A weekend in Paris

Paris12.jpg
Paris11.jpg
Paris16.jpg
Paris9.jpg


Paris, oh Paris. Every time I go back it just completely sucks me in again, be it the beautiful people, the romantic parks or the incredible food. And the salted butter! Oh, the butter... And this time there was glorious, sunny weather as well.

Not sure why, but I seem to care more and pay proper attention to the little things when in Paris. In a good way, you know. Like, I just love to sit and stare at the Eiffel Tower glitter at night.  Nothing else needed (well, I guess a glass of wine would be nice). Or just walk around and discover new streets and look and look. Or putting on nail polish for the first time in ages, because the city makes me want to feel pretty. And I like it. Is that silly? I mean Amsterdam is so relaxed and I basically walk around in yoga pants all week and no one cares, but once in a while it feels so lovely to care. And Paris does that to me in a polite but distinct way.

And while the nail polish is slowly chipping off back home, I thought I'd share a few places & things with you that I enjoyed. 

  1. Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris' biggest cemetery, which is more like a beautiful park really. Visiting the graves of Oscar Wilde and my namesake, the French playwright Molière.

  2. Parc de Belleville, the highest park in Paris with an amazing view of the city, all the way to the Eiffel tower in the West.
  3. Actually, all the parks.
  4. If you are in the mood for Pho, Paris Hanoi is a little neighbourhood joint, serving amazing Vietnamese food. Be super on time, or super late, otherwise prepare to wait for a good half hour to get a table.
  5. We had a regular cheese fondue and raclette feast at Chalet Savoyard. Seriously incredible if you love cheese and alpine food :)
  6. Le Viaduc des Arts, is a former railway that was transformed to now host artist's ateliers, showrooms and shops. On top is an urban garden and promenade reminiscent of the Highline in NYC. Definitely worth a visit on street level and a stroll on the roof. 
  7. Rent a bike and cycle along the Seine, with plenty of pitstops in between for coffee or a nap in the grass.
  8. Folks and Sparrow, a cute little coffee shop, selling delicious sandwiches, which came decorated with a tiny flower (see above)! Also, the owner looks like a mix between Brad Pitt and Benicio del Toro, only shorter I guess.
  9. Merci, always
  10. Salted butter, aka beurre demi-sel croquet aka creamy heaven flecked with sea salt crystals. You can buy it at Fromagerie Beillevaire, or just look for beurre demi-sel croquant in any other fromagerie and then bring back as many as you can carry. I froze some to give to my Mom for Christmas. But be warned, I've been eating this stuff non stop, constantly buying more bread to serve as a butter vehicle. It's so good I could eat it pure. Ok, I already did. What can I say, I am my mother's child...it had to happen eventually.


PS: Excuse the iPhone snaps. I am starting to believe that only taking pictures with your phone and not with your actual nice camera you've been dutifully schlepping across the border makes for a nicer trip. Maybe it's just the lazy in me talking, but I feel like I can just BE and enjoy the moment, the sights, the weather, watching people and unobtrusively snapping a pic with my small camera hiding in my pocket. It's just so.much.easier. And well, Paris just screams nonchalance and easiness, no? 

 

New Work: Swell Yoga

yoga_pic+logo2.jpg

I've shortly mentioned in this post, that for the last year I've been doing a yoga teacher training. It's been an incredible journey with many ups and downs and I can't believe that the year is almost over. As part of my evaluation I have to teach a group of beginning yogis for a certain amount of hours. Since I can't comfortably fit more than three people in my living room, I rented a studio space to teach my group in.

Before I'd even figured out who and what and how, I've already started thinking about the concept, a name and the logo. The flyer was designed and printed before I even finalised the details for renting the space. Let's just say my priorities weren't really in order, ha. The process was really smooth and organic, though and I must say I am pretty happy how it turned out.

What do you think?

UK Roadtrip: Wilderness Festival

After our two day stop in Oxford we made our way to Wilderness Festival in Cornbury Park, a beautiful estate nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside. Now, I have to preface this by saying, I've only ever been to two or so festivals, so I'm not an expert by any means, but MAN was this festival AMAZING! Fun, music, art, literature, dancing, cabaret, good food, an outdoor spa, yoga, happy people of all ages.

The evening we arrived, we luckily snagged some of the last tickets for the lake-side spa. We took turns in floating in the hot tub watching the stars&moon, sweating in the sauna and swimming in the lake for two hours. It was pure happiness.

There were great bands, all the healthy food you could wish for and all the not so healthy drinks to balance it out. We watched a 10 metre tower of wood burn to the ground, danced in a forest, keeled over laughing at the kookiest cabaret ever, went to a lot of literary talks, saw theatre performances and listened to so much new to me music. Ugh, it's so hard to recollect all the things we've done and seen, but it's just been such a lovely experience. If you ever have a chance to go to Wilderness Festival, just do it!

Images by me, except the four fiery ones which I borrowed from the Wilderness website. Have a look at their beautiful gallery to get a much better impression of the festival.

UK Roadtrip: Oxford

Oxford was the first stop on our route. Maybe it was because, in general, you are more impressionable in the first city you stop or maybe just because we were really excited to walk around and stretch our legs after 9 hours in the car, but Oxford immediately charmed its way into our hearts. The little neighbourhoods on the outskirts, with one house cuter than the next and crooked lamp posts. The ancient graveyards and churches, with so much character and magical light shining through the trees. And of course, most impressively, all the different college buildings of Oxford University scattered throughout the city centre. Really, it made me wish I was a proper academic, spending hours on end in one of the many beautiful libraries, buried in my books, researching and writing. It just has that certain air, you know?!

Picture 4: This drink was amazing! Get your hands on it if you're a coconut water fan.

Picture 8: Does anyone else see the Wicked Witch of the West in that cloud?

 

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, either in the 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

my_morning_tania.jpg

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.

IMG_4495.jpg

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.

Photo 27-07-2014 10 26 01.jpg

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.

IMG_3806.jpg

Essentials for the newbie camper

NEWBIE_CAMPING_ESSENTIALS.jpg

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

DSC_3820.jpg
DSC_3787.jpg
DSC_3804.jpg
DSC_3839.jpg
DSC_3852.jpg
DSC_3873.jpg
DSC_3918.jpg
DSC_4120.jpg

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.