TRAVEL

&WHAT | IKEA BOOTCAMP.

Welcome to Älmhult. A little place in Sweden put on the map by your favourite flatpack furniture – IKEA.

What brought me to this place you ask? The IKEA Bootcamp.

If you know me, you know I love start-ups. I am fascinated about the ideas and the founders that invest the greater part of their lives to build a company and drive growth for products or systems that have the ability to change the world.

The IKEA Bootcamp is doing exactly that. Over 1,500 start-ups from around the world applied to join the three-month programme.

Ten start-ups were selected with at varying stages of product development and company maturity. They picked up their teams and lives, moving to Älmhult, Sweden, where they live in a residence near IKEA headquarters for three months. It is here they are given access to a team of experts with the mission to grow their companies and build out their proposition ahead of DEMO DAY.

DEMO DAY is on 5th December 17 where all of these companies will pitch their propositions to the IKEA Senior Leadership teams and external VCs. This will give them the opportunity to be part of the IKEA offering and in stores worldwide.

I travelled to IKEA of Sweden to give the ten start-ups a workshop on how to build their Social Strategy – particularly where to focus their time and money with limited resources.

It was such an incredibly inspiring day learning about each of the start-ups’ journeys and pushing ourselves on how we can capture the essence of their brand on Social Media to achieve their objectives. Whether that be Brand Awareness or Sales, each requires a unique approach.

Post the workshop and before I had to catch the train back to Copenhagen I popped into the IKEA Museum (YES, there is such thing) for a whirlwind trip through the exhibits.

It took you through a history of the brand and the founder,  Ingvar Kamprad who started the company in 1943. Still remaining incredibly humble for being a billionaire and the 11th richest person in the world.

Some of my favourite quotes around the office were…

  • The fear of making mistakes is the root of bureaucracy and the enemy of development.
  • No method is more effective than a good example.
  • What is good for our customers is in the long-run good for us.
  • A prototype is worth a thousand meetings.
  • Ten minutes are not just one-sixth of your hourly pay; ten minutes is a piece of yourself. Divide yourself into ten units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activities. Most things still remain to be done.

 

The presence of the solid foundation of beliefs and principles that Kamprad has defined and built the IKEA brand on are very apparent through out the IKEA of Sweden offices. There are subtle reminders everywhere ensuring that all of the employees are aligned with and working towards the same values. It is this unity that has allowed the company to be so incredibly successful.

Definitely a culture that all companies in whatever sector should attempt to emulate. Only a few more weeks until Demo Day, best of luck to the teams!

-&what x

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&WHAT | BEACHIN IT.

Spent the last week in Portugal chasing the last bit of summer and watching one of our best university friends tie the knot (a FULL wedding post – saris and all will be up soon).

Sunday was our last day in the 30C heat so naturally, we headed straight for the beach. The beach is my happy place, soaking up all that Vitamin D, basking in the sun and enjoying the art of doing nothing – something I never normally do.

Cascais, Portugal is a gorgeous town by the Sea. We stayed in an Air BnB close to Gunchino Beach. It was a massive three bedroom apartment with views right onto the ocean. A massive change from our Lisbon Air BnB with ceilings so low we had to pull a quasimodo and hunch our (my) backs to walk around.

Saturday afternoon ahead of the wedding festivities we went to the beach to get our tan on and let me tell you – tanning was not in the cards. It was FREEZING. Perfect for watching surfers though. The beach was in a little enclave by rocks, with some massive waves. The Billabong World Champion surf competition had just ended the day before – if only we had made it ONE day earlier.

Sunday, post-wedding hangover we decided to go to Praia do Tamariz, less waves more sunshine. Picked up a paddle and balls from the local shop – ready for match day and working off those custard tarts.

It’s weekends like this that I live for.

Six years ago we were pulling all nighters in the Cardiff Unviersity, Bute Library. Who would have thought six years later we would be sitting on a beach sipping Sagres in Cascais after one of our friends got married. 💖  More days like this please.

-&what x

  

&WHAT | P A L M A.

2017 has been the year of Spain.

According to the Chinese calendar I believe it should be the year of the Snake, but not for me. I have been surrounded by the lovely people of Spain. In work, at home, in love, travel and life. Nothing to complain about really – Spanish people are the best.

In light of this revelation, when one of your new found close Spanish friends tells you to go to Palma – you book your tickets STAT. Right then and there.

Earlier this month, that is exactly what Nicole and I did. Off to Palma we went as our ‘Goodbye to Nicole’s London life’ trip. She had been studying here for a year and is now moving to NYC like an absolute boss lady, smashing it in her industry. We did have a glass or twelve of Prosecco all in the name of celebrations.

STAY:

  • We stayed at the Melia Palma Bay hotel, which was absolutely gorgeous and very well priced. They have an amazing roof top pool which overlooks the whole city centre. Perfect if you don’t fancy venturing out to the beach.

EAT: 

  • La Rosa: In the city centre, this is definitely a place loved by the locals. Pablo, a new Spanish friend in London told us about this place. We had such a warm welcome and lovely treatment from the owner who ended up having some Vermouth with us. Pretty much their whole bar is filled with that drink, a Palma favourite. The grilled octopus is drool worthy.
  • OMBU Tapas Bar: Get a seat outside and eat your heart out. The Croquettes were divine, as was pretty much everything else. Bit expensive but worth it for a fancy dinner.
  • Cassai Beach House: Cute place, even cuter waiters. If you want to fall in love with Spanish men, eat here. We got a MASSIVE paella to share, probably for a family of four but we smashed it. Made for a difficult drive home and the seatbelt had to be quite a bit looser but all in all this place had delicious food and atmosphere. Make sure you book, we had to squeeze at the bar because the restaurant was pack for the whole night.

DO: 

  • Cathedral: The cathedral in Palma Old Town is stunning, as is pretty much every street corner you turn around. We spent hours walking through the little streets, stopping at random Spanish bars through the day.
  • Run along the Boardwalk: Not for everyone, but after a full 48 hours of eating nothing but Parma Ham, Paella and sipping on Sangria this was essential. Palma itself as a city is very fit, with people running outside no matter what the temperate. Forced Nicole to come on a 9AM morning run with the tender temperature of 31C. We survived but unfortunately my iPhone didn’t. Luckily it was the only thing that overheated.
  • Rent a car: Based on a lot of recommendations we decided to rent a car. Having not driven for eight plus months, let alone in the Spanish countryside, this was an adventure in itself. Nicole promised me highways the whole way. We did have highways with a side of off roading when we got lost. Again, all in the name of adventures.

BEACH:

  • Es Carbo: The best beach we found was Sant Jordi de ses Salines. A mission to get there but so worth it. It was super quiet with shallow, warm, turquoise coloured water. What more could you want? It was very hot (talking 35C plus) so Nicole bought a beach umbrella, I on the other hand went for the Carrot Oil.

 

PALMA, we’ll vuelva pronto. <3

-&what x

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&WHAT | DREAMING OF NEW YORK CITY.

New York City. The concrete jungle, what dreams are made of.

One of my favourite cities in the world, as soon as you get off the plane it feels like you’re home. The people are incredible, so welcoming and inspiring – always working towards something – a project, dream, goal, anything really. The city never sleeps no matter what night of the week or where you are, adventure follows you.

Over the past three years, work has taken me to NYC for two weeks at a time. Attending both AW and SS fashion week. A whirlwind each time, with new places to discover. Each time I leave I know I will be back, just because it feels like home.

NYC in the summer and winter are equally as amazing. Haven’t been back yet this year and am seriously craving a trip. Miss the energy and excitement.

Cheers to next time NYC. Promise you I will be back soon!

xxxx SUNDAY BRUNCH  MISS LILYS

TOP OF THE ROCK

ICE CREAM

SPRING ROOFTOP

FLAT IRON

&WHAT | HVARING THE BEST TIME.

Hands down one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Hvar is the land of dreams and super yachts. Where you Carpe Diem all night and experience the joyous tanning effects of carrot oil all day.

When going to Hvar there are literally only two place you need to know about. Carpe Diem or Hula Hula. Beach all day, dance all night – then repeat.

Went with my cousin/ BFF Bianca who finally came to visit me on this side of the pond after six years. Took her a while but so happy she finally did. Rather than stay in London and visit the typical tourist spots, we chased the sunshine and decided on Croatia.

Bee and I spent the day at a local beach on the first day then Hula Hula the next. Hula Hula during the day it is divine with a beach bed right on the rocks by the water. Every now and again you get the waves crashing on you which makes for a refreshing break. The whole island is pretty much an Instagrammer’s dream.

The seafood in Hvar as you can imagine was divine. We stuffed our faces with a mix of the fresh pizza available from the markets, ice cream all day everyday and when we were feeling like treating ourselves – all the sea creatures you could ask for. Fresh shrimps dripping in garlic butter, mussels in cream sauce and grilled squid. Drool.

Hvar by day is stunning. The sun doesn’t stop shining and you can’t help but bask in it while suitably covered in carrot oil. Hvar by night is just as amazing for all the opposite reasons. The music doesn’t stop and the pretty much everyone in the town is out in one of two places – Carpe Diem or Hula Hula, and the vibes are unreal.

Mind you, beware of the rough seas when you get on the private boat from the Carpe Diem club when it shuts at 2AM to Carpe Diem island at night until 6AM. There was a storm on our last night and the boat *nearly* capsized. For someone who always plans out the worst case scenarios, I was already thinking how long it would take to swim back to the island, if there were lifeboats on board and how quickly search and rescue would be at the scene.

In the famous words of Hula Hula Bar (also stolen from Drake) ‘ Live Today. Plan Tomorrow and Party Tonight.’ Captures the Hvar vibes.

The most perfect place for a summer getaway. We ‘missed’ our flight on Tuesday night which can only tell you how much we loved it. Could genuinely spend the whole summer there. Hvar liked us too – so much that the streets matched our outfits on the last day. As if it didn’t want us to say goodbye.

Photo evidence below. To the most beautiful place, with one of the most beautiful people, you made Summer 2017.

xxxx

Hvar Croatia, Summer 2017  Hvar Croatia, Summer 2017 Hvar Croatia, Summer 2017Hvar Croatia, Summer 2017 Hvar Croatia, Summer 2017Hvar Croatia, Summer 2017

&what | Paris.

It’s been a while since I’ve visited my favourite city.

Breakfasts are just that much more beautiful when sitting inside hidden Parisienne gardens that you stumble upon, after visitng the Picasso museum. Happy hours are just that much happier when sitting in the Jardin de Tuileries with two bottles of red, some camembert, a fresh baguette, your brother and his girlfriend who came to visit.

So many lovely memories, Paris is always a good idea. Think it’s time to book a ticket.

xxxx

Parisienne Breakfast

happy hour Jardin du tulleries r

&WHAT | B&H BUILDINGS.

Saturday: best enjoyed with a bottomless bellini and life long friends.

This weekend Evrydiki made the trip over from Athens to come say hi to Davina and I. The three of us went to Cardiff University for our Masters Degrees together, some five years ago now. It’s crazy to think how quickly time passes, yet every time we see each other it’s like no time has passed at all.

To celebrate our reunion occasion we booked in for brunch at Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings. A secret garden hideaway in the heart of Clerkenwell. A decor so cozy, fresh and inspiring all the same. This was the perfect place to spend our Saturday, planning weddings, bachelorettes and just life in general.

These girls are crushing life, its the best feeling when your ladies are doing incredibly well. We’ve all grown up so much since uni days but its lovely to know through it all somethings never change.

xxxxx

  hanging flowers

Garden chairs, inside.

B&H buildings

B&H cardiff reunion Proper English

&what | London Fresh.

It’s officially a new season in the city. The wind is crisp, the leaves are turning bright red and yellow, the temperature is dropping and change is in the air.

Walks through Primrose Hill, past the Natural History Museum and on my way to work are just that much prettier with the leaves sprinkled all over the ground. It is ‘fall’…literally.

This is my favourite season and London really has got this Autumn on point. Not long until all of the Christmas decorations are up, the lights are on and you won’t be able to avoid the festive feels. Hands down the most wonderful time of the year.

xxxx

London Fall

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&what | JARDIN MARJORELLE.

‘Je trouve dans le jardin Majorelle une source inépuisable d’inspiration et j’ai souvent rêvé à ses couleurs qui sont uniques’ – Yves Saint Laurent

This place was pure magic. Never in my life have I seen so many colours and different varieties of plants beautifully arranged together in one impeccable garden. It was incredible to see one of the places that inspired one of the most iconic designers of our time and one of the greatest in fashion history. Inspiration can be found everywhere, and in this garden, Yves Saint Laurent found his.

Bit of a history lesson here, but Yves Saint Laurent discovered the garden in 1966. With the threat of the garden being demolished and replaced by a hotel, YSL bought the garden and its land in 1980. He lived in a house on the garden (the blue one) and dedicated his time to make the garden the most beautiful place on earth. Think YSL deserves an applause as it was the most beautiful garden I have certainly seen…

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&what | DESERT VIBES.

Scored a new Snapchat badge for snapping a temperature above 35°C. WHAT.

Welcome to Morocco. A place where it’s hotter than hell, there are beetles and desert wolves just hanging around,

Summer 2016, prime time to visit Africa. First time on this continent and another country to cross off the list. Landed in the gorgeous city and within two minutes I managed to rack up £45 in data expenses. Snapchatting would cease until Wi-fi was found.

Fast forward through the passport line (something I wish we could have done) and into the souks where we searched thirty minutes for our riad. A gem once we found it but needless to say street signs aren’t a priority for the Moroccans. Darmouassine welcomes us with open arms, the MOST delicious mint tea and a selection of Moroccan treats.

Settled into what was pretty much the honeymoon suit, it was time to explore.

First stop: Jardin Marjorelle. Come with us here!

xxxx

 

Morocco, Riad, travel, adventure, london travel

Mint tea and adventure planning.

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