A postcard from Oxford

So this year I turned 44. Not quite sure how that happened but thems the facts. Now I love celebrating my birthday. Every year I turn into an even bigger kid than I normally am, annoying OH for weeks going on and on and on about my birthday. I'd arrange to meet all my mates for drinks which is great as I'm a bit of a social butterfly and have lots of different groups of friends who don't normally see each other except at my birthday. And I'd been doing this for at least 20 years. But this year something was different. This year I just didn't feel like celebrating it. I can't explain it but there was no anticipation, no excitement, no giddiness. Not quite sure what happened. Perhaps it was because it was on a Monday. Or perhaps I'm (whispers) old..... BUT the one tradition I did uphold was meeting up with my photo buddy and going for an adventure. For the past couple of years we have been going to one of my favourite places on the planet Great Dixter but this year I figured we should go there during a different flowering season so suggested a day out to Oxford. Not sure why Oxford but it's a city I've always loved since I've been a kid. Oh and I'm a massive Morse addict. So here is my postcard from a very sunny Oxford.

A postcard from Haarlem

I made OH spend a day among the tulips in Holland a couple of weeks ago. We were staying in the beautiful town of Haarlem which is in between Amsterdam and the airport. I had been to Haarlem before but only in the evening for dinner (as OH's dad lives close by) so it was lovely to spend a couple of hours exploring the town before flying back to the UK.

I love Dutch architecture.
So loved wandering through the historic part of the town

Our destination was the Teylers Museum which is one of the oldest museums in the world.
It reminded me a bit of the John Sloan Museum in London, an eclectic mixture of items across the arts and sciences.  
We also popped into the Watteau exhibition. Now I must admit I'd never even heard of Watteau but the fine drawing from around 1700 was mind blowing. 

 And another quick wander around the streets of Haarlem. 
 Complete with canals - it wouldn't be Holland without a canal! 
As I wanted a closer look at one of Haarlem's land marks, a windmill (of course) 

And that's it - a short tour of Haarlem before we had to head for the airport to catch our flight home. 

Tip toe through the tulips - a trip to Keukenhof

Back in February I was flicking through a gardening magazine and spotted a small article about the tulip fields in Holland and the Keukenhof. The Keukenhof is a celebration  of tulips and spring flowers in a parkland which I hadn't realised was so close to where OH's dad lives. And so an idea grew in my mind to persuade OH to come with me to see the tulips. I didn't think he would agree as flowers aren't his idea of fun but combining the trip with seeing his dad meant it was a win win. So we popped over to Holland for a short 2 day break.

Keukenhof, in a nutshell, was mind blowing. The colours made my heart sing. Every corner we turned I was blown away by another amazing sight. I have taken so many photos and it was impossible to delete as many as I should have. But here is a selection of my favourites to give you a flavour of what an incredible spectacle the Keukenhof is. If you don't like tulips turn away now :)