Edinburgh, a Scottish Land.

Hi there, here I am back again doing what I should be doing – write a post. Without further a do, I’m gonna quickly register my memory of Edinburgh right here before it is being erase from my puny brain. But that is hardly possible because Edinburgh like most cities I have visited in Europe, is amazing beyond words. No I am not exaggerating. Oh wait, my brain isn’t so puny after all if it can store this much… hmmm.

While in Edinburgh, Jos being Jos choose to do the healthy stuffs. I’ve learned from our many trips out, shopping should never be a priority when on holiday, because shopping anywhere is almost the same, speaks the man. Anyway, the healthy stuff refers to doing things that would burn enough fats so we can have a good dinner. Healthy or not? We decide.

There, you go. So naturally, while having holiday and in order to burn off fats, we have to walk, no, not just walk, we have to walk fast, a very long distance and if possible, we have to walk in a vertical motion. As such, we landed our feet on the ground of the Arthur’s Seat.

Arthur’s Seat is situated in Holyrood Park. According to Wikipedia, this hill rises above the city to a height of 822 feet! I’ve only know the height of the hill after the climb and am really proud I make it to the top! The journey to walk up this hill wasn’t easy. This was mainly because the fateful day the wind was  gusting so strong I could feel myself feeling unstable while walking on really really steep path. No, I am not exaggerating! I had to cling on to Jos for support at some point or I’d fall or even blown away! And because it was such steep hill, I had to rest at some point to catch a breather. Man, I feel old #1. Anyway, we made it.

This is us at the TOP!

Us at the TOP!

View are always beautiful when you are at the top of anything; mountain or hill. We really enjoyed the view from the top and quite honestly I didn’t regret doing it despite the amount of energy it takes to get up there. I would do it again! While on top, we saw a group of elderly dressing up really professionally for the climb. They have proper shoes, proper backpack and proper sticks and they don’t look a tiny bit of being tired and I don’t see them panting at all! Man, I feel old #2. 

Picture 007

A picture of the Arthur’s Seat while walking down.

We spend a good half hour on top taking pictures, “enjoying” the gusting strong wind and slowly make our way down. Walking downwards was a breeze, so much easier and alot more fun! 🙂 Now I can proudly say…. Hey, I’ve climbed a … HILL! 😀

The other place we’ve visited was the well know Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. A very interesting place of illusion art and deliberately getting ourselves obscured. Here are a few exhibits I find fun sharing.

It’s always good to feel tall and big, if you ever feel like a shorty all the time (like I do), just go on to this place to make yourself feel taller for a good 5 minute, oh and don’t forget to take some good pictures like I did to proof it!

Look who is bigger?!

Look who is bigger?!

Note to the above picture: In real, Jos is 1.85m and I’m 1.58m, now look how much I’ve grown! That feeling is great, just great! 🙂

Next, I’ve posted two pictures below, but note that they are actually the same piece of art taken from a different angle.

Picture 001

Picture 002

I hope you see the difference. Maybe it is more obvious with the actual art, not so much when it is taken by a camera.

Another one I’d like to share is the picture below that has a caption that says, Before & After Marriage… do you know why?

This picture has a caption that says "Before & After Marriage" Do you know why?

This is obviously Before Marriage!

All you need to do is turn it around with the knob at the bottom and you will know what happen after marriage.

There are many many more fun in there. We even went through a mini mirror maze and by mini, I really meant mini mini of the mini. We came out in a minute without much fuss. But still it was fun. Another bridge that makes one feels like falling while crossing it. Remember this : Illusions Illusions… it’s only an illusion! And you will survive.

Right before the exit, we were invited to be married by a machine. Considering it will only cost us 1 pound and we get two rings and a certificate in return, we decided to advance our marriage plans! Oh and they even provide head veil and a hat so we look better, we need that really. And the best thing is… they also accept Gay Marriage! Wonderful! But of course, you can also choose to press 2 to escape from the marriage. 🙂

We are married! Now we can forget about the real one... :)

We are married! Now we can forget about the real one… 🙂

So that is just some things we did while in Edinburgh. We also visited the Edinburgh Castle! Majestic and amazing! But that is for another day.

I don’t want to hastily stop but I have to. You see, I’m back in Singapore and am rushing out to do city stuff. So much for now. By the way, Happy New Year to all readers! Quite honestly, I cannot wait for 2013 to end! I’m so done with it!

Have fun peeps! Ciaoz..

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Merry Christmas!

Yes! I’m back again! Just before it turn a month again. You know I am always sorry for not updating my blog so I won’t say it again. I’m just glad I remember to be back just in time to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

Well since I’m already on this New Post Page, I might as well write a few of my thoughts and brief updates of what’s up. 

First thing first… just recently, I became really fascinated with Pine cones. Please forgive me for my ignorance, I know many of you would have known a lot about Pine Cones but me, being a city girl all my life… not much. 

Some weeks ago, we were at Jos’ mum home for dinner. While trying to keep the fire place burning, I discover one single pine cone in the basket next to the fire place. Jos’ mum told me, pine cone make good fire starter. So that was that. But I’ve always love pine cones as a Christmas Tree Ornaments, well, not just that, I love them on it’s own too! So imagine burning them seems really wasteful in my opinion. 

Anyway, having said that, below is a picture of Nelly’s cat next to the fire place. He loves the fire place during winter time, he can sit there for hours enjoying the heat. He is clearly a summer cat 🙂 

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Just last weekend, we had yet again our weekly nature walk. Well, I’m sorry I don’t remember the name of the place, these nature park have like super long names, I didn’t really take any effort to remember them. They are all nice. This time, something magical happen, I found pine cones! When I picked up the first one, I showed it to Jos and asked if they were pine cones. To my delight, his answer was yes! 

But why does they looked different from the ones at your mum?? Jos said, they would open up when it gets dry and warm. So in other words, pine cones closes up when it’s wet. Without hesitating, When we returned back home, the first thing I did was to place all 3 of them on the heater, hoping it will open up like real soon. And they did! Maybe not really fast but slowly it is getting there. Below is a picture of MY cones at day 3. I’m monitoring their “growth” from far since I’m away from home again! 

Image

 

So that is one thing I’ve wanted to share!! 

On other news, I’ve also visited several Christmas Market this year! One in Valkenburg, one in Dusseldorf and last one in Edinburgh, over a month! Can you imagine? How adventurous!?  I love the feeling of being at a Christmas Market.  Also, Edinburgh trip was lovely! For the first time, I’ve climbed a Hill! For the first time, I set my feet on a royal ship! For the first time we got married by a Machine.  I know right, I have so much to blog about and I know it is about time. Well, all these for the next post! 

Till then, have a Happy Jolly Christmas!! 

 

Extras!! Extras!! Extras!!

Okay I’m only trying hard to draw attention to whoever that is reading my blog with the title of this post. The truth is, I was just gonna do a quick update since I have not blog in almost a month!! Goodness me.

Well, many things have happened, good & bad. The good ones are I’ve been indulging myself with food & shopping; the bad ones are not worth mentioning. So in other words, there isn’t really much happening in my life! Except that I’m looking forward to yet another trip out in December! This time we are heading to Edinburgh, Scotland. Will blog about that in due course.

So I haven’t been blogging in this space. But guess what? I’ve started blogging in another social media app; DAYRE. It is one of those app that combines Facebook, Twitter, Instalgram & blogging all into one! The cool part is, at the end of the day you just compose a Blog Post! How convenient! So my Dayre Name is Jessabella. If you like, please follow me there! I have only 2 followers … FML! So yes I am begging for followers! LOL

In other news, winter is rushing it’s way in. The temperature has dropped tremendously and I am sure, before I know it, there will be snow, and before I know it, I will be wearing 3 maybe 4 layers just to get to the grocery store! 

Yesterday was freezing at 4 degree C, I was out with my future mother in law for lunch. We walk a good 15 mins to the restaurant and instead of complaining about my freezing ear, I was really enjoying the cold. I like the feeling of cold cheeks.. Is it weird? I reckon I’ve gotten so use to the cold that winter doesn’t mean I have to hibernates like the polar bears anymore. But, the good news is.. even if I have to hibernate, I’d be happy to do so mainly because we have signed up for Netflix. Together with our under-used APPLE T.V, Netflix works like wonder! The best combination ever! We are really loving it. So we have watched Orange is the New Black; completed season 1, House of Cards, Completed season 1 as well and adhoc-ly completed also many other movies, all this for EUR7.99 per month and it’s not even a month yet! My Favorite Series; Breaking Bad has only just aired on Netflix, that sucks cos I’ve already completed all 5 seasons but I don’t mind catching up on some of my favorite episodes.  So yeah, if you are considering hibernating at home for winter.. consider Netflix plus Apple TV. 🙂 

Alright, so much for now. Be right back.. real real soon! Ciao! 🙂 

 

Luxurious Luxembourg

If I’m asked to use a single word to describe Luxembourg, it will be Luxurious. Read on to understand why.

Alright, so here is another post about my travelling adventures.

We are turning 3. I really mean we are celebrating our 3rd year together as a couple. Because I like to find an excuse to travel, celebrating anniversary is a great excuse for me!! So I’d decide we should find somewhere to go. We didn’t have the luxury of going for long break so we only have the weekends and for a quick get away, I quickly thought of Luxembourg. We could conveniently drive up on Friday and back on Sunday. 2.5 days in Luxembourg I reckon is more than enough.

We drove through Germany before arriving in Luxembourg, and we stopped for Echternach which is a little village that is just next to the border to Germany. Quite fun to know you can be in two country at one time!

The picture below shows an old customs “hut” that is no longer in use since the European Union is in place.

Old Customs House

Because we arrived in the afternoon and the sky gets dark earlier these days, we didn’t do so much on the first day we arrive. However, we did make it to Luxembourg City for our 1st anniversary dinner this year. I meant to say we will have a few more until October ends, because the actual date was 31st October! 🙂

Anyway, when arriving town, the first impression I get from these restaurant in line was how luxurious each and every one looks. They all looked kinda expensive and I am truly amaze how they really take pride in making sure their restaurant is renovated in class. The number of restaurant that are posh versus the normal ones are 9 out of 1. To be clear, I meant in every 9 posh restaurants & cafe, I find one normal cafe. In other words, the ambiance on the streets are just filled with luxurious class.

Not just the restaurants, the locals are very well dressed, so much so we felt really under-dressed. I happened to not bring enough clothes to mix and match so I have this rush to do some serious shopping !

Anyway, so we ended up being allured by a fondue restaurant. They serve Cheese Fondue, Chocolate Fondue and Meat Fondue! Now I’ve tried cheese & chocolate fondue but meat fondue sounded really interesting.

Fondue Restaurant

Beef Fondue

So Beef fondue is really cooking your own beef in a pot of OIL!! They are served with several kinds of sauces to go with the beef and a huge chunk of fries to fill you up. In the end, we were really filled up and I didn’t manage the finish all the meat and fries. I wouldn’t do this again because I prefer for professional chef to grill a proper beef steak than having to do it myself in an unprofessional way. And no, I didn’t enjoy having the oily smell clinging onto my coat for the rest of our trip! But still… it is a good experience!

The next day, we went shopping! Because our clothes smells like oily beef and we didn’t bring enough clothes to change. So Jos got a pair of new jeans and I bought another coat! Mine is clearly an excuse to shop.. anyway, move on.

After a little shopping, we walk around Luxembourg city. Besides the feeling of being posh, Luxembourg is like a garden city. Full of beautiful trees!

Later in the afternoon, we drove off from town, intending to visit the mini waterfall in Mullerthai. In the end, we ended up in Consdorf. I was told then, I had to do a hike from Consdorf to Mullerthai, in order to reach the waterfall. Now, while typing this, I’m beginning to feel like I’ve been fooled. See, if the waterfall is in Mullerthai, what are we doing in Consdorf??? Huh Jos?

Anyway, I am not complaining! The truth is I will never experience something so awesome if we didn’t take the Consdorf to Mullerthai trail. It was one of the best walk (in this case – hike) I’ve made!! Totally interesting and somewhat “dangerous”, in my dramatic opinion.. well, you will know why later…

So this path looks nice to walk on doesn’t it. But wait, that was only a very small part of the trail we did. Most of the time we are face with path like this one:

Up the steps….

and this one:

And more up slopes

And this one…

First down and then go up!

So yea, this is like a super tough hiking trail and we walk for a good 4 hrs.

At some points we have to walk through caves!! Yes, I am not joking, it is caves, so cool!

The exit of a cave. Yes it is that narrow!

And finally we arrived at the waterfall……

Beautiful! Totally worthwhile! I will do this again and again.

Before we leave Luxembourg, we went to yet another castle. I realise we always end our trips with a castle. The last time we did the same while in Dusselfdorf!! So here is a picture of the castle! 🙂

Sunshine Award Nomination

sunshine-award

So for the very first time the Merlion is being nominated for an award, a Sunshine Award! All Thanks to a friend I’ve made just about 3 months ago, Lucky Baby Amanda from My Life as a Case study. Thanks Amanda, you break my record of never getting a nomination! Now here I am doing what I have to do.  I am suppose to first Thank the person who nominates me and answer her questions for me. Next I have to nominated 5-10 Blogs to receive the same award and give them my questions so they can answer in their blog post!

Now, here I go. First I gladly answer Amanda’s question for me:

1. Why do you Blog?

When I first started blogging, I only wanted to to document my life as an expats. Today, I blog because I want my followers to know what’s up with my life. Even when there are anonymous followers that I don’t communicate with, I appreciate their interest in me.

2. What are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of being able to conquers all my fears and finally land my feet on the Dutch Land and survived!

3. What is one thing you want to learn how to do?

Cooking – I think cooking is an art. I love art but I’m not good at it. I love to eat good food but I don’t cook. I admire people that are able to cook and can easily whipped up a delicious dinner without fuss and not having to feel like a chore.

4. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I don’t really believe in Super Power, but if it really exist, I would like to be able to heal anyone with a touch of my hand. I want to keep my loves one safe from death.

5. What is your best piece of advice?

I can only relate to a quote I’ve always live by…. here it is.

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6. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Wow, I have a few wish list, maybe a million dollar isn’t enough!
– I would buy a house facing a big sun flower field in Tuscany.
– Buy over a campsite or boutique hotel in Italy and run it leisurely.
Alright, shall not be greedy… just keep it at two!

7. What is your favorite season? Why?

Before I move to the Netherlands, seasons don’t mean anything to me. I grow up in a country with no seasons. okay maybe two; rainy seasons & sunny season and quite honestly, I don’t remember either of them being my favorite. Having lived in the Netherlands for two years and experienced all the seasons, I can proudly say I love SPRING. Spring gives me a feeling of revival. After seeing the leaves fall from the trees and flowers dying and live with the bare trees for a good 6 months, seeing them alive again gives me lots of hope! No matter how bad things is, there will always be a time that it turn good again!

8. What is your all time favorite meal?

My all-time favorite meal is still one from Singapore. I so love the Singaporean Chicken Rice. I’m drooling thinking about it. If you even go to Singapore, you have to try the CHICKEN RICE.

9. What is your favorite song?

My all-time favorite song is the soundtrack – Somewhere over the Rainbow from Meet Joe Black. here is the version:

I can listen to this a thousand times. 🙂

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I will live anywhere the love of my life lives. 🙂

So, there you are. I’ve answered all the questions. Thank Amanda again!

When I first started blogging, my blog was just like an online diary that I kept to track my life as an expat since moving to Netherlands two year ago. During this period, I’ve came to know a few very awesome bloggers that have also shared their lives with me in their blog and I totally enjoying reading them so I think they totally deserve the same Award. So here are my nominees:

1) Justine Abroad

2) Mitzie Mee Blog

3) Expat Baby Adventures

4) Life in the Hague

5) For the Love of Wanderlust

Now here are my questions for the nominees:

1) Why did you start blogging?

2) What is your favorite “me” time indulgence?

3) Have you / Would you ever skydive?

4) Describe a difficult time in your life. How did you overcome it?

5) If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

6) Name three things you cannot live without.

7) What is your favorite post you have written and why?

8) What is one quote that speaks to your heart?

9) If you could have lunch with one celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

10) If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be and why?

So blogger.. blog away! Cheers!!

Exploring Dutch Nature – De Hoge Veluwe

As with most Sundays, we like to take long walks in the Nature. Almost every Sunday morning, Jos would browse through the wander book we have. This book compile all the possible walks within the Netherlands, it entails the routes and also what we expect to see during the walk.

Last Sunday, we had an unusual one. The weather was unusually good, with sunshine most of the time at 16 degree Celsius, just perfect! I had so much fun I must blog about it. Google this : De Hoge Veluwe! Unlike most of these nature walk, this one has an entrance fee but it is well worth it. For EUR8.40 per adult, you get to grab a white bike near the entrance for free and go on exploring the beautiful dutch nature on that bike for the whole day!! How cool is that.? Hearing it is enough to entice you right?

There are two cycling path, 10km & 26km. Jos being Jos, he choose the 26km and cut it by 6km by looking at the map he purchased at the entrance for EUR2.50. So yes, we travelled 20km on the bike which burns my thighs, ass and legs altogether! Still it is all worth it! I can do this over and over again. I cannot express in words how I love living withing these beautiful nature! We don’t have such space in Singapore, so you can imagine why I feel this way.

Being Autumn, it is also the time of the year where beautiful mushrooms grows in the nature. I’ve never come so close to a fairy tale mushroom. Althoug, I’ve blogged about it last Autumn, read it here, Today, seeing it again, I am still enchanted by its beauty. Not just the red ones, also the other colors, brown, white, grey, orange.

This year, there are more mushrooms which we can easily spot even though we are riding on the bike. And the fairytale mushroom looks more radiant and so very cute.

Now the grey ones, they are also beautiful.

Besides the mushroom, the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves continues to amaze me. Although we know the tree will lose all its leaves at the end of fall, but I have to say they die in grace ! 🙂 During the ride, I’ve wanted to stop many times to snap pictures of the colors of Autumn. I managed a few pictures but didn’t think my picture skills gives justice to the actual beauty!

The above picture is the cycling path we ride on. It is hilly at some point and flat at other. Perfect ground for cycling.

After a few times of stopping to snap pictures, I turn into a dare devil, I managed to cycle and take a picture of my man in cycling in front of me! 🙂

Yes I am quite far behind, but i really slowed down so I can hold my iphone steady!

I always love the view of woods like this one, although just brown but I love it. Beautiful isn’t it?

That’s me cycling! Told you I can cycle! 🙂 Oh and by the way, all bicycles comes with a child seat! So if you are bringing along your child, you have no worries! They also provide bikes for smaller children of which I am proud I don’t have to use them. Since I’m short, I was worried I have to use their kid bikes! But I’m good with the adult ones, so proud of myself 🙂

This picture below is another cycling path in the open, also hilly at some point.

Finally, I could not withstand it anymore. I had to add myself in the scenery and have my man take a picture of me, because I love it so much! So here it is:

If you lives in the Netherlands and are wondering where to go in the weekend.. try De Hoge Veluwe! I am very sure you will not regret visiting!

Ciao!

Mustard at its best! Indeed!

Does anyone of you loves Mustard? Well I don’t. I remember finding it disgusting when someone put this brownish almost green paste on their sausages. And when they offer them to me, I would always reject. Because, in my opinion, Mustard just taste weird. I don’t like mustard on anything I eat as a condiment.

I would never have think differently about Mustard if I’ve never been living in the Netherlands. Once when we were having lunch with Nelly & Jan, everyone ordered Mustard Soup but I went for the Mushroom soup. Well, just to be safe, since Mustard doesn’t sound or taste good to me. Okay, I can be boring with food like that. Anyway, in another occasion, when Jos had Mustard Soup & I had Mushroom soup yet again, I decided to take the challenge and sip a spoonful of that yucky green-paste condiment that I dislike. And to my surprise, it was nothing but YUM! I love it so so much that everywhere I go from now, I would be looking out for Mustard Soup (In Dutch: Mosterd Soep)

Today, I was bored. As usual. I decide maybe I should check out the recipe for Mustard Soup, maybe I can surprise Jos when he comes home to a home-cook mustard soup? Maybe, maybe… only maybe. Anyway, I type Mustard Soup Recipe on Google and I must say there are just so many recipes online and they all varies. Some are much more complicated while others are easy and straight forward.

Anyway, I decide I am going to try this one :

Mosterdsoep

3 tablespoons butter
6 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups (1 liter) stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoons of mustard (zaanse mosterd)
1/2 cup Cream
1 Leek

Optional: Bacon & white wine & chervil

Simply because this have less than 10 items to purchase and the process seems really easy. For the record, I am a super lousy cook. If you like the same recipe.. Here is the link.

The good news is… I realise we have Zaanse Mosterd in the cupboard!!! I wouldn’t even take a second look on this bottle. Looks muddy and strange. It must have lying there for months? Look!!

It must be a sign right? That I have to try making mustard soup all on my own!! But wait…

The bad news is….. I think this bottle of Mustard is expired… look:

Do you also think it’s expired? I think it must have been lying there for years!?

So, I have expired mustard in my cupboard, that means I have to go buy a new bottle. But I want the same mustard from Zaanse since it is suppose to be popularly good.

I have heard a lot about how tasty the Italian Cuisine, French Cuisine even Thai Cuisine or Chinese Cuisine are, but Dutch Cuisine…. not so much. It is kind of sad because I think there are some really nice dishes that these dutchies make. Once I was really addicted to their Pea Soup. It was so good until we start making Pea Soup ourselves. Not that the result was bad, it was still tasty. But the ingredient used to make pea soup is super rich with so much bacon. I feel sick eating so much bacon. because I don’t like to imagine the amount of oily fats I’ve intake in one bowl of soup. As such, from then on… I moved on from Pea Soup (In Dutch : Erwtensoep). But still, everyone should try the Pea Soup, one of the best from the Dutchie Land.

So much for soup today, I shall run to AH now and see if they sell the same Mustard I’m looking for. And if I do find them,, I might make some soup tonight, only maybe… 🙂

Ciao!