If The Shoe Fits… | Italy Travel Diary

italy-travel-diary-fermo-shoes vialactea 2009Vialactea Outlet | Marche, Italy

Shoes are one of the most important parts of our wardrobe. Some people might scoff at that statement, but it’s true. We’re on our feet every single day, so making sure we’re wearing good shoes is paramount. Of course if they can look good in the process, well that’s just an added bonus. You may remember me saying how I “never really cared for shoes”, but in recent years I’ve found myself changing my mind. I gave up buying cheap fast-fashion every few months, in favour of something slightly more expensive, but of much higher quality. So when Expool Consortium invited me on the See What You Wear Tour (with fellow bloggers Elena and Andy), I was eager to learn more about my new interest.

The blog tour was started to promote the province of Marche, famous worldwide for their handmade shoes. When I spoke to my Italian friends about my upcoming visit, they all boasted about the regions specialities. With butterflies in my stomach, I counted down the days until my trip. It’s difficult not to get excited when you’re working with brands that have created masterpieces for the likes of Armani and Prada…

During our tour we visited:
Formula Shoes

Come Volare Shoes
Luca Verdi
Luca di Vesprini
Lorena Paggi
Luca Iachini

Whereas each of the companies have their own unique style, I was impressed with the sheer quality of the shoes. These are not the kind of footwear you’ll find on the shelves of any high street store. These are handmade, with passion and care. I’ve never been the kind of person who could make my own clothing, so for me it was truly wonderful to be in the presence of such talent.

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.


I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

italy-travel-diary-fermo-shoes-1-vialactea-2009 fermo-marche-italy-travel-seewhatyouweartour-vialactea-2009 fermo-marche-italy-travel-seewhatyouweartour-formula-shoes fermo-marche-italy-travel-seewhatyouweartour-mauron-1959 fermo-marche-italy-travel-seewhatyouweartour-formula-shoes-1 fermo-marche-italy-travel-seewhatyouweartour-1-mauron-1959

An Evening in Fermo | Italy Travel Diary

fermo-marche-italy-travel-diary-see-what-you-wear-tour-2Fermo, Marche | Italy

What did you do on your trip to Italy, Emma? People have been asking me this since I got back, and honestly I don’t know where to start. That’s the sign of an eventful trip, if you ask me. I suppose if anything, the best place to start would be the beginning. And what a beginning it was! After delays of almost 3 hours stuck on a plane on Stansted airport runway – thanks RyanAir – I was finally in Italy. I arrived into Rome, to the open arms of Marina, Emiliano, Elena and Andy. We hopped in the car and drove over to Fermo. We made a quick stop, for my first Italian coffee experience – bellissimo – and before we knew it we were there! The journey flew by, thanks to good conversation and the beautiful scenery.

Our first stop was our accommodation for the trip – Country House Colle dei Falchi. A beautiful villa in the middle of the Marche countryside; cute dogs, stunning views and roosters included. However we were soon whisked away to the town centre of Fermo (in our awesome customised Emilcar Renault Kadjars). Steeped in history, we were given a tour of the old Mayor’s house, which is now a gallery and museum (among other things). It was amazing to learn about the people (past and present) who have helped to make the town what it is today. After our tour of the town centre, we headed to the church, and down below. No, we weren’t heading to ancient catacombs, or hidden dungeons. Instead we were to dine in a trendy, contemporary bar-restaurant called Soul Kitchen. It was time for an aperitif and some pizza. Having never visited Italy before, trying real pizza was up there on my list. So to have it on my first night felt pretty special. Light, crispy and full of flavour. I’ll never go back to American style again!

After a long day we retired to our beds. Already I felt like I was part of a little family. Everyone had been so welcoming, and I was ready to start my real adventure…

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.


I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

fermo-marche-italy-travel-diary-see-what-you-wear-tour-1fermo-marche-italy-travel-diary-see-what-you-wear-tour-4fermo-marche-italy-travel-diary-see-what-you-wear-tour 3 fermo-marche-italy-travel-diary-see-what-you-wear-tour

Arriving in Comfort with Radisson Blu | Italy Travel Diary

radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-6Radisson Blu Stansted*

I love to travel, but I don’t like to travel. Trains, coaches and planes are not my bag baby. There’s always the worry of delays, and truthfully I have no patience for rude travellers (you know the kind). So usually I try to travel in the evening, to avoid any unwanted chaos. However we can’t always have what we want, and my Italy trip last week started with an 8am flight. I didn’t fancy a 4:00 coach to Stansted, so I looked up a few hotels in the area. Luckily for me Radisson Blu offered me a free nights stay. Even better, it’s right next door to the airport. Literally.

The hotel boasts 500 rooms, a gym & spa, 2 restaurants, 1 wine bar, free room wi-fi, coffee & tea, and 24 hour room service. With amenities like that you may be tempted to stay in your hotel room the whole night. Nonetheless, we started the evening by checking-in to our junior suite, where we settled in with a coffee before heading down to dinner. The restaurants can get pretty full, so I’d highly suggest making a reservation. We opted for the wine bar where we chilled with a juicy burger, whilst we watched the wine angels do their thing. We soon retired to our room where we had a soothing hot bath, before cozying up in the gigantic, luxurious bed (I want one!) with a hot chocolate. Before an uninterrupted nights sleep, we popped our breakfast order on the door handle. For a little extra they will deliver your breakfast to your room, meaning you can enjoy it wrapped up in one of their soft bathrobes. And who doesn’t love breakfast in bed? Listen up airport hotels, because this is how all holidays should start.

Hot chocolate, breakfast in bed and pillow sprays don’t seem like much, but little extras such as these really go towards making a stay that little less ordinary. My visit to Radisson Blu allowed me to relax the evening before my flight, and it also meant that I had no worries when it came to making it to the airport on time. I have to say, it was the most comfortable and effortless start to a holiday that I’ve had yet.

Check out Radisson Blu Stansted Airport to book a room, and avoid the chaos of travelling.

radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-4 radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-1 radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-3 radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-5 radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel radisson-blu-stansted-airport-hotel-2

An Open Letter to Cereal Magazine | My Norfolk


Almost exactly one year ago I paid a trip home to Norwich and wrote about it here on my blog. I spoke of the joys of having a place to call “home”, and somewhere to relax. Not much has changed in that sense, but the way that I look at Norfolk has. After reading various issues of my favourite travel publication (Cereal), I’ve come to appreciate the little things that make a city or county so wonderful. I picked up the SHhhh Beginner’s Guide to Norwich whilst I was back, and it inspired to do my own little series. After all, I am a proud Norfolkian (if that’s what you call us). So in true Cereal style, I would like to introduce you to My Norfolk.

The more I think about it, the more astounded I am that Cereal have yet to feature Norfolk in one of their issues. Not only because the aesthetic fits perfectly, but because it is a hauntingly beautiful part of England. So this is my open letter to Cereal magazine. Please come to Norfolk and experience it through the eyes of a local. Stop for a strong coffee in one of Norwich’s speciality coffee shops (Strangers, for example) – something to sip on as you browse the carefully curated shelves of Finch. Spend your afternoon taking a walk along one of our beautiful coast lines (canine companion optional). And of course a walk is always best undertaken with the goal of finishing at a pub/tea room, and we have an abundance of both. You see, we have plenty to offer in Norfolk. You just give us a chance.

Yours, Emma

letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-4 letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-2 letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-7 letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-1 letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-5 letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-3 letter-to-cereal-magazine-my-norfolk-6

Amsterdam Travel Diary | Rijksmuseum

amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-3Rijksmuseum | Museumstraat 11071 XX, Amsterdam | Website

I do love a good museum, and the Rijksmuseum is renowned worldwide for being exactly that. I know not everyone enjoys wandering around museums. However I was in luck as it was my travel companions who suggested we visit this Dutch hub for culture. The perfect activity for a rainy Saturday.

The museum recently finished undergoing renovation in 2013. The main hall is modern, spacious and bright. Of course I fell in love with the minimalist interior. However the hall is not the main drawer to the thousands of tourists who visit every day. Housing classics such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, the Rijksmuseum is a labyrinth of art and history. Turning each corner reveals something magnificent. From the classics, to a 1960s Yves Saint Laurent mini dress, there’s a variety of items on display. I was pleasantly surprised to find the museum also had collections dedicated to fashion and Asian art. Both of which happen to be interests of mine. After studying Buddhist art at university in Japan, I’ve become somewhat intrigued with the meanings and significance behind ancient religious art. The collections on display here may be modest, but they’ve been expertly curated.

Does the museum live up to it’s reputation? I think so. Even though classical art doesn’t interest me, I had to admit that the artwork on display was impressive. It was particularly wonderful to see so many Dutch artists. I would have liked to seen more contemporary pieces, but then you don’t come here for that.

Don’t forget to follow the rest of my Amsterdam Travel Diaries.

amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-2 amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-4 amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-1 amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-6 amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-5

Amsterdam Travel Diary | Cotton Cake

cotton-cake-amsterdam-travel-diary-foodCotton Cake | 1e van der Helststraat 76-hs 1072NZ, Amsterdam | Website

If you hadn’t noticed, lifestyle stores are my new “thing”. I can’t get enough of a store that encompasses my personal style and ethics. First there was The Basics Store – the Shoreditch pop-up hosted by Marina London – which lead me on an Instagram following spree. Which in turn is where I discovered Amsterdam-based brand Cotton Cake. Thankfully it just so happened that I was planning a trip to the Dutch capital. I immediately told my travel buddies exactly where we would be going for brunch the morning after our arrival.

Yes that’s right, Cotton Cake has a cafe inside it’s small store. Not only can you adorn yourself with beautiful things, you can also treat your body with a variety of healthy dishes. It doesn’t get much better than that. When we arrived we were greeted by a spacious, minimalistic store. The clothing and lifestyle products are on the ground floor, whilst a petite set of stairs at the back lead you to the “cafe” (a small area of 5 tables).  I had already decided on the Spelt-Buckwheat Waffles, so all I had to do was sit back and relax. But how could I when there were clothes to admire? And what beautiful clothes they were. Each collection has been carefully curated, resulting in a selection of high-quality pieces. Delicate lace shorts by Samøe line the racks alongside cosy knits by Sita Murt, and several other worthy European brands. Our food soon arrived, and after several Instagram snaps, we dug in. My waffles were of the Dutch variety, which are much lighter than their American counterparts. I actually prefer this style, especially when paired with fresh blueberries (probably bought at one of the nearby market stalls), yoghurt and a tart compote. Eating delicious food in such a fresh, open space was the perfect way to start my holiday in Amsterdam.

Cotton Cake feels more like you’re visiting a friend’s home; chatting over food & coffee, before raiding their wardrobe. The staff are relaxed and incredibly friendly, and more than happy to help. I could have easily spent all of my euros, but I resisted and left with a single gorgeous earring from by1oak. I will definitely be visiting Cotton Cake again, and I suggest that you all do too.

Don’t forget to follow the rest of my Amsterdam Travel Diaries.

cotton-cake-amsterdam-travel-diary-cafe-3 cotton-cake-amsterdam-travel-diary-cafecotton-cake-amsterdam-travel-diary-cafe-2 cotton-cake-amsterdam-travel-diary-cafe-1cotton-cake-amsterdam-travel-diary-fashion

Berlin Travel Diary | The Barn


The Barn | Schönhauser Allee 8, 10119 Berlin, Germany | Website

Coffee. Until recently I was unable to drink this beverage of the Gods. Still, my love for it was unwavering. However it was working in an office at a computer all day that finally made it a necessity. So after a year back on the stuff (my favourite is Caravan’s at Brooklyn Coffee), I have become a bit of a fangirl. London has an amazing array of cafes and coffee shops, so I was eager to see what Berlin had to offer me. V.A is not a coffee fan however, so it took a breakfast meeting with Herz und Blut (who suggested the venue) to finally visit a “proper” coffee shop – The Barn.

As soon as I stepped in to The Barn, I knew I was back where I belonged. The smell of freshly roasted coffee beans filled the store, and sacks of the brown gold were littered everywhere. Odd contraptions were stacked along the counter, whilst two smiling faces greeted us from behind it. There was plenty of space so we grabbed a window seat whilst contemplating the menu. I went for an espresso, and a croissant. Whether it’s food or drink, I think starting with the basics is a good way of finding out how skilled someone is. Now even though I can tell good coffee from bad, and burnt from finely roasted, I can’t easily spot the finer notes. However with The Barn’s coffee I was able to taste each fruity, sweet note. It paired perfectly with my fresh, buttery croissant. I tried to drag it out for as long as possible. This was one espresso I didn’t want to throw down my throat. But ultimately I finished it. However I knew I couldn’t give up the opportunity to also try their espresso with milk. Slightly sweeter, this one went down easily too. At around €3 a cup, this coffee is every bit as good it’s London counterparts, if not better…and a lot cheaper! If you ever in Berlin, this is one coffee break you can’t miss!

Since returning from Berlin I have spotted several of my favourite London coffee shops stocking The Barn’s beans. It seems that I am not the only Brit to have discovered how awesome this German roaster is. You can purchase The Barn’s coffee beans online here, in-store at Craft Coffee, London and Bean and Bud, Harrogate.

If you want to know what a non-coffee lover thought of The Barn, check you V.A’s post here.

the-barn-berlin-coffee-shop-travel-diary-2 the-barn-berlin-coffee-shop-travel-diary-1 the-barn-berlin-coffee-shop-travel-diary-3 the-barn-berlin-coffee-shop-travel-diary