Gratitude #9

Gratitude #9

Due to the blog anniversary and the 2017 wrap-up, I decided to postpone this installment. The Gratitude series has been running bimonthly in the last six months but I might change it back to a monthly series, if time allows it. I also started a weekly gratitude series on Instagram Stories; if ever you are interested, you are welcome to view it in my profile highlights. Lately, I am grateful for:

My New Luggy

Oli Ella luggy

I received for Christmas this beautiful handwoven basket. I am in LOVE with it and can’t wait to use it as soon as the weather becomes warm and dry.

Van Stapele Cookie

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According to social media, this is the best cookie in the world. The Van Stapele Koekmakerij sells only ONE item: a dark chocolate cookie filled with white chocolate. This tiny boutique is located in Amsterdam and smells divine! Customers have to queue and the cookies are frequently sold-out before closing time. I bought a box and tasted the famous cookie to judge for myself. It is soft in texture and intense in taste, very good! Not sure it deserves the title of “best in the world” but it is definitely worth trying.

New Cake Stands

Cake stand

I found these modern cake stands online. The small one is 10-centimeters wide and perfectly fits a cupcake.

Volunteering At the Amsterdam International Salsa Festival

I attended the Amsterdam salsa congress for the first time last November. The salseros community is large in Europe and I discovered some talented dancers. During my break, I joined a fun workshop of rueda. It felt good to be back on the dance floor!

A Well-Deserved Retirement


My father retired after forty years of service. He worked incredibly hard to provide for our family, without complaining. I am so grateful for his sacrifices, without these I wouldn’t be where I am today. He retired at age 58, fortunately with a perfect health. Right now, he is in Madagascar and he sent us these pictures of his childhood home. As a descendant, it is humbling to see the place where he grew up. This modest house is where it all began. So much can be achieved in a lifetime if we dare to dream and make it happen! 

Being Young and Healthy

A family member was recently moved to an elderly home, she is no longer in condition to live without surveillance. It is heartbreaking to know that it will be her last home. And sadly, this is a common reality for the elderly. This made me self-aware of my youth and health. Although I occasionally complain about a few white hairs, I still have time ahead of me and things to look forward to.

My First Orders

I received some cupcake and celebration cake orders. I am delighted that these customers trusted me with these orders.

Labrador Madness

Look at these eyes!

Look at these eyes!

Labrador books

We bumped into the most adorable puppy. This 8-week old lab belongs to our friends’ neighbors. When I spotted him in the street, I immediately ran to him. I also asked his owner many questions about raising a dog. It inspired me to purchase these books and to officially open a puppy savings account. Last but not least, I’ve listened a few times to Sia’s song: Puppies are forever. B couldn’t believe the lyrics when he first heard me sing them... I am a bit obssessed.

Celebrating Birthdays

With Ana and Rod in Maastricht

With Ana and Rod in Maastricht

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Ana and Rod came over in December. We celebrated her birthday at home and I baked a chocolate cake that they devoured (recipe here).

Toasting with Merel!

Toasting with Merel!

For once, I also celebrated my birthday. I received some kind calls and wishes from my family and friends. I was not feeling well on that day but we still went out for a late lunch at Jamie’s Italian with Merel and Vassili, then played Tichu at home. The next day, I had a nice long chat with my friend Aliaa.

Getting Some Help


Our fridge broke down last month. We lived fridge-free for two weeks, fortunately it was cold enough to store a few things on our balcony. After two failed attempts, we managed to get our new fridge in and our old fridge out via our living room window thanks to a rental lift, a window company (the two men on the photo above) and a friend. It was really stressful. A few days later, our friend also helped us fix and sand our front door. The wood expanded with the humidity and we couldn’t open our door anymore. I was stuck inside for a day.

Pink Stuff

Pink wireless headphones

I found these cute wireless headphones. Bluetooth technology is so practical, I wish I had transitioned earlier!

101 Thüringer Klöße

Kneading dough

My mother in law taught us how to bake this bread (very similar to the Chinese pao) and a traditional stew from their native province: Thuringen. Thank you Susanne for sharing your culture!



I wrote a post dedicated to Christmas here. This year, we celebrated a low-key New Year’s Eve with friends over a nice dinner, some games and good laughs. We brought dessert and I made an Eton’s mess upon a friend’s recommendation.

Until next time!

Ps: You can find the previous installments here > September & October and August & July.

Dutch Butter Cake

Dutch Butter Cake

One Year

One Year