#100happydays Days 77 – 83

Day 77 – The 2014 World Cup in Brazil, marking the return of the Erasmus Fit List. Sitting with my Erasmus girls in the Irish Bar, or in the park or in the back row of our Historia del Arte Moderno class, we compiled a list of all the celebrities that we fancied. Every so often we try and add someone new to it.

Day 78 – Making fake skin and fake blood and even more disgustingly, fake pus with the Guides. For the Brownie’s 100th Birthday there is a challenge badge and this was one of the things. We were supposed to follow it up with a short first aid session but the girls decided to do a murder mystery treasure hunt for the Brownies, it sounded more fun so I didn’t stop them. In fact I think it was my idea…

Day 79 – Feeling blue? Glitter Mariachi are playing for you!

Day 80 – I saw this graffiti on my way to the pub to watch the England vs Uruguay game, after I’d stopped to call the Police for a drunken man passed out in the street. Doing my bit for society without voting UKIP.

Day 81 – My friends got married, outside! It was a beautiful day!

Day 82 – Putting the iPod on loud and having a sing-song in the car on the way home from the wedding.

Day 83 – I cleaned my engagement ring, Being blue it does get dull very easily and in some lights it even looks black, so I cleaned it and had forgotten how shiny and brilliant it is! Note to self – do this more often!

An Unusual Lunch Date

I’ve just had a beautiful butterfly join me for lunch. The weather really is so hot at the moment and I’m sitting here with the doors open for much of the day. I didn’t notice him fly through the open window but I saw him fluttering among the blinds at our patio window. A split second of panic made me grab my phone and nearly call Daniel to rescue me from the bird that had flown in, then I realise it’s a peacock butterfly. He stayed in the blinds for a few minutes while I ate my scotch egg, then fluttered out the door and over the balcony.

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Peacock

Random Moment of Delight

Where do I belong?

Interesting on the subject I’ve written about a few times. What makes you what you are? The difference between your passport and the countries that own a small slice of your heart.

LANGUAGE TALKS

It’s 5.30am and I’ve had one hour sleep in the last 20 hours so needless to say I’m feeling a bit emotional. In an hour I will be flying via Ethiopian Airlines from Vienna to Stockholm for five days, but I can’t work out whether I’m coming or leaving home.

Although my passport says I am British and I would say that I am first and foremost English that doesn’t mean I class England or Colchester as my home anymore. Vienna for me is my home. It’s where I live, where I eat and where I work (supposedly), yet I’ll be leaving for good in two months.

I have a house in Sweden and all my Swedish family live there. I’ve gone to Sweden at least 3-4 times a year my whole life and I consider my Swedish culture an inherent part of what makes me, me. So am I…

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#100happydays Days 70 – 76

Day 70 – Getting ready for the World Cup with my favourite World Cup song! Ok, it’s four years ago – and France – but it always makes me giggle!

Day 71 – Nutella, and ice lollies and wine, basically. Something happened at work, so that was all that could make me happy that day.

Day 72 – Silly conversations, who would win out of Zeus and Huitzilopochtli?

Day 73 – The simple summer morning sunshine across the city. Beautiful!

Day 74 – Guess who I am supporting? Love casual Fridays!

Day 75 – My sister and her wife, being idiots as usual. Lovely weekend. We also went to choose my wedding dress.

Day 76 – Finally trying out Caffè Chino in The Arcadian, a Chinese vintage tea room in the heart of the Chinese Quarter, lovely!

Pastelón – Caribbean Cooking

I’ve been dying to try this recipe since Christmas! My sister-in-law is from Dominican Republic and cooked this Pastelón de Plátanos Amarillos for Daniel’s parents a few days before we arrived. So while I only tried the left-overs, it was heavenly! Here our idea of Caribbean cooking is spicy Jamaican with peri peri and chicken and goat and pork – big punchy flavours – but the essence of cocina dominicana seems more delicate, balance and contra-balance, a mix of Spanish, African and indigenous dishes.

The pastelón basically a banana lasagna or even a beef sponge-cake, cook your beef with onion, peppers and tomatoes, mash your plantains and fit it together like a sweet and savoury lasagna that really surprises your taste buds. Being fairly easy to make, it’s perfect dinner-party food. On Friday the weather was beautiful so, channelling my inner Latina, we had some European friends round to enjoy Pimms and pâté on the balcony, followed by pastelón and Cuban dominoes.

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Pastelón de Plátanos Amarillos

My recipe comes from Cocina Dominicana, ¡muchísimas gracias! And this post is written for Fiesta Friday.

#100happydays Days 63 – 69

Day 63 – The King of Spain has abdicated, and the very dashing Felipe and the beautiful Letizia open a new chapter in the history of Spain.

Day 64 – An early night! Finally!

Day 65 – Last year the council made this part of the Birmingham Ring Road into a wildflower garden. I’m excited to see this year’s version.

Day 66 – A juevebes, with Daniel in The Craven Arms.

Day 67 – Speaking French with friends at the Digbeth Dining Club for #100jourscontents

Day 68 – The first Hens at the Party, old friends enjoying all the pre-wedding fun.

Day 69 – A new box-set to be getting on with, spelling a lazy Sunday!

Bon Bons and Floral Gems and Bubble Gum and Kali

I talk a lot on here about being British, not being British, being part of that enormous world citizenship, travel and culture and discovery. Then I walked down the Coventry Road and spied a newsagents. And I’m not ashamed to say I bought some sweets, in sheer Random Delight. Something pulled me in, it might have been the smell, or the shade on a sunny day, or a tiny ping of nostalgia in my head.

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Newsagent, Coventry Road

My actual #100happydays finished yesterday (I’m way behind on my Sunday postings) but this newsagents would have been today’s. Selling sweets and magazines and a random collection of wares at the back (toilet roll, toys, greetings cards, baked beans), the newsagents must be up there among the Great British Institutions. Also known as the Corner Shop, emphasis on the first syllable as though it’s all one word, it must be part of the collective childhood upto about 1999. With the turning of the millennium childhood might have changed, these giants turn up everywhere, I bet there’s nearly one on Baldwin’s Lane now too!

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Ruining a childhood near you!

For a split-second in there, the newspapers were on the counter instead of on the rack, I was transported back to the time we’d wait outside school, begging our parents for 20p to run down to Lacey’s News, all the sweets in jars behind the counter, the blonde lady and the black-haired man with a moustache who ran it, they had a big yellow dog too. We’d spend what felt like half an hour in there, choosing our sweets carefully, a quarter of this, six of those. Then wandering back down the road to our Moms ready to go home from school.

From Lacey’s to Naj to the Corner Shop in Sandy Hill, then I grew up and now my corner shop is a Spar, the next corner is a Tesco Express. That split-second brought back all that innocence, then I step back outside to the dirty Birmingham roads.

What has given you a split-second of childhood this week?