Friday, 31 January 2014

A few changes and a new beginning

Villa Borghese in Rome, photograph made by me 2009
As you can see, Impressions Notebook looks a bit different. I changed a few things, like the colour of the letters and the links. I needed to make it a little bit less 'pink'.
The background and the photo behind the title still look amazing, and I did not change anything there, and I do not think I will in future.

There will also be another change, a new beginning. For more than a year I had another English blog, A corner of the library, completely dedicated to books and bookish things. I love all my blogs but in the past months I also thought about what I want and how I want it.
The first year I went a little bit overboard with challenges and memes and events on that blog, but a couple of months ago I decided that these took me away from my reading. I have only posted bookreviews since (and a couple of bookish posts).
The problem however is that I also read books that have no English translation. They will appear on my Dutch blog, but of course not on my English blog. I felt I had to come up with things and invent things to fill my blog.

On the other hand I also sometimes had the problem I wanted to post a bookreview here, but could not do so (in my mind) because this was not a blog for books. It also began to feel like a problem to fill this blog.

And finally I felt managing three blogs became a bit too much. So last night (yes, I know, I should be sleeping at night) I finally made the decision to merge my two English blogs into one. I have closed A corner of the library and from now on bookreviews will appear here, as well as the other kinds of posts I already publish here.

I rather have one blog that is filled regularly with books and other posts, than two blogs with only one or two posts a week each.

My posting schedule will be something like this, although it may vary: On Sunday a quote, A bookreview on Monday and/or Thursday and on Tuesday orWednesday and Friday or Saturday a general post.

I think I will be happy, merging my bookblog into this blog.
Here is to new beginnings!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Hidden churches in Amsterdam

In the 17th century the Dutch Republic was a bit of an exception in Europe. We were a Republic amongst monarchies, and also tolerance was something that was treasured.

Since the war against Spain (1568-1648), Calvinism was the main religion in the Netherlands, but other religions were allowed to practice their faith. As long as they did so in silence. Especially the Roman Catholics had to be a bit careful. They could have churches, and the whole town knew a Roman Catholic church was there, but as long as it was not recognizable as a church and they did not do anything in public, they were tolerated.

Some of these Schuilkerken (hidden churches) can still be seen in Amsterdam.

One of the most beautiful churches is called 'The parrot', in the middle of the busy shopping street The Kalverstraat. Inside is a lovely church full of atmosphere. Worth a visit!

Another well known hidden church is at the Begijnhof. The church on the Begijnhof is now an Anglican church, but on the other side you can see this house, with a Roman Catholic church inside. Quite lovely.

An amazing church and also a museum is called  Ons lieve Heer op Solder (our dear Lord in the Attic). This beautiful house on one of the famous Canals was bought in the 17th century by a merchant who converted his attic into a Roman Catholic Church. It is still in working order and a Mass is celebrated there every month. The building is now a museum, and I can really recommend a visit if you are in Amsterdam. If you are not afraid of climbing stairs, that is!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Quote anonymous

It is not happiness that makes you grateful, it is gratefulness that makes you happy.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Coffee the French way

My French and my Italian Coffee pots
I do not drink a lot of coffee, but when I drink it, I usually drink my coffee the Italian way. When I am out I order an espresso, and at home I have a moccapot. I love the coffee that comes out of it. The moccapot is just something I use when I want to make coffee for myself. When I have company, I have a coffeemachine. But this things always irritates me a little bit, it is clumsy and big and I do not really like to use it.

Last week I also bought a caffetière, a French coffee pot. It is a simpler and easier way of making coffee than in the coffeemachine. Just put coffee in the pot, pour hot water of it, wait for four minutes and push the plunger down. This separates the coffee from the grind and you can pour it.

I quite like my French coffee pot as well!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Lost in Austen (2008)

Just recently I discovered the lovely mini-series Lost in Austen. In this story Amanda Price is a modern day woman who loves Jane Austen and especially her book Pride and Prejudice. In her hectic life all she wants is to read her book. She wants to emerge herself in a world and a time that is so different than today, with better manners, beautiful clothes and more elegance.

One night she hears something and when she finds out what made the noise, she finds a young woman in her bathroom. That woman is Elizabeth Bennet. In Amanda's bathroom is a door that leads directly into the attic of Longbourn.
Elizabeth and Amanda switch places and Amanda meets the Bennets. Mr. Bennet (Hugh Bonneville) and Mrs. Bennet (Alex Kingston) and the four other daughters. Amanda finds out the Bennets have a new neighbour, Mr. Bingley. In short, Amanda finds herself at the beginning of the novel and is completely lost in the world Austen created. There is however one problem; since Elizabeth is not there, Darcy will not fall in love with her. Before Amanda knows it, everything goes wrong and happens not as it is supposes to happen.
A post modern moment for Amanda

I heard about Lost in Austen, but only saw it last week, and I loved it. I loved the originality of the story, the fun parts where Amanda knows things the characters do not know. I specially loved how she asks Darcy a special favor, to have a little postmodern moment, as she calls it herself. Priceless. I found Lost in Austen to be fun, intelligent and heartwarming. I am very pleased that I bought this in the spur of a moment!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Quote: Mahatma Gandhi

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The lake, again

The lake that I have at five minutes walking distance of my house always looks beautyful. And our Dutch skies always look amazing. You can see where the famous Dutch painters got their inspiration from, can't you?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Quote, Augustine

He who is jealous, does not love.
Augustine (Churchfather and theologist 354-430)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


I absolutely love notebooks. I use them as journals, for list-making, jotting down reminders and inspirational things. I often have to restrain myself when I am in a shop that sells notebooks and paper-blanks, because in my mind there is always room for more. Here is a stack of some of my notebooks, (not even all of them). In this pile there are the books that are full, in use or waiting to be filled. When a book is full deciding which notebook I will use next is a huge pleasure. (I know I am a little bit strange)

Two notebooks I use at the moment. The blue one with the Italian scooters in the colours of the Italian flag is my journal at this moment. It is made by Ciak Firenze, and the cover is made of recycled leather. Ciak is the sound the elastic band makes. It is made in Florence and I love this book.
The notebook on the right is a paper-blank book, I always love their beautiful covers. Here I jot down notes for my bookclub.
Two green notebooks waiting to be used. The one on the left I bought in the Kroller Muller Museum, the cover is a painting by Vincent van Gogh. The one on the right is also a paper-blank. The cover is a design by William Morris.
Hand-made books are even better. I always buy one when I am in Rome, as it is such a good memory of a beautiful city. The one on the right has a blue ribbon to close the notebook, the one on the left has a leather spine. Both notebooks are hand-made by Cartolina Pantheon, and they have three shops in Rome. These two are from the shop at Piazza Navona. I love the covers on both of them.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Quote: Saint Francis

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy 2014

I wish all of you the very best for 2014. May this new year bring you everything you hope for.

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