Recommendations

Food, Recommendations

A better Easter Sunday at O Pedro


No Comments

IMG_4364

IMG_4379

IMG_4384

IMG_4368

IMG_4369

IMG_4370

IMG_4378

IMG_4383

IMG_4373

IMG_4372

IMG_4374

IMG_4385

IMG_4371

IMG_4366

IMG_4365

IMG_4375

IMG_4382

IMG_4330

IMG_4333 2

IMG_4337 2

IMG_4386

IMG_4387

IMG_4388

Easter Sunday was the first holiday I’ve really ‘celebrated’ properly in a long time. Even Christmas has a tendency to turn into a party or a long weekend more than it is about family, food and gifts these days. I’ve lived abroad for so many years now (it will be 10 years this year in June!), I have sort of set my own way of celebrating. Personally, my favorite/most celebrated holidays are Swedish Midsummer, Diwali, Eid and Christmas. I guess, except Swedish Midsummer, all three of the latter are sort of about the same thing… Family. Swedish Midsummer is all about the food, flowers and alcohol. Haha!

For this Sunday, I had made an Easter brunch plan with Saif and four of our friends. I even boiled eggs and bought watercolours to decorate an egg for each of us, which we then would use for traditional Swedish Easter games. I love egg tapping! But, by the time I came home from my podcast recording, there was no time left to finish the eggs. I guess its okay to not always have things turn out the way you planned them?

Brunch was at O Pedro in BKC – they had a special Easter menu in place, with groovy music and fancy, fresh cocktails. I love the place – it’s really the best example of how much the staff matters. You end up wanting to be friends with everyone who works there! After stuffing our faces for a couple of hours, we drove back to Zahan’s house to end the day with puppies and pool time.

A better Sunday, to say the least. Hope you guys had a lovely Easter, too!

Career, Recommendations

My favourite lifesaver every-day apps


2 Comments

IMG_3465

I have a tendency to swamp my schedule a lot. Just the other day, I was at the hair salon for three hours doing a balayage, and while I was there, I had two meetings and one conference call. Yes – I called my graphic designer to the salon while the colour was setting. This then, led me to the realisation that I would be nothing without my ability to multitask, aka – without my apps.

So, I thought I’d share my most precious app finds with you to kick off this Saturday. I use these every day, and find them incredibly useful to reduce my stress and keep my life more organised. Hopefully they’ll improve/streamline your life a bit too.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 10.47.02 AM

First off is Fantastical. Fantastical is probably the app I use more than anything on my phone – en par with WhatsApp, I think. The app syncs with all your other calendar apps – iCal, Reminders, and even picks up on events mentioned your inbox, and creates a one-stop-shop for all your daily tasks and to-do’s. You can choose between making an entry as an event or a reminder, and the best difference between this and iCal is that the reminder doesn’t go away from your home screen until you actually complete it, whereas iCal reminders disappear once you’ve unlocked your phone once. Highly recommended for anyone who relies on scheduling their day in advance, and want to offload some of the ‘must do’s’ and ‘should do’s’ in a place you know it won’t get lost. Sync your app with phone and laptop and your life is forever improved! It also tells you when tasks and reminders are overdue – thank you, thank you.

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 10.46.43 AM

I came across this app quite recently while browsing through app store – Moodnotes. Their tagline is basically ‘capture your feelings, improve your thinking habits‘, and being someone who’s extremely passionate about mental health, this app is a god-sent. The app doesn’t have the purpose of sharing with anyone else than yourself – and possibly, if you’d like, your doctor. You upload your mood every day, at whatever frequency you wish, and thereby track of your thinking and mood patterns. I try to update once in the morning, and once in the night – it also gives you a daily dashboard where you can see the pattern and summary, and you can add details about your mood, such as % of anxiety, calmness, frustration, fear, excitement, self-conciousness, and so on. The app is really useful to just track your thoughts, just the way we track our exercise or food intake. Being a naturally anxious person, this app has become super important to me. It teaches you your triggers and reminds you stay away from (or face) them.

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 10.46.52 AM

Trello is an app for people who work a lot through tasks and projects. The app is brilliant when you need to organise and prioritise your work, and you can build awesome work-flows for things where you need to complete one thing before you get onto the next task. I’ll explain… For example, for my clients: Board 1 can be a list of potential clients I want to reach out to, board 2 is clients I have scheduled a meeting with, board 3 is confirmed/onboarded clients, board 4 is the list of clients which I have sent a proposal to, and so on. Each flow can get as big-picture or as micro-detailed as you wish for it to be. I feel like this app would be ideal for anyone working as an entrepreneur, or more specifically, in event management.

 

Three more apps I recommend to organise your business/daily work –

  • Slack – for communication with your clients, employees, partners and more (literally can’t live without it)
  • Asana – to track and manage your own or your team’s work (I have done two years worth of research on project management tools, and trust me when I say, Asana is the best software out there. Flow and Zoho are also decent if you want to try something different – Zoho is especially good for app building and bug tracking if you’re in the app development space)
  • Wally – for keeping track of your personal expenses and savings

 

I hope that some or all of it is somewhat useful to you! If anything, Fantastical is a game-changer.

Do you have any apps which you use on the daily?

Food, Recommendations, Travel

A full day at the (beautiful, fun) Monkey47 distillery


No Comments

On day two in Germany, I set my alarm for 5am and got up to work for five hours before the bus took off to Black Forest. The 4.5 hour time difference made it convenient for my work to happen before the day started for us over there, while my sleep schedule clearly took a hit… I think I averaged about 4-5 hours per night during the whole trip…

IMG_1347

After breakfast, we hopped onto a massive bus that was going to take us from Stuttgart to the Monkey47 distillery. Rasna, Randeep, Karina and I sat in the back of the bus. I took the opportunity to get some work done, although I realised much later (today, in fact), that making deals while you’re scattered slightly all over the place isn’t great. I agreed to doing a job at a rate that I would have never agreed to if I had had my mind in one place at the time. Oh well – lesson learned, right?

IMG_1348

Kel and the rest of the crew sat in the front part of the bus, and learned from Julien about the forest and the thousands of distilleries in the area. The further outside the city we got, the less network we had, and the emptier the sides of the road got. A real winter adventure, to say the least…

IMG_1349

When we reached Monkey47’s distillery, we were met with absolute silence. There is something about the combination of negative temperatures and snow that just makes everything so crisp and quiet…

IMG_1356

The blue sky against the snow covered buildings and grounds was looking stunning. I’m realising now, looking back at the photos – it actually looks as cold as it was. The air was so cold, you could almost touch it. On this day, I think we had around -12 degrees Celsius in the sun.

IMG_1354

One of the first things I noticed when we entered the front part of the building, was the little sample unit of the best of the best throughout the years – a collection of the greatest of each year, and something we later that day had a chance to take part of by trying each one of them. Each bottle had its own name and its own sense of fragrance and flavour. I usually find it too strong to drink liquor without anything to dilute it with, but in this case it was so tasty, you didn’t need anything except the purest form of gin. No ice, no water, no nothing. Yum.

IMG_1355

While we were greeted with warm gin similar to the flavour of Swedish glögg, I couldn’t stop staring at this pretty thing. The machine, not the meat. So impressed with the look of it I even took it for a spin…

IMG_1350

…and the result, well, as you can see: a pile of ham and freshly baked bread basically. Dream come true, especially with their banging company.

IMG_1353

It was so cold outside, we struggled with taking our outdoor gear off while being indoors. Neither of us was used to the -15 degree temperature. Not even Kel and I. Being from Canada and Sweden, you’d think we be pretty well prepared?

IMG_1352

My view from the door out towards the middle-courtyard. Want to know something really awesome about the ground captured in this photo? Well, for starters, there is no snow on the ground, while there were deep layers of snow all around the property. Why? The distillery is built so that the hot water that is used to make the gin is also transported in pipes below the ground, which heats up the entire outdoor area, so, the snow doesn’t stay on it, because its always kind of warm. I found this so cool – talk about best use of/maximising resources and technology combined.

IMG_1351

The tour of the Monkey47 distillery is what they call a Monkey Safari. So, fairly appropriate to have an old safari inspired bus parked in the middle of the driveway…

IMG_1357

Then we got back inside again, to heat up our fingers and toes and meet founder Alexander Stein, to hear him passionately speak about Monkey47 from idea to reality, and all the highs and lows along the way. This was one of the most inspiring “talks” I’ve ever heard, I think. Having been a Nokia employee, and quitting against everyone’s advice, to start something that no one really believed in, and then doing it so well, with such care and passion…its inspiring as hell, to say the least.

IMG_1359

We even got to hear the backstory of the label. When asked ‘why the monkey?’, Alex’s answer was something along the lines of ‘oh well, why take oneself too seriously?‘. Rather than calling it ‘Black Forest Dry Gin’, he’s used the German word for it – Schwarzwald. Why? His dream: To one day sell Monkey47 in the finest section of Harrods in London, and have a wealthy, old woman read out loud to her husband… “But what’s that, darling? What does Schhhhwwwwwwzzz…..mean?”. Last but not least – the drawing: a mix of Taj Mahal and Black Forest, all in one.

IMG_1358

“My best advice to all of you – Never listen to anyone else’s advice!”

IMG_1363

Then, it was time for lunch in the upstairs dining area. As we walked up the stairs, we walked away from a minimalistic, Scandinavian design-ish space, to much more of a cabin in the woods type layout.

IMG_1360

I loved the decoration of the space. Anything from the light switches to this basket, to keep cups and beverages. Everything was so well thought through!

IMG_1362

Us + Julien from Monkey47, Singapore…

IMG_1361 2

Did I say I have a thing for potato salad? Well, either way, I do. Anything potatoes really.

IMG_1364

Lunch was sort of like a ravioli with meat inside, in a soup-like broth. On top you add potato salad and you have it with pretzels. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of this dish, but I’m pretty sure its safe to say that this is as German of a meal as it gets?

IMG_1366

Post lunch we had a quick break to be food comad and hang out a bit before getting into gin-business…

IMG_1365

…I took the opportunity to roam the property. Maybe not so much roaming, but more like running around the building, clicking a few random photos, and running inside again trying to keep my frozen fingers intact…

IMG_1367

Then, finally, the time had come to learn about the process of making Monkey47!

IMG_1368

We were having gin and tonics, browsing the distillery, and getting ready to get our hands dirty basically… Zach, on the left in this photo, is probably one of the most genuinely enthusiastic people I’ve ever met. Him, Julien and the rest of the team were constantly making sure we were well fed, comfortable, happy, and always with a Monkey47 drink in hand…

IMG_1369

First stop was the peeling room. Here, the most beautiful lemons and grape fruits are carefully peeled by hand. The peel-liquid smells like actual lemon-perfume.

IMG_1370

Beauties ready to get peeled. I have a real obsession with lemon in general, and like to put it on anything and everything. This was my favourite part of the full tour.

IMG_1371

Alex spent more time telling us about the peeling process in detail…

IMG_1372

…while we peeled away around the table.

IMG_1373

Next phase was the spices and herbs that go into the gin. Each one is carefully picked, grounded and stored here in carefully weighted and planned out boxes. Each box then goes into one of those blue tubs which you saw earlier in the post. Juniper is one of the most special ingredients that goes into Monkey47 gin.

IMG_1374

Here it goes! The red stuff in the tub is lingonberries.

IMG_1375

Do you have any idea what each of these spices are? From black pepper to nutmeg, there’s a whole lot of stuff that goes into each box.

IMG_1376

And of course, lavender, to top it all off. Imagine drinking something that you know contains fresh lavender? I know – best. It’s such a nice ingredient. Local, too.

IMG_1377

Once the mix is ready to go into the actual production phase, this is where it goes.

IMG_1378

Its so pretty, it almost looks like its not real. Sort of felt like it was taken from a movie set or something. The prettiest lab I’ve ever seen.

IMG_1379

We also got to try some of the gin, which in this phase contains around 85-95% alcohol, if I’m not mistaken. Super strong, and you can really taste the flavours of each ingredient in each drop.

IMG_1380

Monkey47 being the name of the gin – each of these are named after famous monkeys. Captured here: King Louie. How cool? I’m a sucker for details so I really loved this.

IMG_1381

After a few hours at the distillery, we paid a visit to the Monkey47 ‘farm’. They have three alpacas and they’re both stunning and hilarious looking at the same time. This was my first time seeing an alpaca in person and so up close!

IMG_1382

They also have boars, which have been tamed after they were found parentless as little boar-babies years back. Wild boars are generally quite dangerous to be around, but these guys are more like dogs – jumping on two legs and playing almost the way a dog would.

IMG_1383

Last but not least, the basement, where some of the most special spirits are stored and kept. I think I remember Absinthe being the third from the left. I didn’t try these but I bet they’re pretty strong!

IMG_1384

This is also the room where they cure their own meat – the same stuff we were served at the distillery when we had just arrived.

IMG_1386

Safe to say, our day at the Monkey distillery was a once in a life time experience. From the team, to the fresh ingredients, everything done so carefully – by hand, and with such passion and care – I won’t ever drink a different gin again. They set a new, high benchmark for anything from people, to hospitality, ingredients, adventure, fun, luxury, and of course – gin.

Thank you to team Monkey47 for one of the most memorable weeks of my life!