Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
We’ve arrived in Italy two days ago after a long long drive. We’ve settled in my old room and are slowly unpacking our stuff and finding our way here. We’ll be staying at my parent’s this month before traveling to Asia. When we’ll be back from our travels we’ll look for a new place for ourselves.
It’s been incredibly windy and cold since we’ve arrived, but that hasn’t kept us from going outside and enjoying the fresh mountain air. Around mid-afternoon, we come back inside because the cold gets into our bones and that’s when we need energy. Roberto decided to make us this beautiful purple smoothie and it was exactly what I needed. Look at it, it’s gorgeous!
Beet & Berries Smoothie
(for four glasses)
1 cup of cooked beets
2 cup of mixed frozen berries (red currant, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry)
2 cups of unsweetened oat milk
Mix everything in a blender until smooth. Add water or oat milk if the consistency is too thick. If you’d like to sweeten it up a little, add a tablespoon of agave nectar.
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
I am sitting on a mattress on the floor. Besides the table and office chair we are bringing to their new owners today, this is the only piece of furniture we have left. Every other piece has been sold or given away in the past ten days. It downs on me just now that we are not going to live in the Netherlands anymore, if everything goes as planned.
Things are scattered everywhere. Clothes on the floor in the bedroom, boxes in the living room, the only thing really still doing its job is the coffee pot on the stove. We haven’t had a fridge these past three days, so we’re living on bananas, nuts, and take away food. Which is nothing we do regularly (except for the bananas part).
I just called the municipality to make an appointment to make our moving away official. But the only spot available is on Monday, and we’re supposed to be in Italy on Monday. Also, Roberto’s visum for our trip to India is currently being handled, but it’s not back yet. These things make these a little less of a romantic few days, but nonetheless, I am sure we will remember these days for ever. Like I will never forget the first few days in the Netherlands.
When we moved here, we could stay at my brother’s place for the first month. He had one room in a huge house full of very random people, the most loving and lovely people I have met. When we arrived we couldn’t get the heater to function, we were so cold and tired. But when we managed we were the happiest people on earth.
Soon we’ll be driving through Europe in our small car packed with all our belongings. But first we need to get this apartment ready for the next resident. Clean it, get all our stuff in the car and go!
Saturday, December 31st, 2016
2016 is almost over and it’s time to look back at this wonderful year we had. So, without further ado, this is our 2016 in review.
JANUARY – After a few months of transitioning to a vegan diet I finally went for it and became 100% plant-based (after five or six years of being a vegetarian). It was the best decision ever, but I won’t be talking about that now. The transition to a vegan lifestyle became the next step, I donated everything I owned that was made of leather and I switched to beauty products and household products that are not tested on animals and do not contain animal ingredients.
We drove to Germany right in the beginning of the year and we found ourselves into a fairytale.
We committed fully to the decision of moving back to Italy. After discussing for a while we set a date: January 2017, we first needed to save up some money and I needed to see one of my dreams come true: photographing a cookbook and see it in every bookshop.
FEBRUARY – I worked for my own business a lot this month: photo shoots for the cookbook, recipe videos for a client every week, website maintenance, etc. I loved every part of it, even though combined with my job it didn’t leave as much time to explore.
We went to see Jeremy Loops live at the end of the month. That guy gives you such energy! The day after we flew to Italy for a few days with our parents.
MARCH – Back in Holland, Roberto started working at ROOS, the best lunchroom in town, which also happens to be next-door to the shop I work in. It also meant he would start coming home at night, instead of working through it. I cherished and enjoyed every single evening together watching series and talking about life. And I still do every day.
We went to Hoge Veluwe, the most beautiful national park in the Netherlands. An incredibly big and diverse park where you’ll find woods, meadows and desert within a few kilometers.
I flew to Vienna for a photo shoot and I was surprised by how beautiful that city is. I only spent two days there, so I am definitely hoping to be able to go back someday.
APRIL – I started working in the shop again after a few month at the HQ. I love this place with my whole heart and I have never felt at home like this. I love helping people and seeing them leave with a smile, I love being a team-leader to the younger girls and encouraging them. I love every aspect of this job.
My childhood best friend’s baby boy was born! I still can’t believe we’re adults and we are able to produce such cuteness.
We went to see Radical Face live. This guy’s music gives me goosebumps!
MAY – It was the month I found out climbing is actually amazing. Roberto had been going for almost a year and kept telling me how cool ik was, but my fear of heights kept me from trying. The day I tried for the first time I immediately signed off from the gym and started a membership at the climbing gym.
JUNE – We would go climbing 5 days a week in June. We were there every day and started getting to know people there. I got a little obsessed, as I loved seeing that I actually improved.
JULY – We started telling people we would leave. Everyone was happy for us and understood, no harmed feeling.
We kept a garden inside our house and we picked the first tomatoes, they were delicious. We also managed to grow cucumbers, basil, thyme, rosemary, ..
AUGUST – Roberto and I celebrated 9 years together and my brother told me his wife is pregnant. I am so happy to be an aunt to a precious little girl!
We also kept climbing every other day. In my days off I enjoyed trying to make new vegan desserts.
Roberto’m mum and brother came to visit us. We explored with them and it was great to see how much they loved this country.
SEPTEMBER – We drove to Italy, but we first stopped in Fontainebleau, France, where we went climbing on a very hot day. We stayed at a local camping and it was just as magical as we excepted it to be. Two weeks home were all we needed to recharge. We loved every second we had in nature and knew it was the right decision to move back soon.
OCTOBER – It was the month of the launch of “Share”, the first cookbook entirely photographed by me. I loved working with the author, Natascha, and I couldn’t believe it was over.
We went to see Passenger live at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. What an amazing guy that is! Just a normal guy in from of 60.000 people playing his guitar like a legend.
NOVEMBER – The feeling I want to do something for the environment got more and more vivid. I started really paying attention to the amount of plastic I use. It was too much, so I started switching to durable alternatives.
Roberto and I start watching a series of documentaries on Netflix. We both are stuck with a feeling that we have to be more aware. Being vegan is not enough. We need to make other people aware too, they need to see what is happening.
After years of fear for this day, my crazily grown wisdom tooth has finally been taken out. I survived and it was much less terrible than I expected it to be.
We also booked our flight to India in February 2017!
DECEMBER – We worked like crazy people, day in and day out. December means wrapping presents, dozens, hundreds of presents a day at the shop.
I had the most amazing and simple birthday with Roberto and my dad. We went to Amsterdam, had something to eat there and came back to play games. It’s so good to be a grown-up!
My second wisdom tooth was taken out and left me with a ping pong ball of a cheek as result. My Christmas was spent eating soup and smoothies.
The hardest part was leaving work. My colleagues gave me presents, and I gave them a little something too. But the best part was that they made a book signed by all the people I hold dear: all of my colleagues, Roberto’s colleagues, the cat that comes to visit us at work every other day, the guy that brings us herbs and spices on Friday, the girl I met at the shop and with whom I sometimes go grab a coffee, even the guy that brings us our stuff for the shop on Monday. Everyone was there with their sweet messages of love. I am not an openly emotional person, but I cried a little and I spotted a little tear in Roberto’s eyes too.
We spent this month getting ready, selling the first furniture, donating stuff and putting things in boxes. I guess we will start off 2017 by doing the same. But then the time has come to say goodbye for real. I can’t wait to share our next adventures with you guys.
Friday, December 23rd, 2016
We will kick of the new year by moving 1400 km away. We have one week left at work and that means just one salary left and then every cent we will spend will come from our savings. But we are so excited to discover what this year ahead of us will bring and we cannot wait to start travelling again.
We can’t really afford a moving company to bring our stuff to Italy, so we’re left with our own little car; all our belongings need to fit into our Yaris. We were considering of travelling back and forth twice, but that would be so energy draining and quite dangerous (mainly for the car), so we won’t do that. Instead, we decided to get rid of all the stuff we don’t really need and to keep just the essentials.
How did we do that? Each of us has sorted his/her stuff into three piles: throw away, keep, and donate. We established one rule of thumb: donate as much as possible, throw away and keep as little as possible. We did one round a few months back, then another one last month and we’re doing a third round now. You really need to do this: at first you will think you need that cute dress that you never put on or that bowl you bought in your favourite shop, but then you notice you actually never use this stuff in the next round and you probably never will. This stuff is superfluous, you can donate it.
I have no idea how many things we have left, there is still stuff all over the place; but we have donated and sold so much already that I feel lighter, as if the weight of those things has been lifted off my shoulders.
Maybe we are becoming minimalists, I don’t know; I mean, I would like that, but I also doubt it. We both enjoy having little, but we both go through periods of splurging on new stuff. We both have our own niche: Roberto loves to buy cd’s and climbing related things, I like to buy photography and styling related stuff. Secretly, I kind of hope we will be able to keep it to a minimum, it feels so good to be able to pack your belongings into a few boxes.
I am thinking of starting a little vlog/video channel to show what we do starting January, 1st, with no job, no place to stay, moving from the Netherlands to Italy, traveling through Asia, etc. I think there will be plenty of images, thoughts and content to share with you and I am really excited to give this a try. Maybe I will be able to show you our belongings in one of those videos. For now we have three boxes filled: kitchen and styling stuff, shoes and accessories (which is not filled that much yet), and bed and bath linnen. I foresee a few more boxes: bathroom accessories and clothes for example, but then I think we will be quite set and ready to go. We just need to sell all of our furniture..
Saturday, December 17th, 2016
Simple living to me entails a critic view towards the products that are on the shelves of the shops and consciousness of what you buy and bring into your house. This includes the packaging these products come in. I started really taking this into consideration a few weeks ago.
Have you ever wondered how much plastic you use in one day? I had the idea one day of tracking how much my quite “environmentally-friendly” life looked like in the plastic department. The result were scary. Although I never use a plastic bag, never buy bottled water and never eat from plastic plates and with plastic cutlery, incredibly many of the things we buy at the supermarket is either wrapped in of packed in a nice and thick layer of plastic. Most of the times it’s pure madness: plastic around cucumbers, peppers, plastic around salad and herbs..
I decided to monitor myself and try to see how I could reduce the amount of plastic I buy. In a few weeks I certainly learned a few things, which I decided to list below, together with what I already did to reduce my plastic footprint.
Try to count how many plastic things (bags, wrappings, containers, ..) you use during one week.
I used to have a reusable water bottle, but now I use another one for juice as well, since we now make juice ourselves at home. I personally avoid to-go coffee, but if you normally buy it, make sure to have one of those super cool reusable to-go mugs with you.
There are many kinds of reusable bags and most of them take up a tiny space in your normal bag. I work in a shop and I see more and more people bringing their own very colourful bags, and I love it (I always sneak in a compliment or two for them). You will eventually save money.
Also, when grocery shopping, do not use the plastic bags for the produce. Either put everything naked and free in the cart or buy some cotton reusable produce bags. Even at the farmers’ market, when they put every item in a separate bag, just tell them “don’t worry, I have my own bag, I’ll put it in here”, you’ll save a lot of plastic doing like this.
Stop using plastic plates and cutlery when you go out to the park for a picnic (enamel plates and wooden cutlery looks way better on your picnic plaid). Don’t use plastic plates at home for convenience, I swear washing the dishes is worth it. Try avoiding taking a straw for your drink. I know sometimes you just get the plastic cup and you roll with it, but do your best to avoid it.
A shop where you can bring your own containers to fill with many of the basic things we all need daily. In Italy they have NegozioLeggero, where you can literally buy everything you need, from food, to detergents, shampoos, etc. I’d love if that would become normal in every city.
Many things, from laundry detergent to frozen fruit, either come in a plastic container (bag or bottle) or in a cardboard box. Choose cardboard as it will be easier to decompose than plastic.
To save packaging materials. I make smoothies every morning and that’s pretty well blended into my routine now. But we just started making our own orange juice. It’s a relaxing and satisfying thing to do, and it’s so delicious and good for you, since it hasn’t been pasteurised.
I hope this list will give you a starting point or some inspiration for a life with less plastic. If you have more tips, I will be glad to read them! In the meantime, I will keep on looking for alternatives and ways to lessen my use of plastic, because when I look into the bin at the end of the day, it’s still too much.
Thursday, December 1st, 2016
I can’t believe I haven’t been shamelessly self-promoting this huge (HUGE!) thing in my life. I mean, I have photographed a whole cookbook! And it’s available in every bookshop in the Netherlands! But allow me to introduce “Share” more elegantly.
“Share” invites you to gather with your friends and family to cook, eat and enjoy a meal together. Wether it’s a picnic in the first warm late-spring evenings or a warm and cosy dinner next to a fireplace it doesn’t matter, Natascha has dozens of amazing recipes for every season (click here to visit her website)
Unlike most other cookbooks, we actually really photographed these dishes and scenes throughout one year. We wanted the produce to be fresh and seasonal, we wanted to actually have the winter light for the winter dishes and the warm summer light in summer. We spent this year cooking, photographing and getting to know each other. Natascha is an amazingly strong woman, who know what she wants, but she also works very hard to get there, she’s kind and can’t stand unfairness, and I love that about her. “Share” connected us, and we really hope it will bring more people together for a good meal.
All the recipes in the book are vegetarian, most of them are very easily made vegan. These recipes are incredibly flavoursome and often inspired by Natascha’s travels to Mediterranean countries.
I want to give you a little glimpse into this beauty of a book (excuse me if I say so myself, I am just very proud). Let’s see if you can spot Roberto in these pictures!
Sunday, November 27th, 2016
To celebrate that December is almost here, I changed up my morning routine a little. When December is approaching one must remember to incorporate more chocolate into her/his life, right? So I made us this thick and creamy Chocolate and Cinnamon Smoothie.
One month to Christmas, a little over a month until we move to Italy. Fairy lights decorate the trees amongst the town’s canals. We come home later from work than usual: I spend the days wrapping Christmas gifts and Roberto prepares lunches and snacks for them when they take a break from their shopping.
I want to remember the feeling of this moment. We work so close to each other now, we have really nice employers and we love what we do. We see each other every evening at home, and we are able to do fun stuff on the occasional days we are off together. It has been so very different in the past. We would never see each other and even days off together were incredibly rare. But we survived, and our relationship is so incredibly strong now. This makes us ready for new adventures.
December will pass in a heartbeat. Between work, people visiting us from Italy, packing and saying goodbye to everyone, it will soon be time to go. It’s a bittersweet moment: we both love our jobs, but don’t really feel at home in the Netherlands. The time ahead will be full of adventures, we’ll travel across the world, then when we’ll be back, we’ll try to settle in Italy and find a place to call home. It’s all pretty scary to me, but the fact that I get to do this with such a special person next to me makes me feel good about it.
But enough with the feelings and the thoughts. Below you will find the recipe for this festive smoothie, together with a little video I made.
Chocolate & Cinnamon Smoothie
Two ripe bananas
One frozen banana
½ cup of unsweetened oat milk (or other vegetable milk)
One tablespoon of date syrup
One teaspoon of cinnamon
Two teaspoons of cacao powder
¼ cup approx. of flax seeds
One teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Dark chocolate drops (vegan)
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender. Pour in a bowl or glass and decorate.
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
During the past two weeks Roberto and I have been binge-watching documentaries almost every night. Most of them were about environment and plant-based diets, since we both are genuinely interest in these two topics. So I though I would share with you the six documentaries that we enjoyed watching most. It’s kind of a diverse selection, there’s purely informative documentaries, there’s one historical documentary and there’s a photography documentary, but all of them tackle these subjects we have at heart.
Cowspiracy – maybe an obvious one in this list, but also my favourite. A comprehensive documentary which shows us how animal agriculture (the meat and dairy industry) is the number one cause of pollution, deforestation, species extinction, yet no one, not even the environmental organisations, address this as a problem. Well, this documentary surely did get the attention it deserves, but I am guessing not everyone has watched it, so if you haven’t yet, please do so.
Watch the trailer here.
Food Choices – Nowadays we step inside a grocery store and everywhere around us is information thrown towards us. It’s difficult to sieve this information and pick out what really is information and what actually is misinformation. We all are very vulnerable to advertisement campaign that claim they will give you your health back, even though most of the time we don’t even realise it. This is the personal quest of filmmaker Michal Siervierski for the healthiest, most sustainable diet for himself, future generations and our planet.
Watch the trailer here.
Chasing Ice – I love photography, and I love seeing people who are very passionate about what they do. They have that sparkle in their eyes, you know. Well, James Balog has that sparkle. He is a renown environmental photographer who decided to document climate change through photography. He and his team set up dozens of camera across Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland to see if the glaciers would melt over a couple months. He did so to prove something to himself and other people who had been skeptic about climate change. Well, in his beautiful time-lapses you see mountains of ice disappearing within a few months. I think this is all the evidence we need.
Watch the trailer here.
How to Change the World – I always looked up to organisations like Greenpeace. When I was little I was fascinated by Greenpeace’s activist actions to save the planet and I often dreamed of being on one of their boats one day, fighting for our planet. But I had actually never wondered how and where such an organisation was born. Well, this documentary tells the story of this group of very eclectic and diverse people who had one thing in common: they loved the earth and wanted to save it. They were journalists, photographers, film-makers, scientists and they all came together at first to fight against nuclear tests in Alaska, then went on fighting against whale hunting, and finally they founded Greenpeace. Such an interesting documentary, I definitely recommend this.
Watch the trailer here.
Before the Flood – Leonardo DiCaprio, UN Messenger of peace and actor, travels around the world to experience climate change firsthand. He interviews and confronts several political leaders, he asks them, and every person watching the film, to intervene and take action.
I think it’s quite important that personalities like DiCaprio, and other people who the general audience looks up to, speak up, say something about these issues, because people will often emulate them in their lifestyle and even in their actions. I hope this documentary will reach the people who wouldn’t normally be very interested in climate change or documentaries.
Watch the trailer here.
Forks over Knives – One of my all-time favourites. It’s one of those documentaries that I watched for the first time not long after going vegan and after dealing with lots of remarks and doubts about it. So I needed some more information to back up my choice. I needed even more information to make sure I knew what I was doing, but also to challenge people around me to think my way for once. I had started to doubt myself a little shortly after going vegan, but after watching this documentary it was all gone. I know better now. If you are looking for the health related reasons to go vegan look no further, it’s all here, in this fantastic documentary.
Watch trailer here.
Saturday, November 5th, 2016
This blog has always been mostly about food and travels, and I have been thinking about if that’s really all I want to write about. I love making food and eating it, and for Roberto there’s no bigger pleasure in life than coming up with new recipes, test them and see the end result, but writing about food is not what I like most, except for when there’s a real story behind a recipe.
There a topic I really feel like talking about all the time, and I feel like it should get a place in here. Most of the people who know me know that I am vegan, but they don’t know how much passion I carry for veganism. Since I was little I always wanted to save every animal I found, and since I was little I cared about the environment. I had no idea that this idea has been inside of me all along, but now it all resonates. I am so happy that I found this way of life, I feel better, I am more calm, less anxious, and I just feel much more aligned with my thoughts. I feel whole, and I want to help other people to feel the same way.
But that’s not the only thing that makes me passionate about veganism. What makes me passionate is the fact that I want to do everything I can to save this planet. And to do that I need your help, and I want people to get involved, but do that, first I really have to get involved myself, go out there, and that’s the only part that frightens me a little.
You see, I am not very good at showing my face around the Internet (nor am I really good at it in real life) but I figured that’s the only way I can talk with you and connect with people who want to help this world as well.
I was thinking about it this morning while I wrote this Instagram post. Some people in my life repeatedly keep telling me veganism is bad, but I know it’s not. They are simply terribly misinformed and honestly I feel a little sorry for them, because they’re so confident that they are right, that they do not go any further in their thinking process and don’t give a thought about what really is happening and what is really necessary in our modern world.
What I realised as well is that until a couple of years ago, I would have completely crumbled beneath their voices, because all I wanted to be was “normal” and being vegan is everything but (*wink*). Younger generations need help to step up and think for themselves, get informed, read and watch, until they can make an informed choice for themselves. If there’s enough people screaming out loud that no, killing hundreds of thousands of animal is not to be considered normal and nor is e.g. polluting our nature with an unimaginable quantity of plastic, maybe something will change.
I am very hopeful and I want to transmit that to everyone reading this blog and potentially watching my videos in the future.
The Evening Glow will still be about food and travel, with recipes by Roberto and stories by me, but with a little bit more soul, which means a little bit more of exposure from my side. I will write about veganism and environmentalism, share little things we can do to help, show you how I do it and that’s actually really really simple, maybe film a few recipes, show you what we bring on our travels to survive the endless line of fast-food restaurants on the road, and most of all I will who you how I survive day in day out, because honestly, that’s what I get asked most “How do you survive?”. I do not merely survive, I live, and I do so thriving on an amazing abundance of food.
I hope you will follow along anyway, and maybe even more so because I have so many ideas, so much energy stored to write, photograph, and film everything I so deeply love.
Monday, October 24th, 2016
Last week we finally got to hold “Share” in our hands. “Share” is a cookbook I have styled and photographed with author Natascha Boudewijn. We have been working on this book for far over a year and we have been starting to kind of consider it our little jewel by now.
Every week we would meet to cook, style and photograph a few of her vegetarian/vegan recipes. Sometimes we would shoot the photo within a few minutes, other times we would argue about the styling for some time, then we would find a good way to make both of us happy. It has been a great year, and experience I will never forget, that taught me so much about photography, styling, but also about collaborating with someone and trusting someone.
I thought I would share with you one of the recipes from “Share”. However, like I always do, I changed it completely while I was making it. So here you have a new recipe for an autumnal soup crated by me, very much inspired by Natascha’s recipe from the cookbook “Share”.
Dutchies out there, you’ll find the book from next week in all bookshops (click here to see where to order it online)
Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
with coconut cream, thyme and pumpkin seeds
(for four bowls)
800 g pumpkin, diced
250 g carrots, sliced
one onion, sliced
one liter of vegetable stock
one tsp ground cilantro
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 cm fresh ginger, grated
a bunch of thyme
half a cup of coconut cream
2 tbsp olive oil
black pepper, ground
Pour the olive oil in a big pan on medium heat, wait for it to heat up and throw in the sliced onion to caramelise. Add diced pumpkin, sliced carrots and grated ginger. Add ground cumin and cilantro. Stir often until the vegetables softened up a bit. Slowly add the vegetable stock. Tie the bunch of thyme with a piece of cooking twine, put the thyme in the pan keeping the other end on the twine outside the pan, in order to pull it out easily later on. Allow to cook for about half an hour, depending on the size of your diced vegetables. Check if the pumpkin is soft, when it is, turn off the heat, take out the thyme and allow to cool down a little. With a (hand) blender mix everything until smooth. Heat the coup a bit if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour in four bowls and top with coconut cream, black pepper and pumpkin seeds.