Amsterdam 31-12-2013

My first blog on the last day of the year… how typical of me to need a ‘dead-line’ to get myself in gear!

I woke up, much too early this morning, realizing I didn’t want to start this in the new year – as I had planned – but wanted a head start, even though only by one day.

2013 is just as important as 2014 will be for me. So why not take a quick look back…

On January 10th I flew off to visit Lamu, an island off the coast of Kenya. What a good start of the year:) Kenya being my place of birth and Lamu a fond memory of holiday trips at the time, being back there was obviously a dream come true! And thanks to Kathelijne, who was there for her business ( and it was a sentimental journey that I could share on the spot. Also Kathelijne’s passion and energy for her work gave me a boost to start thinking about what I really wanted! Thank you Kathelijne:)

On February 3rd my dear dad would have turned 77 if he had not passed away almost exactly a year earlier.  The end of a first year of suddenly being without someone you were so used to being with. Lot’s of respect for my mum for getting through this…

In March I decided to try something completely different – job wise – and introduced myself at a personal fitness and health club. No not as a trainer…!;) They were looking for a receptionist / PA / all round helping hand. I thought it would be a rather relaxt job for 2 days a week and that I could easily spend the rest of my time with what I really wanted for myself.. But it turned out to be everything but relaxed…

To cut it short; I spent April, May and June there and realized I was spending a lot of time and all my energy on someone else’s dream instead of my own….

On the 30th of April, on our ‘King’s Day’ (formally known as Queens Day), I met Miriam. I was selling my old photo’s, she walked by and immediately noticed them. Long story short; we become friends and Miriam’s energy and drive for her own business ( and constant flow of new idea’s were contagious! Thank you Miriam for showing your belief in me and dragging me to crazy, energizing ‘business bootcamps’ !;)

July arrived as did the summer holiday’s. We spent two weeks in Austria. One of those weeks was at “De Berghut”. What a lovely place. And so much more than a holiday retreat. The owners, Hans and Nel, pride themselves in boosting businesses and finding peoples passion. This week proved to be another step in the right direction for me. Thank you Nel, for your inspiration, worthwhile questions and enthusiastic tips and talks!

August was a combination of end of holidays and start of school. Nothing else really worth mentioning I think..

In September I spent 2 weekends doing the Silva (basic) Course. ( A course where you learn about the power of our brain and how to use it in more ways than you can imagine. I had already participated in this course 20 years earlier and wanted to refresh my memory. So glad I did, can recommend it to everyone!

Also in September my sister Sandrien invited me to a seminar one afternoon. I got to meet two very enthusiastic and down to earth guys with a very clear mission. It has all to do with being happy, i.e. being successful in what you (want to) do and who you want to be/already are. ( We were so inspired that we immediately signed up with them for a year long of learning and growing. Very much looking forward to it all! Thank you San, for dragging me down there;)

Later that month, while visiting Inside Design Amsterdam, and having noticed pictures at concept store “Hutspot” by Caroline Ras (, I decided I wanted to meet her. Four weeks later we were enthusiastically chatting away about photography, how we got started, our travels, dreams and future plans! What a lovely person and how grateful I already am for that conversion where she encouraged me to follow my gut feeling and do the things I enjoy in my own way. Thank you Caroline:)

Beginning of October I got to experience the “Business Bootcamp” ( I mentioned earlier, with Miriam.. And what a crazy, inspiring weekend full of useful information it turned out to be.

Halfway through October I also flew off to Barcelona for a 4 day workshop “Personal Branding”. Three professional ladies to ask anything you want. Learnt so much in such a short period of time, very happy I decided to invest in this. And see here, the website;)

Esther Jacobs, (, Eef Ouwehand ( and Sophie Fischer (, thank you for your expertise and enthusiasm!

Nice to know; I found this workshop through the earlier mentioned “De Berghut”, the place we stayed at in Austria that summer… no coincidence if you ask me..

And by the way; someone else I would like to thank is my dear friend Aki. She has been a motivating factor al the way through the process of getting to where I am now. Always positive and uplifting! Thank you for this Aki:)

Also an important key to all this is sweet Helen. She got me connected to both Kathelijne and Caroline, although it wasn’t intentionally. And even the ‘365 Dagen Succesvol’ program! Thank you Helen! Also for making my hair look nice;)

And oh yes… in between all this Paul and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on October 11th:)

November and December were a mix of all sorts of things. Mainly working on the new site, which naturally needs content and fine tuning constantly.

Also experienced that ‘working at home’ is rather difficult! After 17 years of KLM, where going to work is at a certain time on a specific day, without any ‘home work’ or dead lines to think about, it proved to be a challenge to disipline myself in getting things done at home. Still working on that..; learning how to ‘block’ the days and not get distracted by all sorts of household chores. Or even just reading the newspaper which suddenly seems incredibly important..!

To top off my year, or rather start off my new year with a blast..; my “journey making, picture taking” ‘slogan’ so to speak, will (if everything goes as planned..) immediately go live in January! The plan is to join my good friend Vania on her flight to Taipei! I have been wanting to go there for a while now. Paul went a few times, and I got very enthusiastic seeing his Instagram pictures! So grateful to be able to start the new year with one of the major items on my wish list! Thank you Vania:)

Last but not least; I will start a daily picture project tomorrow. “Around the House in 80 days”. Get it..?;) An idea given to me by Eef ( She mentioned that when being at my house, she felt the urge to travel. And as I am not travelling as much as I used to, why not take a trip around the house; have a closer look at the things collected from all over the world. The stuff that I love having around me. So follow me on Instagram or Facebook, and enjoy the journey with me:)

Wishing you a fantastic year and may all your dreams come true!





Amsterdam 21-01-2014

Have to start by mentioning that what I am going to post after this note, is an up-date of what I already posted on Facebook and Instagram during the last 21 days!

On January 1st I started a project that I called “Around the House in 80 Days”. An indoor journey, showing you things I bought during the past (17) years of travelling. 80 days of items I somehow wanted to bring back with me, to enjoy practically or just visually.

Need to catch up on 21 days in fast forward.. here goes..;


Amsterdam 22-01-2014

Day # 1 , “Around the House in 80 Days”

Wishing you al a fantastic 2014!
I am quite excited as this is the start of a new photographic year for me. Journey making, picture taking!
And I decided to start off the year with a journey indoors. Enough stuff to show you that I collected throughout my years of flying around.
Naming the project “80 days Around the House”
Hope you enjoy!

First one is a wooden board in our bedroom that my husband Paul made for me. This Chinese character stands for ‘double happiness’. It’s meant for married couples, a well known decoration at weddings. Long before I got married I already owned a pendant with this character and when I turned 30, I even had it tattoo’d! As did Paul later;) The character belongs to me.. Which is why I chose it to be my logo for

double happiness, wooden panel










Day # 2, “Around the House in 80 Days”

A selection of 4 small metal plates that I bought in Buenos Aires years ago. In 1999 to be exact! They show the human body and organs and stuff, with the Spanish names for all the parts! Rather educational. I love the colours and the whole look of what it being shown.

I found them at flee market where there was also some lovely Tango dancing performance going on. I’m sure the market is well known, I would have to look it up.. The Tango picture I took there is still an old time favourite.

Nice to know about this particular afternoon, or at least from what I remember.., is that after roaming around the square for a while I suddenly realised I had lost sight of the rest of the crew. Or rather; they had forgotten about me and had left! Yep, felt rather abandoned..

Quickly decided I wasn’t going to spoil my afternoon so I went for coffee in one of those typical, old fashioned, stylish places with ‘senior’ waiters wearing long white aprons.
After a while I was handed two napkin’s with poems written on them! Someone had obviously been inspired (by me haha;) and had been writing while I sat there. It was “El Mozo” as you can read on the napkin, a very famous poet by now, I’m sure!
Well I was flattered..

And it didn’t stop there. I found a fantastic jazz place later on, one of those scenic, smokey, cellars, with wonderful live jazz music.
I felt I had stepped into a movie scene…

So, fond memories for me when it comes to these 4 little metal plates with body parts!

You wouldn’t have guessed would you?;)

buenas aires, tango, poetry










buenas aires, tango, dance, streets, music, timeless







Day # 3, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Came across this interesting piece of marble (is it marble?) in Shanghai. I remember it being a shop near the Yu Gardens, with the famous Tea House.
The shop owner didn’t speak English so I couldn’t find out what the purpose of this thing was. It’s not too big, you can hold it in one hand, but it’s heavy none the less. A stamp, a paper weight, someone’s home creativity? It didn’t really matter, I was intrigued and loved it.
Unfortunately it broke into two pieces a couple of years ago. It had already been sawed into (why??!) when I bought it and a drop on the table one day didn’t manage to keep it together.. Anyone any idea what this object might be?

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Day # 4, “Around the House in 80 Days”

And again something Chinese..(better get used to it, I love Chinese stuff;-)… Found this one in a old shop I remember to be jam packed and dirty. Which is exactly why I couldn’t resist looking around! Had to dust it off to see the colours. Beautiful! And although it already had the crack and was glued together, I didn’t hesitate a moment.
Again a non English speaking shopkeeper but I decided it must be an incence burner. Why else the hole on one side and ornamental openings on the other..?
Can anyone confirm my insight? Thanks!

shanghai, china, porcelain,

china porcelain











Day # 5, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Something from Mexico this time.

Bought it at a typical touristy market with all sorts if shops.
This particular shop was only filled with these wooden boxes with fantastic daily-life scenes from ‘the skeleton world’!
Obviously all to with the Mexican holiday “Dia de Muertos”, when they remember and pray for friends & family who have died.

I think I must have spent at least 45 minutes in there, and the shop wasn’t bigger than 6 square meters! Just couldn’t choose… Finally left with two larger, a small and 2 miniature pieces. Really wanted the XL piece but that wouldn’t have fit into my suitcase..bummer..

One of the miniature’s a (skeleton) woman giving birth. Pretty weird but fascinating too.
The other a skeleton artist painting. Really very cute and so well made. Handwork that requires a very steady and patient hand!

The compilation below is one if the two larger ones. A bar (with picture of Michael Jackson:) and a rock band. Love the details.
Hope you enjoy:)

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Day # 6, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Back to China we go;) This ornamented, wooden panel used to be part of a piece of furniture. A bed, a cabinet, a room screen, who knows.
I think I bought it in Beijing.

My mum had a keen eye for these carvings back when we lived in Singapore. In the late ’80’s they began tearing parts of old Chinatown down. Along the Singapore River. Where Clarke Quay now is. Lots of treasures to be found there at the time. Treasures the Singapore government didn’t yet treasure very much..
Nowadays these carvings can be worth a lot, if not fake..

Have a number of different types of panels at home but haven’t put them up anywhere distinctive, yet. This particular one (I have 2 identical ones), is on our kitchen shelf. Shall I use it as a photo frame? Hmm..dunno..

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Day # 7, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Still China…
Frustrated to admit that I don’t remember where I bought this one.. Which also means I don’t really have much to tell about this glazed, ceramic stamp.

Wanted to share it anyway as it’s a colourful little thing which still makes me smile every time.
The orange (gold?) fish and the emerald green. Soft ’n shiny on all sides but the carved in, stamp side.
Would love to know what it says.
Shall I try it and see what appears? Who knows some one can translate it..

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Day # 8, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Obviously Africa! Got these in Johannesburg. Usually not keen on buying (from) typical touristic shops or markets but sometimes there are beauties to be found..

Soap stone is used a lot to carve all sorts of things, often animals. Also often a lighter, beige coloured type. I still have old ones from my childhood in Kenya. A large hippo in my bathroom:)

These two faces are so lovely and real. So detailed.
Look closely and they will talk to you:)

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Day # 9, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Back to China we go!
Bought this little thing in Shanghai.

I think it’s made from bone or, if it’s a modern ‘fake’, probably synthetic..

I’m guessing it’s meant for keeping a cricket in and taking it with you. Weird.. Something from the olden days of course, don’t see anyone walking around with their pet cricket nowadays! Although…have picture from the wet market which might shock you… Will post it later.

If it is indeed a cricket cage, why the lovely lady on the top? Just for decoration or does this also have a meaning?
Hmmm…get back to you on that.. Or can some one enlighten me??:)











Day # 10, “Around the House in 80 Days

Found this box in Beijing.

Bought it at one of those flee markets where they start as early as 5am! Didn’t manage that obviously, but must have been before 12 noon, which is already a good job considering the jet lag..

This flee market was basically a whole lot of (rural) people with cloths on the floor in front of them with all sorts of stuff laid out for sale. Remember buying quite a few things there, which will probably end up on this blog.

This particular box, or small chest if you will, caught my eye because of the dark, warm brown and gold colouring. And the typical Chinese image painted on it. Something pretty to keep stuff in, was my idea.

Naturally I also opened the lid while inspecting it, and to my surprise, there was one of those Red Guard armbands inside. They were worn during the Cultural Revolution, by the young people of the paramilitary social movement in 1966/67.

Such a shame I wasn’t able to communicate with the vendor as I was very eager to here the story about this box.. Having said that; unfortunately my scepticism towards ‘authentic product’ has grown over the years..

I really wouldn’t be surprised if the man sold me a fake ‘old’ box with maybe a not so fake armband but consciously put there, for selling purposes only! And indeed, it worked;)


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Day # 11, “Around the House in 80 Days”


Whenever I got a flight to Singapore it always felt a bit like going home. Having spent 5 years of my high school years there, and even though the place has changed substantially since then (the ’80’s!), the feel of the island will stay with me always. Maybe dus to the typical humidity and tropical greenery combined with modern city life..

And visiting Singapore means visiting Holland Village! One of the few shopping areas that hasn’t been completely re-built (yet..) and gives me back my ‘I am not a tourist’ status, for just a little while..

Walked into a small modern shop selling artistic decorative things. Amongst them this little buddha in a weaving loom..(at least that is what I think it is..). I really don’t see what the connection between the two objects is, but I love the shape and the combination of wood and gold foil.

Looking at in right now and still enjoying:)


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Day # 12, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Good timing for this little ‘protection panel’ from Mexico.

IN the aircraft heading for Taipei right now:))

Hoping to return with fresh photo’s!

So indeed, like it says underneath the very cute drawing of the plane.., please protect our pilots, so I will be able to share all the new stuff with you after I get back..;)

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Day # 13, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Aahh yes, Lamu:)) I was there a year ago and still reminiscing about this island off the coast of Kenya..

Childhood memories took me back there for a sentimental journey and it was magical.
Lots of beach but no beach tourism in the sense that there were rows of sun beds and sunbathing bodies. Thank heaven!

Just simple Lamu life and a hand full of tourists quietly enjoying the laid back lifestyle.

Or joining the hustle and bustle of Lamu town. Which is where I bought this cute little red lantern. Originally a tin can, now an oil burner! Love the combination of pieces of tin and the cleverness and simplicity of the design.

Not using it, just looking..:)

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Day # 14, “Around the House in 80 Days”

Delhi, India is where I got this little cotton bag.
Fantastic neon colour and pretty drawing of a henna hand decoration.I used to get a henna ‘tattoo’ done when in India but it had to be the feet as the hands wouldn’t suite the uniform while on a flight serving “chicken or pasta”.. hehe;)
Anyway, the bag is a little piece of art if you ask me. I actually got another larger one as well.
So, who needs some henna powder?!
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Day # 15, Around the House in 80 Days”
We’re in Beijing!
To be more specific, in a mall, of which I can’t remember the name (what’s new..), with several floors, and escalators.
Now you might imagine a fancy modern building with shiny walls and mirrors but this was a pretty old lady.
A bit over stocked and grubby, with stuff you never knew you needed!Mostly folks came for the fake (clothing) brands but I headed straight for the top floor where the flee-markety stuff was.
Also a section with paintings. Local artist showing off their talents. I bought a few small paintings there myself, show them to you one of these days.This time I ran across a bundle of beads. Nice long strings of them. Very colourful and shiny. Not just ordinary round beads but different shapes and even the animals of the Chinese horoscope. Very nicely detailed.Saw the exact same ones in a gift shop in Amsterdam once. Cost a small fortune whilst I only payed a couple of bucks for them..
Still enjoying their abundant colours hanging from my cabinet daily:)
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Day # 16, Around the House in 80 Days”
These barbershop signs are originally from Ghana but I didn’t buy it there..Found this old piece at the Noordermarkt in Amsterdam.
It’s obviously been cut in half and it has water damage but I had to have it none the less.The few times I visited Accra I did come across these side of the road signs quite often.
Now I regret not buying them there so much.Meant purely practically as shop signs, these hand painted boards are now considered works of art and can be worth quite a lot.Bought this one for €5,- but I indeed have it up on the wall as an artwork.Also added a picture I took in Accra, showing how these signs are used.
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