Let‘s drink and be merry.

Rest and have lots of fluids, they say. Well, I had lots of’em. Fluids galore. I am soaked. Up to today, day three of my flu, I have had so many lemon flavoured doses of effervescent vitamin C from my Lalique tumblers, even Linus Pauling would have disapproved. Luckily, I had also just stocked up on tea, Mangalam, my very favourite plantation in Assam. I am about to empty those provisions in record time, tea gets cold so very quickly in a cup, especially when you fall asleep just after pouring it, you have to pour it all away, litres of the finest tea down the sewer, it’s a shame, it’s of no use to brew an entire pot, really, but when you don’t, rest assured, you will regret that, too, as you won’t fall asleep then, suddenly you’re wide awake and thirsty, and you’ll want more tea with episode 5 of Downton Abbey or whatever series your brain is trying to follow, you’ll need a fresh cup, too, maybe even a fresh pot, you’re already going through all your china as it is, out goes Royal Copenhagen, in comes Meissen, anyway, you get up again from your sickbed, you schlepp your aching bones into the kitchen to brew some more tea, this Mangalam plantation must really be a vast territory, and then empty an entire pot in 7 minutes 46 seconds. Those viruses are drunkards!

Stuff you need, stuff you don‘t.

I once bought these, these being knife rests, I got them at Aux Arts du Feu, my favourite shop in Zurich, they have everything that comes out of the fire, silver, crystal and porcelain, they still had them in stock, from a time when Royal Copenhagen still made fine porcelain, handpainted, handpainted in Denmark, that is, and not the dishwasher safe stuff they produce today, in Thailand, where work is cheap, cheap and deprived of a porcelain painter’s personal handwriting, anyway, I was thinking, with these knife rests my life would be finally perfect, for we all know, life without knife rests isn’t worth living, it shows so much finesse, so much refined taste, a real eye for detail, tablesetting at its most elegant, and what can I tell you, my life hasn’t changed at all, it still isn’t perfect, as a matter of fact, it’s still a mess as I haven’t used them yet, not once, and now, as there’s still time for new year’s resolutions, or not, as most of you have probably already thrown them overboard, but it just so happens I’m always late, at everything, but that’s actually another story, anyway, I wonder if a) I should start using them in 2018, or b) stop buying things nobody needs. I haven’t made my mind up yet.

Hamburg coffee splendour.

One day in Hamburg, I couldn’t wait for lunchbreak, couldn’t wait to leave my desk at DDB Hamburg, that is Doyle Dane Bernbach, the agency famous for their work for Volkswagen’s beetle in the 1960s, Lemon, they shouted, Think Small, they advised, and by this they made it to eternity, advertising as it should be, whereas I, well, I hope it wasn’t too bad what I did on this day in 2012, anyway, I digress, I couldn’t wait to leave my desk, a desk with a fabulous view on Hamburg’s Speicherstadt and the Elbphilharmonie that was still being constructed, splendid architecture by Herzog & de Meuron consuming 866 million euros, but I digress again, anyway, I couldn’t wait to get the cup I had fallen in love with the other day, after hours of course, leaving me to wait for it a most inappropriately long amount of time, like Prince Bolkonsky had to wait for Natasha, a day or a year, where’s the difference, my Meissen coffee cup was even more alluring than Tolstoy’s Natasha, it had a green dragon on it, green being a favourite colour of mine, spitting little orange flames, embodying riches, chinoiserie at its best, as ornate as a cup could ever be, and most importantly, it was on sale at John Montag on Ballindamm, a store that had to shut down some time later after it had burned down, anyway, being on sale meant that it was still way too expensive but it made me think I was about to get a bargain, and so I did, in this lunchbreak in 2012, my concentration at work was way better in the afternoon, I can assure you, there’s nothing better than saving money during luchbreak.

Dieting while at dessert.

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One day, it must have been spring, I decided to lose some weight. You have to be slim for slim cut shirts. So, I had to find a way to eat less, at least for dessert, I had tried to have no dessert at all, but this didn’t work out well, it just made me cranky, and so, in order to keep some of my friends, I tried to eat just half of my crème brûlée or my panna cotta or whatever I was having for dessert, but this didn’t work out either. You cannot stop in the middle of something, can you? What idiotic concept is this? I then tried tiny portions. For instance, these ridiculously small things from Sprüngli. They made me burst out into tears. They seemed to mock me. So I gave up desserts altogether. Cold turkey. Now, I’m unbearably cranky, but quite slim.

Family dinner.

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For family dinners, I’m always in charge of dessert. Today, it’s going to be raspberries with cream. It’s easily prepared, I open the fridge for the cream and the freezer for the raspberries, and I’m done. And then, all while sipping Chardonnay, I witness the rest of the meal being prepared, artichokes are being cooked, a vinaigrette is being composed, lots of French mustard and Italian olive oil form a beautiful entente cordiale, parsley from the garden is being “haché-menu”-ed, ever so fresh chanterelles are being cut, not from the garden but from the grocer, the table is being set, by whom actually, my father, I suppose, gee, that Chardonnay is really drinkable, and all of a sudden, I’m the last one missing at the table, I better join them, hey, they’re are having red wine, okay, fine with me, bon appétit.

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Think pink. Think Camilla.

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Think pink. That’s what we learned from Funny Face’s Quality magazine’s editor-in-chief Maggie Prescott – Hollywood’s version of Diana Vreeland. Think pink. That’s what I learned from my mother. My life is quite unthinkable without her Pink Camilla china service, designed by Spode in the late 1700s. I grew up with it, took parts of it to my very first apartment, bought additional pieces myself, smashed dozens of cups and plates, some teapots, too, replaced it all, well, not all, only the pieces I smashed after making my own living, after turning 27, so to speak, I still have tea from a broken bouillon cup, its handle broke years and years ago, my doing of course, never anybody else’s, why that is I don’t know, I’m not that clumsy, believe you me, anyway, I had my cornflakes in it right before school and vichyssoise, game and charlotte russe on Christmas eve, lamb was served on it at Easter and strawberry extravaganzas on my birthday, it witnessed tears and laughter, the entertaining of dear friends and social obligation dinners, small talk and passed on top secret information, all over breakfast, lunch and dinner, over coffee, tea, wine and champagne, in summer and winter, in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the garden, in a nutshell, this china is part of my life, and however much I love my own Royal Copenhagen, Pink Camilla will always represent my home, my parents, my background. God bless her.

So, here’s a potpourri of pictures I took over my years on Instagram.

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An ode to Denmark.

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I love Denmark. I’ve been there only once, years ago, to Copenhagen, one of the nicest places on earth, but I consider myself half-Danish. It all started with an ad on the back cover of a magazine in the early 1990s, Royal Copenhagen had its Musselmalet pattern painted on the beautiful hand of a china painter, so that we’ll never forget that it’s handpainted. I was sold. First of all, I am quite prone to buying anything that calls itself royal, and this porcelain pattern, Chinoiserie at its best, created in 1775, was so beautiful that I just couldn’t resist, I bought my first pieces the very next day, and I’ve been completing it ever since, tureens for Christmas, tea pots, I smashed several, for birthdays, tea cups to cheer me up on low days, bowls to have another reason for dinner parties, I became quite good at being obsessed with it, I celebrated each new job with the purchase of a new breakfast plate, and as every single piece looks different, yes, it’s really handpainted, each china painter signs it with his initials, I still know which one is the DDB plate or whichever advertising agency led to the purchase. Moving to Zurich meant buying my Havas plate, and I had to look for a shop that sold Royal Copenhagen. Boy, was I lucky. Aux Arts du Feu, at the corner of Zurich’s famous Bahnhofstrasse, opposite Bulgari, made my heart skip several beats at a time, they had pieces in stock from the late 70s, with the old green mark, long before production was moved to Thailand, antiques so to speak although never used, Switzerland doesn’t seem to care about Danish design, God knows why, maybe because it was my destiny to discover that store, one of the first things I bought was this tea cup, Musselmalet in full lace, a re-design from the 1880s, even more ornate, Danish magnificence in extremis, tea still doesn’t taste better, but it definitely looks more splendid. So, whenever I eat or drink, I’m enthralled by Danish splendour and beauty. And when I watch Borgen, of course. Long live the Queen!

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