The title of this post is from a song I have on repeat at the moment by Maxine Ashley...and the song fits the next face who is no stranger to this blog. When I am in Hamburg, one of the things I love doing is having a proper catch up with friends and seeing this lady is also on my to-do list. Cecile, based in fashion retail, is always upbeat and open to joining me for a street tour or dinner, whichever is posible, depending on our schedules. She is always fashion-forward and let's face it, with THAT head of hair and smile, she deserves a post at least! Thank you, Cecile for meeting up and standing in front of this raspberry stand just so I could have a red background...
At least once a year I make a point of traveling to Hamburg. It is a city that will always remain extraordinary, reminding me of the years I lived here...some good, some bad, some incredibly wonderful. I am always in awe of the city because it is so polished, yet manages to reinvent itself with bigger and better places; it is a city actively striving to deliver more and more...and even though the Hamburgers would hate me for saying this, the constant construction means that the city is evolving. So, over the next few posts, there will be some streetstyle, some food and a few captions from this trip that managed to lodge this city even firmer in my heart.
It is a known truth that almost any male hipster has at some point in his life considered or grown some form of beard. This is something that can be highly amusing when you see pictures of them without their beards. The newly acquired fluff makes them appear not only wiser but, rugged, slicing off the boyish charm. Later, they realise that the beard in fact makes them look older, something that the world is totally against. We all want to be leaner, more efficient and most, importantly, young. We want to have that baby skin and innocence, something we hated while growing up. That is why, it is totally refreshing to encounter someone on the streets, sporting a beard in such a relaxed way. Case in point, the above photograph. I love the fact that he is not overstyled, like too many other men, who think they are extras from Peaky Blinders. It is a city look, jeans and smart sneakers...and nevertheless groomed! To the hipsters out there, please forget about the flat caps, braces and boots fashioned to look vintage. Style is something you cannot put together.
We head north-west for our next style spotting...to the city of Basel, known for its art (there are 40 museums in a radius of 37 square kilometers), good food and high living standard. Sharing no less than three borders (Swiss, German and French!), this city shows that it has many influences indeed. I loved the market square and of course, like any tourist, the famous city hall. Now, when you spot someone so pretty minding their own business while on an obvious work break, then you almost feel bad for disturbing them for a photo moment...but, I was so glad that I did!
And now for part 2 of my shopping tour in Budapest…
Nanushka’s store is a feast for the eyes indeed. From the stylish palette to the elegant tailoring, this womenswear label is definitely a must for uncomplicated fashion. Nanushka is the childhood nickname of the designer Sandra Sandor (who studied at the illustrious London College of Fashion). Her style is definitely urban but, with an edge, featuring pieces that will not date easily…which is always a godsend. You can find the store at Bécsi u. 3
After spotting a cool streetstyler (who turned out to be the person running the store, Wonderlab is a definite place to pick up a few cool pieces to spruce up your wardrobe. Home to over 30 designers, this little store provides everything you need to get your wardrobe up to date! From menswear, womenswear, bags, footwear, dog accessories, home décor…the sky is the limit here at Wonderlab! You can find them at Veres Pálné u. 3
Paloma is a concept store that probably has the most magnificent entrance I have ever seen…talk about drama! Love the steps! This courtyard themed collection of small shops is wonderful to investigate and worth the effort of finding. With around 50 local designers sharing space in showrooms, this little courtyard packs a punch indeed! And if you are like me and you always need a bit of a snack in between, paired with good coffee then you can try Auguszt Cukrászda, situated on the ground floor. You can find Paloma at Kossuth Lajos u. 14
Rododendron is a stop every art lover should have on their map. I managed to pick up two wonderful photographs here. The focus is on local designers and this is a good space (with a gallery feel to it) to discover the more modern side to Budapest. And if you want some good coffee then nip next door into Kontakt Specialty coffee. You can find them at Semmelweis u. 19
As you may have guessed, I was definitely focusing on local talent on this trip. I did not need the high street. Another wonderful store is NUBU. With its quiet sophistication, this label specialises in minimalistic design. Founded in 2007 by Judit Graham, this label has gone from strength to strength, especially after two other designers (Adél Kovács and Anett Hajdú ) joined in 2011. With local success the brand has already been very present in both Asia and the US. You can find them at Andrássy út 13
What could be more satisfying than walking through a city and discovering new stores and fashion? Absolutely nothing! These are my tips for when you are visiting the city:
You can try something different at Szputnyik . At this store, there are wonderful vintage pieces that hang side by side with new, contemporary clothes. The idea is that by buying vintage, you are in essence being ‘green’ in that you are recycling them. Ba adding new, fashionable pieces to your vintage find, you are able to create a fresh look, with a definite throwback quality. You can find them at Dohány u. 20
Mono is contemporary and urban all rolled into one. This multi-brand shop features small-series creations of Hungarian designers in a very cool store that will not disappoint anyone looking for something special and limited. You can find them at Kossuth Lajos u. 20
My next stop would have to be Lollipop Factory where this store has been delivering autonomous fashion since 2003. I love the craziness of it all, the design (focusing on Hungarian designers) and the prices that won’t bring tears to your eyes. You can find them at Magyar u. 18
Hats…hats and more hats! I think there is nothing more elegant or fashion-forward than wearing a well-crafted hat. It finishes off an outfit and in bad weather can literally save your hair. And, when you are in Budapest, be sure to pop in at Valeria Fazekas. This hat store is jam-packed with so many wonderful creations, you could literally go crazy. This designer, who graduated from the Budapest Institute of Applied Arts (today Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design), is not one to shy away from clever forms and bright colour. If hats are not your thing, she also does scarves and tops. You can find the store at v50, Váci u
Nothing like browsing through a few pictures from such trip to take you back to those wondeful days. In an age where we so easily digest information and images, it is good to reflect on these moments and think about what was going on in this city. When I arrived in Budapest, it was the time that the refugee crisis was at its peak in europe. Thousands had arrived at the central train station and were not even offered water. When I was sightseeing, I walked around a corner and straight into a protest. I had never seen so many armed policemen with dogs. The right wing extremists were on the other street side, gathered at a bar and the tension and aggression was palpable. It was hard to believe that a few streets away, life was normal and here, people were so angry about the refugees seeking an escape out of their turmoil. Of course, this followed me the entire day and made me feel many things. I was sad that in such a day and age, people had forgotten about kindness and offering help to those in need. I was also speechless at the open hostility that was shown in the city, considering that we are all, in some way or form, refugees. We all want our lives to be better and even though we may not have been forced to flee, we are all wanting a safe, happy existence.
When I stumbled upon a wedding (which is captured below as the couple exited the cathedral), I had to smile at the open hope that was represented in this moment. I had to think to myself that even though the city was in divided, there were still two people willing to take a risk and pledge their commitment so publicly. As the crowd cheered, I had to think about one of my favourite quotes from Oscar Wilde...'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars'.
Borbíróság is a quaint and yet very full restaurant that offers not only a lively atmosphere but, also some wonderful food. I immediately loved the small menu (large menus tend to scare me a bit because I am Libran and making decisions when I am faced with too many options, is a nightmare).
They tend to specialise in duck, so if you are there, then give the duck with sweet potato and sage a try. From the starters, I would highly recommend the scallops, squid pasta with mango chutney and pistachio as this very brave combination offers a blast of flavour. I did not have the duck but, opted instead for the veal fillet, which came with roasted goose liver, fresh spinach, dried tomato and potatoes. A wonderful dish that was not too heavy so that I had place for dessert (the chocolate soufflé and macaron).
But, don’t let a big meal scare you off…there are wine events you can visit and to accompany these tastings, you can opt for the simpler wine ‘bites’ that come in three variations. Borbirosag, found at Csarnok tér 5 in Budapest is a wonderful place to try if you don’t want to feel like a tourist…and let’s face it…we all want that!
Photograph credit: tfoodie.com
Over the next two posts I wanted to share my impressions taken in this amazing city...this is a place where cultures collide, where the people are unbelievably friendly, where the food is good...no, really good and there is more than enough to see! Hope you all enjoy the photo spread...
When you visit a city as large as Budapest, it is easy to get lost in the maze of streets and dare I say it, get lost between the many tourists traps claiming to offer 'origninal Hungarian cooking'. To avoid this, I will always offer the following advice: do your research! It pays off in the end when you are standing in the middle of a bustling city centre without a clue where to go for good, hearty food. It can also make or break a trip, depending on how you can cope with a low sugar level...I definitely cannot function when I am hungry...I literally turn into The Hulk.
That is why I was so glad that I did a lot of online reading and discovered the St Andrea Wine and Gourmet Bar, tucked away in the very grand Eiffel Palace in the city centre. Here, while treated to some really good live music (nothing cheesy, thank goodness), we were spoilt for choice between the names of local wines and dishes. This restaurant wants to offer a gourmet option, while staying true to some really good local product sourcing. And on these two fronts, St Andreas delivers.
From the duck liver with peanut and mango (amazing) to the perfectly grilled Black Angus flank steak with mashed potatoes, this is not only gourmet but, also comfort food after a long day spent exploring this byzantine city.
Here, you CAN try the goulash soup without thinking twice because it is really good. But, leave room for dessert, please. Here you can order the very elegant nougat or the creamy chocolate. And if that is not your cup of tea, the cheese option will not disappoint.
For the adventurous, there are 4 and 6 gourmet menu options and each can, of course, be paired with wine. Go on and spoil yourself...make a booking and while away a few hours here...
Picture credit: dvmgroup.com