dinsdag 2 augustus 2016

A few days in London and one day in Het Gooi

No long summer holiday for us this year. In June – while our daughter Eline was away on her exam trip to Portugal with some class mates – we enjoyed a few wonderful days in Rome and in July – again while Eline was away with a few other girls this time to Barcelona – the Mr and I travelled for a few days to one of our favorite cities: London.

Our ‘home’ underground station this trip:

London always feels a bit like coming home, I have been there so many times, with the Mr, with friends and on my own, there are places (often to do with food or fabrics) that I keep coming back to, but also there are always new things to discover and experience, which is why we never, ever tire of this city.

This time we went to the Rolling Stones exhibition (yes, we are fans) called Exhibitionism (click) at the Saatchi Gallery. No pictures allowed inside, but if you get a chance go and see it then do so, fan or no fan, it is fun and a bit of history. And there is a really great 3d experience too at the end.
After Exhibitionism ends in London it will move to New York where it will open in November.
Staying with the rock and roll theme we also went to the Jimi Hendrix appartment at the Händel House (click), they re-created the appartment to what it looked like when Jimi Hendrix lived there
Another new thing for us this trip was the extension to the Tate Modern Gallery that opened a few weeks ago in June. We had not been to the Tate Modern in years so this was a good chance to visit again. As before we thought the main old building was great, that wonderful huge space.

The new building (called the Switch House) next to it has great views over the city from the 10th floor 360 degree panorama deck.
And for those on a budget: entrance is free, they just ask for a 4 UK Pound donation, well worth it!

The famous Shard in all its glory:

The old Tate Modern building with the Millenium walkway Bridge across the Thames:

The view towards St. Paul’s Cathedral:

And below the funny looking building of 20 Fenchurch St. also nicknamed the Walkie Talkie building, this is the building we visited twice during our Xmas trip to London in December of last year, from the Sky Garden in this building you can also have a wonderful view of London (click).
The pictures are a bit grey because it was cloudy that day. But it was also warm and humid, so after our visit to the Tate we had a coffee on one of the terraces nearby, overlooking the Thames.
Foodwise new to us was Neal’s Yard, not just a colorful little square but full of nice restaurants (Gert (click) look for the vegetarian/vegan Wild Food restaurant , it gets great reviews!) and with it being a warm evening and all the doors and windows being open the place was buzzing!

Nearby is the Hotel Chocolat School of Chocolate with all you can wish for chocolate, so delicious! The sign in the window said it all J!

And we loved this new restaurant on the edge of Chinatown: Shuang Shuang!
Chose if you want your individual hotpot or share a double (which we did), chose your broth (spicy, non spicy, vegetarian) and pick your ingredients from the conveyor belt. Fun, delicious and sooooo healthy!

When in London we always stay in a hotel in Kensington, our favorite area. And we always go for walks, we love the atmosphere there and looking at all the houses, mews, gardens etc. Here are a few things we came across this time:

I love those chique white houses especially if they are combined with some nicely shaped boxwood plants:

But some color is very nice too:

Of course you want your Ferrari to match the color of your front door and shuttersJ!

The pubs in the area are great too, we found one with a nice patio so we spent  a few of our evenings out there:

There are two more places I always want to go to when in London, Liberty of course:

And Shaukat, not to be missed, their cellar is wall-to-wall-to-wall-to-wall Liberty and they sell scraps!

Always sorry to say goodbye to London, until next time!

Before our trip to London, I had a chance to visit Judith (click) and drive around Het Gooi area with her, her sister Karin and Mirjam which was great, since I do not know the area at all.

We met at Quilt Studio Het Gooi (click) , such a great quilt store! Spacious, light, a good selection of materials and very friendly people !

And I love a quiltshop with a good coffee corner!

After the quiltstore we went to a lovely embroidery shop: Atelier Steekjes en Kruisjes (click) in Huizen, it is just the prettiest little shop, all four of us loved it! Have a look!

We had lunch at the Eemnes Theetuin (click), again a first for me, go there if you are in the neighbourhood, it is beautiful and the food they serve yummy!

There is also a space that can be used as a wedding location, we could not resist having a peek, isn’t this special?

Judith, Karin and Mirjam, thanks for taking me there girls, I had a great time!

So both at home and abroad, I had some great days recently, hope you are enjoying yourself too this summer.


donderdag 14 juli 2016

She did it! And a trip to Rome, bellissima!

Has it been that long since I blogged… high time for an update!

With a lot of other things that happened I did manage to get some patchwork done during a visit from fellow Feathergirl Hubertine, she was quilting her scrapquilt while I was working on some pyramids

Enjoy making these, it is not going that fast, because I am also working on other quilty projects and also this happened!

And we are more than proud, not only did she have to work really hard to get her vwo (IB-equivalent) high school diploma, but with one extremely :-( teacher making her life very difficult, a sudden operation earlier this school year and having to re-sit one exam, she proved that she is a fighter.
So we were able to join in this Dutch tradition:

Woohoo! Flag out with her very worn schoolbag attached to it.

For non-Dutch readers, in The Netherlands when children graduate from high school between the time they hear they have passed their exams and the day they collect their diploma’s you hang out the flag and attach the bag they have used all those years to carry their books to school with.
In a nutshell our high school system works like this:  we have high schools at different levels (you take all the subjects at the level of your high school) the last year is practically completely taken up by sets of exams. You either pass or you don’t, if you don’t, then you have to re-do that last year. Completely.
But when you pass your exams, you get to graduate and the flag goes out for you.
It is a fun tradition, for a few weeks early summer you can see this all over our country, we had a few more graduates in our area:

Between the time she finished her exams and getting her results she went on a week long exam trip with some class mates. Another tradition: to celebrate the finish of their exams they party for a week at a sunny location, a bit like spring break in the US.

So that gave the Mr. and myself a chance to take a trip to….Rome!
What can I say, having fallen in love with Italy during our holiday last year, Rome was just a continuation of that, we had a super time.

We stayed at a lovely, little apartment right behind the Piazza Navona

The Mr. (having been to Rome twice before to attend Rolling Stones concerts, he is a huge fan) was one again in awe of the Colloseum, while I was so impressed with the Trevi Fountains

For both of us the absolute highlight was a 7 a.m. breakfast in the gardens of the Vatican, to be there before the Museums open, before the madness of the crowds start, in those beautiful gardens, it was still so quiet, so serene.
This was followed by a very early tour with a very knowledgeable guide (himself a painter) of the Museums, the old papal apartments, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter Basilica,  still before it got busy, great. To give you an idea, on average 16.000 people a day pass through the Vatican Museums on a daily basis, in summer time that goes up to 20.000!
So our early visit with such an extremely small group (20 – 30 people) was very special.

In one of the old papal apartments the floors were full of inspiration for a quilter!

Some other sightings in Rome….. J

Other highlights – as always with us – involve food:
Loved the markets, the terraces, the small trattoria’s, the ice cream and the special Roman dishes like suppli, a sort of croquette filled with risotto and melting cheeeeeeese, yummmmmm!

And speaking of traditions (above) I really fell for the Italian tradition of enjoying an aperativo before dinner at a terrace, loved these Aperol Spritz’s!

My love for Italy certainly continued during this trip, we saw so much beauty, had such wonderful meals, all the people we met were friendly and the city was so clean.