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Three days in Amsterdam

July 17, 2017

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This time last year I was travelling around Asia and since I got back, the travel bug hasn’t left me. Any opportunity to travel, I try and take it. I’m beginning to tick off more places in Europe this year… Munich, Copenhagen, Florence and now most recently, Amsterdam.

The team over at TOMS asked me if I fancied visiting the city and I of course said yes! Being able to escape work longer than a few days is tough. However, if you’re a keen city guide reader and determined to beat the previous day’s step count, then I think three days for any European city is enough time to suss it out. Equipped with a dedicated Amsterdam notes page, we (I tagged my mate George in for this trip) set about tackling it.

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Where I stayed… Max Brown Hotels

When you’re away, you’ve got to get those Zz’s in a space you’re happy with. I stayed at Doris and Dicky’s boutique hotel, Max Brown Hotel Museum Square. It’s just tucked around the corner from the Rijksmuseum and though small, it was ideal for our Amsterdam stay. My bed was 10/10, though we somehow resisted the lie-ins – it’s just a waste of time in a new city! There were also some nice touches. Mustard yellow Hay throws and a helpful guide left on the side with some staff favourites noted down.

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CT Coffee & Coconuts

Now I’ve been to my fair share of coffee shops, maybe too many, but I kid you not that CT Coffee & Coconuts is hands down one of my favourites. Three floors of airy, natural light and coffee goodness. The coffee was a necessity on the first day so we left one flat white and a double espresso later. It was a very early start!

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Hutspot

I owe knowing about Hutspot down to fellow blogger Steve Booker. Hutspot brings together food, coffee, clothes and even a barbers. It’s a hub for everything you need, from your kitchen sideboard down to your wardrobe. You could tell it was thoughtfully curated, with each section having an ebb and flow to it.

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Property Of

This store is by one of the many canals in Amsterdam and it can give you sunglasses, bag and even travel envy – they stock the very handy Monocle travel guides. What I liked about the many stores we visited across our three days, was that most had a coffee machine inside with staff keen to top up your caffeine quota. Make sure you swing by this one on your way over to Nine Streets.

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Lot Sixty One

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘another café’. I face an internal dichotomy when travelling in that I really enjoy visiting coffee shops, but at the same time question as to what extent you learn about a new country from it’s cafés. What they do provide you with is an end destination to your city walking. I also enjoy being inside different interiors and seeing how each one ticks. Lot Sixty One proved to be a favourite with the locals.

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Toki

My favourite blogging duo Cup of Couple were in Amsterdam in December last year and spoke very highly of Toki. It is a peaceful hangout away from the centre of town to work, or for a quiet moment on the tiled perch. I highly recommend the lemon drizzle!

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The Pelican Studio

For shopping, The Pelican Studio offered plenty. I wasn’t out to shop and I’m at a really content place with my wardrobe right now (though I may of bought something in the next place we visited). TPS stocks brands like Daily Paper, CMMN Sweden and personal favourite Norse Projects. Again, mentioning my fondness of interiors, The Pelican Studio lets in some amazing light when the sun was up, as you can see.

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ETQ

On our final day, we only had ETQ left to tick off from our immediate to-do list. It’s arguably one of the best store fits I’ve been in for a while. Plenty of space for the rails to breathe and not overloaded with product. Plus, it’s a concrete and minimalism haven. I’ll always prefer physical shopping to online, for stores such as this. I walked out with a current season charcoal Norse Projects long sleeve.

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In fear of this short guide turning into quite the opposite, I was selective on when I used my camera. But there are still plenty of places I urge you to go. We had a 25 strong list of places we ‘could’ve’ gone to (which I’m happy to share if you’re heading out soon) while we were in Amsterdam, but we didn’t even make a dent in it truth be told. And I’m okay with that. I’d much rather explore at a slower pace than feel like I’m going from point A to B without taking in what is in between.

Other places we stepped in that you may have seen on my Instagram story: Solebox, Tenue de Nîmes, The Avocado Show, Foodhallen and Vondelpark.

Midweek, I flew back with a new city ticked off and a good first impression of Amsterdam. The trip was made possible by TOMS, who reached out and asked where I wanted to go. With a flagship in the city, it made sense for Amsterdam to be my destination. TOMS is all about giving, which I really urge you to read about if you don’t know the TOMS story. They gave me the chance to travel and I can’t thank them enough!


This trip was supported, but not paid for, by TOMS and Doris and Dicky. Stores featured in this post no way affiliated or influenced by TOMS. Thank you for supporting the brands that aid what I do.

Travel

Copenhagen scrapbook

December 27, 2016

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What better way to wind down for the year than a small trip away with friends. A place that’s been on my mind for sometime, Copenhagen was the destination of choice. It had everything I was looking for. Good food, coffee and independents on every corner and side street. Taking these trips are so important to me. It’s a chance to see Emily again now we no longer live in the same town and also spend time with friends who I shared my university years with.

European city breaks can be done in a long weekend, but with time on our side we stayed for four nights in our AirBnB. Sometimes you need a trip that isn’t lead by cramming as much into one day as you possibly can. We had three places earmarked for the day and took the longer route there to find things we hadn’t considered.

And to be honest, we didn’t have a ‘we must do this’ list. Most of our casual itinerary was made up of recommendations shared with me by the good folks on Twitter. Special mentions go to Liv, Lauren and Kara for their ace city guides. Normally I’m not one for touristy things, but Copenhagen does it well. The Nyhavn, Rundetaarn and Tivoli at night were all worthwhile.

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This post isn’t a polished editorial or a-z city guide. Both the latter and the former take time, time away from being relaxed. Constantly thinking if you have enough photographs for the café you ate at in the morning, or if you have two portraits that you think will sit nicely alongside one another. I enjoy creating that content, but when in the company of friends you haven’t seen in a while it’s important to enjoy that over what you create for others. Take your quick photo and then put the camera down once in a while.

In a city I thought I’d love, I found it hard to take my camera out my bag.

I also found myself lacking inspiration while out there. In a city I thought I’d love, I found it hard to take my camera out my bag. I shared this on social while I was in Copenhagen and others offered their two cents and reasoning. For me, it could have been the light. It was still dreary by 11am and dark by 3pm. But if I took my blog-photographer-head off you could still appreciate the city’s beauty.

So wrapped up in my best attempt to stay warm and layer tones the only way Scandi’s know, we walked, drank and ate. A lot. There was Atelier September for its avocado on rye bread, Mother for its amazing pizza and Grillenburger – so good we went twice. If we needed a coffee pitstop we weren’t short of options, but The Coffee Collective and Copenhagen Coffee Lab were our regulars.

Leaving Copenhagen I left definitely feeling half full/half empty. Happy due to the fact I was able to spend time with friends and Emily, but also the urge to go back to try and capture Copenhagen the way I envisaged it before arriving.

Jordan
Travel

Twenty-six hours in Munich

December 18, 2016

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Twenty-six? Yes, 26 hours. I’ve not made a mistake. Touchdown in Munich. It was my first trip to Munich and my first to Germany in fact. I arrived on the Thursday late afternoon, which meant the light had faded for the day by the time I travelled from the airport to the hotel and checked-in. So this is why I’ve called it twenty-six hours. From when I took my first step out of the lobby on Friday morning to when I headed back to the airport on Saturday midday.

So why was I in Munich? OtterBox were opening up a pop-up space in celebration of their new Strada Series case which I was sent before I arrived. With personal touches like monogramming, leather casing and drop protection, I was sold.

I’ve slowly become accustomed to travelling alone and with this I’ve enjoyed meeting new people. On this occasion I met Frank and Philipp who are based in Munich. A quick chat at the OtterBox Strada Lounge launch event and we were meeting up the next day so they could take me around some of their favourite spots in the city.

If you enjoy big cities, but not necessarily the hustle, then Munich is perfect

There’s such a mix in the city. From the grand architecture that turn into tourist spots, to the pastel buildings found down most side streets. I found myself spending most of my time looking up. As much as I love London, naturally, I appreciated something different, and Munich was definitely that. What I enjoyed, was the slow tempo of the city. It was so quiet that if you enjoy big cities, but not necessarily the hustle, then Munich is perfect. Plenty to do, but not plenty of people.

When I needed a coffee I visited two spots. Man Versus Machine, one I had found before flying out to Munich and then Aroma Kafeebar, Frank’s old workplace. Two different spots, both serving very good coffee. I wasn’t out there to shop, but I did stumble across a couple good ones in HRVST, Wort-Wahl and Es Ce.

This trip was about wandering aimlessly and getting a feel for the city in a short space of time. And yes, Germany does Christmas so much better. Thank you OtterBox for having me in Munich and giving me the chance to explore.

This post is in partnership with OtterBox, but my thoughts on their phone cases and my gratefulness for the ability to let me drop my phone countless times are my own. Thank you for taking the time to read posts that help support the blog.

Jordan