Monday, December 30, 2013

Music Monday #42

Yesterday me and my friends went to the theater to see The Hobbit pt. 2 The Desolation of Smaug which was a really good movie. At the end I heard this song which I already had heard before but had forgotten the lines of, so I couldn't look it up. As soon as I got home I looked up the song again and I love it, I've been playing it all day long now.

Ed Sheeran - I See Fire

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family or friends!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Music Monday #41

Laurena - Permafrost

A new book blog

All book and writing related posts will be posted on Books are stories from now on! I want to keep this blog more focused on baking, crafting, photograpy, traveling and inspiration and on my new blog I won't have to feel like my bookish ramblings are out of place. You can also find a link to my other blog at the top of this page.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas cards

For my friends I drew some cards with christmas trees on them. Eventhough they're not as pretty as store bought cards I always like it better to make them myself. Making christmas card definitely gets me in the christmas spirit.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Discovering my own city

Suzan and I are working on a webseries about Zutphen, the city I live in. On monday we already filmed quite a lot and I also took some pictures. It's funny how working on this project I see my city in a different light. To me it always seemed like a pretty boring place, but I found out that it does have a rich history and there are lots of stories to tell about the place. It will probably take a little while before our first episode will be posted on youtube, but for now you can check out some photos I made.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Music Monday #40

I had heard the song Brother a couple of weeks ago when I was watching the audition of Uncle Jed on Australian's got talent. I really liked the song, but forgot to look it up and so I didn't hear it anymore until someone showed it to me. It's always nice when you hear a song again that you really like but forgot the name of!

Matt Corby - Brother

Click here for the studio version

Matt Corby -Untitled

Friday, December 13, 2013

Risotto with chicken and celery

I made this dish last sunday and this week my parents asked me to make it again, so it was quite a succes.
Ingrediënts (for 4 persons)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
300 g chicken breast in pieces
1/2-1 celery head in pieces
300 g risotto rice
1 l chicken broth/ 1 chicken broth tablet
200 g parmesan cheese
white wine

Preparation method

Heat olive oil in a saucepan or wok and fry the onion for about one minute. Bake the chicken along until every piece is white. Add the pieces celery and bake for about two minutes. Add the risotto and bake until the grains are glazy. Then add part of the broth (or water and the broth tablet) and let it simmer. Add more broth (or water) every time almost all is absorbed by the rice. If you want you can also add some white wine. Keep stirring the entire time. Cook the rice for 15-20 minutes until the rice is soft enough. Add pepper to taste and serve with the cheese.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Music Monday #39

Knowing that I love folk music, my father recently sent me a music video by The Kildares playing the classic Irish song Whiskey in the jar. The violinist is amazing. Her solo at the beginning sounds very middle-eastern to me somehow.

The Kildares - Whiskey in the jar

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to make pepernoten

Pepernoten (spice nuts) are a special dutch Sinterklaas treat. They are very small round cookies. They are not really difficult to make, but I still managed to burn my first batch today. The recipe is enough for 3 baking sheets full of these, so I still had two batches that turned out nicely.The recipe uses speculaas spices, which you can buy in dutch supermarkets but probably not anywhere else. Click here to see how you can make it yourself.

250 g self raising flour
125 g brown sugar
6 tsp speculaas spices
150 g butter
2 tbsp milk

How to make it
Preheat the oven at 160 degrees C. Put the flour, sugar, speculaas spices and the butter in a bowl and mix it until a dough starts to form. Then slowly add the milk and knead it through the dough. Put a sheet of baking paper on the baking sheet. Make small rolls of the dough, put them on the baking paper and flatten them a little. Bake them for about 10-15 minutes. Check from time to time to see if they already have a nice golden brown color.



Today it's 5 december and in the Netherlands it's St. Nichola's eve. It's the evening where Sinterklaas brings everyone presents. It's a bit like Santa Claus. There are special songs and treats for Sinterklaas.
Sinterklaas usually arrives midway november on his steamship from Spain along with his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes). From the day Sinterklaas arrives up until 4 december children can in the evenings put hay or a carrot in their shoe for Sinterklaas's horse and during the night the Zwarte Pieten will replace it with candy or a small present. They also sing songs when they have put something in their shoe. Pepernoten (spice nuts) are very small round treats that are handed out by Zwarte Pieten. I will post a recipe of how to make them. Furthermore lots of people receive a chocolate letter, which is usually the first letter of their name.

As a kid Sinterklaas was my favorite holiday and it was always an exciting time.

Here are some Sinterklaas songs to get in the right mood!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Forever Beth: Lost and found by Elizabeth Cook-Howard



Set within the boroughs of New York City, 12 year veteran of the NYPD, Detective Kevin Walker is faced with the daunting task of solving the murder of a mother and her six year old daughter. Investigating as he has many times before, Detective Walker finds this particular case more disheartening to solve compared to all past cases he has investigated.

Beth Morris, a Domestic Violence Case Worker for the past seven years finds herself in a place of loss once again. Two of the most important people in her life are brutally murdered. The two same people who helped her understand what unconditional love is, how to give love and more importantly how to accept being loved. Their murder, their loss unearths Beth’s past filled with abuse, rejection and a wish for death.

Meeting Detective Walker when her life was crumbling, Beth found refuge in his need to protect. Initially assuming his protectiveness was routine, Beth realizes he too has a past filled with tragedy and the lack of maternal love. Kevin and Beth are two souls drawn together assumed by murder but realistically by love loss and painful pasts.

I received a copy of this book via Goodreads giveaway.

In the beginning of the book we meet the domestic violence case worker Beth Morris. Beth has had a tough life. She had a bad relationship with her mother, her husband physically abused her and her beloved father died. Beth can no longer live with all the pain and sees suicide as the only way out. Luckily she is saved and when she meets Rosa and Rosie through her work she finally finds people she can love again. Rosa and Rosie treat Beth like family, so when they are both murdered Beth's life is turned upside down once again.

What I really liked about this book was the pace in which the story was told. There was not a moment while reading this book that I was bored. I would have liked to get to know Beth a little better, but I presume the sequel will take care of that. The mystery of who murdered Rosa and Rosie didn't seem very complicated in the beginning but I was happy that it turned out to be a lot more complex in the end. I defenitely did not see that twist coming. Eventhough the book ends with a cliffhanger I didn't mind it at all. The story itself was well written. I do feel like there could have been a little more editing though. Kevin Walker is called handsome pretty often and that could have been a little less. A description of why he was so handsome would have been better, because I still don't really feel like I know what he looks like.
I was a bit confused that the exlamations are written between parentheses, since I have never seen that before.

Eventhough I'm not a very religious person I found that the religious aspect of this book was well written.

My favorite part of the book is actually when Beth has had an OD of heroine and she is in between the world of the living and heaven. To me that part of the book was written the best. Sometimes when I read a book that includes religion I feel like the sole purpose of the book is to convert me, which feels a bit annoying, but this book was very different.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why I haven't been posting anything the last week...

... I think my nanowrimo chart tells it all. I've been wrinting like crazy for the past few days. I think I'm starting to see a pattern here. Look at my campnano chart from juli for example:

See any resemblance? It looks like I can sort of keep up in the beginning, then I fall a little more behind. Somewhere in the middle I want to keep up again and start to write a little more per day. Then after a few days I lose hope again and pretty much nothing is being written for the next days. In the end I am really behind and start writing like crazy to reach the 50.000 words. It was just like last time, in the beginning writing 1.667 word pers day seems like an awful lot, but in the end I'm perfectly able to write 5.000/6.000 words per day.

The mysterie of the missing plot

Eventhough I did reach 50.000 words my story is far from complete. In the end I just didn't know what to write anymore so I mainly wrote backstories for my characters and subplots. At the beginning I thought there was a plot, but somewhere along the way I realised that somehow there wasn't really any. Hence the mysterie of the missing plot. I'm not sure what happened here, but I'm going to try to plan everything a little better next year, haha.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Music Monday #37

At the moment my favorite song is Isaac by Bear's Den. I hadn't heard about them until recently. Unfortunately they don't have that many songs yet, otherwise I would listen to them for days.

Bear's Den - Isaac

Bear's Den - Pompeii

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm

While I was in Stockholm I visited many museums. The museum of Ethnography was my favorite by far. They had so many beautiful objects from places all around the world. It really made me want to see more of the world and I realised that there still are so much places I want to visit. Here are some of the photos I took. They're not great quality, but they will give you an impression.


My favorite part of the museum was The storage. It was just amazing to look at all those showcases that were chock full with foreign items. 

The Storage
an Ethnographic Treasury

It is easy to get lost amongst tinder pouches, monkey traps and poison arrows. There are 6,000 objects here, from all four corners of the world. By opening up the Storage, we cath a glimpse of the diversity and magic of our collections - a treasure-trove for the curious. Thousands of artefacts, stories from bygone eras and infinite inspiration for the future.

If you are ever in Stockholm, it is definitely worth the visit!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Skansen is an open-air museum on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm where they have old Scandinavian buildings. I had been there a couple of years ago and I went there again last october when I was in Stockholm.
To read more about my Stockholm adventure: Stockholm part 1 & Stockholm part 2.

In this post I just wanted to show some of photos that I took of the buildings in Skansen. Most of the buildings they have are Swedish, but they also have some old ones from Norway.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Monday #36

This is just the kind of music that I like... acoustic guitars, more than one singer (with voices that go together very well), a trumpet...

Of Monsters and Men - Dirty Paws

Of Monsters and Men - King and Lionheart

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stockholm part 2

Here you can read the first post about my trip to Stockholm.

The second week I was there, I bought a Stockholm Card at the tourist centre and visited a lot of museums and I took a boat tour. The museums I went to were the Museum of biology, Museum of Ethnography, The Swedish history museum, Museum of Medieval stockholm, The Vasa museum, The museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Prince Eugen's Waldemarsudde, The Royal Armoury and the Aquaria Water museum. Furthermore I visited the open-air museum Skansen, the Butterfly house and SkyView. As you can see, it turned into a pretty cultural trip.

My personal highlights were the Musuem of Ethnography by far, and the Vasa Museum and Royal Armoury.

The royal armoury with it's beautiful clothes and armor.
I found the Museum of Biology not really interesting because of it's content, but rather because of the building itself. It looks like one of those old wooden Norwegian churches, eventhough it's built much later.

At SkyView you can go in a gondola to the top of the Ericsson globe arena, which is a very high building, from where can see the whole city.  
Some girl was kind enough to take a photo of me, and it's actually the only picture from my whole trip were I'm in. I'm always the photographer (and in this case I was even on a trip by myself), so I always end up having a lot of photos, but very few where I'm in myself. 

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities had a great collection of objects from Japan, China and Korea. Eversince I saw the movie The last samurai, I've been very interested in Japan and it's culture so I found looking around at the Japanese exhibiton particularly entertaining. The photos I took there turned out horrible, though.

The Royal Canal boat tour I took went around the island of Djurgården. I love that Stockholm has this little green island in the middle of the city. It is a great place to go for a walk and sometimes I just went there to sit by the water and write.

I had visited the Vasa museum before, but I went there for a second time. Usually I'm not really interested in boats, but the exhibitions at this museum are actually really interesting. It also help that they show a movie about the story of the Vasa and the ship itself is just incredible to see.

The train on the left is the one that I took every day to my Swedish class.

It is strange how when you are traveling you experience so much and then when you get back and everyone asks you about how it was all you manage to say is 'It was really nice' and you show your pictures. The stories about that place you went, that lives inside your head now, are so difficult to tell, because you can tell the stories but the feelings that go with them are something that you can not proparly transcribe.

I will do two more posts on Stockholm, one about The museum of Ethnography and the other about Skansen, because I want to show more than just one or two photos of them. They probably will be up on Tuesday and Friday.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1984 by George Orwell


War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength
I had expected quite a lot from this book. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations. Eventhough the subject, a totalitarian regime, was very heavy the story seemed boring to me. Winston Smith was a pretty flat main character. That is something that I would be able to overlook because of the environment he lives in, but what really made the story a little boring was the fact that at some point Winston gets a book about the totalitarion regime he lives under and many chapters of 1984 consist of chapters from that book. If it had given me any new insights into how the system worked it could have been interesting, but it didn't tell me anything new. Also, in a non-fiction book I would expect to find this sort of information, but not in a novel. 

I'm not really sure why I felt about this book the way I do. It was clear that the setting was dystopian and a scary place to live, but somehow I didn't really feel that fear.

The only thing I appreciated about the book was the fact that the ending was really blurry because Winston had kind of lost his mind because of all the torturing.

Did you read the book? What did you think of it? Am I completely alone in my not liking the book?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stockholm part 1

Finally I had the time to write something about my two week trip to Stockholm. I was looking through my photos and I realised that I have so many! It's to much to show them all at once, so I'm going to do several posts.

During my time in Stockholm I stayed in The red boat hostel. The first week there were a lot of people from all around the world, which was a lot of fun. The second week there was mostly just one other guy in my room (although there was room for 10) who I didn't see very often so it was a little more lonely.

I stayed in the part of the city called Södermalm which has a lot of coffee bars and nice shops. Eventhough this used to be the area of the working class, there are a lot of beautiful large buildings.

The first week I spent mainly by walking around the city and getting lost. The amount of times that I lost track of where I was, was ridiculous. The picture to the right is of Gamla Stan, the old part of the city.

The first week I had Swedish lessons with another guy, the second week I had private lessons. The lessons took place outside the city centre, so I had to travel there everyday by metro and train. It's funny how easily you get used to a new rhythm of your life. I never really got up early, but during my stay in Stockholm I usually got up at 6:30/7:00. I have always been more of an evening person than a morning persons, but I would rather be a morning person so I was hoping to maintain this newly gained lifestyle, but as soon as I got home I got back into my old habits, haha.

Some more pictures of Gamla Stan.

During my first week I visited Nordiska Museet which is Sweden's largest museum of cultural history. I had been there before, but I still really liked it. The exibitons about the Sami and Swedish traditions were my favorite as well as the one about folk art.

Here are some pictures from their exibitions:

For more of Stockholm, come back next time! (I'm going to try to have the next post up on friday).

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