My first urban jungle in Monaco
Why I love cacti so much? I think the Jardin Exotique in Monaco is to "blame". 15 years ago I visited the garden for the first time and something green rubbed off on me. When I came back last month, it struck me: this is where it all began!
While Monaco is little more than a rock on the shore of the Mediterranean, the botanical garden is actually pretty big. And steep! Just look:
How can you not fall in love with this rich variety of cactus plants, succulents, agaves, yuccas...
And there in the back is the Oceanographic Museum:
From all the urban jungles I have ever visited, this is the prettiest one: it's very clean and "perfect" (it's in Monaco of all places!) and the panoramic view is incredible. An urban jungle to my heart. Oh and I may or may not have scooped a few cuttings for my own jungle... ;)
Jardin Exotique de Monaco /// 62 Bd du Jardin Exotique /// 98000 Monaco
Open all year (except nov 19 + dec 25) from 9:00-19:00 (earlier in fall and winter)
Happy Birthday Dear Academie
Last week one of my favorite Belgian fashion designers, Ann Demeulemeester, announced to leave her label (in a beautiful handwritten letter). Her designs hold a special place in my heart: my first designer heels were by her and I've been following her work ever since. I love the romantic and strong clothes with beautiful cuts and fabrics. Oh and the shoes... ♥
Ann Demeulemeester was part of the Antwerp 6 and one of the most famous alumni of the Antwerp Fashion Academy. Shame on me: I had never visited the MoMu Antwerp Fashion Museum before, but what better occasion for a first visit than the 50th birthday party! Above you see an impression of the current exhibition with graduation work of students, videos, sketches, photos and prototypes from the past 50 years.
I particularly enjoyed the different videos featuring the collection evaluation (which reminded me of my own evaluations in art school), a school trip to Carnaby Street, London in the 60s (quite a travel experience!) and Walter van Beirendonck's story (he's Head of Fashion at the Academy and truly involved with the students, very endearing). Happy Birthday Dear Academy!
2nd image: A.F. Vandevorst /// 6th image: Veronique Branquinho /// 7th image: Martin Margiela (left) Ann Demeulemeester (right)
My little pencil tip collection makes me happy. I've had them since I was 7 and even though these days I draw more with my Wacom pen than with color pencils, I still add all the broken pencil tips to my little silly collection.
When preparing my contribution to Gudy's wonderful series "What do bloggers collect?", I realized I collect lots of different things, without considering it to be real collections. I never think like a real collector: I really need that piece to complete my collection. Never. I rather enjoy having a few, than all of them.
And you? What do you collect? Anything as eclectic as the bloggers in Gudy's series?
Oh and in case you missed it, last month I guest blogged at Madame Love (with "artwork" I drew with the pencils above) and shared some happy home inspiration on Happy Interior Blog. I hope you like it :)
The Recollection Antwerp
I love shops where it's not only about products, but also about styling and creating a unique setting. And when shop owners decide to add some greens... you know I'm in ;) Some of my favorites include HAY House in Copenhagen and La Maison Pernoise in the Provence, but this weekend I discovered a new favorite in Antwerp, called The Recollection.
In the Kloosterstraat, not far from the former RA13 store (they moved to Kleine Markt 7-9), the team of The Recollection proposes a wonderful selection of furniture, lighting, books by 't Stad leest, fashion & accessories, cosmetics by Aesop, objects, ceramics, plants and flowers. It feels like a mix of urban jungle and a cabinet of curiosities. Different from anything I'd ever seen, yet so contemporary and personal: a shop filled with objects of desire.
Unfortunately you're not allowed to take pictures inside, so I'll leave you with the (pretty) store front and a few images from their Facebook page. But I promise, it's way better in real life.
The Recollection carries brands like Maison Martin Margiela /// Petite Friture /// Piet Hein Eek /// The Gentle Factory /// Jars /// Studio Simple /// Les Rebelges /// Labels Inc. /// Nico Uytterhaege /// 't Stad Leest /// and is collected by BVVD, styled by Uber & Kosher and young talent is scouted by ♥ Studio Attenzione
The Recollection /// Kloosterstraat 54 /// 2000 Antwerpen /// +32 3 257 36 14
Open every monday, wednesday to saturday: 10:30-18:30 sunday: 12-18
The colors of Antwerp
Our weekend in Antwerp was cold and foggy but also rather colorful! For the first time ever we visited the Botanical gardens with colorful sculptures:
The Fashion Museum, MoMu, celebrates its 50th birthday with an exhibition of graduation and recent work of students, including the famous Antwerp6+1. Happy birthday Dear Academie!
A = Antwerp
I loved these Fishbone side tables in glossy acrylic by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso, available at KaaiDesign:
Colorful streetart just across the street from Juliette (delicious vegetarian quiches, salads and pies!) and the brand new HAY store.
Oh and did you ever have Iranian food? If not, I can warmly recommend to book a table at Persepolis. Super friendly service and the food is sooo good.
Also check these Antwerp highlights from last year :)
Weekend inspiration #10
My sister decided to send me more snail mail and told me I should write about it on my blog. So I will! Always listen to your little sister!
A while ago she sent me this card by Marije Vogelzang, a well-known Dutch eating designer. Marije designs with food because nothing comes as close to humans as food: "it's something you put inside your body which means it also effects the user of your product". Discover more about her vision on food in this video or on her website.
So, back to the card, it reads: I wish you were a little egg, I would sit on you to breed you. Well, I'm not a little egg dear little sister ;) but I love eating eggs. The fresher, the better. If we wouldn't have hungry foxes around here, I would consider having a few chicken and a rooster to wake us up... just like the one below:
Of course I'd also have some chicks:
Want to see more hens and roosters? My grandma used to keep hens and I shared my little story here.
Le Palais Bulles
Visiting le Palais Bulles felt a bit like meeting a superstar who turns out to be super easy to approach, but hiding his best side from you.
My husband has been in love with bubble houses for ages, and this huge house designed & built by architect Antti Lovag is one of the superstars in its genre. Le Palais Bulles was built in the late 70s and early 80s and is now owned by fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Located at only 10 minutes from our temporary home, we drove up the hill and saw for ourselves. Unfortunately the house is closed to the public, except during a few summer concerts and corporate events, but what we saw from the outside (as seen above) was good, really good.
What struck me most:
► the color: the same pinkish earthy red as the nearby Estérel mountains ♥
► the accessibility: it's "just" another villa in a residential area
► the vastness of the entire house: it's so much bigger than I imagined (1200m²!)
► the pebble cactus plants near the fence: their simple shapes really compliment the palace
► the panoramic view over the bay of Cannes
According to Antti Lovag, it's the inside that counts, so now I'm on the lookout for tickets to any of the concerts next summer to truly experience Palais Bulles. I wonder if I could live in a home without any straight walls as it's the complete opposite of our home. Until then, there is this video of Pierre Cardin showing us around his house, filled with contemporary design pieces:
Urban Jungle Bloggers #3
Yes, it's that time of the month again: time for a brand new Urban Jungle Bloggers post! Last month we showed you some cool urban jungles in our neighborhoods: Igor took us to a vibrant community garden in Vancouver, Jocelyn showed us around Planten un Blomen in Hamburg, Kate introduced us to a cool urban jungle in NYC, we went to the flower market in Aix-en-Provence with Ilaria, floral stylist Emilie wandered around a community garden in Gothenburg, Nina interviewed Jules who has a cute + green apartment and Yvonne presented us her lovely greens (and darling cat!). Oh and I took you to sunny Marseille :)
Today we will share a secret... a gardening secret! I guess my biggest secret is that I don't really have a green thumb. I just try what seems obvious and learn to grow plants through trial & error. For example I really want to grow a little fig tree: they look so great in interiors and I love eating fresh figs. I heard it's fairly easy to grow them from cuttings, so during our holiday in the South of France, I chopped off over 30 fig tree branches... but none of them has shown showed any sign of life so far. But I'll be patient...
I ♥ palm trees, they're so exotic and make me dream of sunshine & holidays. So today I'll share one of my more successful green adventures and learn you how to grow a palm tree! And just a little secret: it's easy!
My favorite Aire de Jugy
I love traveling in my own country. The Oise region is really nice, but nothing makes me happier than driving on the Autoroute du Soleil. Ohhh... the promise of sun, la mer and pine trees in the South of France... ♥
A break at one of the many rest areas along the road makes it even more fun and relaxing. Especially if you happen to stop at Aire de Jugy. Before reaching the aire de repos, located near Chalon-sur-Saône (in the Burgundy region between Dijon & Mâcon) there's little bit of suspense:
As a kid it was always such a joy to spot these fellows along the road. On our way to the Provence last month I couldn't help but stop to take a few playful pictures. Unfortunately most mushrooms are for kids only, but they look fantastic.
I can highly recommend to make a stopover at Aire de Jugy if you'll ever travel southbound, with or without kids!
Domaine du Rayol
One of the urban jungles that we visited in the South of France is called the Domaine du Rayol. Not far from where we were married, located on the most beautiful part of the coast, lays this botanical garden focused on Mediterranean species. As you know, I'm very much into agaves, palm trees and cactus plants, so this Mediterranean garden was just my thing.
The mix of pine trees and sea smells sooo good, I wish someone would create a perfume with these scents:
There was one reason why I wanted to visit the Camargue region during our stay in the South of France: the color pink. Pink flamingos and pink salt flats. I had seen flamingos before and find them so elegant and gracious. And their color: wow! But in October many of them are already on their way to Africa so we only spotted a few smaller groups far far away. I watched them with binoculars and took a few pictures through their lenses with my camera. To my astonishment it worked:
A few miles later we spotted this one flamingo parading and showing off his (or her) beautiful feathers.
Our afternoon in the Camargue was lovely. When quiet we'd hear thousands of birds chirping and making all kinds of pretty (and weird!) sounds. The Camargue is a truly remarkable wetland area and Europe's largest river delta. If you're into horse riding (*hint hint* Rose!), this is THE place to mount a white Camargue horse and go for a ride.
In the south east of the Camargue, near Port Saint Louis, we visited the Salins de Giraud, the salt flats with their beautiful colors. Depending on the time of the year, the light and the amount of salt and halobacteria, the salt pans become pink, violet, red, yellow... or lilac:
I imagined it stronger, but it's nice and subtle. Isn't it pretty?
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