The icing on the cake

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #15

This may be controversial, but I believe regularly eating delicious cake is part of a healthy diet.  According to me, cake is perfect for any occasion and at any time, whether it’s for fueling a creative afternoon in a cosy café, celebrating a birthday or simply for dipping in my morning coffee for breakfast, and it tastes even better when it is shared with family, colleagues or friends.

Cake is also an important way of transmitting family traditions.  My grand-dad’s speciality was making Biscuit de Savoie for us (which is a cake despite its confusing name). I miss watching him in his kitchen, patiently folding the beaten egg whites into the batter with a wooden spoon, turning always in the same direction to keep the cake fluffy (and obviously licking the bowl which was the best part!). We still use his recipe to make this amazing cake for every family reunion:)

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 The pretty cakes in these pictures were made in Ahhh Toots, a stand in the Glass Arcade in Bristol. My friend Eva and I attempted to sample as many of them as we could when we were visiting in 2015.  They truly know how to make icing in the UK:)

Plants all over the place

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It all started out quite innocently.  I fell in love with this wonderful flat in part for its great windowsills, which I proceeded to decorate with a few plants (and Barberine the photobomber, who I was cat sitting at the time ;).

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Little by little the amount of plants increased as I decided to experiment with cultivating the baby plants and cuttings in second hand pots, and selling them online.

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My appartment slowly became a greenhouse (or a jungle, as Paolo would say). There were plants covering all available surfaces, including the whole coffee table, placed awkwardly in the corner where they would get the most of the sunlight.

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Radical action needed to be taken, as the plants were threatening to take over our small living space;)  So with the money I made selling plants, I bought a simple shelf to store the plants vertically and  as you can see they are now thriving in that sunny corner:)

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I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported Cultivating Joy by purchasing a plant for their home!

Morning coffee

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #14

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I am grateful for the quiet moment at the beginning of the day when I prepare coffee. It takes only a few minutes, but I relish the deliberate action of cleaning the moka, filling it with just the right amount of cold water, delicately placing the ground coffee into the filter, closing the moka tight and putting it to cook on the stove. The split second when the first coffee topples over though the column is a magical one!

Lovely plants of Madeira

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At home we regularly tease my foodie sister about how she is into foodporn and how the majority of her travel pictures consist of new dishes she discovered along her journeys. However recently it’s been dawning on me that I’m obsessed with something similar, which I guess can be called plantporn.

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I love close up photos of gorgeous plants with their tiny leaves, colourful petals, uncanny shapes and intriguing textures…

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What made Madeira so special to me in terms of plantporn, was that succulents grow in the wild all over the place and in general there were also many unfamiliar plant species I don’t get to see every day.

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I spent a great deal of time in the holidays behind my camera attempting to take decent macros of the amazing plants that caught my eye. (Thanks to Paolo for the picture above and especially for his patience when I get mesmerised by yet another plant!)

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I took these last two pictures in the natural park of the São Lourenco peninsula – though to me these plants look like they really belong in the landscapes of Arrakis (Dune;)

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Sparkling sunlight

 

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #13

Last weekend the sky was crisp blue and the sun was out, so on Sunday Paolo and I wrapped up in many layers of warm clothes to go for a brisk walk. There are a few nice places to wander close to our flat, and this time we ended up in De Oeverlanden park, a place we’d never explored together.

It felt great to be outdoors, and enjoy chatting while we walked along the water. It was so good to feel the sun on my face, and the reflection of the sunlight sparkling on the lake through the reeds was simply beautiful.