Monday, 26 August 2013

Summer feeling: Botanic garden


Last week, I had to study for my exam of Saturday. Because I applied for an additional year, which will start at the end of September, I had to catch up with one course and study it on my own. The reason why I had to do the exam now was that this course is only been given every two years, and I missed it last year. So it was not a re-exam.

Because on Friday afternoon the weather was so beautiful, I decided not to stay in but to go study outside in the gardens. All the bright colours of flowers and leaves ... I got a bit snap happy ...



There were so many gardeners working while I was there: raking the paths, removing tainted leaves, watering the plants, ... everything looked just per-fect. Look at the grass, there is not even one single blade of grass too long (not that you can see it on this picture, but trust me!)




I was not the only one studying in the gardens. It was so calm there, and there were a lot of benches which were all clean as a whistle ...



A small pond with a small waterfall, beautiful and calming ...



Beautifully pruned trees ...



Cute little paths ...



And even a small fruit garden with some apple and pear trees, grapes, blackberries, ...



It was the most beautiful garden I have ever seen.



And oh yeah, if you were wondering, I have been studying very hard! 



Love,
Sofie

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Festival time: Pukkelpop 2013!

Since I have to try to live without internet, and because I have a lot to tell you that can't wait until next weekend, this is my first attempt of a scheduled post. So hopefully this will work.



Pukkelpop is one of the biggest music festivals in Belgium. People come from all over the world to experience the festival as it has lots of international acts like Eminem, Franz Ferdinand, Skunk Anansie, Regina Spektor, Katy B, Major Lazer, James Blake, Fun. and many many more, supplemented with Belgian acts like Triggerfinger.




The festival lasts for three days (14-15-16 August), has up to 8 stages and there are sideshows in case there isn't a band you would like to see. There was also a small stall where you could get a free henna tattoo. I've always wanted one of those! The tattoo you see on the picture is the one of my sister (freshly made).



Festivals need a lot of helping hands: to check the festival straps, to tap beer, to check backpacks and luggage for prohibited items and so on. There are many organizations working towards that goal and I had the opportunity to be part of our school team. I got the chance to work on the festival for 4 days in exchange for free entrance to the festival at the time I didn't had to work, free drinks, breakfast, lunch and dinner and one full day free of work! Excellent deal, right?



What we had to do was checking the festival strips and backpacks and luggage for prohibited items at the entrance of the festival campsite. Besides the fact that I got a really bad cut wound in my hand of a razor blade that was in someone's packpack, I think it wasn't a bad job at all. At night there is a lot of entertainment of drunk people, which is very amusing to see.



I really like the American band Fun. So I was very excited that I had the chance to see them live. And because we went to the stage very early, we could get a place at the front! I was so happy! I also really wanted to see Noisettes, their songs are so catchy! 

Fun.

Noisettes


In the event of Skunk Anansie, they were throwing cardboard cupholders in the air. I thought it was a really nice effect in the sky, until I got one of those in my eye. I've never seen the first aid post that many times in 4 days, haha! They said I was very lucky that the cardboard didn't hit my eye and that my sight isn't damaged or cloudy. Just a black eye.



Anyway, besides all injuries I collected, I had such a great time and I met so many lovely people in the school team, a lot of new friendships were created. Hopefully I get the chance to accompany the team next year!



And oh yes, I made one new really good friend who helped me with my internet problem. She gave me her netlogin that I can use at the place where I'm staying because she studies in the city where I am doing my internship. This means that from now on I HAVE INTERNET!! Woohoo!


Love,
Sofie

Friday, 9 August 2013

Avocado salad + feta + walnuts & couscous

If you have been reading my blog lately, you probably know that at this moment I'm staying in a student house until the end of September. Because it is only for two months, I didn't bring too much with me concerning cookware. No pots, no pans, no oil, salt or herbs to cook with ... the only thing I did bring with me is a kettle. Can't live without my cup of tea!

Because I don't like take away or ready-to-eat meals, I still try to make my own dishes ... but without baking or frying anything (because it's just impossible without any equipment, you know). Besides that, my evening dinners need to be ready in a flash because I'm always home late from my internship.
The upcoming weeks I will keep you updated (if I have internet at least!) about my cooking adventures and try to give you some tips about how to make quick and easy dinners that are still healthy and delicious. Such dinners could always come in quite handy, isn't it?

But please bear with me, I still have to learn a lot because I'm not used to be in this situation of making quick, simple and heatless dinners every day of the week (nope, I'm lying, 5 days a week, since I go home in the weekends).

Anyway, on Tuesday I made a simple salad with avocado, feta cheese, walnuts and couscous. A salad filled with many good things.

What you need:




Step 1:
Bring the couscous in a little bowl or mug. Boil some water and pour over the couscous until it’s under water. Let the couscous soak for about 5 minutes and then, your couscous is ready … already!



Maybe it’s not a bad idea to add some salt or other seasonings to the couscous, just to give it some more flavour. I didn't find myself in the right circumstances to do so, because I didn't bring salt, not so clever ...


Step 2:
Take the flesh from the avocado with a spoon.
Cut the avocado, lettuce and feta cheese into pieces. 

 


Step 3:
Mix all ingredients together, add some walnuts on top, and you’re finished!

Simple as that! Easy peasy - and very yummy!



I didn’t mix my couscous under the salad because I like eating my pasta or rice or couscous or whatever just like that. Of course you can add the couscous to your salad, if you wish, don't hesitate, just eat it as you prefer!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
VARIATIONS
Add some raisins or honey for a touch of sweetness
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I don’t know why, but lately I’m very into avocado. Never liked it that much, I always found that avocado had sort of a stale taste. But last week, I suddenly got a craving feeling for avocado, just like that, out of nowhere. And since I have eaten it last week, I just can’t get enough of it! And in addition, it’s super healthy!

Do you like avocado too or have you also developed a sudden love for a specific food?

It was yet another week without internet at my student house, so here I am, back home, reading all the blogposts I've missed during the week and getting my social life back on track.
Thank you for keeping reading and commenting on my blog, I am so grateful for that, I can't thank you enough!


Love,
Sofie

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Belgian seaside: Ostend Beach!

This year, my grandmother reached the big 80! I can't believe how young and fit she still looks and is. To have such a strong mind as she has 57 years from now, I would sign for immediately!

It would be a dream come true to rock that grey hair and those wrinkles of age like she does!

My grandmother


Because turning 80 is quite a big deal, we (my mum - her only daughter -, my dad, my sister and I) had planned a few surprises. The weekend before her birthday, we went eating tapas and we also prepared a dinner party at home.
We really didn't want her to forget this special day and neither did we want her to be on her own since my grandfather died two years ago. So on her birthday we took her out for breakfast.

Haha, now it seems like we only took her out to eat ...



This past weekend, we arranged a holiday by the sea at Ostend Beach in Belgium. Ostend is located along the North Sea and is very touristic. It's the seaside city where you can take a ferry to England. Really would like to do that one day!



Anyway, my grandmother always used to go to Ostend in her younger days with my grandfather and my mum. So we thought this would be a very nostalgic moment. Ostend is really beautiful and I went there twice a year on holiday with my family untill my 16th. So it was very nostalgic for us too.



My grandmother's mother-in-law, aunt Maria as we call her since she is my mother's aunt, also came along because, apart from her sisters, we are the only family she has left.



In Ostend, there are this crazy orange 'Rock Strangers' popping up on the sea wall, a project by the artist Arne Quinze.



They screamed for attention and for a photo! So we just had no choice ...

Me, my dad and my sister ... a moment of uncontrolled weakness.


We did a tour through the city with a horse-drawn carriage, we went to see the horse races (so cool!), we visited the Mercator - an old ship from 1932 - and we saw the Belgian Championship fireworks at the beach.



And of course, when you walk around with 'slightly' older people, you've got to sit down once in a while and take time to relax ...

Mummy and daddy


After three beautiful days, I went back home with my parents and my sister Marianne. My grandmother and aunt Maria remained there for the rest of the week. I hope my grandmother enjoyed every moment and that she will remember her 80th birthday as been fantastic!

We had such a great time!

Girl power!


Love,
Sofie

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Update: Internship & Imprisonment

July has flown by and so has my vacation. On August 1, I started my internship, which will end at the end of September. This is my sixth internship already throughout my entire school career and probably the last one. 

Because my internship takes place 2 hours from where I live, I needed to look for a place to stay during August and September. I was lucky to find a little room nearby. No furniture included unfortunately ... but the previous owner was very friendly and left his bed there for me to use. So now I have room with a wash basin, a bed and beyond ... nothingness.

This is how my room looks like for the next two months. It feels like I am a prisoner. All alone in a big building in my small bare room.



Because I knew there wouldn't be any furniture, I brought my own little table and chair. Not that luxurious, but a little cute. Isn't it?



And of course, because of the heat wave that's going on, my mum provided me of a small amount of water, haha.



Anyway, the first day, I had to find the lab where my internship takes place. A 45 minute walk, with my own hand made map ... and I haven't got lost! Woohoo, victory!



I don't like the first days of internship, because you don't know anything yet and you constantly need to ask everything. Sometimes I get the feeling that the people that work there get annoyed by you, but that might be something I imagine. But it seems that this time, everyone is very friendly and helpful.

Since I forgot to bring my own internet cable, I was two days without internet. So boredom ubiquitous on my own, in my little room, like imprisonment. No blogposts to read, no facebook to check, no living soul in the area ... only white walls and heat.

Anyway, my first 2 days of internship have passed, lets hope next week will bring more kindness, internet and living souls!

I hope you've had a nice week!


Love,
Sofie