Autumn in Italy

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Autumn always makes me think of the poem San Martino by Giosue’ Carducci; we had to learn by heart at elementary school.

It’s amongst my favourites, and I still know it by heart.

La nebbia agli irti colli
Piovigginando sale,
E sotto il maestrale
urla e biancheggia il mare;
Ma per le vie del borgo
Dal ribollir dè tini
Va l’aspro odor de i vini
L’anime a rallegrar.
Gira sù ceppi accesi
Lo spiedo scoppiettando:
Sta il cacciator fischiando
Su l’uscio a rimirar
Tra le rossastre nubi
Stormi d’uccelli neri,
Com’esuli pensieri,
Nel vespero migrar.

Translated by John Baker in:

Drizzling, the fog
the steep hills climbs,
and the northwest wind torments
the howling, foaming sea:
but in the village streets
the seething vats send forth
the pungent smell of wine
and cheer the weary souls.
On fiery logs the roast
turns on its spit and crackles;
the hunter stands and whistles
and watches from his door
the flocks of birds that,
back upon reddish clouds,
like forlorn thoughts gyrate
at dusk, preparing to migrate.

Lac de Serre Ponçon, France

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Unlike other years, this year Roberto and I decided to stop in France overnight before heading to our parents and start the hectic meet-all-of-your-parents routine.

We chose to stay and visit the Lac de Serre Ponçon; my parents and I had been here last year after a road trip through Northern Italy and Southern France. It is a beautiful blue lake, not far from Briançon, Gap, and the Italian border.

We arrived very early in the morning, after sleeping in the car between Grenoble and Gap. We drove along the lakeside and stopped in the small town Savines-le-Lac, where we had a café au lait and pain au chocolat, after washing our faces and brushing our teeth in a parking lot.

After breakfast we went to a beautiful part of the lakeside, from where you can see a tiny island with a charming church on it. Then we went back into town and bought a baguette, goat cheese and tomatoes for lunch and drove back to the lake and photographed all afternoon.

We stayed at a cosy AirBnB on top of the mountain in Crots, just a few hundred meters from te lake. The next morning we went to a bakery to buy some more pain au chocolat and then we drove up the mountains Italy bound. From the top we could see how big and incredibly blue the lake was and we had to take a few more photos.

We noticed there are many activities on and around the lake, like paragliding, water skiing, SUP, climbing. One reason more to come back.

 

10 Road Trip Tips

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It’s 3.30 pm and I am sitting on the bed of our AirBNB with Roberto sleeping next to me. We drove 15 hours non-stop yesterday, we had little to eat, and we slept in a fully packed car, without being able to incline our seats. I woke up every hour, sometimes because of a cramp in my leg, sometimes because trucks where driving by at full speed, one time because I found out there is a red flickering light in the car I had never seen before, and another because I though demetors might find the car.

We have been on pretty many road trips since we met. The first one was in 2010, and it was also the longest we ever did; from Italy (Turin, Milan, Aosta), to Switzerland (Bern and Costanz), through Germany (Munich and Berlin) to the Netherlands (Leiden, Amsterdam and Utrecht) and back through Belgium, Luxembourg, and France (Cevennes).

Then we moved to the Netherlands, and since then we’ve been on many more road trips to go back to Italy and to explore the Netherlands.

While driving yesterday we thought of gathering some tips for any of you guys who is planning on going on a road trip. I hope these tips will help you organising your trip.

1. Check oil, water, gas, etc. and all documents before leaving

Obvious, I guess, but very important. Do it a few days before departure, to avoid last minute panic attacks.

  1. Get informed about highway rules in other countries

When we drove to Switzerland we knew you had to buy an “admission” sticker and put it on your car window, but we had no idea where to get the sticker from. We drove through the border and still had no sticker. I was really worried we would get a big fine for passing the border without the sticker. Fortunately I found out they sold them at the first service station. It would have been easier if I had informed myself before leaving.

Another example is the French law: you need to have a Breathalizer in your car at all times. Who knew that was necessary to drive through a country safely?

  1. Prepare food in advance

Before leaving go grocery shopping and prepare your meals for the day or days you will be on the road. The food they sell at the service stations is not convenient, and it is not the healthiest either.

I always bring lots of fruit and vegetables that are easy to eat: apples and bananas (only when it’s not too hot), and tomatoes and carrots. I also usually make a few sandwiches.

Bring a few bottles of water too, since they’re pretty expensive on the highway. Stopping for breaks to us means two things: bathroom and coffee!

  1. Bring a (heavy) blanket

Whether it’s August or February, you will want to bring a blanket. In 2010 we stopped to sleep a few hours in a service station in France; it was only the beginning of September, but at night the temperatures dropped and we just couldn’t sleep more than two hours because we had only a very thin blanket and we were freezing.

  1. Bring good music (obviously)

We like pretty much the same music, so we are lucky on that part. But try to change CDs and allow everyone to listen to their favorite artists. We usually do that who drives decides.

Personally, I like to bring some more upbeat CDs for the day, and a little more calming music for the night when Roberto is sleeping. He listens to 80s rock whenever I try to sleep, but usually I manage to fall asleep anyway.

  1. You don’t have to drive 130 km/h because everyone else is

When you are driving long distances you will notice, especially around big cities, that people are in a hurry. Everyone wants to go at full speed, and sometime you are surrounded by a swarm of cars who want to drive as fast as they’re allowed to. If you don’t feel like driving 130, and feel safer driving 110 instead, don’t do it, slow down and drive at whatever speed you feel safe.

  1. Dress comfortably

Put on you pajamas if you want, no one will care. I usually wear leggings, a long shirt and Toms at my feet.

  1. Be flexible 

Not everything might go as planned. Try to be flexible: if you printed out your itinerary, but for some reason you cannot follow it, find another way and enjoy that moment. I feel like this when something unexpected happens (unless I have little time, then I get very nervous).

  1. Save coins for the tollbooths

This might be different in other parts of the world (let me know if it is!) but in France, for example, you will pass from tollbooths where you have to through your coins in some sort of basket. It will be much faster and easier if you will have the money ready.

10. Don’t trust the GPS

We threw out the GPS of our car the day we went to see Jack Johnson in Vigevano (Italy) and he (or better, she) let us drive through tiny roads between rice fields and finally just wanted us to keep making a U turn into a wall.

We also got lost in Brussels one time, and we drove the wrong way on a big road, which scared the heck out of me.

We dusted off our 2001 maps of Europe, France, and Northern Italy, and bought a map of the Netherlands and Belgium. Since then we never had a problem finding our way.

These were the tips came to our minds while driving. If you have any more tips let me know!

(I wrote this post a few days ago, but didn’t manage to finish it until today. We have arrived in Italy now. If you want to follow what we’re up to, check out my Instagram)

Ready

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I have never been more ready for a road trip. Not that I have everything sorted out and organised yet. Like, I have no idea if everything will fit in the car (I always bring loads of stuff back home: books that I won’t read a second time, Dutch food for parents and friends, etc.). But mentally I am all set. Hand over the keys!

We will be leaving on the first, kicking off the month the right way. Driving southwards through the Netherlands and Belgium, stopping at random service station to get coffee and probably sleeping in the car the first night, somewhere near Lyon.

On day two we will drive a little more on the highway, until getting off near the Alpine border with Italy. We will stop at a beautiful lake in the Maritime Alps, called Lac du Serre Ponçon which I discovered with my parents last year, and we’ll stay there one night.

Then we’ll drive through the mountains, cross the border, and stop for our first cappuccino, which is always the first thing we do when we go back to Italy.

After that we will have plenty more time, but have tons of plans piled up already, so we won’t be bored.
4 days to departure.

What season do you prefer going on holiday? Have you ever been on holiday off-season? Did you enjoy it? 

Something new

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When still going to school September was the beginning of a new year: clean notebooks, new stationery, and new resolutions. Although I graduated three years ago, I keep feeling that with the colder weather come new plans and brighter ideas.

So here I am, like every year, starting something new. This time I am more enthusiastic than ever before, more confident and ready (but nonetheless scared too).

I am officially a photographer now!


How did I start photographing and how did I get into it?

I have been photographing since the dawn of time; the first photos I remember taking were one of a cow and one of my mom’s friend when I was about 7/8. That was all anagogic and I still have those photos in a book somewhere.

One time I went on a school trip to Rome and the photographer who was gonna develop the photos messed the film up; he told me “well, that’s not that terrible, you can go to Rome again”. I was shocked and cried a lot.

Time passed and I kept stealing my dad’s new gadgets, usually point-and-shoot cameras. On vacation, at home, always, everywhere.

When I graduated from High School my parents gave me a bridge camera as a present. The best present I ever got, since this started my passion.

Meanwhile, I had also started this blog (after a few others, by the way). I never knew what made me love blogging: I thought it was having my little corner of the Internet where I could write whatever I wanted, until I realized Internet is not a safe haven, on the contrary, it’s a pretty tricky place to spend your time on. However, I kept blogging and photographing my daily life. Silly things, a prologue to my Insta-life in a way, photographing food, clothes, myself, the long trips to Turin and back home,..

My blog was (and still is) a mess. I kept reading that a blog should have a focus on one topic. But what was the topic I wanted to talk about? I love eating healthy, but also baking, I love traveling a lot, I love music, nature,.. every time it was a different topic I wanted to talk about, but the photos in the posts were indispensable.

While I kept giving more attention the photos for my blog, I realized photographs were the easiest way for me to communicate. I have always had doubts about the language I should write in: my family is Dutch (I currently live in the Netherlands), but I was living in Italy and had been my whole life, and English was the language I was studying at University, and also “the” language of the Internet.

I graduated and my parents (bless them) gave me a DSLR camera as a present, the one I still use now, a Canon 600d. From that moment, I started an ongoing learning process, I started watching photographs from professionals, looking up information on the Internet, experimenting by myself, reading about settings, and I started stepping away from the Automatic Settings.

Since I moved to the Netherlands and I started earning my own money, I have been able to attend some workshops and be more involved, and buy some more gear too. I have been photographing friends, babies, a wedding, a small business for which I also made this video, lots of food (benefits of having a boyfriend who is a cook), places we visited, and much more.

I understand now that photography is my language. It’s the way I try to convey emotions, often melancholic, sometimes dreamy, and mostly natural.

If you want to se what I’ve been up to, you will find my portfolio here.
I would love to receive some feedback from you.

(These two lovely girls are my friends Mirjam and Tessa; please make sure to link back to http://www.juliettevaneijsden.com and ask my permission before using these photos).

What about you? What is it that most inspires you? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning, and what keeps you up late?

Video: De Keuken van Greendelicious

I met Natascha in the shop I work in. She just opened an amazing workshop atelier just outside Leiden and my team and I got invited for a workshop. Her workshops focus on organic and natural ingredients, preferably self-grown. Her food is vegetarian, but I no one notices until she mentions it, because when working with her recipes even a carnivore doesn’t miss anything.

This is a video that portrays her world: from the beautiful garden where Mr. Piet grows some amazing produce, to her atelier, where she shows her guests how to make delicious dishes; from her little herbs and edible flowers garden to great evenings filled Italian music and great food and some wine or a coffee.

Blueberry Crumble

After an amazingly warm and almost mediterranean summer here in Holland, it started raining about a week ago. Hand in hand with the rain my desire to bake came back (you might have noticed this if you follow me on Instagram). I just had bought some organic blueberries as I stumbled across this video by David and Luise of Green Kitchen Stories.

In an hour this delicious crumble was ready and just after snapping a few photos, I devoured half of it.

It’s perfect for a rainy afternoon, maybe enjoyed with a cup of coffee and some good music.

Blueberry Crumble for two

adapted from this recipe by Green Kitchen Stories

2 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups organic* blueberries
3 tbsp honey
half a vanilla pod
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius. Mix blueberries, lemon juice, and one tbsp of honey in a bowl. Scrape the vanilla from the vanilla pod and add half of the vanilla to the blueberry mix.
Pour the mix in a baking tin (mine had a diameter of 13 cm).

In another bowl mix rolled oats, coconut oil at room temperature (don’t worry if it’s not liquid, you hands will make it melt while mixing), 2 tbsp honey and the other half of the vanilla. Mix with you hands until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture over the blueberries in the baking tin and press a little.

Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden-brown.

 

* You can pick them yourself if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere they grow. I used frozen blueberries. It’s important to buy the organic ones because they have much more taste and color. The non-organic blueberries are bigger and have much less taste to them.

Seven

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Between many ups and a few downs we made to year number seven together!
Admittedly, Roberto and I have been apart for a year (until last fall), which I “accidentally” failed to note here, but we realized this life sucks without each other. Now I treasure every moment I spend with him, because I know how it is not to have him around. “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone” they say, and I can testify: it’s true.

We didn’t want to celebrate with a fancy dinner, so we decided to do what we like the most: exploring; Being around nature, breathing fresh, salty air and taking in the last rays of sun of the day. We drove to the sea where we walked to a high spot from where we could see the beach below. We sat down on my hoodie and we drank some wine; just a sip, because it was awful.






So began our seventh year together. I cannot wait for the season to end, so that we’ll spend more time together.
Have a good weekend you all!

You’re the best.

Introducing Chalk Kids

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A few month ago Steph asked me to be part of her super secret and fabulous project.
She was working on a website for young families with DIYs, fashion, interiors,.. and asked me to be the contributor for the food section;
..and I said yes!

Chalk Kids is the result of all Stephanie’s work and it’s a super cool mix of trendy fashion for the little ones, cozy interiors and lots of family talk.
So what are you waiting for? Go and check it out!

I will be talking about healthy and good food, sharing recipes and giving tips to enjoy a healthy and happy life together.
But there’s also more about beauty, travel and all aspects of life with a baby (I am probably the only one of the contributors not having a kid,but I swear I love them).

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