Monthly Archives: April 2012

Jingles and holdalls

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Next Monday is Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) here in Holland. It’s a national holiday and a big party all day for most people. You are also allowed to sell things on the street. People get up early tape off a square of the pavement and set up shop. I’m going down to Amstelveen with neighbours to sell goods together. I’m selling hand made bags and purses made from stash scraps.

Here’s some shots of the first few – no straps yet and ‘scuse the wrinkles!

A good way to use up scraps.

Me and the better half have also had some fun making jingles for the radio show I co-host on Mondays, English Breakfast Radio. Amsterdam’s only English language radio show. (That’s him looking all mysterious and sexy in the photos next to the track!)

They’re for two of our regular segments: Dutchies You Should Know (Particular Dutch people of interest) and Around the World (The quirky, the strange, the downright hilarious news stories from around the world).

Hope they make you smile.

See what other clever cookies are doing over here.

Inspired by Red

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Bookclub tonight and at the last minute both of the other organisers pulled out and I’m flying solo! It’s one of those occasions where you need a little wardrobe confidence.

I love wearing red but this is one of those tops that really needs the right underwear, both in terms of colour and seam placement. As it happened I was already wearing what was required! Perfect.

Top – Noon (a shop in Amsterdam); jeans – Cheap Monday (a gift); shoes – super cheap from the market; earrings – from Korea (gift from little sis)

See what other lovely ladies are wearing over here.

Wardrobe Wednesday at

North is False

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Songwriting is a very curious thing. Each time I finish a song I’m amazed, relieved and secretly scared that I’ll never be able to do it again.

Some songs are like a gift that I unwrap and there is the song. That’s all the effort it takes.

Some songs are like a massive lump of rock which I’ve had to carve the song out of, very carefully, making sure not to ruin it.

This song came the hard way. It was a bit of a fight at times, but I think it was worth the effort.

This year I’m aiming to write and record a song a month. This is March’s effort. (The video needed some April time.)

See what other creative types have been up to here.

Smoked mozzarella and mixed mushroom risotto

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After a lovely Saturday morning wandering around the Noordermarkt Biologische Market (Organic Market) I came home and cooked a dinner with some of the delicious produce I bought there.

My friend raved about the Smoked Mozzarella and so I *had* to get some and then while walking past the mushroom stall I knew it was risotto time.

I fried off some garlic and onion with a mix of mushrooms that included some fancy mushrooms bits like oyster as well as garden variety brown buttons. When they were soft I set them aside and, using  the same pan to make the most of that mushroomy goodness, made a risotto using some very nice organic vegetable bullion and chardonnay.

When the rice was cooked I added the mushrooms back in, and topped it off with the grated smoked mozzarella. (I love smoked cheese, garlic, fish… you get the idea.) A little cracked pepper and olive oil and it was ready to eat.

I had a glass of chardonnay with mine, and Loverman had a Hoegaarden with his – he thought it was an excellent match!

The risotto was delish! And you don’t just need to take my word for it. Loverman said “There’s a party in my mouth” and then did the dishes. Love it.

Easter dress

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Here in Holland Easter (Pas) is a yellow holiday. Think feathers, chickens, eggs and flowers. You can see these in shop and restaurant windows everywhere.

I attended an Easter Monday Brunch in the perfect Dutch Easter Dress – yellow and covered in tulips. Purchased for a mere 3€ at Ijhallen – a second-hand shopper’s idea of heaven.

I’ve been told all my life NOT to tell people how little I pay for my clothes – but in my mind, it adds value to a compliment when I can reply “And I only paid X for it!” I don’t think I’m alone here.

Dress second hand from Ijhallen; belt from St Vincent de Paul in NZ about 10 years ago; t-shirt second hand; cardi from Jason King in Utrecht. Daisy necklace made from an old earring of my gran’s.

Linking up with these lovely ladies over on the other side of the globe where the theme is inspiration. Easter, colour and price all played a part in the inspiration for this outfit.

Wardrobe Wednesday at

Abstract Salad

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After a day at the COBRA Museum in Amstelveen I made a salad inspired by expressionist paintings.

Abstract Salad of Fennel, Radish and Orange

  • Half a bulb of fennel, finely sliced
  • A handful of radishes, finely sliced
  • A juicy orange, segmented (over a bowl to collect the juice)
  • Finely sliced radish leaves
  • Fennel tips

Combine on the plate. (Unfortunately my orange was a little dry so broke up when I tried to segment it. I used the broken pieces like pomegranate seeds instead.)

Dress with the collected orange juice (no more than quarter of a cup), black pepper and a little walnut or pumpkin seed oil.

Delicious and fresh and just right for spring.


What I made

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The weekend just been I finished a quilt. This is the first ‘proper’ patchwork quilt I’ve made.By proper I mean I used a traditional patchwork design and tried to be as accurate as I could with the measurements. It’s also hand quilted.

This year I am trying to create as little waste in my life as possible and as a consequence most of this quilt is made from scraps of fabric left-over from other projects (predominantly articles of clothing).

It’s also a love quilt for me and the love of my life.

Our new house is full of pale colours and I wanted inject some life, personality and style into it – make it into a home.

Linking in here.