Featuring our Portraits series today is Caroline van Metelen. This strong, vivid beauty is born in 1959 and turns 57 next month. Caroline is full of zest for life, grew up in The Hague and is married to Fred. Who already had three children at that time, we’re talking more than 25 years ago, which results in 6 grandchildren for them to spoil today. These kids really regard her as their best friend.
Caroline and Fred have one son, Dennis, who sadly lost his young, promising life in a tragic car accident at the end of 2013. At the age of almost 25. Despite this recent dramatic loss, Caroline kept her positive outlook on life and is an inspiration and force of power for many around her. She underlines that you have to enjoy life every day, the little things and the beautiful people who surround you.
Until she got pregnant, Caroline worked as a flight attendant for 10 years at KLM and travelled the globe. After giving birth to Dennis in 1988, she joined her husband and started working in their own company. Moving is her second nature, she packs and unpacks as a pro. Fred’s business took them from Holland to Switzerland and from Spain to Belgium. They live in Knokke overlooking the sea for over four years now.
Caroline starts her day with a long walk along the Belgium beach with her Spanish water dog, Lola. Rescued from a dog shelter in Spain, and boy, did this dog fell from one extreme into another. These two love each other to pieces.
How do you feel about being over fifty?
I don’t care at all! It feels good to be over fifty and I find it very important to cherish life since there are so many of us who will not live to reach this age. It feels as I am half way, so ask me again when I am hundred…
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
That might be between 40 and 50, we had some great years in which the sky was literally the limit. We travelled the globe, attended so many events. Very good memories I take with me, but no wish to go back. Been there, done that. I enjoy every phase of aging.
What would your ideal day look like? No restrictions.
My ideal day starts with an early, long walk with Lola along the beach. Of course the weather is beautiful, the sun is shining and the sky bright blue. And since it is low tide, the sand is easy walking.
After the walk I enjoy a perfect cappuccino on the rooftop terrace of Grieder luxury department store in Zürich. Since the walk wasn’t enough for me, I do a little round of training at the gym of Akasha Wellbeing Spa at the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam.
Next up is lunch at my favourite place: L’Avenue in Paris with my friends. I always take the same, Salade Homard. In fact, we all take the same salad time and time again. After lunch it’s time to visit Parisian museums on Avenue Montaigne. As in Dolce, Prada, Celine, Gucci and Chanel.
I’ll change and wear my new Gucci dress for a romantic dinner with my great love at Lío in Ibiza. To finish my ideal day with a dance for two at Baoli in Cannes. All night long.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
Two major life experiences made me to who I am today. The first one was the death of my sister when she was 38, caused by cancer. I was only 26 and was devastated by her death. This really made me realise how fragile life can be and why I should live life to the fullest with a positive attitude. Every single day. I am conscious of every day, the good and the bad ones.
The second devastating experience is the dramatic death of our only beloved son, Dennis. For me, that moment felt as if my life was over. Instantly. Children are not supposed to die before their parents do. But my life wasn’t over, a new power within me awoke. This power still keeps me going today, I live even more intensely and with greater awareness. But God, I would do anything to turn back time that dreadful day.
Where are you 10 years from now or what’s on your wish/bucket list?
I’m not making long terms plans anymore, life changes directions without giving notice. The years after Dennis’ death I visited some places where I’ve never been before, like Ibiza and Venice. Make new memories. Normandy and Shanghai are still on the (short) list. I live life by the day, I am less focused on the future.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
First of all, I don’t smoke and don’t drink. No alcohol and no sugary sodas. Water is my middle name and I like to exercise to keep my shape. Let me rephrase, I need to exercise because otherwise I have too much energy to spend on one day. The gym really is my hobby and I love to hit the road on my racing bike as much as long beach walks with my dear Spanish water dog, Lola.
This all with a little help of my favorite La Mer skin care products. Hooked for years and years.
Which book/film/music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
Two books really touched me. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, a tragic story about a journalist who unravels the life of Jewish girl in WWII. The other one is a book by a Dutch writer, Komt een vrouw bij de dokter. Only after reading this story about a man who starts fooling around when they learned of his wifes cancer diagnoses, I understood the way my brother-in-law reacted back in the ’80’s when my sister got the same diagnoses.
The song that changed my life is Happy by Pharrell Williams. When it just came out, I always had to think of my happy son Dennis when I heard this song. When he died shortly after this, it was only logical for me that we played this song at his funeral. To remember him as the happy, young man he was. This song still gives me comfort.
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @humbertotan great pics and he connected us to Pharrell on his late night TV show. This is very special to me.
- @romeestrijd another beautiful Dutch Model
- @SuperOlcay a strong Dutch fashion entrepreneur who never stops
- @KimKardashian what can I say, guilty pleasure
- @karinbarnhoorn love her photos and tips. (how sweet, tnxx. KB)
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : Paris. It always comes down to Paris. Or New York.
- Hotel : Hotel Costes. Yes, in Paris.
- Museum : The Witney Museum in New York, stunning new building with great views of the city and American Art throughout the centuries.
- Restaurant : And back to Paris… L’Avenue. See my ideal day.
What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table.
Meatballs! They all join our kitchen table for this. Including a large group of Dennis’ (football) friends who ask – let me rephrase, demand – for this dish in advance.
Which childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?
The same meatballs. I learned the trick from my mother. We ate this every Saturday, meat was important to our family since my father was a meat trader. My Mom always served meatballs with rice with raisins, cinnamon and sugar.
Trivia time, make a choice and share your favourite brand:
- Nail polish or Lipstick?
Lipstick, my favourite is by Laura Mercier. Downside it they discontinued my colour.
- Heels or Flats?
Flats, mostly custom-made sneakers by Nike, Dr. Martens (same as my granddaughter) or whites from Phillipe Model.
- Dress or Trousers
Dress, to go along with my sneakers. My signature look. Favourites are Maje and Dolce & Gabbana.
- Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, cappuccino is my guilty pleasure
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
Bikini, I love Eres. A top without cups but still gives you a nice decolleté.