Music Monday: Neil Halstead

photoSanta’s sweaty and he smells like beer

Last Friday, my sisters boyfriend gave me my Christmas gift. An accoustic session of Neil Halstead at Botanique, Brussels. I had never heard of him before, but his voice reminded me of a mix between Eddie Vedder and  Bon Iver. You sure can’t do wrong with that can you?!

I had such a great evening and I’ve been listening non stop to Neil since then. It’s a pitty my Spotify premium account has expired since today. I might wanna buy his CD now, or maybe I should put it on my Christmas Bucket List (:

Happy listening while you prepare your Christmas meals.

How to catch Santa

how to cath santaPusheen knows!

Album for life

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In Flanders, more than 100,000 people suffer from dementia.

1 out of 5 people will get dementia in later life. And yet, dementia is still a taboo subject, something we would rather not talk about. Studio Brussel wants to put dementia on radar so that people won’t ‘forget’ the disease. From December 14 to 21, people can send their song for life to the radio station together with a memory glued to that song.

I once read the following sentence: In one life, it happens at most 7 times that a music tune is completely in harmony with the moment when it is heard. As if it was composed for that special moment and the corresponding song can  subsequently not be listened to afterwards without the memory of that perfect day that will never come again.

I’m happy to share with you the story behind my ‘Album for life’. Let me take you back in time to the summer of 2011. Imagine you’re at a long stretched Belgian beach, rays of sunshine are peeking through a sky that looks like the clouds are photoshopped on it. Picture perfect. You are an American tourist who sees two lifeguards, a young man and woman, sitting on the beach, listening to Bonobo and watching the sky. You walk a bit closer without losing sight of them.  In their eyes, you see little traces of profound happiness. You ask them if you can take a picture of them as they look so ‘beautifully relaxed’.

One year later, the young man who was sitting next to me on the beach that day, became my lover.  Listening to Bonobo’s album Black Sands still puts a smile on my face, and that will never change.

Happy listening (:

Cranberries

cranberries

I love everything about cranberries

Their dark pinkish red color, their sweet taste, their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities ànd the fact that you can process them into many different products. Think about cranberry juice, cranberry sauce, cranberry jam and sweetened dried cranberries. The last mentioned is my winning combination together with some oatmeal and almonds during chill wintermornings.

Cranberry sauce is regarded as an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus, but this sauce will also rock my Christmas table here in Europe, together with some yummy deer stew.  

I always tought cranberries were cultivated from trees. But nothing is further from the truth. Cranberries grow in vineyards, like grapes, with the big difference that the vines are watered frequently during the first few weeks until roots form and new shoots grow.During the growing season, cranberry beds are not flooded, but are irrigated regularly to keep the soil moisturized. Beds are flooded again in autumn to facilitate harvest and again during the winter to protect against low temperatures.

Lately, I came across this awesome video of a Red Bull wakeskating session on a watered cranberryvineyard. What a perfect way to spend your day!

Nike Oreo Sneakers

NikeOreo2

Nike-Free-Run-2-Oreo-4Beware sneaker addicts and Oreo lovers

Nike introduces its upcoming Nike Sports Wear collection. Scheduled for January, the ‘Nike Free Run 2’ shoes will be inspired by the famous made in USA Oreo cookies. The sole with black speckles completes the Oreo look of this new pair of sneakers.

Perfect to go for a run after you ate a package of Oreo cookies (:

Want!

Almost Christmas!

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Dear sunshine,

sun?…where are you??

 

Cooking with “Flair”

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Twin sisters Jasmina and Deborah Dekrem (23) from Gent, Belgium are the new Flair culinary chefs. “Cooking with the sisters ‘is their brand new section in the women’s magazine. They create a weekly main dish, prepared on their own way.

The sisters, who originate from the western of Flanders, remained living in the city of Artevelde after their studies. They get the freedom from Flair to do what they want with their cooking section.  «Our inspiration mainly comes from cookbooks and old family recipes. We give a twist to them as it is important that the recipes are delicious, simple and preferably prepared with seasonally vegetables », explains Jasmina.

Mommy’s little helpers

Deborah and Jasmina came to Flair via a call in the magazine. They came out on top after a cooking competition. Their  long-term passion for food has as much to do with it. «Previously we helped dad in the garden with his vegetables and we often helped our mom stirring in her cooking pots. We have two brothers, Jarno and Milan, which are also twins. With so many people around at home, our mom sure could use some help, but we always loved to help her, ” says Deborah. How far ‘Cooking with the sisters’ will lead is still a little unpredictable. “We’ve written out a plan for the coming year. We’ll see afterwards what our next plans will be. It would be nice to make your own cookbook. Television seems a little less fun as you need to think about many things at once. Actually we are already very happy with how things go at the moment.”

text: Benjamin Van Synghel

In need of a vitamin boost?

vitamin boosters

Me too! Cold days coming up, brrr….

Mo Sistas: #Snorrewijven

deborah & jasmina wasbar gent

I moustache you a question but I’ll shave it for later

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a yearly moustache growing charity event, held during November, that raises funds and awareness for men’s health issues. Movember moustaches were first grown in Australia back in 2003 and since that time word of Movember and its men’s health messages have spread across the globe. Since the beginning of November, tons of men were turned into Mo Bros. Along the way, they raised awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer.

But not only men could raise awareness, also Belgian women were turned into Mo Sistas. Ghent based arty girl @Sstrid came up with a clever idea during Movember. She photographed each day women with a ‘Mo’ (slang for moustache) for her #Snorrewijven project, ’cause not only men can grow moustaches. Mo’gnificent. Check out the cappuccino milk foam mo’s that Jasmina & I created at Wasbar. You can find all the pictures of the Mo Sistas here.

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Flair Fridays: tagliatelle with walnut-sauce and broccoli

Our first recipe for Flair is a super easy pasta dish: tagliatelle with walnut-sauce and broccoli

15 minutes, 604 kcal per person

Serves 2 people:
1/2 broccoli, cut into florets
1 chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
100 g toasted and chopped walnuts
150 g chestnut mushrooms (the brown ones)
250 g tagliatelle (preferably fresh)
5 tablespoons of mascarpone
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 handful of grated pecorino or parmesan
1 dash of olive oil
salt and pepper
a bit cooking water of the pasta

How to make it:
1. Let lightly salted water in two saucepans boil and add the broccoli and tagliatelle. Cook until both are al dente. Keep the cooking water separately, as you will need that to make the sauce. Don’t pour it away!
2. Glaze the garlic and the chilli in a little olive oil.
3. Add in the mushrooms and cook them.
4. Then add the mascarpone and let the sauce warm without letting it boil.
5. Season with the zest of the lemon, some lemon juice and salt + pepper.
6. Add a little bit cooking water from the pasta to your sauce so you obtain a creamy consistency.
7. Gently stir in 300 g of walnuts and spoon the sauce together with broccoli + pasta.
8. Garnish with freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese.
9. Buon appetito!

Picture by © Wout Hendrickx

Music Monday: Florence + The Machine

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air.

Last night, I attended Florence + the Machine’s amazing show at Lotto Arena, Antwerp, Belgium. I’m so loving the way Florence Welch blends murder, sweetness, poetry, mayhem, nautical moments, power and love into her alternative yet intoxicating lyrics.

Florence appeared behind a white wall as just a giant silhouette, making her entrance as classy as ever. She sang the opening verse of ‘Only if for a night’ and Lotto Arena immediately fell into her loving grasp, where we would warmly remain for the rest of the evening. Florence’s voice sounded so clear throughout the Lotto Arena sky that I can hardly imagine anyone of her contemporaries can claim the same, and that goes for performances too. Her enchanting dance style is about as magical as magical gets. Real, simple and wonderful.

 

Christmas Bucket List

An original gift!

This Twins Memory Game contains 30 pairs of identical twins. The game has the same mission as other memory games: rely on your memory and find the most appropriate sets of identical twins. But be warned: identical twins are not always completely identical! Believe me, besides looking for similarities, it’s also fun to look for the tiny differences.

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Music Monday: Andreya Triana

And even though I can’t see far
I hold tighter and draw the stars

This little story began, as so many things do in life, with a simple cup of coffee. One day, Japanese illustrator Tokomo Shintani decided to draw on her paper coffee cup, to make the most of her 30min coffee break. The result is a series of miniature caffeinated works of art that flow from Starbucks coffee cups.  Although I’m not a big fan of Starbucks coffee, I love the way how it inspires artists to use it as a medium. Hooray for coffee. And hooray for creativity! And here are some tunes to celebrate the new week:

Real

Ah. November. You are the month of haze & autumn leaves, covered with a bit of spirituality.

It’s good to think about life every once in a while. Therefore, it’s the perfect month to snuggle down with a good book. Today, I started reading ‘Echt’ (that’s Dutch for ‘Real’) from former advertising man Guillaume Van der Stighelen. He wrote this essay for the second edition of the “Spiritual Month”. I have been stuck with my nose in it for hours; it’s great!

The book is an exploration of our dealings with authenticity. Guillaume is using a pendulum, like the one you find in science classrooms, to describe his meaning of life. From being out of balance, you can find rest. That rest can be disturbed by a host of other elements that are also desperately seeking some kind of balance themselves. ‘Echt’ is a useful reference point for a world ruled by social networks and collective experiences. 

This book is shining a different light on how I think about spirituality and life.

Highly recommended.

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