that I show you some of my favourite finds from Amsterdam.  Although I do love a press trip, the best thing about #FiveFlyKLM was setting our own schedule and the unpredictable nature.  Sure there may have been a few delays, but I like to believe that everything happens for a reason, whether it's positive or negative.  The light going at 4pm did irk me a bit, but it meant that I explored a few new streets and discovered the most amazing stationery shop.  Sometimes you don't get time to do every thing you want but I find that any new sightings even things out.  It's just the luck of the draw! 

Cafe Bern Amsterdam fondue
Cafe Bern Amsterdam fondue

Cheese is always the answer


It was probably a bit random to have my first fondue experience in Amsterdam.  I always try and eat a bit of the traditional fare whenever I go away but when you're not quite sure what it is, then you may have to admit defeat.  Trip Advisor can be relied upon most of the time, we spotted some great reviews for Café Bern and managed to get one of the hotel staff to make a much-needed booking.  You can't go wrong with cheese really, fondue is the perfect sociable dish and we had plenty of steak, bread and salad to accompany it.  There's a strong taste of wine in their secret recipe, which can seem a bit rich after a while but we persevered anyway and ended up waddling back to our hotel.

Café Bern Nieuwe Hoogstraat 29


Shopping in Amsterdam
Shopping in Amsterdam
Like Stationery cool Amsterdam shops
Like Stationery cool Amsterdam shops
Like Stationery cool Amsterdam shops

Establish the creative areas


I knew that I needed to head to the Nine Streets area and I had a few places on my list to find, but there's only so much a website or guide book can tell you.  I wandered into Like Stationery and found a treasure trove of hard-to-find organisational brands.  This is the place to get your 2015 diary, it started off as an online store, before morphing into a pop-up and then finding a permanent space last year.  I bought my first ever 14-month planner and I'm hoping that the larger size means that I'll actually use it as it's a bit more of a calendar/book and I can see a month easily at a glance.  I also popped into Margriet Nannings, a lovely boutique with the likes of Orla Kiely and Marni.  I've only just realised that I missed an outlet on the same street, don't make the same mistake I did!     

LikeStationery, Prinsenstraat 24

Margriet Nannings, Prinsenstraat 8


Places for lunch in Nine Streets 
Amsterdam
Places for lunch in Nine Streets 
Amsterdam

Trust Your Instincts


It's hard work being a blogger sometimes.  You're hungry and want a decent meal, but also somewhere that will photograph well and has that unique quality that you want to share.  Well, our bellies got the better of us and we walked into Ree7 on a whim.  Little did I know that you can do this pretty much anywhere in Amsterdam and end up being happily full, a lot of places just give off an inviting sort of vibe.  It's somewhere I'm quite happy to recommend for a spot of lunch, sometimes having a sandwich can bore me a little but when there's truffle mayo involved then I'm quite happy to make an exception.  I did regret not ordering Lucy's crispy chicken sandwich but then again my beef carpaccio was a chance to try something a little different.

Ree7, Reestraat 7


Anna & Nina Amsterdam concept store
Anna & Nina Amsterdam concept store
Droog Concept Store Amsterdam
Droog Concept Store Amsterdam
Droog Concept Store Amsterdam
Droog Concept Store Amsterdam
Droog Concept Store Amsterdam
Droog Concept Store Amsterdam


If In Doubt, Head To A Concept Store

Concept stores really seem to be having a moment right now and even though I've noticed some of the same brands popping up in them, there does always seem to be an individual point of view.  Anna and Nina would definitely be considered a little more whimsical, say like Carrie or Olivia in shop form.  They had a lovely assortment of prints, plates and even golden pineapples.  Definitely leave enough room in your suitcase (and budget) if you want to pick up little homeware items.  Droog is a far larger, more contemporary and multi-faceted affair.  You can shop (for lifestyle or clothing), eat, wander around the many installations and even stay at the hotel.  It's a nice way to experience the brand even if you don't plan to buy a colourblock sofa.   

Anna & Nina, Kloveniersburgwal 44 or Gerard Doustraat 94

Droog, Staalstraat 7B


Marbles Vintage Shops in Amsterdam
Marbles Vintage Shops in Amsterdam


Sift For Some Vintage


My vintage obsession tends to come and go.  Sure I can be lucky every so often and find amazing pieces like these culottes or pair of dungarees but a lot of the time it can just be overwhelming.  I don't want a kilo store, I just want a tight edit.  I spotted a few branches of Marbles Vintage around the city and saw a great selection of coats, knitwear and shoes.  I find these are the pieces that stand out less as 'second hand' and can play into current trends pretty well.  I wish I'd enquired about a green, plush coat I'd seen in the window, but then again it wouldn't have fit in my tiny case!  I'll be back in Summer. 

Marbles Vintage, Haarlemmerdijk 64


Geflipt best burgers in Amsterdam
Geflipt best burgers in Amsterdam
Geflipt best burgers in Amsterdam


Head to Burger-Ville

One thing about De Pijp is that there's a lot of burger places.  There's The Butcher, Burgermeester and Thrill Grill but thanks to an Instagram suggestion we ended up in Geflipt.  One day it might be worth planning a trip based solely on the comments people leave for some extra spontaneity, the burgers are all organic and the pear compote was a nice sweet touch.  This is making me extremely hungry whilst writing this...  

Geflipt, Van Woustraat 15


Blond Amsterdam cute stationery and gifts
Blond Amsterdam cute stationery and gifts
Blond Amsterdam cute stationery and gifts
Blond Amsterdam cute stationery and gifts
Blond Amsterdam cute stationery and gifts

Discover a National Treasure


Blond Amsterdam is probably the Dutch equivalent to Cath Kidston.  It's a lifestyle brand with a distinct handwriting, thanks to the two friends Femque and Janneke who started creating their cheerful pottery and paintings thirteen years ago.  I guess all of the colours and cheekiness appealed to me, as much as I'd like a modern, slightly Scandinavian home I'll always be drawn to the odd bit of novelty.  Perfect for gifts and they can even make custom items!

Blond, Gerard Doustraat 69 


Cafe Winkel Amsterdam
Cafe Winkel Amsterdam best apple pie

Indulge your love of apples


Random fact, I'm a bit of an apple obsessive, so The Dam was a logical destination with it's numerous cake shops all featuring my favourite fruit.  After an afternoon of wandering and in need of wifi, I spotted Winkel which was on my list as the place to try apple pie.  I definitely wasn't disappointed, there was just the right amount of crust and filling and the whipped cream was the perfect indulgent addition.  I devoured every last bit! 

Winkel, Noordermarkt 43


Amsterdam City Guide

So that's the bulk of my recommendations, a nice mix of the researched and spontaneous finds.  A handy thing I realised was that you can save offline Google Maps on the app (handy if you forget to activate your roaming), so click on the locations to save any of my destinations for yourself.   Thanks again to KLM for providing our flights and The Albus for a super central (and friendly) hotel location on our second night.  I'm crossing my fingers that there'll be another Amsterdam visit in 2015! 
 
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