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Thinking about Christmas presents?

So, have you thought about Christmas presents or do you leave them for a little bit of last minute paranoia fun? We usually gravitate towards the latter, but this year we’ve been very good and we’ve already bought a few gifts for friends and family.  Thanks, Black Friday deals. But do you know what we would never choose as a present? A perfume.  It’s something so personal, however just in the UK 49% of all perfume sales take place in November and December. Perfumes are a very popular Christmas present but we still don’t know how you can get the scent right, even for someone you love and know very well… Maybe the fact that one out of two commercials during the months of November and December is dedicated to some kind of perfume has something to do with that huge increase in sales? By the way, we love how brands tie perfumes to ideals and types of people. It’s fascinating. I could never be a Dolce & Gabbana perfume girl, because I will never identify myself with such sexyness, but I love Jo Malone aesthetic because it’s smart, a little bit serious, neutral and for some people quite boring. See? For me that’s Dolce & Gabanna 0, Jo Malone 10. I will never see myself as a hot woman that can turn heads around, but I can definitely see myself as a serious, a little bit boring but still smart person.

Jo Malone Collection_5

But, in case you are one of those “Uhm, I’ll buy her a perfume” kind of people, here you have a couple of ideas from two very, very, very picky noses. This is our very own Jo Malone collection.

First, our latest purchase: the basil and neroli cologne. Well, this is STRONG in our standards but it’s very nice when used cautiously. This is not the perfume we will wear during a flight, for instance, but it smells fresh and a little bit manly and it’s amazing when layered over one of my personal favourites, the wood sage and sea salt cologne.

Jo Malone Collection_2
This scent is like a warm, huge knit in a crispy Autumn windy day by the sea.  It’s fresh, feels cosy and the sea salt notes make my nose itch in a nice way, if that makes sense. We reach for this pretty bottle mostly in Autumn / Winter season but it smells wonderful all year around.

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This limited edition fragrance, the leather and artemisia cologne, could be borrowed from the men section but we do love masculine scents, so it can’ be nicer for us. It does smell like leather and since the artemisia combines perfectly with sage, it layers wonderfully with the wood sage and sea salt perfume. It adds a little bit of freshness to the rich scent of the leather. When used on its own is comforting and spicy and rich, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s just so very nice.

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And, finally, the best fragrance, the one we can’t never get tired of, the I just need another bottle in case I finish the one I’m using scent, the queen of them all: the nectarine blossom and honey cologne. Light, fresh a little bit floral, not overly sweet, with just the right amount of spicy notes. Wonderful. Oh, boy we love this fragrance.

Jo Malone Collection_1
So, if you dare to choose a perfume as a present, here you have our favourite picks. But beware that the success ratio is usually very low. Just saying. In fact, forget family and friends. Pick one for yourself and choose a pair of socks for them…. or maybe opt for the only gift we  recommended last year?

DIY Advent crown

As we told you in our latest post, we are embracing German Advent to the max and one of the most important traditions is advent crowns or wreaths. Each house has its own and every Advent Sunday you are suppose to light one candle.  We love it because it’s a very special way of counting down the days left to visit our families, it’s beautiful and the light of the candles makes our living room extra cosy.

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For the past six years we’ve been buying our Advent crowns because, come the end of November, every vendor at the flowers market starts displaying a wonderful range of Advent crowns, and they are so beautiful that it’s’ difficult to choose one but impossible not to buy one! However, this year we decided to make our very own crown. And I don’t think we will ever buy one again! The process was so fun!

We spent more than an hour choosing the materials in different shops. Since making Advent crowns and wreaths is so popular here, there’s an overwhelming amount of materials to choose. The whole time I was super excited running from one shop to another (it’s Bremen, everything is pretty close, don’t think that I’m athletic), choosing this, no! that! ornament, changing my mind every ten seconds and making my wife miserable. But that’s basically me when it comes to anything Christmas related.

First we chose the colour palette because colour palettes are the beginning of every DIY. Always. It doesn’t matter if it¡s a whole wedding to plan or a small DIY for your kitchen. Choose the colours first. I have a whole Pinterest moodboard to prove it. First we thought about the classic white and red combination, but then we opted for a gorgeous dark green and golden palette. This was the perfect choice for our natural theme and allowed us to have sparkles and glitter because if you don’t have sparkles and glitter during the holidays, when?

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We wanted a base that we could use more than once, that’s why we didn’t use a real pine base, which it’s also very difficult to work with. And we want easy. Always. So we found that wood crown that included the bases for the candles and some small branches perfect to tie together the ornaments. We know that next year we can reuse it and change the ornaments and, you guessed it, the colour palette.

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Then we bought:
8 small Christmas ball ornaments
Fake greenery, with little cute pine cones
Green and golden string to string the Christmas ball ornaments together.
White ribbon with golden stars
Golden ornaments
And, of course, four candles.

Christmas Advent Crown_6

And the fun continued… We put on our favourite Christmas songs and our new Christmas sweaters and started working. Well, this DIY is so very easy that the word work might be an exaggeration.

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We arrange the 8 small Christmas ball ornaments with the help of the string first. Make small knots to secure them. If it doesn’t look very nice, don’t worry you can hide fix it later. Then we added the golden ornaments. We grouped some of them together and combined the ones that we had left with the small Christmas ball ornaments. Since they had flexible wire to adjust them it was ridiculously easy.

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The third step is where you hide fix the knots you made to secure the other ornaments. Take the greenery and nonchalantly place it to cover the things you don’t want other to see. In this case the small branches around the base where crucial to make the whole process easier. We just wrapped the greenery around the base and attached the ends to the base with tiny knots.

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Then we made three simple bows with the white and golden ribbon and placed them wherever we felt the crown looked a little empty. One tip for the bows: use a lighter to carefully and lightly burnt the ends of the ribbon. This way you will seal the ribbon and avoid fraying.

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Finally we put the candles in their bases and celebrated our Advent crown with hot chocolate! This is by no means a Martha Stewart’s worthy Advent crown, but it sure be warming our home during the next month. We will light the first candle on Sunday, you still have time to create your own!

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Cheesecake brownies or the celebration of cultural mixing

It’s almost our favourite time of the year in Germany: Advent. This means that the Christmas markets are opening, cities turn into a wonderful twinkling fairy tale and it’s time for lots and lots of baking. Before moving to Germany, Advent meant nothing to us, well maybe never ending masses and nuns telling kids that Christmas was not about presents and big meals, and Christmas preparations started a couple of weeks before Christmas Eve. However, the German Advent has stolen our hearts and become our favourite part of the German culture. Now the best part of Christmas is actually Advent and we start celebrating Christmas related everything as soon as November comes to an end.

Cheesecake Brownie_4

We are not the biggest fans of German culture, to be honest. We miss Spain, we love our background and we hardly incorporate any German customs into our everyday life. However, we have to admit that in Advent we embrace almost every German tradition and really enjoy this wonderful time of the year. Well, we put up the Christmas tree very early (we did it yesterday, actually) instead of waiting to December 24th, like Germans do. Mostly because we travel to Spain for Christmas so we have to make the most of our little tree while we are still at home. But other than that, we prepare our Advent crown, we visit the Christmas market as soon as the first light is on and we bake like crazy.

Cheesecake Brownie_1

And when we saw this easy recipe in David Lebovitz’ book Ready for dessert, which adapts two American classics and adds a French touch, we thought it could be the perfect recipe for our first Advent baking. Here’s to cultural mixing!

You will need:
85 g unsalted butter
115 g semisweet chocolate, chopped
130 g sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
70 g flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80 g semisweet chocolate chips
Cheesecake topping:
150 g cream cheese. The original recipe uses 250 g, but we used just 150 g because we forgot to buy more cream cheese (#reallife), but this made the brownie more chocolatey!
However we reduced the sugar as well to keep the proportions and we used approximately 50 g sugar, though the original recipe uses 75 g.
1 egg yolk
A little bit of vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 175ºC. Line a square brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it with butter.

Cheesecake Brownie_3

In a sauce pan, melt the  butter and add the chopped chocolate. Stir over low heat until you have a smooth consistency. Remove from the heat and stir the sugar and the two eggs. Add the cocoa powder, salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the chocolate chips. Pour the ix into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Now beat together all the cheesecake topping ingredients until smooth. Distribute the cream cheese mixture over the surface of the brownie butter. David Lebovitz has a lot of instructions to swirl the topping and he tells you to create big pockets of cheesecake. Our result was more like a tanned cow, but it was still delicious and it was very easy and quick. We wanted our brownie pronto!

Cheesecake Brownie_5

Bake about 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before lifting the parchment paper and remove the brownies. We are sure that you won’t be able to wait to dig in. We may have ignored our pretty set up for our brownie pictures and decided to eat them right away but #reallife again, I guess. We didn’t cut it perfectly, we don’t show you perfect squares placed delicately on gorgeous atrezzo… but we can assure you that this imperfect brownie was delicious and these imperfect pictures show that we couldn’t wait to eat it!

PS. If you want more brownies, here you have a lovely raspberry and pistachio recipe and a scrumptious salted caramel brownie recipe.

 

Get organized!

Lately we’ve been stuck at work for long, long, long hours, each of us working in different proyects and basically girlbossing the hell out of our jobs. That got me thinking that, while I always find lots of posts online about tips for freelance workers and cool bloggers, I hardly come across any corporate job/long hours at a sad desk/I can’t stand my coworkers organizational tips posts. And since we’ve been feeling on fire workwise, we’ve put together some clues, hints and suggestions for those of you who work in an office, because maybe yout job is not very flashy but it’s surely necessary for the correct development of our society.  Normal people, the world needs us. We matter.

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Get a useful, pragmatic, cut to the chase paper calendar or diary. Nowadays there are lots of beautiful, Instagram worthy calendars, but my advice is: buy one that is simple, has plenty of space to write and take notes and doesn’t distract you. The point of a good calendar is to keep you focused, not distract you with stickers, pompons and cute illustrations. That’s nice for your everyday life, hobbies and other fun things, but when it comes to work, be practical.

Avoid inbox nightmares: check and organize your inbox as soon as you arrive to the office. That’s a basic, I guess, but it really sets the mood for the day and helps you plan the work ahead. During the day and as a general rule, I answer immediately every mail that requires less that a minute of writing. It’s a way of getting rid of easy mails right away.

Friday is for boring tasks: we all have a particular task that we hate. Leave that for Friday. In my case, I have to deal with a particular irritating app on a regular basis so I leave everything that has to do with that for Friday mornings. I’m usually happier on Fridays and I know that my reward (the weekend) is just there, so it makes easier to put up with.

Get Organized_4

Keep track of unanswered mails: this is where your paper calendar comes in very handy. If I send an Email, let’s say on Monday, I will estimate a reasonable day when I should have an answer and write down in said day in my calendar: Have I had an answer from xxx? This way I can send a follow-up or make a call if necessary and I never forget what the mail was about or which information I still don’t have. If I send a follow-up, I will do the same and continue to do so until I get my answer. This is a great tip when you are searching funding sources, because the more persistent you are, the better chances you have of getting what you want. However, remeber to be extra polite and friendly!

Group together your tasks and manage your time accordingly. Nowadays we all handle different projects and tasks at the same time. One thing leads to another and once you start doing one task, another related chore will come up, and then another demand and so on. Let’s say you have to organize a book presentation: you have to get in touch with the author, the publisher, a library which will sell the books,  and organize travel, accommodation and press for your event. Well, choose your time to do a little bit of everything every day, but all together. Don’t send the mail to the author, then make a call about other project, then come back and talk to the publisher, then ask your boss about the general budget for next year and then continue with the press of your book presentation. Dedicate a realistic amount of time to one project each day. You will be more focused in that particular project and you will be less likely to forget important details.

Distinguish between what is urgent and what is important: we usually give more importance to what it’s urgent. It usually takes up most of our time and energy but beware! You might be leaving what is important behind. On a daily basis you can have some little bombs exploding in your desk, things that require your immediate attention. That’s normal. But bear in mind the bigger picture and plan ahead. Don’t forget to dedicate your time to what is important. Maybe the budget for next year, an important contract with a supplier, a long term agreement with a client… Maybe those things aren’t a red flag in your routine now, but they will be in the long term if you don’t pay them the right attention.

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Avoid Internet and social media: my personal phone is discreetly waiting for me in my purse while I work. I don’ check WhatsApp, social media and those other fun and tempting siren calls while I’m on my desk working. My family and friends know that if something important comes up, they have to call me. And actual, old fashioned phone call. This might sound obvious but specially during hard days at the office, you might feel the urge to reach for your phone! Hide it! besides, you don’t want to be the person your boss catches by surprise while scrolling though Instagram.

Ask: I’ve never been afraid to ask for help in my work space.  In my personal life that’s another thing, but when it comes to my job, if I don’t know, I ask. I don’t like to waste time. I ask, I get the information or help I need, I learn and I keep working. There’s always people with more expertise, colleagues that have dealt with that complicated partner, customers that can give you feedback… I have to admit that I’m always reluctant when it comes to that colleague that will throw that help in your face a few days later in front of the others. We all have that person around at one point. But you have to be the bigger person, put on a big (yet fake) smile and think that the end result is worth it.

Eat and drink something: don’t work while hungry or thirsty. Just don’t. Keep snacks on hand, drink water and get up to grab a coffee with a nice colleage. Use those moments to have a laugh or call the colleague mentioned in the paragraph above every name on the book. It’s not the healthiest thing to do, but hey, it’s part of the office fun and we all do it. But it’s wrong. But it feels good.

Divide your tasks in smaller ones and don’t let the amount of work get to you. If you work in an office, chances are that your main tasks include mails and phone calls. As I mentioned before here, simplifying is key. Instead of  the overwhelming “I have this huge responsability at work and therefore I have to make thousands of things”, try thinking: “ok, all I have to do is send a few Emails and make a few calls and then grab a cup of coffe if I have time”. See? You can do it! Easy peasy! Think about the small parts of the big picture and accomplish them one at a time.

Work in a clean space: you don’t have to put together a Pinterest worthy desk with lots of copper details, just try to avoid clutter and thousands of papers on your desk. Clean space, clean mind. Is that easy.

Finally, review your calendar for the next day before leaving. Write down the important things to do, so that they don’t get lost among the urgent ones, take notes of the day and check if you have any meeting the next day. And remember, once you leave, you leave. Don’t bring work home. I did it for a very long time and it just kept my anxiety levels over the top. Remember that your work is important but your happiness is even more important. Keep that in mind and put things in perspective. If you are a mess one day, the next one will be better!

PS. In case you are wondering, jacket is JCrew, bracelet is Tiffany & Co , nail polish is Essie’s Fishnet Stockings and calendar is a Bullet Journal. And if you have read this far: Thank you!!!

Copenhagen: our 10 favourites

Now that we are putting the finishing touches in our next trip, here you have the last post about our recent stay in Copenhagen. These are the 10 things that we recommend every time someone asks about tips on this gorgeous city. Our musts. Our favourites.

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1. Tea and/or coffee at Cafe Norden. We’ve mentioned this gorgeous café several times and that’s because it’s cosy, cosmopolitan and has a gorgeous understated fashionable clientele that makes it perfect to people watch. Besides, their coffee, ginger and lemon tea and chai latte are delicious. And their cinnamon buns won our personal “best cinnamon bun in CPH” contest. The location is perfect, central and just in front of the luxurious department store Illum.

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2. Walk by the water: whether the weather is sunny and bright or grey and foggy, a walk along the water is mandatory. There’s nothing as relaxing as a slow walk along the canals and the inner bay. We’ve been going to CPH frequently for the past 5 years and this area has improved a lot, offering lots of leisure, gastronomic and cultural possibilities.

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3. Breakfast at Atelier September: there’s simply no best place in town for a quiet, slow-paced breakfast. It’s been our favourite since 2015, you can read our review here. The atmosphere is fantastic. It has the coolest clientele but you will always feel welcome and comfortable. It’s simply a happy place.

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4. Bakery hopping: if you follow us on Instagram, you’d follow along our very “best cinnamon bun in CPH” contest, which winner we’ve mentioned at the top of this post. If you visit CPH you have to forget about all those carbs nonsenses and try every pastry that comes along.

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5. Chase façades: most of Copenhagen façades are colourful in a subtle and adorable way. If you love photography chances are that you can’t put your camera away. But if you just appreciate beauty you won’t be able to look down. Get lost in all the alleys because you will find the most beautiful urban landscapes. Beware of the bikes, though!

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6. Geist: our favourite restaurant in the world. It’s always surprising, delicious and as soon as we cross its door it puts us in a good mood. Their work with vegetables is outstanding and they serve our favourite dessert,which mixes wasabi with toffee and it’s the most delicious dessert we’ve ever eaten. Read our review here.

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7. Parks and gardens: our two favourite parks in the city to take a deep breath and forget stress and problems are the Rosenborg castle gardens and the Library gardens. The first one is big and open and full of families and children and people running but still it’s calm and feels like a fairy tale. The second one is secluded and hidden in the heart of the city and maybe you come across the Royal family while enjoying this little gem of garden. Yes, that happened to us!

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8. Get inspired by the beautiful, Nordic interiors: everywhere you go, shops, restaurants, markets not to mention museums and cultural centres, you will be overwhelmed by the gorgeous interiors and minimalistic yet special decor. Everything looks picture perfect, cosy and inviting. It’s impossible not to get inspired to play with decor when you go back home.

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9. Christianhavn: this area full of small islands and charming canals has plenty of life but it also feels quiet at the same time. Home to the Copenhagen Street Food Market and the Copenhagen Opera House, Christianhavn hosts one of our favourite shops in CPH: the Ganni outlet!!! ;)

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10. Coffee: Copenhagen is the city where we enjoy the best coffee. Our favourite place has to be Kent Kaffe Laboratorium, but the coffee culture is so important and well established here that you can find a pretty nice cup of jo everywhere you go. Just grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the moment.

Copenhagen is a city that needs to be savoured in small, lazy sips!

Liquid lipsticks for Autumn

Lipstick is the one piece of makeup that symbolizes aging for me. You can get away with everything else but, lipstick? The bastard ends up all over your face thanks to those little lines around your mouth and makes you look like the joker on a bad day. But at the same time, the older you get, the more you need a little bit of lipstick to cheer up your face.

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In my mind aging is really connected to lipstick. When I was a teenager I was all about eye shadows (and I still am, you just have to see my eye shadow palette collection…) but I wouldn’t care for lipstick that much. I only wanted to match my eye shadow to my clothes (oh, thank God there was no social media back then!) But my nonna, my mum and my great aunt were all about lipstick. My nonna would wear red lipstick every single day, my mum has always been a fan of pink shades and my aunt was a visionary and reached for those warm, sticky nudes before the Kardashians were even born. Sometimes they  would ask me: do you want to try a little bit of this or this lipstick? And I would react all shocked: lipstick? No! I have my green eye shadow and fierce winged eyeliner thank you very much. Just a little bit of clear gloss for me. K, Bye!

In my twenties I shared an apartment with a girl that used to wear unbelievably huge amounts of foundation and mascara but no lipstick at all. And that’s when I realized that if you don’t wear lipstick your face just looks half done and plain beige and boring. So I started using lipstick on a daily basis, being red my shade of choice (that was my nonna’s influence, of course). So as the years went by, my lipstick collection grew. And lately, in a fun conversation with a reader about makeup, we came to the conclusion that it comes a time in your life when without lipstick you look like you’ve just had some kind of stomach bug the night before.

And when my wife stated developing a taste for liquid lipsticks, she became my enabler. As if I needed much convincing when it comes to makeup…  Since then, we have put together a nice collection of liquid lipsticks which we share and treasure joyfully.

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Our collection is growing this Autumn thanks to the gorgeous amount of deep dusty pinks, soft peachy browns and berries that we just can’t stop purchasing. And all of them in liquid format. Why you ask? Because it’s the only texture that my wife stands and because it’s the only lipstick that stays put and doesn’t make me look like Mona ‘Hatchet-Face’ Malnorowski in Cry Baby. If you haven’t seen that film you are probably very young and you are missing out.

These are our very favorite liquid lipsticks this season. All of them look amazing with no- makeup makeup, with deep smoky eyes, with neutral shades, with everything basically. If you have a small budget, the NYX soft matte lip creams are excellent, a great value for money and quite comfortable to wear. We swear by the shades Stockholm, Antwerp and Sao Paolo, but there are 34 shades, so it’s impossible not to find a shade you love.

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Then we have the classic Sephora lip stains. While I adore the bright red of the collection, these two shades, number 5 and 41, are gorgeous, wearable and really longlasting. And talking abou longevity, we are the living proof that every person is different. While liquid lipsticks endure an eternity on my wife’s lips, they don’t last a cup of coffee on me. I basically eat every lipstick I use. So sometimes it’s not the lipstick, it’s you. But in general, the Sephora lip stains are fantastic.

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And talking about longevity, the Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick is bullet proof. And we mean it. Waterproof makeup remover resistant. It’s hardcore. But it looks gorgeous and the applicator is fantastic. So if you apply it carefully and you use an oil based makeup remover, you’ll be fine. This shade is called Voyager and it’s a berry stravaganza!

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And we’ve saved the best for last our favourites, the best liquid lipsticks in terms of texture, longevity, colour, application… they are little tubes of perfection. And one of them is not matte! The Huda beauty lip strobe in Saucey could be one of our favourite liquid lipsticks ever. It is quite shiny but you can matify it a little bit with a tissue after applying an it will turn your lips into amazing, juicy, soft candy. Depending on the light it looks pink, peach or even a little bit red. It’s simply gorgeous, it feels like velvet and the applicator is THE BEST to avoid the aforementioned Mona ‘Hatchet-Face’ Malnorowski in Cry Baby effect.

And finally Kate von D’s Doble dare: the most sophisticated longlasting liquid lipstick in a subdued peachy pink shade. It’s the perfect your lips but better shade. It was an impromtu purchase in Copenhagen and it’s become one of our favourites. Everytime I wear it I think about Kate Winslet, I don’t know why. It seems a shade she would wear and enjoy. Classic, subtle and natural.

So here you have our recommendations for luscious, gorgeous lips this Autumn in spite of your age. Because one of the biggest joys of life is changing, growing and trying new makeup things! Besides, every wise woman knows that a little bit of lipstick can make you feel much, much better. I guess that’s why my nonna always wore red lipstick…

Lamb koftas with cauliflower rice salad

Today we had another post planned but, to be honest, we got caught up in the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy this weekend and when we tried to take the pictures we had planned for today there wasn’t enough light. So… here you have the recipe that we had prepared for Thursday. A recipe that is perfect for people who love TV marathons, crawling up in the sofa and procrastination. Sometimes you just need a quick fix and just as this post has sorted out today’s publication, this recipe can sort out your dinners or lunches when you don’t have a lot of time to cook but you still want something delicious and good for you.

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In fact this is a mix of two recipes we found in the book Chef on a diet. Fear not, the book has nothing to do with bland, boiled vegetables and boring, colourless food. Quite the opposite. It has lots of delicious, spicy, mouth-watering food. And every recipe in the book is great for you if, like us, you spend a fair amount of time reading or watching TV shows in the sofa and you love eating out. You have to find the balance in order to avoid becoming a kofta – shaped couch potato.

For the cauliflower salad you will need:
1/2 cauliflower
A handful of pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice (or lime if you are feeling fancy)
2 spring onions, sliced

Discard the hard core and stalks from the cauliflower. Grind the rest in a food processor until it looks like rice. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and cook for five minutes stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let it cool down. Finally mix the pomegranate seeds, lemon juice and spring onion into the cauliflower rice.  There you have your salad.

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Now onto the lamb koftas. You will need:
250 g lamb mince
15 g pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Shape into little balls, cover and refrigerate for a few minutes. Just before eating , heat up a griddle pan over a high heat and grill the koftas until golden brown… or slightly burnt as we like them. This will take about 12 minutes.

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Serve everything together and enjoy! The pomegranate seeds add a lovely crunchy, slightly acid touch to the cauliflower rice. Pomegranates are on season now so this is a great way of incorporating them into your menu.

We promise we will keep up with our schedule from now on. But excuse us, we have five episodes left of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s better to binge watch them now and get rid of them as soon as possible, right?

 

Chocolate, orange and olive oil cake

Somehow Winter has arrived. Yes, I know there’s a lot of Autumn left but the last few days have felt like Winter. Temperatures have dropped, the terrible North Sea wind is back making our ears and noses little ice blocks and our fire place is full with candles again. So all we can do is bundle up and enjoy warm cups of coffee with a piece of cake. It sounds boring and oh so cliché but the comfort that a cup of coffee and a piece of cake bring in these long, dark afternoons is exactly what makes this season bearable.

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These days we miss Spain so very much, but we also like to make the most of the characteristic cosy German atmosphere, hence the candles in the fire place and the coffee and cake in the afternoon. In this cake, our take on a recipe we found in this book, we’ve used the best of both worlds: extra virgin olive oil and oranges from Spain and dark chocolate made in Bremen.

You will need:
250 g rice flour (you can use all purpose flour but we try to avoid gluten and for some reason I think that rice flour makes cakes spongier)
350 g sugar (we used coconut sugar, but again, you can use your average sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
300 ml extra virgin olive oil
355 ml milk
3 eggs
60 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
170g dark chocolate, melted

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Chocolate, Orange and Olive Oil cake_2

Preheat the oven to 175º and line a 23 cm cake pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl mix the olive oil, milk, eggs and orange juice. Here we wanted to give you a tip: when using extra virgin olive oil for baking, make sure you have the Arbequina variety. It’s sweeter and softer and, therefore, more appropriate for desserts and sweet baked goods.

Back to the recipe, combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients and add the melted chocolate. Stir well until you have a smooth dough.

Pour the dough into the prepared pan and bake for one hour. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool for half an hour. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely.

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The result is a very moist, spongy and not overly sweet cake,  really fulfilling and comforting that pairs perfectly with a strong coffee. It can’t be easier to prepare and it’s as simple as it looks. A good old cake that will warm your soul these cold, windy afternoons.

A walk in Vesterbro

We shared our thoughts about Vesterbro, the hippest area of Copenhagen, a couple of years ago after our first visit. Last month, during our latest stay in Copenhagen, we came back and revisit this cool district and discover new favourites. Vesterbro is full of cafes and restaurants that are a magnet for those in search of the perfect Instagram snap, but it also oozes local authenticity.

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Vesterbro is a strange mixture. One the one side you have those typical bad neighbourhood vibes, even more the further you walk away from the city center, but on the other side you can visit some of the most cosmopolitan spots in Copenhagen. One of them is Værnedamsvej, a narrow side street that hosts cool shops like Aesop or Samsoe & Samsoe (check their cashmere sweaters!), boutique bakeries, wine shops and one of the most famous cafés in Copenhagen: Granola. Of course this was our first stop. A nice cup of coffee warmed our hands on that beautiful, crisp Autumn day. The vintage atmosphere is beautiful, the gorgeous light and intellectual clientele makes it a place to see and be seen.

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Granola’s breakfast are very famous and one of their avocado toasts could be the perfect start to explore the side streets of Vesterbro, always packed of surprises.  With a full stomach, you can walk along Vesterbrogade and soak up the atmosphere of the neighbourhood.

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Before you get to Frederiksberg, turn left and head to the Boulevards. This quiet, residential area is perfect for Autumn walks and invites nice conversations and a little bit of daydreaming. You can find gorgeous families enjoying the sunshine, little cafés in the intersections and small design businesses. The majestic buildings and beautiful avenue, that somehow reminded us of a relaxed Parisian area, took us to a quite different area, the meatpacking district.

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The white and blue buildings used to be home to Copenhagen’s meat industry businesses, hence the name, and now host lots of street food inspired restaurants. This could be the perfect stop to refuel after the long walk. A delicious organic pizza at Mother or a couple of homemade tacos at Hija de Sánchez are mandatory.

A nice walk has to start with warm, encouraging coffee, it has to be accompanied by mindful conversations and little discoveries and has to end with the best reward: great food.  We can assure you that a walk in Versterbro inevitably ticks all the boxes.

 

Gasoline Grill, Copenhagen

This is arguably the best burger we’ve ever had. And we bought it in an old petrol station.

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During our recent stay in Copenhagen we discovered THE BEST burger place that had been hidden in plain sight the whole time. Every time we visit Copenhagen we choose hotels or rent apartments in the same area, between Nyhavn and Kings Garden. This neighbourhood is fantastic because we can walk to almost every sight, we can have breakfast at Atelier September or dinner at Geist, it’s nice and quiet but still lively… In short, it’s perfect. One day, having lunch at Sticks and Sushi, which happens to be one of our favourites and it’s also located in the area, we spotted a long queue of people waiting to pick up burgers at a tiny burger joint inside an old petrol station. We were shocked. We had seen the place lots of times but we never thought about trying it.  A short google search afterwards and we found out that Gasoline Grill was named one of the best burger joints in the world by US media group Bloomberg.

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Guess where we had lunch the following day? We picked up two cheeseburgers, fries and their famous gasoline sauce and run headed home to try them. They have a couple of benches to eat your burger there but since the weather was horrible, our warm, lovely, beautiful Airbnb was a better option. Besides, in the apartment we could eat and lick our fingers and be ugly in peace.

We aren’t going to use pretentious words to describe a burger, so just believe us when we say that this could be the best burger in history. The bun was soft and sweet, the meat juicy and delicious (it’s organic and house ground every day), the sauce was a tad spicy but also had an amazing burnt taste to it… Oh. My. Word. It was unbelievably good. Simple and delicious.

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The fries were also spectacular. Not greasy at all, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside… Perfect. At first we thought that two portions of fries could probably be too much. AHAHAHAHA!!! We would have eaten two more. Each.  Of course.

The menu is tiny, there are only 4 burgers to choose from, but you don’t need more really. We were curious about the butter burger, in which a big dollop of butter replaces the cheese. But, well, next time.

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They open every day at 11 until they sold out, so if you happen to visit Copenhagen don’t miss the best burger you’ll ever have!