Paul & Paula private

family breakfast

Paul & Paula private is the place where we share a little bit about our international life.

Four kids, many languages, regular moves and travels. A little peak behind the scenes…

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14.09.18

How to live more sustainable as a family – top tips!

Paul&Paula: How to live more sustainable as a family - tips
The word ‘sustainable’ seems to be everywhere at the moment. Everything, everyone and everywhere is sustainable. And as I absolutely agree that we should think about our impact on the environment and our future, I wonder if we all know what it actually means?

What does being sustainable mean?  Sustainable family living? And how much do we or should we do to provoke change? Because sustainable, in an environmental field, actually means ‘using methods that do not harm the environment so that natural resources are still available in the future’.

The whole going vegan thing actually became a topic out of this. Because livestock and dairy production are the second highest contributors to atmosphere – altering gases. Livestock/ dairy products cause huge air and water pollution. And just as an example: It takes more than 9500 liters of water to produce just 500 gr of meat. You can save more water by not eating that meat than you can by not showering for six months!
And since vegetarians still consume a lot of animal products (eggs, cheese, butter, milk…) we did decide to go for vegan directly.

Joseph Poore said:
‘A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use.’

But today I do not want to talk about diets (again), I want to talk about things we as a family do, to live more sustainable. Because there are a lot of little things that altogether can make a difference. And if we all contribute something, we can achieve something too. (And also because some people asked me about…)

We have four children in our home and of course, we want them to grow up in a green world. And we want them to understand that little things do help and their decisions can make a difference. Which goes the other way around as well. Not paying attention to small things that do harm our world, do make a difference as well. Unfortunately not a good one. Something to keep in mind and to remind people who still believe that their -sole- impact would not help to make our world a better place!

Things like turning off the lights when leaving the room are no ‘shocking news’ anymore and we probably heard that phrase since we were teens. But there is more and talking with your children and asking them for ideas and input is a great way to implicate some more ways in a more sustainable family living.

Here is a list of things we do in our family. I am sure that you already do some/ most of them but maybe there are one or two that inspire you to adapt:

Home cooked food!

I love to cook and currently I am super excited to try out quite a few new recipes from the vegan blogs and books of this world. Cooking your own food instead of packaged meals is better because processed food is resource-intensive to produce and unhealthy to boot as well. It includes that we do shop local ingredients – last time I saw herbs coming from someplace in Africa, totally unnecessary – as much as possible and we also go with the seasons. (no strawberry tart in December!)

Waterbottles to water plants!

When the kids come home from school and empty their backpacks, the water bottles are often not 100% empty. Instead of emptying the water down the drain we use it to water our plants. With four kids this really adds up over a week and then think about a term…

Laundry check!

Instead of just putting everything into the laundry basket, we ask the children to double check their clothes. Not talking about underwear and socks, but jeans and cardigans are often fine for another round.

More about laundry!

Laundry uses a lot of water and a lot of products. First: Ditch fabric softener.
Next: 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes to heating water. Most washing powders clean just well in cold water as they do in hot.
Only wash with full loads because the use of water and energy is nearly the same for a machine that is only filled half.

Buying eco/ organic!

Next, to buying seasonal and local, we do buy organic. A few points why organic is better:
Organic farmers build soil with natural fertilizers in order to grow crops. They rely on the natural enemies of pests
and use crop rotation to conserve soil. Which means that more animals and plants can live in the same place in a natural way. Organic farming makes without the use of synthetic inputs, including synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, nanomaterials and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

Recycle envelopes!

Snail mail is less these days but we still get some official letters and other stuff. The envelopes are great for writing down to-do lists, shopping lists or just as general note papers.

Fabric napkins!

No more paper towels or paper napkins. Fabric it is and it looks so much nice on the table too.

Reusable shopping bags!

I always have a reusable bag in my handbag. You just never know when you may need it…
We have a drawer full of cotton bags that everyone uses for shopping, bringing things to school and so on.

No straws!

Long-lasting clothes.

You know that I believe very much in the whole ‘quality over quantity’ thing when it comes to clothes. For the whole family. Invest a little more in timeless, long lasting clothes – better for the environment as well as your bank account in the long run!
I recommend this article to you.

Separate waste!

Separation of waste allows for efficient reuse and recycling. An example: When waste is not separated properly it leads to less recycling and many resources may be wasted. And you can help by starting segregating the waste in your own house.

Reduce waste!

Seeing the points above already helps to reduce waste. Even separating helps because it shows you so clearly how much there really is. Other examples of how to reduce waste: Ditch plastic bags, make meal plans and shop accordingly, buy in bulk for less packaging or choose products that can be refilled. Just a few and actually a topic well worth a post on its own.

Soap bars instead of plastic bottles!

Buy soap instead of shower gels in plastic bottles. Even shampoo comes in form of bars now…

Cycle!

We do not own a car and we are not planning to get one either. If we really need one we can always rent one and I believe that carpools and car sharing are getting more and more popular.

Tap water!

Yes, here in Sweden the tap water is excellent. And so it is in many other countries. And you can always go for a filter too… just do avoid buying water in plastic bottles.

Reusable containers!

For snacks, lunch etc…

Purchase energy efficient appliances!

If you need a new machine, make sure it is energy efficient. Same goes for light bulbs.

Plant seeds!

Or even more, if you have space. Like I said – every little thing helps.

Natural cleaning products!

Use the most natural cleaning products you can. Vinegar, for example, is a great cleaner.

Do you have tips to share? We want to hear them in the comments…

05.09.18

Becoming a vegan family and a weekly meal plan

Paul & Paula: vegan-family story and weekly meal plan

After the very late travel guides, our relocation news as well as my opinion on the current kids fashion business, I am here to share something very new going on in our family: Vegan!

Just one word but so much behind it. I shared a little bit on my Instagram and received lots of great feedback as well as questions. And the demand for meal ideas and such was quite big. And since I am already busy to share more private stuff again, I will give you some insight into our Vegan life.

Disclaimer: I am not on a mission to convert you to become a vegan! :)

How did it start?

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03.09.18

We are moving… and more

Paul & Paula: moving-to-london

Oh you guys. I have been teasing you. Asking you to cross fingers and toes and some close people had to listen to the odyssey that went down before we finally got the word: We are moving!

Yes, the 6 of us will re-locate and you readers with the eagle eyes probably already managed to ‘unlock’ our next destination from the photo.

London. Not a complete new spot on the landmark but a very welcome one.

We were hoping to move for a fair amount of time and were thinking about a possible destination overseas. And if that would not work out we both (hubby and I) agreed that London would be T H E place in Europe we can imagine. So the overseas thing was ruled out quickly and we did get London. And for some extra fun: We will move in a couple of weeks time. We will be in town for a week in September where we hope to find a house and then we will move at the end of October. Not much time left indeed and our to-do-lists are long!

But I also wanted to use this moment to share a little more about the last months. Because one reason why I asked if you would like to see more personal posts was because I know that I have been neglecting this part here a lot. I am not even sure how to start this because in short: 2018 is just not my year. It is slowly getting better…

The year started with all of us being on a trip to Germany, foremost visiting my mum. Who was ill for a while already and I have been over on some last minute trips the months before. One thing that cheered her up was knowing that she would see all of for a few days in the very beginning of the New Year. My brother joined as well and with him my very first niece, born last year August. A little family reunion if you like.

Unfortunately things did not go better with my mum and we lost her in February. Tomorrow it will be 7 months. Between our visit and me thinking that I would go and see her during the February break with the children, visit to trade shows and other stuff, lots of skype calls and hope… it happened. The shock. The everything. The feeling of sitting in your own movie and everything that comes with these moments. You know that it is impossible to describe. I have not shared it really on any social outlet… because what do you want to say? What can anyone say?
I was living in a cloud for like two or three weeks. Could not see or talk to anyone without crying. The moment you would ask me the very ‘innocent’ – how are you – I was done. Everything seemed so empty and ‘useless’.

Having your own family helps a lot. Having children helps a lot. It was a shock for them too and we are actually still working on it. I am so happy that we were always honest about my mums illness and how she was them. So they did not get the news like they fell from the sky. And their view of things, the questions, talks and tears – they were not easy. But they were good and also helped me to deal with it!

And yes, this put a lot in perspective. I did work so much the weeks after just to stay busy and to have as little time as possible to think. I was also traveling a fair but for work and some projects that I did not cancel. Now, this may not be your way of dealing with death and it may not be the smartest thing to do. I am not even sure I would recommend it because I admit, there was a moment – somewhere in May – where I was just done. Totally worn out.

Tired, sad, in between suitcases and still some funeral/ paper work aftermath, family and also this whole ‘re-location’ topic on top of our heads.

Paul & Paula: moving-to-london

Are we moving? When? Where? Conditions? Can we go on holidays over the summer? We really would need one!

Paul & Paula: moving-to-london

Well… about the end of June things slowed down a little. Less travel and summer which means that people are away and your inbox does not go ‘ding ding’ every five seconds. We just still did not know about the move. We knew that it would be London and that we were looking into September to have the kids go back to school with everyone else. Until things were slow here too … again!

A friend of mine, who knew everything about my situation mentioned that this all sound like a good crime novel. Well yes!

We only told the children like not even two weeks ago. When we still had no official paper work but already the trip in September booked. Looking for houses and everything and I started to feel really shixxy that they were not in the loop.

Well…. what can I say. Our eldest turned 11 this summer. Antoine is 8 and the two youngest will turn 3 and 6 now in September (Party month!).
When we announced the news, one weekday after diner, the two eldest immediately started crying. We did expect it and we did touch the topic of moving a little bit here and there and especially Romy was not impressed by the idea at all. But they did calm down very quickly (much quicker than I thought) and we did explain all our as well as work related reasons. And then we came with all the stuff we can and will do in London. For that we are lucky because there is basically nothing that you cannot do, find or see in this city. (they are both huge Harry Potter fans too – extra bonus for us again)

And Romy was born in London… which feels, to me, a little like we are closing the circle. Going back to the very beginning of our parenthood journey. Where it all began!

Of course the idea of leaving their friends behind is still frightening, being the new one too but they are interested and talk a lot about London, we search for houses together and plan a few cool things when we go in September. Josephine’s birthday falls into this week so we have all the good reasons…

Next step, new beginning (in a way) and hopefully 2018 will end in a better way than it started!

xoxo

PS: I will try to update you a little about this move but to be honest, time is short and I am not sure how much I will manage.

PSS: I think the photos are a good portrait of how everyone feels over here… mixed emotions!

21.12.17

With Julia Erz in Stuttgart

Stuttgart with kids
For the Autumn break we went to Stuttgart, Germany. In August I became an auntie for the first time and we were all very excited to go and see my brother and the new baby. My little brother {who is actually taller than me} with a baby, a new view, a new chapter and so much love and happiness seeing him enjoying his new ‘place’.

During this week we met another person for the first time. Julia Erz. Julia is a documentary family photographer and asked us if we would like to spend a day with her and her camera.

I really like her approach to photography. Honest, capturing authentic moments including a little mess and sibling chaos.

Living with four kids is fun, chaotic, usually crazy and very entertaining.  Very rare to have a quiet moment and when one little person takes your attention, you can be sure that a brother or sister is using the opportunity…

And this is what you can see in these photos.

Thank you Julia!

 
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02.10.17

Leonor’s & Josephine’s birthdays

Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays

September is a very busy month in our house {not that the others are boring …ha…}.  Back to the routine after the summer break, the husband always very charged with work and two birthdays to celebrate.

Leonor and Joséphine are exactly one week apart with their special day. Leonor turned 5 this year which meant that she threw her very first party with friends. A small, cosy and very selected party because for a long time she was not sure if she actually wanted one. My girl gets easily overwhelmed with too many people around.

And the little munchkin turned 2. Unbelievable.

We celebrated. Baked lots of cakes. Sang birthday songs. Decorated the house and saw happy eyes and lots of laughter.

 

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