you have my heart, snowy amsterdam...

Amsterdam is so breathtaking these days, I find myself lost in its beauty. Icicles have formed on all the eaves of all the homes and all the boats. Our little boat looks like a floating gingerbread house, with layers and layers of thick icicles dangling down in front of the windows. Come dusk, the street lamps, canal lights and festive garlands twinkle against the deep blue sky and reflect in the dark, smooth water. Magic seems ever-present, and it makes me wonder if it's not this very city that inspired favourite fairy tales from bygone eras.

On Sunday we took ourselves off across to the north of the city, to immerse ourselves in a different kind of snowy wonderland. Taking the little ferry across to buiksloterweg, we then walked along the edge of the florapark and on toward D'Admiraal windmill. The houses along the canals are ridiculously charming...

It was a dark and icy cold day - reminiscent of my winters in Montreal, when the freezing air was unrelenting, being sure to bite through to my bones. Before heading back on the ferry, we decided to stop in to this lovely place for a warming drink. We sipped and read our books as the dark day turned to night, and the menu looked so good we decided to stay for dinner...

The food was fabulous, as was the service and the setting.

Dear friends, I've decided this will be my last post for the year. It's been such an intense yet exhilarating last few months while finishing My Heart Wanders - I've been running on adrenalin with very little sleep, working by day and having meetings at night (australian time). I'm delighted to finally let you know it's all finished and is now in the hands of the printers. Celebration time! In the next few days, champagne will be poured and glasses will be raised to toast the end of all the hard work - my only regret is that I cannot share the champagne toasting with the team at Murdoch in Sydney who have been working so hard with me - it's not easy working on such a book from opposite ends of the globe, but it is kinda exciting to know that with all the technology at our finger tips these days, it can be done. Cheers to that!

With the book launch in April and various other events already being scheduled throughout the year, 2011 is going to be busy but I've decided already, it's going to be a whole lot of fun. Before that though, there are going to be some big changes in the coming month and as much as I want to share it all with you now, like a sensible girl I've realised I need to conserve the little energy I have left and focus on getting through it.  So I will be signing off from the (blog)house for the coming month or so, but when I come back, there will be lots of fabulous news to share with you and many wonderful posts. Even though I won't be in the (blog)house for the next month, you are still very welcome to wander through at your leisure - I built this house for you guys to enjoy as much as for me, so please do enjoy. There are recipes in the kitchen that perhaps you haven't tried, and books in the library you might like to peruse; you can take a stroll through the neighbourhood and see what everyone is up to; or listen to some music; or take a virtual tour through one of my 3 favourite cities - amsterdam, paris, and sydney.

Next year I'll be adding more features to the (blog)house - perhaps even do some renovating, or maybe add a room or two? It's an ever-growing house, one that I feel very lucky to be sharing with all of you.

Thanks again for another year of fun. I wish you a wonderful, wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year. 2011, here we come!!

xx

PS. I have one last thing to share with you, something that I am beyond thrilled to be able to post before the year is out. coming up next...