Wednesday 30 November, 2005

my not so inner child

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 1:46 pm

I thought I would write a quick post while I waited for my lunch to soften.

I just came back from giving an English lesson to 7yr old J, I also teach her younger brother, E, on another day. I really enjoy teaching the children, I suspect I have more fun than they do! Please note I use the word teach loosely, I am not a teacher and the lessons are very informal. However to my delight the children are learning more words in English each week.

I know what mood I will find them in depending which Nanny is with them. Today was sombre Nanny day! I found little E sitting at the kitchen table with his thumb in his mouth, a sooky blanket in his other hand and a bowl of tea in front of him. Yes a bowl of tea! As it was not the day for E’s lesson I just gave him a quick kiss on his sad little face and promised him we would play soccer football next week. We count as we kick and I repeat a few chosen words such as ball and kick, over and over again. Its a process of delayed gratification for me, he’s 4 so I wont necessarily hear him associate the words correctly for a couple of weeks. Today J, after spending some time each lesson teaching her ‘head and shoulders’ and only getting drips and drabs from her, spontaneously sang the whole song, with actions. I checked she could identify the body parts without the song and out of order from the song….she did!!! I picked her up and swung her around joyously. She is also learning the names of colours so I got to do some colouring in which was a lot of fun and she was very impressed that I didn’t colour outside the lines. I didn’t tell her I was too! We then went for a walk and named the colour of each car we passed, the colours of the traffic lights and the graffiti. As we walked I repeated the word walking, as we ran I repeated running and as we skipped, skipping. She then heard the word exhausted!

Tuesday 29 November, 2005

merci beaucoup

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 1:58 pm

Thanks everyone who ordered brooches, you know who you are! I really appreciate your support and encouragement. I’ve hit a little snag, it seems I’ve depleted la droguerie of the blanket pins I use, well for the time being. I will prioritise making those that have been ordered for xmas gifts and then they tell me by the end of the week they should have more in. C’est tout bon!

I thought I would snap a little image of our desk. I have been honest and when I had the thought I did it without straightening things up. My mother will be pleased to see I’ve eaten some fruit! So this is where I sit each morning after Jim has gone to work to read The Age check my emails and read some blogs. The gerberas are from a lovely bunch of flowers that Jim came home last night with. Ain’t love grand!

Thursday 24 November, 2005

french buttons

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 3:57 pm

petite button (3cm) that 70’s brooch (10cm)

coffee or tea? (7cm) running with scissors (6cm)
Here are the photos of the brooches I made, I pinned them to some items from my wardrobe as an example. Please keep in mind they are my first attempts. They are simple designs, yet took a lot of patience and fiddling to work out the best way to construct them for durability and aesthetics. I have many more ideas and I want to run out and purchase more gorgeous buttons for inspiration. Now I have somewhat of an idea how I want to make them I’d like to use more colour and different themes. But here’s the thing I can’t be stockpiling brooches, so if anyone is interested in ordering a brooch for themselves or as a gift that would be great! I’m not looking to make a profit, just some way towards covering my expenses. And it would be fun to think of the brooches getting around town on someone’s jacket or whatever they chose to pin it to (I’ve popped coffee or tea? on my beret).

So if you have a specific request, an idea of what you might like or just a query email me at: frenchbuttons@gmail.com

Wednesday 23 November, 2005

bits & pieces

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 10:07 pm

There has been a little break from posting, not due to lack of interest but a faulty keyboard….all ok now thanks to Jim. He did a very poor job at trying to disguise his joy at the prospect of having to dismantle the laptop. Ana told me as a kid he dismantled anything around the house he could get his hands on. As long as he knows how to put things back together what do I care….in fact its a godsend.

Well what have we been up to since our lucky fire escape. Saturday night we had a great evening with friends of ours, Christine and Jean-Phillipe, who came over for dinner. A lot of courses, a late night and maybe a little to much wine on my behalf meant for a lazy Sunday. Not for Jim who went out on the road bike for a few hours in 0 degrees, thats nothing in Sweden he went running in -27! Saturday we went here to pick up a few bits and pieces for Saturday nights menu, I wanted to get the cheese course right. I picked three cheeses, all cow, with different textures and distinct tastes, strong enough to have with a fabulous Gamay style Red that Jean-Phillipe had brought with him from his families village. Dont get me wrong I dont know a lot about wine but I know what I like and both Jim and I thought the bottle of Red was great. Jim took one mouthful and his face lit up and said “wow those peppery notes really hit you”. There was talk of us all heading down that way together next year so we might get the chance to stock up.

What else? I finally have a tutor for French which is great, she seems nice and organised and as well cheap, which means I can see her twice a week. My giving English “lessons” is going well, though as I was skipping with a 7yr old, counting as we went, I heard myself say Twennie! Whoops! What would my mother say?! She jumps on me at even a hint of a G or an H being dropped.

There has been even more cooking and baking going on than ever, yesterday I went crazy on the Greek theme. I cooked Mousakka for the first time and wow its a three pan and a baking dish job, but worth it. Jim said he had only tasted better in Greece….not bad for my first go. I also cooked Soudzoukakia , sausages made with cumin and cinnamon and cooked in a tomato sauce, they had a depth of flavour that the normal Keftedes dont offer. I got both these recipes from a wonderful book given to me by Daphne. In fact I realised all the cook books we have with us are gifts, and all of them are used, well as yet not Jamie’s Italy as it’s new and I haven’t got there yet, if I don’t Jim will though. We have many other cookbooks waiting for us at home as we received quite a few as wedding gifts…joy of joys.

I’ve also been busy making brooches using some quirky french buttons from la droguerie. I will post some pictures of them tomorrow, I really enjoy making them. I find any activity that focuses you 100% on the task at hand the most relaxing, taekwondo was like that for me. Cant say I find knitting relaxing AT THE MOMENT, as I attempt to step up my skill level. However I am persevering as I come from a long line of knitters and Im determined to make one of me even if it kills me. I bought cable needles today….what fresh hell is this I ask?!

Saturday 19 November, 2005

To make a short story long….

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 1:01 am

Last Sunday afternoon Jim and I decided to check out Courtrai, a small town in Belgium, just 20min from Lille. Yes we are that close to Belgium, all this time we’ve been saying we are near the border and guess what, we really are! It was a great little town, you can check out the photos, down there to your left of screen, at our flickr site. When ever I visit towns I have one eye on the tourist factor and the other on the livability factor. Doesn’t mean I’m on the lookout to move, I’m just curious, the same goes for real estate agents, I can rarely walk past one without looking in the window. As we pulled off the auto route and were heading into town I saw a big Kineopolis cinema centre, they have them in Lille also but as they only show the big blockbusters dubbed in French we never go there. So as we were passing it I kept starring at it and while I’m starring at it Im wondering why is it holding my attention? And then it dawned on me…we are in Belgium and they don’t dub, bless their hand woven little socks! I felt like screaming at Jim to stop the car and running in and just watching the first big trashy blockbuster Hollywood movie that was playing. But then I remembered that I claim to prefer small art house cinemas, which they have two of in Lille, and suposedly I haven’t missed viewing the mainstream releases. So I kept my mouth shut, until we got home and then I jumped on the Internet and yes, there they all were in version originale.

So excitedly we made plans, our options discussed, I mean we had 8 movies to choose from!!! I don’t know if you’ll approve of our choice….40 year old virgin, I know I wondered too. In my defence, I say mine as Jim is offering no excuses he just thought the trailer looked hilarious, I thought with Paul Rudd and Catherine Keener it had to have something to offer. It was only Monday when all this excitement began and we weren’t going until Friday, but you have to understand even the website was in English, we were out of control with excitement! As we were sooooo looking forward to going we of course assumed everyone else was and thought it was best to book online just to be safe. The fun part of booking online is you can print them off at home/work if you want, snazzy we thought. We’ll that was just the beginning things only got snazzier, as you enter the cinema they scan your printed ticket and a machine spits out small ticket stub with the cinema number on it. We were pretty impressed with the efficiency and simplicity of it all, and lucky we did book online as when we got there there was only 401 seats left!!

We were early thinking we might be able to grab something to eat there but as it turned out the only real option was McDonald’s, the odd meal of Maccas is fine with me but Jim hates McDonald’s. Your body is a temple blah blah blah, my body is happy to get trashed once in awhile. So we head in and I did a double take, Michael Buble is playing, the decor is all cream and chocolate with communal wood tables with faux leather armchairs and there isn’t a kid in sight???? I still get disorientated thinking about it, the menu was the same, but the rest I cant explain. So bewildered and relaxed from a meal at McDonalds(gotta be a first) we head on in to the movie. Jim and I took bets on how many languages the subtitles were going to be in, I won, they were in Dutch and French. The movie turns out to be a ripper, a lot of laughs and some great characters, when near the end it suddenly stops and the lights go on. It crosses my mind that it must be an emergency as it appeared to stop so intentionally, but as no one moves and there is no announcement we just sit and wait. The guy in front is telling us the projectionist is taking a toilet break and joking thats how it works in Belgium when a staff member comes in with a mega phone and sure enough ladies and gentlemen we have a fire. Out we all head, and remember this 1 cinema alone within the complex holds more than 400, to a blaze of smoke and sirens. People are gathering but they’re telling us to get out of there, so we did, we got right out of there, in fact we left the country.

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