India Part 2: Farmers As Owners

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india farmers as owner
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india farmers as owner
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Picking up from where I left off in the last India post, we started our trip with a short night in Dheli, before taking the train up to Rishikesh, where we stayed another night, and then reaching the small village of Naugaon, our final pit stop for the week. From there we took day trips to the mountains to visit different farmer communities. Our job was to document the trips in words (Maarten) and images (me) and basically following the manager of Farmers as Owners, the joint venture, to see how everything was going in these far out regions. It is a fairly complex business model to explain, so I won't bore you with the details.

Most of our days were spent in the Jeep driving to and from these, often very secluded, places. We were very warmly welcomed by all the farmers, some more than others, but all so very hospitable, serving us fantastic North Indian fair for lunch and all the chai we could drink. This must have been the farthest away from any touristic route I've ever been on my travels and without our Indian friends from the Joint venture, we would have had no chance of navigating or communicating in these strange lands. And even though I never experienced any blatant kind of gender specific prejudice, I was still so happy to have Maarten there with me, who aside from having the obvious advantage of being male, has the wonderful ability to make people feel comfortable and at ease in any situation, so the atmosphere was usually relaxed and very friendly.

Since one of the villages was so far out that we couldn't drive back to our house that day, we had to spend the night in a government hotel, an oddity I hadn't heard of before, and a whole adventure in itself. I lovingly named it the House of Horros, but I'll tell you all about it in the next post. (Oh the suspense! Can you even stand it ;)





Courage to step back. Courage to pursue your dreams. The REAL ones. The life-long ones. No matter how outlandish. Courage to fail. Miserably. Courage to stand up and try again. And again. And again. Courage to find a new normal. Courage to trust the process. And the universe. Courage to continue on your own path. No matter how winding the road. Courage to life your one unique life.

Now and always.

Drawing and words by yours truly, as a means of saying: I've emerged from the haze that is moving to London, starting full-time education whilst keeping up with my freelance work and feeding myself in regular intervals. It's been nuts, hence the six months long radio silence. Apparently it was needed. It's good to be back though, it's good to be back. X



India Part 1: Analogue

train to rishikesh
rishikesh office
rishikesh ganges

This here, my friends, has to be some sort of record for the tardiest post ever. BUT, after a mere eight months, I'm finally recapping our trip to India & Sri Lanka (and aren't ya glad?!). Maarten and I went there last November to combine a work trip with some jungle adventures.

We flew into Delhi, and from there took the train up to Rishikesh, where we were based for the first few days of work. The above images are just a few random snaps from a disposable film camera (a vacation favourite!). Coming up, more from our trip to the north of India, visiting farmer communities in the mountains, staying in the haunted house of hotels and biking through Delhi.

  1. Taking the train from Delhi to Rishikesh was a surprisingly pleasant way to travel (also a way to avoid as many "unnecessary" flights as possible).
  2. At the office in Rishikesh
  3. The view of the Ganges from our hotel in Rishikesh
  4. Street tailors in Delhi
  5. Cycling through Delhi in the early morning 
  6. One of the snaps of our stay in the "haunted house", in the middle of nowhere. I was sure we'd emerge with a few people missing the morning after, but more on this in a later post...



Israel part 3: Jaffa Tel Aviv


On our final morning, thanks to the recommendation from our Airbnb hosts, we walked down the coast to Jaffa, the oldest, most southern part of Tel Aviv. And I am ever so glad we did, because it was easily my favourite part of the trip. It is such a beautiful and picturesque place, that just walking through the streets and looking, looking everywhere, you get a sense of calm and contentment. Places rich in history do that to the soul, at least that's my experience. 

However, once my hunger cues set in I have about a fifteen minute window to find some food, before I turn into the meanest grinch and not even the most historic of cities can counteract that. We lucked out, though (well, mostly M, who has to suffer most from my severe hunger-induced grumpiness) and found a cute little café at the top of a hilly street and were promptly served a delicious late breakfast assortment of pita with eggs, hummus, salad and fresh orange juice. I don't remember the name, but you can see what it looks like in the above picture. Keep a look out for the bright blue shutters and old-fashioned furnishings if you ever find yourself in Jaffa, which you definitely should.

And thus ends the little recap of our Israel trip. Coming up, I'll finally be sharing pictures from our work and play trip to India and Sri Lanka back in November. 

Happy weekend!

Israel part 2: Tel Aviv


We left off in Jerusalem, where we attended M's beautiful cousin's wedding. Sadly no pictures here, since we were too busy eating, drinking and dancing, but it was a beautiful location, you can trust me on that :)   Supposedly it was a small wedding for jewish standards with "only" 300 guest, ha! 

Tel Aviv was a last minute decision, but I am so glad we went. It felt a bit like Berlin on the Mediterranean Sea. The weather was insanely gorgeous for February and our sun-starved selves at the time (who are we kidding, still sun-starved even now, with temperatures barley reaching 15 degrees) couldn't wait to shed some layers and walk around in airy shirts and sandals all day. I mean there were people sunbathing in a bikini on the beach, but that would have been pushing it a bit.

We were walking along the beach, through little neighbourhoods and alleys, just taking in the city without a real plan or direction. It was so nice. We met up with M's other cousin and his girlfriend for lunch and ice-cream and after a party nap back at our Airbnb, we headed out for the night to have dinner at the Social Club, which turned out to be one of the best culinary experiences of recent years. It was incredible and I only wish I had good pictures to show you, but alas the blurriness above, that's all there is. The cocktails, the food, the service, the music, the dining at the bar, the right amount of tipsy. It just all came together in a way that constituted to a perfectly fun night.

About time


I've started writing this post three times over the last few weeks. Every time started with me expressing my disbelief of how fleeting time is and how it could have possibly been two month since my last post, when it feels like two weeks to me. 

Life has been filled with lots of work since starting my new gig with the agency.

Going in, I knew that these coming six months would be busy; working a full-time postion while maintaining my retainer clients and taking on (less, but still) freelance projects. However, I overestimated my stamina and underestimated the effects of too many hours (even for me) behind the computer 5-7 days a week. My back is not happy and my creativity feels pretty stagnant at this point. 

This is not a "pity-me-I'm-so-busy" kinda post, more like a "how can you full-time designers also work freelance without going nuts?" post and mostly just a note to myself for future reference: 

  1. Free time is important. I love my free time. I NEED my free time. Probably more than others, but I've made my peace with that. I need time to not have anything planned in my agenda, do nothing, lounge around and see what the day brings. Like air to breathe, I need that kind of space in my life at least one day in the week, preferably two :)
  2. Stop biting off more than you can chew. This one is typical for me. I already have two freelance projects booked for summer but, suuuure, let's squeeze in another personal project with a friend and start this amazing yoga workshop, too. Really? It's so hard for me to say no to projects that sound fun, but I know will cost me lots of sleep.
  3. I love the people I've met so far on the agency gig, and working with other creatives everyday and making new friends is one of the nicest things. I can feel the difference it made to my overall happiness, to be surrounded by (likeminded) people throughout my workday and that is something I want to take with me come fall, when I go back to full-time freelancing. No more solitary days spent behind the screen, I need people around me. Shared studio space here I come.
  4.  I miss sharing my random thoughts, travels and (parts) of my life here, so I truly want and need to find the time to keep this little spaces updated. 

How do you full-time working,  kick-ass freelancing, running a blog peeps do it? Please share your secrets!


Raw Coconut Cacao Date Bites


Monday seems to become the day to post dessert recipes. Coincidence? I think not. These raw bites are the go-to in our house when there is no real dessert to be found (i.e. chocolate or cookies). They are super easy and quick to make and only require a few ingredients.

I adapted the recipe from one of Ashlae's genius creations and really, there is no messing this up. Basically, as long as you get a sticky dough that tastes nice, you're good.

Raw Coconut Cacao Date Bites
1 cup raw almonds (cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts etc. all work, too)
3/4 cup shredded coconut 
3-4 tbsp cacao powder
6-8 medjool dates, pitted and soaked 15 minutes 
2 tbsp raw nut milk (or any other milk)
1 pinch sea salt

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, blend the almonds, shredded coconut and cacao powder into a fine meal. Add the dates, milk, and salt; blend until a dough starts to form. Form into bite sized balls and optionally roll in more shredded coconut, cacao nibs or any other seeds you have on hand. Transfer to an air tight container and store in the fridge or freezer, depending on how long you want to keep them. In this house, they don't last longer than 2-3 days...



Life Lately 03

working from home

Wow, I feel like I have so much to tell you guys and I am still behind on posting pictures from our trip to India & SriLanka in November! I can't believe it's already March, seriously where does the time go? So how about a little general life catch-up? 

Excited:: about a full-time work engagement starting the end of the month. It's going to be very different, not working from home anymore, leaving the house in the early morning and working for someone else, but it's also giving me the opportunity to continue learning, expand my portfolio and meet new people. And it's only temporary, so there's that. I will continue working with a few select freelance clients, so if you have any design needs, let me know and we'll get you sorted :)

Visiting:: a chiropractor for my shoulder pain. My shoulder hasn't been working properly since I finished my Yoga teacher training (yes...) and I've been given it some time to heal itself, but that didn't happen. So now I am seeing a chiropractor every few weeks and seriously, this guy works magic. I was flabbergasted at what he achieved after only one session, no cracking of any bones involved.

Reading:: a lot of great books lately! Despite (or rather because of?) the hype, I succumbed and read The Goldfinch and absolutely LOVED it. It was one of those books were I was sad for it to end. Also reading and loving Zero Waste Home after getting lost in their blog for hours. And I just got Americanah which I can't wait to start reading. Heard so many good things about it.


Inspired:: by the family behind the blog and book Zero Waste Home and the incredibly young and beautiful Lauren Singer from the blog Trash is for Tossers. I grew up in a pretty alternative household, where recycling was standard operating procedure and food was grown, foraged and canned at the regular. But these guys are taking it up a notch by trying to reduce their waste footprint to zero, by refusing all packaged goods and switching from plastic to sustainable wares such as glass and stainless steel. Have a browse through their blogs, and if you take away and implement even one of their tips, it's gonna make a difference. I want to reduce and slowly but surely eliminate most packaged items from entering our house, but it sure is a process and takes commitment. Baby steps, right?!

Eating:: lots of veggies again, finally! I've had a pretty icky phase of eating mostly french toast, pasta and cheese and not much else, but finally my veggie mojo is back. And just in time too, because my skin and energy levels were definitely reflecting my poor eating habits. I now kickstart my day with freshly squeezed lemon& orange juice with a heaping tablespoon of, what I like to call, magic powder; a mix of spirulina, wheat grass, maca and clay. Makes me feel like a witch brewing her potion every morning :)

surprise gift
cool cats

Happy:: about the little things. Friendships made through this space. A surprise gift from a neighbour for feeding her cat. A bouquet of the most beautiful flowers in all the blush&pink hues I never knew I loved. And spending quality time with my main man, always.

What have you guys been up to lately?

Israel part 1: Jerusalem


Last week, M and I flew to Israel for a family wedding. Since we only went for a couple of days, we tried to manage our time wisely. So on the day of the wedding, which only started that evening, we ventured out early in the morning to explore the Old City of Jerusalem.
Not being a religious person, it is near impossible for me to understand the conflict that has been going on over the centuries, fighting over this Holy Land. But seeing three world religions clash, trying to live side by side on such close quarters, as a passerby, is at the very least fascinating to see.

1-5: Church of the Holy Sepulchre
6: The Western Wall

7-10: Dome of the Rock

Your Story Illustrated | Giveaway


Last fall I had the pleasure of meeting Marlous and Marieke, the creative duo behind Plan M. They had a stall at Strawberry Earth Fair offering one of their specialities, a concept called "Your Story Illustrated". Basically, while Marlous asks you a couple of questions to get the conversation going, Marieke is busy illustrating using i.a. beetroot & spinach ink and growing paper. They then combine the two components and voilà, ready is your custom illustration. 

M and I had so much fun during the process and loved the result so much (see above), we asked them if they could draw a "long distance" illustrated story of our friend (whose birthday was coming up), based on some pictures and stories we had from him. That too was such a hit, that after some more chatting, we came up with the idea for a giveaway.

We are giving away one "long distance" custom illustration for you and/or your favourite person, which might be the perfect gift for Valentine's Day!
Plan M and the winner will arrange a Skype/Facetime chat and b
ased on that conversation and some photos the winner sent, they will make the illustration and send it out as a gift for you to give or receive :)

To enter, just leave a comment and let me know, who would you have them illustrate? The giveaway closes Friday, the 6th February at 23.59 pm. Have fun and good luck!

* The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been contacted! xx