In love with…the little things

Hi lovebirds,

It’s no big news that I get nerdy from time to time, but this morning I was in the flow of reading a book in my hands on my way to work. I just couldn’t put it down and had to make the best of my ten minute walk from the metro to my office, so I continued reading and was thrilled about the red lights that allowed me to read an extra few lines. While I was standing in front of the zebra crossing, I felt a finger tapping on my shoulder and I looked up immediately. A young man was standing right next to me and he wanted to know where ‘Untere Viaduktgasse’ was and pointed at google maps on his phone. Wondering why he was speaking to me in English and uncertain of what language I should use, I went with English and I told him to come with me and showed him the way.

This obviously happened in pre-Corona times, when our lives were still busy and what we like to refer to as ‘normal’. Last summer, I once again participated in an online course, which is perhaps one of my favourites. It’s called ‘Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ and can be found for free on futurelearn. One of my Aussie host mums had recommended it to me three years ago, when I was going through a rough time. I don’t think she was aware of what an impact this would have on me when she sent me the invitation.

One lesson I took from this online course is to slow down, enjoy the little things we tend take for granted and to be in the present moment. This is where life happens! It’s changed my perception of my surroundings and my environment, as I began to smile at people, look them in the eye and sometimes even say hello to a stranger, or stop on the way to look at the blossoms on the trees and you know what? It feels damn good!

It’s surely become more difficult to smile at people, when you’re supposed to wear a mask, but if you look closely enough you can still see the friendliness and glitter in people’s eyes, or perhaps it’s just the pollen messing with people’s allergies. No but seriously, we always get so caught up in our thoughts, criticism, anxiety and life that we forget to enjoy the little things in our lives. We began to take everything for granted: our family, our houses, our healthcare system, being able to go to the supermarket. We look at our phones as we walk, we rush by the busy people in the morning without saying anything, yes, sometimes, we don’t really see what’s right in front of us.

So I’m asking you: When was the last time you took a walk and actually looked at the houses or trees around you? When was the last time you sat in a park and watched the ducks chase one another? When was the last time you had a real conversation with your family without discussing dinner, chores or who’s going to pick up the kids from school? When did you last smile at someone and said good morning to a person you don’t know? When was the last time you helped out a stranger? This list is endless and I too have struggled in those past few weeks since the lockdown. My life was turned completely upside down and I too have difficulties with the uncertainties, but that’s a different story. It’s okay for us to mourn, it’s okay to be angry and sad, but there comes a point in life, in which we need to accept that there are some things we just don’t have much power over, but instead as individuals we can, however, control how we see things and react to them.

Ever since I started appreciating the little things, my life has turned around. Consciously looking at my environment has made me realise how many beautiful things and inspiring people I am surrounded by every day. We are currently writing history and you are part of it! Isn’t this exciting news? Traffic in Vienna has decreased by 50% since the lockdown, streets have been blocked and turned into ‘meeting zones’ for pedestrians, residents of Venice are noticing a vast improvement in the quality of their canals. Is this ‘new normality’ really that bad?

Helping out this young man was again a moment of realisation for me. It might seem absolutely meaningless and pathetic to you and that’s okay too, but I’ve come to appreciate those moments more because I know I helped a person or made someone smile that day. Enjoying the little things currently helps me get through this crisis. I’m not saying, I’m doing a great job at it, but I certainly try. Next time you’re on the street, why don’t you try and smile at a stranger? You might be surprised by the friendly reaction! Stay strong lovebirds, we’re all in this together! By the way, it turns out that the book I read was in English.

Bisou, M

In love with…Amsterdam

Hi lovebirds,

It was on a cold weekend in May when L and I went to Amsterdam. Three months later, I am finally ready to tell our story. See, about five months ago, I had never set a single foot to the Netherlands before. Living in Belgium has made it impossible for me not to enter the dutch territory and it was about time. So clean and friendly, bikes everywhere, no to very little litter on the floor, well-organized, gorgeous tall men, breakfast culture, this was my place to be. I had no chance but to say yes to Amsterdam when L asked me out on a girls weekend away in May (which turned out not to be as much a girls weekend as we had expected, since my two fella friends F&F also decided to explore Amsterdam on the same weekend, yay!

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Amsterdam is only a very beautiful bus ride away from Brussels with lots of windmills along the way. I was secretly convinced that their windmills were just a myth, like us Austrians living in the mountains, wearing dirndls all day long and knowing how to yodel, well my bus ride proved me wrong! L and I took a gorgeous airbnb in a rather new neighbourhood a bit outside the city centre, as housing in Amsterdam is freaking expensive. We could have taken bikes to the centre, but it was honestly too cold for my taste, as I eventually got sick during our trip. My voice (when I still had one) was about as attractive as a chain smoker’s, some of my friends even begged me to keep that voice! I guess going out the night before and drinking shots didn’t really add much good to it, so all my suffering the next day (yes, the entire day) was well-deserved.

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Meeting the boys in Amsterdam was so natural that at some point I had totally forgotten that we’d only known each other for a few months. We got some fabulous takeaway pizza, sat on a bench along the canal and watched ‘Haubi’, the Great Crested Grebe –  which was actually a coot, but I guess we don’t know our birds as well as we thought we did – build a nest for him and his future familiy. Haubi eventually got in a fight with another coot, but managed to successfully defend his little boat after all. Weirdly, these birds have followed my every single trip while living in Belgium. It’s become a thing of our friendship with the boys and I’m starting to think that we should all get matching tattoos? I’m joking of course! Sitting at the canal eating pizza was surely a very memorable moment, especially because my pizza basically ended up everywhere since I’m not the most talented person when it comes to eating. A big thank you to Haubi for taking away the attention, so I could eat peacefully without being laughed at for once and for even sending me a text message while I was sound asleep: Hello it’s me, Haubi.

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Amsterdam is such a photogenic city, I probably could have stopped in front of every house to take a snapshot. It’s also an unbelievably green city with beautiful flowers and inviting benches in front of people’s homes. I’ve been wondering why we haven’t introduced this friendly culture yet in Vienna. Actually, it reminded me of my childhood. In my neighbourhood it’s very common to have a bench and pretty flowers outside your house. Having a perfect house and garden isn’t only a suburb cliché, it’s also a countryside reality. My grandpa used to sit there all the time, have a smoke and a cold beer on a mild summer’s eve. My grandpa was very much liked in our neighbourhood – which by the way exists of four houses  – so almost every night, my neighbours came along with a beer and sat with him on that bench to chat. For us kids, this was something special because it meant that we could stay up late. It became some sort of tradition that is slowly dying out with the growing age of my neighbours and with us kids growing up and moving away from home. Sometimes it really doesn’t take much for a city to make you feel just like home, Amsterdam definitely hit a spot.

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L and I managed to avoid the most touristy places for the first couple of days, which is something I realised on our last day when we finally decided to explore the Red Light District since it’s a must do when in Amsterdam. As we tried to find a nice place to have breakfast at, we wandered through the narrow streets of the old city, when all of a sudden a huge drop of liquid landed on my head, hand and camera. I don’t even think I can describe how I felt that moment, but yes, somebody spat right on me from the window. Maybe my red jacket was too provocative? No honestly, I’ have no idea whether I’d become a target, or whether I was just really unlucky to be in that place at that very second. I wasn’t quite sure what to do and started laughing for a bit because of the absurdity of the moment, but then went to the closest bar possible to use their loo to get rid of this disgusting and ridiculous spit. All three bartenders were overtly friendly and helpful and handed me over their soap and disinfection spray and made an effort in cheering me up with some disgusting fun stories they had experienced in the last few days as a bartender in Amsterdam. After some exceptionally weird moments, I still very much enjoyed Amsterdam and would go back any time! An article with recommendations on where to eat will follow. Until then, take care!

Bisou, M

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In love with…Banana Bread

Hello lovebirds,

Erstmals einen wunderschönen guten Morgen euch allen! Die Sonne scheint und ich kanns kaum erwarten, endlich rauszugehen und an die Donau zu fahren. Die Badesaison ist wohl eröffnet, yay. Ich war gestern bei Freunden zum Grillen eingeladen und da irgendwie schon für alles gesorgt war und ich trotzdem nicht mit leeren Händen auftauchen wollte, hab ich noch mein tolles Bananenbrot gebacken. Das Rezept ist richtig einfach und man kann das auch so ganz ohne Zucker machen, denn ich hab Oma’s selbstgemachten Löwenzahnhonig genommen statt dem Zucker. Anyways, probiert es doch aus und sagt mir Bescheid, was ihr davon haltet. Ich hab das Rezept von einer Kollegin aus Australien bekommen, also der Credit gehört nicht mir. Das Bananenbrot ist auch wahnsinnig lecker zum Frühstück. Einfach toasten, oder so essen. Mit Butter oder ohne. Ich ess auch manchmal Joghurt mit Beeren dazu.

So und jetzt ab an den Ofen äh Sonne meinte ich.

Love, M

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Was du dafür brauchst:

  • 3 reife Bananen
  • 2 Esslöffel Ahornsirup oder eben Löwenzahnsirup (ich hab 3 EL vom Sirup genommen und den Zucker weggelassen)
  • ½ Becher Zucker
  • 1 Becher Mehl
  • Prise Salz
  • 1 Ei
  • ein wenig Backpulver
  • gehobelte Mandeln
  • Schüssel
  • Gabel
  • Schneebesen
  • Becher
  • Esslöffel
  • Backform (am besten mit Backpapier)

Wie du es zubereitest:

Den Ofen auf 180°C vorheizen. Die Bananen mit der Gabel in einer Schüssel zerdrücken. Die anderen Zutaten hinzufügen und mit dem Schneebesen gut verrühren. Die Backform mit Backpapier auslegen und den Teig vorsichtig reingeben. Nach etwa 15-20 Minuten im Ofen, die gehobelten Mandeln oben draufstreuen und dann nochmals 15-20 Minuten backen lassen bis das Brot schön golden glänzt. Um sicher zu gehen, dass das Bananenbrot auch wirklich durch ist, kannst du mit einem Zahnstocher in den Kuchen reinstechen und wenn nichts drauf kleben bleibt, sollte es fertig sein. Einfach abkühlen lassen und genießen.

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Hello lovebirds,

First of all, good morning to you all. The sun is out and I am desperately waiting to go outside and chill at the Danube River. I guess the bathing season has officially started, yay! Yesterday, I was invited for a barbecue at a friend’s house and as everything had already been taken care of but I still didn’t wanna show up empty handed, I baked a lovely banana bread. The recipe is really simple and you can even make it without any sugar, as I replaced it with my grandma’s homemade dandelion honey. Anyways, just try for yourself and let me know what you think. I got the recipe from a colleague in Australia, so the credit’s not mine. The banana bread is also super yummy for breakfast. You can toast it, or not. Eat it with butter or without. I sometimes eat mine with yoghurt and berries but it’s actually really variable.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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Here’s what you’ll need :

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or dandelion syrup if you have any (I used 3 Tbs of the syrup and added no sugar)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • a bit of baking powder
  • sliced almonds
  • bowl
  • fork
  • whisk
  • cup
  • tablespoon
  • backing tin (with baking parchment)

Here’s how you prepare it :

Preheat oven to 180°C. Smash bananas with a fork in a bowl. Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Put backing parchment in your backing tin and carefully add in your mixture. After about 15-20 minutes in the oven, add sliced almonds on top and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes until the bread is golden. To be sure that the cake is done, you can us a tooth pick. Just put it in the cake and slowly remove it, if nothing stays on it, the cake is done. Let it cool off, or eat it while it’s still warm and enjoy!

Love, M

Inge summer cocktail

Hey lovebirds,

You might be familiar with last year’s summer cocktail Hugo, an unbelievably tasty mint-elderflower drink. Elderflower syrup was the essential ingredient to make Hugo the special cocktail he was. However, this year some genius (no sorry, wasn’t me, nor Lara) came up with the brilliant idea to replace the elder flower syrup with ginger syrup and it tasted surprisingly good and refreshing. As Lara is always up to date about what’s hip or not she obviously found out about this new recipe and we decided to give it a go ourselves and surprise, surprise the outcome was outstanding. First, we tried the recipe with white wine and it was good but then we replaced the wine with a rosé and the cocktail tasted even more beautiful. Some of you saw my photo on instagram and asked me for the recipe. So there you go.

Bisou, M

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Here’s what you’ll need for Inge:

3 1/2 tsp of ginger syrup

1/8 l white wine or preferably rosé

1/8 l sparkling water

4 mint leaves

a slice of lemon

a slice of ginger

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Here’s what you’ll need for the syrup:

1 organic lemon

1 medium size ginger tuber

3 1/2 tbsp of crystal sugar

300 ml water

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Here’s how you prepare the syrup:

  1. Peel off lemon skin and place in a pot.
  2. Peel ginger, cut it in thin slices and put them in the pot.
  3. Cut half a lemon into pieces.
  4. Fill pot with water and make it boil.
  5. Add in sugar.
  6. Add in lemon pieces but squeeze juice first.
  7. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Stir and make sure the sugar is all melted.
  8. Turn off heat, place the lid on the pot and let it rest for about an hour.
  9. Remove ginger, lemon and lemon skin.

Here’s how you prepare the cocktail:

  1. Put 3 1/2 tsp of syrup in a wine glass.
  2. Add in sparkling water.
  3. Add wine and mix it.
  4. Add ginger, a slice of lemon and mint leaves.
  5. Serve with a hip straw.
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Lisbon summer flings…

Hello there,

For those of you who have read my recent post on Lisbon already know what a fabulous city this is and how easy it is to get a great shot of Lisbon with all those hills. This one I kept for an extra post as I am in love with the location which is actually a fortress – Castelo de Sao Jorge – and used to be the royal residence until the 16th century when King Manuel I. decided to move out. Today it is one of the best platforms to discover Portuguese history and take photographs of the city. The panorama is absolutely breathtaking and tricks you into believing you’re at the ocean. It is also a great spot to take selfies, mother and daugther photos or to just accidentally have a photoshoot of your newly purchased dress that you’re absolutely in love with. Just beware of the wind up there!

Bisou, M

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In love with…a Parisian restaurant guide

Hi lovebirds,

I’m sure you all agree on how easy it is to find touristy restaurants and cafés in cities like Paris. But the question is: where to real Parisians go to? Before heading to this city of love, I asked my Parisian friends for advice and they handed me over a list of addresses of cafés, bars, restaurants they love. Unfortunately, we couldn’t try them all but this gives us another excuse to return to Paris soon.

  1. holybelly – Café/ Brunch (13€ for a meal)

Monday morning was girls brunch time. 3 girls, 2 Australia lovers and 1 café = holybelly + foodgasm. Holybelly is a hidden place in 10e arrondissement but still has quite a high reputation, especially amongst internationals. It is a french owned place inspired by Australian food and culture and is very authentic. The customers’ favourite is eggs and sides, a dish that supposedly is very popular in Melbourne and includes 2 eggs (up to you how you want to eat them), two sides (baked beans, salad, chèvre, bacon, etc.) and 2 slices of sour dough bread with butter. I personally tried the eggs and sides with a fabulous green salad and bacon and I was absolutely satisfied. They also have pancakes with maple sirup and bacon (another one of my favourites), a Vegemite breakfast (could it get any more Australian?) and more. Their coffee tasted as beautiful as it looked and the atmosphere in the café was very international. I felt carefully looked after, even though we had to wait short 10 minutes until we got a table. The price is about 13€ for a meal which is quite affordable for a brunch in Paris!

Continue reading “In love with…a Parisian restaurant guide”

In love with…Valentine’s Day

Hey lovebirds,

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we thought we’d give you some ideas on how to spend this special day of love without becoming depressed in case you’re single like Lara and myself. Lots of people hate this day because it reminds them of being single, of being alone. But truth is: who said Valentine’s Day was only a day for couples?

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In love with…kiwi banana chia pudding

Good morning lovebirds,

How many times have I told you about my breakfast addiction? I always try to vary my breakfast as I want to avoid getting sick of eating the same thing all over again. Good news is, there are so many delicious ways to have a nice breakfast. Well, here comes another healthy recipe to start a great day. What do you usually have for breakfast?

Continue reading “In love with…kiwi banana chia pudding”

In love with…a happy new year!

2015, you were pretty good to me! Finished two Bachelor’s degrees, got a job at University of Vienna, got an internship at the Austrian Federal Chancellery, got accepted for a Master’s Programme in Strasbourg where I moved to a couple of months ago and where I met lots of new amazing and interesting people. One would say things have worked out for me this year which makes 2016 scary. You must know, I’m a very organized person – yes, I love making lists and I find tidying my room calming, so you may call me a freak – and I hate it when I don’t know where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing. 2016 will hopefully bring lots of exciting new adventures and surprises. I am hoping to be able to travel a bit more than I did this year (I surprisingly only left the country three times this year! Once for a trip to Hungary’s capital Budapest with my girls, once for a day trip to Krumlov in the Czech Republic and once to move to Strasbourg, capitale de l’Europe). My trips to Vienna and Munich are booked and there’s hope for another trip to Berlin, oh and Lara and I have planned on going to Italy this summer. Even though I’m not a big fan of making new years resolutions, traveling would be one of them if I had to choose (even though some would say it’s already become my lifestyle rather than a new year’s resolution). As a matter of fact, I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s – drama is always around the corner and it’s mainly related to loots of  loud noise. This year, just like the year before, I get to spend this special evening with some special people. We’ll be eating Raclette, sipping beer and champagne in somewhat chic outfits – like grown ups do! For this special occasion, I chose a dress that I bought a thousand years ago, golden sparkling details – a must on New Year’s Eve it seems – and red lipstick.

Continue reading “In love with…a happy new year!”