Memory triggers

Scent is the biggest memory trigger. As I was making breakfast this morning, I caught the smell of fresh coffee and it made me smile. In fact, it made me very happy for that moment. There are other smells that have a similar effect on me:

Brewing coffee or fresh coffee grounds – my Oma and Opa always used to put on a pot of coffee first thing in the mornings and my happy holidays in Germany always started by waking up to the smell of coffee. It made me feel like I was waking up to a new day, to new possibilities.

Freshly cut grass – I mean, who doesn’t? I even have hayfever and I still love it! It reminds me of carefree summers, of innocent play, of the loaded possibility of fun that the summer months promised.

My mother’s perfume – a simple comfort. My mother always smells good.

Roast dinner – coming home from Church on a Sunday to the house smelling of a roast was so wonderful. It was a routine, it was familiar and of course it smelled delicious!

Bonfires – Autumn is my favourite season so the smell of bonfires is a welcome reminder of the joy that is to come

Crisp air – some may say it doesn’t have a smell but I promise you it does. When I’ve been cooped up indoors all day, then emerge into the cool evening and inhale deeply, my shoulders relax and my head clears. Especially when I’m in Germany by the woods where the air is steeped in oxygen, this smell simply gives me some perspective.

I could probably add to this list indefinitely but for now, those are what trigger happy memories and remind me that the simple things in life are, without doubt, the best.

A series of ‘nows’

Hubby and I had coffee with a colleague of mine on New Year’s Day. Somehow the two boys, both quite philosophical and driven by a sense of justice, balance and opportunity, began talking about culture and lifestyle. Some of their chatter was concocting a liberal utopia, acknowledging that humans were not designed to work 9-5 at a desk – work hard, yes, but not to the confines of a modern regime. This developed into a discussion around mindfulness, meditation and how our minds have been cultivated into viewing the world through our own unique filters. We perceive everything around us in relation to our beliefs, understandings and knowledge – the combination and design of which is different for everyone and therefore how we perceive the world is also unique to the make-up of our minds.

According to my colleague, there is no such thing as the past – it does not exist as a physical reality – nor is there such thing as a future. Rather, life is made up of a series of nows. While many flaws can be found in this simplistic idea, it does change the way we perceive our days. My colleague took this one step further to say that there is, as a result, no such thing as a problem. There is simply a choice to be made and if something arises from the choice, it becomes a situation that you are dealing with in the now. Problems and how we perceive them are, again, a creation of our culture.

Whether or not you adhere to his ideology, there is certainly something to be gained from it. If nothing else, it encourages us to live in the moment and truly experience our every day and I, for one, am all for a little more present-mindedness in this competitive, future-obsessed society.

Paris

Our third wedding anniversary happened to fall on Easter Monday this year, so we escaped for a long weekend in Paris. It was so wonderfully relaxing. We stayed with friends and I fell in love with the four-hour meals, aperitifs and slow-moving time. It was perfect. Great food, wonderful company and a magical city.

There is something about the combination of Parisian architecture, food, coffee, wine and even the smell that makes it quite enchanting and four days was an ideal amount of time to forget the rest of the world.

Paris collage - drinks Paris collage - food 1 Paris collage - food 2 Paris collage - places 1 Paris collage - places 2 Paris collage - places 3 Paris collage - places 4

If you’re a chocoholic in Paris, visit the Lindt café. We devoured a hot chocolate and mousse. It was basically melted chocolate in a cup, amazing!

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I developed a love of night photography when we were on holiday in Malta a few years ago and our hosts willingly played chauffeur for the evening tour of their home city. We set out about 9pm when the sun had set and spent about 3 hours driving around Paris taking photos of the city, alive at night. It was one of my favourite evenings.

Paris collage - night

Such a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary 🙂

Hastings weekend

Collage 3My Christmas present for my sister was a joint present with three of her closest friends. The aim was to whisk her away for a weekend to relax and, most importantly, stop working! We booked a cottage for the five of us and enjoyed an incredibly sunny couple of days along the coast in Hastings, Sussex. The cottage was just delightful, the location was amazing and the company was perfect for light-hearted laughter as well as deep and challenging late-night conversation.Collage 1We even managed to sneak in a few extra surprises at every mealtime just so that my sister knew we had thought of her!

Collage 2 - gifts

I love that I get on so well with my sister’s friends as well as my own. It makes weekends like this all the more sweet.