Unexpected new connections and a very special Christmas family session

December 22, 2016

Today I’m writing this Christmas post surrounded by still un-written Christmas cards, candles, fresh eucalyptus on the table, Christmas songs as background music and Théo playing quietly next to me (ok, just as I was writing this, he started whining and I had to go and give him his pacifier. It was too idyllic, right?).

What would you do if you realized a famous blogger that you follow on Instagram lives in a village next to yours? I would contact her, no doubt. Worst case scenario would be that she doesn’t answer your message, don’t you think? And what would you do if she invites you to her place for coffee? And if another neighbour from the same village, seeing the messages exchange on Instagram, suggests she comes too?

There I was, minus zero, in the middle of the village next door, with a bag of croissants in one hand and a bunch of cotton branches in the other, so nervous because I was having coffee with two strangers, and one of them a celebrity on social media.

Stephanie (@70percentsteph) is Belgian and spends her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and little girl, Juliet, and Anvers, Belgium, where she owns, with a friend, three businesses related to social media marketing and interior design. You must admit she has an impressive CV. On top of this, she has worked as a freelance journalist (she published stories about fashion, design and lifestyle for ELLE, Condé Nast Traveler and other well-known publications). She also has a very popular blog and has even written a book about blogging! It’s one of those CVs that makes me wonder: what have I been doing all this time?

Nienke (@nienke.muller) is Dutch. She has been in Switzerland for only a year and she already knows more interesting places in the country than I do! She’s pure energy: she has three kids and is starting her own interior design business. Nienke has lived in Amsterdam, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Houston and New York, where she has worked in the fashion industry. I am so jealous she lived in Singapore. We had considered living there for a while, but I will tell you about this another day.

After reading about Stephanie and Nienke, I am sure you understand better why I was nervous, don’t you? The truth is I shouldn’t have been. Both are really easy-going and it appears that, like me, they don’t know a lot of people over here sharing the same passion for photography, beautiful things and interior design. We were all very excited as, thanks to a social network, we met and we could share our passions and help each other.

Our first project together has been a Christmas photo session of Stephanie and her daughter, Juliet. I couldn’t believe my ears when Stephanie told me she would love me to shoot a mother-daughter session for them. Stephanie shares the same love for photography as me and believes a picture is an invaluable souvenir for the future. She was a little bit frustrated when she moved to Switzerland because she didn’t know any photographers here doing the kind of pictures she likes. In fact, when Juliet was born, she even flew over a photographer from Belgium for a family photo session!

I’m really glad in this post to share with you some of the pictures I took of them. You will see it was really easy to take beautiful photos with such a cute baby and a mum with such good taste in fashion and decoration. I hope you like them and they immerse you even more in the Christmas mood. By the way, the little baby on a couple of pictures is Théo! As I breastfeed him, I had to take him with me and he was charming during the entire session.

You can see that what could have been a complete flop or just a superficial coffee with two strangers ended up with us making a great connection and opening a door to a wide variety of collective projects. Now I need to say good bye. Let’s see if I can finally write those Christmas cards!


Marta you are an amazing story teller and photographer! I am so happy we met and sharing the same energie and interests is so special when you are living abroad! Hope to read many more of your blogs this year! You are super talented! X Nienke