Nature in the city

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It has been a hectic couple of weeks; how have you been?

At the beginning of the week I felt a little caged by the city, my toes itched, which means I wanted to basically take my bag and leave for an unknown place, travel, meet people, see new places, but also, I needed air. I took my bike and first drove through the lovely city I live in, but it was not enough, I needed to be alone, completely alone. With the camera in my hand I biked just outside the city where I usually go for a run, but of course, because it was Easter monday it was pretty crowded. Then I remembered a place R. and I went to about two years ago, when we had just moved to the Netherlands.

I walked into the wood and I was surprised by seeing a blanket of white flowers between the trunks of the trees. I felt releaved immediately. I don’t know what it is, sort of an addiction to nature or so.. I walked for an hour in this sort of little park than no one except for me seems to have discovered. There were a myriad of birds singing, then it started raining, but I was covered by the leaves. I stayed for a while: listening to the birds, smelling the wet soil and being alone for a moment.

I went back home completely refreshed. The weight I felt on my shoulders in the morning had dissolved.

Easter brunch table

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My mum just told me she is going to paint eggs with my nephew. I am so jealous! I want to paint eggs too, and I want to search the eggs in the garden!
I also know I am going to spend Easter on my own. But that doesn’t scare me too much. Roberto and I are professionals at celebrating holidays on other days. It’s a tradition!

Maybe I will be painting eggs, surely I will have chocolate eggs (actually, I already had a myriad this week), and whenever we will have a day off together, we will have our Easter brunch. The table will probably look like I styled it here. Soft colors, some flowers and Mr irreplaceable: coffee. I might also make this pretty healthy, cheesecake-reminding, breakfast/dessert.

To make this Raw Breakfast Cheesecake: Mix together dates and walnuts until crumbly and moldable. In a bowl, mix natural soft cheese (low-fat, high-fat, vegan,.. whatever you like) with coconut sugar or honey. Put some dates dough in a glass or bowl and press. Be generous, it will add a lot of flavor and texture to the dish. Pout the soft cheese on top and sprinkle with chocolate flakes.

What will your Easter brunch table look like? Will you add lots of fresh color or use a light and soft palette?
I wish you all a happy Easter in advance!!

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Photography vs Living the Moment

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How many times did I hear people complain about photography, saying you don’t get to “live” the moment, and that you live through the lens instead?

I have been thinking about that a lot, and I think I might have found my vision on this issue.

On the one hand I agree; at a concert, in a theatre, and at a dinner or a night out with friends, I feel like the camera is not needed. Sure, you want to “capture the moment” to have it with you forever, but if your unconscious self will consider that moment worth to be remembered, it will stay forever, like burned in your memories. I myself love to take a photo with my phone when I am with friends, but I don’t like to overdo it, that’s it. At that moment living in that exact moment is far more important.

On the other hand however, I disagree. Since I was about eight years old, when I took my first photos, of a cow and of a friend, I can see the world from a different perspective. When I am with my camera, I see more things, I see more details that I would otherwise have overlooked. With my camera I experiment and I see, through that lens I see lines, textures and patterns I would never have noticed if I weren’t a “photographer”. That’s what I like about photographing landscapes, and in a way food as well. I live the moment through the lens, I discover things and wander through those textures and patterns. That’s basically why I will never put down my camera (except for an angry looking security guy telling me cameras are not allowed).

What are your thoughts about photography killing the moment?

(here are a few more photos I took in Italy)

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A shaky video and some thoughts

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In the middle of the wood I sit down on a stone that looks like a throne. From here I can see the town I was raised in; few houses on the top of a hill, not many people living in them and not much happening around. I walk in the opposite direction, deep into the woods while butterflies fly away as I walk the small path. Birds and crickets are telling us it’s August. A tiny spider walks up my leg and threads a web to reach the nearest grass blade.
I lay down and listen. It’s like watching the stars: the longer you watch, the more stars you see; and I hear more birds, more insects flying around, a cat and a dog fighting far away, cows on the top of the mountain.. and I realize how different being alone and being lonely are. Growing up I used to hate this place because I was feeling lonely, now I treasure every moment spent here because I am not lonely anymore, I am just alone. Nothing makes me feel less lonely than being surrounded by nature. (Thoughts on Nature – July 2013)

The foodie is back!

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In the exact moment I was writing that I have not been much of a foodie lately in my previous post, I felt the urge to bake.
So weird, I reminded myself by writing about it, that baking relaxes me, and I needed it. Immediately I opened my cupboard doors: there wasn’t much that would bring me far from some basic cookies,and I really wanted to make something not too unhealthy. Fortunately, I had some quinoa left, so I made my signature granola, the recipe of which you will find here. This time I added flax and sesame seeds, and instead of the cinnamon I used speculaas spices.

The morning after I made the most spectacular breakfast: a parfait of yogurt, blueberries, mixed nuts, raisins and my homemade granola. Sooo good!

Parfait Breakfast
Parfait Breakfast
Parfait

Mi piace #3

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“Mi piace” means “I like” in Italian. This is a series in which I will show you and link to photos, songs, videos and articles I liked the past week. I am constantly inspired by so many things that there will be no shortage. Often I am inspired by things that happen to me in everyday life, so be prepared to read stories of what happened to me this or that time..

Hi guys!

I am realizing that I haven’t been posting much about food lately, and Roberto hasn’t yet shared a recipe either. I don’t really plan my posts, and I haven’t been feeling “foodie” lately, I just go with whatever I feel like posting. This blog still needs to reflect me, right?.. so that’s why. Roberto, on the other hand, has been very involved with food lately. With this I mean he has been working crazy, and with crazy I mean insane, hours. We literally have seen each other 2 hours max since I came back from Italy 5 days ago (and we live in the same house!). So that was a little off topic, but it needed to be said.

What did I like these past days? 

I have been listening to Ben Howard non stop, his music is a mix between melancholic and reassuring, and it works relaxing for me. If I had to choose three songs, right now I’d choose Oats in the Water, Depth over Distance and Burgh Island.

When I was in Italy I watched the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with my parents; It is an adaptation of the homonymous novel by Johnatan Safran Foer which I read a few years back; the movie is so good, and I am glad the adaptation hasn’t disappointed me at all. Have those of you who have seen the movie enjoyed it as much as well?

I like airports, especially Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport. Yeah weird to insert that in here.. but hey I like it! You see people of so many nationalities, everyone is so different, yet so similar, waiting for their loved ones, being excited to leave, etc.

A few weeks back I mentioned that I like FunForLouis’ videos. There’s a few other channels I really enjoy watching: one of them is Ben Brown‘s; he is currently in Costa Rica and I love seeing all the places he visits.

This banana bread. OMG, I made it on a lazy night when I was craving cake, chocolate, sweets of any sorts..and it was de-li-cious!

Last, but surely not least, my favorite of favorites this week: Steller.
Steller is an App that has just been released and is already conquering the blogging world. It’s a new way of blogging, namely through your phone, because.. that what everyone uses now!
I will not go into detail, because explaining how it works is harder than actually using it. As the name of the App suggests, it allows you to tell stories, stories of exploring, stories of awesome adventures, and stories of sunday night in baking chocolate chip cookies. It is very user-friendly and I just love the clean structure, the dreamy feel and all the exploring and traveling the users of the app do! =)

Here are a few examples of the stories I shared so far (click on the links to see the stories)

Italia – Back Home
A simple life
Leiden – the Netherlands

So, I am going to work on some photos now.. Happy Sunday!

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Back from Italy

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Hi everyone,

I am back from Italy! The week there flew by, just as I expected. Although the weather was as bad as it could be, rain and snow almost every day, I had a great time. I spent a lot of time with my parents, I had a little road trip on my own to Turin to meet up with two friends from university. I had the best time with them, the kind of good times when you don’t even get the chance to take a picture together because you are too busy having fun.

I have been posting photos every day on Instragram (see below); that was the easiest way too keep you updated about my little adventure.

I will share more photos of the week later on, I am so tired now my eyes are closing without my brain telling them to.

I cannot wait to travel more soon!
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Going Home

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Guys, I can’t believe I am flying to Italy tomorrow. I will wake up around 3 am, catch a train to the airport and around 8.30 am I will be in Nice, France. My dad is so nice to drive all the way there to pick me up. I am so excited!!

This has been the longest time I have been away from home, 8 months in total and I just wanna be there, breathe that fresh air and listen to the wind blowing through the valley and the cows going back to the stables. Ahhh, I feel a bit like Heidi now :)

Anyways, I haven’t packed my suitcase yet, so I’d better get going! See you in ten days!

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Frammenti #2

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“Frammenti” means “snippets” in Italian. Since photography is my biggest passion, I thought I’d share more of my photos with you in this series.

Aside from working, which I have done pretty intensively this week (working in a shop can mean your weekend starts on a Thursday, which this week is the case, so yay for tomorrow being my Friday!), I have been outside a lot. The days are getting lighter and longer and after work I get the chance to stay outside a little longer: we have been skateboarding a few times, I have been running and one day I went on a little post-work bike adventure with my camera. 

Roberto has been working long hours; the few moments we spent together we have been daydreaming about traveling to Vietnam, while having wonderful breakfasts.

In 4, four, FOUR days I am flying to Italy! I am so happy to finally be in the middle of nowhere again. I am missing that place.

 
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Ideas for Easter

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Easter. I love this festivity. It might have to do with the chocolate, or the egg painting (which I still do every year), or just because gives me the feeling that we survived another winter and we celebrate that with our family.

In the Netherlands the hare, which in my family tradition is called Otto, jumps around the house and the garden, hiding eggs. How do you know he has gone and just hid eggs in every corner? Well, my dad usually used to see him hopping around and came in the room running saying “You won’t believe it, I just saw Otto! He just jumped in the bushes!!”. That was when the hunt began.

In Italy, this day is much more about religion and about food that in Holland. When you wake up your mom, aunt and grandma are most likely already cooking. There is lamb on the menu (I have tried to show people that a young little cute lamb is the same as what they put in their mouths at Easter several times) and colomba, which is similar to panettone, but in the shape of a dove.

For this year I have gathered a few ideas beforehand, so that I won’t panic last minute.

I thought it would be cute to have a few mini cupcakes just as decoration on the table, and to nibble on with your coffee or just during the day. At Easter I love fresh and light colors, and I like to decorate the table with white and pastel colors.

You could make a Torta Pasqualina, a savory pie which is a typical Easter dish in Liguria (the Italian region I come from). Finally, surprise everyone with these beautiful meringue nests topped with berries (I used this recipe).

I hope you liked these ideas, and let me know how you celebrate Easter in your country and if you have some nice ideas, make sure to share them :)

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