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!

Why I Will Never Diet, But Opt For an Active Lifestyle Instead

I finally started going to the gym again! I got a bit bored of it a few months back, so I decided to go kickboxing once a week and to take up running again. But then I had a problem with my foot and I was out for 2 months. And I gained so much weight, again ūüė¶

Weight and me have always had a bad relationship. I blame it on a thousand things. I have never been skinny, not even as a child, so I think I can safely blame it partly on my metabolism. Also, as you might have noticed from some of my previous posts on food, I absolutely love eating. It is one of my favourite hobbies, rather than merely a necessity. And an annoying little side note: I hardly ever feel full. It is insane how much food I can eat without feeling ill. So naturally, if it is yummy, I eat too much of it. I also like cooking and baking. And if I decide to bake some brownies just because it’s a fun way to spend your Sunday afternoon, of course I end up eating them all. Even when I know perfectly well exactly how much butter and sugar go in there. Not to forget one of my all time favourite foods: cheese. I could have cheese for breakfast lunch and dinner, months at a time, and not get sick of it. Dutch cheese French cheese Italian cheese, even the English cheddar can take my fancy, not to forget some mature Stilton!

Once, I went on a diet. I even went to a food specialist, wanted to do it right. I was 15 years old and 15 kilos lighter than I am now. Yes, it didn’t go so well. Let’s just say I tend to overcompensate. 1 weak of good dieting (i.e. a lot less cheese, smaller portions, no more sandwiches with chocolate spread for breakfast, bye bye to the occasional pizza,…) usually ended with one meal consisting¬†of a bag of crisps, a massive pizza, a whole package of chocolate, and all the cheese I could find. I never crave all this stuff (at least not in those quantities and combinations) when I’m not on a diet. Dieting makes me binge, badly. So to conclude: I will never go on a diet again. Not only does it make you moody as fuck, I end up gaining more than I wanted to lose. And those binge kilos¬†stick. I’d even dare say: I am too scared to try dieting again!

The only way for me to feel more healthy: sports! When I lived in Australia, I was at the most skinny (yes, that is relative) I had been in a long time. 68 kilos. And I didn’t even try. I worked as a waitress and housekeeper, so I was on my feet all day. In my free time, I’d go running simply because the scenery was so nice, it was a good way to enjoy it. Or I’d go for long hikes with friends. Or I’d go swimming. It’s just the perfect country for an outdoor and active lifestyle and I miss it every day.

Since I got back, it’s been nearly impossible to keep¬†my brand new active lifestyle up. I’m back at the old 72kgs. If you know I am only 1.64m tall, you know it is too much. I sit behind my desk all day at work, the furthest I walk is to the coffee machine and back. When I get home after a boring train ride, I want to spend some time with my boyfriend and enjoy a nice meal together, and then there is no time left to go to the gym. And I don’t like running in the dark. It’s boring. And cold.

But now the boyfriend decided he wants to go to the gym too! So we can go together! I am absolutely loving it. I had a sufficient break from the boring work outs and I know so many different exercises, I can mix my work out up a little bit and have little chats with my favourite person in between. And when I’m on the cross trainer and he’s on the treadmill, I like staring at him and making faces when he notices me. We try to go three times a week and I hope it’ll get me healthier again.

I’m trying to cut back on the food as well, but not as a diet. The only changes I am making are changes I am willing to be permanent. So I am NOT saying goodbye to cheese. I’m simply trying to maybe not put it in every dish I make. I choose lighter breakfasts in the week and when I feel like it in the weekend, I only have three chocolate spread sandwiches at most. (Mind you: I could eat a whole loaf of bread with the heavenly spread if really wanted to. So cutting down to three slices will do for now.) I cook slightly less food as well, so that I am not tempted to go for seconds. It’s not that I am ever still hungry after the first serve, more that I just want to have more.¬†And if I want the occasional pizza, I will have the occasional pizza! That way I ease my craving and won’t go binging.

Ever since I can’t wear make-up anymore because of my allergies, I am a lot more conscious about my weight. I have chubby hamster cheeks, and somehow they are less prominent if I make my eyes jump out a bit more. Really, make-up was never the solution, but it did make me feel more pretty. Now, I guess I’m gonna have to really work hard to feel more pretty.

I will never be skinny and I have been fine with that for a long time, but I would like to feel healthy. And finally, I feel like I am on the right track again. When it gets to summer, I’ll be ready for spending all my free time outside again! And hopefully this time it won’t stop!

New Year’s Resolution Update 1 – Guitar

So far I’ve been doing quite well for¬†my New Year’s resolution. I can’t say it’s been perfect, but then again New Year’s resolutions are mostly known for failing them, so I’m quite happy with myself. To refresh your memories: I want to spend less time watching shows and playing games on my computer, and therefore more time on other stuff that I lost touch with. So I set myself the rule to not switch on my computer for these purposeless purposes before 8.30pm. I know that’s still a lot of time left for crappy shows, but I have to start somewhere.

And this has been a decent start. Although I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve spent so much time on wondering what to do with my time. I’m just sort of walking about, very close to giving in. I have given in a few times, but at least as often I actually came up with something to do. Like Sunday for example, I decided to go walk in my new runners and discover¬†a few more of fun¬†paths around our home. I did. And I discovered there was a lot of mud. So consider my shoes mudded in.

Today, I played guitar! I always forget about my guitar, even though it’s standing right in our living room. I have this Spotify playlist I keep adding songs to that have nice guitar parts, hoping to one day play them. I am so out of practice, so even when I google the chords or tabs or try to jot down some notes, it all feels very foreign. But hopefully I can start playing regularly again and I’ll be back to normal in no time?

Anyways, I just wanted to share one of the songs with you. It’s got such a nice swing to it. And then I literally mean swing, the swinging my hand does when the strumming comes on. I have never been a very good guitar player, no impressive soloing and camp fire moments for me. But I do like a good jam. For me, that means easy chords, a bit of picking and a bit of strumming. And i even¬†like it quite¬†repetitive so I¬†can lose yourself in the swing.¬†Here it is, enjoy!

Break Free, dream version – Sweetfire

Some Winter Gardening

I just did some gardening! Ah, I feel wonderfully rejuvenated!

Gardening, I hear you ask? In what sort of tropical country do you live? Yes, you are right. It’s supposed to be winter in little Belgium. And according to common traditional beliefs, it’s supposed to be a cold one. (That is, the walnut trees are having exceptionally many walnuts. Apparently that means winter is gonna be extra wintery.) But not so far. Usually around this time of year you might just start hoping for a little bit of snow. We don’t always get snow. Sometimes it’s just a winter of sleet. But now it’s 10 degrees in the sun. I’m not complaining.

You see, I love winter. I’ve told you this before. But I miss being outside. I know some coldness shouldn’t stop me from exploring, but combined with a sore foot (went to a specialist today, still don’t really know what’s going on, but all the rest has been paying off, it’s slowly starting to get better), the wind and rain does tend to keep me inside.

But today it’s sunny! And I’m working from home. And the boyfriend is home as well. So while he was mowing the lawn, I trimmed this hedgethingy to make place for our Christmas tree. After the holidays, we want to plant it in the garden and hopefully dig it back up for next year. I love having a real tree in the house, the smell of it, the prickly branches, the wonderful colours. But it’s not the nicest decoration for the environment and I do like to do my part in living more ecological and environment friendly. And I think recycling your Christmas tree a few years in a row is definitely a step in the right direction.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I got distracted again. I merely wanted to tell you about the wonderful feeling of sunshine you might still vaguely remember from last summer. (For the southerners amongst you: oh well.)

It’s insane how amazing you feel after a good dose of vitamin D. In winter even more than in summer, I’d dare say! The air is so wonderful fresh and with every breath you take you feel like you are being reborn into a happier version of yourself. Yes. I remember now. This is another one of the reasons why I like winter. The freshness.

Good Ol’ Snow, maybe hold off on visiting us a little bit longer? I am very much looking forward to seeing you again, don’t get me wrong, but for now I am happy with the sun, thank you very much!

The Perfect Break From Work: Digital Drawing

Working from home is the best! I have so much more energy, I spend less hours working but get so much more done. And in between work, I have time for fun stuff and I actually manage to enjoy myself! As I told you in my previous posts, this is all quite new to me. I’ve never been very good at working from home. I guess it also helps I have a few more immediate deadlines and some new goals that aren’t too far away.

But anyways, I just wanted to share with you something I managed to do in my spare time. You see, I used to love drawing and¬†painting. Not just with pencil drawing up shapes, for me it’s the colours that do it. But I’m not particularly talented and mostly quite inspirationless. So I don’t want to spend all my expensive paint on just a weird idea. I have this old tablet that used to be my best friend while travelling and now sort of moved to the bottom of the cupboard, but it has this awesome Note application. With the little pen that came with it, you can pick different drawing styles (I always go for pencil because you can blend in the colours quite well, just like with the painting style I like using) and a huge variety of colours. And for someone as untalented ad me, the Eraser and Undo functions come in massively handy.

Since it is winter time, I got my inspiration of a¬†Christmas card. Here’s the result! I’m quite proud of it really, I might just try it out with my paints!

But first I’ll do a little bit more work. I’m on fire today!

Landscape note_20151128_134257