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

Hup Holland Hup!

Last Friday I went into our local 99p shop to buy some planting pots and garden feed for my strawberry plants. For some reason they are the only shop in Witham I know (except for the garden centre of course)  that have started selling these products so early on in the year. When I finally took my place in the queue, something caught my eye. To my surprise, I saw this:


Not only was I so surprised to see orange Pringles tubes in the 99p shop; they’re also DUTCH Pringles, to cheer on the DUTCH team during the last World Cup. How would they end up in Witham, of all places? And can you even still eat them? And also; Paprika is not considered a flavour in the UK, last time I checked. I’m slightly confused.

Suffice to say, it needed to have its picture taken, but I was somewhat hesitant about actually purchasing a tube or two. Maybe next time I drop in I might be convinced..

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

Que Sera, Sera

Since my last post, I have had a near-endless To Do list to follow up that has miraculously appeared with my re-awakened inspiration. My days are now filled with a new enthusiasm to excersize and be healthier, my work life has had an adrenaline injection, my evenings home are always too short now that I have new hobbies and things to pass time with.

For hours I have browsed for online shops for running gear (one of these new ventures), entertaining tips and recipes (the new season begs for casual dinner parties), and the most influential change: Sex and the City season 6 was dusted off and watched again. Tears have spilled, smiles have cracked, fists have punched the air, the boyfriend has been forced into stand-by mode to hug me back happy.

And it doesn’t stop there: next week, the 12th of June, I will also celebrate my 21st birthday. My little sister is coming over from Holland to celebrate this with me, my boyfriend has planned me a surprise birthday party, and I will have five heavenly days off work to enjoy the (hopefully, great) summer weather.

The things I would like to do over the next few weeks would be: 1. go home and see my family, 2. make a family tree, 3. gather old pictures of me and family (to show my boyfriend and friends here), 4. bring new fire into old friendships.

That’s one of the things I dislike about this whole moving-to-a-different-country thing. I’ve not only given up a fabulous life, but I’ve also lost contact with a lot of great people. I feel like I’ve lost really good friends and an array of experiences that bear no relevance in this new life, because there seem to be very little people that can relate to the lifestyle I led.

My life was drenched with pleasure, in a way that some people might consider it to be far from grown up, but hey, I considered myself a student, and ‘we’ do not do ‘grown up’ – yet. I worked a job I loved, for very little money, I lived in a fantastic room in a house close to the city centre, I studied art and I studied International Business and Management. In my free time you could find me at gigs or in the pub, or I would be promoting bands and venues, practising photography, web design or writing free reviews or articles to create a name for myself. My holidays to Belgium and London were far from extravagant, but always fun and definitely something to look forward to.

Now, these things seem to have passed, and I seem left with fractions of memories, pictures and videos, emotions and quotes, that I share with no one but my laptop. The people in the picture are now leading their own lives, geographically closer than they’ve ever been, but ever so far away.

The upside to this story is, obviously, the new experiences, the new friends, the new family I gained. I’ve grown up so much in the last year and 9 months – I’m in a full time job, live in a beautiful apartment with my beautiful, successful and smart boyfriend, my first attempt to get a driving license is coming up and for the first time since my move, I feel confident enough within myself, and also proud, that I have made the right decision moving here.

Luckily, we are blessed with the Internet, the medium that enables me to have most of the things I had when I was still in my old house. Via Facebook, Hyves and MySpace I can still chat with the people I used to chat with 2 years ago, via Skype I can call my sister and speak with and see my family. It’s not as great as the real thing, but it has shown me how important it is to have a firm home base. Something to fall back to.

My mum used to sing Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera to me and my sister.. Hearing that song reminds me of seeing her sat down in our living room, in the corner near the heating, reading one of her 800+ page books with a cup of coffee. It’s one of the best memories I have from being young. Knowing I have made the right decision has given me the freedom to reminisce without feeling guilty. Good times 🙂

xx Chrisje

Francis publishes extracts from coming novel

George Francis has posted 3 extracts from his coming novel ‘Smiling at Strangers on Trains’ on his blog which you can find here.

Please take your time to read some of his work and give him some feedback.

I personally love his writing style and can’t wait for more extracts to be published!

Chrisje xx