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Wednesday
Nov022016

Bookclub: Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe.

When I lived in Munich in my early 20ies all the walls in my apartment were a stark white. Almost impossible to believe! Later I moved to Düsseldorf and lived in a ramshackle Altbau apartment, which was the first space my-now-husband-and-then-boyfriend and I renovated together, including sanding floors and everything. I remember at one point we painted one kitchen wall a pretty green (very similar to the shade in the kitchen picture below) and I was hooked! Since then I´ve used paint to transform all of our homes (6 altogether!) but things got only really serious when we moved into our house 5 years ago - for various reasons: One, I didn´t want to mess things up in the first space that we owned; Two, in a house as large as this you *really* don´t want to repaint because you don´t like the results; and Three: I discovered Farrow & Ball paint. 

Choosing paint colors for our house was both fun and pure agony. I was particularly helpless when it came to the North-facing rooms (our kitchen, the library). Back then the Farrow & Ball website was one of the few that provided advice that actually made sense to me. I think pretty much everything I know about paint is based on the information I gathered there. Also there were a few interviews available online with Joa Studholme, F&B´s "Color Guru" which I all inhaled. Painting stuff is a science! All of this to say, I wish Farrow& Ball´s new book "Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe" (in English: "How to decorate") would have been around five years ago. It gives all the advice you could possibly need when it comes to choosing paint colors, even very hands-on information like how much paint you´ll need. I especially love that the focus isn´t purely on the walls but also on painting floors, furniture etc. Last but not least there´s a chapter on wallpaper! Love.

"Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe" is, of course, not only full of advice but also full of eye candy (it is probably no surprise that I adore the dark and moody interiors). I love that it´s a joy to look at but still is a practical, in-depth guide on how to use paint and wallpaper in your home. Like I always say, everybody can learn how to paint a wall! And with this book, you´ll even know which color. 

"Stilvoll wohnen mit Farbe" by Charlotte Cosby und Joa Studholme has its own website which you can find here. Thank you Callwey for sending over a review copy!

PS: I really need to repaint our coffee table... color is my all time-favorite Down Pipe, by Farrow & Ball of course.

Sunday
Oct302016

Autumnal Procrastination.

So after three gloomy and rainy (not complaining about the latter) weeks we finally got plenty of that glorious autumn sun today. It is always quite amazing what a difference that makes! There was no frost yet and it´s still pretty green around here, but the garden does look quite autumnal already. 

I need to take down the hammock and rake those leaves and generally put the garden to sleep. I am so behind with everything it´s no joke. However if there´s a season to procrastinate in the garden it´s autumn, right? No need for perfection any more, very freeing. 

So instead of doing all the things on my list we went on a walk with Ludwig which was a great decision. 

Obiously. 

Right?

I mean. 

Sigh.

OK I´ll stop now. But seriously, autumn is just so pretty around here. I love where I live.  

Bonus picture! Still doing things with quinces. I made Earl Grey and ginger infused quince compote today (this recipe) and some jam and last weekend when a friend from Berlin visited we made a Tarte Tatin with quinces (this one) which was so so good (seriously if you have quinces on hand please do me a favor and make this). However after today there are still about 20 giant quinces on my tree. So, quince recipe ideas anyone? Do tell. 

Sunday
Oct162016

The sun, the sea... and quinces.

So we went on another holiday, this time to Portugal. Back in spring friends offered to to house-sit during their kids´autumn break (thank you!!) and since they even felt comfortable taking care of Ludwig - which is no small task - we jumped on the chance and booked flights. And I am so glad we did, this time away was exactly what we needed.

We didn´t really expect a proper summer holiday but we got super lucky with the weather - it was warm enough to spend time on the beach and even swim in the sea! I was so very happy which is probably evident in the picture. 

The area where we stayed - Albuefeira - is truly gorgeous. Lovely beaches, cristal clear water and even somewhat green landscapes. I can imagine it gets very touristy during peak season but it was just right in October; sometimes we had the beach literally for ourselves but restaurants etc. were still open. 

Our last day was cloudy and coolish so we took a tour of the mountainy backcountry. 

We stopped at this place where they grew eucalyptus trees on the one side and cork trees on the other. It was so pretty and smelled heavenly. 

We couldn´t get over the bright green of the young cork trees! 

At one point I catched a glimpse of a little bush with yellowish fruit by the road and told my husband to turn around stat... because yes indeed, quinces! I´d never seen them growing wild anywhere. I took three of them home as a souvenir. It´s not like I don´t have a quince tree in my garden, but, you know. Never enough quinces. 

Back at the coast we came across some kind of fruit farm - also unlike anything I´ve ever seen. They had acres of oranges, sadly still green (I would love to do a photo session in here when the oranges are ripe). Also, pomegranates!

Aaand, quinces! A whole field of quinces! At this point I was basically jumping up and down with joy. Don´t you worry, I didn´t take any, I was just so happy that something like this exists. Paradise!

Bonus picture, because I like that tree growing out of that house so much (seriously though, how is that possible?). Anyway, such a good trip. But also happy to be reunited with my home and ready for autumn! 

Monday
Oct032016

Hello October.

Yesterday night the temperatures dropped to two degrees. Yikes. After the wonderful late summer we´ve had it is somehow hard to accept that it will be autumn eventually. So I thought before the first frost hits I´d take a few pictures of my wonderful dahlias... I am so in love with them and am planning a massive dahlia border in my garden next year. Someone please remind me to make it happen in spring? 

I also harvested our pumpkins today and tons of basil (freezer is stocked with pesto again!). And yes, I sort of regret to not have taken those pumpkins out of our dirty wheelbarrow for the picture, but sometimes reality has to be good enough. 

There´s this dreamy light again. Also I can´t wait for my hydrangea hedge to fill in. It´s been looking so lovely already this year, why did I wait so long to plant them? (Answer: First I couldn´t decide and then it wasn´t in the budget. Story of my life.)

The chickens send greetings too. I love how Florentine (the grey hen) looks in this picture. We lost our white hen last month to a mistery illness. Heartbreak. It´s funny how chickens are such silly creatures and still I care for them so much. Anyway. Happy October to all of you! 
PS: It´s German Unity Day today so as usual I´m linking back to this post. Love you, Eastern Germany!

Thursday
Sep292016

Asters galore.

I have a love-hate relationship with the asters in the walled garden. They´re terribly invasive and I basically curse them the whole season and every year I swear that I´ll be ripping them all out next year. But then September comes and the asters are blooming and it´s like the last hurrah of summer and all is forgiven. I really really need to do something about them next spring though, the situation is clearly getting out of hand. 

Anyway until I do let´s just enjoy them, right? So pretty.
Happy almost-weekend!