“A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.”
– Henry Kissinger
First place took the form of Hotel V Nesplein’s trendy backstreet restaurant, The Lobby.
Just a stone’s throw from Dam Square, The Lobby serves impeccable and crowd-pleasing cuisine with heart, soul, and smiles aplenty. In their own words, they stand for pure ‘gezelligheid’- the best that the city has to offer at the bar, at the table, on your plate and in your glass.
With our darling waitress’ recommendation, we kicked things off with salmon tartare (a special), veal tartare (with the most incredible curry mayonnaise & gremolata), and two glasses of Larmandier-Bernier Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru, which took two sips to become my all-time favourite champagne.
Opting for another special as one of our mains (we’re proud supporters of beef bavette and truffle), we also split the vegetarian option – a beautiful plate of pumpkin ravioli with fresh cheese, spinach, and a smoked onion & cepes sauce.
Choosing to keep the dream meal rolling, we then persuaded ourselves to order a two-course dessert; the best cheese board of all time (all from Kef) and a warm chocolate cake with salted caramel & peanut ice cream.
The Lobby is an absolute must.
If you’re anything like my friends and I, you have a plethora of sleepy points stacked up on a ‘rewards programme’ or two. While a lot of us are signed up to programmes that reward us for our everyday purchases, a lot of the points we earn seem to live in the digital ether.
Poor little guys just want to be spent!
In partnership with Avios, I decided to finally do more (ie. do anything) with my points. And boy, did I. For the meager cost of air tax, I traded just over half of my points for two business class return flights from London to Amsterdam with British Airways.
That’s right: buying things you would buy regardless of a points incentive can reward you with almost-free luxury holidays.
From the second we checked in (business class = priority security, priority check-in, lounge access, etc), it was clear this would be one of the best holidays of my life. With Jen – my most beloved and hilarious friend – at my side, we made our way to BA’s gorgeous lounge to fuel up on Bloody Marys, wi-fi, and an assortment of breakfast nibbles while attempting to throw together a loose itinerary.
Still very much without an itinerary (cough complimentary champagne cough), we arrived in Amsterdam less than one hour after take-off with the city at our feet. A few near-death tram experiences later, we dropped our hand luggage in our apartment and took to the streets to get our bearings.
Between the discovery of kopi luwak (oh holy NO), getting caught in post-city marathon crowds, a fascinating spot of people-watching, and a pizza and green juice refuel, we had officially walked ourselves exhausted.
After a decent sleep, we spent the next few days scouring best of the city to create a special guide for you (coming in a few days!). Stay tuned for the low-down on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do – especially if you’re wanting to avoid the city’s so-called ‘dark side’.
What I Wore:
Baby blue Lulworth watch with a rose gold mesh strap from Shore Projects
Hollywood pearl earrings from Rebecca Jewellery
Trench coat from Paul Smith
Astronomical boots from ASOS
While brunch – as an ideology – can never really be bad, my recent experience has proved that no-one does it quite as well as Crab Tavern.
We’re talking unlimited Bloody Marys, three moreish ‘courses’, and fancy-free 80s jams.
Launching last weekend, Crab Tavern’s Lovin’ Feeling Brunch took no time at all to rank as one of the best ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in London. On every second Saturday, the tavern will now host a live DJ (from 1-8pm) alongside unlimited drinks (from 1-2pm; beer, wine, Bloody Marys) and a set starter-to-dessert menu with your choice of mains.
Between colada-filled pineapple sips, my friend and I shared the restaurant’s sharer starter (fried black pepper squid, Tavern pork belly ribs, dressed crab Caesar subs, crab and waffle, jerk-fried shrimp, prawn cocktail, and crispy white bait) before moving on to our incredible soft shell crab burgers (served with red pepper jelly and shiso old bay fries).
Your choice of mains spans from Eggs Royale to salads, but I see no point in doing anything less than crab bingeing at a place so renowned for their seafood.
By the time our dessert platter arrived we were committing to week-long fasting pacts but couldn’t resist a few bites of everything (and more than a few bites of their incredible apple pie) while watching the crowd get their jazz hands out for an impromptu boogie.
Two hours of non-stop drinking and eating nestled under the bopping bangers of the Eighties will turn even the most sedate bruncher into a Fly Girl.
The new Hanneli Mustaparta collection for Deichmann is chock full of showstoppers. From a pair of sasstastic thigh-high boots to a gorgeous pair of lace-up brogues, there is a little slice of shoe heaven for every kind of woman.
My personal cake-takers, however, are these glittering court shoes. From the very second I saw them, the light danced off every fleck of silver, blue and gold in a way that made them feel alive. Ultimate fantasy shoe status.
Knowing I wanted to feature them on the blog in the most authentic and unedited manner possible, my photographer friend and I brainstormed concepts for over a week.
“How do you make real-life sparkle translate in a photo?”
The answer is light painting.
When the clock struck twelve on shoot day I stepped into the little stunners and spent the following four hours frozen in multiple corners of my home for 30 seconds at a time.
With patience, a long exposure, and multiple handheld lights, we created the following: a dreamlike photo story that quite literally captures every bounce and shimmer of light.
The power of a great pair of shoes, eh?
(As a natural progression from last year’s Deichmann shoot, I have also amped up the obligtory heels in a bathtub shot.)