Exploring Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city I have always wanted to visit and if you’re anything like me and fill any spare time you have with travel; then you book a flight last minute and head for a beautiful city to explore. A direct 45 minute flight from London to Amsterdam makes it even more tempting!

Once arriving in Amsterdam it’s super easy to get to the centre. I was staying about 20 minutes via train out from the city centre - there wasn’t many hotels or Airbnb’s left as I only booked the trip about 2 weeks prior to leaving. I was staying at the Jaz Hotel (https://www.jaz-hotel.com/en/hotels/jaz-amsterdam). I cannot speak highly enough about this hotel, although a little out of town, it's definitely worth the extra travel time. The bedrooms are amazing, with HUGE beds. They have a great restaurant on site with a DJ booth and events that happen most evenings. I think the hotel is pretty new so everything is super current and clean. They have great places to get some laptop work done and the breakfast is one of the best hotel breakfasts I've ever had. 

The first day, we grabbed some bikes that we rented from our hotel and headed straight for an explore around Amsterdam. I always love exploring as much as possible on the first few days of the trip so you get an idea of the area and things to do and see. The first stop was this bar situated right on the canal called Amstelhaven - a great little place to hang and watch people on the canal.  

One thing I did notice very early on, there was a LOT of museums (and by museums I mean shops that they call museums). You could find any kind of 'museums' you wanted from Cheese to Tulips and Cows to Rubber Ducks. The Cheese Museum was great with a lot of free tasters - my favourite was the multicoloured pesto.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on this trip finding the foodie and drink places! Cafe Tebac is a great little place to have some cocktails and watch the world go by, especially if it's good weather! Placed right on the corner of one of the canals is a raised section on top part of the building. Cushions are placed on top so it's super comfy to lounge on for a few hours!

This area is also a beautiful places to grab some shots of the canals and some portraits of whoever you are with! The next day we grabbed a train to Amsterdam Central - the station itself is beautiful and well worth a visit to see. 

We headed straight for the Fluorescent Museum that I had read a lot about online. It was one of the weirder things we did this trip - all about art made with Fluorescent paint. The actual museum was downstairs underneath the shop and at only 5 Euros its worth a visit! They owner comes down and talks all things paint, and then turns the light off and the whole places comes alive! 

Next stop was a wander around the canals. I didn't realise just quite how many canals there were! Getting around by bike or moped is definitely the easiest way!

Nieuwmarkt is somewhere to go and check out. On Saturdays and Sundays, there's a big market of food and clothes and if the weather is nice, its great to have a walk around. Right near this market is The Red Light District, the famous streets by the canal where legalised prostitution takes place. It's definitely worth seeing and having a look around. 

We rented a moped the next day - the best way to get around. We managed to see a lot by going from place to place. It's so easy because mopeds are allowed in the bike lanes - so you skip all the traffic and it's very easy to follow set routes. We hired ours near Amsterdam Central Station for 40 Euros for the day. Our bikes were 30 Euros for the day for two, there's not a lot in it and to be honest you see more via bike as you can race around a lot faster!

There's a lot of places in Amsterdam that's great for food. I am a real lover of street food and one of the best places to go for this is Foodhallen - there's loads of different places to eat from falafel buns (one of my favourites) to big fish platters, salads bowls and burgers!

A nice place for sweet treats is Le Petit Deli - situated in the city, it serves big portions and has outside seating. 

I also love Japanese food, so we checked out Fou fow ramen - I had such an amazing vegetable Ramen and would definitely recommend going!

A perfect place for coffee and a healthy lunch is Ivy + Bros - African coffee + delicious meal!

A drink + hang place i'd recommend seeing is The Sky Lounge  - perfect for photos and if you hit the weather right, it's such a great place to hang out and have a few cocktails and drinks! I think they do food as well and they have an inside part if the weather isn't on your side.

The last part of the trip was spent on the canals - you can't go to Amsterdam and not get on a boat! There's lots of tours around so it's totally dependent on what you're after. I did the 15 Euros for an hour tour and unlimited drinks (the drinks included both alcoholic + non alcoholic).

I absolutely loved Amsterdam and would definitely love to go back again! I would recommend hiring a moped or motorbike for a few days of your trip just so you can wizz around and see all the things you want to see as a lot of stuff can be quite spread out so will take a while on push bikes! I'll be visiting again for sure.

Returning to London I managed to get a flight into London City - an airport i’ve always wanted to fly in to and it didn’t disappoint! The views were amazing. It wasn’t the clearest day but you literally fly directly over the centre of London - so well worth it if you have the option!

Hope you enjoyed reading! L x

4 DAY SHOOTING IN TULUM

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We set off fairly early to get to the airport for the first flight from London to Atlanta. I was still pretty jet lagged from getting back from Australia 3 days before. The flight to Atlanta is around 9 hours (i think you can fly direct to Cancun and Tulum but the trip was booked last minute so there wasn’t any direct flights left). 

The lovely girls at Bod (@bodyondemand) made a goodie bag for the flight filled with snacks and face masks! (these Space face masks are a total dream - they are a soft material that heats up over 15 minutes and honestly made me and Chessie fall into a deep sleep on the flight.)

The first flight was around 9 hours to Atlanta and we flew through the day. We arrived in Atlanta where our layover was around 3 hours - we grabbed some food and it was a lovely chance to get to know the girls at Bux and Bewl PR agency! 

Touchdown Cancun! This flight was around 2 hours and the transfer to the hotel was around 1.5 hours. I think it’s safe to say we were all pretty tired at this point as it was around 24 hours of travelling with a time difference jump of 5 hours behind. We arrived at the Nest Villa, where me, Chess, Frankie, Tiff and Emily were staying. I love arriving to places in the evening and waking up when it turns light - you never know what its going to look like!

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All of us woke up around 6.30 and headed straight out the front (our villa was situated right on the beachfront - you went down to the bottom of the garden and opened the gate and you are on the beach!). The sunrise that welcomed us was amazing - one of the most beautiful sunrises I had seen in a long time! 

 

 

 

 

The girls at Bux and Bewl had organised a dinner for us at Casa Malca Hotel where they were stay (4 hotels down along the beach). We all walked along the beach - unfortunately we had hit the one month of the year where the seaweed comes up on the beach - it still didn’t take away from the fact this place was absolutely beautiful. 

The breakfast was amazing, every bit of detail the girls put in was beautiful. I took some shots and footage of breakfast and BOD products whilst everyone tucked in. The starter was croissants and banana bread (SO good), followed by coffee and this lovely avocado + egg muffin!

Me, Chess, Frankie + Tiff then spent some time shooting and creating some content. The weather was just perfect and I found the light in the afternoon to actually be better than the morning, so this is when we spent most of the time shooting. We wanted to catch sunset but the sun set the opposite side to where we were staying so we actually climbed up onto the rooftop of the villa we were staying in to catch the beautiful sunset light!

It was actually Spring Break when we were in Tulum, so the team at Bod had organised an evening out in Cancun at Coco Bongo - if you have a chance to go here, it's definitely a must! It's basically a nightclub that also shows performances. I'd say every 20 minutes or so, the dancers + performers put on a show - they change from impersonations of singers + popstars to acrobats and fight scenes! 

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This day was one of my favourites - I spent the morning photographing some Bod products and having some breakfast in the morning sun. Me and the girls then heading out on the bikes you can take out from the villa - most hotels + villas have them available and they are the nicest colours! We chose to cycle down the main street of Tulum. It is probably the most picturesque place I have ever been. Every shop and cafe along this street is photogenic - we were forever stopping and taking photographs. I recommend visiting the cafe above for the best Matcha - it's called Match Mama.

After exploring and shooting around the streets of Tulum, we headed back to our villa + beach where we spent the rest of the afternoon photographing some beach shots and some photographs around the villa itself.

For the first few days we were staying in the NEST - a beautiful villa situated on the beach. It's a great location as it's towards the middle of the main street so there's restaurants and bars walking distance. After an afternoon of shooting we got ready for the the most magical dinner. If you are visiting Tulum, then this is the top place I would recommend going, it is incredible.

This place is called Azulik and it's the most magical place i've ever eaten dinner. It's a treehouse restaurant that overlooks the whole of Tulum, the sea and inland. We had a table called a 'nest' and the idea is you watch the sunset whilst you have some pre dinner drinks and then once the sun has set, they bring you dinner and you eat under the stars (with a few fairy lights on the table). Tulum has beautiful clear nights so the stars look amazing and I couldn't think of a better place to have dinner! Inside the main restaurant (which is a big treehouse) they have nets that you can lounge on which are suspended above the trees. Yes, it's as dreamy as it sounds.

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This day was a super exciting day for me as I was shooting a 4 page spread with Frankie for Look Magazine that’s due out in the May issue! We spent r 3 hours shooting several outfit changes and looks in the beautiful Casa Malca hotel (we actually spent our last night here - the most beautiful bedrooms!) 

Below are my favoutite photographs from the LOOK magazine shoot with Frankie:

The first look we shot on a swing + on the beach. The lighting and surroundings here were so beautiful, I honestly have never been to a more photogenic place! I felt like every corner I turned down, there was something else to photograph!

We wanted to shoot a cute outfit on a bike because you can't come to Tulum and not rent a bike! We chose to go for a cute denim and bikini top look for this and paired it with a summer hat which looked beautiful on Frankie! We went to part of the street that didn't have any cars parked along the side so that the photographs would purely be about Frankie and the surroundings. 

 

 

 

The next outfit we chose was a little playsuit and we wanted to shoot this on the beach. As we were walking down to the part where we wanted to shoot, we found this amazing little Tipi and just had to get some snaps outside of it! We paired this outfit with a little beach bag to finish off the look! This was one of the main photographs used in the magazine feature. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the photoshoot, we had some lunch at the Casa Malca Hotel - if you are looking for somewhere to stay, I would highly recommend this hotel - the surrounding area is beautiful, the beach is stunning and there is endless places to shoot around the grounds. They have hammocks in the trees, a huge hanging sofa swing in the main lobby and a gorgeous pool! The food in the restaurant is very delicious and their breakfast menu is lovely!

What an incredible trip, I cannot wait to head back to Tulum and spend some more time here! 

Thank you to the team at Bod and the lovely girls at Bux & Bewl for making this such a magical trip.

Thank you for reading! x

Bank holiday weekend in the Isle of Wight

My family booked a trip to the Isle of Wight for Bank Holiday weekend when I was in Australia at the beginning of this year, and if i'm honest, I totally forgot about it until a few weeks before!!

I really appreciated actually having some down time and time away from London and work. I absolutely love what I do but I do find myself working 15+ hours a day (one of the downsides of being freelance + self employed is you feel that there is always something you can be doing!). So to head to the sea for the long weekend was very much needed.

I headed to Waterloo where you get the train to Portsmouth Harbour (super easy and only takes 1.5hours!). From the harbour you catch a ferry over to Ryde, which is the at the North part of Isle of Wight. The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend so we were very lucky with all modes of transport as everything was on time and ran smoothly.

Once arriving at Ryde, I headed to the train station where, check this, you catch a LONDON underground tube! A lot of old tubes have been moved over to the Isle of Wight and they now use them as a means of transport around the island - a very fun and quirky way of travelling! I jumped on this and headed to Sandown which is where we were staying.

The views from the train were amazing and it only took 20minutes!

We arrived to Sandown and dropped off our luggage at the hotel! As you can see the weather was incredible! We met my brother, sister in law and niece (who recently turned 3) and headed to Isle of Wight Zoo - I love animals so me and my niece were thrilled at this idea!

I highly recommend visiting this zoo. I sometimes find it hard with zoos if I feel like the animals aren't being treated right, looked after properly or don't have enough space but this zoo is great. All the animals have a lot of room and it isn't super crowded. In fact, we were pretty much the only guests there at one point! They have a good variety of animals ranging from insects, monkeys and meerkats to tigers and lions! 

After the zoo, we went and met my other brother and sister in law and headed out for some dinner!

The next morning I decided to wake up at 5am for sunrise. It's one of my favourite things to do, I feel like you get so much out of your day by waking up early and I always love to do it when I'm staying at new places. It was such a magical sunrise and I chose to walk along the beachfront up to the cliffs that you can see in the first image. 

After some breakfast, we decided to walk along the beach in the other direction towards Shanklin. The walk from Sandown to Shanklin takes around 1 hour at an average pace (you can always rent bikes if you're feeling a cycle). It's a really sceneic walk and if you fancy a swim you can always jump into the sea!

Once arriving in Shanklin, we stopped and had some lunch in Steamer Inn, which I have to say was amazing! The menu is really extensive and has a lot of choices - I'm a vegetarian so this was great for me! 

After lunch we headed for Shanklin Chine, a beautiful walk through a forest with waterfalls down one side!

It's a one way walk and you end up in a village on the top which is so picturesque and beautiful - I really recommend visiting here! This pub serves great variety of drinks and has a lovely pub garden!

The next day, I was getting a bit of itchy feet and wanted to get in the water! This surf school was right next to where we were staying. Unfortunately, the waves were non existent when we were there but it was great because it meant we could go paddle boarding! 

I've been a few times before and thoroughly enjoyed it, the water was actually pretty clear too! Me, my mum, brother and sister in law spent nearly 2 hours on the water and paddle boarded up to the pier and along the stretch of beach that covered Sandown. Super cheap as well - £10 per hour - the guy that owns the company didn't have anyone else booked in after us to let us stay out for however long we wanted! 

After building up quite a big appetite :') we headed for the restaurant The Waterfront which again, was amazing food! 

The plan was to go and explore a bit more of the island but because the weather was so amazing we decided to head back to Shanklin and relax on the beach!

The next morning I woke up pretty early again and went for a walk on the beach! I absolutely love the feeling of sand on your feet and the sound of waves - I feel like it instantly sends me into a feeling of calmness!

Again, the weather today was amazing! As it was our last day we couldn't head anywhere too far away from our hotel because we had left our luggage there. We decided to walk along the cliff top walk towards Shanklin. This route is absolutely stunning and takes about 1 hour. 

We had some lunch when we got to Shanklin and headed home to avoid the London rush hour!

Isle of Wight is super easy to get to from London and I will definitely be visiting again! The weather was amazing and it was so nice to be able to relax and have some family time!

I hope you enjoyed the photos and thank you for reading! x

BLACK AND WHITE SHOOTING IN LONDON

I've been experimenting with Black and White recently and it stems from me digging out an old Olympus Film Camera I have (which my dad actually used throughout his teens). I've been bringing it to London to shoot some fun stuff with friends + it got me wanting to edit some photographs in Black and White.

Me and Frankie met up a few weeks back and decided to shoot a few looks around London. I always love shooting with Frankie, she's super fun and absolutely beautiful! We started by heading to Five Guys near Oxford Street and snapped some coloured imagery which I have to say is probably one of my favourite shoots with her (more on my Instagram). We then headed round the corner and found this cute newsagents.

I wanted to photograph Frankie with the magazines and newspapers (we tried inside but were quickly asked to leave - It seemed like the owner was fairly used to having people come in and take photos!). We settled for just outside the front door and along the edge of the shop. 

We then headed through Carnaby Street and found this other newsagents which had a really cute shop front! It was small and on the corner of a street, so was perfect for some shots of Frankie in the doorway and then some sneaky shots of her just inside the front with some fashion mags.

I really loved editing these shots in Black and White - it reminded me of a vogue style magazine shoot. I always use Lightroom to edit my photographs, I find it super easy and quick to use and it has a lot of elements to it that I love - the colour grading espcially! I use Photoshop for any photo manipulation, for example taking people out of photographs or cleaning up an image.

After this we headed to another burger chain restaurant - Ed's Diner. I especially love the neons lights outside this restaurant, they are particularly great to shoot at night or as the sun is going down. I positioned Frankie just outside on the metal chairs and we got some shots sitting.

I will definitely be editing + shooting in Black and White more often, I think it can really work well with particular imagery, giving them a little more edge! More from this shoot in another blog post coming soon!

 

L x