Hello. Greetings from Val D’isere! If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed already that I’m not in London at the moment. I’m on holiday with a group of 24 friends in France! That’s the reason behind the slight radio silence on the blog because I am spending my days this week skiing, eating and having a blast at apres-ski in Val D’isere. We had the most amazing sunny day yesterday but looks like a bit more snow for the next few days.
Hello! Did you all have a good weekend? I had my sister and her husband visiting me in London on Saturday and Sunday so did some lovely exploring around the city with them. But first on Friday night me and a group of girls kicked off the weekend by checking out the 50 Shades of Grey movie. Seven girls + a few wines + this movie = lots of giggles! Have you seen the film yet & what did you think?
Here a few photos from my weekend scenes in London…
I recently got the new iPhone 6! Now, as much as I love my fancy new phone, and all of its 56GB storage glory – I did discover that the iPhone 6 is one slippery little bugger. Because of the way it’s shaped I just can’t seem to get a proper grip on it, which means it’s constantly slipping out of my hands. Not ideal so realised I’d better get myself a new iPhone case, pronto!
Hello everyone, it’s that time of the week again for some mid-week wisdom! Today I am sharing the love for instagrammer ‘Charlotte Freeman’ – or better known as @momentaryhappiness because I just adore her instagram feed. It is always filled with beautiful quotes and images of sun, sand and happy moments.
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction—and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.” – Anne Lamott
Such a beautiful quote, right? I agree that we are too hard on ourselves most of the time!
Make sure you follow @momentaryhappiness on instagram to get your daily fix of great quotes, beach & sunshine. They always make me smile, and secretly wish I was on a tropical island somewhere. Happy Hump Day! I hope you have a wonderful day :)
Happy Monday! Today was actually quite an exciting day for me because I started at my new job. It felt a bit like the first day of school, but it was a good day and it flew by. Lots to learn and information to get my head around, but that’s the fun of a new challenge right? As you know I had a bit of time off in between jobs where I went home to the Netherlands and did some fun stuff with friends in London. So I thought I’d share some of my instagram pics with you all that I took during that time…
Flying into Netherlands over the coast. Seeing the beach like that always makes me smile and excited to be going home // A visit to the Japanese Garden with all its gorgeous autumn colours – more photos of my visit to these gardens HERE // Zooming home through the forrest in The Hague with my parents // A day of babysitting my little nephew included cooking dinner – I tried a new Ottolenghi recipe; Cauliflower Cake. It was super simple and delicious. Don’t worry recipe to follow!
“I’ve learned that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling!” Love that quote and being at home always makes me feel so relaxed, happy and at peace // One day we went for a long (3hr) walk on the beach. It was a pretty windy day and the night before it had stormed so the beach was covered in shells and little crabs // Walks on the beach (no matter what weather really..) is one of my favourite things in the world. It’s totally my happy place – letting the wind blow all the cobwebs away :) // In love with my new snood that I picked up at the HEMA for only €5 (link) – it’s so cosy and love the black and white pattern. A girl can never have too many scarves right?
Biking around The Hague – it’s just the best and easiest way to get around // Dessert I made one night when having dinner at my brother’s house – Cherry Clafoutis, it’s my fail proof dessert recipe! // A stunning autumn day meant time for an early morning run on the beach with my dad // Followed by breakfast made by me. These turkish style eggs were so good and something a bit different – I’ll share my easy recipe in the next few days!
A day in the outdoors. We went hiking in the Meijendel Dunes, which is about a 40min bike ride north of where my parents live in The Hague. It’s a stunning nature reserve coasted area characterised by dynamic water landscapes, pine forests and hundreds of bird species which makes a perfect environment for long walks and bicycle trips // We spotted many wild mushrooms during our walk // After the walk we refuelled with fresh mint tea and real Dutch Apple Pie (appeltaart) A must when in Holland, it’s the best! // Sand sculptures in the city centre of The Hague. Pretty impressive and they’d been there for days too. I was in the city for movie night with my parents. Saw the film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ which I absolutely adored. Such a feel good film. Totally made me smile, warm and fuzzy, want to go to chef’s school and move to France to start a restaurant ;) If you’re, like me, a bit of a foodie then I’d definitely recommend checking out this movie.
Day trip to Antwerp in Belgium. We drove down (as it’s only about 1 1/2 hour from The Hague) and explored the sights around the city. Antwerp has an old town and a more modern area, lots of amazing shopping and cool bars and restaurants // I had a delicious lunch at Felix Pakhuis (link) near the Museum Aan de Stroom (link) which is worth a visit when in Antwerp – even if just going up to the roof, for free, to get an amazing view over the city // When in Belgium….enjoying beers in this cool called “Het Elfde Gebod” which is filled with religious nik-naks and has a large selection of beers on offer // Antwerp Market Square at night!
Last day in Holland and it was a stunning sunny day so meant one last walk on the beach with my parents. Will miss these two again when back in London // Home again in London and out and about in Notting Hill – Wild at Heart on Westbourne Grove is just the most gorgeous flower shop! // Morning walk in autumnal Primrose Hill – a bit rainy but still great to enjoy in the fresh air in such a beautiful royal park.
Some shopping at Bailey Nelson. I may or may not now be the owner of some Cat Eye style sunglasses. Watch this space ;) // Brunch Granger Style. Catching up with a friend at a Notting Hill fave; Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove. His scrambled eggs are still the best I’ve ever tasted //A night out with friends in Brixton Village; pizza pizza pizza! // Followed by more fun times at The Social for their weekly Thursday Hip Hop Karaoke Night. We didn’t actually get on the mic ourselves (duh, we didn’t want to scare the crowd) but had a great time.
It’s been such strange weather in Autumn here in London. The other day it was 23 degrees which is so amazing! I was enjoying it a lot because wasn’t working so the sunshine and being able to dress all summery felt wonderful // Happy Halloween!! Friends of mine hosted a fab Halloween party so I decided to get dressed up as little red riding hood and attempted scary (clawed) makeup. Was (surprisingly) quite happy with the result actually! What did you dress up as for Halloween this year? // The last few days have been a bit colder which meant scarf weather. Picked up this little cosy beauty recently on Portobello Road – it’s a copy of a sold out version from ZARA season ’13 and because I’d always envied anyone that got that ZARA scarf I am stoked that managed to find this one! I love mixing prints at the moment; stripes and tartan, stripes and leopard print – it all goes in my books // Sunday Roast at The Albion in Islington – sharing a roast chicken + girl time. Ahhh life is good :)
Hope you enjoyed my little insta-life-lately post. For more pics you can follow me on instragram @dutchessroz. Also do leave your instagram account in a comment so I can check yours out, because I love finding new inspiring people to follow :)
Hello! Had my first day back at the office today, after a week off, and was a bit of a shock to the system. Definitely wished I was still on holiday instead of working my way through hundreds of emails. Anyway as promised here a quick post with some snaps from my holiday in Tuscany with my parents last week. All photos were taken on my iPhone because silly me packed the wrong camera charger.Which was rather annoying since I had sacrificed about 2kg for my DSLR + lenses in my 10kg allowed bag and now wasn’t even able to use it all holiday. Anyway still got some good photos on my iPhone and this is a little selection (more can be seen on my Instagram account)
Arrived in Pisa on Friday evening where my parents collected me from the airport. We walked around the city, saw the famous leaning tower, and grabbed a bite to eat while watching the Netherlands destroy Spain (5-1) in the World Cup. Olé, Olé, Olé!! // The next day we drove to Lucca which is a lovely small city just north of Pisa. Great little boutique shops, squares and the pretty Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.
In Lucca we also climbed the Torre Guinigi, which is the most famous tower in Lucca because of its small garden on the top // Oh and also the view over Lucca is rather impressive! // From Lucca we drove through the stunning Tuscan country side to our apartment in Montaione // We’d booked a quaint 2 bedroom apartment in an old tuscan farmhouse (link) via AirBnB and when we arrived we celebrated our arrival by having a wine in the sun from their own vineyard!
Sunday was Father’s day so I cooked breakfast for my dad (and mum) which we enjoyed outside in the terrace. I made italian ‘baked’ eggs – on the stove because the apartment didn’t have an oven – and it was delicious, if I may say so myself ;) Want to see the recipe on the blog? // Then we headed off to Siena and explored this city all day. The Siena Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Siena) is a medieval church in Siena, and even though I have seen many Cathedrals in my lifetime – this one is rather impressive! // The black & white marble stripes are so striking // We also climbed to the top of the Duomo Nuovo which gives you a breathtaking view over the city. A bit of a climb but very much worth it!
Loved the mosaic floors in the Piccolomini Library in Siena // Piazza del Campo is in the historic center of Siena and is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. This photo is looking up at the famous Torre del Mangia near the square // We feasted on a late lunch of meats and cheese (with wine) at Antica Pizzicheria al Palazzo della Chigiana (Via di Citta 93) which is a super busy atmospheric deli with prosciutto haunches, sausages and hot peppers hanging from the ceiling. There’s no seating but you can order a selection of food and you can stand outside the deli drinking your wine and eating the absolutely delicious cheeses and meats. Definitely a foodie highlight of the trip // Driving past the little towns of Panzano and Greve one day in the Chianti region.
Day trip to Volterra // Loved the black & white striped walls on the main Piazza by the Cathedral // If you are a Twilight fan, you probably recognise this town as where the Volturi live. Interesting fact however is that for the film New Moon, the Volterra scenes were actually filmed in Montepulciano, Italy. The biggest problem the people of Volterra had with Stephenie’s book was the fact that Bella ran through a fountain to get to Edward when there isn’t one in the actual main square of city; the producers had to build one in the center of the filming location. // An italian dinner cooked at the apartment, fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli with basil pesto and fresh mozzarella. So simple but so delicious!
Visiting San Gimignano which is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form “an unforgettable skyline” // We enjoyed a (must-have) gelato from “Gelateria di Piazza” by Sergio Dondoli who is world famous for his award winning ice-cream. And it definitely was tasty and gone in seconds // What do to when sheltering from a massive rain and thunder storm while out exploring San Gimignano? Take a family selfie of course ;) We didn’t let the weather rain on our parade haha! // Another home cooked italian dinner – fresh linguine with sausages in tomato sauce – I will feature this easy recipe on the blog soon!
On our second to last days it was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to just have a lazy one and sit in the sun by the pool, read our books and eat delicious food // We had a long lunch in a little town nearby Montaione and cooked anther simple italian dinner at home. Dinner seen here was fresh tortellini with panfried courgette flowers, cherry tomatoes, spinach and lots of pecorino cheese. Yummm. I definitely overloaded on the carbs (and naughty food in general) while in Italy so it’s a bit of a carb and healthy detox for me the next few weeks to try and balance it out a little! // On our last way on way back to Pisa airport we stopped in a little town called San Miniato – how cute are these little umbrellas they had in the streets?
Overall I had such a lovely and relaxing time in Tuscany. The weather wasn’t quite as sunny or hot as I’d hoped but that meant instead of sunbathing by the pool we just did more exploring around the area which was also very fun. Think I can still do with a bit of a beach (tanning) holiday though this summer, so am now looking at booking a week in Turkey in July with one of my best friends. I can’t wait!
Have you been to Tuscany or any of these towns before?