Thursday, 28 February 2013

k&a: tomato soup with garlic and thyme

It being the last day of February, and spring bound to show up eventually, it felt as if it might be the last chance this winter season to post a soup recipe on kitchen & aroma. I tasted this one, tomato soup with garlic and thyme, many years ago at a friend's birthday party, served with delicious bread. It is easy to prepare; ideal on those cold days when you don't have much time to spend in the kitchen. If you do have time, make home-made bread as well.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

interior design: bright swedish home

This Swedish home that was featured in Sköna hem almost makes wonder for my I'm-craving-for-spring mood because of the brightness of it. It feels crisp, yet not cold; the gold accents create the perfect balance.

I like the glassware on the dining table and the branches in the vase, and don't get me started on the rug in the dining room and all these beautiful windows.

photo credit:
Anne Nyblaeus for Sköna hem

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

notes à la mode 30

In my yesterday's post I mentioned the Italian regions of Tuscany and Umbria but today we are travelling to Milan for a sneak peek of the Autumn/Winter 2013-2014 Collection of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, which they presented at the Milan Fashion Week on Sunday.

This time their sources of inspiration were 12th century Venetian and Byzantine mosaics that cover the walls of the Santa Maria Nuova cathedral in Monreale, Sicily.

Think gold, black, red and white, mixed with lace, herringbone tweed, gemstones and tiaras.

photo credit:
1,3-6 (catwalk + details): Alessandro Viero + Filippo Fior via Vogue US / 2,7,10,11: Kevin Tachman for Vogue US /
08 + 09 (bag + red dresses): Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist

Monday, 25 February 2013

ode to spring + summer

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." Really, Albert Camus? I'm trying; I'm just not feeling it. It has been snowing for three days in my part of the world and I have had enough. Enough! I don't want to put on warm socks and sweaters any more; I don't want to put on winter boots each time I go out to get the mail.

Winter, you and me are so over! O.v.e.r.

This post is some kind of an ode to spring and summer. I went through my magazines to find spring and summer issues showing the mood in Provence and Normandy, or anywhere in the south or north of France, and in Umbria and Tuscany in Italy. Every time I leaf through the pages I start dreaming of al fresco lunches with a glass of rosé, putting on sandals again, feeling the sun on my face, bicycling, and visiting flower markets.

Spring, seriously, where are you?!!

photo credit:
1 + 4: Lisa Hjalt (from the February/March issue of Art & Décoration) / 2: from the book Provence Style edited by Angelika Taschen / 3: from the book French Country Living by Caroline Clifton-Mogg | both photos via Aged and Gilded / 5: Kristian Septimius Krogh for Bo Bedre via Pinterest

Saturday, 23 February 2013

styling: anya hindmarch spring 2013 campaign

The photo above, part of the Anya Hindmarch Spring 2013 ad campaign, almost mesmerised me when I saw it for the first time (it is in almost every magazine I leave through these days). It wasn't the accessory itself that caught my attention, but the gorgeous styling. All these beautiful blue coloured vintage items and the books - love it! Unfortunately, I have no idea who is the mastermind behind it all. Whoever it is, that person is my favourite stylist these days.

I had to share two more ads with different colours.

I had such a pleasant morning with my coffee and magazines (I love the Vanity Fair issue; it has a great collection of Bruce Weber's photographs). I decided to stay home today, as it is so cold outside (could someone please tell Siberia to blow their winds in another direction!). Instead I had fun in the kitchen and I made my chocolate tray bake. I was experimenting with a new chocolate frosting and I believe the recipe is ready. I will share it soon on kitchen & aroma.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Anya Hindmarch Spring 2013 ad campaign via The Terrier and Lobster

Friday, 22 February 2013

charming spaces: artistic + modern in madrid

Today's charming space is in the heart of Madrid, the capital of Spain. The owners of the flat are French and they turned to interior designer Sabine Marchal, who in my opinion did a wonderful job in creating harmony. I like spaces with character and this flat has plenty. The sculpture is by Richard Hudson and the Chinese vase is from the nineteenth century. I'm drawn to the rug, which is from Rajasthan in India - I love its colours.

Got any plans for the weekend? Tonight it's of course the traditional Friday pizza in this house, enjoyed with red wine. Basically, I'm just looking forward to not having to set the alarm clock and having a relaxing Saturday morning with a cup - or two - of good coffee and magazine reading. A stack is already awaiting me. Yesterday I bought the March issue of Vanity Fair, a special collector's edition that looks like a good one, and the French design magazine Art & Décoration. I recently subscribed to the British version of Harper's Bazaar, as it isn't available anywhere in Luxembourg. My first copy arrived in the mail earlier this week and I have yet to read it. If the cold weather doesn't stop me I may go into the city to check out a nice café that I recently spotted, hidden in a small alleyway. So, relaxation is what I have in mind.

I'm leaving you with this live version of Lykke Li's song I Follow Rivers and wishing you a wonderful day!

photo credit:
Nuevo Estilo

Thursday, 21 February 2013

luxembourg: the old quarter of the city

During the winter break I took the kids for a long walk in the Pétrusse Valley in the city centre of Luxembourg. It was a cold and grey February day but the walk was lovely and afterwards we went to a café. I was sort of expecting most of the photos to turn out a bit dull and gloomy but found myself pleasantly surprised. I think the old quarter of the city, called Grund, looks just as beautiful on a grey day as on a sunny one.

For those interested in the history of the city, here is a little extract from the website of UNESCO World Heritage Centre:

Because of its strategic position, Luxembourg was, from the 16th century until 1867 when its walls were dismantled, one of Europe's greatest fortified sites. It was repeatedly reinforced as it passed from one great European power to another: the Holy Roman Emperors, House of Burgundy, Habsburgs, French and Spanish kings, and finally the Prussians. Until their partial demolition, the fortifications were a fine example of military architecture spanning several centuries.

The City of Luxembourg is located at the crossing point of two major Roman roads. In 963 Sigefroid, a count from the Moselle valley, built a castle on the Rocher du Bock, which he obtained by means of an exchange with the Abbey of St Maximin of Trier. His servants and soldiers settled around the castle and the modern town sprang from the market-place of this settlement, the Vieux Marché.

The lower town of Grund and the Plateau du Rham: archaeological excavations have shown that the Grund and Rham areas were settled for some six centuries before Count Sigefroid took possession of the Bock promontory in 963. The Wenceslas Wall formed part of the third defensive circuit built in the late 14th century. It underwent a number of modifications and strengthenings as artillery improved.

The Grund sluice was built by the Austrians in 1731; it consists of a massive masonry dam with vaulted openings that could be closed to prevent water passing through them. Much of the lock was dismantled in 1878, but its remains are still impressive, and also provide a magnificent panorama of the city. The Hospital Saint-Jean was founded in 1308; in 1543 a Benedictine community was established there, to become known as the Neuminster.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt
Luxembourg, February 2013

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

k&a: pancakes

Anyone in the mood for pancakes? I am. Always. If you were expecting fashion on the blog today then let me just say that pancakes are classic and they never go out of style!

I just posted a pancake recipe on kitchen & aroma that I have been using for about six years. It is less oily than all other pancake recipes that I have tried and I love it.

Enjoy your day!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

brighter shade than pale 09

Hello again. Life is back to normal with the kids back to school. We were all in the mood for a longer break. I almost managed to do absolutely nothing, almost. One of the most enjoyable doing-nothings was watching the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. I hadn't seen a single episode in full-length and found myself really enjoying them. How fabulous is Maggie Smith's character? She's priceless, almost cracks me up every time she appears on the screen.

February is finally greeting us with some sun after what seems like endless grey days. I'm so in the mood for this cold to go away. Yesterday I spotted my bicycle downstairs and felt the longing to ride it again. That would surely put a spring in my "step".

photo credit:
1: Confinedlight (Caffé Della Pace, Rome) via Pinterest / 2: Mario Testino for Vogue Paris, Feb. 2007 | Maryna Linchuk in 'Protocole d'élégance' styled by Emmanuelle Alt / 3: Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella / 4: Alexander Wagner for Sportswear International Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011 | Charlie France + Aiden Andrews in 'Tweed Run' styled by John Tan

Saturday, 9 February 2013

luxembourg: pétrusse valley + adolphe bridge + winter break

I wanted to leave you with beautiful scenery of the city before signing off for a week. The children have a week-long break and we are pretty much thinking about doing absolutely nothing. In between doing nothing there will be a library visit and some baking. I am in the mood for trying a few recipes from my new cookbooks and I am also in the mood for getting organised for spring. I think it is time to reorganise the wardrobes and maybe pop up the home decor. Tomorrow we are invited to a waffle party at a friend's house and maybe next week friends from Antwerp will come for a short visit.

The area you see in the photos is the Pétrusse Valley in the heart of the city. The Adolphe Bridge, 110 years old, is one of the bridges crossing it. They will soon be building a temporary replacement bridge because the Adolphe Bridge needs renovation that should start in early 2014. Close to the bridge, on Boulevard Roosevelt, they have set up a small building, a visitor centre, where everyone can have a look at the plans and models of the project. I walked by it the other day and it looked pretty cool but I didn't have time to enter and take a look.

Have a wonderful weekend and week!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt
Luxembourg, February 2013

Friday, 8 February 2013

charming spaces: stylish + solid

stylish Hollywood Hills home · Lunch & Latte

I have been keeping this photo in my files, regularly looking for the source without any luck. I noticed it popping up on Pinterest, never with a link to the source or any information about the design. I thought that it must be a scan from some book and that one day I would find it. Last week I made yet another attempt to track it and to my wonderful surprise I found a website that led me to the source. This, in my opinion, stylish and solid space is the living room in the Hollywood Hills home of Claire Stansfield, the founder of the clothing line C & C California, and her husband. The house is a 1920s Robert Byrd design, remodelled by the architect firm Marmol Radziner (see more photos on their website).

Enjoy your day!

photo credit:
Paul Raeside for House & Garden via Design rulz (cropped by me)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

on my mind + books

The internet has been teasing me today, which has given me the perfect excuse to read, wrapped in my new 100% wool pashmina (feels like being wrapped in a blanket, it's so warm). Before I talk about the books I wanted to ramble just a little. The other day I read an interview in my February issue of British Vogue with actress Andrea Riseborough (played Wallis Simpson in Madonna's W.E.). It is called 'Character Study' and what amazes me is that I hardly learn anything about her character. The interview is only one page long, with five pages devoted to photos of her wearing Armani. In the "interview" she says 'I don't shop', adding that most of her clothes come from charity shops. Why wasn't the interview five pages long with maybe one photo of her wearing her own clothes? Why do we get a fashion editorial every time an actress or other celebrities are interviewed?

I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for an artist that is only interested in promoting his or her craft. Is this really something that the majority of consumers want? Do you buy a magazine because someone that interests you is photographed wearing the latest fashion? Do you? I didn't buy this particular issue for myself (A brought it home) but when I looked at the content I was looking forward to reading this interview, to learn more about Riseborough as an actress, only to read one page and learn nothing, except the fact that she doesn't shop, and a film she stars in will soon be released.


Now to the books.

These days I'm reading two. The first one I got on my birthday last summer, Dancing on My Grave by Gelsey Kirkland (with Greg Lawrence). I started reading it a long time ago only to put it down shortly after, thinking that the timing wasn't right. That often happens with my books; they can sit on my table for months until the right moment to read them arrives. That moment has definitely arrived and I'm thoroughly enjoying it, sometimes unable to put it down.

Gelsey Kirkland was a famous ballerina (she now runs a ballet school) that, for example, danced and was romantically involved with the ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov (some of you probably remember him as the Russian in the last season of Sex and the City). Her story is both inspiring and heartbreaking. I have never studied ballet but still I find myself enjoying her vocabulary, her descriptions of struggles with body movements, physical pain and suffering, and how she strived to always become better. Of course it's wonderful to read about her success, which she never seemed to enjoy. She was her worst enemy. I haven't reached the part of the book where she starts using drugs but her thoughts on body image and how she used to starve herself are difficult to comprehend, especially when all the photos of her reveal a beautiful woman.

I highly recommend this book. I don't think you will find it in bookshops anymore (I got a used copy) but maybe your local library has a copy.

The other book I just started reading is called The Art of Travel, written by Alain de Botton. At this point I cannot really say much about it but what drew me to it were these words on page 9:

If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest - in all its ardour and paradoxes - than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival.

I had to include a photo of my furry friend. She moves so gracefully and every time I'm photographing something on that working table she tends to jump on it. She usually plants herself firmly on my stuff, as if she wants to be in the photo. Yesterday she lay on my magazine and watched the snow falling while my heart melted.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt