are you a list-maker?

blue whisk - photography by Karene,

Are you a list-maker? So am I! Wonderful things! I have lots of pretty little notebooks filled with lists. They keep my day ticking over in the right direction and then the best part? Oh, yes!  – when you get to cross everything off the list, in the end and you can be proud of everything you’ve achieved. But do you also allow yourself to let go of your list? Do you sometimes draw off the page? What happens then?

Ok, I’ll admit it: I can be a total control freak. So when I plan a shoot it often involves brainstorming sessions, sketches of possible subjects, sketches of lighting options, composition, some finger-drawings on the shower door – until I have a clear understanding of what I’d like to achieve. Then I find the right props, do some tests and eventually I set up and start working. I have limited time. I aim, I shoot, but then once I have the controlled shots of my ideas under way – I like to just let go.

I run into overtime. Happy accidents send me off on new paths. Instinct, that is connected to years of mistakes and AHA-moments, directs me. I allow myself to get totally side-tracked and it’s amazing where one ends up.

The other night I had been working until late, on a long distance commission of a series of images which I wanted to be just perfect. Because it was a series, and I had very specific ideas, I had to consciously keep bringing myself back to focus, under control, to ensure that the images would connect with each other and end up how I had planned. Some things worked, some things wouldn’t – readjust. Try again. It was quite intense work and I did not have a chance to let go. I went to bed exhausted, but happy with my work.

The next morning, when I saw a little whisk, still lying on the table. I pushed aside my daily list and picked up my camera. I noticed the cool morning light getting caught on the criss-cross metallic lines. I sat on down on the couch and played. Totally relaxed. Dark lines against light (flutter flutter) Light against dark (flutter flutter) A little later, I had these photos. Just for me. Happy.

whisk - Photography by Karene -

whisk - Photography by Karene -

whisk - photography by Karene -

I think you know where I’m going with this. With lots of turmoil where I am, right now, I sometimes have to remind myself that you can only have so much control. It’s an art to learn how to trust and let go.

The mind likes to hold on, but the soul needs us to let go.

How about you? Where do you sit on that scale of clinging and letting go? Are you JUST a list-maker?


The Fig

Fig 1

I have a confession to make – I have never eaten a fresh fig. Well, not consciously anyway. I have never gone out, bought a fig and eaten it. Fig Jam? Yes. Fresh fig? No. The other day I was sitting in a restaurant and saw the woman opposite me take her sliver of fig and scoop out the insides and I thought. You’ve never done that.

I am generally not the type of person to shy away from trying new things. In fact I tend to eat everything. (I’ve even had frogs’ legs before – yuck!) But I do tend to have a problem with admitting when I don’t know or understand something that everyone assumes I do know or understand. If a topic came up in the conversation that I am unfamiliar with, but everyone around me gets it, I wouldn’t stick my neck out and say: “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about!” I tend to quietly wait for it all to pass by. I have a friend who is brilliant at asking relevant, specific questions until she gets the full picture. She’s brave. And she’s never afraid to ask. And she never sounds stupid. In fact she makes other people feel clever. I admire her for that.

So what does this have to do with a fig? Ummm… well… I have no idea! It has something to do with the fact that I should not skim over the things that I don’t know. So I stood in the supermarket, with these pretty curvy purply figs in front of me. How do I know whether it’s ripe or not? I picked one up. eeww…I really didn’t expect them to be soft.  Is soft good or not?  I was one of those awful shoppers that prodded, poked and touched a whole lot of them and took home the most averagely soft fig in the tray.

Fig 2

I cut it open. Figs are really beautiful inside. Filled with tiny seeds. The seeds are the actual fruit – a bit like a granadilla or a guava – but very fine and soft.  I scooped out a mouthful and – it has a very delicate taste doesn’t it? I had some with white yoghurt and honey and I found the honey overpowering. It’s amazing that such a soft flavour, could have received such gourmet status, over the centuries. Don’t you think? I can’t really describe it. Do you like figs? Did I eat it right? Any tips for me?

Fig 3



Fig 4 Fig 3 Fig 2 Fig 1

simple pleasures


Bread & Jam 5

(Into temptation knowing full well, your body will rebel… )

Living in a country where supper is called Abendbrot (directly translated as Evening Bread) means that avoiding bread is simply not possible. There’s a bakery around every corner, with hundreds of different types of fresh bread rolls and loaves of bread. A good German weekend breakfast, does not include fried eggs and bacon. One takes a walk to the nearest bakery, to fetch a variety of fresh rolls, and then one adds various different hams, pates, cheeses and cheese spreads to add to the temptation of what the English call a Continental Breakfast.

I must say, although all the rolls, (crispy or soft, brown or white, poppy seeds or sunflower seeds, square or round…) with all their confusing names, are indeed a temptation for me, the loaves are not really. But the other day as I was waiting to pay for my rolls, listening to a customer asking about the percentage of rye in the various breads, I noticed amongst the many heavy round dark rye breads, a small rectangular white loaf. It was labled as a Dutch Milk bread. I thought back to the comment that had been left on my Bread-Free Burger post and with mouth watering, I pointed it out to the lady behind the counter.

Bread & Jam 3

At home, I introduced my girls to the simple pleasure of manually cutting a slice of fresh white bread, and spreading it with real butter and chunky apricot jam. Have you noticed how, in the world of convenience that we live in, we all tend to buy tasteless, pre-sliced preservative filled bread? When did convenience become so much more important than flavour? My children were surprised when I told them that this was how the bread that I’d grown up with, looked and tasted – and so did the bread of my parents and my grandparents. That we had to learn how to cut it thin and straight, ourselves. Do you remember those arguments about who was the last, to cut the bread so skew? … It’s all a little sad, hey? Especially, coming from a family that has always tried very hard to prove the theory that man CAN live on bread alone. 

So purely to keep up tradition, blowfish effect on my body or not, simple pleasures like fresh white bread, will just have to be an occasional indulgence in our home – with fresh butter and apricot jam or bovril or…

What’s your bread indulgence?

Bread & Jam


Bread & Jam 2

Bread & Jam 4