Friday, 27 December 2013

Bedroom makeover Part I

When we moved into our new rental home last year, the finish was in a very poor state. However, we fell in love with the space and knew that we could turn it into something great if we put some effort into it. We had just moved out of our student rooms in the Netherlands and basically had nothing but a suitcase full of clothes, an old mattress, and a few personal belongings. 

We didn't just want to go to one store, spend a fortune, get everything at once and be done with it. We wanted to make it our own, with one-of-a-kind, vintage, and self-made pieces. Starting from zero has been a great adventure, but also takes a lot of patience, creativity and compromise (for the longest time the only thing in our living room was a couch…). We've come a long way since then and have slowly been working our way through the house trying to refinish, furnish and decorate it.

Now it's finally time for our bedroom and I couldn't be more excited! It is a lovely spacious room, with beautiful big windows and so much potential. I definitely have great plans for this room, but first we need to get rid of some of the current 'decor'.

The biggest issue for me is the carpet. I have a thing against carpets, most of them anyway. Especially in a rental home, where the same carpet has been in place for a long time… There is some overall discolouration in the walkways and some unidentified stains. All I'm saying is, I slip straight into my slippers and avoid any direct contact. Besides, the entire apartment has gorgeous hardwood floors! I don't understand why anyone would want to cover that up with carpet. So, if the state of the hardwood floors underneath allows it, that carpet will be the first thing to go.

Then there are the window treatments, aluminum office blinds. I suppose they do their job by keeping out the light, but they don't exactly bring a warm and cozy atmosphere to the bedroom. On top of that they haven't really been treated well by the tenants that lived here before us, so they are bent and dented all over. For the time being we had put up some curtains, but those will have to be adjusted as well.

The current lighting fixture is very outdated and only works when it feels like it (which is about 10% of the time). The lampshades are stained and for some reason parts of the lamp frame have been painted. The overall look of the lamp is not exactly my taste and because it hangs quite low it is very prominent.

The state of the walls, baseboard and doors isn't great either. The walls have lots of cracks, holes and smudges, the baseboards are damaged and chipped, and the doors are only half finished and chipped as well. But with a little drywall compound and a fresh coat of paint they will look fresh and gorgeous in no time.

Time to get down to business, stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Snowflake Sugar Cookie Recipe

We've been busy making Christmas cookies this weekend! They are delicious and totally got us into the holiday spirit. 

We find it easiest to make the dough ahead of time because it needs to cool for at least 2 hours before it can be rolled. Also, if you plan on decorating the cookies with royal icing, the cookies need to be completely cooled. So we made the dough and the baked the cookies on Friday with the following sugar cookie recipe.

Ingredients for the Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup salted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoon water
powdered sugar


medium bowl
2 small bowls
electric mixer + bowl
parchment paper
rolling pin
cooling rack

Directions for the Sugar Cookies

Sift together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg with a whisk or fork and set aside.

Mix the yogurt and the water and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add in the beaten egg and the yogurt/water mixture. Once combined, set the mixer to a low speed and gradually add the flour and baking powder. Occasionally scrape the sides to make sure all the ingredients get mixed properly.

The mixture should come out very dry and just be wet enough to create a ball of dough. If you find the mixture in too dry, add some more water. If it's too wet, add some more flour.

Divide the ball in two pieces, wrap the two pieces in parchment paper and flatten them a bit. Let them cool in the fridge for a minimum of two hours.

Preheat your oven to 350°

Take one piece of dough out of the fridge and sprinkle some powdered sugar onto the surface where you want to roll it out. Also, sprinkle some powdered sugar onto the dough and the roller and start rolling until the dough is about 1/2 a centimetre (flipping the dough while rolling it helps it from crumbling and flaking).
Once you have an even sheet of dough, cut out the shapes you want and carefully place them onto a baking sheet. Combine the leftover dough into a ball and start repeat rolling and cutting until all your dough is gone.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 3 minutes, then turn the sheet around and bake for another 3 minutes. Check the cookies every 30 seconds, they are done when the sides are starting to brown. They will appear very light and will still be a little soft, that is ok as long as they are firm enough to hold their shape. Carefully place the cookies onto a cooling rack, you will notice that they harden as they cool. After 10 minutes place the cookies in a sealed container to prevent them from going too hard.

Ingredients for the Royal Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
8 tablespoons water


electric mixer + bowl
piping bag
squirt bottle

Directions for the Royal Icing

In the bowl of your mixing, sift together the powdered sugar and the meringue powder. Add the water and mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally.

Place a piping bag in a glass (so it stands up) and poor/scoop in the icing. From the piping bag, transfer the icing into a squirt bottle.

You're ready to start decorating your cookies! To decorate you can use just the icing, or add some little silver balls, sugar, silver powder, etc. just make sure to place them on before the icing sets.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

DIY Hand & Body Scrub

Give your dry winter skin some extra love with this wonderful scrub. It will help you get rid of rough and dry hands instantly and will leave your body feeling softer than ever. To make this scrub, simply mix the following ingredients.

  • The coffee improves blood circulation and helps with the appearance of cellulite
  • The brown sugar is the exfoliant of this scrub, using fine brown sugar instead of white sugar will make the scrub less harsh
  • The sesame oil reduces inflammation and repairs damaged skin cells 
  • The coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin and deeply moisturizes 

Use 2-3 times a week to get super soft skin and to battle cellulite, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs. Use the scrub in the shower before you use your body wash.

Looking for more tips on how to sooth, moisturize and calm your skin? Check out my DIY Skin Soothing Bath Mix post.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Pregnancy Favorites

For first time moms, finding out you're pregnant means you're entering a world of new and unknown territory. Trying to figure out what you need and should be doing can be quite confusing. You're probably doing some research about all the 'must-haves' and the amount of products is beyond overwhelming… Don't worry, it's all going to be ok! Nine months is a long time and you definitely don't need to get everything at once. Also, pregnancy goes in stages and something you feel you need one day, might feel unnecessary the next. So just take things easy and listen to your gut. I say, common sense is your best friend here - do you really need that $50 jar of magic stretch mark cream, that personal trainer, and that special pregnancy granola bar? To give you an idea of some of the things I have found helpful during pregnancy, I've made a list of some of my pregnancy favorites.

Something I noticed quite early on in my pregnancy were the skin changes; your hormones are all over the place, body parts start growing and your skin can get itchy. I have found coconut oil to provide a great relief! I use it all over my body twice a day and give my belly some extra loving whenever I feel like it. It gets absorbed into the skin fast, has a very faint coconut smell (I find the smell of most of the processed stretch mark products too offensive), and leaves the skin moisturized and super soft. 

Some people are lucky and get amazing skin while pregnant, whereas others can be struggling with outbreaks, dry spots, flaky skin, you name it… Either way, it's important to realize that your skin changes are hormonal and are coming from the inside out. So if you start battling your skin problems with harsh products, you will aggravate your skin even more. If you're experiencing some irregularities try to keep your make-up use to a minimum and use a non-irritating, hypoallergenic face wash.

It's no secret your body needs some extra nutrition when you're pregnant. It's always a good idea to maintain an overall healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and minimally processed foods, but sometimes a little extra help can't hurt. On top of the regular prenatal vitamins, I also use Minami Nutrition's MorDHA Prenatal. Especially designed for pregnant women, these soft gels will give you a high dose of Omega-3 that supports your baby's eye and brain development. Please note that not all fish oils are of the same quality, so do your research before taking any and talk to your doctor if you need advice or feel unsure.

Staying hydrated is always important, but even more so during pregnancy. To make sure I drink enough water (I aim for at least 2 liters a day), I always bring a water bottle with me. In an effort to steer clear of disposable water bottles as well as impurities in regular tap water, I like to filter my water. The bobble water bottle is a great reusable bottle that self-filters as you are drinking.

5. Online workout videos
I'm too lazy to follow a strict workout routine and I like to work out whenever it's convenient. I like to walk a lot, but on top of that feel like some extra strength training would help keep me fit during the pregnancy. I found these great online workout videos at that are especially designed for pregnant women. They're only 10 minutes each and target different areas of the body.

Comfy pants are an absolute favorite and I'm always wearing them when I'm at home. I prefer them to be loose (so no leggings) to keep the blood flow going and avoid itchiness. I'm still wearing my regular sweat pants as they have a nice elastic band, but if you find this too tight there are also some great maternity ones out there.

Right from the beginning of pregnancy, your breasts will start growing. Around 20 weeks I had outgrown most of my regular bras and really needed something new. I opted for a nursing bra, hoping I could continue using it after the pregnancy. Consider a no-underwire bra to make it more comfortable and maintain milk flow (some say that underwires can interfere with the milk flow and cause clogging of the milk ducts, while others say it makes no difference. I'm not sure which is true but decided I rather just prevent any possible problems).

When you find out you're pregnant it's really exiting to look at all those cute maternity outfits and get some new things. However, with some little adjustments here and there, you will probably still fit into most of your regular clothes until you're at least 20 weeks and maybe even beyond that (I'm now 28 weeks and still fit into almost all of my regular tops). To not kill all excitement, try to invest in things you can wear throughout and after your pregnancy. For me these things have been long tank tops and cardigans. You can wear the tank tops under your regular tops to avoid your bump from popping out and you can change up any basic outfit with some different cardigans (short, long, textured, loose, belted - the sky's the limit)

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Holiday Wish list // Gift guide

1. This playful yet stylish looking Alfie Wallet by Deuxlux has plenty of space for all your cards, receipts and coins. At a price of $65 this beauty is an affordable way to stay organized. 

2. The Canon EF 50mm f1/8 II camera lens found at Amazon is a great gift for any starting 'photographer' who is ready to experiment beyond the standard lens. At only $110 this lens is one of the most affordable ones out there and will help you get great and professional looking results.

3. This super cute Kate Spade 2014 Agenda will help you get ready for all your great plans for the new year. Found at Lifeguard Press for $36.

4. The all time favourite Kanken backpack by Fjall Raven will help you get from A to B just about anywhere. It's a great classic, comes in many colours and retails at $69.95.

5. This gorgeous Blushed Paducah Scarf retails for $48 at Anthropologie. The colours and pattern are stunning and will bring that little extra edge to any basic outfit.

6. These Persol sunglasses found at the Suglass Hut are classy and timeless. With a retail price of $270 this gift is a definitely a little more expensive than the other ones. But I think a good pair of sunglasses will stay with you for a long time and are an all-year-round must have.

7. The neutral Organic Cotton Knit Blanket from The Honest Company is a great addition to any couch or chair. It will help you or your little one keep warm and cozy during the winter months. Retails at $65.

8. This vintage looking Snooze Alarm Clock from Newgate is sold at Chapters for $45. It will add some class to any nightstand and will almost make you want to get up in the morning.

9. The sweet little Floral Recipe Box from Rifle Paper Co. will help you organize all your delicious recipes. Retails at $34 and will give your kitchen some extra cuteness.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Bedroom Inspiration

We plan on redoing our bedroom over the holidays, so I decided to get some inspiration.

What do you like better, Light and Bright or Dark and Dramatic?

Source Images: Pinterest

Source Images: Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Recipe: Leek Potato Soup

My husband has caught the flu and I wanted to prepare something light and easy to digest for him. Usually he is the chef of our household, but today it was my turn to take care of him. I prefer to stick to the easier recipes and this one definitely qualifies, plus it's delicious. I served his soup with plain toast, but made some roasted garlic and herb butter for mine (see recipe below).


2 tablespoons of canola oil or light olive oil
2 leeks
3 big potatoes
1 white onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
greek yogurt


Soup pan 
Hand blender


Place a big soup pan on low-medium heat, warming up the oil.

Wash the leeks and cut them up into small pieces (if you prefer the soup to come out light, only use the white part of the leeks). Put them in the pan, stirring occasionally.

Cut up the onion and garlic and put them in the pan with the leeks. Keep the pan on low-medium heat and sweat the leeks, onion and garlic, making sure they don't brown.

Peel the potatoes and rinse them. Chop into small pieces and add to the pan.

Put in the bouillon cubes and add water - enough to cover all the ingredients under about an inch. Add the bay leaves, cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil on high heat, stirring occasionally.

Once the soup is boiling, turn it down to low heat and simmer for 40 minutes with the lid on. Once all the ingredients are soft, take out the bay leaves and blend the soup using a hand blender.

Plate the soup and scoop in one or two teaspoons of greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade Garlic Herb Butter


1/2 cup salted butter
1 tablespoon dried parsley
pinch of salt
3 cloves of roasted garlic


Make sure the butter is at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

To roast the garlic, place the cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle some oil and salt onto the cloves and loosely fold the foil around the cloves. Place the package in the oven and let it roast for 30-40 minutes.

Once the garlic is roasted, take it out of the oven en unfold the foil to let the garlic cool slightly. The inside of the clove should be soft (if this is not the case place it back in the oven for another couple of minutes). When cooled, squeeze the soft garlic out of the cloves into a small bowl.

Add the butter and parsley. Mix together until everything is combined. Taste and add some salt if needed.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Recipe: Healthy Banana Bread with Walnuts and Flaxseed

This delicious banana bread recipe is easy and quick to make. It's healthy and packed with fibre and omega-3s. Great for breakfast or a quick snack!

2 Ingredients: 

2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup or 100 grams walnut pieces


Blender, food processor or hand-blender
bread pan
medium bowl


Preheat your oven to 375°.

Blend the coconut oil and maple syrup until mixed and creamy. Add one egg at the time. Add the bananas. Blend until everything is combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, flaxseed and baking soda. Add the banana mixture and walnuts and stir all the ingredients together until smooth.

Grease your bread pan with coconut oil and scoop in the mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Take out of the bread pan and let cool on a cooling rack.


Recipe adapted from

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Seven Easy DIY Christmas Projects

Do you want to decorate your home with some gorgeous DIY Christmas crafts, but need some inspiration? Look no further. These great projects are easy to do and will have your home looking holiday-ready in no time! Pick your project and follow the link for the instructions. Enjoy!

1. Paper Snowflakes
2. Advent Calendar
3. Rectangle Christmas Wreath
4. Felt Ornaments
5. Jar Candle Holders
6. Clay Gift Tags
7. Mason Jar Snow Globes

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

So here we go...

Ever come across those blogs that are just amazingly creative and well put together? Where the blogger is able to share something interesting and funny every day, always knows the right things to say and is overall incredibly organized and talented? I admire those bloggers and find their blogs truly inspiring!
But I'm just a regular girl - I don't have one specific passion, am not super crafty, talented or creative and my life is really not that interesting! I do have many interests, but they happen to shift a lot. I kind of live in the moment I guess. So as much as I have always liked reading other people's blogs and thought about starting my own, I never knew what to blog about! And, who would be interested anyway?!
But I've decided that it's all ok, that it doesn't have to be perfect and that I can just enjoy it even if I don't really know why. So here we go