Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The 10 Most Instagrammable Houses in London

During my visits in London I have stumbled upon a lot of pretty houses. Notting Hill is a goldmine for finding pastel gems on every street, but the rest of London is not too shabby either. Today I am sharing my top 10 of most Instagrammable houses in London. Some are a no brainer and others may be the houses that you always see on Instagram, but could never find yourself. 

1. Trevor Square
This pink house on number 14 is what I would describe as my dream house. Not that I can afford it, but I can dream right? It's really close to Harrods, so easy to find and whenever you are in London this is the house to snap!

2. St. Lukes Mews
This street is full for pretty houses. The most famous one is the pastel pink house -hello house from 'Love Actually'- and I have photographed that babe a million times. The entire mew is lovely though so this will definitely up your #prettylittlelondon Instagram game.

3. Liberty London
A bit obvious, but still one of the prettiest buildings in London. Every time I'm in London I have to take a snap of the flower shop. The way they display their flowers is amazing and it's a classic for me.

4. Regent Street
Since I am near Liberty I always take a quick snap of Regent Street too. I love it when the Christmas lights are on. It makes the street look really cosy and festive!

5. Wild at Heart
Technically this is not a house, but this flower shop is so insta famous that I had to include it. Wild at Heart by Nikki Tibbles has a few flowers shops around London, but the Notting Hill shop is the one you will probably recognize from the gram. The green tiles are a perfect combo for the colourful flowers. Keep in mind that they are closed on Sunday, that will save you a trip to a closed flower shop. - Yes this happened to me-.

6. Pottery Lane
I always saw this curved pink house on Instagram and could never figure out on which street it was, well it's on Pottery Lane! A short walk from Portobello Road market and you will find this hidden gem. Unfortunately for me there was construction work going on, but I will definitely come back to take a better photo. 

7. Warren Mews
The all black flowery building of dreams. Close to Regent's Park and easy to find. Some people blocked the view though, but I was lucky enough to take a snap with no people in it!

8. Primrose Hill
The hill alone allows you to have an amazing view across London and the streets in Primrose Hill are so pastel and pretty. I like how it's not as busy as Notting Hill and has a homely feel to it. The best place for a Sunday brunch or coffee and cupcake break.

9. Hyde Park Mews
I discovered this mew on my recent trip and was very happy I did.  If you didn't know it existed you would probably walk right by it, but thanks to Google Maps I knew exactly where to turn right. Again this mew is full of pretty houses, so make sure you have enough space on your phone to take photos!

10. Chance Street
Shoreditch is amazing by itself with the trendy shops and cafes, but the graffiti art is also on point in this neighbourhood. Chance Street has a couple of walls full with great designs. Great for photos and artsy look books.

Some of my other faves...
I would also advise to follow a couple of London related Instagram accounts to see what is hot. Usually they are the first ones to post about pretty new streets and flowery buildings. My favourites are:
@prettylittlelondon                           @prettycitylondon
@freckledlondoner                            @angelacoomey

Other places I recommend for perfect Instagram snaps are the Maddox Gallery. They have gorgeous flowers on the outside of their gallery and it's the most amazing thing I've seen. Peggy Porschen Cakes is also known for their flowers and pink ensemble, so I would highly recommend eating a cake -or two- here. I went in the morning to escape the afternoon tea crowds and there were not a lot of people there. Perfect for an Instagram shoot. 

These are all my recommendations for and Insta worthy London trip. Of course there are many other places so I will keep this post updated where I can, or maybe create a take two once I have found 10 more houses? That should not take long with London being as pretty as always.

What is your favourite pretty house/street in London?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Amsterdam Food Hotspot: Benji's

Move over Bar Botanique, because there is a new urban jungle in town. And with that I mean they have lots of plants and the prettiest interior ever, not a humid rain forest with exotic animals, because chances are you will find that at the Artis Amsterdam Zoo and not at Benji's which is the newest hotspot discovery of mine.

Benji's is located at the Wibautstraat, near The Breakfast Club and Volkshotel. It's very loved by locals and people who love that healthy brunch. I also find it's a good laptop club café. Perfect for working and studying in a different environment than your own home. There are enough places to sit down, including a huge couch with fluffy cushions. The overload on plants is amazing too and the staff is very friendly. 

I am a huge sweet tooth so when I saw they had red velvet pancakes on the menu is was like HELL YES! They have lots of savoury items too, but I only had eyes for my pancakes. The friend that I was with ordered a goat cheese and fig sandwich which looked amazing too. Now my pancakes were really tasty, the only thing that was wrong was that they were tiny. When I order 11 euro pancakes I expect something like The Breakfast Club in the UK, but this was not it. I understand that it's healthy and stuff but a bigger portion won’t hurt anyone. We also ordered banana bread to share, but I basically demolished that since I didn't get a lot. The thing my friend ordered was really good though, so I guess I just ordered the wrong item on the menu.

Benji's is an amazing place when you have a healthy appetite, are obsessed with plants and love a good Instagram photo. Just don't order the red velvet pancakes haha. 

What do you always order for brunch?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Trip to Barcelona October 2017

Oh Barcelona. How I've missed you. I was only fifteen years old when I first visited Barcelona on a school trip. I don't remember much, but the vague memories of the sun and pretty buildings stayed with me. Eight years later I thought it was time to make a return to this amazing city and I already miss those gorgeous streets and the sunny beach.

The trip started on Tuesday, last week. My friend and I were waiting at the airport in Amsterdam when our 8AM flight got delayed and later got cancelled. We were moved to the 5PM flight which was good because we were still flying to Barcelona but it also sucked since we lost an entire day of exploring. Our new flight also ended up being delayed so when we finally arrived in Barcelona all I could think about was a nice shower and a comfy bed. Our hotel was very close to Plaça de Catalunya so we were there in no-time. Since I was up since 4AM that morning I fell asleep right away.

The next morning I woke up all happy, because well, I was in freaking Barcelona. We started the day by eating breakfast at Trópico. It's the cutest cafe near Las Ramblas. Especially the entrance looks like it's coming right out of your tropical dreams. We both ordered the pancakes which were delicious and I had the most amazing looking smoothie that made my day even better.

With our full tummies we walked past some shops and couldn't resist having a peek inside. They also had a slide in Sephora which made us feel like five year olds. We even went on it twice! After some shopping we walked all the way to the Sagrada Familia. That building is just as pretty as I remembered it. We stayed there for a bit and then took the metro to Flax & Kale, a healthy restaurant that I have seen all over Instagram. It was bigger and more spacious than I expected it to be, but I still loved the vibe. I had some yummy vegan ravioli and carrot cake for dessert. After this late lunch/early dinner and a photo session in their bathroom -you have to do that when you're there, it's so pretty- we went shopping, again. I bought glitter pants from Mango that look so snazzy and fit like a pair of joggers. Safe to say these are going to be my airplane pants for all my upcoming trips. We also picked up a few bits and bobs to snack on and headed back to the hotel for some Netflix and sushi. Do you know that they have Friends on Netflix in Spain? It was the most fun I've had on a flight in a long time.

The following day we ate a chocolate croissant at the hotel and started our day bright and early at Parc Güell. We wanted to be at the park before all the crowds and we kind of made that happen. By the time we left more people came so we were right on time. We then took the bus to Bunkers del Carmel. From there you have the most amazing view across Barcelona and I loved sitting in the sun and looking at the city beneath me.
Then it was time to eat brunch at the oh so famous Brunch and Cake. We went to their location by the sea and we only had to wait for about fifteen minutes. I went for banana and blueberry pancakes - what a shock- and they were the best thing I've ever tasted. It was more banana cake covered in blueberry sauce which is all good by me. After that fabulous ensemble we headed back to the hotel for a quick beach change. I also had a hole in my floral trousers which I discovered at Brunch and Cake, so I was happy to put on a different outfit.

 Since it was time for more food we ate an ice cream at Eyescream and Friends. I love that place so much. It looks like a furry friend but instead it's mango ice cream with eyes and gummy bears and Oreo crumbles. We then planted our buts on the beach and I loved how the sand felt between my toes. There was a Spanish band playing music in the background and at that moment I felt really happy and relaxed. I mean, who doesn't get happy when it's sunny and you are looking at the ocean? To make it even better we ate some nachos and sipped a cool drink right by the beach. We ended the day in a traditional Spanish foodie way, meaning that we ate very late, and had tacos at this cute taco bar across the street from our hotel. It was nice to end our last official day with a food coma.

On our final day we checked out of our hotel and headed back to the beach. There is this café called LuLu that was on our list and I was not disappointed. Smoothie bowls and matcha lattes? Heck yeah that I will be having breakfast there! We sat down underneath the morning sunshine and peacefully ate our last breakfast in Barcelona. From LuLu we walked to Palau de la Musica Catalana, an old concert hall that is full of pretty mosaics and sculptures. I had the most amazing time looking at all the art that the Palau had to offer. I did a guided tour which ended up being around 50 minutes. Also don't forget your student card if you have one, because it can really safe you some money.

After the art it was time for more food. We headed to La Boqueria, one of the biggest food markets in Barcelona. It's very popular among tourists and by the time we wanted to enter the market it was jam-packed. I don't really like crowded places like that, so after a few looks at the fresh fruit, ice cream and candy we headed to Starbucks for an iced chai latte. Since that wasn't enough we also went to Chök, and omg what a heavenly place is that. We went to their café near Las Ramblas and their window display already made me hungry. Donuts, cronuts, cruffins, brownies, chocolates; you can get everything there. I went for a simple pistachio doughnut, which was fluffy and delicious and whilst eating we walked back to Flax & Kale for a healthy juice. I went for a green juice, but they had so many juices that it was hard to make a decision. We also bought an ice cream at Amorino. I've always wanted an ice cream in the shape of a rose and now I finally got one. Sadly, this was the last thing we did because it was time to head back to the hotel, grab our suitcases and go to the airport. 

The post-holiday blues is very real. Even when I was still in Barcelona I felt sad because I knew that I wouldn't see this city for a while. I loved the sunny weather, the culture, the art, the beach and last but not least the food. Barcelona definitely has a special place in my heart and I can't wait to go back.

Have you ever been to Barcelona? What is your favourite part of the city?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pixi Beauty + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

Pixi Beauty always has a special place in my heart. Their Glow Tonic is worth all the hype and I have been repurchasing this wonderful product for about five years. At the beginning of this year I popped into the Pixi Store at Carnaby Street, London to pick up yet another bottle of Glow Tonic when I saw this product. I had actually heard a bit about a product created by skincare goddess Caroline Hirons in collaboration with Pixi: The Double Cleanse. Since she does know a thing or two about good skincare and I can never say no to a cleansing balm I picked it up. 

This all took place at the beginning of this year and you are probable wondering why it would take me so long to try it out. Well, I was finishing up my bottle of the Una Brennan Cleansing Oil and I am quite scared of trying new skincare products. Especially cleansing balms and oils, since I have had a few bad reactions to these kinds of products in the past. After one use I already knew that there was nothing to be afraid of, because well, this product is the dreamiest thing ever.

The Double Cleanse is a 2-in-1 cleaner with a solid cleanser on one end and a cleansing cream on the other. I am a huge fan of double cleansing and I think this product absolutely nails it. First, the cleansing oil removes oil, dirt, make-up and sunscreen. It's full of vitamin E, camellia oil and evening primrose oil to heal, protect and nourish the skin. The cleansing cream cleanses and conditions the skin to prep it for the rest of your skincare routine. They added Vitamin C to the luxe cleansing cream, which I think makes it even better. It's also fragrance and paraben free and not tested on animals.

I like to use a pea size of both cleansers and massage them on my face for about 30 seconds. I take the cleansing balm off with a cloth and some warm water and the same goes for the cleansing cream. After, my skin feels so radiant, soft and healthy. I also feel like my skin is smoother and less prone to acne.

Now there are some cons. Personally, I don't like the fact that it's in a jar. I love cleansers in a tube, because it's much easier and hygienic. Now I scoop out the cleaners with a cotton bud to keep my germs away from the product as best as I can. It's also on the pricier side (£24), but I can totally justify that now that I know how amazing my skin looks after using it.

If you are a cleansing balm hoarder then I would definitely recommend this product (also if you are not skincare obsessed you will love it). I think the two products work so well together to make the skin plump, glowy and healthy. One jar will probably last for about three to four months, which is reasonable as well. Hopefully Pixi will bring out a travel size, because it has to come on holiday with me. Think about how cute a tiny Double Cleanse would be!

Have you tried the Double Cleanse from Pixi Beauty already? What are your thoughts on this product?

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Amsterdam Food Hotspot: Lavinia Good Food

All I think about is discovering new cafés in foreign cities. When I go on holiday I always track down Instagram to see what is hot and what is not. With all this going on I kind of forget that Amsterdam, the city that is right around the corner, also has many exciting food spots. Including my newest discovery: Lavinia Good Food.

Now this café has been on my list for ages. I have the tendency to go to the same places, check my top 5 brunch spots in Amsterdam for that, and when I was going to meet up with one of my friends we decided that new must be better, so instead of popping into Metropolitain -my favourite brunch place- we sat down on the comfy couch at Lavinia. They have two spots in Amsterdam and I went to the café on the Kerkstraat, which is close to all the shopping streets and the flower market. 
I love the atmosphere at Lavinia. It's very chill, homey and perfect for catching up with friends or working on your uni work. It's a healthy café, so perfect for everyone's dietary requirements. 
Cactus plants and art work decorates the walls and right in the middle you find a huge table full of yummy cakes and cookies. There were a few empty tables, but the couch was empty too, and I think a couch is the most amazing spot for catching up and drinking tea. 
We both ordered a smoothie bowl and a slice of cake. I went for the banana cake and my friend picked a vegan brownie. Everything was really delicious and instagrammable. We got the food quick too, which is a bonus for me. Especially when I'm in a hangry mood I want to dig in as fast as possible. Since it is healthy and stuff some items on the menu are a bit overpriced, but that’s just the charm of eating vegan and gluten-free I guess. 

Would I recommend this place? Yes! I think it's very cute, they have a good range of healthy foods and their couch is super comfy. Want to read more about hotspots in Amsterdam? Click here!

Have you ever been to Lavinia Good Food?

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