Monthly Archives: June 2013

ISTANBUL

– M

Istanbul mysteriously had found its way up my holiday wish list. Don’t ask me why, but thank God (and Allah) it did. My friend Rachel and I booked our tickets in January when we were desperate for some vitamin D so I have been counting down quite some days until it was finally time to dig up my summer wardrobe and start packing.

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A taxi, airplane and bus ride later, we found ourselves in the heart of the city. Fortunately for us, we picked a period right before the recent unrest started.

Our Mama Shelter hotel, where Philippe Starck definitely worked his magic, was located in the new part of town and had just opened its doors.

After dropping off our bags, we realized it was five after happy hour so we went on a hunt to try out the local beer.

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While enjoying the late afternoon sunset, we decided on 3 golden rules for our trip:

1)   Vacation is a synonym for NO rush and NO work

2)   Food & drinks are absolute necessities

3)   At least one day should include sun and a swimming pool

O boy, how we lived up to these rules.

We switched off our work phones and made sure to sleep in every day.

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Then, our second rule came into force. Istanbul has many many excellent restaurants, cafes and clubs. And we did our best to try and test as many as possible. So we ate. A lot.

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We had Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Bites, Diner, Dessert, Snacks. You name it; we ate it. Our ultimate favourites were:

1. Unter is this great restaurant, tucked away in a small street, run by a Dutch woman and serves great breakfast.

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2. Mama Shelter is not only a fantastic design hotel, but also has a crowded bar where both locals and hotel guests meet for drinks.

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3. Delicatessen is located in Nisantasi, the upmarket shopping area of Istanbul. Perfect for coffee and sweets.

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4. Karabatak Karakoy, across the street from Unter, has baguette sandwiches, fresh juices and lots of delicious cakes.

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5. 5Kat is the spot for Sunday brunch, with a view to die for!

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Istanbul just literally has it all: great food, striking rooftop bars, fancy clubs, beautiful historic eye catchers, arty farty neighbourhoods, shops and everywhere you look lots of young, gorgeous people.

We started off like the regular tourist:

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but quickly turned into the local tourist:

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After we threw the lonely planet out we decided to follow our own guts. We stumbled upon a cute little alley with design shops,

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the Grand Bazar with colourful spices and Turkish delights everywhere you look,

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and a fancy rooftop bar where we treated ourselves to some fine cocktails.

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On our final day, we worked on rule number 3. Being slightly hungover after our visit to the infamous Reina club, we snuck into the Hyatt Hotel, pretended to be regular hotel guests and plunged into the swimming pool and worked on our tan. O, what a life..

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Istanbul, you stole my heart!

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OUR ETSY FAVORITES

– N

I have been hooked on Etsy for a while now.
It’s this great online place where all different kinds of entrepreneurs sell their super cool stuff. From vintage camera’s to stripy straws and fantastic art, everything is for sale on Etsy. And the prices are friendly too!
As I believe that sharing is caring, I am going to share some of my favorite Etsy shops with you!

WCK PHOTOGRAPHY

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This gorgeous girl from Vancouver is someone I actually know. We met through one of my besties last summer in London. Whitney takes absolutely beautiful pictures, a lot of them are taken when she’s traveling and her Africa shots are my favorite!

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But, I have to say, I wish I was living in Vancouver as Whitney also does these really cool Boudoir shoots. So, if you are reading this and live there, book an appointment now. I am sure you won’t regret it! And if you don’t live in Vancouver, you can treat yourself at her Etsy shop!

LEIGH VINER
I actually found this artist through Pinterest and was sold instantly.
I especially like the fashion prints she makes, which is why I bought three of them for my bedroom:

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TWINKLEBIRD
This little shop has a variety of silver and goldplated rings with hearts, clouds, birds and initials. Am still deciding which one to get, there are so many!

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NELISGOOD
Nel Kate sells vintage leather camera cases. I would love one for my Lumix as I am just throwing my camera in my bag everywhere I go. (I know, shame on me)
And this is such a cool way of carrying your camera around!

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NOTEBOOKS
Wherever I go, I always carry a notebook with me. You never know when it might come in handy.
I work well on to-do-lists, so I like to write down whatever pops into my head. And who said a notebook has to be boring?

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 by FairMorningBlue

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by PaperJayneDebby

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y Alfamarama

I could go on for days with great Etsy shops, I highly recommend taking an afternoon to go exploring yourself.
O, and if you find nice shops, please share them with us!

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WALLS GALLERY // P737

– M

Lately, a little art collection is starting to evoke in my apartment. I am learning about the differences between street and urban art, I can distinguish an illustration from a print and I am even becoming a true expert on frames and passe-partouts. All to blame on my friend Marloes and her Walls Gallery at the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam.

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Walls Gallery

Walls Gallery is a light, open spaced gallery where young national and international artists present their work (all under €5,000) during a bi-monthly exhibition. The gallery offers paintings, drawings, photography and sculptures from artists like Silas, Alice Wielinga, Martine Johanna, Paul Tas, ROYALSTEEZ and Sander Dekker.

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Recently, Marloes thought it was time to give Walls a little sis and boom: concept store P737 was born (it really is all about concept stores these days, isn’t it?).

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P737 can be found at the backend of the gallery and makes you instantly want to grab for your wallet. P737 shows collections of fashion labels Amatør and Bravoure;

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Espresso and coffee cups by De Intuitiefabriek; jewellery made out of euro coins by Lex Pott and leather wallets by Crumilla.

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Oh, and only the greatest bookshelf ever by Van Tjalle & Jasper. I’d buy it in a heart beat! Ok, maybe not in a heart beat, but this shelf sure screams for a line like that!

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Walls brings a new exhibition every two months, and these come with the best opening parties ever. I mean, what is there not to like about art, tunes, vodka and a beautiful crowd?

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So if you are in need of a little art collection, or yours has some room for growth, make sure to pay Walls and P737 a visit.

Prinsengracht 737, Amsterdam. http://www.walls.nl. The current exhibition ‘On Paper’ runs untill 3 July 2013.

(Photo credits: Marie Wanders – marie@walls.nl)

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FANTASTIC MRS FOX

– M

March was a good month for fashion. It’s when H&M launched a new brand: & Other Stories. It’s COS meets H&M Trend meets high-end designers; all for a wallet friendly price.

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But before you go all crazy like I did at first, I have to break some bad news to you: our small little country did not (yet) pass the test to get an actual real life store like London, Paris and our Northern neighbours.

However, there is also some good news: we did get an online shop! And boy, that’s some good news I’m telling you. & Other Stories has a whole lotta good stuff:  handbags, shoes, dresses, shirts, hats and even beauty products.

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But the best part is their jewellery collection. So when this package was delivered at my house, I was over the moon.

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Reason is that & Other Stories asked the American artist and designer Alyson Fox to design her own jewellery collection, exclusively for the Swedish brand. The end result is this Co-Lab collection which is all about colour, geometric lines and a little bit of love.

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I completely fell for this ring. And a necklace. And well, since we are being totally honest here, as we speak I am adding two bracelets, a notebook and another ring to my virtual shopping bag!

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What’s your favourite item? Hurry up and take a look at www.stories.com

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BOTERHAM

– M

Concept stores are popping up like crazy everywhere I look lately. BOTERHAM is our capital’s latest edition and only opened its doors last week in Amsterdam East. It took a while for Nicoline and I to find it, but once we did, owner Manon Novak welcomingly invited us in.

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While our cappuccinos were being prepared by the musical-actress-turned-shop-owner (wow!), we looked around in the nicely decorated store. BOTERHAM offers a variety of nice-to-haves: art, vases, furniture, pillows and candles.

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It’s the perfect spot for gift shopping, fresh inspiration ánd an affordable sandwich.

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After we finished our drinks, we went home with two cute postcards and a new hotspot on our radar!

Andreas Bonnstraat 2, Amsterdam. http://www.boterham.eu

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KOKO

– M

I have to admit: for as long as I have lived in Amsterdam, me and the red light district have never gotten along very well. Too many tourists who are either high on drugs or high on lust, or the worst kind: high on both.

Sure, there are some good spots like Mata Hari, restaurant Looks and the old church but this has up till now never convinced me to make it my regular hang out.

But when I accidentally found myself in the area (and was suffering from a complete neon overkill), I saw a little light at the end of a very long red tunnel. Just off of Damstreet, on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, you can surprisingly find some peace and quiet and a damn good cappuccino at KOKO Coffee & Design.

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KOKO is a small hide away where, as soon as you enter, you immediately forget the outside crazyness. Young designers and upcoming artists have displayed their latest collection.

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It’s like a whole bunch of fashionista’s have found each other here! Labels from Finland (R/H and SAMUJI), a bit of Berlin influences (Potipoti), shoes from Spain (Eva vs Maria) all blended with Dutch designers such as Monique Poolmans and Bravoure.

But KOKO also offers art & design lovers plenty of good stuff: vintage furniture, design magazines and walls full of art.

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Don’t forget to enjoy this little piece of heaven while drinking an awesome cup of coffee with an even more awesome loaf of banana bread.

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