Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Molletes and hot chocolate

 Today I am over at Craftie Mum, the blog of Catarina, a portuguese writer, translator and expat in The Hague who writes about fun activities and things to do with children .

I a sharing a recipe for Molletes, a classic Mexican breakfast or dinner snack, made out of bread, refried beans, cheese and pico-de-gallo salsa.

Head over there for the recipe!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The busiest weekend at Engaged

We made it. I haven't been writing over here as much as I have been wanting to because the last couple of weeks have been hectic, with the preparations for the wedding fair,  with birthdays of friends and our everyday walks, with normal life that doesn't stop, cooking, doing the laundry, reading... and yeah, trying to get some rest as well.

As our first time at a wedding fair we were quite nervous and excited. We didn't know what to expect, we wanted to show that we are professional, and we were looking forward to meeting other people in the industry, as well as potential customers.

It was really, really a good experience (we did end up collapsed in bed on Sunday, and on Saturday as well, baking batch after batch of the lemon-raspberry and chocolate fudge cake bites that we offered in our stand). We met lots of other like-minded small companies with great ideas, wedding planners, stylists, bloggers and couples.

We made a few naive, rooky mistakes that luckily we were able to save at the last moment. The instructions for the fair clearly stated NOT to hang anything from the walls. Then, I got assigned an island stand in the middle of the fair, in front of the main entrance, and we thought:  "well, that solves the issue, if there is no wall behind us, no need to worry about that".

 Well, when we arrived on Saturday morning for the big setup we realized a). that we were right in front of a black, tall pole, part of the structure of the building and b). that everyone had set up all kinds of backdrops made, for example, of ribbons, old doors, lace curtains, cork boards, wooden stairs...

Luckily for us, that day we were meeting one of the boy's best friends, who happens to be a very creative engineer and is also very much into design and we were able to came up with a simple but pretty ( I think) solution.

I am really happy we participated and I hope it will give us exposure and hopefully some of the couples will decide to have their wedding cake  made by us.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Engaged Wedding fair

 This coming Sunday (October 26) I will be participating at Engaged Event, a very uniquely catered wedding fair in The Netherlands.

It is the first time I participate in such a big event and I am happy and excited, preparing everything, testing, collecting trinkets for our stand and painting cakes. The baking will start later this week.

If you are getting married in Holland, or if you know anyone who is, or if you are into decoration / design / baking / event organizing, I think you will love it and shouldn't miss it.

The fair will take place at from 10.00 – 18.00 at  Lijm en Cultuur, in Delft [Rotterdamseweg 272, 2628 AT Delft ( here's a map)]

You will find more information here .

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Baking again

 In the last couple of months I got some orders for my hand-painted cakes. I was so happy to be working in the kitchen, focusing on getting a project done the best possible way.

Since baby Y. was born I made some cakes and cupcakes for birthdays, as a thank you present to the nurses and medical staff at the NICU and for home, but I hadn't really got back to baking for other people.

It feels so good, though it takes my organization skills to a whole other level: I have to use every single moment wisely and take advantage of nap times. Lately, though, baby Y. has been awake more and it is nice to have her in the kitchen with me observing what I do. Maybe one day she will grow to love baking too.

I had a few days last month where I was feeling exhausted, scattered and all over the place because there is so much to be done and even though I am running and doing things the whole day I never finish projects. I guess just doing one thing at a time is key, while letting go some things, particularly the pressure to do it all. If A or B or C does not get done, it's OK. It is also OK to rest, to take walks, to make time for reading and for fun things, to sit in the couch staring at space.

How do you manage time? Are you organized or chaotic? Do you have specific assigned times to do things just for you?

Friday, October 10, 2014

To Paris with the baby

A week ago, we were running around the house, packing last minute things, washing the diapers one last time before we left and getting ready to take baby girl to Paris for the first time. My best friend from my time at the University of Geneva was here to see a professor (she might move back to Europe!) and we hadn't seen each other for 8 years. I was so happy and excited, specially because we discovered Paris together for the first time 14 years ago. That time we took the train and arrived in Paris without a place to sleep because a 'friend' who was supposed to host us cancelled on us at the very last minute. Luckily we found a youth hostel as soon as we arrived and we did not actually end up sleeping under a bridge.

  It was amazing, Yu loved going on long walks all over the place and stopping at cafés for hot chocolate and french fries (she tried her first!). We went to the Jardin de Plantes, the second most ancient zoo in the world, which opened its doors in 1793. We also walked along the Seine, as has to be done, saw the Pantheon, the Luxembourg gardens, La place des Vosges, La Bastille, the beautiful green mosque. Paris is child-friendly in that there are a lot of parks and activities that can be done with kids, but when it comes to public transportation it gets tricky with huge strollers, because only the biggest metro stations like Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Louvre, Bastille or Austerlitz are equipped with elevators. Sometimes the doors to access the platforms are so narrow that we had to take a wheel off the stroller to be able to enter. But this was not a general problem for us because we tend to walk a lot, and we only used the metro system 2 or 3 times, at the end of the day when we were really tired and just wanted to get home fast.

We stayed at the Ibis Daumesnil Porte Doree and I think it is going to be our go-to hotel whenever we go back to the city of lights. It was practical, simple, clean and not too expensive (with a long-weekend deal we were able to find). It is located right in front of a Metro station and if you are a walker like us, you will reach the center before you know it, going through characteristic neighborhoods and markets. The hotel provided a baby cot, that Yu used as a play box. Does your baby sleep in "Pack 'n Play" type of cribs? She wouldn't, we're not sure if it was because of the temperature or because she was too close to the floor, but she ended up sleeping between us, sneaky baby. We were afraid she wasn't going to sleep on her crib when we came back, but luckily she is back in her room, no problems.

Another pro-tip: we took  our beloved Babycook steamer-mixer and it was the best decision ever. We got some fruit and vegetables when we passed markets or small fruit shops (so many! and so much variety... we could get peaches, which we haven't been able to get in Holland for the last 3 weeks) and we made her food and packed it in glass jars early in the morning, before breakfast.

Now, getting to Paris was not as easy as we thought it would be. Yu has been on car trips many times before, and it had never been a problem. We've taken her to Amsterdam, to Utrecht, to the Keukenhof, to Hilversum (45 min. car rides) and while we were in Mexico we went to places like Puebla, Tepoztlan, Cuernavaca and Mexico city (all 3.5 to 4 hour drives each way). At the very beginning she used to sleep in the car-seat, it was magic. She was a newborn and then a small baby. When we were in Mexico she was around 5 months, and during the summer we still went on day trips here and there or to visit friends. Well, this time it was fussy town all the way. She just would not stop crying and nothing we would do would make her settle down.

 On Friday we decided to leave at 14:30 p.m. soi-disant (supposedly) to avoid traffic. Well, we ended up getting traffic at the south of the country, all the way to Belgium. The kid was having a meltdown and hating her baby seat. We had to make a stop in Antwerp to kill time until the traffic more or less stopped. So we walked to the center through a very hip neighborhood, where we managed to find an Argentinian bar (Bar Buenos Aires, at Koepoortbrug 3) where they had the most delicous empanadas. We tried Spinach and Ricotta and Meat and they were really good. They also had real meringue alfajores, Mark's favorite.

We took the opportunity to find some sales and restock Yu's wardrobe on onesies and a couple of other items for the next size up. We love Petit Bateau and Du pareil au même, the last one being always so happy and colourful.

Do you have any tips for taking car rides with babies? Is she crying because it's uncomfortable or because she is outgrowing it (though it is supposed to last until she's 15 kg...  she has yet to double her weight for that).

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