Sinterklaas & sleeping on Mr Darcy!

Today is the feast of Saint Nicholas, as I was reminded of on my Twitter timeline…British Museum Saint Nicholas

But I didn’t need to be reminded because the Sinterklaas festival is a huge thing here in The Netherlands and is celebrated on the eve before December 6th, so on December 5th! It’s mainly a festival for children and now that my kids are 16 and almost 14, the celebration has become very low key. They don’t put out their shoes near the fireplace anymore for the 3 weeks leading up to Sinterklaas, there are no more huge gifts and they don’t sing any of the dozens of Sinterklaas songs anymore. They do, however, like to eat the traditional food that goes with the season, like gingerbread ‘nuts’ and chocolate initials, and heck, why pass up a good opportunity to receive at least a few small gifts, right?

So, yesterday evening at dinner, I organized a little family Sinterklaas celebration. A few Sinterklaas songs were mandatory (they have to earn their gifts, after all), we had a nice little fire going in the fireplace…

IMG_7776

… a few small gifts were exchanged, including a few items of clothing…

… we had the mandatory chocolate initials (they didn’t have the letter E available for me or S for my daughter, so I just got replacement letters M – for mama-  and Z instead)…

IMG_7773

… and yeah, if you look closely you can spot the bottle of vodka (mama and papa need something too!) and the empty cups still on the table were for the hot chocolate with whipped cream we had for dessert…

IMG_7796

There was also a special little gift for me: a pillow case! And not just any pillow case… it’s a pillow case with Mr Darcy (as portrayed by my lovely Colin Firth) on it…

So yeah, I get to sleep on top of (and drool on) Mr Darcy now, if I like! It was a lovely, cosy family dinner and I got some fangirling in there as well. Not bad… not bad at all. 🙂

Advertisements

The Mystery Blogger Award

Herba, on her Unkraut vergeht nicht… oder doch? blog, has nominated me for The Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you for thinking of me, Herba! You can read her contribution to the award (in German) here.

So, what is The Mystery Blogger Award? I didn’t know how it works either, but here are the rules and here is the logo that goes with it:mystery-blogger-award-logo

About The Mystery Blogger Award:

This is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.

Okoto Enigma is the creator of the award. To motivate the Blogger please do visit her blog.

The Rules of the Award:

– Put the award logo/image on your blog.
– List the rules.
– Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
– Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
– Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
– You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
– Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
– Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
– Share a link to your best post(s).

My responses to 3 things about myself:

Hmmm, 3 things about myself… I could say many things, but I have said a lot of things about myself on blog before so I had to think a bit about what I maybe haven’t said before. Not quite sure if these things are totally new, but hopefully these 3 things about me are somewhat newish…

1.  I never drink coffee, I just do not like it, not even when it’s a tiny bit of coffee with a lot of milk! For years when I went to my parents’ house my dad would always offer, “Esther, do you want a cup of coffee?” It was this little joke between us because I would always say, “Nope, I still hate it!” I do love tea, though, especially herbal teas.

2.  I come from a large family, I am number 6 of 8 children. Half of my brothers and sisters are adopted (two of Palestinian and two of Ethiopian descent). Kids just sort of happened to appear on our doorstep, due to social projects my mother was involved in when we lived in Israel in my youth, and my parents just kept the kids who were alone in the world and adopted them later. 🙂 I have always loved our large, colourful family, warts and all. When I was a pre-teen I read a book called The Family Nobody Wanted about a couple that ends up adopting 12 children of different ethnic backgrounds and I really identified with that, as it was close to my own family experience as well! I still have that book.

All of this made me want to have 8-12 children myself and I wanted to adopt most of them! That idea quickly changed, however, when I got children of my own. I love them, I love having them in my life, but I couldn’t imagine juggling 8 or, God forbid, 12 children on a daily basis! And adoption in The Netherlands? So much more complicated, so many rules, such a long waiting period (up to 5 years!) and more expensive than the way my parents were able to do it in the 1970s… So yeah, I’m just very happy with my 2 kids now and enjoy having a lot of siblings, some of whom look nothing like me.

3.  I am NOT a morning person, I prefer to not go to bed before 1 am. It’s a real struggle getting to bed at around 11 pm on work nights.

Responses to the 5 questions Herba posed:

1. Do you have a phobia?

Yep, spiders!!! I can tolerate mice and snakes and scorpions but I can not do spiders!

2. Are you working in your dream job?

There’s a huge problem with this question: I don’t know what my dream job is! What I want to do changes all the time. Sometimes I want to be a kick ass social worker or children’s psychologist, sometimes I want to be a writer, or a web designer, or I want to go back to librarianship which is what I trained for (after trying psychology and English as fields of study first). I’ve wanted to be a teacher and a translator, I have wanted to be a journalist or a stills photographer on a TV or film set, I have wanted to be an aid worker in a developing country. What I can say is that I always look for jobs in a social field and so far, to my great satisfaction, I have worked for government, education and development aid organizations. Right now I have an IT-related job for an organization that provides healthcare and educational advice for children and youngsters and I very much enjoy it. That doesn’t stop me from still envisioning other career paths, though.

3. As a child, did you have a favourite book, a favourite movie or tv series, and a favourite singer or music group? What are your current 3 favourites?

  • Favourite book, that I read when I was about 9 or so, was a simplified children’s version of Jane Eyre and the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • Favourite TV series was Little House on the Prairie and I loved the first movie I remember seeing in the cinema, a Cinderella movie called The Slipper and the Rose.
  • I’m not sure I had a favourite singer or group as a kid. I do remember loving ABBA songs and I liked Boney M. My absolute favourite song was Ma Baker by Boney M:

Current favourites:

  • Favourite book: Jane Eyre is still up there, along with Jane Austen’s books Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice, but I think I’d have to go with To Kill a Mockingbird as my favourite. I still remember reading it for the first time, it was almost like a religious experience, it spoke to my very being.
  • Favourite movie – I love so so many but I think my all time favourite still is Roman Holiday. Favourite TV series: I love so many, I couldn’t just pick one. Latest obsession is Suits.
  • I already once blogged about all my musical favourites throughout my life. My current fave for the last few years has been English band Muse. Just for fun, here’s a song I haven’t linked to before in other posts; it’s one of my faves and is called Hysteria. I have blogged about 2Cellos covering Hysteria but here is Muse’s original:

4. If you could walk in someone else’s shoes for 24 hours, who would it be and why would it be that person specifically? 

I had no idea what to answer here so I asked Mr Esther who he thought I’d like to be for a day. He immediately shot out a reply: Colin Firth’s wife! And, oh my goodness, he is right! The man knows me well. 🙂 Livia Firth is smart and socially very conscious, she’s an Eco warrior with her own consulting firm through which she tries to make the fashion world a more fair place and, extremely importantly, she’s married to Colin Firth! So, yes, I wouldn’t mind being Livia Firth for a day and I know exactly on which day as well: I want to be Livia with Colin Firth on Oscar night! They had a great Oscar night in 2011 when Colin won the Oscar for The King’s Speech. They got all dressed up together (click on images to enlarge)…

… and looked quite lovey-dovey and had fun on the red carpet together…

… Colin kissed Livia when his Oscar win was announced. Ah, to be on the receiving end of Colin’s kiss..

… and Livia and Colin had fun together after the win…

So, I’d like to be either Livia on Oscar night, or I wouldn’t mind being Richard Armitage’s make up artist Tami Lane on The Hobbit for a day, specifically this day when these pictures were taken…

5. McDonald’s or Burger King?

I’m not really a fan of either. I think there are more McDonald’s than Burger Kings here in The Netherlands. I never go to Burger King, I think I can count on one hand the amount of times in my life that I’ve entered a Burger King. I do go to McDonald’s and the reason for that is not the food (I rarely eat anything there) but I do love the milkshakes! So, I choose McDonald’s for the milkshakes. Mr. Esther likes the coffee there.

Mystery Blogger nominations and my 5 questions

Nominating others is always a tough one. I’ll just throw a few names out there, but feel free to ignore or jump in, whichever! And if your name isn’t here but you’re inspired to answer, please feel free to!

So, the nominations first (trying to not nominate anyone already nominated by Herba):

Violet | SueBC | Lady Butterfly | Sarah | Gratiana | Linnetmoss | Heather | Obscura | BerLinda | Richard

And my 5 questions:

  1. Your favourite genre of book or movie? Name 3 examples of each.
  2. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life and who should play your partner? (If you don’t have a partner, you can make up a mystery one! Even if you do have a partner, you can make up a mystery one. 🙂 )
  3. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or night? Please explain why.
  4. If you won the lottery what would you do?
  5. Tacos for life or sushi for life?

Tag, you’re it if you want to be!

Colin Firth at Kingsman 2 premiere

First, I had the joy of new Richard Armitage pictures to drool over on Sunday morning, now I come across an abundance of Colin Firth images taken at the Kingsman 2 premiere last night in London! I just picked a few to post here, like Colin arriving with his wife Livia…

… and posing with Livia…

… and posing on his own…

… also looking very handsome mid-stride…

… and posing with the cast; I just love the little Colin Firth / Mark Strong hug…

He is also always gracious signing things and posing with fans…

And to end it all, I came across a few lovely photos taken during a press conference on the same day…

I love the greying, tousled look here. 🙂

Now all Mr. Esther and I still have to do is find some time to go see this movie, which starts showing here later this week!

Happy birthday, Colin Firth!

He is 57 today! Here some pictures of him a little over a week ago at the Venice Film Festival. Very dapper in black and white…

CF sept 2017

… and doing the red carpet in the rain with his wife Livia…

Kingsman 2 will be hitting the cinema’s this fall, and although violent, I am looking forward to it! I had enjoyed the first movie more than I thought I would and as Colin Firth returns as a suave, now one-eyed, fighting machine, I am very curious to see it. 🙂

May we be able to enjoy you and your work for many years more, my dear Colin!

Colin, Cannes and fine eyes

These pics are from last week but I’m just coming across them now… Colin was back in Cannes, as far as I could tell, to support his wife Livia’s ethical fashion campaign.

Colin & Livia Firth Cannes 2017

Doesn’t he look lovely in a grey suit? I like Livia’s outfit too, it’s a dress that used to be owned by her mother.  On a side note: the article in this previous link (and other news sources I have seen) also refers to Colin asking for Italian citizenship next to his British one (Livia is Italian). He is very opposed to Brexit, so it looks like this application has something to do with that. End of side note and back to Cannes: Colin and Livia looked dapper here as well, with Livia again wearing a dress that looks lovely…

Colin Livia Firth Cannes2 2017

In Cannes, Colin looked very pleased, adorable and somewhat goofy, almost fatherly, hugging a young lady…

Colin Firth hugs lady

But the shot I really loved was this one…

Colin Firth Salma Hayek Juliette Binoche Cannes 2017

Colin sandwiched between Salma Hayek and Juliette Binoche. That look on Colin’s face is so tender, amused and adorable…. sigh! I just saw Salma Hayek on the Graham Norton show last week, she is quite funny, I never really knew that about her! Colin seems to like her too. 🙂 Not that Colin is in love with Salma but the look on his face makes me think of this Barbra Streisand song from her movie Yentl

It looks like Colin and Mr Darcy still have an important thing in common: they can happily meditate on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow. 😉