29 April 2009

Let me count the ways

The way you always greet me with a kiss when you come home from work
The way you dance in the kitchen when you think no one’s watching
The way you never fail to surprise me
The way you talk to the Meesh and then try to insist you don’t like cats - I know you’re fibbing

The way you make me laugh until I cry
The way you hold my hand
The way you try your best to answer my never-ending questions
The way you leave your clothes right next to the laundry basket – ha!

I can look past that one
Most of the time.

The way you begrudgingly model for my photos
The way you made my sandwiches this morning

I love you!

22 April 2009

All to buy a lampshade

On Sunday Mr B and I trekked to Greenwich in the car. It is not a nice drive. It was sunny and warm. And we were stuck in the car for far too long. We finally got parked and walked to Greenwich Market. We waded our way through the unforgiving Sunday crowds to a little shop in the back corner of the market. It is fantastic. Two lovely ladies own the shop and make the best handprinted lampshades. The shop had run out of the lampshade we wanted so armed with a hand-drawn map we walked through Greenwich to an art studio were our lampshade was waiting for us. It was a most interesting walk through very unknown parts of Greenwich. I'm very glad I had my camera with me.

Looking towards Greenwich High Road

We walked a long a tiny lane and bridge called Ha'penny Hatch'. When we crossed the bridge we spotted these strange explorers below us. They were paddling and collecting things in the creek. It was murky. We have no idea what they were doing.

On our way back from the studio the strange explorers had moved on towards the Thames.

The iron bridge at Ha'penny Hatch

St Alfege

After our foray into the London unknown the 4 of us (myself, Mr B, our lampshade and cool cushion that I couldn't resist) were starving so we plonked ourselves down at a table in a very buzzing Mexican eatery. We ate and drank and talked about holidays. We still have no idea where we'd like to go. But we did get a most fantabulous lampshade. And cushion. And I enjoyed my little black and white photography project.

20 April 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen

I am delighted to introduce the first installment from my mother

I was born in May 1944 in a small provincial town in the East of the Netherlands or Holland, as so many people know this little country on the edge of the North Sea. It was war time, but all Dutch people believed the war would soon be over (as my father explained to me years later when I questioned him whether it was wise to have a baby during a war). My personal memories only start from when I was five, but my mother told me that I never slept in a cot as I was always in a pram, in order to beat a hasty escape, in case matters become too dangerous. There was a lot of fighting around our area because in September 1944 the Allies tried desperately to free our country, but they never made it over the main rivers in the middle and south of Holland, before the notorious hunger winter set in.

We as a family were quite lucky as we all survived. My father was captured a few times and he was forced to do several jobs for the Germans, but managed to escape their clutches. He was there when my mother rode to the local hospital in a horse drawn carriage at 6.30 in the morning, having been given special permission by the authorities to break the curfew. The road was full of terrible pot holes, so it is of no surprise that I was born a few hours later. I was the second daughter and my parents were delighted with another girl. It made it easier to dress me, for my mother had kept all my sister's clothes. I was an easy baby, so my mother used to say, and slept through most of the bombing and shelling. My parents would hide in our cellar or we would all go to a neighbour who had a much deeper and safer cellar. I of course cannot remember any of this, but my sister, who is almost 6 years older, remembers sitting in her best coat and hat under a candle which kept dripping and there was no room for her to move. It was a lovely blue coat with a matching bonnet so I can imagine that this worried her.

Because my mother had had a baby, she was allowed to collect two litres of milk from the local farmer (the same one who had provided the transport when I was born) which went a long way to give food to my sister and my parents. My sister remembers the porridge that was always being cooked and ...my oh my.... if it boiled over onto the stove. Perhaps that is the reason why she hates porridge and selmolina. Nonetheless it was a very hard time for my parents as there was so little to eat. My father could not work his vegetable plot in the open as he was officially in hiding he also had started to grow his own tobacco, although it never quite ripened. He often would sneak out at night and walk through the nearby fields in the dark as the hunger kept him from sleeping. It is of no surprise that even today I have great difficulty in throwing food away, as I was brought up with the knowledge that to have enough food on one's plate is a great blessing.

In April 1945, with our house still standing, but most of the tiles off and the windows all blown out, clogs were the only safe footwear to wear when in the house, my small town was liberated by a Canadian battallion and I am sure that the people had never celebrated with such enthusiasm and delight before. The evening of my first birthday became the time on which Holland remembered all the people that had lost their lives during those horrible five years, so at eight o'clock there would be two minutes silence. So for me my birthday has even now,strong associations with the Second World War. But foremost the end of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I sincerely hope that we as people will work endlessly to solve problems by talking and not by taking up arms.

I hope this first chapter is ok. I am no author, but would like to share my experiences with all of you reading this! -L

15 April 2009


It's mid-afternoon in a quiet office. Everyone is diligently working hard. The phone rings.
Saskia: Good afternoon anonymous-company
Random client: Hi. Please could I speak to Patrick?
Saskia: Of course. Please can I take your name and where you're calling from?
Random client: Sure. It's James from another-anonymous-company.
Saskia: Thanks, I'll just transfer you.

Saskia transfers call and hangs up.

A few minutes pass and Patrick comes up to my desk.

Patrick: James would like to take you out on a blind date.
Saskia: Huh?
Patrick: It was the first thing he said to me. He liked the sound of your voice. A lot.
Saskia: Oh. Right.... Seriously?
Patrick: Yes.

Patrick exits stage right. Saskia wonders what Patrick's response to James was. She thinks she should have asked Patrick if he'd told weird-James she was married.

Saskia texts her husband "I just got asked out on a blind date, ha!" Soon after, her husband calls.
Husband (sounding shouty): What?? What do you mean?
Saskia explains.
Husband: What a pr**k.

14 April 2009

Over the past four days we've






Now I'm at work. Working is extremely overrated.

I've got lots of lovely things to look forward to though... my mother writing a guest post - hopefully by the end of this week, a surprise which I unfortunately cannot tell you about but I'm bursting with excitement just thinking about it, staying in Yorkshire with family in just over a week's time, Mr B & my 1st anniversary & our trip to Venice!! I'm one lucky lady with all this coming up! What plans are you all looking forward to?

09 April 2009


One of the reasons I started this blog was the extreme unlikeliness of my parents joining facebook. So I thought I’d share our start in married life with them, and the rest of my family, here. My parents seem to enjoy my blog a lot. When Mama (the name by which all the best Dutch mothers are known) started emailing me with her responses to my posts I told her I’d give her a prize if she commented on my blog properly. She and the computer are not always the best of friends so I was extremely impressed when she duly commented that same day here.

She says that she feels very strange writing a comment here for all the world to see, so she writes in Dutch so that most people won’t be able to read it. [Speaking a little known language does have its perks – we have our own secret code when we don’t want to be understood, it’s fabulous. Now all I need is for Mr B to learn!]

I would neither describe myself as a private person nor an open book and the truly wonderful feeling that came when I started write, photograph and share with you all took me by surprise. To write, to be creative and then to be supported and cheered on by you all is extraordinarily liberating.

Mama is, beyond doubt, an incredibly talented person. I don’t think she realizes this. I would like her to write a guest post sometime soon, so she can see for herself the encouragement and positivity of a blog and alleviate her concern about its openness.

So I’d like to know what you’d like her to write about! Would you like to hear about her experience as a young newlywed coming from rural Holland to live in the UK? Or perhaps her 35+ years as a primary school teacher? Or how about growing up in post-war Holland? I'm excited to see what you come up with!

07 April 2009

Vrooom Vroom

Last night the girls (that's the Meesh and I) waited for our delectable man to come home. Actually, scrap that. Meesh was waiting for her premier-back-scratcher to come home. I was waiting to see the new car.

It is mighty fine. Yes, Mr B and I may be referred to as yuppies by our neighbours now. I don't care. Well, maybe I do a bit. But it has heated seats and sat nav and cruise control and many other things I don't even understand yet.

Mr B would like me to add "most importantly it's the fastest diesel on the road".

It is when you drive it darling. Not so much with me.

I like the obscure digital radio stations and newcarsmell. Mmmmm.

06 April 2009

Picnics. Postures. Planning

April so far has been kind to us, very kind. This weekend was warm, sunny and delightfully lazy. My weekend involved

Yoga. I was proud of how I did in my bikram yoga class. I have low blood pressure and at some point during every class I’ve become so light-headed that I’ve had to stop & rest. After talking with my teacher I’ve increased the amount of salt in my diet and before this week’s class I downed a whole bottle of Lucozade. This time I was able to really push myself… I felt so much stronger & managed each & every posture. Best class ever!
A picnic. Mr B and I packed our picnic basket with sandwiches, crisps, m&ms, cashews & two beers and headed to our local Thames riverbank for an afternoon of lazing in the sun. It was wonderfully warm. I snoozed, fed the ducks & took photos. Mr B read the paper. It was bliss.
Best friends. Our friends came over for a meal on Saturday night. They surprised us with some Easter goodies! We had a lovely evening of lasagna, wine, chatting & seasick steve.
Holiday planning. Mr B and I talked about 2009 travels. We’re re-thinking our plan to go to a Greek island … for some reason it is absurdly expensive. It was working out at almost the same price as our 10 day honeymoon to Indonesia!! So we’re thinking about going somewhere much further afield & I’m unbelievably excited! We’re considering New York & LA, Australia, Sri Lanka, Egypt… we really have so many places on our wish list and no idea which place to choose! Do you have any ideas?

So this week is going to be fun… we’ll be planning our holiday, looking forward to our long Easter weekend, enjoying quiet commutes to work, savouring our lie-ins on Friday and Monday morning and… getting familiar with our new car which is being delivered to Mr B’s office today!!!

03 April 2009

Material Girl

new haircut +

new dress +

imminent weekend

= one happy girl

02 April 2009


My discount DVF dress has arrived!! The horrid black plastic it came wrapped in has left dirty black grey smears all over my previously bright white top, but I don’t care a jot. My Mondrianesque dress is here!! Let me tell you, curbing my spending this year has been difficult and boring, but my miserliness has been worth it – I’m so ridiculously excited now!!

In other early-April news, my hair appointment last night didn’t happen so I went home after my wasted journey and huffed and puffed to Mr B about how annoyed I was. Over and over again. He suggested we went to the pub. I think he needed something alcoholic to put up with my nattering. I’m getting my haircut tonight instead and I can’t wait to look shiny and new tomorrow. I am pondering whether to get my hair chopped into a long-bob (as exhibited by Heidi Klum recently) but I would like to hear Enzo-the-hairdresser’s opinion before cutting off most of my long hair.

What are your thoughts? You have only one and a half hours to let me know before it may be too late!