Friday, September 28, 2018

The Utrecht Food Hotspot: Frenchie Café

 One of the best things about living in The Netherlands is that everything is close by. Within three hours you are already exciting The Netherlands, so it's nice to be a tourist in your own country sometimes.
I thought it would be nice to change the Amsterdam scenery for a bit and go to Utrecht. I met up with one of my friends there and we had a big old catch up with lots of food, as you do. We first ate pancakes at a café that I will talk about soon and after that we walked to the newest hotspot in town: Frenchie Café.

It's not like we were hungry but when I am in Utrecht I like to do as much as possible, since it's not a city I visit regularly. So there we both went, to see what all the pink velvet fuzz was about.


Frenchie Café reminds me of London so much. With the round marble tables and long pastel pink couch it's like I am eating cake at Saint Aymes or Feya. We took a seat at one of the tables in the middle and had a look at the menu. Unicorn pancakes, avocado toast, acai bowls and freak shakes: This place is brunch heaven! 
We ordered a fresh ginger tea, a cappuccino, a cupcake and an acai bowl (you know, to be healthy). The food arrived fast and was presented beautifully with gold cutlery and everything. It made me love the café even more. The acai bowl was delicious and the cupcake (made by Life of Pie Amsterdam) was very tasty. We sat there chatting away when all that's left were some cupcake crumbs.


The prices were completely fine compared to the London cafés I mentioned earlier and if you are ever in Utrecht (escaping all the tourists in Amsterdam) I highly recommend having a seat on the pastel pink sofa and ordering all the brunch foods!

What is your favourite brunch food?


Monday, September 17, 2018

10 things I learned in NYC

My travels to New York have been the most exciting and interesting trips of this year (and of my life to be honest). I hopped on a plane across the ocean to see the city that never sleeps all by myself and as someone who had a lot of ideas what the city would be like I still learned a lot. Mainly because I was doing it all solo. These are the things I learned about NYC (and myself!).

1. Anything can happen in New York
They always say New York is the city where dreams come true and although a lot of people probably don't feel the same as they've seen their goals crash and burn, the skyscrapers and city vibe definitely give you the idea that you can make anything possible.

2. NYC is the city of extremes
I feel like this applies to a lot of things. The weather can be 15 degrees with lots of rain one day and -8 degrees and sunshine the next day. I have also never seen so much poverty and high class people with Starbucks cups glued to their hand. Especially the last thing made me quite sad when I was there.

3. Complements. And I mean A LOT of complements
I think American people are much easier in socializing than Europeans. Although I have learned from actual Americans that a lot of the so called compliments and being 'nice' is a bit fake, I thought it was refreshing to have a chat here and there since I was travelling solo.


4. You get lost on the subway more than once
On my second trip to New York I kind of felt like a true New Yorker. In the way that I didn't feel as anxious as I did the first few days I was here. I had already been here, knew my way around and definitely understood the subway system. Until ya girl ended up in Queens on a train with screaming children eating smelly crisps. I got out on the first station and boarded the next train back to Manhattan. 

5. You can do everything if you set your mind to it
Going to New York by myself was scary and exciting at the same time. I remember the first day I arrived. There was snow everywhere, it was dark outside by the time I got to my hotel and I felt utterly exhausted from my first ever long haul flight. I remember wanting to go to the supermarket to get some things, but wandering around in the dark in a city that I didn't know was scary to me, so I didn't. On my second trip I dropped of my suitcases at the hotel, changed out of my sweaty airplane look and hopped on a train to Target. Oh, how times change.

6. Manhattan is BIG
On Google Maps it looks small but those blocks are hella long. I don't mind the walking but after a few days I do get tired and I might hop on the subway to make it easier for myself. Especially if I'm in The Village and I want to go to the Upper East Side.


7. Just do it
Not a sponsorship for Nike, but I do love this quote. So many times I was contemplating if I should do this or that and honestly you are not going back to the exact same place as you were before so just do it. This means asking that stranger on the Brooklyn Bridge to take a photo or entering a café that you saw on Instagram but there are actually no people there. Life's too short to do it another time.

8. It's okay to be alone
A lot of people can't be by themselves and that’s okay. I don't mind it at all and I do think it's quite refreshing sometimes since it's only me, myself and I. You have to figure things out, find the way and there is no one who can do it for you. New York is also the best city for travelling solo, since so many people do things by themselves.

9. Everything looks like a movie set
Since most Hollywood series and films are shot in New York I kind of had an idea what the city would look like. Turns out the real deal is even better. All the buildings are amazing and make you feel so tiny. Especially The Village is my fave since the Friends building is there. Got to love a bit of Friends. I am actually wearing a Friends jumper as we speak!


10. Be proud of your choices
When I told people I was going to New York they got all excited. When they asked who I was going with I already knew how they were going to reply. ''Oh really? All alone? Don't you get lonely? How do you get your way around the city?'' I got used to it after a while but it's still annoying that travelling solo in 2018 gets that sort of backlash. Just let me be!

I made a New York City Guide with everything you need to know. Find it here!

What did New York teach you?


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The London Food Hotspot: Dominique Ansel Bakery


The ice cream that is taking over the world right now is from Dominique Ansel Bakery and you must be living under a rock if you have not seen a glimpse of this watermelon soft serve with dark chocolate seeds on social media.
It was just my luck that I visited London around a rather sunny weekend, which means that I basically stuffed my face with ice cream all day -no complains here-. Starting off with this fruity creation from Dominique Ansel.

The Bakery is located a few meters away from Peggy Porschen Cakes -the other pink gem full of carbs and sweets-, so my friend and I started our sweet tooth journey there and then walked over the floral building that is Dominique Ansel Bakery. 
At 10:59 precisely we walked into the shop and after having a look at the menu we saw that the watermelon soft serve is only served after 11:00. The guy behind the counter started laughing that we were here at exactly the right time, but I swear that we didn't plan it. I was not going to say that we just stuffed our face with cake and tea at the pink café next door and this was the next stop on our food travels -I mean I love eating, but I have a little bit of dignity left, you know-.


The soft serve is made from fresh watermelon juice, sugar and lime juice. They swirl it around in a fresh slice of juicy watermelon and imitate the seeds with dark chocolate look a likes. The What-A-Melon Soft Serve doesn't come cheap and with £6,50 takeaway/£7,70 eat-in, it will be one the most expensive ice creams I have ever eaten. 
After way too many photo opportunities outside I took a bite and a sweet, watermelon explosion is what happened next. Because of the hot weather it started to melt quickly and I was very happy with the little boat it was served in. Till the juice actually started to drip through the boat. I took a few bites of the watermelon and threw the rest away since pink dots where dropping on the pavement and my shoes. Doesn't mean that I didn't like the ice cream any less.

If you are in London on a hot sunny day -or cold and rainy- and are in the mood for something sweet I highly recommend popping into Dominque Ansel for some watermelon or other baked goods that they have lingering around. I know I will next time I'm around!

Have your tried this amazing soft serve already?



Monday, July 16, 2018

Benefit The Porefessional Matte Rescue

If you are an oily skin gal like me, you probably clicked faster on this post than on the 'yes' button when Netflix asks if you are still watching -and yes after six hours I am still watching-. Because something with matte in the name must be tried out if you have a shiny face and that's exactly what I thought when I visited Sephora. I popped it in my basket, went to the till and left with a lot less money in my bank account.

The Benefit The Porefessional Matte Rescue (50ml/ €30,60) is a water-based gel primer with a matte finish that keeps oil at bay. It minimizes the appearance of pores, absorbs excess oil for a natural matte finish and contains diamond powder to give it a soft-focus pore-blurring effect.
When I read that in Sephora I had high hopes. I remember watching a YouTube video back in the day where a girl also used a mattifying gel (I think it was from MAC) and since then I have always wanted to try it out.
My T-zone gets the shiniest and I also have larger pores there so that's where I apply the gel. It's a very handy tube and I use around a pea size amount to apply on my forehead, nose and chin. The gel feels fresh on the skin and the scent reminds me of a skincare product I used when I was a teen -can't remember what it was though-.  Because of the gel texture it blends nicely and soaks into the skin.
I do see a difference in shine, but I would not say my pores magically disappeared. Even after my foundation they are still there. I use this product to keep the shine away and if they minimize a few pores along the way then that's always welcome.
Normally the shine gets through after two to three hours and the Matte Rescue primer definitely keeps my skin matte for a longer period of time. Of course after six hours I still look shiny, but there is nothing a bit of loose powder can't fix. Am I right?

If you are looking for a product that keeps the skin more matte the Benefit The Porefessional Matte Rescue is the babe for you. If you are looking for a product that magically makes your pores disappear I would not bother. But I know Benefit Cosmetics have a few other primers for that!

Have you tried the Benefit The Porefessional Matte Rescue?


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Floral Dress

Summer for me means, days on the beach, getting a tan, being happy whilst looking at the blue sunny sky and wearing gorgeous floral dresses. One of the newest additions to my wardrobe is this maxi ensemble from Oysho, a Spanish brand where I also picked up this spotty number.

Maxi dresses are the perfect example of being lazy and still looking fabulous whilst doing it. You just throw on this one piece. Add slippers or chunky boots and you are done. When it gets chilly a denim or leather jacket is perfect to just throw on and you don't have to worry about anything else.

Oysho is a brand that normally sells lingerie, sleepwear and sportswear. But during the spring/summer they splash out with swim- and beachwear. I really liked their collection -hence the three dresses I bought- and the prices are really affordable too -it's even cheaper in Spain, so the perfect excuse to book a trip to the Mediterranean Sea-.

This dress is nude and has these gorgeous purple flowers printed all over it. They blend in perfectly with the tulips and I couldn't be happier to wear this dress with a typical Dutch scenery in the background. 
The only thing I'm not too happy with is the fact that the fabric is a bit sheer. I get that it's meant to be a beach dress and it doesn't matter when your bikini bottoms shine through, but a thicker fabric would have been highly appreciated. 

Let's celebrate these sunny days by rocking our best summery and floral outfits -I know I will- and enjoy the sun while it lasts, because in Europe you will never know when it will be your last day of sunshine.

What is your favourite summer dress?


Monday, July 2, 2018

The London Food Hotspot: Saint Aymes

Every week a new café pops up in London and I always make sure I have a look. Now this café has been around for a couple of months, but since I wasn't in London I could not pay a visit. Luckily I went to London a couple of weeks ago and I could finally tick it off my list. It's insta famous for their lovely flowers, pastel coloured drinks and yummy baked goods. I could only be talking about Saint Aymes.

Saint Aymes is located in St. George's Fields (close to Marble Arch tube station) and you easily spot it in the street. The purple flowers and black & white tiles make it stand out amongst the other cafés on the block.
It was surprisingly quiet when we arrived so we took a table outside, ordered our things and started snapping some pics. We ordered a blue unicorn latte, a Marie Antoinette pink hot chocolate, a unicorn cookie and two macarons. Not going to lie: it was expensive, but since the drinks come with 24ct gold it's justified, I guess? 
The hot drinks and sweets arrived fast and with the gold cutlery and unicorn glamour it instantly makes your photo look amazing. The service was really good too and I think the guy who helped us already placed the items in an 'Instagram worthy picture way' on the table.  The drinks were very pretty and the macarons were so tasty. It's definitely one of those hidden gems that you would not know about if you hadn't seen it on the gram.

Besides coffee and sweets they also serve pancakes, bagels, salads and other yummy foods. I would highly recommend having a look at Saint Aymes if you love Instagram worthy cafés. And even if you don't, it's worth the visit.

Have you already been to Saint Aymes?


Thursday, June 28, 2018

The London Trip June 2018

At the beginning of June I finally visited London again. If you have been a reader of my blog you know I absolutely adore London and everything about it. When I came back from my trip my life turned upside down and I was too busy with uni to even write a post about it, so that's what I'm doing right now!


Tuesday June 5th
An early flight took us from Amsterdam to London Gatwick and the small delay didn't stop us from going straight to the hotel and to our first breakfast spot: The Breakfast Club. I LOVE this place so much. It can be busy -which is probably the only thing I do not like about it- but their pancakes are so good that I easily forget about the 30 minute wait. The berries & cream version is loaded with so much cream, maple syrup and berries that I order it every single time. I mean who can say no to that?

Since the weather wasn't as good we decided that today was our shopping day. We went past New Look, Primark, Boots, Zara and Topshop and I surprisingly only bought a bag at the last store. Oh, and a few beauty bits from Boots obviously. Got to stock up on my Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer somehow. 
We ended the day at Zizzi near Paddington station and went to bed early since we slept for like three hours the day before.


Wednesday June 6th
Rise and shine because on this day the sun decided to join us! So happy when London doesn't look as gloomy. We walked around the Sloan Square area to eat breakfast at The Locals. I went for these eggs with feta cheese, tomatoes and red pepper and it was so tasty. Top that off with a curcuma latte and I'm all happy.
Since today was going to be all about food we immediately went to Peggy Porschen Cakes. One of the reasons was to skip long queues and I was surprised to see there were like two tables left. At 9:45 AM. People must love cake. We ordered way too much -everything for a pretty Instagram pic- and took the big slice of cake with us in a box. I loved my cupcake though. It was with berries and I get hungry even thinking about it.


Since Dominique Ansel Bakery is on the same street as Peggy Porschen Cakes it felt stupid not to include it on this foodie day. They have these amazing watermelon soft serves and we had to try them. They start selling them from 11am -which we didn't know- and we were so lucky because we popped in at 10:59am. The ice cream was so pretty and yummy but did melt fast. Especially with the hot weather.
Then we walked over to Harrods, cycled through Hyde Park and made our way to Notting Hill. All the pastel houses make this one of my favourite areas in London. I bought a vegan red velvet donut from Doughnut Time - which was delicious btw- and also tried the vegan chocolate cookie from Pret a Manger that everyone is raving about. I have to say, that one was pretty good too.


After all the sugar we hopped on a tube to the Tower Bridge and took way too many photos. With the blue sky in the background the bridge looked even more magical. We stayed there for a while and took a bus to Covent Garden. Ever since New York I really miss Shake Shack so I had to fix my Shack burger and cheesy fries cravings. After my first bite I was so happy and it totally brought me back to my first trip to New York in January of this year. 

Dear Shake Shack, can you please open in Amsterdam too? Sincerely, a Shake Shack obsessed girl.


Tuesday June 7th
Sadly, this was our last day in London town so we packed up our things -which was surprisingly easy since I always have to sit on my suitcase to close it- and hopped to our last London breakfast. I think I have told you about  Eggbreak before in a best London brunch post, and it's hands down one of my favourites in the city. You find this hidden gem on a side street in Notting Hill and they serve the best breakfast foods. I went for caramel pancakes -shocking choice I know- and they were SO good. The plates they serve everything on are so pretty too.
Then we went to Camden Lock Market to get me some new rings from the Poppie Jasper stand. I talked about this on my Insta stories, but they honestly have the best jewellery. I have about seven silver rings from them and they still look so nice. The guy behind the stand even recognised me from when I was there in November. 100% would recommend having a look at their stuff.
We then visited the London Eye area and walked to Covent Garden for some Milk Train ice cream. I entered one of their giveaways the week before, so we got two soft serves for free! The ice creams looked so cute with the cotton candy clouds, but because of the warm weather they started to melt pretty quickly. They were so yummy though.

The last hotspot that we wanted to visit was Saint Aymes. This place and its pretty flowers are seen all over the gram and I loved everything about it. We had a pink hot chocolate, a blue latte, some macarons and a unicorn cookie. It was expensive though, but we had to do it for the gram. Go on a non-rainy day so you can sit outside with the pretty purple flowers. You'll love it!

And that was everything we did. After another sugar overload we grabbed our suitcases, jumped on a busy train to Gatwick and boarded our flight back to the Dam. I already made a list of new cafés that I want to visit so expect a new London travel post soon! 

What are your favourite hotspots in London?


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pixi Overnight Glow Serum

Confession time: I'm a bit of a skincare junkie. Even on my last trip to the Big Apple I purchased way too many skincare from Ordinary and went a bit shopping crazy in Ulta Beauty and Sephora. I still love make-up but it's much better to get good skin so you don't need to cover up the bad. And believe me I have a lot of bad. Acne, scarring, redness, large pores and all that jazz. That's maybe why I love skincare so much. To see what actually does something to my skin to make it all go away. 

Today, I want to talk to you about one of the products that actually does something to my skin: the Pixi Overnight Glow Serum. You might know Pixi from their hyped up Glow Tonic, which I LOVE a lot too. I have been using it for years and this serum is even better than that. Like that can be possible?

The Pixi Overnight Glow Serum is exactly what it says in the name. The serum has a thick consistency that I leave on overnight and I wake up with the most amazing glow. Isn't that what we all want in a skincare product?
According to the Pixi website it exfoliates and soothes skin and it's a miracle serum that works while you sleep to reveal a brighter complexion. It's formulated with 10% glycolic acid & arginine that helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and fade sun spots over time and is enriched with cucumber & aloe vera extracts to calm skin and vitamins A, C & E to nourish.


I use it in the PM -otherwise it's not overnight, right?- and this is the last serum that I put on my face. The dropper is one of the only things I don't like as much since the serum can get everywhere if you are not careful. I put 1-2 drops on my hand and massage it into my skin. It can sting a bit, but for me that's a sign that it's working. I leave it on a bit before I add my moisturizer and pop into bed for some well rested beauty sleep -after binge watching season two of 13 Reasons Why, obviously-.

The next morning I wake up with the most glowy skin in the world. I have combination/oily skin too so there is lots of shine there, but when all that goes down the drain with my Face Cleanser from First Aid Beauty I am left with such an amazing glow. My skin seems more even, the scars are faded a bit and the redness is not as present as before.
I know this sounds too good to be true, but I honestly love this product a lot. With £26 for 30 ml it's on a higher price range but compared to other beauty brands I think it's still reasonable. 

If you are looking to try out a product from Pixi or searching for a good glowy serum this babe is the one. I love it even more than the Glow Tonic, so even if the tonic didn't work for you this probably will. Your dull and tired skin will thank you for it!

What is your favourite Pixi product?


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The New York Trip May 2018

In January of this year one of my biggest dreams came true: I finally went to New York. I never would have thought that I would visit the city again a few months after and even thinking about this my teen self is jumping up and down and stuffing her face with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

On May 14th I jumped on a plane to go across the ocean to see what The Big Apple looks like when it's not freezing my toes off and let me tell you it's bloody amazing! I enjoyed my time a lot more since I had been before, knew my way around the city, it was warm -which always puts me in a happier mood- and the city seemed more alive as well. It's save to say that I know a bit more about this amazing city and can we also say that I am one step closer to living the Serena van der Woodsen life? I honestly come closer to broke Rachel in season one of Friends with the amount of money I spent in those five days but let's quickly forget that.

I know I just bored you with a huge post about all the ins and outs of this amazing city, but it wouldn't be an official trip if I didn't tell you what I did each day and more importantly what I ate. So grab a cup of tea and some Oreos -I know I will- and let's get cracking!


Monday May 14
Since my flight was at 12:30pm I had a pretty chill morning. I could sleep in a bit, put the last things in my suitcase and then headed to the airport. I flew with Norwegian Air, (on my last trip it was Delta and KLM) an airline that I’ve never flown with before but I've become obsessed with them since this trip. 
I dropped off my suitcase, bought some food before security, went through security and waited at the gate till it was time to board. My return flight from Amsterdam to JFK was €330 which is hella cheap. The only thing is they don't give you airplane food -well they can for €35- so I bought a lot of sandwiches and snacks and refilled my plastic bottles with water. You must be thinking: why do you still love Norwegian Air? Well, their planes are super nice! They have all this special coloured lightening on board and you can order food and drinks with the screen in front of you and then an air hostess bring it to you like you are in a restaurant. Maybe this is all day-to-day stuff for you, but I still get very excited by this.
The flight was pretty chill as I watched Collateral Beauty, 50 First Dates, Modern Family and Big Bang Theory. By the time I arrived in New York I wasn't as tired as I was last time and was so pumped to be out and about. I had a transfer bus pick me up and drop me off at my hotel. I unpacked my suitcase, fixed my greasy airplane face and hopped on the subway to Target –priorities, I know-. I only picked up two bottles of Fiji water -my fave-, some sweet potato crisps- another fave- and these sour cream and onion crisps -absolute fave!-. I took a shower, snacked on the crisps and fell asleep instantly.


Tuesday May 15
Let me tell you that it was 30 C this day and it was too humid and hot to function. After taking a shower and doing my make-up I walked around The Village to Jack's Wife Freda. I had a seat in one of their booths and ordered the rosewater waffle with a mint lemonade. The staff was really friendly and the food was amazing too. The hype is definitely true with this one. I then walked all the way to MoMa museum which I know is like 50 blocks but hey, the sun was shining and it's better than sitting in a sweaty train on the subway. MoMa museum was really nice. I am more of a modern art kinda gal anyway so this was right up my street.




I walked to Times Square -has to happen when in NYC- and took the subway to Nolita for some soft serve at Milk. It was good but a bit hyped up. I don't know what I expected but it was not as amazing as I thought it would be. I did a bit of shopping at Deciem, the abnormal beauty company and Glossier and had another ice cream -the weather was calling for it- at Taiyaki. I had a unicorn taiyaki which looked so good. Because of the temperature it was melting fast and my hands got all sticky which I didn't like as much. But for looks this ice cream gets a 10/10! After all the sweet indulges I bought a pair of Dr. Martens boots. I wanted a pair for ages and they are cheaper in America -I was basically saving money you know-. Since it was around 5pm already I dropped off all my new goodies and had a quick nap -jetlag and all-. That's when it started to pour down with rain -I don't mean a light drizzle but like buckets and buckets of rain-. I still had to eat and my heart was set on mac & cheese from S'MAC, so my umbrella and I travelled all the way to the East Village -I did take the L train though- to pick up 4 cheeses mac & cheese. I took it back to my room and ate it all as I watched Bring it On: All or Nothing -such a classic- on Netflix. Let me tell you this, it was the best mac & cheese I have ever tasted in my life. If I could get some of that cheesy goodness right now that would be highly appreciated.


Wednesday May 16
After the sunshine and heat came grey clouds and rain. This day was a bit of fail #foodie wise, but I still had a good time. In the morning I went to Top of the Rock, which I have visited before but wanted to see again since the view is amazing. Because of the weather it was not as great as last time, but I still enjoyed the sights of the Empire State Building and Central Park. I then took the subway to Ulta Beauty on the Upper East Side where I bought way too many beauty bits. I didn't go there on my last trip so I was really excited to enter the store. If you are wondering why I didn't eat breakfast: I ate some leftover mac & cheese –I’m such a classy lady- and wanted to go to Egghead, but it was very busy and tiny that I didn't go in. On the opposite side of Ulta Beauty you have Papaya King, a typical New York hot dog shop. I went in and ordered the classic American foods: a corn dog -wanted to try one since I saw it on Big Time Rush, fried Oreos and a fried Twinkie. The corn dog was interesting and I think I prefer a normal hot dog instead. The Oreos and Twinkie were just a lot to handle. There was a lot of batter around it and a lot of grease. Still liked it but didn't finish it all.


After this fried food fest I freshened up at my hotel and then jumped on the 1 train to Times Square to see the musical Frozen! I booked this ticket a few months before and it didn't come cheap -125 dollars to be exact- but since I love the movie and the songs so much I was like why the heck not. Don't know if it was worth that amount of money, but considering the fact that it just opened on Broadway and a lot of people want to see it I had a good time. It had all the songs, the dramatic costume changes and the Frozen jokes that I love. A must see for sure! 
After taking the subway back I bought falafel over rice from a food cart on the street -always wanted to do that too- and ate it in my hotel room. It was good, not as good as the mac & cheese though haha!


Thursday May 17
Another breakfast failure as I wanted to eat pancakes at Clinton St. Baking Company but I arrived at like 9:30AM and it was really busy with a huge queue so I made the decision to go to Target in Brooklyn first. I love that one since it's big and they have EVERYTHING there. I also FaceTimed my sister -their Wi-Fi is pretty good too- and showed her around the store and brought her with me as I did my shopping. 


After all that I dropped off my cookie dough, pancake syrup and peanut butter M&M's -you know the essentials in life- back to my hotel and the foodie crawl began. First, I walked to Bleecker Street Pizza in The Village to get a slice of pizza. I had the Nonna Maria and it was honestly the best pizza I have ever tasted -If my dad reads this, I'm lying because your homemade pizza is the best!- But seriously, such a classic with tomato, cheese, basil and garlic. I would walk back to London New York to get one of those babies –had to put a Friends reference in this post-. After the best pizza in the world -don't worry dad, love your pizza too- I went to Milk & Cream Cereal Bar in Nolita to get a Froot Loop soft serve with gummy bears. Again this is a day of bests, because this also was the best ice cream I have ever tasted. I love how they mix vanilla ice cream with your favourite cereal and then top it off with drizzles and funny foods like gummy bears. After taking care of my sweet tooth cravings I walked around and ended up in The Sosta, a hip pasta place on the same street at The Butcher's Daughter. I had courgetti noodles with pesto sauce and again it was so good. I thought the courgetti would be a good addition too since I had not really been eating healthy on this trip.
On my way back to the hotel I stopped by this donut shop called The Donut Pub. A place where they sell the most amazing donuts. I bought a maple bacon cronut, glazed donut and a cruller and they were all very good. The maple bacon was my favourite for sure!


Friday May 18 - Saturday May 19
Sadly this was my last day. I packed my suitcase and surprisingly got everything in there and I even had space left! To celebrate my last morning in New York I had pancakes at Bubby's. Now, I always eat pancakes whenever a restaurant or café has them on the menu so I consider myself a bit of a pancake expert. These. Pancakes. Are. The. Best. Ones. Ever! On my last trip The Wild Son took the number one spot on my pancake list, but Bubby's has taken it now and I don't think there are better pancakes out there. I had the blueberry pancakes and they were thick, fluffy and tasty and everything I want in a pancake. I couldn't finish all three of them and ended up eating 1,5, which I thought was still pretty impressive since they were freaking huge. I walked around mid-town Manhattan, had one last food shop at Target -you know to get even more M&M's haha- and walked back to my hotel, taking in all the New York vibes before it was time for me to leave. 


My transfer picked me up around 1:45pm and as we drove across the Brooklyn Bridge I was so happy. New York is such an amazing, vibrant city and this second trip definitely made me love it even more. Again I watched way too many films: The Kissing Booth on Netflix -love this film SO much-, Eat Pray Love, Wonder -such a good film!- and a few more episodes of the Big Bang Theory. As we touched down in Amsterdam around 7:30AM -f*ck my sleeping pattern- I was very sleepy but still happy that I went to New York, again! I know I'll probably won’t be able to visit any time soon, but I'm saving up already to explore even more of New York and other cities in America too.

New York you were amazing as always and I bloody love you. Until next time. X

Friday, May 25, 2018

The New York City Guide

After going to New York twice I feel like it's finally time to write my belonged New York City Guide. It had always been my dream to visit the Big Apple and when that dream became reality I was over the moon. When you are walking in Manhattan and look up to those high sky scrapers it's feels so surreal and I had to pinch myself every single time.
I actually went to the city by myself and if you are thinking of doing that I highly recommend doing it. Going with a friend or family member is fun too and with this post you are all ready for the trip of your life.

When to visit?
I think New York is good all year round. I have been in January and in May and I loved being there both times. December is amazing because of all the Christmas decoration and around October is pretty nice too because they go pumpkin spice crazy on everything. Do keep in mind that in the winter time it's cold AF there. There was a huge snow storm the week before I went and I was wearing thermal clothing each day. Also check the weather reports because it can be 16 ˚C degrees and -10 ˚C degrees the next day. New York weather just has crazy mood swings!

Travel documents
If you live in the EU you most likely need to apply for an ESTA before you enter the USA. It costs $14 and is very easy to do. Within 72 hours you'll hear back if your application is approved and the ESTA expires in two years. So enough reason to visit America a lot more!

Also: if you are travelling back to the US on the same ESTA you don't have to queue. There is a special line for returning ESTA's which will save you a lot of time!


Money
They have the American dollar currency, which can work out a lot cheaper with buying stuff.  More on that in the shopping part of this post. I highly recommend a credit card because they don't really work with other debit cards, like Maestro, which is the most used card here in the Netherlands. Also don't forget to take some cash with you. It's fun to have -I mean green money hello! $$$- and some shops and cafés only accept cash.

How to get to the city
Taxi: The quickest and maybe most amazing option? Yellow taxi cabs are such a New York thing and when you ride on the Brooklyn Bridge to the city you'll get the most amazing feeling. Sadly it's not the cheapest option, since one ride will cost you around $70.
Subway: You can take the JFK AirTrain and make a transit to the MTA Subway. It's cheap since the AirTrain costs $5 and the subway $2, 75.
Bus: You can also take the bus into Manhattan. You can either get dropped off at Grand Central Station or Time Square. You can also book a more private shuttle bus where you get dropped off at your destination. I decided to take the last option since it was the easiest for me. Especially since it was my first time, I would be tired, I had two suitcases and I didn't see myself making all the transits on the subway. It can take a bit longer since you also have to drop off other people but I personally thought it was the best way to get to the city. I think it cost me around $45 for a return? Money well spend!


Where do you stay?
The city is full of Airbnb's, hotels and hostels. Both times I stayed at a hotel, since Airbnb is expensive if you are by yourself and hostels are not really my thing if I stay somewhere for a long time. I stayed at the Marrakesh Hotel (Upper West Side) and The Jane Hotel (Meatpacking District). Both were very cheap on Expedia at the time so I decided to go for it. I especially recommend The Jane Hotel. Although I had a teeny tiny room and a shared bathroom (which was always free) I loved the vibe in the hotel and the location near The Village was amazing! Accommodation can be very expensive in New York especially around peak months and I'm personally not too fussy about where I sleep as long as the bed is comfy, I'm good.

Subway
Of course you can take a cab and go from place to place but the subway is much cheaper ($2, 75 per ride) and this way you get to experience the true New York life! I bought a 7 day unlimited metro card which is very handy if you, occasionally, check in on the wrong side of the tracks or jump in a train to Brooklyn when you are actually headed to Downtown Manhattan. Yes, this has happened to me, A LOT.
Tip: check the sign before you walk down the stairs on the subway. In London and here in Amsterdam it's normal that you just walk down and then choose the direction that you need to go to. In New York you can't, so do see if you are going uptown or downtown. It took quite some time before I figured this out haha.

Wi-Fi
You will find lots of Wi-Fi connections in the city. Of course lots of restaurants, museums and tourist attractions do and you can also find Wi-Fi at subway stations which I found really handy when I had to kill some time waiting for the next train. Sephora and Target also have amazing Wi-Fi and I called my sister on FaceTime to show her all the crazy American foods haha. I bought some travel internet too which was hella expensive but so handy in case I needed to have a look at Google Maps or tell the world that Cole 'Jughead' Sprouse walked past me on the street. You know the important stuff.


Neighbourhoods
New York has plenty of different areas that you can explore. Even in Manhattan alone there is so much to see. Greenwich Village aka the The Village is my favourite area because you'll see the typical New York buildings here that you see so much in movies and TV shows. I also love NoHo for their more industrial look and artsy street art. Just walk around each area and see which one you like most. That's also a tip: walk a lot. I probably walked 18km each day but this way you see most of the city instead of sitting in a cab or riding the subway.

New York Culture
Even though New York is a Western city I felt super European when I was there. Just the people and the accent and everything were so funny to see and hear. New Yorkers are super busy most of the time but also super friendly. I was wearing this blue leopard faux fur coat the first time I was there and I kid you not every day at least two people would complement me or ask where it was from. Here in the Netherlands and I think most countries in Europe people don't normally just randomly say they like your coat as you sit down in a restaurant and then go back to their own conversation. So at first I was a bit like, okay why are you all talking to me, but then I thought it was kind of nice. I think European people are just not really good with complements haha.

Solo Travel
As I said before, I travelled solo to the Big Apple. I had actually never travelled outside of Europe before so with that in mind I was a bit nervous at first, but once I was there it was fine. If you are contemplating about going solo to NYC I would highly recommend to just do it. New Yorkers do a lot by themselves. Sitting in Central Park reading a book, eating out or going to the cinema so you will blend in just like that. I know eating out can be a bit tricky since it's such a social thing and 'a table for one' just looks stupid, especially if you are not used to eating alone in public, but in New York no one really cares, so yeah just do it! You also have plenty of take-out food options and New York really is THE city with the most amazing food.


Sightseeing
New York has lots to see and to do. Of course you can go to all the spots individually and pay the price there or get a pass that is a lot cheaper and gives you a few more extra's like easy access. There are a couple of New York passes but I personally recommend the New York CityPASS. With this one you have 9 days to visit them all and with the other passes you pay per day to see everything which I think makes it very expensive in the end. The CityPASS costs $126, which sounds a lot but don't forget that visiting Top of the Rock already costs around $40. With the pass you can visit the following things:
- Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock or Guggenheim Museum
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or one of the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- 9/11 Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The cool thing is that you can also visit the Empire State Building twice on the same day with this card. So you can see it during the day and in the evening (after 8pm). A lot of the attractions have special queues for CityPass holders and I overall really enjoyed my experience with the card. Not sponsored -I wish- but I just really liked it!


Other things that are a must to see when in New York are:
- Times Square (obviously)
- Rockefeller Centre (which is Top of the Rock)
-  Radio City Music Hall
- Lotte New York Palace (for all you Gossip Girl fans)
- MoMa Museum
- Flat Iron Building
- Grand Central Station
- New York Public Library
- Carnegie Hall
- Madison Square Garden
- Columbia University
- Dumbo, Brooklyn
- Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Central Park
- Central Park Zoo
- The Oculus
- 9/11 Memorial + Museum
- Charging Bull
- Wall Street
- One World Observatory
- Monica's apartment (It'll be like you are in Friends)
- Carrie Bradshaw's house (real Sex and the City feels)
- The High Line
- Washington Square Park (even more Friends vibes)
- Little Italy
- Chinatown

Broadway
A must thing to do is visit a Broadway show. At TKTS on Times Square you can buy discounted tickets for shows on the same day. Or you can book them in advance which will cost you a bit more money. I saw the musical Frozen which just opened and it was very expensive, but I wanted to see it so bad that I was like why not. Definitely one of the best shows I've seen!

Sports games
Americans go crazy about their sports teams and you can be a part of that too by going to a Knicks or Rangers game. Depending on the season some sports are not available so just have a look and see what's there. I actually have never been but I would love to see a baseball or ice hockey game.


Food
I could write one big post alone on all the yummy food they have there. I stalk a lot of NYC foodie accounts on Instagram and have collected quite a lot of amazing cafes, coffee shops and restaurants over the last year. I have put them all in a Google Map that you can find here. I downloaded the map offline so even when there was no Wi-Fi I was able to see what was near me, because I kind of plan my day around where I'm going to eat haha.
Here some of my favourite food places that I discovered in New York:
- Big Daddy's, basically Grease in a restaurant. Think booths to sit in, old school tunes, lovely decor and amazing diner foods. I had cookie dough pancakes and they were so good. For burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes they are also the place to be. I went to their location on the Upper West Side.
- Citizens of Chelsea, super hip café located in Chelsea. Perfect for some brunch or quick brekkie to go. I had the waffles and they were so good!
- The Wild Son, probably my favourite breakfast spot from my first trip. Loved the vibe there and the pancakes were the best! It's located near the High Line so perfect to have a walk after.
- The Butcher’s Daughter, super healthy spot in Nolita and the West Village. If you are into vegan and healthy food this is the place to be!
- Jack's Wife Freda, cosy cafe also in Nolita and the West Village. I finally made it there on my last trip and it was totally worth the wait. Their waffles are amazing!
- Ellen's Stardust Diner, I met up with a friend in NYC and we went for dinner here. It's a diner where the staff sings. It's like Glee but then in real life! People queue up for this place like it's free and we had to wait 40 minutes in the pouring rain -with an umbrella luckily-. It's not the kind of restaurant where you can sit for ages, but it's fun to experience it and the staff are really good singers too. I highly recommend eating some mac & cheese here.
- By Chloe, vegan fast food with yummy burgers, sandwiches and salads. I had a burger and sweet potato fries and really enjoyed it.
- Maman, a must for good food and coffee to go. The interior is amazing and this place has to be on the top of your list.
- Egg Shop, amazing for breakfast and located in Nolita.
- The Sosta, lovely pasta place in Nolita. Just down the street from the Butcher's Daughter.
- Bleecker Street Pizza, you'll find pizza everywhere in the city but these guys are famous for a reason. Try the Nonna Maria, it's the best pizza I have ever tasted!
- Bubby's, I went here on my last day when I visited in May and I kid you not, their pancakes are so good! I had the fluffy ones with blueberry and they are the best I have ever tasted. Such a nice classic New York restaurant that you must visit!
- S'MAC, for the best mac & cheese that you will ever have!


- Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, a must if you are a sweet tooth like me. You choose your cupcake swipe your card and ta-da a cupcake appears in front of you!
- Dylan's Candy Bar, True GG fans know Dan and Vanessa bought some candy here on the show and it's honestly one of the best candy shops I've seen. Definitely bought too many sweets here haha.
- Magnolia Bakery, their first bakery in the West Village is so cute and you'll probably recognize it from Sex and the City and other films. Try a red velvet or coconut cupcake. So good!
- DŌ, the first cookie dough café that ever opened and if you love cookie dough you should really go here.
- The Bagel Store, famous for their crazy coloured rainbow bagels. I went to Brooklyn to get one of these babies and it was delicious!
-Supermoon Bakehouse, crazy bakery with green croissants and delicious cronuts. Everything is served in a silver bag or box and it was quite the experience.
- Taiyaki, ice cream in a fish tail shaped cone. I had the unicorn version which was so fun to eat. You'll find this place in Chinatown!
- Milk and Cream Cereal Bar. They mix your favourite cereal with ice cream and create the most amazing soft serve. It was honestly the best ice cream I have ever tasted in my life.
- Milk Bar, speaking of soft serve, this ice cream tastes of the left over milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl. Besides that it also looks too pretty to eat!


- Cha Cha Matcha, if you love matcha this is the place for you. The pink interior is amazing, the drinks are cute and tasty too.
- New Territories, two words: freak shakes. Aka the best and tastiest drinks ever. They also have cute bubble waffles.
- Pietro Nolita, everyone always poses in front of their pink building but it's actually a restaurant too. Or just grab a coffee to go to get one of their infamous 'pink as fuck' coffee cups. I really want one!
- Woops!, a chill café for some macarons and a good latte. Their white interior is a dream for every Instagram addict and they have a lot of locations in the city.


American chain restaurants that you must try if you are not from the USA: IHOP, Shake Shack, The Cheesecake Factory, Five Guys, Wendy's, The Olive Garden, Chipotle and McDonalds (I did just to compare the differences and portion sizes!).

There are also a lot of food markets around the city where you can try the most amazing things. A few of my faves here: Chelsea Market, Broadway Bites, Gansevoort Market, Urban Space and Madison Square Eats.


Shopping
If there is one thing you can do in New York it's shopping. Fifth Avenue is the shopping street with the fancy buildings and big brands but I also love 34th street where you find the biggest Sephora, a huge Target and a big Victoria's Secret. Also keep in mind that American brands are cheaper so go crazy in stores like Adidas, Nike, VS and Dr Martens! A few of my favourites in NYC:

- Glossier, every beauty obsessed girl or boy must have heard of Glossier: the pastel pink brand with the most amazing products. They have a showroom in Nolita where you can try all the products and order them as well. It's one of those shops where you'll just have a look and then you walk out with 4 balm dot coms, just because you needed a new lip balm.
- Target, shopping heaven if you ask me. I always heard of Target in YouTube videos so when I finally entered one I was thinking OMG the entire time. I first went to a location in the Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn which is honestly the biggest store I have seen and later went to their 34st location to stock up on my sweet potato crisps and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups addiction.
- Sephora, before I went to NYC I looked up which store is the biggest in the city and they said 34st street. Indeed it is the biggest Sephora I have seen. So many brands, so much make-up, so much money went down the drain in that shop. Luckily I had myself under control. Kind of.
- CVS, another American drugstore where I had to pop in to have a look. Again bought too many beauty items, but hey that's what holidays are for.
- Ulta Beauty, if you are hungry for more beauty stuff then pop into Ulta Beauty. It's located on the Upper East Side and is full of everything you didn't know you wanted. I spend way too much money in here too.
- Victoria's Secret, personally I'm not a huge VS fan, but I know a lot of people are and I've seen plenty of stores around the city.
- Bath & Body Works, remember when this was such a huge thing back in the day? I personally find the scents a bit too sweet now but it was fun to finally have a look around. They have a store in the Atlantic Terminal Mall.
-  Macy's, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Sak's Fifth Avenue. All department stores that are famous in New York. Just have a look inside and try not to spend too much.
- Anthropologie, my favourite store in London and luckily it's cheaper in the US.
- Fishs Eddy, a fun store with home goodies that I stumbled upon when I was near the Flatiron Building. They have all these mugs and plates with really funny art on them. Definitely have a look!
 Other shops and markets: The Vintage Twin, Sézane, Feng Sway, Around the world, Artists & fleas, Lou & Grey, Century 21.

Can I list 'going to supermarkets in foreign countries' as one of my hobbies? Because it honestly is. I love to walk through all the aisles and browse what they have. Of course I buy way too many goodies too and my suitcase on my last trip was packed full with Cliff Banana & PB bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Oreo's. Here are a few of my favourite supermarkets: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Dean & Deluca and Target (they seriously have everything in that store).

And that is it for my New York guide. The concrete jungle where dreams are made of has a special place in my heart and with more than 3500 words that definitely shows. I can't wait to go back and eat, shop and walk in that amazing city.

Do you have any recommendations for a trip to New York?


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