September 23, 2016

Images by Laura van der Spek

As the leaves turn golden with the change of the season, school starts up again and the weather turns cold, we speak with Amsterdam-based blogger, Ishara Merhai and her boyfriend Robert Hardy to find out their favourite city hangs, the best places to get a coffee and wardrobe staples for AW16.

UO: Can you talk us through your morning routines?

Robert: I can only wake up in the morning when i’ve set two alarm clocks; I am quite slow early in the morning which forces me to wake up extra early if I want to be on time. After a quick shower I can finally call myself awake and I feel so much more active and ready to start my day, but it usually means I have less time to make breakfast so I grab some yoghurt and fruit and make myself a cup of coffee. After I’ve made my sandwiches for lunch I jump on my bike and race to the train station and barely catch the train to Amsterdam: everyday is a race.

Ish: Usually I wake up around 7, check Facebook to see if I have to congratulate someone on their birthday, look at some Snapchat stories and check the weather. Next step is making some coffee, breakfast and grabbing a glass of juice to have in my room while watching the news and after that I’ll wash my face, brush my teeth, put my hair in a bun and get dressed all just in time to barely make my bus to go to university!

UO: How easy is it for you to choose an outfit in the morning?

Robert: Choosing an outfit in the morning is an easy task, my closet is so organised and systemised that I don’t ever have to search for anything. If I have to leave early the next day I usually pick out clothes the night before.

Ish: It depends on the weather; I get dressed easily for warm spring weather, but extreme hot or cold weather confuses me. I always want to be comfortable and I love skirts and my mom jeans so I put on one of those, try to find a matching top and grab some sneakers or my Dr. Martens. Most of the time everything is mostly black so that makes it a lot easier!

Ishara wears: Pins & Needles Scarlet Floral Green Dress Suri Block Ankle Boots

Robert wears: Common Homme Stack Heather Grey Mock Twist T-shirt Loom Ace Black Flat Top Backpack

UO: What are your back-to-school staples?

Robert: Seeing that I have to carry some really heavy books on a daily basis for school, a good backpack is essential for me. I also make sure to bring my waterbottle, it is made of metal so you don’t get that nasty plastic taste that a lot of other bottles give you.

Ish: A warm sweater or vest to wear during lectures because the lecture halls at university are as cold as the North Pole. The one I wear the most is one I bought at Best Kept Secret festival this year. It is incredibly warm and soft. I also wear some comfortable black shoes that allow me to run to my bus and look good with everything and good glasses. If I don’t have good glasses I am blind during lectures, and I’ll get the nastiest headaches during classes.

UO: Where are your favourite places in Amsterdam for date night?

Robert: My favourite place for date night is “De Hallen”. This place hosts all kinds of cool food stands that sell the tastiest food and it’s got a cosy cinema. Another nice spot is “Noorderlicht” in Amsterdam-North. It is the ideal spot to relax and have a beer after school. And last but not least, if you love Ramen you should go to “Fou Fow Ramen” it is an amazing small and cosy Japanese spot in Amsterdam with THE best Ramen in the city.

Ish: It depends on the budget. I love “Waterkant” since it reminds me of all the summers I spent with my family in Surinam, the laid-back vibe and music just makes you want to dance. The food is authentic and it is one of the few places you are able to get some good “born in Surinam” beer and it is quite cheap. I also love “Terpentijn” Asian fusion food with the best desert ever (white chocolate mouse) If I want to watch a movie I’ll go to “EYE” and if I want to enjoy live music I’ll visit “Paradiso” some of my best concert memories are in Paradiso, this place really has a special place in my heart.

Ishara wears: Light Before Dark Navy Clean Parka BDG Denim Pencil Skirt Suri Block Ankle Boots Long Sleeve Ribbed Turtleneck Top

Robert wears: Farah Atwood Avocado Parka, Cheap Monday Him Spray Blue Skinny Jeans, Armor Lux Fair Trade Navy Breton Stripe Shirt, Vans Era 59 Varsity Grey Trainers

UO: What are you tips for dressing for the autumn weather?

Robert: Autumn weather is kind of weird, it can be really cold but it can also be quite hot. My tip is not to wear something underneath your coat that is too hot, layers could help they’ll make any temperature feel good.

Ish: Layers, lots and lots of layers. And a good scarf that is big enough to use as a blanket at school. I am that person that is always cold so in autumn I’ll already be living in sweaters and thermo thighs. (please don’t ask me how I plan to survive the winter because I have absolutely no clue.)

UO: Where is your favourite place in the city to sit and study

Robert: My favourite place to study in Amsterdam is “Sweet Cup” this small little coffee place is right around the corner of my school and an ideal place to study. The coffee is sublime and perfect for an extra concentration boost. Also don’t forget to try the banana cake when you visit!

Ish: The OBA (public library Amsterdam) near the station and Nemo museum is really nice, there is always a lot of space, it is quiet and the building is absolutely gorgeous. And Toki, a cute coffee spot in “De Jordaan” is also nice. The coffee is amazing, the chocolate cake too and it is a quiet island in all the chaos of the city centre.

Ishara wears: Cheap Monday Rule Striped T-shirt, BDG Denim Pencil Skirt Shore Leave Samson Grey Hoodie

Robert wears: Urban Renewal Vintage Surplus Burgundy Beanie

UO: What items would we find you wearing all year round?

Black shoes and striped tops, and this goes for the both of us, we are quite addicted to stripes!

UO: Where do you find style inspiration?

Robert just wears whatever he wants, he doesn’t really keep up with trends and such, but I am a blogger and active Instagrammer so I see a lot on social media, but I always dress comfortable and in a way that suits my figure. We both try to inspire ourselves and maybe each other a little bit, but mostly we wear things we feel good in.

UO: Do you ever share a similar look to your boyfriend?

We dress alike quite often. We already told you we are both addicted to stripes so there have been some occasions that we both had on an almost identical top, black jeans for Robert and a black skirt for me and black oxford shoes. It was awkward, but funny, we even wore matching socks that day.