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Thursday
Nov102016

Book club: House of plants.

So here´s the thing: I don´t really do house plants. I love them in other people´s spaces, but not necessarily in my home. I do like orchids (who doesn´t), and sometimes I bring indoor plants back from our nursery, but the majority subsequently dies from neglect. I know! I think I´m a good gardener "outside" but I just don´t have the patience for indoor plants. And yet, here I am to tell you that there´s a new book on house plants, and that I think it´s great. 

"House of plants" by Caro Langton and Rose Ray is an in-depth guide on how to select, grow and even propagate succulents, air plants, cacti and other tropical plants. The authors tell us everything about caring for different plant species, including how to plant a terrarium and make your own compost/fertilizer! However I particularly love the chapter on how to find the perfect plant for the perfect spot in your home. Although I have to admit that I won´t get any plants from the strange surfaces/strange plants section. Monkey´s Tail Cactus, anyone? But then again even airplants sort of weird me out. 

What I like best about the book is the gorgeous photography with lots of wonderful interior shots. It´s all a bit Kinfolk-ish but in a good way. It might just convinve me to get a few more indoor plants? Yes? We shall see.

House of Plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray, photography by Erika Raxworthy, is published by Frances Lincoln. The book´s website can be found here. Many thanks to the publisher for sending over a review copy!

Sunday
Nov062016

November light, sleepy animals and a wreath.

We finally did some garden clean-up this weekend and I brought some of the hydrangeas inside. They look so nice on our dining room cabinet, right? Also, more quinces. I am down to 15 at this point which seems manageable. I´ll make some liqueur next week and I´ve just found a recipe for port wine quinces (match made in heaven?) and also I´ll try and store a few so that I can make that Tarte Tatin again on Christmas. 

Saturday was gloomy but today we got some sun. I´ve said it before but this house gets the very best light in November. The sun is so low that it basically shines directly into our front rooms. 

Like so. I brought some of the potted plants inside the house for the winter and this one seems to enjoy her new place. The clay figure was made by a potter nearby, I love her dearly. I think she is supposed to be the Snow Queen from the Andersen fairy tale. So technically a bad character but she´s quite good at greeting guests. 

Lots of tired cats enjoying the sun today. I never take pictures of Lu because she is never around so here it is, the annual picture of our Lulu. The black blob on the sofa is Lutz. 

And here´s Marlene in my favorite chair. Apparently it wasn´t comfy enough so she made do with the blanket. Smart kitty.

Couldn´t decide which picture I liked better so you get to see both. Ludwig is a bit of a terror these days. Once the temperatures drop he is a different dog really. Lots and lots of energy (and mischief)! Also see how much light our kitchen gets? Heart eyes. 

Last but not least, I made a simple little wreath today with ivy, ivy flowers and some spirea branches that have turned reddish with the frost. I quite like it. It´s a bit large though, next time I need to measure first. Ah well. Have a happy week!

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!