My Favourite City in the World: Tales of Amsterdam

I could talk about Amsterdam for hours and hours, I’ve never been to a city, walked out of the train station and thought, ‘I never want to leave.’ There’s just something so magical and calming about the city that makes me want to pack a suitcase, get on the Eurostar (I am petrified of flying) and spend the rest of my life sipping coffee & reading Dutch newspapers outside a cafe before cycling home along the canals. I can dream!


I went to Amsterdam for the first time last year & even though it rained from the moment we arrived to the moment we left, I fell head over heels. We stayed in a hostel on the edge of Vondelpark which, can I just say, is an amazing location. It’s within walking distance to the Leidseplein and Dam Square and the park itself is incredible! Although in fairness, Amsterdam is pretty compact so everything is within walking or cycling distance. We spent the days wandering around and stopping in cute cafe’s when we got hungry or needed ANOTHER hot chocolate and in the evenings me & the girls ate dinner in restaurants usually along the canals. I can honestly say I have never eaten so well on a city trip in Europe.

From the time I set foot back in Cardiff I needed to go back. So this September I booked another trip to go back (obviously on the Eurostar this time, did I mention I hate flying). We stayed in the Jordaan district in Oud West, which is a quieter, more residential area of Amsterdam but still has a buzz surrounding it, with great bars, cafe’s and restaurants. This time, I lived off pesto bagels. I don’t think the Dutch are famous for bagels globally, but in my eyes there is nowhere better to get a pesto, mozzarella and tomato bagel than in Amsterdam, no lies! We hired bikes and cycled around as if we were locals (even though the massive garishly red rental bikes & our terrible cycling told a different story).


Behind Central Station is a section of the River IJ, where free ferries cross to different parts of Northern Amsterdam every few minutes. We picked up our bikes from the rental place in Central Station & headed across to the NDSM Ship Wharf. This area is probably the coolest area of Amsterdam that I’ve seen. It seems to be an old ship dock with loads of warehouses dotted around and an amazing cafe on the river side. The warehouses all have different projects going on, with the main one being turned into a mini city inside for freelance workers all over Amsterdam to set up a work area for themselves. It is SO cool! I would highly recommend going over. It’s free to get in and you can just wonder around for hours.


We obviously went to the Red Light District, which fascinates me, & the IAmsterdam sign, the museums and Dam Square but my absolute highlight was spending the evening drinking rosè in Vondelpark after cycling around the city all day. For the 5 days we were there, Amsterdam had its hottest 5 days of the year so Vondelpark was crammed full of people playing football, having barbeques and drinking, it was the best evening!


I could literally write an essay on Amsterdam but you probably stopped reading 3 paragraphs ago! I’m now going to continue looking for an apartment & a job so that I can pack my bag as soon as possible (or as soon as a graduate even).

Vaarwel,

Eliza Days

My Favourite Brunch Ideas 

Brunch is always always a good idea! It’s most definitely my favourite meal of the day & I’m never really up in time for breakfast (#studentlife) and can’t wait long enough until lunch so it’s the most perfect meal!


Here are some of my favourites for brunch:

Scrambled eggs on a toasted croissant: this is a fancier version of eggs on toast but it’s just as easy & tastes so lovely! I’ll fry up some mushrooms in butter and pepper too and toss them over the top.

Poached eggs & spinach on a toasted muffin: without blowing my own trumpet, I think I’m the queen of poached eggs (ok, I blew my own trumpet). This is my favourite breakfast at the minute. I sometimes add a bit of basil pesto to it as well, which tastes so good!

Baked eggs: for this I chop up mushrooms & tomatoes and put them in an oven proof dish. Then I throw in a handful of spinach, a pinch of salt and blacken pepper and then crack 2 eggs into the dish and bake in the oven until the eggs are cooked but still runny (7-10 mins). Also, there’s hardly any washing up! Win!

French toast: I soak thick white bread in whisked eggs and milk before frying the bread in A LOT of butter! Once it’s browned and crisp on the outside, I pile it on a plate and top it with raspberries, a drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of Nutella, so bad but tastes AMAZING!

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Writing this has made me hungry, so I’m off to make brunch!

Eliza Days

Autumnal Love


I thought I’d write a little seasonal post for you & tell you my 5 favourite things about Autumn! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of the colder, winter months but this year, I’ve decided to embrace it (& just focus on Christmas).

  1. Layers: I LOVE clothes so much & I can never choose what to wear in the mornings so when it’s cold I feel as if I don’t have to choose and I can just throw all of my favourite things on at once and call it ‘layering’.
  2. Hot chocolate: Drinking hot chocolate in the summer just doesn’t feel right somehow, so with the colder days comes indulging in huge mugs of hot chocolate topped with loads of cream and a flake, YUM! 
  3. Leaves: This may seem like a weird one but I love watching the leaves fall from the trees and more so, I love seeing the leaves change colour…they look SO pretty!
  4. Log fires & candles: Winter spiced, cinnamon candles are just the dream! I love getting in when it’s cold outside, lighting ALL the candles (my house could be considered a fire hazard I’m sure) and getting the fire lit. Isn’t it just the coziest feeling ever!
  5. Bonfire Night: When I was younger, I was petrified of fire works but now I find them so magical & spectacular! I can’t wait to get all wrapped up, hold sparklers & drink hot chocolate this year! Woo! 

What’s your favourite thing about Autumn?

Eliza Days xo

Blogvember?

Oh I do love a pun! So what better way to embrace a good play on words than to blog every other day throughout November annnnd call it BLOGVEMBER! Woo!

Having not blogged in a while, I think committing to uploading a blog post every day throughout November isn’t achievable, especially as I have so much uni work on at the minute. But I feel that every other day is achievable!

Over the last few months I’ve tried out some awesome new make-up and beauty products that I can’t wait to rave about, started experimenting with a different style (although I haven’t said goodbye completely to the old faithful black jeans & a striped tee) and been on some incredible adventures that I can’t wait to talk about on here.

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SO, here goes!

I wouldn’t say I’m the most committed person in the world, for example my gym membership lasted from January this year until I cancelled it in September…I tried to commit to cleansing, toning and moisturising my skin every single night but I am still partial to a face wipe or two & going to the library every day from 10am-5pm is slowly becoming 3 times a week for about 3 hours. But, I will try my very best to have a blog post up every other day for you. I’m sure there will be the odd day I miss because, well, I’m only human.

lots of love

Eliza Days xo

Date Day: Fruit Picking

Having been in a relationship for over 3 years, dates kind of get left behind. The idea of “date night” makes me absolutely cringe so I decided to think of an alternative date idea that we would both love and that didn’t cost much.

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Near us, there is a huge fruit farm called Hendrewennol where you can pick your own fruit for just £1 entry, so without telling Tom where we were going, we jumped in the car & I directed us there. We both LOVE berries & I have never been fruit picking before so it was perfect.

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We had the best day, the sun was out and it was a gorgeous. We packed a picnic and ambled around the fields picking blueberries, raspberries,gooseberries and strawberries. It’s such a lovely feeling being able to pick berries from a bush & eat them straight away, they tasted delicious and so fresh. I would definitely recommend taking a relaxing afternoon gander round your local pick your own fruit farm.

 

Hope you’re having a wonderful summer so far

Eliza Days xo

 

 

August Goals

  1. Spend Less: This month, I’m really going to try to keep track of what I’m spending. I’ve never been a saver and am renowned in my family to be terrible with money. So throughout August I’m going to try to spend less on things I really don’t need.
  2. Take more pictures: whenever I do something memorable or fun, I never take pictures because I always try to focus on being there and not seeing it through a lens. The other day for example, we walked up the Glastonbury Tor and I was so busy taking it in, I hardly took any pictures. I know this isn’t a bad thing, but I’d really like to be able to look back on pictures and remember the experience through them.
  3. Appreciate small gestures: when someone does something for you so frequently, it becomes the norm and I think we stop appreciating it as much. Something like being brought a cup of tea every morning is something I take for granted now that I really shouldn’t, so throughout August I’m going to make sure I appreciate all the small things in daily life.
  4. Meal planning: with some serious inspo from ViviannaDoesMakeup, I’m going to open up the cook books armed with post it notes and meal plan the whole week, do a food shop based on that & try my very best to stick to it.
  5. Cooking from scratch: this leads on nicely from the last point. I have recently become really lazy in the kitchen and I’ve tended to choose convenience over spending some quality time creating meals from scratch. Over the next month I’m going to dedicate more time to planning and cooking meals from scratch. It’s something I really enjoy so I need to find time for it in my day.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful month,

Eliza Days xo

Sunsets & Confusion – Being 20

Oh I do love being at home. I would now consider myself a fully fledged Cardiffian (I’m at uni there, my boyfriend lives there and I guess that’s where my life is now) BUT I’m still struggling to let go of calling West Wales ‘home’ & I guess I don’t have to. Whenever I come back to Aberaeron I feel completely content and relaxed in my surroundings. I don’t over think anything, stress about anything or feel like I should be doing things constantly. My brain just chills out.

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Now that the weather is getting a bit nicer too, when I come back we (we = me & my family) spend time sitting on the harbour wall, watching the tide come in and going for a late night swim in the sea. We sit in the garden drinking tea all afternoon and go out for lunch and sit in the beer gardens eating honey ice cream. It’s just pure bliss. Also, the sunsets here are out of this world!

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I really do love Cardiff, I’m not denying that, & being there does make me really happy! But there is just something so wonderful about coming ‘home home’ as I call it.

Being 20 is a strange age, we’re kind of half way between being fully fledged, rent paying, grocery shopping adults and being stroppy teenagers who need our washing picked up from where we dropped it and a roast made for us on a Sunday. I guess we need to embrace it, your 20’s are of course the best years of your life…but it’s also such a confusing time. If you’re a uni student or have moved away from home, you also have the ‘home home’ thing going on & if you’re anything like me, are stuck between wondering where ‘home’ really is.

This really has been a rambling post that hasn’t gone anywhere but it’s just something I wanted to talk about. I probably seem so ungrateful, moaning about where I call home when I’m lucky to have a home but, ah, those first world problems! Does anyone else feel like this or am I just making a mountain out of a mole hill?

Eliza Days xo

Juicy Juices – My red berry & green juice recipes

Recently, I have 100% jumped on the juicing band wagon. I don’t really eat enough fruit & veg as I find it hard to incorporate 5 a day into my daily diet so by having 1 or 2 juices a day, I’m getting everything I need without the hassle.

It’s taken much trial and error (and some really gross juice concoctions ) to find my 2 favourites, but now that I have, I make them every day. So, I thought I’d share them with you.

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1: Green Juice 

This juice is probably the healthiest juice out of the 2 as it doesn’t have too much natural sugar in.

  • I chop up half a pear, a whole kiwi, half a banana & a floret of broccoli alongside a handful of blueberries, a handful of mixed kale and spinach and throw it all into a blending jug.
  • I then add a teaspoon of chia seeds, a teaspoon of flax seeds and a tablespoon of mixed seeds.
  • Add a squeeze of lime before filling the blending jug a quarter full with apple juice then filling it up to just over half way (depending on how thick you want the juice to be) with coconut water & then just blend it all up.

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2: Red Berry Juice

This is my fave juice out of the 2 because it’s so sweet and tastes like strawberries.

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  • I use the other half of the pear and half a carrot & put them in the blending jug.
  • I then add a handful of blueberries and raspberries.
  • I cut 5 or 6 strawberries in half and add them on top before measuring out a teaspoon each of chia seeds and flax seeds and a tablespoon of mixed seeds.
  • As this juice is so sweet from the natural sugars in the fruit, I leave out the apple juice and fill the bending jug a little over half way full with coconut water.
  • Blend it up and it’s done!

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Both juices are so filling that I have them for breakfast most mornings. They’re so quick and easy to make however, it does get quite expensive buying fresh fruit & veg sometimes so I keep a bag of frozen berries and spinach in the freezer to make a quick juice on a budget.

*continues gulping juice in the hope for a summer body*

Eliza Days xo

 

Sunny Daze – Looking Forward to Summer

Summer is 100% my favourite season by far. My mood is completely dependant on the weather so when it’s sunny, my mood is sunny. There is nothing better than waking up to the sun glaring through the window and knowing that any spare time that day can be spent outside.

I’m a complete sun worshiper (of course, covered in SPF) & I love everything to do with summer. But, here are the top 5 things I am most looking forward to about the great British summer:

  1. Freedom: As a university student, summer means freedom from lectures & deadlines. I can’t wait to not have to constantly be thinking about an assignment and have total free time to read what I want, spend time with friends & family and focus on my blog.
  2. Sunbathing: I know it isn’t particularly sunny in the UK, and of course we do still get rain but I am so excited for those days where temperatures climb and the sun peeks from behind the clouds. I’m excited to sit in the garden with a cold lemonade and listen to George Ezra on repeat for hours – heaven!
  3. Summer clothes: I’m really not very good at winter fashion. I get quite warm so big, knitted jumpers and layers don’t really agree with me. In general, I just find dressing in winter really difficult so, I cannot wait to bring out dresses and skirts and live in flip-flops again.
  4. BBQ’s: myself & my friends have had a few already but I can’t wait to spontaneously decide to light the BBQ & cook some salmon or burgers for dinner. I love the smell of my clothes and hair after sitting around a BBQ drinking Pimms and stuffing my face.
  5. Family: obviously I live away from home (well, I guess Cardiff is my home now, sort of) but away from my family anyway, so summer means having loads of free time to go home and visit them & also, my younger brother and nephews aren’t in school so they can come and visit me too. I can’t wait to go home & sit on the harbour wall, drink Pimms and watch the sunset – that’s what summer is all about.

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Eliza Days xo

Holiday Diaries – Destination: Lisbon

As you may have seen from my last post, I spent an incredible 2 weeks in the Algarve with my family last month. Half way through the holiday, myself and my boyfriend went on a little Portuguese adventure and caught the bus up to Lisbon for a holiday in a holiday.

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The bus journey was so nice, with some amazing views. We went for 3 days & stayed in My Story Hotel Ouro, which was pure luxury and really central.

We did a whole load of sight-seeing, spending the first day walking up to the castle and enjoying a glass of wine with a serious view! I genuinely think the view from São Jorge Castle is the best view I’ve ever seen. On the second day we caught the train to Cascais; a really fancy holiday resort about half an hour from Lisbon. The cobbled streets and sandy beaches were gorgeous and seeing the million pound yachts was so cool!

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Both nights we were there we ate at the Time Out Market – 35 of Lisbon’s best restaurants under one roof alongside specialist tequila, gin and rum bars plus a fresh juice and homemade lemonade stand –  AMAZING!! If you are ever in Lisbon, do not miss this place. Apart from the view from Lisbon castle, this was 100% the highlight of our city break! So good we went back twice!

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We had such an incredible time in Lisbon and it is now definitely up there with Amsterdam as one of my favourite European cities.

What is your favourite European city?

Eliza Days xo