She moved from Holland to Portugal at the age of 21. Annelies Reugebrink – another Dutch lady who built her life outside the Dutch borders – shares her life and style with us in Portraits no. 17.
Born in 1957, Annelies will turn 60 next year. This firm advocate of everything Portuguese has the energy of a 30 something. She is married to Wim, also from Holland, and together they have a portfolio of restaurants, clubs and a high-end catering company in the Algarve area of Portugal.
Food is an integral part of her existence and Annelies surrounded herself with culinary activities throughout her life. With the stunning Purple Carrots cookbook in 2015 as proof of the pudding. This cookbook is about traditional Portuguese recipes but also delves into dishes influenced by Portugal in distant countries.
When she’s not cooking Annelies is helping others in her function of honorary Dutch Consul to the Algarve, having fun on a city trip or you might find her behind the easel with paint and brushes close at hand.
How do you feel about being over fifty?
Basically I feel fulfilled and rich. Rich in the sense of many experiences life gave me. I do not have to dance on every wedding or beach sunset party anymore. I feel closer to my real self and much calmer then in my forties. The relationships with my friends and family are more intense and clear now. This feeling reassures me immensely in my everyday life and makes me feel blessed and very happy.
I see so many new opportunities. One of them is buying old, dilapidated townhouses in the Algarve for renovation. To keep the Algarvean architecture alive. I just did a bid, fingers crossed!
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
I like this age, the future looks challenging and positive and no I do not wish to go back. Certainly not back to my adolescence when I felt terribly insecure and conscious of my hight of 1,80 meter. And those awkward hormonal earthquakes storming through my head.
Now I know – most of the time, haha – how to find the right balance. Yoga helps me a lot in this.
What would your ideal day look like? No restrictions.
I’ll spend my ideal day close to home in my beloved Algarve, the South of Portugal. Waking up between my own sheets (the most luxurious crisp white cotton – 400 thread count sateen – I ever found, check cuddledown.com) to the Algarvean soft morning sun. With absolutely nothing on my agenda! That’s luxury for me.
After walking our great dane girl through the backyard countryside I drop her off and go for an extra 5km run on my own. To return home for a private yoga session and where the massage table is all set outside in the shade of the trees for a relaxing treatment afterwards.
Nothing beats a long lazy lunch at my favourite beach Praia Manuela Lourenço, close to Albufeira. At O Antonio’s restaurant with a gang of friends we eat simple but perfectly grilled fresh fish while the waves roll in. After lunch it’s time to walk bare feet through the sand – love that feeling – and close our eyes on the sun beds under the old-fashioned raffia beach umbrellas.
Later that day I’ll go shopping for prime food ingredients at Loulé´s fresh fish & food market, an Arabian style market hall on Praça da República, I never get tired of this. Even after all those years.
Love to create mouth-watering menus together with my family at home. We drink, eat, talk, chill on our terrace and finish the day with cooling dip in the pool.
Ah well, since it is my ideal day, let’s throw in a full moon as well.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
My first husband suddenly passed away when I was only 36 years old, and I was left behind with my beautiful son Philipp of 6 years. I had to get on with life and the running of a series of restaurants we owned.
Without my family, namely my brother Robert, and my girl friends I would not have made it through this sad and terrifying period in my life. I came out of this experience stronger and tougher, ready to face the world again. To find true love for the second time around, much to my surprise.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
Numero uno: Mister R. wakes me with a glass of water with fresh lemon juice from our own lemon trees in the morning. Second, I swear by 7 to 8 hours sleep and regular yoga & Pilates routine.
I also treat myself occasionally to delicious and relaxing ayurveda massage at Estetica Quinta Verde in Quinta do Lago.
I love Clarins Body oils, the firming huile with rosermary and mint. The only vitamin supplement I take is from René Furterer, Vitalfan with Vitamin B8 and E for hair and nails, 1 capsule a day.
Which book/film/music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
A book that never leaves my bedside table, even when I travel, is ‘Peace begins here’ by Thich Nhat Hanh. It is my guideline, this book demonstrates how a real peace process is based on spiritual and not on political strength. Thich Nhat Hanh offers the idea that peace in oneself is the base of peace in family, society and therefore the world.
Another one I keep reading over and over again is ‘Gifts of imperfection’ by Brené Brown. So very recognisable and true …
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @smithhotels mrs. & mr. Smith share the most seductive luxury stays
- @mytheresa the finest online edit in luxury fashion
- @minimalistbaker Dana makes recipes with 10 ingredients or less
- @naturallyella those food pics! Ultimate food pics
- @luisegreenkitchenstories holistic approach on food
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : I love cities, Stockholm & Antwerp for art, food and shopping
- Hotel : Hotel J Nacka and Hotel Julien
- Museum : Moderna Museet in Stockholm and MAS in Antwerp, both modern & contemporary art
- Restaurant : Brunch at Nacka Strand, hanging out in the huge wooden Adirondack chairs covered in grey blankets enjoying a hot drink overlooking the water. And for Antwerp absolutely Dome sur mer, seafood at its best with home-bred waffles for dessert
What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table. And Which childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?
Iced cucumber soup with chili prawns and my signature desert Stroopwafel (Dutch biscuit with treacle and caramel) Happy Trifle with custard, cream and dark cherries.
In my youth we knew it was Sunday when pancakes with sliced apple and cinnamon arrived at the table.
Trivia time, make a choice and share your favourite brand:
- Nailpolish or Lipstick?
Lip gloss, always lip gloss. My favourite is Chanel 181. Or Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer as they put it
- Heels or Flats?
Flats My white Adidas Stan Smith for day time. But most of all my flat camel leather Rondini sandals. They go where I go. Always.
- Dress or Trousers
Dress (although lately I’m quite attached to trousers and an oversized crisp men shirt). But when the occasion is less casual, dresses makes me feel better one way or the other. I have a couple of Ladress favourites in black that never fail. Great in Summer with heels or trainers, in colder places I often mix them with black Ladress flares, made of the same jersey.
- Coffee or Tea?
Tea All day long fresh mint tea and/or Ginger | Lemon | verbena. All fresh from the garden.
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
Swimsuit mine comes from Pain de Sucre. Midnight blue, classic bandeau decolleté. Transforms elegantly as a bodysuit as well under a jacket or blazer at night.
More inspiring interviews in our Portraits series.
Want to share your life and style in these series or recommend an inspiring friend between 50-60? We love to hear from you. Please send us an email.