Author Archives for Ellen

A busy week

Exactly that, a busy week.

Finding myself taking things a bit slower than i would have liked. But hey, that’s just how it goes.

Last week i had an interview, which i recorded. I’m still in the process of translating and writing the article itself. I do enjoy it, but it’s moving on a bit slow.

Last week, after the interview, my initial thought was getting straight at it, but instead i made a long walk in the sunshine. I got really tired. That tiredness didn’t move away the next days. Today i still feel it.

I will start cooking soon. Two sausages. Simmer them in red wine with shallots, mushrooms and bacon. And a mash with parsnip and potato.

But yeah, it was a busy week. Even though i’m moving on slower than i wish, i’m taking steps. They might be tiny, but they are in the right direction.

Gonna go cooking now. I do hope you enjoy your monday.

Best wishes.

Published on March 16, 2015 at 6:00 by

Beet feta salad

Apart from preparing the beetroots and cooking the potatoes, this is a quick salad to make! The combination of beetroot and feta is great. The potatoes are optional. They do make a more filling salad. If you don’t have potatoes, a slice of toasted bread can be served alongside.

I do like to bake my own beetroot. It’s easy, you wrap it in tinfoil and put it in a hot oven for an hour. If you want, you can buy the already cooked beetroots in the supermarket, but you should try baking your own, it does taste better!

You may use the regular deep purple red beetroots like i did today. But you can also use the yellow beetroots. You may use the chioggia beetroots, but i do prefer these rasped raw in a summer salad. It leaves the color rings intact.

It’s hard to imagine someone not liking the taste of beetroot. I do love it myself. But, if you really don’t like beetroot, i’m sorry. I can’t think of another vegetable taking the place of beetroot. Better skip this recipe if you really can’t stand it!

Ingredients salad

  • 1 beetroot
  • 2 potatoes
  • around 80 grams of feta
  • a handful of rocket salad
  • 1 -2 spring onions

Ingredients dressing

  • vinegar, white or red wine or apple
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • fresh thyme, picked loose
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation

  1. wash the beetroot, wrap it loosely in tin foil and bake for an hour in a 200°C warm oven
  2. after around 40 minutes, wash the potatoes and cook them for the remaining 20 minutes
  3. press the garlic, put all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bottle and shake the dressing
  4. put the rocket in a bowl
  5. slice the spring onions and add
  6. slice the feta and add
  7. slice the potatoes and the beetroot and add
  8. drip a few tablespoons of the dressing over the salad and toss the salad a bit
  9. eat!
Published on March 13, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: Van Brienenoordbrug

A walk to the Van Brienenoordbrug in the east of Rotterdam. A bit longer than i thought! My idea was to walk to the island which lies below the bridge, but i didn’t manage that. I saw a McDonalds and i couldn’t resist. I got me a Big Mac menu and took the tram home.

This was after a two and three quarter hour walk, so i gotta give myself a bit a leeway here.

I’m still tired. Yes, this post is gonna be a short one. The pictures with a caption. Enjoy sweeties!

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Published on March 12, 2015 at 6:00 by

Contact

Online since 1995, i have made many steps online, some of which are still visible.

lfs.nl
The biggest step i ever made, lfs.nl. My personal site, filled with presents. The pre-presents have a place here too, starting with retrospective. The first webpage i wrote, publicized on 1 July 1997, almost eightteen years ago at the time of this writing.

Maybe, when you read this somewhere in the future, you will know more than i do now. Maybe than, where there is nothing now, there will be something for you to discover.

Presents started 14 May 1999, with a full day of photos. Shortly after that i made my first flash piece. Two days after that my first square story: Happy Single Square. I kept on working until 2006, with some breaks in between.

A long pause from 2006 till 2014. Only a to do list in 2009, which i never fulfilled. In October 2014 i started to make presents again. As i see it from now, only to write a few pieces i missed. The About page is the final present.

I can only invite you to visit lfs.nl and go through the presents. A list of my personal favourites may guide you. The square stories which are linked on the homepage are not to be missed. There! I said it! Not to be missed!

Spotify and last.fm
Joined last.fm in 2005. In spotify you can post the music you’re listening to to last.fm. So at the time of writing i do see i am listening to The Knife with Heartbeats.

I have known many periods of silence in which i hardly play music. At the time of writing, march 2015, i am in full music listening mode. I mostly listen to my own MIX playlists.

flickr and instagram
Joined October 2004. Comes and goes too. With my blog don’t see myself picking up flickr that much again. But you never know. I’ve instagrammed a bit as well, but i do prefer flickr.

The sunrises of October 2014, the two walks with Urban Photo Collective, the Lord of the Rings Online screenshots, the World of Warcraft screenshots, my cats, food, a walk in Brussels. All for you to see.

Delicious
A bookmark service i used extensively between 2005 and 2010. I spent hours tagging and bundling my links. Most are about my work, front-end development. For now it sits quietly between my daily bookmarks.

Twitter
Joined January 2008. I do still like twitter. I do! Not the ads though. But it’s still a decent enough interface. I’m not that much of a twitter talker, but i do tweet about a post from this blog frequently. And yes, sometimes i do read tweets about a program while watching. Like the Zomergasten cycle each summer.

Facebook
I took a Facebook account around 2009 and did nothing with it for years. I got more active last year, November 2014. I added some photos, began to post a bit more. But i have to say, now, after a few months, it’s all just messy. Now i simply post when i have a new post online.

I did set an Ello account a few months ago. I do like the look of it, but it does need some energy from my side put into it. I simply haven’t had time yet to really start using it.

Published on March 11, 2015 at 6:00 by

Skincare: face and body

Over the years i’ve used many different types of skincare.

I did use mostly Clinique things. It was high end, but not too expensive. I used the Superdefense moisturizer SPF 20. As a night cream i used the Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer. I did try the Clinique 3 step system with soap and moisturizer, but it never stuck. I still have a small Super Rescue tube, which i will use up in the coming months.

A few years ago i started to read about skincare on blogs and watch more make-up and skincare youtube clips. Some recommended Dr. Jetske Ultee, a research physician in cosmetic dermatology. She has a list of recommended products (in dutch) on her site, which i now use as a starting point. It is hard though not to be tempted by all the beautiful selling talk which is thrown at you on the street, in the shops and online.

Skincare: face
For cleaning i mostly use warm water. Since i do not use make-up daily, water is enough for me. I do have a Body Shop Aloe calming facial cleanser and Aloe calming toner for when i do need to remove make-up, but i only use it once every two or three weeks.

As day cream i now use the Olaz total effects day cream perfume free. It is a soft cream with hardly any smell which does get absorbed into the skin quickly. It leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh, just what i need. The Total Effects most important ingredient is Niacinamide (2).

This cream will cost you around 20 euros, but the Kruidvat shop does have regular 50% discounts on this brand, so keep an eye out for that. I also have a Olaz serum i irregularly use, the Olaz Total effects Instant smoothing serum.

I did use Ren for a short time in between the Clinique and Olaz products. I did enjoy the feel and packaging of this brand. Sadly it’s getting a bit too expensive for me right now. I still have a Bio Retinoid anti-ageing concentrate i sometimes use in the evening.

On the market i bought a pure argan oil for use on my face as well.

I did stop using a dedicated night cream all together. I use the oil now sometimes. I could use my day cream as a night cream, since it doesn’t have an SPF in it. This was also a conclusion i reached after reading about on the blog of Dr. Jestke Ultee.

Skincare: face, soon
There are two more product types i will start using soon. First it is an exfoliant. I should read more about the two different types – salicylic acid and glycolic acid – and make an informed choice. My skin seems fairly normal to me, not overly oily or dry. I do get a red face quickly though, so i think i have a sensitive skin. It seems that salicylic acid is the best for me, since it’s a bit milder and suitable for a sensitive skin.

The other product i want to start using is a sun protector. This does coincide with the exfoliant, which makes your skin more sensitive to sunshine, since your upper skin layer will be thinner. I will go through the list on the product advice page and will pick an affordable one out to start with.

Skincare: hands and body
I did find my favourite hand cream of all time, the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Cream. I use a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening, rubbing it into the upper side of my hands. It’s a wonderful thick cream, with a faint honey and almond smell. I just bought my second tube of this stuff. I simply don’t wanna use anything else.

I was tempted and bought a Shea Butter Body Cream as well. It is wonderful stuff. Yes, the price is a bit high, 33 euros for 200 ml. I will go back to making a homemade body butter. I do like the idea of knowing all the ingredients in what i use. It’s also pretty easy to make it yourself, you only need a few ingredients.

Skincare: body butter recipe
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Shea Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup light oil like almond, olive or jojoba
  • Optional: 10-30 drops Essential Oils for scent

Instructions

  1. In a double boiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except essential oils.
  2. Bring to medium heat and stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Move to fridge and let cool another 1 hour or until starting to harden but still somewhat soft.
  5. Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Return to fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  7. Store in a glass jar with a lid and use as you would regular lotion or body butter. If your home stays above 75 degrees, it may soften and need to be kept at the fridge, but it will stay whipped at a temperature lower than that.
  8. Enjoy!

A year and a half ago i went to drugstore de Lang in Rotterdam to buy the ingredients for this butter. Soon i will go back there and get more ingredients. Just a short trip with the tram is all i need. Or… i could go for a walk!

Skincare
I do feel the products i use are fairly basic. But i admit, i do love a bit of pampering. I do not use the body butter each day. I do use it around twice a week on my arms and legs. I try to show a bit of restraint in the products i use. But yeah, i do get tempted!

I am curious about using an exfoliator. I have never used it, so i will make my skin get used to it slowly. I’ll keep you informed about my experiences with it.

For Dutch people, the website of Dr. Jetske Ultee is a great resource. I’m afraid i do not know any similar site in english, or any other language. If you do know any such site, with clear and precise information about beauty products, please share that in the comments below.

Published on March 10, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: around North

It is the first spring day of the year. I walk out the door around half past one. I go over the bridge and start to walk to the Noordsingel. Looking through the houses i change my mind and walk past Gare du Nord, a lovely vegan restaurant in an old train. Then i walk to the Noordsingel.

It is so lovely. The trees start to show buds, a first cherry blossom is visible. Birds are flying through the air. Two gooses sit along the water with their five hatchlings. There is only the quiet sounds of sunday traffic buzzing around.

I walk to the Gandhigarden at the end of the Noordsingel. A year and a half ago i went to the garden a few times and helped out with weeding and binding up the tomato plants. It is a communal allotment garden with several other functions. I walked around the whole garden, through the forest edge and through the other individual gardens. I drank a cup of tea, enjoyed the sunshine.

I say goodbye to everyone there and start walking back. This time i walk along the old unused traintracks to the old Hofplein station. I go up the stairs to the luchtsingel and then head back home.

A lovely day.

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Published on March 9, 2015 at 6:00 by

My work

The first year at art academy was glorious. It was 1986 – 1987. I was living by myself for around nine months. The first year was introductory, with a week long travel into Germany in autumn. I loved sculpture, drawing, art history. I loved it all. I remember working with plaster in sculpture. I collected the plaster dust which other people dropped and made small work with it on the floor. Geometric and organic shapes. And of course completely unable to save them. For an assignment for a drawing class, something with weaving, i started to use paint over the entire paper and cut and use it over each other. I actually wrote a paper about Scritti Politti for art history. Pretty sure it was all a lot of nonsense, but i loved it. Still a shame i never got that paper back.

After that first year it did go downhill. I tried painting. That didn’t work, i got a zero and had to choose another subject. Photography and ‘monumental’ (sorry, no idea how to translate that) was better. It did get more serious. I got more serious.

I’m not sure why i started to make self portraits. I know we had an assignment early, maybe even in the first year, to draw yourself. I made these sketchy drawings, which didn’t look like me at all. Later on i started to make photos of myself. First at home, later in the school studio. I still don’t completely understand why i made these. I do know i looked pretty in the photos. I don’t think i was aware of that in my daily life.

My exams art academy work i used in Homebase, Feel me – Free me – Fuck me. The photos were large, around 1 square meter each. The text was done with transparencies in the darkroom. It was just before Photoshop took over. The photos were from different sessions. I do think the first two were made in the school’s studio with studio lighting. The third one i made at home with flash light.

I’m not sure about this work. I do see the work that went into them. It’s just, they do not speak clearly to me. They feel like an intermediate work to me now.

In 1994 i started to work at the printing office. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. That was the time we made the christmas cd. I sang my own song.

In 1995 at work we got a modem and an internet account. I took that home during the weekend. I loved it! I started to play muds. Micromuse was the first world i visited. I worked on building an old Greek part in there. Windsmare was my first game world. I started playing other muds. I also started to play Angband, a roguelike game.

In 1997 i started my own website on ~ellen on home.luna.nl. Which to my surprise is still there! I went through my links just to see if any were still life. The only relevant one today is Superbad. Which is still one of my favourite websites ever.

The years after that are documented on lfs.nl in these text presents:

The past nine years were crowded with playing World of Warcraft, especially raiding. The past 4 years were busy with work. Trying to get it, trying to make enough money to keep living.

The last five months have been hectic. From ecstatic happy to truly sad.

I’ve met some old friends again. I do feel my life is much better than were i was a year ago.

I do know i will not get my old life back. Too much has changed. Some friends got children. It’s different. Everyone’s life has moved on.

And me? I got a bit of time. A bit of money. To make this website work.

Please.

Published on March 4, 2015 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: around the centre

Today i made a walk around the centre of town. It was a lot colder than i expected. The wind was blowing harder too. Some parts at high rising buildings it was freezing, other parts, in the sunshine it was suddenly mild. I heard later on that it will get a bit more springlike next week. Fingers crossed!

I went up to the wooden bridge, the ‘luchtsingel‘. Walking over the train tracks and down at where Bird is with some restaurants and shops. Reminding myself to actually visit Bird one day soon. A place so close to my house with gigs, dancing and food!

I walked through the central station to the West Kruiskade. I had forgotten to eat something for lunch. I went to Kiem Foei and treated myself to a small saoto soup with no egg and lots of sambal.

After eaten the soup real slow – to prevent myself from getting any hiccups – i decided to pup into the asian supermarket Amazing Oriental across the street. Last week i thought about this shop and remembered the back row with all sort of plastics to put food in. Maybe this shop had something i could put my laundry detergent in. My current packaging is getting old and is a bit narrow. Something like a small bucket with a lid would be much better. So i went trough the shop to the back and started looking for something decent. I found this 6 liter square plastic bucket, probably for rice. It was only 6,95 euros, which i felt was cheap enough. So yes! I can make lots more of the detergent now, and it will be easier to get the stuff out!

I walked straight through the centre, crossed the Coolsingel and walked up the Meent. Popped in the AH there to get some eggs for breakfast tomorrow.

And then home again.

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Published on March 3, 2015 at 6:00 by