21 June 2018

Weekly round-up #4



Hi guys,

Sorry for the delay (it's been a little bit manic over here) but I'm happy to say: Welcome to another weekly round up!

What I'm listening to:


One word: Podcasts. I've become absolutely obsessed recently.

My current favourites are:

  • Getting Curious – Jonathan Van Ness (the fabulous kween from Queer Eye) gets curious about a variety of topics. A few of my favourite titles include: 'Who was the Beyoncé of Renaissance Art?', 'Has Britain screwed itself with Brexit?' and 'Is Saudi Arabia cute now?'. There's always an expert on the show to teach him (and me) about new topics. I've genuinely learned so much!
  • Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls – You've probably heard of the book by the same name? This podcast goes into more detail, with each 15-minute(ish) episode focusing on a particular bad-ass woman. I genuinely listen to it before bed, so I can fall asleep feeling inspired.
  • No Such Thing As a Fish – The elves behind QI (that's really what they're called, I'm not being rude) share and dissect brilliant facts. It's absolutely hilarious. And now I know things like lobsters pee from their eyes and Winston Churchill used to wear a pinstripe onesie made of velour. You can't put a price on that kind of knowledge. 
You can listen to all of these podcasts on Spotify too, hurrah!

What I'm watching:


I am, of course, watching the second season of Queer Eye. That show is like chicken soup for the soul and I'm so glad I've persuaded most of my friends to get obsessed with it too! If you've been living under a rock, it's a reality TV show following five fabulous gay men who makeover the lives of other people. It's packed with positivity, self-improvement, acceptance and love.

I've also binged Champions on Netflix, which was even more brilliant and hilarious than I expected. Fairly confident I watched the first season in 2–3 days. Currently praying for season 2.

Oh, and I saw the first half of the latest season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. They're absolutely nailing it, too. Alas, I just found out we're not getting the second half until January 2019! Heartbroken.

What I'm doing:

Did you catch my Paris blog post earlier? It's very light on text so you can whizz through the pictures. I know that's your favourite bit!



I also filmed a video about this new bag I bought, which so many people asked questions about on Instagram. It looks like a normal bag but the inside is made of genius pockets and sections. Plus, it's vegan. And made from recycled bottles. And I have a 20% discount code for you! Just take a look at the video:


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16 June 2018

Postcards from Paris


Bonjour mes amis!

Since we last caught up, I've been to Paris and turned 27 – we have a lot to catch up on. Let's start with my little trip.

If you're interested, you can get a detailed guide to Paris from last year's post. But for this little round-up, I thought I'd just share some of my favourite snaps and spare you the wordy details. I hope that's alright.

The view from our hotel. Room 505. I spent 4 days singing Arctic Monkeys.

Looking out from the Île de la Cité – they'd kindly inscribed the bridge with my initials. 

Super cheesy tourist photo #434634.

This is the best bookshop, I'd highly recommend it. It may be slightly over-priced but there's a cat inside.

If you didn't drool over the architecture and cobbled streets, did you even go to Paris?

This is Palais Garnier (yeah, it's pretty and gold), spotted from La Terrasse, Galeries Lafayette

Eying up the Eiffel Tower.

We popped into Palais Garnier – it is fancy. We also tried to find the Phantom of the Opera.

CANDID: The pure panic of lacing your shoes before the Metro comes.

I challenge you to find something that looks as beautiful as Paris does at night.

So. Bloomin'. Pretty.

It's so beautiful, we couldn't help but take hundreds of photos.

But y'know, why wouldn't you?

I hope you enjoyed this whistle-stop tour through Paris. I'll be back with another weekly round-up soon! 

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20 May 2018

Weekly round-up #3


Hello guys,

I hope you've had a lovely weekend !

I did something a little scary yesterday. I filmed, edited and uploaded a beauty tutorial. I know, I know. It's my everyday make-up look, using all cruelty-free brands (because animal testing sucks). If you'd like to have a nosy at the products, see how I do my make-up, or giggle at all the minor mishaps I have, take a look:


Back to the weekly round-up:

WHAT I'VE BEEN LISTENING TO:

  • Dolly Alderton's Love Stories podcast. Author Dolly Alderton chats to guests about their defining relationships: heartbreak, passion, and everlasting love. Earlier this week, I listened to her interview with the epic Emma Freud. As her partner is Richard Curtis, she has plenty of brilliant stories to share. 
  • Paris Summer by The Last Shadow Puppets (feat Alison Mosshart). I've loved this (cover) song for years, but I recently rediscovered it after creating a little Paris-themed playlist to get excited for my upcoming trip! Alison Mosshart is such a babe, too. 

WORTH CHECKING OUT:

  • It was #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, and I was touched and empowered by how many people shared their stories. So, so many of us have mental health issues and I think that being honest and talking about our struggles will make a big difference. Let's normalise the conversation. 
  • The Happy Not Perfect app, made by Poppy Jamie. Apparently, long-term, it'll help hack your brain to combat stress and anxiety. I've also heard it described as 'mindfulness for millennials'. I've been using it for a few days (it only just launched) and I do like it. Especially the bits where you get to write down what's bothering you and digitally burn it.
My local stretch of sand. Perfect for walking barefoot and relaxing. 

WHAT I'M GRATEFUL FOR:

  • Living by the beach, so I can go for sunset strolls with my best friend. 
  • Discovering bullet journalling, because it chills me right out, is a great creative outlet, and helps me organise my life. 
  • Sunny weekends, so I can read my book in the garden and relax (yep, I'm 80 years old).
My half-finished weekly layout. I'll add my to-do list, fun events and keep track of what I'm eating (don't worry, it's not a diet – I'm just trying to eat healthier and get my 5-a-day in!)

Next weekend will be busy, between prepping for Paris and hanging out with Queenie. But I hope I'll get to post! See you soon xxx
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13 May 2018

Weekly round-up #2


Hello friends,

I'm back for another round!

So, what's new? Well, my thoughts for the week can basically be summed up with this tweet:


It was a stressful time for me.

What I've been listening to:

I don't even remember the first half of the week, all my Spotify cares about is the new Arctic Monkeys album that dropped on Friday (but arrived on my doorstep on Thursday, yay for pre-orders!)

Search 'Arctic Monkeys' on Twitter and you'll see it's a divisive album. I must admit, I didn't love it immediately. But then again, it's fairly rare for me to fall in love with music on a first listen.

Thankfully TBH+C has grown on me. I'd even go so far as to say I'm a bit obsessed with Four Out Of Five (and The Ultracheese). I've had the opening refrain stuck in my head all weekend.

Oh, oh, and of course the other thing I've had on repeat is Childish Gambino's This Is America. That video? I suspect kids'll be studying it in Media Studies in a couple of years. There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been dissected on Twitter, so I'll simmer down.

By the way, who else is super excited to hear CG as Simba in the Lion King? Bring on 2019.

What I've been watching:

I've been on a Brooklyn Nine-Nine binge recently, so I'm sure you'll all understand how devastated I was to learn it was being cancelled. Until yesterday, when I heard the beautiful news it had been picked up by NBC. THANK YOU, NBC. I LOVE YOU.

I wish I could bingewatch Riverdale too instead of having to wait a week (or several weeks, ugh) between episodes. My nerves can't cope, last Thursday I actually shouted at the TV during the cliffhanger ending.

I'm fully aware Riverdale is kind of trashy/terrible. On the surface, it's like a dark, sexy, cringy version of Scooby Doo. But I get so suckered in. I need to know who the Black Hood murderer is. I must find out what happens to the characters. I'm totally emotionally invested now. Besides, I've never watched an episode of Love Island, so I'm allowed this as my trashy TV quota, right?

This Thursday is the finale, so I'm preparing to be on the edge of my seat – especially if anything has happened to my favourite guy, Jughead Jones.

What I've been cooking:

I live with my younger sister and we decided to make a big ole effort with our cooking last week. Our favourite dishes? The chicken and chorizo jambalaya, the honey and mustard chicken dish, and our antipasti banquet (see below)!
They've left me feeing really inspired to keep trying out new dishes and expand my cooking repertoire. Do you have any suggestions on what to try next? They'd be greatly appreciated!


Worth a quick read:

  • Have you followed Jameela Jamil's I Weigh account yet? It encourages woman to see themselves as their achievements in life: their friendships and families, their scholastic successes or career highlights, the battles they've fought and the scars they've accepted. Not their weight or body size. The Financial Times did a lovely piece on Jameela and I Weigh. Take a look.  
  • Did you guys watch Queer Eye? Its like chicken soup for the soul! My heart was warmed by the news that Tom and Abby are now remarried! His episode was my favourite of all the Queer Eye makeovers. Celebratory redneck margaritas for everyone!
  • Poppy Jamie has created a new app called Happy Not Perfect, to show technology can be used to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Sign. Me. Up. (I've pre-ordered it). 
  • The news that the Marvel universe is becoming more diverse with Ms Marvel, a Pakistani-American teenage girl, is rather a cheery beacon in a world that increasingly makes me want to face plant my own desk. 

That's all for this week! I'll be back soon with inspiring women, DNA tests, and bullet journaling. 

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7 May 2018

Weekly round-up #1

Hello everyone,

In a bid to distract myself from a wonderful bank holiday drawing to a close, I decided to create a little weekly round-up.

I'd love to write a short post every weekend, sharing a few of my favourite things with you. It's nice to start a new week with a fresh dash of inspiration, right?

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO:

  • George Ezra's latest album, Staying at Tamara's. It's bursting at the seams with deliciously upbeat summery tracks. Normally the phrase 'summer anthem' makes me feel queasy, but I genuinely can't think of a better phrase to describe these gorgeous tunes. I love the storytelling of his album too, as it starts off with songs about his feelings of anxiety and needing to get away, before moving swiftly onto numbers about hot climates, paradise, happiness and love.
    It's one of those albums that makes you feel like it's going to be OK. And I think we all need a dose of that in our lives. Listen to Shotgun for the ultimate summer song.
  • The Fringe of It. I love listening to Liv and Charlotte's podcast, because it feels like I'm sitting with two of my favourite friends, just talking about whatever takes our fancy.
  • Fearne Cotton's podcast: Happy Place. She talks to celebrities about their lives, focusing on what makes them happy and how they've achieved their success. It's such a lovely thing to listen to, and I always leave with a few tips on making my life a happier place too. I particularly adored the Dawn French episode.
  • Primal Heart by Kimbra. Such a beautifully crafted album. If your main point of reference for Kimbra is 'the girl on that Gotye song who looks a bit like Katy Perry', you owe it to yourself to check out her latest musical offerings. She's a talented lady, that Kimbra, layering rich, swirling musical landscapes with abstract, poetic lyrics. Her repertoire in this album stretches from heavy R'n'B beats to twinkling electronica to upbeat pop. It's quite something.
    The catchy, off-beat songs will leave you feeling strong and empowered.  One of her weirdest songs, Top of the World, is my favourite. 

WHAT I'M READING:

  • Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. I've been reading this book all weekend, I'm absolutely hooked. (FYI, I still can't work out who dunnit.)
  • Blog: New Darlings. Since discovering Christina and Robert on Instagram, I've been an avid reader of their blog. Everything is so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. 

WHAT I'M WEARING:

  • A checked blazer from H&M. It smartens up any outfit, even your old jeans. I can't wear it to the office without someone asking if I have a job interview or a hot date. I've linked a similar one below.
  • A yellow dress from ASOS. I'm suddenly very into wrap dresses and I love this bright, summery floral number. Actual dress linked below!
  • A bardot neckline and checked shorts. You can't go wrong with a bardot top, especially when it's this sunny! Teamed with Topshop Mom shorts. Similar below.

WHAT I'M CELEBRATING:

  • The launch of a campaign I've been working on. When I saw I'd be writing the content for this campaign, from beginning to end, I was a little daunted but incredibly excited. It meant getting to craft copy for all sorts of mediums: packs, posters, web pages, films, social media – all sorts! It's been a fantastic learning opportunity (without sounding too uncool), and I'll be following the campaign's progress on Twitter. Fingers crossed it does well!
  • Going completely cruelty-free with my make-up. Can you believe so many big brands still test on animals? I've been slowly phasing them out of my life (talking to you, Revlon, Maybelline, MAC and L'Oreal) and switching them for good, ethical brands. I think this deserves its own post, but for now I'll leave you this PETA brand checker so you can see if your favourite brands are nice or naughty. 
Are you back to work tomorrow? If so, enjoy your 4-day week! And I'll catch you next weekend for more favourite things x 
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Brockenhurst with Queenie: Countryside, donkeys and plenty of mud

Hello!

I accidentally pressed pause on this blog post – but, better late than never, right?


A few weeks ago, I visited Brockenhurst with Queenie. As we don't live that near each other, day trips have become kind of our thing.

I can't actually remember why we picked Brockenhurst, but there we were, one cloudy lunchtime, hugging each other hello and walking into the sleepy little village.

The most notable things about Brockenhurst, in my opinion, are the horses and donkeys that freely roam around the village. They're good-tempered and happy for you to stroke them, but I was a little bit cautious, just in case.

As Brockenhurst is in the New Forest, it's absolutely brimming with flowers, fields and old buildings. And, naturally, a few lovely tea rooms. That meant getting a fix of our signature hot beverages: hot chocolate.


I don't think the locals were huge fans of my T-shirt, but never mind.



Feeling refreshed, we shot a few photos outside a hotel and then wandered off into the fields.

What I possibly should have remembered is that it had been raining for the last couple of days, so the the ground was basically just mud. And, in hindsight, I shouldn't have been so confident in my ability to walk on the muddy ground.

I nearly lost a shoe and had to shoot knee up for the foreseeable future.

But you live and learn, right?



Queenie and I filmed a fun little vlog, featuring our top modelling tips and that fun moment I lost my pink satin shoes to the mud. Take a look:



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29 April 2018

Winter capsule wardrobe for men

Hello friends,

One of the best things about blogging is talking to people who have read, and enjoyed, your posts. And just occasionally, people you don't know will reach out and make requests or share their own ideas. I love this part too, because it makes me feel as though I'm actually creating something useful.

A nice man (hi, Luke!) recently got in touch to thank me for my post on summer capsule wardrobes for men and to ask if I could create a winter version. He quite rightly pointed out that now's a good time to snap up those winter bargains.

(If you're looking confused, a capsule wardrobe is a few items of clothing you can create loads of looks with. It's very handy if you're going on holiday or have limited wardrobe space!).

The winter capsule wardrobe


So, we have: casual jeans, smarter trousers (I chose chinos but you can sub these for black jeans if you'd prefer), two T-shirts, two jumpers, two shirts (one smart, one casual), a jacket, Converse (your favourite casual shoe will do) and Chelsea boots (or choose another smartish shoe).

This is just a rough template - I'm not suggesting you buy these exact items. I kept it super basic to avoid putting anyone off. Perhaps you prefer patterned T-shirts. Maybe you like a different style of jean. That's all fine! A capsule wardrobe is totally personalised to you.

One thing to note, though: colour. Capsule wardrobes are fail-safe as long as you stick to 2 or 3 neutral colours (black, grey and white; beige, white and navy; black, navy and grey... you get the idea), and a couple of accent colours (like mustard, bottle green or burgundy). That way, everything goes together.

Outfits

With just a dash of witchcraft and wizardly, you can transform 11 items of clothing into two weeks of outfits. Seriously.

(I used to lay these out in a beautiful, colourful, numbered grid. Alas, Polyvore is no more. Until I find a new programme, we'll have to do it like this:)

Outfit 1


Outfit 2



Outfit 3


Outfit 4


Outfit 5



Outfit 6


Outfit 7


Outfit 8


Outfit 9



Outfit 10


Outfit 11


Outfit 12




Outfit 13



Outfit 14


So, there we go, I hope this provides a bit of inspiration for you guys!

If you'd like to see anything else, please don't hesitate to get in touch - you can find my details in the contact section.
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22 April 2018

48 hours in Amsterdam


Last weekend, I flew out to Amsterdam with my friend Becky for a whirlwind tour of the Netherland's capital. If you're picturing red light districts and 'coffee shops', think again. We are grannies on tour. 

Saturday 14 April

1.15pm 

After a very early morning, an airport croissant and a rather delayed flight, we make it to Amsterdam. Almost every other flight got cancelled, so we've beaten the odds to get here – now we've just got to make the most of it.

Time to brush off the Amsterdam wish list...

1.50pm

I'm going to be honest, the walk down from the station (via an avenue called the Damrak) showcases the worst bits of Amsterdam: crowds, casinos, and hazy green clouds. There is one silver lining, though: eff loads of cheese shops. YAAAAS.

It might be the tackier tourist bit, but some of these buildings are actually really beautiful. There's a green marbled corridor that looks like Oz, and old street reminiscent of Diagon Alley.

ACCIO MY HOTEL.
Am I in Gringotts?

1.55pm

Dam Square is first on the list, just a 10-minute walk from the station.

There's a woman blowing giant bubbles and a breakdancer who didn't get enough attention as a child: 'if I position myself even a little bit wrong, I could break my neck and die!'.

Maybe don't do it then, mate?

I'm looking like a tourist version of ET

In case you're wondering, he was fine.

Dam Square is home to a royal palace, which looks very grand. And a Madame Tussauds, which looks slightly less so.

OK, we're done with the tourist bit, let's go.

I had to crop about 5,000 people out of this shot

Just a short walk from Dam Square lies the Amsterdam you'll know from photographs and film. There are beautiful canals, those classic tall, thin buildings, and far fewer people. (I'm not a huge fan of humans crowds, so this was good news.)

According to Instagram (I half-planned the day by searching #Amsterdam, tbh), I should head to a cafe/boutique called Pluk - it's only a few minutes away and it sells beautiful chocolate bars. I'm sold!

2.25pm

OH MY GOD, PLUK IS THE BEST SHOP I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE.

Imagine: hip glassware and ceramics, chocolate bars in photogenic wrapping, adorable notebooks, gold jewellery, and freshly baked cakes.

I could happily spend all my Euros right here.

 This is basically the inside of my mind on a good day

I mean, look at these...

I may or may not have purchased four bars because the packaging was so beautiful

3.50pm

Laden down with paper bags of confectionary, we head to Bloemenmarkt (the flower market). If you ever find yourself feeling bored, Bloemenmarkt is a super fun word to say. Try it.

En-route is Anne Frank's house. It's a little surreal to see tourists smiling and taking selfies with the front door, although I might just be bitter because tickets to the house sold out before we booked our trip.

Round the corner, we see a band of musicians, just starting up. One of them looks remarkably like Daniel Radcliffe.

They're now singing In Spite of All The Danger, a very low-key Beatles song. So low-key it's not even the Beatles, but the Quarrymen (pre-Ringo Beatles). I wish I wasn't singing along, I think it's scaring the musicians.

'THIS IS MY JAM, BECKY'

Becky quickly walks away

Bloemenmarkt has about 15 pretty sizeable flower stalls along the road. The road is lined with cheese shops. The cheese shops have free samples. My middle-aged fantasies came to life.

April is apparently tulip season, so Becky is in heaven and buys a whole load of silky blooms for her flat.

If I'm brutally honest, we get bored a few stalls in.

'Once you've seen three, you've seen them all'.

Pink tulips, orange tulips, red tulips, yellow tulips, lilac tulips... there were even blue tulips! 


Silk tulips, for those of us who can't bring real flowers home

4.15pm

Once we've had our fill of the multi-hued tulips:

'Nikki, do you want to eat?'
'Eat? Why? It's 4pm'
'All you've eaten today is half a croissant'
'Oh yeah!'

Lesson #1: Get yourself a best friend who reminds you to eat when you're too distracted to remember human things like that.

We spot Calf & Bloom across the canal. It's a beautiful brick building with vast windows and a waterfront terrace. Inside, it's an interior designer's dream.

Naturally, the menu looks like a newspaper

Admittedly I'm starving, but I think this toastie is the best toastie I've ever eaten.

Do you think they do overseas toastie deliveries? 

My stomach full of meat, cheese and bread (my preferred state), we head west to our hotel. This means navigating the tram system.

Lesson #2: Just buy a 48-hour tram pass, it's a blessing.

Lesson #3: Google Maps is the best thing to happen to humanity. I love that it can work out all your public transport routes - including listing how many stops you've got and telling you when you need to get off.

Luckily, there's a tram stop right outside the front door of our hotel. 

7.10pm

Whatever Becky tells you, I did not fall asleep at 6pm on a Saturday for a whole hour. 

Help, I am literally 70 years old.

8pm

I think another sign of old age is heading across the road to the nearest restaurant instead of trekking the urban jungle for hours in search of the newest, hippest bar serving avocado quinoa. 

Thank gawd, our local restaurant (La Casa Di Michael) is lovely and serves delectable italian food. According to the reviews, this is the best pasta and pizza you'll sample outside of Italy.

I've never been to Italy, so I'll take their word for it. 

9.20pm

Our bill has arrived with Limoncello shots. As I don't drink, Becky's has to take one for the team and down both.

'Oh god, that is strong. I am a little tipsy.'

Maybe shots make bill-paying easier to stomach? Or is it so people leave bigger tips?

Sunday 15 April

9.30am

We have a lot to do today, so we jump on the tram and head towards our chosen breakfast spot, The Breakfast Club.

The menu draws inspiration from London, NYC, and Mexico City,  so whether you want pancakes, a healthy juice, huevos rancheros. or a full fry up, you're well catered for. 

I'm charmed by the inside of this cafe. It looks like Pinterest come to life: white walls, metro tiles, chalkboards, huge hanging plants, distressed wood, and giant lightbulbs suspended from the ceiling.

My favourite part of the experience was listening to the two American girls on the next table trying to explain what 'eggs over easy' means. 

A misty morning brightened up by tulips

10.30am

This is a big day for both of us.

We'd only booked one activity before heading to Amsterdam: a ride on Europe's highest swing. And by swing, I mean a metal contraption that swings you over the edge of a building, 100m in the air.

It's meant to rain this afternoon, so we have to do it soon. Maybe we'll just let breakfast go down a bit first. It's not that we're nervous or anything...  

The safest thing to do, we decide, is walk there. That'll give us 40 minutes to explore Amsterdam through the cool Jordaan neighbourhood. 

The views of Amsterdam at 11am on a Sunday are mostly the buildings and canals, plus this houseboat museum

12.15pm

We've arrived at the ferry that will take us across the IJ (that's the water - it's not a canal, sea, river or lake - yep, I'm confused too) and to our destination.

You see that tower behind me? Those are the swings, right on the edge!

There's an I AMSTERDAM sign in front of the tower, so we stop for a quick photo first:

 Hanging out, spilling the T


And then it's into the building, through the awkward mandatory green-screen photo session and up the dizzying elevator.

Suddenly, we're at the top of the A'DAM Lookout.

We're feeling confident and brave, not slightly nervous and regretting our life choices.

Enjoying the view with one of favourite human beings

'Do I mind heights or not? I can't remember'

We don't go straight to the swings, we spend a little while wandering around the top deck and enjoying the sweeping views.

'Come on, let's do it.'

After queuing for ten minutes, we're sitting in the red metal chairs and getting strapped in.

Yep, we're about to swing off the edge.

So, that happened

The first few seconds after you're propelled into the air are bizarre. Not entirely stomach churning, but your body definitely has a 'wait, WTF are you doing?' moment. Don't worry though, you quickly relax into the experience and enjoy the view!

Do you want to see a GIF of the event? Of course you do.


Back on earth, we each grab a hot chocolate from the rooftop bar and agree:

'I'm SO glad we did this!' 

Lesson #4: Do something a little bit scary (within reason) on your holiday, it feels amazing once you've done it.

My fringe never really recovered from the swing

It was still a little misty, so I felt like I was in a Scandi crime drama
1.45pm

The next thing on my Amsterdam wish list is to visit a museum. Helpfully, many of the museums are clustered together in the aptly-named Museum Quarter.

We decide the best way to get there is via Amsterdam's famous canals.

It's so sunny, as you can see from my reflective skin

'No, Nikki, we're not getting the lovers' canal cruise'

If you're sightseeing, I highly recommend a hop-on-hop-off canal ticket. It's a smooth, pleasant way to travel - plus you get lots of interesting bits of info you wouldn't learn anywhere else.

Lesson #5: In Amsterdam, the canal boat is a valid form of transportation. 

You don't get this view from the bus or by walking

2.30pm

We get off the boat near the Rijksmuseum. There's a cool-looking market going on - much better than our standard markets back home (you know the sort - they sell sausages and mysterious wooden 'crafted' objects). There are ice cream vans, pizza trucks, a stall selling sweary cross stitches (I can't believe someone else makes them!) and photo booths.

A beautiful moment

Taking photos of a grand building I didn't even go in: The story of a blogger

Our hearts are set on something other than the Rijksmuseum, as we've spotted adverts for a Banksy exhibition at Moco. Somehow they've gathered over 50 original pieces - you can't miss that!

 Sucks to be Mickey

 Some call it vandalism, some call it art. I'll call it vart. 

This was voted the UK's favourite piece of art. Good choice!

4pm

'Do you want to go back to the hotel and chill for a bit?'
'Oh my God, yes'

Lesson #6: Go on holiday with a fellow Nana

4.05pm

'Hello, could you tell me where the museums are?'
'Just over there!
...
Becky, that lady just asked for directions! Do you think I look Dutch? Like I live here?'
'Um, no... I don't think so.'
'Oh.'

7pm

Rampant with hunger because some silly sausage (me) had only eaten a pastry for breakfast and an ice cream cone for lunch, we head out to our dinner venue.

Only a 20-minute walk away, excellent reviews and -

'Do you want to go leave and go somewhere else?'
'Yes please'

Do you ever walk into a shop and think 'this doesn't seem legit'. That.

7.30pm

FAAM, a small restaurant that specialises in pizza, was only a few minutes away. I am pleased to report it looked very legit and the food was delicious. Plus, I get the feeling the diners are locals rather than tourists - which I like.

Monday 16 April

9am

We're eating breakfast in a library because obviously.

This is Cafe Belcampo, a friendly little reading cafe in the Food Hall. Like most of my favourite eateries here, it's full of Amsterdam regulars rather than tourists.

So wholesome

Time to plot our next move – there are a couple of things left on our to-do list and only a few hours left.

10.30am

We're in Vondelpark. It's warm and sunny - perfect for a couple of hours of strolling.

Can't argue with this view, can you?

There are so many cyclists, joggers and dog walkers here - and people practising yoga or pilates. Amsterdam folk are healthy!

After an action-packed couple of days, it's so nice to walk around, sit on a bench by a picturesque pond, and chat for a while.

I've no idea when I started enjoying parks and flowers and trees, but I have aged. Rapidly. 

#NanaClub


12pm

Have you ever heard of De Poezenboot? It's a floating sanctuary for stray and abandoned felines. 

You can wander in and hang out with the cats (under the careful supervision of the Poezenboot volunteers, of course). It's pretty perfect for whiling away 20 minutes or so.  

Entry to the boat is free but donations are encouraged. 

Living my best life

What a handsome kitty

12.30pm

Feeling incredibly de-stressed from park walking and cat cuddling, we're ready to travel back home. It's time to walk back to the train station and weave through the Damrak area (ugh) again.

'Ladies! Come in here, have a drink, smoke. Weed is good for you!'
'I don't think it is!' 

Do you ever hear a shrill posh old woman reply to things and then you realise that voice belongs to you? No, me neither.

Goodbye, Amsterdam! Thank you for a wonderful 48 hours.

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