Tag Archives: Travel

The Cloisters

The Cloisters beckoned Simon and I on a warm and gorgeous afternoon in late May.  This being my first time above 150th street, I was pleasantly surprised to find beautiful old apartment buildings and fun restaurants on route to Fort Tyron, the gorgeous park in which the Cloisters is located.  Once inside Fort Tyron, you have  truly left the city behind–  all of a sudden you become surrounded by lush greenery and as you near the cloisters, a breathtaking view of Hudson river comes into focus!  As Simon said, we were now, “in the nature.”

Once inside the Cloisters, you have essentially stepped into to a gold mine of art and architecture from medieval Europe.  The building itself is not an actual historical monastery, but rather incorporates parts from five French cloistered abbeys.  The triptychs, paintings, tapestries, and the treasury contained in the building mostly center around religious imagery, as religion was the prime focus of medieval life.

The Cloisters is most famous for it’s  seven Unicorn Tapestries,  which depict the hunting and resurrection of the mythical animal.  These tapestries were not believed to have been part of the same set- The Met suggests that they came originally from several sets.  The Unicorn Tapestries represented both the lifecycle of Christ, and also suggest themes in courtly love.  Whatever your take on the story, they are absolutely magical, evoking a real sense of mystery and storytelling through art.  I would say the Unicorn Tapestries are worth the trip alone.  On your way out, be sure to check out the medieval style gardens complete with period plants and flowers.  xx Helen Anne


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My Perfect Day in Amsterdam.

We’ve come to an important milestone, my friends.  I’ve lived in Amsterdam now for almost a year, and it’s time fore me to share with you my favorite parts of the city, in the MY PERFECT DAY blog post.

So folks, here it is:

Breakfast for me would naturally start around 11am, at Greenwood’s with fresh Irish soda bread, eggs, tea and gossip with friends.  If it were a Monday morning, I would hit the Noordermarkt, (Amsterdam’s best clothing market) with a big bag, and scour the tables and racks for vintage goodies.  Working up an appetite while toiling at the market would bring me to the Winkel 43 Cafe, where I would then devour a slice of apple taart about the size of my head.  Mmm, tasty.

Greenwood's, for the full english in Amsterdam

My afternoon would not be complete without a stroll through the Negen Straatjes, popping in and out of boutiques, looking for deals (the Dutch way) and great design.  A favorite place of mine is the legendary vintage shop, Laura Dols.  The store only stocks vintage items in very good condition, and there is wonderful variety in each section.  (If I were feeling really ambitious, I would continue my shopping on the Utrechtsestraat, planning my next trip at the A la Carte travel book store!)

Laura Dols, on the Negen Straatjes

In order to clear my mind of all of the fashion fuss, I would cycle over the canal belt  to Vondelpark for a walk through the rose garden, before heading to the FOAM photography museum, for my daily dose of culture.

Recent exhibition at FOAM

As my busy day would start winding down, I’d grab a friend (most likely my boyfriend) and head to Burgermeester, home to the finest hamburger- or lamburger or salmonburger -in the world.  Ok I might be exaggerating, but these are some of the tastiest burgers, topped with such healthy and innovative stuff (truffle egg, chorizo, asparagus, anyone?)

Burgermeester, the burger master

Fueled up for a nightout, it would be time to hit the town.  High heels on bicycle pedals would take me first to Cafe Lux, for a drink with a hip crowd.  If I had tickets for a special DJ, it would probably be at Trouw, but on a normal night, the music and atmosphere of De Kring/Club Up would draw me in to dance the night away.

Craziness @ Club Up

So there you have it.  All my favorite places, all in one post.  If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, let me know- I just might be able to help 🙂

Talk of the Town:


Singel 103

020 6237071


Noordermarkt 9-3

Winkel 43

Noordermarkt 43



Laura Dols

Wolvenstraat 6

020 6249066

A la Carte

Utrechtsestraat 110-112

020 6250679





Cafe Lux

Marnixstraat 403

+31 20 422 1412

De Kring/Club Up

Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 26-1


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In Love, With Laduree.

As a patisserie connoisseur, I would like to announce my newest muse: the macaroon. This small, yet plump, delicate morsel has made quite the entrance into the international gourmand arena.  On my recent trip to Paris, I sat down at the Laduree on the Rue Royale, to taste these small sweets I’d heard so much about.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Laduree macaroon did not disappoint.  The entire thing was so flavorful, and the cream inside so decadently rich.  The macaroons come in many flavors, and there is not one thing artificial tasting about them!  The lemon and caramel were my personal favorites.  My only regret was not sampling the cakes, pastries or chocolates in the dreamy display.

But there is more to like about this elegant and extremely feminine gourmandise.  My heroine, Marie Antoinette, is the inspiration behind the theme and decor of the shop. This same decor is also brilliantly displayed on the website, and in the absolutely adorable (and mouth watering!) video, the laduree dream: http://www.laduree.fr/en/reve/zoom.

Against all odds, Laduree is a raging success in Paris, and around the world (New Yorkers- Laduree opened just days ago on 864 Madison Avenue!)  They show no sign of stopping, or losing creativity either.  Laduree’s lastest gig: a bar, serving none other than the macaroon cocktail- unbelievable!

For me, Laduree was love at first sight.  I can’t wait to visit the place again, and have a taste of everything on the menu!  Ahhh, nothing says “French” better than a tiny, creamy, pastel-colored pastry 🙂


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