It feels tremendously good to be home after a hectic week and a conference in Helsinki. Although extremely cold when I arrived home, I found beautiful gift from the kids in the shape of an Advent Calendar by Rituals. Very thoughtful and I am already using the hand cream :). As I was away they had fun with morning gift openings leading up to Sinterklaas. And from what I can see their Advent Calendars were quite a hit too!

First morning of December

Surprise, surprise!

Advent Calendar by Rituals



I have written endless perfume posts, some venturing into that of the carnal, esoteric and forbidden. Because perfumes are all of those and so much more. A quality fragrance will smell like sun drenched skin, the peculiar scent of ozone, with deep notes of civet, amber and musk. And a good perfume will age with grace, dignity yet revealing depths you can’t recall since you last cracked open the bottle. TABU is one such fragrance, originating from 1932 by the legendary perfumer Jean Carles who famously was told by his contractor (Dana) to “make a perfume a prostitute would wear”. I can’t attest to if it’s living up to its ideals, but it certainly is a perfume that is worn best with silk and lace under the glow of candlelit chandeliers and classical music.

Should you ever look for good quality vintage perfumes in Haarlem, then make sure to stop by the obscure but lovely perfume store “Perfumes of the Past”. Caron, Schiaparelli, Lanvin and of course Dana are all on the menu. You won’t be disappointed.

In my lunch break, having the last gazpacho soup I could find in the supermarket before winter sets in. It’s been such a hectic week and it’s not a secret I’m counting down the days and weeks until Christmas and New Year. But work has plenty of gems too. Last night saw an interesting reading from Coalition for Defense at Sociëteit de Witte. This weekend however is less gilt-edged, as I am preparing the action list for the coming days, it will most like constitute of catching up on emails, plans and preparing for an upcoming business trip. Happy Weekend!

The magnifique entrance

Still life before the reading commence

It’s one of those weekends which is much needed! I started it off yesterday late afternoon with a stroll in the woods followed by dinner at restaurant Groenendaal. All was so peaceful and quiet and it provided opportunity to pause and breath in the autumn air. This weekend is reserved for work at the fireplace, but thinking about it I might just repeat yesterday’s excursion.

the woods are surprisingly still very green

with even the odd flower blooming

elsewhere autumn has left its signature

such as this gorgeous tree mushroom

and a soft blanket of leaves

Halloween is a tradition that sort of just comes and goes, although in the last years I am making more of an effort. This time we made a pumpkin head in anticipation for the big Halloween party at the afterschool. I still have some catch up to do here, but pumpkin lantern is a nice autumn addition to our balcony 🙂

all you need is a pumpkin and an oyster knife

The final result

and pretty tasty too as we used the pulp for a delicious pumpkin soup

The afterschool is prepared for the grande party

Our long weekend is coming to an end. But we’ve had a terrific time. Good food, laughter, frequent visits to the LEGO store, Christmas and Sinterklaas Shopping and stumbling into a book market where I got my hands on several WWI and II books. Yesterday we discovered a new restaurant – Brasserie Opera. Well worth a visit if you are in Lille.

Having just had breakfast in the room, it’s now time for packing, perhaps hitting the gym (if time allows) and finding a nice place to lunch before we leave for home. Well something tells me we will be back soon :).

photo shoot and gourmet food all wrapped into one at Monsieur Jean

Dinner at Brasserie Opera

 lovely scallops dish

It’s the autumn vacation and we decided to spend the last days in Lille. Victoria who coincidentally had already been to Lille with her school a few weeks ago, received with this trip a few extra days to round up here photo assignment.

Last night we had dinner at Restaurant Laksøn. As the name indicate, it’s Scandinavian cuisine, mainly based on salmon but also reindeer and moose. The party was a bit divided on what was served but Sebastian and I enjoyed our Swedish Meatballs. We rounded up with a nightcap at Hotel Barriere before the kids went clubbing and the rest of the party had an early night.


lovely shops

Reindeer meatballs

dinner with the family

dressed up to the nines after a leisurely shopping day

I can still recall the debate we had with our Religious Education teacher about a good deed resulting from a bad intention and contrary a bad deed resulting from a good intention. I didn’t study philosophy nor religion past college to have much of a qualified and studied opinion beyond that of a personal one. But I am still of the view more good will result from having good intentions and therefore this must be the leading factor when judging the two juxtapositions. And yet….“the road to hell is paved with good intentions”… I can’t help but wondering if Seneca had this (and Nero) in mind with his by now famous words “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”

Nevertheless something that still fascinates me, and so seemingly my son when he asked me the other day “Can good people do bad things?”