Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Learning mexican streetfood at Jamie's

The boyfriend's birthday was in January.
And I'd have the perfect gift for my kitchen-loving guy.

 A Jamie Oliver cookery school gift voucher so that he could select any cooking class he wanted to do in London.
After months of giddy anticipation, last week finally the time had arrived to do our trip over there. 

Laurent selected the Mexican Streetfood class for us to do.
Our location was at Sheperds Bush and the cookery school is situated in one of Jamie's restaurants. We were greeted by one of the staff member's of the restaurant with such politeness. "How may I help you?" He asked. "We're coming for one of the classes" I said.
"Ah you are becoming chefs then" He smiled. "Well, just go straight ahead to the back and you'll find your class there"
"Thanks" The restaurant felt warm and welcoming. It feels like the kind of place where you can easily relax after a day's hard work.
Getting into the back we were greeted by Alice who handed us an apron, pointed out where we could leave our belongings, and asked us whether we wanted some prosecco. Yes, please! 

Chef Jack introduced himself and kicked off the class with telling us what we were going to make that night. Chipotle chicken, homemade tortillas and four different salsas.
I know that Laurent has been wanting to make decent homemade tortillas, so that was an exciting prospect for us. Jack offered us a demonstration on how to properly prepare the rub for our chicken, and got us started on the first salsa. He continued to explain some of the ingredients mixed into the passata and let us have a taste of the chipotle paste. Which I can highly recommend you don't almost eat a teaspoon such as I did, because that stuff is spicy!
Which caused some giggles, and made me think back to my very first experience with wasabi. (That I classically mistook for guacamole the first time I ate it.)
The passata with the ingredients was to be mixed in with the chicken.
He also demonstrated some neat knife skills in cutting up some additional ingredients for our corn salsa and send us to work.
"OK Chefs, it's time to cook. If you have any questions at all let me know," Jack said, and we headed out in couples to our cooking stations. I like the fact that Jack called us chefs. There's something very flattering about it.
Makes you feel like a pro even when you're learning.
We got cracking on the first part of our cooking, preparing everything in order Jack showed us and in no time the place smelled heavenly. 

When we had our chicken and corn salsa going, Jack gave us the second demonstration.
This time on how to prepare our dough for the tortillas prepared with special corn flour Masa Harina and he showed us how to do the other three salsas.
He walked us to preparing the dough, dividing it, and how to use the tortilla press, and frying them up.
When Jack demonstrated the salsas, I actually picked up some cool tricks such as how to make paste out of a garlic glove using your knife.
I also realized that I've been chopping up tomatoes wrong all my life, as Jack told us to put the skin side down because you won't squash the tomato that way. It was that 'aha moment' for me.  I will never forget that now!
He finished up with the demonstration by showing us his end results. The chicken onto the lovely little homemade tortillas and those scrumptious salsas on top. 

Back to work we were. Chef Jack walked around and assisted us with preparing our food.
He gave the class tons of compliments really helped our confidence. I prepared the dough, as Laurent worked on the salsas.
Jack did a final check for me on the getting the consistency of my dough just about right and explained it should feel a little like 'play dough'
Once the tortillas were frying up, we had our food done quite fast and Alice was setting the tables for us to eat.
So, I just proudly wanted to present our end results.

The flavours were a real good thing to feast on. I'm talking big flavours gals & pals. Cilantro, mint, lime, chili. There was spicy, sweet, fresh in the food. It tasted amazing!

The Jamie Oliver cookery school experience was such a fantastic one. It reminds me to do more of the things I love.
If you are ever stuck on what to do in London, and you are a foodie like me, I highly recommend sharpening up those cooking skills over there. If I were to live in London, I am sure that I'd inhabit that place in no time.
The class was so professionally done and good vibes only!
It has that 'Jamie' touch that I'm sure you know what I'm talking about if you've ever watched some of his cooking shows.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
I really do hope you leave me some love in the comments.

Love and blessings,


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Goodbye letter to my job

As I step into the office of my team leader my heart sinks a little bit.
Part of me wants to stay. If only for the people I do my job for. But the time has come and I know it. I cannot possibly stay.
"I have really tried my very best for you. I gave it my all to be up to the work speed the company wants me to be. But when I do that, I lose in the quality of my conversations"
She sits there and nods. "You know what I'm good at. You know I give every customer my full attention and that I do my work thoughtfully"
She tells me there is nothing to be changed about the standards of the work speed. "So, it's  matter of delaying the execution, so to say?" I ask. And she agrees with me.
"You have the qualities we are looking for, although if you can't meet the quality versus speed standards..."
And I know where she is going with this.
"Maybe customer service is not for me then. And there is no other department here that could put those qualities to good use?"
She tells me there is not. It's a little bittersweet, but it's the right thing to leave.
"Well, I'd like to thank you for everything I learned. It's been educative"
I would finish this workweek and then we'd say our goodbyes.
Here is my goodbye to the job.

Dear job,

What a ride it has been!
A whole new world opened up to me about a topic that I thought I would never learn so much about. It was interesting and overwhelming at the same time. I am truly grateful for the opportunity of learning how to deal with difficult people and staying calm with them. It wasn't always easy, but in at least 8 out of 10 times I was able to solve the problems for customers.

In other cases I have been able to spread some kindness into people's days. I remember this elderly lady that told me that her husband was going to leave her after 50 years of being married. They had spend all those happily married until the sudden death of their daughter. I remember listening to her and showing my empathy. I even teared up a little. I asked her if there was something that I could do and she told me to change her last name into her maiden's name so she wouldn't be addressed by her husband's name the next time. I changed it, of course.

I advised many people into the right incontinence materials for them, so that they could get out of their social isolation. If that isn't serving a greater purpose, I don't know what could be.

Unfortunately I cannot stay. They don't want me to, but I don't want to either.
We could have given it some more time I suppose, but I prefer to be somewhere my qualities can flourish. Somewhere I don't have to feel guilty for giving my full attention to the people I do it for. Time pressure is not for me.

And so I'm waving you goodbye. It's time for my next adventure.



I may be without a job currently, but I am positive that I will find something that will be a better match. I have learned a lot in the last six months. I do not regret taking the job in the first place, and I feel no grudge for having to leave. I am excited to see what the future holds! 

Did you ever get fired? How did you feel and what things did you do to deal with it? 

Love and blessings,

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Who can I buy a coffee?

Dear bloggers,

There's plenty of us who put in soooo much work and energy into their writing and who do it for just the fun and love of it. Those who aren't getting paid.
Those do deserve not only all the love and support, but also a nice treat.
I was thinking how I can give more support than just my appreciation for their work.
Then I remembered that buy me a coffee button and I decided to check it out.
I love this way of supporting, because it's an easy and fun way to do so. Guess what? I am going to be buying some bloggers coffee to give more love. I installed my button on the right side of my blog.
Here's where you can get yours: Buy me a coffee

You can either get a free or fancy gold version of the button. I'll leave that upto you.
I am looking forward to doing this!
Let me know if you have a blog with a coffee link that you need me to check out.
Consider this my thanks to all of you for your creativity, support and love!


Study tips that will get you ready for exams

As the sun hit my bedroom, I knew it was time to get up and prep myself for one more round of exams before my holiday.
I do a lot of theoretical exams these days, and I thought I would share something that I learned when I was learning the ins and outs for this particular subject.
Something that will help you to get ready. But first let me help you understand something about the way your memory works.

We have 3 types of memory sitting in our brains.
1. The sensory memory
It has a big capacity, but it only holds information for a few seconds.
2. The short term memory
It can hold just a select amount of information for a shorter time. 

3. The long term memory
This is when we remember things that we learned a longer time ago. You took in the information, saved it and are able to find it back.
This happens through
*Being triggered when you recognize something. Let's say you haven't been to a certain city in a long time,  but when you are there you will still be able to find the way.
*Reproduction. The ability to recall a memory out of nothing. For example: you will remember the lyrics to your favourite song.

So, how do we make sure that we remember important information?
First of all we have 'attention'
Attention works like a filter. The stimuli comes in to the sensory memory, and it's dependent on how you zoom into the information as well as motivation whether you are going to remember it.
If you want to score well on your exams, this shouldn't be a problem.
It then enters your short term memory after which the information will need an active editing to make it to your long term memory.
You can do this through the following methods:
*Repeating the information
*Catogorizing the information
*Special reminders or mnemonic aids

What is my strategy? 

1. Reading the book and marking  the important parts

2. Making a brief summary of important information

3. Creating a mindmap and catogorizing the information with different colors

4. Making test exams to test my knowledge

5. Making up mnemonic aids to remember the information that didn't make it so far

Here in the Netherlands we have a grading system going from 1-10.
5,5 means you passed the test. 10 is the best you can score.
I usually score between 7 & 8,5 with this method. Which is upto my satisfaction, because I don't have to be a superstar.

Here are some other ideas:

*Record the important information on your voicerecorder and listen to it.
*Share your knowledge with others.
*Turn the information into something creative like a blog or a vlog.- See, what I'm doing here?

*Do anything with the newfound knowledge directly in your workfield/internship. Take it into the world. 

For those of you who are also still in school, I would love to hear your methods for remembering.
Have you blogged about it? Please insert links below.

Love and blessings,

Sunday, August 5, 2018

"Just be you"

There has been a time that the quote: "Just be you", really frustrated me.
It always confused me too, because I didn't think I was anybody else than me.
Until I started to realize that I would adapt and comform to the surroundings I would find myself in. I didn't have this realisation until just recently
There's a past of bullying which had made me greatly insecure.
As well as being a child as the adult version of work place bullies coming from a place of jealousy.
And so, I became more careful. 

With every negative experience I had, I would feel a little less like myself, and became only a version of what I thought the people around me wanted to see. 
In workplaces I would choose to never shine too much or show my real qualities which would lead me to submit to the shadow of other people.
And in my personal life I would always put others before myself. 

Not showing them who I really was, and it lead to loss when people understood that I had my own boundaries. It was because I never showed them before. They found it hard to accept and broke up the friendship. I can't say I blame them, because I showed them a different version of myself. They didn't know what friend they really did have in me.
I remembered a time and a period where I would shine.
I would wake up happy and would do a little dance in my room.
Then I would extend that lightness over to my workplace and the kids, and colleages I was working with. I was doing great. In this period my friendships were more offering more stability as well.
It puzzled me for a long time. Where did that version of my younger self go off to? 

How was I able to let go of the experience of being bullied the first time?
Then one day, I realized I was done being the version of that was adapting constantly.
So, in the midst of a new workplace where I was clearly different from the rest of my colleages I decided: It now is time to just be me.
Then I remembered a 15 year old me. One that had eventually decided to ignore her bullies and walk her own way. One that broke the cycle and refused to be victim.
And somehow that was the trick.
Not giving a flying figs what others thought about me. Realizing their opinions were not as important as what I thought of myself.
I let go of my adapted self. I let go of my past. 

Let me tell you how amazing that feels.
I am now moving forward to new and more exciting opportunities in life.
With fresh courage.
I wanted to share my thoughts about when you feel like you are not quite like yourself anymore and give you some ideas on what to do.

Do things from your heart

Don't just do things just to please others. Especially when you are not doing it 100% from your heart. It eventually leads to resentment of others.

Speak your mind

Something about another bothering you? Do not let these feelings bottle up until you explode. Instead, communicate through 'I' messages. For example: 'I heard you say... that makes me feel... I wish we'd...'

Let go of what others might think

If you are anything like any human being, you are probably a star at filling things in for others. "Now surely they must think I'm ingnorant idiot" "She probably thinks I'm dumb"
Can you read minds? No! The best thing would be to test your theory and just ask what people think. You'll see most of the time it's not even true.
If it does happen to be true, you can choose to let go of it and not invest any further energy into that person. Like I mentioned: it is far more important what you think about yourself after all.


One of the most important things I learned is that it is OK to have boundaries.
Boundaries make that people respect you, and you can show them in a polite way.

Correct your inner critic

We do all have that voice that can make us feel even more insecure. The one that says: "If you do that, they will think that you are stupid. Don't do it!"
Whilst that voice is perfectly helpful in life threatening situations, it isn't very helpful when it comes to daily life. Correct your inner critic with challenging it: "Is this true? How do I know that is true? Do I have prove for that?"

Write down your qualities

You know yourself best, right? Make a list of your best personal qualities and make them into "I am" statements. "I am kind" "I am caring" "I am a loyal friend" "I am a good listener"
Give them a place on your wall or carry one around to remind yourself who you actually are as a person.

Shine on, shine on

Regardless of how others respond to you, never stop shining on!
You are beautiful. Do not step into other people's shadows because you feel like you don't deserve to show yourself. Embrace yourself 100 % and deal with jealous people and debbie downers from a place of compassion. Remember people that react from fear are just as insecure as any of us. Just deal with them head on through communication of the 'I' message.

In conclusion: The only one who can define you, is you!

Has there ever been a time that you struggled with losing yourself?
When was that and how did you deal with this?

Love and blessings,