Cure against boredom: Blog!

‘sssssup everyone! Today, I am bored. So today, I will blog.

Quick update: I am now on summerschool. That means: I’m away from home at an abroad university to take postgraduate classes for about one week, learn tons and work on my research. It’s been super interesting so far, but oddly, now that I finally get to adventure again, I can’t really remember how to!

So, I used to do a lot of things on my own. You know, travel on your own and just go do stuff because if you have to wait until you find people to do it with, it’ll probably just not happen. And I’m actually quite happy doing stuff on my own. Sometimes it annoys me to have people around. Like before, I just wanted an easy lunch. None of the polite conversations with people you don’t really know of what would you like to eat and do you know where we could go and then try to keep a conversation going while stuffing your face politely with food. I gladly had lunch on my own 🙂

But now it’s evening and I don’t really feel like studying and I’m like super duper bored. Too lazy to go for a run, so that’s out. Don’t really know anyone to hang out with. Don’t really fancy getting to know someone and having that same conversation for the millionth time: Where are you from, what do you do,… I’m also not really in town so I can’t really just go for a wander… So I blog!

Just for fun, here’s five stories of what I’ve been upto, in random order of what jumps into my mind.

  1. We went to the zoo! Had some of the boyfriend’s friends over from England, and wanted to spoil them with fun Belgian trips. Best zoo around: Pairi Daiza. We played with the monkeys and the lemurs, the boyfriend stroked a giraf, we watched someone ride an elephant, and we watched a ginormous white tiger struggle with the concept of glass as it was trying to eat the little toddlers behind it. My oh my entertaining to say the least! I’ve been to the zoo twice now, and I’d say space wise it’s not that big, but I still haven’t seen even half of it because there’s simply so much going on!
  2. I’ve also been watching some fun vloggers on Youtube. The boyfriend started vlogging as well, and I’d love to show you his video, buuuuut for some odd reason I also sorta want to keep my blog anonymous so can’t really do that. But it’s really cool though, he’s got this new camera and he’s getting really good at all the fancy stuff. I really like seeing what stuff he comes up with and it always makes me laugh. He also introduced me to these super famous vloggers that do some really cool stuff. There is of course Youtube hit Casey Neistat, who can be super fun to watch because so much fun stuff goes on in his life! He’s a moviemaker / businessman / I’mnotreallysureexactly living in New York and he really has some good things going for him! His videos can be super inspiring. But I also really like his mate Shonduras, who leads a bit more of a normal life (or at least that’s the part we get to see in the vlogs) with a lovely family and especially a lot of family fun. Always cheers me right up 🙂 They’re just so upbeat!
  3. We bought a new sofa! Well, actually, we bought it a while ago but it finally arrived. We got it in a spur of the moment so we were super happy to see how perfectly it fitted into our living room. It’s super comfy and super big and it makes the room look a lot lighter than our previous couch.
  4. I replanted the garden. The weather has been a disaster and nothing was growing so I decided to start over. So far, the neighbour cat (who we call Anne-Marie, for future reference) has only destroyed the baby leek plants. Fingers crossed for the horseradishes and spinach!
  5. I completely missed father’s day this year. My dad was abroad for father’s day so I couldn’t really do anything with him, and now we still haven’t celebrated him being the bestest dad! So this weekend he requested a brunch forest picnic. And so it shall be done.

I hope you are all having a nice summer with fun stories to tell. What’s your favourite summer story so far?

 

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A Feast of a Day

Well today was a blast! Not anything special, just exactly how I like my days. To start: today was a bank holiday in Belgium. Ascension day. Thank you, good man Jesus!

Naturally, I slept in. I woke up before my alarm went off because the boyfriend cuddled me awake. I’m not complaining. After breakfast in bed, a friend came to pick me up to finish our DIY project. I’m not sure if I told you about this already, but we wanted to try some pimping of furniture. She was painting a cupboard in some fun patterns, I decided to sand down an old chair. As everyone, literally everyone had warned me, it was an impossible job. Even though we had a little machine to assist, I didn’t manage to get rid of all the paint. There were four layers of different colours of glossy paint on there! And of course as chairs go, there were a lot of curves and bends that the machine, even my sanding paper, could not handle. So after sort of finishing the top, I decided to go for an artsy effect for the bottom. Yes, I call it artsy rather than lazy.

So for our first DIY project, I learned that completely sanding down a chair to its wood is near to impossible. I also learned that if it would be possible, I probably wouldn’t have the patience to actually do it.

For the next project, I’d like to decorate two stools with a world map. If it works really well, I might do it for our coffee table in the living room. (I got the idea from Sarie.)

In the afternoon, I tackled the garden. I got it summer-ready once before, but the weather and the neighbour’s cat decided it was too early. After the neighbour’s cat had dug out the whole vegetable garden (no, I couldn’t shoe her away, she’s so cute and it’s nice to have a little furry friend), below zero temperatures did a number on our misplaced seeds. So I planted everything anew, and covered the whole thing in a maze of sticks and rope. Unless the cat (who I call Anne-Marie by the way) has Tom Cruise-like Mission Impossible Skills, no way she’s gonna get through there! I also tried to get rid of some of the weeds in our lawn, but not all of them, because then there wouldn’t be much lawn left. And I did all of this in the beautiful gorgeous sun! Ah, what a day!

And what better way to end that day with our first barbecue of the year! We don’t really have a barbecue, but we have an electric grill that we installed outside and did the trick. I made a potato salad, pasta salad, a greek salad, some grilled vegetables and garlic rolls, and we grilled meatballs, sausages and turkey skewers. With a glass (or two) of bubbly. Omnomnom.

We played Macchiavelli, a great card game to play with just two people, until the sun went down with a few citronella candles that successfully kept away the mozzies. And now it is time for bed. Tomorrow one more day of work and then it’ll be weekend once again. Ah, what a blast of a holiday-day!

Holiday at Home – Delayed Final Update

Sorry to keep you guys waiting for my Holiday At Home finals! Let’s just say the holiday was so successful there was no time for blogging 😉

I’ll tell you a little bit about the last days of the holiday and then about the Result.

Now, where was I. Right. Friday.

Friday was a bit of a lazy one. I was still super efficient, but less so than the days before. I did go to the gym again, and again it was really tough! But I was proud for sticking it out. And then unfortunately it was cleaning time. Now, like most people, I’m not particularly a fan of cleaning. But I Love the feeling afterwards. The house smelling all fresh and looking picture perfect. Basically, the result is so much more awesome than the cleaning is annoying, that in the end I guess I kinda do like cleaning?

I dusted all our thingamabobs and cupboards, hoovered the whole house, and then I did a number on the bathroom. That’s the job I keep postponing but always needs doing the most. Our bathroom is really tricky to air out, so when I clean, I really need to clean the ceiling walls floor and then of course there is the scrubbing down of the shower, sink and toilet. Yay. But my gosh does it look lovely and clean! I took all the stuff outside so I could get to every little corner. I wish I had a high pressure cleaning thingy and could just hose down the whole thing in a jiffy, but I guess the cleaning up after might then take me a while. In any case, it’s done and it’s clean. Woopteedoow. After that, I couched.

But in the evening time we went out for drinks with friends in the Irish Pub! Ah, how I love my Guinness. And how I love the midnight snacks after, kebab!

Saturday the holiday feeling was slightly gone, it was just weekend feeling. Meaning the boyfriend was home, yay! We went into town and got this awesome sound bar for the television, with a subwoofer. The bass on it is genius, and it’s got a smart ‘night’ setting that is ideal for us apartment people, to keep our neighbours happy, that turns that said bass down and does other weird stuff. I don’t really know how it works, it’s the boyfriend’s thing. But I still think it’s cool.

In the afternoon I met up with a friend to celebrate her birthday with High Tea in a local cafĂ©, but more about that in another blog some time soon. And Sunday it was crafts day with another friend. Last time we did crafts day, we had some fun with paper machĂ©. I love doing paper machĂ©, because you can just keep adding stuff and mess about. But I never do it because I never manage to find that glue to use. Now, turns out you can do it with flour! Just add water, mix, and mess away! This time, we were going to paint our mess. Here’s the result before and after the painting:

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What do you think? I’m quite proud really! The boyfriend even suggested we put it up in the house, so he must like it too 🙂

My holiday at home was a little bit of an experiment. My work was closed for a week, the boyfriend just started a new job. What to do what to do what to do… So I decided: a lot of sports, a lot of gardening, a lot of cleaning and a lot of cooking. It was the best. I got all these things done I’m otherwise struggling to plan into my schedule. I have a hedge, red current bushes, lavender bushes and roses planted and did up a little vegetable patch in the garden with leek, spinach and silverbeet. Our apartment looks sparkly and clean and for just a little while, it doesn’t remember what dust look like. I tried some new recipes and made samosas, and some of our all time favourites to stock up the freezer, like chilli. And I went to the gym 6 days out of 7 and am still trying! It’s nice to see myself make progress a little bit faster and it motivates me even more. I have to be honest, I don’t like the amount of time you have to put in to getting more fit, but I feel like it’s so worth it. My body hasn’t felt this tired in a long time, but I love it. It makes my mind so much more alert and I feel on top of this world. The holiday may have finished, but I am so ready for work again. This was exactly what I needed. Not a lazy relax holiday, but a super efficient and active holiday. I’ve done more work in the last two days than in the two weeks before my holiday! Success!

What stuff do you like getting up to when you have a Holiday At Home?

Holiday at Home – Day 3

Damnit I can’t believe it’s already Thursday evening! I could’ve started with the holiday experiments last Friday evening, no idea why I didn’t. Instead I only started Tuesday. But I’m loving it.

I’m still keeping at the gym challenge. Went again this morning, didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I’d been making massive progress but today I didn’t really seem to be doing any better at all. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I’ve got some running planned.

I finally managed to plant the hedge by the way! I’ve been wanting to do this ever since we moved in last July. And now it’s done! It was a bit of a rushed job as the sky looked like it was gonna unleash its full-blown April wrath on us, and I didn’t want my new plants to blow or rain away. But by the time I was finished, the sun even came out! So I also planted some more veggies: spinach and leek, so exciting! The hedge doesn’t look like much yet, just some branches here and there. But they have loads of buds so it looks promising. I’m really curious to see it grow and hope it’ll soon be all bushy and green 🙂

Now today I also had some cleaning planned. Blah, boring, but always so nice to have it done. The bathroom looks as new. I took everything out, ev-er-y-thing, and cleaned from the ceiling to the walls to the floors, and scrubbed down the shower. And it smells so nice!

No special cooking done today, I just made some appetisers to eat in our backroom in the sun with a nice glass of white wine (olives, salami, and crackers with paté), and for food I threw together some grilled naan bread with goat cheese, bacon and green beans. So easy and fast to make, and so amazingly tasty.

So now, as always: couch time! Tomorrow, there will be  gym, more cleaning (the kitchen and oven, ow dear) and that’s it. I might head in to town to run some errands, or I might not… We’ll see. And in the evening: Irish Pub with friends. Bring it on!

Holiday at Home – Day 2

I am totally getting everything I can out of my week of no work. This morning I went to the gym again. I have to say, this idea of had of going to the gym every day, I’m slightly regretting it. It’s a lot tougher than I’d thought. I used to have a super active lifestyle when I was still a waitress. On my feet at work all day, and in my free time to the gym with my bodybuilder friends. I could eat whatever I wanted and had never felt stronger and fitter. Yes, those days seem to be long behind me and harder to get back to than I had hoped. I’m still making good progress at the gym though, I think if I could keep it up I really could get back to my fittest self. But once work starts again, no more time for daily gym sessions unfortunately. So I’ll try to stick out this week and see how far I get. I wonder if I’ll feel a difference!

Now, I’ve told you before that the reason I work out, is because I like to eat too much. I do Not want to go on a diet because it makes me more than sad. So now that I have time for daily gym sessions, I also have time for extensive cooking sessions. Today I was in the kitchen for four hours! I made samosas for the first time ever, from my new Indian cooking book. It was a lot of work, also because our kitchen is quite small and I had to be very inventive with where to put all the bowls and cutting boards and oven dishes. But the result was amazing. I made two different kinds: one was a veggie one, with beetroot (first time I ever cooked beetroot; even though I love eating it, I’ve never bothered to cook it myself) and feta cheese and of course a whole load of spices like cumin and coriander seeds, the other was with lamb mince and even more spices, like ginger and chilli flakes. I served it with a nice salad in which I put some of the left over ingredients, like the rest of the beetroot, the feta, and some spring onions. Definitely a succes.

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I also did some more gardening, even though the weather wasn’t on my side. It was quite cold, and very windy. I hope my seeds didn’t all blow away. I cleared the space on the side of the garden for the veggie garden of all weeds and sowed some silverbeet. I also want to plant horseradishes and rucola, but I’ll have to wait until May for those. I then started digging the little ditch to plant the hedge tomorrow. My goodness, I am still amazed at the volume of dirt that comes out of the ground! It’s like the soil quadruples once you shovel it out! Our garden is now full of boxes with dirt in them, which I can’t move anymore because they’re too heavy. I’m seriously wondering if I’ll be able to put all the dirt back once the plants are in the ground. Well weird. I also found a lot of potsherds, unfortunately none of them antique. Otherwise I could’ve opened a serious museum by now. Maybe even become rich. Oh well.

The boyfriend is now doing the dishes (such a hero) and I am finally sat down. I have to say, I am even more tired than I was yesterday! And so are my legs! But I’ll try to go to the gym again tomorrow. Then plant the hedge. And also do some cleaning. No rest for the wicked!

Holiday At Home – Day 1

So yesterday I told you about how spring has arrived, and all the fun stuff it makes me want to do. This week the campus is closed, so  literally can’t go to work. I could work from home, but I won’t. I think I’ll work a thousand times more efficient next week if I now take a proper break. And do all the stuff I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Starting today.

This morning I joined the boyfriend on his cycle to work and went to the gym. It actually went quite well! Ever since I had my break from the gym, I’ve been having a really hard time with cardio. My trainer told me that if I want to lose some weight (no, I am not on a diet but I would definitely not mind losing a few kilos), I should train between 60 and 70 percent of my maximal heart rate. Now, that is a lot lower than I have been training. And it’s been a real challenge to stay in that zone while on the cross-trainer (or elliptical, whatever you call it). I go a lot slower than I used to (I am now below 60 rotations per minutes, I used to be above 70), and I had to set the resistance level to zero. Oops. But this morning, I managed to have 65 rotations per minute and have the ideal heart rate for 45 minutes! Win!

After the gym I cycled to my brother’s to pick up the car that we share. I was going to drive to a garden centre a little bit out of town to buy some plants for a hedge (I think it’s called privet but I’m not sure, translation problem here). But the satnav let me down. 50 kms and an hour and a half later, I was back home and didn’t find any of the two garden centres I looked for. To say I was annoyed and angry would be an understatement. But nothing a cheese toastie and a cuppa can’t fix.

So after lunch, I called every garden centre I knew around town, and finally found one that not only I could find without the satnav, but they also sold the plant I was looking for. I’ve ordered it for Thursday.

I had two options then really. Stay home and sulk, or make use of the car before I had to bring it back. I picked the latter, so proud of myself! (My New Year’s resolution seems to working quite well nowadays, for those who were wondering.) So I did some shopping and went to a smaller garden centre to buy some fun stuff: a few rose plants, small lavender bushes, and two small red current bushes! After dropping the car back off at my brother’s, time to plant some stuff!

Our garden is tiny, but I really want to make it feel like our little oasis of peace. It’s surrounded by other apartments so it’s not exactly the kind of peace I was looking for, but the way it is now it already makes a world of difference in our busy lives. Below our bedroom window, I now have a row of roses. Next to it, some lavender that will hopefully keep the mosquitos out of the bedroom in summer. At the back of the garden there used to be overgrowth of a bush from the neighbours, but I completely cut it down and dug it out. That’s where I put the berries. Can’t wait for them to grow and make a weekly red current crumble! On the side of the garden I cleared up a space to plant some veggies. I’ll do that tomorrow. And the other side, that’s where we’ll put the hedge. It might not really make a lot of sense, but when it’s finished I’ll post a photo so you can see the result.

I finished the day off by cooking a massive serve of chilli, of which we ate way too much, and now we are happily relaxing on the couch. Relaxing turns out to be a lot more fun when you actually have something to relax from. This day had everything to become a massive disaster, but what a lovely day it was in the end!

Happy Sunny Ramblings

Yes! Finally! It has happened! Ladies and Gentlemen, Spring Has Arrived!

My goodness you have no idea how much I’ve been craving for this. Or if you’ve been following my blog, you probably do, as I often complain about how I miss the sun. And not just the sun, but the possibilities it brings. Coming home from work when it’s still light out, it changes your whole day. I feel like doing stuff in summer after work, rather than just sitting on the couch and relaxing, I want to go for walks and do some spring cleaning and garden and cook and just listen to music in the sun. And that’s the funny bit. In winter, when I don’t do anything I get frustrated. But in summer, doing nothing is the best and makes me feel amazing.

Yesterday, it was that first day of sun-laziness. It was 19 degrees out and super sunny! So I put out the picnic blanket in our tiny little garden and just lied about. Bit of music, cup of coffee, maybe a book for a while… Ah, the life! I felt on top of this world! (And sunburnt by the evening, so I bought myself some new sunscreen.)

Today, the sun has gone again, but I am ready for its return. We went out to buy a hammock 😀 It was a bit of a disaster to build the stand, but it’s up now and ready to be used extensively! We also got some extra gardening equipment and later this week (I have a holiday from work this week) I will go to the garden centre to buy a few small plants for a hedge. Exciting! And then I can also start planting some veggies. And a berry bush!

I have a massive to-do list for this holiday week. And I feel like, if the sun does indeed stay out, I might just actually do all of it! I have to urgently clean the shower, go through my papers to see if I haven’t missed some important stuff, do that gardening, and I am planning to do some awesome cooking. I am going to try a shrimp curry, samosas, and I’ll also make a big load of chilli to put in the freezer in one-person portions for a lazy day. Painting is also on the list, some sort of super colourful paint splash out. I’m really excited to get started, but oddly enough, even though I am well excited, I am still sitting on my butt on the couch and have been doing so for the last two hours.

Time to get up! Off I go 🙂 Oh yeah, and not to forget: I’ve challenged myself to go to the gym every day of the week! Let’s see how it goes, I’m looking forward to giving you a hopefully very succesfull update 🙂