Monday, 30 April 2012

Happy Queen's Day 2012!

Happy Queen's Day everyone!

Today is our one and only national holiday in Holland where we all dress up in orange and have a great time :)As I'm in London and not in NL, I celebrated a few days early (well more like a few weeks) as they had the House of Holland Dutch Day in Trafalgar Square two weeks ago. It was so much fun!

 The bf was away so I went alone, but I had tons of fun anyway. The entrance alone was very promising, with poffertjes, friet, and Dutch beer :)

I just had to have poffertjes straight away! It was still very early and not a lot of people were there yet, so there was no queue, always a benefit ;) They were a bit pricey (£4 for 8 poffertjes), but it's not like I can have these every day. By the way, if you want to know what a 'poffertje' is, click here) And no, we NEVER eat these or pancakes with lemon! Yugh... 

The weather was gorgeous, and Lord Nelson made sure it would stay that way ;)

Check me out! All in my orange kit, and with my tiny orange windmill I managed to score from the Easyjet stand. I also managed to lose it in style later on when I was getting something to eat *pout* but at least I have proof that I once had one ;)

There were lots of flowers too of course and I really wanted to have some tulips, but I'd be there for hours so I waited till I just had to leave and got 50 tulips for a tenner instead of 20 for a fiver :) Score! Btw, the guy in the bottom right of the collage was bald and asked the girl from the stand if he could borrow the hat for a picture, it was so funny with the braids that I just had to get a piccie too!

Of course there had to be some merchandise too, and this year's theme was 'who let the Dutch out' LOL. They played a spoof of the song several times that day... I was all dressed up already but these lovely people still let me take their picture :)

There were also stands with cheeses and yes STROOPWAFELS! Not the ones from Starbucks or something but the REAL deal, made fresh if you wanted even! Sooo yummy! I only bought one pack though, didn't want to go overboard ;)

 I saw this great 'scootmobile' (totally blanked on the English word, sorry... this is one of those thingies that people who can't walk drive to go to town), but dressed up as a Harley Davidson! It looks amazing! Honestly, except fr the fact that had three wheels and a comfy seat, you couldn't tell it was not a Harley :) Plus the man was really nice and allowed me to take a piccie of him in his vehicle. I also started a queue to do this as I saw a line forming behind me hihi...

Being as crazy as we are, lots of people made an effort to dress up before coming to the square. I hope the collage isn't too small, but I didn't want to bombard you with pictures so this is a great way to do it! There was a stall that gave out balloon hats (major queue with lots of kids so I passed on that one myself), and just lots of cool outfits. The girl with the bow on the top right was actually English but her bow came from Hema and I think I will make something similar soon ;)

 I saw these two girls all day, somehow I kept bumping into them! Then at one point I noticed them using makeup so I just had to ask if I could have some too. No, I don't usually carry red/white/blue makeup ;) And they only too happy to help out, so here I am with my cool Dutch flag makeup. I really have to get one of those sticks... It's three-in-one so with one line you have all three colours, brilliant! Also LOVED their outfits of course :)

So very Dutch, all dressed in kit, eating frietje patat (Dutch fries with mayonaise) near the water. Loved their hats also, so many people had those!

I couldn't get the hat, but I could get food. :) Mmmm... frikandel speciaal and frietje pinda, sooo good! Yes, I know it doesn't look very appealing but it is really really nice :)

My gorgeous tulips :) Didn't think that buying 5 bunches of purple tulips would be a great idea, so I ended up with 2 purple bunches, 1 white, 1 pink, and 1 yellow/red. They lasted for a week and looked very pretty.

It was a really nice day out, and finally I had made it to the Dutch day as I always seem to miss it usually...

And just check out this cake I baked for today! I was originally going to bake cupcakes, but my bundt cake is a much safer option, so I ended up making this instead. It's the Dutch flag (red/white/blue) with orange icing and gold sugar balls on top for a royal effect. It's a banana/white chocolate cake :) I added white chocolate chips but they seem to have completely melted into the batter as I can't see them! LOL. I couldn't use cocoa of the colour effect would be ruined, but I think it came out lovely :) The recipe I used was the one I normally use for the Banana/Chocolate one, I just left out the cocoa powder and added white choc chips instead.

 After work we went to De Hems, the one and only Dutch pub in London. I wanted to go early as it tends to get really busy in there...

Yummy Dutch beer!

As usual it was very orange inside :)

Yay more beer! Hey I only had 2 :)

Of course the bf was there too, and I even managed to put some Dutch-flag-makeup on him! 

Now I'm home and after a good day and lots of cake, I can honestly say it was a good day. Though drinking two beers is definitely too much for a Monday night, I need to go and laze around on the sofa now.

I hope you will celebrate/have celebrated a little bit also, at least by eating a carrot. Oh yes, maybe something you didn't know: the Dutch are responsible for the orange colour of the carrot. Don't believe me? Check here. The carrot used to be purple!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Busy But Inspired Weekend

Hi everyone!
The new job is keeping me busier than I thought and somehow I don't get a lot of crafting done, other than practice knitting on the tube... but that doesn't mean I don't do crafty things :) I have some things in the making and I really hope to be able to share them with you soon, so just hang in there please. I also haven't had time to make anything for the April giveaway, but that will also be listed soon. Fingers crossed I'll manage it all, hihi... 

I had a wonderful weekend :) It started off with a sushi dinner around the corner as a little celebration, and on Saturday I spent the afternoon with some ladies from the craft group at the hobby shop. Saturday evening was reserved for the sci-fi meet but I couldn't stay very long as the bf had cooked his amazing chili so after a busy day of shopping and socialising, I could just come home, fall onto the sofa and have a great dinner. He is so sweet! *swoon* Sunday was supposed to contain the sci-fi costume parade in Southbank, and while loads of other people did attend, there was no way my dress would have supported the weather (it has not stopped storming for 3 days now) so I stayed home and baked a cake instead.

 We did lots of shopping on Saturday :) Well, some more than others, hihi...

 I bought suprisingly few things, but most of the things I needed were somehow out of stock or I couldn't find them.... the purple wool is for more practising, although I did see a great pattern in one of the craft books I have for some arm warmers so who knows :) I also bought some circular knitting needles and baking things.

Another member of the group bought these pinky knits that I found amusing, especially as the colours are gorgeous :)

Yes it's been a busy weekend. Tomorrow is Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) in Holland and it's for that that I've baked the cake. I will wear something orange to work and hand out cake. Might be cheesy but I like it. Plus I then also have an excuse to eat some ;) I'll write my post about the Dutch day at Trafalgar Square also so you can celebrate with me. Speak soon!!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chocolate Festival in Southbank

Hello again everyone!
Originally I was going to show you my gorgeous (albeit pink) finished quilted bag, but sadly I still need to work on it a teensy weensy more. All I need to do is sew the top onto the bottom and I would be done but alas it is not meant to be done today. I was going to bring it along to the show and tell at the sewing group tomorrow but I guess I'll have to bring something else now. Oh well, more to blog about next time!

On the other hand, this post has been long since coming and I've mentioned it quite a few times already. Sorry for the delay! Easter has passed already, but just about a week before Easter I was in town and I had an hour to spare before my next meeting so I thought I would walk around Southbank for a bit. You know, enjoy the sun, the view of the Thames, and the moving statues. Yes, it was sunny then ;) So as I'm walking towards the pier, I see a crowd and lots of stall, my natural response of course being 'oooh market!'. I love markets ;) but this wasn't just a market, it was the Southbank Chocolate Festival! And it had only just started that day! Score!!!

 They had lots of classes, lectures, but above all: chocolate!

 This stall was from France, they had the best sweet/salty hazelnut bars

 There was even a stall where you can buy a kit to build your own gingerbread house :) They also a Halloween version apparently, I need to find their business card...

 It was nearly Easter so of course there were loads of eggs and bunnies.

 And cupcakes!

 More eggs and chocolate bars.

 Gorgeous painted and decorated chocolate eggs

 Chocolate bookmarks! So cute, but too girly for the bf... 

 Maybe some of these dotted eggs instead?

 Or some classic eggs?

 THIS was the best stall :) Look at the shoes!! I bought a shoe of course and also some bunnies and some interesting truffles for the bf. I even bought a very manly one with bacon but I think he's afraid of it as he still hasn't tried it ;)

 These lollipops were too cute also. I did buy two of these, even if they had pink :)

 More cupcakes!

These bags were really cute also. They had such cute t-shirts also but alas I was out of cash... I bought too much chocolate ;)

It was such a cute little festival and they had the best chocolates there. Normally I would buy more chocolate but cheaper and not as good, so this year I spent the same money but just bought less and some really nice things. I took a picture of my loot on Easter but I can't seem to find it right now. I'll upload it once I have it :) Mmm, maybe I'll eat another one now ;)

So even though this post is super late, I hope you liked it anyway. See, after nearly 7 years I am actually starting to enjoy London :) More on the mentioned bag soon!


A small selection of the purchases :) These are the ones reserved for me (the bf would never eat a pink chocolate!), aren't they cute!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Weekend for Everything

Hi everyone!
I have had such a busy weekend! It was filled with pretty much everything: socialising, wargaming, creativity, shopping, and bargains. I even managed to start a new project and learn a few things about knitting. So I may not have posted many completed projects yet, but I'm working on a lot :)

 The weekend started with Salute, a wargaming convention in Excel. This is an exhibition on miniature strategy games like Warhammer and the likes, and the bf really wanted to go. This was clearly a guy thing as the first stop was the pub!

 But once inside there were some cool things, like this Burton-style scenery. No idea about the game, but it looked nice :)

 Yes, I managed to find the only pirate in the building, and he even wore a handstitched coat!

 The Black Library stand got a lot of attention... 

 And of course a peek at the Forge World stall could not go amiss. (aren't you impressed how knowledgeable I sound? hihi)

 One of our friends who were there also was wearing this hilarious tshirt (really, only a guy would wear this!)

 After a few hours I left the boys to their gaming and I went to the cross stitch group which was already in full swing as I was a tad late... 

 I needed some help starting my new project which is this Spooky House. Isn't it cool? I have done the first 90 stitches on it now :) The handbags is being done by one of the other girls in the group. It looks really cute!

After the whole day on the go, the Sunday was reserved for the Alternative Bring & Buy Sale. I dragged the bf along with me (no, not as revenge for Saturday!) and we walked around the lovely stalls and caught up with friends. I didn't find much but I did buy a very cute purple cardigan.

As it happens, this was also the weekend for EFF again, but due to the new job I couldn't make it. I didn't think it would be a good idea to take time off in pretty much my first week... The weather wasn't too great, but from what I've seen of the photos it was a lovely weekend anyway. Off to work on some more projects now, I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Redrawn Let's Pretend It's February Giveaway Winner

Hi again everyone,
I have tried and tried to contact the previous winner Robin about the giveaway but alas to no avail. So I decided to select a new winner :)The new winner is: Aik!

Aik was good enough to include her personal email in this comment (not shown here) and it looks like this prize is heading for Malaysia! I will be contacting Aik shortly to make sure that this time the price will actually go out :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Beautified Hair Combs

Heyhey again everyone!
Oh my, it's been a whole week since I last posted anything! My new job is keeping me busy and I was trying to finish some projects too. Plus the weekend was so much fun, but more about that in 2 weeks in my post about Queen's Day. Yes, I'm already planning it :)

For my 'return' to blogland today, I wanted to show you something I made a few months back. I haven't shared this earlier as I was waiting for a good picture of the result and finally I have one :) Are you curious? This was a very spontaneous and unplanned project really. I've been working on hair accessories for myself for a while now as you may have read if you've been a follower long enough. I bought clips and combs to decorate with yoyos, felt bats, and other cool creations. At one of the creative meetups I regularly go to, one of the members had just tidied her craft area and found a load of small boxes containing gemstones she no longer needed or wanted. And can you believe that she was sweet enough to bring this load with her to the group and share this amongst the rest of us? Incredible! Everyone there ended up with two small boxes! I was lucky enough to get a purple one (yay!) and a blue one, but at that time didn't have a project with them yet. Until it was one of those days when you really need to work on project A, don't really want to finish project B, so you feverishly trying to come up with something completely different like project C. Well, my project C were combs. I checked my stash of combs (really cheap from the market, £0.10 per comb) and I had several in clear, black, and brown colours. And I had plenty of MP left to start creating, so I was all set :)

This was the result. I love them!!

 These are by far my favourite ones :) I basically put some MP on the comb (bit by bit coz these stones were really small and required some fidgeting. I also used Outdoor MP as a base for extra hold), put the gemstone on it, let it dry, and covered it again with a layer of glossy MP. 

 This is not a great picture, but the beads used here are purple pearly cut in half and stuck on to the combs. I used black combs as I thought it would bring out the lilac better, but now I'm not too sure. In any case it's too late to change it now... 

 And finally the blue ones. These have a really nice colour scheme to them and I liked the pattern I created. This was all done freestyle but it seems to have worked :)

 And this is the final result! I just braid my hair normally and then fold the braid over and pin it up with the combs. I need 4 combs so I can use all the purple ones together. I love this combination as the pearls make it a bit less sparkly and more chique in a way. Also, this hairdo doesn't come lose very easily which is fantastic! I can wear this to work and it will still look nice in the evening when I go out :)

I've been wanting to share this with you for so long! The last picture is taken by one of the girls in another craft group, so thank you so much for sending it to me :)

I hope you've enjoyed this quick and spontaneous craft as much as I have! Plus it was dead cheap as I only paid 10p for each comb so that's 60p only! Technically I already had those so I could class this as free in a way I think ;)

I'll try to blog a bit more again this week... didn't I promise you a post about chocolate? I bet you have no clue that I have to show you... Watch this space :)
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