Lovely Gilmore Girls poster

Stumbled upon this gem of a Gilmore Girls poster. This is why I love Etsy.

 

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https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/568875229/lukes-diner-gilmore-girls-poster?ref=shop_home_active_3

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The most wonderful time of the year

I love Christmas. Yes, I’m one of them. One of those people who gets a little excited feeling around mid-OctoIMG_2067ber, just as the air feels like it’s hardening and evening darkness encroaches upon the afternoons more and more. Whilst most are still mourning the lost of summer and have not had the heart to put away their flip-flops, I am already feeling nostalgic and looking forward to seeing fairy lights and eating mince pies.

If you do not share my feelings (i.e. you have a more rational perspective on the Christmas festivities) then you will no doubt feel the urge to hit people like me if we have the nerve to utter the “C” word before Decemeber 1st. Callum doesn’t share my love of the anticipation of Christmas so I have to keep my glee under wraps, as it were.

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Now we have almost completed our first week of December, I need hide it no more. The lights are up, presents have already been bought (some of them wrapped) and I’m playing Fairytale of New York on an almost daily basis. I have already made, written and posted all of my cards – but I didn’t take pictures, which was stupid because I was very pleased with them this year. However, for the past couple of years I have never been able to feel fully in the Christmas spirit because in Holland Christmas is still second-best; Sinterklaas is the big celebration over here and so gets the most attention from shops (and therefore shoppers).

As a result, my advent calendar is less typical than those we have in England (although not as much as Callum’s), I’ve had to hand make a ‘Happy Xmas’ banner and still haven’t eaten a single mince pie. (My options are to pay more than €5 for six M&S ones or make them. It’s practically a violation of my human rights.) Think this is likely to dampen my Christmas anticipation? Not at all. I just know that it won’t really feel like Christmas time until I reach jolly ol’ England toward the end of December…

PS. If you’re still feeling more Scrooge than Santa, have a listen to my newest favourite Christmas song by Aussie comedian Tim Minchin. It’s lovely:

I suck at being an adult

*Sigh* Being an adult is hard. You need to make decisions, get work done and generally not rely on other people if you want anything to happen. Kids do not know how good they have it.

This evening I had every intention of being a proper, fully functioning adult and made a plan of my evening activities in my head:

  1. Food shopping
  2. Clear up kitchen
  3. Lesson planning
  4. Make dinner
  5. Eat said dinner with one glass of wine
  6. Indulge in dessert only if hungry

15 minutes after I got home this evening, the wine was open, I had only done a third of the dishes and I was spooning chocolate pudding in my face.

Ahh, well, screw it. I’m an ADULT I can do whatever I want, that’s the point of being a grown up, isn’t it??

If you like the pictures, please click on them; they should take you to Hyperbole and a half, which is a very amusing blog and articulates these issues better than I can.

Oh dear, my wine glass appears to be empty…

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I wish I was dead.”

Jack Monroe

Stephanie walked out in front of a lorry on the M6.
Charles took his own life.
Donna wishes she was dead.
The Tories fall asleep in the Opposition Day debate, laugh, jeer, and accuse campaigners of ‘shouting’ too loudly about it.
Here’s a few reasons why I hate, oppose and challenge the bedroom tax. Those that quibble about what it’s called are completely missing the point. Here’s a few to start you off:

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For this full story, see Four families every hour being made homeless BEFORE bedroom tax: Real Britain, Daily Mirror, 27 March 2013.

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For this full story, see Pensioner killed himself over fears he could not afford his home: 3rd November 2013.

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For this full story, read: The bedroom tax discriminates against disabled children: 6th November 2013

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Labour peer warns bedroom tax will cost more money than it saves: 1st November 2013.

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Bedroom tax suicide victim Stephanie Bottrill’s…

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Eating vs. Heating

One of the things which makes me ashamed of the country I’m from.

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I am rather angry today. I will explain why.

First, google the question “Where does the UK rank on list of richest countries?”. According to GDP, the United Kingdom ranks as 21st in the world.

Next, google “How many children live in poverty in the UK?” Depending on your source, you will encounter figures from 3 – 4 million.

Lastly, explain to me how the hell this is possible. HOW can we have so much money and have so many people living in poverty? Why is this still socially accepted? Why are we blind to such massive social injustices?!

A large part of the problem still lies in how the government and parts of the media portray those in poverty and how they stigmatised. But I have noticed a slight problem with the pictures that are painted.

We are told that there are millions upon millions…

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113. Redbones Restaurant, Somerville, MA

Another great post by my favourite beer bar connoisseur.

Perfect Beers

Redbones is deep in Somerville, Boston, to the north of Cambridge and you are unlikely to stumble upon it by chance. The pilgrimage is well worth the effort as they serve up 24 beers on tap to wash down the excellent home-cooked BBQ meats.

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Rustic and unkempt to the core, Redbones has a vibe unique amongst the emerging set of airbrushed bars. I hope that never changes.

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Redbones is situated in what seems to be a rather sterile and vanilla suburb, which makes the decor and the clientele surprising and refreshing. The patrons were genuinely friendly and the layout facilitates the gregarious and affable vibe. Nothing here is taken too seriously; it just ‘is’.

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Venue: 7/10

It is what it is. Unashamedly rustic and rugged; a lovely charm.

Beer: 7/10

24 taps, one cask and a wheel to help you choose from some top locals and fine imports, such…

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Little Venice my ass.

On a recent trip to London, I visited Little Venice. This isn’t merely a colourful, colloquial local name- it’s on the signposts. The only resemblance is water- the wrong colour, I should add.

Little Venice

Above is a handy comparative illustration to show the canny likeness to Amsterdam. I will concede though that renaming the area “Little Amsterdam” is unlikely to conjure images of leafy, idyllic middle-class waterways; but rather some orange clogs tattooed to the posterior of a tiny hooker smoking weed.

Candidate #3- De Prael, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Mmmm… beer

Perfect Beers

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Craft brewing has snowballed in the Netherlands recently, with powerhouses such as Brouwerij de Molen emerging on the international scene.

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Amsterdam is home to a few stalwarts, such as the unpronounceable Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Although, deserving the most attention, in my humble opinion, is De Prael.

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For some time they existed only as a beer shop (proeflokaal), and in the last year they have enjoyed thriving business in a tucked-away venue in the Red Light District. The decor is excellent, a tasteful blend of individual adornments: framed beer bottle label art; old Dutch country house tiles; beer tap bathroom taps, blended with classy contemporary: spotlights; a shiny racing bike.

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The beers are named after old Dutch music ‘icons’, of which they have some vinyl sleeves on the walls. It’s hard to go wrong in the beer choice, and choosing a favorite is like deciding which of your kid’s should be handed…

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AmsterDAMP

Hailing from the U.K, I thought I understood the character of a rainy place.

Red Shoes has obviosuly reached that level of saturation which leads one to philosophize: “Fuck it; I can’t get any wetter”, as the pneumonia sets in.

But Amsterdam lies to the east of miles upon miles of unbroken North Sea and enjoys a westerly prevailing wind.

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This makes the weather highly variable; one would be wise to take an unbrella out for the day even with the bluest of skies above. Within half an hour the weather can, and often does, switch from nice to downpour and back again.

Tourist boat having a grand old time

The Dutch have a great word for this: wolkbreuk; literrally ‘cloud burst’.

Get this in your brain: Peep Show

(Video at bottom of post)

With this post I aim to take part in the #2 most popular pastime of all time**: telling other people what to do. Not in an “If you don’t do this, you will burn in hell” kinda way, but in a “You really should give this a try; it’s really rather spiffing” way. (For those of you who you haven’t realised, this is the approach adopted by the English after our empire crumbled and we realised we were no longer the boss of, well, anyone.)

Today I want to expel to you the virtues of a great British television show: Peep Show. The British broadcaster responsible for airing the show, Channel 4, provides a very succinct synopsis on their website:

Award-winning sitcom. David Mitchell and Robert Webb play two dysfunctional flatmates who reveal all their inner thoughts – whether dark, stupid or embarrassing. Or, occasionally, all three…

For a Peep Show virgin, this brief insight into the world of the show doesn’t reveal just how good the writing and acting is, nor the USP of the show, so if you have never watched, listen up.

The format of the show is one of its greatest strengths; we experience almost everything from the two main characters’ points of view and are privy to their inner monologues as voiceovers. Not only does this delineate the show from other sitcoms, but it allows the audience to climb into the two guys’ minds and be alternately amused and disturbed, as you recognise thoughts and reactions you have daily, but like the main characters, do not share with other people, less they think you slightly imbalanced. (The parenthesis in the quotes in this post indicate the line is heard as part of their inner monologue, not expressed to another character.)

Mark: (I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? She could say no. Actually, that would be terrible. It would destroy me if she said no.)

We follow them as they lurch from social disaster to social catastrophe, always managing to screw things up in their awkward, failing manner. It’s not done in the American, FRIENDS-esq style of “oh look at how cute and kooky we are, will we ever figure out this whole life thing?” *dazzling smile*; it’s the British “Christ no, don’t do it. Bloody hell he did it… This will not end well” approach. And it’s genius.

Not only are Mark (uptight and paranoid) and Jez (aimless, wannabe musician) brilliant characters, but the supporting characters are a class act, the best of which is Super Hans, played by Matt King (pictured below).

He is Jeremy’s friend, partner in crime (and occasional nemesis) who regularly rankles Marks, takes various drugs and frequently develops insane “good ideas”. A select few includes: bringing a rent-a-snake to a party, developing an addiction to crack cocaine, joining a cult and advocating to name a pub ‘Free the Paedos’. Brilliant quotes include:

“Tell you what, that crack is really moreish.”

“Just get a van. With a van, it’s like you’ve got an MBA, but you’ve also got a fucking van! You’re not just a man any more, you are a man with a van. We could be men with ven.”

“It’s a pisser, though, innit? Cancer. They should a find a fucking cure.”

Scarily, this character was nearly played by Russell Brand… what an awful job that idiot would’ve made of it.

Jez: There’s only so much happiness in the world and they’re hoarding it all!

Mark: That’s not how happiness works! (It completely is.)

If the rankings on IMDb mean anything to you and guide your television or film choices, you’ll be interested to know that Peep Show rates a very respectable 8.5 out of 10.

Despite a vocal, avid fan base this sitcom has never achieved full main-stream status in Britain; most TV peeps think this is down to the point of view formatting of the show. If this is the case, then I think it’s all the better for remaining a beloved cult programme; those who enjoy the sharp and astute script and fantastic acting can rightly claim that those who don’t like it are talking out of their arse.

I could easily just fill this post with my favourite quotes, but I won’t, instead I will again underline its brilliance, urge you to watch it and share this video with you:

**The #1 pastime of all time is sleeping. Humans have recognised that lack of sleep can affect their abilities to tell other people what to do, so have willing sacrified a portion of each day to ensure their power of dictation stays sharp.