Domino Magazine Spring 2019

“Your home has to be your sanctuary” Jo Sampson tells Domino Magazine. Her beautiful home in Dulwich Village is definitely a true escape from busy London! See and read it for yourself below.

Photography by Veerle Evens
Produced by Kate Berry
Words by Jennifer Fernandez


Slowly Slowly - How to experience Cyprus like a local

Located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, this stunning island is perfectly situated between Europe, Africa and Asia, turning it into a popular holiday destination for many different cultures.

Here’s my guide to making the most of this diverse gem.

Beautiful light during the golden hour in the Troodos Mountains

Beautiful light during the golden hour in the Troodos Mountains

1: Hire a car

This seems like an obvious first tip, but Cyprus doesn’t really do public transport. So if you’re keen to venture out past the resort beaches, hotel bars and chain restaurants, you need to take matters into your own hands and get driving. UK drivers will feel at home, as Cypriots drive on the left and road signs are in English.

2: Hidden Beaches

Being an island, Cyprus is bejewelled in beaches to suit any traveller. Most are easy to find and reachable by car, but if you’re up for a bit of adventure, hire yourself a 4WD and hit the dirt tracks. It’ll serve you well, as many of Cyprus’ hidden shores are only to be reached by this kind of sturdy vehicle.

If you’re looking to escape the busy beaches of Paphos, then head North East, and to Lara Beach’ Turtle Sanctuary. It’s a 5km trek on an untamed road, which will lead you to a quiet beach dotted with locals and lush waters. But the extra special touch, is that you’re surrounded by protected turtle nests. Bringing umbrellas is forbidden as they might disturb the nests, but you’ll want to forgo the shade for this rare experience.

Discover hidden gems like Lara Beach by going off road

Discover hidden gems like Lara Beach by going off road

3: Explore the café culture

After strolling through the streets on a hot day, you’ll be craving a sit down and a pick me up. Well make sure you take in Cyprus’ incredible café culture. Wander off into the backstreets and find seasoned coffee sippers, watching the world pass by. Make sure you try a frappe, a frothy ice coffee that the Cypriots have mastered to creamy caffeinated perfection! Hang around long enough, and some cafes turn into bars and music venues, where you can spend the rest of the evening drinking cheerfully with the locals.

Pieto Cafe in Nicosia

Pieto Cafe in Nicosia

4: Troodos Mountains

With spectacular beaches lining the islands coasts, it’s easy to see why we Brits flock to Cyprus for holidays all year round. Venture inland however, and meander into the Troodos Mountains, and discover the place where the islanders go to escape the searing summer heat. The mountains are home to Mount Olympus, the highest peak at 1952 meters, picturesque villages filled with talented craftsmen and excellent wineries. 

5: Siesta

Don’t we all dream of that Mediterranean way of life? Rising early (or a bit later, you are on holiday after all), get a few things done before temperatures rise … and just give into that sleepy feeling after lunch. Have a nap, read a book and relax, so you’re all rested when life on the island picks up again around 5 PM. You’ll need it for dinner, as in line with Mediterranean culture, dinner starts late, meaning 8PM onwards. 

Left: shop closed during siesta time. Right: locals emerge after a good afternoon rest

Left: shop closed during siesta time. Right: locals emerge after a good afternoon rest

6: Submerge yourself in mezze

‘No menu. We do mezze. Lamb from grill or lamb from oven?’ Those were the first words from the waiter at Taverna Agios Epiktitos, and made me instantly fall in love with Cypriot taverna dining. I love food, and I often have trouble choosing from a menu, as I want to try everything. That’s why mezze works so well: you sit down, order a drink (a nice cold Keo beer in my case) and let the feasting begin. Meze is a perfect plethora of small vibrant dishes often starting with lighter vegetable bites until you get into the meatier platters. Be prepared for over 15 dishes to stack up, with the table becoming a food jenga board. Finish off with some fresh fruits, and if you’re lucky some Loukoumades (Cypriot doughnuts soaked in sugary syrup and orange blossom) before rolling home. The dishes vary from tavern to tavern, and can change with the season or according to what’s for sale at the local market. Indulge in local delicacies, but pace yourself and don’t fill up on the breads and dips, as you won’t have space for the main courses later!

The owner of our guesthouse kept saying ‘Slowly Slowly’. It’s no good rushing about in the heat. Everything in Cyprus happens when the time is right. Embrace the slow pace of life, eat well (and slow!), and you’ll come back rejuvenated and in love with this beautiful island. 

New work for John Lewis

We had a beautiful taste of the British Summer in May, with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees. Something I could really get used to! That is also when I had the pleasure of photographing beautiful Gardening Society Rooftop for John Lewis. If only every summer evening could look like this!

John Lewis Gardening Society Rooftop

John Lewis Gardening Society Rooftop

Client: John Lewis
Photographer: Veerle Evens
Stylist: Yvonne Achato
Agent: Stripe Communications

Vini & Bal's Food Photography

A few months ago I was asked to photograph the recipes for Vini & Bal's, a foodie start up who secured investment from Piers Linney through Dragons' Den. Together with food stylist Benjamina Ebuehi I created this beautiful series with Vini and Bal's delicious curry sauces. Yum! 

Published: Africa Rising by Gestalten

That's it, my work is published in a book! And not just a book, it's Africa Rising by Gestalten, a long time favourite publisher of mine. I've been buying their books for the last 10 years, so it's an absolute honour to say the least to have my own work printed in one of their masterpieces.

The next step is to photograph an entire book. Bring it on! 


Echt Hollandse Poffertjes

This is one for the Dutchies, English translation coming soon! 

Poffertjes zijn voor mij iets nostalgisch, iets wat me terugbrengt naar Nederland vanaf het moment dat ik de poffertjes pan uit de kast haal. De geur roept herinneringen op van de cheeky bezoekjes aan Poffertjessalon Seth in Rotterdam tijdens mijn academietijd. Wanneer ik deze Nederlandse klassieker uit de keuken tover voor mijn Engelse gasten hier in London, verandert de eettafel in een soort kinderfeestje, vol verbazing, plezier en niet te vergeten een goede overdosis aan suiker. 


Voor 4 personen

25 gram roomboter + roomboter om te serveren
125 gram boekweitmeel
125 gram tarwebloem
1 theelepel suiker
snufje zout
5 gram gedroogde gist
1 ei
400 ml melk

Speciale benodigdheden


Het beslag

Smelt 25 gram boter in een steelpannetje op laag vuur.

Zeef het boekweitmeel en de tarwebloem in een kom.  Maak een kuiltje in het meel en giet daarin de gesmolten boter. Strooi de gist gelijkmatig uit over het beslag. Breek het ei en voeg het toe aan het meel.

Giet het grootste deel van de melk erbij en roer dit met een mixer tot een beslag.
Het beslag moet ongeveer zo dik zijn als karnemelk, dus voeg zoveel melk toe als nodig, maar het hoeft niet allemaal op. Voeg de theelepel suiker en het snufje zout toe en mix dit nog door het beslag.

Bedek de kom met een warme vochtige theedoek, en laat het beslag op kamertemperatuur 1 uur rijzen. 


Giet het beslag in een spuitfles. Als je geen spuitfles hebt, vind ik een soeplepel ook goed werken, of een melkkannetje met tuitje.

Zet de poffertjespan op het vuur, doe een klontje boter in de pan en smeer dit als het gesmolten is met een kwastje over alle kuiltjes. Spuit / schenk de gaatjes voor driekwart vol.

Draai de poffertjes op tijd om als zich bubbeltjes vormen, maar ze wel nog een beetje nat zijn aan de bovenkant. Ik vind het makkelijk om ze om te draaien met een saté prikker of vorkje. 

En dan, genieten maar! Plaats de poffertjes op een bord, en serveer met boter en poedersuiker.
Als ontbijt, snack of toetje, poffertjes zijn voor elke gelegenheid. Vind ik dan! 

optioneel: de Engelsen houden ervan om poffertjes, oftewel Dutch Pancakes, ook te serveren met geraspte citroenschil. 


Fotografie & styling door Veerle Evens
Recept aangepast van

Destination Japan part two: Kyoto

It's hard to pick a favourite place we visited in Japan, but I must say Kyoto is right up there at the top! The size of the city, the history, the temples. And we had the best ramen of our trip there, so obvs that's the most important. And more amazing food. 

But before we get to Kyoto, we tick off another highlight of our checklist (especially Chris' list) which is taking the Shinkansen. We got a weekly JR rail pass, which served us an absolute treat. You can take most trains throughout Japan, there is only 2 exceptions: one of which we of course managed to try and take. Thing is, if you can't read Japanese it proves quite difficult to figure out which train you can't get on. But besides that, the Shinkansen is an absolute joy to travel on! I don't have to tell you it's super quick (320 kms / h), it's so clean, so on time and such a great place to enjoy one of the bento lunch boxes you get from the stations. 

(DO) Order a JR Rail pass well in time before you leave on your travels. The pass is only available for tourists, and they send it to your home address.

Cleaners waiting in line to give the Shinkansen a once over before departure, in the best coloured outfits I've ever seen!

Ramen, Tempura, wagyu & korokke

(STAY) Hotel Gracery - Japan, 〒160-8466 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 歌舞伎町1丁目19−1 SHINJUKU TOHO BLDG
Accommodation in Kyoto is something that needs to be booked as soon as you know you're going, as it gets booked up very quickly, especially on the weekends and during holidays. We stayed at Hotel Gracery, a lovely modern, clean hotel filled with Muji items and Shiseido products, and very central. A great location to explore from, and very helpful staff. 

Arriving in Kyoto, it's 'town like' feel is a breath of fresh air after Tokyo's madness. We walk from the station to our hotel, through little streets filled with bikes and boutique shops. The local feel instantly makes us feel at home. After wandering around Nakanocho, exploring the small shops around there, we worked up an appetite for something we've been looking forward to since we got it recommended by our friend Nick who lives in Japan: Ramen Sen No Kaze. Apparently one of the best to be found, so popular you have to turn up early otherwise they might have sold out. 

Food scenes on the streets of Kyoto

(EAT) Ramen Sen No Kaze - 580 Nakanocho (Shinkyogokudori), Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8042, Japan
Let's start with what it all is about. This was probably the best Tonkotsu ramen we had this trip. The broth is so creamy, rich and has a hint of smokiness, the pickled egg soft and savoury, the pork melt in the mouth delicious. Back here in Europe I'm not the biggest fan of pork (unless it's bacon, that's a different story altogether), as I generally find it quite a tough, flavourless meat, but somehow all the pork that we had in Japan seems to come from a different planet! Or I'm just hoping they have generally had a happy life, and that's why you can taste the difference. We had the Kyo no Shio Issui that comes with out of this world gyoza and a lovely refreshing beer. What else would you want? 

That ticked off the list, we basically ate our way around Kyoto! These were our favourites: 

(EAT) Apollo+ - Japan, 〒604-8111 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Masuyachō (Sanjōdōri), 三条堺町東入る桝屋町67
We came across this place by accident. We wanted to try Kichi Kichi Omurice, but as we were in Kyoto for the weekend, it was absolutely impossible to get a reservation, so we decided to stroll the streets and just pick somewhere for dinner. And it turned out to be the best choice! No overpriced omelette for us, but beautiful fresh tuna with radish, Wagyu beef, veg tempura, gyoza,  my pick of the menu: tofu curd skewers, since I like to try the unknown, and much more. The couple next to us laughed at the amount of food that was piled onto our table, and the stream of new dishes didn't seem to stop. We combined it with some beautiful sake, which was also laughed upon as you drink sake in winter, not in September. But heck, when in Rome.. I mean Japan.. 

(EAT) Tiger Gyoza - 579-7-5 Nakanochō (Shinkyōgokudōri), Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 604-8042, Japan
Well, this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. We're both such suckers for gyoza, that we fancied an entire meal of them. Tiger Gyoza is a bit of a chain, but that didn't mean the gyoza weren't good. In fact, it was a perfect way to satisfy our dumpling hunger. We ordered several different ones, from steamed to fried (one comes as a crispy circle of gyoza) and some side dishes like mapo tofu. YUM. 

(DO) Nishiki Market - Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地 
If you like food, you should go to Nishiki market. Simple. Everything from korokke to pickles, seafood to handmade knives. It was incredibly hard for me not to blow our entire holiday budget here, especially after seeing the talented people make those knives! 

1600 Temples

Details at Kiyomizu-Dera

(DO) Kiyomizu-Dera - 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0862, Japan
Kyoto is filled with breathtaking temples (apparently close to 1600 of them!), and we only managed to visit two of the main ones during our time here, one of them being Kiyomizu-Dera. But it's not just the temple that special, as we found. We walked from Gion, via Kennin-ji towards Kiyomizu-Dera, and on the way stumbled onto the beautiful old streets of Ninnen-zaka and Sannen-zaka. Walking through here you feel like you've stepped back in time, as it's filled with old Japanese wooden buildings, stacked along the sloping streets that lead up to the temple. It's also the perfect spot to try some of the hundreds of snacks on offer, like freshly made rice crackers in all sorts of flavours, sweets or potato korokke (the Japanese version of, you guessed it, the croquette).

Wandering around Ninnen-zaka & Sannen-zaka
Right: the best fresh rice crackers!

Arriving the top, you find yourself at the entrance to the temple. Part of it can be visited for free, but I'd recommend paying the entrance fee and having a look around the inner temple grounds. The history of the buildings is astonishing ( it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site), there are lot's of different buildings to admire within the grounds, and you get to enjoy a pretty stunning view over Kyoto from the mountainside. Fun fact: the main temple is constructed without using a single nail!

(DO) Fushimi Inari - 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 612-0882, Japan
This was the second shrine we visited, world famous for it's enormous amount of 'torii' . The streets leading up to the shrine are again filled with lot's of mouth watering foods, and the shrine itself is overwhelmingly beautiful. As we went on the Sunday, it was absolutely packed, so after admiring the torii we quickly escaped into the bamboo forest in the shrine, and then headed to the nearest coffee shop Vermillion. 

Torii & bamboo at Fushimi Inari

(DRINK) Vermillion - cafe - Japan, 〒612-0805 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Fushimi-ku, Fukakusa Kaidoguchichō, 5−31
Tucked away near Fushimi Inari, this was a great find and an oasis of calm. Fantastic coffee, overlooking a small lake. 

Left & centre: Coffee at Vermillion cafe
Right: details around in the streets around Fushimi Inari

Tea is the word

For my British tea loving readers, this is your chance. I know, our tea habits are not to be compared to the Japanese ones, but I'm sure to say that both nations have a bit of a passion for the drink. Kyoto is the center of the tea ceremony, and if you have a chance, it's a beautiful, meditative experience. 

(DO) Tea Ceremony En - 272 Matsubaracho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0063, Japan

Memoirs of a Geisha

I haven't seen the same named film, but when I read the book it made a long lasting impression on me, even though it's a fictional story. It has probably unknowingly triggered some of the fascination I have for Japan, as it talks about the rituals of the country, as well as the history and culture. It left such a mysterious and magical feeling with me, and I was curious if I would rediscover this feeling when walking the streets of Gion. And I did.

Walking around the little streets of the area described in the book, especially Hanamikoji Dori, at night gave me a feeling of stepping back in time. The cobbled streets, lit by small dimmed lights, are quiet, yet you can see silhouettes moving behind the rice paper sliding doors of the wooden houses, accompanied by the sound of laughter. It's like you are passing through this other dimension of the city. If you are really lucky, you might spot a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha), rushing from door to door. We were so very lucky to see two, in the most beautiful kimonos I've ever laid my eyes on, carefully created hairstyles and with the intriguing nape make up. I can only speak in words here and not in images, as it's considered very inappropriate and rude to photograph a geisha. This is part of the reason why they are very shy, and try not to spend too much time out on the street.  

When you get to Kyoto you might feel like you see geisha everywhere, but you will soon find out these are mostly Asian tourists dressing up in kimonos for the day. As one of the hotel staff taught us: if you see them strolling, and taking selfies, they are not geisha. A true geisha tries to stay as unnoticed as possible, and is very shy. So if you want to see them, make sure you head to the backstreets in the evenings (when they entertain), and keep your eyes open! 

(DO) Hanamikoji Dori - Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8340, Japan
(DO) Gion Shirakawa - Japan, 〒605-0085 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 末吉町大和大路通四条上る


Left: Not geisha, just a bunch of lovely girls dressed in lovely kimonos
Middle: Learning the art of the tea ceremony at 'En'
Right: Details of Gion

The Cinemagraph: How to never run out of maple syrup.

You can never have too much maple syrup on your crumpet, right? All jokes aside, I had a go at a, for me, new technique: creating a cinemagraph. Cinemagraphs are basically still image with a minor moving detail within them, often repetitive. I took a crumpet, poured maple syrup on it, filmed it and took it to photoshop for the final edit. I still have heaps to learn, but I'm pretty stoked with my first go at it.

Below the end result, what do you think? 

And yes, afterwards I basically had to squeeze some of the maple syrup out of the crumpet like squeezing a sponge, and then.. I ate it, of course. 


Destination Japan: Tokyo

Left: details in the backstreets of Harajuku
Right: Details of the Meiji Shrine

Japan had been on our travel wishlist for as long as I can remember, so in order to have a reason to go and splash out on a great adventure we got married.  And hopped on a plane to Japan within 48 hours of saying I do! Just kidding about the reason we got married though, I'm so proud and honoured I get to share my life with my wonderful human being Chris. 

Everyone has their own idea of the ideal post wedding escape, often involving picture perfect beaches and palm trees. That's not us. One: because I almost get a sunburn as soon as I leave the house. Two: Hubby and me are too impatient to lie on the beach, and basically can't deal with doing nothing, unless it is sleeping for 2 days in a 5 star hotel to recover from all the wedding madness. So instead we thought, why not give ourselves a good old culture shock and explore a country that is as unknown to us as having cured pork intestines for breakfast (yes for real, but that's for another blog).

As I've got too many beautiful images to share to put in one post, I'll be dedicating a blog to each city we visited. It's no way a complete travel guide to Japan, but it certainly contains some great discoveries, and I hope one day you'll be looking up some of these spots when you're about to hop on a plane to the country of cherry blossoms and sushi! 

The arrival

City of 35 million people. What better way to recover from a wedding and the biggest jet lag ever experienced? 
You book a splash out hotel where you can just stay in and do nothing. I mean, nothing except sleep, eat your leftover wedding cake (yes I took a tupperware box of it because I can't bare throwing away food), and use the spa. Usually we travel pretty cheaply, sleeping in the car if we need or want to (okay that only happened once and it was awful), but we somehow thought that wouldn't really fit this occasion. To be honest, if you book at the right time, even the most luxurious hotels in Tokyo go for normal prices, and we were pretty lucky we found ourselves a lovely room in the Conrad hotel. After getting ourselves a 'just married' upgrade, with the lovely view below and complementary honeymoon cake, we dozed off into pamper heaven...

[EAT] Ginza Bairin - 7 Chome-8-1 Ginza, 中央区 Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Fantastic Katsu Don, the most tender pork loin and very well priced. 

[STAY] Conrad Tokyo - 1 Chome-9-1 Higashishinbashi, Minato, Tokyo 105-7337, Japan
Beautifully modern 5-star hotel with spa, panoramic city views and the best service I've had in any hotel so far. 

View from our room at the Conrad // Room details

[EAT] Ichiran -  1 Chome-22-7 Jinnan, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0041, Japan
Okay, usually I'm all about supporting local and small businesses, but this one is quite an experience. Ichiran is a Tonkotsu Ramen chain, so you'll find them in more places other than this one in Shibuya. Like at many ramen restaurants, you order and pay at the machine and give your tickets to the server. In this particular chain, you also fill in a form about how you want your noodles done, level of spiciness etc, when you sit down in your single booth. After your ramen arrives the server closes the little 'shopwindow' in front of your seat so you can slurp away in peace. And the ramen are lush! 

There are so many amazing ramen places, established ones and new ones popping up all the time all over town, so it's quite impossible to track them down sometimes. So just head out and pop in somewhere!

Ramen at my personal dining booth at Ichiran // The busy Shibuya crossing at night

[EAT] Sometaro Okonomiyaki - 2 Chome-2-2 Nishiasakusa, 台東区 Tokyo 111-0035, Japan
I have a big love for savoury food over sweet, so these savoury Japanese pancakes are one of the ways to my heart. You can pick from several flavours, we had one with normal pork and one with ginger (LOVE), you sit on the floor, and you make the pancakes yourself. 

Entrance and empty plates at Sometaro Okonomiyaki

Escaping the city

Tokyo, but also Japan in general, is a place of opposites and contrasts. Busy markets and shopping streets are countered by temples, shrines and parks. Harajuku girls, cosplay characters and robots share this beautiful land with monks and businessmen and women. Never have I visited a country where tradition and the future, nature and human development co-exist in such harmony. To escape the busy city and get some peace and quiet we visited some of the extraordinary parks and shrines that Tokyo has to offer. 

[DO] Shinjuku Gyoen - 11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0014, Japan
In this national garden you can find a mix of the traditional Japanese, English and the French Gardens. It's a perfect place to enjoy an afternoon away from the city.

[DO] Meiji Jingu - 1-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-8557, Japan
This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, and is located next to Harajuku. The shrine is free to enter, but there are beautiful inner gardens as well where a small fee must be paid. In these gardens you can also find Kiyomasa's Well, which is believed to be one of Tokyo's strongest positive power spots.

Left & Centre: Details of Shinjuku Gyoen
Right: Writing our wishes at the offering hall at Meiji Jingu

Tsukiji Fish Market

[DO] Tsukiji Fish Market - 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan

I admit. We didn't get up (or stay awake ) at 2AM to get to the tuna auction you can watch as a visitor. The awkward time difference between the UK and Japan made sure we had a pretty bad jet lag, and we just couldn't part with our bed just yet. If you do want to watch the famous tuna auction, you have to get to the fish market for about 3AM, get in, and wait until 5:25AM until the first auction, or 5:50AM for the second. Also note that the number of visitors is limited to 120 per day, on a first come first serve basis. 

Details of the old Tsukiji Fish Market

Instead, we slept like babies until 7:30, had breakfast and headed to the market for 9AM. From around this time you can enter the wholesale market as most of the busy trading has finished. But not to worry, there is still so much to see! I wouldn't want to be there any earlier, as you'd be interfering with people trying to do business. Now we could walk around, admire fish and seafood we'd never seen before, take photos whilst dodging the scooters zipping around to pick up and drop off fish. Believe me, those drivers are mad and you have to fear for your life. I hope you get the chance to visit the market before it moves to it's new location in 2017/18 as the old structure is just as impressive as the fish market itself. 


Now I'm jumping from the start of our trip to the last. After our travels to Kyoto, Hiroshima and Hakone (where I'll be writing blogs about as well) we returned to Tokyo for the last leg of our wonderful time in Japan. As we explored a lot of the more well known areas of Tokyo at the start of our trip, we decided to stay a bit more local this time. First stop, the neighbourhood of Iriya. Great location to roam the backstreets, yet still so close to public transport in case you do want to get around the city.

[STAY] Edo Sakura ( 3 Chome-2-13 Shitaya, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0004, Japan )
Minimalist, understated traditional Japanese rooms, and that includes sleeping on futons! Great hotel with lovely staff, most of them speaking English (which is something we really got to appreciate during our time here!). 

[FOOD] Banninriki 万人力 ( Japan, 〒110-0013 Tōkyō-to, Taitō-ku, Iriya, 1 Chome−24, 入谷1-24-2 )
I'm going to say this over and over again, all the ramen we had were fantastic. This one was slightly different to the ramen we were used to, as it's a dry ramen with little bit of sauce at the bottom instead of noodles in soup. I love ordering it with a half boiled egg, which just adds an amazing creaminess to the dish. I guess you could almost say it's a Japanese version of carbonara (please forgive me!). Plus I can never stop myself from ordering all the toppings, like fermented bamboo shoots, spring onion and nori. And of course the pork! Fun fact here again is that you order from a vending machine. They'll give you an English translation card, but it still doesn't always make sense. Just experiment, or try to figure out which button is the most worn, must be popular then!

Ramen at Banninriki with a heaven of toppings: fermented bamboo, half boiled egg, nori and spring onion.
And a beer, as it would be rude not to. 


If I had to pick a place in Tokyo to live, it could well be here! For the last night we decided to treat ourselves to a stay in the worlds first design hotel Claska, in the lovely neighbourhood of Meguro. For those who know me personally, the place is filled with vintage shops and independent boutiques, so I easily could have spent all my money here, I'm in heaven. 


Exploring Meguro on our funky (complementary!) bikes from Claska

Bringing me back down to earth hubby suggested we take the complementary Claska Bikes and explore Tokyo in a new way. And to be honest, cycling in Tokyo feels like a breeze after getting used to London traffic. It's like being back in Holland! (except for I can't read any signs and it's a lovely 25 degrees C).


Pastel dreams at Claska Tokyo

[STAY] Claska, Japan, 〒152-0001 Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku, Chūōchō, 1 Chome−1−3−18

[SHOP] The area of Takaban, filled with lot's of vintage clothing shops and foods of all sorts. 

[SHOP] Walk or cycle along Meguro Dori towards the Otori Shrine and you'll find vintage interior shops dotted around either side of the street. And don't forget to visit the shop in Claska!

[EAT] Senba Meguro  〒153-0064 Tōkyō-to, Meguro-ku, Shimomeguro, 6 Chome−1−24
Local recommendation. Very small restaurant with daily changing menu, where the chef gives his take on Japanese cuisine with the freshest ingredients. Imagine scallop sashimi, Japanese beef stew and grilled tuna on the bone with Japanese grated radish. Have your Japanese phrasebook or Google translate by your side, as the owners do not speak a word of English, but that's part of the experience. They were the loveliest most genuine people you could imagine, and rushed to one of the other Japanese guests who turned out to speak English, and who started to translate the entire menu for us. We ended up saying: we'll have what you're having. Best decision!


The neighbourhood of Meguro is filled with quirky architecture, tucked away cafes and vintage shops. 

That's it for Tokyo, for now! Soon I'll be sharing our adventures and tips for Kyoto, Hiroshima and Hakone as well. 
In the meantime, I'd love to hear what your favourite spots are in Japan! 


The photographer and the cheese: New work for President Cheese UK

The year 2016 has definitely been a big year for me, for my work and in my personal life (guess who got married?!). The personal highlights I'll have to put in another blog post, otherwise you'll be reading for hours, because it includes travels to Japan, Turkey and Australia! So more on that later. 

I guess it's a bit of a must for a food photographer, but I've always had a crush on food. I literally find joy in everything that has to do with eating, produce, working on farms, cooking. I don't even mind washing up a little bit, but I do prefer the dishwasher. So over the years I've been steadily working on expanding my work featuring this passion, working with some great chefs and restaurants, including shooting images for Marco Pierre White's restaurants Marco Grill and Frankies Diner mid 2016.

With that said, can you imagine my excitement and joy when I got approached to photograph the food stills during a video shoot for President Cheese UK? Over the moon, and as we say in Dutch, I jumped a hole in the air. Doesn't sound as good in English, but it illustrates the situation. 

So without any further delay, please enjoy the images I shot for President Cheese down below here, and keep an eye out for the ad on tv featuring these lovely products. 

And if you excuse me now, I must go and eat some cheese. 

/  Food stills photography: Veerle Evens
/  Food styling: Lucy Ruth Hathaway

New work for Marco Pierre White

Recently I had the opportunity to shoot for two of Marco Pierre White's restaurants in Stamford Bridge; Marco Grill and Frankie's Diner. Both serving utterly delicious, but oh so different food!

Frankie's Diner is exactly what the name indicates. A proper diner style food hub filled with all the staple menu items you'd expect in a great American Diner; Hot Dogs (did I already mention one of them has Mac & Cheese on it? it's my fave), pulled pork, Oreo Sundae, you name it. I had the honour of capturing their newest menu additions, the Hot Dogs. Or Haute Dogs might be a better name. 

Marco Grill is where you go for a classic mindblowing steak. Just have a look at that tomahawk. That porterhouse. And then there is chocolate fudge with salted caramel icecream to finish your grand meal.

I'll let the images do the talking.

/ Food photography : Veerle Evens 
   Food styling: Fork and Dram

New beginnings

Some have them more often than others, but we all experience them. Start a new job, make new friends, new place to live, new love, new type of cereal in the morning, you name it, plenty of choices for something new. So I thought it might be a good idea to dedicate this first blogpost to the decision that turned out to be the best new beginning in my life. 

Three and a half years ago I made the most terrifying (more terrifying than changing from Coco Pops to porridge) and at the same time the most exciting decision of my life. This was me: freshly graduated from the academy of arts, bachelor of Design in my pocket, not ready to get lost in the manics and panics of building a career. The beauty of being a photographer is that you can do your job anywhere on this beautiful planet, right? So why not use that excuse in order to follow the dream that I’ve had since being a kid; travelling to Australia!

Put your life into boxes, pack the camera bag, and off you go. On my own, into the big open world. I never thought of being scared, because what’s better than flying to a (most of the time) sunny country, with animals you’ve never seen or heard of before, with your camera around your neck ready to photograph all the amazing food you’ve been hearing about? Venturing out and meeting new people every day, and not knowing what the next day has got in store for you. Stepping out of your comfort zone for months and months in a row puts all your senses into survival mode and makes you experience the world in full HD. Like being on a natural high.   

Travelling and emerging yourself in a different culture changes the way you experience and appreciate your daily life, even after returning home. Let’s be honest, there will be difficult times when ‘en route’ ; times where you’re alone, where you have no job and live off 1-min noodles, and when there is big stuff happening at home and you feel like you’re missing out on all the important things in life. Except the most important thing in life is you.

And this you, is the only thing that will always be around. It gets tested and shaped during your time away from home. I found this intense time away from everything I knew has made me discover my passions, love for myself, my flaws and imperfections, and taught me how to embrace those all together. It made me stronger and more open minded, and without all these experiences I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do right now. And, as everything happens for a reason, this escape also threw the love of my life right in my lap. But that's a story I should dedicate full post to!

Now, living in London, I try to implement the sensations of travelling life just as much as when I was on the road; be open to everything, be kind, never get too comfortable. Eat all the food. Behave like a tourist in your own city. I don’t mean go running to Madame Tussauds and going shopping on Oxford street. I mean allowing yourself to be surprised by the beauty of the place you live in. Don’t take it for granted, the grass always looks greener everywhere else (the grass in Australia is yellow most times of the year, I found).

On this blog I'll keep you updated on my adventures, the projects I'm working on, and tell some stories about previous expeditions.  So join me on my journey filled with everything food, photo and travel! 

Proceed with care: Some images might cause severe wanderlust. 

V x 

Driving on the road to destination unknown - Great Ocean Road

Driving on the road to destination unknown - Great Ocean Road

Elle Decoration Thailand Publication

I'm pretty humbled by this publication in Elle Decoration Thailand's December 2015 issue. Elle Decoration has always been a magazine that I would draw inspiration from, starting in my younger years even before studying at the academy. It feel surreal to have them publish my work, now I can hopefully return some of that inspiration to others! 

Mimicry Childhood - Photography by Veerle Evens

Mimicry Childhood - Photography by Veerle Evens