Category Archives: World Cup

One week down, one more to go

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Hello from Croatia, from the A1 motorway to be more precise. We left Brela behind and we are heading to Krk (or at least it’s where I think we are heading to). From south-ish to north-ish.

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The week in Brela was interesting. Beautiful place, beautiful beaches, small, quiet. Steep stairs, pebble beaches, cold water, no waves, lots of water sports, islands nearby. We haven’t done much though and it wasn’t out of interest and will. After 2-3 days, my mother in law and Laura fell a bit ill (I think in Laura’s case , it was her bronquitis/asthma attacking) and her father being slightly paranoid, didn’t allow her to go in the water. Now how great it is to be in a beach place and cannot go in the sea? I guess we should be grateful (never understood the spelling, shouldn’t it be greatful? Apparently dictionary says no) for the couple of rainy days.

We went to Split, Trogir and walked on the promenade of Brela on the days “we” weren’t allowed to swim. Nice places but I have to confess that I am yet to get used to: being married, having kids, living with the father of the kids. Because the difference of opinion and interest and energy is so so so different that sometimes it seems like a punishment, not a holiday.

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I admire those happy family that ignore the needs of their kids whose kids are so adapted to their parents pace and pose no obstacles to the trip. An example: we love road trips and we are a bit isolated in Brela so have to drive at least 1 hour to get to places. Beatrice hates car seat more than cat hates water. She screams, has a fit, every time she spends more than 10 minutes in her seat. How are you supposed to go on a road trip if the child doesn’t want to be in the car seat? I tell you how… by risking her life and holding her in your arms. Totally not cool, not safe and not allowed.

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Our city tours can be summarised as:

* trips to restaurants
* stops for ice cream and coffee
* long searches for toilets
* play time in children’s parks
* quick photos (using the mobile because a camera is too hard to use with one hand only) of historic buildings, but just the façades. Never mind learning about the actual building, we can always look on wikipedia later; or just forget about it.

No wonder, the most popular attractions in our trips are the beach (when they don’t get ill) and lunch time.

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Croatian, the language, sounds so familiar. I barely understand a thing (although there are loads of latin words and other slavic (?) ones) but it doesn’t sound alien to my ears. In fact it almost sounds Romanian…

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Here are some photos of Brela (we were in Stomarica, but went to other beaches there).

Watching the Brazilian match; painful in every sense
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At the bottom of the stairs in Stomarica
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Our window view
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A boat selling fruits and veggies. Talk about delivery service…
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With the mountains in the background
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Best shoes eva. A must have in Croatia (and it costs about €8, but it will probably last the length of your holidays)
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If you have space in your luggage, pack it up with inflatables and tents. Not every beach has umbrellas and chairs to rent (only the ones towards the end of the promenade, bigger and busier, after the Punta Rata restaurant). Probably only Europeans traveling to Croatia by car can afford such luxury of bringing double inflatable mattress and tent and lots of kids inflatable toys, but it is worth a try if you are traveling by plane.20140712-114159-42119285.jpg

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The map of Brela. 20140712-114751-42471413.jpg

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This nook is a changing booth and there are several along the beaches. And fresh water showers as well, but don’t bother bringing soap and shampoo; they are not allowed.20140712-114828-42508038.jpg

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World Cup and another simple recipe

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And the World Cup is back (well, for a long time now)! It seems like yesterday we were all in our new home, with tiny baby Laura in our arms (she was 2-3 months old in 2010) watching a few matches with us (time difference wasn’t so bad). I was on maternity leave and could follow most of the games. My maternity leave ended yesterday, but because of the time difference, I can watch most of the games, if I want to.

So far so good, the World Cup in Brazil is not bad, despite all the negative expectations. At least from what I’ve seen on TV, the stadiums are beautifully done, people are behaving ok, most of the matches are very exciting, and there are lots of goals to keep us happy. There will always be one or two boring games, so let’s hope this WC has had its share of boredom with Ian vs Nigeria and Brazil vs Mexico.

The most interesting part of the World Cup, though, is following the comments on Twitter. I don’t follow that many people, but it’s always great fun to read what the “experts” have to say about the games. It started with the Olympics in 2012 and now I’m always looking forward the next big event to be tweeted about.

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I shouldn’t need to say this, but I am supporting Brazil. Always. We might not be the favourites or the best team, but, hey, it’s my duty to support my home team. Other than that, I tend to support whoever wins. Just so I don’t have to suffer with defeats.

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Apparently this is the best World Cup ever. I can’t tell, but I’m loving all the images of Rio on the BBC and ITV during the games. Ops, I’ve just seen Spain being sent off back home. Oh, dear, well done, Chile, but not an expected result to Spain.

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I was planning to cook loads this weekend, but I just realised I have two events to go: a kids party on Saturday and a baby shower on Sunday (instead of celebrating my birthday, I’ll celebrate a friend’s baby). So I’ll have to leave all the baking for the following weekend. After that, we are off to Croatia. I can’t wait!!

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And here is another simple and quick recipe for those days that time isn’t on our side. I adapted it from one on Tesco’s website (here) and it was really good. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the pastry from scratch, which would have been healthier, but as I said, it is for days we don’t have the time.

What you will need:

  • One savoury pastry case (photo below – the one I used. it’s quite small, but was enough for one meal)
  • 1/2 onion – grated
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 45g bacon into cubes (I used smoked lardons)
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (I didn’t have garlic gloves, which would have been better)
  • 1/2 courgette, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75ml single cream
  • 50g Gruyère, grated

Captura de Tela 2014-06-14 às 23.43.28

 

How you prepare it:

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Fry the onion in the olive oil until brown, then add the garlic and the bacon and cook until bacon fat has melted. Add the courgettes and spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Put this mix into the case. Mix the cream and the beaten egg and season (I added a pinch of salt, as I didn’t find any pepper). Pour the mixture on top of the courgette/spinach and add the granted cheese. Bake for 20 minutes and turn the oven up to 200C and bake for another 5 minutes (check not to burn).

What I loved about this dish is the flexibility of adding any toppings I like – almost like a pizza. It’s a great way to add vegetables in our meals. For fussy children, you can even blend everything together and have a creamy vegetable topping.

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Done!

Life in a nutshell

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Today was Laura’s first day at the new nursery – just an hour as part of the settle in sessions. It wasn’t too bad, but she didn’t want to play with the kids, she didn’t want to go to the garden, she wanted to be where her eyes good see me. Fair enough, I would love to have a familiar face very close to me every time I start a new job.

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Sunday we all went to central London to celebrate the birthday of one of Laura’s friend from the old nursery (which reminds me that I have to write to the girl’s mother). It was next door to the nursery and 2 minutes walking from work. We went by train, which proved to be an adventure. Picture this: a pram with a 3 week old breastfed baby, a 3 years old toddler that wants to be with her mum all the time, grandparents that are not familiar with London – one of them doesn’t speak a single word of English. We should have a train from where I live straight to Waterloo, but the train was cancelled. I thought we could change at London Bridge and catch a train to Charing X, but all trains were cancelled from London Bridge, so we had to go to Canon Street (cross the bridge) and then catch another train to Charing Cross (cross the same bridge going back). On a Sunday. A sunny Sunday. The Coronation Sunday. (*)

(*) If you are not from London or UK or don’t know the city, you probably don’t have a clue about what I’m writing here. Trust me: not as bad as it sounds, but not the best of the journeys either.

We got there fine, we allowed plenty of time for this trip. The birthday was at Nando’s, at 2pm – I honestly thought that it was going to be a birthday celebration, so we had lunch before (Laura eats at 12) and the plan was to leave at 4pm. The birthday girl and guests arrived late and they were all going to order food, so the cake and happy birthday only came around 4pm. We left after 5pm and got home just after 7pm (the train to my house would have taken 40 minutes if things were working). Honestly? It was a great day. Laura had so much fun, Bea behaved like an angel, it was sunny and nice. Oh, and daddy had some me-time on his own at home and we managed to watch the game Brazil vs England.

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Speaking of (football – soccer if you are American) games, I know I always say that, but watching Brazilian matches just make me sick. Don’t get me wrong, I support my country, but I suffer so much that I get sick. I feel like after every match I am a year older. So you can imagine how many years “I lose” during the world cup, eh? The match on Sunday was a friendly, but I was so nervous and so annoyed. The team was playing well (especially compared to previous matches) but it just seemed like the English goal was sealed. And of course, the team doesn’t need to play a beautiful and brilliant football to score and England managed to score twice even though playing not as good as Brazil.

Despite trying to support England in any competition, I still cannot support them over Brazil, sorry. We should consider ourselves lucky to be able to cheer four different nations in our house: Romania, Brazil, England (GB) and Portugal. But maybe we should try to get other citizenships to increase our chances in the World Cup and Olympics.

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I can’t believe Bea is nearly a month old. She is soooooo sweet and I can’t believe how peaceful she is despite the craziness going around the house (I mean all the noises, so many people, loud TV, bright lights, etc). Second children/youngest siblings are warriors. And I might write a post about it in a near future.

She’s been trying to lift her head (she can, for a few seconds), she is rehearsing some smiles, the adorable baby noises are more frequent, her funny facial expressions are cuter by the day, she is losing her hair, she sleeps more than Laura used to but gets very cranky and cries a lot after 5pm (like Laura used to), she loves her bath, she doesn’t complain when she has a dirty nappy and she loves car rides.

Yes, I know, it is too soon to describe her “personality” like this, things can and will change, especially during the first three months, when she is still finding her way outside the womb. But I love to see all these changes and try to predict how she is going to be.

She makes some very weird noises too, some of them remind me of little dinosaurs from Jurassic Park (the first film). I don’t sleep that well at night because of these noises, I keep wondering if she is alright, or if it’s really her (and not a little dinosaur in our room). I don’t remember Laura making weird noises at all.

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My birthday is coming and I’m still not sure if I should celebrante it or not. Here is the thing: in this country, you need to send an invitation one or two months before, so people can put the date in the diary. But then, if you want to have something outdoors, you need to wait to see how the weather is going to be. I would like to have some sort of picnic in the garden, something simple and informal, but what if it rains? Picnic in the living room? Hmmm, maybe.

By the way, if you are wondering, the date is 22nd June, a Saturday. 🙂

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I’m working on a to do list of things I need to sort while on maternity leave. The list is HUGE! So far, I haven’t been able to tick many items, but I’m hoping that in the next months I can say that I’ve done more than just being a mother (between you and me, I think that being a mother is more than enough and this is why I am on MATERNITY leave for, right? now try and convince my brain and husband about it…)

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To celebrate the Queen’s coronation, a range of stamps were launched and apparently only a few households in the UK will get the chance to buy a collector’s card featuring the stamps (50,000 units are available, the brochure says).

I don’t collect stamps, I don’t collect merchandise of the Royal family, but I got my sample, just so I don’t regret it in the future.

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Life in pictures:

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Hurray for Spain!

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Thank goodness this game didn’t go to the penalties – I hate when matches end up in penalties (even when Brazil wins I think it’s boring, like in 94 when Italy lost the Cup). I haven’t really paid much attention to the teams, but by the little I saw from this match, I wasn’t really impressed by the Dutch.

I don’t have a “favourite” team and I’m fine with whoever wins the Cup (except Argentina, just to keep the tradition), but Spain has a special spot in my heart.

I remember very little of my trip to Madrid in 1998. I think I liked it, but I can’t say I loved it because I really don’t remember what I felt.

Back to Spain, this time to Barcelona, in 2005, I do remember I loved the place and the people. A month later, now in Granada, same thing – lovely place, lovely people. So it’s only natural I would support them in this match. I haven’t been to Holland and there’s nothing there that makes my heart beat a bit faster (except for tulips, my favourite flower).

Sunday wasn’t too bad either

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Weather-wise, today was almost as great as yesterday. But no barbecue today – we have too much food in the fridge.

We went shopping – mum wanted to buy some stuff to take home – and Baby L was really well behaved.

We’ve been trying to sort out loads of things in the house, which has been quite stressful, so Mr C. and I haven’t had much time together just to chat and relax and laugh. He is traveling tomorrow very early in the morning and comes back on Tuesday evening. Mum is sick for almost a week now.

I’m exhausted. I feel exhausted. So today I decided to have some me-time and have a very long shower (nevermind the water wastage), using almost all cosmetic products I have and haven’t had the opportunity to use in the last couple of months. It was great but I was punished by little L for my absence – she fed for 55 minutes non-stop. Quite tiring – and although she stopped at some point, she didn’t seem quite satisfied and had a bit more an hour later. Poor thing is extermely sleep but can’t sleep – that’s really heartbreaking: I know what it is to be sleep and not be able to sleep.

In the meantime, Spain is driving this household nuts!

World Cup

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Ok, Brazil is out. Predictable, but disappointing nonetheless. I remember all the criticism in 1994 and 2002 and we managed to get there. The team in 1998 was also very criticized and we managed to get to the finals. So, we always hope.

I didn’t see the game – I was trying to make Baby Laura sleep so I could take a nap, but I ended up neither watching the game nor sleeping. In fact I managed to get a really bad headache. I had the feeling that we wouldn’t pass through the Netherlands anyway, so I wasn’t deeply upset.

Now, I was disappointed with Gana vs Uruguay. I was supporting Gana, but it was clear that they wouldn’t win. With so many chances and no gol? Poor them, they deserved, but I guess Uruguay go there in the end.

What can I say about Germany vs Argentina? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Maradona got what he deserved! Well done, Germany, they might be the world champions again. I wonder if Mick Jagger was supporting Argentina…

I was suppoting Paraguay but I’m ok with Spain going through. I might support Spain against Germany, but if Germany plays like they did against Argentina, I suppose there’s not much Spain can do.

It’s kind good to have your team out of the competition, because you can just watch the games and support whoever or change sides whenever you want.

So, Rafael Nadal tomorrow, huh? He is so cute…