Friday, 29 January 2016

Letters to Shino

Last week I received another package from my friend Shino from Tokyo. I love it when I receive a card or letter by mail, especially when it's from Shino, since everything from her is a joy for the eye + heart. I wanted to write her back and instead of sending her the usual series of postcards (my handwriting is big + I never think on forehand what I want to write and therefore just start writing, usually resulting in coming to what I really want to say at a point when there is no room left on my card), I thought of putting everything that I felt like writing in a notebook and send that to her when it was full. It's finished now, so Shino, letters on their way!

[notebook from Lovely Pigeon]


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Happy New Focus!

Am I still on time? Oh, whatever. Happy New Year!!! I wish you all a year filled with love and happiness. And should life bother you with any difficulties, I wish you the courage to face and experience them, trusting that things will get better over time. As my grandmother used to say: 'I'm sure it will be over by the time I've turned into a boy' and: 'I think accepting is the best thing to do, so that's what I'll do' (she had probably never heard of the concept of mindfulness, but she was its best practitioner - and teacher - for sure).

So, I've been thinking about my New Year's resolutions - or maybe I should say New Life's resolutions, since they are supposed to lead me to this brand new life after all ;) - and basically it all comes down to: F O C U S.


Especially in the time we live in now - with this constant flow of information coming from every corner of the room (who invented this and why?!) - I've come to think that focus is The Key To Happiness. Sort of. (Together with two hundred other things that I will discuss in separate blog posts; beware ;)) And when I talk about focus, I mean:

1/ being aware of the moment - that thing mindfulness is all about. Actually I've practiced it for some time a couple of years ago and I can say it really opens the way to a more attentive, accepting and quiet mind. It's really great. You just sit down and meditate every day for a little bit and you get this all in return for free. If it weren't for a bulky load of discipline needed to actually do this, I would still be on my cushion. Anyhow, it can really change your life for the better (note to self: start again, having babies does not mean your mind has lost its need for nurture!);

2/ setting goals - think about what it is that you want to achieve, professionally and in your private life, short-term (today, this week) and/or long-term (this year or the coming few years);

3/ focussing on these goals - instead of responding to every impulse passing by (whether it is the temptation of your mobile phone, emails dropping in, crazy ideas popping up in your head, a business request or the urgent need to check if your favorite shop happens to be selling this one thing that you absolutely need without yet knowing, etc. etc.). Each time when you're about to respond to such impulse, you can ask yourself if it contributes to reaching any of your goals. Of course, if your goal right now is to just relax and take break from all of your goals (which are obviously set in stone), then starting another pinning marathon on Pinterest, adding pin #1.203.497 to board #872, is totally acceptable. As long as you give it your full attention (and, okay, don't do it for an entire weekend). Which also brings me to the next point:

4/ doing 1 thing at a time - multitasking? Bullshit. I try to do multiple things at once all the time and I seem so good at it, except that I've come to realize that it actually makes my brain switch back and forth constantly like a tennis ball, which at the end costs tons of concentration, energy and time. Which is actually kind of a waste. A better idea might be:

5/ bringing the appropriate hat and keeping it on - for example: when I cycle to work, my head can be full of creative ideas, grocery lists, serious logistic problems to be solved since day-care is closing early today, etc. etc. Given that I'm heading for work where I have responsibilities and that I can figure out most of these things later on*, it's better to focus on work, parking all unrelated stuff for the moment. What works for me is - figuratively, but maybe I should take this to a next level ;) - putting on my 'lawyer's hat', before stepping into the office. It helps me getting into the working modus. And as soon as I finish work and cycle back home, I put it off again, which allows me to dream and wonder again (until I arrive at day-care and the 'mom hat' is making its appearance of course) (you have no idea how many different hats I have in my closet).

6/ prioritizing - do what is important, ignore the rest!

7/ bringing back slowness - take a walk, turn off your mobile phone, read a book, go to a spa. It helps me relax, focus on the moment and gives me new energy.

Okay, so all of these points kind of overlap and there might be more points to add, but you get the point (no pun intended ;)): I need focus! (and I think you need it too ;)). Focus helps me to enjoy the moment more, be more in contact with my feelings and desires, be more efficient, have more energy, feel more in control of my own life and concentrate on the things and people that really matter to me. So I decided that focus is going to be my new friend. It will require some discipline, but I'm willing to invest. Of course this doesn't mean I'll stop daydreaming at the lunch table or will never be pinning on autopilot anymore - it's still me.

So much wisdom. ;)

Happy new focus to everyone!

* Of course it's always better to figure out how to pick up your kids in time from day-care, before they are put out on the street alone to wait for you (in my case: one standing, the other in crawling position at its best) (ok, obviously they are not really put on the street alone, but let me dramatize things just a little bit for the story's sake ;)).

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas wrapping!

Thanks to An Apple A Day - the kids concept store in Utrecht I should really do a blog post about some time, that was so kind (after continuous begging from my side) to sell me some of their nice decorating stickers - my presents are nicely wrapped again this year. :)


Monday, 21 December 2015

Nice | Let it shine

The sun, breaking its way through the streets of Nice, a weekend in October. Perhaps it was driven by the force of love (that of my brother-in-law Paul and his girlfriend Klaske who tied the knot that weekend, to be more precise). Who knows... What I do know is that no matter the forces, we had such a fantastic weekend. Just how you want a wedding to be. The people, the atmosphere, the location, the food, the everything (ok, almost everything; I'm still waiting for the dj to make me want to move my body to the rhythm of his sound) (although there is a serious chance that this is just me being too specific about something (again), since everybody else around me was dancing like there was no tomorrow ;)) - it was all great and covered by this special sauce called the Paul & Klaske formula, which consists of a perfect mixture of mutually reinforcing ingredients that, as soon as you have put them together, you can't really imagine without each other anymore. Anyhow, that force of love, I'm sure it stroke us all that weekend.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pourquoi pas?

Excitement at somebody's toilet - the art of interior decorating as far as toilets are concerned just got a whole new dimension to it.

Note from the author: ceci n'est pas un pistolet. ;)



Friday, 2 October 2015

Djoeke - full of light

Last weekend we returned from a nice and relaxing holiday in France/Italy. A little summary for those who are interested:

Part 1 / a week in a mobile home on a cute little camping site close to Lake of Aiguebelette, near the French Alps. Perfectly sky blue lake, crispy fresh mountain air and - most important - not far away from Grenoble, where my friend Djoeke currently lives (falling in love with a Frenchman can be serious business!). Of course I wanted to know more about her new life.

Part 2 / northern Italy: a couple of days visiting friends (thanks again Damiano, Fabio & Stefano for the very nice time) + some days at Lake Garda (pretty but a bit too touristy to my taste (not a big surprise; I think half of the Dutch population can be found here in summer ;)).

Part 3 / always good to end your holiday in luxury and beautiful Villa Fiore in Le Marche (owned by Floortje & Dennis from Utrecht) did the job well. Great view, great care that has been put in restoring and decorating this old place (sorry, no photos this time, but you can check out their website!) and - last but not least - again great company: our friends Fleur & Fabian + good old pal Ceder.

---

So about my friend Djoeke: she lives in this nice, quiet & green area just outside of Grenoble, surrounded by mountains, called La Tronche. It was so nice to finally get to see where she lives now and that things seem to be working out for her there (although leaving your home country is no sinecure of course). Her house is great. Of course there was the 'Djoeke touch' (she has great style and has the ability to create a warm and cosy home no matter what the means are), but there was also this light entering the house everywhere, creating such a nice atmosphere. Of course this had to be captured - see below. My sweet Djoeke, I wish you all the luck in the world and hopefully we'll see each other again soon! xxxxxxx




Thursday, 1 October 2015

My love affair with Adriana

Why change a winning team?

Yep, when I love something, I go all the way. I like to think of myself as the adventurous type, but unfortunately the opposite is true: I'm the boring type. I wear the same (crazy cool) (at least that's what I like to think) outfit* over and over again, cook that same dish that I love** over and over again until Daan forbids me to ever enter the kitchen again, etc. etc. etc. And talking about Daan: we met in highschool and 20 years later we are still dating *** (I know! 20! Years! I'm not kidding!). I can't help myself; if I like something, I glue myself to it. I stay around and love and take care.

Anyhow, every now and then I start a new love affair, like last year with Adriana. I'm not sure if this one will last for 20 years (of course this is my goal), but she has been quite a consistent factor in my life since the very beginning. I love her and she goes with  me almost everywhere I go. That's why we wanted to show you this snapshot of us (or parts of us), taking a rest in a park in France during our holiday last month. Just so that you can get an idea of the chemistry between us.

Cherish what you have and enjoy your day! :)
xoxoxo
Eva & Adriana

* Last year's favorite (or probably it was 2013, since last year I was covered in giants' clothes because of little Oscar growing inside of me) that I basically lived in: my burgundy woolen sweater by Maglificio G.R.P. from the men's department, my orange woolen trousers from Monique van Heist and my happy Nike Air Max sneakers. Good times!
** You should taste my freshly made pumpkin soup with cinnamon, chilly and pinenuts.
*** Does getting married and having babies still count as dating?


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Me, my family and I

So, talking about pumping... (yeah, I know, it's been a while. This post has been waiting for months to be posted... Sorry!)

Last year Oscar arrived to our little family. I said it before but I'am saying it again: the thankfulness and happiness - wow. This might be my own, sometimes (ok, since the birth of my kids pretty much non-stop) melancholic mind, but let's face it: life is not always kind. So having Oscar, healthy and all, was an enormous gift. The moment he (or likewise: his sister) was born and put on my chest - it hasn't gotten more special than that.

With child number 1, your life is turned upside down (a baby - how to take care? And: how to do anything else than taking care??). When the second one comes, you are already used to the isolation (uhm, social life, what was that??) and know how to recognize the different baby cries (not, but for the story's sake let's pretend I do ;)). This time though, the amount of kids equals the amount of parents, meaning that there are now two hands per kids instead of four. And when the other parent is not around, the hand/kid ratio even drops down to one - which makes you wonder how people can even consider having three kids or more. (Let alone the effort devoted by all those single parents out there; they have my respect, for sure). Just imagine: going out for something simple as buying a bread means setting up an entire caravan of kids, diapers, bottles and a whole lot of other stuff that is now a bare essential - which really makes you want to go back into the house and take a little nap, before actually setting that same caravan into motion...

And then there is the notion of being a 'real' family now (somehow with 1 it still feels like practicing) and the possible consequences this might have for your way of living, which can be a bit scary sometimes. Do we stay in the city or do we move out, in search of more space and freedom? And if we move out, do we move to some village or do we isolate ourselves in the countryside, occasionally escaping to the city to satisfy our aesthetic and cultural appetites? Time will tell...

In the end everything is great though. I mean, if your kids are healthy, they let you sleep a bit and you can find that oh so important work-life balance (ok, so none of these things come naturally or are easy, but you can be lucky!), another child just means more love. And this love is so big, it makes you forget about all the things you can no longer easily do or the things you never longed for but came with the package (pumping was definitely one of them...). All you want to do is love and take care.

There is one thing though I hope to never forget and that is 'me'. As I read someone saying not so long ago: 'I just want there to be something left of myself when they grow older and leave the house'. Bingo. It's exactly what I think is so important when having kids: to never lose who you are. Being a mother is a big and tremendously important part of who I am now, but it's only a part. There is more. The person I used to be before entering the world of motherhood, is still there and needs feeding too. In fact this blog is a bit of a reflection of this, even though I started it before having kids. It is something just for me and reminds me of the passions I used to have and still have: beauty and capturing it in photos. I hope to never lose this.

Every now and then I do allow the family to interfere - so meet Oscar (and in the background: Rosa + good old friend Ceder), ten months old and on the lookout in Servigliano (Le Marche, Italy), from which we have just returned. It's not the best photo of Oscar, but I like it with the kids scattered around in no particular pattern - just like a normal day ;) (plus: most of the other photos I took of Oscar recently appear to involve either his totally non-fashionable UV-protection suit or too much naked baby skin (which I LOVE but is not meant for the world wide web) - so they didn't make it to the blog) Love you kids!


Monday, 8 June 2015

Wolfen

Another highlight of our Berlin visit was the shop of Wolfen, a Berlin based fashion brand for both men and women. Its collection is quite classical, but so distinguishing when it comes to detail, quality and color use (ah those colors!!). The store is simple but beautiful and you instantly want to feel all the clothes in there. I spoiled myself with two pieces: one is a dotted, knee-length dress (see picture 2), that is so classical that it's close to old-fashioned - which is totally downplayed by its fine print and cutting details. I decided that it needs either my flat, off-white lace-up shoes by MOMA or the most fine, black pumps there are - which I don't own, so I'm going flat white ;). The other thing is a simple blue shirt dress - perfect for the summer holidays. So when on Auguststrasse, don't forget to sneak in here too (it's on number 41).





Wednesday, 3 June 2015

I read you!

Last weekend we were in Berlin (no kids involved) (thank you parents-in-law)! Unfortunately the usual suspects - our dear friends Lasse & Shino - weren't there this time, but we had a great time with Lot & Pim (Daan's sister + her boyfriend, who temporarily live in Berlin) and some good restaurants, shops, cycling and - last but not least - weather! One of them was old time favorite do you read me?! - one of my favorite bookshops all around the globe (or maybe even further). Think of any pretty/cool/inspiring magazine and they have it. For sure. The address is Auguststrasse 28 (Mitte). Go there if you're around. You'll like it. Positive.