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27 posts categorized "WorldTours"

Amy reporting from Kyoto

I'm taking a month off from organising the PikaPackage Project , which will resume in July, for a recharging month in Kyoto, Japan.  I love Kyoto -- although I've been to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, my heart is set on Kyoto -- it's a place where modern shopping conveniences are just a hop and skip away from the suburbs (surrounded by mountain fresh air!).
There are so many shops that I'm in love with, but I'm going to let the readers at Boesom have a quick look at the wonderful shop fronts at Kyoto which I have discovered along my walking tours in the district -- which I'm hoping to compile into a small book soon!
The Sanjo and Shijo district is particularly my favourite, with a rooftop shopping experience designated along a few streets. There's modern delights -- coffee shops and clothing stores, as well as quaint Japanese style shops offering tabi (traditional men's shoes) and kimono fabrics sitting comfortably next to each other.

I picked up a mook (magazine + book) that focused on Art + Culture and have decidedly made it my guide for the trip, and although I don't understand a word they say, it is a fantastic walking/biking guide to lovely small shops around Kyoto. 
I live up North Kyoto, and the town is about 5 kilometres away southwest, and I can usually reach there in about 30 – 40 minutes from where I stay with my best friend.

9: The Angers shop sells a lot of Scandinavian goods such as Marimekko, as well as vintage inspired homewares.
10 & 11: The Linnet shop, where I met the lovely owner, Mayumi and her assistant, Kayo!



{originally posted in June 2008}

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Irene When I was little I used to say to people I am an ‘Amsterdammertje’ by which I meant that I was proud my first crib was overlooking the famous Museum quarter. Although I grew up in the east of the Netherlands (which is beautiful too, but nothing like Amsterdam and a world of its own with a different language or dialect actually… we spoke ‘tukkers’…). Moving back to Amsterdam was always on my mind. When I turned nineteen, I finally went back where I belonged. I admit it took me probably another ten years before I actually visited all of the incredible museums and other historic places that you literally find at every corner in Amsterdam. But I guess that this might be typical for most Dutch people, they should appreciate their heritage more... No more excuses. I hope to make up for this lack of patriotism a little bit with this weekend read… The read is not about historic stuff though. It is about places that I feel define Amsterdam and its people today, hopefully uncovering some beautiful spots you may have overlooked on your previous visits to this wonderful city. Quite a challenge I realize, as many of you are Amsterdam experts already...



Sugar + water + glucose = PapaBubble

But there is more to PapaBubble than just these three basic ingredients. It is what they do with them in their candy laboratory that makes sweets worthy to carry the PapaBubble name. From now on you will put your favorite lollypops in a vase rather than tulips. Offering a sweet to someone has never been this fashionable. You are basically giving away little pieces of edible art.



PapaBubble is strategically located around the world, so you can’t miss them on your city trips when you need to satisfy that sweet tooth…. Mark your map as follows: Amsterdam, Barcelona and Tokyo… a sweet triangle… PapaBubble teamed up with Comme des Garçons to create the ‘taste of Comme des Garçons’. It is a powder candy that matches the perfume. Can you imagine giving your date an actual taste of your perfume… talking about seduction techniques…Your first order is for free when you purchase a bottle of perfume. A sweet collaboration indeed…

Keet in Huis...


...means ‘party in the house’ and this is exactly what you will get when you set your kids (or yourself…) loose in Keet in Huis. It will be your kids’ favorite playground. So many beautiful colorful objects and an ever changing collection. You will find 'Pakhuis Oost' but also a wonderful series of KEET products for kids. I have a special place in my heart for  Keet in Huis as they were among the first to carry my collection of baby announcements and greeting cards.


Keet in Huis is located on ‘KNSM eiland’ in the heart of the ‘island district’ along the ‘IJ’ river. An area that used to be the old harbor and has developed rapidly as one of the city’s favorite places to live. Modern architecture and converted warehouses. It is where in the old days the ‘Holland America Line’ passenger ships would dock. Cruise ships still dock there, but now at a beautiful new terminal which basically drops you in the heart of the city (close to Central Station). It is only a five minute walk from your cabin to Keet in Huis


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A true taste of Amsterdam



Truly amazing. Food is no longer just about eating. Sound, atmosphere, styling, an inspiring crowd and much more. Marije Vogelzang is food designer and invented Proef. Proef means 'taste' and gives new meaning to the word restaurant. A whole new eating sensation, stimulating all of your senses... Imagine eating your plate for desert, don’t worry it is made of sugar. Only eating stuff your body reacts favourably to. Seduced by colours, texture and design. A special breakfast that will ignite you with energy, pushing all the right buttons to get you started for your Amsterdam weekend escape. And it’s all healthy too. No more boring Dutch staple dishes (remember Van Gogh’s ‘potato eaters’…?). Proef gives a fresh impulse to both Dutch cuisine and design. Marije also did some marvellous projects for Droog Design and Hella Jongerius.


And it gets even better. Proef is located in the 'Westergasfabriek', a former industrial park which has transformed to Amsterdam’s newest signature piece. A creative and cultural melting pot. Merging artistic entrepreneurship with commercial enterprise. This is ‘New Amsterdam’, putting you right into our next ‘Golden Age’.

You will find special events, theatres, bars and restaurants. The area is wrapped in a beautiful park. Take a sharp right when you leave Central Station (after visiting a new wing of the ‘Rijksmuseum’ which is located within the station). It is just a fifteen-minute walk away.



{ps. should you end up in Rotterdam by mistake, don’t panic, Proef also has a tasting oasis in the centre of this harbour city which is definitely worth a visit!


When Analik opens her new Miauw suites this March there will only be one place for you to stay in Amsterdam. Analik is famous for her outspoken fashion designs but that is not all she has been up to lately…Check into Miauw, and you may never leave again… Beautifully located at the corner of ‘Keizersgracht’ and ‘Harte Straat’ in the heart of an area called ‘nine little streets’. The extremely spacious and modern styled suites (70 square meters!) are open concept, have a small kitchen and come with all sorts of complementary goodies. You will feel right at home. Overlooking one of the best parts of the canal area. Just pick a floor plan, make an on-line reservation, and you are all set for your spring visit.


Miauw combines suites with Miauw shops and projects. No ordinary hotel lobby. The ground floor is occupied by Analik's boutique where she shows her latest designs and some handpicked other labels. Special projects include photography exhibitions. Our lucky ‘Zuiderburen’ in Antwerp (a friendly nickname for our Belgian neighbours in the south) have enjoyed Miauw's hospitality since a few years already.



All a girl could ever wish for…

Looking to shop in style, listen to newly released music or browse magazines surrounded by contemporary furniture and art exhibitions? Look no further. Head straight for SPRMRKT. My friend Nelleke started SPRMRKT only a few years ago. It has really taken off since. SPRMRKT is not a store. It is all about how you have always wanted to spend your city weekends. Submerged in all good things life has to offer. SPRMRKT is setting the pace for others, but this time keeping up might just not be that easy… Nelleke chose a fabulous collection of niche fashion labels. You will also find rare pieces of vintage furniture and other special items. I especially like the collection of leather bags that are designed by Nelleke herself.


Not exclusive enough for your taste? Enter SPR+, a boutique within SPRMRKT, for those of us looking to go all the way and know how to spend it… SPR+ was designed by XandL. Say hi to Nelleke for me when you’re there!





Beyond snap shots

My interest in photography only started a few years ago when I was working part-time for Nel’s photography agency. I continue to be amazed by what some people can do with a camera. A great place to satisfy your appetite for photography is Foam. Yes, it is a museum…Foam is all about photography ‘now and then’. An absolute favorite among ‘Amsterdammers’. You can easily spend an entire afternoon in Foam, drinking your latte, having lunch and enjoying images from all over the world. Check Foam's agenda on-line for exhibitions that interest you. Located on a beautiful canal, just minutes away from the Amstelveld where on the other side of the water you will find Bebob for vintage furniture.




Visit Droog

No further introduction needed… I just wanted to give you the address of Droog Design's showroom if you do not have it bookmarked already. Go to ‘Staalstraat 7b’. How to get there? Follow the crowd or check out their website.



{Droog Design: table setting by Arno VerhoevenChair by Tjep,  Table Cloth: Fold to fit by Chris Kabel}



Neighbourhood love

Just around the corner of my old place. Never could resist going in when walking by. Studio91 was started by Hester Slaman, Roos Arends and Marc van der Voorn. Jewellery, fashion and custom made lamps. All collector’s items. And there are more things happening on ‘Elandsgracht’, so many new boutiques and other fun stores have opened since I left almost two years ago. Let me know what you have discovered when you get back.





I love Mondays!

Just in case you missed your plane on Sunday… get an early wake-up call and rush for the 'Noordermarkt' on Monday morning. Make sure to get there early enough to scoop your vintage cloths, bags and pottery and furniture. Visit 'get back design' for more details.




Peek view

A brief note on my old neighbourhood the ‘Jordaan’. It is in the heart of the old city and canal area. My old place is on the ‘Looiersgracht’ where in the old days you would find the city’s leather sweatshops. These days are long gone. The area is now densely populated and has some of the greatest shops and restaurants in town. The 'nine little streets' (technically not the Jordaan…) is my favourite area for just wandering around the canal area. The area is pedestrian (and bicyclist) paradise, you don’t need a car to get around, you just start walking... Here are some pics of my apartment and studio in Amsterdam. Carme from Barcelona now lives there. She calls it her ‘new home’ which is a great compliment and (still) makes me feel proud of my hometown.


I hope to see you in Amsterdam soon!
{big kiss again for Rik.} {originally posted in January 2007}

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Christine reporting from Oslo


One of my favourite things about Oslo is that it is neither too big, nor too small.  It is the third largest city in Scandinavia, with a little over 500 000 inhabitants, and the capital of Norway, but it is still a manageable size and easy to get around.  It has shopping, entertainment and leisure activities for everyone, but today I’m going to show you my favourite spots.


My daily errands usually take me to the city centre, the area around the city’s main street Karl Johans gate.  The Royal Castle lies in one end of the street, and the central station in the other.  A lot of the big chains, like H&M, Zara, etc have stores along Karl Johan, and there are also several large department stores, and of course a lot of cafes and restaurants.


Norway Designs in Stortingsgata is, as the name implies, a design shop with art, home décor and interiors from Norwegian, Scandinavian and European designers, and is a must when shopping in Oslo!  It also houses Papirhuset, that stocks the most beautiful paper you can wish for. One of my very favourite shops!

{designer clothing by Mette Moller}

{art by Odd Tandberg and ceramics by Grete Jalk}
If I’m in the market for a little more original and one-of-a-kind clothes, accessories or home decor I always head a little farther east, to Grünerløkka.  Formerly a working class area of town, this district has become enormously popular with the young and hip crowd.  You’ll find a lot of small shops with more original wares, with everything from independent designer clothes to furniture and art.  If you get tired from shopping, there’s an abundance of cafés where you can rest your sore legs and have a delicious meal at the same time.  I especially recommend Sult in Thorvald Meyers gate.


West of the city centre lies Majorstua, also a trendy shopping district with lots of shops, cafes and restaurants. I often go to the Broker for lunch, or just a coffee. Nearby, you’ll also find Frognerparken, or Vigelandsparken as it is also called.  It is a large public park that contains the oversized naked sculptures of Gustav Vigeland, and is one of the main tourist attractions in town.  There are grass where you can relax and sunbathe, paths to take a walk or rollerblade, and outdoor swimmingpools.  I enjoy this park very much, and highly recommend it for a picnic on a sunny day!  Bring your own food and drink; the restaurant inside the park is ridiculously expensive!


There are plenty of woods around Oslo – in fact the geographical centre of town is in the middle of a forest - where one can go skiing in winter or hiking and biking in summer.  I’m not much of a forest person, so on a leisurely summer day, I usually opt for a boat ride.  There are several small islands a few minutes by public boat from the docks downtown.  On hot days, there really is nothing better than to get out of the city centre, and spend the day island hopping.


Finally, on this tour around Oslo, I’ll actually take you even farther west, outside the city.  Bærums Verk, 30 minutes by car from the centre of Oslo, is well worth a visit.  An iron foundry in the 17th century, it is now a charming, old fashion shopping street.  The old buildings where the iron workers used to live have been preserved, and are now home to the many small shops where you can buy high-quality handmade goods.  Bærums Verk also houses the famous, but expensive interior shop Verket Interiør.


When you get hungry, there are several places to eat, one of them being Norway’s oldest restaurant Værtshuset, where they also claim to have a house ghost.  A more economicaI option is Melboden where you’ll find the best tasting Italian pizzas outside of Italy!  Finally, you can go for a stroll by the river Lomma.


That brings this Oslo tour to an end, thanks for joining me, and thanks so much to Irene for having me!

* * * Christine from HappyGreen

{originally posted in June 2008}

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Heather reporting from Capetown


Today...a completely different continent... Africa...more precisely...its south-tip... South Africa's Capetown...hometown of Heather from skinnylaminx...Heather and I met when Bloesem was still written in Dutch and she was practicing her Dutch by reading Bloesem and giving comments in Dutch...as you know, although two distinct languages, Afrikaans and Dutch are very much related...since then Heather and I have become close blog friends...I am very happy she is sharing her favorite Capetown finds with us...


"Just up the road from me is a charming little shop called Heartworks, run by Margaret Woermann. It’s a bright and colourful place, full of amazing things but very carefully put together so you can see it all.

Margaret travels all over South Africa, finding interesting craftwork that she can sell at Heartworks. As well as finding stock for the shop, she also want to find ways to nurture her relationship with the crafters she finds, in order for them to grow their business.

One of the ways she’s done this is by starting an embroidery group at her second shop at the Biscuit Mill in Salt River. Here, a group of ladies from all over Africa sit together and work at embroidery that gets made up into teddy bears, hearts, bags and pillows, to be sold in Heartworks… and all over the world!


Last year, Gap made a huge teddy bear order that got the embroidery groups’ fingers flying!

Through Heartworks, Margaret has boosted South African crafts immeasureably, and I hope that everyone visiting Cape Town will be sure to pop in to one of the three Heartworks stores in Kloof Street, at the Gardens Centre and at the Biscuit Mill.

{PS: I have posted an interview with Margaret at the Elle Deco blog, if you want to read more about this fantastic lady and her work.}

...and here is another great must-see-place when visiting Capetown according to Heather from SkinnyLaminx...
"Just down the road, in the opposite direction from Heartworks, is another very special place. It’s a small independent cinema called the Labia Cinema.

First built as a ballroom for the Italian embassy, the building was converted into a venue for live performances by the Princess Labia.

Now the Labia operates as a four screen cinema from its charmingly old-world premises in Orange Street, Gardens, and has recently built a new extension up the road on Kloof Street.

{click on image to enlarge}
I don’t remember when last I went to see a movie at one of the shopping mall cinemas. Those super-sized theaters simply can’t compete with a nighttime stroll down Kloof Street to the warmly-lit Labia lobby…

…buying a cardboard ticket from a roll from the lady in the booth…

…then getting a beer or a coffee from Harold at the bar…

… and grabbing a paper bag of popcorn from the Choc Bar…

…and letting long-time usher Christine tear your ticket before you take the lot inside the theater (and the beer too!).

The seats aren’t super-comfortable and the sound isn’t surround, but the atmosphere is impossible to synthesise. It’s the real thing, and it can’t be beat."...for more information please send Heather an email...

* * *SkinnyLaminx
* * *contact Heather

{originally posted on May 16, 2008}

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