It’s easy being green: What St. Patricks Day 2015 looked like

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Hello y’all!

It feels like ages since I’ve blogged, but that’s probably because it has been ages since I blogged.

What have I been up to? Dance training, starting and finishing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange Is The New Black), job interviews, reading some new fun stuff and celebrating Paddy’s Day. ‘Cause hey, when in Ireland, do as the Irish do.

Last year I spent the 17th of March  on the couch – surrounded by Lemsip, tissues and glasses of flat 7UP (the famous Irish cure-everything). Therefore I decided that this year, everything should be green but my face.

I met up with a friend in town to watch the parade in O’Connell Street, right smack in the middle of Dublin City Center. But the thing that is actually most fun on St. Patricks Day is just watching the green crowd. People who try to walk and   apply temporary tattoos of shamrocks and rainbows and harps to their face at the same time. People who have completely leprechaunized themselves. People who have GoPro’s glued to the green hat they are wearing while holding a selfie stick to be sure to capture every shade of green around. It was pretty unbelievably amazing.

As it was a tad cold and quite hard to see the parade (I saw most of it throw camera screens of people a few rows in front of me), my friend and me decided to watch the last half of the parade on TV, followed by the Irish movie “The War of the Buttons”, a movie I’d totally recommend.

Cheers Paddy.

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Ideas and drafts that never actually made my blog (yet?)

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Before starting this blog I had this irrational fear of running out of ideas merely a month after starting. Fortunately, quite the opposite has happened. Since starting, more and more ideas are coming to me. At the moment I have two notebooks that I use for blog ideas (there’s always one missing, until I find it and then the other one has gone) and they are overflowing with doodles and anecdotes and keywords. It’s more than I’d ever be able to write down.

I guess I am quite an impulsive blogger, and go with whatever excites me at that moment. And yes, sometimes that’s just a sandwich, and sometimes thoughts on expat life have my preference. There could be tons of reasons why an idea or draft didn’t make my blog, and this list will give an inkling of what might have happened along the road to Blogville and why some drafts will always stay drafts. A list of  blog post ghosts, if you will.

1. The picture on top of this blog post was made around a year ago, I think. I was walking through St. Anne’s Park and suddenly came across this type of roses that are officially called Paddy Stephens. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and promised myself that if I’d ever start blogging (I had been playing with the thought for years), Paddy Stephens was definitely going to be featured. The blog post was going to be called “Paddy Stephens, we meet again”, as I’d go back to St. Anne’s Park and take a picture when they were fully bloom – a sentimental rant on the change Paddy and me had made in the time we hadn’t seen each other (I was going to be slimmer and richer, for sure). Sadly, I moved away from that area of Dublin and don’t think I’ll be going back any time soon, as I now live closer to the Phoenix Park.

2. “Give it up for Lent” – pretty self explanatory this one. I never posted it because I was busy and late with it, but also because there wasn’t much I gave up (takeaways) and just not much to say about it in general.

3. “I slept in a Castle, I’m now only two talking birds away from becoming a Disney princess.” So this happened a few weeks ago. I was going to sleep in the Castle Hotel Oud Poelgeest near Leiden, and had planned on something of a review, or some awesome pictures. Or transcribe the spectacular dialogue with a ghost I was definitely going to meet. Turned out the actual hotel was not IN the castle, but overlooking the castle. It was awesome altogether but I couldn’t put myself to blogging about it as I didn’t get any closer to becoming a Disney princess.

4. “Greetings, friend” Was going to be about playing Hearthstone, an online game I became addicted to over Christmas. There just wasn’t much more to add to what I already mentioned in a weekly round up blog post, bar the fact that Hearthstone is the bloody bees knees and everyone needs it in their lives. Oh, I did start jotting down the names of characters I had been up against because for some reason I though that would be cool: Mr. Dickbutt, Optimus, YOUMADBRO, Lobo and BeardedCake.

5. “Three shower gels from Boots I adore” Quite frankly, I just thought you guys wouldn’t give a shit.

6. “Puns found in the Metro Herald”. When I moved to Coolmine I started commuting daily by train, and was thoroughly enjoying the puns the Metro Herald journos made. I really really really love puns. Especially Harry Potter related puns. Make a Harry Potter related pun and I’ll probably go down on one knee and offer you onion rings. Okay where was I? On a Friday I decided to start make pictures of the puns in the paper, and on Monday I read that it was Metro’s last week before taken out of print. I had a few pictures by the end of the week, but they weren’t the best pictures or puns so I didn’t go ahead with a post on that. 7. I hadn’t named this blog post yet but the plan was to bake a Chocolate Courgette cake and share the recipe and my thoughts. Chocolate and Courgette cake was a hip and happening thing on Tumblr and blogs a while back and I definitely wanted to try it out as people had been raving about it. Also I wanted to go all Masterchef on it and experiment and throw in some jelly beans or chopped up pistachios or thyme and bake magic. Besides having had much time to do it, I’m also just not much of a baker, I like cooking a lot better and I feel I’m a tad better at it.

8. “Books people read on the train”. A project I officially gave up on this morning, for a number of reasons. One being that people just don’t read much books on the train anymore, or at least not as much as there are people looking at their phone. Another, more important reason was the fact that it made me feel like a right creep. I wanted to make pictures of the books being read/held by people, without those people being visible or very recognizable (’cause taking pictures of unknowing strangers and putting them on the www is not cool), but that’s a bloody hard thing to do. This morning I saw someone read a book and was at the angle  of shooting a picture that wouldn’t have been creepy, if there wasn’t a person next to me looking weirdly after seeing me opening the camera on my phone and point it at a stranger. And then pointing at my shoes as a distraction. Let’s just say it didn’t work out.

9. In one of my notebooks, I read the sentence “I’m a hamburger snob now”, which I obviously thought at that moment was a phenomenal title and subject for a blog post, I just can’t for the life of me remember what this was about.

Bloggers out there, do you have ideas or drafts never reaching their final form and what are the reasons behind it?

A walk through the hood

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Okay let’s settle this first. I saw the dress in white and gold for a whole morning, until I don’t know what happened but suddenly I could only see it in blue and black. What even is life?

For today’s blog post I thought it might be cool to show you around this neighbourhood of mine. I moved here last December and can now call myself a proud Coolminion. Coolmine is located somewhere between Clonsilla and Blanchardstown in Dublin 15. It doesn’t have that many interesting features, but it is supposedly kinda close-ish to a castle. Only a 30 minute walk from where I live, and if I wanted to take a bus out there it would take me around 40 minutes to get there. Dublin buses are special. Since the weather has been quite fierce for the last few weeks, I’ll save the castle for a non-rainy day and will report back to you guys later.

I discovered the #1 Takeaway Restaurant just after Lent had started. Bollocks. I hadn’t given up on some food in particular, but I did promise myself to not get any takeaways. Only a month and a bit to go, no biggie. Welcome to the hood, bro. SAM_0699 SAM_0714 SAM_0742 SAM_0707 SAM_0732 SAM_0698 SAM_0718 SAM_0739 SAM_0748

6 Magical things my Italian friend taught me

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No, my friend is not Joey Tribbiani. I am pretty sure about this, since my friend loves sharing her food, much to my waistlines dismay. The two do have something in common though. Wisdom. Lots of it.

On haute cuisine.
Don’t put fucking ketchup on pasta. Every time you put ketchup on pasta, an Italian dies. On that note: No pineapple on pizza. Please.

On short people.
No worries. “The best wine comes in small bottles.”

On parmesan.
Do you know those triangle cheese blocks you buy in the supermarket that come in plastic? And then when you’ve used it once and want to use it the next time, the cheese looks all sweaty and tastes manky? Once used, remove all the plastic and wrap the cheese in paper kitchen towel, then in a dry cloth, and then back in the fridge.

On communication.
Trying to make a point? If you don’t speak with your hands, you’re not speaking at all.

On regrets and constantly living in the past.
U se u l’é u paie de cujasse.  Meaning: “What if” is the father of all stupid people. Don’t keep looking back on what could have been. Look at the future.

On wisdom.
“Don’t always listen to what an Italian tells you. We think we’re the best thing since nutella.”


10 Ways in which Dublin has changed me

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Having moved to Dublin from the Netherlands a bit over a year ago, people sometimes ask me if I have changed anything or much since. In general, I don’t think I’ve changed all that much (although I’m also not a 100% sure if I’d be the best judge of that). But there are some things I do differently now, and here’s a list of them.

1. I kiss people less often.
Okay I should probably explain that right? In the Netherlands it’s custom to kiss each other three times on the cheek (left, right, left) if you haven’t seen the other person in a while, if it’s someone’s birthday, if you’re happy to see someone, or just because you feel like it. In Ireland, I still haven’t really discovered THE way of greeting someone. I think it’s two kisses, but not always and since I was so used to three, I’ve had quite a few awkward encounters in which I was suddenly kissing the air or bumpin’ heads.
Instead, I now opt for a high-five or just spread my arms like wings ready for take-off, so people know hugs-a-comin.

2. Money talk.
Dutchies tend to be a lot more secretive about money stuff. Here, straight up questions like “What did that cost?” are a lot more common and I’ve become more open discussing money stuff too. “12 euro on sale, New Look.”

3. My parsnip intake has increased by a 100%.
It’s just not a hip and happening vegetable in the Netherlands. Good story.

4. I walk a lot, lot more.
Even when I had a bike here, I opted for walking most of the time as not all the roads are bike proof. Also, the public transport is complicated and terrible.
Walking is the way to go.

5. A sea of tea.
I drink more tea with more milk, and leave the teabag in my cup so it gets nice and strong. This has nothing to do with someone telling me that “taking your teabag out is for wimps”, btw.
Also, I bulk buy tea now. In the Netherlands there’s usually a lousy 20 teabags in a packet, over here the small packets contain 80, and regular packets of tea 160.
Favourite tea? Barry’s. Runner up? Tetley’s.

6. Face paint.
I’ve started using a lot more make-up. Women tend to wear more make-up here, especially in or for their jobs, and I started to feel shabby and bare without any, as if I had put less effort in.
Also, eyebrows are life.

7. I play the lotto now.
Had never played it until moving here. The Irish are partial to a gamble and there’s countless betting shops about. Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Boyle Sports. I’m not even sure if those type of shops are a thing in the Netherlands.
Since in Dublin prices-for-everything are rocketing through the roof (just an example: 6,50 euro for a pint, no problem), I might as well join in on the hunt for a pot of gold. Also, there’s a bit more of a buzz around the lotto here. Especially when it’s announced there’s been a big local win, there’s quite some speculation going on.

8. I eat more pureed soup.
In the Netherlands soup is usually almost see-through with big chunks of vegetable. I enjoyed the Irish pureed soup a lot more, until that time someone said they thought it resembled baby food. Oh.

9. Jaysus.
A few classic local expressions are now incorporated in my day to day vocabulary. The favourite among the dance mums in the class, “Ahh jaysus”, was first to escape my mouth. “Ahh lads gowan…” and “that’s gas” followed soon after.

10. “This will make for a good story.”
The Irish attitude towards bad luck and unexpected events made me more relaxed about certain situations. I’ve seen two of my teachers chuckle over a lost house key: “Oh dear, what are we to do now?” A group of dancers had their car break down on their way to the World Championships and all the while laughing they told me the adventures they went through to get there in the end. “It wouldn’t be a proper journey without at least one car breaking down, right?”
Been on a pub crawl with a group of friends and lost several items (a phone, a coat, money, glasses)? No problem, we’ll just do the whole pub crawl again tonight and get our belongings back.
Things that would upset or annoy a lot of people, the Irish don’t seem to be bothered about too quickly.
Why worry about things you can’t control? They are adventures and they’ll make for a good story.

A sandwich that tastes like new laptop (Lunch recipe)

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Looking past some of my previous blog posts I made the shocking observation that there’s a serious lack of sandwiches. Like really. My last post on this stems from more than three months ago. Yikes.

So here finally goes. A simple one. I had something like this the day I had just bought my new laptop, and because of the lack of WiFi at my old place, I went into Starbucks t0 use theirs and to install some stuff and look all cool and edgy and awesome sitting with mah new laptop in Starbucks yo. I ordered some tropical juice and this roll and since then it has become one of my absolute faves. Feeling on top of the world with my new buy probs added to that also. A bit.

What?

Making this sandwich at home I opted for an Italian-ish seedy baguetty thing, but any bread will do. I mixed half a cut up red chilli pepper and some black pepper with 2/3 spoons of cream cheese and spread this out over the sandwich. Throw some smoked salmon on top and and add a tiny bit of lemon juice.

I really enjoy the spicyness of this.

Now you’re good to go for a whole afternoon of downloading Friends and Downton Abbey, signing up for Netflix and having a panic attacks thinking you might have broken your new laptop already. Or you know, whatever you had planned that day.

For the sake of lunch and vitamins I cut up some tiny tomatoes of various colours and mixed them with a tiny spoon of pesto genovese. Those tomatoes that look like they just went over to the Dark side are called dark plum tomatoes. I didn’t know that until I saw a punnet of these in Lidl.
What a lovely story. Thanks.

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Sandwich fanatic like me? I’m a noob having fun experimenting with toppings. Keepin’ it simple. Someone who’s a real champ at sandwiches is Stephanie Smith, blogger from the amazing 300 sandwiches blog (and soon cookbook!). Her blog is definitely worth a look. Enjoy🙂

A fine ol’ Sunday

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It’s Monday and I am already longing for the weekend, when it was a just simpler yet sweeter life. To savour as much as possible, lemme just jot down this incredibly peaceful didnothingmuchanditwasheaven Sunday.

I strolled to Blanch Shopping Center, which now only took me 20 mins instead of an hour, thanks to my flatmate who showed me how it’s done. Went into Argos and finally bought a bedside lamp. It’s cheap and plastic and blue and close to horrifying. A real nightmare come true. But until now I only had a “big” light that could only be switched off from across the room, so getting to bed in the dark was quite an adventure. This bad boy is gonna save me either some bruises from bumping into every piece of bloody furniture while getting across, or save me from crawling which is what I opted for after my legs had turned 50 shades of purpely blue from trying to walk the route.

Discussed the possibility of having some naughty leprechauns somewhere in the house. My flatmate told me her keys had gone missing twice. Both times she was forced to jump out of her window (she’s on the ground floor, calm down) in order to get to her job in time, and both times she found them back in a place where she had already looked several times. Since I am on the first floor and jumping out of my window is not an option (well only the one time then, and then I’d be pretty much stuck anyway), I am now sleeping with my keys.

I finally finished reading “The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year” by Sue Townsend. I got it as a bday pressie back in October but due to some busy times I only managed to get through it now. I don’t read a lot of books at the moment, or at least not quite as much as I used to do before and while doing my bachelor in Literature (*gasp*). Nevertheless I really enjoyed this one. It’s an interesting piece that’s incredibly funny, even though the underlying tone and context (dealing with life’s disappointments) is quite sad and even sinister. I liked how the book formed, besides describing main character Eva and her dealings with the world, a framework for countless of histories, background stories and anecdotes. Not one character is boring, and not one character is a 100% likeable which makes it all the more interesting.

Other things I have done this Sunday

-Tried to sort out socks, make ’em matching. Remembered Dobby’s opinion on the matter. Stopped and watched more HIMYM.

-Discovered “we” have a Lidl. Bought stuffed mushrooms and salmon and courgettes.

-Had a lil bag of Randoms. Unfortunately there were no foamies in there. Sob.

-Skyped with my folks.

-Saw Esmee Denters the Voice UK audition. What a comeback. Rock on girlo.

-Played more Hearthstone, obviously. There was one extraordinary draw situation in which I won in the very last moment with just one point difference. Victory.

11 Pictures Showing Why Dublin Is The Sassiest Of All Capitals

I’ve lived in Dublin for a year and a half now, and as the snapshots on my phone here will suggest, there is no city quite like it.

Stay epic, you!

onesieThe fashion. I mean look at this gangster in his onesie, basically winning at life.

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And we go the extra mile on March 17th (St. Patricksday).

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Organizing unforgettable  birthday parties is no problemo.

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And cleanliness is like, everything.

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Naming shops? Dublin likes to keep it real.

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Real.

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People leave sweet lil messages…

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And are not bothered to mind each other’s kids. Cute.

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Dublin serves some classy food as well.

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See? Oh… Why Judy, you so silly.

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And after a long day of being epic, Dublin sleeps peacefully with some help of one of his local legends, Mattress Mick. Good on ye Mick.

Now, what’s the craic with you?

4 things that happened in the past week #4

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Gastonishing
Seems one of my favourite (loveable no, entertaining yes) Disney characters is going through a rough time. In a few weeks time two videos of a Meet ‘n Greet with Gaston in Disney World went viral. In the first one a little girl named Isabella totally put him in his place, telling him “the Beast is gonna beat you and he is gonna marry Belle!”. In the second, a guy challenges him to do a push up-battle (which totally turns against him in the end). These videos sparked me to find more vids on YouTube in which this Gaston is featured and they all entertained me big time. Like the character, the actor walking the park as Gaston behaves like a total self-involved douche, but in the most funny way possible. There’s some signature lines he does that I find really amusing. After a meet and greet he often says stuff like “Pleasure to meet me, the honour was all yours.”
My, what a guy, that Gaston!

Hearthstone
Apart from some Tetris now and again, I have never done much online gaming or video games. As a kiddo we did have a Nintendo and I remember playing some Super Mario, a Darkwing Duck platform game (“Let’s get dangerous!”) and some Lion King Pinball thing which I thought was superfun. But, having two very fanatic older brothers meant I often ended up watching. In the past week I got into playing Hearthstone, a free online card game developed by Blizzard. It’s kind of a strategic game in which you let minions, beasts and other character “battle” with each other until you can “destroy” your opponents hero. Sounds lovely init? For me it has a similar feel as table top game Citadels, to which I got quite addicted to this summer (even when I kept losing). Best thing about Hearthstone is that you can chose a hero from 9 characters, and they all have different kinds of powers and different spells. There’s also loads of cards and decks to chose from, so it won’t get boring anytime soon. Oh, and it’s terribly addictive and awesome.

Soul Food
During my stay in the Netherlands over the Christmas holidays I went out for dinner at De La Soul, a small restaurant in the center Leiden. They serve what they call “soulfood”, which is, what I understood, a mixture of Creole, Caribbean and Cajun food. Whatever it exactly was it was absolutely savage and I can’t wait to go back there. De La Soul serves small dishes with a small-ish price tag so it’s a good idea to order a few dishes, much like eating tapas. Among other hings I had Chicken and Waffles for the first time in my life (I did not know this was a thing!) and some mac and four cheeses. Especially that last one was OMGSOYUMMY and I easily could’ve eaten like six bowls of that, no problem.

Bye, Bye Coat
My flight back to Dublin wasn’t my favourite one to date. After watching some HIMYM (yes, I have proceeded to do that!) at the gate I stood up to board, during which I must have forgotten to grab my coat to queue. Realizing I forgot it four minutes later, I confidently walked back to the bench I was sitting before to grab it, but it was gone. I spoke to a few staff members but nothing was turned in and there was no cleaning service around, so I can only assume someone must’ve taken/stolen it. It’s an odd feeling stepping onto a plane knowing there might be people there that might have taken something from you, unintentionally you start to look different to people.
Coatwise, it was a snazzy black and white TK-Maxx bargain and I felt really classy in it. Wherever you are, you will be sadly missed.
To cheer myself up I got an Aer Lingus snackpack that contained cheese, hummus, breadsticks, crackers and a Lily O’Brien chocolate. Not too shabby.

My utterly ridiculous and unattainable wish list for 2015

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          In the clouds (somewhere over England)

Well hello!

The new year has begun and blogs are buzzing with lists of resolutions, goals and wishes to make it a dashing 2015. My realistic wish list would probably be very much alike most of them. Wishes for world to be a more calm and peaceful place. Health and happiness for my loved ones. Personally, try to sleep more (there’s just so much to do!). Keep fit. Eat healthier (first meal of the year was an after midnight monster sandwich involving brie, ham and bacon so yeah, ’nuff said).

But besides those, what would I wish for in an anything can happen magical world?

1. That I finally got my Hogwarts letter (About time!)

2. Grow some natural curls in my hair

3. Finding a golden ticket to visit Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory

4. Beat my boyfriend at a game of chess (it seems it just can’t be done)

5. Beat my boyfriend at a game of Carcassonne

6. Or any game really (except for Yahtzee, I am a Yahtzee queen)

7. Build or buy a tree house (I don’t have a garden or a tree)

8. Land a career as a Couponing queen

9. Being asked to judge on X Factor

10. That no characters will die in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones (I haven’t read the books (sssssssshh) so I’m both excited and mortified for the new season)

And you, what would you wish for if anything was possible?