Off to a new destination

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #45

This weekend Paolo and I are heading to Prague ! It’s the first time I go there so I’m really excited to have 3 days to explore the city.  We will go to watching tennis (the first ever edition of the Laver Cup) and spend the rest of the time soaking in the atmosphere, discovering wonderful places and hopefully eating lovely cakes 😉

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Fairy tale house

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #44

I love cycling slowly along the outskirts of Vondelpark and looking at all the beautiful houses with their high windows and amazing details.

This house in particular seems like it belongs in a book of fairy tales.  I like to imagine that behind these walls are winding staircases, secret doorways and hidden passages leading from one room to another. The perfect backdrop for fantastic stories about things like fabulous elves, helpful magicians, self-sufficient siblings who run the show, lovelorn princes and sloths who can talk…

Staying dry

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #43

Today it has been pouring with rain in Amsterdam, sometimes monsoon-like and so noisy it made me stop and watch as it beat down on the windows, sometimes more of a lazy drizzle.

In any case, I am very grateful that today I happened to be working from home and didn’t need to venture out into the world and get soaked:)

Quiet morning off

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #42

Every second week I have the Friday off from work. I enjoy those Fridays even more than regular weekend days because I feel like I have this precious time for myself while the world around me is working.

Spending those mornings in one of my favorite cafĂ©s without needing to rush anywhere is bliss. I love watching the baristas at work, taking the time to reflect on the past week in my journal, observing other customers (I confess I also really like eavesdropping and hearing the most unexpected conversations)… I am grateful for these pockets of quiet time off to recharge my batteries.

Relaxing walk

IMG_3454JOYFUL GRATITUDE #41

The great thing about working from home once in a while, is that on those days I don’t need to cycle back through the bustling city and instead as soon as I finish work I can take a relaxing walk around the neighbourhood to get some fresh air.

I’m grateful for a lovely stroll with Paolo, along our usual route (a.k.a. la via Fannigena) that is bathed in sunlight in the early evening.  As we walk and chat, we have our tiny habits like stopping to look if there are any treasures in the free little library, people-watching and checking on the tiny fruit garden by the canal. It’s always such a nice way to reconnect after a busy day:)

Seeing Amsterdam with fresh eyes

20170812_163959JOYFUL GRATITUDE #40

A great thing about having dear friends over from abroad is that you get to explore your city with fresh eyes.  It was a wonderful weekend of walking around different neighbourhoods, having lovely talks over steaming bowls of ramen, cycling for kilometers past cute farmhouses along the Amstel and soaking in the atmosphere of a sparkly daytime dj persevering despite the rain…

The last time these friends visited me was in 2006 just a few weeks after I first moved to Amsterdam. So much has changed around Amsterdam since then, practically none of this skyline seen from NDSM was as it is today. I’m so grateful for living in this amazing city that keeps evolving and that I get to rediscover all the time:)

Back to the roots

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #38

I am grateful for a lovely long weekend spending quality time with my family in France.  What a pleasure spend the hours like we did, chatting away while baking cakes, practising my portrait skills with my very patient sister as a model (portraits are so hard… I’ve got a lot of practise ahead of me), taking walks with Paolo in beautiful parks, enjoying long meals all together, celebrating birthdays and eating above mentionned cakes;), laughing and catching up…

Fruit picking in Fruittuin van West

IMG_3487JOYFUL GRATITUDE #37

Spent a lovely morning last weekend with Paolo picking raspberries and apples at Fruittuin van West, a beautiful organic farm in Amsterdam-West where you can go to pick your own fruit (local and seasonal – hooray!) .  There is a lovely dynamic atmosphere, and I like that they share very openly in their newsletters about their fight against pests and the methods they use, as it gives a realistic idea of the challenges of organic cultivation.

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Searching through the raspberry bushes to find the ripe fruit, holding them softly between my fingers and pulling lightly to pick them without crushing them, was the perfect exercise in mindfulness.

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We walked through row after row of apple trees laden with tempting fruit and picked to our heart’s content, coming home with 4 kilos of appels next to our kilo of raspberries.

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Don’t they look delicious?! (Needless to say that as I write this, the raspberries are already long gone, we enjoyed them ‘au naturel’, with yoghurt and in a delicious apple and raspberry cake!)

A dash of orange

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #36

These stunning bright orange lichens grow all over the rocks throughout Capraia. I tried to photograph them repeatedly but the pictures don’t really do justice to how marvelous they are.

As we were exploring the island, our guide Mariella explained that Capraia counts in total around 400 types of lichen, which I’d say is not bad for an island measuring just 20 square kilometers. I’m grateful to Pacha Mama for having created such diversity even in the tiny details, with insanely fascinating shapes and gorgeous colours.

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Ginger bumble bee

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #33

While we were hiking up Sgurr Coire Choinnichean (the mountain with an unpronouceable name just above Inverie on the Knoydart Peninsula), I stopped to look out over the gorgeous view (and perhaps also to catch my breath) and came across this cute little fella who was also resting for a few moments. I love how even the bumble bees are ginger in Scotland:)