lovepinksmalleriamsterdamIf you were to ask me which city in the world has my heart, it would be Amsterdam. What started as a travel adventure aged 20, turned into a full blown love affair with the city as I didn’t return home for nearly 10 years.

When I think of Amsterdam I think of beautiful streets lined with glorious canal houses, faithful bicycles and well loved boats. I think of buzzing shopping streets, quiet hidden gardens, beautiful galleries and back street restaurants waiting to be discovered.

So when I was asked whether I would like to join London City Airport in promoting their #NoFilter Amsterdam I said, I sure do! The campaign is to show Amsterdam at it’s most authentic through photography, without the use of filters, instagram or smartphones. Luckily, when I visit a place there is only one type of camera in my hand, my trusty Samsung NX1100. I like to capture the place and my time there in the best way possible and for me this is always through a real camera lens.

The last time I visited Amsterdam was back in the Spring of 2014 when visiting old friends. I was reminded of the things I love the most about the city and I’m sharing them with you so that, in the hope you ever get to visit Amsterdam, you can make it a memorable trip too! I’m also sharing some tips on taking your own #NoFilter photography for your next trip wherever that may be.

1. Cycling – I couldn’t talk to you about why I love Amsterdam and not mention cycling. A fundamental way of life in Amsterdam, the people of Amsterdam travel everywhere by bike, in all kinds of weather! Travellling the city by bike gives you freedom, the whole city is yours for exploring. Hop on a bike and you will be able to navigate the city quickly and take in the sights along the way. Oh and it is so much fun!


Amsterdam tip: Rent a bike and head off on your own, unknown adventure. Be spontaneous, see what gems you stumble across, that is the best part! Oh and maybe take a map, just in case ;)

#NoFilter tip: Wear your camera around your neck so you are always ready to capture the shot. See something fun in front of you, snap away. I love this photo that I took while cycling (yes I can cycle with one hand!!) of my friends up ahead.

2. Creative Amsterdam – I don’t know what it is about the Dutch but they do creativity so well! In Amsterdam, there is always a pop up art exhibitions or market taking place in the city for inspiration. You can’t walk down the street without stumbling across a new little shop featuring up and coming design talent. I can honestly say I could never get bored walking the streets of Amsterdam.


Amsterdam tip: Head for one of the cities many markets, galleries or The Negen Straatjes (nine streets) as they are known in Amsterdam for creative inspiration, you will not be disappointed!

#Nofilter tip: Don’t wait for people to get out of the shot. To gain a real feel for the city, capture the real people who live there too! I loved this girls work and wanted to capture it in a photograph but I love the photo even more for having the artist in the picture too!

3. Park life – The Vondelpark is at the heart of Amsterdam life. If the weather is dry you can guarentee people will be heading to the park with their friends and family for picnics, kick abouts, a cycle or perhaps one of the many cultural events or markets that happen in the park every week.


Amsterdam tip: If you’ve had enough of the hussle and bussle of the city, head to the Vondelpark, stretch out on the grass and watch the world go by. Amsterdam is one of the best places in the world for people watching! The Westerpark (in the west of Amsterdam) is also a great place for a stroll and a drink in the hip, Pacificparc.

#Nofilter tip: Capture moments that you feel are typical for the country you are visiting, that way you can build a real feel for the country through your images. This is one of the things I love most about The Vondelpark and the Dutch people. They head out to the park, stick up a marquee and some bunting and celebrate their birthday, it never fails to make me smile!

4. Eating out – Eating out in Amsterdam is wonderful, there are so many fantastic little backstreet restaurants that you will always be spoilt for choice. As a resident of the city I was always hearing about a new place that opened or cycling past a restaurant I hadn’t seen before and adding it to my ‘must visit’ list. I miss being able to just pop into town for a quick pizza at Il Pacioccone with my friends.


Amsterdam tip: There are so many amazing restaurants in Amsterdam you will be spoilt for choice. Depending on the type of person you are when you travel, either do some research on Trip Advisor to make sure you find the best Italian or just wing it – you will seldom be disappointed, the Dutch do food very well.

#NoFilter tip: For great travel photography, take pictures of the moment. You may not think it a worthy subject at the time but it will be great for looking back at your trip and recreating that feeling. This pizza at Il Paccione was a very worthy subject and it most certaintly recreates the feeling of hunger…. drool….

I hope you do get to visit Amsterdam and that it captures your heart like it did mine all those years ago!

This is my entry into the #NoFilter Amsterdam competition, my photos will be judged by Duncan Rhodes from The Urban Travel Blog.

inspirationpinkolympiaAs a lover of all things design, interior design is absolutely one of my all time favourite things. I do so love a nosy around other peoples houses for inspiration, normally on Pinterest rather than sneaking into peoples homes mind! So when I was invited by Ekornes, makers of the famous stressless chairs to visit the Ideal Home exhibition I happily agreed. It was inspiration I was after, I wanted to see the current and up and coming interior trends 2015, so I could share them all with you. Here is what I learnt:


Copper is big. Well if you didn’t know that then you must have been living under a rock! I saw lots of beautiful deep copper accessories but also a new lighter, blush sort of copper which was teamed with the beautiful copper blush paint colour (by Dulux) to create a softer more springlike take on all things metallic.


Green and black look awesome together in interiors. Botanicals are in for SS15. If you want a look that is striking, fresh and works well in both modern and period houses try combining green and black. I adored how the green popped against the black in this room set and thought it worked particularly well in the garden setting too.


Big, bold shapes and geometric lines are here to stay. We embraced geometric shapes back in 2014 and it looks like they are here to stay. They featured heavily in cushions of all different colours as well as artwork and worked great in combination with circles. The juxtaposition of shapes and lines added interest and a bit of quirk that I liked a lot.

black-and-white-bathroom monochrome-living-roomMonochrome is timeless. The futureproof house was entirely monochrome and oh so stylish. Not only is a pure white background such an easy way to keep your house looking fresh and modern but mixing and matching all things monochromatic is super easy. Combining grey, white and black patterned wallpaper, cushions, rugs and bedding means that nothing jars. Also updating and adding hints of current trends and pieces of interest work so well in a blank canvas. If you don’t fancy just black and white how about adding pops of colour instead?


Technology rules. We love anything a bit gadgety that can be done with the help of an app. What about creating your perfect coffee on your ipad for it to come out of a single, sleek tap on your kitchen worktop? You need a top Brewer by Scanomat. Or the counter top weighing scale by Orange Chef that connects to an app to tell you exactly what nutritional value is in the product you are preparing? I was amazed by some of these ultra cool inventions. Wonder how long they will take to appear in the every day household?


Comfort is everything. I had a lovely peaceful moment, amongst the sheer throngs of people, putting my feet up while I was at the Ekornes stand. I swear the hustle and bustle of Olympia stopped for a moment as I sank into the soft leather of their iconic Stressless chair. I have made myself a promise that one day I will own one of these chairs as my office chair, they are just so ridiculously comfortable like nothing I have ever sat on before. Design wise, I particularly loved the modern lines of the new Stressless Metro recliner and the Stressless E40 sofa which would look fab in any modern / Scandinavian inspired interior.

Thank you so much to Ekornes for inviting me to visit their stand and The Ideal Home Exhibition. I was also very kindly gifted vouchers to spend at Cloudberry Living, a beautiful Scandinavian inspired online store and have a very generous £100 worth of vouchers to giveaway to one lucky reader on behalf of Ekornes, in my next blog post!


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