Off to Cologne for a few days

IMG_1945

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #126

By the time this is posted, I will be in Cologne spending a few days visiting my sister for the long Easter weekend. I cannot wait to explore the city together, organising our adventures around nice places for drinks and food:) We’ll be catching up over amazing veggie meals, open to discovery and chilling in the park while chatting about everything and nothing!

Enjoying Autumn

20171118_114108

I’m just back from a blissful weekend visiting my family in France. Three days of intense chatting and laughing over cups of tea, baking (and then devouring) cakes shamelessly full of butter and sugar, celebrating milestones over delicious Lebanese food and sipping champagne, and generally just enjoying spending precious time together:)

I snuck out for a few hours on Saturday for a walk in the forest by myself. The colours of the trees were soooo beautiful (these pictures taken with my phone don’t do justice to their splendour at all), it was breathtaking! As I walked, it was like my senses were waking up from indoor life… I enjoyed seeing little birds flying from one branch to another and singing nearby, treading along on the muddy path and the smell the fallen leaves slowly decomposing at the feet of gorgeous trees was wonderful. It was the perfect environment for some quiet time to process my thoughts:)

20171118_121854

A year of joyful gratitude

20171117_111649

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #53

Last week was the 52nd week in a row that I wrote about what I am deeply grateful for in the series I created called JOYFUL GRATITUDE! I really enjoy this ritual and plan to continue looking out for and writing weekly about big and small things that I am I very lucky to experience in my life:)

I decided to look back at these past 52 weeks, and use a lovely spreadsheet to place the things I’m grateful for under broad categories to examine what brings me joy.  The categories that most posts clearly fell under are: Outdoors, Tribe, Food, Quiet time, Travel and Nature. Interestingly most of the posts were a combination of several categories (like enjoying good Food with friends – aka my Tribe).

Outdoors was the clear number one category, a nice reminder of how important it is for me to be out and about despite my rather sedentary lifestyle. I will keep in mind for these winter months that when I feel tempted to profoundly hibernate, actually going out for a brisk walk will do miracles for my mood:)

Click here to check out all the JOYFUL GRATITUDE posts!  What are you grateful for this week??

Chestnut delight

IMG_3916

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #50

Around here the days are undeniably getting shorter and hibernation season is around the corner. Luckily there are a few autumnal foods to cheer up the dark evenings, like pumpkin (prepared in many different forms – pasta, risotto, soup, pizza…) and a recent discovery that totally hit the spot: chestnuts.

They’re really easy to prepare. We just soak them in water for a couple of hours, dry them with a cloth and cut a slit lengthwise in the round side of the shell. They can then be popped in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes at 240°C. We regularly sneak a peek in the oven to check when they are ready (the shell opens up a little more, showing off the lovely flesh). Then we take them out of the oven, wrap them in a clean cloth for 10mn while they cool. Done!

Then the cloth can be unwrapped to reveal its warm treasures.  It’s such a simple pleasure to chat while we carefully pull the chestnuts from their shell and chew on the sweet, floury texture. Delicious!! I could make this a daily ritual:)