Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!!

 Let's celebrate the good moments of 2012!

 January, 3
 Full Moon

From Almere 2012

 January, 14
 Beelden Festival Zwolle

From Zwolle - 2012


From Prague 2012


From Easter 2012

Cristina Branco in Almere

From Cristina Branco em Almere 2012

Improvements in our front garden

From Jardim

Our cousins visit


From Naarden 2012


From Amersfoort 2012


Poffertjeskraam D. Van der Steen

From Huizen & Bussum 2012


From Utrecht 2012

I tasted Thai food for the first time

From Utrecht 2012

From Santorini:Sail trip and Volcano


From Férias Portugal 2012


From Sint Maarten 2012

Sint Maarten

From Sint Maarten 2012


Christmas in Amsterdam

From 3 cities

Dickens Festijn in Deventer

From Dickens Festijn 2012


Some cadeautjes for you...

This music was very special to me in 2012...

Two historical TV series from the seventies with outstanding actors that I appreciated very much to watch    this year:

about Edward VII of the United Kingdom,


 about Lillie Langtry, one of the mistresses of Edward VII,


Have fun out there!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas 2012

And, in spite of everything, Christmas was happy and cheerful.

From Natal 2012

Let me show you how  we had a nice and cheerful Christmas evening. :-)

A couple of days before Christmas Eve, we started to paint the house in white. We began by the ground floor.The kitchen is done, as well as half of the living-dining room.  So, we decided to keep it simple, with no Christmas tree, just with the postcards, the Nativity Scene (Presépio) and some decoration details. Tell me if you like it. 

I love this little church we bought in Overvecht shop.
One day, I arrived at home and I found in our mailbox an invitation with a discount voucher to go to Overvecht Christmas Fair opening. The Overvecht centrum is nearby our house, so it's easy to get there.
The evening was very pleasant. They were offering drinks - like juices and gluhwijn - and some snacks to the customers. We didn't shop very much, only a couple of small things, like this little church, in spite of the variety and stunning colors of all the decorations. I'm glad we went there.We had a very good evening.

From Natal 2012

The place mats I bought on Christmas Eve afternoon at Blokker shop as well as the white plates. My husband had asked me for some wood protections to put under the small clay pans. I didn't find any, so I bought instead these " Merry Christmas " place mats and plates. I like the effect and you? :-)
The drink mats with Art Nouveau motifes were bought in Paris and the lace for the silverware in Bruges.

From Natal 2012

I have suggested to my husband to serve the Bacalhau à Lagareiro (recipe in English) not in a clay tray, as usual, but in the individual small clay pans that we have bought in Overvecht centrum. The flavor of the codfish in olive oil and garlic became even more refined. The red wine, of course, was Portuguese, from the south province of Alentejo (Terra D' Alter). Apples with nutmeg cooked in steam was our dessert.A recipe from my husband ;-)

From Natal 2012

For the evening, a glass of Port with a slice of Bolo-Rainha (Queen's cake). It's the same as Bolo-Rei (King's cake) but without comfit fruits. We like it more like this.

From Natal 2012
In the end of the evening, we ate homemade bread with portuguese chourizo sent by my mother (who also sent the codfish).  To make the bread, my husband mixed two different kinds of flour: rye flour from a Dutch windmill in Haarlem and wheat flour from the library town of Bredevoort .

A romantic Christmas Eve, don't you think? ;-)

We spent the rest of the evening watching Christmas movies and, with the help of Internet, talking to our loved ones, replying emails and chatting a bit and I was happy to know that our postcards and gifts were much appreciated. God save Internet!! :-)

I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope 2013 brings you many blessings and happiness!

Stay well and warm!

Have fun out there! ;-)

Thursday, 27 December 2012

How is Fofinho doing?

This year we intended to go to Portugal for Christmas, but due to Fofinho's situation, we decided to stay here instead. I hope he gets stronger soon, so we can travel together to Portugal for short periods of time, without jeopardizing all we have achieved so far. There is no cure for renal failure, but he is much better now. And cheerful.

Calling 0900 15 15

Around 7 pm of July, 20th, suddenly, Fofinho started to act in a strange way: he couldn't keep his head up and he was having trouble standing on his feet. I never had seen him acting like this before and I got scared. I called my husband and then the 0900 15 15 to know where I should take him. A half hour later, in the Emergency Room, he did some blood tests and was given fluids. We were told that he should stay at home during the following days and rest. Arriving home, we cancelled our already paid weekend in Limburg.

Feeding Fofinho Using a Syringe

Since the end of July and until my departure to Portugal in September, Fofinho didn't eat dry or wet food by himself. I felt sad and desperated many times since I could only feed him using a syringe. To facilitate this process, my husband mixed water with the canned food in the blender.

During my staying in Portugal, my husband was told by the vet that probably Fofinho had only a couple of weeks to live. I arrived here very sad. She also told him to increase the frequency of the fluids administration and my husband started to do it every 30 hours.

The Fluids Therapy

A couple of days after my arrival, our dear cat started to eat and drink by himself. I cried of joy. I also noticed that he stopped suffering from nausea. I went many times with him to the vet clinic because of this situation, so he could take the pills and have some relief.

In the photo below, my husband is giving the fluids to Fofinho. At first, the fluids were given by the vet, but due to the high costs of the appointments and the fluids administration, we started to do it by ourselves.
Travels are for now in standby since we don't feel comfortable to ask this kind of support to our neighbors  - the needle is a bit scary and it would be too much work and responsibility for them.

Last October, Fofinho also started to use the cat litter on a regular basis. That means I don't need to give him the laxative anymore. Finally, this month, and for our big surprise, he began to clean himself up again. Until now, I had to clean him with a proper comb that we have bought in the vet clinic.

The Geriatric Tests

However, he's still very thin and has lost about a kilo and a half since the end of August. He now weighs a bit more than 2 kilos. He has done geriatric urine and blood tests, but no special causes that could explain this lost of weight - like diabetes or hyperthyroidism - were found. In fact, he is not losing proteins through his urine and his levels of creatinine are much lower - this means his kidneys are working better. The liver is also fine.
For the urine test, I bought the proper kit in the vet clinic. I put the small white pebbles in the cat litter and waited for him to urinate. Then I placed his urine in a tube and gave it to the vet right away.

In the Medische Centrum voor Dieren: Diagnosed with HCM

His vet asked then for an ultrasound of his heart and suggested that we do it in the Medische Centrum voor Dieren in Amsterdam. He was diagnosed  with a moderate Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), but according to the doctor who made the exam, his HCM doesn't explain his loss of weight. In fact, she got curious about it and also checked other organs, but she didn't find anything wrong. Fofinho is now taking everyday, and for the rest of his life too, besides the daily pill for the kidney failure (Benakor), a quarter of a pill of Atenolol to help his heart working better.
All the previous procedures - the geriatric tests and the ultrasound - were suggested by a professor of Utrecht University with whom his vet has spoken with.

Repeating the Tests for the laboratory in Germany

The less pleasant situation was with the lab in Germany to where the blood tests were sent to. Something happened and Fofinho needed to repeat his blood tests again, a situation not very comfortable for him, since the blood is taken near the throat.

The Vomits

He still vomits, specially in the middle of the night. I always hear him and wake up to comfort him until he relaxes a bit. I also clean everything as soon as possible since the floor is not in real wood and could be damaged by the vomit liquid. Cleaning vomit is another task that I don't dare to ask the neighbors to do in case I wish to travel to Portugal or elsewhere. It's too much work to ask for.

Diagnosed with High Blood Pressure

In the end of August, Fofinho was also diagnosed with high blood pressure. He needs to take Amlodipine everyday for the rest of his life. I also give this medication with a syringe. High blood pressure in cats can be very dangerous because they can turn blind suddenly. In September, I only left for Portugal, after Fofinho's blood pressure levels became normal. I also noticed that since he began to take the blood pressure medication, his neck became stronger and he could keep his head up all the time.

Fofinho's Bravery and Friendship

Fofinho has been a brave cat during these demanding months and I hope he gets better soon since he is eating so well the proper diet - dry and wet - that the vet has prescribed.
In the worst weeks, he used to hide himself in our bedroom, not staying with us in the living room during the evening. I used to go up to our bedroom to stay with him for a while, in silence, just laying down next to him. One day, I was crying in silence fearing losing him. I don't know how he noticed it, but he stood up, came next to my face and started to lick my tears. My dear, dear friend! He was so weak, laid down for some hours, but he stood up for me.

This was not the first time he has licked my tears. He was there for me in other difficult situations. He accepts me as I am, he is a very friendly and gentle cat and has the most beautiful blue eyes. I could tell you a million stories about him - what we have shared during these 16 years - , but that is our secret, our love and friendship.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


In de Bergkerk, Deventer, Netherlands

From Dickens Festijn 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dickens Festijn in Deventer

Welcome to the Dickens Festijn, the world of Charles Dickens, in the Dutch town of Deventer

Have fun!


From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

  De Bergkerk (Mountain Church) in Deventer

From Dickens Festijn 2012

From Dickens Festijn 2012

One of the songs we have sung there.

From Dickens Festijn 2012


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas in Amsterdam

It has become a tradition. Meet with my friend R. at Leidseplein during Christmas season. Last year, the Christmas market was bigger than this year and we had enjoyed a delicious glass of gluhwein. I love all the Christmas atmosphere of Leidseplein - the lights, the Christmas tree, the ice rink, the stalls where we can buy olibollen or waffles.
As last year, we ended up at Art Unlimited Postcards, my favorite shop in Amsterdam to buy bookmarks and Christmas postcards.

From 3 cities

From 3 cities

From 3 cities

From 3 cities

From 3 cities

Friday, 14 December 2012

Zo Zoet en Zout Restaurant

If you go to Den Haag - on your way to Scheveningen beach -, you will find a cozy restaurant that makes us feel at home:the Zo Zoet en Zout restaurant. Just around the corner, in Duinstraat, next to the International Health Center and in front of the tram stop .

This Zo Salade was my lunch last Wednesday. A delicious salad with goat cheese, bacon, caramelized apple, red onion and peanuts.

From 3 cities

I like very much the cozy atmosphere of this restaurant.

From 3 cities

This scenario reminds me a bit of the old Portuguese kitchens.

From 3 cities

The chandelier of the main room offers a strong  pro-recycling message and a splendid effect, I think. ;-)

From 3 cities

Here you can find healthy and delicious salads, pizzas, wrapps, soups, sandwiches, croissants and cakes.


From 3 cities

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Smiles, Snow and a bit of Sun

kabouter of our front garden.

From Almere 2012

In the city center, in front of the Weerwater Lake.

From Almere 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012


Today's afternoon

Our front garden

From Almere 2012

From Almere 2012

In our neighborhood