Trip to Amsterdam

A few weekends ago, a couple of us went to Amsterdam for a girly weekend. I knew it would be a good time because Amsterdam is a beautiful city and there is so much to see and do there. If museums are your thing, you will be spoilt for choice! There are also plenty of bars and clubs to choose from and the general beauty of the place will be enough to keep you enthralled in my opinion.

We found a lovely apartment via airbnb in liedersplein. This apartment was the perfect choice for us as we wanted to be central. We were close to all the public transports and also close to the museums, bars and restaurants. That is just what you need when you are only there for a weekend and do not want to waste time having to catch buses etc. to what you want to see. Our location was within walking distance of everything!

We drove up late on the Friday. It was literally a case of get in, dump our stuff and head right back out to see what the bars were like. I think our conclusion was that they were pretty good! It was a lovely night, so we just sat outside drinking, talking, laughing and people watching. Definitely not a bad way to spend a Friday evening at all.

We had planned before going for the weekend that we would definitely be going to the Rijkmuseum and had been savvy enough to book in advance. It is a good idea to do this as the queues for the museums can get pretty long. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time doing that, then you should definitely pre book. You won’t be disappointed with the Rijkmuseum either. It is in a gorgeous building and is filled with lots of beautiful art. I also loved the little quotes they had put beside the artwork. Some were just funny and others gave pause for thought.

For dinner, we went to a restaurant that had come highly recommended if you like Chinese food….which it so happens I do! The restaurant is called “Nam Kee” and is based in the Chinatown area of Amsterdam. It’s not much to look at from the outside, but trust me, the food is delicious! I ordered the duck with pancakes for starters and the crispy pork for main. I was not disappointed with either dish. In fact the portions were so generous that it was a struggle to finish. It was so delicious though, that your stomach just wants you to keep eating…which I happily obliged and did until it was all gone.

After being suitably fed, we decided to find a bar to try to watch the World Cup match between The Netherlands and Costa Rica. I will admit that I am not a fan of football…..I am firmly in the “don’t care” camp when it comes to it. I was not the most willing participant when it was suggested that we go watch. However, I did agree on the condition that I would need lots of beer, and may not actually watch said match. Once I arrived and the game started, I actually enjoyed it. I am still in the “don’t care” camp and would never willingly sit at home watching a match on tv, but if it was in a pub and the world cup, I wouldn’t have so many objections. It is kind of hard not to start getting into it, when everyone else around you is.

All in all it was a good weekend. Amsterdam definitely stayed true to form and did not disappoint in showing us a good weekend. If you haven’t been yet, don’t let the stories you hear scare you, there is a lot more that the city has to offer than those two things.

Other things I recommend

- Febo machines!!  A vending machine that serves hot food is a genius idea!

- Stroopwafels – The Welsh have something similar called caramel cakes, but Stroopwafels (in my opinion) are far superior.

- Take a photo by the “I Amsterdam” sign.

- Find the big clog to go and take the obligatory “I was here” photo.

- Visit the Anne Frank museum but be prepared to queue as it’s a popular one.

- Join the locals and bike around the city

- Visit the Van Gogh museum


Don’t let anyone define who you are

I’m feeling all philosophical today and thought I would share what’s on my mind……

When I was younger, I used to be really concerned about how people viewed me. I was the person who if they had an opinion that went against the grain, I would not say anything for fear of being ridiculed. Or would choose my fashion based on what I thought would make me fit in with people more. I hated standing out, because I was scared that by going against the norm, I would attract the unwanted criticism of others.

Now I am older, I have realised that somehow, I have managed to get myself to a place where I am happy with me. I have (in my opinion) grown into a more confident person who does not spend the majority of the time worrying about how people will take what I do, wear or say. Now, my view is that as long as I’m being true to me, being respectful and kind, it doesn’t matter if some people don’t like my decisions. They are mine to make and so are my mistakes. No one controls my life but me. I have realised that to give someone that power, is to say that I believe they are somehow better than me. This is simply not true. Everyone is equal. I am just as worthy of my space on earth as the next person and now I have accepted this, I feel like I can truly begin the work of becoming the best me I can be.

So my advice to anyone who may be going through what I have been through is to never let anyone tell you what you are, who you can be or how far you can go. No one but you has control over your life, your loves, your happiness or your future. Take charge of you. Everyone will have an opinion on what you do, but that does not mean that you need to listen to it all. It is your life and at the end when you look back on it all, you need to be happy with the decisions and choices you have made and the person you are. You cannot live your life for someone else or by someone else’s rules.

Mackerel salad

For the past week, I’ve been really craving a salad. Today, I finally has time to go to the supermarket and get the ingredients to make one.

This salad is really easy to do and is very tasty.

To make it you will need:
– Chinese lettuce
– Cherry tomatoes
– Cucumber
– Bell pepper
– Avocado
– Horseradish
– Smoked mackerel
– Honey and mustard salad dressing

To prepare:

- take a few leaves of the lettuce, chop and put in a bowl
– cut a few cherry tomatoes in half and place in the bowl
– cut the cucumber and peppers into cubes (or whatever shape you like) and place in the bowl
– thinly slice a few of the horseradish and place in the bowl.
– peel and cube half the avocado and place in the bowl.
-pour the salad dressing in, toss an plate up.
– add the smoked mackerel on top and voila! Your salad is ready to be eaten.