Tag Archive | Chocolate

Liebster Award!

Thank you Trophydaughter for nominating me for the Liebster Award! I can’t deny I am flattered, and I am grateful for the extra publicity for my blog.

Before passing the award on I must tell you 11 random things about myself and answer 11 questions Trophydaughter thought up:

Random facts about me:

1. I am not really a nightingale. I don’t sing particularly well either.

2. I love chocolate. Good, Belgian chocolate. I import it because I can’t live without. Well, I could, but I’d rather not.

3. I also import Belgian beer, preferably a Tripel. Just for my own private consumption, don’t hassle me. Although I could start up a business if you wanted.

4. I like my own company. That is not to say I don’t like others’, but I have no problem being by myself.

5. I meditate. Have done for about 8 months. I always thought mediation was for weird people, let’s call them the mildly untethered. Surprisingly I have found it anchors me more firmly so I actually feel more alive.

6. I once qualified as a diver, and I’d love to revive those skills. I want to be in the thick of the sardine run action at the Cape, when all the dolphins, whales, seagulls and sharks are going for the poor little sardines. Let’s not tell them that if they manage to escape the predators they are likely to end up in a trawler net and on my plate.

7. It saddens me that I don’t fully belong in Belgium anymore, and yet don’t quite belong here in the UK either. On the plus side, that frees me up to move anywhere I fancy once the children grow up.

8. I want to come back as my dog: sleep all day, only interrupted for foodies and walkies. That’s the life.

9. My favourite smell is freshly baked bread, in all its many varieties – the smell of croissants wafting out onto the pavements of Paris in the morning or my very own cardamom-laced currant buns fresh from the oven on a winter’s day… I love them all.

10. My favourite sound is the lazy bubbling sound a full wine bottle produces when you pour the first wine. It never sounds like that again, it must be linked to the bottle neck. It holds so much promise.

11. I am determined to travel more in the coming years. I’ll start with a trip to Budapest to visit the friend who got me into blogging.

My answers to Trophydaughter’s questions:

1) Why did you start writing a blog? A friend of mine convinced me to publish what I was writing for myself anyway. He was right, it did make me polish my craft more. And it is great to know someone reads what you’ve written.

2) What are you currently reading? A work related book. Fascinating if you are into that kind of thing. I’m not sure what novel I’ll pick from my recently downloaded mini-library yet.

3) How would you describe your singing voice? Alto. Not trained at all; who knows what potential it holds?

4) What gives you the giggles? Catching my husband’s eye when I am about to burst into laughter, then lose it together so badly we don’t remember what set us off in the first place.

5) What’s your favorite movie one-liner? I still find the scene in the Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones pulls a gun on the sword-wielding baddies hilarious. Ok it is non-verbal but allow me to stretch the assignment a little.

6) If you could have one do-over, what would it be? Can you make me funnier?

7) What’s your fav Chinese dish? The stuffed lotus root I had in a fabulous Beijing restaurant. I dreaded touching it because it looked like brain, but it was lovely! And once they had told me what it was the aftertaste was even better. Phew, lotus root.

8) How are you going to change the world? I am going to save a species from extinction by moving it to a new, friendlier environment. I am bound to, with all the moving around I do on this planet and the elephant in a porcelain shop I am to these tiny creatures.

9) When is the last time you sobbed, truly sobbed? About 4 months ago. That is all I will tell you.

10) What do you want to be remembered for? Having raised sensible and responsible children.

11) Who’s a tough act to follow? There are so many people who truly have changed our world, but I’ll pick Nelson Mandela. I can’t think of anyone else as brave, determined, graceful and influential.

Now I would like to pass the award on to the following blogs:

Life Out of the Box

Fish & Bicycles

Crows Dream

Eternal Domnation – who has only just been given the Liebster Award so I’ll just endorse that award without demanding anything in return

Happiness Stan Lives Here

Something Cookin’

Unread Life

Apprentice, Never Master

The Fiction of BP Barwick

ChebandBecky

My questions to you are:

1. What is your favourite smell?
2. Which place you’ve never been to would you like to visit?
3. Which of your qualities are you most proud of?
4. What would you the least like to live without?
5. If you didn’t have to worry about mundane things like access to jobs, where would you live?
6. What is or was the best time of your life?
7. How do you relax?
8. What story is waiting in your head to be written?
9. If you were famous, what would it be for?
10. What was the strongest emotion you can remember feeling?
11. Whose eyes would you like to see the world through for a week?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 If you decide to accept my nomination please keep in mind the Liebster rules – nothing for free!
1. Thank the person who nominated you – that’s me 🙂
2. Post 11 random facts about yourself
3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
4. Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (and notify the bloggers that you nominated them!)
5. Write 11 NEW questions directed toward YOUR nominees.
6. You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog.
7. Paste the award picture into your blog.
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A Little Indulgence

Indulgence is a bad word, isn’t it? It is selfish and lacks self-control – concepts we tend to frown upon. Which is exactly what makes indulging so sweet: allowing yourself to enjoy something that you would rather not anyone knew about. To me such secret guilty pleasures are extremely valuable. They belong only to me, and the few people I choose to let in on them.  They provide a brief retreat from the usual hustle and bustle, a private pause in my busy life.

Now indulging has gotten more difficult for me lately. I have always enjoyed a strong black coffee with Belgian chocolate in the afternoon. I keep my own 1-person cafetiere and my own carefully selected coffee at work, and a choice of delectable chocolate in the back of a desk drawer. Everyone is used to me making my coffee in the kitchen and traipsing around with my cafetiere, but very few people know about the chocolate stash. I have always found it shameful somehow that I crave chocolate. Something to do with the expectation on women to be watching their weight I think. But now scientists have confirmed that people who eat chocolate regularly have a healthier body mass index and are slimmer. That throws my guilt right out of the window.

Luckily for me, that still leaves a glass of wine or a tripel beer once I put my feet up at night, taking a pillow day occasionally, and a few other things I am not ready to share.

Even allowing myself to do nothing is a luxury. It is also difficult, so I am not sure it falls under indulgence. I told myself this morning not to do any chores at all today, and instead allow myself to relax. That was an impossible mission, so I am excused for not completing it with full colours. I did manage to laze away the whole afternoon though, which has put me in a wonderfully dozy state of mind. Unwound. Whereas I could have ironed clothes, washed windows, taken the glass to the recycling bin… which is all still waiting to be done some time … back to indulgence!

Paris, with chocolate

I interviewed with chocolate on my face today. In a cafe in Paris. One more entry on my list of embarrassing things I’ve done.  I did suspect for a fleeting moment I might have smeared chocolate on my cheek but then forgot about it, absorbed in the conversation. The guy was interesting and seemed a good fit. One problem solved. It was a couple of hours later, having finished the interview, debriefed with my colleague, walked back through Paris Nord station and made my way back to the airport that the unkind lighting in the ladies’ confirmed I did have chocolate on my face. In my defense, I had been ravenous: I had not had time to eat anything since breakfast other than the miniature galettes the Air France people gave me on the flight out to Paris. The coffee we all ordered to grant us leave to use the cafe as a meeting room came with a sliver of dark chocolate wrapped in foil, perched precariously on the saucer. My chocolate had been leaning into the coffee and half melted away. In my desperation for an energy boost (and my craving for dark chocolate, fine) I tried to eat it anyway, getting the goo all over my fingers. No napkins. I could either put on a show by trying to fish for a tissue in my handbag without getting that coated in chocolate too, or pretend it never happened and hope the chocolate would just dry and peel off or something. No-brainer, I am a professional. The thing is, my fingers must have had the right temperature to keep the chocolate smooth, for a really long time. Long enough for me to forget it was there. Judging by the smears on my face I must have swept my hair out of my face at least twice.

I am grateful to the interviewee and my colleague for being just as professional: they never once looked at me funny. I guess it would have been gracious of my colleague to alert me once the interviewee was gone to spare me the embarrassment of travelling through crowded public places in my decorated state. I can’t decide whether he is ultra shy or a tiny bit evil.

It could have been worse though. I could have been the interviewee, vying for my dream job.

Lunch at Terminus Nord, Paris

How much is too much?

More is always better! Never too much of a good thing! I am finding that these are just slogans sly sales people fling at you. I had no intention of experimenting, it was put upon me. Poor me. Allow me to explain why this is plain wrong:

It was my birthday not that long ago (celebration of another year’s wisdom won), and my parents had sent me a HUGE box of fresh chocolates from a local chocolatier. Heaven! I told the rest of the family in no uncertain terms that they were to be very very nice to me if they wanted me to share. Always a bonus. There is no better chocolate than Belgian pralines, I absolutely love them. You select a few and enjoy them ideally with freshly brewed black coffee. But you can’t possibly eat half a box, they’re just too rich. So I stash the box, carefully rewrapped, with the Belgian beers (Tripel Karmeliet and Westmalle mostly) in the garage. The perfect storage temperature for both this time of year. They’ve been there a week now and there still is nearly half a box left. I have enjoyed a few every day of the week, and they don’t nearly taste as heavenly as they did anymore. They are still in mint condition, but my palate is going stale. I am beginning to consider sharing.

 

Vanity

Thank you Blondgirl008 for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award! I only started blogging a few weeks ago and feel like I am still trying it out, playing around. I am so chuffed with the recognition. So there you know the first fact about me, which I am surprised to learn myself: I am vain! I did not have myself down as vain at all, I am way too cool for that. Was, obviously.

It seems odd that anyone might want to know anything about me. I am but the messenger, there to entertain you with stories and observations. But one must play by the rules, so I shall throw you a few herrings:

I wish I could travel more. My list of places to experience before I die predicts a long life. I can’t wait for more experiences like spending time in the Masai Mara. The space, its very own rhythm, the intimate confrontation with the cycle of life – there is nothing like it.

I have a bit of a green thumb. Don’t judge me, I give you honesty. The greenery calms me. And it doesn’t talk back.

I function better with regular doses of Belgian chocolate and the odd Tripel Karmeliet or Westmalle beer, chilled to cellar temperature.

I don’t have a cellar. I cool my beers in the garage in winter. In Summer I turn to white wine or lagers.

I love my Mini. It truly is a go-kart. It makes me feel I drive a supercar when really it’s only got a small engine and fits inside a Landrover Discovery (we tried, kind of).

I have recently cleared my driver’s licence of the burden of 2 speeding tickets – partly thanks to the Mini: it gives me an unreal sense of speed.

I would like to share the versatile blogger award with these blogs:

iLOOKstreetstyle

Per Alia

Randomfemaleblog

The insanity aquarium