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Good Ol’ Fashioned Christmas Lounge & Mini Market Pop Up

6 Dec


Very excited to have MAKE team up with for a Good Ol’ Fashioned Christmas Lounge & Mini Market Pop Up.

Bringing together a fun festive event with great friends, great food, drink, music and products. All details can be found on our facebook events page:

But just to tease you or if you don’t make it to the events page, here are the menus and the bands that will delight all of your senses.

Festive Drinks Menu

Festive Food Menu




We hope to see you on Sunday for some truly traditional festive fun!

Claire and Mirabai



Open Mic Night- Bomberleo & Friends

6 Dec

Big shout out to BomberLeo and Friends, happening tonight in the Oost! Sadly I cannot make it as I am too busy preparing for the Christmas Pop Up this weekend (more on that to come). But my hubbie is playing, so go check out The Mass Seduction, and all the other great acts that will be playing tonight. Sad to be missing it! But then both BomberLeo and The Mass Seduction are also playing at the Christmas Lounge and Mini Market Pop Up this Sunday too! Twice in one week arn’t you all lucky!

BomberLeo & Friends

All details below:

The last BomberLéo & Friends for a little while is on its way… NOT in Betty, TOO!

Coming thursday, december the 6th, we’ll take the stage in café ZEN, Molukkenstraat 2 (Amsterdam-Oost). Please join us!

The night starts at 8 (as usual) and ends whenever it needs to end (as usual). (The only differences are alcohol and not having to risk standing on the stairs for 3 hours.)

Performing artists are: Theo & Corinne, Ben and his band ‘Mass Seduction’, Unom, Joost van Kersbergen, Jorrit Mulder, The Storytellers, Maxim Aafjes, Yuri, BomberLéo, whoever comes up on the open mic, and Zen’s house-dj who will be juicing the night up with some chillin records. BLAF’s season 1 compilation cd’s will be available too for a very very special price!

So get your asses over there and treat yourself to an inspiring evening, or treat us to an open-mic surpreso!

See you the 6th, thursday, 8 pm, café ZEN.

kusjes BomberLéo

Twitching for the Witching

26 Oct

So the dark hours are nearly descending upon us. No I am not talking about daylight saving, although that is coming very soon as well. I am talking about the spooking hours, as it is nearly Halloween. With many party celebrations starting this weekend, including the BAD ASS HALLOWEEN PARTY I am gathering inspiration for my costume and all things halloween.

So here are some quick links to parties and events this weekend.

Friday Night Skate Zombie Special, Film Museum, Vondel Park, 26th October 2012, FREE


BOSS, From the old to the New, Paradiso, 26th October 2012, 12pm, 13.50Euros


Halloween Parade,Van Metro-station Rokin, 8pm, Saturday 27th October, 2012,  FREE


BAD ASS HALLOWEEN PARTY, Barco, Saturday 26th October 2012, 9pm, 5 EUROS


Halloween Run, These zombies don’t walk, they RUN! Join Run2Day in their annual Halloween Run. Special flesh mob at the Odeon will take place midway during the run at 23:00pm, 27th October 2012, FREE


DEAD FAMOUS, Odeon Theater, 27th October 2012, 10pm, Tickets 22 Euros



ImageThe End is Near Party , Saturday October 27th 2012 , Tickets 24.50 Euros


The Freakiest Halloween Special Everrrr…, Amsterdam Beat Club, Paradiso, 11pm, 31st October 2012, 5 EUROS


Halloween at Roest! Authentic American Halloween bash, 31st October 2012, 20:00pm * Entree € 5

It’s A Dog’s Life.

17 Oct

Dog Lover

Today in the large dog area of the Vondel Park (the big open space furthest away from Leidseplien) I counted no less than 26 dogs all running around and playing, swimming, chasing, jumping, rolling, licking, sniffing, walking, sitting, and generally having fun. It got me on to thinking about it being a dogs life and how us humans can benefit from our four legged friends and how they can make us more creative.

Now I never used to be a dog lover, I was never anti dogs, but I just never had one growing up, my Granddad had the most gorgeous guide dog because he was blind, my Granddad not the dog, his name was Harry and we bonded. But he was a working dog and we were taught to understand that Harry was my Granddad’s eyes and highly trained and had a lot of jobs to do for my Granddad seven days a week. So therefore there was no stick chasing, fetching and cuddles from a dog that most children got to grow up with. There was no creativity from Harry he was a very serious practical dog. It did though spark something in me and Harry never left my heart.

Then one day whilst my 30th birthday approached I decided I wanted to treat myself to something special, something that would stay with me for a very long time and that would mark the BIG 30 with something about me and who I am.  I decided that I wanted to bring unconditional love into my love and that was in the form of Mr Parker Bond Ives International Dog of Mystery. I fell in love with him on the Internet and before I knew it I had hired a car with a friend and we were driving to Antwerp to pick up my new 4 x legged friend.  He is more than my four-legged friend, he is my best friend. Mr Parker is five now and he has been through so many life-changing events with me, he has helped me emotionally, mentally and creatively. He has always been there with me in the last five years, and for me it has become a dog’s life.

So how can dogs help you be more creative?

Sorry to mislead you but dogs cannot make you into Damian Hirst or a Banksy over night. But they can definitely bring many health and happiness qualities into your life that can help you with your creativity.

Dogs are relaxing – Many offices, studios and agencies are becoming more and more tolerant to dogs in the office. They relax people, via petting, attention, and distraction. Having a four-legged friend around the office can help colleagues to bond, discuss, or take a break over the unison of be friending the office dog. Taking short five-minute breaks from computer screens, space to think or recharge brings many added benefits to creativity in the work place. Do always ask and check everyone is happy about the arrangement, not every one loves dogs and as I found out in one agency I worked in where I took Parker in with me, that someone was allergic to dogs, not helping their creativity at all. So always be considerate and ask around before taking a dog into the work place.

If you cannot take your dog to work, there is nothing more rewarding or letting go of a stressful day of work than returning home to you’re your four-legged friend. Whenever I return home, I see the tail wagging, I get greeted with fond affection and all my worries disappear, and even positively if it’s been a great day I have someone to talk to about it.

Walks – small, medium or large dogs need exercise which means that us dog owners get exercise, and exercise increases blood flow, heart rate, oxygen to your brain and therefore increases your mental thinking and capacity and opens up the flood gates for creative thinking. Exercise detoxes the brain from negative thoughts and emotions that build up in our daily lives. Walking our four legged friends help us to be fitter, and take time out from our busy lives. If you have a creative block or you are staring blankly at a computer screen or a sketchpad with no ideas what so ever, take a break with your dog and get some brain space.

Routine and structure– Creativity can sometimes be ad –hoc, a moment of inspiration, madness, and idea’s at 3am. Most creative’s have quite hectic working and personal lives. But we all need a bit of structures and help especially when working on several projects or needing to meet creative deadlines. Mr Parker helps me with routine and structure. He is walked, fed and played with at certain times of the day that bring balance and routine to my life. This helps me put order into my days and helps me creatively work in an ordered manner.

Networking – Often as a freelancer or as a creative networker sometimes it is hard to get out there and meet and greet and talk to people. Maybe you just don’t have those skills, you are nervous, or you are having a bad day. But cross-pollination and meeting as many creative people as possible to increase your network is really important. Dogs can help with this, either directly in the “dog world” and yes there is a whole separate dog world out there. There are more people than you may think that have dogs, it’s a great way to bond and to break the ice with someone and to be able to open up a means of communication by talking about your hounds. Alternatively you can develop and grown your networking skills by walking and being out with your dog. Even in cafes, or walking to the store, many people if you let them are interested in your dog and it can be a very useful tool in gaining the courage and confidence in striking up a conversation with someone.

Fresh Ideas – Dogs, pets, animals are great subject matter. Their actions can make you laugh, annoyed, happy or they can do something that can spark an idea. Or literally using dogs or animals as subject matter can increase your creativity. Right now I’m writing a blog post about dogs and creativity. If you have a creative block and you are a photographer, take some photographs of your dog, an artist can paint their friend, even marketeers and advertisers have used animals as a way to sell a product.


If you are short on inspiration and need some ideas on how you and your dog can em-BARK (sorry) on a creative adventure together. You can get some great ideas from this blog I stumbled across, which was set up by creative dog loving like-minded people. Covering art, design, fashion, music and lifestyle, four brings together an eclectic mix of inspiring ‘dog-centric’ content to dog-lovers passionate about culture and creativity. Like most, we love fresh new content yet, Four is committed to bring you the best insight into everything dog-related, and that sometimes means looking a bit further back. Four is curated with a strong editorial approach and is written by people who find dogs fascinating and almost human.

Rent a Friend

And remember you don’t even need to own a dog to find some inspiration. You can borrow or walk a dog for a friend. Go on try some doggie action and get some creative inspiration.

Bargain Junkie

12 Oct

My weakness – bargain hunting

I cannot help it, I just LOVE a good bargain. Selling, swapping, thrift-ing, car booting, second hand rummaging, street combing, or vintage seeking, what ever you call it, it is my weakness. A box of dusty vinyl under a pasting bench, surrounded by stuffed toys, smelly old man’s trousers, and some bad cut glass is my kryptonite. It makes me go weak at the knees.

To a quick trained eye and a short finger thumb rifle through some old record sleeves can lead to only a few Euros spent on some seriously delicious old skool tunes. Why bother so many may say with the likes of spotify, grooveshark, soundcloud and itunes your favourite tunes are easily downloaded from the comfort of your home or office. As a lover of all things music and media I also can spend many hours digitally thrift-ing, but records just simply evoke different emotions, I love listening to the sound of analogue, it feels richer, raw, in the moment and a trip often down memory lane. Of course all music reminisces with thoughts and memories from the past, whether it be digital or analogue. But records also take me on a journey as to when and where I found and discovered them or received them as a present.

Vinyl Junkie

The addiction however does not simply stop at the pleasure of listening to the hissing of a second hand Fats Domino record playing on a Saturday afternoon, my home and my heart are filled with second hand and vintage records, books, clothes, shoes, handbags, hats, furniture, kitchen and home ware, the list goes on. So I thought I would share my top tips to finding things that you will love and that probably several people have loved and cherished before. How to train your eye so you can also own wonderful items, with out making your home looking like Steptoe and Sons. Some may call it junk or hoarding. Some call it retro, vintage, recycled or simple second hand. I call it being a bargain junkie. After all great design lasts for many many years.

Steptoe and Son

Where to look for a bargain.

You will be surprised. Once you start you cannot stop, there are treasures everywhere. That would be a blog post in itself, so I will keep it brief. Look out for things on the street (especially on rubbish day) markets, new and old; permanent and temporary, second hand stores, vintage stores, charity shops, pop up stores, car boots and free-cycle online sites.

Flea Market Treasures

Have some idea in mind of the things you would like to source.

Maybe you are moving, or have recently moved, make a note of the types of items that you are looking for.  Or you would like new outfit for an event or a party, think about what you already have and what may go with an outfit to re-new it, a hat or scarf or some jewellery. Maybe you need a present for someone, keep in mind the things your friends have passions for. Having some idea in your head as to what to look for before hand is helpful in often being able to visually sift through a vast number of items.

Whatever your taste

Taste, it is personal, what is yours?

It is simple; you are you, so look for things that reflect you and your personality. For example my love is for 1960s mid century Modern classics or reproductions. I try and stick to this so that my home has a fairly unified feel. Maybe your taste is pin up 50’s, neon 80’s, hipster, punk or just more eclectic and that is fine, but be aware many items from different eras and styles can and will look like a junk shop if you are not careful.

Anything is vintage nowadays

Take your time.

Everyone is different at sourcing, for example flea markets can be very over whelming with so many stalls, people, noise, how and what to look at can seem like a daunting task to most people. It is also dependant on how much time you have. But do try and take your time and don’t rush. If it goes to someone else it is meant to be. But give yourself time to visit stores and markets to see what is on offer.

Lots of items can be over whelming

Get and over view.

At the flea markets I generally do a quick walk around all stalls spending no more than a few minutes quickly glancing over the items. This will give you an idea of the volume of items they have per stall, the type of items, quality of the items and the era. And then you can move on. Think of it like internet shopping, if you have something in mind that you want to purchase most people now go to price compare sites, or different online stores for different items. Use the same principle at the flea market. Get a good overview and see what is on offer and then you can go back and spend more time at the individual stalls that you liked the look of.

Don’t go crazy.

Choose items that you REALLY want and will compliment your home, your wardrobe your music collection. Otherwise they will stick out like a sore thumb, or you will never use them, wear them or admire them. They will just gather dust and or eventually end in a cupboard or back in the recycle/trash.

Leather is often a real bargain at the flea market – go on give it a sniff

Remember it is about a bargain.

Value is the hardest thing a lot of people cope with when coming to second hand or vintage goods. As individuals have a different value on certain items than others. There are therefore three approaches to this.

1.)Research before you go on a shopping adventure for the items that you are looking for. There are so many online sites now for second hand, hand made and vintage goods that if you have something in mind look it up online and compare costs and then you have a reasonable value in mind before going shopping.

2)Personal Budget is important, only take with you how much you expect to spend; this will limit impulsive spending, or spending over and above what you originally wanted to spend.

3.)Love – it happens – suddenly you are head over heels, there is no reasoning, no logic, it just happens. You find something you simply cannot live without (ok well you could but you refuse to) and you can therefore just spend what you want and you know it will be something that you will love for a very very long time to come, therefore the cost out weighs the true value, because you cannot put a value on love. Just buy it!

White or all white – you negotiate

The Art of Negotiation

Not all shops, markets and pop ups will let you negotiate. However I am a true believer that if you do not ask you do not get. Ultimately the absolute key to doing this well is to not offend. So always ask first how much an item is. Try not to look like you want it too much. And look at a couple of other items of interest (if there are some) at the same time. Go in with a counter offer, not too low and expect to meet somewhere in the middle. If they refuse to haggle you can either walk away and this may change the sellers mind and offer you the goods at a reasonable offer, or ask them if they will be prepared to lower the item if you buy more than one thing from them. Be warned and sorry my Dutch friends, (but you know it is true) the Dutch do not negotiate well or sometimes at all. Be prepared. But still try and always do it with a smile and a joke after all it is meant to be fun!

Trash or treasure?

Be realistic

You have to be realistic that some items you fall in love with will be better quality than others, and more and more people are getting wise to retro and vintage era pieces. Which means that the item will actually be priced at what it is worth because it is designer and the seller knows it. Or an item will be sold “as vintage” at a higher rate because it is a trend. So again be careful and only pay for something if you feel it is worth that amount.

Hand –made this means different things to different people, my rule is if it is made very well and is a good quality item, remember it is hand –made and has taken someone a lot of time and love to create it. Just because it is in a pop up store or a market doesn’t mean that it is cheap. Think about the energy someone would have spent on it and pay reasonably for it. Besides what seems a bit pricey could end up being a bargain as everyone has to start some where and often creative’s and start ups have to start putting their goods onto the market with as little over heads as possible so this means pops and flea markets. Your investment could be in tomorrows next on trend designer.

old, new, handmadeor just simply JUNK!


Keep in mind how you will get your items home. Often especially at flea markets they do not have bubble wrap, paper or even bags. Take some carrier bags with you, even paper if you are looking for example some new wine glasses. Also it is much more environmentally friendly. If you are looking for items for a new home or re-decoration make sure you have transport to get it back to its new home. And also think about how long you want to shop for. Buying a larger item and then carrying it around for another hour or so is not much fun. Some shops or markets for a small deposit will keep your item until the end of the day, but ask.

Amazing flea market in Paris – But this citroen was not going to get us and our finds back to Amsterdam.


Shopping in general is not the love of ALL people. In fact my best friend James refuses to go shopping and would rather sit in the pub whilst I have an hour or two retail therapy but only if he is prepared, actually he is always prepared as he loves a good pint I’m also lucky that he understands that us girls have our shopping needs. Same for my husband, he does however love to shop and we can have the best day out, but he has to totally be in the mood and it is no fun for either of us if he is not and unwilling. If you do go with someone make sure they are also just as excited about a good rummage as you, and the right influence, bad choices and buys can totally come down to the advice of a friend with completely different taste and style to you. Dogs and children, well you can do it, but they get bored, tired and hungry. Just be prepared.

Yes my husband bought some mannequin hands – they now sit proudly on our book shelf

Nothing at all

Remember you do not have to buy anything at all. Go with your gut, if you really are not seeing anything at all that you want to purchase than DON’T. Bargain shopping is about the warm fuzzy feeling that you got something that you love for a really good deal. If you take something home that you regret it can ruin a whole afternoon or even a day of fun. Remember especially flea markets are vibrant places, you can also take home that you did some great people watching, there is often food and drink so you can have a bite to eat, go and hang out with friends, and even just talk and discuss some of the more weird and down right terrible items that were on offer. And you still get a GREAT day out.

I hope these tips help you to some fruitful pickings.

IJhallen Market, NDSM sometimes up to several hundres stalls


This weekend I will be getting weak at the knees at the IjHallen Market in NDSM Warf. I thoroughly recommend this monthly flea market as one of the best in Amsterdam.


Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October

NDSM Wharf

Adults entrance 4 Euros

Children 1.50euros

Dogs allowed


Gallery Girls Open Ateliers

4 Oct


Sitting in a lovely cafe/bar with a good friend I was slightly regrettably introduced to the notion of a TV series called Gallery Girls. Loving all things art and creative and having attended many art and gallery openings in my time, it was a must watch. A painful watch, but one that you simply for some reason cannot tear your eyes away from. It is pure car crash television.


Set off for a wonderful artistic Saturday!

Bad Ass

4 Oct

The witching hour is coming………..


I have to say I am a little stumped this year as to what to make/throw together/wear! I am not even sure too many people got our outfits last year either. But they were fun. So if you need some inspiration on what to make or where to head this Halloween. Here are some of the photos from our costumes from last years BAD ASS HALLOWEEN PARTY!


Yes my poor husband got dragged into my costume making too. The concept was PORNO PANDAS. Basically the poor pandas are getting a bit of a bad deal, as in they are nearly extinct,  because they have trouble getting motivated for a bit of wink wink! So I decided to sex up the pandas with some red flashing nipples and lady garden and Man’s member, make them a bit more sophisticated in 1950’s dress wear and add some handcuffs for fun!

Get Making your costumes!

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