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All about Amsterdam: Part 1

Hi y'all! So I'm back in the swing of things and feel especially cleansed and at one with the world after cleaning the bathroom with a toothbrush. Bizarre but true, it is now so sparkling clean in every single nook and cranny, and is one of many things contributing to my new chapter as I step into the 25-30 age range. I never announce my birthday on here just because I don't really like making a fuss, but the big Two Five is a mile stone approaching in the next few weeks for me, and many of my friends crashed into it with a quarter life crisis, but I for one am trying to side step this. I have a slight work promotion, I'm starting to take driving lessons, and am generally going to be a more professional, perfected version of myself. We'll see! The urge to wear crop tops and drink from a Disney Princess cup are still firmly around.

Anyway, it's time to talk about Amsterdam! And this was definitely one of my fastest holidays, yet the one where I actually did the most. You know that my friends and I go on a mini city break every few months, usually where the cheapest flight will take us. After bargain & lively Marseille and amazingly classy & fabulous (but equally cheap!) Lisbon, our next destination was Berlin, but this proved to be quite pricey for flights, so we found that you could fly to Amsterdam from Bham airport and booked up! I've always wanted to go to Amsterdam as it's so unique that you just have to go there once in your life, and I knew it was more traveller than fancy, so we had to do it before we were really over the hill. A few happenings slightly proved we may already be, but I'll talk about them later! 

As Wireless Festival wrapped up two days before jetting off, I spent the Monday and Tuesday trying to detox, eat as many vegetables as humanly possible, and get lots of sleep. By Wednesday I felt much more rejuvenated and all the last minute packing and plans came together. Our flight was at midday so my friend Stacey and I took the train to Birmingham International and met Melissa and Vanessa there. There were only four of us this time and so I'd say it was more relaxed and chilled. We usually fly with budget Ryan Air so it was a treat to have a free drink and snack with KLM, even if I had to abandon half of my beauty supplies to fit all liquids into one measly sandwich bag! I read some fantastic recommendations from wonderful blogger Renee on the plane and only one hour later, we touched down in Holland!

The airport was amazing and we nearly got distracted by all of the shops, before getting the train to the Central Station and navigating our way v e r y slowly to Budget Hotel Ben. We had a hard time finding a place to stay as everywhere was booked up a month in advance, and we didn't want to get taxis everywhere as usual. I found this hotel for the central location and we had our own bathroom. For our whole trip we never even used public transport as it was so central, even for nights out!

Note - this wasn't our hotel! It was much more of a side street affair.

The gentleman on the desk at Hotel Ben was very accommodating and we had a joke with him, always using our charm! Amsterdam is know for steep buildings and we climbed the ridiculously steep stairs to about four floors up. Our room was so stuffy when we first opened the door so we kept the windows open the whole time and were pleasantly surprised to find a decent sized and clean bathroom with a hot shower, shampoo, soap, as many towels as you could need and plenty of loo roll. We each had a single bed and there was a TV too, although we never found a music channel and ended up watching weird American reality TV! The only con of the room was that there was only one small bathroom mirror and one plug in the room, so getting glammed up wasn't the easiest, and I never 100% knew what I looked like! 

However we were determined for this to be the holiday where we actually DID things, as often we go for the partying and end up sleeping in the day, only to party until 7am again. So hanging out in the room wasn't part of the holiday anyway, and we were concerned Amsterdam would be very casual.

The day we arrived was the semi finals of the World Cup (I think!) where Holland were still in the running. Every guy from home that I told I was going to be in Holland for the match thought it was a big deal, and we asked our hotel friend where the best bar would be to watch it. This way we could find it before getting ready and wandering the streets later! We found a place he recommended and nearly accidentally got drafted onto a pub crawl, before going for some quick food by our hotel. We were right by the Red Light District it seemed, and we had to laugh at all the sex shops and coffee shops (aka the pubs that sell marijuana !).

This tends to happen on ever holiday, but we just weren't AT ALL sure what to wear, and worried we would look really overdressed and potentially like we belonged in a red lit window. How wrong could we be - I'll come to that later too! In the end, Melissa and I went with our 'always overdressed' looks anyway and I wore my River Island co-ord with loose shorts, so nothing too bodycon! As it turns out, Amsterdam is SO humid that my hair was so frizzy throughout the holiday, and the bar we went to was boiling! We were literally sticking to the seats. 

After definitely sticking out slightly while wearing heels on a Wednesday night, we pushed into a booth opposite an Australian couple and all ordered huge beers to get in the spirit. I actually don't mind beer, although I could barely hold the huge glass, and happily drank it while trying to get into the football game, but it is seriously not my thing. Maybe it didn't help that no one scored throughout the whole game so essentially they were just kicking the ball around! My friend Stacey and I were very distracted, checking out the place and longingly looking towards some people with snacks, when we suddenly started laughing about something and a random nearby dude was just staring at me. I was laughing and laughing even more and maybe he thought it was at him! Then within a few minutes suddenly I had a huge beer slammed down in front of me and this guy sat himself down, crushing up all of us girls, and said hello!

Now it really is not often anyone buys me a drink, and maybe it's the same for most girls. A man buying a drink is so rare that my friends and I thought this was so funny, and we swapped places so I could talk to him. He told me he was from Sweden, so I said I had lived there for a year (did you read this blog when I did?!) and he just sort of nodded and didn't say anything. That was a bit awkward, and then he told me he was a 'dolphin trainer', which obviously I knew was complete rubbish. He kept up this act for a while, including showing me a photo of him with a huge fish (convincing?! I think not) and then hit the bar and bought the entire table a round of beers, including the Australian couple who we hadn't actually even spoken to, plus a round of tequila shots! My friends thought we had hit the jackpot, I thought it was hilarious, and the Australian couple couldn't believe their luck! Soon after he was asking if we were hungry and brought more rounds of drinks, plus bowls of crisps and dips, and when my friends went to the toilet, he 'revealed' that he was actually a marine from Denmark, and apparently you are not meant to reveal this to people you meet. I was sworn to secrecy, but obviously told all of my friends, plus the Australian couple,  the moment he went off to buy more drinks haha! Marine man soon started acting a bit fishy though as he told stories of his father owning most of the hotels here and having some sort of special credit card. He asked for a kiss if Holland won the match but fortunately for me they lost and it was even more funny! He even came to our hotel to walk us all home and there is a hilarious polaroid photo of him trying to group hug my friend and I by sitting actually on top of us, before we sent him packing just ask the hotel manager came to remind that there were no guests allowed! I would share this gem of a photo but it might ruin his career!

Considering we had only arrived a few hours earlier, this was such a funny first night and we all grabbed some food and hit our beds, ready to rise early tomorrow and begin some of the activities on our long to-do list.

Wireless Festival | Birmingham Day Three

Hi guys, happy Friday! I have that Friday feeling and I hope you do too! I'm starting this post on my lunch break but will likely add the photos and publish later, which is my usual posting pattern. When I'm on my laptop, I'm usually in bed so it's more difficult to write the reams I usually do!

But lets rewind to the final day of Wireless and I woke up wondering just why I had hit the town the night before, but we were just in such a good mood! We knew a few more people going to the third festival day and it was again an even busier day than before, and seemed to go much quicker. I woke up and had no idea what to wear but I consulted my Wireless moodboard and added a bright Iggy Azealia matte pink lip and some hefty jewellery by my own standards. I'm having a bit of a shorts crisis recently as mine just seem too short, and wanted something that covered me a little more than the short-shorts I would wear at a camping festival. I had pulled out all of my optional outfits before the festival started, and picked out my Topshop bralette which is super sturdy and I've had lots of wear out of for night time, plus a pair of shorts from a Rihanna x River Island co-ord set. The aquatic blues somehow worked together and it was never an outfit I would have imagined in my mind but I liked it! I also wore my Roche Runs again which are so cute and make your feet look teeny tiny - so sweet!

We headed to the festival site and planned to sit back and soak everything in for that day. We were just right on time for Iggy Azalea, who I was seriously excited for out of the whole line up. I just like her songs and her crazy vibes! She had one of those relentless sets that pumps out the tunes non-stop, pow pow pow. She was really loud and clear too so everyone heard every expletive and she played my favourites too! Her dancers were also awesome! Sassy x 1,000,000!

This was followed by Tinie Tempah, who I feel like I have seen before but maybe I haven't. Playing a festival really needs you to bring something different and to interact with a crowd who maybe aren't all fans, so Tinie literally spun the audience into a frenzy and was super energetic. I think he is at V Festival so I'd definitely watch again!

Then we found my sister's friends and Pharrell came out to play a very slick, smooth set that was actually very warm and fuzzy. He brought some of the crowd on stage and even serenaded a girl, giving her life advice on stage. It was very sweet and we had such a great spot so we could see everything, especially when the artist walks to the side of the stage that you are at!

Then the weekend was crowned with a memorable performance from none other than Kanye West, plus that rant about the media. I was just more in awe of him because he was Kim Kardashian's husband! It was dark by this time and the hugely glittering, glowing stage transformed the day's field setting into a huge, monstrous music power house, and everyone knows the words to Kanye songs!

And then it was a wrap - the festival was over! Phew!! When I have holiday from work, usually my thoughts aren't far away, but over the weekend I was totally transported into music heaven and just had the best time ever! Thank you Live Nation! I've never danced so much.

Wireless Festival | Birmingham Day Two

Hey guys, I have returned from my Amsterdam holiday and am back with a bang! The bang of the plane that is, as I spent yesterday sleeping and watching Friends re-runs to feel up and ready for the new week ahead. I ran out of time before going away but I have been so excited to tell you about the second day of Wireless and one of my favourite festival days ever!

The weekend is still a blur but after the first day of torrential, relentless rain, I woke up in my own bed instead of a tent, washed my frizz-ball hair, and had a facial. Yes, a facial! I was a £10 one at my local market at a Chinese medicine stand, but the lady is my favourite person right now and I've been going to her for months as I sometimes get shoulder pain from typing on a computer all day. She suggested a facial last time I went, and after 20 minutes I looked in the mirror and couldn't believe the difference! After a day in the rain and wind, my face was scultped and smoothed, with no puffiness at all. Magical!

We didn't hit the festival until around 3pm and it was thankfully such a beautiful, sunny day. I was waiting until the final day but I bit the bullet and donned the most vibrant Lemonade co-ord from Motel that I have ever laid eyes on! The lemon stamp print is absolutely gorgeous and really warms up a fair skin tone like mine, and literally feels like a ray of sunshine all day long! Also a skirt is much more handy in those festival portaloos, which I can say were so clean at Wireless! I also wore my black Roshe Runs that I usually wear to the gym as they are dream-comfy and it wasn't muddy at all!

The festival site was much busier as we expected after the first Drake day, and we found a spot on the grass for J. Cole, who I rather like but admired from a distance. We were accosted by some dudes from London (and swiftly sidestepped) and a random boy asked if I was Selina and named the place I work before just walking off - so bizarre! We grabbed a snack and caught a few notes from Ellie Goulding, before cramming into the BrumBrum tent for a totally classic set from Sean Paul! The tent was rammed and we squeezed through the crowd to find a decent dancing spot. Last year at V Festival I met a new friend in our camping group of gals, who was literally a pro at weaving through the crowd with so much charm that any standing crowd members didn't even notice her chatting them up and subtly maneuvering in front of them before continuing towards the stage! I however do not have these skills, so we danced in the middle of the crowds to the old school songs and new favourites, Got To Love Ya beings our Madrid holiday song from 2012! It was awesome!

This flowed beautifully into the cool vibes from Outkast at the Main Stage, which was pretty damn rad to see - especially their outfits! It felt a bit like being transported back in time to when I watched music channels as a teen (when YouTube didn't even exist!). Knowing it would be the last song, we hit the BrumBrum tent again for Robin Thicke's set just as he closed with Blurred Lines, which was hilarious! Is there a better feel-good song?!

Now the headliner for Saturday was Bruno Mars and I wasn't a fan before. He reminds me of an old idiot boyfriend and I just didn't get him. Howwwever his set was SO fun and SO happy and his live band moved in sync, almost like a fabulous boy band. It was still light as they played and while standing at the side of the stage, it felt like they could see us as we danced away! It's so funny that you get to a festival and tentatively side step the mud and attempt to walk casually in wellies, but soon enough you're dancing away in a field! Amazing! We were so hyped up we decided to head into town and carry on dancing (in Snobs of all places for you Birmingham residents!) and seriously looked forward to the next day full of even more acts. To be continued!

Wireless Festival | Birmingham Day One

Hi guys! I'm not exaaactly packed for my holiday tomorrow but I really wanted to share my weekend at Wireless! Day One is brief affair though, as the rain turned to monsoon standards! But I will rewind to Friday morning and whilst consulting my festival moodboard, I decided to go for sensible high waist jeans and a cute Motel crop top. I ended up wearing Motel a lot this weekend! My hair was big and curly, my makeup was boldly contours and tweaked, and I was very ready for whatever was in store. 

Sadly the day was tinged with great upset when Drake cancelled! I felt very bad for the Wireless people as Drake was somehow ill and we were left with no headliner and a lot of unhappy people.  I damn love Drake and loved his tour date here in March (and met him!). This certainly meant it was quite a quiet crowd but as predicted, made of very young and very cool people. I saw a lot of all white outfits, a lot of very expensive trainers, and a lot of heels! Yes, heels!

We walked in to A$AP Ferg who I've seen (and met too!) before, and got our bearings. I loved the layout of the festival, with the main stage like a central hub and then the surrounding buzzing tents and food stalls adding a nice boarder of festival fizz. This blended nicely into Schoolboy Q who was one of those acts that sounded exactly like his records and played my album favourites, oh yeah! I think it was by this point that we were donning macs and sitting under umbrellas, very much regretting wearing now sodden jeans as you can see from the dishevelled photo and my amused fact! Even the DJ laying between each act was speaking from under this black sheet! The rain was pretty insane throughout the day and really started chucking it down constantly for most of the day - eek! My hair was more like a hedge by the end, hence the very few photos of this day. Never fear - many more are to come!

Azealia Banks finally lit that festival fire by blasting out some serious beats, accompanied by a troupe of dancers in matching pink power catsuits. We stopped for some Mexican food and of course a few more drinks, before Labrinth added a warmth to the day from below our umbrellas. He gave that all-singing festival vibe that made us forget the weather, try out a few whirling fun fare rides, and dance alongside an amazing live band for new headliner Rudimental, with a guest hit performance from gorgeous Ella Eyre. We fell a little bit in love with how much Rudimental brought the hype and it was just sounding beautiful. We left feeling pumped for day two and ready for some much needed sunshine - especially as London had been so warm that day!

Postcards from Wireless

I'm SO tired but SO delighted after an amazing weekend at Wireless! I'm just gathering up all of my photos and footage, whilst also trying to coordinate everything for my holiday on Wednesday! Eeek! I'll give all the details of the crazy happenings tomorrow and I have the day off work so will also share my holiday vibes and plans! I just heard Holland are still in the World Cup and whilst I'm not a football fan, it's sure going to be amazing to watch the game live in Dam Square! Speak soon!

Wireless Fest | Fashion Moodboard

Oh gosh guys - where has this week gone!! I'm coming up to 10 days off work so I'm arranging everything there whilst also trying to arrange my holiday and Wireless. I have a couple of days before Amsterdam to sort things and pack, but Wireless begins on Friday. I'm going to decide on my final outfits tonight and then I have tomorrow eve and Friday morning to do hair/nails/tan. Thankfully I'm just going to hop on a bus to Perry Park so do not need to pack a tent and copious amounts of baby wipes in a rucksack!

As I said, I haven't actually decided on all of my outfits yet as I haven't had time to go through my wardrobe this week. The forecast is warm with rain so it looks like wellies is a must. Sigh! Otherwise the looks I'm feeling are a little gypsy boho mixed with a dark edge. Crochet with mesh, flowers with gold. These pictures are from my Tumblr (which I post to obsessively!!), and I would simply dress as a mix of all of them if I could! I love Jhene Aiko right now too. Now I'm off to pull together some outfits and forget about a little rain!