I use my blog invariably for self-serving purposes. These posts spring from out of pure boredom, to being a creative outlet, to noting down occasions worth remembering….and sometimes they are just….like this post….a note to self. That going for a Gillian Anderson’s Stella Gibson hairstyle in the Fall works wonderfully if you are a blonde in your 40’s.

Secondly that the Fall is an exceptionally good serie, which has gripped me ever since finishing the first installment of Netflix’ Mindhunter (waiting with eager anticipation for the next series).

Thirdly that Amsterdam’s the Duchess is still a restaurant to recommend if you are after a cosmopolitan experience (not to mention the cocktail itself ;).

Now on that note…

my own interpretation…

…of Stella


…I can’t help thinking about you

After another sleepless night which I spend mostly catching up on the emails I didn’t get around to last weekend, I finally drag myself to the cross trainer with my laptop tucked under the arm. It stands downstairs so the chill is unmistakable. The cold temperatures certainly awakes me, so much that instead of putting on a playlist and leaf through my social media accounts, I go straight to the Guardian and click on the article promising news on last night’s Golden Globe. it opens up with a speech from Oprah and what a speech at that. It certainly sits up there with Obama, JFK and Martin Luther King. I must have watched it at least 3 times over as it lasted my entire 35 minute workout.

So, I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.

The truth couldn’t echo more loud and clear.

Please watch the speech in its full entirety. I just wonder (and hope), when will we see #oprahforpresident?

Those we love don’t go away, They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near, Still loved, still missed and forever dear.

I’m so blessed to have had two loving, strong and intelligent women in my life. Margite & Pia (mormor and mamma), not a day goes by without thinking of you

I hope you had a better one than I did after a particularly rank case of food poisoning. Looking at the whole episode from a philosophical angle (which I’m generally inclined to do) I literally purged the last year. Thus very few pictures exist from what was going to be a dinner at restaurant Chateau St. Gerlach followed by a New Year Party. Nevertheless the short break did me some good and before illness set in, I took a long walk with my son, vising the castle cemetery, talking about family crests, knights and feudal society. We continued into the woods where history turned into more of a geography lesson on sandstone, pine, caves and the occasional bunker.

We came home wet, muddy and tired, but managed to build some lego police vehicles and get Sebastian ready (can’t help but feeling so proud of him as he was such a gallant gentleman in looks and spirit, helping me whilst fighting against my stomach content whilst being dressed up to the nines).

Ah well a New year has finally begun and I can’t say I’m sad to see the last one being relegated to the ash heaps of history.

007

…got the most amazing view of the Maastricht fireworks from the top of a hospital car park

 

earlier in the day we went for a long walk in the woods. The obligatory group selfie which we evidently are not very good at looking at the cheesy grins

last pics of the year

Another manor house

lovely scenery

and animals too 🙂 

I escaped the Haarlem just before the weekend for a few days of rest and peace in the area of Maastricht, Valkenburg and surroundings. It’s been a lot of walking, some shopping, sightseeing and exploring great restaurants. A special recommendation goes to Restaurant Le Baroque in Valkenburg. Even if it’s the last thing you do, do try the pigeon with foie gras and truffle sauce. It’s one of the best dishes I’ve had this year.

The mulled wine speciality of the region – with amaretto

Pigeon breast with foie gras and truffle sauce

Valkenburg is lit up – including the light parade we watched yesterday

 

Wishing everyone of my readers a Merry Christmas and to those of you from far-flung corners of the world Happy Holidays! We have celebrated it yesterday as is customary in Sweden with traditional ginger bread baking followed by a Christmas smörgåsbord including obligatory delicacies such as meatballs, gravad lax, foie gras, wild boar pâté and stuffed turkey of course (courtesy to the British influences running in our family).

As the Christmas party was close to as stuffed as our turkey, we made a break for unwrapping the presents under the tree followed by Rice a la Malta, coffee, baume de venise and petit fours.

Julafton has arrived….finally!

starting off with baking ginger bread 

Christmas smörgåsbord

Come on! Time for gifts

Bricks Arms & Lego stood on the wish list 

Gift exchange in action

and wonderful desserts courtesy of RP x

No pics please!

waking up to many wonderful gifts

I love waking up in the mornings to an albeit small but tasteful decorated Christmas tree…..all credits to the kids who discovered the best pieces, discarded some and fought over the tree top decorum – Star or Peak. It became a star in the end. Keeping in line with family tradition, we put up the yearly decor purchases, this time three pieces from Villeroy & Boch’s collection which we acquired on our last trip to Lille.

Tree waiting for gifts from Father Christmas

Reindeer from the Villeroy & Boch collection

…so luckily we took the opportunity yesterday to enjoy the snow bonanza hitting the Low Countries for the last couple of days. Sadly the snowman and our igloo lantern have turned into grey slush by now, but memories and pictures remain :).

we don’t get many evenings like this

So Sebastian and I started on a snowman project. Unfortunately we didn’t have a carrot at our disposal so it received the bird treatment instead 😉

igloo lantern

recipe from a Swedish childhood

I’m in bed with the snowflakes dancing outside of my window. It’s so peaceful, which is what I need after one of the most hectic months and years I can remember. Perhaps not surprising I feel fluish and decided against having another working Sunday. Instead I will put on the Crown which has just premiered it’s second season.

Before going offline, some snapshots of yesterday’s evening. We don’t get much time to have a 3 hour dinner with the family, so very happy for this treat. Thanks Victoria and RP for making it memorable.

Dogged tired but managed to scrape up well with my beautiful daughter as companion

good company, conversations, food and wine

special evening

100 year anniversary menu ending with a delightful dessert

The Groenendaal manor in full Christmas glory

A late but wonderful Sinterklaas celebration. And he had prezzies for everyone. On that note I can’t wait until it’s Christmas!

❤️ Sibling love ❤️

who is the boss of the prezzies?

…and more Lego. We have quite some building to do this weekend