Thursday, June 27, 2013

Because we can - live!

So the first concert I ever went to was on 1 December 1995 - Bon Jovi – These days. I can’t believe it was 18 years ago!  I actually found a youtube clip from that concert … somewhere in that crowd there is a 18 year old me, singing her little heart out.

Also, since it was 18 years ago I don’t have any photos … sad hey.

Anyway, since then I have been to a couple more concerts but not to another Bon Jovi concert, till last weekend.

If you were around in January you might, probably not, remember that I had a bet going with my friend Noreen. We both wanted to lose 5Kg and as a motivational tool we said that whoever took the longest to lose the weight will have to buy the ‘winner’s ticket.

Now, few things in life can motivate me as much as the idea of saving money meaning I was as good as gold and won the bet.
For some reason Noreen no longer wants to make any similar bets with me. I just don’t get it.

Anyway, back to last weekend. I only worked ½ on Friday and took the train up to Duffel where Noreen lives. She picked me up at the station and we hit the road.  2½ hours later we were checking into our hotel on the outskirts of Cologne.

Next stop, central Cologne for a bit of retail therapy at TKMaxx. Starbucks and a walk down to the Dom (the big Cathedral). Only we never got there. We got distracted by an Irish pub, decided to stop and have a quick cider and ended up sitting there for hours.

Saturday morning it was back to the shops and let me tell you we shopped till we dropped.

The concert was set to start at 6 so we went back to our hotel to shower and change. The venue was quite close by but it was raining so we just took a cab over. By the time we got there it had cleared up.

After picking up a t-shirt for Noreen’s daughter, some food and drinks we made our way in. We got about ½ way into the crowd but because we are both rather short and surrounded by very tall Germans we couldn’t see much. Not even on the screens. We later discovered that it was much better at the back. It wasn’t crowed and the sound was much better. Yeah for some reason the sound quality was not fantastic but it really was better the further away from the stage you were.  

They had a great set list which included songs from their new cd and some of the classics.

We had a blast. After 30 years of doing this they still seem to enjoy doing it. Obviously Richie was missed but Theo (filos Xenidis) did a great job. I also think that Tico Torres is looking hot for someone who is nearly 60! ( he will be 60 on Tiger’s 9th birthday).

I wonder if they have another world tour in them? I would love to go, even if I have to buy my own ticket.

Jon and the local support act .. images via Google

apartment blocks in the shape of an industrial crane! pretty cool

Noreen - just discovered that you could order a venti at starbucks!

The original 7411 building

A piece of the Dom

me wearing my new shoes ... i love buying shoes

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Corner shop?

This week's topic is shopping cause I mean 99% of you will admit that shopping is/can be fun.

I’m pretty sure that you could write quite a bit about shopping in Belgium, depending on from which angle you were looking at it.  So I’ll just tell you about the things that I found strange/frustrating about shopping in Belgium. Mind, some of these things no longer annoy me, I’ve gotten used to them.

Okay, shops are open between 10:00 and 7:00 Monday – Thursday, and if you are lucky, 8:00 on a Friday. Or some of the bigger supermarkets will be open till 9:00 on a Friday.

Very few shops are open on a Sunday. For example, we have a small supermarket which is open on a Sunday, on account of being closed on a Monday.  And while this is very convenient they make up for it by being quite a bit more expensive.

Over the course of the last year or saw a chain of delis have opened across Belgium and they are open 7 days a week till 10 at night. But again, you pay top ‘dollar’ for it.

Smaller shops are also closed on Mondays, especially shops like hairdressers or the bakeries.

And you might not believe it but there are a grand total of 8 shopping centres in Belgium – I kid you not. So if you come from a country where shopping malls are king you might be in for a bit of a shock.

The pharmacies are tiny! And most products must be asked for, even pain killers! Back in South Africa pharmacies are like little supermarkets so it was quite a shock for me when we first moved over here.

Every town / village has at least 2 bakeries. They will be open on Sunday mornings often with  a queue snaking out the door.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Because we can

Right, so as you may or may not know, back in the beginning of the year my friend Noreen & I made a bet and that the loser would have to pay for the winners' Bon Jovi concert ticket. So this past weekend was the weekend.

We had a great time, but I'll write a post about it later, when I have some pictures to share.  For now I'm linking up for Musical Mondays with My so called chaos.

Because we can

I don't wanna be another wave in the ocean
I am a rock, not just another grain of sand (that's right)
I wanna be the one you run to when you need a shoulder
I ain't a soldier but I'm here to take a stand because we can

She's in the kitchen starin' out the window
So tired of livin' life in black and white
Right now she's missin' those technicolour kisses
When he turns down the lights
But lately feelin' like a broken promise
In the mirror starin' down his doubt
There's only one thing in this world that he'd know
He said forever and he'll never let her down

I don't wanna be another wave in the ocean
I am a rock, not just another grain of sand (that's right)
I wanna be the one you run to when you need a shoulder
I ain't a soldier but I'm here to take a stand because we can

Eatin' takeout on a coffee table
Paper dishes, pour a glass of wine
Turn down the sound and move a little closer
And for the moment everything is alright

I don't wanna be another wave in the ocean
I am a rock, not just another grain of sand (that's right)
I wanna be the one you run to when you need a shoulder
I ain't a soldier but I'm here to take a stand
Because we can, our love can move a mountain
We can, if you believe in we
We can, just wrap your arms around me
We can, we can

I don't wanna be another wave in the ocean (I don't wanna be)
I am a rock, not just another grain of sand (that's right)
Wanna be the one you run to when you need a shoulder
I ain't a soldier but I'm here to take a stand
(I am a, I am a, I am a...)
Because we can

I don't wanna be another wave in the ocean
I am a rock, not just another grain of sand (that's right)
I wanna be the one you run to when you need a shoulder
I ain't a soldier but I'm here to take a stand
Because we can (because we can)
Our love can move a mountain
We can, if you believe in we
We can, just wrap your arms around me
We can, we can
Because we can

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

15 differences

I saw this post on Ree's page (Confessions of a pioneer woman) and thought, oh that looks like fun!  So here goes:

He will never let a single drop of a smoothie cross his lips

I make a very healthy, spinach variety smoothie for myself at least 3 - 4 times a week for breakfast

He sleeps as late as he can (and manages to ignore most sounds, like the dogs begging to be let out)

I wake up, early, to let the dogs out, deal with the kids etc etc

He likes to drink Nesquick (by the pint)

I really don't like drinking milk, never mind Nesquick

He never drinks hot drinks

I love both coffee and tea (as long as I've been up and about for about an hour)

He can't remember the name of the last book he read

I'm always reading a book (The Reversal by Michael Connelly at the moment)

He has been known to mix up his left and his right when giving directions

I don't. Which has cause some interesting trips cause he said right, when he actually meant left

He does not care what he is wearing

I want to know that I look at least ½ way decent before leaving the house

He doesn't see the point of eating cereal

I think that cereal is the perfect meal, any time of the day

He would never order a salad

I have some sort of salad on a daily basis

He will only eat cooked tomatoes

I love tomatoes in all shapes and forms, raw and cooked

He hates salmon

I love salmon

He is a really good dancer

I can't dance

He appreciates a fine whisky

I could not tell you the first thing about whisky

He doesn't have a Facebook account (but he is on FB all the time)

I have a Facebook account but chances are if I made a comment it wasn't me but him (especially if it was a rude comment)


He is the strongest person I know (no jokes, the man has the strength of 10 regular guys)

My arms have the strength of cooked spaghetti                             

But hey, it's work for the past 15+ years so we must be doing something right.

How about you and your other half? Are you similar or like chalk and cheese?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Got milk?

Always, because in Belgium the milk doesn't go off. Huh? Okay, let me explain.

When we moved here the first time in 2000 we were totally stumped by the fact that we could not find fresh milk.  Anywhere. The only milk we could find was what is known as long-life or UHT (ultra-pasteurized) milk.

Then one day I got home from work to find a bottle of milk in the fridge. Don’t drink that, said the man.  It’s BAD.

But it was meant to be ‘bad’, it was buttermilk. Then we realized that if they sold buttermilk they had to also sell, fresh milk. And they do. You can find fresh milk in the fridges of any of the big supermarkets, but you have to go early, or else it will get sold out. Which explained why we could never find it? Plus the fact that the milk bottles didn’t look at all like we were used to/expected.

Now, 10 years later (we moved back to South Africa for 3 years) we have gotten used to the long life milk, well sort of. I never drink plain milk but I’m happy to use it tea and coffee or over some cereal. The kids are also happy to drink it if mixed with nesquick. And it is really handy that you can buy milk in bulk and not have to worry about it going bad.

That said, since our first year in Belgium things have ‘improved’ in so much that there seems to be more fresh milk being sold in the supermarkets and even some of the smaller ‘night shops’ will now stock it.

an example of our fresh milk ... image via google images

I have also heard of some people who buys their fresh milk directly from the dairy farms, and as nice as that sounds I really just don’t have the time to do that.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Passion for Fashion ... # 7 - photobomb

My outfit this week is really not blog worthy 
my shoes totally are!

So I'm linking up with:
 Lena B and Through the eyes of the Mrs.

Lena B, Actually

I Love these shoes!

Clearly I also got photobombed by a very cute little man, if I say so myself.

What are you wearing today or what did you wear this week? Link up and show us!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

and then this happened ...

Come let me take a nice photo of the two of you to send to nanna …..

Clearly they take after their dad!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ce vrai? / echt waar?

A couple of you comment on how much you would like to hear more about things that are particular to Belgium and life in Belgium. So I thought I would try to do a weekly post called: Ce vrai? / echt waar? Which basically just means: is it really true?

I was sure that it would be easy since there are so many things that you have to get used to but the thing is you get used to things and after a while you don’t notice them any more.

After spending some time thinking about it and asking my friends if they could think of anything,   I think I’ve come up with quite a list.

So here is the first ... of what I hope to be some interesting reading about life in Belgium.

Since this is what we ate last night I thought I would start off by telling you about the Belgian phenomenon that is fries.

Frites / Friets

Belgians take their fries seriously. More so than any other country does, you may ask? Well yes, and I can prove it:

  • on average, each Belgian consumes about 75 Kg/ 165 lbs of fries. This is a third more than the average American
  • there are more than 5000 'fry' shops in Belgium

Fries are also eaten as a meal on its own or as a side dish with just about anything. In fact, it is very strange if you go out for dinner and you are not at least offered fries as a standard side dish.

The most popular would be mussels and fries or stowe vleis (meat stew) with fries or, let not forget your kebab with fries. Yip, we also do kebabs in Belgium.

Just what is it that is so special about Belgian fries?

Well, let’s see. For the perfect frites/friets you need to use freshly peeled Bintje potatoes. Cut into roughly 1cm / 0.39 inch thick pieces.

They are then fried, twice in a combination of oil and beef and/or duck fat.  The first time they are fried at about approximately 160 ° C / 320 ° F. for 4 minutes. Then they are rested for about 30 min. The second time they are fried at about 192° C / 375° F for 2 – 3 minutes.

They are tossed, salted and served, in either a paper cone or a paper box (if you are taking it home and not eating it on the spot).  

And don’t forget to pick your sauce.

The most common topping is mayonnaise but you can also choose between many other sauces such as:
  • Ketchup
  • Aioli / Look-saus (garlic mayonnaise)
  • Pepper-sauce – (mayonnaise with green pepper)
  • Sauce Andalouse –( mayonnaise with tomato paste and peppers)
  • Sauce Americaine – (mayonnaise with tomato, chervil, onions, capers and celery)
  • "Bicky" Dressing (Gele Bicky-sauce), (a commercial brand made from mayonnaise, white cabbage, tarragon, cucumber, onion, mustard and dextrose)
  • Curry ketchup
  • Curry mayonnaise
  • Mammoet-sauce – (mayonnaise, tomato, onion, glucose, garlic, soy sauce)
  • Sauce "Pickles"- (a yellow vinegar based sauce with turmeric, mustard and crunchy vegetable chunks, similar to Piccalilli)
  • Samurai-sauce – (mayonnaise with harissa)
  • Tartar sauce
If ever you find yourself in Belgium you'll have to make sure you ask me where to find the best frites/friets ...

Bon appetite! / Smakelijk!

credit - google images

Summer loving

You know what happened to me this weekend? I was standing at the kitchen sink, finishing up the last of the dishes. Through the window I could smell the freshly mowed grass, the kids were laughing, and not fighting with each other. The sun was shining and there was a great song on the radio and I just thought to myself … Life is pretty great!

Then the kids started fighting, and life got real again.

But I’m not going to focus on that. We had a great weekend! On Friday we had drinks/dinner with my work colleagues, partners included. So for the first time most of us met the significant others of the people we work with.   And even though according to Himself & I the food was over prices and not that great we had fun. Until someone ordered some banana daiquiri’s .. I am not a fan!

I think we got home at around 3 - 3:30 … so we had fun.

Saturday the weather was fantastic! 26ºC / 78º F … which is why I spent as much time outside as possible, which means that very little got done inside the house … but who cares the weather was fantastic!

On Sunday the kids & I picked my mom up and made our way over to the annual St. Anthony’s faire.  It’s a great afternoon out for the family (though I’ll have to tell you that most dad’s/husbands would probably admit that they really only go to keep their wives happy).

My kids did what they do every year; they bought loads and loads of crap. Really! But since I’m planning on purging their bedrooms during the summer I didn’t care much. At least they got it all for next to nothing.

Tiger bought a pair of rollerblades for a euro. Cat and her friend Alannah bought loads of jewellery.  I bought books. 25 books and they cost me no more than 12 euro which is what I usually pay for a cheap book.

Pretty good weekend!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Stepping outside of my comfort zone

I hate photos of myself not because I have a bad self image but because I tend to look awkward in 9 out of 10 photos.  But I've decided to step outside my comfort zone and push myself to do something new.

However, as I'm sure I've mentioned once or a hundred times before I don't now much about fashion. To tell you the truth, I have a hard time buying clothes for myself that I look good in. Thank goodness Himself is much better at it than me.

Anyway, here are my 'Fashion Friday' photos taken by Tiger. 

I like the pop of pink, I wear a lot of black but I'm starting to add a bit of color here and there.

Also feel like doing a fashion post, link up:

Lena B, Actually

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Joining the Tuesday link-up

I’ve decided to take part in a new link-up today. It’s not the link-up which is new, it is the fact that I’ve never taken part in it that is new.  Random / Talk to us Tuesday.


Seriously Shawn

  • My kids didn’t have school yesterday so I stayed home, it is unbelievable how much I got done around the house yesterday

  • I nearly fell off my chair when I saw my in-box at work this morning, just because I wasn’t at work did mean the work stopped!

  • Because of said ‘off day’ and over-flowing inbox I had a 10 min lunch today

  • I’ve re-connected with a high school friend. Actually we weren’t such great friends in high school, these day’s we talk nearly on a daily basis. Go figure!
  • Tonight everyone in our town is putting out all their big rubbish. Twice a year they will come and pick up anything that doesn't fit into your bin bag, for free.
  • There are loads of people driving around seeing what they can find sitting on other people's sidewalks. 
  • I made my kids go running this morning. Yip, my kids eat junk food so to counter balance that they have to go running.
  • Wonder if I'll be able to get them up to go running tomorrow morning.
  • Wonder if I'll be able to get up to go running tomorrow morning.
Right, that's it from me tonight!