Headed to Amsterdam



Mayfair fountain

My bags are packed and I am off for a long weekend* in Amsterdam this afternoon!

What are my expectations for Amsterdam, you ask? Stereotypically, I’m going to answer clogs, cheese, “special brownies”, lots of tall people and gorgeous architecture.

Less stereotypically, I’m still hoping for clogs and cheese and know I’m going to be blown away by the architecture. I love cities built on water so I can’t wait to wander the canals and just get lost. I can’t wait to explore the Rijksmuseum and find the stunning doll’s house featured in a favorite recent read The Miniaturist. I’d like to find some great design shops. I want to dig into the history of the city a bit.

What am I worried about? My Dutch vocabulary extends to three words: alstublieft (“you’re welcome”), kip (chicken) and brotautomat (kind of like an ATM for bread). I know what I’ll be studying on the plane…

What am I most excited about? We’re staying on a houseboat :)

More when I return. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on things to see or places to visit, please do not hesitate to send them my way!

*Things that happen to you when you live in England. Many people will call a long weekend a “mini-break” which is adorable, but which only makes me think about Bridget Jones.

**Other things that happen when you live in England and leave on the day of the Scottish referendum vote: you’re not sure you’re going to come back to the same country you’re leaving… its a very odd thought.

Photo of Tadao Ando’s “Silence” fountain in front of the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. Ando is one of Japan’s leading architects and his beautiful granite fountain silently (and beautifully) mists every 15 minutes.

The writing process blog tour: behind the scenes at Jess-On-Thames



Blogging with cats

I am faced with a conundrum. I have been asked to describe my writing process. And I have been asked by the loveliest ever Emma, otherwise known as the Adventuring Kiwi. (You just can’t say no to her, she is that sweet.)

But I’m going to have to divulge that there isn’t any real process.

Not a conscious one. But I am curious to hear how some others approach their writing process, so I will politely ask Annie of Montgomery Fest, Jacintha of Urban Pixxels, Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons and Jerusha from This Red Lipstick if they’d like to take part, either through answering the below questions or by sharing their favorite posts they’ve written in the comments below (so that I may read them again, purely for my own selfish future writing improvement purposes.)

1. What are you working on?

Everything. And by everything, I mean posts on South Africa, Lisbon, London, Brussels and Amsterdam. I’m working on finding my writing style, on being honest and remembering who I am and why I started this blog in the first place (see question 3).

2. How does your work differ from others of your genre?

I try not to compare to be honest but I love to be complementary. One of my favorite discoveries with blogging has been to experience the same thing as other bloggers but watch the very different ways in which our discoveries appear online. Both in writing and in photography. I love learning from the talented people I’ve met through blogging. In the meantime, if someone has smiled, been inspired to travel or discovered something new by reading this blog, I’m a happy camper.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I started blogging because I hadn’t realised I needed a distraction from the world of Brussels politics where I used to work. I loved my job but realised I didn’t love politics quite as much as most people around me. I needed a creative outlet and a fellow co-worker turned me onto blogging. At first it was just a rather embarrassing curation project of other people’s work I admired but as I grew more confident, I started putting my own thoughts and photography out there. And its been fun to see where it has gone.

Moving to London has upped the ante as there are some serious bloggers in town and so much on offer to explore and engage with. While I still can’t say I’ve chosen a determined direction for the blog (though I would love to delve further into anything travel related), I have found my voice so to speak. I love writing here (which was hard having a talented writer for a mother!) and increasingly, love sharing my photography here (which was hard, having a talented photographer for a brother!)

4. How does your writing process work?

Usually I will mull over an idea for hours in the back of my brain while doing other things, never feeling quite happy with it. And then suddenly the idea will come together and I’ll have to whip the post up all in one go. I don’t have a blogging calendar (though I should). I don’t often compose several drafts, (though I should). I will dwell over the photos.

My posts often start with a picture or a memory, or something funny, touching or poignant that I’ve seen or experienced. Its definitely all anchored in emotions (for better or worse) but I’d like to think that keeps the posts authentic.

The scene? There’s often a cat in my lap and there is usually a Spotify playlist blaring in the background. Like this one – a little bit of everything:

If you have trouble playing the above, try playing on Spotify online.




Leaving Sardinia

I’ve had a lot of conversations this weekend about travel. Maybe that’s because I’m feeling more settled in the UK now and getting those itchy feet to hit the road again. Or maybe its because I’ve seen a lot of great things over the years. Either way, I took a little trip down memory lane today and remembered (again) how lucky I am to be able to travel.

Here are some of my favorite shots (quite a few before I had a proper camera and had a penchant for cutting off the tops of buildings…)


Walla Walla


Northern Italy

St Andrews




South Africa 2



Valley of Desolation



Longleat 1


San Francisco


Parc Quell

Florida rain

San Francisco art


What this series clearly tells me is: I need to go to Asia… Japan, anyone?

A little photo selection from: Sardinia / Portofino / Washington State / Ghent / Northern Italy / St Andrews, Scotland / Madrid / Paris / Cornwall / Kruger National Park / Rome / Howth, Ireland / Valley of Desolation / Strasbourg / Krakow / Longleat, England / Barcelona / Golden Gate Bridge / Portsmouth / Parc Guell / Fort Myers Beach, Floria / San Francisco / Cascade Mountains.

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