Hotel The Exchange Food Guide : Comfy with Typical Dutch

Beautiful, yet unusual rooms at Hotel The Exchange.

Beautiful, yet unusual rooms at Hotel The Exchange.

As you’ll have known, I’ve spent a week in Amsterdam at Hotel The Exchange. Leon (of @hungrysydneysiders) and I managed to find out typical Dutch treats and snacks to share with, in this blog.

Here, I’ve teamed up again with Hotel The Exchange to create this season’s food guide. I’ll be talking about the amazing Dutch eats that are minutes away from Hotel The Exchange. There is such a wide variety to choose from.


It’s a great idea to start off the day at Hotel The Exchange’s Café STOCK. Grab a nice cup of tea or coffee and enjoy some sun in the outdoor seating area. 

I love Café STOCK, as it’s located on the world renown street in Amsterdam - Damrak street, which is bustling all day long.

For something delicious and Dutch, we ordered Café STOCK’s pancakes with ham and cheese. The combination, is just perfect. I had to try the sweet version with a squeeze of fresh lemon and syrup. It tasted just as yum as the savoury ones!

Dutch pancakes for breakfast at Cafeé STOCK, Hotel The Exchange. 

Dutch pancakes for breakfast at Cafeé STOCK, Hotel The Exchange. 

For those who are planning to visit Amsterdam, it's good to know that Hotel The Exchange is currently offering guests who book their breakfast in advance, their STOCK menu for €13.50 (the usual price is €15.00. ).

This includes coffee or tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, a boiled egg, a croissant and a sandwich.

The STOCK menu does not include the pancakes, so for those who are interested in the other breakfast options please head to this link :)
Café STOCK Damrak 50
Left or right? When in Amsterdam, you have got to try the raw Herring.

Left or right? When in Amsterdam, you have got to try the raw Herring.

Quick Lunch

Now, care to join me on a typical Dutch foodie adventure? 

First stop, we’re going to try some Dutch raw fish (and it has nothing to do with sushi!).

Stubbe Haring is only 7 minutes walk away from Hotel The Exchange. It’s hard to miss the fish stall as you will see many locals surrounding the food vendor, on the Singel Canal.

This is a typical Dutch street food. I found out it’s an old Dutch tradition dating back 600 years! My favourite has got to be the raw herring served in a bun, complete with onions and pickles. It’s called a broodje haring.

Leon of @hungrysydneysiders took the challenge of eating like a Dutchman.

Leon of @hungrysydneysiders took the challenge of eating like a Dutchman.

For the brave and adventurous, I would highly recommend eating like a Dutchman where you’ll eat the raw herring ‘straight up’ by holding it by its tail and slowly eat it.

Stubbe Haring's raw fish was strangely delicious! Soft in texture and it smells fresh and salty. This place is a local (and also a tourist) hotspot, so make sure you don’t arrive too late in the evening, as the fish stalls selling raw Herrings normally close early.

Stubbe Haring, Spui 7



For those who have never heard of Stroopwafels before, it is to-die-for! It is basically a yummy Dutch waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough. The middle is spread with creamy and buttery caramel syrup. Stroopwafel, when translated into English simply means “Molasses Waffles”.



These Dutch cookies are best when fresh and I’m taking you to the yummiest in town - Van Wonderen Stroopwafels.


It is a mouthful to pronounce, isn’t it? Van Wonderen Stroopwafels is just 11 minutes away from Hotel The Exchange. This Dutch dessert place is heaven! The large cookies are made fresh to order with all sorts of colourful toppings - mini marshmallows and M&Ms are my favourites. What I loved about these fresh Stroopwafels is that, it is not too sweet. I can have two of them, anytime!


Van Wonderen Stroopwafels, Kalverstraat 190

A Snack From The Wall

If you need a quick snack then your in luck, Just one street away from Hotel The Exchange, is FEBO. What’s a FEBO, you might ask? It truly food on the run, the best way to grab a bight when your in a rush. 

Basically its a hot food vending machine that is refilled every couple of minutes offering fresh and  delicious hot treats. All you need to do is make a choice from the window slots, the range includes Dutch classics -delicious kroket, frikandellen, hamburgers and kaassoufflés. 


Then, all you need to do is to put the right amount into corresponding window slot and voila, the door opens with your mouth-watering snack ready to eat. My personal favourite has got to be the satay flavoured kroket.

FEBO, Damrak 6



Thank you for reading this post for a foodie adventure in Amsterdam. More to come on what to eat when staying at Hotel The Exchange!

Have a wonderful autumn season all! And for those living in the Southern Hemisphere, happy Spring! 



Flatlay With Hello Miss May : Part 2

Flatlays with Hello Miss May. Think of white table top and natural lighting. Photo Credit : May Leong

Flatlays with Hello Miss May. Think of white table top and natural lighting. Photo Credit : May Leong

Welcome to Part 2 of my mini tutorial on how to create pretty flatlays. A quick recap before we start getting creative.

We've spoken about :

1/ Surfaces    2/ Natural Lighting    3/ Shadows    4/ Objects    5/ Camera

Once you've got all of these factors right, the rest is easy breezy. 

Have these in mind when doing a flatlay:


Just have fun and play with the objects that you have. Just see what it would looks like if you were to move that tea cup from the bottom left to the center part of the flatlay. Get creative and experiment.


Have you heard of positive elements and negative spacing? It's finding a balance between those two, by creating a composition that no one area is overpowering another.

e.g. My tea cup could be off center on the bottom left, but it is well balanced with peonies and orchids covering the rest of the surface.


I get people asking how did you do it? It's really that simple. Put your camera in the center of the flatlay, and slowly move above from center point till you get an overview of the flatlay.

Think of it as a focal point without a tripod :)



We live in the digital age where we can shoot a million shots if we want to. And I'd highly recommend that! Keep shooting multiple shots, in case the other image was a blur or it was off center.


Try not to think of sticking to one flatlay style. Try as many variations as you can with flatlays. The more you discover, the better you'll become. Before you know it, you can do it in a matter of minutes!

In my case, when I create flatlays, I don't have a set mind of what the 'end' is going to look like. I'm always excited to see new layouts I can create with my flowers and tea cup. They never ceased to surprise me!


And that's pretty much it for today! Thanks for popping by hehe.

For another overview with what I did with @flatlayforever, you can visit the link here :)


Have a fab day all!




International Friendship Day

Photo Credit : Leon Korobacz

Photo Credit : Leon Korobacz

It's International Friendship Day! And I'm missing this bestie of mine :)

How do you celebrate a special day like this? I'm thinking of all the fun and cute gifts I am getting for my close friends. Etsy has always been my favourite place to shop online. Being a maker and designer myself, it's really important for me to give back to the community and support small business, hehe.

Here's what I love. This is a flatlay I've made, an oldie but a goldie, hehe.

Below, are a list of makers and shakers with direct links to their websites. 


Have a fab day, all!



1. Unicorn + fox + girl with a bun wooden brooches // bacon & eggs + sausage dog + cactus lapel pins Hello Miss May 
4. Donkey wooden brooch Little Brown Dog 
5. White Kitten lapel pin Surfing Sloth

1. Resin with rose gold, silver and gold foil Sly Pony Studio 
2. Pom Pom bangle Love Astrid

1. Milky Way coffee cup La Petite Fabrique De Brunswick 
2. Cloud + Heart + Polka Dot trinket Urban Cartel 
3. Mini Cat Vase Gail CC

1. Ice Cream Van dish Mima Workshop 
2. Wooden Camera Brainbow 

Christmas in July

Photo Credit : May Leong

Photo Credit : May Leong

It's July and baby, it's cold out here (in Sydney, of course). I reckon everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere is having a wonderful summer's day and I'm so jelly right now.

Anyways, I am excited to share my favourite makers + shakers from Etsy. If you're running out of ideas of what to shop this month in July, head over to Etsy for more fun and unique gift ideas.

Here's my quick guide to my all time favourite Etsy makers :)

1. Cutest Kablooie cat skirt by the lovely Brissie maker, Kaneena Fanning.

2. The softest and prettiest Merino Wool throw you'll ever own. Snuggle up with Ohhio chunky blanket. It makes me a very happy girl (The large knitted white throw on top right)

3. Gorgeous white and blue porcelain plate by Melbourne based maker, Lucile Sciallano of La Petite Fabrique De Brunswick . (As seen in the image with chocolates and pink meringue)

Have a fab day, all!




Hello, I'm Miss May :)

Hey folks! Hello, I'm Miss May and I'm here to talk a little bit more about what I've learned from starting my own little design studio. But, before I go on, here's a little introduction.

Hello Miss May Studio

Hello Miss May is my baby. I feel incredibly lucky to have a small studio in Surry Hills. It's my home studio, where I find it fulfilling to create cute, colourful Hello Miss May greeting cards, artworks and pins. Make them undeniably me. It makes me happy to see my work out there - on Etsy, in design markets and retail stores.

I'm a designer by trade. And I intend to stay that way forever, hehe. I work a lot with puns and humour. To make people laugh is 'serious business', I'm guessing, haha. I feel that's my purpose, knowing that something I created plays a part in someone's day.  With a little dash of fun. It's cute and super cheesy at the same time.

For more images of my studio, link here.

When did Etsy began?

So, it all started after travelling for a whole year around the world after uni. I went everywhere, 10 different countries, crossing over four continents. Life was great. But the reality kicked in, when I came home to Sydney, I was jobless (and very, very broke... haha!). A close friend of mind recommended Etsy, because, I was beyond despair.

Rabbit Carrot Poster on Etsy Seal Typo by Hello Miss May

For months, I would send resumes and go out to job interviews, but, no one would hire me full time!

One of my favourite quote has got to be, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." - Milton Berle.  

I decided I have nothing to lose when it comes to Etsy. So, I came up with 10 designs I am inspired by (back then, it was rabbits and flamingos) and uploaded the posters on Etsy. It all happened a good four years ago.
The first poster poster I sold was a print of a Rabbit and loads of carrots. And I was over the moon!



My Hello Miss May Studio in Surry Hills. Photo Credit : May Leong

My Hello Miss May Studio in Surry Hills. Photo Credit : May Leong

Not Easy Being A #GIRLBOSS

It's true what they say, starting your own business is hard work. I have to manage everything from administration right down to inventory, sales and marketing. Think of a company but compressed into a tiny design studio run by one person. Haha!

But, in saying that, I love being my own boss. I can take holidays whenever I want. I get to work 7 days a week (even if I don't feel like it, haha). My favourite has got to be able to explore and create. And in the process, finding out who am I and who I wanted to be.

There were many late nights when I first started running my Etsy store. I kept working on expanding my range of Hello Miss May posters. I used to work part time in retail during the day, and at night, I would start designing posters and following up on my orders to send out the next day. It was quite exhausting working 7 days a week, with a part time gig and an online store. But I was very happy to know that people appreciate my work. I would send my prints all over the world, from New York to London to Tokyo.

The best thing I love about running an online store selling posters is that customers would sometimes send me photos of their room, all done up. It meant a lot to me that they love my work.

Featuring my 'Good Night, Sleep Tight' Poster. Nursery styled by Erin Michael.

Featuring my 'Good Night, Sleep Tight' Poster. Nursery styled by Erin Michael.

Hello Miss May Today

So, I wanted to explore a little bit more with my designs. I found that I've always love greeting cards and brooches. And I'm such a big kid! Who doesn't love unicorns and rainbows and all things cute? That's when I realized I should go all out with something really fun and happy.

For the past two years, I went a little bit crazy (with the designs). I had all the cute animals in my head, a laughing cactus and all kinds of cats morphing into food like burger, taco and ice cream. It was a dream come true.

Hello Miss May Lapel Pins

Hello Miss May Lapel Pins

Styling and Shooting in my Studio

It was all kind of accidental. It never occurred to me that I would become a stylist and a photographer. Let alone a blogger and an Instragrammer!

It all happened when I discovered Instagram through my now #instagramhusband, Leon Korobacz of @hungrysydneysiders. I started illustrating and taking photos of my design work with my iPhone. I was really happy to be part of the makers community - keep getting inspired by one another's work.

What was a hobby of snapping cute things quickly became another creative outlet for me. Before I knew it, I was contacted by brands and agencies to do photoshoots and content creations. And I was still using an iPhone 5s back then!

I learn on the job. I started experimenting with DSLR cameras and before I knew it, I was on my way to becoming a professional photographer :)

My early days as an Instagrammer

My early days as an Instagrammer

My advice...

You guys probably hear this a lot already... but, I'm going to give it to you guys anyways.

- Be yourself.

- Do what you truly love and are passionate about.

- Let your work tell the story. 

- Learn that everything is a work in progress.

- Don't be afraid to try new things.

Keep trying and don't be disheartened if things do not go your way. If I had given up on the idea of being a designer, just because no one would give me a design job, I wouldn't be here today :) There will always be new opportunities that will come your way. You just got to stick around long enough and keep going.

It's so easy to duplicate exactly what others are already good at, but getting inspired by people and creating something that is truly your style is another story. Think of it when you're playing Mario Brothers... you just leveled up every time you reach the castle.


Most importantly, recruit a few Instagram Husbands if you can. Haha. Hehe...

Anyways, stay fab!

Thanks for reading this much, haha. You can always say hello and I will do my best to reply as soon as I can!

Stay fab everyone!



My Stay At Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu

Summer days at Shangri-La Mactan

Summer days at Shangri-La Mactan

It is always such a lovely experience staying at Shangri-La anywhere in the world. Everyone at Shangri-La will always tell you this, "Welcome to Paradise." And it is true.

Every Shangri-La that I've been too, since I was a kid with my family, has the same feel good feeling. And I loved it!

My time at Shangri-La Mactan Resort with my partner in-crime, Leon Korobacz (@hungrysydneysiders) was wonderful!

Having fresh local fruits by the poolside is one of my favourite thing to do. I'm obsessed with the sweet mangoes and pineapples. And, there are so many pools in this resort. There's a pool for everyone (and I must say the kids pool are the best, it comes with fun slides).

My favourite has got to be breakfast (there will always be a flatlay) and I'm always up for local cuisine. Leon (@hungrysydneysiders) and I tried the sweet dessert called Puto Maya.

This Filipino street food is just yum! The staff at Shangri-La Mactan had them in many shapes and sizes. Called Puto Maya, it is made of glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves. The locals eat it with mangoes and sikwate (a hot chocolate drink).

For the adventurous, danggit, is a must try Filipino cuisine. Think of fish heads, paired with sausages and sweet dipping sauce of sliced red onions. It was definitely and interesting treat!

All afternoon was spent chilling out on the beach and infinity pool at Shangri-La Mactan. We even went for a ski jet ride. I never imagined in a million years I'll be driving a ski jet. But I did it! I went as far as 20KM per hour, which is a bit cray for me.

Thank you for the most amazing time at Shangri-La Mactan. It was a tropical paradise and we hope to return someday!



Meet Hello Miss May

Photo Credit : Olive Tree Market

Photo Credit : Olive Tree Market

Here's to 2017! Kicking off with Olive Tree Market.

Come find me and my Hello Miss May Store at these fun design markets. I'll be selling my cute wares with other designers + makers.

Here are the list


Olive Tree NEWCASTLE Market//  SAT 4th Feb Civic Park, Newcastle, NSW 2300

Over 150 creative minds gather at this monthly market in Newcastle. Live music and good food. Details here.


Olive Tree NEWCASTLE Market//  SAT 4th March Civic Park, Newcastle, NSW 2300


The Makers + Shakers MELBOURNE Market//  SUN 30th April Coburg Townhall, 90 Bell Street, Coburg VIC 3058

With over 60 designer and maker stalls selling their cute wares. Link here.


Markit Market//  SUN 7th May 

Atrium and Deakin Edge Theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Find 86 designers and 6 food icons at Fed Square this May. More about Markit here.

Finders Keepers SYDNEY Market//  FRI - SUN 12th-14th May 

The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve, 1 Merriman St, Barangaroo NSW 2000

Featuring over 200 independent designers from all over Australia. Link here.


The Big Design Market SYDNEY Market//  FRI - SUN 24-26th November

ROYAL HALL OF INDUSTRIES Errol Flynn Blvd, Moore Park (next to the Hordern Pavilion)

Get all your Christmas shopping done in one place! With over 200 designers to choose from. Visit site here.


The Big Design Market MELBOURNE Market //  FRI - SUN 1-3rd December 

Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC

Join us for 3 days of Christmas shopping with 230 stallholders. Find out how to get there.

Finders Keepers SYDNEY Market//  FRI - SUN 8-10th December 

The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve, 1 Merriman St, Barangaroo NSW 2000

Featuring over 200 independent designers from all over Australia. Link here.

Markit Market//  SUN 17th Dec

Atrium and Deakin Edge Theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Find 86 designers and 6 food icons at Fed Square this May. More about Markit here.