About Getting Older

It's not a lie when they say that one will notice when one gets older. The other day I was chatting with my friends about an ex boyfriend when it dawned to me that the topic took me back 18 years. I totally freaked out at the thought as in 18 years from now I'll be 58 - almost 60!! Honestly I never thought that age would scare me, but it's really hitting hard.

I also notice it in my taste for music (it's mainly classical and the Frozen soundtrack now), I only like to listen to the news channel on the radio and start shouting at it when I disagree - hello dad! Also my decorating style matures. As I really liked bright colours and plastic junk before, I start to tune down to pastels and natural colours and products. I also kind of disagree with trends and plastic mass products. And I've stopped buying things just for the sake of buying things. This is such a revolution. I can now selectively buy things I really like.

Even my love for Cath Kidston is fading away as I really do not like their new design aesthetic. I didn't even renew my 35% off press card, and that's quite a big deal for people who know me personally. Bring back the CK from 2005 when all was beautiful and clean - my dear lord has this brand turned loud!

The Cath Kidston wallpaper I used to have in my kitchen was getting too childish for me (and for Bo) we were in for something new.

I fell in love with Studio Ditte tiles wallpaper. It so suits the age of the house better as it looks like it has been there ever since 1896, when the house was build. It also suits my personal age better.

We painted over the previous wallpaper with white latex and pasted the new wallpaper over the old one. No one can tell, it turned out great and it saved us a lot of time on awful wallpaper steaming.

This is the start of redecorating the kitchen. As with new wallpaper I need new curtains and I want marble on my island instead of the zinc. And the kitchen is in desperate need of a new floor as this one is cracking open.

I love getting older!

A Guide to Småland in Sweden

I was asked on Instagram to make a Småland guide.

We travel to Småland each year and if possible twice a year, in spring and winter. Eventually we'll move to Småland and retire there. Hopefully in 2016 we'll buy our first home.

The best (tourist) time to travel to Småland is between June and September as all the attractions are open. But I recommend to travel to Småland in mid May or early October as all the tourists will be gone and you have everything to yourself. I can also highly recommend the month December as "Jul i Småland" is so enchanting. Do bare in mind that in off tourist season you are really all alone.

Where to stay

We always stay in Andersborg, one of Junette en Inge's homes, in the small hamlet of Karlstorp. It's 15 km to Mariannelund and 30 km to Vimmbery. It's set in beautiful grounds and feels like home to us.

Astrid Lindgren related places to go

1. Astrid Lindgrens Värld in Vimmerby

Just at the end of the road where Astrid lived as a child and young adult lays a really adorable theme park all about the wonderful stories Astrid wrote. I can highly recommend this theme park for young and old as it's super cute and it takes you back to all the stories you fantasized about when you were little.

2. Astrid Lindgrens Näs in Vimmerby

This is a must do for all Astrid Lindgren fans. On the grounds where Astrid grew up you can find a beautiful museum, a rectory (which is decorated especially for Christmas in Noisy Town style - oh my), Astrid's Childhood home, the home Astrid later build for herself and all is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

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3. Bullerbyn - Noisy Village

The small plot that was used to film the series. This is utterly cute and my favourite Astrid place.

4. Katthult - the home of Emil

Remember Emil and his sister Ida? Although Emil and his family lived in Lönneberga, the series were recorded in Katthult and you can still wander around the set. It's open all year long, there's no gate or admission to pay, so hop over any time you fancy.

Other places to visit

1. Virum Moosepark

This is a wonderful park run by a couple who really love there moose. You can actually cuddle, feed and even kiss the moose. It's wonderful!!

3. The many beautiful lakes (for swimming)

If you spot this sign in Sweden, take the exit. It will take you to beautiful lakes where you are allowed to swim in. There will be parking, most of the time a small playground and always a long jetty with steps. These lakes are breathtaking, in summer and literately in winter as they are freezing cold.

Cities

I'm not such a big fan of Swedish cities in general. There's something dreary about them that I can't explain. But nice cities in Småland are Jönköping and Västervik.

There's more to see, do and explore in Småland, but this guide is to my favourite part in Småland.

visitsmaland.se

Decorate Your Own China for Valentine

There's a lot of china in my home, most of it is white as I find that most food looks good on white. I also love china with patterned rims and trims, so I've made my own using a porcelain pen. It's super easy to do and it actually stays put after washing it in the dishwasher.

For the biscuits I've used the chocolate milk powder you can buy at Dille & Kamille and it tastes exceptional good.

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 gr plain flour (more for dusting)
  • 100 gr white caster sugar
  • 250 gr unsalted butter
  • 1 sachet (20 gr) of Café-Tasse chocolate powder

Preparations

Sift the flour and mix it with the sugar and chocolate powder in a bowl. Rub the cold unsalted butter in the flour mixture until everything is combined and you have a smooth dough. Pat it flat to 5 cm and chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C. Roll out the dough to 1 cm thick and cut out the cookies. Lay the cookies on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool on a wire rack.

How to Paint a Chair

There's no denying that I have a slight chair obsession going on. My home counts many - o- chairs, it's crazy and I seriously have to do something about it. It's when there's a party that I can actually save my marriage as I can put all the chairs I horde in the basement to good use.

The chairs we actually use on a daily basis are those by Dille & Kamille as they come in plain wood or ready painted in white. It's brilliant as we can paint them in any colour we like.

And trust me, my dear Bo doesn't mind to paint a Dille & Kamille chair at all. As long as I don't haul anything plastic inside I'm good to go.

We use acrylic paint, round brushes and rollers to paint. Read more about the tools en techniques right here and here.

The chairs I'm most fond of are these two. On the left chair 763 and to the right chair 189. Again, you can find the paint numbers I've used in the above mentioned links.

Sjiek and Fish Finger Wraps

For those of you who don't follow me on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (why don't you?) you might have missed the big news. Since the first of January I'm the new culinary columnist for Sjiek magazine. Sjiek is the weekend glossy supplement people in Limburg, Belgium get with their newspaper. It's big, I have two full pages to share my food adventures with 270.000 readers each weekend. It's scary but I love it!

Here's one of my quick (fast food) recipes I did for Sjiek.

Fish Finger Wraps with Yoghurt Dressing

For 4 wraps

Ingredients

  • 16 fish fingers
  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • 150 gr iceberg lettuce
  • 20 gr fresh chives
  • 8 tbsp yoghurt
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp liquid honey
  • ground salt en pepper

Preparation

Cut the chives in small pieces. Toss them in a bowl with the yoghurt, lemon zest, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and set aside.

In the meantime cook the fish fingers in the oven (don't bake them in a pan) follow the instructions on the box. I always cut a hole in the bag the tortillas come in and place them for 50 seconds in the microwave.

Add 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt dressing in the centre of the tortilla, add some of the lettuce on top and place 4 fish fingers on top of the lettuce. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and wrap the tortilla shut from left to right. If you don't have fancy bags you can use silver foil to hold the wraps together.

I hope you enjoy it. See you tomorrow with a fun Dille & Kamille post.

From Tray to Bird Feeding Table

Because it's currently very cold outside and the birds in my garden are busy searching for food, I came up with the idea to turn a tray into a feeding table.

This is what you need:

1. Beech tray, square, 40 x 40 x 4 cm
2. Oven dish white, porcelain, Ø 20 cm
3. Peanuts
4. Peanut butter for garden birds
5.
Tit energy food in a coconut

You also need:

wooden pole
1 plank of approximately 30 x 30 cm
4 screw hooks
4 short screws
1 long screw
1 small pot (or leftover) of varnish

Tip: You can also use peanut butter from the supermarket to feed to the birds. I always buy the peanut butter with the extra crunchy nuts to spoil them.

Drill four holes in the corners of the tray. Rotate the tray and place the plank on the wrong side of the tray. Rotate the tray again and screw the screws into the holes. Varnish the whole lot, about 3 coats of varnish will do.

When the varnish is dry, you can screw the screw hooks into the far corners of the plank.

Take the tray outside. Bang the wooden pole into the ground and screw the long screw through the centre hole of the tray into the pole.

Tip: Leave your garden as messy as possible. When you clean and prune everything before winter there's hardly no natural food left for the birds and other animals. Begin to clean up and do the pruning in March instead.

You can hang peanuts and tit fat balls on the hooks. Beware of peanuts in your garden because jays love peanuts but the little birds are not so fond of jays. If you don't want jays in your garden don't use peanuts.

Tip: if you have a lot of squirrels in your garden and they eat up all the bird food? Throw some chilli flakes between the seeds. Squirrels do not like chilli and birds don't mind.

And remember to keep feeding the birds. I feed the birds in my garden all year round. They know that there's always food at Eijkenduijn and that's why we have a lot of birds to enjoy.

This blog post is sponsored by Dille & Kamille.

To read this post in Dutch, head over to their website.