I saw this posted on a Facebook friend’s page. I love it as a gift idea! When A. moves beyond drawing circles I am so turning one of her drawing into a toy. Can’t wait!
Every Monday morning at 10:00 A.M. I start my week with 1-hour of Pilates. I remember I have muscles, I discover some new ones. I yell in my head at my instructor when she says things like “only 5 more” when I already feel like I am dying. To end the session grateful, happy and all my body awake and stretched. I decide to only do healthy things for the rest of the week…. until I step outside the studio, in the middle of the Mondaymarket – the Noordermarkt and I get a sniff of Vietnamese spring rolls. Spring rolls contain vegetables, right?
It’s been a long winter. I think we have caught every germ that has been circulating around. I haven’t been home sick this much since I was in school, this has seriously affected mainly my energy levels. Luckily spring is finally here and I’m already counting down to the summer holidays.
First I thought I’d write something about our winter holiday to Madeira. A very needed vacation to a location that really surprised us. I must admit that my expectations weren’t very high. I just looked forward to temperatures above zero, and not having to fight with all layers of winterclothes.
To summarise, Madeira was a great location. We spent two weeks there in February, on the warmer side of the island (we had sun and temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius pretty much every day). We rented a cute newly renovated appartment for week one and a villa for week two.
The first week we spent doing daytrips and getting to know the island and the second week we spent mostly chilling in the villa. We rented a car and it was very easy to drive around, with good roads and there were lots of small villages to visit, and lots of places the kids will appreciate. Funchal was a nice town too.
Most appreciate was probably our visit to Sao Vicente and the lava cave museum. The whole thing about Madeira being a volcanic island really fascinated Luca. Porto Moniz with it’s natural pools was also really impressive. One thing though, that side of the island had totally different weather, it’s windier and rougher. So we always had extra clothes and jackets in the trunk. Also the mountains were quite cold.
We loved the our trip with the cable car up to Monte and back. Amazing views.
A real favourite was driving around in the mountains, Paul do Serra and Curral das Freiras. Again, amazing views. It doesn’t happen very often that you gasp for air. But we had a few of those experiences, we were speechless.
If you have bigger children you should definately try a levada walk. We tried to do a short one to the Risco Waterfall, but started in the wrong place (the signs aren’t that clear so do your homework!). We came to a cave that just kept narrowing and felt lika it never ended. Not so great with kids, so we turned around. Still we had a nice walk and a nice picknick which the kids really enjoyed.
If we come back, perhaps when the kids are bigger we’d love to go whale and dolphin watching. It would also be nice to see the island when it’s summer.
The only negative thing was the food. It was ok, but most restaurants had pretty much the same menu. Very little variation and not that great. Once we started cooking more at home, we realised that there was a treasure of great foods that apparently didn’t make it to the restaurants – lovely sausages, lovely sweet treats and so many different goat and sheep cheeses.
So, if you’ve been considering Madeira as a destination but have your doubts due to the islands reputation of boing and old people’s destination. I say go. There are lots of oldies around, but I guess it’s because they are old and wise and know it’s a lovely place to visit anytime of the year and great value for money. In particularly active and sporty people will be pleasantly surprised. Party people and those scared of heights should though not be botherered,
A. is in her greeting phase. She says hi to everybody & everything. It cracks me up. I hear her walking through the house : “hallo mama, he papa, hallo auto, hallo opa” or at complete strangers in the street “hallo, hallo, hallo” – just as long until they respond.
Hello! Hello! Hello!
Our neighborhood is blessed with a very talented cutter/coupeuse who sells great scarfs and does most of the costumes for the Dutch Opera & National Ballet – Marita Schoonheijm. One day we got talking, I complimented her on her skills and mentioned that my sewing skills were nonexistent. She offered the perfect solution to that, even though up to that point I never missed my nonexistent sewing skills, I should take a course with her. And so it happened that I find myself every other Tuesdaynight behind a sewing machine. I am definitely no natural, precision is apparently a valued skills for sewing straight lines, but after each lesson my skills have somewhat improved. A. now has a painting-apron (small steps…), and I am now working on an actual dress for her. For a minute I thought about trimming my too long Paul Smith dress, but figured some items should be left to more experienced hands – luckily there are plenty of sewing shops around!
Lovely seven room apartment.
I’m always trying out new products and I guess I’m not very consistent in my direction… right now I have two new darlings in the kitchen that are quite the opposites…
no.1 I present you with Grasse au canard (duck fat). A tablespoon of this will totally lift your oven roasted potatoes (parsnips, sweet potatoes and carrots too for that matter). A bit ironic considering I’m always cutting around the fat on any meet. Nothing for the vegetarians or vegans out there.
no.2 Coconut oil. Purchased in my attempt to more healthy baking. Is actually really nice, tasty and versatile! Good for baking, in smoothies etc. Yum!