Saturday, 28 March 2015

Amsterdam with Motherbear

Saturday, 28 March 2015

This past week has been absolutely wonderful, seriously! My lovely mother came to visit me in Amsterdam for a few days and I had such a nice time. I've been feeling a tad homesick lately and she cheered me right up.

We stayed in the lovely 4* Best Western Amsterdam Couture which was a dream and spent our days relaxing and catching up. We walked and trammed around the city being big tourists and foodies.

As she didn't arrive until the evening we had quite a chilled first night. I met her at the airport for a good ol' cuppa and then we set off to our hotel. Once we checked in, we decided to go for food nearby and after checking TripAdvisor, found ourselves in Ron Gastrobar by Ron Blaauw, a former 2 Michelin star chef. My mum went for the Wagyu burger with patatas bravas and tarragon-sorrel cream and I settled on soft shell crab with red pepper, paksoi and shrimp dumplings. The food was delicious to say the least and presented so beautifully!

The next day we wandered around the Museumplein (museum quarter) in the morning and had brunch at the Lunchkiosk. After this, we visited the Bloemenmarkt (flower market) and Waterlooplein markt (a little flea market in the centre).

Then onto Museum Het Rembrandthuis, where the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt lived and worked until he went bankrupt in 1656. It was really interesting to see how the house looked when he lived there and also to see some of his etchings and paintings of his contemporaries.

We then visited De Foodhallen, located in Amsterdam's Oude-West Hallen-Kwartier. I am so glad we took the trip out to visit this place because it is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend you take a look if you're ever visiting Amsterdam. This indoor food market is in one of the halls of what used to be a depot for the maintenance of the city's first electric trams - and you can still see the tram lines running through the middle of the building. With 20 food stands full of delights to choose from, this will be any foodies dream. The slow cooked beef steak & mushroom pie and the spinach & feta pie from Wild Moa Pies were to die for and so rich in flavour. I also had to introduce my mum to beef bitterballen with truffle sauce from De BallenBar by Michelin starred chef Peter Gast. Within De Hallen-Kwartier there are also many boutique shops which sell such beautiful items.

On our final day we visited the Albert Cuyp Markt (another street market), Dam Square and The Nine Streets for a spot of shopping and browsing.

After I waved my mum off at departures I was so sad to see her leave but it was a lovely break from revision and has really motivated me for my exams next week. Really looking forward to finishing these exams and looking forward to summer. Fingers crossed I pass them all!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Hi... again

Thursday, 12 March 2015
Jeez Louise! I knew I was bad at updating and posting but I didn't know I was this bad! It's been almost 8 months since I last made a blog post and a lot (and I mean a LOT) has happened. So, lets just jump straight in and get you back up to speed.

First things first, I moved to Groningen in the Netherlands at the end of August last year. Big shocker there, but as part of my degree I decided to do a year abroad. I've been here about 7 months now and I have roughly 3 months left. Where has the time gone?! Aghh. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least, but all in all it's been pretty enjoyable. This year has given me a lot of opportunities and helped me become a lot more independent. I'll most likely do a blog post about this in more detail soon!

Secondly, I turned 21! Yes, you heard right eeek! I really don't feel it, at all, I mean, I still get ID'd for energy drinks and lottery tickets.. Anyways, I had the most wonderful 21st spent in the city of luuurv (aka Paris) with my boyfriend. We got to visit the Notre-Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and of course the Eiffel Tower. There was a lot of sightseeing, a lot of shopping and a lot of amazing food. I was absolutely spoilt rotten but hey, I'm not complaining.

Christmas flew by, too fast if you ask me. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. It was so lovely to be home and have the whole family altogether. I get so homesick when I'm out here so it felt extra special this year. And I got to spend time with some friends I hadn't seen in a long time due to everyone being off at different universities. Aw, this is bringing back my post Christmas blues, let's move on!

Right, so after Christmas it was back to the Netherlands for me. I had exams 2 weeks after I got back which sucked but it was good to get them out the way. Then in February, my boyfriend came up to visit for a week. It was so lovely to see him and he managed to organise it so that he was here for Valentines Day. We don't typically go mad for Valentines Day so we decided just to stick with cards this year and have a lovely day out in Amsterdam. Luckily the weather held out for us so we had such a nice day wandering around and visiting art galleries and markets. We then had the most beautiful meal in a cozy little restaurant that we stumbled upon to end the night.

His visit made me really miss home so I decided to book an impromptu trip home to see the family for a week or so. I even had a chance to stop in to see my aunt in London too for a couple of days. It was lovely to see everyone and I so wish I could have packed them all in my suitcase to take with me. I've just this night got back so I'm pretty darn tired. I've got a lot of university work to catch up on so I'm going to be swamped this coming week but I have a few nights booked in Amsterdam with my mum soon too look forward to.

Sorry I've been in hiding for so long, I'll try my very best to post every week or so. Now that I have exams coming up again I think this is the perfect project to keep me procrastinating instead of studying.

Ps. I'll add in some photos soon when I unpack my camera lead. There's also some photos of all these happenings on my Instagram in the side bar :)