Friday, 27 May 2016

Wendy's Week - Knitting & more Knitting

Hello again I hope you are all having a super week!
I must say this week was a quiet one for me and as you might have guessed from the title there was a lot of one thing in particular...

~ Knitting & more Knitting ~
- 16th - 22nd May -
Published my Sunday Pictorial Beret // Did some work on my Plot // Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Singed the Home Fires Petition // Progress on my socks // Beau trying to hypnotise me in to getting his dinner


- I signed the Save Home Fires Petition. I actually did this last week but forgot to mention it, I was alerted to this by lovely Joe from Josie-Mary, that ITV in their infinite wisdom have decide to not to recommission another series of Home fires, WHAT! I know a show about women of the WI during WWII may not everyone's cup of tea, but to leave its fans with such a massive (if slightly ridiculous) cliffhanger is unkind, especially after this last series I feel I have grown more attached to these characters and want to know what is to become of them and their knitwear! Argh, its so unfair (has teenage style flailing arm strop) so if you think Home Fires should be recommissioned too, then you can sign the petition here, lets hope it makes a difference and even if ITV are not up for it, perhaps someone else might be!


- I discovered the wonderful world of audio books. Last month I decided to give Audible a try as I thought it might be a good way to increase my book reading level (or being read to level). When you sign up you get a months free trial, which equates to the download of one audiobook, so I decided to start my trial with a book I spotted when at the airport a few weeks back and I though it looked interesting, Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. Its set during the early part of the second world war and follows the lives of four young friends as they encounter not only the ever present war of nations, but also the ever present wars in society, of class, race and love. I did struggle at first and was in to minds to continue listening, the book is narrated by Luke Thompson and he does an admirable job of creating different voices for each of the characters, but initially I found his female voices a little irritating, however I persevered and I am pleased I did as it is a beautifully written book, some of the descriptions of war torn London are simply stunning and the attention to historical detail is astounding. I finished listening to this week and I would totally recommend giving it a read, or even a listen!


- Knitting & more knitting.  Something I discovered this week was that knitting is the perfect accompaniment to listening to audio books, this is partly why all I feel I have really done this week was knit! I spent every free second this week knitting on my Hermione's Everyday Socks, I have chosen to make my first pair in the drops 09 Turquoise/Purple, yarn which is so pretty, and is knitting up quite well, the yarn is a little fluffy so its quite easy to spilt stitches while knitting but it is so pretty I will forgive it. Plus I finally figured out how to do the magic loop with circular needles which took me awhile, I found once I persevered past the first few wobbly looking rows, it all became much less difficult and I think has fallen in to place, I guess the next sock will really determine how much I have remembered! Im nearly finished my first sock, just the foot to go, so I'm hoping to cast on the second this weekend fingers crossed!

~ Me-Made May 2016 Week 3 ~



Again this week I only managed two garments, though I did wear my newly finished beret fro a few hours till it got too hot so its almost three! First was my jersey Swallow print dress, which is made from my tried and tested pattern from Sew U Home Stretch, its another I have yet to blog about but is the same pattern as my Self Drafted Red Dress and is lovely and comfy to wear, despite the fabric being just a bit too see through! I also wore my Spring For Cotton Kim Dress I made last year in my Odhams print fabric, I am hoping to get allot of wear from this again this summer, if the weather holds out!
I must say one thing this Me-Made May has taught me, which I honestly didn't realise before, is just how much I like purple! Much of my me-made wardrobe so far has had a purple hue, even the beret I've just finished and the socks I've just started are purple, and looking at many of my vintage dresses the same can be said there too! It seems my colour comfort zone has moved away from black and on to purple, which I don't mind at all I just wish someone had told me!

Have you any plans fro the weekend?
Wendy x

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret

~ Sunday Pictorial Beret ~
Designer: Susan Crawford
Yarn: 2 balls of 4ply Rowan Cashsoft in Loganberry & Deep
Needles: 3.25mm / US 3 / UK 10

I started this beret to use up some stash yarn, way back in 2012, January 22nd 2012, if Ravelry is to be believed, but it has taken me four and a bit more years to actually call it finished and put it on my head!

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2





The pattern comes from Susan Crawford's fabulous knitting bible A Stitch In Time Vol.2, and is adapted from an original 1930s pattern published in the Sunday Pictorial. When I first saw it I instantly wanted to make it, but as usual I couldn't decide what colour to choose, after a bit of stash raiding I initially choose a soft browny-beige shade, which looked almost identical to the original in the book, but as I was knitting, I was gradually falling out of love with it, as its wasn't a colour which felt very 'me' and I knew I if I didn't love it now then I certainly wouldn't wear it when it was done!

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

So I frogged it and went back to my stash to find this wonderfully squishy Cash Soft yarn by Rowan, in a gorgeous dusky blue shade and cast back on! I realised pretty quickly that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish, so I ripped it back again and this time added in some stripes, in another Cash Soft shade, a lovely purple hue called Loganberry.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

The beret is made up in a garter stitch pattern (knit every row, no purl rows) which means it is very simple to knit and would be great as a starter project for those getting in to knitting. Also unusually for berets its knitted flat, on two needles rather than four, and so is wonderful for a bit of quick, mindless knitting with a bit of row shaping every now and then to create the wonderful spiralling centre shaping!

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

If its so easy and quick to knit, I hear you ask, then why has it taken you so long to finish?
Well it spent most of those years lurking in my UFO pile, simply because I could not decide on what to do about the embellishment that should be sewn over the seam. If you look at the original pattern here, you will see that there are two delicate bows which I believe are stitched over the back seam to disguise it and to add a fabulous bit of 30s flamboyant flare to the beret.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

Well, I knitted the bows up; one in blue and one in purple and attached them to the beret but they looked a bit ridiculous. They were so floppy that they just hung limply at the back and didn't really look flamboyant at all! I learnt later from a conversation with Mim, that the reason they didn't work was that the yarn was too soft and didn't have enough structure to be able to hold its shape, she suggested getting some fine florists wire and work that in as I knit them, which I thought was a great idea, but I just never got around to actually doing it. So this weekend I called it quits on these bows and decided to move on. After dragging the beret back out of my UFO pile, I redid the back seam as the stripes were not matching up to my liking (my standards have obviously improved since 2012) and tidied away the loose ends before I giving it a quick wash and block over a dining plate which I left in the sunshine to dry.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2


So now my beret is complete and I can actually wear it, I really like it! Its a floppy beret with a loose style which means you can position it on your head depending on your mood or era you are trying to recreate. I actually really like how the stripes make it a little more interesting and are totally in keeping with its original 30s style which means it should look great with my dark blue original 40s fit and flare coat! I did buy a little more of this yarn in both colours before it became discontinued so I am toying with the idea of making up some matching stripy gloves, though I'm not convinced I'll have enough yarn to do the job so I might have to play a bit of knitting roulette and see if I win!
Wendy x

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wendy's Week - Yarn & UFO's

Hello you lovely lot I hope you are having an amazing week!
This is what I've been keeping out of trouble with...

~ Yarn & UFO's ~
- 9th - 15th May -
Reading A Woman in Berlin // Yummy yarny goodness // Beau checking his garden for intruders //
A gift of pretty flowers // Lots of new knitting patterns // Last Knitting UFO completed

- Finished a reading book! It may have taken me a few months, but I have finally finished reading 'A Woman in Berlin'. I am so glad to have finished it, as it was a fascinating, if utterly traumatic read. How these women were able to cope with essentially being the spoils of war astounds me. I read slowly, so it's not the books fault it took me this long, but perhaps it was the time I took or just the amount of horrendous events, but the month or so time frame that the book covers felt more like years than weeks. If you are interested in WWII history then I would say it is a must read!

- Finished my very last knitting UFO! My Sunday Pictorial Beret is complete, it only needed re-sewing together and for me to weave away the loose ends, so the length of time it has taken me to finish this is shocking, but it's now done and photographed, so there will be more about it in my next post!

Drops Delight Yarn: 06 Pink/Purple, 09 Turquoise/Purple & 15 turquoise/burgundy/beige

- Bought some very yummy sock yarn! With my last UFO now finally a FO (finished object) it was time to start something new, without any guilt! I have been wanting to have a go at socks for years but couldn't quite muster the enthusiasm to actually start anything, well that all changed this week when I found this gorgeous Drops Delight yarn on Love Knitting's website and the fact that it was on sale was even more tempting so along with some yarn for my Home Fire's Fair Isle (I am still working on it, it's just taking me longer than I thought to work out re-sizing...the blighter!) I bought a few balls and can honestly say the pictures on the site don't quite do it justice, it;s much more delightful in the fluff! I am really looking forward to start knitting with it, I am thinking of trying Hermione's Every Day Sock Pattern by Erica Lueder, which is free on Ravelry, as it looks easy enough for a beginners pattern, has a little detail to make it interesting to knit and is still simple enough to show of the pretty yarn, add in the fact I love Harry Potter and well, my decision is pretty much made!

- Operation Victory Garden is back on track! I spent the weekend, weeding and digging on my allotment to get everything back on track for planting up my onions and potatoes this coming weekend. I have decided to keep it a little more simple this year, so have held back on the seed planting as I don't want to overwhelm myself as I have in other years. So this weekend I finally planted up some runner beans and once I find where I put my seeds, I'll also pop in some marrows too, slowly but surely I am making progress!



- I was gifted some wonderful vintage knitting patterns to share with you all! last week I got an email out of the blue from the lovely Suzanne who runs the fabulous vintage clothing store Authentic Glam on eBay, she wanted to know if I would like to rehome some vintage knitting patterns for her, as she feared the charity shop may not give them the respect they deserve and of course I said, yes please! The patterns arrived this week and blimey they are fabulous, there are loads of them, the above is just the very tip, of the tip of the Iceberg! As a thank you to Suzanne, I'll be gradually turning them in to pdf's and sharing them over on The Vintage Pattern Files over the next few months (actually it might be years there is that many) so that you all can share in her utter generosity too!

~ Me-Made May 2016 Week 2 ~

Ok, on to this weeks MMM2016! Week Two I managed to wear only two garments. On Sunday I wore my still not blogged about 1950's Simplicity 1166 skirt which I panic stitched before my holiday about this time last year and on Friday for a lovely sunny pub lunch with my mate Alan I wore my Anderson Blouse (though I forgot to get a photo) which is fast becoming my favourite thing to wear! I'm not quite hitting my three garment quota this week but I am not disappointed, as I am still enjoying the challenge, I am also rapidly realising I don't have as much practical clothing as I'd thought so thats something to remedy with any future projects!

Wendy x

Friday, 13 May 2016

Wendy's Week - Planes & Trains

Hello I hope you are having another great week and are looking forward to the weekend!
This is what I got up to last week...

~ Planes & Trains ~
 - 2nd - 8th May -
The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planes & Trains Leaving Schiphol Airport // Crazy cat lady  // May the 4th be with you // Beginning Me Made May 2016 // Sunbathing knitwear //Bowie pin a pressy from my brother!
Leaving Schiphol Airport // Crazy cat lady  // May the 4th be with you //
Beginning Me Made May 2016 // Sunbathing knitwear //Bowie pin a pressy from my brother!

- Flew back to Liverpool and almost enjoyed this flight! The weather leaving Amsterdam was gorgeous, clear blue skies as far as they eye could see, the weather over England was not so nice, our decent into Liverpool was...turbulent, I didn't enjoy it one bit, but as my brother kept reminding me as my sweaty palms were clutching the arm rests, it was caused by the thick layer of cloud we were passing through and nothing to be scared of, it was bad but not anywhere near as scary as I had feared so thats something I guess! One thing I did enjoy was that at both Schiphol and Liverpool you get to enter and exit the plane via steps at the front and rear, rather than the jetty tunnel thingy. Now I know to most its probably more like an inconvenience, but I really liked stepping off the plane this way, it felt like being a celebrity back in the day alighting to meet their adoring fans from their glamorous jet, my jet was just a bit more easy thats all!

- I received a mystery parcel in the mail this week Once I opened it I found a fabulous Aladdin Sane pin badge from Thread Famous, kindly ordered by my brother for me as he knew I really wanted one. He had his own which is how I found out about them but when I went to buy one I they had all sold out, so I was very surprised to find one in the post! I shall be attaching it with all my other pin badges to my knitting bag, I know rock and roll, right!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planes & Trains  - Cats, cats, cats

- Cats, cats, cats! While still in Liverpool me and mum spotted a cat asleep on a car parked in a driveway as we looked down the drive we could see other cars each had a cat sleeping soundly on its roof, I though this was really funny so grabbed my phone to take a snap when, the first cat got up started mewing at us for attention, within seconds there were at least ten cats and kittens appearing from every corner of the garden jumping up on the car for a bit of attention, it was lovely as they were very friendly but a bit mental, I thought I was a crazy cat lady but this was something else! It does make me a sad though as however well cared for these cats clearly were, it was evident that this cat clan was a result of them not be spayed/neutered, which is something I feel quite strongly ought to be done, there are so, so, so many unwanted kitties sitting in shelters, not neutering just means increasing those numbers and thats so sad.

- May the 4th Be With you! I travelled back to London last Wednesday and as it was the 4th of May I obviously had to wear my favourite Star War T-shirt.  So imagine my surprise I was when I noticed while boarding the train back to London that the carriage was wishing us a 'Happy Star Wars Day'! It didn't stop there, the train guard was clearly a huge Star Wars fan too as he had a tailor made announcement each time we left a station, and he even hosted a competition on board to win a toy lightsaber, I didn't join in as I couldn't answer the last question and didn't want to cheat by googling it ("which tube station was used in for filming the new Rouge One movie?", I had no idea of the answer, but go watch the trailer its epic!), but it was a lovely touch to the day and the journey and hats off to him for being proud enough to share his love with his somewhat bemused passengers!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planes & Trains  - Potting up some sprouting potatoes

- Potted up some potatoes. Before I went away I forgot to do a check on the vegetable rack to see if anything was growing legs, so when I got back I found the potatoes I had stored had not just grown legs they were practically walking out of the rack! Rather than just chuck them away in the compost bin I decided to pop them into some buckets and let them do what they clearly want to do and thats grow. I used to do this all the time when I had my little balcony, but once I got my allotment I no longer had the need. I wouldn't recommend planting your allotment with supermarket sprouters as the seed has not been properly tested so there is the small chance they could spread disease to other peoples crops, however sticking then in a pot in your garden its fine and in a few months with me topping up the compost every time they sprot above it they should certainly yield enough for a dinner or three!

- I gave my knitted babies a bath! On Sunday it was such a gorgeous hot and sunny day I knew I needed to make the most of it and give some of my handmade knits a bath. My Victory Jumper and Miette cardigan are both knitted in acrylic blended wool so could most likely be machine washed, thought after the hours I have spent knitting I would rather treat them to some TLC even if it does mean they get washed a little less often. The weather was so warm that they were dry within a couple of hours and are now ready and waiting to be worn again very soon!

~ Me Made May Week 1 ~
The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Planes & Trains  - Me Made May 2016 Victory Jumper & Box Pleat Skirt // Butterick 5748 and my handmade Hair Bow
Victory Jumper & Box Pleat Skirt // Butterick 5748 and my handmade Hair Bow

My pledge is to wear 3 garments a week for May, and I managed 4 this week! On Monday whilst still up in Liverpool I wore my Victory Jumper and newly finished Sew Over It Box pleat skirt, which go together really well! On Sunday while mowing the lawn and doing the chores I wore my Butterick 5748 dress and my handmade hair bow, (I sometimes like to be overdressed while gardening!)  I have never shown the dress on here before not sure why as made it years ago now and do really I love it as its so easy to wear and it goes really well with the cardigan my mum gave to me, though I do really wish I had lined up the center stripe on the bodice with the one the skirt as it now really bugs me! Please excuse the grumpy face it was actually far too warm for a woollen dress and I was overwhelmed!
Wendy x

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Wendy's Week - Liverpool to Amsterdam

Hello! I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!
This post is a bit later than normal due to me taking far too many photos, but now I've waded through them all, here's what I got up to last week...
This is a looong post so feel free to just look at the photos!

~ Liverpool to Amsterdam ~
- 25th April - 2nd May -
The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - The Liver Building // A warm welcome at John Lennon Airport // Saying goodbye to the Norfolk coastline // Tulips at the Keukenhof // Souvenirs of our trip // A a view across the Amstel to the Basilica of St. Nicholas
The Liver Building // A warm welcome at John Lennon Airport // Saying goodbye to the Norfolk coastline //
Tulips at the Keukenhof // Souvenirs of our trip //  A a view across the Amstel to  the Basilica of St. Nicholas

So this week was a little different, there was no sewing or knitting (I forgot my current project in London) or even much TV watching, but there was a lot of travel! On Thursday I went up to my beloved Liverpool, and from the bright sunshine of London into the pouring rain, despite the miserable weather it still was lovely to be back and to enjoy a bit of my mum's cooking, before venturing on further afield!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Liverpool's John Lennon Airport looks like this at 4.40am, just incase you were ever wondering
Liverpool's John Lennon Airport looks like this at 4.40am, just incase you were ever wondering
- Friday morning we caught a very early taxi to John Lennon Airport. 4.15 in the am to be exact! Which took us off John Lennon Airport for our flight to Amsterdam. I will confess to not having slept the night before due to anxiety about the flight, but once I was at the airport and through security I did start to calm down a little (I hate the security check) I have been taught a tapping technique (EFT) by my counsellor which really helped to stop me going in to blind, "GET ME OFF THIS" panic, I will talk about this more in another post as this one will be long enough! Once in the air I calmed down considerably and was even able to entertain myself by taking snaps of the beautiful blue outside the window, we even saw the Liver building surrounded in drizzle as we headed skyward.

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Easy Jet Flight from Liverpool To Amsterdam the beautiful blue
The beautiful blue

Much to my relief we landed smoothly at Schiphol Airport just over an hour later, and into more grey weather, boo! Once out of the airport we headed for the very useful free shuttle bus to the nearby Bastion Hotel our home for the next few nights, so that we could check in and drop off all our luggage before heading back to the airport to catch a train to Amsterdam Central Station and begin the sightseeing!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Bastion Hotel, our home for the duration // Mum & Dad on the train in to the city // The beautiful Amsterdam Centraal Station// A few of the thousands of bikes // Lovers Canal Cruise // Some of the beautiful houses
Bastion Hotel, our home for the duration // Mum & Dad on the train in to the city // The beautiful Amsterdam Centraal Station// A few of the thousands of bikes // Lovers Canal Cruise // Some of the beautiful houses

Once in the city we headed straight for a river cruise, as we figured it was the best way of staying out of the rain and would give us a chance to eat our sandwiches which we had bought from the Albert Hejin at the Airport, all whilst letting us take in the beauty of the city. As we we leaving the hotel we spotted a discount voucher for the 1 hour sightseeing tour operated by Lovers Canal Cruises so we decided to head for them, luckily they were easy to find as they are located just outside the Centraal Station. 

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - A river cruise
We spent a very pleasant hour pootling along the canals taking in the sights, Amsterdam truly is a beautiful city and I just loved watching the the quirky wobbly town houses all staked together like books on a shelf as we floated by and the super low bridges covered in bicycles are exactly what you imagine when you think of Amsterdam! Unfortunately this is also the moment, where my exhaustion finally hit, after my lunch was demolished, I had to fight to keep my eyes open and so struggled to listen to the audio history which was being piped through our headsets as we passed many wonderful bridges and beautiful buildings. 

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Van Gough Cafe Coffee and Cake
A much needed Cappuccino and Apple Pie with lots of whipped cream!
Once off the boat we ventured in to the Van Gogh Cafe which thankfully was right by our departure point and to a welcome cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie, which was just the tonic I needed to wake me up, the cake was very delicious. After leaving the cafe we ventured around the city for a few hours longer but we all soon realised we all needed a rest and so headed back to our hotel and a rest before dinner in the McDonald's right outside (I am loath to admit it, but by this point as none of us had any energy to venture much further and the hotel food was a little expensive) where I learnt they do veggie burgers, surprisingly they are not bad either, then it was back to our rooms and a much needed sleep for us all!

Travel Tip: We bought a 3 day travel pass from a newsagent inside the airport-station which cost 24 euros each and meant we could hop on any train, tram, bus or ferry for the duration of our trip, as long as we remembered to tap in and out, and also contained a little fold out map which certainly proved very useful.

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Early morning near the Westerkerk Amsterdam

- Saturday we were up bright and early again for our first full day of sightseeing! We were up and on the shuttle bus to the airport by 6am for one reason, to visit the Anne Frank House. We had tried months in advance to book tickets to save on the queueing but they sold out instantly, so instead we decided to try getting there before it opened which meant after a train and a tram ride at 7.50am we were already waiting patiently in the queue ready for it open at 9. It was worth it as we were only about 20th in the queue, and only had about an hours wait rather than an estimated three hour one!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Early morning A view across Prinsengracht to the canal and houses beyond
A view across Prinsengracht to the canal and houses beyond
We also learnt that we had luckily picked the very last day that this early approach would work, as from the 1st of May they were only accepting pre-booked tickets until 3.30 pm each day which considering how quick they sell out I guess will mean for most tourists a long wait in the queue is an inevitability! While we waited we admired the beautiful and very quiet surroundings, listened to the Westerkerk behind us melodically chiming the quarter hours over the chatter of the other tourists in the queue and watched the bikes swoosh by us, there are certainly worse ways to spend an hour!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Dad and me on the train again // Westerkerk's tower (Westertoren) which Anne wrote about lots in her diary  // Statue of Anne outside the museum // The now massive queue for the museum from the canteen // A book of the museum and a contact sheet postcard of Anne
Dad and me on the train again // Westerkerk's tower (Westertoren) which Anne wrote about lots in her diary
 // Statue of Anne outside the museum // The now massive queue for the museum from the canteen // A book of the museum and a contact sheet postcard of Anne
At 9am sharp, the doors opened and we were allowed in to the warmth of the museum. It's difficult to know what to say about it, I think moving is the only word that can sum it up. The Frank family ran a company which supplied Pectin for Jam making and so the annexe they hid out in was located tucked away behind the families warehouse. The rooms have been left sparsely furnished (as per Anne's Father's request) with only a few artefacts and videos to look at in each. You get to climb the steep stairs behind the moveable bookcase, up to the hidden apartment and despite being surrounded by tourists it all is a little overwhelming and very sad. Seeing the movie stars pictures Anne had stuck on her bedroom wall and hearing the testimonials of childhood her friends was heartbreaking. I read her diary as a child and was captivated by it, as I child I didn't know until the end that she didn't survive so I remember feeling her hope with her, I really want to read it again now that I can visualise things more accurately and have actually heard the Westertoren chimes which irritated her mother so!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - View of the Westerkerk (West Church) and tower from outside Anne Frank museum
View of the Westerkerk (West Church) and tower from outside Anne Frank museum
After leaving the museum through the gift shop, followed by a quick detour via a souvenir shop, to buy some much needed fridge magnets (photo at top of post), we popped in to the Westerkerk to have a little look around, light a candle and stop for a moment to listen to the choir who were practicing for an upcoming event, it was beautiful! Next we walked along the bicycle riddled streets to Dam Square, were we ate our sandwiches alongside the bikes, pigeons and tourists and marvelled at the bravery of the people who were queueing to join the scary rides on the fair ground which had been set up there for the weekend!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam -  Family on a bridge // Dam Square with its war memorial and amusements // I amsterdam sign outside museums// Vondelpark // Cheating on Beau with another grumpy cat //Mum & my wooden tulips
 Family on a bridge // Dam Square with its war memorial and amusements // I amsterdam sign outside museums//
Vondelpark // Cheating on Beau with another grumpy cat //Mum & my wooden tulips
Not sure where to go next we consulted the map and decided to head towards the museums and the big expanse of green, which was Vondelpark. We caught a tram from outside the Centraal Station which whizzed us there in no time and strolled around the hustle and bustle of the museum area past the Rijksmuseum and the 'I amsterdam' letters which were coved in tourists, before heading away to the south and to the much more tranquil park.
The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Vondelpark Tulip bulbs aplenty around the pavilion
Tulip bulbs aplenty around the pavilion, plus a heron on top which I only spotted on editing these photos!


Vondelpark is named after a famous playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel and is the biggest in the city. We had our daily slice of apple cake and cup of coffee in the magnificent 1930s Blauwe Theehuis, (I neglected to get a photo but you can see it in its full glory here) before strolling in the park for a while longer. Though the weather had now become a bit grey and overcast seeing the tulips planted around the pavillion really brightened up things. After leaving the park we wandered out to the nearest tram stop to take us back to the station, passing a beautiful little kitty who was asleep on the steps of one of the book like town houses, he woke up to say hello and reluctantly let me take a photo, I named him Amstel, I hope he wouldn't mind!



The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Me and the 'I amsterdam' sign outside Schiphol Airport/Rail Station
Me and the 'I amsterdam' sign outside Schiphol Airport/Rail Station

Once back at the station we wandered a little longer up Damrak, where me and mum picked up some wooden tulips from one of the gift shops, we found the cheapest was 
12.50 for 10 which we shared between us before heading back to Schiphol, to by our tickets to the Keukenhof for Sunday. We found after a bit of wandering that the same newsagent we had bought our travel passes from sold these tickets too! After that its was a quick dinner in the airports buffet style restaurant La Place, before shuttle bussing it back to the hotel for a cup of tea and a good nights sleep!

Travel Tip: The now iconic, I amsterdam sign outside the Rijksmuseum is always packed with tourists, however the one outside of Schiphol Airport is not, so if you want to get the perfect snap of just you then this is the place to do it, the backdrop may not be quite as fab, but there was the bonus of lots of tulips when we went!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Beautiful sign pointing to where the buses left in Schiphol Station
Beautiful sign pointing to where the buses left in Schiphol Station


- On Sunday went to the Keukenhof for a tiptoe through the tulips! It was up a little later this time but not much, for our trip to the Keukenhof. The weather overnight had changed from cloudy with the chance of drizzle to gloriously sunny, if still bitterly cold! It was back to the airport on the shuttle bus to catch, another bus this time, one that was taking us out to Lisse, where the bulb fields and the Keukenhof gardens are located. The queues for the buses at the airport were quite long but the buses were very regular, though you might have to stand up for the 30ish minute journey as they do pack you in.

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Beautiful tulips and flowers of every colour
Blooms of every colour and shape!
Once inside the gardens we were charmed by the beautiful music trickling from the fabulous De Adrien organ, Tulips from Amsterdam, naturally was one of its many melodies. The gardens themselves were stunning, so colourful and beautifully arranged, so perfect in fact, now this may sound a little odd, but it felt like stepping in to a Disney film, the accordion music the manicured borders the sweet scent of the blooming bulbs, it was all wonderful but a little surreal, I'd have not at all been surprised if we'd seen fairies and pixies tending to the plants as we wandered through!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Stunning display of  a river of Muscari bulbs edged with blousy Daffodils
Stunning display of a river of Muscari bulbs edged with blousy Daffodils
I also think we may have found 'selfie centraal' as I have never seen so many people having there photo taken or using selfie sticks amongst the blooms it was a little much at times considering the place was packed and most of the grass was not for walking on, but after a few hours you got used to having to duck and dodge being in peoples photos!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Surrounding the Keukenhof are the beautiful bulb fields
Surrounding the Keukenhof are the beautiful bulb fields

We also got a glimpse, from one of the paths, of the bulb fields that surround the area, there was a river cruise we could have taken to see them in all there striped glory, but due to it being a lovely sunny sunday the queue for tickets was epic and so we decided against it, though I am sure it would have been a glorious way to spend an hour!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - The musical Organ which piped our entrance // Tulips under the trees, sadly no pixies //Windmill // Dad taking in the beauty of the bulb fields // Yummy Poffertjes, just don't ask me to pronounce that! // The Delf Garden, with the iconic kissing Dutch boy and girl figurines
The musical Organ which piped our entrance // Tulips under the trees, sadly no pixies //Windmill //
Dad taking in the beauty of the bulb fields // Yummy Poffertjes, just don't ask me to pronounce that! // The Delf Garden, with the iconic kissing Dutch boy and girl figurines
Just before we left we found the Poffertjeshuis, which was recommended by Mim, weirdly its not marked on the official map so we nearly missed it, but it its located right by the playground and petting zoo. I treated us to all to some of these traditionally Dutch squishy little pancakes (recipe here), which were really delicious, they unfortunately, didn't have any toppings but they were really tasty nevertheless and made a welcome sweet treat to end our visit, one I would highly recommend, thanks Mim!!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Amsterdam Centraal Station, showing off its gilding in the evening sunlight
Amsterdam Centraal Station, showing off its gilding in the evening sunlight





As we were to take another early flight back to Liverpool the next day we decided to head back in to the city to say goodbye to this beautiful place. We made a beeline back to the Van Gogh Cafe for a Cappuccino and a chat about our trip before a pizza dinner in a little Italian restaurant a short walk away on Damrak. After our meal we went for one last wander down the main stretch back to Dam square and then meandered back to the station via a closed Quilt Shop on Sint Nicolaasstraat for mum to oogle at (she is planning a return trip for this alone!) and some very pretty backstreets, it was lovely to see the city with a bit of sunlight on it and made the perfect end to our holiday!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - Back in the Van Gough Cafe for a rest // Vegetarian Pizza, Yumm! // The wibbly wobbly houses across the Amstel // The Royal Palace in Dam Square // The Quilt shop, where we educated my dad and James to what a fat quarter was, they thought it hilarious! // One of the side streets taking us back to the station
Back in the Van Gough Cafe for a rest // Vegetarian Pizza, Yumm! // The wibbly wobbly houses across the Amstel //
The Royal Palace in Dam Square // The Quilt shop, where we educated my dad and James to what a fat quarter was, they thought it hilarious! // One of the side streets taking us back to the station

I'll be honest before our trip I was concerned about Amsterdam's 'liberated' reputation, my parents are not as open minded as me and my brother and are easily offended by such things, but I needn't have worried, if you go looking for it then yes it's there, but otherwise it was barely detectable, the Red Light district is clearly marked on the maps and so can be easily avoided if you choose to and I have honestly smelt more dodgy cigarettes being smoked on any trip around Walthamstow, than I did in our time in Amsterdam! I was also concerned there might not be much in the way of vegetarian options as Europe does like it's meaty dishes, but again I needn't have been worried as everywhere we went had vegieg options, even the McDonalds, so I was never left hungry!

The Butterfly Balcony - Wendy's Week Liverpool to Amsterdam - A stroll along Damrak to Dam Square
A stroll along Damrak to Dam Square


Amsterdam was wonderful I can't recommend it enough! It has such a relaxed atmosphere and everyone we met was very friendly and helpful. Most people spoke English, so if you are anxious about language barriers then this really is the perfect place to visit. I honsetly wish we could have stayed a little longer, to explore the city a bit more, visit the museums with their masterpieces, and rent a bicycle to whiz around on, but I am sure I will make another trip one day, if only to visit the quilt shop with my mum!
Wendy x