City Guide: Colourful Amsterdam

amsterdam blue shutters bicycle



Welcome to Amsterdam!

I’ve been going on about Amsterdam for what feels like forever (well, it was last year!) I first posed by the canals in December, then down the pretty residential streets last week but now I can tell you all about what I got up to in between!

I love a good hipster cafe and indie design shop, but sometimes when I’m looking into a new city, it’s had to find a guide with these sorts of placesin. I hope this colourful will do the ‘research before you take off’ job for you. Scroll on down to find my fave cafes, burger joints (obviously), unique boutiques and cool hotels!

I’ve started with the hotels I stayed at as they will be your central starting point. Then, i’ve picked my favourite places by area. Take a day or a half day exploring each of the districts. Getting lost is part of the fun so follow your nose!

Off somewhere else in Europe? See all my guides and advice.

 Take a look at my travel category ›


Central Amsterdam

amsterdam stickers and flags


hotel V breakfast table amsterdam

hotel v cool place to stay in amsterdam

mirror as menu


Amsterdam Hotels

We stayed in two hotels on our break, Hotel V Nesplein (my personal fave, see photos above) and The Albus Hotel (for a more swanky, modern vibe.) The rooms in Hotel V were large, fun and unique with huge framed mirrors and tree trunk side tables. Breakfast is served by the dish like for dinner and my pancakes went down a treat. Both hotels were located very centrally and a tram/20 min walk from the station. They were both perfect locations to wander around any of the districts. Just grab a bike, tram or use your feet!


stach amsterdam



If I lived in Amsterdam, it’s likely that you’d catch me getting my lunch from Stach Food. A cornershop style convenience shop that blows Pret out of the water, it boasts nutritious lunches that change seasonally and the cutest locally packaged chocolate as well as indie brand treats. Have a chat with the staff, they’re all super friendly and happy to help!


anna and nina shop amsterdam

anna + nina amsterdam

inside anna + nina amsterdam

gold star shape lamp in amsterdam


Anna + Nina

Opposite the Nieuwe Hoogstraat branch of Stach sits Anna + Nina. When the girls and I planned our trip to Amsterdam, we created a google doc to paste in places we wanted to visit. It’s no coincidence that we all noted down Anna + Nina, it’s a girls interior heaven! From pastel striped plates to cute notebooks via dainty jewels, get one of the two stores down on your list!


amsterdam red mini car

amsterdam lunch cafe paper planes salad

amsterdam paper planes roses in glass bottles


Paper Planes

Paper Planes cafe was another one of those ‘on our list’ places and it’s location was perfect for our stay at Hotel V (see below!) It was the perfect place for our first meal, not only did we tuck into delicious salads but we even made friends with local food bloggers who were sitting at the long communal wooden bench by the window. Come here to work with your laptop and watch the world go by.


wooden bike droog amsterdam

cafe droog amsterdam

cool design shop droog amsterdam



If you’re into bold colours, graphic design and clean lines then Droog is for you. A hotel, events company and shop – there’s not much that Droog doesn’t do to shake up the Amsterdam design world. Working with different clients and makers, they put on exhibitions, talks, collaborations and other events. Pop in, grab a coffee and leave feeling sophisticated.


amsterdam sweet shop



If it’s Wednesday then you’re in for a treat for sweet shop PapaBubble show you just how they make their cute and colourful treats. From mini rock candies to lollypops, watch them spin their sugar magic inside their little shop or get involved yourself!


cafe bern cheese fondue in amsterdam

cafe bern amsterdam

best fondue in amsterdam

drinking red wine in cafe bern



Cafe Bern

It was our first night and we couldn’t work out where we wanted to eat. After checking the Amsterdam foodie blogs (there are some great ones like Story 154) and Tripadvisor we decided that cheese was the only way. Cafe Bern may be an hommage to Switzerland but we didn’t mind, it had all the spirit of Amsterdam. Grab a caraffe of red wine at the bar, chat to the cute waiter, have a giggle and tuck into their secret fondue blend with beef that you cook yourself in garlic butter. You may suffer a tad afterwards but a walk around the canal paths afterwards will sort you right out!



The 9 Streets District (West)




If you’re looking for indie boutiques, head to 9 streets. There are far too many cute places to mention so just meander in and out of each street (being sure to stop at the the cafe below for lunch!) and pop in to wherever takes your fancy! P.s our phone GPS was essentials when navigating these streets! They may all go in straight lines, but the canals are concentric so you actually don’t always know where you are geographically. Make sure you all know where you are if your group is splitting up and invest in internet, it’s worth it, if only just for Instagram!


ree7 amsterdam fresh mint tea

amsterdam magazines on exposed brick wall ree7



The girls and I popped straight into Ree7, a cute looking cafe in the 9 streets district and we didn’t regret it! Amsterdam gets pretty nippy in winter so running in and ordering a crispy chicken sandwich with a fresh mint tea really hit the spot. The trailing plants, cute tables and mezzanine floor add to the hip vibe.


East Amsterdam

Brouwerij 't IJ brewery amsterdam

amsterdam brewery tasting samples

windmill brewery amsterdam Brouwerij 't IJ



Brouwerij ‘t IJ

There was only one reason for heading east for me: The famous brewery in a windmill! My housemate told me about Brouwerij’t IJ, the original site of the 1985 brewery, and I made it my mission to give their tasting tray of Amsterdam brewed beers a go. Well… the 9% offering really hit the spot! I’ve heard this is a great visit in summer, though it is packed. Clear your afternoon, head there with mates and have a jolly good time.


De Pijp (South)

all the luck in the world amsterdam

all the luck in the world amsterdam knitted lampshades

amsterdam colourful cool shop


All The Luck in the World

It’s worth spending a day in De Pijp for all the cute boutiques and eateries. It’s pretty much a case of wander down a cute looking street and pop into anywhere that takes your fancy. My fancy was taken by All the luck in the world. Everything looked straight from Pinterest. The visual merchandising was exquisite. Just, let me buy everything.


blond amsterdam french cheese plate

amsterdam colourful eggcups blond



Come out of All the luck in the world and go opposite into this Amsterdam institution. It’s pretty much 80% pink (check out the toilet!) so you can’t miss it. Two blonde friends started the brand 13 years ago, first creating their own cutely illustrated versions of delft ceramics. It’s since grown massively into seasonal ceramics collections as well as fabrics and stationery. We met a Blond self-confessed obsessive adding to her vast collection, it’s all too kitsch to miss!


amsterdam juice bar turquoise bike hipster cafe

hutspot shop amsterdam

amsterdam hutspot cafe late de pijp



The hipster in me couldn’t wait to order it’s latte in Hutspot. Another hip creative all-encompassing sort of hang out, Hutspot is primarily a masculine clothing and interiors boutique for an ‘urbanized lifestyle’ but it also hosts an indie barbers, super-cool work space (think cub scouts style tents and long wooden tables with dried plants hanging from the ceiling) cafe (with gooood coffee) and workshop space. It’s another co-working, bring-your-macbook kind of place that Amsterdam does so well.


geflipt amsterdam cool young burgers

amsterdam blue cheese burgers geflipt




A ShinyThoughts city guide wouldn’t be complete without a mention of a burger joint! Lucky for us, there are loads of hip new burger places popping up in Amsterdam. In De Pijp alone there were at least 3 (The Butcher is popular one) but the green exterior and a recommendation on Instagram was what lured us into Geflipt. (It’s also opposite Hutspot!) Our waitress was the cutest thing since sliced bread and our burgers were the best thing since sliced bread. The ‘Blue’ was served in a novel fashion, the chips were perfectly condiment-tossed and the clipboard menus made for good ‘gram. We were happy.


amsterdam colourful red bike

amsterdam gouda cheese market


De Pijp Markets

You’ve got to get yourself some Gouda if you’re going to Amsterdam. It’s just the rules. I’m all about the cheese, as is my housemate Kristabel so between us we came back with 5 varieties. Yes the above stand shows just how many types of the Netherlandish legend you can pick up. There’s probably more. Amble around the food stalls in De Pijp and get all the tasting samples you can. Warning: remember you do have to stop tasting at some point, it’s just polite but I know, it is hard.


amsterdam canals


Ready for your trip? Fly to Amsterdam from hundreds of airports with KLM Airlines. Thank you KLM for helping us with our #FiveFlyKLM mission!

Other travel posts ›


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bloggers market



Come hang out with us next Saturday!

WHOOP WHOOP! If you’re going to be in London on Saturday 31st January then get your Google Cal open for I’ve got some exciting news! My blogging besties Olivia, Dunya, CarrieKristabel and I are holding The Bloggers Market; selling our brand new and pre-loved wares from our very own wardrobes (plus a couple of other little bits and bobs I’m sure!)


Come on up to The Camden Foundry in the Camden Market (a good opportunity to reminisce and have a scout around Camden!) between 11am and 5pm to snap up a fist-pump-worthy piece or three. Check the Facebook event for the exact location and how to get there.

What we’re selling:

I’ve decided to sell my bits and bobs at pretty affordable prices. Pieces will start from 50p with most items priced between £2 and £5 and a couple of beautiful bits priced around £20 to £50 (we’re talking British made leather and designer shoes!) We will be taking cash only but if there’s something a little pricier then you can always pay via paypal. I’m selling sizes 8-12 and shoes at sizes 6-8 but the other girls have got sizes 6-14 covered too! Brands include ASOS, Missguided and your high street favourites, Mulberry, Kurt Geiger, Vans and lots more!

Wait, there’s more:

Just selling clothes? Oh no, we’re more than that! Come down for a chat, coffee, cakes by Lena Rose Bakery, get your hair styled a la Bloggers by Joel Benjamin hair in the awesome, chilled out Camden Foundry – looks pretty cool huh?

Please RSVP on our Facebook event page!

Keep up with the action with our #TheBloggersMarket hashtag. See you there, we can’t wait!


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Blue Skies, Fluffy Clouds

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Cloud Print

It might be Blue Monday but all I see is blue sky! It’s not just there when I look up, but down on my feet too. Cath Kidston’s new cloud print range is just adorbs.

A brand known for their retro British prints, CK always charm me with their print coated every-day items. None, however, have quite got me cooing like the cloud print so just to warn you, I might just be buying everything. That or the fish print. Too good!

You never quite know when the clouds might turn from white to grey so I wore my plastic mac and matching brolly for my stroll on Hampstead Heath yesterday. Just in case. The mud may have gotten the better of my new Gola’s in the end but I’ll be wearing them with resistance. Come on Mr Blue Sky, you can do it!

Like Cath Kidston? See how we celebrated their 20th birthday!


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Red and Black

Whoop – first outfit post of the year! I hope you enjoyed my post about what I got up to in 2014 and my latest tips on how to refresh your home for the new year. Here’s to more lifestyle and advice posts – I really like making them so I hope you like having a peruse!

This outfit was actually shot pre 2015 (oopsies!) on my trip to Amsterdam with my galpals. Kristabel and I spent a lovely chilled day wandering around the De Pijp quarter, ambling down quiet and picturesque residential streets and ‘um’-ing and ‘arr’-ing over which indie burger joint to have lunch at.

I’m kicking myself at sending my plain black roll neck top to the charity shop a year ago. What the hell was I thinking? Winter layering essential hello? That’s a shopping list note right there! Thanks Kristabel for letting me steal yours instead. Luckily, I was super cosy in my woolly layers and teddy textured skirt. If you’re a mini-skirt wearer but want to beat the chill, get yourself a fluffy skirt – they keep your bum perfectly warm!


I’ll be posting a colourful little guide to the capital very soon including where we finally decided to eat our burgers!

See what else I wore in Amsterdam ›

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amsterdam outfit

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What I Wore:



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5 Steps to Shiny-up your Home this New Year

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Refresh your home and life this January!

There’s a lot of talk of renewal and resolutions now that we’re all ’20k 15′ and all that, so I’m jumping on the band wagon and having a little cleanse of my own. Giving your pad a spruce-up is the best start to the year. Come on, it’s time to refresh your home!


kitchen shelves kilner jars organisation


1 – Re-arrange your cupboards


Unless you’re a magic fairy, your kitchen cupboards are probably looking like a Jenga game stopped mid-play for fear of the dreaded tumble. This was a state typical of my kitchen with my main issue being tea overload. Yes, too many tea box/packets/sachets called for some pretty choc-a-block shelving.


A Christmas gift of cute cork stopper jars later and I was excited to get stuck in.

Buy kilner jars and change the alignment of your shelves so that the height of each shelf works for you. Rearrange your food by what you use the most. I put all my baking supplies on the top shelf, (because as much as I’d love to think so, I rarely get my Delia on) all my teas and drinks in the middle and the new larger bottom section for all my grains, herbs, tins and cupboard essentials. Now it makes sense!




new year home bedroom decorating perfumes


2 – Cosify your bedroom


If you live in a Victorian conversion like me, chances are you can feel the north wind blow through the hairline gaps in your wooden windows as if there was no glass at all. Useless. Living in a rented house means there’s only so much calling up the estate agents and blasting that mini-heater that you can do, but when I heard about insulating films from my friend, there was hope!


Last weekends task was fitting Tesa Thermo Cover films for your windows. (Note: you won’t be able to open them whilst you have these affixed but come spring you can peel them off easily again.) Whilst the description of ‘simple to mount’ may not have quite fit the mark, (this is a two-man job) once you’ve got the hang of one of one window, the other ain’t so hard.

The light in the photo picks out the plastic so you can see it but most of the time you can’t make them out at all! Prettify your room with plants, candles and perfumes and no-one will ever know.

My second action was to maximise the radiators heat circulation around my room. I previously had a my clothes rail covering 3/4 of my rad. Bad idea Lucy. Whilst my T-shirts and jeans were getting toasty, I was shivering across the room. Now as I write this post I feel warmth. I am actually warm – hooray! Which brings me on to…



new year home bedroom decorating desk space


3 – Re-shuffle your room to fit with now


Even if you’ve had the same bedroom for years you probably don’t use it in quite the same way as you did last year. I moved in in March and at last I’m starting to realise that the way I’d stored things or configured the furniture didn’t make good feng shui anymore.


I’ve swapped my clothes rail for my desk so that I can get more heat from my radiator and natural light from the window whilst working. The bonus is, now when I walk into the room, it looks larger as my line of vision isn’t obstructed by a busy mass of clothes anymore. I’ve also swapped my lamp bulb for an energy efficient daylight bulb for extra room-freshening ‘sunlight’.

You don’t have to go moving furniture of course. I’m also hitting my shelves and drawers, swapping things out of them to make more sense. My most-used items come to the top, boxes stack in my eye-line and awkward shapes go in the corner where they’re less viewed.

At this point it’s probably also useful to…




new year home bedroom decorating dress rail


4 – Have a clear-out


Yes, we all know there’s nothing more therapeutic than ridding ourselves of objects we attached ourselves to in the past. It’s all about tomorrow (and next season now) so get yourself on Pinterest, trend reports and motivational guides then hit that rail and make an impact. Your local charity shop will thank you and ‘ooh! Look at all that new space you have to exhibit your new candle holder!’




desk inspiration macbook pro, chocolate and colourful books on marble table

5 – And lastly, update your website!


Your room is in a state of equilibrium, the scented candles are calming you and your favourite blogs are full of year in rewiews. Now to get back online! Get inspired by looking at lots of different sources, magazines and books.


Analyse your website and note what you want to change. Get mobile. Create a private Pinterest board and get designing or contacting those coders. I am weehhhlll overdue a blog redesign so my main goal for 2015 is to get my graphics cap on!

Good Luck!




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Welcome, I'm Lucy!
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Sharing my shiny thoughts of London, food, places around the world, my home, my outfits and things to make you smile.