11 December 2009

Documentaries about the environment

I haven't written in quite a while. There are several reasons for that. One great thing lately has been that I've enjoyed the IDFA ( the yearly International Documentaru Festival in Amsterdam). This year I took the time to look at what I wanted to see and booked tickets for 5 documentaries, mainly about environmental issues. Here are some tips if you can get your hands on these films:

Garbage Dreams is about young boys in Cairo, from the Zaballeen population that collect garbage to recycle it. It is super interesting to follow these boys in their daily life, to hear their dreams... One key moment in the film 2 of the boys go to Wales to see the recycling techniques there and they are surprised that not everything is recycled (part of it is done automatically and small parts are not gathered) and they comment that they could do better!

Tapped is about bottled water produced by Nestle, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Its really outrageous to see how these multinationals pump local inhabitants' water and sell it back to them for thousand times the price. In this documentary they also touch on the subject of the tons of plastic bottles that end up in nature without being recycled. Its enough to discourage anyone from buying drinks in plastic bottles.

In Earth Keepers a Canadian environmental activist explains how he got involved in it and travels around the world to meet experts who have developped solutions and projects that are simple in order to improve local environments (in terms of ecology, but often also socially). This film really makes one want to get involved, support local initiatives...

These films made me wonder "what the hell are we doing to our planet??!" and why is it so difficult to reduce our consumption or change out habits. And what can I do personnally? I will have to think about it, its a fine plan for ideas for 2010.

19 November 2009

Illustration Friday - Unbalanced

Unbalanced: not in equilibrium, mentally disordered or deranged

When I read this definition of unbalanced, this is the drawing that came to mind. It looks the way my brain feels sometimes, that is to say one part is rational, smooth, a little intricate but easy-going and relaxed, while the other half is paranoid, over-thinking, complicated and self-destructive.

I really enjoyed drawing this, the only hitch was I found out I need to invest in a pencil sharpener because colouring in the lines with flat pencils doesn't work so well. Am off to post this on IF website and see what other wonderful drawings people have come up with.

13 November 2009

Illustration Friday - Blur

"As she read his email, her heart sank..."

I've bought some new paints and sketchbook to occupy some peaceful hours at home during this winter. Sometimes its hard to know where to start so I've gone back to a website I'd seen a long time ago: Illustration Friday. Each week they give a theme for drawing and anyone can participate. Its great to have a starting point and amazing to see how many different ideas come out of the same theme. I'm going to try and do this more often. I'm off to check out this week's word :-)

I use the scanner at work which isn't optimal... so I'll have to be careful to make clearer outlines.

06 November 2009


This website is truely wonderful. They publish Mašta, a magazine with loads of ideas of street art, guerilla art, comments on society in a beautifully couloured booklet with the aim of inspring people all over the world. It's great fun to read and there are so many cool ideas...

30 October 2009

Messages from the universe

I went to the movies with my parents who are visiting and chose to see Julia & Julie without really knowing what it was. Turns out it was a movie based on 2 true stories about many things, including writing a blog (the main character decides to blog her way through Julia Child's cookbook in a year- preparing over 500 recipes in 365 days and telling her adventures online).

I really enjoyed the movie, mainly because of the spectacular performance of Meryl Streep as a very tall and extravagant lady of the 60s. But also, I found the overlapping medium interesting, we read books, watch films, write blogs and this is now all intertwined. The character from the 1960s communicates by means of letters sent and received family and friends overseas, she works on the book with a typewriter and carbon paper. The modern girl communicates by internet via her blog with many faithful readers.

I must say I am sometimes a bit overwhelmed by modern communication means and the thousands of ways to contact people that are sometimes so impersonal. I'm a bit of a communication hermit in the sense that I do not have a facebook account, and practically never connect to msn. I might not seem very sociable or always have all the information, but I believe I end up finding out about the right things without being swamped with info. I feel the universe sends the right messages when they need to be sent and being constantly connected to internet or mobile phone doesn't make it go any faster. If anything it distracts my mind making it harder to see those signs...

23 October 2009

Hello project

Found this project on this awesome website. I adore post-it art and indulge in it sometimes at work... It reminds me I should doodle more and get those juices flowing!

The concept: draw a hello message on a post-it, scan it and they'll post it;-) Simple and fun, it's so cool to see what others have contributed.

21 October 2009

What the hell is this blog about?

I started this blog 6 months ago, at a time when I needed to use my extra thinking energy on something else than my relationship issues. I'd started a couple of other blogs in the past but usually gave up after posting a few times, usually because I did not know what to write and was afraid of being judged for what I wrote and how I expressed it.

I have a lot of trouble with self-esteem, on a good day I won't think about it, but on bad days I feel like I am out of place everywhere, have nothing interesting to say and wish I could just disappear out of view and not face my own critical inner voice.

In the end this blog has become an extension of my journal, no one around me knows about the blog so far. I am not confident enough to tell even my family or close friends, maybe that will come later. For now it is just a platform for me to express things that catch my eye, that make me happy, that I create, or inspire me, that I can save to look back on when the going gets more difficult, and I write only for myself, freely.

I like the act of blogging, the simplicity of posting and the history that builds up. I feel the tug to write after a while without posting. I love reading other blogs too and the simple joy of finding a new post or a post that really speaks to me in a particular moment. It is also a simple pleasure of modern life!

16 October 2009

If everyone has a piercing, why can't I get one?

Spent the last weekend in Turin catching up with some friends who I hadn't seen for far too long...

It was a real pleasure to be in Italy and speak the language again, taste the delicious food and generally enjoy life like italians know how to do so well.

We went for a long walk in the beautiful warm weather (very big contrast to Amsterdam in this period), through a giant market with all its wonderful fresh products, cheap clothes, flea market... Its a nice city despite being the industrial home of Fiat (employing about 80% of the people living there!).

Hungry, we stopped for delicious pizza on the corner of this beautiful little piazza, traditional with a church and this piercing on the corner of the building (made by Corrado Levi in 96). Improbable as it is it gives the square a particular twist capable of surprising the simple wanderer...

Questionning the usual

This is the name of a very cool exhibition in Louisianna museum in Denmark. It was about questionning things and featured many art works including a microphone cloud, an ice room with the carcass of a race car, extremely colourful collages with pins, a radio the size of a room where you are the antenna and more.

The museum is wonderful, it is located by the sea and in nature, with spectacular views. At the same time there is a lot of room for the art works.

I loved the giant sign on the top of the museum and wish I could see this sign out my window sometimes when I need a boost! I put it in this blog as a reminder for now;-)

18 September 2009

Inspirational bits and pieces

I love making collages. I have done since I was a teenager. I always used to take my mums glossy magazines and cut them up into little pieces, gathering words, coloured pictures, making little books for my friends or home made cards with them... I'd love to see some of those collage's again. I guess it is a form of art that comes easy to me because I don't have to create from scratch, I start from something that already exists, fonts, colours, photos, drawings by someone else.

I made this collage last sunday afternoon whilst actually working on another collage which revolves around colours. This one just can really easily and I found the colourful page to stick it on. All these words inspire me and I love the fact that dutch and english are mixed... I think I may put it up somewhere where I can see it regulary and remember these important things.

16 September 2009

Cheeky monkey

These days have been insanely busy as I have been travelling to Denmark for work practically every week. I enjoy being there, especially as the weather is still quite warm, I am enjoying getting to know my collegues and am starting to have my habits there.

Our showroom is situated in the free-port, it is a very peculiar place and I enjoyed shooting these pictures on my way to work, under the sun.

Going by on the train I had often seen these huge graffitis on the top of these buildings... I asked my Danish friend about them, how she thought they had gotten there and what they said. It turns out its a kind of joke/rhyme: "what does Moller drink?" on one building, and the answer "Oller" (beer!) on the other. To think someone would paint that in such gigantic letters, it must have been one hell of a private joke. I laugh every time i see it now ;-)

04 September 2009

Note to self:

Whilst blogsurfing I fell on this site. I really like the messages like this and also many of the pictures on the flicker account. This pretty one I find a super message to remember to cultivate these things, not be passive and the results will come naturally from the universe.

La rentrée

In France this time in September when you go back to school is known as 'la Rentrée'. Since I've left school and uni I live in a more timeless world and sometimes I don't even realise la rentrée is passing by. It used to be synonymous with going to see which class you would be in and which friends would be in the class with you, whether you had good or bad teachers, buying new notebooks and pens, picking what to wear on the first day and a general sad feeling about the end of the long summer holidays...

But this year I'm feeling it again. Maybe it was talking with my little sister on the phone about her rentrée, maybe it's the fact that I've moved to a new flat, maybe its that the sunny travelling season is over for now (I've used up all my holidays), maybe it's the fact that on 1st of September the weather here switched undeniably from summer to autumn with cold wind and regular showers...


Yesterday as I went to make my omelette I found a perfect egg with a beautiful feather on it! I see it as a positive sign linked to my moving in my new home :-)

26 August 2009

Busy times...

These are busy times. I've just been on holidays in Turkey for 2 friends' wedding. It was wonderful to catch up with them and see them wonderfully in love and saying 'Evet' to each other. Seeing my other friends was also great and I realise we haven't changed that much in the last years.

But at the same time I do feel that things have changed and are continually changing with me. I've become much more aware of my role in deciding my happiness in the last year or so. It has changed my way of seeing many things and approaching relationships. It has pushed me to live in the moment more, to be less passive, to 'go get it!', to be grateful and much more. I feel like my mojo is alive and kicking lately.

I am about to move to a new appartment where I will be living alone. I can't wait and at the same time it will be a great change. I feel like I am moving forward, upwards...

11 August 2009

Simple pleasures of life: Yoga

Yoga has been accompanying me in my self discovery trip I have been on in the last years. On arriving in Amsterdam a friend took me to the yoga school she went to, to try out a class with her on a saturday morning. I loved it, it was weird, it was intense on a physical level, the teacher would go on talking for long spells, we had to breathe funny through our noses, we even had to sing... I've been going to that center for over 3 years now about once a week. I love the feeling of anticipation I have when going there. I now make time to go to the 1/2 hour silent meditation before the class.

These classes have taught me many things, in particular that it's important to make space for the things in life that make you feel good (even if it takes a little energy to motivate yourself in the first place). Practising yoga has helped me to slow down and prioritise, regard my body as a temple and soothe my mind.

I've also learned to push myself a little more. Last week for the first time I managed a position Id been struggling with forever. It was such an amazing feeling and a wonderful reward for keeping on trying. These are lessons to apply to every aspect of life.

07 August 2009

Unexpected arty projects

All over internet people are writing, sharing, expressing themselves, through blogs, youtube, websites... Blog hopping is a never ending occupation. I love spending free time going from a blog I like onto links it recommends and getting lost from there until I dont even remember how I got to the wonderful links I discover.

Whilst busy in this activity I fell on this.is.home.project and it had just started. The idea is to have people participate, by sending first a sentence about what HOME is for them, and then in a second stage illustrating these sentences. I love the concept of collecting all these sentences from people all over the net, and seeing the recurring themes and original or unexpected ideas. I'm looking forward to seeing the illustrated results!

My sentence: At home I don't need to be anyone other than myself.

29 July 2009

* Cryptic message in spanish

I went back to get a better look at the cryptic message which turned out not to be so cryptic, but rather poetic. First I wrote it down in my notebook, then I kind of looked over my shoulder to see if people were watching, then I photographed it because I liked the hand writing and the near invisible girl with ear muffs in the picture.

As I put away my camera, a voice called out to me in Dutch 'so what does it say?'. I looked up around and up, and sitting with his feet hanging off the roof of the building on the opposite side of the street was a man who had probably been watching me the whole time.

So I translated it for him: 'To forget a very big sadness, I will kiss you in a spiral... when no one is watching...'. And the man said 'that's very nice' and smiled. I agree with him, its beautiful.

28 July 2009

When the BFG lost his watch

In Barcelona they are big on their mozaics. Gaudi laid them all over the place in colourful and wonderful ways, I couldn't stop taking pictures of them. But looking down you can also see amazing things, like this mozaic made from metallic wheels. It looks to me like a giant watch just exploded and lost parts all over the floor (spotted in the Parc de Montjuïc). A sweet reminder of the importance of looking around us and seeing the beauty in simple things.

23 July 2009

The joy of receiving postcards

Good news for those who miss receiving good old postcards, handwritten post and mail that is not just bills. We are no longer obliged to send ourselves mail like Mr Bean. I love sending and receiving letters and postcards. A few days ago I received my first postcard from a complete stranger! This wonderful card was waiting for me in the entrance of my house, sent by a German man who used to be a drummer in a band.

I discovered the Postcrossing website whilst surfing the net, it is a site where you can sign up to get in touch with thousands of other people who miss receiving interesting post and want to introduce some randomness in their lives. To me it's like the couchsurfing of mail, you never know what you're gonna get but it leads to wonderful surprises:-) Try it out, it's great to create interaction with perfect strangers and colour your day and their day with an unexpected postcard.

22 July 2009

Things that caught my eye

Last night after having a drink with a friend it was too warm to stay inside, so I decided to head out for a walk along the canals. It was so relaxing and peaceful to be walking alone in the twilight hour, and some special things caught my eye.

1. A saying written on a beam in a dutch house 'Een glimlach is een goedkope manier om je uiterlijk te veranderen' (a smile is a cheap way to change the your outer appearance) - very wise reminder of the power of simple things

2. Four large wooden golden letters with serif that spelled F L O W in a window

3. A blue and red space invader

4. A naked man watching TV in his appartment a newspaper covering his private parts (admittedly it was a very warm evening)

5. A cryptic message in spanish written at the foot of a building*

20 July 2009


The other morning cycling on the way to work I saw some people making a giant street painting on the Prinsengracht (corner with Tuinstraat). When I passed again it was finished... Here it is:It looks great on the corner of these 2 streets. I looked it up cos I was curious. Apparently The London Police were commissioned to paint on this wall that was previously covered in ugly scribbles. They did a great job. I like the 2 guys in the graffiti machine, and the cartoon character is so smiley. Look out for these guys they are busy all around the world!

17 July 2009


Whilst blogsurfing I found this pearl of a blog. Each day the artist draws comments overheard and chooses one to post on the website. Some of the things said are wacky in themselves, but the drawings to illustrate them are really clever and add a whole other dimension. I really admire the creativity, productivity and regularity of the postings.

Stumbling on that blog reminded me of Overheard in Amsterdam which is the same principle, short discussions overheard around town (most are in Dutch) with a funny title added by the eavesdropper. It is really fun to read through a few.

Both these sites remind me of how many absurd things we say everyday and how that is communication, which is vital to human interaction. It also reminds me of the importance of not always having an mp3 player in my ears and listening to what is going on around me.

16 July 2009

Taking my time

Lately I've been thinking about taking life slower. I feel like the last years of my life have been wonderful and very full but I also have a constant feeling that I'm running after time and that I'm really tired.

I came slowly to the realization that I wanted to do things differently. First by the hairs raising on my neck when I am told to speed up (Vite, vite!), or when I find myself struggling to keep up with some of my friends cycling… I wonder what the rush is. But I sometimes rush in my own way too.

For a long time I thought I was quite late at doing things. Now I realize it's better to do things in one's own time. The beautiful expression 'to take one's time' says EXACTLY what it should, it is my time! I don’t need to go at anyone else's rhythm than my own.

So I took a conscious decision to avoid rushing permanently. This actually is the same as living in the moment, which I find pretty hard to do sometimes since I feel like I am constantly about to rush off somewhere else or making plans.

I have listed off the top of my head the things that I feel help me or will help me to live more slowly and I want to try and follow these guidelines in the next months and years, this post being a reminder.
  • taking the time to cook more, trying recipes, shopping at the organic market, trying to chose fresh products grown locally

  • continue to practice yoga regularly, meditate and breathe

  • slow love, get to know people and not rush into relationships

  • slow travelling, staying in one place for a longer period, couchsurfing, getting to know that place better [my ultimate plan is to spend 1 year (or more!) without taking the plane, but more about this later…]

  • writing letters and postcards instead of emails (I have a stack of free cards ready to be filled with stories of daily adventures and sent off into the world), taking those few extra minutes to buy stamps, to walk to the post box

  • plan less, not try to fill every free moment
I don't think the transformation will happen overnight, but I'm curious to see what amazing things will flourish from this decision.

15 July 2009

I'm gonna die with a twinkle in my eye

Monday night I went to see The Cat Empire, one of my favourite bands, Aussie of course (because 'in Australia everything is better'!). As they started they told us it was their 700th concert! and they really rocked the Melkweg like I've rarely seen. They had the crowd shouting and jumping and there was an amazing atmosphere.

They played one of the songs which I adore: The wine song. Everytime I hear these words I get shivers down my spine and it puts a smile on my face, its a wonderful vision of life.

I'm going to die with a twinkle in my eye
'cause I sung songs spun stories
loved laughed and drank wine

09 July 2009

Magic skies in Barcelona

Danish humour

With my Danish friend visiting for the weekend we talked of streetart and she told me of a famous Danish artist along those lines HuskMitNavn (literally Forget my name). His website has a lot of cool stuff on it, though you have to look for it...

This is what I liked the most. It completely cracked me up! Just imagine!!!

01 July 2009

100 Mile Diet

Surfing the net in the calm at work due to the economic crisis, I came across this blog which I found really interesting. The idea is to eat ONLY things produced within a 100 mile radius from where you live. That means only fresh products that you can trace the origin of, no pasta if you live in a region where they do not produce wheat etc.

From what the writers of the blog explain it takes a lot of creativity and research, but it also increases human contacts and is a good investment into the local community... I find it a great idea / challenge and even if I wouldn't push it to this extreme it inspires me at least to buy more locally (at the organic market at Noordermarkt for instance).

It triggers a thought about the Netherlands... Just the distance is not a sufficient criteria here, as it is not really recommendable to buy out of season food produced in greenhouses which consume huge amounts of energy.

26 June 2009

Storypeople rocks my world

Everyday in my email I receive a story from Storypeople... I find the way this guy thinks truly amazing. He manages to express really complex feelings in everyday words and relate them to random things often revealing the absurdity of the way we think and behave.

His words have been an inspiration for me to think outside the box since I discovered it. The colours and the child-like pictures suit the messages perfectly.

Dutch modern art

As I was cycling to work this morning on my usual route, I came across this in Valeriusplein:

I like this customised version of the statue and the orange traffic cone like a cherry on the cake! It put a smile on my face and I stopped to photograph it. It was a reminder that even on an everyday path surprising things are to be found...

06 June 2009

Drink to moving on

Whilst writing about Amsterdam in the previous, I was listening to this song I like very much and the words came through to me really clearly all of a sudden. The words and the music seemed perfectly suited to the theme of settling down and moving on, which is eternally in some corner of average expat's or third-culture person's mind...

Ode to Amsterdam

Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of my arrival in Amsterdam! One of the questions people seem to ask the most in this city is: when did you arrive? as people come and go a lot, it's still the port it originally was with people generally settling for a short period of time before moving on.

I can't believe it has been 3 years already, at the same time I felt at home immediately in this city.

I thought it would be a good occasion to write down all the wonderful people, things and places that make me love this city like no other.

  • biking around town, everything is so close and easy to reach, there is no need to plan with public transport - i guess its the freedom i love of coming home however late I want, being able to go on a sunny day to discover the surroundings of the city, riding off when I need a break from everything
  • the Melkweg and Paradiso concert halls at walking distance from my house and all the awesome bands, known and unknown I've seen in the past 3 years and crazy dancing nights
  • my house, and especially my housemates who are truly amazing people, with who I had the most fun moments discussing life, dwarves and other insignificant subjects, the huge pasta dinners, the unexpected drinks and dancing, the parties that made it look like tge floor would fall through
  • the wonderful friends I made in the most conventional and unconventional ways and with who I lived and keep living the city
  • Sauna Fenomeen - my restful retreat for hours of zen, warmth and chilling out far from the rain and grey
  • the Vondelpark and our millions of picnics and barbecues and general relaxing at the first ray of sunlight
  • the beauty of the canals, that look beautiful under different lights of the sky
  • speaking Dutch and keeping learning this language with its amazing expressions and original books (no book has moved me in the last years as much as 'Komt een vrouw bij de dokter' by Kluun)
  • the amazing cultural life that Amsterdam offers - alternative cinemas, sneak preview, film festivals, concerts, squats, bars and restaurants - all of these really accessible to anyone and well organised. The OCCII that I only went to for the first time this week (twice ;-P) is the perfect example that this city still has so much amazing stuff in store for me :-)

All of this (and also much much more) is the reason why I haven't moved yet, why after 6 years of moving too much I have settled down for now. This is a city that helps you live in the moment.

03 June 2009

Revealing mystic truths

This caught my eye on my way out of the Kroller-Muller modern art museum in the Hoge Veluwe. I guess I liked the cryptic message and the way it was presented in a neon way (somehow making fun of the neon messages bombarded at us all the time).

Looked it up when I had a moment and found out the artist is Bruce Nauman, he made this in 1967 and here you can read some more. I find these explanations give it even more meaning.

29 May 2009


This message took my breath away...
Note to self: remember to read this regularly, enjoy every moment and 'reawaken the possibility of possibility'

It's by David Horvitz - cool website (I love the 'things for sale I will mail you')

20 May 2009

Simple pleasures of Life - Fresh orange juice

I love the pleasure of taking the time to press some fresh oranges in the morning. The action of cutting and pressing the oranges by hand is hypnotic, then scraping the pulp of the fruit so as not to lose a drop...

Drinking it immediately when it is still full of all the vitamines and tasting the goodness with each gulp is magic.

Its a wonderful start to the day :-)

13 May 2009

Noire et Blanche

This is an interesting statement for a photo made in the 20's. I love the esthetics of this picture, it's simplicity and yet all it conveys.

One afternoon with nothing else to do, we decided to make our own personal version with my sister, inspired by a book of Man Ray photographs that she had lying around.

It was a magical afternoon and the memory of the fun we had pops up everytime I look at this picture which is bluetacked to the wooden beam in my room. Surprisingly it took more time than I expected to make this reproduction: we had to take many shots, hold the light the best we could and attempt to capture the essence as well as be as true to the original as possible.

Here is the result:

08 May 2009


I like this simple saying: it says so much and it pacifies me when I suddenly feel overwhelmed by doubts.

The interpretation is left to the reader: is it a wise person formally telling someone the trust themself, or a statement encouraging to trust each other?

06 May 2009


Now that Queensday madness has calmed down, I'm finding my city again... with lots of wonderful little streets which I discover anew everytime. The canals and boathouses, philosophical tags by Laser 3.14, independent shops, cute cafés...

I was already inspired by the city in 2006 when I drew this fictitious street... To think that I still have so many magic places to experience, it never stops.

05 May 2009

The simple pleasures of life - Oil pastels

I've had this box of pastels for years, maybe more than ten years. I love them and yet I don't get them out enough. I'm rediscovering the pleasures of the 'fat' colours, the bright colours and the simple joy of applying them on paper and seeing them rub off...

01 May 2009

Remember this...

when things seem over-complicated for no particular reason, when the brain makes everything into a big deal. Don't take yourself too seriously!

24 April 2009

23 April 2009

Life philosophy

we just don't know what it is yet. Sometimes we find out afterwards, sometimes we never find out... but it's good to keep this in mind when the going gets tough.