I can’t quiet remember how I ended up finding this place but finding it made me and my friend really happy. This English country house style hotel right on the beach in Studland is just perfect for a quick get away from busy London. It’s a rough 3 hour drive from west London.
Imagine a beautiful villa with 23 cozy rooms, a stunning view over sea, a beautifully kept garden where they keep bees and grow vegetables etc that they serve in their AMAZING restaurant that is located in their greenhouse and has this amazing light shining in. I loved the interior style; very UK countryside! Reminded me a bit of the Soho House Group. A lot of wood, comfortable armchairs and sofa’s and little corners to relax and drink tea (or something stronger than that), a beautiful cozy lounge with a big fireplace, boardgames up for grasp, a treatment caravan outside that has been transformed into this wood panelled cozy room etc. The staff is super friendly and really care about making your stay memorable. On top of all of this you can go on beautiful long walks in the area (for example in the fields with beautiful views of the Old Harry Rocks). Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AU | +44 01929 450288 | £££ | Website
Bar Botanique – Cafe Tropique, what a name! I was immediately attracted (not only by the name but also) by the look of the place which is well.. green. Filled with plants and a different approach to interior design than most other restaurant openings nowadays. The staff told me that the restaurant is referred to as the ‘living room’ of East Amsterdam which I can completely understand. The location.. the mix of different people.. it felt very fun and lively. The menu is simple, nothing fancy (or tropical), but easy going Mediterranean comfort food. Eerste van Swindenstraat 581, Amsterdam | Website | €€
Again in my hood. BUT my hood is so good that you have to forgive me. This tiny little Danish place has the best Smørrebrød in London and when I am in town I get the one with salmon at least twice a week… It is freakin’ divine. They serve great Latte’s in stylish mugs and the place is also great for a quick lunch by yourself. In the evenings they have a weekly changing menu which is original and fresh. The interior is simple, clean and fresh and perhaps not a place to pick for a romantic night out. I really like all the people that work in this place. They are amazingly kind and interested and thus I am a happy, content, returning customer of Snaps and Rye. 93 Golborne Road, Notting Hill | +4420 8964 3004 | Tube: Ladbroke Grove / Westbourne Park | ££ | Website
Pretty cakes, girls and deco is what you get in this lovely little shop in my street! Just opened about a month ago and I am addicted. These cakes are so ridiculously good that I would travel miles and miles to come and get them. On top of this, they are beautifully presented almost like a piece of art. For £47 you can have a pre ordered box of 12 cakes and if you buy a single one they are £3,95. Not cheap but they are worth it! Do check them out please! 341 Portobello Road, London, W10 5SA | Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 6pm, Sat, 10-6pm & Sun, 11-5pm | £££ | Website
I’m currently hanging out at the Hoxton Hotel in Amsterdam and I feel as if I’m in NYC or London. It’s very un-dutch. After the Hoxton Hotels in Shoreditch and Holborn in London, the group has recently opened in Amsterdam on the Herengracht in the Jordaan. An amazing location and space consisting of 6(!) converted canal houses. The lobby is great for hanging out with an all day menu provided by the Soho House group. Makes me happy to know I can keep drinking Soho Mules even when I’m not in London!!! The 111 rooms look super cool with grey and dusty blue tones, and vintage leather furniture. And they also have The Apartment which they use for throwing parties and also make available to hire for parties. Herengracht 255 | Tel: +3120 888 5555 | Website | €€€
A new favourite in Amsterdam East. The people behind Hanneke’s Boom turned an old farm into the perfect all day hideaway. I felt like I was in the countryside sitting at their long wooden tables overlooking their picknick field. They use locally sourced food for great home cooked dishes. From brunch, lunch, dinner to evening drinks, they’ve got you covered with a great menu and a relaxed low key vibe. Hotel rooms are coming soon too, love this place! Ringdijk 58 | Tel: +31(0)20-2149333 | Website | €€
Completely excited about this relatively new restaurant in Mayfair. Just a few steps away from Roka Mayfair actually (very different food, atmosphere and price range though!) This is a great French Bistro restaurant to go to for lunch during business hours but it looks so good that I think it will probably also be really nice in the evenings or for drinks in the afternoon. The interior style is contemporary and industrial with very cool light fixtures and it looks light and fresh during the day. I Loved their tableware so much that I now have the same tableware at home and I also found their salads original and fresh.
In their basement they have a very cool looking cocktail bar. 41 North Audley Street, London | Tube: Bond Street | +4420 7493 3443 | ££ |Website
By accident I ended up in this completely amazing little bar in Islington (walking distance from Highbury and Islington station) I had a reservation in Le Coq next door and went to wait for our table to be ready in this charming place. So cute. It is the place you want to take your friends from out of town to, to show them how cute, cool, funky and creative London is as a city! Their kitchen is too small to start a ‘real’ restaurant so they are only open on Fridays and Saturdays for tapas etc. The rest of the week just breakfast and lunch. 290 Saint Paul’s Road, Islington, London | Tube; Highbury & Islington | £££ | Website
Now that I’m spending some time in Amsterdam as part of my maternity leave I finally have time to check out what’s new and fun in one of my favourite cities. CT’s is situated in an old twenties style cinema building so think extreme high ceilings, various floors and open plan everything.. A unique space. They did a really good job in making it feel relaxed with a natural look while still keeping it buzzing. Love the black & white photographs on the walls. Probably one of the reasons why it feels good is because it’s almost always busy – be prepared to wait in line for a table on the weekends. On the menu are fresh juices, smoothies, herbal teas, granola, coconut pancakes ( made from almond flour), different salads, a selection of bites and they do dinner too, all very delicious. Ceintuurbaan 282 | Tel: +31203541104 | Website | ££
The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam hotel consists of six 17th century canal houses right in the heart of Amsterdam. The hotel is very chic, very big and very grand. Think marble floors, high ceilings, monumental stair cases and superrrr attentive staff. I have to be honest in saying that the interior style in the rooms is not particularly my style but it is definitely very comfortable ;-). They also have a luxury spa with access to the indoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre and three treatment rooms for relaxing and massages. Great hotel if you are staying in Amsterdam for business and you want something central, very comfortable and with superb food.. Their restaurant Librije’s Zusje has the former chef of 3 Michelin star restaurant de Librije as their master chef so the food there is absolutely amazing. I also loved their vault bar which you entry through an enormous original steel door (this part of the hotel was originally a bank and the old 19th century vaults are still visible behind the bar) It is very much a gentlemen’s bar (for girls too…) in terms of atmosphere; Dark and chic. Herengracht 542-556, Amsterdam | Tel: +31207184600 | Tram: 4 (Keizersgracht/Utrechtsestraat) 9, 14 (Rembrandtplein) | €€€€ | Website