Monday, December 15, 2014

Did you know?

The kids and I are planning on watching tons of Christmas movies next week when we are on vacation.

So, seeing as we are coming up with our list of must see Christmas movies I was wondering if you knew the answer to these questions:

Do you know which actor appeared in both ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘Elf’?

Peter Billingsley

Despite now directing and producing movies more than act in them Peter Billingsley likes to go back and take on small acting roles from time to time.

In ‘Elf’ he was one of the elves in Santa’s shop.

Did you what color the original Grinch was?

Black and white, with shades of red, which is how Dr. Seuss created him.

But, according to legend, Chuck Jones who directed the Grinch movie wanted him to be green just like all the ugly rental cars driving around in the Washington-Baltimore area.

Did you know that Jack Skellington makes a ‘hidden’ appearance in at least 4 other movies?

-        - Beetlejuice (on the top of the carnival hat that Beetlejuice wears)
-        -  The Princess and the Frog (as one of the Shadow Demons summoned by Dr. Facilier)
-        -  Alice in Wonderland (as the design in the Mad Hatters Bow and Tie)
-        -  Coraline (his head appears in the egg yolk)

Did you know that Hugh Grant really did not want to do ‘that dance scene’ in Love Actually?

According to the director Richard Curtis he was really grumpy about doing it, saying that it wasn’t very ministerial. They only shot that scene on the final day.

I’m so glad they added it, cause I just love it.

Do you watch re-watch Christmas movies?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DYI - How to get what you want for Christmas

I know, I know, who on earth can remember when last I actually blogged. Never mind that! It is December 2, which means that Christmas is only 23 days away … because I start celebrating Christmas on the 24th

Christmas eve, duh!

I haven’t put up our decorations yet, Sinterklaas must first stop by house (the night of the 5th of December), then we can put up the Christmas decorations.

But all of this doesn’t mean that I’m not in the Christmas mood yet. I’ve already started asking the kids what it is that they would like this year.

Cat would like a MacBook Air or an Ipod 5 (yeah I know, cheap requests) and Tiger has asked for a tv or a hanging chair from Ikea with a couple of PS3 games. Sadly for them I had to tell them that Santa is not quite rich enough for their tastes this year.

Why is it that some people as so hard to buy for? I have a two friends who are really hard to shop for. The one even more so than the other. And to top it, she also has her birthday in December! She is also a good gift giver or maybe I’m just good at leaving hints.

Do you find it easy to buy gifts for your friends? Do they or you leave hints around?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

50 questions

Here I go, stealing yet another blog post idea from someone else … who got the idea from someone else …. It’s the way some of us blog, sometimes, not all the time. I got this list of questions off one of my favourite blogs so I’m just going to say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – Thanks Christina!

1. What are you wearing?
Black maxi skirt, white t with yellow zebras on it

2. Ever been in love?

3. Ever had a terrible breakup?
Well, at the time I thought so but in retrospect it really wasn’t so bad and I’m very glad it happened.

4. How tall are you?
To my surprise I’m 1.61 cm I always used to be 1.58 (5 foot 30 – I have no idea when I grew

5. How much do you weigh?
10 kg / 22 pounds too much

6. Any tattoos?
Not yet

7. Any piercings?
Right now, just one hole in each ear and a semi closed belly piercing

8. OTP (one true pair, favourite fictional couple)? 
Rick & Kate (Castle) but if they split up now in the 7th season I’m going to be very annoyed

image credit

9. Favourite shows?
Too many to list, but you can read all about some here

10. Favourite bands?
How do you pick one band? Okay, if I’m forced to I’ll have to say the band that I have loved for the longest time: Aerosmith

11. Something you miss?
My sanity! 
WHo am I kidding I've never been sane.
I would have to say my BFFs Char & Dette who live too far away (South Africa) and I don't get to see nearly enough

12. Favourite song?
It all depends on the day/my mood etc but, at the moment every time I hear either of these songs I get a smile on my face:

All about the base – Meghan Trainor

Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

13. How old are you?
36 (for another 2 weeks)

14. Zodiac sign?

15. Quality you look for in a partner?
Logical thinking! Fun, good sense or humour, loyalty 
Someone who will love me faults and all

16. Favourite Quote?
I have two, both by Eleanor Roosevelt:
‘Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be’
‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’

17. Favourite actor?
For looks: Dwayne Johnson
For movies: It all depends on for which genre, I love Robert Downy Jr. Kevin Spacey, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson etc etc

18. Favourite colour?
I don’t know why but for some reason I seem to be buying Teal coloured things at the moment. I even bought a Teal coloured bookshelf for our lounge
image credit

19. Loud music or soft?
Both, is a party time or sleep time or road trip time?

20. Where do you go when you’re sad?
No where … I still have to do what I have to do

21. How long does it take you to shower?
I have no idea but I don’t take long I can tell you that.

22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
If it is just myself excluding sorting out the kids/breakfast etc …. 20 – 30 min max

23. Ever been in a physical fight?
I once, many years ago slapped someone (as in, in high school)

24. Turn on?
Confidence but not arrogance

25. Turn off? 
Arrogance or just being creepy

26. The reason I started blogging?
I was a bored in the office, started reading some blogs and decided it might be a fun way to sort of keep track of our life and voice my opinion on random stuff

27. Fears?
Other than the obvious …something happening to the people I love …getting stuck in a small space and even worse than that, getting stuck in a small space filled with moths! I don’t like small spaces or moths (yeah I know that being scared of moths is totally irrational)

28. Last thing that made you cry?
I can’t remember …. (yeah, I’ve been told that I’m a heartless ‘bi-atch’

29. Last time you said you loved someone?
This morning as I hopped out the van at the station, to Himself & the kids.

30. Meaning behind the name of your blog?
Well, I really hope my kids turn out ok (screwed up just enough to make them interesting people without being so screwed up that they can’t function normally

31. Last book you read?
The Demons of Ghent (Forbidden Spaces trilogy #2) by Helen Grant.
Not a 10/10 but not a 4/10 either, just an easy quick read

32. The book you’re currently reading? 
Nothing, shocking I know I forgot to grab a new book off the shelf this morning

33. Last show you watched?
Madam Secretary – only episode 2 but I’m liking it so far

34. Last person you talked to?
Someone in the office

35. The relationship between you and the person you last texted?
Friend and Himself’s business partner

36. Favorite food?
Cake! Is cake a food? Okay then bread

37. Place you want to visit?
USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada back to Namibia and lots of places in Europe

38. Last place you visited?
Not sure if my trip to South Africa in March counts or the trip to Frankfurt airport to pick up the kids in August so I’ll have to say Köln, Germany

39. Do you have a crush?
Yes, I have eyes in my head :)
Boy crush: Channing Tatum, I mean how can one look at this picture and not drool?!
Girl crush: Olivia Munn, she is smoking!

40. Last time you kissed someone?
Himself, this morning

41. Last time you were insulted?
You mean people aren’t insulted on a daily basis by their husband and kids??

42. Favourite flavour of sweet?
I like sour sweets

43. What instruments do you play?
I could, once upon a time play the piano

44. Favourite piece of jewellery?
Sentimental jewellery: wedding/engagement rings & the two ‘push’ rings I got
But as far as everyday jewellery goes, at the moment,  I’m wearing a small gold peace sign earing every day

45. Last sport you played?
Does watching sport count? I do a lot of watching. (soccer, swimming)
As for myself, probably when I cycled to the shop, does that count? If it has to be a competitive sport I have no idea, it might have been when we had a jump rope skip-off at home

46. Last song you sang?
Can’t take my eyes off of you (from 10 Things I hate about you) One of the guys in the office starting singing it when we walked back from getting coffee and I couldn’t resist singing along. Don’t worry we were in the staircase, no-one heard me.

47. Favourite chat up line?
Dude, I’ve been married since the turn of the century, people don’t try to chat me up and I sure as heck don’t think Himself ever used a particular line on me. At least not one that I can remember.

48. Have you ever used it?
Didn’t have to, according to Himself it was love at first sight (took me much longer to fall in love with him)

49. Last time you hung out with anyone?
Sunday. The weather was great so we had our last summer BruBQ at the Bru House

50. Who should answer these questions next?

Everyone! I love reading these questions and answers!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just for fun

I’m ‘stealing’ todays post idea from the fabulous Lena! Cause I’m hoping that some of her fabulousness will rub off on me. Also cause I really don’t feel like doing any real work today. Be honest, do you?

Okay, so with a month to go before Halloween my girlfriends and I have been discussing our outfits. So I thought these Buzzfeed quizzes might just help you decide what you can dress up as for Halloween this year.
ake the test & post your results in the comments.

O you want to hear what my answers was, well okay, I’ll do the test.

My 80s costume: Rainbow Brite
My 90s costume: Winifred Sanderson
And of Himself were to dress up as a couple we would dress up as: Remus Lupin & Nymhadora Tonks – say what???

Okay, your turn:



Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting paid

The first time I baked a cake was for Cat’s 1st birthday. It was, in a word, a disaster. In fact, it was so bad (about 10cm high) that my brother-in-law baked a new cake the morning of the party.

I am glad to say that things have improved over the years. In fact, baking cakes is now something that I do for fun. I try not to do it too often though cause, if I did, I would roll around not walk around.

For the most part I bake for the kids birthdays and have baked a couple of cakes for friends,  or for the office. But, I got my first ‘official cake order’ from one of the mom at the school. 

She sent a message via her daughter via Cat: ‘Would I mind baking a cake for her youngest’. I sent a message back, ‘sure, what kind of cake and for when?’ Well, on Thursday evening at swimming Nelly told me that her mom would need the cake on Saturday and can it please be a Ben10 themed vanilla cake.

So on Friday, while I was at work my very handy/helpful/kind brother-in-law baked the cakes for me. Then, while Himself was at swimming with Cat, Cliff & I frosted the cake. It really does help to have a second pair of hands when you work with fondant, not to mention that it is really nice to have a man who can roll it out for you. 

I was pretty happy with the outcome. Of course there are many things that I can find fault with but, the ‘client’ was happy. Also, it turns out that I could have charge more for the cake which would have been nice since I gave ½ my earnings  Cliff. Hey, he deserved it.

The big question is, will this be the last order? I have to bake another cake on Friday for Tiger's birthday party but it is going to be dead easy in comparison since all he wants is a football shirt (hope this doesn't turn out to be a case of famous last words).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hi, my name is Jo

and I am a bit of a TV addict, especially in fall!

I can’t wait for some of my favorite shows to come back and the news shows, ooh there are a couple that I can’t wait to see.

So, which shows am I talking about?

Here are some of my favourite returning shows:

And here are some of the news shows I'm quite excited about:

How about you? Which shows are you excited about?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Girls day out / Belated birthday celebration

Just over 12 years ago, these two girls were born a couple of hours apart. The one,  a couple of days after her due date, the other,  two & ½ weeks before her due date.

It is quite a funny story. I was on the phone with Noreen on the Monday, listening to her bemoan the fact that she was still pregnant. Only, I interrupted her every once in a while to deal with my ‘braxton hicks’. She sat on the other side of the phone timing my ‘braxton hicks’ which were coming a steady 10 minutes apart and suggested that I get myself to the hospital. 'Why?' I asked, 'I’m not due for ages yet'.

Anyway, long story short. On Thursday evening her husband Jan rang us say that Alannah had been born only to find a message on their answering machine telling him that Cat had been born.

We moved back to South Africa when Cat was about 5 months old and then moved back to Belgium the Christmas after her 4th birthday. So, since their 5th birthday the girls have had a combined birthday party. This year was the first year that they didn’t have one.

To make up for this we had a girls day in Brussels yesterday. Lunch at the Hard Rock where they got free ice cream. Followed by walking around down town Brussels. 

Cat & I took them to go and check out the peeing statues which Alannah has never seen before. 

The Manneken-Pis, the Jeanneke-Pis and the canine Zinneke pis

It was also car free day in Brussels. Once a year the entire city is car free (cept for the free busses and a small number for taxis). Everyone takes to the streets on their bicycles, roller-blades or just walking. 

There were all kinds of stands up all around town handing out free stuff... there was a free spin class outside of the Central station, marching bands and girls handing out free hugs etc,  etc …
Free hugs and a spin class ... all on offer just outside Central station

Car free street

One of the Pilgrims shells which marks the route the pilgrims took to Santiago de Compostela in Spain

Husband came home early? - one of the many comic strip mural paintings which can be found all around Brussels

Despite the moody/sulky start to the day (Cat) it turned out great and both girls had loads of fun. I can’t believe how big they are getting.

Monday, September 15, 2014

While the kids are away the parents will ....


Well that is not entirely true, we both had to work but we didn't have to rush home after work to sort out dinner for the kids etc. Plus, when you own a pub, or rather when your husband owns a pub going there doesn't feel like work (for me at least).

July was also nice and sunny so we spent long evenings sitting outside the pub, going for dinner and just hanging out. I think during the six weeks the kids were away I cooked a grand total of two times. We also went to a 60th birthday party and stayed out till 5! Whoever said you are too old to party by the time you turn 60 never met Michael!

Hanging out with friends


But we didn't just sit around drinking and eating, we worked on the house & garden, cleaning, painting, planting etc. All those things we don't have time for during the rest of the year.

We were also getting ready for the 5th birthday party of the pub. We had gotten permission from the town council to close of the street next to the pub, put up a stage and have a street party. It was a huge success.

Bru House party

I also got to meet a blog friend, Sarah, her husband Cory and very sweet daughter Lexi. They popped over for a visit to Belgium and the poor people were blessed with the best of the Belgian weather. It rained, the whole entire time they were here.  I felt so bad for them cause as much as I love Belgium it really is so much better when it's not pouring none-stop!  I don't think Belgium made a very good impression on them.

Night out in Brussels

Lunch in Gent (see Sarah this is what Gent looks like when it's not raining)

okay, I admit, we did do some drinking

Weekend away

Life is just better with great friends

And yes, I'm well aware that there are no pictures of the work we did around the house but when we work, we work. No time for selfies and photos :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

6 Weeks without the kids

Where the heck has the time gone? It feels like it was just last week that I was packing the kids stuff for their trip to South Africa!

The 6 weeks the kids spent in South Africa just flew by. Yes, I put my kids on a plane, all alone, and sent them to the other side of the world for six weeks. The were perfectly happy to go and not so happy to be back at home. Cept for the food, turns out they prefer my cooking to their Nana's (luckily she doesn't read my blog so I don't have to be worried about her finding out).

We arranged for them to keep up with their training while there. A friend of ours is an ex Commonwealth swimmer for South Africa so she was the perfect coach for Cat. And as luck would have it her boyfriend is a professional soccer coach so that was Tiger sorted. And it all paid off cause getting back into training here at home has been seamless.

Himself & I really missed having the kids around. The first couple of days it feels like you are on honeymoon, only having to think about yourselves but then you start to miss the little buggers. Not that they cared, getting them to talk to us on Skype for more than 5 minutes wasn't easy to do.

The great thing about them being is South Africa is that they got the chance to hang out with some of their cousins (they also have cousins in Australia but so far we've only manged to talk to them on Skype). Their aunties and uncles and their last remaining great-grandmother. 

As happy as I am about living here in Belgium, the one thing I am sorry about is the fact that they are growing up without their family around them. Some of my best memories are linked to my cousins.

Anyway, I thought I would add a couple of photos to show you they really were happy to be away from home for 6 weeks.

cousins going bowling

someone was kind and skilled enough to replace Mr. Brown's eye

The boys at the dino expo


Playing in my brother's garden

Hanging with Nanna B on her 83rd birthday

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Go devils!

World cup fever is at fever pitch here in Belgium. It is the first time since 2002 that we managed to qualify and we might just be in there with a chance to win the whole thing. 


As it often does sport has managed to get the whole country united for once and everywhere you go there are flags hanging up.  

I just hope that the games goes according to plan tonight (6:00 pm Brussels local time) Belgium vs Algeria.

Not to be outdone by the likes of Pitbull we have our own world cup song by Stomae (loved by both the French and Flemish speakers, another first).

our pub - the Bru House

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Four weddings and a funeral and Pain

Yesterday ...

You know the start of Four weddings and a funeral? 

It was something like that in our house yesterday. 

I woke up 5 minutes after we should have left the house!

Miracle of all miracles we all made it out the door, the kids got to school with time to spare & I managed to make it to the office only 5 minutes late for my 9:00 meeting. In fact, I got to work at 9:00 but I still had to log-on and get some coffee into myself.

Today ...

I'm pretty sure that someone of 90 can move faster and smoother than me today. I hurt, all over! Seriously, it even hurts between my ribs. I think my toes, fingers and ears might be the only part of me hurting.

I have finally gotten to that point where I can't stand the way I look I actually started doing something about it. 

I've owned the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred dvd since January, I think. I started using it on Monday evening. It hurt! But boy, it hurts even more today. And the only reason I'll be doing it again tonight is cause I have not put up with this pain for nothing. At some point it has to stop hurting. Probably going to be on day 9 or 10 and then the hurting is going to start all over again when I move up to level 2.

I took some before pictures but I'm not going to share them with you .... I'm not proud. But I hope to have some nice looking after pictures, and then, who knows I might be willing to share them.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I've been ...

Listening to ....

For some reason I couldn't load the video but if  you click on the link you will be able to watch it.
I know this is a Dutch song but the kids & I have been singing along to a quite a lot ... so I hope it even if you can't understand it you at least like it a bit.

In short it is a guy singing about a girl called Louise. How he thinks about her all day long but she never notices him. He is sure that if he won the lottery he would be able to sweep her off her feet. Take her out for dinner, take her to Spain.

Magic – Rude

Paloma Faith – Can’t rely on you

Michael Jackson & JT – Love never felt so good

Pharrell Williams – Marilyn Monroe

George Ezra - Budapest

Kongos – Come with me now

Kongos – Hey I don’t know