Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

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A few years back I took a photo course and the field trip consisted in spending an afternoon taking photos at the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam of plants and butterflies. My favorite section was of course the desert greenhouse with the cacti and succulents.

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It was so much fun to look so close up at the plants and see their amazing details and patterns. I loved observing these gorgeous little flowers with such beautiful pastel colours.

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The texture of these velvety purple leaves was amazing and a challenge to try and capture on camera.

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I remember being so focussed on the details, I was totally in the flow and didn’t feel time pass by.  I think I will schedule another excursion there soon.

Amsterdam Bee Park

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While Paolo was living in the Far West (Geuzenveld) we discovered a few lovely places to escape from the rhythm of the city for a while. The Bee Park is one of them, a hidden haven of peace, where you can admire flowers and observe bees close up.

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It’s lovely to walk along the tiny paths between the hedges of the allotments, catching glimpses of the carefully tended gardens and small sheds.

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As you explore you may bump into a beekeeper, fully clothed in this protective gear like an astronaut, carefully taking care of his bees and hives. If you’re lucky there may even be some of this delicious local honey for sale to take home with you.

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Bijenpark Amsterdam is open from April to October, I recommend to check the times and dates before going.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

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In 2014 during our trip to Glasgow, Eva and I explored the beautiful Botanic Gardens and enjoyed being surrounded by colourful tropical plants while it was grey outside.

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We spent several hours discovering the glasshouses, in particular the Kibble Palace, a huge 19th century wrought iron glasshouse which is amazingly beautiful.

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As we wandered around, taking our time and snapping lots of pictures of the  gorgeous plants, a gardener came up to us.  He indicated a plant and told us with his thick Scottish accent to take a closer… He was pointing to a tiny camouflaged stick-insect which we would never have spotted (not featured here;).

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I’m off to Thailand!!

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #22

The count down has started and I’m down to my last days of work before leaving on a very well-deserved holiday (if I may say so myself;). This term has been extremely busy at work and I’m so excited to have some down time to relax, explore Bangkok, chill at the beach in Koh Samui, enjoy Thai food and especially catch up with wonderful friends who I haven’t seen for a long time.

I leave my lovely house plants in Paolo’s good hands while I’m gone. I’ve also dug through my archives and found some pictures of plants to entertain you in my absence so watch this space. In the meantime, I hope to discover many beautiful tropical plants on my travels and will report back when I return:)

Sunshine and fresh air

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This weekend was the first really warm spring weekend in Amsterdam. It was perfect weather to go cycling through the Amsterdamse Bos and enjoy watcing nature wake up after the winter.

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Though the trees are still very bare, the undergrowth is teeming with wild daffodils and other pretty plants which the bumblebees are eagerly collecting nectar from.

Being surrounded by nature always helps me to unwind and relax my mind after a busy week at work.  My senses felt so alive, as I bathed in the warm sunlight, seeing the bringht colours , breathing in deeply the fresh air and getting a whiff of those spring smells (wild garlic!).

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Digital detox

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #21

Paolo and I have decided to consciously spend one evening a week in digital detox mode. The rules are simple: during the weekend we decide which week night it will be, and when that evening comes around we switch off our computers and the wifi on our phones at 6pm.

It feels really good to be disconnected (especially after intense days on the computer at work).  It’s fun to see all you can do in one evening without internet: we’ve been cooking delicious new recipes with my sister, chatting a lot, being creative, sorting paperwork, reading books and basically relaxing away from the screens.

Marching for equality

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #20

I’m grateful for the thousands of women, men, kids, dogs and their owners who carved some time out of their busy lives to come to the second Women’s March in Amsterdam last Saturday.

There were many wonderful slogans with puns and creative colourful banners, but the one above was my favorite. Simple, yes, but sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics, especially considering all the misconceptions around feminism.

There was a great atmosphere of solidarity at the march and it was heartwarming to see so many people who care enough to turn up and make sure their voice is heard for women and equality in general.

Taking another route

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #19

This morning was one of the first sunny spring mornings, so instead of trying to get to the office as fast as possible I decided to take my time (it was Friday after all!). I took a slightly different route as I cycled through the Vondelpark and just making that small change made me much more aware of my surroundings.  Normally I am lost in my thoughts, or just paying attention to the path, but this morning I really enjoyed the view. The soft sunlight shining through the trees was magnificent!

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