My personal highlights of 2014
Two thousand and fourteen was intense and left me happy and exhausted. These were some of my personal highlights:
In May I opened up and shared our personal love story, the reactions were heart-warming and made me tear up. I love my husband so much! /// We finally started building a new bathroom. It's not finished yet (we are doing everything ourselves, plumbing, walls, floors, tiling etc.) but we're getting there. I can't wait to take that very first shower... soon!
I ran 138 times this year, gave away 3 pairs of Kalenji running shoes, suffered from painful shinsplints but finally reached my goal of 10K this week /// Our Blago blogger trip to Milan and the Lake area in Italy was so much fun and so very real. Topped off with a delicious lunch near the Lago d'Orta.
Another food highlight of the year was this much anticipated lunch at Ottolenghi's with Robert. It was SO good, I'm still dreaming of it! /// It was very rewarding to see our Urban Jungle Bloggers community grow so much this year. In November we shot a video in Paris which will be released very soon. Our last day of shooting included this incredible sunset. So cheesy but it made Igor and me very happy.
2014 also marked our first full year of eating hardly any sugar. It was surprisingly easy and I baked lots of sugarfree cookies and these yummy yogurt granola bars with hand picked blueberries /// My Pinterest following skyrocketed to over 60K followers. The secret? Daily pinning, a business account (with statistics), rich pins on my own website and somehow being a suggested pinner for new Pinterest subscribers. And of course a lot of fun: pinning is addictive!
My favorite design of 2014
This year I visited Maison & Objet in Paris (twice) as well as the Salone del Mobile in Milan. These were some of my coups de coeur:
Hartô, a young and fresh French brand /// Love these gorgeous inversed Mischer'traxler bowls
New Roman collection by Jaime Haydon in Milan /// Cool mirrors at the Hay Mini Market in Milan
I had a big crush on these sausages by Aufschnitt /// A simple DIY update of our Kickboy
Bright & colorful chairs designed by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso /// Scandinavian design for Urban Jungle Bloggers (and graphic designers) by Kristina Dam Studio
My favorite flowers of 2014
Last year's discovery of having colorful flowers at home continued in 2014. And even though my love for plants is stronger, I love these:
A flower tribute to our dear flowergirl Inga /// Gorgeous Helleborus for my mom
I froze some Indian cress flowers /// Blossom on our Sunday walk
Ohhh the perfumes of Wisteria... in Italy! /// Super cute snowdrops from the woods near our home
Red and purple anemones /// Gorgeous magnolia during Golden Hour
► Find my colorful flowers of 2013 right here.
My favorite trips of 2014
Between all my work projects that kept me in home office, I managed to travel quite a bit in 2014. For work, for my blog, for fun and to visit family & friends. Of course I hope to explore some more in 2015. In the next couple of days I'll start with Lille and Nice, not bad, right?
A little daytrip to the beautiful Baie de Somme in France /// We wandered around one of the most beautiful villages in France: Gerberoy
Hats and horses at the Prix de Diane in Chantilly /// Our very fun Blago bloggers trip with dear friends to Milan and the Lagio Maggiore
The exciting Middelheim Museum park in Antwerp, Belgium /// A colorful walk around Notthing Hill in London
► My favorite trips of 2013 are here.
My favorite shops of 2014
In 2014 I visited some beautiful boutiques with unique and well curated collections of goodies for the home. These are my absolute favorites:
Vintage & modern goodies for the home at Pedlars, London /// True letter & sign nirvana Kidimo in Paris
Stationary heaven Present & Correct in London /// Shopping, plants and good coffee at The Broken Arm in Paris
Art & illustration shop and creative hub You Can Now in London /// So many cool bike & lifestyle goodies at Tokyobike in London
► Click here to check out my favorite shops of 2013
My favorite jungles of 2014
It's one of the best things of blogging: the archives! 2014 was very intense and it's so much fun to look back at the many things I did, saw, experienced. One of the happiest projects was Urban Jungle Bloggers. Our green community grew bigger and bigger, Igor and I hosted our first UJB event and we filmed in Paris for a short video coming out very soon (I'm so excited!!!). Let's start with my favorite jungles of 2014:
Gorgeous cactus plants at the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil in Paris /// Picking our own fruit and veggies at the Jardins de Montplaisir, near our home in the Oise, France.
Cactus shop Les Succulents Cactus in Paris /// A tutorial to grow your own succulents
Self sustaining terrariums at boutique & workshop Green Factory in Paris /// Easter eggs, cacti and succulents
Plants, drinks, music, art at le Comptoir Général in Paris /// My plantshelfie, part of the very popular UJB plantshelfies
Our first Urban Jungle Bloggers event at West Elm in London /// My favorite cactus plant in 3 different stylings
► Click here to check out my favorite jungles of last year
It's one of my very rare blog traditions to reveal you our wooden tree on Christmas morning. After an intense year which included tons of Urban Jungle Bloggers fun, it was an obvious choice to dress the tree in little succulents. From newborn babies to toddlers grown from inherited plants, travel cuttings, succulent gifts, Ikea plants or seeds: it's all here. Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas!
Oh and if you wonder why the messy look? The tree fell over 3 times (I broke 4 terracotta pots in the action oops!) and in the end I left the soil where it was. Less pristine, but more real. Or you can call it lazy ;)
If you like, this is what our plywood tree looked like last year and in 2012.
Merry & Bright
There's not a single blogger I know that takes their own pictures who isn't complaining about the light in these dark days before Christmas. It's not ideal, but well... let's hope Christmas will be merry & bright!
Our home is slowly getting dressed for Christmas, so I also wanted a new fresh poster on our kitchen door. My favorite neon Halloween poster and a Daniel Frost illustration that I got from YCN in London were replaced by this home-printed Zilverblauw poster. You can download it for free on Anki's blog as a sweet Christmas gift! (or buy a nice quality version in the Zilverblauw shop). Merci Anki & Casper!
For some true #UJBXMAS spirit in the kitchen, I hung a string of lights in my Euphorbia. And my thrifted mint bowl is exploding with different kinds of succulents:
The Philodendron bipinnatifidum plant that was in the guestroom until recently, is in good company of one of my palm trees. I grew it from a tiny seed and together with his brothers and sisters he's becoming bigger and bigger every year. Want to learn how to grow your own palm tree? I wrote a tutorial here.
Is your home ready for Christmas? Do you have a tree? Some plants or pine branches? A wreath? I want to see it! Tag your green festive Instagram pictures with #UJBXMAS and #urbanjunglebloggers. Next Monday Igor and I will choose another winner that will be featured on our blog!
It's one of these unwritten Dutch traditions to decorate your home for Christmas only after the Saint Nicholas celebrations. But my hands were itching last week (due to #UJBXMAS of course!) and I took out the lights, balls and Lego Advent calendar. And I kept my hands busy by cutting a few paper snowflakes and taping them to our yellow lampion lights.
After flowering my Clivia showed two big seed pods. I still have to check how to prepare them and grow new Clivia plants. Wouldn't it be nice to have new babies from a plant that is in my family for over 50 years?
I get a lot of questions about our yellow lampion lights, they are vintage Ilka Plast lamps and you can find them on eBay or Etsy sometimes. Every now and then I get completely bored with the lampions (when I see lamps like this!). It also happened a few weeks ago when one of the light bulbs died. I changed it for a new LED light and it was so much brighter that I decided to replace the other two bulbs too. It completely changed their color and I'm back in love ;)
And of course Wally checked out the snowflakes too, but he was more intrigued by the candlelight. No snowflakes missing... so far!
Up next is our wooden xmas tree and maybe I'll hang some light strings in the tree outside as well. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Did you start decorating your home yet? With a Christmas tree? Some plants or pine branches? A wreath? I want to see it! Tag your green festive instagram pictures with #UJBXMAS and #urbanjunglebloggers. Next Monday Igor and I will choose another winner that will be featured on our blog!
My London tips
By popular demand I gathered some of my favorite places in London (oh and I also updated my Paris tips!):
As usual my first citrytrip tip is: simply walk around. It's my favorite way to discover a city and get a sens of its size, the different areas, the people and the more uncommon areas where you won't cross many tourists. And at the same time you are outside and exercise a bit ;) Oh and if not: buy yourself an Oyster card and pay as you go.
► Go colourhunting in Notting Hill preferably on a weekday without the crowds gathering around Portobello Road. You won't be disappointed!
► You Can Now // 72 Rivington Street /// London EC2A 3AY (Shoreditch) /// A shop and a creative hub for graphic designers and illustrators.
► Tokyobike /// 87-89 Tabernacle Street /// London EC2A 4BA /// If you love your bike or like nicely curated products (ponchos, helmets, home goodies, bags, socks).
► Notting Hill Kitchen /// 92 Kensington Park Rd /// Notting Hill /// London W11 2PN /// Who wouldn't want to eat at a place where the tiles look this good? With flavors from Portugal and Spain.
► Present & Correct /// 23 Arlington Way /// London EC1R 1UY /// Vintage stationary and super contemporary paper goods and everything that you'd want on your desk.
► That Flower Shop /// 100 Shoreditch Hight Street /// London E1 6JQ /// A lovely flowershop by Hattie Fox near the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch with a nice selection of plants.
► Ottolenghi restaurant & deli /// 287 Upper Street /// London N1 2TZ (4 locations in Islington, Notting Hill, Belgravia and Nopi) /// Lunch or cake at Ottolenghi's is something else. It's so good, Otam Ottolenghi made veggies sexy again, there are Parisians taking the Eurostar to London just to have lunch at one of his restaurants. Go there, you won't regret it!
► Kemistry Gallery /// 43 Charlotte Road /// London EC2A 3PD /// Kemistry is an independent design gallery dedicated to exhibiting the work of outstanding designers. We saw the super cute exhibition of work by artist Fredun Shapur and I tried this (it's tougher than it seems!). Currently: Jean Jullien! Charlotte Road is also very nice for shopping in independant & stylish boutiques.
► Pedlars /// 128 Talbot Road, Notting Hill /// London W11 1JA /// Vintage with a modern twist, good coffee and very friendly staff. I need to get one of their fleece blankets!
► Fish & chips at the Island Grill at the Lancaster hotel. And Banamel cheesecake as desert. Yummm!
► Ally Capellini /// 312 Portobello Road /// London W10 5RU /// Bags and accessories made in Italian veg tanned leather and waxed cotton.
► Sweaty Betty /// If you're into colourful sportswear (I must admit I'm slightly obsessed since I'm running so often!) you may like Sweaty Betty. I really like this fancy bathing suit <3
► Fairground London /// 260-264 Kingsland Road /// London E8 4DG /// Going to London soon? Check out what's on at the Fairground. It's a creative venue with cultural events that connect food and drinks with a wider audience.
► Glyphics /// 75 Leonard Street /// London EC2A 4QS /// Creative sign makers and vinyl graphics. A sign-lovers paradise!
A glorious Saturday walk
Last week was so dark, with short grey days and I spent a little too much time in front of the screen. On Saturday I couldn't wait to get out of the house, so we went on an early Sunday walk and it was just glorious. Fresh and sunny: I loved it so much. We walked around a little village called Litz, not from from where we live in the Oise. As usual we didn't see a single person, it still surprises me that so very few people enjoy our countryside, while the shops are so crowded at this time of the year. Anyway, I'm all charged up for a new week. Did you have a nice weekend?
My favorite plane trees:
Sunshine after a foggy week, means more fog:
Beautiful pink winter berries:
And freshly chopped wood:
A small mirrored lake near Litz:
hihi that's mistletoe ;)
@joelixjoelix on instagram