i first found F F O R E S T on instagram – i think via e r n e s t j o u r n a l – and initially i thought it was just this wonderful shop for adventuring people selling beautiful welsh wool blankets & pen knives & socks & all of these perfect pieces to fill your fjallraven kanken backpack..
but on visiting the website i realised that this was much much more. and i’ve been in awe ever since…
F F O R E S T is a farm, in wales, run by a most inspiring family, who wanted to create a space for people to enjoy the simple things in life – outdoors, adventure, food & company. i can’t even begin to explain this place – there are so many spaces, different accommodations, places to share food, adventures to go on, paths to walk, workshops to try, land to explore, creative gatherings to attend, beautiful things to buy …. the website is a wonderful place, their story inspiring & the concept a real beautiful thing.
s l o w + s i m p l e l i v i n g // that’s the dream.
wednesday : my diary says here long lie & sausage dog breakfast. i do not know what that means so i’ll skip to late morning & ALBERT CUYPSTRAAT MARKET. 100 years old (so i read) & the largest street market in the netherlands. fruit & veg, fresh squeezed juice, rotisserie chicken, tacky clothes & home wares, phone cases, cheap shampoo & a wee man on a stool playing the harmonica terribly, smack bang in the middle of it all. go here for a wander & to buy a dirty dutch retro comic book.
again, this is right in the middle of DE PIJP & just off the street-of-many-a-cool-place as mentioned in part one, eerste van der helststraat. such as…. FLAMINGO – a tiny bar with good beer & good style. go.
next … MASH – on gerard douplein, just across the road. with the best exterior – all white tile – and an interior made completely of plywood – this super tiny bar was some serious hipster-cool shit. with more good beer & a bar snack menu of small plates – which they buy from next door to order – more B I T T E R B A L L S+B E E R. yes.
dinner was at PIZZAKAMMER – on tweede van der helststraat – just up the street. not somewhere on our to go list – but we were hungry & happy to just cross the street on a bar mans recommendation. we walked in and sat right down only to realise that they weren’t open yet and the staff were all having dinner. but – no they didn’t mind. ever accommodating & merry are the dutch hospitality crowd. brilliant pizza and yes, more good beer.
thursday : the morning of OMLEGG. we were desperate to try this place. and it happened to be a 5 minute walk away from our airbnb. a g a i n ! this little cafe serves omelettes. all the omelettes. every omelette. sweary good omelettes. again with an open kitchen & all wood furnishings – decked out in greenery & plants, OMLEGG – on – ferdinand bolstraat – is the best. please go. they are nailing eggs. & it will cure your hangover.
we had planned our last days meals carefully – all our top picks. a full day of eating & drinking only. for lunch we took a tram across the city to DE FOODHALLEN. (head west on tram 17 to ten katestraat). a huge indoor food market inside an old tram warehouse. this place was a m a z i n g . with almost too many street food vendors to choose from & 2 bars in the middle to drink from – you could spend a whole afternoon here eating small dishes, drinking and wandering around. we tried VIET VIEW – super delicious pork belly summer rolls – more bitter balls from DE BALLEN BAR (shrimp, veal & beef – all amazing) – & pies from WILD MOA PIES.
there is n o t h i n g like this in scotland and it is an absolute must-go if you are in amsterdam and like your food. a brilliant brilliant place.
we also bought a box of cakes & tarts from THE LITTLE PATISSERIE which we took to meet pals back in the centre at THE DAMS SMALLEST PUB – go here just to go, and be careful on the worlds narrowest steepest stairs to a toilet.
for our last night, i had picked the restaurant. i had been desperate to try this place. and it turned out to be, again, not far from our airbnb – DE CRAZY KREEFT. you’ll find this place on ferdinand bolstraat. you’ll look at the cartoon branding on the menu , & website, and you’ll maybe think nah, doesn’t look great. john did the same. but i was adamant. and you are all wrong. this place was the shit. a pop up LOBSTER RESTAURANT. serving genuinely delicious & a f f o r d a b l e lobster. cool decor, lovely staff, great menu, amazing food. go. go go go.
friday : we had sore heads & soggy clothes. and the sun was out. typical. but fine. whatever. amsterdam is obviously great whatever the weather.
we went to an amazing new spaceC T COFFEE + COCONUTS – on ceintuurbaan – built within an old 1920s cinema house called Ceintuur Theater – various floors of perfectly styled seating areas, art & plants. i loved it. so hard. and the coffee was perfect. (read a bit more & see inside over on petite passport)
back to DE WASSERETTE for our last breakfast – then a tram into the centre for a walk around dam square & the canal before our flight home.
there are a huge number of places that we didn’t get a chance to try on this trip. and i hate that we don’t have more photos! it’s so unlike me, but due to the weather – we just didn’t take our camera out. n e x t t i m e !
amsterdam is a really buzzing, forward thinking city – creative people doing some brilliant things, new shops & concept stores opening all the time, & the restaurant/bar industry doesn’t seem to be having any trouble whatsoever. people are out socialising all the time it seemed – and those places doing what they do well, looked to be busy every day. we were there mid-january, the weather was utter crap, most of the tourists seemed to be kicking about the city centre, and yet everywhere we went had a great atmosphere & a crowd. be it a tuesday morning or a wednesday night. very inspiring.
we will definitely go back. we have a list of places to try that we missed – (LE COQ, LOT SIXTY ONE COFFEE&, DE PLANTAGE to name a tiny few) – an airbnb apartment which we would definitely stay in again, & now know that easyjet do some super cheap flights (ours cost £50 each all in) – whats not to go back for!
GO TO A M S T E R D A M ! – c x
*i like to have some places in mind to try before we go to a city – places to eat mostly – walking around you can stumble on some amazing places – but we don’t like to miss out so i used these 2 BRILLIANT blogs to get some ideas beforehand – PETITE PASSPORT
+ YOUR LITTLE BLACK BOOK
both travel & city guides absolutely f u l l of info, cool spaces & new spots to check out. big thanks to you ladies for the tips!
GORMAN. an australian label, famous for it’s bold signature prints – think huge lobsters on polka dots – & distinctive colour palettes. inspired by local artists & culture – GORMAN is a pretty iconic fashion & lifestyle label over there .. a n d .. they also happen to offer E X T R E M E L Y A F F O R D A B L E international shipping!
i did a little dance.
again with the pals of pals**. i’ve had this name on my w a n t l i s t ever since i was introduced to her work by who i am now going to call our ‘official contributing photographer & sausage lady’ – caro weiss – last year. meet glasgow based jewellery designer & maker :
working in various materials – silver, resin, enamel, limited edition fabrics – & with an eye for shape & form .. cecilia uses her skills & love of colour to design & make irregular pieces which are both simple & super wearable yet bold, memorable and unique.
cecilia handmakes all of her pieces to order, and by commission, so if you would like one of her designs in a certain colour or combination – get in touch herefor more info.
have a look on her website for more designs, shop some pieces on etsy& follow on facebookfor
behind the scenes stuff/sneaks at new colours & designs.
i l o v e the geo block / wood necklace above .. but what colour combo?! mint & grey ? grey & yellow? c a n t . c h o o s e . perfect pastels & bold blacks & navys. or peach even. turquoise? guuh. so good.
– c x
** there really are so many cool cats kicking about glasgow being creative and amazing. i feel lucky to live in this city with these talented people.
i am absolutely certain that the more beautiful paper goods and office supplies i have, the more organised efficient and amazing i will become. a work space perfectly styled with pastels & wood & beautiful brass organising utensils is one of pure motivation & power …. if you think this to be true too then be warned, you are about to spend all of your monies in this shop…
taking inspiration from old school days – present&correct sell, both newly designed & vintage, office sundries & ephemera. from clips & stencils, clocks & filing trays, to paper goods and retro educational kids books, stamps & tape. carefully curating a stock of perfectly designed, practical & b e a u t i f u l objects for your desk & home.
the styling on the website, in store & on instagram makes for some serious pinning. (& arguments justifying your desperate need for a collection of old paperclips, graph paper & protractors)
read this inspiring interview with founder neal whittington, who began selling online from his spare room before opening his london store.
P L U S L O O K A T T H E S E C L O C K S
happy office shopping – c x
finally getting round to sharing our favourite places & spaces in amsterdam. the city we fell head over beers for at the start of the year. staying in an amazing airbnb apartment, in the coolest area, de pijp, for a mon-fri holiday. i would go back r i g h t n o w .
the airport was the first thing i loved in amsterdam. then soon after, the architecture. as soon as you walk out of central station you see just how beautiful a city it is. the centre is great – we spent hours walking around over the few days we were there – down as many streets as possible .. and into as many pubs.. it was pissing rain so half hour pit stops were absolutely necessary on every corner – bad weather is s u c h a great excuse for being drunk on holiday.. during the day..
monday : we arrived afternoon time – chatted to some lovely folk about how to use the trams & headed out to our airbnb – which turned out to be less than 10mins away .. and in the B E S T area ..
perfect mix of quiet streets & busy corners – all of the shops, pubs & restaurants we had on our list turned out to be 5 – 10 mins walk from our apartment.
so we went for a beer, chatted to bar person Kitty about the whats & wheres over a strong pint, took a wander and over our 2nd beer, decided we want to live in amsterdam. the city swept us off our drunken feet within a few hours.
dinner that night was at CAFE PAR HASARD – on Ceinturbann – home to the B E S T B I T T E R B A L L E N we have ever tried and the cutest, friendliest, most helpful waitress called Barbara. who i’m going to go and give some big love to on trip advisor. this restaurant is found within the newly established friterie – FRITES UIT ZUYD. super cool chippy – just walk through to find the restaurant. i definitely recommend an early dinner here one night.
in the city centre we stopped in at 2 very old school beery pubs – CAFE DE STER, on martelaarsgracht, which was busy & brilliant & just 5 mins from central station – & CAFE MOOY. where we ended up staying all night – something to do with the amazing bar lady, Joke, & the gift of dropshot (a strong salty liquorice flavoured shot) from the kind older gents at the bar.. it was pretty vile & we got pretty drunk. right in the city centre, next to hotel inntel, where our friends were staying, this little pub claimed to be the oldest in amsterdam & was warm, friendly, traditional & an absolute hoot. Joke (pronounced yoker .. ?) taught us the various glass sizes to order our beers in Dutch & even danced with the husband when he became overly merry.
pay a visit.
tuesday : we were hungover. so we walked. & walked. DE PIJP is perfect. stylish & laid-back – bars, restaurants, cafes & concept stores on every corner, down every street. & all those fecking beautiful buildings.
we had breakfast in YOGURT BARN – on eerste van der helstraat – every style of yogurt, with every topping you would ever want & house blend teas, which you pick and scoop yourself. i had some crazy strawberry vanilla smokey fandango which i doubt i will ever find or enjoy as much again. super friendly staff – which by then we had worked out was standard in amsterdam – and a comfy space to spend a morning, all cushions & concrete & wood.
next door is COTTONCAKE – a beautiful beautiful cafe & shop with an ever changing stock of quality clothes, handmade jewellery & up and coming art. a bright, white space, styled & curated perfectly. (read a bit more about cottoncake here – super helpful city blog!)
on albert cuypstraat, we found CIRCLE OF TRUST – a concept store which after starting as a jeans brand now sells a whole range of items appealing to a general sense of lifestyle – from fashion, to beauty, homewares & paper goods . a beautiful, super cool space which i was desperate to instagram the shit out of. & spend all my monies…
& on gerard doustraat – ALL THE LUCK IN THE WORLD – a shop filled with home wares & gifts – from furniture to jewellery – all styled so perfectly i wanted to work there. & again spend all my monies… another one of my favourite concept store finds in a city of many.
DE WASSERETTEfor brunch – on eerste van der helststraat. quite possibly our favourite cafe of all time now & so far. perfect breakfast/lunch menu, amazing coffee, very cool space, laid-back, efficient staff, open kitchen & a busyness you only get from being good at what you do. always packed (we walked past this place a lot as so close to our airbnb) this place had v i b e s. & fecking good eggs.
back into the city – walk & explore. eat a febo. stop for a beer. walk. stop. beer. febo. etc. it was still pissing down so all the beers & vending machine croquettes were necessary.
across the pavement from where we spent the previous night – on kolksteeg – is IN DE WILDEMAN. a unique &, what we took to be, authentic beer tasting bar. with literally h u n d r e d s of beers & the most friendly & knowledgable bar staff you could find. the service over there puts us to shame in the uk. ( the main man remembered john from the night before when he apparently grabbed him outside the pub for a song – and this guy didn’t even mind! ?!?) i couldn’t choose a beer, so i told them what i liked and they choose me some crazy dark & beautiful thing which will be forever in my memory. definitely pay this place a visit. it is absolutely rammed at night & we could see why.
that night we strolled the red light district, i saw my first rubber vagina, & we ate in a tiny Tibetan restaurant which i cannot remember the name of but would recommend if i could.
stopped in for a beer at the SAILOR BAR – another traditional & super busy little place on the canal which i would definitely go back to just for the atmosphere – before we found our stay place of the night – CAFE CUBA , on nieuwmarkt. c o c k t a i l s. just try the cocktails.
look out for part 2 of my amsterdam city guide later in the week!
i could go on about this place for way too long … – c x
**to get to DE PIJP from the centre takes under 10mins on the tram. take a 4,16 or 24.
if you choose not to stay there – definitely go for a visit at least!
i’m still on that simple living kick. although i’ve not really kicked yet. but i’ve made lots of plans to.
t o d a y // c l o s e t c l e a r i n g
i want to start a 5 piece french wardrobe, inspired by this blog post by after drk. i love the idea of buying/keeping the essentials and building from there. starting afresh. buying 5 items per season that i really really love. & will work with all of my wardrobe basics. it seems like a bit of an ideal and i’m pretty sure i’m not going to be very good at it. however, a goal to work towards is never a bad thing – regardless of success. trying is better than doing nothing. and if i can simplify my home & shopping habits with an even s l i g h t l y smaller wardrobe, i’ll be happy. so here goes. today we declutter. (again)
forever buying urban outfitters rugs. can’t stop. there’s always new ones. they’re always cool. and they are S O A F F O R D A B L E. i’m aware i’ve said that word at least twice now on this young blog – but i like to shop more than ever before so it’s a very important word.
Y E S . they are back. and about time. F L A R E S . my favourite style of jean since i was a kiddo. don’t get me wrong – a pair of black skinnies are on the e s s e n t i a l s list. they are a basic, a staple, a dress up, dress down, must have, yes, and i’ve been wearing them 5 days a week for a long time now. but for too long the skinny has covered the store floors next to the odd mum-jean or super-soft-SUPER-skinny – & i am so happy to see the flare making a comeback. i’m now pulling out my old & worn out, billowy-from-the-knee denims after deciding they are definitely NOT too scruffy just yet & – with great pleasure – shopping for a brand new pair too :
i’ve not decided which pair to buy just yet ( a l l o f t h e m . . ) but i’m fair looking forward to going for a try on & spending the monies. i love spending those monies.
which definitely fits in with my hootenanny resolution of creating a french style 5-piece capsule wardrobe…… jeans are always an essential right?