Cities from a different point of view: Elena Romanova

Elena Romanova is a Russian artist, born in 1985, and raised in Moscow.  In 2003 she moved to London where she studied and painted until 2008.  Then she moved to Spain.  Elena now divides her time between London and her studio in Barcelona. Her paintings are mainly done by using oil or watercolors.  Her works are held in numerous public and private collections in Europe and the United States.

Art, Travel

Cities from a different point of view: Elena Romanova


Colored birds

Bright colors, elegant look, many varieties of birds from Colibri to Parrot, to Amazonian Royal Flycatcher : the beauty of nature.



Photo credit: Jeffrey Muñoz, Costa Rica – Nuray – et al.

Nature, Photography, Travel

Colored birds


Amazing sculpture: Horizons in New Zealand

This drawn piece of paper, looking almost like a cartoon, is, in reality, a construction made of welded steel. The sculpture, named Horizons, was created in 1994 by Neil Dawson, born in 1948 in New Zealand. His best known works are large-scale civic pieces crafted from aluminium and stainless steel.
This sculpture is located on New Zealand’s North Island (about 60 km north of Auckland) and lies in a 1,000 acre (4 sq km) property owned by one of New Zealand’s wealthiest businessmen, Alan Gibbs. The place, known as “Gibbs Farm” opens to the public by appointment. The sculpture park features an incredible variety of massive sculptures by some of the world’s most famous artists. After about twenty years of development, Gibbs Farm now features over 22 artists from around the world.

Check the website for a view of all other sculptures:

Art, Design, Photography, Travel

Amazing sculpture: Horizons in New Zealand


Rubber Duck Sea

The 10th of January of 1992, during a fierce storm, nearly 29,000 bath toys, including bright yellow rubber ducks, are spilled from a container cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean. The toys, nicknamed Friendly Floatees, overboard on their way from Japan to the United States. Many of them have since washed up on the shores of Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Australia and the Pacific Northwest. Others have been found frozen in Arctic ice and made their way to Newfoundland and Scotland. These intrepid ducks seems to have travel all over the world. It is also believed that over 2,000 ducks are still caught up in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The Gyre is a vortex of water that stretches between Japan and southeast Alaska. It is a vast churning area of water that holds anything that comes into it in a whirlpool for years if not forever. That means that there are probably thousands of rubber yellow ducks churning around and around in a whirlpool of water for over 20 years.
The adventure of these ducks helped understanding the movement of the oceans. Today it is known that there are 11 major gyres across the world’s oceans, and all of them are potential vestibules for the world’s trash, which is a big concern for the global pollution issue.

At the end of the story it seems that the adventurous ducks were quite tenacious: “the ones washing up in Alaska after 19 years are still in pretty good shape,” said Ebbesmeyer Curtis, an oceanographer who studied the Floatees.

Some other interesting facts:

– This story inspired a children’s book , “10 Little Rubber Ducks” by Eric Carle.

– Another book written by oceanographic scientist Ebbesmeyer Curtis: “FLOTSAMETRICS AND THE FLOATING WORLD: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science”.

– Last, but not least, the third book about the journey of the ducks by Donovan Hohn, “Moby-Duck”.

– The rubber ducks were used for NASA’s Glacier Research.



Life - Inspiring, Nature, Travel

Friendly Floatees: Rubber Ducks in the Ocean


The Gate to Paradise

Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. – Khalil Gibran –

Como Lake, Italy.


Life - Inspiring, Nature, Photography, Travel

Gate to Paradise


 Monumental Plant Sculptures at the Mosaicultures Internationales de Montréal

The mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal is an international competition of horticultural art that involves creating and mounting living artworks made primarily from plants with colorful foliage. The 2013 competition and exhibition opened June 22 and will be opened till September 29 at the Montréal Botanical Garden. There are about 22,000 plant species and cultivars distributed throughout 10 exhibition greenhouses and 30 themed gardens.

Another “botanic art exhibition” can be found at Bloemencorso parade in Zundert, Netherlands, on the first Sunday of September. Here there are large artworks made of thousands of dahlias.

Photo credits: Guy Boily

Art, Design, Nature, Photography, Travel

Monumental Plant Sculptures at the Mosaicultures Internationales de Montréal


Lavender Fields

Fields of bright purple and delicate mauve under a deep blue sky, this is the scent and color of Provence, from late June to mid July, when lavender blooms. The two main areas of lavender cultivation are in the Plateau de Sault or the Plateau de Valensole in south of France: an amazing trip where you can please all your senses.

Lavender (Lavandula, family of Lamiaceae – the name probably derives from the latin word lavare – to wash, or livendula – livid or bluish) is native of the Old World, there are 39 species and they are cultivated in tempered climates. It can be found from Cape Verde to the Canary Islands, from southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, in the Mediterranean, as well as southwest Asia to southeast India. Its use has been documented for over 2,500 years. The most antique use was for mummification and perfume by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and peoples of Arabia. Romans used lavender oils for bathing, cooking, and scenting the air. Lavender is also mentioned often in the Bible, by the name used at that time, spikenard (from the Greek name for lavender, naardus, after the Syrian city Naarda) and the plant is believed to have been taken from the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve.

Lavander is used as ornamental plant for garden and landscape, as culinary herbs, and for its essential oils in soaps and beauty products. Its beautiful, fashionable purple color can inspire wonderful pieces of clothes as well as delicious recipes. Here’s a recipe for Macarons with lavender white chocolate ganache:


Macaron shell:

100g egg whites (3 extra large eggs, left at room temperature at least 24 hours)

110g almond meal (ground almond, almond powder)

165g pure icing sugar

60g caster sugar (fine sugar)

some red and blue coloring

Ganache (filling):

100g white chocolate, chopped

80ml thickened cream (35% fat content)

20g butter, chopped

1 tablespoon lavender bud

Tools needed:

Piping bag size 14 inch (350 mm)

Pipping nozzle

1cm plain round tip (size 11)

sheet pan (baking pan)

Non-stick baking paper or silicone mat



Stand mixer or hand mixer


Process almond meal together with icing sugar in a food processor or blender, then put it in a bowl with the coloring powder (find your exact mix of color based on your personal taste, considering that the color should be four or five times more intense than the actual macaron shells, as the color will fade when mixed with other ingredients). Beat egg white until it is foamy. While beating, gradually add caster sugar into the egg white. Put egg white into the almond, icing sugar mixture and mix everything vigorously till the mixture is glossy and the texture has a thick consistency, or ‘magma’-like consistency. Put this mixture into piping bag fitted with 1-cm plain round tip (size #11). Pipe the mixture on to baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper or non-stick silicone baking mat 2.5-cm (1-inch) diameter and 2.5 cm apart. Stand the trays for 30-60 minutes until the dry crust is formed. This will help to strengthen the macaron shells and will give better rised macaron feet. When the shells are dry to touch, they can go in the owen. Preheat the oven to 160c/180c (convection/conventional oven) for about 15 minutes, then just before loading the tray in, reduce the temperature to 140c/160c. Bake on the middle shelfs for 13-15 minutes. Remove baked macaron shells from the trays when they are completely cool.

Prepare the ganache (filling) by mixing the lavender bud with cream in a small saucepan. Heat the cream mixture over medium high heat until it just comes to the boil. Let the lavender steep in the warm cream for about 10 mins, then reheat the lavender cream to just come to the boil. Take off the heat and put the lavender cream through a strainer. Mix lavender cream into white chocolate and stir to combine until the chocolate is melted. Mix the butter in and stir until they are all melted, then mix the red and blue coloring in as to achieve a light purple color. Chill the lavender ganache and then spread it into the macaron shells. They are at their best when eaten after they have rest for 24 hour in the fridge. Enjoy it!



Photo credit: Antony Spencer, UK

Cooking, Fashion, Photography, Travel

Lavender: Fashion, Travel and Cooking experience