"" The Elegant Life: January 2020

Fine Dining In Amsterdam

Although not famous for its culinary proficiency, Amsterdam is host to innumerable dining venues that will satisfy even the pickiest diner, ranging from cozy cafes to sophisticated restaurants. The Netherland’s capital is one of the most multicultural and liberal cities on the globe, which brings with it some of the most distinctive cuisines. While the Netherlands is well known for its cheese, pancakes, herring, and stroopwafels, Amsterdam’s selection of fine dining has become a global hotspot. If you are looking for a unique and very formal evening, you do not have to worry as there is no shortage of options for Michelin Star Restaurants Amsterdam. This guide highlights everything that you should know about fine dining in Amsterdam.

Best Places to Eat in Amsterdam
The Dutch Capital is gradually becoming a global player in the world’s culinary scene. If you are visiting the city for the first time, it can be quite stressing choosing your fine dining venue from the city’s pool of restaurants. But there is no need to worry. Eating Europe has rounded up some of the best fine dining Amsterdam restaurants where you can get some of the best local and international cuisines and other iconic dishes. Here is a list of some of the best fine dining venues in Amsterdam.
  1. Ciel Bleu
When browsing for Michelin star restaurants Amsterdam, Ciel Bleu will always pop up in the list. Although it is known to be the most expensive fine dining restaurant in Amsterdam, Ciel Bleu has lived up to its two Michelin star status. Here you will find first-class services in a contemporary setting. Ciel Bleu is rated as one of Amsterdam’s finest eateries, serving the best delicacies mixed with a stunning view. The restaurant is located on the 23rd floor of the Okura Hotel, giving the visitors a dazzling scene of Amsterdam city. You can find out more about Restaurant Ciel Bleu.
  1. La Rive
If you are looking for the Mediterranean or French cuisines or a wine list mixed with impeccable service, then La Rive is your go-to fine dining restaurant. Being a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Rive is considered to be the most formal fine dining venue in Amsterdam. The top chefs here led by Chef Roger Rassin will ensure that you get the most delectable foods for your dinner without adding any unnecessary decorative elements to them. You can browse through their website to have a glimpse of their meals and other services.
  1. Restaurant Vermeer
Restaurant Vermeer is popular for its experimental dishes that are made using products procured from local farmers on a daily basis. These dishes vary daily as the ingredients used by the chefs here are seasonal. The one Michelin-starred restaurant is located within the famous NH Barbizon Palace, giving it a historic and elegant outlook. The six courses offered at Restaurant Vermeer have stood criticism over the years. Today Vermeer has become a delight for Dutch elites and visitors looking for class and style.
  1. Other Fine Dining Restaurants in Amsterdam
The list of fine dining restaurants in the Netherlands’ capital cannot be exhausted. Here are some more noteworthy places to dine in Amsterdam.
  • Le Restaurant
  • Blauw aan de Wal
  • Bord’Eau
  • De Kas
  • Graphite
  • Yamazato
Fine Dining Amsterdam Etiquette
Fine dining, just like any other banquet, demands that people follow certain customary codes. One of these customary codes is the fine dining etiquette, which Amsterdam’s culinary scene is reserved about. This etiquette may vary from one restaurant to the other, but the basic provisions to it do not change. Here is an overview of what is expected of you when you visit any of Amsterdam’s fine dining venues.
Table Manners
You are almost ready to experience an incredible fine dining moment in the Dutch Capital, and table manners are fundamental. Firstly, you must sit upright and ensure that you do not place items such as car keys on the table. Once you have started enjoying your meal, it is essential to note that having any part of your knife or fork placed outside your dining plate is considered inappropriate in Amsterdam. Your elbows must also be off the table. While resting or taking a break, you can have your knife or forks rest in an inverted-V position.
Fine dining restaurants are very formal, and making a reservation is fundamental to having your momentous dinner. This might take time, but keeping your patience will be quite rewarding. Getting a walk-in opportunity into these restaurants is almost close to impossible. Remember to keep time when you make your reservation.
Placing Orders
Your guest should order first, and if possible, try making an order with a similar number of courses as theirs. Note that it is considered to be an extremely rude gesture to talk to the waiter as you look into the menu card. Some of the menus in these restaurants will come with very fancy names. If you cannot interpret what meals these names are referring to, make sure you consult the waiters. Ensure that you also update your waiter on your allergies, if you have any. Finally, if you are not an expert in selecting wine, do ask for assistance. These fine dining restaurants in Amsterdam have a wide collection of fine wine from different wineries. Therefore, it’s advisable to ask the waiter to suggest the best wine in their collection.
Original article sourced: Luxury Travel Magazine 

Manchester With National Express

Manchester Visit: Eco-Friendly National Express

Manchester is the hub of arts, history, tradition and above all, culture. With over 6.8 million people ambling through the magical old cobbled streets, it is safe to say Manchester tourism is red hot. It isn't just seeped in history, it is also ringing with poetic artistry around every corner, rugged backstreets, which resonates with tourists and natives alike. Manchester is a vibrant, bustling city with so much to offer and just like Leeds, it has that northern charm. We often find that we will take our cars for the simple option to get from A to B or the train but why do we overlook coach travel?

I grew up on coach travel, as did my family, they loved a coach trip, it was synonymous with old fashioned British travel, and today, it's important to get from A to B by also being careful of your carbon footprint. Instead of driving and releasing emissions, look at grabbing a coach. National Express kindly offered me a trip to Manchester, to experience their coach travel within the north; to appreciate the beauty of local coach travel, which is affordable, reliable and better for the planet. It's certainly time for me to start experiencing the beauty of coach trips again. with so many stations across the UK, National Express offers trips that range from local, such as my trip - Leeds to Manchester to further away, such as Leeds down to the South Coast and even abroad. A coach has such a luxe feel and for me, I always associated a coach with a great day out. Still to this day do I feel the same.

Booking The Trip & Deciding A Destination

My goal is to see as many of Britain's cities of culture as possible. Manchester was a great choice . I love Manchester and recently I visited and knew I had to go back again as soon as possible. Usually when I go to Manchester I will make the trip in the car or on the train. So now it's time to enjoy visiting by coach. There are regular coaches from Leeds, every hour in fact. The big coach hub at the bus station to all destinations across UK but regular coaches to and from Manchester and northern destinations. You can book online, their site is easy to navigate and you can grab your tickets on your phone which you show the driver as you board. It's simple and easy.

The Travel Experience....

Once I had my booking on e-ticket, which is sent to email I was able to get on the coach and pick my seat. You are always guaranteed a seat on National Express which I was so impressed with. The first thing that struck me was the leather seats that looked so comfortable and when I got on the coach I found out they were as comfy as they looked. Not only that but the coach was lit with gorgeous blue lights, air conditioned, radio on and good support for your back. I have lower back problems and didn't feel that I wasn't being supported, I really liked the travel.

The journey was smooth running, friendly approachable driver and the best part of all is USB pockets in every seat. you don't need a plug to charge your phone, only your USB lead which is great to save space in your bag. You can travel with your case there is room in the underbelly of the coach and we even were ahead of schedule coming into Manchester which was incredible!

I couldn't fault the service and I am definitely going to plan to book some more trips as the year progresses. I'd love to experience some more of the biggest UK cities with them! 

Eco-Friendly Travel 

Using the train, for me, has its drawbacks. It can feel cramped, anxiety-inducing and often there are lots of delays. Also it can also be pricey! National Express offer incredibly friendly prices, there are thousands of tickets that are £5 or less and you will always be guaranteed a seat if you book. I am not sure why I haven't tried using National Express to take me to Manchester Airport before, it is a really affordable option and that's one thing I am going to be looking into for the future. For now though, it's all about looking at how eco-friendly it is. I am a huge advocate of conservation, my Twitter is a platform for me to speak out about issues about our planet and it is a fact that travelling by coach is the most environmentally friendly form of travel, and on a per passenger kilometre basis, a full modern (Euro VI emissions-standard) 56 seat capacity coach performs better on emissions than the average private car. They are also well equipped for people with limited mobility.

Not only this but it's incredibly comfortable. Whenever I've used National Express in the past, usually from London, I have always had a positive experience. They have never been delayed, the coaches are comfy, there is often WiFi available and it makes travelling nostalgic and pleasurable. The free entertainment services are incredible if you're travelling alone or with someone and you want to be anti-social and do some work! Their power sockets are the best - for someone like me who works constantly out of a laptop, keeping charged up is vital. To book a trip with National Express, click here.

Exploring Manchester 

Manchester is like a northern London to me; I get a little buzz from it. I recently visited the Manchester Royal Exchange, click here to read that Blog and you can see what makes this area in the heart of Manchester such a fabulous place to visit. Thank you National Express for allowing me to travel with no complications and so much ease!

Femme Luxe Finery dresses

Why You Should Use National Express

*This post was sponsored by National Express but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

12 Most Instagrammable Luxury Landscapes

Luxury travel these days is a buzz word that seems to have lost its mojo, but these stunning far-flung locations with a twist aim to turn heads with their beauty and uniqueness.....

Whether we are on Instagram or not, most of us will take a snap or two when we travel — but in luxury circles, the bar is raised to the next level, with no shortage of beautiful places pick from.
Nevertheless, there are a few natural gems which have consistently capture the hearts and lenses of luxury lovers (and Instagram stars) worldwide with their extraordinary ‘wow’ factor and visual appeal. 
Here, we count down some of the top luxury landscapes which just can’t take a bad photo — NB: to shortlist for your next luxurious travel trip.
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1. Cappadocia, Turkey

The sun-soaked whimsical ‘fairy chimneys’ and cone-shaped rock formations of Cappadocia in Turkey really can’t take a bad picture.
Everyone from @followmeto to @gypsea_lust @doyoutravel have documented their travels to this geological wonder on Turkey’s Anatolian plains. 
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this landscape of honey-combed hills in central Turkey is made up of an extensive network of tunnels and chambers which have been eroded over millions of years and carved into the rock faces. Making the dreamscape even more appealing — multiple hot-air balloon flights take off into the sky at sunset, offering any spectator a stunning sight to remember. 
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2. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Croatia — and the sea-side city of Dubrovnik in particular — has made more of a name for itself from Game of Thrones fame of late, after it was picked as the filming location for King's Landing; but the country has several other stunning locations to offer for the luxury aficionado.
One of these is its Plitvice Lakes National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the oldest and largest natural reserves in the country. 
Spread over 295-sq.-kms of forest in central Croatia, this sanctuary is known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. The weaving, interconnected waterfalls are constantly flowing, and the lakes particularly are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue, with colors that change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight — which means no photo is ever exactly the same. 
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Photo credit: Chloé Lebrun.

3. Diamond Beach, Iceland

Iceland has long been a photographer’s dream location, with hundreds — if not thousands — of Instagram-worthy locations to capture, but it’s Diamond Beach, on the South Coast, takes the cake.
A strip of jet-black sand belonging to the greater Breiðamerkursandur glacial plain and located by Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, here is where glistening, crystal-clear icebergs come to die, washing up on shore like dazzling gems stranded by the sea in stark contrast to the ebony canvas.
Snapped here: @hobopeeba @itsadogslife5
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4. Maldives, Indian Ocean

Who hasn’t seen an image — drone or otherwise — of this paradisiacal location plugged on social media?
Boasting an endless horizon of crystal-clear turquoise water, dotted with palm-fringed tropical islands and luxurious ocean-set villas and bungalows — any spot in the Maldives is the ticket. 
However, for those who have serious cash to splash and want to treat themselves to the ultimate luxury getaway — look no further than the Jumeirah Vittaveli resort.
Earlier this year, the plush complex unveiled seven new Private Ocean Retreats — all equipped with the Instagram necessity of the moment: winding slides. 
Complete with incredible, sweeping Indian ocean views of the South Malé atoll, the suites come with gigantic open air decks, glass bottomed sunken lounges, outdoor relaxation beds, overwater hammocks — and access a 23-metre slide which runs from the top deck into the gentle waters of the crystal clear lagoon — in addition to in-villa dining, yoga, spa treatments, and the pampering of a dedicated 24-hour butler, of course. 
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5. Lavender fields, Provence, France

Each summer, the rolling hills in the region of Provence in southeastern France are transformed into rows of dusky purple, when the lavender blooms — offering guests an extraordinary visual and sensory spectacle fit for royalty.
While this is probably the most affordable luxury landscape to jet-set to — for those living in Europe at least — if you’re looking for the midas touch, then check out the Relais & Chateaux listing which spotlights some of the swankiest luxe hotels, guesthouses and private residences you can splurge on near the the Route de la Lavande. 
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6. Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Located 8 hours south of La Paz in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni, is the world’s largest salt flat and an otherworldly location which should be on the bucket list for any luxury traveller who wants something for the photo album which is a little different and off the beaten track.
Besides its unmatched legacy as a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desert-like, nearly 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands — those who visit in late April will witness the best of its photogenic qualities you can expect to see both the dry salt desert and the giant mirror effect it creates. This hotspot is also one of the harder ones to get to — so there are far less tourists than any of the others on the list!

Honourable mentions:

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7. Lofoten Islands, Norway

A wonderland of jagged mountains, beautiful fjords, and white sandy beaches, this spot is a rare sanctuary of pristine natural beauty, without the crowding.
Snapped here: @mbeiter @kolkrabenjan
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8. St. Lucia, Caribbean 

One of the top luxury destinations for the rich and famous, feel free to set up anywhere on the coastline with a view of the Pitons — two mountainous volcanic spires rising up out of the ocean — for a spectacular sight.
Snapped here: @annev @missangievilla
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9. Bagan, Myanmar 

The ancient city of Bagan in a hot air balloon at sunrise gives Cappadocia a run for its money — with an Asian twist.
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10. Tulum, Mexico

Although it is one of Mexico’s premier tourist destinations, Tulum’s Playa Ruinas — which boasts well-preserved Mayan temple pyramids overlooking the Caribbean Sea — still makes the cut for its unique combination of stunning aesthetics x archaeological treasure.
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11. Zhangye Danxia National Park, China 

The Rainbow Mountains Of China, located in the Gansu province are the Earth’s paint palette, and offer 200 square miles of mountains splashed with a kaleidoscope of natural colours.
Snapped here: @natalyosmann @nois7

12. Mt. Fuji, Japan 

Rising above the clouds, the highest volcano in Japan at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft) offers an impressive scene, which in spring, is beautifully complemented by a carpet of cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see.
Snapped here: @beccabeczten @kabutipi

Original post: Tidlrs Live Luxury (hosting some of my favourite Blogs of the moment)