A weekend in Amsterdam

If you’re looking for a gorgeous city break to spend an Autumn weekend, you have to consider Amsterdam. But really, what’s to consider? The food is amazing, the architecture is beyond stunning, the canals and boats are so charming, and did I mention the food? Top tip: don’t miss the freshly made stroopwafel.

We loved walking over Amsterdam’s bridges and admiring the boats and flowers everywhere. Just look at these canals.
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So many of the houses are crooked because of the foundation sinking over the many years since being built. Charming, don’t you think?
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We stayed in Hotel the Exchange, a pretty little hotel with an incredible central location – just a quick walk from the train station, and right across from the canal boat tours.
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All the rooms are designed by recent graduates from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, and we loved the pink touches throughout this room. I brought my Tales of Thread pink pyjamas to match the room, and was quite the happy girl all weekend!

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Love the details on these pyjamas. That tangerine piping! Tales of Thread works with female-owned/managed factories paying above-market wages and provide training for vulnerable women. Ethical fashion is something I really made a priority for 2017, and plan to continue in 2018.

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We packed a lot into two short days (especially with two small children!), which meant a lot of walking and admiring the pretty Amsterdam houses in between eating. I even found a pink house!

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We stumbled upon this adorable floor-to-ceiling pink shop. I wanted one of everything. So I did the only thing that can be done in these situations: walk away slowly and regret not buying just one single item to remember this precious shop. Next time!

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We ate so many frites. So many waffles. So many stroopwafels. I don’t even remember much else, it’s all a haze of sugar and grease. I was SO happy.

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Until next time, Amsterdam! Thanks for treating us so well! And thank you to Hotel the Exchange for having us, it was the loveliest weekend.

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Whimsical afternoon tea at sketch

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I remember the first time I saw a photo of the perfect pink interiors of the sketch gallery room: the most posh and cool pink interiors I’ve ever seen. A few months ago – before they changed the gallery art! – I was lucky enough to have afternoon tea, sitting in those instafamous delightful puffy pink chairs and having the most whimsical and delicious experience.

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A self-playing pink piano welcomed us into the stunning gallery room, where we were quickly seated and introduced to our charming waiter, who introduced us to the menu and the most beautiful tea cart. I chose a hibiscus tea, and pretended like it was normal for me to sit in a pink paradise being completely spoiled. Totally normal.

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The David Shrigley drawings lining the walls broke up the sweetness of the pink and sparked great conversation.

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Moving right along to the other reason we came to sketch: the food!

We started with eggs and soldiers, a classic British treat. But this wasn’t eggs and soldiers like you know them. The egg “white” was actually a rich bechemel sauce with an in-tact egg yolk (HOW?) and cheesy crispy breadsticks were the soldiers. Ok, I was so excited to try this, but before I could start eating it, the Caviar Man came to our table.

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How can I explain the Caviar Man? I wish I’d snapped a better photo of him, but I was too shy! Wearing a straw boaters hat and donning a smart pink suit, he came to our table and convinced me to try my first caviar by explaining the superiority of Italian caviar to its Russian counterparts and how smooth it was. OK, CAVIAR MAN, I’LL DO ANYTHING YOU SAY.

I’m glad I gave it a whirl, I actually liked it! The whole time I was thinking of that scene from You’ve Got Mail where Meg Ryan admonishes Tom Hanks for eating caviar (“It’s a GARNISH!“).

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After our eggs and soldiers and posh Italian caviar, the afternoon tea tier arriiiiived! My favorite, coronation chicken, was on the sandwich tier and rich and beautifully presented desserts filled the top two tiers.

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Just look at these amazing desserts! That chocolate hazelnut cake and strawberry tart were TO DIE FOR, but I was pretty obsessed with the savory tea sandwiches, too. The marshmallow knots on top were so cute, too, and reminded us of a similar looking sculpture in Regents Park.

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Buzzing from the sugar high, our waiter came by again for our second round of tea – this time offering us tea-infused champagne over ice. I opted for the non-alcoholic version, and it was a perfect refresher to prepare us for the next course: scones. Fluffy scones with jam and clotted cream AKA the reason for living. We could hardly move at that point, but managed to eat an entire scone and even considered asking for a refresh (everything is refillable!).

Don’t you love the crockery at sketch? I need to save up my pennies for a piece or two!

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We obviously had to pop over to the ogle the famous spaceship loos and take our photos, because if you don’t get a photo of the sketch loo pod, did you even go? I snapped a sneaky photo of this girl and her amazing pink hair and consider it a missed opportunity I didn’t introduce myself to my potentially new best friend. Pink lovers have to stick together in this world, after all!

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Did you know the sketch gallery room hasn’t always been pink? Every few years, the gallery changes and hires a new artist and chef to design the concept for the interiors and menu, down to the clothing the staff wears. Look here for past gallery designs. So what I’m saying, is GO NOW before they change the pink interiors!

sketch has perfected the art of creating a whimsical immersive experience, and I was so impressed with the service and all the endless food. Everything was perfect and delightful. Thank you sketch for the unforgettable afternoon!

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A food-lovers guide to Londons most colorful streets

I can’t be the only one who plans my days around food, can I? I put this little guide together of London’s most famous colorful streets and my favorite bakeries and cafes to pop in when I’m in the neighborhood. Because you really need a reward for all that walking and photographing, right? If you have a favorite cafe, please pop it in the comments!

 

PORTOBELLO ROAD, NOTTING HILL

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The famous Portobello Road, basically every color-lovers dream!

EAT: Farm Girl, Fabrique, The Dayrooms Cafe, Gails

 

HILLGATE PLACE, NOTTING HILL

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The lesser known colorful houses on Hillgate and surrounding streets are a nice break from the crowds of Portobello Road, and home of my favorite brunch spot.

EAT: Eggbreak, Patty & Bun, Farina Pizza

BYWATER STREET, CHELSEA

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If you’ve been on instagram, you’ve probably seen this street! That bright pink house makes me smile every time I see it.

EAT: Amorino, Bread Ahead, Granger & Co.

CHALCOT CRESCENT, PRIMROSE HILL

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Another insta-famous curved street with pastel houses, featured in the cute movie, Paddington. Nearby Chalcot Square is equally colorful with a lovely little green space my kids adore.

EAT: Cowshed, Morgan & Melrose, Primrose Cupcakes

 

Afternoon tea at Dandelyan

Can you dream up a perfect afternoon tea with endless cakes, sandwiches, and special drinks, while you overlook St. Pauls and the River Thames? Well, you don’t need to because The Mondrian’s Wyld Tea at Dandelyan already did it for you.IMG_0069

My friend and I sat for a blissful afternoon tea one icy wintry day, and I couldn’t believe the thought that went into every detail. The interiors were obviously stunning and so unique. The green and pink so on trend! I adore the bubbly pink sofas!

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The Wyld tea was incredible. It’s a total retro throwback with a 70’s inspired menu, with no less than four specially designed floral-inspired cocktails/mocktails to accompany your tea throughout the course. I chose a bright Zest Tea – a nice complement to the sweets and the other drinks. The savories: a mix of traditional finger sandwiches and more daring fare like leek and goat’s cheese rarebit and chicken confit and bacon jam pinwheel.

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My favorite drink – something with lime and basil – had a toasted marshmallow on top and if the pink and green interiors hadn’t already won me over, well that just did the trick!

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The cakes were tiny and adorable and delicious. I loved the pine scented baked alaska. Though, the real star of the show was the nutmeg custard tart. So much butter and caramel in one small package, I was already dreaming of returning for another one halfway through. And even though everything is so small, I can somehow never make it through an entire afternoon tea. Maybe a lofty goal worth setting for 2018, do you think?

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Thank you for the lovely Wyld Tea, Dandelyan, I can’t wait to come again. Definitely one of my favorite afternoon teas I’ve had! If you’d like to book, here’s a link. Really though, trust me on the nutmeg custard tart, it’s a must!

The top 8 pink doors of London

I have a well documented instagram gallery showing London’s love affair with the color pink, but I have some favorites to share with you! These are definitely worth finding if you happen to be a pink-obsessed London lover, like myself, or if you are a responsible instagrammer/blogger during the age of millennial pink.

Door no. 36, Marylebone

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This Marylebone door has a killer combo of the perfect shade of pink and black & white tiles, but I think what makes this door special is the whimsical house numbers!

The LOVE door, Oakley Street, Chelsea

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Of course I couldn’t write this list without the famous pink LOVE door! It took me years to find this door, and now that it’s on my map I love to walk past it whenever I’m in the neighborhood.

The garden door, Notting Hill

Pink door

Ok, this door is a bit of a wild card! It’s not what you think of when you think of gorgeous perfect London houses, but what can I say – I think the imperfections make this door so beautiful!

Door no. 24 1/2, Chelsea

Chelsea 24 1:2

This prim and proper 24 1/2 stole my heart from the moment I saw it a friend’s instagram feed. Worth combing the streets of Chelsea for this stunning door!

The Cheeky Pink door, Holland Park

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This door belongs to the lovely Emma Hill, the genius behind those cool Hill & Friends bag that I’m saving my pennies for. I love that she just slapped some huge googly eyes on her door in a super posh neighborhood, humor I can appreciate!

The Wisteria-laden Pink door, Notting Hill Gate

Pink wisteria Notting Hill

The wisteria you see here is about 5% of the HUGE wisteria vine that covers this whole house. It is a site to see, and you can smell the sweet scent before you even see it. You can also see the line of photographers before you actually see the door, but it’s worth it if you can catch the door during peak wisteria season (typically April/May).

The Pink door and railing to match, Notting Hill

Notting Hill pink door and railing

I adore this house (which is also covered by a huge wisteria vine!) and also had a brief awkward encounter with the homeowner. He saw me attempting a photo and then sheepishly hiding my camera, and he laughed and waved at me from his window. CAUGHT RED HANDED.

The Pink Jasmine door, Holland Park

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Perfect shade of pink and covered in jasmine – definitely one of the prettiest pink doors around!

Happy pink door hunting! These are just my favorites, but have a look at my instagram feed if you’d like to see (many) more!