Friday, 19 December 2014

Hanging out with friends in Edinburgh

Each time we go back to Edinburgh we want to catch up mainly with friends and former colleagues again.  So we go from drinks after work to dinner there,   to brunch there  and this time we were even invited to a fun birthday party of a 3-year old lady.   Good times! 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas market in Edinburgh

While Sinterklaas was still dropping off his last presents before rushing back to his vacation resort in Spain, we managed to get in the Christmas mood for the first time thanks to the gorgeous Christmas market in Edinburgh.    The latter has been growing steadily over the last years, so even Jan who has lived for multiple years in the Scottisch capital was positively surprised.  There's 3 rows of nicely decorated stalls in the Princes Street Gardens & next to the art galeries with a Santa Land down below the gardens, an ice rink and even a little train riding a mini mini itinerary through the attractions.   Also St Andrew Square has been transformed to a Christmas market with ice rink.  

Ha,   you clearly don't need to go to Germany anymore to stroll over some very nice Christmas markets :) and get the small of eggnog,   candles, grilled sausages, .... in our nose.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Made in Belgium: Lala Lovers

This weekend I'll participate in the great fundraiser walk for Mobile School and Music For Life.  At the different stops there will be entertainment and Tom Kestens, who is the singer of Lala Lovers will be performing for us in Mechelen.'s about time Lalalovers gets featured here don't you think.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

To rest or not to rest in Edinburgh

For months already we'd been talking about going back to Edinburgh but when we planned our weekend away in October it was a bit too last minute to find a reasonably priced flight  (and we had to use some loyalty points for the Thalys urgently)  so then we ended up in Amsterdam instead.  But we promised ourselves that we'd go to Edinburgh before the end of the year to visit some of our friends.  And so we did 2 weekends ago. 

After a nightly stop-over in Amsterdam, we flew from Schiphol to Edinburgh early on Friday morning.  So early, ugh, that we all left with a big sleep deficit.  Then Kabouter thought it was a good time to get a stomach bug for the first time, which caused some not so fun flight entertainment.  Fortunately the flight was not filled up, so we had some empty rows next to us where we could fish up the little one out of his puddle, sort dry clean clothes and dirty ones and start the clean-up work, after which he immediately crashed in Jan's arms. 

We arrived in downtown Edinburgh via the new tram.   (yeah finally, the tram rides after all those years of construction works!!!) (with a conductor..huh who launches a new tram with still a live conductor in 2014??)  We walked through the historic city center in the icy cold sunshine.   :) 
But we also profited from the excuse that Kabouter had to nap in order to join. For once it wasn't a disadvantage to all camp in one hotel room.  Also the next days we enjoyed some family napping sessions after Kabouter had passed on some of his stomach unease to us. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Kabouter meet snow...snow meet Kabouter

ok ok, not quite the first time Kabouter was in the snow, but he didn't take in  that one and only day of snow previous winter consciously. This time he realized something odd was outside.

Funny enough when we arrived in the snow zone he was deeply asleep in the car and he only woke up when we pulled up the drive-way .    While parking we all of a sudden heard a deep  "Uh-Ooooh" from the back seat.    ROFL :).

All the snow was fine to watch through the window, to walk through while sitting on daddy's belly  but he was a lot more hesitant to explore it.    Pointing to it from the side he stayed safely on the covered terrace.  The fact that he had just received bigger & heavier little boots that made him walk more awkwardly, didn't help either. But after a while and a lot of encouragement, the curiosity wan from the fear and he dared to step himself into the white stuff.   He probably still thinks it's very weird cold stuff.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

First snow

We drove to the Ardennes yesterday and arrived in the east of Belgium in a winter wonder land.   It was already snowing around 300m high, much sooner than I had anticipated.  And although it wasn't truly freezing yet, so some of the white stuff was melting, ...there was so much falling all day that all was covered in a good 5 cm of snow everywhere. 

Gorgeous, just gorgeous.... none of the pictures do any justice to the beauty of the landscapes!
But here's a selection of our afternoon walk anyhow.   Oh....and do try to spot the residential town swan in the 3rd picture: it really is there in the field!! :)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Wrong Christmas sweaters

With the opening of the Primark store in Brussels and all the fuzz that seems to create apparently, all I think of now is "Oh Gosh, that wrong Christmas sweater hype is only going to get bigger now".   I had heard of the fact that Rudolf Raindeer sweaters or Frosty the Snowman hand knitted sweaters are no longer a wrong present but have turned into the most hippest things you can have.  

Last weekend we were in Edinburgh and boy...were...there...wrong ...Christmas...sweaters...EVERYWHERE.   Entire families, entire group of friends,  ... In every restaurant, street,...  And also in the entire facade of the Primark stores.
In Belgium, apart from the newspapers announcing the trend, I have fortunately not spotted anyone with the guts to put on such a sweater in public. But seeing the crowds lining up for that new Primark store, I fear the worst.

And so we are all running around dressed up in one giant Christmas themed bachelor party. Hurray, 3 more weeks I suppose?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Made in Belgium: Betty Goes Green

I wasn't into rock or alternative music in the 90ies so I've managed to entirely miss Betty Goes Green in my youth. Right now I realize that has been a pity to have missed this band that was quite successful for an entire decade  and toured among other with Lou Reed.

Besides their music, I merely find they should get an award for their uber cool name "Betty Goes Green" (sometimes abbreviated to BGG though but that should get punished : a name like Betty Goes Green should never be abbreviated).

Saturday, 6 December 2014


This year it still took some guidance to put the shoes in front of the fire place ...and to leave them there. 

But look what happened when we put Kabouter upstairs in his bed for a nap!! Just then of course Sinterklaas had come by!  surprise surprise ;)

So someone had some nice waking up...although still quite oblivious to the Good Holy Man that had granted him a visit. He was too busy grabbing the little cookies with one hand while managing with his other the sound buttons of his new toys.

Later on the evening a bad accident happened: the freight train with animals all of a sudden crashed into a nectarine that appeared back out of nowhere after I had cleaned-up all the edible gifts to the kitchen.  The nectarine was total- loss and there was a lot of juice damage to the surroundings.   Kabouter himself was smelling very citrus-like :)