Five senses #18

· Decoration, Fashion, Food

Back for a new “Five senses” article but Christmas edition! This year, Christmas will be a little bit special but we must not forget to please our 5 senses… So here are a few inspiring ideas that I hope you will enjoy and help you to live a Christmas period as magical as usual!

 

SIGHT

Vermont White Spruce Tree Balsam Hill

 

I installed my tree on November 15th, too early? Maybe, but since this year has forced us more than ever to stay home, we might as well enjoy ourselves… especially since I have the impression that we’ve been talking about Christmas since the end of September!

Anyway, mid-November, I was delighted to find my artificial tree (in which I invested last year) and the decorations that adorn it.

Nutcrackers Christian Ulbricht
Tree star Ferm Living
Heartshaped golden ornaments IKEA

 

No big change since the absence of travel and wandering in the stores pushes me to be fine with what I already have in terms of Christmas decorations. Only one novelty: these few golden heart-shaped balls ordered online, which allow me to temper a little bit the red/British dominance of my tree.

 

SMELL

Does a fake Christmas tree mean no smell of tree ? Not really… because I compensate with candles with woody scents to keep this natural spirit.

This year, I have the pleasure to collaborate with the French perfumer Estéban to discover the “Noël nature 2020” collection and this last one is not totally unknown to me since last year already, I used their candle “Sapin exquis” to accompany this festive period (I had received it in a box of our personalized advent calendar!).

 

The perfume of this “Exquisite fir” is “an ode to the magic of Christmas, to the warm and gourmet moments spent around the tree”… quite a program!

It is difficult to write you down the scent that is currently embalming my apartment but I would say that this description is quite faithful to what you can imagine: Woody, ambery scents with a little greedy note, sweet but not too much.

This exquisite fir exists in the form of a candle, an indoor spray and a fragrant bouquet. I love the discreet, elegant and golden/woodsy presentation of the whole… matching my Christmas decorations! The wooden fir tree shaped bouquet is a good way to keep the fragrance going all day long without having to light a candle and adds a warm decorative touch.

Fragrant bouquet, indoor spray, candle “Exquisite fir”
and candle “Blackcurrant cherry” Estéban Paris Parfums

 

This year, I discovered the other scent of this “Natural Christmas” collection: “Blackcurrant cherry”. Here, we move away a little from the tree and we totally abandon ourselves to the greediness of blackcurrant and cherry coated with almond notes. I am seduced.

And also totally seduced by the eco-responsible commitment of the brand. Indeed, Estéban manufactures its scented products in the south of France, with carefully chosen components (100% vegetable wax, pure cotton wick, phthalate-free vegetable alcohol) and recyclable packaging. In addition, the majority of their products are refillable (perfume stems, bouquet refill, candle refill).

This year, the brand also made a commitment to donate 1% of revenue from the Exquisite fir and Blackcurrant cherry collections to associations that protect the environment. Nice approach, isn’t it?

 

TASTE

Xmas tableware Villeroy & Boch
Cakestand Absolument maison (already seen here)
Bredele “moelleux” biscuits Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie

 

Christmas is not only a joy for the eyes or the nose but also for the taste buds! Last year, I brought back some delicious bredele from Colmar and since this year we can’t travel far, I ordered some online at the same place: the Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie. I could also make some myself, you would say to me, but I am not sure I could make such a large variety and especially not sure to make such good ones!

So I have chosen a packet of moelleux (almond-based) but I will certainly place a larger order with shortbread or other Alsatian specialties to accompany the month of December.

Xmas tea Compagnie coloniale (Merci Lionelou <3)
Black and green Christmas tea Dammann Frères (Merci Jérémy <3)
Thé nouveau (green tea) Mariage Frères

 

Besides that, Christmas also means Panettone, shortbread cookies, clementines and other sweets… that it is nice to accompany with a little tea!

Here are the Christmas teas I have in my cupboard at the moment. I’m also looking to stock up on Christmas herbal teas to vary the pleasures, so if you have any references to recommend, let me know!

 

HEARING

Advent calendar made by myself last year

 

Christmas is back with its playlist of course! Every year, I take pleasure in listening to and adding to the Christmas playlist that I’ve been making on Deezer for a few years now.

It includes a mix of classics and pop sweets to spend a Christmas season in rhythm: Kylie Minogue, Gwen Stefani, the Jonas Brothers, Backstreet boys or Tom Chaplin alongside Franck Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald or Elvis Presley. I hope you’ll find it useful to accompany your cookie baking or your “gift-wrapping” sessions!

 

TOUCH

Sweaters Close (already seen here)
Cashmere sweater La Redoute collections (already seen here)
Ballerinas Carel (already seen here)

 

December and the Christmas season mean for me the return of warm and soft sweaters! Still no novelty around here but a tribute to my most comfortable and durable sweaters!

I’m happy to find my little collection of cashmere sweaters that I’ve had in my wardrobe since 2015 and that are almost as good as new, even after several machine washes (wool cycle of course)!

This red sweater is also one of the best quality investments I could make: from 2017 and not a single pilling on the horizon. The cream-colored one is doing very well too. All this to tell you that when you try to privilege quality, it still remains after several years! (English translation by Quiterie)

 

Article written as part of a paid collaboration with Estéban Paris Parfums
This article also contains an affiliate link

Slow life in Otoyo

· Food, Illustration, Travel

As I told you last time, it’s time to slow down the pace since the programme of today fully illustrates what the “slow life” or sweetness of life is… Japanese version!

During or japanese road-trip, we left Matsuyama toward the prefecture of Kōchi and the district of Nagafuchi in the small town of Ōtoyo. The idea was to cut the road between Matsuyama and Takamatsu and what a wonderful step it was!

 

Small detour by Imabari

Before our arrival, I’ll let you admire some pictures taken on the way to Ōtoyo. At the beginning, we thought we would spend several days riding around Shimanami Kaido by bike (=a bike path that connects the town of Imabari to Onomichi, near Hiroshima).

But laziness makes things well, change of program! Instead, we were going to discover this hundred-year-old house in which we spent a night and which finally turned out to be one of my best memories of this road-trip.

 

However, we still made the detour to admire the bridge over the Seto Sea. If you have more time (and motivation than us) the crossing by bike can be planned in 1 or 2 days (depending on your physical performance) and it seems that the islands, villages and fishing ports crossed on the way are worth a look.

 

The guest house in the mountains

After this panoramic stop, we took the road again towards our lodging Oyamanoyado Michitsuji for the night, which was located at the end not far from the Oboke gorges that I showed you previously.

Once again, I would like to thank my SO who is at the origin of this find lost in the mountains… so lost that we had a lot of trouble finding the house, even with the GPS. But a call to the owners and with a nice neighbor coming to meet us, we finally arrived safely.

 

Welcomed by the smiles of Yumiko and her husband Daisuke, we immediately felt that we were going to have a good time.

The time to leave our things on the big tatami in the room, Daisuke showed us the house, which is more than 100 years old, decorated in a very simple and minimalist way but in which reigns a cosy atmosphere.

 

The view of the gorge is probably the main reason for this, not to mention the quietness of the place, but it is also disturbed by a (very) early morning crowing of the rooster.

 

The couple, who’d lived a few years ago in Tokyo, wanted to escape the stress of the city to reconnect with nature in order to raise their two boys in the most serene conditions possible.

Upon our arrival, the two boys, who soon returned from school, frolicked in the garden and settled down to do their homework on the living room table, not at all disturbed by the noise of our discussions.

Daisuke showed us the bathroom and toilets located in a small hut outside the main building. I have to admit that I begged my bladder not to get up at night (I already imagined myself stumbling on the small, dimly lit, gravel path half asleep) and my prayers were fortunately heard.

 

We also visited the surrounding fields: rice and tea cultivated in these heights. Everything that is consumed by the inhabitants is produced nearby: it could not be more local!

 

Yumiko invited us into her kitchen when she was preparing dinner. On the menu, tonkatsu breaded pork (pork from the neighboring farm) accompanied by rice, soup (Pink potato soup if my memories are good) and vegetables and herbs from the garden. Her husband was in charge of watching the rice cooking in a pot.

 

Watching Yumiko delicately carve vegetables and lemon, we talked and exchanged about our very different daily life, to the sound of the pork frying and the carrots and corn frying in the pan. As Yumiko speaks very good English, we didn’t have to use our hands or google translate.

 

It was then time to go to the dining table, sitting on the tatami. Itadakimasu! I still remember the crispy melting of the tonkatsu as well as the crunch of the vegetables, with that nice little fresh air that came to tickle us through the sliding door, as the sun was starting to decline outside.

 

We continued to talk about everything and nothing: kintsugi classes that Yumiko regularly practices (the art of repairing broken dishes with delicate dripping gold threads), their life in the countryside, Instagram…

Yumiko regularly posts selected pieces of her daily life on her account, which I find very pleasant to follow, since we can see the seasons just by looking at her photos of fruits and vegetables and the dishes she likes to prepare.

 

After enjoying a caramel flan (always homemade), it was time to take our futons to spend a sweet night. In the morning, the rooster committed to cancel any plans to sleep late, gave us a nice vocal demonstration, but it was not so bad since we had to get back on the road.

 

 

Before leaving, a salty breakfast with grilled salmon, miso soup and small vegetables, always so delicious!

 

A few souvenir pictures together, it was then the moment to say goodbye by warmly thanking Yumiko and Daisuke for their hospitality and for this so comforting evening.

 

The stage of the day was a little less touristy and stirring than in my previous tickets but staying in this guest house remains one of our most beautiful travel memories by the simplicity and sympathy that came out of it.

We continue to keep in touch and to follow each other via instagram and coincidence, we even met the next day in Naoshima since the whole family had decided to spend a few days in Takamatsu as well. See you then at the next step of the road-trip: Direction Takamatsu and Naoshima Island! (English translation by Quiterie)

A cosy fall

· Decoration, Fashion, Food

Autumn is here, and the bad weather and dreary days has come along. To make the most of this season, which often discourages people from going outside, there’s nothing like staying quietly at home to hibernate in a comfy cocoon. Last year, I have already talked about the pleasures of autumn and my tips on how to feel good at home.

Today, here are a few additional tracks and little pleasures of the moment that help me face the gray outside. Hopefully this will inspire you to make everything around you cosy… and more especially during this special year!

 

Warm candles

Candles “La bougie herbivore”

 

The obvious accessory to bring a little comfort inside your home… and above all a warm olfactory atmosphere. My favorite candle is the crackling candle from Wabi-Sabi (“Nuage végétal” perfume) but I like it so much that it is finished (I have to order another).

In the meantime, I use two candles that were given to me by a friend on my birthday in January (Thanks Sylvain<3) : “Okinawa Mist” from La bougie herbivore, which has a spring rather than autumn scent: cherry blossom, sea air but since there is no more season, it doesn’t matter! The 2nd one is “Eternal Fig” with more greedy accents (fig, edelweiss) in accordance with the season. An ephemeral pleasure but so pleasant!

 

A comfort at all times

Whether furniture or clothing, it’s time to take refuge in soft and comfortable materials.

If you have an eye for decoration, you’ll see that I’ve swapped my Eames chair for this new rocking chair, more “cottage style”. We gave our Eames to a nephew who is settling in his studio for the first time and took the opportunity to replace it with this one, even more cosy! When it will be colder, I will add a plaid but the seat is already very soft.

 

Socks “Dirty dancing” Odette & Lulu (Thanks Noémie <3)
Rocking chair “Dilma” AM.PM

 

On the clothing side, I’m betting on natural materials: fleece cotton sweatshirt and fun socks (I haven’t taken out the thick woolen socks yet) and off-camera, you can count on me to hang out in a Winnie onesie, UGGs and wrap myself in a plaid! By the way, I’d like to invest in flowing, stylish, comfortable and warm indoor pants. If you have any recommendations, I’m very interested!

 

Comforting series and movies

It’s time to balm your heart with an avalanche of romantic comedies! I’m quite a fan of romantic comedies (much more than Halloween horror movies). So here’s my selection of favorite “soppy” movies/series (I’m excluding for the moment the romantic Christmas comedies because it’s still too early: let’s save some ideas for later!).

  • Emily in Paris : The series that is very popular at the moment and that people love to hate. For my part, I came out of this screening with a big smile. Of course, one is tempted to be sarcastic by pointing out all the unrealistic and extremely cliché situations of this series… but, let’s put aside our cynicism a bit, let’s take what these romcom episodes have to offer (i.e. lightness, romance, humor and good humor (and cherry on the cake with the charisma of Lily Collins, Lucas Bravo (Gabriel) and the mostly endearing characters) : Of course it’s far from perfect and it irritates, us, french people (and influencers haha) a little bit, but I had a great time watching it (I detailed my personal feelings on highlighted stories on Instagram).
  • The kissing booth A teen movie I’ve already talked about here
  • Isn’t it romantic ? A rather successful parody of romantic comedies
  • Clueless For the nostalgia of the 90’s and a Paul Rudd really really cute
  • Far from the madding crowd Country atmosphere and romantic love story (I was already talked about it here)
  • Dawson’s creek My all-time favorite series, with beautiful and cozy fall moments spread throughout the 6 seasons.

 

An inspiring reading

The Monocle guide to cosy homes

 

To dream and be inspired by cosy homes from around the world, I found this book “The Monocle guide to cosy homes” (I was so seduced by the book Monocle about Japan that I had to look at this one too).
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It shows different ways to bring cosiness in the house: you don’t necessarily have to add plaids and candles to make a cosy interior and that’s the interest of this eclectic book about decoration. Photos, portraits, texts, the cosy is analyzed in all the details.

 

Caring sounds

How about a comforting fall playlist? When it rains, I really like to listen to sweet and nostalgic sounds from bands like Travis (they released a new album “10 songs” absolutely perfect for fall!), Keane, or to throw some folk playlists, as if I was in a cabin in which a fireplace crackles (with marshmallows! = haha! You can feel the irreversible after-effects of an untimely viewing of romantic comedies )

Another way to hear relaxing whispering in your ear: Podcasts! I discovered 2 podcasts of Florie Vine quite “feel good”: an old one called “Simple & Cité” rather oriented towards minimalism and slow life.

But she also hosts a second one called “Bulles nomades” which describes her vision of happiness in various themes (optimism and realism, how to develop her creativity and confidence etc…). The tone is always benevolent, non-judgmental and allows for a certain introspection and keys to appreciate more what is presented to us every day.

 

Pamper your body

Since we’re staying at home, we might as well please our skin! Here are a few fetish products to take care of mine, especially with the first cold of autumn. I am now trying to prioritize natural cosmetics with little impact on the environment and those of the Les inspyrées line fully fulfill this task.

I had already talked about it in the past: I am fully seduced by the sustainable and reasoned approach of this brand (I know well the founder’s, a friend, ethics and environmental convictions). Here are the products that I use at Les inspyrées and from which I’ve got full satisfaction:

 

LE SERUM MON OEIL ! : A 100% organic vegetable eye contour oil (prickly pear, jojoba oil, calophylla, arnica …) that reduces wrinkles, bags, dark circles while preserving this sensitive part of the face. I like the fresh side of the roll-on.

LE BAUME FONDANT APAISANT CORPS : No more crocodile skin with this nourishing and soothing composition (shea butter, hemp oil, sacha Inchi, calendula, chamomile, rosemary): the pot lasts really long too!

EAU TONIQUE “PURIFIE MOI !” : A hydrolat which regulates mixed to oily skins, made up of a mixture of floral waters, always organic and from French origin (Melissa, thyme, laurel): I apply it morning and evening instead of the lavender water which I used before (this one regulates even better!).

 

This list of cosy little pleasures is far from being exhaustive and there are many other ways to bring cosy into your home: you can also choose to cook good little dishes, do manual work (embroidery, knitting), sleep or simply do nothing! The most important thing is to enjoy yourself, no matter what the weather is like outside! (English translation by Quiterie)

 

(This article may contain affiliate links)


My Outfit

Sweat-shirt American vintage (déjà vu ici)
Pantalon La Redoute collections (déjà vu ici)
Chaussettes Odette & Lulu

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