Trend I'm Loving (But Will Probably Never Wear)

The trend I've seen everywhere lately (espesh in London) is trainers being worn in a très chic way. Not styled in the overly 'sports luxe' way you see in mags, but just with every day cool outfits. 

I'm all for a comfy trend (jersey and smock dresses make up 97.3% of my wardrobe) but something about the trainer trend scares me. I think it's because my hair is a weird length so I'm in a bit of a funk about what kinds of things suit me... Or maybe they just bring back bad memories of my time at the gym.

Anyway, I've been searching on line for some sneaker inspo to remind myself that trainers are not just synonymous with sweaty, sweaty exertion. They can look amazeballs, and you can run for a bus in them. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE? 

Here are some of my faves from the world wide web, if I ever manage to stop chickening out about them:  
(Top - Nelly, Middle - ASOS, Bottom - ASOS)

What trends are YOU too chicken to try? 



KITTEN (plus jewellery or something)

It was love at first sight when I spotted the brand spanking new Me & Zena christmas lookbook. They've showcased their festive jewels with the help of a rather beautiful persian kitty called Gizzy! 


Cute or what?!



My Trip To Amsterdam

This is a somewhat delayed follow-on from my Lille post! After Lille, we hopped back on the iDBUS and drove a few hours onto Amsterdam. We got there pretty late in the afternoon but put our research about the thrifting opportunities straight into action. 

First stop was Out Of The Closet, a thrift shop which benefits the AIDS foundation. It had loads of affordable vintage/second hand clothes and er, free condoms! It's all about safe thrifting. 

 Then we stumbled upon the Waterloopleinmarkt - a market with vintage/random stalls and general piles of people's belongings like so:

Then we went in Episode vintage - there are a couple in Amsterdam and they seem to be the most popular vintage shops. It didn't seem too overpriced and there was loads of cool stock, but I'm a bit 'over' vintage really so never seem to commit to buying things these days...

 We were told we couldn't visit Amsterdam without visiting one of the FEBO chainstores - a 'vending machine' approach to fast food. You put in coins, and you can open the door and get a burger/croquette/obscure Amsterdam delicacy. We weren't really hungry so just got fries, but boy, were they good!

The Dam - hence AmsterDAM, geddit?

One of the many delightful canals. Regular readers will know I'm a bit obsessed with canalboats, so I was pretty much in heaven!

Then it rained. And rained some more. It was torrential. The cool restaurant we were told to hunt down had been turned into a weed café so we were stuck starving in the pouring rain. It truly sucked.

So we ducked into the nearest bit of dry land with affordable food - MCDONALDS. Yep, epic fail all round. Especially since they put pepper on the batter of McChicken sandwiches across the pond which is just sacrilege. Here I am drenched, bedraggled, emotionally unstable but safe at last.

The next day was glorious sunshine and I was SUPER excited because I was getting a behind the scenes glimpse at De Poezenboot - The Cat Boat. It's a floating cat sanctuary and has quite limited opening hours but they kindly tweeted me to let me know I could visit out-of-hours as I'm such a cat fan (read: twitter stalker).

It's basically a large room full of cats - some newbies in cages, and the more long-term residents out and about, who've all been rescued from the streets of Amsterdam. They warned me that they were in the middle of cleaning/tidying so it might look more bit higgledy piggledy than usual, but it still looked completely epic to me! I'm not even a cat and I wanna live there. 


Emo cat #deepthoughts:

We stayed on board for a good couple of hours, with one of the lovely volunteers, Ruth, giving us the lowdown on each cat's story and the story of the woman that founded it. It was the most amazing experience - add this firmly to your lost if you're planning a trip to Amsterdam. I spent a rather large portion of my holiday budget on donations and merch! 

After that, we stumbled upon the Rembrandt exhibition so we checked that out (Alex was enthralled, but I sometimes have a bit of a short attention span when it comes to art...)

Then we found a lovely cheap restaurant I'd read about online - Poco Loco. Yummy toasties for only a few euros!

More canal mooching. Oh yeah, bikes are a huge deal in Amsterdam. I was too chicken to rent one!

Oh how I LOVED Kitsch Kitchen. A shop of bright and fun home/gifty type things. Alex's idea of hell, my idea of paradise. He forbid me to buy some neon plastic ice cream bowls :( Y he so cruel.

This is Amsterdam's big beauty department store. I took a photo because it cracked me up that the store is called Douglas. What went on in that board meeting? Marketeer 1: 'What name exudes pure BEAUTY guys, we need to crack this...' Marketeers 2,3 & 4: 'DOUGLAS!' Whatever next? Space NK changing it's name to Nigel?

Moar catz. This one was just chilling outside a restaurant. I think it's eyes saw right into my soul.

We wandered further afield to the Jordaan district, which was less 'prozzies and weed'-centric than the centre and all felt a bit more local. Lovely walking along the canal at night en route - pretty lights!

We ate at a lovely burger place in Jordaan called Burgermeester but we ate outside so the light was AWFUL. Imagine a very delicious burger being eaten very quickly by two weary tourists. It was heaven. 

And then our whirlwind 40 hours or so were over! Can't wait to go back! 

Have you been to Amsterdam before? Feel free to gimme some recommendations for my next visit :)



I Went To Lille And It Was LOVELY

A couple of weeks back Alex and I set off on a little trip across the channel to Lille and Amsterdam. We went with coach company iDBUS, which I was reviewing for work. They offer trips all over Europe for crazy cheap prices.  Our first leg of the trip was London > Lille, which we decided to do overnight. Here was our little set up for the journey - Luther, snacks and blankets! What more could you need, I ask you?!

Surprisingly we did manage to get some sleep! The day time coach to Lille is only about 5 hours on coach, but I actually recommend doing the longer overnight trips, as you get more time at the destination and it can be a strategic way to dodge paying for more hotel nights than you have to! 

We arrived at Lille VERY early and after ditching our bags at the hotel, headed straight out to explore. And drink a shitload of coffee. Here's Lille's Place Rihour - a lovely big square featuring the amazing Sephora, Europe's biggest bookshop Furet Du Nord and a monument or something...

We wandered up to Lille old town, which was like a maze of lovely cobbled streets and pretty houses. Loads of fancy designer shops and quirky vintage places, too. I didn't realise there was so much to see in Lille - how wrong I was...

We found a place called Funny Vintage - it's a vintage shop up the back and a furniture shop/café up the front! Super cute.

We dined at a lovely burger place in the old town called Bun's Bazaar, and of course had our signature drink of Diabolo Grenadine - a drink an old french friend from work taught me about. Bought a massive bottle of Grenadine home so I can keep the french vibe going - is it totes french-chic for your teeth to fall out from sugar overdose? Cos that's where I'm heading... 

Chilling by the fountain in the main square by night - it was freakishly mild for the time of year!

The next day we wandered round a lovely local food market. Mainly for the Instagram photo opp - #healthy #colourful #ohnature #foodiwontactuallybuy

So, Lille's zoo is FREE (take note, world!) so we had a lovely day mooching around there and getting this cringey but brill photo taken by two people we returned the favour for...

Oh hai: 

We had a DIY picnic lunch featuring all of France's major food groups - meat, cheese and bread. This was Alex's absolute meatfest - it was obscene! Although this is the guy that once got a footlong Italian BMT in Subway with double meat and double cheese. How does he fit in his skinnies?!

Then we wandered the streets and I met an uber friendly local cat. I Instagrammed a great shot of her.

(I didn't bother with outfit posts on this trip as when I take a break, I like to also take a break from giving a damn about my appearance. Hobo chic all the way! Although tbh that is pretty much my daily style vibe anyway...)

PROPER hot chocolate at a local brasserie all the cool kids seemed to flock around.

Who let these uncool kids in?

Pretty view from our table.

The fleur shop: 

We dined at La Creperie - a highly rated and (more importantly...) highly affordable little local place. They had tons of savoury crepes (or 'galettes' as they're known) which were lovely and of course loads of sweet options for pud too. Here's Alex's salted caramel crepe! It was sooooo perfect.

Had to get a photo of this for obvious reasons.

Then it was one last wander around the surprisingly buzzing streets of little ol' Lille and it was back to the hotel to pack for Amsterdam the next morning - More on that in my next post!

We had so many lolles in Lille (see what I did there?) and are looking forward to going back ASAP! 

Have you been on any cool city breaks lately? Do share! Have got the city break bug now...