Lifestyle blog by a thirty-something city dweller

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3 delicious lunchbox salads

A typical lunch at work in the Netherlands looks like this: lunch sandwichYes, that’s a bit of cheese on a slice of brown bread (and in this photo at least the bread looks like a nice seeded loaf!). I’ve actually read a few different books and articles that mention why the Dutch keep lunch so plain and simple (post-war rationing, frugal mentality, etc) but this is one local lifestyle that I won’t be adopting anytime soon.

I make my lunch every morning to take to work and I love making delicious lunchbox salads, choosing 2 or 3 a week to have for a couple of days each. Now, I have no idea about calorific values or percentages of proteins to carbs to fats but I do know what’s delicious and what fills me up through the afternoon. I also give myself no more than 5 minutes of my morning schedule to prepare lunch so it needs to be quick and easy as well.

These are three of my favourite lunchbox salads to make Continue reading…

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What to watch (or avoid) on Netflix

About a year ago, I wrote a post with my recommendations for 6 awesome shows to watch on Netflix; things I’d been watching and enjoying at the time. Some of that list hasn’t changed (some has) but there are always loads of new shows and movies every month on Netflix so I’m going to share what I’ve been watching and my thoughts (good and bad) on these.

Love Sick

I haven’t seen a show that makes me laugh out loud as much as this did in a very long time. Continue reading…

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Things to do in Amsterdam: Nine Streets

Amsterdam is a really great city and I love to head there for a few hours on a Saturday to experience all the different things going on.

There are so many things to do in Amsterdam but one of my favourite areas to spend time in is the Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes). This picturesque neighbourhood sits in the heart of the Canal District – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and is a 15-20 minute walk from Centraal Station and a 5 minute walk from Dam Square. negen straatjes, nine streets, amsterdam, netherlands, things to do in amsterdamnegen straatjes, nine streets, amsterdam, netherlands, things to do in amsterdamWithin the Nine Streets, you can find an eclectic mix of designer and vintage boutiques, gift, book and record shops, cafes, restaurants and bakeries, and so much more.

How to spend a few hours in the Nine Streets:

Continue reading…

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Budget Beauty #2

Soap and Glory products are my Christmas bargain purchase every year. In the Boots sales, I always buy a bulk load that lasts me months and this time was no exception. In fact, the reason this review is so delayed is because I bought such a big set that I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase to bring it back with me in January, so had to wait until I was back in the UK again last month and had more luggage space.

The Spa of Wonder set was a Christmas special retailing initially at £60 but sold for £30 when it was a Star Gift in early December and also when in the sales (which is when I bought it). It contains 10 products, with skincare, makeup and shower/bath toiletries included, in a good quality box with a hologram image on (sadly, I couldn’t keep the box as I really did not have space in my suitcase!). All the products are full-size so this really was a bargain buy (total product value is £77.50). soap and glory, spa wonder, boots, beauty products, beauty review, righteous butter, scrub of your life, clean on me, face mask, make up, gift box, beauty box soap and glory, spa wonder, boots, beauty products, beauty review, face mask, make upI have used a few of these Soap and Glory products before but some were new ones for me to try. I’ll give you my thoughts on all of them though, as well as the individual retail prices for each product. Continue reading…

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What to pack for a ski holiday

If you follow me on social media, then you’ll probably have seen that I recently got back from a family holiday to stunning Lapland. As well as snowboarding and skiing, we also did a bunch of really fun activities – visiting a reindeer farm, taking a night-time horse and sled ride, driving husky sleds, and more.what to pack for a ski holiday, levi, Lapland, skiing, winer holidayLapland was magical. The most wintery place I’ve ever been with so much snow and just a complete festive feel every day. We stayed in the lovely resort of Levi, approximately 170km north of the Arctic circle so we had to be prepared for the cold.

levi, lapland, finland, arctic circle, skiing, winter holiday Continue reading…

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The Best Ways to Learn a new Language

The world is getting smaller with more opportunities every day to travel, live and work in a different country. The biggest barrier though for many people is language. Especially if you’re not a “languages person” (or think that you’re not), the concept of learning a totally new language can be pretty terrifying.

Six months ago, I moved to the Netherlands and knew approximately 10 words of Dutch. This week I finished my Dutch lessons (the first set at least). I have now completed 22 hours of study over the past 12 weeks with a private tutor and I now know a lot more than 10 words. ways to learn a language, foreign language, dutch course, language lessons, expat guideAs part of my formal education, I have taken more than 13 years of French lessons, 11 years of German lessons, 2 years of Italian lessons and have 3 GCSEs, 2 A-levels and a Diploma in these languages. I have also lived in Germany and Québec (the French-speaking part of Canada for anyone who didn’t know).

From my experiences in the classroom and through lots of other learning methods, I’ve compiled these tips on the best ways to learn a new language. Continue reading…

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DIY gel nails from SensatioNail

I love having painted nails. It wasn’t always this way though (nail biting habit and then played team sports so had to keep my nails short) but that’s why I love it so much now.

With no restrictions, I now have a vast stock of nail colours (including these summer picks) and I try to have painted nails most of the time (with breaks to restore some health and vitality).

I have, however, never managed to paint my nails without them quickly smudging or chipping. I could paint them in the afternoon, go to bed hours later and still wake up with them covered in sheet squiggles – you know what I mean by those, right?

Knowing my ongoing frustration Continue reading…

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Navigating Malaga Airport

Anyone else suffering from January blues? I’ve been looking at flights everyday to sunnier climes which reminded me that I haven’t done a “Navigating…” post for a while.

Malaga Airport is one I’ve seen change hugely over the years. We’re lucky enough to have a holiday apartment between Marbella and Estepona which I try to visit at least once a year so I’ve flown to and from Malaga numerous times over the past 12+ years.

What used to be a very outdated, small airport has been massively developed and has grown into one with a lot of different amenities. Here’s a few Continue reading…

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Explore Netherlands #7 – Amsterdam Light Festival, part 2

Following this visit to the water exhibition of the Amsterdam Light Festival, I went back a few weeks later to see the land exhibition. Usually spread through the city, this year the land exhibition was concentrated around the Marineterrein area – about a 20 minute walk east of Centraal Station.

The land displays were only available from 14 December til 7 January (the water artworks can be seen from 30 November – 21 January) so I had to get in a visit before I went back to the UK for my Christmas holiday. amsterdam light festival, amsterdam, street art, light display, immersionI’ve added photos of a few of the different artworks below but I want to share my thoughts on a couple which really hit me hard and that Continue reading…

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2017: A year in review

About eight months ago, I had the right conversation with the right person at the right time. It has now been nearly six months since I packed up my life in Birmingham and moved to the Netherlands.

Whilst I knew that I would definitely have a new job by the end of the year, I didn’t know that I would also have a new home in a new home country.

It really has been quite a year so in this video I let you know what changed for me in 2017, what I miss and what my highlights were. Continue reading…