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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

With love x

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17 July 2016 - 1:43 PM Ingrid - I was working a wedding yesterday and didn't get home until morning. I tried to see these at the venue but there was no reception and they wouldn't load. All this to say that here I am holding back tears as I view the very best present you could have ever dreamed of. These are beautiful , our children are beautiful ..the way they connected was beautiful . Meeting all of you was my gift this year and now this truly makes my heart so very happy. You made my day ❤️ Thank you so much.

4 February 2017 - 6:28 PM Ingrid - I keep coming back to see these. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Sending you all so much love ❤️

NYC – Day 2 (or something)

We woke up on the 41st floor, surrounded by light (the kind of light that black-out blinds would have dealt with nicely thank you very much. I mean come on! It’s a bleeding glass box that is high enough up to practically be level with the flippin’ sun. And I was exhausted. Stupid light). This was our second day in New York. Or maybe our third if you count the day we landed I suppose. In any event, we were in New York and this was the day that Ralph was coming to hang out with us and we were going to smooch Sooz again…
storyboard-26And the sun was shining. Did I mention that already? Amélie decided to do some stretches on the waterfront while we waited for Ralph.storyboard-27Obviously, I had my camera with me. But I noticed something in New York: I’m clearly far too shy with my camera. I saw people actually climbing over complete strangers to get a good shot. This guy (below) was in the musician’s face for as long as we were standing there (which was a while) and in all that time, this is the furthest he got from him. The rest of the time, his lens was practically touching his face. No manners, I tell you! Young people these days. Tut!storyboard-28In front of the Met…20160330-GY7C4182… where we spent not nearly enough time but got to visit a fair amount of the museum thanks to a series of urgent hunts for the loo (they are surprisingly far apart – but nice views on the way).storyboard-29I wasn’t going to stop, I honestly wasn’t. But Ralph and Sooz wanted pictures… Really, that’s the only reason..storyboard-30Ahh! And finally a picture of two of my favorite people. I mean that very seriously. These guys are amazing and the more I look at these pictures, the more I’m grateful for the time we got to spend together. They are truly magical, lovely, kind, funny, smart, beautiful people. I know this because my children loved them and they are good judges of character!20160330-GY7C4217 20160330-GY7C4218 20160330-GY7C4223How ridiculous is that light? Look, Sooz’s glasses even got all steamed up about it!20160330-GY7C4227The giggles these two shared over Snapchat… Good times! Good times indeed.storyboard-3320160330-GY7C4234 storyboard-32Can you see Charlie’s bird friend? They sat and chatted for at least 5 minutes with the bird hopping after him whenever he got up. I think he may have had a pocketful of pretzel crumbs as bait, but still… My little bird whisperer.20160330-GY7C4244storyboard-34Ralph, director of photography, trying to get Charlie into shot? Or maybe he was just telling him not to run down the side of the big rock (yes he did eventually fall anyway – it was almost so inevitable that I didn’t even bother to intervene). 20160330-GY7C4270 20160330-GY7C4275 storyboard-35Spot the Charlie head poking up from behind the rocks. I love how happy he is in how own little world.20160330-GY7C4280 20160330-GY7C4282

Hello? Yes, I’ve found a lone photographer wandering around the park… What’s that? The lost property office? Ok, we’ll be there soon.storyboard-36 storyboard-38storyboard-37Have I mentioned that my children loved Sooz? Head over heals, both of them.storyboard-40 storyboard-41Oh yeah, and Ralph too. But doesn’t he know it?! Look at that facestoryboard-42And finally, waiting for a table at the Brooklyn Dinner where we were served the biggest (and ever so slightly inappropriate) hotdogs ever.20160331-GY7C4353And finally not where we ate, but pretty flowers.20160331-GY7C4349Twas one of the best days ever. Sigh. Let’s do it again sometime. What do you say Ralph? Sooz?

2 May 2016 - 4:59 AM Amanda - Beautifuuuul pics!!! Looks like an awesome trip. xxx

2 May 2016 - 5:51 PM Ingrid - They are beautiful..the whole lot. The photos and the people xo

NYC – day 2

From our room with a view to views from the High Line, from a slaughtered lamb to the deli of Han, from the subway to the PATH, from strong light at midday to a candlelit dinner, this was our second day in New York city.storyboard-22storyboard-23storyboard-21 20160329-GY7C3967 storyboard-25 20160329-GY7C3970 storyboard-1520160329-GY7C3964 20160329-GY7C3950 20160329-GY7C3947 storyboard-16 20160329-GY7C4033 storyboard-14 20160329-GY7C3995storyboard-1320160329-GY7C4047storyboard-20 20160329-GY7C4073storyboard-17storyboard-1920160329-GY7C3989storyboard-18storyboard-24 20160329-GY7C410920160329-GY7C4115-Edit

17 April 2016 - 8:30 AM Nancy - Love these! And the last one is epic!!

17 April 2016 - 5:52 PM Ingrid - You know just how much I love your photographs...and I adore these. A glimpse of home and how beautifully you've captured everything and everyone . Lots of feeling seeing these xo

Into the dark, dark woods…

We went for a long walk in the countryside. It was a little muddy. And then it got dark. Really quickly. And we walked the last couple of kilometers feeling more than seeing our way back to the car. It was fun (with hindsight).storyboard-6 storyboard-5 storyboard-4 storyboard-2 storyboard-3 storyboard-1

15 February 2016 - 6:24 PM Nancy - Your photography is fantastic - I love how you see the world!

Berlin – day 3 (with lightsabers)

OK, so day 3 started with me spotting this lovely backdrop of red which, as it turns out, was the garden of the North Korean embassy. Hanno waited until I had my camera out and then told Amélie that they’d probably come and shoot us for taking pictures. Amélie is incredibly gullible, thus the rather uncomfortable look on her face and Hanno’s evil, cheeky grin. It may be his way of protesting my constant photo-taking.storyboard-198This is Berlin’s New Synagogue. Amazingly, and in part thanks to one brave soul (local police officer Otto Bellgardt who dispersed a Nazi mob and allowed the fire brigade to extinguish the fire that had been started), it survived Kristallnacht in 1938. Unfortunately, it was then mostly destroyed during the Allied bombing of the Battle of Berlin towards the end of the war. The irony is painful.20151102-GY7C2895 storyboard-194storyboard-196 storyboard-195 And that was the Holocaust Memorial. It is such an amazing place: overwhelming, claustrophobic, disorienting  and scary. The big grey plinths swallow you up as you walk into the centre, towering over you at slightly uneasy angles, blocking your view of the outside world. You feel small, lost, helpless and alone. But what I found most poignant was that you don’t get any inkling of that from the outside. From the outside, it looks simple, unintimidating, regimented perhaps, neat and tidy. In fact, standing on the periphery, you wonder what all the fuss is about… And then you realise: maybe that’s the point. No-one did know. No-one cared to look close enough. You could only know the horror from the inside.
20151102-GY7C2897This was our first time in Berlin so I don’t know if it’s always this beautiful, but autumn sure does suit it. storyboard-19920151102-GY7C2907The Fernsehturm, built by the communists during the Cold War. It was apparently erected at the same time that many churches were being destroyed in a movement against religion and religious symbolism. It stands 368m tall and, when the sun shines on it, a gigantic cross appears on the ball. That wasn’t intended but apparently brought a wry smile to many East Berliners at the time.storyboard-192Have I mentioned (on day 2 perhaps) how spacious Berlin felt. The light and skies were amazing. Proof:storyboard-197On our way back to the hotel… Charlie, who for years, refused to walk anywhere and had to be carried instead, has taken to running everywhere with leaps and jumps and superhero “POW!” “BIFF!” “BANG!” sound effects. It is quite possibly one of the best things ever. On this particular walk, he had recovered an empty water bottle from one of our bags and proceeded to fight evil with it…
20151102-GY7C2950 20151102-GY7C2956As the light caught in the bottle it reminded me of a lightsaber and so… well… I kinda had to didn’t I?20151102-GY7C2956-Edit 20151102-GY7C2957Bonne nuit Berlin!

13 November 2015 - 9:06 PM amanda - Love these, makes me want to go there with M. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! XO

22 November 2015 - 8:55 PM Nancy - A very wonderful post about my home city. And I never read a better description about the holocaust memorial so well. Now I see it with different eyes.

22 November 2015 - 9:00 PM Nancy - PS: Sending my thoughts and love to Brussels, especially these days.