Friday, 27 July 2012


Since moving to the Dam I have had my eyes opened to black houses. Actually black buildings really but I'm going to go with houses in this post. They are everywhere here and I totally heart them. Why don't more people paint their houses black? Or do they and I just haven't noticed? I have been obsessively taking photos of black houses for a few months now and to stop doing it I need to post this already.

As a little appetiser let's start in London Town. Here is Blakes Hotel, now tell me that isn't just the coolest building facade? It stands out a mile and looks so smart and elegant. (Also if you do like interiors then have a look at the website, the hotel is unbelievable - it's the original boutique hotel with every room decorated completely differently by Anouska Hempel).

Now a nice terrace which must be in Fulham judging by the original post on Apartment Therapy...pretty cool but does it just look out of place because I'm not used to that in London? dunno. Actually maybe it's the pink door against the reddy-orange brick wall. Dunno again.

Another personal favourite of mine, this is Ed's Shed. This amazing modern house is in east London and belongs to my cousin which makes it even better. More on Ed's Shed at a later date because it's too cool to breeze over like I'm doing now. 

Anyhow let's head back to Amsterdam to where this little obsession was sparked. I'll give you a look at what I've been perving on around town...

This is a classic Amsterdam house. 

I'm just messing with you people. This is a classic Dam house but it's made of Lego durr. I think it's pretty cool (I found it here on flickr). Now, let's be serious with a bit of history. This below is one of Amsterdam's 2 surviving wooden houses in the centre (dating from around 1528) - which just happens to be black which helps me out. It's in the Begijnhof which is a tiny must see on any tourist list, it's a beautiful little court where only women are allowed to live - again I'm just going to breeze right over that because I can't remember why so you can learn more here.

Now some quick fire of the good stuff...

Gabled terrace lovelies.

Little and large.

A touch of red..

And some waspish action


Now this I love. Im' sure this old warehouse has amazing apartments in it. The people that live there are all understated cool couples, maybe with a dog, they are designers and artists and they are all mates and just have cool loft parties. I'm jealous. Hopefully it's just an old people's home.

A couple of big corner hoggers...

Not a big fan of the brown but love the dotted white bricks above the window frames.

A wee wobbly house that looks like it's off the set of Harry Potter

Terrible photo but I liked this with the flowers and classic car

More, more, more.

And now for the finale, my two favourites.


OK. That's it. I'm done. Obsession over.


Friday, 20 July 2012


The husband, Baby A and I just got back from our first family holiday - 2 weeks in Italy. I had never been to Italy before (which usually prompted the reaction “WHAT?? You’ve Never been EVER? You must have?” No, I wasn't lying. It seems to be a rite of passage into, well, life. Everyone is so incredibly passionate about Italy which must have rubbed off from the Italians themselves as they are the most passionate people on the planet. So instead of boring you with a long drawn out post on the joys of the place which it seems everyone was aware of well before me, I’ll do a quick summary.

Yes, it was as beautiful as everyone had said.
Yes, the food was un-rivalled in it’s deliciousness I don’t understand how all Italians aren’t fat with the amount they eat. 
Yes, it now tops the list of "where would I have my holiday house if I won the lottery".
No, I don't understand how anything gets done as it seems restaurants/shops are open for half an hour a day, on different days.

It was also the first time I properly realised that I am a grown up because we willingly went to churches, an aquaduct, beautiful gardens and other touristy sites. Not only that, but I actually took photos of door frames which I remember my father doing when I was little and I just couldn't understand  how it was not the most ridiculously boring, pointless thing ever. Soon I will be listening to Radio 4. 

So there we have it, Italy has turned me into an adult. 
And now some pics of some Italian bits and pieces that I thought were rather lovely.

I'm not sure if there is a collective noun for shutters so I'm going to go right ahead and call this "a shitload of shutters".

And, my god shoot me now, this is the MOST perfect pool house WANT WANT WANT. Yes it’s an orangery - which were used purely for storing citrus fruits in the winter to keep them alive as they used to be a sign of wealth back in the day (I learnt that on our guided tour, see what I mean about being a grown-up?)Anyway, it's now top of my list of things that will go into Dream House. (This was at La Foce incase you're interested).

Here we have some trees and gates. I know, I'm good. We called these trees "Gladiator trees" because they line the drive up to the house in the film where the wife and kid are killed off. I'm not sure what the actual name is but I must be close. Love the nobbly pine cone looking gate posts in the middle.

Beautiful balconies. 
Nuff said.

They do know how to do a church don't they? 

(Sneaking into the picture above is Baby A's bunny Slaperjack - he just happened to be checking out the blue green hues of the roof of the Basilica of San Francesco when I took the photo).

A couple of lovely Italian buildings and a stunning garden. (I'm not really talking them up am I? I think the pics say it all, you don't need me making a hash of a description).

..some classic narrow Tuscan streets. I couldn't believe they actually look so postcard-esque (word?) but they do.

...and finally my favourite room of the trip - the sitting room at Borgo Della Marmotta. This is a communal room where all guests can go and hang out and have a drink from the honesty bar (...HUGE glasses of wine were a favourite from the honesty bar).

WANT those lamps off the drinks table... 


ps. Our only restrained purchase while on holiday were these two pics which we found in an antique shop in Spoleto. They are 19th century designs for Sèvres porcelain (which ironically is French) but I LOVED them and the distressed frames too so I set the husband on to negotiate and we brought them back as hand luggage. They actually look dark in the pic but the frames are really blue matching the designs.

Now where to put them...