Day Two in Amsterdam

Our second day meant breakfast by the river as we made our way bright and early to the famous Rijksmuseum. We'd spent time debating which of the many museums on offer we'd make it too, and this one is not to be missed if you visit Amsterdam. It contains far too much do in one day, the range is just astounding and we enjoyed locating works by some of our favourite, or well-known, artists as well as stumbling across others we fell in love with but had previously never heard of. I decided not to share many of the photographs I took of the artwork - it's just so much better in person, so you'll just have to visit yourselves! 

Van Gogh - Self Portrait
Personal favourite and I can't even quite place why. Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel's "In The Month of July"

After much of the day was spent indoors we enjoyed slowly exploring more of Nine Streets, mentioned in my last post. It is filled with fantastic independent design - whether it be interior, clothing, jewellery, or something else - and has lots of inviting cafes and bars. We eventually succumbed to our tired feet and thirst, quickly locating a cafe/bar which I think can be said to be one of my favourite from our time in the city. 




You can find Van Harte at 24 Hartenstraat and here: vanharte.com. 

What cafes, museums & bars do you guys recommend in Amsterdam? x




A Day Out in Amsterdam

So many people have an incredibly one-sided view of Amsterdam as a city. Those people, in my opinion at least, can only be missing out on an incredible place with so much to offer culturally, gastronomically, historically - the list goes on. We spent four days exploring the place, staying on Amstel, and it was the area to the West of Singel which became my absolute favourite. The streets Herengracht and Keizersgracht, and those that link them (more specifically the Jordaan District and Nine Streets). This is where we found all sorts of incredible design stores (check out 360volt), independent clothing brands, perfect bakeries to pick up morning treats, and delicious restaurants to spend our evenings in. 



Our first full day we grabbed a snack and made our way over to the Anne Frank house, which we'd been told attracted epic queues from the early hours. Luckily we'd made it just in time and took our tour. Whilst listening to her story we gazed into the the tiny place where Anne cohabited in secret, humbled by the whole thing. It's hard really to say much about this, it's something that you have to experience for yourself and photos are not allowed. 


We then wandered before ducking into what seemed to be a very non-de-script sandwich shop but it quickly became obvious how lucky we were to have done so, and how popular it was. I indulged in a soft goat's cheese and chorizo baguette... before we made our way down to the river and enjoyed a canal boat tour with history attached. Finally to end our day we meandered to the Jordaan which I had been itching to discover. It used to primarily be a working class, residential area but has blossomed into an artistic hub, alongside many independent stores and eateries. We ducked into the following cafe full of sparkling lights, with people sitting outside under blankets sipping away at their coffees. In particular I liked the wine pumps, and we noted that Bill and Hilary Clinton themselves had visited and sat at the bar. 



We weren't quite hungry yet and who can resist a chilled glass of wine by the river? Not me apparently. We enjoyed watching a young woman indulge in a slice of Dutch apple pie and a glass of wine, simply taking in the evening's atmosphere and proving there is absolutely no reason one cannot dine alone. Our tummy's eventually rumbled meaning it was time to return to a pizza spot we had noted earlier, still in the Jordaan. On arrival we discovered it had rapidly filled up and (luckily for us!) grabbed the last two seats on the end of a long table which was hosting a birthday party. One member of the party asked where we'd heard about the place. When we said we'd just stumbled upon it she looked surprised, explaining she had asked because it was renowned for being the best pizza place in Amsterdam! As my meal came, I could easily see why... 



That would be buffalo mozzarella, caramelised onion and brick oven roasted pig from Ariccia.
(The one in the background is buffalo mozzarella, tender anchovies, olives, capers & garlic.)

We ate pizza at: La Perla, http://www.pizzaperla.nl/
Drank wine at: Cafe Sonneveld, http://www.cafesonneveld.nl/
And had our coffee at: Cafe Papeneiland, http://www.papeneiland.nl/en/

Who else has adventures of Amsterdam to share? M x

Eating in San Francisco: Beretta

I found this beautiful place for my 21st birthday meal with my sister, during my year in the city. Perched at the top of Valencia Street in the Mission District where I spent so much of my time it had rave reviews and the menu looked decadent without being over the top. Not only did it live up to my (pretty high) expectations, but it surpassed them.

To dine at this little gem you can only call an hour ahead to pop your name on the wait list, no reservations.
So we arrived and were told there was a 15-20 minute wait for the table. There was really only one thing for it, cocktails at the bar. The place was already bustling and we stood taking in the dark wood surfaces, hanging line of bulbs and high, open ceilings while we sipped on apple/gin/lemon/basil/honey concoctions.



Cocktail photo c/o Beretta

We were shown our table and dug into the menu. Its a mix of small plates, mains and pizzas, all of which come highly recommended. We ended up sharing three small plates (pretty generous in size) and a pizza between us. The pizza was delicious but for my return visit all I could think about were the small plates...



Our small plates included: Gnocchi with porcini mushrooms & smoked pancettaBeef carpaccio with argula, parmesan & capers, and Dungeness crab arancini with calabrese aioli. This last one was my standout dish. For our pizza we went with the squash, provolone, proscuitto, and goat cheese option. 


Pizza photo c/o Beretta

Without a doubt this is my favourite San Franciscan restaurant. So much so that when my parents made the long haul trip to come and visit me I took them here. We 're-celebrated' my birthday. And we had arancini - plus baccala mantecato and melt in your mouth burrata brushcetta with walnut bread & mushroom truffle honey. I had the gnocchi for my main. And then...to top it all off? Panacotta ice cream with salt and olive oil. Sounds strange, was strange, but pretty incredible too.

If you're ever in the city, I can't recommend it enough. The vibe, the staff, the food. And their wine is pretty good too...

Find them here: http://berettasf.com/ here: 1199 Valencia St and here: https://twitter.com/BerettaSF

M x

Alcatraz, San Francisco

On an island in San Francisco's bay sits... 


Alcatraz prison. 'The Rock'.
The only way on and off the island is by boat - unless you want to mess with some serious currents and apparently potential sharks. Not the best situation to be in...The prison has 'hosted' some infamous names such as Al Capone! and we had a brilliant audio guide round the place with true stories of the inmates (including the famous 1962 attempted escape) to go with it.


On arrival

Cells

View of San Francisco from one of the cells - frustrating to say the least!


The prison is clearly closed now - a landmark site instead. It's well worth a visit, and personally I enjoyed the grounds and views just as much as the stories and prison itself. 

x

The Workshop, Norwich

#foodie

The Sampson Sisters had a little reunion this past weekend which basically translates as a food tour of whatever area, city, town we are in... On this occasion the other one came to visit me in Norwich, my current city of choice. It's a beautiful little place - filled with tumbling lanes, river walks, a stunning cathedral (check it out in Harry Potter) and enough independent spots that the sis will have to visit many more times to tick them all off...

Here's the first spot we swung by, closest to my home. A cosy place filled with warm people, board games, and walls of books.

The Workshop. And here's what we got stuck into...


This made me nostalgic for childhood holidays abroad. Peach flavour!


Perfectly served mocha, and the Workshop menu/information booklet.


I think this was my favourite dish - feta fritters. They were perfect in texture and taste, dipped in tzatziki.


Saying that this was delicious too - aubergine stuffed with feta, spice blend, and pilaf. There were some other bits in it too and I guess I'll just have to go back and try it again to remind myself...


A classic served perfectly. Figs, halloumi...There was a light honey and balsamic style dressing on this too which was delicious.

The tapas also came with free Turkish-style flatbread which they make onsite and is available to buy to take home. It was so light and fluffy, served warm.

After having our fill and playing some silly board games in the warm space we headed off for a wander in the lanes and swung by The Bicycle Shop for some tea. Which came in huge pots and pretty mismatched crockery.


[Apologies for the photo quality - iphone!]

But more on this other great spot later...x

Fohr Card

Back in September's Fashion Week I was working on the UK Launch of Fohr Card. A brilliant company concept hopping over from New York. It's US takeover has been swift, featuring most recently on the front cover of The Wall St Journal, but now it was time to launch in London. We had three days to pull a party together and somehow, office hopping on a daily basis having no set space, we managed it. The party was thoroughly enjoyable, hosted in the beautiful Spring Studios with a jazz band, and flowers & candles adding to the atmosphere. Thanks to everyone for making it down. Any other brands or blogs have a hop over to fohrcard.com and check it out for yourselves - it is 100% worth signing up for your future.


Handle Cards

Ipad Demonstrations Ready To Go & The Beautiful Venue

#WhatIWore

Jazz Band Setting Up

Flower Arrangements

M x



Coachella Snapshot

Clearly this is ridiculously delayed but as the end of my year in America comes flying towards me things are undoubtedly going to be sporadic. This weekend we went North to Portland and it was an incredible weekend away, very different to the trip we made up in January too (which included Seattle). But more on that later. Here's a few snapshots of our weekend at Coachella Music Festival...

It was ridiculously hot and falling out of the tent in the morning to lie on the shady grass was so relieving. Add that to beautiful art work (including a huge moving painted snail), the infamous magic hour (as the sun sets over the desert) and some performances with serious impact (James Blake, Lumineers & Pretty Lights for me in particular), and you've got one of the best weekends of our lives, thus far at least.
 We even watched the moon set...
Words cannot fully describe. Photos don't do justice.

x



Art work in the campsite

The giant moving snail...
Do Lab in the foreground, Ferris Wheel in the back
Favourite moments at magic hour


First day chilling out