Archive for the ‘ Inspiration ’ Category

A walk through Witham

Today, I went for a little walk through and around Witham to enjoy the sun and explore the surroundings, and subsequently got lost. It turns out you can’t stay lost in Witham for a very long period of time! I also noticed that, for a beautiful warm day in April, there weren’t very many people outside! Maybe because it’s Easter..

Anyway, a tiny selection of today’s walk below. More to follow soon.

Chrisje x

Lillies of the Sky

I realize I haven’t really been consistent with posts and stories, and I apologize for that. I’ve been enjoying the good weather, the blue skies and all the extended social curricular activities that come with that. On my way home a few weeks ago I saw these beautiful blossoms:

I walk past this tree almost every day, and unfortunately these flowers only lasted about a week, maybe a week and a half. The tree is now bare and only flimsy remains of the petals are strewn across the floor. What a waste!

Knowing the British weather, I thought it best to enjoy of the sun while it’s still out, which is why this is only a short post. I will try to post some new things soon!

Chrisje x

A meet & greet with Suffolk

Last week Wednesday I had a day off (they are rare!) and I was invited by the lovely Natz and Steve to join them and their friend Richard on a trip to Southwold, Suffolk, for some sea views and fish & chips.

Southwold, I think, is the furthest north in the country I’ve been so far. In Colchester, the day started out to be mild in temperature and quite sunny, but in Southwold, the sky was grey, the wind was freezing cold and the streets almost deserted. Apart from a few people who dared to brave the wind, there was no one on the beach. We resorted to a stroll around town, where I saw the sign below (interestingly, Southwold’s ‘seal’ bears Dutch flagged ships, referencing to the 1672 Battle of Sole Bay in which the English and the French fought versus the Dutch).

We then had lunch at Munchies before strolling back past the beach to the car. I’m still amazed we survived that trip, I can’t remember ever having been so cold! Having been in Southwold for only a short amount of time, Natz decided we should go to Aldeburgh for fish and chips, which apparently is “possibly the finest on the east coast” according to The Times (as quoted on it’s Wikipedia page).

On our way to Aldeburgh, we passed the ruins of the Leiston Abbey, so we stopped off there for some cultural education and some pictures. The sun was more present there, and there was barely any wind, and on one side, the sky was stark blue and crisp. The ruins seemed so permanent; they seemed enveloped in the stillness of the area and as far as you could see there would just be nature. Except for a few birds, and our cackling, it was quiet, and we were the only visitors.

Then finally off to Aldeburgh, which was also full of brightly colored cute houses and has a pebbled beach. As seemed custom, the wind was unbearable and the streets were deserted. Apparently, it is a traditional custom in Suffolk to close the shops early on a Wednesday, as they are also open on a Saturday, but some places, like the fish & chips shop, then re-open around 5 o’clock. Another thing we noticed in Southwold as well, is that almost every shop seems to leave out a bowl of water for any dogs? Aldeburgh had a plaque that offered an explanation for this.

Unfortunately my phone started playing up at this point, so I couldn’t take many pictures here. Natz  luckily was up for the task of being my replacement photographer. We ended the trip with a visit to their famous fish & chip shop (when it re-opened), before we commenced the 2 hour drive back.

What I found so interesting was that the architecture seemed so different. The houses seemed more cheerful, more colorful and more stacked upwards rather than sidewards. The high streets seemed cheerful places to be; the sort of towns that have a population that is largely holiday folk with a second house by the sea, with people that rather go to butchers, fish mongers, greengrocers and bakeries rather than a quick stop at Tesco’s (which is not a bad thing at all!) – which, again, seems such a different way of life compared to what most people seem to do in Essex.

Except for Felixstowe, I don’t think I’ve been to any other seaside towns in the UK. It’s been a welcome change from the normal urban environment I’m in, and it’s been great getting to know England a bit better. After all, I know a tiny bit of London, a tiny bit of Essex, and a bit of Kent from what I’ve seen from inside the Eurostar. Hopefully we get to do something like this again soon!

Chrisje x

Ketjap Manis and Skittle Bombs

This weekend has been the proverbial sunshine after a heavy storm for me. Last weekend, my partner of 2,5 years and I decided to go our separate ways, and even though it was a joint decision, I’ve felt pretty terrible throughout the week.

Luckily, I was invited over by my good friend Natz  and her boyfriend Steve to spend the weekend over there. I thought having fun and going out were the last things I was interested in, but the contrary seemed true, and I’ve had a fantastic weekend.

The Friday evening was spent on the sofa, watching a bad Valentine’s Day themed film with Cookie Dough ice cream, and talking about my past, present and future. Luckily Natz is a great listener so I had the chance to pour my heart out.

On Saturday, Natz and I went into town to check out some shops, after which Steve joined us and we went for lunch at Sloppy Joe’s, which is an American-styled diner type place, including the stereotypical menu you’d expect in a place like that. The food was great though, and the whole look and feel of the place made me feel like I was in one of those themed restaurants that you find in Disneyland.

After a quick stop home, we decided on a trip to Waitrose to pick up some shopping for dinner, and because it was such a beautiful afternoon, we took the route through Castle Park, earning me a few stunning pictures on the side.

The Castle in Castle Park

I’d never been to a Waitrose before, but I was told that they sell Ketjap Manis, which is an Indonesian Soy Sauce. Indonesia had been part of the Dutch Colonial Empire, and their food is almost as important to us today as curry is in the UK. I was so very pleased to find a connection to my native culture – this is certainly making my life in the UK a bit more like home!

Steve made us a lovely home made pizza and unfortunately after that the fun was over for me – my homework had to be done this weekend. After trying for a few hours, I realized I couldn’t even bring up the urge to type a word, let alone an essay, so down to the pub we went for the legendary ‘one drink only’. ‘One drink only’ turned into ‘I’ve never had ale before, and I don’t really like it, so this doesn’t count as one drink. I need a new one, and that one can be number 1.’ Which turned into three drinks because the previous drink was so good. Then all these people came to introduce themselves and you start chatting and before I knew it it was 1 o’clock in the morning and we were making plans to go to the next pub.

To cut a long story short (it did turn out to be a very interesting evening), I didn’t wind up in bed until about 10 to 5. Needless to say, I didn’t touch the essay anymore that evening.. To my surprise I also found myself wide awake at 9 o’clock the next (well, the same) morning. The rest of today has been spent trying to get rid of the aftertaste of my last drink of the morning (Skittle Bomb) and finding a hundred excuses at once not to finish my essay. So far, with the help of Frasier, breakfast, Facebook, travelling, blogging and watching a film, I’ve managed to lay it off for quite some time.

Tomorrow will be dreaded start of a new week and also Valentine’s Day, which I will try to avoid having to acknowledge at all costs. I’ve never really been a fan before, but being ‘freshly’ single on a day that everyone else is using to emphasize that they’re not, really doesn’t ease the heartache there. Hope I will survive!

Chrisje x

10 great uses for a pencil

Hey everyone,

Just a short post today – I really felt I needed to share this video with you all.

I’ve starting doing my first set of homework for my new degree, and one of the inspirational websites/slides/pictures that was offered was this one, called ‘Ten Great Uses For A Pencil’. Watching this definitely put a smile on my face!

I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I have,

Chrisje x

Whoever says A…

I’m not sure if this is a saying that is known in the English language, but in the Netherlands we have a saying that goes a little bit like this: “Whoever says ‘A’, must also say ‘B’.”, meaning something in the lines of, once you start something, you need to finish it.

I notice that I have a lot of inspiration to write, especially when travelling or at work, but for some reason these thoughts won’t hold out until I get home, and I never seem to have a piece of paper on me to write my thoughts down. This makes it frustrating to say ‘B’ – to actually continue writing new posts.

Unfortunately, I’ve also noticed that my interest for the family tree is waning. I started off so small, just my own little family, working upwards, and now I’ve got 349 people in there and I feel I’m getting stuck. Slowly but surely, I’m running out of work left to do. If I want to continue doing this, I’ll have to pay a visit to the archives in the Netherlands..

This is what I started off with

Anyway, on a more positive note, I’ve received my welcome pack for my degree course, and I’ve started playing with it, and I’m dragging myself through the introduction on the course website as we speak. Unfortunately, most of this is watching podcasts of people introducing themselves, and little exercises to get yourself into the academic writing state of mind. I know it’s an essential part of the course, but I would rather watch films or play games. Hmm, that sounds familiar.

Another positive note (for me!) is that last week I bought a bonsai tree. It’s a 4 year old American elm and it is beautiful. Whenever the lighting is good, I’ll take a picture so I can share my joy! It’s unbelievable how much it brightens up a room by just standing there in its tiny grandeur. I can definitely recommend it as a refreshing alternative to flowers.

As a closing note I will leave you with a beautiful and inspiring picture taken by Victor Eredel. This is something that I like to look at when I need a little pick me up. You can view some more of his work here.

Chrisje x x

A fresh start

Hi guys,

I’m back! Sorry for the long period of white noise, so much has happened that the blog just got put further and further down the list. I am hoping to get a reasonable output of posts out from now 🙂

Actually, I’ve been back for a couple of weeks now but I wasn’t sure about my first post in the New Year. I’ve decided not to bore you with the formalities and negativity of what has kept me away from here, and to start off on a more positive note.

I’ve decided to take up a degree course this year. Next month I will start a BA/BSc in Design and Innovation at the Open University, so that I can keep working. In the mean time I’ve also changed jobs and I’m now working closer to home (10 minutes on the train to be exact) so I’ve got shed loads of extra time. Yay!

With all this extra time, I’ve had more time for hobbies, and one of the things I’ve picked up is genealogy. I’ve been working on the family tree on my mum’s side for a few months now, and have managed to grow it to 340+ members. When my nan passed away last Christmas, this gave me the opportunity to speak with family about our family and it’s members, and I’ve managed to obtain a lot of documentation, stories and pictures in a space of just a few days.

Me & my sister at our grandparents 40th wedding anniversary

One of those pictures is the one above. I never knew pictures were taken at this event; I could only vaguely remember it from memory. Don’t we look cute? 🙂 I know the family tree building sounds really boring, but it’s really quite addictive!

Working on the family tree and seeing these beautiful, delicate, and well preserved little tokens from the past have given me so much inspiration to start anew this year. Hopefully I get to start a little vegetable garden on my window sill as well this spring! I’m so excited!

Soon enough I will be able to show you some snippets of the results that this new found inspiration has brought me. Until then I will leave you with this lovely cover of Crazy, performed by Ray LaMontagne.

Good night!

Chrisje x