lördag 27 februari 2016

Cork me up!

Did you know that Portugal is the world's largest cork producer? 

Portugal produces 50% of the world's cork. Cork is removed carefully according to traditional methods from the corktree.

You might be thinking cork as in wine bottles and flooring. However you can use this vegetable and eco-friendly material in so many other ways!

The cork industry seems to have grown as a necessity to reinvent Portuguese products due to the economic crisis.

You might find the traditional stuff such as pin-boards like this:

The building industry uses cork on flooring, sealing material, wall covering material, furniture, mattresses, acoustic sealing and so on.

But you can now also find new beautifully designed products of all kinds, such as purses, wallets, hats, clothing, jewelry, chocolate cases...  You name it!

For example this wallet my cousin gave me on Christmas and this lovely hand made chocolate case that has a magnet incorporated so I can save a bit of the case on my refrigerator door when I eat the delicious exclusive chocolate it encases.

How can I help you to cork you up?

You can see other cork products here.
If you want to know more about cork you can find information on the industry here.
You can also find information on the design products here.
Contact me and I will be happy to inform you on which companies you can find what you are looking for in the Portuguese cork world!

lördag 13 februari 2016

Genetics versus environment - The Matos-gene

In my family we makes jokes about "the Matos-gene". Let me explain that...
My grandfather on my father's side was Emilio R. R. de Matos, a music genius with a high general knowledge (although antiquated and sometimes stuck in the 1950's). He could tell you stuff about german grammar now, then on Art History, Physics and discuss detailed Music History and technical aspects of Music and so on  However, and as it often seems to be the case with geniuses, we lacked social skills, highly!

As a old timer Sheldon Cooper my grandfather had his own routines on how and when things were supposed to happen. The main subject of his "special routines" was meals. He would sit exactly at a certain time every and each day at the same way by his clearly own spot at the table, with the same expression on his face and waited to be served. He had special forks and knives, plates and glasses and we would fold his napkin the same way, every single time, no exceptions made!

Then he would eat slower than a tortoise. He was the first one to seat at the table and we would finish do the dishes (by hand) as he would slowly took his coffee. Now of course that it would't be strange if his sons and daughter would have their special habits too. Not is it strange that some of us grandchildren, me included, have our habits, or even the great-grandchildren (especially my son and my cousins oldest daughter) have their special habits. We make jokes about those habits and refer to them as the "Matos-gene" or the Matos-legacy.

Now, the funny thing is that my pet has funky habits that kind of remind me of the "Matos-gene"! Then we have a Genetics v/s environment question or just a coincidence...
My pet rabbit, Oscar, has a special way of eating. He throws the bowl upside down spreading the food all over the cage floor and then he will meticulously picks what he wants to eat leaving everything else... So thats for genetics v/s environment or do we all (pets included) have a little Matos inside of us?    

onsdag 3 februari 2016

The lodge at Hovfjället

A dream lodge...

I am not the kind of person that goes around with hidden agendas. I open my heart lightly on what I aim for. That too aplies to my dreams. I often dream of having a house or lodge in the Portuguese countryside, especially in the mountains. 

I put a lot of effort and time to look for houses for sale and design different possibles ways to recover those houses. They are often on sale as ruins. I would love to be able to recover old houses in Portugal and then sell them. However I am not ready to quit my day job. Not yet, anyway... 

While dreaming is great, living a bit of our dreams is even better. I had the change to live a bit of my lodge dream although in the Swedish mountains in Värmands, at Hovfjället.  

We stayed in this lovely lodge halv way up to the skiing facilities and way in the woods. We shared the house with a couple of friends and their kids. Together we were 4 adults and 5 children, ages 2 to 9. The house seems little but it has 9 beds. 
                         We had a functional kitchen, a widen living room space and a functional bathroom. The kitchen was full equipped, even though somethings had been there since the lodge was built in the 1980's. 

Actually we had more coverts, plates, glasses (even champagne glasses) and much more than we expected when we booked it. 

We were there a week around New Year's eve and the owner had fixed the lodge with Christmas' decorations which made it somewhat family friendly and cosy for us. 

I really love a fireplace! I do not appreciate skiing so when we were booking I said that I could take care of practical issues and accept a skiing trip if, and only if we had a fireplace. I sat there a lot on the afternoons while the others were skiing.  Besides it was very practical because as you can see we could dry our clothes over the fireplace. So we came all home for lunch and while we ate and the kids rested and played inside their and our clothes would dry and got warm. I usually went up to the skiing facilities on the mornings to help the other adults with the kids. 

 One feature that I really loved and feared in the lodge was the loft rooms.
The use of the whole attic roof space is not only smart, it is playful and a bit romantic.

The thing is those ones were not safe, because the were wide open with no kind of gates or barriers and the ladders are quite steep... Ad 5 kids from 2 years to 9 years old and you have a recipe for disaster if you're not on the top of every climbing and playing near the edge of the lofts...

 Still I loved the lofts and I dream of a house or lodge I can recover where I can build (or plan and pay someone to build for me) a lodge and my own designed bunk beds. 

Anyhow if you are in the mood to ski or just to do like me and appreciate the Swedish mountains and the warmth of a fireplace I truly recommend you to take that trip to Hovfjället and seek for the lodge number 10. Have fun!