Audrey’s 90th!

Today would have been Audrey Hepburn’s 90th birthday! She was born on May 4th, 1929 and died of cancer, way too young, at the age of 63 on January 20th, 1993. I was introduced to her via Roman Holiday in my teens (which to date still is pretty much my favourite movie) and have loved her ever since. Yes, I have Audrey memorabilia in my house, although that link doesn’t show the big Roman Holiday poster in my bedroom (with an apron hanging on it), or the calendar I once bought on a visit to Rome in 2010 and can’t bear to throw out, or Audrey Hepburn on a tin card in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, positioned between pictures of my children when they were little.

I will forever regret not trying to get a glimpse of her at a UNICEF event she attended in The Netherlands not too far from where I lived, a year or two before she died. She was a lovely actress and a warm humanitarian, who has touched my heart in many ways.

To celebrate Audrey Hepburn’s 90th birthday, here’s a Roman Holiday fan video to help convince you to see that movie if you haven’t ever done so already…

… and here are some lovely Audrey Hepburn pictures…

… and this link to the Audrey Hepburn Fund, where her sons continue her legacy of helping the less fortunate children in this world.

I have loved her for most of my life and she will live on in my heart forever, I hope. Happy Birthday, dear Audrey!

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Women’s Day & birthday

A little late as the day is nearing its end, but Happy International Women’s Day anway! A few fun things I came across on my Twitter timeline today…

And because I really like Sandi Toksvig, I’m sharing this one as well. I know it made me laugh…

I’m also partial to this Audrey Hepburn quote on women…

This following clip feels very apt, especially in light of new micro-manager drama that came to light at work. For some reason he mostly seems to piss off the women and this is how the women are reacting…

This Richard E. Grant tweet made me smile…

… just like this one from Hugh Jackman…

… which reminded me of this tweet from Richard Armitage last year. Extra poignant in light of how ill his mum must have been at the time…

But today is also the birthday of my favourite feminist in the world: Mr Esther! Keeping it low-key, the man is a little tired, but he’s looking awfully cute today in a new dark blue bathing robe I got him and his new reading glasses.

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Happy birthday to Mr E. and happy International Women’s Day to all! Off to get yummy Chinese takeaway now, to celebrate. It’s getting late and we’re hungry…

More fangirling in London!

Well, not only fangirling, we mostly did touristy stuff… As I already blogged about in my previous post, my 15 year old son and I were in London this past weekend and what a lovely time we had!

We went inside Tower Bridge and walked on the glass floor there, looking down!

My son was fearless about that and while I did do it briefly, I found it scary. But I did it – yay me! We also saw the engine room…

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… and when we finished our tour, we were greeted by a cannon salute across the river!

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OK, so the salute wasn’t for us but for the Queen’s 91st birthday. Still, we felt honoured. 🙂

We passed through Westminster…

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… and went on to Portobello Road in Notting Hill…

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… which was also a bit of fangirling for me as it reminded me of the lovely movie Notting Hill. The Notthing Hill thing was a spontaneous idea; if I had thought of it sooner, I would have researched it better and would have fangirled my way to Hugh Grant’s front door from that movie.

That evening my son and I went to see The Lion King musical, which we both very much enjoyed (we had a good view from the front row of the Grand Circle)…

While we were walking to the theatre, we passed by Covent Garden and walked by a street artist/comedian getting ready to do his thing. The street artist looked straight at my son and in his microphone announced “Ah, there we have Justin Bieber”! I had to laugh and the whole crowd turned to look at my son as we scurried along and my son turned beet-red! He has been compared to a younger Justin Bieber before and he hates it… I know I’m probably an awful mother but I have ribbed him about this incident regularly and in hindsight he now also has started seeing some of the humour in it.  He still insists he looks nothing like Bieber, though. 🙂

We shopped a bit in Oxford Street and also met up with fellow Richard Armitage fan Hariclea from the Opera is Magic blog on Saturday afternoon! We met at “Fortnum and Mason” and had ice cream ‘coupes’ at the ice cream parlour on the first floor! Beautiful, delicious, filled our stomachs right up! So much so, that my son felt a little sick there for a moment! Luckily he recovered quickly. It’s always a delight to see Hari and it was so much fun that I forgot to take pictures of our beautiful ice cream creations! The only picture I took was of two teacups priced at £145,- while waiting for Hari…

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Hari and I may have mentioned Richard Armitage a few times in passing but didn’t get too carried away in the presence of my son. That evening, as Hari went off to the theatre, my son and I went to see the Scarlett Johannson scifi movie Ghost in the Shell in a Leicester Square theatre with a truly huge screen. The movie was not the greatest scifi movie I’d ever seen, but it was quite fun and had nice visual effects.

We spent our Sunday on Hampstead Heath. We walked there for a bit, my son even climbed a tree…

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… we got up to Kenwood House (also a Notting Hill film location, by the way!)…

… and treated ourselves to some delicious scones (this had been something my son had particularly wished for).

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Later that afternoon we made our way back to the airport and flew home again. But I didn’t leave London without some specific fangirl items!

I’ve bought a DVD of a Gregory Peck movie I came across that I have always wanted to see but have never been able to…

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I’m not that much into Westerns but, come on, it’s Gregory Peck, my first real teenage fangirl crush!

At Kenwood House I bought the book Belle that accompanies the excellent movie of the same name, about a black young lady who lived as a lady and not as a servant in Kenwood House in the 18th century. She was also featured in a painting that was painted at the time but alas that painting is not at Kenwood anymore and is now somewhere in Scotland. I had seen the film, I now saw the book and grabbed it for myself…

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And, I did some more Jane Eyre fangirling when, in a bookstore, I happend upon a book with this title…

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I immediately recognized it as the first sentence from the last chapter of Jane Eyre and just had to have it, especially considering we will be visiting writer Charlotte Brontë’s house this coming summer.

Last but not least, there was Audrey Hepburn fangirling as well! I came across this POP doll of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s  and just couldn’t let it go…

So, yes, London is a great place to fangirl; it makes me feel greedy when I see all these goodies together even though they all didn’t cost that much. London is also a great place to spend time with my son! He picked out pretty much all our activities (Portobello Road and meeing Hari were my picks, the rest were his) and I loved that one-on-one time with him. I think that, except for my snoring at night, he enjoyed his time with me as well. We’ll definitely be back!

To Audrey with love

Today, in the Netherlands, is Sinterklaas, the feast of St. Nicholas. It’s quite a big deal here if your kids are under a certain age (I described the festival last year here on my blog, in case you’re interested in knowing more). My kids are now almost 13 and 15 and the need for an elaborate Sinterklaas celebration has evaporated. However, we do have a few very small gifts that we’ll exchange later and I already know what one of them is for me: a little booklet about Audrey Hepburn, obtained at an exhibition I went to last Friday!

I have a bit of a thing for Audrey Hepburn… I fell in love with her the first time I saw her in Roman Holiday as a teenager. That movie provided me with my favourite actor (Gregory Peck) for many years, before I knew of Colin Firth or Richard Armitage and it ‘gave me’ Audrey. I think I have seen pretty much every movie she has made and, although I wouldn’t call myself an Audrey Hepburn collector, I have collected or received some special Audrey items over the years. I am known in my family for loving her, after all. 🙂

I have several books about her and I visited her grave site to the north east of Geneva in Switzerland many years ago (see the picture below on top of my small book collection).

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Every evening I have dinner with my family and with Richard and Audrey as well (see my one dining room wall):

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I even have a tea set with images from my favourite movie Roman Holiday on it and a Roman Holiday mints tin, sitting proudly in my living room (and a Roman Holiday poster in my bedroom but no pics of that available right now)

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So, when my mother recently told me there would be an exhibition featuring Audrey Hepburn, I was so there! We went last week… The exhibition in Den Haag is dedicated to the fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, who was Audrey’s go-to fashion designer. His clothes were also worn by other famous women like Jackie Kennedy, Wallis Simpson or Grace Kelly. The exhibition was about all of his work, but a large portion was dedicated to Audrey. I’m not a ‘fashion-person’, so for me the main attraction was Audrey and not Hubert. Also, the exhibition is titled ‘To Audrey with Love’, so I just really had to go!

My favourite room was this one room where they had big screens showing a few scenes from Audrey’s movies next to the displays of the actual dresses she had worn in those movies! The most dresses shown were from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (excuse the graininess, pics were taken with my phone)…

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There was a dress on display from How To Steal a Million

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Or the first collaboration between Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn for Sabrina

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Apparently De Givenchy also designed both of Audrey’s wedding dresses. The first was from her marriage to Mel Ferrer…

… and the second dress from her marriage to Andrea Dotti…

There were also single dresses from Wallis Simpson, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly on display and lots of other dresses, but I didn’t take pictures of those. There was a room dedicated to Audrey Hepburn’s work for Unicef, which really touched me. Part of the proceeds from this exhibition will also be going to Unicef. Even after her passing, she is still raising money for a good cause… yes, she was a special woman!

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At the very end of the exhibition I could pretend to be Audrey Hepburn’s character Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The outfit was on display…

… and I was able to try on a replica hat myself! I don’t look nearly as charming as Audrey did, but it was fun!

Yes, going to this exhibiton was time well spent. 🙂

Happy world smile day!

Apparently it’s world smile day today honouring the inventor of the smiley, Harvey Ball. Lovely idea, so I thought I’d contribute!

There are many daily situations to smile about, like when it comes to office politics…

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Or teaching the young about ‘old’ media…

There’s humour in education…

… and signs…

… and advertising, branding and displays…

(For non German readers here – “Kinder Überraschung” means “Children’s surprise” and is normally a chocolate egg with a little gift inside – for kids).

Cats are funny…

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Election time can be funny…

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Trying to ride your bike on a bike path can be funny (very relevant for someone like me living in the Netherlands, where 4 of the 5 pictures below were taken)…

Wisdom can be funny…

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Superheroes can be funny (in this case Thor and Loki)…

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And speaking of actors… my favourite actors’ faces lighting up, that makes me smile and laugh too! Like these…

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So, happy world smile day everyone!