Past, Present and Future by Cath Conroy…
Posted in guest quarters July 29th, 2010 by pia

(the following post was written and photographed by (blog)house guest Cath Conroy…)

I have a confession to make. I am one of those people who perpetually lives life in the past or future. Like most humans I have a tendency to focus on where I’m going rather than where I am right now.

My partner* on the other hand is content to while away an entire day lying in the grass, staring at the sky and thinking of nothing but cloud gazing. He is the poster child for Eckhardt Tolle. Me – always worrying away about time I’ve wasted, bills to pay, where I’m headed next and who I’ll be in the future.

The great thing about travel is you have to go with the flow. Trains late, hotels booked out, wrong turn – you really can’t do much about it but let go and enjoy the moment for what it is.

I have been promising to dig up these photo’s of my travels in Japan for Pia for ages (thanks for your patience Pia!). What struck me as I looked through them was how at peace I was in the moment.  They hold a special place in my heart and I can still feel the sense of stillness and contentment that I felt whilst taking them. A good reminder to stop and smell the roses and appreciate all the special moments I have here in my new home.

* A funny note about the term partner. The other day I was visiting my physio for the 4th time who finally felt appropriate to ask what “she” does for a living. Apparently boyfriend is the more common term here and partner is reserved for the gay community. Not that I mind but sigh, another faux pas on my list of living in a new country!!

I am loving my new bag…
Posted in amsterdam, fashion, handmade, pia's photos July 29th, 2010 by pia

…made by leslie from swarm.  She just finished a new batch and they are all insanely beautiful. I’ve been taking this one with me everywhere, it’s perfect as a ‘stylist on the run’ bag, you can fit so much in it! And I love that it will age the more I use it, so so special.

Anyway, I had to show you guys. This is just one side, the other side is also gorgeous, perhaps I’ll show you that side another day – it’s like having two bags in one. oh yeah.

a pretty place to take rest…
Posted in blog favourites July 28th, 2010 by pia

Tales of a Junkaholic is one of the blogs in the spotlight this week (check out the others in the sidebar, they’re all so goooood), and its author, Artemis Russell, has the dreamiest backyard in South London, complete with her very own working shed where she sews up a storm. She posted this photo the other day and I just love it. If you are not already reading artemis’ blog, then click here to be whisked away to her world where you will no doubt become as enamored by her creations, life, and home as much as I am.

the quintessential amsterdam summer weekend…
Posted in amsterdam July 27th, 2010 by pia

view from my window, one.

It all started with an accidental night out on Friday evening when french boy and I thought we were headed to a friend’s gig at cafe paradiso only to find out when we got there that we had our dates mixed up – the gig is actually tonight (come along if you’re in town, details here, entry is free). Being the homebodies we are, we automatically headed back in the direction of home but it occurred to me that since we’d made the effort to get dressed up  – something I find increasingly difficult to do these days  – that we should stay out, at least for half an hour. So we crossed the road and headed over to cafe alto, a jazz bar in the leidseplein that has been on our ‘must visit’ list ever since we moved to Amsterdam. We got there at around 9:30pm, and it was pretty empty. The bartender said the band would start at 10pm. So we picked out a table near the empty stage and ordered some wine. The band did indeed strike up at 10pm and they were fabulous. The pianist, Ramón Valle was mesmerizing, so incredibly talented, what an inspiration. Philip Harper was on the trumpet, he was also sensational, as was the rest of the band. Within seconds of the band starting up the entire bar was packed,  it had such a great vibe and I highly recommend you head there if you are in Amsterdam. I’m embarrassed to admit it took us this long to discover this great place.

view from my window, two. by the way, the above two photos have nothing to do with my weekend, I just like them.

So then came a lazy Saturday followed by our first Amsterdam picnic in the park! I know, a weekend full of firsts – again, embarrassing since we’ve lived here for nearly 3 years now. Anyway, this picnic was quite special because it was something we’d been trying to organise for a while now with good friends yvette and oof. Both yvette and I had been saving a couple of good bottles of champagne for celebrating the completion of her book and the launch of my book. We managed to lock in Saturday night and met them, along with lovely Marie, at the oosterpark (also the first time I’d been there). We had a little barbecue, some delicious salads, and lots of cheeses and fresh bread. And champagne! It was so so lovely, the park was not too busy which made me very happy as I’m not a fan of crowds. At the end of the night marie snuggled up on my lap as I whispered sweet nothings into her floppy ears.

proef, amsterdam

Sunday! French Boy and I went for an afternoon walk to the Nieuwmarkt and stopped in at the wijs & zonen on the zeedijk for some tea and homemade apple pie. Now I had actually been there before, in fact it was one of the first places fb and I discovered on our first trip to Amsterdam together when we were still living in Paris. It is such a hidden treasure and I’ve been meaning to tell you guys about it all this time. The teas and coffees on offer are phenomenal (they are purveyor to the queen which sounds super fancy). And I also noticed on their website just now that they offer city tours on Saturday afternoons, sounds like fun. Anyway, I digress, Sunday night we headed to proef (for the first time) to meet leslie for dinner and I’m here to report that it was deeeeelicious. I must be honest, I was a little hesitant to go last year as I’d heard mixed reviews about the ‘experimental’ food experiences. And I’m all for experimenting with food but I’m not too keen on paying a lot of money for a meal I’m not sure I’m going to really enjoy. But recently the restaurant opened to the public (they were only open in past years for special events, large groups of people, etc) with an easy going, tapas style menu. Apart from the setting and location being perfect, the plates and serving dishes were interesting and beautifully styled (vintage china plates combined with little jam jars for salad dressing and the likes). The accompanying wine was also very good, and the dessert was definitely the show stopper – I had the airy chocolate mousse with ice cream,  fruit and cedarwood cotton candy. yum.

So that was my quintessential amsterdam summer weekend. I hope you can take the time to click on all the links and find out some more about these awesome places.


little drifters…
Posted in canada, handmade, hunter gatherer, nature July 27th, 2010 by pia

So there is this guy, his name is Lenny, and amongst other things he loves to comb beaches. With his findings he makes the sweetest little boats…

…are they not the most fabulous things you’ve ever seen? Anyway, he inspired Jeff from booooooom to host a community event in Vancouver this past Saturday where anyone and everyone could come along with their box of found beach/forest treasures to  make little drifters and set them sail on Trout Lake Beach. The event was then featured in The Vancouver Sun

The little drifters featured here are all Lenny’s, but check out booooooom and The Vancouver Sun to see what everyone made on Saturday, they are all awesome.

I also thought this could be lovely inspiration for those of you participating in poppytalk’s collecting nature flickr pool. Wouldn’t this make a great project? I think I don’t even have to ask, or answer,  that question.

I have to do a summer clean up inside my houseboat this week because it’s just getting too cluttered, perhaps with my dried up flowers and collected bits of wood I can make some little drifters and send them off on the canal. If I do, I’ll take some photos to post here in the (blog)house – that idea is pretty much the only thing inspiring me to tidy and clean.


PS I had a really great weekend, I hope you did too. I’ll tell you about mine a little later, for now I’d just like to daydream some more about these little drifters.

PPS I found out all of the above from dear Erin at Design for Mankind. She always knows about the good stuff.