Things I Love Thursday

The softest donkeys we met by the road in the Luxembourgish countryside. The chubby grey one proceeded to forcefully blow snot all over my arm. Lovely.

  • Having lunch with my parents at my workplace
  • A fun fancy dinner with my parents on their last evening in Luxembourg last week
  • Treasure Island (and this beautiful version in particular)
  • New books
  • Surviving my French presentation test
  • Sunday drives
  • Luxembourgers
  • A very fuzzy giant dog I saw on the drive to work yesterday
  • Planning a trip with my boyfriend
  • with my bestie
  • Indian takeaway when it is needed

Things I Love Thursday

Wine-tasting at Bernard-Massard in Grevenmacher with my parents

  • My parents visiting us in Luxembourg
  • The gorgeous sunshine in Luxembourg
  • Sparkling wine
  • That chocolate fondant from Red Beef
  • My friends and their cat-sitting skills
  • The butterfly garden in Grevenmacher
  • The latest New Girl
  • Book club
  • Having a car
  • Popcorn milkshake from Quick (no shame)
  • Reading

Things I Love Thursday

A snapshot from my birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago <3

  • A surprise birthday book delivery of a book of feminist poetry from a lovely friend <3
  • Completing tasks with my boyfriend
  • Washing the car on a sunny weekend! It’s so shiny!
  • My wonderful, wonderful friend Louise
  • Cats on windowsills
  • Useful meetings
  • Tough yoga classes
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Messages from my besties back home

Easter Nest Cupcakes [RECIPE]

I’m particularly confident to share today’s recipe with you because of the enthusiastic positive feedback I’ve received about these cupcakes from my colleagues at work. Easter is coming, and it’s the perfect time of year to bake some Easter-themed goodies. This recipe is a mishmash of inspiration I found online, and I hope you try it out, because it really didn’t take me a long time to put together.

Ingredients for the cupcakes

  • 120g butter/vegetable oil spread
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 120g self-raising flour (seived)
  • half a teaspon of baking powder
  • cupcake cases

Preheat your oven at 190 degrees Celsius or Gas Mark 5. Mix the ingredients together until well mixed. Bake for around 20 minutes, and let them cool completely.

Ingredients for the nests

  • 40g butter/vegetable oil spread
  • 3 tablespoons sugary syrup
  • cornflakes
  • a few shakes of drinking chocolate powder
  • around 180g milk chocolate
  • mini eggs (to decorate) – ideally these would be Cadbury mini eggs, but the Delhaize ones were excellent substitutes

Melt together the butter, syrup, drinking chocolate powder, and milk chocolate (either in a bain-marie or simply in the microwave at short low-heat intervals – mix well as you’re heating them). Mix the cornflakes in the melted mixture (adjust amount accordingly). Put a tablespoon of the cornflake mixture on each cupcake in a nest design, and after it sets a little, pop on a mini egg or two. Adorable and delicious.

Special thanks to Delhaize Luxembourg for providing the excellent ingredients.

Things I Love Thursday

Chicken skins at Emma’s Kitchen (sounds weird, tastes INCREDIBLE)

  • My 28th birthday!
  • Malta
  • A trip to IKEA
  • My baby nephew
  • Books, reading, words
  • A little citrus potted plant for my office
  • Being a mentor(!) at work
  • Maltese people visiting Luxembourg
  • My loving and supportive boyfriend
  • A how-well-do-you-know-Claire quiz
  • Birthday dinners
  • Birthday food
  • Birthday CAKE
  • Excellent, excellent birthday pressies
  • Chapels
  • Fort St Angelo (incredible)

Things I Love Thursday: Guest Edition (Rachel’s)

This week’s TILT is a guest edition, penned by the lovely Rachel. Rachel has been my friend since I was a teenager, and I’m so happy we’re still friends and see each other at least once or twice a year. She lives in Brussels and is always up to something or other, and she’s Top Geographer in my eyes. Her blunt words and infectious laugh are some of my favourite things about her, as well as her love for my blog <3

Enjoy her lovely TILT:

  • drowning myself in sunshine at the park
  • the mint and basil plants I’m managing to keep alive
  • making pretty maps which are also useful
  • writing scripts that work
  • the way my boyfriend’s eyes light up when there’s food ❤
  • Frederic Blondeel for pralines AND yummy hot chocolate
  • online shopping
  • spending the day at a geography conference
  • reading non-academic literature, currently The Decamerone
  • scrolling through DIY ideas
  • expanding my French vocabulary (current favourite word: boucle)
  • expanding my Dutch vocabulary (favourite phrase ever: Aan tafel!)
  • contributing to this amazing blog with my TILT ❤

Things I Love Thursday

The best spaghetti octopus from Rising Sun. <3

  • A lovely lunch with a dear friend
  • Starting French lessons again and getting a great teacher
  • Going to Malta because, to me, Malta > Luxembourg, always
  • Spending time with my beautiful, wonderful best friends
  • A fun wedding
  • Indian food
  • Chapels
  • Panzerotti

Things I Love Thursday

  • Meeting this beautiful cat and her sister (equally gorgeous)
  • Spending time with friends and their children (who ever thought I would write those words)
  • Lenten decisions
  • Getting up at 2.30am and staying up till 6.30am on Monday to watch the Oscars (while messaging throughout with my bestie)
  • That final Oscars disaster – SO GOOD
  • Watching Nocturnal Animals on with a friend (even though it was a bit of a scarring experience, haha)
  • Surviving a particularly stressful week at work
  • Finally watching La La Land and Manchester By the Sea
  • Booking accommodation for a long holiday in Ireland with my besties (and the accompanying Skype call)
  • New books
  • Wine wine wine wine wine wine (I miss you already, my love)

Lent 2017: Going Without

Lent 2017 starts today, and I’ve always paid reverence to this annual period. A time for reflection, and a time for trying to better yourself (you flawed, sinful human, you). This year, I’m particularly re-evaluating my relationship with food and alcohol.

I love my high-fat, high-carb, (almost) all-sugar diet, but I realise that it is very unhealthy for me. We don’t want heart disease, yo. I’ve increased my vegetable and fruit intake a lot over the past months, but I should still definitely try and limit my intake of “bad” fats and “bad” carbs and piles of sugar (not really, but almost). We’ll see how that goes. I foresee horrid cravings for cheesy pasta.

The main “going without” mission for Lent 2017, however, is alcohol. I have somehow settled into a lifestyle where I drink often, and almost always seek a glass of wine at the end of the day. I don’t have an issue with binge drinking, because I’m perfectly happy with a drink or two, but I am noticing a slight urge sometimes to actually have a drink, whereas before it used to be more of a conscious decision. I hope I’m explaining myself properly. I need to rediscover that that happy “buzz” does not only come from a drink at the end of the day, even if it’s nice to have a good glass of port (mmm).

So Lent 2017 is going to include some better food choices and no alcohol (apart from Sundays and my birthday). Wish me luck.

Things I Love Thursday

  • Family
  • True lovely friends
  • Cute baby pictures
  • Books
  • Using my rubber stamp
  • Being helpful and solving problems
  • Porto
  • My awesome boyfriend who’s an excellent partner-person
  • Good food
  • Fine dining with all the bells and whistles
  • The Eurovision
  • White wine
  • Red wine
  • The baby nephew who was perfect when he was born but is now inexplicably a million times more beautiful. Ma nifhimx.
  • Venus the cat (pictured)