Monthly Archives: January 2015

Victoria comes over to cook some delicious desserts. I take pictures with of the whole process getting inspired if all this domestic bliss not to say the aromas that are filling the house. Sebastian is upstairs playing with MJ and in a moment I’m about to start my latest cooking project – pizza’s. Great for the kids too as it’s fun and easy to make.

In the meantime check out these fruit desserts…video and instructions follows below.

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Victoria is in charge

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…with a little bit of help

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…and Sebas came with lovely tulips

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How to melt chocolate…

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…before dipping strawberries in IMG_3817

…these desserts are something to recommend, video below

The house has gone from complete chaos to sheer peace. The snow that flanked the roof tops is now gone as the temperature is in the 10’s (or at least so it feels when I open a window). Already days ago I realized I needed a weekend to catch up on work. No regret…there is a great freedom in that. With relative few emails coming in I can finally wrap up matters that should have been completed weeks ago.

Before hubby leaves, he tells me two things which I ponder on…

1. I am so Swedish. An ice queen, Miss Perfect – apparently without emotion, or worse I fake them. I don’t know if I really fake them, but yes the decorum I was taught at a young age is still with me. You don’t need to express everything that is on your mind. Certainly not if it is that of the trivial or negative. I find this being true even more so with age – I feel less and less need to reveal every thought or idea I have. Besides which, my opinions are formed with less frequency. And so with gratitude.

2. Why do I keep my phone under the bed sheet? I answer truthfully – because my phone and other vital things (keys, bank card readers, iphone chargers, my wallet etc) have a tendency of disappearing. I believe I know exactly where I put them (well with some 95% certainty) and yet they disappear. I have my suspicions if course, and occasionally it’s blatantly obvious, but for now I just put things in secure places. I always check all the vitals are in my bag before going to sleep and the phone (which also serves as my alarm) under the sheet and pillow. It works…for now.

I walk downstairs, pour myself another cup of coffee…look for something to eat, then remind myself that I shouldn’t. My thoughts wonder to Karl XII…no drink or sex, few hours of sleep and an austere if not spartan lifestyle. It has my admiration and with that I happily walk upstairs nursing a cup of coffee for warmth and filling an unruly stomach.

Back to work…you may even find an email or two from me waiting in your inbox :).

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The whole family woke up to a white landscape….I am personally thrilled as the Swedish kid in me comes out to play. Yes I do want to play….snow fortresses, snow ball war and snow angels are some things I can see myself engaging in. However office is waiting, a few meetings then trying to clear my action list (wishful thinking perhaps).

Wish you all a wonderful Friday and safe driving if you are on the roads.

Sx

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View from our bedroom

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Sun is slowly rising

It’s been a quiet evening, cooking and watching Swedish history documentaries with Sebastian. They are all in Swedish, like many of the Astrid Lindgren based films he loves to watch. Right now we are watching the infinitely fascinating stories about Charles XII of Sweden, a king who started his reign at the tender age of 14, with the royal palace Tre Kronor (Three Crowns – our National Coat of Arms) burning down. From there on Sweden came to play a defensive role as it’s arch rivals – Denmark, Poland and Russia – all declared war. Although eventually loosing most of the territories of the then Swedish Empire (yes google that one!), except for Finland, I can’t help but admire this war king, who refused baroque wigs and fine clothes, slept along side his men when on campaigns, refused alcohol since the day his grand-mother had scolded him for drinking – mathematician, a skilled tactician and by all accounts living celibate his whole life (he never married and there are no accounts of any lovers or illegitimate children either). I always admired him and his men for taking on this prodigious task of defending Sweden and the privation they were subjected to through endless marches and elven battles, from Narva to Fredriksten.

As a true patriot I add here an English discourse on the king, and below my all time favourite (in Swedish however – by Herman Lindkvist)

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With the New Year comes New Years resolutions. Alcohol was one that went out the window and I’m firmly committed to keep it that way (with a few exceptions, possibly). Another resolution comes to my eating and sports habits. Sugar is for most part banned and I’m thus sticking to meat and vegetables. At the moment of writing I have an insatiable appetite for spinach. I try to have some every day, and today I went for carpaccio, pine nuts, parmigiano cheese, vinegar and fresh baby spinach. Easy to make, as it takes less than 5 minutes to compile. I serve this with a cold tea, my substitute for soft drinks and wine.

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Lunch

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with cold vitamin tea – Vita Orange by Gilles tea

 

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There is nothing like a sunrise, especially when there’s still snow on the ground. This was the case during the shoot in Stockholm. Me (Rebecca) and my sister (Emelie Sundvall CLICK) who is such an amazing photographer went out early in the morning to catch the perfect shots and with light like this it was nothing complicated about it.

What also matched the lighting was the ultra feminine yet cool outfit I wore that day. I faux fur to keep to cold away and a hat for…purely estethic reasons.
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It’s a month ago I stopped drinking. As usual, I’m pretty crap at keeping a vow. I allow myself now and then a sip of wine, or a glass of Champagne for an evening out. But with those exceptions, alcohol doesn’t touch my lips. I feel better from it actually, even though I was never a heavy drinker to start with (I detest anything to do with being marginally tipsy). But yet, the change is being felt. For one, I don’t sense that urge to have a glass of wine to wind down. In fact there is no reason to wind down…for being me I’m pretty cool most of the time – whether you want to put it down to defense mechanisms, disassociation, self applied CBT or stoic self-discipline (I’d like to believe the latter but I’m open for suggestions :).

No matter what, my resolution to stay clear of negativity, activities that leads to sorrow or misery of any kind, seeing the good and the wisdom in every situation, self-reflection and if necessary self-critique on a daily basis (taking the pulse so to speak…do I live the way I preach?) – is granting me peace and happiness as I’ve never known it before. I find it truly difficult to be upset or angry and instead find it increasingly easier to accept and let go of matters that would have bothered me before. It’s still very much an experiment, and there are days when I find certain situations difficult to cope with, when I have to search deep to find that Inner Garden. But it’s always there….providing beauty and peace when most required.

I need more time to get perspective of the path I found and how it is really working. Essentially it’s down to creating new neural pathways and that’s all chemistry in the end. Changing learned behaviour and forging positive patterns. I’m still in the beginning (I say this being busy with the path of self discovery for some two or three years….I guess my blog is a good indicator :). But it takes time, perhaps a lifetime. But for now one positive side effect is already showing: my skin starts looking better. And still not having got rid of all my vanity I quite indulge in this unanticipated effect :).

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Beyond the surface

Yet another day working from home. It’s becoming a bad habit, but it’s not only for convenience. Schedule is pretty intense at the moment, and loosing 45 min on travel time seems like a waste of space. Then there is the other advantage of walking down with wet hair and no make-up. Saves time too 🙂

Victoria came over for lunch and a heart-to-heart talk. I made her favourite dish – duck a la orange with garlic and lemon laced spinach (see recipe below). My girl just left and I’m back to wrapping up our website design, and starting up another branding project. By all accounts it’s going to be a long day here…

garlic & lemon spinach

• Wash and drain the spinach
• Peel and finely slice 2 cloves of garlic
• Preheat your largest pan or wok on a medium heat until hot

• Tilt the pan and add a lug of olive oil, immediately followed by the garlic
• Shake the pan around so the garlic cooks evenly
• When the garlic goes slightly golden, tip in your spinach and mix it around quickly, using a pair of tongs

• Season with a pinch of salt and pepper
• In just 1 minute the spinach will cook down – you’ll be amazed how quickly it happens!
• Put it into a drain and let any excess water drain away

• Put the pan back on a medium heat and some more olive oil
• put the spinach back into the pan and squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon
• Stir it around, taste, and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it
• Serve immediately

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Ready to serve

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My view today – rainy, windy, grey….needless to say fireplace is on

My morning didn’t look much different to previous ones…up a quarter past seven, making breakfast and getting Sebastian ready. Getting hubby ready too….whatever that means. At 9 am I had a 10 minute break playing Subway Surf (this will now be substituted by Ruzzle Adventure I heard – note to self to install). I crammed in a work out…going so fast I nearly broke my record in calorie burn (just below 500 over 40 minutes). A skype call later, voicemails and another call that was long overdue, and I still find myself in my training gear making a pea soup that should serve as lunch or dinner (saves dinner cooking time by 45 minutes!). I go for a brisk shower and get dressed whilst the lunch is cooking on the stove (10 minutes downtime).

Back at the computer and I have marginally started on my action list. I anticipate a looong day, if not evening. My colleague dropped me a message yesterday….you know we are concerned over you. I swiftly replied: don’t be. I barely have time to revert to what I was doing before a familiar skype ping echoes from my headset: Remind me to talk to you about maslow’s hierarchy of needs sometime 🙂. I counter: no need 🙂 but thanks anyways.

I didn’t think more of it, as calamities were already hitting the home front, and I still had cooking, grocery delivery and ironing to finish. Not to mention Sebastian going to bed. It wasn’t until this morning I had some time to reflect on it…when I stumbled upon a meme on Facebook…

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Looks familiar?  …or for my own little interpretation…

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How was your weekend? Mine? Extremely relaxing. I have been hanging out on the couch for pretty much the whole weekend preferring the fireplace to the cold and rain that currently holds a firm grip over the Low Countries.

I just came out of the shower, and I’m snug behind my computer with my favourite hole ridden John Varvatos sweater (classic menswear) and my ripped jeans that slowly begins to give up its ghost.

It was a quick shower this time, and I’m impressed with the results. The results?….yes, I had a wax the other day. There has to be a first time for everything and thus I decided to give waxing a try given that a new salon has popped up in Haarlem….Smoooth, on Wilhelminastraat 25 in Haarlem.

When you give things a try you have to really give things a try, so I decided for legs and Brazilian…yes the intimate (if not ultimate) wax job that was all the rage back in the SATC heydays but for some reason escaped me. Don’t get me wrong here, I am familiar with razors, but it can be a hassle if not the occasional disaster.

Jacomien made me feel very comfortable, starting with my legs. As I couldn’t shave for a week prior to the treatment, my pins had seen better days undoubtedly. Did it hurt? No, not at all and afterwards my legs looked indeed incredibly smooth.

We moved on to the more intimate parts. I am rarely embarrassed (comes with age I suppose). Needless to say I looked pretty hairy down under too (if not the wax won’t work). But the wax job went really well and near painless I would say. The result is even more compelling. In fact 3 days onwards and not a single hair on the horizon. The result is to last for 3-4 weeks….well I am sold. Saves a lot of time in the shower, not to mention an ultra smooth experience :).

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In treatment

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…ambiance…

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…not only waxing is on the menu, pedicure, manicure…

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…relaxing massage treatments…

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…products used are by Caudalie…

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…and Etro perfumes

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Opened a month ago Smoooth has some great offers in the months of January & February

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I walked home with some great goodies….thank you Jacomien, will be back very soon!