Celebrating life

It has been a while since my last update, so I got a lot to share with you!

First some exciting news, my temporary contract got replaced with a year contract per the 1st of October, so that means at least another year of job security, YES!

That also meant all of my saved up leave was going to be paid out at the end of my contract, so we decided to take leave instead of having it paid out. So in the last week of September we rented a lovely place in Friesland, a part of the Netherlands with lots and lots of nice lakes. We brought our small dinghies there and had a super nice week of no people around us, no computers, no work, just us and some sailing. I really recommend you staying there! The weekend we got back, we also visited a place that had just opened, like, that day, and as they are also an official wedding venue, we asked for a quote. This is the Lake House Rotterdam.

Despite a reminder after 2 weeks, I still haven’t received a quote (we are talking about a month lead time as I’m writing this).

Only a week after we returned to work, we had a meeting with another wedding venue on Sunday but that morning I felt horrible, my skin was aching, and I had a bit of a temperature. Within 3 hours, my temperature rose to 40.7 degrees C, at which point we called the venue to cancel our appointment. Luckily within 2 hours my temperature came back to normal, but I still felt horrible. It turned out I had a stomach flu. I had to call in sick from work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday, I felt slightly better, so I returned to work but on Friday I was out again. I was so relieved when it finally finished on Saturday! Having lost multiple kilograms in one week means I now need to gain weight to still fit in my wedding dress! The struggle…

During the week I was so ill, M. had his birthday, he turned 32. We did go out for dinner that night but let’s put it like this: I was glad it only took a 10-minute car ride to get home, I wouldn’t have made it otherwise 😉.

While I was upstairs in the bathroom being super happy to be home again, the doorbell rang… M.’s parents! OH NO! What a timing from their side. They had not let us know they wanted to come and visit that evening. Luckily after only an hour they left again, as this was the first time we saw each other after we announced our engagement in July (which they didn’t like too much, to say the least).

As our birthdays are only 13 days apart we wanted to celebrate them together, to keep it simple for the family and to keep the number of cakes to a minimum. We had decided on the 20th of October, one of the Saturdays between our birthdays. But as his parents already came on his birthday, we saw the friends on the 14th and my grandma also couldn’t make it the 20th, we only had a birthday with my parents, brother and his girlfriend. It was nice though, you at least get the chance to talk to everyone.

For dinner we served a very nice taco with salmon, not our own recipe but I’ll link it here. It is super nice and easy, also great for summer. We only replace the sour cream with mayonaise.

On Sunday we retried to meet with the venue we had to cancel some weeks ago and it was a very nice place. It is called Wet ‘n Wild, because it is next to a small lake with a water skiing system in it. Only 3 hours after we got home we already got the offer for our wedding, that was the fastest so far, by far! (and it also was a good offer).

Yesterday we met with the caterer from our first venue, to see if we could do anything about the price as this is still our preferred location (Wet ‘n Wild is in 2nd place). We managed to decrease the cost by 2000 euros just by choosing some simpler options and the vendor will check some more things like what it will cost to serve our own wine and stuff like that. We are hoping the new offer will come in just under 9000 euros, still a ridiculous amount of money I think but that would mean we decreased the price by 25%. Also, we noticed the vendor was willing to work the prices a bit because we come from the same town (his in-laws are our neighbors). So, fingers crossed!

Something else:

I am never allowed to guess what my gift(s) will be because I usually get it right, M. hates that! This year, I didn’t ask for hints or anything but I still guessed it. He was furious… It was so funny!

Let me tell you a bit about the background of this gift:

We recently (1,5 week ago) cleaned up our garage, which still had an old kitchen in it. We took it out, end capped the water pipes, put some wheels under an old cabinet and screwed an OSB plate onto the cabinet. When we were finished, we had a work bench at our height (we are tall) and lots of storage space underneath. On the side there was room for a vise, which we didn’t have at the time. 3 nights ago, just before we went to bed, I was thinking about this vise, and found a nice one online so I showed Maarten. He was like: No I don’t want that one…

But I didn’t get it because it really was a great deal, it was super cheap and of good quality so I continued: why don’t you want this one? What is wrong with it? You won’t find a better deal soon!

After a long time, he finally whispered: because I already have one….

I waited for a few seconds before I burst out into laughter: IS THAT MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!?!? A VISE??? HAHAHA

So, I again found out what my present was before my birthday… LOL!

I got to open it this morning as today, the 23rd, is my birthday. I turned 28, which oddly feels very different from 27. Maybe because 27 is closer to 25 than 30…

M. was so kind to already install the vise today, as he was working from home today so I got to admire it this evening. M. seems extremly happy with my birthday gift 🙂

I really enjoyed the past month, despite being so ill. Having our birthdays made me realize once again how fast time is passing and that we should appreciate it more. It is time to spend some more time with my friends. I haven’t seen them in ages.

On Sunday, M. will have his first trail run, of 10km and it is super close to my best friend so we will definitly be visiting her (and I need to bring cake so that will be my main task for Saturday).

Stay positive and celebrate life!

Love, Laura

Super easy Pasta salad with Mackerel and Cucumber

P1070497Hi again! Here is another one of my favorite recipes. This Pasta salad with mackerel and cucumber is super easy and fast and should not take you more than 30 minutes to make.

This recipe is ideal for a warm summer evening. I thought about saving it until next summer to post it but I thought, maybe someone can still enjoy it on a nice September evening.

For 4-6 people you need the following ingredients:

  • 400gr. pasta (we always use those shell types because the mackerel and sauce really go into it)
  • 1 steamed or smoked mackerel (this recipe is particuly nice with fresh home smoked mackerel)
  • 1 cucumber (diced)
  • 1 white onion (diced)
  • 1 bunch of dill (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons of mayonaise
  • 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove (chopped really fine or use a garlic press)

Those are all the ingredients, not too bad right?

The recipe:

  • Ok, to start, bring enough water to a boil and cook the pasta.
  • In the meantime, remove all the parts of the mackerel you don’t like (make sure you get all those tiny fishbones) and pluck the filets into small pieces.
  • When the pasta is finished, dump the water and rinse the pasta with lots of cold water (yes cold, you want to stop the cooking process). Let the pasta drain very well.
  • In a large bowl, put the mackerel, onion and diced cucumber.
  • To prepare the sauce, mix the mayoniase with the balsamic vinegar and the garlic (this looks very nasty, I know, but the taste is great!).
  • Add the fresh dill and the sauce to the large bowl and mix it all together.
  • And that is it! Enjoy!

Some tips:

If you are not a big fan of raw onion, try chopping it really fine or only use half of the onion. If it is still to much for you, try heating the chopped onion until glassy  (use a tiny bit of olive oil) and add to the mix.

This recipe is great to prepare for parties, besides for the reason that almost everyone loves it and they always want the recipe, cause you can easily prepare this a day in advance, the flavours will mix a lot better, making this even nicer! Also, it is easy to make big portions.

I really hope you love it as much as we do, this has turned into one of our family recipes.


Love, Laura


Delicious Risotto with Cold Smoked Salmon and Vegetables

Hi there!

Here is my recipe for a delicious risotto with cold smoked salmon.

It takes about 40 minutes to make, from start to your plate.

For 4 people, here are the ingredients:

  • 300 grams of risotto rice
  • 150 mL white wine (fruity is nice)
  • 1.5 L of fish stock
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 leek (in half rings)
  • 1 handful of basil leafs (chopped)
  • 150 grams of cold smoked salmon (in small pieces)
  • some butter
  • grated cheese
  • pepper & salt as you like
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil

You’ll need a non stick pan for the risotto and a big enough pan to keep 1.5L fish stock hot.

The recipe:

  1. Heat the fish stock, put it on a small fire to prevent it from cooling down. It doesn’t have to boil.
  2. In the non stick pan, add the oil and heat it on a medium fire.
  3. Add the chopped onion and leek to the oil, stir until the onion turns glassy.
  4. Add the risotto and stir until it turns a bit glassy.
  5. Pour the wine into the pan and stir until almost absorbed.
  6. Now you can start to add the fish stock to the risotto in small portions, stirring often. After each addition, wait until it is almost absorbed before adding more stock.
  7. When you start to run out of stock, try some of the risotto to see if  it is nearly ready. The rice should still be firm but there should not be a hard piece in it anymore. If the rice is not done yet, add a bit more hot water, 100 – 200 mL usually does the trick.
  8. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and let the rice sit for a few minutes while you chop the basil and smoked salmon.
  9. Add both ingredients together with some bits of butter (makes it really smooth).
  10. Stir well and add some salt and pepper for your liking. (I never add salt as the salmon and stock are pretty salty)
  11. When everyone likes the same amount and type of cheese in their risotto, you can add the cheese at this moment, I prefer to let everyone add the cheese on their plate due to different cheese preferences.
  12. ENJOY!

I nearly forgot, this recipe is also very nice to take with you for lunch, fills you up really well!

Hope you love it as much as we do!

Love, Laura