Lisa

My very own personalized Nutella mug!

Okay, so I missed the whole personalized Nutella jar craze. So when they launched the personalized mug, I was on it like a pro! Went to the store, bought my gigantic jar with the special sticker on it, and then I followed the insane amount of steps to get my FREE personalized mug. Let me write them all out for you, just so you can see how much I deserved this:

1 – Bought the gigantic jar in question
2 – Went to the website and filled out the form
3 – Then realized I had to attach a scan of my receipt, which I fished out of the trash (lol)
4 – Scanned receipt, completed the form and submitted it with scan of receipt attached
5 – Waited patiently for my unique code to order my mug
6 – Finally got my code 2 weeks later by e-mail
7 – Went to the website linked in said e-mail where I was able to upload my photo
8 – Then had to hit “submit” and AGAIN wait for two weeks for yet another code that would allow me to complete my request
9 – Finally got the last code I needed, along with an updated version of my photo (with “Nutella” and “Lisa” added to it)
10 – Then had to go to yet another link where I had to upload the new modified photo they gave me
11 – Then was able to FINALLY complete my request by submitting the last code I was given
12 – And waited for another two weeks to get my mug in the mail.

Whew! I know this is totally meant to discourage most people because companies just don’t like to give away free stuff. But when there’s free shit, I don’t give up! I complete every freaking step like a maniac until I reach my goal. So hooray! Here it is!!!

Free personalized Nutella mug cup photo name promotion Belgium portrait

And here’s the original portrait that was used:

You know you’re a perfectionist when you purposely take a portrait of yourself dressed in an entire outfit that’s color coordinated to match the brand. Should I be embarrassed? Maybe. Am I? No. I also wore a crap load of heavy makeup, because I figured the printed version on the mug may look too dull otherwise, and I have to say I’m pleased with the result. There’s something quite retro about it.

Now I’m not even sure I will ever actually use the mug. I’m scared the photo could fade away if I wash it too many times. lol So much effort … to end up not using it! HAH! It’s a cool item to own though. It’s on display in our glass cabinet right now :-)

Thinking of Sam

I don’t know why it hit me on Monday that Sam would have turned 14 months old that day. It seems like such a random age to think about. Perhaps because of the surreal situation here in the Brussels area at the moment. With Gert being home and us basically staying indoors, because 1) everything was closed, so there was nowhere to go to anyway, and 2) just to be on the safe side. I guess it gave me too much time to sit and think.

I was thinking of how lucky Sam would be not to have to go to daycare because I’m a stay-at-home. And how our little family would be safe right here, away from all the madness out there.

Coincidentally, I received these beautiful pins in the mail from Ireland:

Baby Loss Awareness Ireland pink blue ribbon pins babyloss stillborn stillbirth infant

I was referred to this website by another loss mom who happens to be the only fellow European mom in the support group I joined a while ago. It randomly struck me one day how our loss and grief cannot be seen by others. It’s not written on anyone’s face. And then I thought about how great it would be to have a symbolic ribbon to wear. Just like the pink ribbon for breast cancer, the red ribbon for HIV, etc. I’m obviously not looking to shove it in any random stranger’s face and get some awkward conversations rolling. But it is close to my heart. And who knows, maybe one day I will bump into another loss mom who knows the meaning of this pink & blue ribbon, and who will perhaps find comfort in knowing that she’s not alone. So I’m now proudly wearing what I’ve decided to call my “Sam pin”. A little ribbon to remember him by, and to show my support to whoever has been struck – in one way or another – by the loss of a child.

A big thanks to Linda who sent these to me, along with a very sweet personal note. I will wear my ribbon with pride and love!

Baby Loss Awareness Ireland pink blue ribbon pins babyloss stillborn stillbirth infant

Our life right next to level 4 Brussels Lockdown

Brussels Lockdown level 4 threat alert #brusselslockdown #brusselsalert 23 November 2015 RTL TVI luc gilson le journal news press conference tv live journalist

I got a couple of messages from friends asking me if I’m okay. I suppose unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know by now that the entire Brussels district is going through a lockdown after the threat level was switched to 4 on Saturday, which is the maximum level; meaning that a terrorist attack could be imminent. We were hoping for it to go back down to at least 3 today. But yesterday’s press conference confirmed that level 4 would be maintained for now.

We don’t actually live inside the Brussels district. We live right outside of it, so technically speaking, I’m sitting here in level 3 :-) But because we’re quite close to the capital, obviously our lives are on hold right now. A lot of businesses, schools, and public buildings are closed today. So Gert didn’t have to go to work. Ever since the level was raised to 4, we’ve basically remained at home. We could have taken the car and gone shopping on Saturday, but it seemed like an unnecessary risk, even if we went to another city.

As far as noticeable effects are concerned: I haven’t left the house since Saturday and our street is always super quiet, so I can’t say I’ve actually seen anything at all. But we did notice a lot of police out last Tuesday and they were stopping people and checking their bags. Something was definitely up already.

So in a nutshell: we’re stuck at home until further notice. We’re now waiting for a press conference to start, hopefully within the next hour, and I think they’re going to announce whether level 4 will be maintained tomorrow or not. If it is, then Gert won’t be going to work tomorrow either. I can’t say we’re living in fear or anything. But it’s definitely a weird vibe. I mean, this situation is very exceptional. I’ve never ever experienced anything like this before. And for Brussels to be completely shut down like that, I don’t think this has ever even happened in the past.

I will post more updates later!

My favorite oatmeal recipe

healthy snack bowl tray vanilla yogurt whole grain cereal oatmeal dark chocolate lemon tea pink cup clayre & eef white wooden girly paper napkin all you need is love and a little bit of chocolate now and then recipe home lifestyle blog

Ever since I lost Sam, my digestive track has been off. One of the many effects of post-traumatic stress, apparently. Painful cramps became part of my every day life and I just didn’t seem to see the end of it. Then a few months ago, I happened to catch this documentary midway, about all the health benefits of oatmeal. Seriously, OATMEAL of all things. I’ll be honest: I never liked it. It’s bland, the texture isn’t my thing, and there’s just nothing appealing about it. But the results of the experiment shown were enough to prompt me to buy a big box of oatmeal and give it a try. I daily ate one bowl of oatmeal mixed with warm milk and a little bit of brown sugar. And sure enough, after 2 weeks, the cramps started to lessen. They were completely gone within a month and I now feel like my old self again. I had to change the recipe though, because the taste was just too gross for me. So here’s what works for me taste-wise:

closeup healthy snack bowl tray vanilla yogurt whole grain cereal oatmeal dark chocolate lemon tea pink cup clayre & eef white wooden girly paper napkin all you need is love and a little bit of chocolate now and then recipe home lifestyle blog

Vanilla flavored yogurt, whole grain cereal, dark chocolate shavings, and of course: oatmeal. I don’t let it soak. I just eat it right away. It’s so much better this way! Some days, I eat it in the morning as part of my breakfast. While other days I eat it as an afternoon snack. Every once in a while, I add dried banana flakes and golden raisins.

I’m pretty sure this mix will evolve with time. And if I end up with a completely different result from what I eat now, I will make sure to post an updated version later on!

In any case, I definitely recommend eating a portion of oats every day! In case you need more convincing, here are some interesting articles:
http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-oatmeal-why-you-should-add-power-food-your-high-fiber-diet-328788
http://www.symptomfind.com/nutrition-supplements/health-benefits-of-oatmeal/
And more specifically about the documentary itself:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2471095/Forget-trendy-probiotic-drinks–just-eat-porridge.html

My Etsy shop is open!

I recently opened my very own shop on Etsy.com to sell all kinds of girly little knick-knacks. I made my first sale a few days ago and I cannot tell you how excited I was to post my first package to Australia :-) Now, while I was writing this, I also sold both sets of white and pink teapot ornaments. So it looks like I will have to add new items pretty soon!

etsy shop store screenshot white pink

Obviously, feel free to click on it, pin it, bookmark it, share it, buy from it … anything!