Monthly Archives: March 2014

So then there was that clubbing night in Stockholm…yes the one I promised to come back to. You see it was Friday evening, we actually had an invitation for a corporate party at  PlayAd but as I was late (which woman with some self-respect isn’t?) I doubted the party was still in full swing when we got around to it. So instead we had a reservation at Fem Sma Hus (Five Little Houses) in the Old Town of Stockholm. It was actually brilliant as my father used to take me there. It’s a restaurant taken straight out of any medieval period drama and the second oldest restaurant in Stockholm, which has served as various taverns in the 17th and 18th century. if you are looking for good Swedish food and terrific ambiance this is your place. Ask for the alcove seat (in an old fireplace). It’s the spot you want for an intimate dinner with a close friend or take your spouse to.

However…. the night was still young (around midnight actually when we finished up) and we asked the very attentive sommelier for some suggestions to clubs. One on the list was Cafe Opera. A classic club I’ve actually have never been to (do remember I only get to Sweden for business since I left some 20 years ago). We arrive 10 minutes later. There is a line, but we are quickly whisked forward by the security personnel and can step in. Is this a good or a bad sign?

I leave my coat with R and place myself in a corner with a vantage view, taking in the atmosphere of the place. it’s an old place, with that I mean, high ceiling, cornices, marble. Those places have the best potential for something classy (which the name also allude to….Cafe Opera). I’m standing there for about 30 seconds, make it a minute and a half, and a guy in a striped t-shirt and pumped-up chest walks up to me. He could come out of an ad of Jean Paul Gaultier but of course alcohol and dim light is the great equalizer when it comes to beauty.

“Are you here alone?” he asks.

“No, I’m waiting for someone”. I reply politely

He walks off. I follow the trail of JPG Boy who walks to the bar and chats up another girl, then I loose track. It’s already getting full inside with an eclectic crowd. There is a constant pushing and shoving and as I don’t fancy toppling over like a Lenin statue after the Cold War, I decide to hit the VIP area. A group of well dressed gentlemen sit in a corner canoodling with women of all ages. I sit, sipping my Champagne when a marginally drunk man in his early 30’s decides to pick up our Champagne bottle. R gets really upset at this (after all it’s 120 euro’s) whilst I don’t particularly mind, given he probably needs it more than we do. If not to impress on the girl that is following him like a shadow.

Music is at best, eclectic. A few house tunes are mixed with, what sounds like a cavalcade of Top 40 hits. I start off dancing to a pretty good remix of Lana del Rey just to suddenly find myself in Hip Hop land. I try to adjust my moves, but they feel out of synch. So I go back to the VIP area where Champagne Charmer is once again pouring himself a glass on our expense. I now know why our bottle emptied so quickly and why I never felt even tipsy this evening. Most of the alcohol was clearly not consumed by us.

As I sit another guy comes up to me. He also wears a striped shirt. Are they fashionable in Sweden? Did Jean Paul Gaultier open up a store on Biblioteksgatan recently?

He starts with the full-frontal question “How old are you?”

“40” I reply for two reasons, to 1) discourage him, and 2) in case he thinks I look really old then I just happen to look my age. I don’t expect any compliments, in fact the contrary at this point.

He looks at me, although his gaze darts between me and something/someone behind me. I pretend not to notice.

“I never kissed a 40 year old you know.” he says as casually as asking for a cigarette. I can’t say I’m dumbfounded by his reply, but I am quick to retort. “I don’t think this is your night either Darling.”

He sheepishly walks away, perhaps to the object of desire he was only moments ago eying up.

~~~

We decide to make a move as this place is not where it’s happening. We end up at Stureplan. I try to ask the taxi driver what would be a good place but he is not very interested in further conversation. He just wants his money and leave the jammed traffic. I navigate my red sole shoes between drunken Swedes and piles of vomit. It’s a question of looking down rather than up.

We eventually end up at Sturecompagniet. I excuse myself to go to the toilets. All cabins are taken, but if there is any toilet activity going on, I am not so sure. Some are closed but eerily silent (did someone just died in there?). Others emit laughter and other dubious noise. A used condom lies on the floor. I stand towards one of the sinks (there are about four) when a drunk girl brushes past me. The fact I didn’t move, is apparently an invite for a quarrel. I continue to stare at my target: one of the toilet cubicals. She mutters something and then leaves.

We end up in a bar on the first level of this palace dedicated to vice of every kind. I have a water. Opposite us sits a group of men in their twenties and early thirties. They spread themselves out, among empty Champagne bottles, like they own the place. I find it rather amusing, especially since one of the guys starts to apparently make fun of me. It makes me more curious and I step up to him, telling him I love his impersonation. He wasn’t really prepared for that. He asks where I am from and I say Amsterdam. Suddenly I have gone from a low-class has-been to someone that is marginally cool. He asks what I do and I say consultancy. He is warming up. I just moved from low class to middle class (class society is very much a thing in this part of town). Perhaps I just have a bad day per style – ah well she is from Amsterdam….which he also blurts out to his friend. They invite me to their next hang out, but I decline. My evening is done.

I once again find myself in no-mans-land between vomiting men and women, a half naked man who lies on the ground and people that with one look seem to want to kill me. I smile. Because I find this testosterone culture highly amusing. I now know why I left Sweden years ago. I now thank God for having partied my pants off to DJ Marcello and Eric E (looong time ago) at the Roxy. Those were the days 🙂

I love Sweden, but club culture (unless I am on the guest list of V*****), is something I will give a miss.

photo 2[1]

Fem Sma Hus in Gamla Stan (Old Town)

 photo 1[1]

Sancerre for the evening

photo 1[2]

View from the alcove

photo 2[2]

Atmospheric…

photo 3[2]

photo 4[1]

The bird for the evening

photo 1

VIP – ALL access…to Champagne anyways

photo 2

Selfie with R….my companion for the evening

photo 3

Crashing in bed…

  photo 4

Breakfast in bed

   photo 5

Vi ses igen…

I came home just in time to meet up with a gorgeous birthday girl for an improvised dinner at Woodstone in Haarlem and hand over a birthday prezzie (the big one being a complete make-over of the room which will be ready in a week’s time). 16 years and my little Vicky has turned into a lady. The great surprise was that she has been accepted to Media College in Amsterdam, which will prepare her for graphic design. I’m so very, VERY proud of you! Love you loads Victoria! xxx

photo 1

My Girl!

photo 1[1]

Birthday girl had obviously been very good….

photo 2

…because weather was great…

photo 2[1]

Victor & Rolf Flower Bomb (the real present is a make-over of her room which is in progress)

 

photo 3[1]

Looking gorgeous

photo 4[1]

…in new outfit 🙂

main.original.466x530 Star Shailene Woodley from Divergent chooses class over convention. Here, for a New York screening of the film, she went for an amazing Elie Saab Pre-Fall 13 Jumpsuit paired with some super cool Rupert Sanderson pumps in shiny gold paired with orange lips. Today’s Steal the Style may look empty when it comes to the amount of clothes and accessories in the collage, but Shailene Woodley’s outfit above just proved that less really is more. Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 4.30.15 PM

Woke up just after 8 (it became a late evening, but only because of calls and emails – I was a good girl I can assure you). The sun is shining here and I’ve been working for the last hours in bed with a coffee and fruit sallad to sustain my insatiable hunger. Off in a moments to some meetings. Wish you all a good Friday…whether it rains or not….remember sunshine can always be found within. xx

photo[2]

My office atm – Hotel Diplomat

photo[3]

My view – the backyard, but love it!

…but not Sweden out of the Swede. I feel like a fish in her fishbowl. In other words so good to be back to my home country. And to one of the most beautiful cities (Stockholm) in the world – at least to a forlorn Swede. I just came back from hitting the bar for a couple of nightcaps (thank you bartender + girlfriend and R for great conversations). Before that, a sauna and jacuzzi appointment. I feel refreshed and invigorated. Good night everyone! x

photo 1[1]

Just came from the spa, so not really picture worthy thank you!

Like the nail varnish though – it’s Chanel Fracas – what else?

photo 1[2]

We went around the corner of Strandvagen to Speceriet, on recommendation

from a friend of mine. Well worth a visit. Culinary at its most adventurous.

photo 2[3]

Ostermalm close to twighlight

photo 3[3]

Strandvagen

photo 5[1]

no words, just happy to be here…

photo 5[2]

…into Thinking You are Swedish.

1. Don’t look directly at another person. In an elevator or on the subway. It is quite alright to look at anything else though; like your shoes or the commercials on the wall.

2. Eat big lunches. Sweden has a big lunch culture and everybody loves their hot lunches.

3. Believe in something bigger, but have no clue what. Swedish people have a very ambivalent relationship to religion. Most people believe in something, but have absolutely no clue in what they believe in.

4. Don’t stand to close to other people in public places. If there’s one seat left on the bus next to another person, stand up instead. Swedish people don’t like coming to close to strangers, this will make them suspicious and think that you are up to something.

5. Sh&%!. Shout, “Va fan!” all of the time.

6. Whatever you do, don’t date. Swedish people do not date. We go out to clubs, get drunk and meet someone there – don’t talk to the person we met until the next time we go out and get drunk again. And that’s how it goes until someone is brave enough to ask if the other person wants to come over to watch a movie.

7. Only wear black clothes. Every Swedish girl is born with a Darth Vader inside of her. Black jackets, black trousers, black tops…. Do I need to say more?

8. Don’t show your feelings.  Swedish people avoid showing their feelings in front of other people. If we don’t like someone, or disagree we would rather ignore the person by staying quiet.

9. Live according to the Law of Jante. An unwritten law that says you should not be different or think you are better than anyone else in any way.

10. Treat both genders equally. Feminism is strong in Sweden and equality has come a long way. Some argue that gender equality has even gone a bit too far.

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” said a wise man once (that man was Elbert Hubbard, an American writer best known for his checkered life as well as death). So I attempted once more on broaden as well as deepening my culinary skills with a home made chicken soup for lunch. So far so good. No immediate illness has followed and it was actually rather tasty. We’ll see tonight if I can whisk together some stuffed paprika or a mean risotto. Update shall follow…

photo[1]

What it may lack in presentation it surely makes up in taste. Bon appétit!

 

I’m not known for my culinary skills. In fact yesterday Husband refused to eat my food (Romanian meatballs – I found them tasty to be honest). Today I attempted making bolognese but ended up with far too much juice (I emptied a bottle of red that had gone acidic – it didn’t exactly work out). You might think a gal like myself could whisk together something edible at least, but alas. Today was particularly bad and secretly I took pity over my family for having to eat such foul food (I was myself munching on overcooked broccoli and meatballs – yes correct observation, the ones my husband refused the previous evening, hence the leftovers). Being used to argue my cause and not ending up as the loosing party I enlightened my husband on a piece of ancient history on the topic of bad food and its supreme usage (if there ever was one).

The Spartans, who have gone down in history as an exceptional fighting machine with their sophisticated phalanx formations and advanced military strategy (Strategos was the name of a Hellenistic general – hence the name), were also famous for shunning the most basic of commodities. They simply lived to conquer. For all their notoriety – one is lesser known to us – their melas zomos – or black soup, a heavy concoction of pigs legs’, blood, salt and vinegar. According to legend, a man from Sybaris, a city in southern Italy infamous for its luxury and gluttony (which gave rise to the word sybarite), after tasting the Spartans’ black soup remarked with disgust, “Now I know why the Spartans do not fear death”.

I told my husband this, and couldn’t help but remarking (in regards to his own peerless warrior skills) – Now, tell me darling what did your parents feed you? If there ever was a word as soul food, I believe I might have just found the true meaning of it.

 

Rachel Zoe red hat & suede jacket full

There are few people who has as amazing style as the stylist and designer Rachel Zoe. She works with celebrities, fashion houses, beauty firms, advertising agencies and magazine editors and has been involved in the fashion industry for nearly two decades. So, if you see her resume, you can already understand that this woman knows a thing or two about fashion.

Rachel Zoe was also the pioneer of the “boho-chic” look that consists of oversized jewelry combined with loose-fitting dresses and shirts. Which you can see influences of in the outfit above, even if this is a more chic than boho version of it. We absolutely love it!

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.00.38 PM

In my quest for love, peace and happiness, I’ve gone through quite a lot of thoughts. Some of them ended up on blog posts and emails, occasionally misdirected. Eventually I came to a sort of truth I could live with where I found total freedom within myself. I could let go of controls I previously found necessary and perhaps more importantly the fears that have driven me, unwittingly or not.

I am not about to start a diatribe on philosophy here, but what is rather curious is that my whole notion of being an optimist versus pessimist got turned on its head. Whilst I would previously describe myself as a die-hard optimist, I now would challenge that idea. As I came to realize we really don’t exercise much control outside of ourselves (relatively speaking), it is rather strange to believe everything will work out well, when most often there are times during the day things don’t. And hence we get upset, curse, punish (rarely ourselves but some poor soul that just happen to be a rank below us in the “pecking order”) and generally loose our wits. Simply because we believe things will turn out the way we envisioned it. So I put the notion of optimism on its head. If I don’t expect things to be good, going according to plan, people to be friendly, there is no cause for anger or emotional turmoil if and when calamity strikes. Hence my glass is now always half empty (which also opens up new opportunities as the space previously filled is now void). To align my expectations to the probability of tribulation (big or small) I start off the day (after Hubby and children have left the house) with the following adage:

“Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will and selfishness – all of them due to the offender’s ignorance of what is good and evil.”

“Your only control are your thoughts & intentions”

“Total freedom of disturbance”

photo