Hands up if your mood is highly affected by the vibes of your surroundings! I’m waving them like I just don’t care over here. So you’re probably not surprised I am a tad obsessed with the decoration of my home office space. It’s where the brain magic happens, right? A place that’s all you, where you think, work, create.

As my home office space had served as the room to store unpacked boxes for a while after I moved in, its deco had been a bit functional the first few months. A make-over was definitely called for. And it wouldn’t be my home office, without some jungle vibes, now would it. Hello greenterior decoration! I would have a before and after shot for you if it hadn’t been for a case of overzealous hard drive clean-up, but let me assure you: the after is much nicer ;)

 

Looking to create some positive/creative/productive/… vibes in your own home office? Here are my 3 golden tips!

LIGHT: Light is a crucial factor for your energy level and therefore a crucial element in any office space. As with most things in life, the real, natural deal is the best way to go. So don’t choose a dark nook for your office spot, search the light. 

ORGANIZATION: Outer order instills inner peace. (At least it does for me. If you are a chaotic soul that needs some mess to think, by all means! ) Give all your office supplies (<3 <3 office supplies) their specific place, and make sure you foresee plenty of storage space. Yes: this is a perfectly valid excuse to go for a pretty-boxes shopping spree.

Home office jungle make-over

GREEN: I bet you saw that one coming. Some pretty plants on and around your desk will not only create inspiring jungle vibes, but also generate an extra dose of oxygen. Little plantlady anecdote: I had chosen some cuttings and smaller plants for my desk and ever since they have been thriving! Apparently, they are loving the South-East sun. So I’ve baptized my office “plant retreat”, where any of my struggling babies can move to recover.

Applying these three rules created the perfect home office environment for me. Will be a little sad to leave it behind when we move in a few weeks. But then again, I get to decorate all over again, and we all know how much I love that… Hope you’re inspired for a little greenterior office make-over of your own!

Love, C.

You guessed it: I lost a part of my heart in magnificent Malaysia! Our first big trip together (spoiler: we survived!). My first trip to Southeast Asia (verdict: I want to go back!). The first time I trekked in a jungle (no-brainer: I loved it). The first time I slept in a cave (prognosis: probably the last time..)

Our Malaysia in a few words? Warm, welcoming, colorful, multicultural, surprising, green, tropical, accessible, authentic. Basically a great destination for anyone craving a taste of Asia, without the need to be a seasoned traveler/backpacker. People are super friendly and everything is smoothly organized (easy to get from A to B), but still you don’t have the feeling to be part of a herd of tourists. A perfect balance.

We stayed for three weeks and wanting to experience as much as possible from what this beautiful country has to offer, we did seven stops. Quite a busy schedule, but if you would ask me in hindsight I could not for the life of me sacrifice one of our stops and the things we discovered there.

Kuala Lumpur 

Things to do:

  • Batu Caves: this Hindu temple is built in a cave within a giant rock formation. Even though the temple itself is probably not the most impressive one around, the experience of climbing the stairs leading up to it, starting from the foot of a massive golden statue, (say hi to the monkeys along the way) plus the mystic surroundings of the cave, make it worth a visit.

  • Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple is the oldest temple Hindu in Kuala Lumpur. It sports beautiful examples of the fairylike decorations that are so specific to Hindu places of worship, which always trigger my imagination.
  • China Town & Little India: one of the things I loved about Malaysia is how several different cultural groups live side by side in (apparent) harmony. You can cross the street an go from shop windows filled with traditional sarongs to ones filled with Chinese street food carts.

(Note: we only stayed in KL for one day. There is probably a lot more to see and do, but these were our highlights).

Spots to eat:

  • The Rabitt hole Kuala Lumpur: I really liked the grungy cosy interior. Yes the menu has pictures (which is usually against my food rules), but as this seemed to be quite common, we let that one slide. Ignore the tourist staples on the menu and go for a typical Malay dish served on a banana leaf.
  • Jalan Alor street: street food galore! It’s very touristy but just a fun experience. If you are wary of eating street food (weak ass tourists that we are..), it’s just a fun atmosphere to walk through as well!

Place to stay: 

Trust me: find a hotel with a rooftop pool. It doesn’t need to be crazy expensive. After a loooong flight, it is just the right dash of decadence.

Fraser’s hill

Place to stay/eat/LIVE:

The Sticks: As far as I know Fraser’s hill is not a tourist staple, but I discovered an amazing looking eco-glamping spot through Instagram, and we just HAD to go there. We were definitely not disappointed! It’s the perfect breath of air after the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. A stay close to nature and our very first Malaysian Jungle trek ❤

Cameron highlands 

The tea plant-covered hills of Cameron Highlands are so particular and picturesque that they’ve earned a spot on our travel log. The towns as such are not that nice so hanging around for one day to see the sights is plenty.

Things to do:

  • Walk in the Mossy Forest: it’s a totally different greenery than the jungle, very mysterious and fairytale-like.
  • Strawberry farm: the freshest strawberry milkshakes E.V.E.R
  • Visit a tea plantation: we went to visit the BOH plantation, and I had the best iced tea of my life there

  • There are a bunch of guided tours which take you to each of these stops within one day. In terms of time-efficiency, definitely a good idea! We did our tour with Eco Cameron Tours and had a great experience.

Taman Negara National Park

The world’s oldest tropical rainforest! Need I say more?

Things to do:

  • Catch the boat in: Taman Negara is reachable by bus or taxi, but trust me: the best way to start your jungle stay in beauty is by arriving by river boat. You can catch a riverboat at Kuala Tembeling Jetty to Kuala Tahan, the village at the entrance of the Taman Negara park. The boat trip takes a few hours but with those views, you won’t be bored for a second!

  • Jungle trekking: You are in the oldest rainforest in the world! Put on your hiking boots and get walking! (Don’t go alone though, be smart and get a guide).
  • Overnight trekking with HAN travel: I was crazy enough to let my boyfriend talk me into a 2 day trek with an overnight stay in a cave. You know those out-of-your-comfort-zone experiences you are SO glad you did but will NEVER repeat. Yep, this was one of those. But a longer trek is definitely something to consider, as you will be heading deeper into the heart of the jungle. The sounds, smells and atmosphere are truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (Be still, my plant lady heart).
  • Lubuk Simpon: not up for a long trek or a guide? Walk on the wooden boardwalk towards Lubuk Simpon and have a swim in the river. If you’re lucky enough to be alone, be very quiet and wait for the birds and fishes to come say hi.

  • Canopy walk: a Taman Negara icon, this 40 m high suspension walkway gives you the opportunity to stroll among the jungle treetops. Unfortunately the canopy walk was closed for maintenance when we were in there, so I will be green with envy if you get to do this one!

Place to eat:

  • Floating restaurants: across the river from the entrance of the park, in Kuala Tahan, there are is a bunch of “floating” restaurants offering yummy, budget-friendly food in a cosy environment on the river.

Place to stay:

Mutiara Taman Negara Resort: when you spend all day in the jungle, you deserve a nice place to stay! We splurged a little on this one, but it was so worth it. Only accommodation right at the entrance of the park with cosy huts and good food. I can tell you: the night after our cave sleepover those big soft beds felt like H.E.A.V.E.N.

Perenthian islands

The East coast of Malaysia is tropical beach central!  We stayed on the “Kecil Island”, which is the smaller of the 2 main islands. Not much to do if you needs shops, restaurants or partying to be entertained, but the perfect relaxing beach getaway.

  • Snorkelling trip: there are plenty of beautiful corals around the island, making it a paradise for snorkelling. Just step into the water and snorkel away or join a tour which will take you from one hotspot to the next.
  • Turtle point: A must on any snorkelling tour! If you get lucky, you will spot the graceful underwater wonder that is a sea turtle. Make sure to admire it from afar though, as you don’t want to stress them out.
  • Romantic beach: You know that picture perfect beach image: turquoise water, pearly white sand, rainbow colored fish… you have in your head? This beach is all that and more!

Place to stay/eat/ENJOY:

Crocodile rock villas: The best surprise of our trip and one of those places you wish you could stay just a little longer…  Erica & Atord, the couple who runs this glamping gem, are wonderful people and have created a beautiful piece of paradise by the sea… Warm boho vibe, great conversation, impromptu jam sessions and honestly the best food we had in Malaysia. Can you tell we LOVED it there?

Penang/Georgetown

Georgetown, our favourite Malay city! A buzzing artsy oriental vibe, with remnants of it colonial past; a multicultural melting pot, with a dash of hipster, a ton of beautiful street art and that special quality of a city by the sea.

Things to do:

  • Street art walks: Georgetown is a street art walhalla! We found this super useful map by the occasional traveller, and it became our guide through the city, from one mural to the next.

  • Kek Lok Si temple, the largest buddhist temple in Malaysia. Crazy impressive and so colourful! Inspires silence and exuberance all at the same time. We bought some wish ribbons to support the temple and I tell you, some of our wishes already came through, so who knows 😉

  • Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple: If you want to limit you temple-dwelling: visit Kek Lok Si and this one. Another beautiful example of why Hindu temples are the dreamiest.

  • Drive around in a ricksha. Granted: you’ll feel a little spoiled-little-rich-boy. But it’s the perfect pace to look around and take it all in, without wearing your feet out. Plus our driver had such nice stories and a lot of great spots to show us!
  • The clan jetties: these waterfront settlements, built on poles submerged in the sea, house some of the old Chinese clans. Walking onto the boardwalk feels like walking into a separate little universe. Tip: try to also visit some of the more quiet areas, not buzzing with tourist shops, you’ll get a true feel of how people live. Make sure to respect the inhabitants privacy though, some parts are not accessible for tourists.

  • Penang botanical garden.  Not the most impressive botanical garden I’ve visited when travelling (a tiny bit worn-out to be honest), but the vintage greenhouses do create a dreamy old-time atmosphere, which any plant lady will want to check it out. What can I say. We never met a botanical garden we didn’t like.

Places to eat/drink:

  • Tek Sen: if you can only go to one restaurant in Georgetown, go to this one! It’s crowded, it’s buzzing, it’s local, it’s authentic. We had the best Chinese food there and really felt like we hit the local experience jackpot.
  • Junk: this tiny eclectic bar serves the best burgers with sweet potato fries! Not very local, but let’s be honest: if you spend a few weeks eating Asian food, sometimes you secretly crave a little Western comfort…
  •  Chulia street or Muntri street are loaded with hipster coffee bars to have breakfast or lunch. Shoutout to the Mugshot, where we had the best coffee in days.
  • Love Lane: we discovered this one during our ricksha ride. While the name alone could catch your eye, the row of cute cozy bars does the trick as well. Stop & have a drink!
  • Street food! So.much.street.food.

Langkawi

The original Malay paradise destination! After quite a busy travel schedule, a few days of shameless beach chilling was the perfect stop before heading home.

Things to do:

  • Island hopping: rent a boat with a group or just the two of you. The coastline is magnificent, and the marble rock formations are super impressive.

  • Rent a bike: it’s the perfect way to get around the island, get kinda lost and see the sights! Plus if you run out of gas a friendly local will get you some in a water bottle. True story.
  • Get up early and watch the sunrise. I know. We’re such cheeseballs.
  • Read a book. I’m serious. Whether it’s with your ass in the sand, your back on a lounge chair or your feet in the sea. Read a book.

Place to stay:

  • Wild Pasir Panjang. A short boatride away from the main Island, we discovered this hidden piece of paradise. It has only a few accommodations, and for the largest part of our stay we were completely alone. Desert beach experience: check! For anyone who’s not afraid to go back to basic in exchange for waking up on the beach, delicious (Thai) food by the in-house chef, a huge stretch of private beach and palm trees for days: this is your island life!

Can I go back now? ^^

Happy travels! Love, C.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: easy DIY projects are the best ones! No major artistic skills required, just an open mind and a good old creative itch. Making your own stamps is the perfect example of this kind of DIY project. The result looks super crafty, but the process is blissfully easy. Minimal frustration-potential, maximum output. Because how cool is it to use personalised stamps on your greeting cards and gift-wrappings? (Yes, my definition of cool suffers from a slight craft-geek-bias, but as you are taking the time to read this I am guessing yours might as well ;) ).

I was introduced to this fun craft idea through a cozy workshop at Hello Alice, a creative hotspot near my new home. (Imagine my surprise and delight when discovering these urban hipster-worthy vibes right here on the countryside! ;) ) Together with my sisters-in-law I spent a lovely evening chit-chatting, eating cookies and carving my very first stamps. Perfect way to spend a random Monday evening! No surprise: I went for a botanical theme, starting with an easy cactus shape, building all the way up to my monstera-masterpiece. With little effort and a lot of fun, I am now ready to spread the leaf-love, one stamp at a time!

What do you need:

  • A set of small lino carving knives, varying in width (depending on how fine you want to work)
  • A sheet of flexible linoleum
  • Tracing paper
  • A pencil
  • A coin
  • Little blocks of wood to attach your stamp to
  • Glue
  • Option: make your life easy and just order an all-in-one start-to-stamp set, including all of the above.

How you’ll go about it:

  • Find and print out a nice image (tip: go easy on yourself an choose an image without a lot of fine details).
  • Copy the image using pencil and tracing paper (hurray for no drawing skills required!)
  • Lay the tracing paper with your design on the linoleum sheet, with the pencil drawing facing down.
  • Scratch over the design with a coin, effectively transferring it on the linoleum.
  • Cut out the design with your knives. Rule of thumb: areas you leave untouched will be black (or whatever the colour of your ink will be), what you cut away will be white. Make sure to carve out the spaces in between black lines deep enough so no ink will touch the paper when you stamp.
  • Tip: start by tracing the image with a fine knife, then carve out the open spaces with a wider knife.
  • Last step: glue the carved-out linoleum shape on a wooden block, to create an easy grip.  
  • Let dry and you are ready to get stamping!

Want a little extra guidance or some company while creating your stamps? Check out Alice’s page for more workshop dates.

Happy crafting!

Love, C.

 

There is something so gratifying about playing tourist in your own country. The joy of traveling, right at your doorstep. Or only a little drive away from it anyway. Last weekend we went to visit the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. The perfect plantlady Sunday plan! Getting to walk in this glass palace (because really: that thing is huge!) makes you feel especially privileged, as it only opens its door to the public once a year. Unorganised soul that I am, I missed it two years in a row… But this year, I finally got my act together!
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Why should you go there? Honestly, it’s one of the best kept botanical garden I’ve ever seen. Crazy to think this is actually a family’s backyard! (Now that’s my kind of princess fantasy.. :) ) The impressive collection houses a number of rare and valuable plants, some of them even dating back to the original collection of Leopold II. And all of this in a stunning classical glass and iron construction that feels like an endless magical maze when you’re strolling through its corridors. What more could you want?
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My favorite part was definitely the Winter Garden, which was the first greenhouse of the glass palace to be built. It’s the true tropical heart of the greenhouses and you will discover some giant jungle beauties there, among which the biggest Monstera I’ve ever seen in my life. Plant goals!
Convinced? The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are still open to the public till the 11th of May. You can find the timetable and practical details here.
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Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
Love, C.
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This winter we spruced up our vintage bathroom (oh the miracles a bit of paint can do..), and getting to redecorate it was the perfect reward for our hard work. I could entertain you with a story of the brave fight between my man, some old pipes and a brand-new sink, but I will leave the details up to your imagination and focus on the fun part. Our refreshed white-with-bamboo-touches bathroom was desperately screaming for some green (or maybe that was just me?). Enter a trip to our local garden center, where we fell head over heels with this GORGEOUS Alocasia Zebrina. Sure, it is huge. Sure, that’s not really a practical choice for any mid-sized bathroom. But have you seen those printed stems? How could we resist…

The perfect plants for your bathroom

A bathroom might not be the first place that comes to mind, when thinking houseplants, but actually: it should be! If there is ever a place in your home that has jungle potential, it’s this one. Hello, tropical humidity! They love it.

So when choosing the greenterior decoration of you bathroom, think jungle plants. They will thrive in the humidity and warm temperatures. A few prime candidates:

  • Philodendron: instant jungle vibes, and very easy to keep. Its beautiful leaves love medium light and will tell you instantly if conditions are suboptimal (yellow spotted leaves= too much light, leaves growing far apart = too little light).
  • Photos: This hanging baby looks great on a high shelve or in a hanger. I personally love those with a marble style print. Bright, indirect light will make it thrive.
  • Alocasia: we have not regretted our choice, so why not! Make sure you place this one in bright, indirect light.
  • Calathea: always a solid, and easy to maintain choice! They love indirect light but don’t mind shade. Plus: there are so many types and patterns to choose from. Statement plant guaranteed!
  • Aloe vera: its beauty and health applications make this superplant a bathroom classic. Side note: mine is making tons of babies so if anybody wants a little cutting, give me a shout :)
  • Ferns: I’ve never had any ferns myself but they should be pretty easy to care for. They love the humidity and don’t hate a bit of shade, as long as they get a good dose of light every now and then.

 

The perfect plants for your bathroom

So what I’ve you are dealing with a zero-sunlight bathroom? Don’t despair!  Try a snake plant/sanseveria, a spider plant or a pretty little Peperomia! They should do fine in low-light conditions.

Hope you’ll have fun creating your bathroom jungle! :)

Love, C.

The perfect plants for your bathroom

Nothing like some easy peasy crafting for that feeling of instant creative gratification. Well… Except for some easy peasy crafting with plants, maybe! Instant good mood! These tiny air plants terrariums are the perfect example of such an easy fun craft project. While actual terrariums require a bit of knowledge and the right materials to create, using air plants makes for a super simple alternative. They don’t need soil, remember? You can “plant” them pretty much anywhere, anyway you like. When I was shopping for air plants with this terrarium plan in mind, these adorable little ones gave me the idea to go for a mini version. Everything is cuter in baby size, right?

What do you need

  • A glass jar (be creative with shapes and sizes!)
  • Air plants (Phyt plants are always a good idea)
  • Pebbles & dried moss (you can find this in your local garden centre, craft store or even a pet/fish store, I got mine at Action)
  • If you want: a fun little gadget or figurine to add to your tiny landscape

How do you go about it

Well. You stuff it all together in the jar. As simple as that. Told you it was easy.

Bonus: these tiny terrarium jars make a nice handmade gift! I actually created a few but ended up giving them al away! Time for a second round, I suppose :) I might try my hand at a classic terrarium at some point as well, keep you posted on how that turns out!

Happy crafting!

Love, C.

To all you aspiring, charmingly chaotic or secretly lazy plantladies out there: nothing better to release your budding (or non-existent!) plant care skills on than cacti or succulents. They need so little time and attention; it is almost impossible to kill them. Personally, I started my plant collection with some cacti. For some reason I never really got into the succulent game. So, when the lovely people from Plantiful.be contacted me for a collaboration, I took my chance to fill this gap in my plantlady skill-set.

Next to a beautiful collection of succulents and cacti (delivered right at your door in a pretty pot! Easy peasy), Plantiful.be offers plenty of tips on how to take care of your new plant friends. So I thought I’d share some of there pearls of plant-wisdom. Not in the mood to read the deets? It comes down to this: sufficient sunlight, not too much water, dry periods and a bit of food from time to time. No rocket science.

WATERING

  • Less is more! The most common cause of succulent victims is overwatering. Only water when you are sure the soil is completely dried out.
  • When the plant looks slack and a little shrivelled, it needs more water.
  • During summer, every 4 weeks should do, during winter it’s good to maintain a dry period of a few months.
  • Make sure to always remove any leftover water from the (ornamental) pot.
  • Succulents with thinner leaves need more watering than those with thicker leaves, as the latter can store more water in their leaves
  • When in doubt: don’t water!

LIGHT

  • In general succulents need enough light, if not their colours will become dull.
  • On the other hand: too much direct sunlight for an extended period of time could create burn marks

REPOTTING

  • Your succulent friends like a new home every now and then, as their current one can get saturated by chalk and fertilizer residue.
  • Renewing the soil gives them plenty of new nutrients to grow and bloom.
  • You can repot all year round, unless the plant is in bloom.
  • Go for a new pot that is about 20 or 30% bigger, but not more
  • Use soil especially for cacti and succulents
  • Make sure the clod is dry and only water several days after repotting, as the plant needs to get comfortable in its new home first

MAINTENANCE

  • Some succulent’s leaves can die off. Remove them carefully, as they can induce diseases or rot.
  • Fertiliser helps your succulents grow big and strong. Use adapted fertiliser for cacti and succulents, only during spring and summer.
  • Your succulent is acting weird, and you don’t know what its issue is? Head over to the Plantiful chatbox, the plant doctor will know what to do ;)

Armed with these tips, I should be able to keep the two new members of my plant family (a cute Aloë Longistyla and a quirky Crassula Horntree) alive, shouldn’t I?

And how about you? Tempted to try this at home? ;)

Love,

C.


I must admit: this Austrian pearl had not made it on my city trip wish list yet. But fortune put it there for me :) As a member of my band of brothers decided to move to Vienna for a year, a visit to both the brother and this city he had come to love so much was obviously called for. And hurray for that! Beside it being pretty much an open-air museum (those buildings!), voluptuous (granted: sometimes a bit stately) Vienna has so much to offer! Of course, having an almost-local as a guide did help to discover some of the best things to see and do around town. (Thanks bro ;) ). So I thought I’d pay it forward, and share some of his tips plus our own discoveries, for your own trip to Sissi’s city:

Things to see

  • Where do I begin! As said: the whole city is like an open-air museum, so just wandering through the historic center is a cultural experience. My brother’s tip for that first taste of Vienna: get off at the Volkstheater metro stop and stroll back to Stephansplatz. Tourist highlights guaranteed!
  • Good to know: all places of interest or historical relevance are marked by a red notice board with two little flags. So follow the flags!
  • Schloss Schonnbrun: if you have some time to spare, definitely go visit Sissi’s summer house! This royal palace with its beautiful garden is perfect for a relaxed stroll. On a sunny day, you can lounge on the hill enjoying the stunning view of the palace.
  • Belvedere palace: got a taste for that royal greenery? Then the Belvedere palace and is stately gardens are a close second to Schonnbrun.

Things to do

  • Go check out the Rathausplatz: no matter what time of year you travel over, in front of the city hall there is pretty much always something going on (festivals, Christmas market, skating rank, carnival,..). You can check the program here.
  • Wander through Neubau & Mariahilf: these hipster neighborhoods are a little less stately than the rest of Vienna, and house plenty of little streets, cute shops, cozy cafes and original art galleries. If I lived in Vienna, this would be my home :)
  • Museum hopping: there so many great museums in Vienna! Our favorites were the Albertina (the lilies <3) and the Museum of Natural History (Dinosaurs. Don’t think I need more arguments than that).
  • Haus des Meeres: inside this tall concrete tower you will discover an indoor zoo with impressive sea life aquariums and a mini jungle which is home to dozens of cute little monkeys and beautiful birds. Bonus: when you reach the top floor, you will be rewarded with a great view over the city!
  • Indulge at Café central: for an old skool Vienna experience: head over to Café Central to munch on Sachertorte in a classic decor while listening to a live pianist. Bliss! You’ll probably have to queue for a bit but I think it’s worth it!

Places to eat and drink

  • Palmehaus: for all you plantladies out there, this is where you will feel right at home in Vienna! And I guess the rest of you might enjoy it as well ;) Coffee in this tropical greenhouse was one of my favorite Vienna experiences.

  • Sky bars: if you want to feel a bit fancy, a drink at one of Vienna’s sky bars is a perfect plan. The one at the Sofitel, 25 hours hotel or hotel Melia are good options. Music lover bonus: Dachboden (25 hours) organizes jazz nights. Good music, a luscious cocktail and a stunning view. Sounds like a great night to me.
  • Naschmarkt: a place of foodie dreams! This all-year food market offers yummy foods from all around the world. Bonus: on Saturday there’s a farmer’s market and a flea market as well. By the way: after you’ve eaten your belly full, walk it off towards the linke Wienzeile and feast your eyes on the beautiful facades.
  • Schnitzelwirt: nope, this is not a hipster spot. By any means. But after two trips to Vienna this has become a bit of a staple for us, so it would be wrong not to share. The name says it all. As does the line in front of the door. Great schnitzels. Giant schnitzels. Baby prices.
  • Brunch: Vienna is all about brunch! Two of our favorite spots (both in the Neubau area), were Pure living bakery (try the pancakes!) with its colorful happy décor and equally personnel and wirr (try everything!), which is apparently a bar by night so has an interesting grungy vibe by day.
  • Café espresso: loved the 50ties vintage vibe of this bar! Perfect place for either a coffee during the day or a pre-dinner drink. Personal anecdote: this will forever be the place of the first drink I shared with my new love and my brother. The big introduction. So I guess I’m a bit sentimental in recommending this spot :)
  • Konditoreis: Forget what I claimed above. Vienna is all about coffee! For an authentic local experience, there are plenty of old skool “Konditoreis” where you can enjoy a nice Austrian cuppa with a piece of cake. Worth a mention: the retro Aida chain, which is about as pink as a coffee bar can get, and the cozy “Kleines café.

A place to stay: We were thrilled by our charming vintage Airbnb, located in the heart of Neubau, so would definitely recommend it! Lots of character, a dash of hipster.

Happy travels!

I used to be one of those people who managed to let even the least demanding of plants droop and die. Green thumb? Not so much. While I’ve always loved a green touch in my interior, I never really got the hang of caring for them and pretty much stayed away from anything more complicated than a cactus or a snake plant.

Plantlady

Fast forward to today. I have 93 plants in my house. And counting. I can’t pinpoint exactly how I got here… I guess it started with a sudden urge to give my green babies a little more TLC, including new homes (the first time in my life I repotted a plant…) and a relatively regular care routine. And what do you know? They actually grew. They flourished. They made babies. How about that. I started to get hooked. I bought my boyfriend the Urban Jungle Book. He got hooked. He bought some plants. I bought some plants. We moved in together. We realised we had a little jungle on our hands. We got really hooked… and bought some more plants.

MY SEVEN PLANTLADY COMMANDMENTS

Enter my crazy plantlady life. Does it involve a magically developed green thumb? Not really. I just found myself with a practical routine and a few simple rules that make it work for me.

1. Start simple: Snake plants, cacti and aloe vera are just a few examples of plants that are very easy to release your budding plantlady skills on. Aside from overwatering, they are quite hard to kill :) In a next instance you could add a little jungle vibe with a monstera, calathea or devil’s ivy. They need a little more watering but are not the fussiest of plants either, making them nice additions to a growing plant collection.

2. Wednesday watering day: what really helped me and my cluttered mind (I watered the plants 3 days ago… right? or maybe a week ago? Or yesterday?…) is setting fixed times for plant care. Enter Wednesday watering day! (and Saturday second watering day for the more demanding green housemates, such as our beautiful banana plant). Plus: every first Wednesday of the month I take the green babies that need only sparse watering along on my round (such as the cacti, which I tend to overwater) and add some fertiliser. A simple routine, that has been working out for both me and my plants!

3. Get a little digital helper: If you have plants that have more irregular watering needs (such as a string of pearls which apparently needs a tiny bit of watering every 10 days), setting an alarm can help! There are also a few plant care apps out there that can help you manage this schedule. I tested a few and personally thought Plantbook was the most practical one.

4. Look for the light. If a good watering routine is key, a strong “light strategy” is definitely of equal importance. Especially young plants need the right kind and amount of light to do well. As a general rule of thumb: most plants fare well in bright spots with indirect/filtered light. No dark corners, no direct sunlight (beware of those south-facing window sills!). Obviously, there are some exceptions (calatheas don’t mind a little shadow, cacti love the direct sunlight), but when in doubt, you cannot go wrong with this rule.

5. Observe and enjoy: You know how they say you should talk to your plants? While that might be taking the crazy a bit too far, there is actually a little truth hidden in there. The idea behind is that you spend a moment and a dash of full attention on them. You will notice when they are doing poorly but also discover little signs of the effect of your good care such as fresh leaves, little seedlings or just plain old beautiful growth. Oh, the wonders of (indoor) nature <3 Pretty sure that’s what got me hooked.

6. Try, fail and learn: The most fun part of being a plantlady is literally getting your hands dirty: repotting, harvesting little seedlings, propagating, … And then witnessing the results of your handiwork! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes a plant just decides to give up on you, for no apparent reason. No biggie! You’ll do better next time. Maybe you’ve even learned something. And you’ve got an excuse to buy a new plant ;)

7. It’s all about plant gangs: When styling my plants around the house, I tend to group them in “plant gangs”. Not only does this look pretty, with a smidge of jungle-feel, it’s also good for them! Houseplants thrive in groups, plus having them gathered in a few spots makes the watering routine easier and more effective (as you’re less likely to forget/skip a gang than a loner plant).

How about you? Any budding plantladies out there? How are you caring for your indoor jungle? Do tell!

Love, C.

PS: Even though the totebag above says plantlady is the new catlady, I’m choosing the best of both worlds ^^ Here’s a pic of our panther in his jungle to celebrate that <3

How time flies! One year ago today I just got back from a wonderful family trip to Brazil. Vibrant, sunny, colorful Brazil…. Someone whisk me away and take me back, please! Since I hadn’t shared the colorful pics and memories at the time (life happens..) I thought a throwback on its one year anniversary was an excellent way to make up for this dreadful negligence.

As we were visiting our Brazilian family (<3!), our stay was all about quality time, relaxing and getting a taste of this beautiful country. No adventurous jungle experiences (I’ll be back for those ;) ), but fun discoveries and activities around São Paulo and Rio.

SÃO PAULO

Places to discover:

  • Embu das Artes: Our Brazilian home base! An hour outside of São Paulo, this artsy little town would probably not be on your standard Brazilian itinerary. But if you have the time, do swing by! You’ll discover a lively town square surrounded by artisan shops, a delicate gazebo hidden amidst a patch of green and numerous craft markets and art galleries.

  • Vila Madalena: When visiting the Sao Paulo center, this was really my favorite neighborhood to stroll through! It has a lovely creative atmosphere and lots of cute shops and artsy hotspots. Highlight: you will discover some amazing street art (especially in the famous “Batman alley”).

  • Bella Vista: The Italian neighborhood, with picturesque houses mixing Brazilian vibes with Italian heritage. Plus good food! Not very Brazilian of course, but yummy nevertheless.
  • Mercado municipal: This eclectic building in the historic center of São Paulo with its remarkable stained glass houses a large food market with a myriad of local and international yumminess on display. It can get a bit hectic but any foodie will be loving the vibe.

RIO DE JANEIRO

Places to discover

  • Santa Teresa: we stayed in this lively area up in the hills. Colourful houses, eclectic street art, cute cafés and of course the tourist classic: the beautiful tiled stairs of the Escadaria Selarón, connecting it to the Lapa area. Should your feet be tired of climbing those hills: the little yellow tram is a delightful alternative :)

  • Lapa: definitely a must for a full Rio experience, as this neighborhood houses some major landmarks (including the impressive Arcos da Lapa)

  • Jardim Botanique: Rio’s botanical garden was definitely one of my favorite day trips! A jungle feel within the city, palm trees in every size, a beautiful archway (such a sucker for archways) and an IMPRESSIVE cacti garden. What more could any plantlady ask for?

  • Ipanema beach: for a real summer-tourist-modus day: head to Ipanema for some shopping (Hello new pair of Havaianas!) and some shameless lounging at the beach. Also: the sunset view is one to stick around for!

Places to eat

  • Zaza Bistro Tropical: We stumbled on this boho looking spot after an afternoon ay at Ipanema beach and felt we hit the foodie jackpot! Yummy organic fusion cuisine in a colorful bohemian setting.
  • Emporio Jardim: This eco hipster-style bistro was recommended to me by a good friend, so naturally we had to check it out. We headed over there for lunch after our visit to the Jardim Botanique and were not disappointed! Original burgers and salads plus breakfast all day!

Guilty tourist pleasures

  • A picture in front of the Cristo statue
  • Sipping from a coconut on Copacabana beach
  • Celebrating Caipirinha o‘clock! (which can take place pretty much any time you want it to)
  • Munching on an Acaï breakfast bowl (to balance the Caipirinha with some antioxidants ;) )

Place to stay

I would really recommend the Airbnb we stayed at in the Santa Teresa area! It was quite basic but clean and convenient with a homey vibe. The owner Beatriz was super friendly and served THE BEST breakfast, completely home made with love.

Practical tips

  • We did not bring a tourist guidebook and used city walk apps to map out our excursions. Super practical and a solid guidebook-alternative! This one is for Rio and this one for Sao Paulo.
  • Uber is a great and inexpensive way to get around the city of Rio, especially if you have limited time and want to cover a lot of different neighborhoods. Bonus: driving from highlight A to B with a local prevents you from wandering on foot into areas you should not visit as a tourist.

Things I am definitely traveling back for: After this first taste of Brazil, I am hungry for more! I’m especially curious to discover some of its lush nature, so on my wish list for next time: the Iguazu Falls, the Amazon, Bahia, Ilha Grande and Ilha Bella. So much more to see and experience!

Hope you like these tips and happy travels!