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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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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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Now, I have been really very interested and also concerned when it comes to food and nutrition for the last 8 years. Reading books (started with the Wheat Belly back then) and watching lots of documentaries. I mean, we can be so happy to have easy access to all the literature, researches and shows. It really makes everything so much easier and quicker. I did periods with no sugar and now wheat. Sometimes both at the same time. We eat a lot of veggies and had meat twice a week – max. Then we watched Cowspiracy, strange enough I thought we did watch it and hubby reminded me that we did in fact not. And something pulled the trigger and I said: OK, let’s do one week vegan when we come back from our holidays. Just to see! And that is how it started…
I would like to add that it is definitely a little overwhelming in the beginning. There is a lot of info out there, good as well as false. But once you get interested and invested you will find your path. Trust me!

Movies and documentaries that I can recommend:

What the Health, Cowspiracy, Food Inc., Fat, Live and let live, Forks over knives, Food Choices

What did the kids say?

Our children are really very open and cool about this kind of things. Travelers and explorers since birth and always with the rule: Try before you don’t like it.
So when I told them about our ‘project’ and also why, they were really pretty cool about it.
Since we started we discussed quite a few things about animals, meat and the impact on our environment as well as the treatment of those animals.
For starters we did not change their diets during school hours! For three of them this means that vegan is happening only at home. Antoine on the other side decided to also skip meats and dairy at school.

We asked them for feedback on meals, what they think is hard, how we can be more sustainable in general (I will write another post about this soon!) and what they miss. So that they felt involved and heard.

Then what?

I started to google meal plans but quickly realised that there was no ‘perfect plan’ that fitted our family. So I had to prepare our own. And googled for recipes. Had a look at the ingredients, how quick they are to make and then decided if it could work for us on a week day. That is why I am sharing our first weekly meal plan with you here today as well. Maybe you will find it helpful – let me know!

Important to note:

Vegan does not equal healthy. Meaning that buying everything with the vegan label at your local supermarket might not be the best of ideas. Because those can also be will be mostly processed, full of sugar and strange ingredients.
That is something I wanted and want to avoid. Vegan for me, us, means fresh and plant based.

 

Paul & Paula: Vegan family story and weekly meal plan

Tips from our start into the Vegan lifestyle:

Plan ahead, make a list for your grocery shopping and search for recipes that you feel confident to cook. And that will most likely please your crowd.

Cook more. You need leftovers for easy lunch meals!

Experiment, enjoy raw cakes (Oh I love them so much!) and discover that cooking vegan does not have to be tricky. Oh and the colours in your fridge will make you glow before you even start cooking…

What happened after one week:

Yes, we said we will try for one week. Well, after that was up I just decided to add another week. Because one week feels like you did not really experience it. Things just start to kick in… so two weeks is better to see the effects.
So we added another week and the kids were fine with that.
And after two weeks we all sat together after breakfast and discussed what to do next. Antoine came up with the idea to keep the vegan until we go to London and look for houses, which adds two additional weeks.
Personally: I cannot imagine going back to eat meat. Even dairy products. It feels strange to say no to it, eliminate it for a couple of weeks and then roast a chicken again. And I really enjoy the recipes and do not feel like I am missing out on anything. On the contrary…

So, here is my very first meal plan on Paul & Paula. Vegan, printable (just click on it and print) and really full of excellent meals for a family. And below I will share the links to the recipes and also write something for each day. Some feedback, because we did make and eat all of those meals (promise!) and little add-ons and tips:

Paul & Paula: weekly vegan family meal plan

Monday:

Smoothie Bowl – in case you are new to the concept: Put the yoghurt, a box of frozen fruit (we love raspberries) and a cup of plant milk in a food processor and mix until smooth. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle with fresh banana slices and a vegan muesli.

Salad – easy and nutritious.

Curryfrom Jamie.  Easy, quick to prepare and perfect for Autumn. My kids love curries and this was a hit!

Tuesday:

Oatmeal – cooked with oat milk and topped with fruits of your choice. Or a home made apple sauce, which my kids love and I try to make often.

Lunch – you can exchange the hard bread with your favourite. Just top it with hummus, some veggies and herbs. Salt and pepper and enjoy.

Zoodles – Zoodles are courgettes made into noodles. In our house only Romy likes them so I make normal, egg free, pasta for the others. A classic tomato sauce (passatta & veggies basically) and topped with vegan parmesan. Sounds strange I know, but this stuff really is yummy!

Wednesday:

Toast – easy. Kids love it and it keeps you full for a long time. I always opt for a wheat free version but you do what you prefer.

Lunch – leftover from yesterday. Yay! Easy.

Vegan chili – basically a chili sin carne. Served with vegan creme fraiche, cilantro and a good dose of Tabasco for me. (not the kids!) This is a great dish to cook a huge pot and freeze for busy days! The kids love it!

Prepare: You need to prepare your Chia pudding for breakfast tomorrow tonight!

Thursday:

Chia – how I make it: 1/3 cup of chia seeds, a box of extra smooth coconut milk (not the cans where the cream sticks at the top) with a dash of organic vanilla extract. Put all ingredients in a jug, mix very well and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning you serve it in bowls (it is very filling!) with fresh fruit on top – I love it with berries.

Lunch – leftover from yesterday. Yay! Easy.

Falafel – my kids love falafel! Falafel recipe and garden salad. I love to have a yoghurt sauce with my falafels and I make it like this: Soy yoghurt, fresh lemon juice, fresh herbs (whatever I have in the kitchen – cilantro, mint, parsley…) and maybe a few tiny cubes of cucumber. Salt and pepper, mix and done.

Prepare: Get your Banana puddings ready for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Friday:

Breakfast – just needs to get out of the fridge and on the table today!

Lunch – leftover from yesterday. Yay! Easy.

Burrito – I made these Vegan Burritos and again a sauce that goes like this: Oat yoghurt, ½ avocado, garlic, cilantro, salt & fresh lemon juice. In a mixer and mixed until smooth. Another dish the children enjoyed.

Saturday:

Pancakes – it is Saturday and we serve delicious pancakes. And these are the bomb. Healthy, fluffy and so easy to make. I admit that I did not make the apple/pecan thingy but we had some maple syrup, cinnamon and fresh fruits to top.

Avocado – on toast. My kids love it and it is one of the dishes we had regularly before too. So easy and great after the pancakes this morning…

Diner – Chips is potato wedges baked in the oven and the vegan balls. The balls were not a huge hit (trying a different recipe this week!) but they were not that bad either. I liked them and so did hubby. On Saturdays we like to have a sweet dessert so we made these Chocolate Pots. Just make sure to get very smooth tofu for this one.

SnackStrawberry Oat Bars.

Prepare: Banana bread for tomorrow’s breakfast. I am lucky because Romy, 11, loves to bake and she prepares lots of our desserts and stuff like banana breads etc.

Sunday:

Banana bread – this recipe is really good and topping it with some nut butter is truly delicious. Especially on a Sunday morning…

Soup – super easy and great to cook extra for lunch tonorrow. Tomato soup is a favourite in our house anyway.

Stuffed Peppers – not everyone liked the stuffed peppers but they all loved the rice in them.

SnackVegan cookies.

 

So, I hope you liked this. Soon I will report about ‘Phase Two’ and another meal plan if you like!

 

All images & meal plan: Paul & Paula

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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!

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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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Stuttgart with kids
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Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Stuttgart with kids

Many pictures have been taken and we went up a rather steep hill. We don’t know Stuttgart very well and more or less just picked a place. Up the stairs we went without end and then luckily found a really cool playground right on the top.

Even found a cafe for some drinks and then went down and into the city for some snacks.

 

You can read Julia’s blog and her view of our day and see more pictures if you like right here.

 

 
Tomorrow I will do a little round up for 2017 and will send you in a long festive week end with some lovely stuff I would like to share.

And then I will see. My plan is to finally share my travel posts about Iceland. But I will also take some time off from the blog for Christmas and New Years.

Enjoy your families & your loved ones!
 

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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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Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays

Funny enough one brand – House of Jamie – that I got to know and followed since their first steps, celebrated a big anniversary two. They also turned 5 and launched a special Party Collection!

I still remember when I first met Barbara in Amsterdam and her then headquarter – her living room. With baby Leonor in tow. 5 years on, we celebrate and I can see my girls in these adorable tulle dresses and see why I love my job so much. Congratulations House of Jamie, it is so exciting seeing your journey.

 

Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays Leonor's & Josephine's birthdays

October started. Autumn is here and when we need a little mood lift we take those happy dresses out and dance! It helps, promise!

 

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11.08.17

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids
Before we are boarding our plane tonight for our second trip of this summer, I really wanted to share some moments from our family vacation in Italy.

This time we went South. To Castellabate. Castellabate is a town in the province of Salerno in the Campania region of south-western Italy.

It was perfect even so {or maybe just because} we ended up here by accident. Our holiday plans were made really late this year and one day we were just sitting around the kitchen table and decided for Italy. And then I booked flights to Napoli. We did Tuscany a couple of times and wanted to discover the South.

It took us some more weeks to finally find time to book a place. And this is how we found Castellabate. Looking at the map and what was around Napoli and {very important} a spot we could do without a car. We just did not feel like driving around.

We found a cute little apartment in the village of Castellabate. Upon a mountain which means: amazing view! The town is all about alleys full of corners, arcades, labyrinth stairways that lead through the intact ancient town center. Castellabate was declared UNESCO world cultural heritage.

From here we could take a little bus to either:

Santa Maria di Castellabate – sandy beaches and a fun Italian pedestrian zone. A large park surrounds Villa Matarazzo, which is the venue for various kinds of cultural events and a big playground.

or

The fishing village of San Marco di Castellabate. San Marco still has an active fishing fleet and traditional wooden ships are built here.

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Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids
But the best thing – no mass tourism. No big hotels. No queues. Just Italy.
And we did really slow here.
Lots of beach time for the first days and then even the kids announced that they would like to do something different. So we discovered the cities, the castle, the playground, played lots of games and had long lazy lunches in one of the lovely restaurants. A few ice creams too.

And enjoyed the view. Again and again. The water and sky so blue!

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids

Castellabate with kids
The coast is lined up with sandy beaches and we tried a few over the two weeks.
The water temperature was perfect and the sun was shining every day.
BLISS!

Now we are off to Iceland and I will write about it here too. Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram until then.

BACI!

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