Posted in inspiration, lifestyle, travel

Day 33 – A Great British Christmas

Santa, I’ve been a bad daily blogger this Christmas but I’m back from my travels so I can catch up 🎅😀 

In honour of being back in the UK, I thought I’d share a few of the unusual things that Brits do at Christmastime (whether we would admit it or not 😉)

1. We all pour alcohol on a pudding and set it on fire…

🍾

2. We wish and wish for snow and then panic when we get it

⛄⛄⛄

3. We’ll desperately try anything to get rid of leftover turkey but end up throwing it into a curry with all the veg anyway 🍗

(Recipe here, as if you need it)

🍛

4. Whether to grumble about it or to nod along, we put the Queen’s speech on the TV and then debate it

👑

5. On second thoughts, we get grumpy enough to debate anything, really:

🎅

6. We pull Christmas crackers and then wear the paper hats to eat our dinner 😍

The countdown is on, thanks for reading!

🎅🌲👼

Posted in art, travel

Day 32 – Photography

Today I wanted to share some fascinating Russian photography collections with you 📷

Irina Popova is a Russian photographer and I recently came across her photobooks If You Have a Secret and LTP on her website.

I am slightly late to the party, though. If You Have a Secret was published in 2014 and LTP in 2015 but Popova is currently crowdfunding a project to find and photograph the 8000 other Irina Popovas and compile a collection called the Incomplete Princess Book.

If You Have a Secret is a book of photographs of everyday Russia. The collection has been made into a video which showcases the powerful way that Popova puts jarring images next to snowy scenes next to photographs of couples with an inspiring true-to-life touch. It’s interesting and also key to keep in mind that this is the artist’s reaction to her ‘motherland’, described here:

The ‘mysterious Russian soul’ however, is by nature complicated, uncontrollable and absurd, making the task of finding one image impossible and therefore resulting in the series, If You Have a Secret. The images represent the ‘lost generation’, people steeped in poverty and hardship, yet somehow colourful and full of hope. […] The artist states, “you feel at the same time unbearable pain and highest joy” that is so typical of modern Russia.

Definitely worth a look! Find the video here.

The second, thought provoking collection I wanted to share with you is LTP. It is made up of photos that Popova took when she went to Belarus’s detention centre for alcoholics and substance abusers.

As this article explains, these “rehab prisons” were part of a Soviet-era justice system which attempted to cure dependencies through labour. There are 8 centres of this kind in Belarus, with just a 5% rate of efficacy.

Here is the photobook video. Popova’s use of light is pretty glorious on its own, but the uneasy “I-cannot-believe-this-is-real” feeling makes it a gripping watch.

Enjoy 😍📸

Posted in food, inspiration

Day 31

Since this is the time of year for dreams to come true, I’m bringing you a list of things to hope for: Foreign foods that the UK (and maybe everywhere else) needs more of!

I hope you enjoy 😁

1. Swiss raclette 🧀 yes, it is exactly how it looks – take a big cheese, melt it, scrape it over potatoes…

2. Russian waffle sandwiches (мягкие вафли). You heard me, the Russians are SANDWICHING waffles 😍 fillings include jam, buttercream, a combo of both, caramel, even a chewy marshmallow.

3. Dutch fries with mayo, ketchup and onion (trust me, perfect combo)

4. Khachapuri – a Georgian staple food that is basically deep pan pizza dough made into a boat and filled with cheese and egg or meat. Other variations include lobiani which is flat and filled with beans.

5. Sokolatina (σοκολατινα) – this is a beautifully decorated Greek chocolate cake made by alternating chocolate sponge and mousse!

6. Cailler chocolate – somehow our supermarkets prefer Lindt but Swiss brand Cailler comes in so many flavours that your heart will ache for what we don’t have 🍫

7. Skioufihta (σκιουφιχτα) is a Greek pasta dish. In Crete the pasta is hand rolled into little tubes and then cooked with stock and cheese! Simple and delicious.

8. Humita – I haven’t even tried this glorious, Latin American, steamed sweetcorn creation in its homeland but in a fairly authentic Argentinian restaurant in the Netherlands and it was delicious!

9. Сырок (pronounced sirok) – how do I even begin to describe this… It’s like the miniature, individually packaged lovechild of a cheesecake and a choc ice that you can eat for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert. Often they come with fillings like jam or caramel as well 🙌

    Thank you for reading!

    😍🎄🍸🍕

    Posted in inspiration, lifestyle, travel

    Day 30 – Travel

    I know I said that this wasn’t intended to be a travel blog but today I have to break my rules (again) 🙈

    The Netherlands at Christmas is something you have to see, especially Leiden. I’ve been to Leiden a few times and it never disappoints but even I was amazed by how beautiful it is at Christmas!

    The best thing about Leiden at this time of year is the floating Christmas market

    The market is assembled on barges in the centre of town and you can even ice skate where the water used to be.

    At/near the market you can also:

    – Have a beer and soak up the atmosphere! There is a stand in the market serving Pronck, a highly recommended local beer. Also the waterside pubs like Einstein have outdoor seating under the Christmas lights with blankets.

    – Visit bakeries such as Bakker Van Maanen and Jacobs which have special Christmas treats (they’d also make great presents)

    – Pop in to the Waag bar for a boozy coffee or a hot chocolate!

    – EAT DUTCH WAFFLES or maybe go to Oudt Leyden for enormous, xl pizza sized pancakes 🍕

    Photo credit to 3rdspaceproject!!

    – Buy Christmas decorations, gifts, scarves, hats, jumpers, socks… All things festive!

    Have a beautiful evening 🎅😍

    Posted in inspiration, lifestyle

    Day 29 – Christmas ⛄

    Last minute Christmas present finders – this post is for you!

    I’m travelling a lot this Christmas so (for slightly self-serving reasons) I thought I’d have a look for easy DIY Christmas gifts. 

    The good news is they exist, the better news is that I’ve made a list!

    Happy crafting 🙌

    Candy cane sugar scrub? Yes please, Santa 🎅

    Or a gingerbread one!

    Why not make this sweet festive treat

    …Or its citrussy, gin flavoured cousin?

    Speaking of alcohol, what could be better than Christmas pudding vodka 🍸

    Or a gift that can be personalised to anyone’s tastes ☕

    And this cute mug looks easy peasy 😍

    Finally, for those more artistically inclined, you could even personalise a tote.

    Thank you to everyone for your amazing ideas!

    😍🎄

    Posted in art, inspiration

    Day 28 – Coco Dávez Artist Profile

    As a new student of art and an old student of Spanish, I’ve become obsessed with the artist Coco Dávez. 

    I first came across Dávez on Instagram and I immediately fell in love because her art is so colourful, bold and fun. Dávez, from Madrid, frequently uses primary colours and bold shapes so it feels like it’s always summertime on her site 🍉🍉

    As an artist, Dávez’s style lies somewhere between pop art and new realism but she dabbles in body art and makes small prints and postcards as well. Dávez’s art is so modern and accessible because, as pointed out in this article, it is displayed first and foremost in the public gallery of social media. 

    Here are a few of Dávez’s works, mainly from the Faceless collection, as well as some others from her Instagram. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

    Don’t forget to follow: https://www.instagram.com/cocodavez/

    Muchas gracias 😘

    Posted in fashion, inspiration

    Day 27 – Accessories

    Much to my mother’s despair, I love black clothes 😍

    They’re striking, cool, timeless and if monochrome was good enough for Coco Chanel, it’s good enough for me!

    But what do you buy for the ‘I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour‘ girl in your life for Christmas?

    Well, I’ve done the hard work for you 🙌 

    Here are the coolest black accessories I found on Etsy:

    These gold dipped earrings

    This leather necklace

    This unusual ring 

    This cool-girl necklace

    These minimalist earrings

    This edgy bangle

    This cute little cloud ring

    This modern wood necklace

    This delicate hexagon bracelet

    This geometric ring

    This wooden necklace

    These tiny round stud earrings

    This half and half bangle

    This cartoon cube necklace

    These semi-circle earrings

    This lovely friendship bracelet

    Or these geo earrings!

    Happy shopping 🎄⛄

    xox