Sunday, 21 November 2010

This little flutter happened earlier today whilst I was in my hotel room, on the 8th floor!


Friday, 19 November 2010

Bliss is...

A mini bar filled with delights for the weary traveller.

Just landed in Taipei from Seoul and it's around 20c. That's a welcomed change as it was 7 this morning in Seoul.

Right, I'm off to catch up with Sarah, it's her birthday today :)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Monday marvel

I received this unexpected surprise in the post today at the office *grin*

Thank you my dapper fairy!

Dutch word of the day: mooi - beautiful.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Road to hell!

It's about time the 'Belgian government' (read 'lack there of') got their fingers out and formed a government - again. First on the list of things to do is to fix those atrocious roads that we have to drive on.

Rant over.

p.s. this is the second time since i've lived in Belgium that we haven't had a government!

p.p.s. word of the day - geen; meaning 'none.'

Tuesday, 2 March 2010



I rode for the first time today since my accident last August. I rode home from work. The sun was shining, I didn't need my gloves and I was on my new bike.

Somethings in life are priceless!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Sarah and I went out for a quick drink after my Flemish class tonight and saw this in the window of the hairdressers downtown lol. I hope she's not responsible for my next hair cut!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Chimay to the left, chimay to the right, chimay in a wine glass that's just not right!

Chimay Rood in an American Thai restaurant = "thumbs up."

Chimay Rood in a wine glass = :(

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Mijn liefde

It was just after Valentine's day 3 years ago that I first had the pleasure of "chatting" (read stalking) my better half. Sarah and I both had profiles on that essential "social" website for any young lesbot - gaydargirls. If I was bored and on my computer, I'd often find myself trawling through people's profiles, just for a laugh, to see what ridiculous things they're written about themselves.

Normally I'd just look at the main cities, but this fateful evening I decided to look under the towns in the countryside. These ones normally provide even more entertainment but certainly never any potentials for dating...or so I thought.

I began to scroll down the list of profiles from the back of beyond when this very unique looking picture of someone's eyes caught my attention. Viewing the profile I saw that she lived in Belgium and not in the back of beyond in the UK. At that time I visited Belgium 3-4 times a year with my old job so in my head the location was a small detail that could be conveniently worked out.

I remember reading her profile and thinking, wow, this girl sounds AMAZING! Her personality came across in her profile and I very much liked what I read. I had to send a message to her. I did doubt if she would reply though. My first text was some incomprehensible rambling in a rather poor attempt at Dutch. It was enough to hook Sarah in just a wee bit.

The texts progressed into long chats over msn and then on skype over the following weeks. Unfortunately for Sarah, I'm very impulsive and can be a bit pushy when I set my eyes on a goal (read target). I wanted to go over to Belgium to see first hand if all of these feelings were real. And I wanted to do this asap. Sarah on the other hand was a wee bit cooler. Looking at her schedule for March 2007 she replied, "Well, I'm starting my new job in the first week so I can't have any visitors then, and my best friend is coming over in the 3rd week so I'm not free then...How does April or May sound?

GUTTED! That was not the answer I was looking for. Needless to say, I was rather persistent and Sarah was persuaded. I did visit in March, in fact I visited at the end of her first week at her new job. That was a momentous week in her life LOL and as it turned out also in mine :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Yes, it's been a while, tsk. I blame that on my procrastination. I have so many things to write you see that I just don't know where to begin. So I put it off.
Well, this post is another beginning.

Over the past few months I've become (as has Sarah) super-aware that I'm increasingly sensitive to my hormones at a particular time of the month. My mood changes, I hate everything, people bug me, I want to sleep the whole day, I see no light at the end of the tunnel...Girls you know the feeling right?! The general feeling of "I feel fat and bloated and I can't be arsed to move a muscle!" This is rather difficult for me to get my head round because I generally consider myself a positive and easy going kind of gal...except for 3 days in the month.

Apparently I'm on time each month with said feelings. Lucky me! I left the house this morning like a kid being dropped off for their first day at school. Not fun. I repeat, not fun!

Sarah, bless her, calls me and sends me some supportive tesks to keep me motivated but I just can't seem to dig myself out of it. Anyways, half a bar of dark chocolate and a few hours later I come with a complete mood change in the opposite direction and feeling all hunky dorey about life.

Once again, please remind me what the evolutionary point is in hormonal fluctuations (apart from the obvious)!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Lost in translation

I just replied back to my Dad's text enquiring how I was doing. Said I was busy with work and that I have exams for my Dutch class tonight and tomorrow.

The response:

"Ach dung x"

*shakes head shamefully trying to conceal her laugh*

What chance have you got?!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


I'm sick today. My cold has been gathering pace over the last few days and came to a bit of head last night when my cough developed into a fully blown beached seal bark thus, keeping me and unfortunately Sarah, awake most of the night. Having just gotten back from the H1N1 breeding ground in Scotland, I was thinking my chances were rather high of succumbing to it. Luckily not. But at least Sarah will have a chance to wear those beautiful face masks I brought from China.

In Belgium, even if you're off work sick from one day, you have to get a doctor's note. Whereas in Britain you can self-certificate for up to a week. I prefer the system in Belgium because at least you're forced to get medical help sooner. The level of treatment that I've received so far from my GP for many different ailments has been like night and day compared to what I'd normally get back home. Of course the fact that I have to pay 24E per visit does ensure a better quality of service, but at least I will be reimbursed for some of this. There's no long waits, I can get appointment and prescription in the same day and if I need medication after work hours, there's always 1 local Chemist that's open late through the night.

On another note, I shall be tuning into BBC Radio 2's Breakfast Show now that Moira Stuart will be the newsreader with Chris Evans as the new host.

p.s. I ordered a replacement book for my Dutch class on Monday from the publisher and it arrived today before they've even asked for payment - fantastic service!

Monday, 4 January 2010


My new favourite Belgian tv program is "Man bijt hond." It's a captivating wee insight into the lives of every day Belgians. It's a breath of fresh air in contrast to the run of the mill reality tv format in that it is genuine and simple in its topics, subjects and filming style.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Words of the day

Verdomme! = dammit!
Herhalen = repeat.

I have a Dutch exam on the 19th and I've managed to leave my study book behind in Scotland.

Stom = stupid.

Everybody needs good neighbours

OMG! It's 8:55am on a Sunday and yet again there are un-Sunday-like loud noises coming from our apartment building! One of the joys of having retired people living in your block!!! Shouldn't they be in church at this time?!

They better have a good excuse for waking me out of my slumber for this. For example, they've broken their hip whilst sweeping the snow from the front door. *TUT*
Get back to bed old yean or wheeshed and read yer paper!

...I guess it's their turn to get us back for waking them every other morning Mon-Fri...

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.

It's 2:49am. I knew I would regret that coffee at 10:30 this evening. Oh well. Sarah's tucked up in bed snoozing away. You know, sometimes procastinators even put off going to sleep. Isn't that strange?

I did try tonight.

I'm too restless.

Besides, taking a midday nap is all the more enjoyable than sleeping when you're meant to be in bed.

Fortunately being restless at this time of year provides the perfect opportunity to write the "to do" lists for this year!

Roll on the risky decision making, irritability and slight tremors due to a lack of sleep!

Note to self: reduce caffeine intake in 2010 and pay more attention to circadian rhythm.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

In prep for the big day

As I type this, my dad is out clearing the snow from the drive way in preparation for the big day tomorrow. He did the same thing yesterday but unfortunately for him we had more snow overnight. Actually, I think it's doing him some good. You know how parents can't sit still when there's a big event underway. Particularly one where there's public speaking involved.

You see tomorrow is my wee brother's wedding! So as you can imagine there's a lot of excitement in our house just now. I think I've heard my dad's speech a hundred times as has my brother lol. It's very warming to see how he's putting so much effort into it. I could hear him in the wee hours of this morning around 2am still practising...either that or he was just talking to himself...who knows...either is possible ;)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Shopping list

I just hope I have space in my luggage to some treats back from the motherland:

Scott's porridge oats
Green and Blacks hot chocolate
Mother's Pride plain loaf
Oh my mouth is watering for this one - Kettle Chips sea salt and vinegar.

Can't quite fit it in my suitcase but we must have a fish supper, black pudding supper and for sure an a wee glass of Irn-Bru.

...I need to do some more thinking on this list...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Something old, something new...

Actually, I'm really not fussy, anything would do right now. I've been looking FOR AGES for an outfit for my brother's wedding that's just after Christmas. I've only had a full year to prep for it but it would appear I've gotten rather side tracked.

Not to mention my dad checking in with me to make sure that I'm organised. Well, it's not that he's checking that I'm organised, he's doing the "my daughter is a lesbian therefore her track record of outfits to social gatherings can, well, erm, go against the norm." It's not like I'm going to turn up in a tie die top, dugaress and cherry doc martens. Please dad give me more credit than that, I live on the continent you know!

I'll be sure not to take my inspiration from the below...

Friday, 27 November 2009


Finally, a Chinese massage - it's only taken 2 days. Normally we have them every night when we're travelling in China. And a hotel room with disposable knickers.

What more could a girl ask for?!

Did I mention I managed to play 18 holes today as well? Admittedly rather badly but still...a good day!

Thursday, 26 November 2009


45 hours, zero sleep and 2 very tired eyes.
22 plates of food served at dinner - one very full stomach.
Whisky in honour of my culture...I managed to defend the glass being refilled.

I slept like a log last night when I finally got to bed.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The eagle has landed

I have just landed in Hong Kong airport having chosen (stupidly) not to sleep on the plane. For a 10 hour flight it was very comfortable with no turbulence which is my favourite kind of flight. I also managed to work through my emails and tidy up my calendar. Ahh, organised bliss.

We have free wifi acces in the airport (unheard of in Europe and the US!) which means that I can tackle my unusually small number of emails without interruption. Well, I say without interruption but the music in this French inspired cafe is doing my head in. If I hear an accordian song one more time...

Anyways, we're now just a ferry and a car ride away from our first meeting of the week. I hope that our hosts go easy on the kampai tonight and that the evening is finished with the usual relaxing massage.

Monday, 23 November 2009


Sarah and I took care of something today that I can blog more about later. We were almost very late thanks to the weather. We don't like being late, particularly not for this. The rain absolutely drenched us to the core. But that doesn't matter because we made it. We are making this, together.

Today is a day that I'll recount for the rest of my life *smile and wink*

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I'm not in a fucking bad mood!

Tell me, what is the evolutionary point in feeling hormonal, apart from the being able to get pregnant bit??? I've felt a bit shitty this week and I really don't like it. I came home tonight and cried in the car for the last 10k. I'm writing this blog in between sobbing. In my head I can rationalise positive things, but right now I just feel frustrated and down.

As if having to bleed once every 4 weeks wasn't enough to contend with!

Now where's my hot chocolate and pjs...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Is the appartment still free?

Sarah helps me practise excercises for Dutch class. She puts her heart and soul into it, really. Tonight on the way home we were pretending I was looking for a place to live and Sarah was someone renting out an appartment.

Below are 2 perfect examples of the support I receive from my loving girrelfriend...

Jo: *ring, ring* *ring, ring*
Sarah: "Hello, with Sarah"
Jo: "Goodevening. I have seen your advertisment in the paper. Is your appartment still free?"
Sarah: "No, I don't rent to foreigners!" *hangs up phone*

Session 2

Jo: *ring, ring* *ring, ring*
Sarah: "Hello, with Sarah"
Jo: "Goodevening. I have seen your advertisment in the paper. Is your appartment still free?"
Sarah: "No. I've just rented it out."
Jo: *hangs up phone*

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Bergamo is just a hop, skip and a jump from Charleroi. It's a good location for a weekend getaway, the only downside being that you have to fly with you know who. It's also just outside Milan if you fancy a proper city weekend.

Thank goodness for modern conveniences. These were the old wash basins to wash clothes. Makes you thankful for the epoch you're born in!

Local delicacy - polenta cakes. Not my choice.

The view from the BB.

Room with a view

I flew to Bergamo and then onto Bratislava on Fri nite for work. We spent the fri nite in Bratislava at the Park Inn by the Danube river. Ideal for getting down town but watch out for the cost of the over night parking.

Saturday nite I stayed just outside Bergamo in Italy. This was what greeted me the next morning lol. Aside from the friendly dog, there is an excellent view over Bergamo and home baked cake with fantastic coffee for breakfast - Ca Nel Bosco

Monday, 9 November 2009

Spreekt u Vlaams?

I have an exam for my Flemish class tomorrow night.

I'm faffing.

Belgian Belters

I couldn't believe my ears last night driving back from the airport when I heard Milli Vanilli on the radio. Granted it was at 1am but still.

Someone has to take responsibility for these air waves ;)

Crying in the air

My lack of confidence in Ryanair stewards was fully justified at the weekend when I noticed that one of them was wearing a Jagermeister lanyard! Appropriate attire for someone who is meant to be in charge of your safety? I think not, unless I'm perched at a bar and not in a plane!

I guess it helps to induce the feeling of "club 18-30"

Oh how I love Ryanair.

Friday, 6 November 2009


I left this morning at 3.45 to catch a flight to Italy.
I've just had a heavy Italian lunch and my next flight is in a few hours to Bratislava for one day, then back to Italy, then back to Belgium.

I'm hoping it's time for a famous Italian siesta shortly!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

One thing at a time

My g/f can't multi task. I have to repeat myself constantly when she's on her laptop, watching tv, get the picture.

Tonight I was asking her to help me with my Flemish home work. I had to repeat every sentence that I wasn't sure on because she didn't "hear me."

Sarah's response - "Hon, you know I can't multi task! You need to draw me in visually."

I'm off to look for the flip charts and power point! *grumble*

p.s. I only got her attention because I published this blog! ;)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Rustig weekend

Ahh, what a relaxing weekend we've had. Quiet Friday night out for dinner followed by an unexpected hang out with my girrel. Sarah you see had booked a media course in Leuven for the weekend. In her rather *cough* impetuous but cute way, she arrived, quickly checked out the course contents, and dare I say it the teacher and other students (not in a pervy way you understand). Her observations concluded that her goesting was indeed op and that she would much rather hang out with her g/f in the city. Quick call to me and my plans changed from shopping in Antwerp to shopping Gent - my favourite city in the world. Voila! All happy.

Sunday was the date in the calendar that I've been looking forward to since this time last year. Every year on All Saints' Day, Sarah's Mum gets the whole, and I mean the WHOLE, family around for a humungous waffle bake. Last year we ate around 80, I've yet to get the official count on this year's consumption.

It was fanstatic. Compared to last year, I only asked Sarah to translate a few things instead of everything. I'm always impressed as to how many waffles Belgians can eat and how they eat them. Trust me when I say every square in the waffle is filled with something, be it butter, squirt-squirt cream, chocolate sauce, sugar and more or all together. With each application of a mouth watering covering, everyone enthused that it was indeed very healthy. I'll take 5 portions of that any day! I think I'm more than half way now to being Belgianised! Beer... waffles... isn't that bad in Belgium ;)

To top it all off, one of my colleagues brought in home made waffles this morning. In this mode, Belgians can't do anything wrong ;)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

MMM, lekker!

I am so excited about this weekend! We have the annual waffle bake at Sarah's mum's. 80 is the total eaten last year over the course of the day, I wonder how many we can eat this time.

I've been in training for it and have my elasticated trousers at the ready.

Cannot wait!!!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Room with a view?

What a beautiful sunrise from a house we rented in Provence in October. Very relaxing. I can't wait to take my bike the next time.

This was taken at the Holiday Inn in Montreal. It was a one night stop over before I flew to Las Vegas. Have to say, it was a rather bad choice. There was a large bird cage full of cockatiels and a Butlin-esque swimming pool right by the restaurant and bar. Nice.

In Toronto. The room came with a kitchen and was described as a business suite. Erm, wrong! When you're travelling for work, the last thing you want to do is to make your own food! Not only that, there was no restuarant in the hotel...hence your own kitchen. The upside was that I got to hang out with my family in Toronto.

This hotel was a nightmare. I decided to stay downtown Minneapolis for the weekend only to be placed next to the loudest-all-through-the-night-guests in the whole hotel. Please refer to this post for more info.

Crowne Plaza Minneapolis. Tried and tested and not far from America's biggest mall - what more can you ask for!

Room with a view

Like many things, I've been meaning to start this for ages now. "Room with a view" is a brief snapshot on the places that I've stayed on my travels this year.
In no particular order:

Ace Hotel in New York. Very cool boutique style hotel. Building was originally a hotel, then an apartment block and now back to a hotel. Some of the residents are still living there. Chic decor and very friendly staff. Very reasonably prices.

Dull Holiday Inn just outside NY. Believe it or not this was more expensive than the Ace Hotel above.

Another funky boutique hotel just outside Montreal. More of a destination hotel on the other side of the river. Located in a mall type area with a good selection of restaurants and shops on your door step.

Can you tell this one is from Glasgow. I was slumming, like really. The Travelodge in the city centre, cheap but not particularly cheerful. Handy location though.

Aaah, the tranquil Four Seasons hotel in St Fillans just outside Comrie. This hotel has some of the best views in Scotland being based on the shores of Loch Earn. Worth every penny with the excellent food and very helpful staff. Just make sure you're ready for the weather and that you have your own transport because St Fillan's is difficult to get to.

Monday, 12 October 2009

I'm hungry and confused. Not a good combination because I can't figure out which symbol starts the microwave in our oven.

I need to learn!