Summer flowers in pastel
When I passed by these most perfect poppies on one of my runs the other day, I couldn't resist to run back and pick some. Such a pity the petals dropped an hour later, but there will be seeds to sow next fall. And the dried poppies make for nice wall bouquets as well!
Also, two cacti have been flowering! For both of them it was their first time and before they bloomed I wondered what colors they would be... turned out both cacti (not from the same mother plant) were almost the same color: a soft lilac pink. See a theme going on here?
Blooming perfection, right?
This one bloomed on my birthday: 3 blooms that reach for the sky! Quite fitting when you're in your thirties, right?
When you're this pretty you are allowed to watch yourself in the (pink) mirror like an narcisissist ;)
To be honest, both cacti got more light than usual this spring and summer, after a fresh/cold winter, which probably made them bloom this season. As most of my cacti got invested with mealy bugs, I placed them all outside and let the ladybirds do their thing. It's a messy bunch, but they're doing better, the ladybirds are having a feast, but the cacti are not entirely safe yet... I may need to start some alcohol spraying soon.
Journées des Plantes in Chantilly 2018
This weekend I was back at one of the biggest European plant fairs... on our doorstep! In one of the prettiest locations in my Oise region: le Château de Chantilly. I visited Les Journées des Plantes for the first time a few years ago (see here, in 2015) but this time was extra special as I was part of a small group of bloggers (Valérie, Justine, Mélanie and Gaëlle). We had the privilège to attend a hands-on workshop by Rose Nursery Delbard and taste some hand beaten whipped cream that you call "crème de Chantilly" in French. No need to say it was a delight ;)
Just as in 2015, the Journées des Plantes focuses mainly on garden and balcony plants, but lucky me: there were also quite a few beauties that would thrive in a sunny home, like the succulents and cacti from Arrée Succulentes, Pépinière Bellec, Cactées des Combes, and the amazing aroids from Pépinière Nature & Tropiques. Also, how amazing look these fantastic Proteas from Pépinière Railhet:
A fun new feature of the seventh edition of the Journées des Plantes, was the "favourite". Each nursery got to present their favorite plant to the audience, which resulted in some surprising choices on some stands.
If you're ever in Chantilly, even if you are there for plants, an exhibition at the Musée du Jeu de Paume, or a spectable at the Living Horse Museum, make sure to visit the castle as well. The Château de Chantilly is one of the finest jewels in the crown of France's cultural heritage and houses the largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre. Make sure to look for the gallery with portraits on the pink wallpapered wall, called the Clouet room. Usually it's quite calm in this area, unlike the reading room or the princely suites, and admire the eclectic collection of 90 Renaissance portraits including all the kings and queens of 16th century France painted by Jean Clouet and his son François Clouet. There are some rather hilarious paintings amongst them!
Journées des Plantes in Chantilly - next edition October 19th - 21st 2018
Royal Greenhouses of Laeken in Brussels
When you're in Brussels during the only 3 weeks of the year when the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are open to the general public, you just HAVE to go, right? This was the first time ever, that I queued up to visit a greenhouse. It was also the most annoying visit ever: there were too many loud and impolite people to my liking... there was only one route through the greenhouses and it all felt way too polished, perfect and flowery to me. BUT...
BUT: the final greenhouse, the Winter Garden with the Royal Crown on top, made it all worth it: I mean look at how amazing it looks in the first photo! It was so impressive, with beautifully aligned palms, banana trees and ferns. And this mega giant huge Monstera deliciosa on the side... One of the biggest specimens I have ever seen:
In 1873, architect Alphonse Balat designed a complex of greenhouses for King Leopold II, made entirely of glass and steel, in order to complete the castle of Laeken. He supervised the different stages of its construction until his death in 1895, and was succeeded by the architects Girault and Maquet. Built between 1874 and 1905, the Royal Greenhouses were a spectacular innovation by their size and their architectural quality. King Leopold II was particularly fond of camelias, and thus the greenhouses house an exceptionnal collection of them.
A few facts and figures: The park measures 194ha and the greenhouses complex covers a 1.5ha floor space with a roof made of 2.5ha of glass. 651 Tonnes of steel are used for the Winter Garden. Some plants are nearly 200 years old. 60 Employees take care of the plant collection and more than 100.000 people visit the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken every year.
If you have the chance to visit the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken before May 11th, go go go! It is spectacular and so worth the visit, despite the touristic feel of the venue, it is impressive. A definite must-see!
The Royal crown on top of the Royal Greenhouse:
La Serre du Congo:
Along the winding path through the different greenhouses everything is very floral: if you like fuchsia plants, this the place to be: they are everywhere and the small garden parcels are meticulously cultivated.
Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, Château de Laeken, Avenue du Parc Royal, Brussels
Open 3 weeks per year (April 21st - May 11th 2018), tickets 2.50€
A walk around the Sukkulenten Sammlung in Zurich
A few weeks ago I was in Zurich together with Igor to speak about the Urban Jungle Bloggers community and our book at the Textile & Fashion Days of the Swiss Textile College. It was really fun as their topic of the year was "Urban Jungle" and they had a Slow Fashion Performance at night with models presenting the student's creations in an underground urban garden. If you would like to see what that looked like, check out my highlighted story of Zurich on my Instagram profile.
But there was more fun to be had as we spent the weekend in Zurich soaking up the first sunshine of the season, made a boat tour on Lake Zurich and indulged in Swiss traditional food (at Zeughauskeller), homemade pasta (at La Pasta) and Oriental mezze (at Neni Zurich West). On Saturday morning we visited the flea market at the Bürkliplatz (found these souvenirs) and of course we also visited some of the greenest places of the city. Our top 8 of botanical & green hotspots in Zurich is live on Urban Jungle Bloggers now, but I also wanted to show you a little bit more of the Sukkulenten Sammlung, as it was my favorite place of all. So here we go!
The Sukkulenten Sammlung is a succulent lover’s dream! Open since 1931, the “Succulent Collection Zurich” houses one of the largest collections of succulent plants in Europe. In the seven greenhouses you can walk past the entire collection that consists of 4500 different species from 78 plant families. Take at least an hour (or better… a few!) to wander around the greenhouses and admire the huge variety of textures, shapes and colours of all the plants on display. The Sukkulenten Sammlung is located at a 20 minute walk from the city center, through the lake-side parks. Like most Botanical gardens, they provide a nice and calm spot to escape the buzzing (or touristy) city life for a moment. The sunshine was magical when we were there, just 30 minuted before they closed, rather early at 16:30. Hope you'll enjoy my photos!
Sukkulenten Sammlung Zurich /// Mythenquai 88 /// Zürich, Switzerland
Open every day from 9:00 to 16:30 - free entry
Orto Botanico in Rome part 2
For the last blogpost of the year, I'm taking you inside the greenhouse at the Orto Botanico in Rome. If you liked the little walk around the botanical garden, you are in for a treat: the inside is gorgeous too! It is definitely not the prettiest greenhouse that I ever visited, but I had the place all to myself, the light was amazing, the plants looked healthy and were full of character and uncommon shapes. It was not too perfect, just the way I like it. So let's have a look inside:
In what looks like the entrance hall, grows a couple of very tall Euphorbia, some of which are endangered.
Euphorbia growing towards the light:
An impressive grid look:
Love the heart shaped leaves (and thorns) on this Alluaudia:
In the side wing they grow the cacti, succulents and Caudex, like these Mother in Law's seats:
Orto Botanico in Rome part 1
Some days feel like you received a precious gift. Not in a monetary way, that you may expect in this month of gift giving, wishlists, giftguides, giving to charity and advent calendars. But more in an "experience" way. Two weeks ago, after spending a wonderful weekend in Rome for #Blago2017 I was lucky to have an extra few hours in the city, all by myself. Now I love to spend time with cool people, but a few hours of calmth and sunshine in the Botanical Gardens of Rome were just wonderful too. Time to get my camera rolling, to soak up all the sunshine I could get before heading home to greyness at home, and to admire the lush palms, cacti, tropical foliage, greenhouses, bamboo and succulents. A true gift!
So let me share my gift with you in this post. Maybe it will inspire you to go visit your local botanical garden, or even visit the one in Rome.
The Orto Botanico of Rome Sapienza University is located at walking distance from the Vatican, on the west bank of the Tiber, outside the boundaries of ancient Rome. It consists of a 12ha parc on the slopes of the Janiculum hill, overlooking the 17th-century Palazzo Corsini, which was from 1659-1689 the residence of Queen Christina of Sweden, now the headquarters of the National Academy of Science and the Corsini Gallery. It looks rather majestic (photo above) I believe.
Two of my alltime faves: palmtrees and Opuntia cacti:
This tall cactus was sunbathing in front of the Palazzo Corsini:
Rome... feels like LA:
The exhibition greenhouse and in the front the "Garden of Simples" with flowerbeds with medicinal plants, structured bricks:
The perfect spot for soaking up sunshine, with a view on palms... and more palms:
One of the unique features of the Orto Botanico, and one of the richest in Europe, is the Bamboo Collection with over 70 different varieties of bamboo!
As the botanical garden is located on the on the slopes of the Janiculum hill, I got a really nice view over the old city of Rome through the autumn foliage:
The French greenhouse was all empty, usually it's full of Haworthia, Lithops and Gasteria, but I loved the detail of the curved window. It was only when editing pictures that I saw there's a large pomelo tree in the background!
Did you like the little walk around the Orto Botanico with me? Check back soon as I'll take you inside the fabulous succulent & cactus greenhouse that you see on the picture below. Look at those blue glass details on the front. Gorgeous, right? Believe me, the inside is really nice too!
Orto Botanico dell'Università di Roma "La Sapienza" /// Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24 /// 00165 Roma /// Italy
Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5:30/6:30pm, entry fee 8€
Plants and colors
Today I get to blog with a group of French interior bloggers: le collectif de blogueurs Project Inside! They asked me to be their guest blogger this month and bien sûr I said yes: I mean the topic couldn't be a better match: "Les Plantes et les couleurs" (Plants & Colors). Both inspire me so much every day!
What I wanted to show you is that when you think of "plants" you almost immediately think of greenery and the color green. But there are quite a few houseplants that have the most wonderful non-green colors. They can add that unexpected pop of color to your interior and brings out the green in your other plants as a contrasting color.
I decided to gather them on my plantshelfie and actually I have more of them than I expected: quite a few Tradescantia pallida, purple heart plants as they grow so fast and easy, a Tradescantia zebrina that I brought home from Finland as a cutting, the beautiful Oxalis (a gift from Morgane), the Stromanthe triostar, which is actually very red-ish from the back (I turned it around for the photo), a Ludisia jewel orchid (a gift from Caroline), the Euphorbia trigona rubra that has this weird green burgundy color and the backside of the Begonia maculata which is red:
The flipside of the Marantha triostar is almost neon pink in some areas:
So tell me: do you own any colorful houseplants? Or do you prefer the fresh green "neutrals"?
Read more Plants & Colors blogposts on the blogs of these French blog ladies from Project Inside:
Atelier Rue Verte /// Regards & Maisons /// Lovers of Mint /// Mariekke /// Ilaria Fatone /// Interior Crisp
Corsica travel guide
Wow, that was good: three entire weeks on Corsica! Our much needed holiday brought us to l'Ile de Beauté, the isle of beauty. It was our second time on Corsica: after our first trip in 2010 we really wanted to go back and explore this wild island some more.
Corsica really is a beautiful French island with a perfect mix of wild mountains, turquoise sea and private beaches. If you like to be outdoors, walk, hike or hit the beach, this is your island. It is covered with maquis, fragrant evergreen shrubs that smell amazing. I love it! It smells of eucalyptus, juniper, laurel, rosemary, myrtle, sage, mint, thyme and lavender. The aromatic herbs grow everywhere and give that special holiday perfume to your trip. ♥
Before going I decided to give myself a break from social media and to let go of any I-need-to-blog-about-this pressure. The result was that I had a lot of fun sharing daily short stories over on my Instagram and that I took hardly any photos with my real camera for my blog. But then I received so many messages on Instagram asking where I was and if I had some Corsica recommendations. So yes, here we go!
► When to visit Corsica?
In July and August, Corsica is very touristic and busy, so if you have a chance of traveling in the spring or fall (or even the winter!): go for it! We visited in April/May and had many beaches to ourselves, when we hiked we usually only crossed paths with a few locals. And holiday rentals and hotels are more affordable too.
► How to get there?
You can either fly and get a rental car, or drive to Toulon or Nice and take a ferry from Corsica Ferries or Corsica Linea. We really wanted to be on a ferry during day time (I get seasick very easily) and thus opted for a ferry from Genua, Italy to Bastia (by Moby lines). I would recommend to get a cabin (even during daytime), so that you can relax and sleep and have some privacy.
► Where to stay?
• Hôtel Moby Dick We stumbled upon this hotel near the Santa Giula lake and beach. It's located in a peaceful area with a private beach and from the rooms with shutters you have either a lake or a sea view. I'd love to stay here next time on Corsica!
• Grand Hôtel de Cala Rossa The hotel has a very classic style, but the location is amazing!
• We booked several AirBnBs during our stay because we wanted to cook our own meals. We booked this apartment in Sari-Solenzara, which was bright, spacious (especially for just the two of us!) and very clean. I also really liked this apartment in Bastia (where we didn't stay by the way!), mostly because of the yellow sofa ;)
► City life?
It may be due to the time of the year (read: off season) or my allergies for mass tourism that brings ferries and cruise ships full of tourists to the Corsican cities: I didn't quite fall for the urban areas of the island. Between Bastia, Île Rousse, Saint Florent, Calvi, Ajaccio, Corte and Porte-Vecchio, I liked Ajaccio best. And I also really loved the amazing Opuntia cacti near the fort walls of Calvi, which are huge, amazing, overwhelming! Don't miss the Sunday brocante in Ajaccio on the Place de Gaulle, it's really cute! I also really liked the village of Cargèse, which was calm when we visited. People in Cargèse were very kind and helpful and during the high season you can take a boat from here and visit the nature reserve of Scandola for example.
One tip if you want to invest in a breezy summer outfit: look for Karma Koma shops (in Bastia, Porto-Vecchio, Porticcio, Île Rousse, Calvi and Bonifacio).
► Where to chill?
• Little Capo (not far from Ajaccio). Hang out on comfy sofas with your feet in the sand, see the sun go down (in the sea, not behind a mountain!) and even do some shopping in the Little Capo boutique. It has a bit of a bohemian Ibiza vibe ;) (or what I imagine to be an Ibiza vibe, as I've never been there).
• The terrace of the Grand Hôtel de Cala Rossa. We visited the Cala Rossa beach seven years ago and I never stopped dreaming of this place. Cala Rossa is a neighborhood just north to Porto-Vecchio and the Grand Hôtel is part of a gated community. We even spotted our dream home in this area, in a small forest of pine trees, sea view and large bay windows. It sold for around 4 million euros a few months ago.
• Le Yuka in Cargèse. Coffee, lemonade and salades with a retro vibe and sea view!
• La Sassa in Nonza (Cap Corse). Perfect for Sunday brunch or coffee with a view!
• Auberge A Tanedda in Bocognano. Not the best place to chill, but a really good spot to eat some simple traditional mountain dishes.
► Green souvenirs?
Whether you are allowed to bring home some plants from Corsica depends on the country you live in. As we technically stayed in France (with a little detour to Italy to catch the ferry), there were no legal restrictions. However, because of the parasyte destroying palm trees on the island, it is forbidden to take some specific palm tree seeds from the island.
On the side of the road and in public areas you can find a lot of nice succulents and cacti. I collected quite a lot of them (see here, here and here) and kept them in a few open boxes during our trip and potted them once we got home. Most of these plants are so easy going or even considered weed, that they can easily survive a few weeks without water and soil. They will always remind me of our holiday and make for the best souvenirs! Please note that the flowers and plants in the Parc naturel régional de Corse and all other Corsican nature reserves are protected and you're not allowed to pick up anything there. Just stick to the Opuntia, agaves and aloe that grow abundantly everywhere and you'll be fine!
I also visited several pépinières, garden centers and nurseries. Two of my favorites:
• Les Pépinières de Saint Ciprien (near Porto-Vecchio)
• Jardinerie La Ruche Foncière (near Bastia)
► Where to hike?
If you love walking or hiking (if you have to use your hands ;) ), Corsica is paradise! We went on several walks and hikes and these were our four faves. All of them are easy and up to 4 hours max.
• Gorges de la Restonica. One of the bridges in the valley collapsed a month before we visited and the road was blocked at 9km from the top. Which was also the start of the hike that we planned to do. Adding 18km to our hike was too much for us, so we decided to walk along the Restonica river instead. After the marked path stopped, we did some free hiking on the huge rocks that are part of the river bedding. It was quite a wild walk, but the reward, a spectacular view of a spraying waterfall, was well worth it!
• Sentier du Douanier, Cap Corse. You walk on typical Cap Corse hills that dive into the Mediterranean, with amazing views over the cliffs. It's a rather easy walk, but quite spectacular nevertheless. On one of the beaches along the way is a restaurant and bar where you can relax and grab a bite.
• L'ospédale, Piscia di Ghjaddu. It's a very easy walk to the Ghjaddu waterfall. Be sure to hike down to the foot of the waterfall, despite the warning that "after this point it's on your own risk", because the view from there is spectacular. If you stay on the platform you only see a small part of the waterfall, you really miss out on the highlight of this walk.
• Sentier du Facteur, Girolata. The village of Girolata, where Garance Doré grew up, can only be reached by boat or via this path. It's a scenic track with amazing views over the Mediterranean and the bay of Girolata and you pass by a large beach, where we met a group of wild cows.
► What else to do?
• Take the train! We did it twice and it was really cool! The train from Île Rousse to Calvi (and back) rides along high cliffs and through the maquis. A nice afternoon trip if you're based in either of these towns. More spectacular even is the regular train between Ajaccio and Bastia via Corte. It rides through the mountains and over dozens of bridges and you ride through areas that cannot be reached by car. We went from Bocognano to Ponte-Leccia, but the most spectacular part is definitely between Vivario and Corte.
• Visit Barretalli, where the ancestor of the lemon, the cédrat is grown. The itinery from Nonza to Barretalli was probably my favourite drive on the entire island! Beautiful seaviews and impressive green marble formations that are shaped by the wind!
• Check out the island from above via this 360° viewpoint called Serra di Pigno (not far from Bastia and Saint Florent). You can see a large part of the island from here, including the Cap Corse and the Italian islands like Elba and the Italian coast of Livorno.
For more travel ideas for Corsica, check out Alex's Instagram account (where all spots are geo-tagged!) or her blog On my way (in French), she lives on the island and loves sharing where she goes. For interesting hikes around the island, we used Basile's blog called Les Passions de Basile (in French) which is very detailed, including photos of the directions where you shouldn't go. Very helpful!
mini LIVING breathe in Milan
One of the most sensational installations in Milan was definitely the Breathe tower in the Tortona district. When I heard it was all about conscious, healthy and green living I knew I had to go and see it for myself. Together with NYC-based architects SO-IL, MINI (from the cars!) introduced a creative problem-solving approach for future challenges in urban areas. In other words: how do we "live" in the future. In the next decades more and more people will live in urban environments, apartments will become smaller and more expensive, so we need to re-think how we live. According to Breathe: we will need to share more space and tools (for laundry or cooking for example) with others and make conscious decisions on how we use the few square meters we have. I must admit I was very happy to see that plants are an undeniable part of this concept, because they are vital!
Breathe consists of a tall tower in between two buildings and is composed of a metal frame that is covered with a white mesh fabric. You enter the home via a communal kitchen with modular elements and then reach the other 5 areas via a steep spiral staircase. These areas are for working, relaxing and taking care of yourself in a very minimalistic way, including a capsule clothing collection (!), a few books and some accessories, houseplants and different floor-seating areas and hammocks. As you can see in my photos, the tower is covered by a translucent mesh fabric that filters the air and makes the entire home look very airy and bright.
The entire structure is also "rebuildable" so you can move it to a new location and start all over. It's a bit like a contemporary tent or caravan. It almost feels like glamping ;)
The plants inside Breathe and on the rooftop terrace are selected for their air purifying powers, like this Kentia palm, the Philodendron and the Ivy:
A "hammock" for reading, relaxing and sleeping:
At the lush green rooftop garden, rainwater is collected and stored to use in the rest of the home.
What I liked most about this idea of transparent and translucent living is that, quite unexpectedly, you feel some kind of privacy in all the different areas, but at the same you're not far away from others.
The spiral staircase to the next floors, and the minimal and modular kitchen:
During my visit, the team from Dezeen was there to host a panel discussion with Oke Hauser from MINI, Ilias Papageorgiou from SO-IL, Jane Hall frpm London collective Assemble and Italian architect Carlo Ratti. The final words by Carlo Ratti were definitely what tied the entire Breathe installation together when he quotes Herbert Simon and Albert Einstein: "Science is about how the world is, design is how the world could be." This is definitely an interesting proof of concept!
Read more about the MINI living Breathe installation on Dezeen and Designboom.
A walk around green Milan
As you may know, Milan is so very green: not only the booths and exhibitions of the Salone del Mobile or the FuoriSalone are green (more about that soon!), many balconies, façades and walls of buildings are covered with leaves. It's refreshing, especially in a city that is so dense and suffers from air pollution quite a few days per year. And because the weather was so lovely during my stay, I walked around quite a bit. Here's what I saw:
The staghorn fern, graptoveria succulent (the one bottom left) and the Tradescantia pallida on this balcony are so pretty!
The kind of matchy/matchy I love, in Brera Design District:
Passing by the famous Maryflor florist. They also have quite a few interesting cactus plants in their shop. It was impossible to take their picture because of the bright reflections of the sunlight, but believe me: they were lovely!
I love this light:
The work of Francesca Pasquali, an installation of colored cobweb dusters(!) for Melissa:
More pale pink and green balconies:
And the two most famous green towers in Milan: the Bosco Verticale (vertical forest) by Stefano Boeri:
Stay tuned, I'll show you more design goodness from Milan later this week!
One million cactus plants
As you know, cacti are my absolute favorite plants... (together with palm trees of course!!). If you're like me and live in a place where cacti don't grow everywhere, there are several places where you can go to admire cactus plants. Your local botanical garden is a good start. In Paris, for example, we have the wonderful Serres d'Auteuil and the Jardin des Plantes. Shops specialized in cacti are another good option, also to get yourself some new prickly friends. Les Succulents Cactus in Paris is really nice, but Kaktus København and Hot Cactus LA are also on my wishlist. Last year I visited the Cactus Oase in Holland, which is quite awesome and relatively similar to a botanical garden, cactus-wise ;)
The place that I want to show to you today, is slightly different. This weekend I visited a cactus grower in Holland, that has over a million of cactus plants in stock. ONE MILLION CACTI! It looks very much like the Dutch tulip fields, but with cacti and some succulents! As you can imagine, I was going all aaaaaahhh and ooooohhhhh and I couldn't stop taking pictures... obviously! I mean patterns, cacti, colors:
The cactus "fields" are beautiful and look like they're never ending. The plants at this nursery come from all over Europe, the US, Mexico, South America. They arrive here to be potted and to grow bigger before they are send off to big chain stores and garden centers in Europe. Otto, the owner, really likes cacti ever since he lived in Portugal, but his true passion are South African caudex plants. He has a smaller selection of very rare plants on one big "table" and there are some real gems on there, if you like these kind of plants. Personally, I'm not really into rare plants. Big Opuntia that are considered as weed in some places in the world, make me really happy and so do most random cacti.
However, there is one cactus plant that has been on my wishlist for years. I have never seen them this big for sale in Europe, but I found them on the "rare plants" table! It is called the Opuntia violacae Julienne (or Santa Rita) with nice purple colored pads. For a while I hesitated to get some unrooted pads from Arizona via Etsy, but I'm happy that I found some at the cactus nursery. Now let's hope they'll feel at home here in France with us and start blooming soon!
Join me for a virtual tour of the cactus nursery, which is quite impressive:
These cuties remind me of Midsommar flower crowns:
This made me laugh out loud: thousands of cactus bunnies, als known as Opuntia microdasys. Don't they look cute?
Some rare caudex plants from South Africa and Madagascar:
Dozens of Euphorbia and Cereus peruvianus ready to be shipped!
The permanent cactus plants on the left, planted in the soil of the greenhouse, and thousands of potted cacti growing tall and waiting to be sold and adopted, on the right:
Cactuskwekerij van der Linden in Honselerdijk in the Netherlands is open by appointment only (usually on Saturday). All details here or via Marktplaats (Dutch Craigslist).
Lovely Day Botanicals
Whenever I burn my skin, I break off a leaf of one of my Aloë plants and apply the aloë gel to my skin. It's effective and has an immediate calming effect. Plants and botanical essences have proven their virtues in past centuries and continue to do so today. But ever so often, natural ingredients are replaced by chemical substances with the most complicated (or vague) names. So when looking for natural skincare products, Igor introduced me to Lovely Day Botanicals, a small Berlin-based brand with a very affordable product range of 100% natural products. Their products are produced in small batches from premium botanical oils and essences and fruit acids. They also have the most delicious names, like Mellow Mallow, Mermaid or Coco gloss. Yummmm!
On their website (in German, an English verison is coming soon, just like their first showroom that opens in Berlin in the spring!), Lovely Day writes about their mission to bring a better alternative to conventional products on the market. Did you know that the human body absorbs more than 2kg of cosmetic products in 1 year? Then better make it as healthy as possible!
In their own words:
"Above all, we want to show that words such as "natural", "vegan" or "sustainable" have nothing to do with renunciation at all. We've been working to formulate the textures just as smooth, luxurious and effective as conventional products, and the stylish packaging and high-quality glass bottles are more noble than some high end beauty brands."
As someone who buys products first of all because of the way they look, I couldn't be more pleased with the way the Lovely Day products look in my bathroom. No need to hide them in the drawer! They blend in perfectly well with their minimal white and pink look:
My leafy enamel pins from Handmade Sammade and We are Out of Office. The smallest ones reads: Plant Lady is the new Cat Lady... hihi I'm both ;)
So about the products themselves. Do I like them? Yes! All the products that I tested are extremely soft and mild on the skin. Which is important when you have a sensitve skin like mine: I'm always hesitant to apply something new because I like to avoid an itchy red skin. However, it took me a few days to get used to the unexpected smells of the products. They're not unpleasant, but just different. After a short while the smells disappears and I ended up with was a very soft skin. Especially after using the soft and creamy hyaluron + BLOOM pink clay mask.
My favorite product is the COCO GLOSS hair serum, made of coconut oil, camelia oil and essential oils. I love the smell, it's fresh a citrus-y and the serum makes the tips of my hair very soft. A few drops are enough to get silky soft hair. Just lovely!
Also, all Lovely Day products are vegan, with perfume or agressive essential oils and were never tested on animals. The glass bottles and jars can easily be recycled. Or you can use them to grow some cuttings *wink wink*.
If you like to try any of these products: they come in convenient 3€ testers that you can order via their webshop (with international delivery). I'm pretty sure you will like them as much as I do. They are just lovely!
Blogpost created in collaboration with Lovely Day. As always all opinions and photos are my own. Merci Lovely Day!
The Botanic Garden in Berlin
It just started snowing here at home in France, while I was looking forward to a weekend of sunshine. Well that's the mysterious ways of nature ;) Anyway, I wanted to show you one of the sunny places I visited in September last year: the botanical garden in Berlin. At the time there was a garden festival going on with lots of vendors from around Europe setting up their stands with garden plants. It was fun to see how specialized some of them were: there was an entire booth of carnivorous plants and one guy only sold plantain lillies (hostas). But the most beautiful part of the Botanical Garden was inside their sixteen greenhouses: tropical plants, cacti, succulents, epiphytes... And something I found particularly touching: memorial messages all across the garden, like this one to Plant friend and loving mama Evelin Elstermann:
The Bromeliad greenhouse:
My favorite area where the cacti and succulents grow, including this fantastic Cryptocereus anthonyanus, also known as Selenicereus anthonyanus, a zig zag Cactus. In the mean time I found a little cutting so I'm growing my own right now. I'm obsessed with its shape!
Preparing to bloom:
More blooms coming up:
End of the day in the Botanical Gardens:
Unfortunately it was closed, but one of the greenhouses looked like a castle! A good incentive to go back soon and visit the castle from the inside!
The botanic garden in Berlin is one of the biggest in the world, it counts 16 greenhouses open to the public and the entire garden spreads over 50 hectares of land on the south west of the city. There's a metro station close to the garden, so it's very easy to go there and escape the buzzing city for a nice and peaceful break. It felt like such a big contrast with the city life: we even had the chance of attending a live concert of Alphorn musicians in the garden!
Botanic Garden Berlin /// Unter den Eichen 5-10 /// 12203 Berlin
If you love botanical gardens as much as I do, you may enjoy checking out my posts of botanical gardens in: Valencia /// Monaco /// Amsterdam /// Paris /// Helsinki /// South of France /// Munich /// Madrid
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
Helsinki, Leiden, Munich, Berlin and Madrid, quite a few "new" botanical gardens on the 2016-list! Botanical gardens are my happy places and usually a peaceful break in the middle of a big city. After a whirlwind and intense week of Spanish Design this summer, Robert joined me in Madrid to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. Our first stop: the calm, sunny and lush Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid.
The entire botanical garden in Madrid is set up like a park with dusty paths (it was 40°C), an arboretum, flower beds, greenhouses and some mystic water & sunrays:
The covered passages through the garden with 90.000 plants and flowers and 1.500 trees, the greenhouse, my favorite part:
The greenhouse has several divisions: tropical, temperate, and desert...
One of the other patios in the garden houses the largest Herbarium in Spain. It contains around a million of different specimens from around the world and their goal is to make all the visuals and information available online and provide researchers from anywhere in the world with this data and encourage preservation.
The entrance of the Jardín Botánico is next to the famous Prado museum, really in the middle of Madrid, but the garden feels particularly quiet, people move slowly, rest on a bench, take their time to appreciate the statues, flowers, trees and plants. Another reason for this slowness was probably also because is was so very hot when we visited ;)
Large palms and 1.500 trees in the garden provide lots of shade to stay cool:
A little peek behind-the-scenes at the garden. I always love these parts of a botanical garden so much (more): this is where the gardeners experiment, grow their stock of plants, take care of illnesses... some of them are extra fragile and can not be exposed to the public for that reason, but sometimes they're just too common. It's always a little bit more messy and practical, with too much of a mise-en-scène.
Some early dahlias enjoying the golden hour light:
A bit too cultivated and kitschy for my taste, but quite unusual are these baskets with chicks & hens:
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid /// Plaza de Murillo, 2 /// 28014 Madrid /// Spain
Pflanzenrettung plantrescue in Berlin Tegel
This is definitely one of the coolest places I got to visit recently: the Pflanzenrettung in Berlin Tegel. I received a little heads-up about this cool place by Heilke & Thomas from Parus Paper and Igor and I decided to go here straight from the airport before our Berlin booklaunch. The owner Andreas wasn't there, but we called him and he received us for a lightning fast 5-minute visit. I quickly snapped a few pictures because this was a plantnerd's dream!
The Pflanzenrettung in Berlin is a plant rescue service that picks up plants from all over Berlin and brings them to Tegel. Andreas places them in the garden and in a big hangar. Plants that become too big and outgrow the owner's apartments, or plants that are about to be thrown away, "old" office plants, plants that are used for temporary events: Andreas picks up all of them and gives them a new life. The plants that he collects, can be rented for events and sometimes he sells them too. Also, you can bring him your plants during your holiday or in the winter when your plants need some extra light or care. Like some kind of "hibernation-service"!
In the big hangar it's a jungle! At the moment there are not too many plants, according to Andreas, but in a few weeks it will be full of plants again.
So much leafy goodness, can you spot that big rubber plant in the middle? So much taller and more interesting than any Ficus elastica that you could pick up at the garden center. I like plants with character!
Outside it's cactus & palm heaven with wild creatures that are so much prettier than the perfect plants in regular garden centers:
Mini pots for big tall cacti:
I wish there was a plantrescue here in France too... or maybe I should start one myself hahaha.
I kind of fell in love with this slim blue-ish cactus plant on the right ;)
Pflanzenrettung /// Gabrielenstr. 14 /// 13507 Berlin-Tegel /// Andreas Frädrich: +49 30 200 540 50
Cacto Cacto in Madrid
Cacto Cacto is THE place in Madrid where you can stock up on beautiful cactus plants and succulents. For our #urbanjunglebook we recently gathered some of our favorite plant shops from around the world and this one was also on our list. And while I love checking out the most inspiring instagram accounts of some plant shops, visiting them in real life is so much better. You get to talk to the passionate shop owners and appreciate all the species from up close. Cacto Cacto: what's in a name? This shop is entirely dedicated to cactus plants! A bit like Les Succulents Cactus here in Paris, but with a completely different range of plants and the decor is very different as well. Check it out:
Mini succulents and cacti at display in the shop... which one would you pick?
Some more outdoor plants, to turn your Madrilan terrace or balcony into a green oasis:
It's nearly impossible find any big and tall cacti here near Paris, but at Cacto Cacto they had some impressive ones. Unfortunately they didn't fit in my suitcase ;)
As an extra bonus, Cacto Cacto has two fantastic neighbors: a plant shop and a flower shop! At Margarita se llama mi amor you'll find an impressive variety of houseplants, like Ficus lyrata, Calathea, Zamioculca, ferns and palms. And not just small potted plants for a window sill, but also tall mini trees and lush foliage statement pieces. The flower shop is also pretty amazing. I'm not sure if it was because I visited during the Madrid Gay Pride weekend, but their fresh cut flowers were organised in a rainbow gradient ♥
Small hanging terrariums with mini succulents in the shopwindow:
Cacto Cacto /// Calle Fernando VI, 7 /// 28004 Madrid /// Spain /// +34 913 10 38 84
Botanical Garden in Munich
In every new capital or large city that I visit I try to visit the botanical garden. They are my happy place and most of the time they are SO very beautiful, refreshing and remind me how amazing tropical and exotic jungle actually are. When in Munich a few weeks ago, we had a little photoshoot at the Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg for our upcoming #urbanjunglebook. But I couldn't help but snap a few pictures myself as well. Just like at the Cactus Oase, there were lots of flowering cacti everywhere. The large greenhouse was closed for renovation, unfortunately, but there was enough left to see. Join me for a little virtual tour:
It was raining when we visited the botanical garden, but inside the greenhouses it was even more humid and lush. And look at those deep hues of the Begonia brevirimosa:
Beautiful Aechmea gamosepala (if I'm not mistaken), large ephiphytes that grow on other plants or trees and mainly derive their moisture and nutrients from the air and rain.
Don't you love the variety of all these leaves?
A highlight of the garden: dwarf pink bananas! Musa velutina peel themselves when they're ripe and I was told they taste delicious, while being extremely seedy. I think they look amazing! I'd love to have a banana tree (even a normal one) at home, but unfortunately our cats love their sweet leaves too much. They once entirely destroyed a small banana plant, so sad...
Mr. Urban Jungle himself caught Instagramming:
A large variety of succulents, bromeliads, agaves... and cacti!
Also part of the botanical garden: a large Alice in Wonderland garden with lots of blooming flowers, pinapples on the pavillions and lots of rain:
What do you think? I really liked this botanical garden. It's not extremely big (although the largest greenhouse was closed, so it is normally bigger) but lush, rather well maintained with a rough edge.
If you love botanical gardens as much as I do, you may enjoy checking out my posts of botanical gardens in: Valencia /// Monaco /// Amsterdam /// Paris /// Helsinki /// South of France. Do you have a favorite botanical garden?
Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg /// Menzinger Straße 61 /// 80638 München, Germany /// +49 89 17861 316
Check opening hours on the website
Cactus Oase in Ruurlo Holland
Last week I had the privilege to visit the Cactus Oase in Ruurlo, the Netherlands. Well, rather than a privilege, it was quite a long and slow ride through the Eastern Dutch countryside ;) but very much worth it if you love cacti as much as I do. The Cactus Oase is the largest privately owned cactus collection in Holland. The owners turned their hobby of growing cacti from seeds into a business and worked as professionals for decades. Some of the cactus plants are 46 years old and because they are all planted in soil (not pots) they extended their roots and grew bigger and bigger. I spotted some cactus plants I had never ever seen before.
If you would like to visit the Cactus Oase, be prepared that it's an amusement park. There's a Wild West theme with a discovery parcours, electric trains and lots of mid-century agricultural memorabilia. And even a cactus pyramid with a mummy inside. I basically ignored all of that and solely admired the cactus plants, succulents and tropical plants. Right now it's the blooming month of the year, which means a lot of cacti were starting to flower! Join me for a virtual tour of the Cactus Oase:
Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden in Helsinki
When you want to take a break from the snow and cold in winter-y Helsinki you can either go to a sauna or visit the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden. Actually I like both options equally, although the latter is a slightly more visibly pleasing activity ;)
In all the places that I travel to, I try to visit at least one botanical garden: they are my happy place. Lush greens, tall palm trees, gorgeous cactus plants... preferably in a 19th century greenhouse. Wandering through a greenhouse is particularly exciting when there's snow outside as you can see through the glasshouse windows on the left:
Growing towards the Nordic light:
A rather impressive Opuntia tree:
More fragile cacti behind the glass, like an Opuntia engelmannii (left), different kinds of Agaves and Aloë in the middle and an Opuntia leucotricha (right):
The Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden consists of 10 glass houses that houses a collection of 1300 plant species mainly originating from the same longitude as Finland. Outside is a 4ha garden with a network of paths that is still the same is in the 19th century. It guides you along even more plants, the herbarium's arboretum, a rock garden, a French formal garden and bee hives, all covered in snow when we visited.
Looking up in the humid greenhouse:
Most plants in the garden are labelled with their botanic name and origin. The yellow labels are for useful plants and the red labels indicate the endangered species:
The top of the 19th century Palm House of Kaisaniemi.
If you want to see more botanic gardens, check out my blog posts about the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil in Paris, the Jardí Botànic in Valencia or the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam.
Who wants to join me on those chairs?
Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden /// Unioninkatu 44 /// Helsinki /// +358 91 91 24 455
Open every Tuesday to Sunday 10-16 (Thursday 10-18) (summer 10-17)
Suomenlinna: a not so Helsinki Secret
Everyone, truly everyone: from Helsinki locals to avid travelers, told me to visit the Unesco World Heritage site of Suomenlinna when in Helsinki. It felt a bit like: "You have to visit the Eiffel tower", which usually makes me want to skip a site or monument alltogether. But not in the case of Suomenlinna: it is a truly unique place? Suomenlinna (or Sveaborg in Swedish) is an inhabited sea fortress built on 6 islands, just off the coast of Helsinki. After only a short 20-minute ferry trip from the city center, you arrive in what seems like a different world. In our case: a snowy white wonderland, where around 800 people live all year round. No cars, few tourists because of the season, a mariage celebration in the church, a tough guy on a snow bike... and a snow storm!
Let me take you on a little virtual tour. First we hopped on the ferry from the harbour of Helsinki:
We wondered how the ferry would get through the ice in real, winter, because when we were there it was only around 0°C. The ice chunks looks impressive and made quite a lot of noise against the hull of the ferry:
And all of a sudden the ice chunks turn into water-only:
One of the island of the Suomenlinna archipel: Ryssänsaari, Puolimatkansaari:
The first building you see when reaching Suomenlinna by ferry is the pink-blush building (top of this blog post). I think it's the most Instagrammed spot of the entire island, although there are some other photogenic places on the islands, like this pale blue house with veranda:
Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam
The negative temperatures and consequences on the indoor temperatures in our home really got to me the other day. I have a bit of a trauma because we spent 7 winters in our home without proper heating. Keeping yourself warm is a fulltime activity and hard to combine with computer work. This time it wasn't nearly as bad as it used to be, but 16-17°C is so cold... To warm my heart and body I decided to edit the photos I made at the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. And it helped! Have a look:
This past October, after our keynote talk at Meet the Blogger (and winning the Innovation Award for Urban Jungle Bloggers!), Igor and I visited one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world: de Hortus Botanicus. And it was bliss! And steamy! And beautiful!
A gorgeous Cycad from above:
The more precious plants (and some artefacts) are presented in this wooden display:
And the most Instagrammed spot in the Hortus, the cactus greenhouse:
The important task of Botanical Gardens is to preserve a maximum amount of plant species and do important research. Because: Extinct in the wild:
The Hortus is also a really nice place to relax and enjoy coffee & cake:
And admire the Victoria water lilies:
My favorite jungles of 2015
Lush green urban jungles seemed to be everywhere I went in 2015. I visited half a dozen botanical gardens and a planty jungle shop and stayed at a true Urban Jungle Bloggers hotel. These were my favorite jungles from this year.
An abundance of palm trees, cactus plants and succulents at the Jardins Mossèn Costa i Llobera on the Montjuic hill in Barcelona. It's a big botanical garden with a view over the Mediterranean. Stunning! /// Plants, more plants, tea, coffee & cake, workshops, cool planters, plant hangers, botanic artwork, small and big green gifts, gardeners tools, soil, seeds, gardening books, watering cans, planty workshops and so much more. Wildernis Amsterdam is a true Urban Jungle Bloggers paradise!
When I was asked to pimp a deckchair for Out there Interiors, I couldn't help but turn it into a grassy jungle chair! /// A tropical oasis in the middle of Central London? That's the Barbican Conservatory.
In the summer I stayed at Praktik Garden hotel: an Urban Jungle Bloggers hotel located in the super central Eixample area. There's a lush green terrace for all hotel guests and the lobby and entry are dressed in potted plants. /// In 2015 I visited several plant fairs and events like the Jardins Jardin in Paris, Open Garden Squares in London and the Journées des Plantes in Chantilly.
Cactus and palm tree paradise in the middle of the city: the Jardí Botànic in Valencia. /// Smaller and with a completely different collection of plants: De Hortus botanical garden in Amsterdam. Education and research since 1638!
► Click here to check out my favorite jungles of 2014
► Click here to check out my favorite jungles of 2013
Let's kiss under the mistletoe
One light string in our Euphorbia was our only Christmas decoration at home up until now. But I spotted "some" mistletoe in the tree in front of our home. For the first time there were berries in there and I couldn't resist to get a few. It took an hour to get the entire bush out of the tree, but it worked and now we have enough mistletoe to kiss under another branch every day in 2016. From a few smaller twigs I made two wreaths, one for our cinemaroom and another one on our yellow submarine door. So now... let's kiss!
While trying to get the mistletoe out of the tree (why do they always grow on the highest branches?!), I Snapchatted what I was doing. My friend Anne got me hooked to Snapchat, well it's a bit random, but some snaps are just hilarious. For example Damien Aresta, snapchatted a daily advent snap: every day he would take something out of his pocket. Unfortunately he quit... So if you are on Snapchat, let me know your name in the comments, so that I can follow you! (I'm joelixjoelix on Snapchat if you like to know).
Anyway, there is even more mistletoe outside:
And because mistletoe is a little cheesy, I even hung a few twigs above our bed too. Never enough plants and never enough kisses, right?!
For now I wish you some very wonderful (warm!) Christmas days surrounded by your loved ones. See you very soon! Because next week I'll be shooting our new bathroom, I can't wait to show you the final result. So yeah, hope to see you soon! Here on my blog or on Instagram, or maybe via Snapchat?
Yes, I'm going bananas! It has nothing to do with minions, but with a crazy ear infection that's been chasing me for the past month. The different kinds of pills ease the pain but make me nauseous and I don't feel strong enough to run (so frustrating!). And overall I feel a bit bleh, despite long nights of sleep, vitamin boosts and a caring husband.
But on the other hand: there's a lot of good stuff going on. Our new bathroom is FINISHED! And it was sooo worth the 18 months of mess: it's pure luxury to take a shower in a real and heated bathroom and I can't wait to take some decent photos and share the final result with you. Also, two restaurant-letters were entirely renovated & painted and attached to the wall of the bathroom and have light (triple yay!). And in the past few weeks Igor and I have been outlining some very exciting Urban Jungle Bloggers projects for 2016. It included a daytrip to Holland by plane, which felt a bit crazy, especially with an ear infection, but it was a very fun experience. We will tell you all about it soon!
And on a more personal note: Robert and I planned our first 2 trips of the new year. We are staying here in the Oise... and we're going to Helsinki!
And I'm also going bananas for REAL bananas... banana trees to be exact. In our AirBnB garden near Valencia grew a gorgeous and big banana tree with 2 banana bunches and a beautiful inflorescence (above). Every day a dark purple burgundy petal would fall off. A few years ago I had a little banana plant, but Wally liked munching on the leaves and totally destroyed it. Maybe I should try again and grow some in the greenhouse? They have this instant tropical vibe, right?!
Do you like bananas? Or banana plants? In any case, I hope you are well and not too stressed out by any Xmas preparations!
Jardí Botànic in Valencia
With the current COP21 conference in full swing here in Paris, I can only find one reason why the climate change would be a "good" idea. It would make it possible to plant my cactus plants and palm trees directly in our garden instead of keeping them in pots. I would be able to grow my own botanical garden with dozens of cactus species, succulents and strong palm trees right here in Northern France. No seriously: let's try our very best to prevent this from becoming a reality! I really don't mind traveling southwards to admire lush Mediterranean gardens. The Jardí Botànic in Valencia for example: it was truly one of the (many) highlights from our trip to Spain.
For the first time ever I saw an Opuntia just like mine: they clearly like growing in the strangest directions while keeping perfectly balanced:
Extremely spikey Cylindropuntia:
What's not to love: the pattern, the abundance, the shapes:
The botanical garden of Valencia, El Botànic, was founded in 1567, but only in the late 1980s they started restoring the garden until its completion in 2000. The garden has over 3000 different tree and plant species and it's known for the many varieties of palm trees and cacti. The botanical garden carries out research into plant diversity, conservation of rare, endemic or endangered species of Mediterranean flora and the conservation of natural habitats.
Yummy figues de Barbarie, also known as cactus fruit:
Botanical gardens make me happy:
I couldn't help but picking some palm tree seeds from the ground. It was pretty hilarious because the flower beds in the entire garden were covered with baby palm trees (that grow from the seeds that fall from the trees). They will probably remove these off sooner or later, because palm tree roots are really tough, but it looked so cool!
The perfect bench in the sun:
Amazing palm tree seeds from a species I had never seen before (unfortunately I don't recall its name...):
Strong and tall palm trees everywhere:
And as logo-obsessed as I am: the logo of the Jardí Botànic is actually a leaf drawn by Matisse! Love it!
That moment when you recognize a plant in the wild from Justina Blakeney's drawings:
Jardí Botànic /// Calle Quart, 80 /// E-46008, Valencia /// +34 96 315 68 00
Open every day (except Dec 25 & Jan 1) from 10:00 - 18:00 (winter) / 21:00 (summer) /// admission 2,50€
Desert de Les Palmes
What a heavy week. Ever since I heard that there was "something" going on in Paris on Friday night, my emotions were all over the place: horrified, shocked, angry, sad, scared, invincible... We hear about suicide attacks in far-away countries, war crimes, poverty, epidemics, natural disasters every day on the news. But this week the horror was here in Paris. So close and the consequences directly influence our daily lives. My first impression was that people around me, friends and strangers were so extremely sweet, supportive and cohesive. I wish that this will become the new "normal": that we help others, share more and care for each other.
Horror like this makes me realize how furtunate I am to do what I do (and love), and travel to so many beautiful places. One these gorgeous places is the Desert de Les Palmes, north from Valencia in Spain. It was one of my favorite hikes during our trip through Spain last month. According to Robert, it's not a hike if you don't have to use your hands. And really: we climbed over the ridge of 3 mountains, with steep precipices and giant rocks. The views over the Mediterranean were dreamy and it smelled like pine trees the entire time. Pure bliss!
Robert "tricked" me into this hike by explaining this was the only place in Europe where you can find indigenous(!) palms. The Chamaerops humillis were beautiful, and yes: we climbed to that mountain peak in the background:
The mountains were so peaceful, and from almost anywhere we could see the Mediterranean and the cities of Castellón and Benicàssim. We didn't cross paths with anyone the entire afternoon, except for one trail runner and a mountainbiker. Really, if you love hiking and being outdoors, you should go here: it's beautiful!
Subtle colors of pink and orange heather:
My sister asked me to bottle the smell of the pine trees, because it's one of the best natural perfumes in the world. Unfortunately I don't know how, so i brought her one of these pine cones:
Desert de Les Palmes /// Parque natural del Desierto de las Palmas /// Perfect for a day trip from Valencia
More information about routes here. We parked our car in the National Park near the visitor center and followed routes 1, 2 and 3. We covered a total distance of 10km in 4 1/2 hours, including breaks ;) Not very fast, but we loved it!
Vale - Venga - Adios!
Finally after some very long and intense months (ehmmm it's been 2 years since our last big break!) we arrived in Spain. This past week we stayed in the Pyrenees, or even better in Spanish: los Pirineos. And that's immediately my biggest frustration of the week: I don't speak Spanish. I read and understand it globally as it's so similar to French, but I was unable to ask specific questions about the almonds they were harvesting or the ceramic workshops that I wanted to visit (and didn't find). Of course, with French and English, a few Spanish words (mixed up with Italian... oops!) and lots of gestures you get a long way, but still, it's a little bit frustrating for a curious person like me ;)
Anyway, I'm happy to spend my days with my husband, discovering something new every day, reading books, exploring the mountains, sleeping, hiking, and gathering some nice green souvenirs. I picked some fresh palm tree seeds in the palmeraie in the botanical garden in Zaragoza and cut a few cactus plants as well. We've just arrived in Valencia, so I think I "may" bring some more souvenirs. If you'd like to see what I'm up to, check my Instagram, as my blog will be quiet for the rest of October. Here's a big dose of sunshine and palm trees from Zaragoza for you to enjoy, maybe it helps to keep warm as I've heard it's freezing in most parts of Northern Europe... oh and if you have any tips on learning a few words of Spanish?
Almost just as good as the real deal: palm tree shadows:
Oh yeah, I know what to do with these:
It's a moody wednesday
So the other day I had a brilliant idea. I would buy some beautiful fresh flowers in Holland for the upcoming Urban Jungle Bloggers October edition (it will be all about Plants & Flowers!). The flower shops here in Nogent have a very artificial choice of flowers and bouquets that contain 80% fill-up greenery. I knew I wouldn't have time to visit Argevil in Compiègne, so I picked up some dahlias from a flowershop in Holland. It seemed like a great idea. When we got home, I put the flowers in some water and basically forgot about them.
What works really well with plants, doesn't work with flowers... This weekend I wanted to style my little setting with flowers & plants... but the dahlias were "gone"! All withered, dry... and near dead! Definitely not suited for the fresh and flowery setting I had in mind. They do look nice in the sunshine and are perfect for it's a moody wednesday:
The only dahlia still looking somewhat "fresh":
There's still some time left to prepare my Plants & Flowers styling for Urban Jungle Bloggers, so if you check back here on Thursday next week, you'll see if I found some new flowers. Oh and if you're at Meet the Blogger in Amsterdam this weekend: come and say hi! I'll be wearing my pink glasses ;)
Wildernis is a urban garden shop on the Bilderdijkstraat in the middle of Amsterdam. Filled with plants, tea, coffee & cake, workshops, cool planters, plant hangers, botanic artwork, small and big green gifts, gardeners tools, soil, seeds, gardening books, watering cans and so much more. A true Urban Jungle Bloggers paradise!
Wildernis is on a mission: Amsterdam should be greener. More green at home, in your mini city garden, on your balcony or rooftop... Green is beautiful, healthy and good for bees, birds and humans... good for everyone! As an Urban Jungle Blogger I cannot agree more!
When you enter the shop, the first thing you do is look up: dozens of lush green plants are hanging on wires . Macramé hangers, colorful ropes, coconut shells:
Welcome at Wildernis: Yes we're open!
Wildernis is not about shopping alone: you can also sit down and relax, order coffee and cake, flip through a botanical book and chat with Mila and Emma. These ladies will tell you everything you need/want to know about your new plants, give advise when you have doubts or questions. And above all: they'll explain how easy it is to take care of plants at home!
Cacti, philodendron, sanseveria, echeveria, string of pearls:
And if you are like me and want to DO something with plants: Wildernis organises lots of different workshops at the shop. Together with other plant lovers you gather, learn and get crafty. Some of the upcoming workshops: basic understanding of plant care, create your own plant hanger and learn about soil & compost. Check the website for all workshops!
Wildernis /// Bilderdijkstraat 165 F /// 1053 KP Amsterdam /// +31 2 0 7852517
Open tuesday to friday: 10-18 saturday 11-17
Dahlia love + a Snor giveaway
This time of the year is always a little bit special. In September it's la rentrée (back to school/work/life in France) which is usually extra busy but September has also proven to be a month full of unexpected personal adventures for the past two decades. I have no idea what this month has in store for me exactly. But I do have a few fun things planned! Like the Snor Festival in Holland in a few weeks. It will be the second edition of the festival organised by editor Snor with all kinds of creative workshops, the book launch of Zilverblauw's first book, food, music, a marketplace, bookshop and so much more. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with fellow bloggers, friends and you!
Because I'm giving away two tickets to you, if you like. Just leave a comment below or on Instagram and I'll pick a winner next Sunday (the 13th). Maybe we'll see each other at the Snor Festival very soon! Update: I picked a winner, it's Anne Kruit via Instagram!
September also brings pretty dahlias to the community gardens and flower shops here in France. Dahlias will forever remind me of our dear Inga, who passed away last year. She was a sweet lady and blogger known for her love for flowers. Together with Elodie she hosted the #2flowergirls series that helped me to bring more flowers into our home (despite our flower & plant eating cats). So when I spotted these dahlias in a pick-your-own-field in Senlis I stopped to make these photos. Do they grow where you live as well? Or maybe you have some in your own garden?
Don't you love the perfect imperfection of this pink dahlia?
Snor Festival /// September 20th 2015 /// Theme: LOVE ♥ /// Campsite De Lievelinge /// Haarweg 6 /// 4214 KL Vuren /// The Netherlands
mini Guide Barcelona
A few of my favorite places in Barcelona:
► Trait Store /// Carrer del Parlament 28 /// In the beautiful Sant Antoni's neighborhood, close to Barcelona's biggest food hall you'll find Trait store: they carry a cool selection of (Scandi & US) fashion brands and a lot of plants. The space is designed by talented designer Miriam Barrio.
► Café Cometa /// Carrer del Parlament 20 /// After shopping at Trait Store sit down & relax at Café Cometo, with fresh juices, pastries, yummy sandwiches and... good coffee!
► Gràcia neighborhood /// Lots of healthy/bio/ecological shops and delicious artisanal ice cream places. For lunch I can warmly recommend Mama's Café: lovely biological food and they have a nice private terrace too!
► Parc de la Ciutadella /// Passeig de Picasso 21 /// On Sunday go for a stroll around the park, rent a rowing boat and go for a little tour around the lake. Lots of family activities (music and siesta) all around the park too.
► University garden /// 226 Carrer de la Diputació /// A small garden around the university building with old palm trees and other species, occasional summer parties. The university buiding is also worth to check out (nice corridors and courtyards).
► Praktik Garden Hotel /// A budget-friendly design hotel in the middle of the Eixample area with a lush garden terrace and beautiful minimalistic rooms. The lobby is filled with potted plants too and makes it a true Urban Jungle Bloggers hotel!
► Satan's Coffee Corner /// Carrer de l'Arc de Sant Ramon del Call, 11 /// Delicous coffee in a stylish place with lots of plants in beautiful Matagalán terracotta pots. Their motto says it all: no decaf, no wifi, no unattended kids. Cash only. Fuck Tripadvisor, fuck Yelp, aussies keep it quiet!
► Mies van der Rohe pavillion /// Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 7 /// If you love marble and the work of Mies van der Rohe you should go here. The pavillion is not very big (entry fee is 5€) but it's worth visiting this super avant-garde construction that's almost 90 years old! /// On the other side of the road is the CaixaForum, an art gallery funded by the Caixa bank in an abandoned factory. When I visited there was an Alvar Aalto(!) exhibition. The wavy rooftop (without specatular view though) is fun too.
► Bang's Gelateria Artesana /// Carrer del Carmen area (can't find the exact street on Google maps) /// A trip to Barcelona isn't complete without gelato. I really enjoyed the blackberry yogurt ice cream (without artificial flavours & colors) at Bang's.
► On the list for my next time in Barcelona: the botanical gardens (closed on Monday's), see this language school designed by Masquespacio with my own eyes, visit the Hibernacle garden center (or leave the city and visit some Catalonian nurseries), check out the greens at Palo Alto, visit the MACBA, and get myself some decent xurros con chocolate, because I had bad luck this time and ate the most aweful ones ever... oops! If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments. I can't wait to go back soon!
► Previously: my favorite places in Paris /// Stockholm /// Berlin /// Copenhagen /// Antwerp /// London
It probably shows that I'm craving a little summer holiday, right? This weekend I worked on a fun little challenge: pimp a deckchair with Out There Interiors! Our mission was to do "something" with the chair and my first idea was to turn it into a green seating. Of course I don't want anyone to sit on my cacti, but some soft & wild grass from our garden was a better idea.
The only thing missing is some sunshine.... and your vote! I hope you like my deckie, because when I win, I will donate my prize to the Kew Gardens Foundation. Kew is the world's most famous botanical garden with more than 250 years of history. I think it's important to help places like the Kew Gardens and the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil to continue to do their fantastic work. Future generations deserve the same rich plant diversity as we do and there is still so much research to do to learn more about plants and the world.
You can vote for my deckie HERE and HERE. Merci beaucoup!!
The Barbican Conversatory London
The contrast between the grey sky during my visit at the Barbican Conservatory and today's blue sunny sky in France, could hardly be any bigger. Unfortunately there was not enough time for a trip to the Kew Gardens or Botany in the past Blogtacular weekend, but I made a quick stop-over at the beautiful Barbican Conversatory. There's something about the Barbican that I find very attractive: it has a true soul and feels like a throwback to the '60s and '70s. I love it :)
This hidden tropical oasis in the middle of the city houses more than 2000 species of tropical plants and trees. If you want to visit the greenhouse, just note that the Conservatory of the Barbican is only open on Sundays and Bank holidays. I was there on a Friday, but found an open door and a kind resident with his granddaughter told me I should just take a peek (and a few pictures ;). So I did!
Can you see the purple/bordeaux hanging leafs down on the right? That's a giant bunch of Purple Heart just like mine <3
The Barbican Estate & Centre: dark & grey, with lots of rooftop gardens, balconies, palm trees, amazing apartments (for steep prices: I spotted a 30m2 apartment for almost 500K£ in a broker's window...). Last time there was the fabulous Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, this time I just got to visit the beautiful Conversatory.
A gorgeous fan-palm... the future of mine :D
The Conserveratory at the Barbican /// Silk St /// London EC2Y 8DS
open on Sundays (11-17) and Bank holidays (12-17)
Jardins, jardin in Paris
You may think I go from one Garden Fair to another. And actually it's kind of true! With a lot of work and projects in between that keep me busy though ;). After Les Journées des Plants in Chantilly, I visited a completely different garden fair in Paris last week: Jardins, Jardin. It took place in the middle of the Tuileries gardens, under a beautiful blue sky.
Where the event in Chantilly was mainly about buying plants, Jardins, Jardin was more about the joys of a garden and balcony. Which meant it was much more creative, with all kinds of solutions for the Parisian lifestyle with its ultra small apartments and reduced outdoor space.
This was one of my favorite ideas: a garden fence made out of tropical tree trunks. Very strong graphics and a nice way to upcycle these trunks.
Beautiful "planters" in the stand of the Haviland prize-winner Le Pack, actually these are the terracotta chimneys you find on so many Parisian rooftops!
While I took the picture below of those geometrics cut-outs, I heard someone calling my name: Paule from 1000Lieux! She's part of our UJB community and was designated to choose a press-winner for best balcony design at Jardins, Jardin. Le Pack was an obvious winner, I really love that they united a "pack" of people and skills to pursue their ideas of more green in the city. It was really nice to meet you Paule!
A little hideaway in the middle of some bold and bright varieties of maples:
This cool stand by Les Jardins de Gally made my Urban Jungle Bloggers heart skip a beat. They proposed all kinds of creative ideas for a "fertile office": a desk in which you grow your own tomates, a strawberry bar (you just pick as much strawberries as you like, and get back to work), an airplant roof in an indoor/outdoor workspace...
I posted some additional pictures on my Facebook page, you can see them here! I hope you enjoyed the beautiful (at least here in France...) weather this weekend. Have a great week!
Les Journées des Plantes in Chantilly
One of the biggest European plant fairs... on our doorstep! In one of the prettiest locations in my Oise region: le Château de Chantilly. I visited Les Journées des Plantes de Courson on a drairy Saturday and what I experienced was a big fair in the English garden of the castle with thousands of plants. With a real focus on garden plants. My favorite stand was the one where I found this gorgeous Musella lasiocarpa, a Chinese dwarf banana. The Pépinière Nature & Tropiques had a wonderful selection of tropical plants. They are based in Hyères and I'll definitely visit their nursery when I'm in the South of France.
On the entire fair I looked for carnivorous plants (that I didn't find by the way) but I found some other pretty varieties, like this Black Tree Aeonium:
Or these gorgeous Proteas flowers:
Dutch color therapy
Have you ever seen the most colorful extravaganza in the Netherlands? Until a few weeks ago I only ever saw the tulip fields from a train or car but when I found out I had a meeting at 10 minutes from Lisse, I knew I had to see this from up close.
When there's such an abundance of color (and smell! really I wish the Internet had smells, it's impressive!) I cannot stop making photos... so I decided to show 'em all for a huge dose of color therapy. Enjoy!
Don't you love the stranger in the crowd?
More than 3000 varieties of tulips exist and really: no two flowerbeds were alike. Tiny mini bulbs, two-tone tulips, wild peonie tulips and crown-like spiky flowers like these:
Another little stranger:
La Vallée des Singes
After lots of island fun on l'Ile de Ré we drove through the French countryside to a valley that I have been wanting to visit for years: la Vallée des Singes, the Monkey Valley! I heard it is a place where monkeys live in near wild conditions. And actually that's pretty much it! We had a lovely afternoon walking around the park in close (very close!) presence of over 400 monkeys.
La Vallée des Singes opened its doors in 1998 and is completely different from a "regular" zoo. There is very little "entertainment", unlike anything Disney, and you experience a complete immergence in the monkeys' territory. You can walk through the 16 hectares park with several different areas and where the larger species live on their own islands, separated from you by water. There are hardly any fences and just a few panels with information about the different breeds of monkeys. They want you to really watch, observe, experience and become aware of the importance of protecting these beautiful animals. Through their Primate Conservation Trust they fund conservation programs for populations of wild primates.
Capuchin monkeys, gorillas, bonobos, makis, gibbons, magots, mandrills, chimpansees... I think my very favorite monkey was this male Saki monkey with his beautiful bangs and haircut:
The most wonderful experience in the park, was that at some moments it was just like a regular walk in the park although we realized there were dozens of monkeys above our heads in the top of the trees. It makes you so aware of how we are part of nature and not the masters of the universe like we tend to behave like.
How many Maki eyes can you spot:
A quick and quirky Squirrel monkey (a.k.a. Mr. Nilsson) making a rude gesture:
One more gorgeous monkey that I had never seen before is the Black and White Colobus with a wonderful drapey tail and jacket:
Another facinating thing was that most of the monkeys completely ignored us. They didn't interact with us or any other visitor and lived very independently. Through movies and media we get a very human impression of monkeys and sure: we look very much alike, but these are wild animals and the Vallée des Singes created a very natural environment for them where the balance between "nature" and "zoo" is particularly well respected.
Several times a day the team of La Vallée de Singes feed the monkeys in front of the visitors. A unique moment to observe the monkeys up close:
And yes, we also saw a lot of baby monkeys! In 17 years there were over 500 births in the park! Look at this cute South American Titi:
Or this adorable baby Magot monkey (the only free-living primates in Europe by the way!) that held on to his mama:
I also loved it when they fed the chimpanzees some fresh endives: they just came out of the trees (not all of them, one was having more fun in the top of a tree!), just ate their veggies and went back into the forest. No show or "entertaining the audience", just food. Well, it was actually very entertaining to watch them and their movements, sounds and interaction, but it felt all very natural ;)
La Vallée des Singes /// Le Gureau /// 86700 Romagne /// France
Open from February to November, all opening hours on the website.
The park is located at less than 4 hours from Paris, in the Vienne region, not far from Poitiers and Angoulême and totally worth the time spent in the car to get there. For an extra special experience, you can spend the night in a beautiful tree hut in the nearby Les Cabanes de la Belle and/or visit Futuroscope.
île de Ré
This was probably the happiest day of our trip to the West Coast. The sun was out and we visited the island of Ré. I've heard so many friends raving about this place ever since we moved to France so I was really curious to discover what it was all about. And l'Île de Ré did not disappoint! At this time of the year (mid april) the island is still rather calm and the tourist traps easy to avoid.
We rented some comfy French bikes at Cyclo Surf, one of the manys bike rental places on the island, and off we went! Most cycle paths on the island are car-free which makes it really safe to bike around, unlike the rest of France. But beware of French cyclists... they seem to forget the obvious traffic code like keep right, never stop in the middle of the road and always keep your kids to your right (closest to the side of the road) ;)
Like the entire West Coast there are salt marches everywhere. Their slightly lilac hue (because of microorganisms) of the salt pans looked gorgeous against the beautiful sky an yellow flowers:
To my surprise, all houses on Île de Ré are white with green shutters. All kinds of green: mint, teal, shamrock, olive, pistachio, forest green. It's truly stunning:
Proof that this all made me really happy:
Biking along the ocean is so nice: wind blowing through your hair, a mix of spring flowers perfume and the sea smell, the view to the horizon... bliss!
We also went to the Phare des Baleines on the North East of the island. It's turned into a tourist trap with many souvenir shops and crêperies at the enty of the site, but the view on the ocean is pretty nice. There are two sea currents meeting in the middle which creates a mesmerizing wave movement.
The Island of Ré als houses a long sentence prison. I can imagine lesser places to be emprisoned, even though you're no supposed to venture around the island. Actually every year at least one prisoner is tempted by the beautiful island and tries to escape. Someone told us that last year a prisoner disappeared and they found him on his way to the continent on a stolen surf board. Haha!
The well preserved windmills near Ars en Ré, Les Moulins de la Boire, used to crush the salt cristals that were collected from the salt marches. Nowadays it's a bed & breakfast called Le Senechal.
By the way, from this beach near Sainte-Marie-de-Ré you can see Fort Boyard on the horizon, known from the famous television show :)
Ile de Ré is connected to La Rochelle by a 3km-long toll bridge constructed in 1988. You pay 8€ (in the high season it's 16€) to get onto the island and can leave for free. Hope you enjoyed joining me on this little virtual trip to the island!
A floral carpet in the Oise
It's one of these natural phenomenons of early springtime here in France: the ground in the forests around our home get covered in wild narcissus and anemone nemorosa. In almost thirteen years I never actually went to see it up close. So yesterday was the day for a little lunch break on the floral carpet ;) Enfin!
And when you're there anyway, you make a little movie. Mais bien sûr !
Have a great weekend everyone!
Running with flowers
Life is busy around here. I constantly have the feeling that I'm running behind, my daily to-do-list is rarely ever entirely checked off at night, and I haven't felt that precious Inbox-Zero feeling in a long time. Besides dreaming of a roadtrip, my regular runs around the neighborhood keep me from going insane. And now that spring is here, I picked up some red blossom from the side of the road. People stared at me, because running with a few branches of flowers probably looks pretty strange. But it was worth it, I like how they match the red, pink and sunlight in our cinema room.
Below you can see the top of one of my little fig trees. Our cat Wally loves nibbling on the leaves (is it the typical fig smell? or the taste of the leaves?) and the lower leaves unfortunately look more like this. I think I'll have to move them to another cat-safe room, before he eats them all... But please: if you have any tricks for keeping cats from eating plants, I'm all ears!
United colors of Charlie
There was something in the air this Sunday. No pun intended, it was not only the airplane from which I took these pictures ;) After last week's tragic events in France, the massive amount of people that joined the unity rallies in Paris and throughout the world, made me hopeful.
I was in Nice this weekend to run 10K along the Promenade des Anglais for the Prom'Classic 2015 with Kalenji. Minutes before the race, the mayor of Nice (also one of the runners!) reminded us that we all wore the same shirt. That we would run to show that we were free, that we were not afraid and that the values of solidarity and sharing will triumph barbarism. Followed by a minute of applause of more than 10.000 people. It made the circumstances of my first race very unique and the unity I felt of all runners, volunteers, supporters and musicians gave me goosebumps and a big smile on my face throughout the day. Just before landing in Paris, the sky looked like in these photos. I'm not particularly superstitious, but I admit this magical view matched my feelings so well... the united colors of Charlie.
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 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
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 ;)
Flowers for Inga
One things that I love most about blogging is getting to know all kinds of new people. Creative folks you follow from afar, people that make things happen, like-minded people that sometimes turn into new friends... And when someone who made things that you loved happen disappears, it's so so sad. Last week I found out via instagram that our dear Inga passed away. You may know her as one of the #2flowergirls together with my friend Elodie. Their project taught me to better appreciate flowers and actually use them in our home. Although I never met Inga in person, but in the messages we exchanged I found a very kind, warm and intelligent young woman with lots of ideas and energy. Today we are celebrating her life with a virtual bouquet of flowers. These are for you, Inga!
By the way, these pictures were taken at the same nearby community garden as for the 2 Dahlia girls. Interesting to see the "same" dahlias one year later!
You can find my previous #2flowergirls posts right here.
Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil in Paris
Yes, I'm done editing some of the 250 photos I took at the Jardin botanique des Serres d'Auteuil. Botanic gardens make me so extremely happy, especially if they include palm trees, cactus plants and succulents, that it always results in too many pictures ;)
This garden in Paris has been on my must-visit list for so long and when I heard a few months ago that it risks to be closed and destroyed on behalf of another Roland-Garros tennis court, I knew I had to go NOW. I sincerely hope the City of Paris, who owns the botanic gardens, realizes the value of these 19th century greenhouses and gardens in time, because it's so very gorgeous. Have a look:
I wondered around the garden before and after my visit of the Molitor Rooftop garden while it was empty and sunny. A few gardeners were around taking care of more than 10.000 different tropical and subtropical plants. Some of which are ultra rare and almost extinct.
One of the most amazing elements of the garden is the Palmarium: it seems like the Palm tree is captured in the greenhouse:
The majestic palm tree is really tall, nearly 16 meters and grows up to the top of the dôme of the greenhouse:
Molitor rooftop garden in Paris
Last week my day started with a visit of the new garden and roof bar of the iconic Piscine Molitor. Well it's not "just" a swimming pool, but you can sleep, dine and workout here too. This spring Molitor, built in 1929, finally reopened its doors after 25 years. When Molitor closed in 1989, it became very popular with graffiti artists and skateboarders. Parties and concerts were held in the empty pool. The renovation is beautifully done, the Art Deco aesthetic is still there, with a hint of streetart in the lobby. And of course: I loved the yellow.
Molitor was never free to the public, but with a price tag up to 180€ per day it's rather expensive to take the plunge. But if you are lucky to sleep and swim here, I can warmly recommend taking the elevator to the rooftop. Your view will be something like this:
And on top of the building,Thierry Dalcant, former fashion designer at YSL & Nina Ricci and now landscapist / stylist / designer, transformed the flat surface into a lush garden. Well, it's still young, most of the vegetation is rather small and it's definitely not a jungle yet, but the potential is there.
From the rooftop you can see the Jean Bouin stadium (on the left) and characteristic Haussmanien buildings:
And between all the greens, two distinct "terrace rooms" that can be used by hotel guests for private lunches or dinners. Imagine how lovely it would be to enjoy your breakfast right here:
While you sip your grapefruit juice, you're surrounded by lots of aromatic herbs (that smell amazing!) as well as grasses, sedum and perennial plants that cover a 30cm layer of soil and also grow in wooden crates.
But the best thing, according to me, were not the greens (wow!) but the beautiful Moroso chairs. They have exactly the right shades of colors: aquamint, green and red and they're actually comfy too!
These chairs blend in so well with the colors of the garden, the rooftop colors of Paris, the wooden crates and the flowers:
And there, right there, just in front of that (oh so random!) Eiffel Tower, is the rooftop bar with a huge herb garden:
The hotel chefs use these aromatic herbs when they cook à la plancha on the brushed inox cooking stove. Lots of fresh mint, sage, rosemary, basil, lemongrass...
But my favorites by far, are definitely these pretty polyester fiber chairs, called Tropicalia designed by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso:
Even though the Molitor rooftop garden is nice and has a lot of potential once it grows bigger, it couldn't compete with its neighbor: the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil, one of the 4 botanical gardens maintained by the city of Paris. I literally took 250 pictures of these greenhouses alone (yes, I know I went totally Urban Jungle Bloggers crazy!), so I need some more time to edit them, but I'll show you very soon. I think you'll love it!
For now, you can check out my favorite jungles of 2013 if you like ;)
September means maize
Remember how I told you I loved working this summer while everyone seemed to be on holiday? Well, people are back and it's very busy/. Back to school (or work) means that soon the maize will be harvested. As a teenager I biked past these same kind of maize fields every day to go to school. In September the crops would be high and you would spot many maize ears between the leaves. And then suddenly, after the first few weeks at school, the fields would be empty again. It changed the entire perspective.
Everyone always told me these kernels aren't edible (they are used as fodder) and I always believed it. But I also always have the urge to peel a few ears and eat them... do you know if you can? Are these edible or not? Could I even turn them into popcorn? If so, I'll go back to these fields nearby and pick some for this weekend's movie date ;)
By the way, did you enter my running giveaway yet? I know many of you are not into running at all, but you can enter and try to win a pair for your partner, friend or a family member. Always a nice surprise... in September!
Grow your own succulents
One of the many reasons Igor and I founded Urban Jungle Bloggers, is to share our green knowledge. So today I'd like to show you a very simple trick called succulent progagation. Of course you can buy the most beautiful succulent plants everywhere, but it's also a lot of fun to grow them yourself from leaves. I've been doing it for many years now and enjoy sharing the green love by offering baby succulents to friends or by sending some via snailmail.
There are many different ways to propagate succulents, but this is what works for me. First you need a succulent plant with leaves, like the one on the right:
Don't cut the leaves, but gently pull off a few leaves from the stem of the plant. When they don't come off it helps to twist them a little bit. But be careful, it's important to have a clean pull, which means that nothing gets left on the stem.
Lay your fresh leaves horizontally on some soil. For my current "mass production project" I used some plates with a thin layer of soil, but you can also lay them on the foot of a plant in a plant pot. My succulents also grow without soil (I sometimes find babies randomly in our home!), but appear to grow faster and stronger with it.
Now you'll want to let your leaves dry out for a few days, so don't water them immediately. After a few days gently sprinkle water over the plate. Water again once the soil is completely dry. I tend to water once every 10 days or less. Just like a grown up succulent, they don't like a lot of water. Place your leaves in a place with lots of indirect sunlight.
After a few weeks some miniature white or pink roots will sprout from the tip of your leaves. And a teeny tiny baby plant will start to grow. Oh how I love their cute pink roots:
Once your new succulents are a little bit bigger, you'll notice that the initial leaves will become wrinkly, yellow, or dry. You can carefully pull them off and plant your succulent in its own plant pot.
Oh and if you want to send some baby succulents via snailmail, simply wrap the succulents in some moist tissue paper and wrap it in paper (not in a sealed plastic bag!). Most succulent babies are strong enough to survive a few weeks on the road without water.
Have you ever tried growing your own succulent? Do you have any tips & tricks? Or some questions maybe?
How is your week? Rainy? Still en vacances? Mine has been busy and also included 2 interviews about my blog after a surprise article in the newspaper last weekend. Fun! The journalist who wrote this, found me through Pinterest! Double fun ;)
These are a few photos of the beautiful artichokes that grew in the Jardins de Montplaisir. I love their color and shape... and eating them too!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Blueberries and pinkberries
It's August! Can you believe it? These are some pictures of the 63 blueberries before I turned them into yogurt granola bars. We picked almost a kilo of blueberries at the wonderful Jardin de Montplaisir. I loved their pink, blue and purple hues and the way my sister's dress matched ;)
Have a wonderful weekend! (Oh and there's still time to join my giveaway and win a Flower Power!)
Win a Parrot Flower Power
Are you a serial plant killer? Do you have a black thumb? Then keep reading! As an Urban Jungle Blogger, I'm a little bit obsessed with anything green, so when I discovered this Y-shaped tool I couldn't wait to give it a try.
The Parrot Flower Power is a wireless plant monitor that communicates with an app on your smartphone or tablet. Once your green friend is thirsty, it tells you to water your plant for example. It also tracks sunlight, ions in the ground and temperature. Which means it also reminds you to add fertilizer or place it in a different spot if it's too sunny for your plant. Nearly 7000 different species are listed in the app, so your favorite is probably in there too.
Of course this gadget looks good: it was designed in Paris after all ;) I also love that it comes in this cute terracotta look-a-like pot, so before using it I played around a bit. Doesn't it look cute amongst my greens?
I stuck my Flower Power next to my Euphorbia. At the moment I give him a sip of water a day, because he's growing new tips, so I guess he needs water all the time. But is this really what he likes? I can't wait to find out in a few days...
And the cool thing is, Parrot and myself are giving you the opportunity to win your own gardening assistant! To win a Parrot Flower Power:
► Follow me on Instagram
► Leave a comment below
The lucky winner will be announced on August 4th. The giveaway is open for everyone worldwide: I'm happy to ship around the world :) Good luck!
Really, there is no excuse for not having thriving greens in your home!
This giveaway is now closed. The lucky winner is Mali Iv. Congratulations! I wish I could send every one of you a Flower Power, but unfortunately I can't. So I decided to send baby succulents to 5 runners-up, picked at random. All winners have been contacted by email. Thanks for playing!
Parrot kindly offered me a Flower Power and another one to give away to one of my readers, but all opinions and pictures are my own. Merci Parrot!
Les Jardins de Montplaisir
Remember when I mentioned that I wish we had a Farmer's Market around here? Well we still don't have one, but we do have a garden in the Oise where you can pick your own fruit, veggies and flowers, called les Jardins de Montplaisir. All seasonal, natural, although not 100% organic. I loved it, it was so much fun to to pick our own strawberries, blueberries, wander around and of course I finally (!) got me some more green peas!
There were a lot of families with small children around as well. It's a nice way to make your (urban) kids more aware of how fruit and veggies grow and to introduce them to the taste of freshness. Growing your own fruit and vegetables makes you super proud, but picking your own is a good second ;)
Can you spot the melons here:
The first blackberries of the season:
The flower beds had many colorful Lillies and Gladiolus:
Les Jardins de Montplaisir /// Hameau de Montplaisir /// 60680 Jonquières (near Compiègne)
all current products are updated on the website!
Is there a pick-your-own garden near your place? Do you ever go there?
Even though our home is such a mess because of the bathroom renovation, I'm trying to keep up with the flowers at home. The #2flowergirls challenges by Elodie & Inga really helped me to get over the no-flowers-at-home itch. And our cats seem to be fine with it too. They haven't nibbled on these hydrangea... yet ;)
I spotted these Hydrangea Paniculata flowers in one of our city's flower beds. When no one watched I cut off a few branches (ohhh!). Did you notice how they have the perfect pink-white gradient? The vase was made by mom and I recycled the neon pink bakerstwine from this bouquet. You can buy it here.
Urban Jungle Bloggers #10
This month's Urban Jungle Bloggers topic is a tricky one for me: creative plant pots - how to dress up your plants. It's tricky because I'm such a Betty Basic! I love plain plant pots with basic shapes and one color. Igor and I shared a few of our favorite plant pots on Facebook this past week and it was fun to check out some less ordinary plant pots. The main reason I only use simple planters at home, is that my jungle is always growing. Friends & family offer me new plants, cuttings or seeds and I'm always in lack of more plant pots. So in stead of painting my plant pots, I decided to virtually decorate them to see what it would look like.
My Euphoria plant (which is actually not a cactus but a succulent!) makes me euphoric: I thought he died, but actually he's growing new spikey ears!
As you can see my favorite prickly pear started growing in 3D in stead of 2D so it became too voluminous for our kitchen counter top. But he seems happy in the sun in our cinema room too:
I really really really prefer my plant pots plain & simple, because my plants are the real stars:
As a very subtle decoration I like to add shells from the beach (or other small objects, like Lego figures and baby succulents) to the little pebbles:
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Subscribe to our monthly topic newsletter or use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more creative plant pots also check out: Eclectic Trends /// Emilia und die Detektive /// Wanesia /// Mamlo Connection /// Style Space & Stuff /// Vivere a piedi nudi /// Colourliving /// It's nice here /// Makelight /// Pinspiration /// Mouseblossom /// Craftifair /// Look, Pimp your Room! /// La Madre Selva /// Junifaden /// IDA interior lifestyle /// Blog a Cavolo /// My home is my Horst /// Hipaholic /// Volle Lotte 1 2 /// Interiornovice /// Knobz /// Svala Design Studio ///
My exploding jungle
It's been a while since I showed you some pictures of my jungle. Most of my plants seem to be extremely happy to be back in the greenhouse again, after spending a few months in their winter storage. My Purple Heart plant above surprised me with its first and one & only purple flower! It opened on an afternoon, I forgot to take a picture and it's pink and closed ever since. I think it's maybe a one-day-flower?
This fellow really amazed me. He grew 16 new ears! It's a brother of my favorite cactus:
Even Dwjareb doesn't understand how the Aloë Vera plants became so big:
The nasturtium plant is everywhere in the greenhouse. It grows fast and we have new Indian Cress flowers every day. I think the entire plant is now about 25 meters long and it makes the entire greenhouse smell very sweet:
Some of the paddle cactus leaves I planted in the soil (not in a pot) last year, started growing new ears (in the back):
And the potted ones are happy too:
I hope for all of you Urban Jungle Bloggers, that your plants are thriving too! And if not, maybe a nice new plant pot will motivate them to grow bigger? Please feel welcome to join the new edition of Urban Jungle Bloggers this Thursday, as it's all about creative plant pots. More info on our Facebook page.
More pictures of my urban jungle: here, here and here :)
Frozen Indian Cress
Do you recognize this? That you want to try something because you saw it somewhere, without knowing where you saw it?
That's what happened to me last week when I wanted to freeze a bunch of Indian cress flowers. One of my Nasturtium plants is growing so fast that we can't keep up eating flowers in our salads. The plant has tentacles in all directions growing fast through our greenhouse. It reminds me of my melon plant last year!
So finally I realized I saw the #frozenflowers project on Emily's instagram. It was fun to try and it looks pretty cute, although the flowers don't taste as fresh & fruity anymore after freezing them. But it looks great in a glass of water... or a cocktail! Cheers!
Next week I'll be in London and because I expect it to be quite an urban trip, I'm "virtually" preparing myself with some airy views from our #blago2014 adventure.
I love these pale blues at the Lago Maggiore and the Lago d'Orta at this time of the year. As well as the eternal snow on the mountains in the background, the palm trees, the islands...
Hope you're having a great weekend!
The other day when visiting a vide-grenier with my sister, we bumped into these giant papavers in one of the community gardens. I was tempted to bring them home, but she insisted on only taking their picture. So I did. Always listen to your little sister, right?
In the past months I photographed quite a bunch of different flowers (anemones, snowdrops, hyacinth, more anemones) but poppies are still my all time favorites. Unfortunately the petals fall off once you pick them, so I had a few fake ones in my wedding bouquet. These pale pink and orange giant poppies were almost as big as my head and looked gorgeous after a fresh spring shower.
Their flower buds were equally giant, about the size of goose egg:
Happy Labor Day... or as some say in France: Joyeuse fête du Muguet (lily of the valley)!
Urban Jungle Bloggers #8
For the eight time today, Igor and I are throwing a little green party. Or at least that's what our monthy Urban Jungle Bloggers challenge feels like to me. Afters lots of eggs, creative stylings and spring freshness in March, today is all about green window sills and balconies.
Actually we don't have a single window sill here at home. Our windows start at the floor and go straight up to the ceiling. We do have two balconies though (you can see us posing on one of 'em here!), but don't keep any greens on them... But there are some cactus plants, a citrus tree, an aloë vera and a few succulents in front of the window in our cinema room. So that's what I'm showing you today :)
Do you see the purple-ish plant in the back (turned to the sun):
I noticed that its leaves have this pearlish color in the sun. Kind of magic, right?
The fresh green succulent on the left is very happy in the sun, he's truly thriving and growing fast. I think it's because of his Monegask roots ;) He's the cutie in my first Urban Jungle Bloggers post (in the last image!).
More pictures of our cinema room here (before & after) and here.
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Subscribe to our monthly topic newsletter or use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more balconies & windos sills also check out: Little Big Bell /// Trend Daily /// Emilia und die Detektive /// Anya Adores /// Label 1114 /// Colourliving /// Mouseblossom /// Junifaden /// Style, Space & Stuff /// Interior Novice /// Universal Sine /// The ZEN succulent /// Il Mundo di Selezione /// Mocha /// Armoire, Pegs & Casserole /// Look! Pimp your room /// It's nice here /// Flora Inspiro /// Pötit /// Jillian in Italy /// Luloveshandmade /// Little Star Blog /// Free like a bird /// Mia Fleur /// Hipaholic /// 30s Magazine /// Aentschie's Blog /// The Startup Wife /// Redhead & Yarn /// Emerald Green Interiors /// Knobz /// Ohio is my reset button /// I don't know how she does it /// Rosa Rosen /// Anna im Backwahn /// Apartment Apothecary /// Facing North with Gracia /// Wanesia /// Miris Jahrbuch ///
Green Balconies in Milan
When strolling down the streets of Milan, I was pleasantly surprised by the omnipresence of greens! Of course the upcoming Urban Jungle Bloggers topic was in the back of my head: balconies & window sills, so I guess I was a little obsessed... So if you're looking for some last minute inspiration, look no further ;)
One of the design showrooms in the Brera district was covered in greens (and a hint of yellow from the #blago2014 ladies):
I didn't really get the purpose of ceramic Italian coffee pots and espresso cups for your plants, but well... it looked kinda cute:
More green balconies and notice:
This Italian chef enjoyed his break in the green patio featuring a variety of Italian vases and random planters:
You cannot go wrong with palm trees in my book. I loved these, they look so proud:
And of course I spotted some fresh lemons that reminded me of the ones in Corsica. I brought one home and used it for the sugar free lemon muffins that I baked the other day... even though they looked more like flat cookies, they tasted pretty good.
Check back tomorrow for my Urban Jungle Bloggers post. And if you like: there's still time to join us and show us your green balcony or window sill! Subscribe here and you'll receive all the information you need by email. Arrivederci!
Happy Easter! I wish you all a sunny and cosy Sunday with your loved ones. I know I'll be eating an extra egg today (without cactus of course) ;)
The number of times that we sighed and smelled wisteria during our Blago trip, were countless. I haven't seen any wisteria here in the Oise yet, but in Italy they were blooming on every street corner. And because unfortunately I cannot include perfumes on my blog (yet!), I tried to capture the purple flowering plant in images.
Eternal snow in Switzerland in the back and blooming wisteria in the foreground as seen from the Hermitage Santa Caterina del Sasso on the Lago Maggiore:
No doubt about it: we're in sunny Italy:
One day, my palm trees will be as high and pretty as these beauties:
The view from that boat must have been amazing:
By now, can you smell the wisteria? Is there any growing where you live?
Yesterday when working behind my desk I sneaked out to take these pictures of the blossom in our garden. From what I can see in my blog archives, the tree is blossoming 3 weeks earlier than previous years (see here). I can't wait for the petals to fall, because I love me some blossom snow ;) Don't you?
Les Succulents Cactus in Paris
One of my favorite things to do when I travel, is visiting the local garden center, plant nursery or pépinière. Especially around the Mediterranean you can find the prettiest olive trees, agaves and palm trees in these centres. I always love bringing home a little succulent souvenir. But when you live in Paris and want to add some spiky green friends to your urban jungle, this is the place to go: Les Succulents Cactus.
As you can see, the entire shop is filled with different cactus plants and succulents. I first visited a few years ago, but when sweet Lauren reminded me of its existence, I knew I had to go back. So that's what I did when I had coffee just around the corner:
The funny thing is, that all their cactus plants are so perfect! They have no flaws, because they're selected by hand, which makes this place a bit surreal. But still: their collection of over 300 different species is really beautiful. Can you believe I left empty handed? My urban jungle grows so fast, that I don't allow myself to buy more... for now. Which makes it even more hilarious that when I came home a big new cactus was waiting for me. A sweet gift from my husband <3
The owner of the shop, Anne Floux, is very passionate about everything cacti. And if you decide to adopt one of her plants, she makes sure you get all the information you need to take good care of your new green friend. Because contrary to popular belief: you really have to take care of your succulents and cactus plants!
Les Succulents Cactus /// 111 Rue de Turenne /// 75003 Paris /// + 33 1 48 87 07 18
Open every tuesday to saturday from 11:00 to 19:00
Weekend inspiration #13
The other day during Golden Hour: a beautiful magnolia tree exagerating its spring feelings. No filter needed ;)
Urban Jungle Bloggers #7
Spring is officially here! And to celebrate it is in style, we Urban Jungle Bloggers style our green plants for Spring or Easter today.
For Igor and I, the most important thing about our green adventure, is to have fun. No pressure, not too many rules, we simply share our passion for greens with fellow bloggers and our readers. So in stead of a sophisticated spring look, I had tons of fun creating a nest and filling eggs with my smallest succulents, a tiny agave and a mini cactus.
I used my wooden handmade bowl because it has a perfect nest-shape. Then picked a few daffodils, Indian cress and daisies from our garden and ate quite a few eggs too ;) Which makes for a good day in my book: I love eggs.
By the way, growing seedlings in eggshells is also pretty eco-friendly and a cheap alternative when you want to growing some herbs in your window sill. Something I learned via our UJB Pinterest board ;)
The tiny agave below is almost two years old. I grew it from seeds and it's taking forever to become big & healthy but well... I think urban gardening is also about patience, right?
I hope you liked my little egg-styling. Now I can't wait to check out all the other Urban Jungle Bloggers contributions! You can follow along via this month's Facebook album and Pinterest board where we will link all blogposts, or on the bottom of this post.
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Subscribe to our monthly topic newsletter or use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more stylings also check out: Fluxi on Tour /// 30s Magazine /// M I MA /// Look! Pimp your room /// One Bunting Away /// Ida Interior Lifestyle /// Neuerstoff /// Junifaden /// Traedraum /// Mocha /// Dramaqueen at work /// Style Space and Stuff /// Frau Mau /// Mia Fleur /// Mouseblossom /// Kreaville /// It's nice here /// Facing north with Gracia /// Regards et Maisons /// Volle Lotte /// Hipaholic /// Jillian in Italy /// Stefi_licious /// Armoire, Pegs & Casserole /// Capello A Bombetta /// My Little Artbook /// Folies du Bonheur /// Trend Daily /// Luzia Pimpinella /// Polly Papier /// The Orange Deer /// Little Star Blog /// Happy Serendipity /// The Peppermint Land /// Spraakwater ///
By now it's a tradition: our sunday walk. Last weekend we went to see the sea, yesterday we walked closer to home, between Senlis and Crépy-en-Valois. Certainly not the prettiest area in the Oise, but when the sun is shining and the company is pleasant, the location doesn't really matter. In the sunlight, filtered by a slight layer of smog, the blossom looked pretty & bright:
I hope your weekend was just as bright & sunny and that you're ready for a new week? Maybe you even styled a spring or easter setting with green plants for this Thursday's Urban Jungle Bloggers challenge? I'm very much looking forward to it!
Eleven months ago the blossom looked like this!
the Voice of a Vignette
While half Europe is still covered in fog, you can find me at the Inner Interior today. The lovely Jocelyn asked me to style a vignette for her brand new series called the Voice of a Vignette. Merci Jocelyn!
You may also want to check out Jocelyn's instagram, where she shares many pictures of her dandy whippets: Coolwhip and Popcorn. I met them in Paris last year and still can't get over their grace and kindness. Can you believe Popcorn chooses to relax like this? No stylist involved?
And yes, please bring back the scratch 'n sniff stickers, or "scented internet", because this hyacinth, picked in our garden, smells so good! I wish you could smell it too!
la Baie de Somme
Like everyone else we spent this super sunny weekend outside. Our goal was to walk 15km in the Baie de Somme, France's largest estuary in the North East of the Picardy department. From our home it's the fastest shortcut to the sea, just what you need when the sun is out!
The light was particularly nice, very pale and white. Next time I really want to go see the seals in the bay and taste fresh salicornia, a salty succulent. In the high season you can also take a steam train along the bay, we did that 10 years ago, but it wasn't particularly impressive. If you're a birdwatcher, you'll love the Parc du Marquenterre. Not only to feed swans & ducks ;) The other day someone spotted a stork!
Beachclubs and restaurants were still closed:
And as a reward after our walk, a beautiful sunset over Le Crotoy:
How was your weekend?
Flowerblog or not, I made these photos for my mom because she loves Hellebores and I love her. ♥
Not long now until my blog turns into a flower blog. I can't help myself with the many bulbs and spring flowers that are popping up! On our sunday walk through the mud, we passed by this field of snowdrops. I think it's the first time I saw them in the wild! In French snowdrops are called Perce-neige, snow drillers, because they have the power to drill through a thin layer of snow. Pretty powerful for such a cute little flower...
When they were still in the ground:
Forsythia at Studio Sapique
The other day I took a break from work and this is what it looked like: spring! The forsythia is blooming and the winter sun was just warm enough. Bliss!
I hoped to show you the result of my little painting project today, but that will have to wait. The paint looked great in the can, but once applied it's weird: too green, too flashy, too pastel maybe. Eau de Nil, or turquoise is a new color in our home, but unfortunately it's not the beautiful color I hoped it would be. So I'll be adding a little blue to the mixture and hope the 6th layer will look better. Wish you a great (sunny!) weekend!
2 Anemone girls
It has been a while but #2flowergirls is back! This flower challenge by Elodie & Inga is always so much fun and really challenges me to play around with flowers. And it's also very nice to see all the other contributions on Pinterest. As you can see above, our cats are never far when I bring home new flowers. This month it's all about anemones, one of my favorite flowers I also recently used in a campaign for Fashion for Home.
Finding quality flowers here in my city isn't easy. Unfortunately I didn't have to time to drive to Argevil in Compiègne, where I'd be sure to find the most beautiful anemones ever. The only ones I could get my hands on were these: not perfect, not super fresh, but fragile and colorful:
In stead of vases I like reusing empty bottles: for example the three in the back used to contain some life-changing fluids. After 12 years of severe sneezing I feel like I can breathe normally again and it's great. The bonus is that these pharmacy bottles look pretty neat, I think. The Coca Cola bottle comes from Egypt.
Otta loves anemones too:
If you want to join and spread some anemone love, find out how right here. And of course, check out flower girls Elodie from Madame-Love and Inga from Glomerylane today for more anemones.
Urban Jungle Bloggers #6
I'm very happy that it's that time of the month again: today Igor and I are hosting our 6th episode of the Urban Jungle Bloggers adventure! February's theme gave us a bit of homework... but it's the best homework you can ask for: play around with greens! Our mission was to choose 1 plant and style it in 3 different ways. So here we go...
I immediately knew my favorite paddle cactus had to be the star. He's not very elegant, but I like his quirky shape and the way he keeps himself balanced by growing more paddles in the right direction.
First I took him outside: one of the sheds outside has this beautiful peeled paint wall that I wanted to use as a backdrop. But it was blocked, so this grey cement wall had to do. And of course I brought one of my beloved letters.
But I think my cactus plant feels better when in company of some good friends. So I put him into a basic terracotta planter and invited some succulents, aloë vera and a purple Tradescantia Spathacea. I like how the different shades of green & purple add more depth to the group. What do you think?
And of course, I brought my "paddled star" into our living room for a more colorful styling. Basically I placed it between some of our yellow trinkets and my old inherited Clivia plant.
Can you tell I'm going a little Betty Basic with my planters? I think it's time for some more funky pots... maybe a nice topic for a future Urban Jungle Bloggers challenge ;) Hope to see you again next month!
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Or let us know and we'll send you a mini-kit with all details. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more stylings also check out: Neongroen /// Un23Ilaria /// Eclectic Trends /// Speculaas /// Colourliving /// Hipaholic /// Look! Pimp your room /// Atelier Rue Verte /// Ausstatungs & Co /// Jenn Adores /// Junifaden /// Regards et Maison /// Mouseblossom /// Bezauberndes Leben /// Neuer Stoff /// Happy Home blog /// Frau Mau /// Emerald Green Interiors /// KreaVilla /// Traedraum /// Hviit /// Stilzitat /// Mademoiselle Poirot /// Polly Papier /// Ida Interior Lifestyle /// Flora Inspiro /// Femkeido /// Domestic Stories with Ivy /// Live life deeply now /// It's nice here /// Folies du Bonheur /// 30s Magazine /// Volle Lotte /// I don't know how she does it /// Trend Daily ///
Spring at Merci Paris
With a new Urban Jungle Bloggers challenge launching tomorrow, I currently watch the world through my urban jungle glasses (even though they're pink...). I see greens everywhere. I'm so very ready for spring, especially when it's cloudy and grey like this week in Paris. The other day I spotted these springy branches at Merci. I have no idea what these are, but I really like their glossy rolled leaves:
And do you see that little white table with the giant chandelier, in the back?
It looked like this:
Although this style is a bit too rustic for my taste, it reminds me of having lunch outside, in the shade, under a tree. Simple as can be! Bring it on spring!
Sucker for cacti
I'm a such a sucker for true love, happy couples and real love stories. And even though I like hearts, chocolate, wine and candle light dinners (in no particular order) and have a very sweet husband, I've never ever celebrated Valentine's day. Today won't be an exception, but I couldn't help but make this little image, because I'm also a sucker for succulents... and cacti!
And about real love stories: this post by DosFamily made me wonder if I should/would/want to share our own love story. It's very real, very romantic and it's been almost 16 years and counting... Maybe I should, because this world always needs more love & common sense, right?
Rock 'n Rucola
Secretly I hope the Winter King will forget about France and that we'll head straight from fall into spring. I can't wait to get my hards dirty and prepare a little vegetable garden and take my plants out of their winter storage into the greenhouse.
In 5 to 8 weeks I hope to harvest my first vegetables from the little Seed for Food bags that I won at Nu Interieur Ontwerp. I think their rucola has the best name ever:
The eco friendly square bags are super convenient, you simply add some water to the bags, keep them on your window sill and wait...
The other little bags contain lovely lettuce and rapid radish. Yummm! I remember I was so ridiculously proud of my radishes last year. Do you ever grow veggies or herbs in your kitchen?
Greens at Maison et Objet
Plants have been part of our interior for years, but now that our Urban Jungle Bloggers community is growing and growing, I see greens everywhere. You may call it trendy, although I wonder if people will get rid of all their cacti plants when they feel the trend is over. Because plants are living things, you get attached to them. At least that's what I do. Most of my plants have a little story: about where I found it, if someone gave it to me, how it grew over the years. Well you get it, right?
Anyway, I spotted a lot of greens at Maison & Objet and thought I would share a small(!) selection here. Above you see the wooden wall fixtures by French brand Bellila. They also carry some clever coffee tables with incorporated planters: really cool!
Ferm Living also loves cactus plants, aloë veras and ferns. Their entire stand was filled with some nice species and some where shining in their brand new plant stands:
I'm desperate for some nice new planters, so for now this is what I'd do too: put some cactus plants in a ceramic jug. These are called Harpo and are designed by Eno Studio:
Belgian brand Serax carries a lot of different planters, pottery and glassware. Their textile planter collection by Marie Michielssen is one of our most popular repins on our Urban Jungle Bloggers board!
More greens by Ferm Living, Serax and French company Bacsac:
And some very subtle plants between books and stationary on shelves by Universo Positivo:
Wish you a nice & green weekend! Oh and did you know we just opened an Urban Jungle Bloggers Facebook page with plant inspiration from bloggers all over the world? We hope you like it!
Flowers for guests
Maybe you remember that I was taking pictures of some flowers a few weeks ago? Well, it was a real challenge: the cats were super curious and wouldn't keep away from the florals. They actually nibbled on a few leaves too. It was almost like the florist added some catnip to the bouquet.
So I decided to create a flower composition for our cat-free guest room. Because what's more welcoming than fresh flowers, right? Today you can see the results live at Fashion for Home (in german) or here (in dutch).
Do you ever surprise your guests with fresh flowers in their room?
Sunday in Canada
On Monday Megan from The Fresh Exchange wrote about the importance of the Sunday walk. I can totally relate to that! Ending the week with some fresh air and exploring before the next week begins is just wonderful.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I spent the last few hours of the weekend in Canada. Or that's what I saw. I've never been to Canada, but the colors, the lakes and the light of our Oise region, totally looked like Canada to me. A different kind of traveling without moving ;)
I know what I'll be doing tomorrow, and you?
Urban Jungle Bloggers #5
My jungle buddy Igor and I decided to start this new Urban Jungle Bloggers year with a lot of fresh #urbanjungle inspiration from around the web. So today we share the best pinners, instagrammers, and bloggers that will quench our everlasting thirst for green inspiration! I hope you'll share your favorites in the comments :)
► my Pinterest faves:
Blooming & Growing board by Gudy Herder (from Eclectic Trends)
Queen of the Junglalow Justina Blakeney's Jungalow board
Floral board by Tahiana Andriamanjay from Le Blog d'Olive
And secretly I'm a little bit in love with our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board ♥
► my favorite green IGers:
Tawwni pure succulent love!
And Needles and Leaves for more succulent love
Urban Gardeners Republic is a community of creative gardeners
Succulove what's in a name?
Labofem plant workshop from Turkey
► my favorite green bloggers:
Growing with Plants by Matt Mattus, lots of hands-on tips from a horticulturist
Needles and Leaves by Tawni, beautiful
Coffeeklatch by talented duo Magali and Bart, they don't particularly blog about greens, but the interiors they shoot reveal lots of green beauty
This blogpost by Gwen from The Makerista
And this pretty one by Irene from Bloesem
► And if you're looking for more (offline) inspiration I can highly recommend The Plant. It's a very cool creative magazine, with art, graphic design and portraits of plant enthusiasts.
► Still not enough inspiration? Check out what Ana, Yvonne, Jennifer, Stefania, Debora, Marloes, Corinne and Nina have in store for you!
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board. Want to join? Use #urbanjungle on twitter and instagram. Or let us know and we'll send you a mini-kit with all details. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
image credits: 1 JOELIX.com /// 2 Tawwni /// 3 Petra Bindel /// 4 April and May /// 5+6 JOELIX.com /// 7 @funderagront /// 8 Needles+Leaves /// 9 Weekday Carnival /// 10-13 The Plant
Hello, goodmorning! This week has been so weird: I wish I would have plogged it to understand why it has been so weird. Yes that's the "new" phenomenon: to photo blog your entire day. Dutch blog icon 10e introduced the term "plog". I think it's pretty cool (and time consuming) to see what someone does the entire day. And also much less aesthetic than instagram, but even more personal. I'm definitely not ready to share that much. If I would have plogged, I could have shown you:
► 5 blue IKEA bags with my pre-Pinterest images archive that I threw away
► the homemade sushi and springrolls that my husband made... oh well actually I did share the leftovers!
► my computer screen, because I've been working again after the New Year's break ;)
► my obsessed smile when I pinned even more pom pom beanies to my board
► sadness when I heard that my uncle passed away
► the inside of too many fitting rooms (I'm trying to find a pair of black skinnies, but none seem to fit my "new" running body...)
► madness in the harbour in the middle of the night
► the last strip of antihistamines that I took. After 12 years of sneezing I'm seeing an allergologist next week. Yeah!
But in stead I'm showing you pictures of an anemone that I took the other day. I was asked to style some flowers at home for a new campaign, but with these short and busy winter days, it's a little tricky. So I'm shooting new photos today.
Are you having a nice first week of the year? Ready to #plog about it?
My favorite flowers of 2013
In 2013 I re-discovered the joy of having flowers at home, not in the last place through the fun monthly challenge by Elodie and Inga called #2flowergirls. Having flowers at home is always a little challenging with our flower eating cats, but it was worth the effort:
Colorful Gradient Berries /// Pretty dahlias for flower challenge #2flowergirls
Yellow daffodils from our garden /// Homegrown melon plant (that gave one single fruit!)
Red blossom in a measuring cup /// A colorful bouquet of hand picked flowers
My favorite jungles of 2013
Yayy, it's that time of the year again! Time to look back at some of the highlights of 2013! Let's start with the amazing urban jungles that I got to visit. And of course the Urban Jungle Bloggers series that Igor and I initiated earlier this year. It has been SO much fun to share some green on our blogs. Here's to a lot more urban jungles in 2014!
The Jardin Exotique in Monaco where it all began /// Domaine du Rayol in Canadel sur Mer, France
The Slottsträdgården in Malmö, Sweden /// The Garden of Migration, Fort Saint-Jean, Marseille, France
Tillandsia by Filles de l'Air at Abbaye de Chaalis, France /// My own urban jungle in France
Urban Jungle Bloggers #4
Thank you for taking a moment to visit me today. I know December is such a busy month, but I'm glad you took a little break to check our Urban Jungle Bloggers posts! Igor and I decided upon styling a green festive decoration vignette, so here we are!
When I took all my plants from our greenhouse to their winter storage a few weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to put some in our cinema room in stead. To make them blend in with our bright interior, I wrapped all their planters in basic white paper. I started with my dear apple tree and couldn't stop wrapping, it's really addictive. I felt so very Christo x Martin Margiela ;)
To the thirty plants I wrapped, I added some very simple decoration: no *bling-bling* but basic white candles, a few hyacint bulbs, a light string and a couple of pine branches. I very much liked our real christmas tree last year, so I'll probably untangle some light strings this weekend and put up the wooden xmas tree as well. Very cat-safe!
Oh and I couldn't helpt but add some Lego trees and a snowman at the roots of my apple tree ;)
I'm very curious about your christmas decoration. I've seen lots of nice previews on instagram already. Will you show us yours too?
Also check out UnDueTre Ilaria and Fluxi on Tour and Peg London and Mouseblossom and Emerald Green Interiors and Madame Love for more festive decoration!
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board. Want to join? Use #urbanjungle on twitter and instagram. Or let us know and we'll send you a mini-kit with all details. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
Yayy! It's December! How do you like it so far? Here in the Oise it almost felt like we had the first sunshine in decades. Last week was so grey and dark: no wonder why they call it the dark days before Christmas. So in stead of decorating our home for the December festivities, we made a walk through the fields during the Golden Hour...
We didn't recognize these crops. Any suggestions? Potatoes maybe?
And then, the show was almost over...
Wish you all a wonderful and sunny week! I'm preparing a little giveaway that I think you will like, so you may want to check back later this week ;)
Oh and if you want to get into the mood for some REAL winter, I'd suggest to read the Winterharvest issue of Oh Marie! and watch the sneak preview of the upcoming sisterMAG xmas special... It makes me want to go ice skating right away!
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)
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!
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?
Back home from the South of France
Our 3 weeks in the South of France were super relaxing. We swam in the Mediterranean, hiked in the Alpilles and Estérel mountains, visited some exciting urban jungles and museums, and above all: soaked up all the sunshine we could. I wish I could share scents through my blog, because the Provence and Côte d'Azur always smell so wonderful. Even in october! Pine trees, oleasters, fruity apple trees, wild rosemary, fresh figs, olive trees and of course: the Mediterranean.
And because I can't believe that the december festivities are coming fast I'll share some sun drenched pictures with you today:
I know it's super cheesy, but I just love palm trees. Of course I brought home new kinds of palm tree seeds to grow in my greenhouse. And also a bunch of cactus plants and some fig tree branches.
Every morning we woke up to new colors, from pink...
... to silver ...
... and everything in between... Bliss!
But for now this sunshine will have to do. It's back to business and from a lovely Indian summer we fall right into fall with heavy rain and storms...
I hope you all are well! Are you in full pumpkin mode already?
Urban Jungle Bloggers #2
After a very warm welcome to our new blogseries last month, today we are sharing more urban jungle love. Together with my jungle buddies Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Jocelyn (The Little Room of Style) we decided upon a common theme for this month: urban jungles in our neighborhood. And as my current home is in the South of France (I'm on holiday here) I wanted to show you a Mediterranean jungle.
As you may or may not know Marseille is the European Capital of Culture in 2013. Since the last time I visited Marseille a few years ago, the city went through an interesting transformation to show off some of its assets and make it a more interesting place to visit. One of the larger changes, was the restoration of Fort Saint-Jean, a military complex from the 17th century. While the inside now houses a variety of exhibitions, the outdoor areas were landscaped by Agence APS into a garden promenade.
The Garden of Migration, as it's called, is a unique Mediterranean botanical footpath with amazing views over Marseille, the Vieux Port (the old harbor) and the sea. The 15 different mini gardens feature a mix of plants from across the Mediterranean to portray the diversity of culture, people and plants. Imagine orange trees, lots of scented herbs, fresh salads, myrtles, olive trees, sempervivum and more... of course it will take a while to become as green and "full" as the gardens were imagined by the landscapers, but it's very promising.
What I loved most: lots of locals were hanging out at Fort Saint-Jean, enjoying the view of their own city from the comfy lounge chairs and benches. Which shows that these gardens are not only for tourists, but for everyone!
After a sunny afternoon at the Mucem, I spotted this other urban jungle in the Le Panier area of Marseille:
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 3 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog), Jocelyn (The Little Room of Style) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board. Want to join? Use #urbanjungle on twitter and instagram. Or let us know and we'll send you a mini-kit with all details. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
Also check out Peg London and Un23Ilaria and Pinspiration and Mouseblossom and Flora Inspiro today for more jungle love!
Bonjour from down under
Bonjour from down under! No not from the other side of the world, but "just" from the South of France. We're enjoying a belated summer holiday here, amongst apple trees, sheeps and mountains. Even though it's october, it almost feels like summer with blue skies, fresh figs and that famous smell of the Provence. Life is sweeter and slower in the South and after a busy summer I'm happy to adapt to the local rhythm. I may even slow down my blogging pace ;)
Oh and please forgive me for this random cat picture... our housecat here has the brightest blue eyes that match the blue sky perfectly. But of course she was lazy and didn't want to open her eyes for me.
You can also follow me on instagram for more holiday updates if you like.
2 Dahlia girls
My grandmother had dahlias in her garden (click here for a peek) and I think that's the only memory I have of these flowers. As a little girl I liked the colors but not their spikey petals. Through the #2flowergirls project I rediscovered them, not far from our home in one of the community gardens. Like in my grandma's garden, there was a small flower bed along the border of the garden with numerous kinds of colorful dahlias. Some even look a bit like bundled "rolled tongues". That made me smile :)
If you want to join and spread some dahlia love in October, it's easy: read more about it on Madame-Love and Glomerylane.
On my walk through the King's park not far from the Malmö castle, I stumbled upon this organic community garden called Slottsträdgården (Castle Garden). And I loved it! A community garden showes so much of the character of the locals. The one I visited in Berlin is very cool and focuses on recycling and creative solutions. Near our home, most community gardens are used for growing vegetables or as a nice spot for l'apéro. The castle garden is very structured (look at the sharp green paths!), very colorful and filled with lots of different flowers and plants that looked very Nordic to me.
I overheard a few conversations from the international garden "crew". This guy was visiting his family in Ghana soon and his Japanese co-worker would miss him deeply. But he'd be back. I would too, this place is just lovely! Apparently the garden also hosts a lot of events throughout the year: concerts, workshops and plant days...
In the summer you can purchase vegetables and plants from the garden. And last weekend Sophia Callmer teached a garden photography course. Sounds fun!
And of course (we are in Sweden after all!) there is also a small kaffeehus for good coffee and a cinnamon bun... you gotta love fika!
Slottsträdgården /// Malmöhusvägen 8 /// Malmö /// Sweden
Open all year round.
A few days ago on one of my runs, my eyes caught a glimpse of bright pink in the bushes along the path. Wow: gradient berries! Or what they are usually called: pokeweed or Phytolacca americana. Their pink stems are so bright, the calyces look like LEGO flowers and their berries have the most beautiful gradient colors, somewhere between lime green, bordeaux and dark plum.
I took (too many) photos and they all look extremely romantic. But who cares: sharing a bit of softness doesn't do any harm. Except these berries are very poisonous, so don't eat them!
A mini Melon update
Tadaa! I'm proud to report that the melon plant I showed you a few weeks ago, is growing ONE small melon! When I came home from Copenhagen, this was what I saw:
In the past few days this mini melon has been growing bigger and bigger every day. Only a few more weeks, I guess, until I can harvest this one Charentais* melon. Enough time to think about what I'll do with it... any suggestions?
* turns out it's not a Honeydew melon... but a Charentais Cantaloupe! oops! well, it's still a melon after all ;)
Urban Jungle Bloggers #1
I'm excited, because today my blogfriends Igor (Happy Interior Blog), Jocelyn (The Little Room of Style) and I are kicking off a new blog series, called Urban Jungle Bloggers. Earlier this year we met through our blogs, had coffee in Paris and exchanged a lot of "green" emails ever since. All in our own unique way, we love growing plants at home and decided to join forces in this blog series. Today we are presenting our respective urban jungles. So let me introduce you to our greenhouse:
Our greenhouse is actually an indoor garden and the entry to our home. In the 60s, when Studio Sapique was built, indoor gardens were hip&happening: ours even includes a small pond! When we moved in, the greenhouse was overgrown and looked like a true jungle (see here), but we've cleaned it and it now looks like the image above.
I'm a sucker for succulents: I simply love their graphic shapes and unusual colors. But I'm also growing agaves, cactus plants and palm trees in here.
It's a blessing to have a dedicated space to grow plants, because our 3 cats love eating palm trees and messing around with soil and pebbles. Most of the plants love the sunlight in the greenhouse, so it's a good match.
The biggest plant in the greenhouse is a paddle cactus plant. I brought home a few "leaves" from the South of France many years ago and it has been growing 15 to 25 new leaves every year, so it's actually quite big. I love how the leaves are so muscled and spotting new baby paddles make me very happy. In the winter i'm always a little worried if he'll survive the cold, as the greenhouse is unheated, but we've had -18°C and he's still going strong. A part from a few bigger (and boring) plants, the invasive bamboo and a fern I brought home from Corsica, all my green friends spend the winter in their winter storage.
A cutting from the above cactus plant, is residing in our kitchen. They both tend to grow ears in all directions to remain their balance :
In a cat-free corner of our cinema room, I'm cultivating these tiny succulents. The mini agaves were grown from seeds, the one in the middle is a cutting and the others were gifts from the Jardin Exotique in Monaco. A must-visit if you love succulents & cactus plants.
I hope you liked this little tour! Of course there is more to come... Oh and don't forget to check out Igor's and Jocelyn's blogs to see their urban jungles!
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series by 3 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog), Jocelyn (The Little Room of Style) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board. Want to join? Use #urbanjungle on twitter and instagram. Or let us know and we'll share the badge and upcoming topics with you. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
Remember I had big plans, like growing watermelons and honeydews to make ice cream this summer? Well, the plan was nice, but the heatwave and hail storms didn't do any good to my little garden. The only plant in full force is the honeydew plant. It's huge! I grew it in our greenhouse in the same pot as a little palm tree I'm growing. Currently it features cute yellow flowers, so I'm hopeful (or naive?) there will be melons at the end of the summer:
Are you harvesting anything this month?
Summer Flowers for Countlan mag
In stead of showing you some garden roses for this month's #2flowergirls challenge, I'll present you some summer flowers I recently photographed for Countlan magazine.
The idea was to show the vision of summer through floral arrangements by different florists from around the globe.
Upon recommendation of Elodie I visited florist Loïc from Argevil in the city center of Compiègne, not far from our place. He told me how his grandparents used to have sweet peas in their garden in Brittany when he grew up. They are still his favorite summer flowers and their elegant shape reminds him of butterflies. For his flower arrangement he added blackcurrant leaves and blackberries for the delicacy of summer and the alchemilla for some extra freshness. Looks very summer-y to me, right?
I also approached Bloemenatelier Rob Martin in my Dutch hometown, to show their version of a summer bouquet. Rob proposed a colorful arrangement with a large variety of summer flowers like hydrangea, rhododendron, roses, oleander, jasmin, tulips and iron ferns. Even though in Holland florists have access to all kinds of flowers throughout the year, Rob prefers to work with fresh seasonal flowers to create something sparkling and as natural as possible.
My friend Sonja from Florence, Italy also contributed a floral composition to Countlan. She's a florist and wedding designer and also makes the most delicate paper flowers. Many of her clients want to get married outside with the Tuscan hills as a backdrop during the ceremony. And as very few flowers can handle the high temperatures and direct sunlight, she proposes them handmade paper flowers, which can even be re-used on the dining tables or for the photobooth later on the big day. Pretty clever, isn't it? Check out Sonja's work on Funkybird.
Countlan magazine is all about entertaining at home. You can read the summer issue here!
By now you probably know that I have been discovering plenty of new things in my neighborhood during my runs. A few weeks ago, I ran across these amazing flower beds full of the most bright and colorful flowers. So rich & diverse that I couldn't stop taking pictures with my phone. Of course I had to come back with a proper camera. Only to find that the flowers were starting to fade. That's why I allowed myself to pick a little bouquet:
The person responsible for these flowers deserves kudos. I counted over twenty colors & varieties of cornflowers, daisies, poppies and gerberas! Also, I'd love to know where he/she got this flower mix: it would be so awesome to fill our entire garden with these beauties next summer! And create a true bee nirvana!
What are the rules for picking flowers in public spaces? Do you ever pick flowers outside your own home or garden? Do you feel guilty?
The other day when I was in Chantilly for a cocktail déjeunatoire, we also had the opportunity to visit the André Le Nôtre exhibition at the Salle du Jeu de Paume. Right along the Auberge du Jeu de Paume where we stayed this winter.
André Le Nôtre (1613-1700) was a landscape architect and gardener who created some of the most famous gardens in France. For example he designed the gardens of Versailles, Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, les Tuileries and also Chantilly. He was particularly proud of the jardin à la française in Chantilly because his client, le Grand Condé, gave him carte blanche. I think he had more fun in Chantilly, and it shows. The exhibition ends this weekend and is really nice: it includes beautiful sketches of seesaws & swings and a giant 11m2 scale model of the entire domain. Very impressive!
As formal garden style gardens are all about symmetry & perspective, I played around with a kaleidoscope:
Below is one of my favorite spots of the Domaine de Chantilly: right there in the back; behind that statue, in the forest. From there you have a beautiful view on the castle and on the spectacular fireworks festival that is held every few years:
Wish you all a great weekend! What are you up to? Here in the Oise it will be warm and sunny, so I hope to spend lots of time outside... maybe even in Chantilly.
Filles de l'air
You may wonder if I changed the editorial calender of my blog to become a flower blog, but I can reassure you: I'll be back to posting other things than flowers and plants soon. But today I'd like to show you some pictures of these Tillandsia plants that I saw at Les Journées de la Rose. Amongst all the bright colored roses, it was a breath of fresh air to see something pretty and "just" green. You may know that I love succulents & cactus plants more than flowers, so these air plants really appealed to me.
Tillandsia air plants don't need any soil to grow, they get their moisture and nutrients from the air. So no need for planters!
Last month Kreetta hosted a giveaway where you could win some Tillandsia plants. The lovely Gudy from Eclectric Trends won those beauties and ever since I'm really curious about how she styled them in her home.
If you like these air plants, how would you use them in your home? I'm thinking of making some kind of curtain of air plants in my jungle.
Oh and if you'd like to buy some Tillandsia online, Filles de l'Air proposes a large variety, as well as some accessories.
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I simply like these plants!
2 Peony Girls
Last week I headed to Compiègne for a photo shoot at a florist called Argevil. While I was taking pictures of some very pretty summer flowers (and chatting with the adorable owner Loïc), I couldn't help but capture these peonies for this month's #2flowergirls challenge.
The shape of these particular peonies are so delicate and look somewhat like the wings of a swan, don't you think? The spikelets and of course the chandelier make it also very French, with a twist.
If you want to join us to spread some peony love in June, it's easy: read more about it on Madame-Love and Glomerylane.
The other day when we drove to Ermenonville for the Rose Days, I spotted this huge field of poppies. I asked my husband to pull over and jumped out of the car to snap a few pictures. Poppies are my absolute favorite flower: they seem to grow almost everywhere, are so floppy and fragile. I love poppies so much that I added a few fake ones to my wedding bouquet. And I still dream of the enormous field of poppies somewhere between here and Paris. A few years ago it was entirely red. I guess the farmer must have loved poppies as much as I do...
Have a wonderful weekend!
La vie en rose
This weekend we visited the Journées de la Rose at the Abbaye de Chaalis. Near the ruines of the ancient Abbey everything involved roses. Rose lovers, garden enthusiasts and rose professionals presented their products and savoir-faire in a fragrant environment. And of course: we were accompanied by a true Rose, which made it extra special.
The weather was wonderful, the rose garden wasn't blooming yet due to the cold spring, but the rose ice cream tasted really good! Oh and did you know that the French wear pretty hats to these kinds of events? I spotted so many wedding-proof headpieces but completely forgot to shoot any for my Styloise series... oops!
For a fun "rosy" outtake, check my Instagram :o)
The first radishes
It's almost ridiculous how proud you can be of something that grows without any effort, like a radish. No green fingers or any particular talents are needed to grow them. But knowing that they come from my own tiny vegetable garden makes me happy. And now there's finally some space for the melon seedlings!
Did you eat anything from your garden yet?
On the Oise
This weeked, I did something that I've been wanting to do for over a decade. Do you see the above picture? That's the view from our home: we live along the riverside of the Oise. Every day we see transport ships, rowing boats and swans go by but we had never made a boat trip on the Oise, ever!
During this l'Oise Verte et Bleue weekend (an event to promote outdoor activities in our region) we joined about 50 Isariens for a tour on a small péniche. The absolute highlight was to see our home from the water. From the inside we have a clear view over the river, but seen from the water it is actually pretty much hidden behind all the greenery:
We passed by the transport ships...
...and the rowing boats (look at that happy Weimaraner dog!):
and the swans:
Now all I want to do is take a boat and make a long trip: over the Oise to the Seine (through Paris of course!) then to Burgundy and its famous Canal, onto the Saône... to the South of France... just dreaming out loud ;o)
Have you ever been on a boat trip?
Finally I moved my beloved plant collection from their winter storage to the greenhouse! It's my private jungle with palm trees, cactus plants, succulents and agaves. Most of them were cuttings or seeds that I brought home from travels to Portugal, Corsica, Spain and the South of France. Nothing serious but I just really love taking care of it all.
It's still a mystery whether my favorite cactus plant did survive the winter. It's one of the only plants planted in the soil of the greenhouse and has an adventurous lifestyle of growing fast, tall and with his "arms" open wide:
The other cactus plants are obviously very happy this year:
And I'm growing a few veggies here as well, that will go outside soon:
The only thing missing is some more sun! Have a great weekend!
Second picture by Adrian Briscoe
Buttercups & Pillows
After a tsunami of dandelions, we currently have a garden full of glossy buttercups.
I picked a few flowers for our living room... in the domoor they look pretty good!
The petals didn't drop by themselves...
Ehmmm... who's fond of buttercups?
(for the record: Wally also loves pillows and cardboard boxes)
2 Popcorn Girls
Maybe I'm starting this tradition of bending the rules: last month for the first #2flowergirls tag I used daffodils in stead of ranunculus. And today I'm showing you the requested flowers, hydrangeas, but I didn't photograph them at home. Actually I didn't find fresh cut hortensias near my place and even in Paris they only came in shrubs.
However I really like this popcorn hortensia I spotted at the Flowermarket on l'Île de la Cité in Paris. The name and original shape almost make me want to eat them... with a nice friday night movie ;o) Happy Weekend!
Melons in the making
For the first time ever I'm growing melons this year! My sister sent me watermelon and honeydew seeds with her latest sistermail and now I can't wait to make these frozen honeydews again with my own homegrown melons...
My vegetable garden is really tiny, so I'm not sure how I'll manage. But so far, the seedlings are really small ;o)
Do you hear them screaming? Feed me, feed me:
I love the cute little water drops on the strawberry seedlings:
What are you growing this season? Any tips & tricks for growing melons?
The sweet cure
Eleven years ago, when working in fashion with lots of fabrics, I started sneezing. And I never stopped: I became "allergic". Allergic to dust, to synthetic perfumes, to dark chocolate, to alcohol, to eucalyptus... After a few years I started taking antihistamines, which keep me from sneezing all day long.
Last week I realized that I'm sneezing more since the pollen season started. Which makes me wonder whether I suffer from hay fever... Anyway, I don't want to complain (paper hankies are my best friends!), but maybe eating local honey will help me reduce the sneezing?
A happy coincidence: I met a beekeeper this weekend who was selling his honey at a brocante. His beehives are located at only 2km from our home, pretty local, right? I bought one of his jars and asked him if I could come and have a look next time he'll harvest honey. He agreed and I'm really looking forward to that. I wonder if his beehives are just as colorful as the ones we saw in Burgundy...
According to Ian Douglas, honey is not a cure for hay fever, but hey: eating honey every day sounds like a pretty sweet idea to me ;o) Do you think honey can be a cure for hay fever? And do you like honey?
Designing beautiful packaging for honey would be one of my dream assignments as a graphic designer. Honey inspires many fellow designers, so I started collecting lots of their designs on my honey bee bee pinterest board:
Red Blossom branches
While I'm impatiently waiting for warmer nights to get my succulents and palm trees out of their winter storage, I can't help but picking flowers. I know... again! I may turn into a real flowergirl... After the yellow daffodils and blue hyacinth grapes I found these red blossom branches in another neighbor's garden. I'm so not used to having flowers at home (our cats like eating them), that the best vase I could find, was a measuring cup ;o)
Oh and I really loved reading all your comments on that particular minty green color at the Sugar Factory! Rebecca pointed out that it is called Eau de Nile and was used in many official buildings in the 1950s, like schools, offices and court houses. Ilaria had a more poetic suggestion: carta da zucchero. After the faded blue wrapper of sugar. How appropriate in a sugar factory! In the old days sugar used to be wrapped in blue paper to keep the sugar from turning yellow. I think there is no doubt about the blossom above: it's pretty red, right?!
In our house a few grape hyacinths in a blue rimmed shotglass means spring has officially started. Back in the 80s my Dutch neighbor used to drink his gin from one of these pottery shot glasses. But in the early spring his wife dressed his favorite glass with some grape flowers.
Many years later I found a set of these little shot glasses at a flea market and decided to reinstate this spring tradition. So here we are again:
I "stole" these grape hyacinths from someone's garden (don't tell him!) and added a few daisies from our own yard. Today they are residing on my desk and make me happy :o)
Anything looks good on these super soft wooden coasters (handmade by my dad). I also used them here and here.
Ever since I was a little girl, these 4 piggie banks stand on the windowsill at my parent's house. They were made by my mom in the early 80s when she was into pottery and ceramics. One of them lost part of his belly in the oven, but he survived.
A few hours after I took their picture, I petted these cuties at the Easter petting zoo at the mall. I'm still not over their warmth and softness... so cute!
Chirp chirp! I hope these fake birds will encourage the real birds to kickstart spring. Finally! I can't wait for warmer days without coats and scarfs.
I spotted these little birds at a small Floral Art Fair in Paris. I was not impressed by the quality of the flower arrangements exhibited but it was a nice occasion for some spring pictures.
City halls in France are so very pretty: high ceilings, squeaky parquet and stained glass windows:
Come on spring! I know you can do it!
2 Daffodil Girls
Actually I was planning on styling some ranunculus for the #2flowergirls project by Elodie and Inga today. But without a nice variety of fresh flowers available nearby, I went for an simpler solution: the first fresh daffodils from our garden.
At this time of the year, the forests here in the Oise are covered with a daffodils carpet. I remember the first time I saw it: so pretty! Have you ever seen it?
Footprints at Studio Sapique
Rose called me the other night: Judith, there are fresh footsteps in the snow outside!
I freaked out a little, because I suspected an intruder, but actually it were my own footprints from earlier that day. Upon inspection the next morning I found more footsteps in our garden...
I saw that one of the foxes had been back! He had great fun earlier this winter, but he was alone this time.
And a bunny hopped by as well:
Not sure what happened here:
This bird was probably on the lookout for some food:
And guess who made these footprints (and skid marks)? I think I know ;o)
Come on spring!
This saturday, when it was warm and sunny outside I felt relieved that we survived yet another winter. After 7 winters without proper heating here at Studio Sapique, I felt blessed that this was our second warm and comfortable winter here.
But even though we didn't have to wear 8 layers of clothing or heat the shower gel before using it, I'm still very ready for spring. And so are Wally (seen above) and the daffodils outside:
But yesterday, all of a sudden, my vegetable garden looked more like this... I guess spring is not quite here yet...
Light is my favorite color
Nagging about the weather is really boring, but after a very grey winter we finally enjoyed some sunny spring weather early this week! Still quite cold but the pale blue-ish colors warmed my heart. I completely agree with Nanette from Interior Crisp: light is my favorite color! What's yours?
Budding spring leaves
Can you believe it? We're in March! As a surprise my beloved apple tree popped its first leaves this week! The elstar tree hibernated in our living room and lost its leaves at the end of november. Our cats really loved that: they played with the leaves for hours.
I can't wait for spring and to unleash all my plants from their winter shelter! And you? Are you ready for spring?
When traveling there are so many things that catch my eye, like beautiful typography, pretty street art or bold colors. Here are two unexpected drawings I liked: above a comic drawing by Got & Pétillon in the French capital of comic books: Angoulême.
And below the beautiful traces of the sea on a beach in Galicia, Spain. What do you like to spot when you travel?
"Seriously, aren't you bored with sheep?", Le Baron Noir by Got et Pétillon:
A Bright Boost
While my part of the world is covered in snow, I long for sun and colors. Hope you need it too, because that's what I'll show you today: a few colorful snapshots from sunny Spain.
The end of the day in Muros...
Woooshhh, the wind blowing through the waves:
Feels good to get a bright boost, right? I'll be in Stockholm next week, so I better be prepared for more snow! Are you in need of some sun & colors too? Or are you more than happy with all the snow?
A tiny winter harvest
After reading Megan's harvest post on The Fresh Exchange ( check out her awesome blog! ), I was curious to see if there was anything left in my own vegetable garden... The 3 baby carrots I found were smaller than the size of my pinkie! My sister dug up some more impressive carrots.
Are you harvesting anything from your own garden this winter?
Antique bowl by Petrus Regout inherited from Ans. <3
Twelve and a half
No exchange of gifts or "something special" planned for today, but nevertheless we're celebrating our 12 1/2th marriage anniversary! In most countries that's no big deal, but in Holland & Denmark it is. For us it's simply a good excuse for an extra kiss ;o)
One of the pretty gifts my husband gave me in all these years, is this ring. He found it on the beach and it fits me perfectly. There's even a mini shell inside, stuck forever!
Times change, this is one of the only pictures of the two of us... nearly 15 years ago:
Curious what our wedding looked like 12 1/2 years ago? Last year I posted some pictures here.
Furry friends from Burgundy
Just a few pictures of the furry animals I "met" last week in Burgundy!
Two very friendly and fluffy donkeys with the softest ears ever:
Most Charolais cows were very shy and ran away as soon as I approached them ( which my husband thought was very hilarious ).
These young ones were curious at first, then joggled away through the mud...
Bzzz Bzzz from Burgundy
If there would be one profession I would ever "consider", it would be beekeeper. Being surrounded by the zooming "bzzz" of my bees and eating honey, Royal Jelly & pollen every day sounds bliss. I would have to work hard, because from what I know, it's quite a lot of work to be a good beekeeper.
Of course I would also LOVE to design some pretty honey packaging for my honey! It's one of my dream assignments as a graphic designer.
Ever since watching "The secrets of the beehive" on France5, I have been spotting more & more beehives. And to my surprise many of the beehive boxes are multi colored! Another reason for me to love this profession!
On another beehive note: remember I went to The Hive last year? The Hive is a European blog conference and a truly buzzing place where bloggers meet, share and learn. Yesterday I bought my ticket for The Hive 2013 on May 25th and 26th in Berlin. Will I see you there?
Like many, we went for a family walk on xmas day. Not far away from where I grew up, lays a lake with a small island, called the Iron Man ( after the machine that dug it at the end of the 19th century ). I have fond memories of this place: swimming in the middle of the summer, ice skating on the frozen lake. And let's not forget the Italian ice cream cart...
Despite the drizzle, it was nice to make new memories here!
Our other xmas tree!
HO HO HO, Merry Christmas!
I hope you had a wonderful day with your family & friends & pets yesterday? What did you do together?
The wooden xmas tree you're looking at was handmade by my dad. I decorated it with some fresh pine tree branches from our "other" tree. I love it!
Our xmas tree!
Ca y est: an overdose of decorations in Paris & the Oise helped me a to get into the mood for Christmas!
After several years I found our xmas lights again! In the mean time the pine tree in our garden grew so much that the light string only covers a small part of it. It used to wrap around the entire tree!
We never have a real ( or fake ) xmas tree at Studio Sapique. We could, but with 3 plant-eating cats it's not so great. Also, I prefer keeping trees in the ground, so the pine tree in the garden is perfect: I cut off a few branches for inside, because they smell so nice! Very christmassy!
If you have one, what does your xmas tree look like?
While it has been snowing in large parts of Europe ( it IS december after all! ), we enjoyed a nice autumn sun in the Oise this last couple of days. Flipping through one of my photo albums I found these two photos of myself in the forest nearby our home ( wearing the same dress as here ). At age 2 I learned that inside a mushroom live these tiny gnomes. And if you listen carefully, you'll hear them talk.
It's clear that I took this very seriously. I wonder what I thought the gnomes were saying.
Thirty years later we have mushrooms in our garden, but I didn't hear a single gnome...
Hens and Roosters
The sound of hens immediately takes me back to the garden of my grandparents. My grandma used to keep hens in a shed and as a little girl I didn't dare to come anywhere near them: their feathers & unpredictability freaked me out. I know my grandma's hens were brown, but it's mostly their clucking sound that I recall. A continuous background noise while we picked dahlias or watched my grandma harvest some veggies. Or while we did the coolest thing in the garden: dig for pig bones that the former house owner, a butcher, threw in there. We were true archaeologists...
Even though the chickens at the Verbeke Foundation near Antwerp were predominantly roosters, their sound was somewhat familiar to my grandma's hens. But this time I did dare to approach the poultry. And snapped some pictures too!
(photos of me as a 2-year old in my grandparents garden, taken by my dad)
The apple tree
Our winter garden is not actually our "winter" garden. When I saw that temperatures would drop down to 2°C, I moved all my palm trees, agaves, succulents and aloë to heated rooms in the building. My beloved Elstar apple tree is now hibernating in our living room!
Sucker for Succulents 3
My absolute favorite souvenir from a trip is a bunch of so-called "cuttings". I found these beautiful red agaves in the moorland between the ocean & mountains in Galicia. I also brought a tiny aloë vera, some succulent "flowers", palm tree seeds & a few cactus plants. I have no idea of their names, but I simply love their colors & shapes.
They will join my succulents collection in the winter garden & hopefully grow bigger and amaze me some more... What's your favorite souvenir?
I can't believe it has already been 2 weeks since we're back home from Galicia. We went back from the roar of the ocean to the soft whisper of the Oise river, which isn't so bad either.
On a sunny afternoon a few weeks ago, we were relaxing under the fig tree in the garden of our little house. I was reading my favorite magazine ( The Good Life ) when we heard this funny sound. At first we thought there was someone asleep snoring very loudly.
An hour later my husband did a little investigation: "It's a cicada". Hmmm, not completely convinced we listened some more & found two little green buttons in the grass. Mole chasers! Have you ever heard any? No? Then listen carefully:
Inspired by this colorful installation of buoys in the garden of our little house in Galicia, we went beachcombing on the nearby beach. We found quite a lot of buoys which we turned into a little Chinese b(u)oy.
Part of our stash:
Look how cute he looks with his necklace:
Chasing the beach for buoys was great fun: it felt a bit like strolling through a flea market. Plus it tidied up the beach a tiny bit. Do you like chasing boys... ehm buoys?
Sucker for Succulents 2
When shooting our home for the Sapique Webisodes, I told Nick I absolutely wanted to film in the greenhouse. It's where I grow succulents, cactus plants, agaves, ferns & palm trees ( which I absolutely love ). While setting up the cameras & trying to find the right angles, Nick said it looked uninteresting on film. The collection of plants was all too green. Well, I like all these subtile colors. Do you?
A beetle in a jar
I know you're not supposed to keep insects in a jar. But I found this one a bit lost in the greenhouse at Studio Sapique. I put him in a jar just for a few minutes ( with one silly leaf ), so I could take some pictures. Otta was intrigued & wanted to play with the beetle. That's when I let him out. Bye bye black beetle!
What do you do when it's too hot? Keep calm and drink Pulco. Or anything refreshing really... But when I saw that the blackberries in our garden were fat & black I needed to pick them! They are bigger than past years. In comparison: the red ones are like regular-sized raspberries.
As soon as the temperatures will drop below 30°C I'll turn these bold blackberries into refreshing ice pops. Simply by blending them & pouring the blended berries into some popsicle molds. No need to add sugar, 100% pure frozen blackberries are the best!
Oh and I also picked a few strawberries ;o)
Are blackberries ripe & ready to be picked yet where you live?
One spilled carrot seed in my tiny vegetable garden grew into 1 beautiful carrot. I hung it with the kitchen tools for my husband to use in one of our meals :o)
Not far from Studio Sapique is this abandoned place: a former workshop building. It's rusty and partly overgrown by greenery. The workmen left their old shirts & boots in the lockers and since then it served as a temporary home for 3 homeless men. Sun & vegetation took over and transformed the rusty door into a colorful piece. I love the colors!
In collaboration with Found by James, Lex Pott created a series of 6 metal panels on which he applied a special recipe to provoke these "rusty colors" on purpose. A beautiful project that showcases the direct relationship between colour, material & information. Don't you love it?
Weekend tip: Pierrefonds
One of the most impressive castles in the Oise, must be the 14th century Castle of Pierrefonds. It's in excellent condition, was beautifully restorated in the 19th century & has beautiful graphic wall decorations!
After a visit to the castle, or in case you're in need for a more laid-back activity, there's nothing more refreshing than a pedalo ride on the Pierrefonds lake. And that's exactly what we did! For added coolness, you can choose to ride the swan, like us ;o)
From the lake you have a beautiful view on the castle and the sourroundings of Pierrefonds.
Hihi my sister & I really liked our swan:
Weekend tip: Grimp a l'arb
In stead of buying her a gift, we invited my sister to do an activity for her birthday. My sister is a true dare devil ( not! ) so climbing trees in the forest was just the thing for her. In the middle of the forest of Pierrefonds lies this tree climbing adventure parc called Grimp a l'Arb. Their website is oldskool with Comic Sans & a pointer mascot, so be prepared, but the parc is pretty cool.
Through different courses criss cross through the treetops you "get in touch with your inner monkey". Well, something like that ;o) Obstacles are suspended between trees and while being attached to a safety cable you hop from 1 tree to another. The trails have zip lines, suspended bridges, scramble nets, swinging logs, a cool surf board, and much more...
We first walked through the parc to take a look. The children's courses looked easy, so we were all pumped to start the adventure. But when my sister saw the higher trails for adults, she totally chickened out... She's not such a monkey after all!
Anyway, the warm & sunny weather had ice cream & café terrace written all over it, so we opted for a different activity. But if you're looking for a cool adventure, I could totally recommend Grimp a l'Arb. Everyone we saw climbing through the treetops had so much fun!
Always Coca Cola
You can use Coca Cola to clean your house or to get rust off a car bumper. I know it's not a very healthy drink, but it's one of my guilty pleasures: a daily sip of diet Coke. Not more than 1 glass a day and never regular cola ( makes me thirsty! ). The Coca Cola bottle above is a souvenir I brought home from Egypt. I've had it for a long time & still love it.
Do you have a daily guilty drink? Coffee? A glass of wine?
La Galerie Végétale
One of my alltime favorite boutiques in Paris is definitely La Galerie Végétale. I'm a sucker for succulents and wandering around this former carpentry workplace makes me really happy.
In this lush green shop you find a unique selection of succulents & cacti, a large diversity of planters ( in reclaimed rubber, ceramics, plastics, zinc, concrete, porcelain... ), paper stationary, glassware, vases, natural home perfumes and cool new designy things.
La Galérie Végétale is one of the only shops in France where you'll find the Ashiato animal footprint flip flops by Kiko+. Also check out their website, because every now and then they host special evenings with music & theater performances...
You can even hire the place for an event or get a weekly fresh flower subscription and receive a new bouquet every week. J'adore!
La Galerie Végétale /// 29 rue des Vinaigriers /// 75010 Paris /// +33 (0) 9 54 32 19 68.
Open every tuesday through saturday: 10AM - 2PM and 3PM - 7:30PM.
A very special week
It was a very special week, exactly 12 years ago. We spent a lovely week with family and close friends, enjoying good food & wine, the beautiful Massif des Maures and each others company. At the end of the week, right after the Bastille Day festivities, we were married.
We rented a remote farm in the Massif des Maures ( South of France ), in a silent valley where the braying of donkeys woke us up every morning. A few hours before the ceremony, my father and I picked flowers for the wedding bouquet near the farm and added a few fake poppies. Simple, local and beautiful!
My husband and I didn't exchange official wedding gifts, but I wanted to give him a model of the cool & over-the-top car we owned at the time: a white Pontiac Trans Am ( yeah, Kitt from Knight Rider... ). I couldn't find any, so I crafted one myself on top of a toycar for kids, using self-drying clay, paint, tissue ( for the heart shaped balloons ) and some ribbons.
As you can see, he loved it:
Our wedding week was a very intimate, simple and beautiful celebration. Exactly the way we wanted it to be. But I never imagined it would be so awesome to still be married to this man 12 years later! Je t'aime Robey!
The French Water Lilies
One of the surprises on our short break in Provence was the discovery of this small lake with beautiful waterlillies.
We started our walk at the lake of Mormoiron at the base of the Mont Ventoux. Through the surrounding forests & beautiful AOC Ventoux vineyards we reached the top of a hill from where we had this amazing view on a lake full of pale pink waterlillies! We descended down to the lake and spotted a green lizzard, who was disturbed by our presence. He had this incredible neon green color. Wow!
Down at the lakeside we did this ridiculous Indian Water Lilies dance, inspired by the Efteling themepark attraction called The Indian Water Lilies from 1966. And I snapped a few pictures as you can see. Have you ever seen so many waterlilies?
Time to Harvest
Time to harvest! My first batch of radishes was ready to be harvested. As well as some strawberries from the plant that survived the winter without any special care. Both the radishes and the strawberries taste so much better than the ones from the market or supermarket.
It may seem very boring, but nothing helps me better to calm down when I'm stressed than putting my hands in the ground, do some weeding and of course the harvesting! I hope the lettuce I'm growing right now, won't be eaten by any bunnies or snails… because there's a lot of it and it looks very very tasty!
Oh and have a look at the peonies my sister gave me last weekend! I almost prefer their withered shapes over the fresh flowers. The white peonies are holding on just fine and still look super fresh & funky.
My sister knows about my preference for succulents over flowers very well. However she offered me two bunches of peonies this weekend! We very rarely have flowers at home, except fresh ones from our garden sometimes, so I was a little surprised. But she bought these for a special reason: the same peonies were used in her brides bouquet a few weeks ago.
My friend Sonja from FunkyBird Firenze (in Florence, Italy) recently used white/pink peonies in a brides bouquet as well. I love it how she made all these very different flower arrangements for the dining tables with the same kinds of flowers in them. So clever & shabby chic!
Look at that wrapping paper! I love it almost as much as the flowers: my sister called it polkadotted joelix.com paper :o)
The evening before The Hive in Berlin I was invited by DaWanda to attend a special soirée about Mobilising Communities. A few speakers told us about their community based projects. I was very much inspired by one of the projects called Stadtgarten. The idea is simple: Stadtgarten is an internet-based platform that helps groups of people grow their own fruit and veggies.
The special thing about gardening à la Stadtgarten is that they cultivate the whole garden together, without separating it into individual beds or allotments for people. All info about things that need to be done in the garden is gathered online. No mather if you are FlexiFarmer of a HardcoreFarmer, you know exactly what needs to be done at any given time. And when it's time to harvest, every Farmer gets what corresponds to the share of work contributed to running the garden over the season.
We have quite a big garden here at Studio Sapique and I love (trying) to grow my own vegetables. But how cool would it be to have some help and expertise from other local Farmers and to share the harvest?
Right outside the Betahaus was this incredible Prinzessinnengarten. Open to the Kreuzberg community where it produces local vegetables and fruit. In the middle of the garden is a place to relax under the trees and to enjoy a meal with "homegrown" ingredients. It was inspiring to see so many different cultures working together as a community. I just loved it there!
Blossom before thunder
Unpredictable april weather stands for dramatic skies which are the perfect backdrop for the fresh white blossom in one of the trees at Studio Sapique. I couldn't help myself and shot some cheesy blossom photos.
Trees popping buds
Turn on the earth!
Tomorrow major landmarks around the world will turn of lights for Earth Hour. Many companies have announced they will "participate". Somehow attaching your name to Earth Hour seems so hypocritical. Many of these companies could do so much better on an environmental level. But hey, the goal (raising awareness of climate change & environmental issues facing the planet) trumps the means. So:
Most of all I like his style (his gift guides are great too!) and the way he writes&tweets about this project really inspires me.
And in case you want to do some crafting yourself (or with your kids) during the holidays, you should definitely take a look at the Minieco tutorials. They have some simple and colorful ideas with super easy PDF templates. The crackers and paper gems are my favorites. Love it!
Remember my obsession with honey and beekeeping? The talented folks at Kinfolk shot a beautiful video on honey harvesting. Yummy!
All this to tell you that at this very moment the vendanges (harvesting of wine grapes) are in full swing in the South of France. While in the US they're harvesting something else: super nice bags with the beautiful name of Hærfest. I always wonder if bags like these are made of organic or vegetable tanned leather.
With quality materials, balanced proportions and attention to detail, they will stand the test of time. These bags are definitely not a disposable product, but wouldn't it be great if these bags had a tiny ecological footprint to begin with?
I most definitely support the smart and green initiative by Dutch urban farmer Annelies Kuiper called Dakboerin (rooftop farmer). She's working with residents, schools, offices and restaurants to build roof top kitchen gardens in areas where growing space is scarce. Very clever idea and so is her website!
Sucker for Succulents
Succulents grow easily on any undeep surface, but the most difficult thing about growing succulents is to find nice planters. Ever since reading the latest issue of At Your Leisure by J3 Productions, I'm obsessed with faceted planters. These Elements by Planterworx are really cool, however a bit more suited for the outdoor. These sculptural wood planters by Haunt Studio were made from reclaimed wood, which is just a bit more responsible. One of the locations where the guys at J3 shot the men's fashion story for At your Leisure, was at the Moorten Botanical Gardens in Palm Springs, home to the "World's First Cactarium"! Take your time like a turtle... and you will see more. So true!
The home of Maurizio Zucchi inspired me to introduce some agaves and cacti and succulents into my house. Until now they enjoyed the sun in a dedicated area with lots of glass.
This time lapse mood video by Andria Norvelis for Est Magazine (a cool new Australian e-mag) mixes my love for succulents with my passion for typography. What's not to like?
The palm of my hand
Pearl's girl. Not a reference to the song by Underworld, but more to the magpie I am myself. I found some beautiful pearls to share with you.
We will never be green enough, so for some ultimate green inspiration, Veer created this amazing microsite. More inspiration per theme can be found in photographic webmag Purpose. The childhood edition contains some challenging images, definately worth a visit. A website I personally don't visit anymore is Atelier New York. It's too much fashion temptation to handle for me, even more now they accept international orders. I'd better pick a nice parka at Uniqlo, because their Tokyo Fashion Map is so good. Or some extremely weird but beautiful white dress shoes by Koji Horigome. Or don't spend anything and play with the good old Lego, like Jan vormann. I could make a Lego pearl necklace to pair my original Lego bracelet for example...
Almost forgot to mention the last pearl: No lifeguard on duty series by J Bennett Fitts, surreal color palette which really makes me travel far far away.
It's so easy being green
Hallelujah! It's raining!
Ice ice baby!
I'm very VAR
La ferme Capelude is very special to me and it’s for sale! Hidden in a valley of the Maures Hills, the farm is situated at 12km from Collobrières and Grimaud, on a terrain of 220000 square meters and fully equiped with guestrooms, studios and a swimmingpool. It has the typical provencal beauty complemented with original details which makes it an absolute rare pearl. Contact me for any further information!
Anyway, to go with the new publicity campaign of the region: I'm very VAR!
The end of the season
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