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Back to the gym. How to.

If last week we spoke about improving our cooking and eating habits because we are in September hence we are all about new resolutions, this week we have to speak about going back to the gym. Of course. There are two types of resolutions: food related and fitness related, right? In fact we did went back to the gym last August, or more accurately we changed gyms. We were so eager to have our new resolutions up and running that we started in August. Wow.

We now go to a fancy schmancy gym and we have a trainer and we kind of like it. But I still go to the gym with the oldest t-shirt and the most unflattering pants you will ever see because I might go to the gym twice a week and maybe, just maybe, I might enjoy it but there are things that aren’t going to change and me wearing the ugliest, comfiest clothes to the gym is one of them. So, how did I get motivated? Obviously the buy cute gym clothes argument doesn’t work for me.

Well, it was the money. As simple and materialistic as that. Until now I always went for the cheapest option. Those gym chains that offer classes with online instructors and frequented by a very young public who wears neon as if their lives depend on it. Plus there is the Amnesia Ibiza appropriate soundtrack, which, let’s be honest, I’m too old for. Since I hate sports, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on them. What was the point?

Well I was wrong! You have to spend money to have a better experience and reduce the hate. My fitness journey has been… well, challenging. From spinning to yoga, which I still love, without forgetting the Kayla Itsines BBG, which I still have nightmares with, I’ve tried almost everything. But I didn’t want to invest my money on it. And let me tell you, having a nice trainer who understands nutrition and thyroid problems and who prepares excercises for you that suit your (nonexistent) fitness level is life changing. So here’s my advice to my fellow couch potatoes: invest a little bit and you will be slightly excited for your gym sessions. And I say slightly because I’m still pro Netflix and chill over working out anytime. Instead of cute leggings and marble printed tops, spend your money on a fitness proffesional. Besides, once the invoice hits your bank account, you will have an extra of motivation. If only because you will sweat just by seeing the bill. But it will be worth it. I promise. That rumour about feeling better after a good gym session happens to be a real thing! Which of course I didn’t believe it until now. Am I turning into that person I used to hate who looks forward to working out? I don’t know but I’m trying Pilates this evening.

 

Meal prep for beginners

Everyone knows September is the real new year. Maybe it’s the child in us that never ceases to get excited / slightly depressed before going back to school and the new beginnings that September implies. In any case, we feel excited /slightly depressed about the new season. Our main resolution this year is keeping our meal prep game strong because our days are going to be packed this Autumn and who doesn’t hate that moment when you open the fridge every night and think: what can we eat? Since we’ve been meal prepping during years we thought about sharing our main tips in case you want to get your fridge and pantry organized and enjoy delicious meals every day.

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Get started:

Choose about twenty recipes that you have already prepared and liked. It’s the moment to go back to your favourite cookbooks or food blogs! Leave new recipes for lazy Sundays, when it comes to meal prep you want things that you know you like. Try to choose recipes that are based on seasonal produce, this way, shopping will be easier and the food will be tastier.

Organization is key:

Write a weekly calendar and start choosing among those recipes your lunches and dinners for the week. Bear in mind which ingredients you will need so that you can make the most of them. For instance, if we prepare a cauliflower rice on Monday and we know we will be having half cauliflower to spare, we would choose a cauliflower wok for another mid week lunch or a cauliflower pizza for one of the following nights.

List yor ingredients before going to the supermarket. If you are a beginner, make two lists: one with the basics and non perishables that you will always need like spices, rice, pasta, oils or canned good and another list including the fresh ingredients you will need for the week. Once you get the hang of this, you will add to that second weekly list some of those basics and non perishables when you need to replace them. And don’t forget to replace them! A well-stocked pantry will help you in the long term!

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Buy what you need:

Divide your weekly grocery shopping in two days. The point of meal prepping is eating better and, for us, that includes lots of fresh produce. That’s why we recommend shopping two times a week, so that ingredients are always fresh and you avoid spoiled food in your fridge or pantry. For us, it’s usually Friday and Wednesday. On Friday we choose our menu for the upcoming week and then we buy the main ingredients for all the meals that we can prep during the weekend. Normally we cook during the weekend and sort everything out until Wednesday. Then, on Wednesday we buy the fruits and vegetables that we will need for the rest of the week until Friday night and cook accordingly.  Choose a schedule that works for you!

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Let’s prep!

Freeze. Even though nothing beats a good freshly made meal, if you work full time, try to work out, attend classes and have a busy life (I can’t imagine what having kids would add to that schedule!) try to prepare a few meals during the weekend to freeze, so that you just have to come back home, put on your pjs, take your lunch box out of the freezer… and your meal for the next day would be ready! Please bear in mind that you can’t freeze already frozen produce, so buy your proteins fresh, cook them and then freeze them. Some of our favourite recipes to freeze are this beef and bacon stew  or this chicken stir fry .

Another great idea is cooking food that lasts well in the fridge, like this slow roasted pork shoulder, which will sort out lots of meals for you! It makes a killer leftover sandwich, for instance. Think about veggie creams and soups that you can prepare in bulk during the weekend and freeze too.

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On a daily basis:

Make dinners easy. We prefer freezing our lunches al desko and prepare our dinners on the day. However, we choose the easiest recipes with just a bunch ingredients for our dinners. While we always choose veggies and protein lunches, very healthy and very adult appropriate, we love our dinners fun and kind of naughty, but still healthy. It’s our way of rewarding ourselves after a long day. However, we do prepare our “fast food”, so that it has the best ingredients that are actually good for us. Some examples are this red cabbage saladthese quesadillas, these salmon and egg wraps, these spicy chicken burgers or the easiest hummus. Our tip then would be: choose delicious, fun, quick recipes for your week dinners.

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Little extras:

Prepare some snacks and extras to cheer up your week. Instead of grabbing a chocolate bar or a greasy bag of crisps from the vending machine, bake your own treats and take them with you. It will be better for your health. We tend to bake one of these recipes on Sundays, so our coffee breaks at work during the week are more interesting: coconut and chocolate bars, spicy roasted chickpeas, almond bites or rasperry and pistacchio brownies.

And repeat! Try to stick to the schedule and you will soon notice the benefits of meal prepping. On the one hand, your life will be easier and more organized and, on the other hand, your health will thank you. It’s a win-win!

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Harbour coffee

Even though we enjoy terrible weather during the whole year, the start of this new seasons makes us longing for proper cold mornings and rainy afternoons in little cafés. Cue Harbour Coffee.

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The older we get, the more we love coffee. And since we live in one of the European capitals of coffee (Did you know that decaf coffee was invented in Bremen?) you might think we’ve drunk the most amazing coffee during the past six years. But the truth is that we’ve suffered terrible cups of dirty water called coffee. However, there’s a new and improved food and coffee scene in Bremen and one of our favourite new places is this tiny cafe, Harbour coffee.

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Located in a side street where you can find lots of interior design shops (a stop in HAY after coffee is a must), this black and white, minimal, maritime inspired, cute cafe has been a surprise for all of us who love a great cup of coffee. The flat white is the best in town and the latte macchiato, a German favourite, feels like a warm socks after a rainy day out. They also serve fantastic cinnamon buns with sweet cheese frosting, flaky croissants and bio ice cream. This is the cool area of Bremen, so of course there has to be a “bio” somewhere. Cool Germans live for their “bio” produce/living/I swear I’ve seen “bio” bikes.

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But we have to admit that they had us at horchata. Yes, they serve horchata too! Our childhood Summer drink of choice is now available in cold, wet, windy Bremen. You won’t see us horchata in hand in the next months, but we sure will be looking for shelter in this pretty cafe this Autumn!

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And now, excuse us, we are going to grab our second cup of jo of the day…

Everyday jewellery

There are a few things that help me start the day in a better mood: 1. Having a nice breakfast with my other half. Nothing fancy, just fruit, some protein and a good cup of coffee while we check the news online and we speak about our days and whatnot. 2. Doing my makeup. You know that’s my meditation. 3. Choosing a tiny accesory that gives a small but pretty twist to my comfortable, casual look of the day.  4. Bumping into an old man on my way to work who always wishes me good morning with a warm, happy smile. While I will talk about point number 3 today, point number 4 is one of the best things that has happened to me since I moved to Germany. That gentleman is a definitely a highlight of my life in Bremen.

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But back to accessories. During my university years I would wear earrings every day, they were my thing. Then I went crazy for big, JCrew inspired statement necklaces. And when I moved to Germany I just stopped wearing accessories at all. It was too cold and the scarf, beanie and huge coat didn’t work well with accessories. They made me uncomfortable. And I don’t do uncomfortable.  But during the last couple of years I’ve gotten my accessory mojo back and even though I don’t wear them literally every day (mostly because I forget to put them on in the morning. The same thing happens with perfume) I wear them most days and I enjoy doing so.

I usually wear small, subtle earrings. You can’t go wrong with Monica Vinader and since I got those beautiful rose gold and amazonite pair I’ve been wearing them constantly. They were a very special brithday present.

I also love my minimal and structured AB Handmade Diamond Hoop Gold earrings. They go with everything and I bought them as a result of the first collaboration of the blog, so they are special in their own way.

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A couple of years ago we were strolling around Hamburg and we found that lovely dainty combo of silver earrings and ring by COS . It was an improptu purchase that has turned into one of my favourites. In fact, that’s one of the only rings I wear on a daily basis.

But talking about comfortable, small pieces that you can wear even to the gym, those pretty, tiny Oliver Bonas earrings are simply perfect. In fact, Oliver Bonas has a great selection of understated jewellery, check some nice ideas here. They were a souvenir from our amazing Edinburgh getaway last Autumn.

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My vanity has a couple of pieces that are not earrings, though now that I’m writing this post it I guess I might be going back in that university earring thing period… Oh well.  At least now they are not made of plastic! We’ve talked about Apodemia before, but we can’t get enough of its beautiful, tasteful pieces. Those bracelets are one of our favourite possesions since we bought them for each other. A year later, in a recent trip to Spain my wife bought me that tiny ring. I love some much that I even instagrammed it. She knew I loved it the fist time we visited the shop so she got it for me. Insert heart eyed emoji.

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And lastly, two pieces that mean a lot because both are presents from my mum. The necklace was a surprise. She knew that I liked it and she got it for me one day, just because. It’s from Aristrocrazy, a Spanish brand that was the coolest a couple of years ago. Now it’s just another jewellery brand, but when it came out, it was really innovative.

And finally, my only statement earrings. The ones that I wear when I dress up. I’ve had them for years, seven to be exact. My mum gave them to my for my honeymoon. We were going to the Amalfi Coast and Capri and she thought these earrings were the only accessory I needed. My grandmother bought them in Capri as a present for my mum when she was 17. And my heart explodes every time I think about my nonna choosing these earrings for her daughter.

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And that’s my jewellery collection. Small but very special. Mostly presents from the women in my life. Even though I’m tempted to but anything small that shines (there are so many nice pieces out there!) I’m very happy keeping my collection edited, meaningful and, mostly, wearable. Because, who hasn’t been afraid of loosing a very expensive family piece? I know I don’t like to wear those because I get anxious! I prefer to look at those pieces, admire them, listen to the stories that come with them…but wear the most casual ones that tell my story. They still make my days feel special, but they are comfortable, practical and fit in my lifestyle. I’m a sweater and jeans kind of woman that loves to walk to the office so that I can bump into that old man who wishes me good morning with a smile. For me it’s all about the little things… also in the jewellery department!

Sautéed green beans with potatoes and mushrooms

This is a simple recipe. It’s nothing fancy, nothing innovative… just a traditional, easy, good old dish that tastes delicious and goes perfectly with meat and fish mains. The inspiration for this recipe comes from the crazy transitional weather that we are suffering lately and this dish represents those Summer vibes, with the green beans and the young potatoes, but has an Autumn feeling, with the earthy, warm mushroom flavour. In fact, mushroom season is just around the corner and we are excited about it. But before diving into the world of mushroom soups, creams and richer preparations, we used the first mushrooms that we found in the market to prepare this lighter dish, that we like to serve with a grilled sirloin steak for a nice Sunday lunch. Simple but effective.

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You will need:
200 g green beans, ends trimmed
A few small potatoes, peeled and sliced
200 g mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley

First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. You can add salt, but we try to avoid it. Add the beans and and the potatoes and cook for 8 minutes.
In the meantime, heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Then, add the sweet paprika and stir well so that it doesn’t get burnt. Immediately after,  add the mushrooms and parsley and sauté for a few minutes.

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Finally add the green beans and potatoes to the pan, carefully stirring every now and then. Season with pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve while it’s still hot.

You can prepare this recipe in a wok to reduce the cooking time but a simple non-stick pan will do as well. This is the kind of recipe that we like to prepare weekly. It’s full of good things for you, it’s fulfilling and you just need half and hour to make it.

Now, who is excited for Autumn produce? We have to admit that we are not ready yet, but we are so looking forward for a nice, hearty mushroom soup! And Brussels sprouts anything!

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PS: Looking for more plant based recipes? Check this Spring vegetables salad, our delicious hummus recipe, this Brussels sprouts salad and the most amazing squash soup with an Asian twist.

The T-shirt edit

Before Summer ends, and here in Germany it’s supposed to end today, we wanted to dedicate a post to our T-shirts.  One would think that as years go by our wardrobes would change into sophisticated collections of suits, heels and pencil skirts. But nope, we still go crazy for a nice, comfortable, soft T-shirt.

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There’s something about the comfort, the effortless look and the cuteness of a T-shirt that made us wear them again and again. You can say they are a staple in our wardrobe together with blue shirts and jeans. We usually pair them with blazers for an upgraded T-shirt look and this Summer I’ve been wearing tees with long or midi skirts on repeat. That combo has made me feel a little cool, even more when combined with sneakers. Anyone else stalking Jeanne Damas’ Instagram this Summer?  Well, wearing cute T-shirts + flower printed skirts has been my way of recreating some of her looks. The constant rain has made espadrilles impossible, but white sneakers were a nice substitute. At least in my mind. But the truth is that I wore it because the result was absolutely comfortable and that’s the only rule in my wardrobe. If it’s not comfortable… it’s not for me.

The white “Les vacances” tee that you can see pictured above is one of my latest purchases. I bought it in July and it was my way of following the “French words on a white T-shirt” trend without making it obvious. Did I succeed? I don’t know but I find it really cute and the quality of the fabric is outstanding. It’s from & Other Stories. If you are interested in buying it, size up!

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And while browsing & Other Stories website I came across this navy little number which came home as well. You can see that I’ve broken my one month /one piece rule. Oh well, the update of that post is going to make you laugh. I have scheduled it for November. It’s going to make me want to cry instead because it will show my absolute lack of willpower, but hey,  we are always honest here. And I’m human. And I love navy and the T-shirt is really cute. I don’t find it in the website any more so I guess it was a limited edition or something and it totally justifies the purchase.

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Do you remember this one? It appeared in this Summer capsule wardrobe. In one of every two pictures of our days in London, Ibiza and Mallorca, she is wearing it so… total success! Fantastic when paired with shorts it’s going to be a great transition piece with black jeans, boots and a black blazer. Carine Roitfeld moodboard mode on. As you can see, lots of French inspiration lately… I’m going back to French lessons on Monday so this must be my way of studying French.

And now, let’s go with our basics. Two classic versions that are always in our wardrobe drawers: The Jacksonville T-shirt from American Vintage and the striped 3/4 sleeve T-shirts from COS.

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We discovered the American Vintage Jacksonville T-shirts in Paris (Oh, France again… mais oui!) and it’s been our absolute favourite since then. We have in it white and black and it’s one of those pieces that we wear until it has holes in it. And then we buy it again. You won’t find a softest fabric and the cut is unbelievably flattering, loose in the waist/hip area and more fitted in the shoulders and chest.

And what can we say about the COS tees? We have them in every possible colour and they are so versatile and comfortable that, again, when they get old, we buy new ones. And the price tag is ridiculous.  They prove that basics are the best pieces.

So as the end of Summer approaches, we are trying to make the most of our Summer wardrobe. There are plenty of things we planned for the season that we haven’t made: update our terrace (it will be ready for Autumn so that we can’t use it. That’s so us), a day trip to Lüneburg (one day we’ll have to tell you the story of how fate plays with us everytime we plan a visit to this town) or wear sandals at least once. None of those things has happened but hey, fingers crossed for an Indian Summer in September!

PS: check the links to these T-shirts in our shop!

Yellow bird coffee

We love breakfasts and since we moved to Bremen, finding the best breakfast in town has been one of our hobbies. Honestly, there’s not much you can do in this little town, but the breakfast scene is getting quite good.  In fact, breakfast in Germany is really special. Maybe the terrible weather is the reason why so many people get together for a nice breakfast out instead of dinner but meeting for breakfast is really popular and most restaurants, bakeries and cafés offer different options and usually booking a table is necessary.

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We discovered The Yellow Bird coffee, a hipster style, Instagrammable goldmine café at the beginning of the Summer and we’ve been going back almost every weekend. The coffee is spectacular, the atmosphere is lovely and the breakfast options are healthy-ish and absolutely delicious. Plus, we finally have avocado on toast in Bremen!! Yes, I know, that’s so 2015 but hey, the trend just arrived to Bremen.

We doubted about sharing this place in the blog for a while, but we realized that if we have found it in London or Copenhagen we would have written a post about it a long time ago. So the only thing that was holding us back was its location, our little, provincial Bremen. However, lately a new bunch of cool, nice, hidden gem kind of places have been opening in the city and we’ve been enjoying the process of discovering them, so we might as well share it here! The core of our slow-paced philosophy is enjoying our life as simple as it is. So we live in Bremen, then we are going to share more about it.

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The Yellow Bird coffe is located in Neustadt, the “new town”. This area of Bremen has a very nice main street with nice restaurants, cafes and a good amount of gourmet shops. And is in this street where you will find The Yellow Bird. The decor is absolutely trendy and could be the role model for a lot of Pinterest boards: wooden tables, white chairs, delicate flower or herbs arrangements in every table, lots of tiny details and a counter full of bio, eco, cool product for sale: from homemade Nutella to craft beer. And absolutely everything comes in a picture perfect  package.

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The atmosphere is quite laid back, quiet and very nice, perfect for those who need a moment before they have had their first cup of coffee. The clientele is a mix of little groups of young mothers with perfect eyebrows, flawless manicures and adorable chubby blonde babies, cute couples, groups of friends with great haircuts (something quite strange in Germany, to be honest) and the odd Spanish girls (that’s us and since we are becoming regulars I thought I would include us in the description).  The staff is nice and very eco / bio / modern Deutsch.

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But let’s focus on what’s important: the food and the coffee. We usually order the avocado toast with spinach and scrambled eggs, which are actually a sort of very thin omelette but it’s absolutely delicious. It’s a little bit spicy, the bread is incredible and has the most crunchy crust… we always want a little bit more when the plate is empty. That’s why we always order a side of their granola to share, which is our favourite granola in the world and always makes us want to order one each (but we restrain ourselves because food comas are not nice). They also offer great looking smoothies and you can come for a simple, light lunch. We stick to breakfast but, who knows? Maybe one day we will change our beloved Saturday routine (power breakfast + farmers market + afternoon in the sofa) and come for lunch instead.

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The coffee has that sweet, warm, almond aftertaste that we love about coffee in Copenhagen. Really, really nice. And it’s not only the coffee that reminds us of Copenhagen. This place is so cool and the food is so nice, that it could be easily be mistaken for one of those independent, laid back coffee shops in the wonderful capital of Denmark.

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After six years in Bremen we love how the city is changing and opening up to the world without losing its particular character. Bremen is still Bremen (angry cyclists, terrible weather, weird people complaining because Zara opened here and, therefore, the city is losing its personality) but at least we have a decent avocado toast to post on Instagram while you hear locals complaining about globalisation and eating the same avocado toast and posting the same picture on Instagram. Oh, globalisation… We love to hate you.

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Feeling beautiful, feeling fine

I have to admit that during most of my life I’ve been ashamed of being a beauty addict. Of course I know that watching Lisa Eldridge’s makeup tutorials and getting excited about the latest Charlotte Tilbury lipstick doesn’t make me forget all the books that I’ve read, all my working experience and, under no circumstances, erases any neuron of my brain. But forgive me, I doubt about myself and feel stupid if I get passionate about a new eyeshadow palette or a friend laughs at my obsession with smooth hair. What can I say? Maybe I’m stupid, maybe I’ve been influenced by a society that encourages women to be ultra girly/ feminine only to make fun of them for it afterwards. Notice that just as I was writing this I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking whether in this context the words feminine and girly could be understood as an insult/offensive/ chauvinist. Or if by saying feminine here I’m implying that other women who don’t like makeup or skincare are less feminine. Obviously, they are not. Ugh. This whole thing makes me nervous…

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I want to be me and talk for hours about face masks, jump and shout a little when I come across a Sephora and share my excitement when I found a miracle product that makes my hair less frizzy but I also want to be taken seriously and ultimately I don’t want to be ashamed of myself if I write a long post about beauty products. Ugh. I am my worst critic and I know most of the women that read this blog (according to Google Analytics you are 75% female, 25% male) have had that feeling at some point. Why do I have to look beautiful but then feel bad for caring about it?

I guess the answer is simple: if feeling beautiful makes you feel good about yourself, there’s nothing wrong about it. And please note that I’m writing this to believe it myself. It’s difficult to face those patronizing smiles at work if, during my lunch break, I get caught talking with a fellow colleague about a new mascara or if I mention that my no longer available yet beloved keratin treatment made me spent more than 4 hours in the salon and someone shouts at me: whaaaaat??? 4 hours in a salon??? The big project at work I successfully carried out is forgotten, now I’m the woman who spends 4 hours doing her hair. EXCUSE ME BUT I CARE ABOUT MY HAIR!!! #sorrynotsorry. Am I, though?…. See? Feeling stupid again. Ugh. It hurts even more if such a comment comes from another female. I don’t know why but it does. Maybe it’s because lots of times those talks about hair, make up and other bits and bobs are the secret to start a great female friendship, a sort of secret camaraderie.

By the way, this post is one of the most popular on the blog and it addresses my hair so I guess we all care about hair here. THANK YOU.

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to hide the things that I like. Whether it’s hair, makeup palettes, contemporary dance or geopolitics. And since I believe that one has to be the change he or she wants to see in society, I’m going to try and feel better about all this. Starting right now with three things that make me feel better.

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First thing, OBVIOUSLY, an eyeshadow palette. My gorgeous ABH Modern Reinassance. How beautiful is this palette? It’s funny how pink-ish shades were the worst a few years ago and now they are everywhere. I love that this palette makes beautiful sunset-like eyes for Summer and those berry shades are going to help me transition to Autumn like a nice fluffy sock slides into an old soft leather boot. I love it so much that sometimes I just stare at it for a few minutes. Those colors! The pigments! Oh, I love it. Besides I’ve already mentioned here that those ten minutes I spend putting on makeup every morning are my very own meditation. I’m alone at home, the house is quiet, I think about whatever I have to do during the day and I’m surrounded of pretty things. I feel safe and fine at that moment.

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This lipstick has became my favourite. As much as I love a power red, my lips are not cooperating lately and every time I apply it I turn into the Joker. However,  since I was a kid I’ve found that lipstick has something powerful and reassuring, it’s like a good coat, something you put on before leaving the house that makes you feel prepared to face whatever is outside that door. Red lipstick is the valyrian steel of lipsticks, of course, but since the older I get, the more difficult it’s for me to pull it off (those little wrinkles around my mouth absorb all the pigment! Ugh) this subtle pink matte lipstick has been my go to. It looks like you are not wearing lipstick, but you now you are. It’s a self-confidence lipstick.

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Finally, the scent that both of us have been using on repeat for the last month. It’s supposed to be for men, but we love it and who cares? If we like it, we wear it and most of our favourite scents come from the men section. My favourite smell is clean (clean hair, clean sheets, clean house, clean clothes… clean, clean, clean) and Loewe’s SOLO CEDRO smells like clean grandpa. Wait, it sounds weird, I know but bear with me. It’s absolutely one of the best smells in the world: a little bit manly but not overly so, woody yet fresh, with a hint of lavender, therefore smells like a fresh, safe, warm hug. Like a grandpa! Again, it feels good.

And if you feel good, you’ll feel beautiful. And if you feel beautiful, you’ll feel fine. So I’m determined to feel good about myself and if that means talking about eyeshadows, I’m going to talk about them! And it feeling beautiful means smelling like a grandpa, bring it on! Whatever it takes!

Ca Na Toneta

Ca Na Toneta is one of our favourite places in the world. To understand why, we have to walk down memory lane a little bit. In 2009 we started planning our wedding and looking for venues and vendors in Mallorca, where our destination wedding would take place. Food has always beeen really important to us and we were determined to have the best food we could afford for our small wedding. We started looking for caterers but finding what we were looking for turned out to be a nightmare. Lots of caterings offered really snob, fusion style, neon-coloured finger food options… but we were looking for delicious, authentic, natural food without any artifices. Our wedding was simple, rustic and very relaxed… just how we like our food! And then we found Ca Na Toneta. A small restaurant where two sisters were revamping traditional local food. A couple of mails later, they agreed to prepare our wedding menu.

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In February 2010 we visited the restaurant and met them. We LOVED the food, but we also fell in love with Ca Na Toneta, a simple space where every detail was well-thought-out. We sensed a philosophy behind it, a new way to understand food in the island, giving importance to local produce. Our wedding took place in May 2010 and we couldn’t have been happier with the menu, the attention, the kindness of María and Teresa… In the last seven years we’ve seen Ca Na Toneta evolve and appear in so many specialized magazines, books and even TV shows so we feel really lucky and honored to have had them as such an important part of our wedding.

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Even though we’ve kept in touch during these years and we’ve met María a few times, we hadn’t came back to the restaurant. But a couple of weeks ago we travelled to Mallorca and finally had dinner in their beautiful terrace. Coming back to Ca Na Toneta was quite emotional for us and we were amazed by how gorgeous everything was. The restaurant has grown and they now serve delicious cocktails in a tiny yet beautiful bar, they have opened the most amazing homeware shop and they even offer a lovely space for private gatherings and events… But all keeps that rustic charm, that unique atmosphere which made us fall in love with Ca Na Toneta in the first place.

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María and her team have renovated their family home, just next to Ca Na Toneta, which now hosts a stunning homeware shop that doubles as cocktail bar and terrace to enjoy a few drinks before dinner. Following Ca Na Toneta’s philosophy, everything they sell in the shop is made by local artisans (we wanted to buy a couple of the gorgeous aprons they sell but ultimately forgot!) and all the cocktails and drinks they serve are prepared with Balearic spirits and juices made from local, seasonal fruits. We had a refreshing and alcohol free lemon and orange juice and a watermelon and gin cocktail. They were the perfect start for a wonderful night. We sat on the terrace and enjoyed that warm, Summer night breeze. Beautiful bougainvillea, light furniture and  white walls gave us a quintessential Summer feeeling.

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 Ca Na Toneta_9We had the opportunity to chat with María and Teresa, reminisce about our wedding and even make plans for our 10th anniversary! The beautiful terrace overlooks a charming patio which can host private dinners, workshops and opens to a small kitchen and a cosy space with a traditional fireplace. Surely, that would be the perfect setting for Winter gatherings by the fire! There was a private dinner on the patio that night that gave us an idea of what our 10th anniversary party could look like… We loved the beautiful combination of Majorcan style with Scandi vibes!

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But it was time to head to the main restaurant for dinner! We were kindly guided to a little table located in the terrace, under the vines. The atmosphere was subtly festive with every table chatting happily over candle lights. We loved how pristine everything was: from the flawless linen tablecloths to the uniforms of the staff. That white monochrome base is perfect to showcase the colourful work of Albert Pinya, a local artist who has transformed the space with its unique style.

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You don’t come to Ca Na Toneta only to eat, as we have mentioned before there’s this philosophy and overall experience that deserves a visit, but of course the food is the star of the show! We couldn’t get the best shots of the menu because candle light is not the most appropriate lighting for food pictures, but hopefully you will enjoy them anyway.

The menu consists of three starters, a soup, a coca, one fish and one meat dish and two desserts. Expect seasonal produce, local specialties inspired by our ancestor’s eating habits and an excellent presentation. We started with an appetizer that represented the Majorcan countryside in Summer: figs, sweet almonds and fennel. If the guests haven’t felt that wonderful sense of place by now, this starter will remind them of everything the decor, the atmosphere and the location has been whispering at them since they entered the door. You are in a unique Majorcan village. Make the most of it.

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This was followed by a delicious watermelon, anchovies and cheese salad with pine nuts, black olives and mint oil. Refreshing and light, these flavours contrasted with what could be one of our favourite dishes of Ca Na Toneta (and one of the appetizers in our wedding): Bread baked in Selva, a nearby village, with local olive oil (made by Pep Solivellas, María and Teresa’s uncle), sea salt from Ibiza and olives seasoned by their mum. Simple things are the best things.

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It was time for the soup, which happened to be our favourite dish of the evening. It was a delicious cold tomato soup (not gazpacho!) with marinated bacora (tuna’s cousin, as we were told) and capers. It was zingy but rich at the same time and it was the only moment we regretted the small portions, wich otherwise are ideal to savour and appreciate every dish and leave the restaurant feeling satisfied but not achingly full.  The picture doesn’t make this dish justice, because it was utterly delicious and beautiful.

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And there’s no visit to Ca Na Toneta that doesn’t involve a mouthwatering coca. This traditional Majorcan specialty is our favourite. This time we had a roasted peppers coca with Mahón cheese and grapes. We’ve never thought of combining roasted peppers with cheese and grapes but oh my, it was a match made in (Mallorca’s) heaven! We wondered if those grapes came from the vines over our heads… but we guessed they were.

And then the two main dishes arrived: mackerel with aubergine and fig sauce, followed but our second favourite of the night, an incrediby flavourful plate of chicken rice with Majorcan truffles. Both were excellent but the rice was outstanding! You could hear every table mmming and ooohing. We’ve just invented those words for that dish. So imaging how good it was.

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Finally, it was time for dessert. We were a bit sad by then because the night was coming to an end and we didn’t want it to. The full moon was shining bright, we were happy, the breeze was light and fresh and we could listen happy people all around us. We had a delicious lemon cake followed by a refreshing yogurt and hierbabuena ice cream with cucumber soup. We ordered two coffees to stretch our dinner and they came with two tiny, scrumptious chocolate biscuits that left us with a bittersweet flavour. That feeling of happyness and nostalgia that comes when something that you have anticipated for a long time finally comes to an end.

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Ca Na Toneta is always going to be a truly special place for us. Not only because they were a very important part of our wedding (and hopefully they will be part of our 10th anniversary!), but because it inspires us. Whenever we think about it, remember it, read an article about Ca Na Toneta in the press, try to recreate a recipe… we feel that sense of place, calmness and a tingling hope… maybe we can change our life and turn it into a Ca na Toneta way of life?

Obviously, this place is more than a restaurant. You should check it yourself.

 

 

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Last week we told you that we were obsessed with Madeleine Shaw and, well, this post proves that we were not lying. Here you have another delicious recipe from her book Ready, Steady, Glow. And yes, it’s another dessert/snack. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth and every time we purchase a new cookbook I tend to start trying out recipes with the dessert chapter… Even if it’s a healthy/ clean eating kind of book. If there’s something sweet in it, I will go for that first. It happened with this book as well (Killer salted caramel brownies, by the way).

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This recipe is fantastic because you can prepare a couple of batches of mouth watering, soft, chocolatey cookies in no time. Since you will be using rice flour and coconut sugar, the glycemic index will be lower and, therefore, you won’t get that sugar coma feeling. At least not if you eat just one or two. If you eat them all in one sitting (which can happen because these cookies are utterly delicious) your tummy will hurt. These may be healthier than your average chocolate cookies, but please don’t forget that they still are chocolate chip cookies!

You will need:
150 g unsalted butter
175 g coconut sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
150 g dark or milk chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 160º and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. Sift in the rice flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix again until fully combined. Throw the chocolate chips into the dough and mix into the dough.

Roll the dough into little (or not so little) balls and place them on a baking tray leaving space between them because they grow big! Bake for 12 minutes if you like extra gooey cookies or 14 minutes if you like your cookies crunchy in the outside and gooey in the inside. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.

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My wife and my mum swear that these are the best cookies that they have ever eaten. The trick is in the chocolate: buy the best quality chocolate you can afford. It makes all the difference!

So I guess that from now on, these will be a must in our cookie box (yes, we have a cookie box, a jar is never enough). I promise that from next week we will return to savory recipes, mains and salads. But for now… let me grab another cookie!