We're Axel & Sandrine - welcome to Sunny Simple Living!
We're travellers who settled down in Spain - the gazillion projects on our little farm are a challenge that will keep us occupied for at least a few years! We moved to Matarraña in Aragon, Spain in 2014 with dogs Jabba and Jinx, and cat Joey.
Sandrine was born in Belgium and mostly lived around Antwerp and Brussels. I moved to Amsterdam in 2010, only a year after I met Axel (who's a born and raised Amsterdammer). I was and still am a virtual / personal assistant; I enjoy planning other people's travels, managing their schedules, and generally organising all sorts of things. As local farmers seem to have very little need for a personal assistant, I started blogging; I love writing, I enjoy sharing what we do and how we do them - and why. I write about the things we do and discover in the area, about the things we make and build, about what I grow and cook and bake. My mission is to inspire others to live a life they enjoy; whether that means moving to rural Spain like us or doing small things with what you have, I aspire to help all of my readers in any way I can.
Axel was born in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam was his homebase until this big change in 2014. He used to work in climate control and customer relationships management, but stopped working at the huge multinational he was with shortly before we took the leap to go off the grid. Since we've lived here, he's been in charge of building stuff and general maintenance - he's a star at dry walling, takes care of the trees and the systems, and is always working at making our lives off the grid more comfortable, more profitable, and more enjoyable. He's also a great cook, and the life of every party...
When we first moved to Spain in 2014, we rented a house in the village for a few months while we renovated an old stone stable on our land. In the summer of 2015 (and again in the spring of 2016) we lived in this little "Maset" for a total of about 6 months, and we loved it. There was no internet, only a composting toilet and a sun heated shower (tubes on the roof heated by the sun), and we lived so close to nature and each other. In the mean time, we were building a real house to live in. We moved into Mas del Encanto in May 2016. The ground floor consists of guest rooms and a breakfast room for guests of our bed & breakfast; the first floor is where we live. The house is 100% off the grid, while still allowing us the comforts of modern life: we've got great internet, a superb solar power system and the best water from a (very) deep well. We also collect rainwater for irrigation and more. Click here to read more about Mas del Encanto - and if you're ever in Spain, give me a shout!
At this moment, our farming activities include about 50 old olive trees (we make our own olive oil and can olives for eating), 150 almond trees (we sell most of them, although I keep some for baking, cooking and making Amaretto) and various other fruit and nut trees. We also have one official vegetable garden, and several experimental patches spread out on our 3,65 hectares (9 acres) of farmland in the mountains (we're overviewing Els Ports national park). We keep chickens for eggs mainly; soon, we're expanding our activities with three pregnant alpacas.
I love getting feedback so don't hesitate to contact me through the links below. I'm most active on Facebook, but I like posting on Instagram as well. You can also leave a comment on one of the blog posts!