Thursday, April 26, 2012

Last Day in London

Yesterday took the 'hop on, hop off' bus around London in rain. There were periods of sun, too.  Amazing how fast the weather can change here. 

Pentti who NEVER uses an umbrella....Big Ben in front of Big Ben.

Today, we toured the National Gallery and then made our way over to the London Eye.
Lines were long but moved quickly.  The capsules hold 25 people each and the wheel moves so slowly that it take 30 minutes to go around once.  It doesn't stop to let people on and off, you just move in and out as it moves.

Pentti took tons of photos as we went around, but this one is from my phone:   Parliament, Big Ben and the Westminster Bridge.

Leaving tomorrow morning for Southampton to board the Queen Mary 2 and head for home. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday in London

The Eurostar trip was lovely.  Watching great countryside and relaxing.  Pentti found it VERY relaxing.
We arrived in London in the afternoon to this lovely hotel the JW Marriott Grosvenor House.  Thank you Marriott points!  This would be way too expensive if we had to pay for it.

When we arrived the lobby was filled with orchids:
This morning I was up early and a florist was changing the whole display and adding carnations!  I wonder how often they do that.
Slept like a log to see the city today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A day in Ghent

We loved our short stay in Ghent.  What a beautiful walkable city.  We started with breakfast at our hotel looking out over the canal.

We walked to several churches and climbed the bell tower from which this photo is taken.
The church itself was closed for renovation but there were many more churches to see.

After a lovely lunch, Pentti toured Gravensteen the castle below.  It is located right in the city center.  Actually I took this photo from the window of the restaurant where we had lunch.  (hence the aloe plant in the forground)

I went shopping for linen and chocolates!
Today we're packing up to take the Eurostar train to London.

See you on the other side.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We had a slow start in Amsterdam this morning...
There was a train accident in Amsterdam last night.  A head on collision of two trains.  Many people injured and one has subsequently died.  Trains out of Amsterdam were rerouted. 
Pentti hates crowds!  And the train was VERY crowded.

So....instead of a lovely first class trip to Antwerp, we were rerouted onto three different trains, until we arrived in Antwerp, Belgium.  Then took an intercity train to Ghent.

Antwerpen  Station
Belga Queen in Ghent

But we arrived this afternoon and after checking in to our hotel and taking a short rest, we had a lovely dinner at Belga Queen across the canal from our hotel.  It looks like a castle, doesn't it?

Tomorrow we see the city.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


 We set off for Keukenhof  this morning.  On the way we passed fields of tulips like this. These photos were taken with my phone and no photos could do this display justice.

Imagine 32 acres of this....

Fritillaria for Sarah         
Pentti had the BEST time even with the crowds.

...more fields!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 4 Amsterdam

almost as many bikes as people in Amsterdam!

Lots of flowers, too, but don't think these will compare to those at Keukenhof where we'll be going tomorrow.

Have already been up north to windmill country. On Sunday we leave for Ghent, Belgium by train.
Pentti has all of the good photos on his camera....these are just from my phone and you know I'm not much of a photo taker. Would rather just 'look!'

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


We arrived in Amsterdam this morning after an all night flight through Iceland.

So far we've only seen this view from our hotel window and done some people/bicycler watching from a cafe on the street.

Then off to a deep hot European tub with a cup of coffee and my favorite lavender milk bath.
What a way to rejuvenate after a long trip. Early to bed and we'll be ready to explore the city tomorrow!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Dinner

Wow. Didn't realize it was so long since I posted.

Dinner tomorrow will be a celebration of 1 year since Sarah and Eric found the farm they now own and are working furiously to restore.

Brunch will be first with Hot Cross Buns that I'll make tonight and bake in the morning.

The dinner menu, simple but yummy:

Crown Roast of Lamb

Simple Two Potato Gratin


Coconut Southern Comfort Layer Cake

Wine: an Australian Shiraz blend called Torbreck

Some changes: the lamb recipe calls for searing the ribs and then roasting, but I'm marinating them and then tying them into a crown to roast. I like the way it looks. The vegetable will depend upon what Sarah brings from the green market.
No southern comfort in the cake. I love coconut and the photo of the cake, but wouldn't buy a bottle of southern comfort just for the frosting. Other reviewers on Epicurious left it out, too.

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

black soap follow up

What do you think?
I tried a little scrap. I don't think it makes black lather. More testing will say for sure.
I also think it might need to be a bit 'blacker' Didn't want to overdo it with the charcoal in the first attempt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

for Sarah

Sarah's been wanting black soap forever. I wasn't sure how to do it...or if I even I wanted to.

But when I realized that activated charcoal would color the soap, I ordered some and made the test batch today. Used a blend of rosemary and eucalyptus to fragrance it. I want it to be an herbal facial soap. The charcoal is supposed to be good for clearing complexion. But what will it do to a white facecloth?? We'll see when we test it!