Posts Tagged ‘ family ’

I find myself near a field of swans

I’ve not had much time to take pictures, or write about my days here in the outback that is rural Brabant. I’m having too much of a good time relaxing and spending time with my family to actually think about things like this. There are things that I think I should be remembering to write about but in this state I forget to take these things down.

Wednesday I spent my day travelling from the port to my family’s house, from there to Oss to see what has changed since I was last there, and to Eindhoven to see my friend Frans and to attend the Ill Nino gig in the Effenaar. After that, we went to The Rambler for some after-gig drinks and chats with old and new friends till about 4 o’clock in the morning.

The new county council building in Oss

We didn’t get back to Frans’ place until quite a bit later, had a ham and cheese tosti to quench our hunger and finally went to bed around 4.45 or 5.00. My alarm went off 3 hours later, as I had to haste to Oss to get a lift back to my family’s place. Needless to say, I spent the rest of that day taking it easy..

Yesterday was another relaxed day of spending time with the family, a Burger King brunch, and a night of Hertog Jan beer with Vera in Oss. Even though it seems that this time, I am here for a reasonable enough amount of time to see my friends and family, I still feel like I could do with a few extra days!

Friday afternoon

This morning I watched my little cousin pass his swimming exams. On our way back to the house for some celebratory cake and coffee, we drove past a huge green field, covered in white swans. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that and I wonder why there were all there. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take any pictures, but the sight was amazing.

In a few moments, we’ll be off to Eindhoven for our family ‘day’ which will be a BBQ and a surprise activity which will take place in the dark.. I’m excited to find out what it is!

Chrisje 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

It’s always quiet in the eye of the storm

It’s been very quiet on my end lately, as you can see by the lack of posts. I’ve got quite a few drafts lined up that I was so eager to work out to proper posts, but I’ve either forgotten my line of thoughts, or the event happened too long ago.

One of these drafts was about my Easter Weekend, yes, very dated, but also about the macarons I had received that weekend, that had been brought to me all the way from the Rousier Yvan patisserie  in Versailles. I haven’t had the chance to upload the few pictures I took then to accompany this post, but I hope to do this soon.

The small selection of macarons I had received, namely 8 small ones and 1 large one, did not see much of the world. The array of flavours was dazzling, however all known to me: almond, chocolate, pistachio, passion fruit, raspberry for the small ones, Turkish delight with a marzipan filling for the large macaron. The small ones were delightful. I tried to make them last longer but the temptation to suck them, bite them and devour them was too big for me to fight. The large one was less of a treat, in my opinion. I’m not a big fan of Turkish delight, and this macaron was very sugary, much more ‘there’ than the other ones.

I’ve shared my experience with a friend whom I had told about my small obsession. She then went to Paris, tried some, and was blown away by how good such a tiny little thing can taste. She also told me that Gordon Ramsey has a recipe for macarons in his dessert cookbook. Have not been able to take a peek, but I will do soon enough and will give that baby a go! Another ‘expert’ on this subject might be Hisako Ogita, author of I love Macarons:

Weirdly enough, things have changed in a revolutionary way. In my life, I mean. I had more time to think about what I’d like to do with my life (and that at my age!), and more importantly, what I don’t want to do. As you might know, I’ve been thinking about going back into education by starting a degree from home, next to my full time job. After long consideration, this might be something to put on hold. I’d like to enjoy the summer and spend more time with my boyfriend and with my friends, and also I need to spend more time reconnecting with old friends and family, as I’ve not been able to do this properly for almost a year now.

If I’m going to do this degree, I want to do it properly. I want to do it to the best of my abilities and perfect it, and for that I need to be in a more relaxed state of mind, in a better environment for my physical and mental health, in a less demanding atmosphere. This is something I can’t get deeper into right now, but might come up a bit more later as well.

I’ve also thought about writing an article about female breadwinners. It appears that there is still some sort of taboo attached to it. As a female breadwinner myself, I have to admit at first I was uneasy about my ‘role’, and I still am when telling people about my home situation, but it also feels like something I should not be afraid to admit.

I could go deeper into my reasons for being OK with being the main breadwinner in my relationship, but then that would defeat the object of writing the actual article. For those having a problem with this, I would obviously be interested in your opinions and motivations, so please do not hesitate to voice them.

The next few weeks are going to be pretty cushty for me; I’ve got a new project coming up at work, have a day off planned next Friday, and a nice set of Dutch bank holidays are coming up for me. On the down side I won’t be allowed to have the English bank holidays off, but that is fine seeing as there’s plenty of days I do get off.

The last week has been A-OK as well. I’ve had some more time to see friends and to spend time with my boyfriend. I’ve been out a bit more than I’ve lately been able to, and I’ve been clothes shopping! That always cheers me up. I saw this great top at New Look on their website, but they didn’t have it in store unfortunately.

Not to mention my birthday is coming up! June is still far away but speaking in weeks; it’s closer than I thought. I will be having a nice long weekend off to celebrate my 21st, and my sister is coming over from Holland. If the weather would be close to what it’s been recently, I’ve got nothing to complain about 🙂

xx Chrisje

The best chocolate cake in the world

Earlier today George’s mum and stepdad came round to visit us for Mothers Day (today) and Georges birthday (tomorrow). As I did last year, I have made George a birthday cake, one with a beautiful brownie-like consistency, simple yet so mouthwateringly good.

So I’ve decided to share the recipe with you. Don’t worry, it doesn’t need many ingredients, and it’s quickly to make. It is nice with buttercream icing, or without, or warm with some vanilla icecream. This recipe serves 8 to 12, depending on the size of the pieces. Unfortunately no picture of the end result as it got eaten before I had the chance!

Easy chocolate cake
Ingredients:
200 grams of unsalted butter
200 grams of good quality chocolate (of 70% cocoa or higher)
100 grams of flour (sieved)
300 grams of fine caster sugar
6 medium eggs

Directions:
Melt the chocolate with the butter au bain-marie, or in a bowl in the microwave on a low setting, stirring well every 30 seconds. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a separate bowl, whisk the caster sugar, the sieved flour and the eggs. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Put the cake batter into a spring form and put into the  preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Let cool before cutting and serving.

If you’ve tried my recipe, please let me know what you think! 🙂

xx Chrisje