Drop Coffee, Stockholm

drop coffee 2

Coffee. Again. There are quite a few aerial shots of latte art to be found on my Instagram feed, guilty as charged. Back in 2009 the Paris coffee scene wasn't moving or shaking much. Nowadays however we are spoilt for choice: Belleville Brûlerie, Cream, Fondation, Telescope and Ten Belles to name but a few. So whenever I'm planning an upcoming trip I look on Instagram, or ask around the Paris expat network, for coffee spots worth visiting.

I came across Drop Coffee whilst doing some research for a recent weekend visit to Stockholm. Already feeling confident that it was a special spot, I knew I was on to a sure winner when Frank sent an IG message telling me to go there for a morning coffee fix. So Ineke and I headed there, and I can confirm that it is a must if you ever find yourself in Stockholm.

The folks at Drop Coffee take their beans very seriously, roasting in small batches to preserve the aroma of the coffee beans, which has won them the Swedish Brewers Cup in both 2013 and 2014. The cafe itself is gorgeous: luminous with high ceilings and free wifi. The ideal spot to get some work done if you're a freelancer. They also deliver their beans worldwide if you want to give them a try. Paris people, I spotted their beans for sale last week at Telescope Cafe...

Did you know that the Swedes have their own version of the British tea-time? It's called "fika": the literal meaning is "to drink coffee" but for the Swedes it signifies the ritual of taking a moment out of their day to relax and enjoy a sweet treat with some coffee. If you're looking for some fika inspiration, look no further - Anna Brones, from the Parisian expat crowd, has written a book featuring over 50 illustrated recipes and charting the history of this Swedish tradition. You can find out more in Lindsey's article for the New York Times T Magazine.

Happy Fika time!

Lou x

drop coffee

Amsterdam

REE72 Paris is a popular weekend destination for many people and I understand why. After six years of living here, it's still such a pleasure to spend the weekend discovering the city as there is so much to do, see, eat and drink.  However, I never turn down the opportunity to spend time in another city with a different landscape. This past weekend our chosen destination was Amsterdam. Known for tulips, cheese and pretty canals, Amsterdam has a special place in my heart - it's somewhere I would consider moving to with JB.  This time, we weren't lucky with the weather (it rained most of the time) and I discovered that I cannot manage both Google maps and crossing the street. Despite these minor setbacks we managed a lot of walking, shopping and eating. Here's a few suggestions for things to do in Amsterdam if you're there for the weekend.

Brunch 

Bakers & Roasters take reservations on the weekend which is really convenient when you're a party of five, one of whom is a cute little baby. This New Zealand style café, with coffee beans from Ozone Coffee, serves fresh juices, staple brunch plates and really yummy salads. Service was friendly and efficient, and it's spacious, something we are not used to in Paris where places tend to be smaller and more intimate. Wifi available.

G's is a fun brunch spot with great food and cocktails. I'd highly recommend the eggs and take the French toast (to share). They also take reservations on the weekend but don't seem to have a listed phone number so email only. We were significantly late for our table but the servers were really nice and seated us quickly. Wifi available.

Coffee 

If you're a fan of excellent coffee you should head to Scandinavian Embassy, located just next to Sarphatipark. Nicolas Castagno, winner of the 2013 Brewers Cup Champion of Sweden, experiments with coffee-brewing methods to make sure every cup has great flavour. Everything on the food menu is sourced locally and the fruit and vegetables change with the season. At the weekend SE offers a brunch menu for 18 euros or you can order à la carte. Thumbs up, there are gluten free options. Also, Wifi.

I didn't make it to Lot Sixty One coffee roasters but I've heard good things about them.

Shopping 

JB and I are a big fan of Nordic design - there are a few Muuto pieces in our apartment and we have had our eye on a Muuto dining table for a while now. We also have some Hay cushions, and I love their colour palette, so we paid a quick visit to their small store in the centre of Amsterdam where I gazed longingly at their furniture for a bit. They also have an in-store café if you want to take a break after shopping - very well thought out Hay!

I only discovered Dill and Kamille last September on a previous trip to Amsterdam. It's a really lovely store, full of home and kitchen ware at prices that are friendly on your purse. Definitely worth a visit if you want to stock up on hand-towels, kitchen utensils or cute bowls. They also host cooking classes and events, so if you're based in Amsterdam you may want to check out what they have on.

Kid-friendly

Amsterdam from all appearances seems to be a child-friendly city (Paris take note). Rachel and I got up early both days to walk around the city. We got our nails done, grabbed coffee to go and did some shopping.  One coffee place we stopped at was Blender, a kid's café and concept store. It even has a play space for tiny ones to go wild in whilst mum and dad catch up with their friends. The Miffy store (or "Nijntje" as the Dutch call this little white rabbit) is a great address if you need a present for friends with children. Or if you have your own children and want to buy them some cute new toys. I may have walked away with a key-ring and some postcards (I love collecting postcards). Big & Belg is a hipster store selling adorable hipster clothes for children (Paris people, think BonTon).

Culture 

Amsterdam is certainly not lacking in cultural activities, so if you like museums then you're fine. The Anne Frank House is definitely worth visiting, I found it sad but inspiring. Then there's the Van Gogh museum, one of JB's favourite painters, we have paid that one a visit. You've most certainly heard of the Rijksmuseum, home to Dutch art and history. In spring or summer it's worth checking out the Stadsarchief, the Amsterdam City Archives, which is a very impressive building but rather depressing when it is wet and windy.

Aside from various blogs, I used my Wallpaper Amsterdam city guide - it has trustworthy recommendations and I just discovered that they offer several phone apps, something I'd seriously consider downloading for the next trip.

Tell me, what are your favourite Amsterdam spots?

Lou x

Miffy

G's

 

amsterdam

blender

Meet Emma Tynan, one of my inspirational women

emma t "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" (Gloria Steinem)

Today is international women's day  so I wanted to do a special post and honour an inspirational lady who I am lucky to know called Emma Tynan. We met in Paris two years ago and let me tell you Emma is a really cool woman with a brilliant attitude and a wicked sense of humour. It's a shame that Paris has to share her with the UK, but I was delighted when she told me she was training to be a holistic health and nutrition coach. Emma is the real deal and I'm happy to have her on the blog today, telling us how we can nourish and empower ourselves to feel fantastic on a daily basis. Who doesn't want to feel like that? Emma has also generously offered a free health consultation to Lou in Paris readers. If you're interested (of course you are) then head over to her website and say hello. Over to you Emma...

Hi Emma, welcome to the blog. Can you tell us how you ended up studying to be an expert holistic health and nutrition coach?

Hi Lou! Firstly, I’m absolutely thrilled to be here, so thanks a million for having me! Well the journey to becoming a holistic health and nutrition coach began with my love of sustainability. While I was living in Paris I was a freelance writer and journalist covering the ethical and sustainable fashion movement. (I adore fashion and worked in the fashion industry in London before moving Paris). However, I noticed a huge disconnect between the sustainable lifestyle movement and the health and wellness movement. When you choose to live sustainably everything you eat, buy, think and do is up for transformation. The reason I started my Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coaching business is to help passionate and purposeful women create a more sustainable life, in every respect. From having more energy and feeling better to creating more time, peace and freedom in their day.

Could you take us through a typical work day?

I’m an early riser and love the energy of the morning. My feet won’t touch the carpet without a spiritual check-in. Gratitude and and positive intention before I start my day.  I tend to leave opening my emails till after 10am. I will work with clients in the morning on coaching calls and then meet my love Jason in the kitchen for lunch at 1pm. We both run location-independent businesses so we have the privilege of working from home. Freedom underpins everything for me and I want to feel free, always. After lunch we take our pugs (who feature heavily on my instagram feed) for a walk. We live in North Norfolk in the UK and are totally blissed out all the time by how beautiful and peaceful it is here. Then back home for some more calls or writing. I like to wrap up at about 7pm then usually go to the gym or a yoga class. I don’t touch anything electronic after 9pm! I really have to unplug and wind down before bed and find this one of the best ways to get good sleep.

peggy

What are the main messages you give to your clients, to help them live a better life ?

I help my clients transform their lives by making very small, incremental, sustainable changes over a 3- 6 month period, depending on what length of programme I feel will work best for them. My coaching packages are individually tailored to each woman.  I don’t prescribe any diets or encourage restriction or drastic cleanses (I actually encourage my clients to eat real chocolate and they still lose weight!)  I empower and teach my clients techniques so never need diet again, learn how to manage stress, clear up their skin, have more energy as well as learning how to feel amazing and confident every day! It is truly a transformation for life.

Is it possible to be happy and stress-free when living in a big city such as London or Paris? And if so, how?

Absolutely! ‘Peace’ of mind is an inner journey and one that can be restored with commitment and acts of deep self-care. Of course there will be tumultuous times in life and we get stressed out (I’m planning my wedding and the moment and wow, I was not at all prepared for the stress of that!) but I find the best way to deal with it is following your JOY. Do something that makes you feel good and joyful!  Turn up your favourite song and have a dance party in your kitchen, go have an amazing meal with your girlfriends, laugh, do whatever makes you feel good. Works every time!

We live in a very technological day and age: what negative effect do you think being constantly connected can have on our minds and spirits?

I think distraction is  like a disease because of how plugged in we are. We no longer have that quiet space in our minds where creativity used to flow in so easily. We are constantly being pulled in so many directions throughout the day. You gotta unplug and have time-off. Walks in nature without your phone. Cultivate that peace again.  I run an online business so I’m not going to bad-mouth social media or anything, but I see how comparison silences so many women’s spirits. It really, really saddens me. I meet so many incredible women who live in absolute terror of going after their dreams for the fear of what others will say or because they feel the won’t be as good as so-and-so. This is also something I work on with my clients, I help them find and give voice to their unique gifts and talents so as they can unapologetically bring the full expression of their greatness to the table every day. Helping them to live bigger and better so that they can go out into the world and change it (that is why we’re here after all, isn't it?!)

I met you in Paris and I know you lived in London previously - could you briefly describe your experience of both cities?

Ok. I’ll admit it. I’m in a love triangle with Paris and London. I cant live without either and I don't plan on doing so! London - I cried when I first arrived in London from Ireland. I was standing outside Bond Street tube station, crying on the phone to my sister about how fast, big and tiring it all was. London and I though we came to an understanding. The city taught me so much about survival skills. It made me strong, confident and filled me with the unshakeable knowing that anything is possible in life (provided you have your travel card, some food in the fridge and a best friend who works in fashion to keep you looking amazing!)

Paris, on the other hand taught me about unconditional Love. Sure, she has terrible air pollution, long queues everywhere, paper, bureaucracy, red tape, but with patience and an open heart I fell under her spell. I had worked there a lot while working in the fashion industry in Lonodn, but living in Paris was another experience entirely. The language, the lights, the beauty, the food and wine, the friends I made. Well you know the saying, True love lasts a lifetime. So even when I have to wait ages in a line, cant breath or get a cab, I still love the city. Paris is just my kind of poetry.

avo toast

Do you tell your clients to stop drinking wine or eating cake?

NEVER!!! It’s all about balance.

One thing on your bucket list?

To go to Tanzania and meet the Maasai people. ( I’m pretty sure it is a past-life thing!)

I know you’re a fellow out and proud feminist - could you share with us a few of your favourite famous feminists?

Mary Wollstonecraft. The eighteenth-century English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. She was one of the first feminists. I’m also SO impressed by the work Emma Watson is doing for womens rights and the He for She campaign. She is bringing the feminist movement and women's rights to a whole new generation.

Desert Island questions:

one book (or magazine) you’d choose to take with you; The complete works of Shakespeare.

one luxury item; coconut oil (or my pugs if they are allowed!)

one piece of music. Maria Callas singing Casta Diva from Bellini’s Norma.

Quick fire questions:

Favourite beauty product - Rose water

Favourite go-to recipe - A green quiona salad from Anna Jones’ new book.

Favourite song to get you in a good mood - ooooooohhhhhhh something by Beyonce. (or a show tune!)

Favorite drink  - A nice natural Gamay from the Loire Valley or pinot Champagne!

Favorite inspirational quote: I first read this when I was 16 and it blew my mind!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

A HUGE thank you to Emma for taking time out of her schedule and I for one am very excited to see her business go from strength to strength. I wish you a happy International Women's Day - I'm currently in Stockholm with some girlfriends so plan to spend the day chatting, drinking tea and eating cinnamon buns. Let's celebrate the fabulous women in our lives and throughout the world, and try to keep moving forward towards a better future for our daughters and future generations to come.

Lou xx