Face value

This is the face you give your husband when you arrive in a gorgeous city like Budapest and realize that your camera contains no SD card—and that your husband just happens to have one in his camera.

This is a face that every youngest child in every single family is genetically predisposed to making, and learns to perfect over time. This is a face that never goes away, not even when you’re 30. You just learn to identify the few people for whom it will work every single time, and save it for them.

It just so happens my husband is one of those people. So, a happy ending: my soft-hearted hubby lent me his SD card, and enabled me to take many lovely pictures of Budapest to share with you all. Hurray, love saves the day!

Next week will be all about Budapest (and maybe a pregnancy story or two). Before that, though, don’t forget… we’re doing brunch this Sunday! Have a happy weekend and see you then.

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Budapest break

Aaaaand I’m off… again! This time it’s to Budapest, to keep Marlon company on his first business trip for his new job. Technically, I’ve been to Budapest before, but it was only a lunch stopover at the Philippine embassy en route to Debrecen for the European Grand Prix. My memories of Hungary are not too happy, so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to replace them with new ones.

What I’m looking forward to: romantic views over the Danube River from our hotel, superb food, cafe culture, cool ruin bars, a weekend on the sandy shores of Central Europe’s largest lake. What I’m not looking forward to: spending my days alone (since Marlon will be working) and temperatures over 35℃. I foresee spending lots of time in an air-conditioned hotel room or by the hotel pool; fortunately, being pregnant gives me the license to slack off!

Budapest, image and design by Gokhun Guneyhan

While searching for Budapest images to inspire my trip, I stumbled upon the elegant and lovely Cities and Typography project by Turkish designer Gokhun Guneyhan. See if you can spot your favorite places here.

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Classical music on the canals

Every summer, Amsterdam holds the Grachtenfestival, a 10-day festival of free classical concerts around the historical center, particularly in the grachten, or canals. The biggest event in the lineup is the Prinsengrachtconcert, which took place last weekend on a floating stage in front of the Hotel Pulitzer on the Prinsengracht, as it’s been since 1997.

I didn’t intend on going this year, but after some errands in the center, Marlon and I found ourselves right around the corner from the Prinsengracht. So we decided to head there, and this is what we found. Crazy.

Prinsengracht Concert

An estimated 80,000 people turn up each year for this concert, and many of them show up in boats. On land, it was no less mobbed.

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Turkish brunch at Theatercafe Mozaïek

Finding a new brunch spot in Amsterdam is always a cause for celebration. Thanks to a resourceful friend, I discovered the Podium Mozaïek, a church-turned-arts space for multicultural artists who normally wouldn’t be accommodated in the city’s more mainstream, central venues.

Located in the Bos en Lommer, a diverse, up-and-coming neighborhood out west, this venue also houses the Theatercafe Mozaïek, a spacious cafe perfect for pre- or post-show drinks and discussions.

As it turns out, the Theatercafe Mozaiek is also perfect for brunch. Reflecting the neighborhood’s large Turkish population, the fare is a fantastic Turkish spread with more food than you could possibly eat, for a very reasonable €13.50.

I can hardly remember everything that was served, there was so much: Turkish pastries, cold cuts and sausages, creamy thick yogurt covered with honey, fruit preserves, at least three different kinds of cheese,and generous baskets of fluffy Turkish bread. All of it washed down with bottomless glasses of hot, sweet Turkish tea.

I loved the place, loved the food, and so did the girls from the Amsterdam girls’ Meetup group that I’m part of. Have you heard of Meetup? It’s a site where you can form, find or join a group that meets up near you, with people who share a common interest that could be anything from quiz nights to curly hair, or from ethnic identity to expat life.

Lots of expats use Meetup to meet people, which is something you really need to keep doing as the perpetual new kid in town. I really wish I had known about it back when I was living in Singapore; I could have used a good set of girlfriends back then. Fortunately, I met my current (and very awesome) circle of Amsterdam girlfriends through a Meetup lunch, and they’re just the kind of company I love to have over a good brunch. Especially a brunch as good as the one we had at Theatercafe Mozaeik!

Theatercafe Mozaïek
Bos en Lommerweg 191
1055 DT Amsterdam
T: +31 (0)20 5800383

P.S. Be sure to check back next Sunday for this month’s installment of Let’s Do Brunch. I’m really excited because next week’s guest blogger is featuring a city that’s long been on my travel wishlist!

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Notebooks from LikeStationery

Before things get lost in all the baby excitement, I wanted to show off a few goodies that I picked up from Kleine Fabriek. It was a trade event, so I couldn’t buy any of the adorable children’s clothes and things on display from the exhibitors. However, that doesn’t mean my wallet escaped scot-free!

Not when a funky pop-up shop from Dutch webstore LikeStationery was on site to tempt me with its irresistible wares. LikeStationery is the online store of Amsterdam-based graphic Sanne Dirkzwager, a.k.a. Strawberryblonde, who, as her shop name implies, has a passion for stationery. Something I’m sure lots of girls can relate to… like I do.

I love paper, but notebooks are my true weakness. My mom loves them too, and my growing collection of unused notebooks—which grows after every trip—is one of the things that makes me realize that perhaps we are all destined to turn into our mothers someday. (My penchant for red lipstick is another.)

So I just couldn’t resist picking up these adorable notebooks at LikeStationery’s pop-up store. I’ve been craving for color during this (mostly) drab gray summer. Since I couldn’t choose between something pastel or bright, I got both. The Swedish words on the pastel one pushed my wanderlust button.

I also couldn’t pass up this sunshiny yellow notebook with a library card slot in the front. This reminds me of a childhood pleasure: borrowing books from the school library! I was a voracious reader as a kid, a true librarian’s pet and nerd-in-the-making who always filled up several library cards each school year.

Aside from the notebooks, I also bought a smart little earphone winder. It’s just a simple strip of suede, but it keeps things tidy and (the most important thing) I have managed to somehow not lose it yet. Sometimes the simplest things work best.

LikeStationery offers worldwide shipping and has a fun, colorful blog chronicling the inspirations behind the shop’s wares, as well as Sanne’s own design work.

Do you find stationery irresistible too? What form of paper can you absolutely not resist?

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