Life Lately

Taking inspiration from Erin and her Week in Objects series, here is life as of late, in objects.

  1. Popcorn, always and forever. I finally found the perfect organic kernels, that pop quickly and evenly, open up all the way and don't burn on the bottom. The lazy go-to flavours of late are olive oil & sea salt and cinnamon & honey. If you want something a bit more elaborate check out this recipe for salted caramel popcorn.
  2. This little Moroccan door mat, for keeping out most of the dirt from our bedroom when we walk in and out of the garden. I know it's silly, but it makes such a difference.
  3. Dried lavender, for looking pretty and smelling lovely.
  4. Crystals are taking over the house, but I'm not complaining. 
  5. Still using the enamel mugs from our UK road trip. Only, no more cowboy coffee (see what I did there Freya?) but the real thing sans grounds floating around.
  6. Apart from working, most of my time has been spend on the mat, with erin th yoga studio or studying at home. As part of my yoga teacher training (which ends in November...can't believe how fast it went), I am teaching my first real yoga class tonight. I am super excited but also pretty nervous. 

 

My Morning 03: Ashlae from Oh, Ladycakes

Today you're up for a real treat (oh, the pun). Ashlae is the beautiful, petite lady boss with the mouth of a sailor behind the immensely popular vegan baking blog Oh, Ladycakes. I've had the absolute pleasure to meet Ashlae and her fiancé Thom last year when they were travelling through Europe and made a pitstop in Amsterdam. I invited them over to our place for brunch, as you do. We had such a great time getting to know them and they were also real sports, drinking my awful green smoothie and all. This, for me, is the best part of the whole blogging thing; meeting your internet friends in real life! (Wow, that sounds so geeky). Take it away A!
 

 1) Are you a morning person?

Through and through. I really love getting out of bed before sunrise and soaking up some alone time in the living room with a mug of hot coffee. I also tend to think I'm most productive in the morning, which is one of the main reasons I haven't shifted my schedule to line up with Thom's night owl demeanour.

2) What is the sound of your alarm and what time does it go off?

I wake up naturally between 5 and 6AM but if for some awful reason I need to be up before 5, I'm forced to use the very unpleasant 'crystals' alarm tone on my iPhone. 

3) What is the first thing you do when you get up?

I usually reach for my phone (cringe) and read through Grist and NPR Environment for a good 30 minutes. I've tried to break the cell phone in bed habit but I've convinced myself that catching up on environmental news isn't nearly as bad as moderating blog comments or checking email and various social media networks (which is what I used to do).

4) What do you have for breakfast?

I usually have two breakfasts. The first is a simple dried fruit/raw nut bar (I think they're called Nakd bars over there) immediately following my morning workout, then I eat something a bit more substantial a couple of hours later. I either have a waffle smothered in berry compote or toast layered with crunchy peanut butter and buckwheat groats, topped with a banana and a heavy shake of cinnamon. 

5) Do you swear by a particular beauty routine or product?

I swear by the healing properties of bentonite clay. It's dirt cheap (ha) and leaves my skin softer and cleaner than any other product I've ever used.

6) Do you have a secret/silly/weird morning habit no one knows about? Do tell!

I go on a long morning run more often than not and, no matter what my route, the last three blocks always have to be the same. Which means a lot of mornings I'm running past the house and out of my way just to get to the starting point of the last three. I tell myself it's because it's the only stretch to my house that I can sprint without getting held up by traffic, but really it's because I'm borderline obsessive-compulsive.

Back from the road

We are back from our UK trip and it's been wonderful. We have both fallen hard for this country & its people and have already sworn to go back soon. With streets named Fairy Cross that end in a forest, how can you not love it? It's been less of a vacation of rest, sleep & chilling though and more of a travelling experience, endlessly inspiring to the senses, but also pretty tiring. I will be posting about our UK trip properly, once I get a chance to sort through all the photos, but I wanted to take a minute and share some (really) random thoughts I had while driving back.

  • I absolutely love British radio. The show Quote, Unquote on BBC 4 is hilarious. Need to listen to more radio and audiobooks. 
  • Eton Mess, what a revelation. I will make this heavenly desert asap.
  • Caramel + Chocolate covered popcorn. Unreal.
  • The accent. Enough said.
  • The hedge lined roads that look like a maze, tunnels made of trees.
  • The humour, laughing at themselves mostly. Love it!
  • UK charity shops are what thrifting is all about. Cheap junk and hidden treasures. Nothing like those over-priced, hyped second-hand boutiques here in Amsterdam.

Obviously I didn't wear 80% of my clothes packed, while on the other hand a few essential things were missing from our camping gear. Uhm, plates anyone? We ate out of pots for 10 days. After reminding each other several times, to not forget to pack the coffee maker, our most used kitchen tool by far, of course in the end we did forget it. So we had to rough it out and drink our coffee camp style. Just a teaspoon in a cup with hot water, stir, let grounds settle, drink. And it's actually not bad at all.

Oxford coming up next.

Picture 1 is taken in a suburb of Oxford. The rest are all taken at Wilderness Festival.

 

 

My Morning 02: Tania Gault

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Tania has been one of the first people I connected with when I started blogging. I've been eagerly following her adventures, making the move from London to Sydney. It's been a visual lovefest of beaches, food and great style, so I am so happy she's sharing a glimpse into her morning with us today.

 

1) Are you a morning person?

I never considered myself a morning person because I am a sloth when it comes to sleeping, and as a result waking up is not my favourite. It takes me a good hour to emerge & get out of bed. I snooze a million times within that hour, unless I have something very exciting to wake up to, for example when I'm flying off somewhere, I literally jump out of bed at the first sound of my alarm! Unfortunately I don't fly off to places every day.

With time and a job that has me up at 6AM every morning, I am starting to realise how much I enjoy early mornings. There's nothing better than watching the sun rise with your morning tea. I also love waking up before the rest of the world, there is this deep silence in the air and the promise of a brand new day ahead of you, you can't beat that.


2) What is the sound of your alarm and what time does it go off?

My trusty iPhone wakes me up (I make sure to put it on airplane mode every night though). I like to wake up to different songs, I change the songs weekly otherwise I get bored of it and can't hear that particular song anymore. At the moment it's Manhattan Moon by Lucy Kaplansky.

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3) What is the first thing you do when you get up?

During the week, I jump in the shower because it's the only thing that will wake me up completely. Then I'll go into the kitchen, make some tea, get dressed while sipping on tea or lemon water (if I remember!) 

4) What do you have for breakfast?

After getting ready on a week day I'll either prepare a green smoothie in my Mix&Go (BEST invention!) and have it on my way to work or if I'm not running late (something I need to work on...) I'll have a warming porridge with stewed fruits & a dollop of yoghurt, sometimes a bowl of greek yoghurt with berries and granola.

Now, the weekends, oh boy, it's a whole new story. I'll sleep in for a little bit, not too late as my body clock won't let me (I force myself back to sleep though!) I'll wake up slowly and normally jump out of bed pretty easily because I know I have time to make pancakes. 

If there's one thing that will get me out of bed in a flash, it's pancakes. Last weekend I whipped up these, they were delicious! If I'm not running late (I always do, that's something I'd like to change about my morning routine) I make tea and bring everything back into bed. Breakfast in bed is one of my guilty pleasures (I've mastered the no spilling/no crumbs techniques!) One of my other favourite things to do is go out for brunch at the weekends, Sydney's brunch scene is unbeatable.

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5) Do you swear by a particular beauty routine or product?

I believe in less is more, especially when it comes to skincare (oh, and especially in the mornings when I am half awake). I've recently started using the Fabulous Face cleanser by Aesop and I'm in love! I then proceed to moisturise like it's my job, Pai moisturisers are my favourite. My makeup routine is quite minimal, a little concealer, a bit of bronzer and a touch of mascara and off I go.


6) Do you have a secret/silly/weird morning habit no one knows about? Do tell!

Once a week I like to have a 'me morning' where I take my sweet time, have a bath, make a delicious breakfast (probably these). I'll make tea and bring everything back into bed with music and a good book.

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Essentials for the newbie camper

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Tomorrow we're going to Wilderness Festival and then road tripping and camping along the west coast of England. I can't freaking wait. But here's the thing. I was always thinking of myself as at least semi-outdoorsy. So last weekend, while I was writing the packing list (everyone does that, right?), I've tried to recall my camping vacations. Turns out, I've never REALLY been camping. My total-nights-spent-in-a-tent tally comes up to four, maybe five. But none of those nights were consecutive. So, to prepare a bit for the adventure ahead we ordered a huge ass air bed to schlepp along and sleep on.  And I made a list of essentials to bring. Or at least what I believe to be the essentials, since I am very much clueless. All you ex girls scouts and seasoned festival goers, I'd love your tips! I'll be back in 10 days, hopefully with fun memories, a SD-Card full of pics to prove it and mud crusted wellies and hair (just kidding). 


1 | I know, bringing a hat might be a tad optimistic, but I sure hope I'll need it to shield me from the harsh UK sun.

2 | A notebook to write down or sketch any ideas, thoughts, information, memories.

3 | Our coffee maker, because well, no morning without coffee in this house, or tent. And dried fruit for easy conservation reasons.

4 | Favourite grey cashmere jumper, for breezy nights by the sea.

5 | Trusty Levi's jeans. Big enough to be comfy, old enough to withstand a few more stains & tears.

6 | In case it does get warm, the basic, backless jumpsuit for the festival. Easy but dressy at the same time.

7 | A good book, or books. In my case, catching up with reading for yoga teacher training.

8 | Birks, actually sturdy enough for all the mud, hikes and rain we might face.

9 | Favourite wool blanket to make the tent a bit more homey.

10 | I'll bring along the ol' Uke and practice in lonely fields were no one can be disturbed with my off-key singing. ( Big apology to all my neighbours!)

11 | That SPF 50 sunblock, because I'm a ghost.

12 | Dry shampoo. Let's face it, I hardly wash my hair at home anymore, let alone on a road trip...

13 | Natural face wipes. 

14 | Wellies, for the obvious reasons. Although mine are actual bright yellow and cost $20. These would be the classy choice and my choice, if I had a small fortune to spend on rubber.

A wedding weekend

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Two weeks ago, we made the long drive down to the South of Germany to attend my cousin's wedding. It was the hottest weekend of the summer so far, and man, did we sweat. It didn't put a damper on the festivities, though. The bride&groom were glowing with happiness, the food was delicious, the location was beautiful and most importantly, I got to hang out with my sweet family again. Can't be beat. 


Picture 2:  My handsome brother, watching the bride&groom leave the church.

Picture 3: My M.

Picture 9: Can't have a decent picture taken for the life of me...

Picture 10: Cutting the cake.

Picture 11: Can you believe these were homemade? SO good.

 

 

 


My Morning 01: Natalie Nedelkovska

I am so happy to introduce a new series on the blog called My Morning. I've always been curious about other people's routines and lives (kind of stating the obvious as an avid blog reader, no?), reading about structuring their day, their rituals and everyday magic moments. So I've asked a few of my blog friends to tell us about their morning routines, kicking things off with my sweet friend, the talented Natalie, designer and creator of La Designerie. 

 

1) Are you a morning person?

Definitely not, I’ve always been a night owl. As long as I remember I was spending my nights reading, writing, studying, not as a voluntary act, but like a natural condition of my body and mind. My concentration is on its peak when others sleep, and that’s probably why I just can’t be productive enough in a 9-5 job. At least, it will cost me an endless effort to remain focused and far from the coffee machine for more than an hour.   

 

2) What is the sound of your alarm and what time does it go off?

The current sound is the iPhone Minuet - the most important thing to me when choosing the ring was a relatively slow rhythm, with as less as possible metallic and mechanic tones. I don’t have a wake up regime, it all depends on the hour when I shut down my computer the night before. But usually, I’m fully awaken by 10.00 and already “cleaning" my inbox.    

 

3) What is the first thing you do when you get up?

This can sound a little bit weird, but the very first thing I do is drinking a lot of water. I always wake up thirsty, and I start to feel sick if I don’t drink a glass of water.

 

4) What do you have for breakfast?

Uhm… please don’t follow my example. I don’t eat in the mornings. I know how unhealthy this is, but my body just refuses any kind of food in the first two hours, especially sugars like jams, Nutella, biscuits, milk and other - let’s admit it - unhealthy food. Water and a small cup of espresso are the only welcome tastes in those first hours of the day.  

 

5) Do you swear by a particular beauty routine or product?

I can't imagine to start my day without washing my face with a lot of cold water. The shower is an evening thing for me, so in the mornings my beauty threat consists only in pure water: drinking and sprinkling a lot of it.

 

6) Do you have a secret/silly/weird morning habit no one knows about? Do tell!

More than secret, it’s a bad habit I really want to get rid of: reaching for my phone and checking emails and other notifications. It’s definitely the perfect way to start your day - stressed. Lately, slowly but surely I manage to postpone that moment for more than 10 minutes :))  

 

Thanks for joining Natalie! I will definitely amp up my water consumption after reading this. Hopefully you guys like the new series. Stay tuned for more of  My Morning in the next few weeks with other lovely creatives. 

Introducing Jeroen de Bakker

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I am so excited to have my man introduce insanely talented photographer and his friend Jeroen de Bakker. Take it away M.

A friend of mine, Dutch documentary photographer Jeroen de Bakker, spend last year in Myanmar, the South-East Asian country formerly known as Burma. Jeroen met, befriended, followed and photographed a politician of the opposition party who earns his living as a hair dresser, a happy rice farmer who likes to ride his ox as if it was a horse, and an HIV-infected guy who used to serve in the army. He spend three weeks following inhabitants of a leprosy hospital, he went to gigs of a bad-ass hip-hop crew and spend a night with a graffiti posse roaming the streets of Yangon. Jeroen's Myanmar Project shows how life is rapidly changing since the military regime started to open up to the world.

Take a look at the Myanmar Project to see more of his work. If you like what you see, make sure to stay tuned. Jeroen will share his experiences and his pictures on September 12th in The Hague, where his work will be exhibited at ProDemos. Later this year, parts of The Myanmar Project will be shown in the Linden Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

Amsterdam: De Laatste Kruimel

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Amidst the crowded tourist center near the Spui, in a place you would never hope to find such a treat, sits De Laatse Kruimel. The window display looks promising; cakes, brownies and cookies on the one side, piles of bread, quiches and sandwiches on the other. Inside, is a fridge full of freshly squeezed juices and home mixed smoothies and shelves filled with homemade jams and curds. And the smell! Baking everything in their café, the owners constantly pull the most deliciously smelling goods out of their oven. Hiding in the back of the café, is a tiny terrace with just enough space for a couple of people to sit comfortably, looking out at the canal. It's the perfect spot to enjoy your bread pudding, or pistachio-orange cake, or brownies... Really, it's all SO good.

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De Laatste Kruimel

Mon - Sat | 8am  - 8pm
Sun | 9am - 8 pm

Langebrugsteeg 4, Amsterdam

Sea Bean Salad Recipe

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On our recent mini trip to a North Sea island, Maarten and I did some accidental foraging. While we were walking across the mudflats, M. suddenly pointed out some green stalks growing from the sand. We agreed that it looked like zeekraal, which is the Dutch word for samphire, sea beans or salicornia, the stuff in seaweed salad when we order sushi. (How cool is the word samphire btw? Doesn't it sound like something really important that should belong in the Lord of the Rings?!) Naturally, M just started eating it on the spot, no reservations. I was a bit more reluctant to try it, although I did have a bite or two.

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So where am I going with this? Only two weeks later, when we received our local produce box, low and behold, what did I find nestled between our weekly vegetable haul? You guessed it, sea beans! I was so excited to actually see them in our box, because obviously I love this kind of serendipity, but also because I was majorly relieved that they must have been deemed edible by some official food authority. My worries of suffering from a delayed onset of food poisoning were gone. Instead, thanks to the tip of our foodie friend Maaike, we set out to make a salad. It's a keeper.

Sea Bean Sesame Salad

Ingredients

2 big handful of sea beans (or samphire or salicornia or whatever they're called)

2-3 tbsp of sesame oil

1 tbsp honey

juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime

2-3 tsp sesame seeds (slightly roasted would be lovely, too, I'm sure)

1/2 tsp ground or fresh ginger

some pepper to taste

 

Directions

Wash your sea beans. Pat dry and put in a salad bowl. In another bowl, mix sesame oil, honey, lemon juice, ginger and pepper. Pour the dressing over your sea beans, add the sesame seeds and mix. Add some more sesame seeds for garnish. Enjoy!

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Did you ever cook/make something with sea beans? Do share, I'd love to try more recipes.