I’m in another one of those magical moments where a collection of beautiful things has manifest itself so that I am quite wonderfully happy. The soundtrack for this particular one is the ‘Relax and Unwind’ playlist provided by Spotify. The wave of warmth that has hit me has been spurred by the beauty of food. I’ve tried to take a few photos, but I don’t think I can quite capture it. There is something so satisfying about filling up a bowl of tiny satsumas and leaving them to decorate the mantel. Or of lining your cupboards with cinnamon, the seasonaliest of spices. Or of plucking mint and slicing lemon to add to your new water bottle. It seems ridiculous but adding that splash of colour to your h2O takes my drinking aesthetic from a 1 to a 10 in a matter of seconds. I bought cashews and cranberries and the mix tastes like heaven. I bought sultanas and apples to add to my porridge. I bought krispy kale, honey and pumpkin seeds. Autumn is here, and my cupboards show it.
I am striving for gezellig this Autumn. This Dutch word translates as having an atmosphere of cosy. Exactly the vibe you want to cultivate as the leaves begin to golden and the air sharpens and cools. I think it is comparable to the Danish word hygge which I have recently also cultivated after finishing reading Helen Russells ‘A Year of Living Danishly’. It is a really good read that gives you manageable targets to improve your outlook on life and work towards becoming happy. Simplest trick I can remember of the top of my head? Light some candles and go and buy that blanket you’ve had your eye on because you deserve to feel good at home. I currently have Jasmine incense burning, a birthday present of a friend, fluffy socks on, a gift from my sis and I’m sipping on a rooibos tea with honey. A treat solely from me to me.
Here is a short and sweet list of things I have done so far since the official end of summer (23/09/2018) to get into my October Zen;
- Had my first ever pumpkin spice latte. Yes, I know. It was bloody lovely, but I reckon not something I couldn’t muster up in the kitchen myself given the effort. A must try, but not worthy of another 5 euros.
- Escaped from the blistering chill by spending the afternoon in the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam’s centre for world cultures exhibits. As an anthropology student this was a must see. I barely covered half, and I can’t wait to return. (My 60 euro Museum pass has officially arrived and I will make sure it’s worth it!)
- As I’ve already mentioned, stocked my cupboard with things that make me feel a little warm inside. Things still to add? Hot chocolate, butternut squash, pumpkin and brown rice.
- Booked a trip to both Copenhagen and Prague! Because I still need to remind myself every now and then that holidays are not just about laying in the sun until I can muster up the energy to flip onto my belly but are things that can also be done in the cooler months of the year. I can’t wait to practice some hygge in Denmark.
- Found my local pool and have been for a cheeky dip twice now. This isn’t particularly Autumnal, but I think it is nice to know that on a day I cant bear to run (when the chill is real) I have an optional indoor form of exercise I can take part in. I also enjoy watching the early bird community of Amsterdam Oost swim alongside me. I especially enjoy when people three times my ages overtake me in the slow lane. No honestly, I love that people you wouldn’t expect are more active than 21-year-old me.
- Tried out two yoga classes in the area. The first was unusual, a restorative yoga practice that involved staying in postures for 10-15 minutes. It was 75 minutes of me laying on the floor at various different angles, wrapped in a blanket and in some instances covering my eyes with a purple velvet mask. The instructor spoke both Dutch and English and I enjoyed feeling a little less like a tourist in a room with only three others. For a small second, I forgot my label of bumbling English student. The second class was more up my street, led by a vibrant lady called Marie. The atmosphere of the room was on point. The level of the class perfect and she was engaged enough to go around the room and give personal adjustments to everyone. So, despite the slightly larger price tag, the personal touch really does make the difference from just doing YouTube videos at home. Saying that, cracking into a child’s posture whether you’re at home, in a yoga studio or even (if you can get away with it) at work or in the library does always make you feel a notch safer.
- Went for some traditional Dutch apple pie at Winkel 43. That was unbelievable. I was also very pleased with the free biscuit I got with my cappuccino being slightly larger than the average side treat. I definitely recommend.
- Spent the day doing a treasure hunt organised by Nieuw en Meer, a group of artists who all live slightly off the grid in West Amsterdam. Possibly one of the quirkiest things I have done, the day involved trying to identify if the tree in the middle of a forest was the one I had a picture of on my phone. The company I was with was great and once we had found our first coin (which we would then use later to bid on an auction and win free art) we relaxed and just enjoyed the trees, the leaves, the lake and the late September sun. Cast aside the obscurity of the reason that brought us there and we have the simplicity of talking, walking and nature.
- Oh and a very personal side bar here. I celebrated hitting six months smoke free! After 7 whole years I quit six months ago and it is now something I can use to remind myself that I am stronger than I know.
I think I will leave that list there. I have plenty more things on the agenda for the next few weeks and I hope they can fill me with as much warmth as they have done so far and maybe if it’s not too much to ask, (I hope if there is a reader out there) that this post might contribute a little to your gezellig too.
peace n love