Monday, 31 December 2012

happy new year

photo credit:
Daniel Bergmann
Mt. Námafjall at Lake Mývatn, Iceland

Sunday, 23 December 2012

happy holidays

As I write this, I'm taking a short break from preparing for tomorrow. The rest of the family is cuddling in the TV room enjoying a film. From the music coming from above they are probably watching Harry Potter. Earlier today I was arranging the books on the coffee tables and thought to myself that I would use this last post before Christmas to talk a little about books. To me Christmas is about reading ... and eating too, of course.

I have finished reading Grace Coddington's memoir, which I talked about on Tuesday. As I said in my post, she doesn't dig deep into things. The book is no autobiographical masterpiece and because of the fast-paced writing style it lacks a certain depth, but overall I enjoyed it. She describes her work in the fashion industry and talks about the people she has worked with, so there is plenty of name-dropping. I have to add that she's no gossiper, which makes me like her even more. My favourite parts of the book were the chapters where she allowed herself to show more emotions. This is a woman who has been through quite a lot and I only wish she had shared more on how she survived the difficult times. Her style is more like sharing difficulties in 1-2 sentences and letting the reader imagine the rest.

After our festive Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow we will open the presents and then, for me, it's reading time and dessert a little later. I'm so looking forward to starting a book that was in my Amazon package from A, Balenciaga and Spain by Hamish Bowles. For a long time I have wanted to read about the fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) but I didn't know which book to get until my dear blog friend Ada of Classiq came to the rescue and highly recommended this one. I'm not interested in books on fashion unless they are also cultural and this one is filled with Spanish art and culture. It's a wonderful addition to my coffee table books. There will be more reading over the holidays, as I plan to finally finish Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and I intend to reread Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which I borrowed at the library the other day when I saw it.

Now it's time to get back to the preparation. My dear blog friends and readers, I'm wishing you all a

* *
God jul
Gleðileg jól
Joyeux Noël
Feliz Navidad
Zalig Kerstfeest
Merry Christmas
Fröliche Weihnachten
Buone Feste Natalizie

... and I will finish with a song that to me is the ultimate Christmas song, here performed by Coldplay.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

You Tube: Coldplay / Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Friday, 21 December 2012

charming spaces: decorated dining room

This dining room belongs to a family in Holte, Denmark. The lady of the house is a florist and runs a flower shop in the town of Lyngby, a little further south, closer to Copenhagen. The family found the house in 2003 and before moving in it was completely renovated. I'm a big fan of bright spaces like this one where there is plenty of natural light - it looks very Scandinavian. Personally, I would have liked to see floorboards to add more warmth. I find the mix of chairs interesting, these are Eames and Thonet chairs and then there is the embroidered one to the right that breaks it up even more. For you art lovers out there, the piece in the middle is by the Danish artist Kurt Trampedach.

Today is the children's last day of school before the holidays. I'm looking forward to the days ahead, mostly spent in comfy pyjama trousers with a book in hand. I only wish we had snow, as I'm the white Christmas type. As I write this I'm baking bread and when they come home for lunch I'm making hot chocolate. It's my way of grounding them. Yesterday, I felt they were becoming a little too restless for my taste. If I had to make a list of what irritates me, restlessness would definitely be on it. When they go back to school after lunch, A and I are taking the train into the city (it only takes 15 minutes). I'm buying myself a new pair of pyjama trousers and a bottle of perfume. After that, this girl is ready for Christmas.

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Friday and not running around stressed doing your Christmas shopping!

photo credit:
Kira Brandt for Bo Bedre

Thursday, 20 December 2012

brighter shade than pale 06 - Christmas

Today is the day I finish all the Christmas preparation, that is, the things that I need to buy other than food. I'm a little relieved that the 24th is on Monday this year because often I find myself doing a bit of shopping the day before Christmas Eve. I don't really know why that is, it's as if I get the urge to get something, nothing big or expensive, usually it's just something small for the home, but it means that I'm out and about and I come home later than planned. Every year I say to myself that I'm not going to do it but then the day arrives and I'm out there in the traffic. The shops will be open on Sunday but as I never go shopping on Sundays it should be easy to avoid them this year.

How is your preparation going? We have pretty clear traditions and know exactly what we need, so there is no need to feel stressed. As our families are in Iceland we don't have to attend any parties. It's just the five of us at home enjoying wonderful food and relaxing.

photo credit:
01 & 02: Tim Bjørn for Bo Bedre / 03 & 04: Livet Hemma

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

notes à la mode 25

As I was searching for material for today's post I realised that it would be my last NOTES À LA MODE post of the year. Don't worry, I'm not doing a recap! I was interested in featuring some of the spring 2013 ad campaigns but as I started viewing the photos, I was rather disappointed, not with the photography or the clothes, but with all the retouching. If you have seen the Burberry campaign you probably know what I'm referring to. The campaign features Romeo Beckham, the son of David and Victoria, and two models. Their kid is terribly cute but the photo is just wrong; the retouching is awful. (There's no way I'm linking to it.) In my links below I'm sharing two campaign photos that did impress me and some 2013 pre-autumn collections.

The editorial you are viewing is called 'Nuit Blanche' and appears in the 139 issue of Numéro. Yelena Yemchuk photographed model Sigrid Agren and these photos are my favourite, a wonderful blend of colour and black & white photography. The stylist for the shoot was Rebecca Bleynie, hair stylist was Romina Manenti and Lloyd Simmonds took care of the make-up.

I feel inspired.


  So far the Louis Vuitton Spring 2013 ad campaign is my favourite, lensed by Steven Meisel
  I'm fascinated by the photography of the Givenchy Spring 2013 ad campaign. Italian model Mariacarla Boscono poses with her daughter for Mert & Marcus
  These days the 2013 pre-autumn collections are being presented. I have viewed some of them feeling anything but inspired and sometimes thinking why do they even bother? Luckily that doesn't apply to all the collections. I think my favourite so far is Bottega Veneta
  I also like the Calvin Klein collection and this Burberry Prorsum jacket had me swooning. You probably know all about my soft spot for 3/4 sleeves by now!

photo credit:
1-6: Yelena Yemchuk for Numéro #139 via Fashion Gone Rogue | Sigrid Agren in 'Nuit Blanche' styled by Rebecca Bleynie / 7: Steven Meisel for Louis Vuitton Spring 2013 ad campaign

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

coffee & grace

The postman rang the bell yesterday with my Christmas Amazon package and I said to A there was no way he would be allowed to gift wrap my things and put them under the tree, the reading would start right away! He didn't even think of rejecting; he is quite well aware of my love affair with books.

The one in the photo is a book I have been waiting for ever since I learned of its writing, Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue US. I started reading it yesterday and it's very entertaining. I read in an interview with her recently that she doesn't really read books; that she mainly looks at books with photographs for inspiration. For a fan of autobiographies the idea of someone who hardly reads writing her autobiography wasn't exactly comforting so I decided to keep my expectations very low. It turns out I had nothing to worry about because she obviously got an editor who knew what to demand from her. Her account is very personal, the text is flowing and the book is even made more personal with Grace's drawings, plenty of them, not to mention all the photographs.

If you are expecting philosophical ideas about the eras she has lived through then you better let go of such thoughts before you start the reading. Grace doesn't waste any time, she's not digging deep into things, there is no analysis, she is simply telling her story at a rather fast pace, but she does it honestly. She is not pretending to be someone she isn't and that is what I like most about her writing.

It may sound clichéd but if you are someone who fell flat for Grace in The September Issue (2009) documentary - for me she was the heart of it - then you definitely want to read her memoir. I haven't finished it yet but I'm already way into it. Sometimes when reading I even forget to drink my coffee and it turns cold in the cup. That should tell you how much I'm enjoying the book.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Monday, 17 December 2012

luxembourg: christmas market on place d'armes square

On Saturday I went into the city and grabbed the camera with me to share with you the Christmas market and the holiday decor but as I started photographing, I realised that I had forgotten to charge my camera battery. I managed to take these four before the camera stopped functioning properly. There are small markets in other areas of the city but this is the main one, on the Place d'Armes square, right in the city centre. It's not really big; everything in Luxembourg is small and cosy. The first photo (the snow on the trees is fake) is taken outside a flower shop on Rue Philippe II, very close to the square. They always have such beautiful arrangements outside the shop.

I went to the library, which is next to the square, and borrowed, among others, photography books with the works of Cecil Beaton and Henri Cartier-Bresson - gorgeous books! Before heading back home I grabbed plenty of sushi. I admit it without a hint of shame, that evening I overdosed on sushi; I even had to unbutton my jeans!

Yesterday we went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). Oh my, how long we have waited! We enjoyed it so much; it was a 3D visual feast. Throughout the film I was in awe of Peter Jackson and his team's talents and when the film ended I simply wanted to stand up and clap. In my opinion, the casting of Martin Freeman in the role of Bilbo Baggins is a stroke of genius. I cannot wait to see the next two films!

When we came back home I read both good and bad reviews and I have to say that I found the bad ones plain silly and usually full of paradox. Maybe you have to be a LOTR fan to enjoy The Hobbit, I don't know. In this home we have watched the LOTR films again and again and have regular LOTR marathons. I'm really not the adventure film type but I'm hooked on Middle Earth. So, maybe I'm a little biased ... and proud to be.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Saturday, 15 December 2012

cookie recipe & outdoor holiday decor

These are the bad boys I made on Thursday, almond oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (long name, I know!) and promised to share today. I made them again yesterday just to be sure that our taste buds hadn't been fooling us, and we were just as happy and greedy when we had them the second time. I have posted the recipe on kitchen & aroma, just follow the link above. (In the second cookie photo below you see how they look before going into the oven.)

I think it is ideal to add some outdoor holiday decor to this post. I have read about people decorating with ice in all kinds of shapes but these ice hearts, which I found on the Lexington Company website, are the prettiest ones I have seen so far. Making them is also easy and here is how:
You need a heart shaped pan (of course you can use another shape) and you fill it with water almost to the brim. Let it freeze outside or in your freezer. When your ice hearts have frozen solid, keep them in room temperature until they can be removed from the pan. To make a hole for the thread you place each heart under a fine stream of hot water.

I like the idea of using a cinnamon stick with the thread as in the photo below. Unfortunately there is no frost in my part of the world right now so I cannot do this to make my garden nicer, but I would really love to.

What I can do is placing outdoor tealights next to the bushes in the passage, as in the photo above. It would give it such a beautiful and festive look. First I would simply have to find candlesticks like that. I could also use lanterns. In Ikea I can get lanterns in two or three sizes and they are not expensive at all. Let's see if I'm in the mood to drive to Belgium before Christmas; Ikea is just by the borders.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
1 & 3: Lisa Hjalt / 2: Lexington Company / 4: David Brittain for House to Home

Friday, 14 December 2012

charming spaces: ice blue accents & wonder

This space isn't a real home, it's a styling for Sia, but I just had to post the photo. The ice blue accents appeal to me but find the tree way over the top. It's decoration overload. What really appeals to me is the feeling of wonder in the shot; the children are simply adorable.

The baking went well yesterday and the children especially loved almond oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that I made. I love it when good recipes are created with only one try. In the middle of all the baking I realised that I had completely forgotten all about a parent teacher meeting at school so I had to give the baking a rest and go out the door. At the meeting I learned that my son is picking up German at a good speed and next year he'll be learning French. When I told him he wasn't as excited as I was!

Enjoy your day, I'll be back tomorrow with that recipe!

photo credit:
Sia Home Fashion via Nuevo Estilo

Thursday, 13 December 2012

back online in baking mood

How are you doing today? I'm connected to the internet again, thank goodness! After taking care of a few things yesterday, I was ready to be lazy without a trace of guilt. I was comfy on the sofa, with a cup of latte and some cookies by my side, ready to view blogs when my connection was lost. It's so irritating! How did we manage before the internet?!! The good news is that I turned to my stack of books and magazines and I even made pancakes. So, not a bad day without the internet after all.

Later today I'm ready for some serious baking. I'm obsessed with chocolate so anything with chocolate will do. Anything! I'm also thinking cinnamon cookies and hot chocolate. Sounds good, right?

Have a beautiful day everyone!

photo credit:
01: Simply Bloom Photography via Style Me Pretty / 02 & 03: Kristin Rosenau of Pastry Affair 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

decorating with evergreens & cinnamon sticks

I am skipping this week's 'Notes à la mode' post, as I haven't had enough time to collect material for it. I have plenty of photos in my folders but I don't want to post just anything in a hurry. Instead I'm going for what's on my mind: inspirational holiday decor.

These days I'm all for decorating with evergreens and cinnamon sticks. I still haven't decided how to decorate my table this year but I love the idea of keeping it natural and a bit raw looking. Maybe I will go for a Scandinavian theme this year, that is, if I find the right items to create it.

Have you decided how to decorate your table or do you not think so much about it?

Thank you for the birthday wishes for my daughter yesterday. We had a wonderful time but I have to admit that after all the work in the kitchen - I was basically in the kitchen all day - I was rather tired. Let's say I was tired in a good way, as everyone had fun and liked the treats. Today I'm going to allow myself to be a little lazy; I think I have earned it.

photo credit:
1-2: Better Homes and Gardens / 3: Penny Paper Co. via Belén Timmins/Pinterest / 4-5: Sandra of Vintage House via My Paradissi/Pinterest

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

floral designer's holiday decor

Jan Munch is a well-known floral designer in Denmark. His home is in Middelfart, which is on the west side of the island Funen (Danish: Fyn), close to where the Little Belt bridge takes you over to Jutland (Jylland). What I like about his holiday decor is the absent of clutter. I love what he has done for the entrance and the back garden; all these lights are so beautiful and festive, and his decorated dogs are simply too cute.

Today is our younger daughter's birthday and I'm about to start preparing for a little party she is having after school. She asked for pizzas and a healthier version of what we call Rice Krispies cakes. As she is someone who loves white chocolate, I'm making a white version as well. Yesterday she also asked for meringue tops with whipped cream and berries but in the grocery store she changed her mind to pancakes. Of course she gets what she wants so I'll put on my apron and deliver. By the way, she's eleven years old today and I think her father and I may need to look at her birth certificate again to see if that is true. I'm pretty sure I gave birth to her about five years ago.

photo credit:
Andreas Mikkel Hansen for Bo Bedre

Monday, 10 December 2012

winter mood + besotted brand giveaway winner

Welcome to a brand new week! I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I changed my plans on Saturday and instead of going into the city my daughters and I went for a walk in our area. As you can see in the photos, the weather was beautiful. The rest of the weekend was mainly spent enjoying good food, listening to Christmas songs and drinking mulled wine.

Now it is time to announce the BESOTTED BRAND GIVEAWAY winner.

I have 'drawn a name from the hat' and the set of hand-printed 'thank you' cards is going to my home country, Iceland. The lucky winner is:

Þorbjörg, who entered the giveaway through the Icelandic version of LatteLisa.

Congratulations Þorbjörg! Please email me your postal address so I can forward it to Tristan B and her team at Besotted Brand.

I would like to thank everyone who entered the giveaway and I especially want to thank Tristan B of BESOTTED BRAND for sponsoring this beautiful giveaway on the blog.

BESOTTED BRAND is an online shop for everyone interested in beautiful design and penmanship. If you haven't bought all the Christmas presents yet and are having trouble finding something for those who own everything then let me recommend viewing their selection. The products are shipped worldwide and Tristan and her team do combine shipping, which means they refund any excess shipping fees. If you buy more than one item you only pay for the weight of the parcel itself.

photo credit:
1-4: Lisa Hjalt / 5: via Besotted Brand

Saturday, 8 December 2012

brighter shade than pale 05 - Christmas

It is a beautiful winter day in Luxembourg with the ground covered in snow and the sun shining. To me this is the perfect December weather. Later today I'm going into the city centre and before heading back home I'm going to grab me some sushi for dinner and I think I'll stop by in Ladurée to buy us some macarons for dessert. We are also making hot chocolate for dessert, which A (yay, he's home!) and I will enjoy with Baileys and whipped cream. If you haven't tried pouring a touch of Baileys into your hot chocolate then I cannot even begin to describe what you're missing.

Let me remind you that today is the last day to enter the Besotted Brand giveaway. You could win a set of beautifully hand-printed 'thank you' cards. The winner will be announced on Monday.

Have a wonderful weekend dear readers and blog friends!

photo credit:
1: Karina Ljungdahl for Sköna Hem / 2: Keith Scott Morton for Country Living / 3 & 6: Sarah Ryhanen photography / 4: Rue du Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Canada: photographer unknown / 5: Kenzo Autumn 2012 via