How are we spending the quarantine in Nomad Style
How are you doing in this world affected by the coronavirus? It would have been impossible to think at the beginning of 2020 that I would be writing to you in the midst of a mandatory quarantine for all during a global epidemic. But here we are. I had planned to open my store in Aguamarga for Easter, and this week would have been, as usual, very intense between work and social life, reconnecting with my clients after the winter break and organizing the season. As it is, I've been spending Easter at home with my son and I'm about as busy. I fill my time looking for a thousand ways to entertain him, talking as much as possible with family and friends and enjoying life at home with activities such as cooking and gardening.
During the first week of confinement here in Spain, I found it almost impossible to work. What was the point of talking about decoration when we were facing a crisis of such magnitude? As the weeks have gone by, I have changed my mind. Being creative is still what I enjoy the most and, since I spend so much time at home, I have dedicated myself to trying to make the environment I live in make me as happy as possible. I had moved houses just before this crisis started and obviously there was a lot to do. It's easy to think of interior design as frivolous and superficial, but I've never agreed with that view. The environment has a very important effect on our emotional well-being and my passion, as an interior designer, has always been to create emotional atmospheres that make people feel good.
Since the beginning of Nomad Estilo with my store At Aguamarga, I had the intention of creating environments that would please and surprise my clients. From the pleasant aromas that come out of the store and attract passers-by to the products I search for all over the world, I love seeing people enjoy the experience of being in my store. The things I sell are not essential, but they make life more beautiful; and I think it's good for all of us to have some beauty in our lives right now. With all of this in mind, I wanted to share with you some of the things I'm doing to make quarantining at home easier for my family.
My son is two years old. This means that once he is awake my day revolves around him. At first this was difficult, because I have so many other things to do every day, and trying to juggle being a mother and working at the same time is basically impossible. My solution is to get up at six in the morning on the days that I need to do specific tasks. As I write this, it is still night but I love to write at dawn, before the world wakes up. I'm a morning person, but I'm also an exhausted mom, so thank goodness for coffee! But getting up early and having time for myself in the mornings makes my day much easier. Of course I also need to sleep, so napping becomes a necessity and going to bed early, too. I don't always get it, Netflix is a danger. This doesn't work for everyone either, but it's good to set a schedule that works and stick to it Monday through Friday. It is good to change the routine on weekends to dedicate more time to rest. For us in Spain, going out to the terrace every day at eight o'clock to applaud the medical services is also an essential part of the daily program. I love talking to my new neighbors; my son and a little girl wave to each other across the street. I feel like we're part of a community and we're not alone in this.
To be honest, if you have small children you already know that it is a job that never ends.But my body needs more exercise, especially if I dedicate myself to making cookies (I'll get to that later). This is still in the project phase. What time of day can I exercise? If I do yoga and my son is around, he will climb me. It's actually quite fun and if I'm doing stretches it even feels good if it sits on my back. I have ordered a jump rope! I've read that just ten minutes of jumping rope a day is a great cardio workout, and I can manage that ten minutes. We Dance. I put on my favorite radio station and we dance around the room. I work in the garden. but I miss physical exercise. So I've signed up for online classes and I'm going to try to fit it into my schedule. When? I do not know yet! Therein lies the problem.
The garden in the kitchen:
At first this was one of the ideas for fun activities with my son, but honestly, I think I'm more interested than he is. We ordered several kits online with seeds, mulch, pots, etc., and we had a great time planting. I have the seedbeds by the kitchen window and watching the plants grow is absolutely satisfying. Every day we will check how they are growing and water them. It is most relaxing. Although I don't think we can stop going to the supermarket any time soon, I keep thinking about the future products of our little garden. We have put pots and boxes in the patio and we will be growing aromatic plants, tomatoes, strawberries, peas and lettuce in them. If you don't have space outside, a sunny window or a balcony can do the trick. I hope that when everything is back to normal I can continue with this!
Create your space:
What do you like most about your house? To me, what I like the most are simple things: fresh flowers, lighting the fireplace at dusk, putting candles at night, or setting the table beautifully every time we sit down to eat. Also create a space with harmonious energy: get rid of unnecessary clutter, keep everything very clean, leaving the house tidy and clean every night before going to bed. What makes you feel comfortable at home? Can you create a personal space, just for you? A place where you can disconnect from the outside world? It could be a bedroom or part of the living room. Fill it with things that make you happy, like books, or create a corner for your hobbies, or to exercise. Can you organize a space to relax with comfortable cushions and a blanket? Maybe you have photos of people you love, a drawing made by a friend, or a quote that inspires you. Designer Ilse Crawford said, "The home is a person's ongoing story." How do you want to tell that story?
Live in the moment:
I am a very active person. I am also unable to get bored. I have to thank my mother for this genetics. She is also a very active person who cannot be idle. It is exhausting. One of the things I've had to relearn in these last few weeks is the beauty of doing nothing. Putting a lot of pressure on ourselves these days doesn't make much sense. We already have enough pressure. We must not underestimate the emotional toll of what is happening in the world and it is normal to be emotional, sad, angry or overwhelmed. So relax. Take care of yourself. Pamper yourself. Sleep all day if you want (or you can, just the idea makes me very envious). breathe. Try to manage the stress that has been imposed on us in the way that works best for you. What works for me is a bath surrounded by candles and relaxing aromatic oils. Or just play with my son and hear him laugh. Talk to the people I love.If we can't lower the piston and live in the moment during these days, when will we be able to?
For me, cooking is one of the great pleasures in life and being in the kitchen preparing a good meal is equally relaxing and satisfying I wanted to share with you one of my recipes, which is easy to make at home, great for children and very helpful. I am part Dutch, and these cookies were an invention born out of a simple idea, what if American style chocolate chip cookies had children with Dutch speculaas? What an experiment! Dutch speculaas are highly spiced cookies. In Holland's golden age in the 17th century, they controlled the international spice market and the consequence is that many Dutch recipes include an incredible amount of spices. They remind me of the happy times I spent in my childhood visiting my family in Holland. A taste of home.
To make the spice mixture:
5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2.5 teaspoons of nutmeg ground
2.5 coffee spoons coffee spoons of ground ginger
2.5 coffee spoons of ground cardamom
2.5 coffee spoons of ground cloves
Cinnamon and Ground nutmegs are easy to find in any supermarket. It may be a bit more difficult to find the rest. Ground ginger and cardamom are easy to find online. The nail, possibly have to buy it whole and grind it at home, with the mortar. I like to make a good batch of spice mix and save what's left over, in which case I double or quadruple the amount and store the rest in an airtight spice jar.
For the cookies:
225 gr. of butter with salt
200 gr. white sugar
200 gr. brown sugar
2 coffee spoons of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 spoons of mixed spices
380 gr. of flour
1.5 coffee spoons of yeast
1 coffee spoon of sea salt
175 gr. white chocolate, in small pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Prepare a tray with baking paper.
2. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
3. Cream the butter with the sugar, until combined.
4. Beat the eggs and vanilla into the butter-sugar mixture until fluffy.
5. Mix the dry ingredients well.
6. Add the chocolate pieces.
7. Make balls with 2-3 tablespoons (depending on how big you want the cookies) of dough and place them neatly on the oven trays.
8. Bake them for about 8-10 minutes. Remove them just as they begin to brown around the edges.
9. Leave them on the baking tray for two minutes before removing them to another container to cool.
My son and my boyfriend love these cookies. I don't think they'll last long!
Wherever you are, I hope you and your families are healthy and safe during these days. I send you my best wishes, and I hope to see some of you very soon, when I can finally open my store in Aguamarga. This week I will continue taking photos for my collection set in Granada, and I will also continue working on more recipes that I can share with you. Take care. Stay home.