29 May 2013

Japanese zen in London

London is fantastic but after a hectic day I sometimes long for a little peace and quietness. Looking for a place where there just aren't many people is rather impossible and therefore I now focus on finding a spot where people are quiet. Search results: churches, libraries and museums. I decided to choose the last option and headed to the British museum.

Mummies intrigue me, but this section of the museum is always crowded and I've been there a few times already so I decided to leave that part and focus on the quiet areas. Turns out they have an entire section devoted to the Japanese culture!

From what I've seen of this world, Asia is my favourite continent and Japan is really high on my 'Countries I want to visit Top 196'. There is a lot I admire in both nature and culture of Japan, but their traditions and beliefs are also a mystery to me.
I found the artworks truly mesmerising, and found many connections with modern and Western artworks and trends in interior design and fashion.
The landscape for example reminded me of the bomber jackets you know see everywhere, the colours of the fan (and the combination of off white and wood) can be found in every interior design store and skulls are staring at you from many earrings, necklaces, tshirts and rings.

Asian clothing is also a pretty big thing this spring, with origami-shaped dresses at Christopher Kane and Mugler (second picture from the left) and Kimono-like jackets (Etro, first photo, Prada, third photo and Haider Ackermann). The origami skirt from Zara that every blogger seems to own also has a VIP place in my closet to be honest.

27 May 2013

Thriftshop atmosphere meets Lunchroom in London

In London I always find myself desperately seeking for a
1. Cheap
2. Cosy
3. Easy to find
4. Not overcrowded (particularly scarce)
place to have lunch. So when I do find a place that meets all requirements mentioned above, I can not help myself but to share this with everyone.

When strolling down South Bank with a group of friends we suddenly walked past this odd-looking building that seemed to be something between a restaurant and a thrift shop. The only thing that was missing was the usual inevitable smell of a grandma's closet. That sort of ruined the cosy thrift shop atmosphere but I guess that only adds to your appetite.
My boxed salad was delicious but I had to constantly remember myself to chew instead of gazing around at the props that aroused so much curiosity. There was an electric train moving on the ceiling, a stack of typewriters was right next to me and little clusters of lightbulbs were beautifully arranged through the room. The fries my friends had were nice too but the fish finger sandwich are not a recommendation, I've heard.

This is starting to look like a review so I'll add a list of grades of important factors to consider when choosing a lunch spot.

Clean toilet 8
People smile as they hand you your coffee 7
Comfortable places to sit 9 (a couch!)
Things to keep you entertained when you are bored with the conversation or an awkward silence 10
Temperature 5.5 (I was a tiny bit cold)
Make sure to visit this unique restaurant the next time you're in the neighbourhood! More info here! It also provides a list of all props that are used here. It's nothing too special, for the really famous props I recommend Planet Hollywood (but don't go there to have actual food).

20 May 2013

Like a Bird

There's nothing I find as empowering as being alone in a big city. I was so lucky to go to London for an entire week, and I came back a different person.

The ultimate freedom I experienced when my plane started landing, and I had a clear view on the centre of London from my window. Taking good photos from a plane is actually harder than I thought, because you move so fast! I immediately felt that it was going to be an amazing week, and it certainly was. I was so busy I could barely take pictures, but more on London later!

10 May 2013

Just salt water & sand

Being born near a beach, every visit feels a bit like coming home. It is its tranquility and simplicity that gives you that peaceful feeling. Just sea, sand, dunes and several gulls shrieking and luckily at this time of the year not several thousand other people baking in the sun.

I went to the beach with my friend Annemarijn, who actually inspired me to engage in photography in the first place. The beach was almost empty.

In these photos I wanted to capture the simplicity and serenety of the sea and beach, with its contrasts and beautiful colour scheme.

8 May 2013

Forget me not

There's something so youthful, fresh and most of all innocent about spring. There's also a sense of anticipation, because we all know that the best is yet to come. As I was wandering to the supermarket to get some groceries I couldn't stop myself from gathering different sorts of flowers from the neighbourhood.
Ring - Six
My grandmothers silver 'forget me not'-locket
Teardop ring and square necklace with mint enamel lining - COS
Fine lilac bracelet - COS
Necklace - gift

The pictures from outside were taken in the gardens of Versailles. COS is one of my favourite places to shop for accessoiries. Their jewellery is cheap but so simplistic in an elegant way, I could wear every piece.

The weather is going to be bad the end of this week, so the blossom on the trees will be gone next week. I'm glad I was able to capture the flowers before they start withering... So I will 'forget them not'.

6 May 2013

Rags & Treasures

On the docks of Amsterdam, not that far from the citycentre, lies an abandoned shipyard. With its shattered windows and walls covered in graffiti it is not a place where I would normally spend my sunday morning. But there is an occasion which makes it worth for me to leave my bed really early and travel to this seemingly abandoned place. Every month, the biggest flea market of Europe is held here, and suddenly the wharfs seem a beautiful setting. I'm talking about the 'Ijhallen!'

The prices are low, lower lowest, but you have to search thoroughly to find the really good stuff. You spend most of your time digging through rags, old dusty china and mysterious, unidentified objects (which is actually fun too).
I spent the day here with my boyfriend. He found two amazing old suitcases which are going to be used to make a speakerset in (amazing idea I think).

I found myself two little treasures too! This American Apparel skirt, and Palladium shoes. Both for less than 10% of the original price. 

Amsterdam is definitely a recommendation, and if you're in the neighbourhood, make sure to check out the 'Ijhallen'.

5 May 2013

'Over the top' just got a new meaning

A dream come true: yesterday I visited Versailles for the very first time. The king of palaces, with its 51210 square metres of floor and home of the icon of luxury Marie Antoinette, was something my inner princess always wanted to see... And so did the inner princesses of hundreds of others yesterday.

After a lovely 2 hours of standing in a queue I was finally in. And stood outside six minutes later. What had happened? After (ok, I'll admit: blindly) following the mob I suddenly found myself outside, not having seen the famous 'hall of mirrors' or anything for that matter. Luckily I realised this two seconds after walking out of the building, I turned around and stood facing two big female guards with moody faces. They told me I was not allowed to enter the building again. 'Go back to cue' they told me. Go back to the cue? I had just been there for two hours! After lots of pleading I realised it was useless and left to discover the huge gardens of Versailles. It was pretty, but I felt cheated.

Walking towards the exit after hours of walking through the gardens, I looked melancholically  through a glass door were people were moving slowly towards the next room. And then I realised the door was slightly ajar and I could slip in easily! After walking through dozens of breathtaking rooms I left completely satisfied, feeling a bit like James Bond. Ha!
All rooms had different themes and colour schemes, with perfectly harmonised patterns and decoration. Curtains matching the wallpaper matching the furniture, and of course excessive use of gold everywhere. In the end I am more of a basic & simplistic type, but gosh this was impressive.
Print-on-print (same or different styles) are actually pretty big now this spring. From left to right: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Preen, Erdem, Rochas and Kenzo. (Photos from 'the Cut' app) Funny how a palace from the 17th century can be so trending. I'll definitely be trying out the florals-on-florals I guess, although the excessive use of gold is no my thing (and not my budget).

4 May 2013

Paris in contrasts

Experimenting with my new Nikon camera in Paris. What struck me most on my first day was the contrasts within this city. Extreme wealth and poverty (for a European city), love for the old yet lots of innovation and renovation and I don't even know how to describe the adorable little boy sleeping surrounded by the new Louis Vuitton collection on the Champs Elysees. His mother was cooing over a new handbag for ages and he decided just to take a nap - snoring was audible through the entire room. Just outside that enormous store filled with luxury was this begging woman, a sharp contrast.

More on paris later I think - this city provides lot of material!

2 May 2013

The princess-experience at Ladurée

Just like any other 6-year-old I used to dress up in pink fluffy garments and pretend to be a princess. Or even: believe to be a princess. My parents are very culture-orientated people so every holiday we would visit several castles or 'vintage villas' where visitors are allowed to admire the architecture and interior. Walking around 'gracefully' (very slowly, lifting your skirt a little and bending your knees so that you bob up and down) I loved to imagine that this was actually my house. The small signs saying 'don't walk on the grass' and 'please do not sit down' were easily fantasized away, and the museum guards could serve just as well as servants.

I'm surely not the only girl who spent her days walking with her nose in the air and her skirt slightly lifted above the ground. Maybe that explains the tremendous succes of Parisian pastry shop and tea salon Ladurée. Entering the pink/mint coloured and deliciously smelling paradise really reminded me of my desire to be a princess. But not a real one of course, I don't fancy cutting ribons, I mean the Disney kind.

Ladurée Champs Elysées was bigger than expected with several rooms in different styles, all filled with a very mixed public. To get the full Ladurée experience I ordered several macarons. I don't know whether the magical environment helped, but they were truly delicious. Must say I was a little sad when the bill was paid (even princesses must pay) and I had to leave my little Versailles.