Thursday, 28 March 2013

Handbags From Amsterdam.

It's already nearly a week since I was in Amsterdam. Instead of having lots of extra time to sight see around my work commitments I ended up with just three and a half hours bah.
 4 people out of 9 were off sick in our department so instead of catching a morning flight of Friday I ended up having to work until 3pm then dash off to catch the coach to Heathrow with my colleague Paull. Typically our plane was then delayed so it was gone 11pm by the time we checking into the hotel, it was a case of heading straight to bed having agreed to meet for breakfast at 8am rather than dumping bags and heading out to see the sights.

Paull had chosen to go to the Anne Frank museum, which I have to say only made it to 2nd on my must see list, it was beaten by the Museum of bags and purses! I do love history and culture but I'm afraid I just love handbags more. If you recall I saw some of the collection last year when it was loaned to The Lightbox Museum in Woking and was in sheer heaven.

I caught the tram to the museum rather than walking to give myself more time there. I arrived right on cue for the unlocking of the doors and raced in. The guy behind the desk took one look at me and said 'You're from England aren't you?' Still not sure what it was that gave that away, waiting on the doorstep for opening maybe?
 Anyway I paid and sauntered casually up to the 3rd floor where the exhibition begins when all I wanted to do was belt up the stairs full pelt to start drooling.
The museum is small and exhibits not even a 10th of it's magnificent collection but oh it was utter bliss, and this time I could take pictures providing there was no flash used.
As you may expect the ones I really loved were from the 1920s and 30s but it was fascinating to see how styles and materials changed over the centuries, and also the manufacturing techinques. Like this almost finished beaded bag.

First the teeny tiny beads are carefully threaded onto cotton in the right order so when the bag is knitted, (yes you read that right I said knitted!) the picture is formed, they used 4 incredibly thin metal needles to knit the bags and goodness know how many ladies lost their eyesight working on these bags.

I could post a million pictures but instead I will just share a few of my favourites.

 Two 1930's clutch bags that I cannot find the words to tell you how much I want them.

Stunning lucite bags.

Mobile tea service!

This bag is mental but I love it, mice having a tea party.

The Art Deco corner of the tea room.
and finally even the ladies toilet had a shine to the clutch bag.

After all that swooning I decided to walk back to the hotel via the vintage shops, flea market and accidentally part of the red light district. I'm no prude but there was something incredibly sad and rather unpleasant about walking past window after window of blank faced, dead eyed and horribly young girls wiggling about in underwear whilst baying groups of young men shout and leer.
I can't understand why everyone was telling me you MUST go there, you must see it, though I gather it has gone downhill in recent years and is not what it was.
Here's a lovely Dutch canal instead.

Sadly the vintage shops were frighteningly expensive, as was most of Amsterdam to be fair which was a bit of a surprise. I mean I know it's a capital city and a tourist attraction but the prices were seriously eye watering.
Blast from the past! I did go in for a quick browse on my way back to the hotel.

It was painfully cold with an added bitter gale force wind so I was actually pretty happy to get back to the hotel to change into work clothes and warm up.

The rest of the day was spent working (boo) I had to sit on a panel (eek!) and then work at a stand between 3 - 6.30pm.
After which a group of us retired to the roof top 'Sky Bar' to enjoy a glass of wine with a heart attack inducing price tag and the amazing views.
After that it was back to the hotel room for a quick change and then out into the elements again as we had a table booked at 'Pasta Basta' a highly recommended Italian restaurant.

Oh my did it deserve it's reputation!

The best Italian food I have ever eaten, good god the food was stunning, the kind of food that makes you weep with joy just to see it let alone taste it.
On top of that whilst you eat the staff walk through the tables singing, from Opera to Whitney Houston we heard it all, it was a bit mental really but amazing fun and well worth the long and freezing cold walk there and back.

If you are ever in Amsterdam you would be a fool to miss it.

We were up again at an obscene o'clock of the morning to get to the airport and flew home to yet more snow *sigh*

All in all I would definitely go back, with more time, more money and when it is much much warmer.
My overall impressions were of bone numbing cold, stunningly clean and beautiful toilets, and shocking high prices.
Oh and elephants.
Yes there were a lot of elephants. What more could a girl ask for?



  1. Fab! I love Amsterdam...what a city. I have heard that the vintage is ridiculously pricey though.
    I also love those bags especially the Mental Mouse Bag. I'd like it as my work bag.
    Have a great long weekend.

  2. Be still my heart, what a fantastically awesome museum! Here in Canada we have a famous museum dedicated to footwear (called the Bata Shoe Museum). I've never been, but I can't help but imagine the amazing outfits one could put together if the two museums were side-by-side (and allowed you try things on!).

    Wishing you and your family a beautiful, joyous Easter weekend!
    ♥ Jessica

  3. I have never been to Amsterdam but really fancy it... Better get saving then, if the prices make you choke! I fancy that museum as well - this clutch bags and the lucite bags are stunning.
    Enjoy the holiday weekend. xxx

  4. I must go to Amsterdam! Even more so now I've seen that amazing Museum.... Oh how I want that bag with the mouse teaparty! Glad you had a great time, despite the work bit

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