Thursday, 1 October 2015


 I have made time to hand-bead this large disc shaped headpiece base.
I started it in the airport lounge.
A large curly feather will finish it nicely.
 I can now put a 'Hand-Made in Paris' label on its sparkling visage.
If checking out clichéd nonsense is not your thing.
I would click away now.
It's no secret.
Paris is my sort of town.
They let dogs in just about everywhere.
And there's pastries and cakes.
I have become obsessed looking at each baker's 'signature' style.
There's plenty of them.
There's no flies on the produce.
Only French bees.
Buzzing around the sugary goodness.


 You can sit on a giant macaron, or a sweet biscuit or liquorice all-sort.
You would never have to cook a single thing again.
It's all there for the taking for you to claim as 'your own'.
Even the souvenirs are irresistible.
You  can walk and walk.
There's hardly any hills.
 But, you have to look up.
And across.
And around.
And down
The door knockers are charming.
The flowers encroach the footpath.
The local council couldn't care.
No-one is policing footpath space.
You just get right out of the way.
 The town halls are adorned with cherubs.
Here's our local.
The gardens are perfection.
The domes gleam.
There's all kinds of niche frippery.
This is the highly acclaimed fan and headpiece designers maison Duvelleroy.
Just at the end of the street.
Here's the Plaza Athenee with all its glorious red geranium filled planter boxes.
The French seem to be able to put a garden anywhere.
Dior has its headquarters around the corner.
Nicely played.
 The Plaza's art Frenchie.
Paris is the home of the camellia corsage.
Here's Monsieur Legeron's lovely pieces.
The epitome of elegance.
Ready to be shipped.

The department stores are stunning.
You can sit under this dome at Galeries Layfayette, sipping coffee for not much more than
you would pay at home.


 And, finally the ubiquitous snail eating tools.
See you after dinner.
Bonne Nuit.

Monday, 28 September 2015


En route to a medieval city we caught the Thalys to Bruges.
Via a quick change at Antwerp Station traveling to Northern Belgium or Flanders.
 The Antwerp station clock tower was nothing short of spectacular.
It held me slack-jawed for twenty minutes or so while Mr Fascinata
actioned our train tickets.
 The Hotel DeTuilerieen, Bruges is the next home away from home.
I approved the décor.
 The hotel is described as 'elegant' and 'patrician'.
The original house built in the 15th century, belonging to a group of ruling class families.
Good thing, they liked dogs.
Here's its lovely topiary prisms.

 And its cheery yellow façade.
 Interiors were painted with a blaze of red paint. The specific red that gallery walls
were painted before the 20th century.
 Then there's the exposed beams.

 If you like to get a head start on Christmas then you will love Bruges.
I think they leave these decorations out all year 'round.
 If you like your fairy-tales a bit Brothers Grimm book your ticket now.
Bruges is your go-to.
Here's part of the main square and its Gothic glory.
The Provincial Court in Markt Square.
Once where governments met.
 You can visit the markets and buy all sorts of hand-made things.
Mr Fascinata purchased two hand-woven linen scarves.
Janis Rozentals weaves the pieces for six months of the year in Riga, Latvia.
Hunkered down during winter.
The rest of the time, he and his lovely wife sell the work.
If are so inclined you can order from
Here's the loom. 
 You can buy a waffle in any permutation.
Try wheat sheaves.
 Here's the fairy-tale you have been looking for
and Bruges' Golden Inlet or canal. 
               The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000.
                                                      Here's the Belfry of Bruges.
                          All this sight-seeing and a girl can work up quite an appetite.
 I am going to miss these hotel breakfasts.
                                                          See you in Paris, dear People.


Saturday, 26 September 2015


 Here's Cathay Pacific's 'The Wing' lounge vista.
A runway in Hong Kong and those steamy mountains.
People, thank you for missing me while I am abroad.
Amsterdam, Brugges and Paris.
I know.
Here's Amsterdam's Keizersgracht.
En route to The Dylan Hotel.
 The first thing I noticed about the people in the Nederlands is that they speak three or four languages.
They offer you a greeting in three or four; you then choose which one to reply with
 and you go with that one.
I usually felt like a complete nonsense having 'only English'.
 I really enjoyed seeing how effective the bike-riding culture is in the city and how the roads' infrastructure and prevailing attitudes are geared towards cyclists and not cars.
No-one is building car-parks, nor wasting money on paying for parking.
No-one is rabbiting on about 'cyclists not paying for car registrations...therefore not
being entitled to use the roads... Or, bikes 'not being cars'.
Everywhere you look there's those beautiful moth orchids.
White Phalaenopsis.
 And tulips in many varieties.
 Here's the view across from the queue to see Anne Frank's house and the family factory.
After everything it is so sad to think Anne died from typhus four weeks before the
Russians liberated Amsterdam from the Germans.
And, Otto was freed and she never knew.
Here's the Rijks Museum.
Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch' lives here.
A Dutch Golden Age Masterpiece.
Here's the Rijk's lovely gates.
The architecture and those Dutch Masters paintings give quite an atmosphere.
This is The Dylan hotel's courtyard from Room 20.
I trotted out most days looking a bit old Dutch Masters myself. Once again, half the clothes I packed won't be worn and two or three items will be worn over and over again.
I will be popping in to see Monsieur Legeron in Paris again, too. To run my eye over his corsage making salon. This red fleur in his from last time. I thought I packed it safely but it go quite crushed. But have no fear; I have a plan.
I ate a whole tin of stroopwafels from the Dylan's room service fridge, so know I have a tin to protect it when travelling.
Vermeer's Flora on the canal with red fleur.
 This beats most Westfield's, I know. Below is a shopping centre.
Magna Plaza.
In 2012 it exhibited Rembrandt's paintings.
 We got down to de Oude Kirk Red Light District.
I enjoyed how there is a string of quaint old bordellos lining the base of one of the oldest churches in Amsterdam and there's Art. Just in case you forget where you were.
Jesus looks after the oldest profession in the world.
 Those canals are every bit as lovely as you imagined.
 And, there's always a swan.
Three crosses are on the Amsterdam flag.
Supposedly Saint Andrew was crucified on a cross that looked like a cross. 
 Here's the oldest windmill in Amsterdam.
It's now a very popular café.
This is from the canal on a boat loaded up with food from Vinkeles restaurant at
The Dylan. We didn't do anything by halves, people.
 I am emotionally preparing myself for Paris.
 Here's Antwerp train station. In case you haven't had enough.
We are getting on board Thalys going via Brussels to Paris.
Au revoir, tot ziens, vaarwel and goodbye.