Hoes in different area codes

June 28, 2012


I consider myself incredibly lucky to have friends all over the world; from the prairies of Alberta to the beaches of Bali, my friendship circle extends far and wide thanks to the friendships I've formed throughout my life. My girls at home and abroad are interesting, inspiring, intelligent and independent, most of them doing their own thing and making their own way in the world. And as I tick the boxes of places I can visit once I get a job, I also get a slight pang of sadness knowing that it may be a while before I can see some of them again.Whatsapping and Skyping is sometimes impossible due to the time difference; as I start chatting away to someone in California I realise it's 3am for them and as I send a funny photo during a night out to someone in Jordan they're stuck in traffic on their way to work. Having hoes in different area codes can sometimes, quite frankly, be a pain in the butt. 

So I decided to take action and try something new; good 'old fashioned' emailing. I assigned a day of the month to each friend {myself included} with the intention of sending an email update on that particular day to my network of girls. This includes the latest on life, love and other stuff, with juicy details and pictures included. So far so good; the girls are all excited about this idea and MOST have managed to stick to their day this month. Receiving an email from a friend is a really good feeling and I've had many reasons to smile this month thanks to their tales of man troubles, pet stories & general woes of a twentysomething. It's like a virtual girly getogether with my nearest and dearest, extended over a longer period of time.
I long for the day when we can snap our fingers and teleport across the world to have a coffee and a catch up with a friend, or to be there for them when they need a hug and a shoulder to cry on. I have a feeling this teleporting thing may take a while but until then I take comfort in knowing that thanks to email and modern technology, no matter where this crazy world will takes us, nothing will change so much to the point where we're not still friends.

Tip Top TED: The greatness of girls

Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell: of her own life's transformation and of the untapped potential of girls around the world.  Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?

For all the ladies out there worrying about those extra 5 pounds, a bad hair day or the wrong order at Starbucks; these extra 15 mins will make you grateful for having those issues. I was pretty upset by this video, not only because of the sadness in Leymah's voice as she tells of the desperation of these girls without access to an education, but the fact that an education {or the freedom to decide} is not a given for everyone the world over and that unfortunately, not enough is being done about it.

Read more about this inspiring woman {here}


101 books to read this summer

June 27, 2012

To my fellow bookworms:

{besides 50 Shades of Grey!}
Unfortunately, the image is too large to post on here. 
It's a great mix of classics + contemporary, fiction, short stories, girly, manly, geeky, etc etc...you get my point :) There's bound to be something here for everyone, make sure to check it out!


Christmas in July

I'm a huge fan of Christmas {who isn't really?} mainly because I love giving presents and thinking of funny/silly/personal things to give people. So when I saw that Alyx from 'Every day is a new adventure' was hosting a 'Christmas in July' international gift exchange I got quite excited as it's a perfect combination of two things I love: receiving something in the post & coming up with a nice gift for someone {Of course I then missed the deadline completely and emailed her in a panic asking if I could still join in on the fun - Luckily, my disorganised butt was matched up with someone but I don't know who as yet} 
What am I rambling on about you ask? Christmas in July?

Bloggers seem to come up with all kinds of fun stuff & this is a perfect example. Alyx is organising an international gift exchange between bloggers and the idea is to come up with something fun and creative which suits your gift partner based on the things they like {which they've included in their email} The value of the gift can't exceed $20 or be less than $10 so it has to be cheap and cheerful. Sounds good to me :)

This is such a cute idea and I can't wait to start hunting for the perfect pressie from Amsterdam!


Tuesday Tunage

June 26, 2012
Random mix of tunes {new & old} that have helped me through the week:

Manic Monday: Move, Eat, Learn

June 25, 2012

3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....
{into 3 beautiful and compelling short films}
= a trip of a lifetime
Rick Mereki, Tim White & Andrew Lees seem like the ultimate travel BFFs.
Happy Monday!

Sunday Confession

June 24, 2012

It's about time the sun started shining properly in this lowland country. The chilly wind and annoying rain today definitely made me think of Sundays spent on the beach with friends, playing paddleball and feeling the sun on my skin. I'm confessing to being a bit homesick today - I miss my little island in the sun.

UnDutchable: 5 Reasons I will never date a Dutch man

June 21, 2012
I can already hear my Mum telling me to "never say never" but since living in Amsterdam I've come to the conclusion that Dutch men just aren't my thing. I do have male Dutch friends and I think they're great; they're just not someone I will ever date. The average Dutch guy who I know is tall, athletic, with longish hair and a pretty laid back attitude. Great fun to hang out with, not so much fun to have as your boyfriend as far as I'm concerned. Here's the reason this Bajan will never date a Dutch man:

{Disclaimer: These opinions are purely my own & are based on my experience as a single girl living in Amsterdam over the past year so take it all with a pinch of salt}

1. Chivalry is long dead and buried

I'm not expecting Prince Charming to come and sweep me off of my feet, nor do I expect women to be treated as subordinates or anything ridiculous like that but there's a part of me that has a soft spot for the guy who opens doors, offers his seat {Common decency as well as chivalry} and even treats a girl to a nice meal. He can be charming as well as respectful, with an understanding of how to treat a lady. As far as I've seen, this isn't the case in The Netherlands in general. Women have fought long and hard to be treated fairly in all aspects of Dutch life and it seems to have made its way down to the dating scene; "Going Dutch" was started here. I've spoken to many Dutch women and girls about this and they seem to agree with how things are done: by paying for their share of things for example they aren't putting themselves in a position of obligation. At the end of the night they don't owe him anything and have more control over how things will go. Seems fair but it's very different from what I'm used to. Money issues aside, it still bothers me that men here seem to treat girls as friends and then as their 'chicky' - there's no period of courting in between. There's no wooing, schmoozing or subtle play on words. I think the Dutch directness is to blame; they've be raised to be blunt, gruff and generally tell it like it is {Now where's the fun in that?}

2. It's hockey or nothing

Hockey boys are the cool kids on the block over here. This would be OK if that meant that they didn't eat, sleep and breathe hockey and all that came with it {Think cocky attitudes, groupies & bromance to the extreme} Probably doesn't help that I really know nothing about the sport so can hardly be impressed when a guy proudly announces that he plays for Heren 1, expecting me to swoon or something.

3. They spend more time on their hair than I do

I think this may be narrowed down to the type of guys I've been exposed to mainly; they're known as 'kakkers' {Preppy boys/toffs} and love their long locks, constantly tucking it behind their ears. It's usually thick, curly and completely smothered in hair gel {yes, hair gel} Their crunchy curls are stuck to their heads, safe from the wind when riding their bikes. The Urban Dictionary even defined this Dutch hairstyle as the “Dutch Prince": A haircut obtained when you have long hair over your ears, and you cut your bangs to above your eyebrows. Very popular among hockey players who want to have long hair, but do not want impaired vision.  Hockey boys, football players, 'kakkers' and 'yuppies' all seem to go for this look, maybe because they're too cheap for a good haircut. Which leads me to my next reason...

4. They're cheap

Cheapness is a personal thing, everyone handles money differently and this is of course, a massive generalisation: But Dutch men are 'cheapos'! They're constantly on the look out for a deal, openly ask about money {so NOT the British thing to do} and can be pretty awkward about things like paying for rounds of drinks or owing money. You'd think it was a student thing but young professionals and mature business people alike are pretty open about pinching those pennies. My issue with it is this: if you're going to be cheap then at least try to be subtle about it.

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. 

5. They pick their nose in public 

This seems to be a Dutch thing in general. Throughout my time as a nanny I've seen endless amounts of children picking their noses so hard you'd think they were trying to scratch their brains and yet their parents see nothing wrong with that. Because, low and behold, Daddy is doing the exact same thing right behind them. 

The Dutch paper 'gezondNU' conducted a study in the Netherlands and found that over 90% of the Dutch pick their noses. Moreover, half of the respondents do so more than once a day and nearly 50% of all Dutch people find nose-picking to be “disgusting” when they see it. The study goes on to say that over a third of Dutch men report that they like to “..draai er een balletje van en schiet dat weg” (roll it in a ball and flick it). Ewwwww. I've had 'baby daddys' (Parents of children who I babysit) pick their noses mid conversation and flick their find on the floor in front of me (to say it's an awkward moment is an understatement) This disgusting behaviour isn't limited to noses either; they'll happily put their hands down their pants and scratch an itch or lean back on a chair to expose their tummies (no lie, this happened to my housemate during a meeting!). 

Now don't get me wrong, I love my Dutch family and male friends and I'm sure many will disagree with me on these things but this is what I've experienced so far with the Dutch men/boys. Maybe I'm being too harsh or maybe I'm just going out and socialising in the wrong places...

Either way, I'm not done yet so stay tuned for more on Dutch Dating.


Book Review: The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

June 19, 2012

I have a love/hate relationship with books. I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book and get lost in its pages but at the same time I find myself cursing a good story when it's 3am and I need to get to sleep but I can't help but continue.

'The White Woman on the Green bicycle" was one of those books. It pulled me in with its complicated love story, brimming over with passion, politics, racism and all the socioeconomic complexities that existed {and still do} in the British West Indies.  

Perhaps it was the fact that it was set in Trinidad and I could picture myself in every scene, I could smell the humidity before the rain and taste the rum in their afternoon drinks on the verandah. I was hooked. Monique Roffey has a knack for dialect, sounding out the beautiful Trini sing song and adding 'steupse' at just the right times. I could hear old Granny cursing under her breath and feel the excitement as thousands heard Eric Williams speak in Woodford Square. 
The history of Trinidad is quite interesting and this book is full of beautiful descriptive passages. I found it in a small English bookstore here in Amsterdam and the owner was less than enthusiastic about it so perhaps you need to be a West Indian to fully appreciate it. I have a strange fascination with the history of the Caribbean, partially because I struggle to fully understand how people could have treated each other like they did not too long ago. The White Woman on the Green bicycle offers a small glimpse into the past, masterfully capturing the beauty of the Trinidadian language, the richness of their culture and the complexity and disappointment of their politics. 
I'd be curious to hear what my Trini bookworms' opinion on this is.
Now I can finally start "50 shades of Grey" and see what all the fuss is about.

Manic Monday: Intouchable

June 17, 2012
I laughed till my tummy hurt and cried tears with a smile - Intouchable is without a doubt one of the best films I've seen in a very long time. It's based on the true story of Philippe, a wealthy tetraplegic who hires young and mischievous Driss as his live in carer. His zest for life, cheeky sense of humour and laid back attitude is extremely charming and the two men quickly develop a very special bond. Omar Sy's brilliant smile coupled with a feel good soundtrack make this one of those films 'you just have to see'.

Header shout out

June 16, 2012

As you may have noticed, I recently update my blog header. I still wanted something simple and fun but more personalized than my previous skyline. I then stumbled across my friend Brigitte's Cover photo on Facebook of the Toronto skyline
Isn't it amazing? She's super talented and as soon as I saw it I thought "I want that!" Thankfully, she graciously offered to re draw my skyline in between her busy exam period :) :) 
Thank you so much Brigitte, it looks amazing and I love it!

Paddleboard {GIVEAWAY}!

June 15, 2012
I'm sure this isn't a giveaway you read about everyday; my friend Ryan just started a paddle board company in Barbados and he's giving away a {FREE} lesson to a local and a {FREE} lesson to any visitor to the island! That's technically TWO separate giveaways to the readers of Skip to Malou*! 

Stand Up Paddleboarding {SUP} is a low impact, full body workout that targets arms, abs, glutes and thighs all at once, improving balance and coordination. It's a great way to enjoy the ocean and these guys are giving away a FREE tryout!

Barbados has the perfect conditions for beginners to advanced paddlers. What makes SUP with What' SUP Barbados so great? You'll get a beautiful, even tan, a great workout, meet new people, have fun, and try a new experience! I've done this many times in Carlisle Bay and it's a lot of fun; you can hop on and off of the board quite easily, go for a swim or a snorkel and see turtles and fish swimming around your board. I'm the most unbalanced, uncoordinated person in the world so trust me; if I can do this, anyone can!

To win this giveaway my dear Bajans & internationals, all you have to do is:

* 'like' the What' SUP Barbados page on Facebook
* 'like' the new Skip to Malou* Facebook Page

* Make sure to comment on this post and let us know what you've done to enter this giveaway

Make sure to share the love and let everyone know about this great opportunity! In a couple of weeks, this could be you....

Note: this giveaway is now closed, thanks to all who participated!


Friday is Facebook day

After many debates and much deliberation I've taken the plunge and started a Skip to Malou* page on Facebook! WOOHOOOO!

 It's an easy peasy way for everyone to follow my posts {Though I'm certain that my mum and bezzies are the only one's who read my blog} so please LIKE, share and get everyone involved! :) 

Thanks to everyone who's helped spread the word already!
{When I launched yesterday I challenged myself to 100 likes in the first 24 hours and was completely blown away by everyone's lovely response. Really made this geek's day}

Happy Friday :)

Tip Top TED: Learning from a Barefoot movement

June 14, 2012
I'm pretty crazy about TED talks. They're changing the way I {we} as a generation are thinking by open our minds to new ideas presented by amazing people. 

"If you're looking for something that will expand your mind, open your heart and possibly rekindle your faith in humankind, a good place to start is listening to the fabulously inspiring presentations made by the best and brightest among us."
Those of us who watch TED talks surely have our individual favourites so I'd like to start a weekly post on what I consider to be some of the most interesting/invigorating/inspiring talks. Consider it a little end of week pick-me-up :)
This is a talk by Sajit 'Bunker' Roy who founded the Barefoot College which aims at making rural communities in India become self sufficient.  Women and men - many of them illiterate - are trained as solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages.  He describes it as the only college where the learner is the teacher and the teacher is the learner. These “barefoot solutions” can be broadly categorized into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. The Barefoot College education program, for instance, teaches literacy and also skills, encouraging learning-by-doing. (Literacy is only part of it.)  Bunker’s organization has also successfully trained grandmothers from Africa and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity to their remote villages.

If you have any recommendations, please let me know. There are over 1000 videos on the website and we may be missing out on a few gems.
 If you don't know what I'm talking about, get out from under your rock and find out more about TED Talks {here}.

10 reasons to check out World Press Photo

June 12, 2012
Over the weekend we checked out the World Press Photo exhibition at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. The aim of this foundation is to inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism. The exhibition highlights some of the best news and documentary photographs of 2011. World Press Photo is committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism and documentary photography worldwide and strive to generate wide public interest in and appreciation for the work of photographers and for the free exchange of information. I went for the first time last year and I'd definitely suggest you check out the 2012 exhibition tour. These are 10 of my favourite photographs - they evoked some serious questions (and tears), strengthening the age old belief that a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure to check out the World Press Photo website and have a paroozle.

Tsunami Aftermath, Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, Japan

On Revolution Road- Rebels battle for Ras Lanuf, an oil-refining town on the Libyan coast, on 11 March

A woman enters a trance state, in the waters of the Saut d’Eau falls. Every year from 14 to 16 July, pilgrims gather to beat drums, dance, invoke spirits, and wash themselves in the purifying waters of the Saut d’Eau sacred waterfall, in Mirebalais, Haiti.

World Press Photo of the Year 2012 - Fatima al-Qaws cradles her son Zayed (18), who is suffering from the effects of tear gas after participating in a street demonstration, in Sanaa, Yemen, on 15 October.

Saving the desperate bride - A young woman in a wedding gown is grabbed by a local community officer, as she tries to commit suicide in Changchun, Jilin province, China.

Competitors swim over a school of fish at the start of the mass swim, part of the Ironman World Championship, at Kailua Bay in Kona, Hawaii

Sister Melianise Gabreus presents her popular, daily life-advice program on Radio Men Kontre, in Haiti. More than 50 percent of Haitians are illiterate, and only 25 percent have regular access to electricity, which means that battery-operated radios, rather than newspapers, television, or the internet, are the country’s main medium.
Divers practice during the second day of the 14th FINA World Aquatics Championships, in Shanghai, China, in July.

Marcos and Monica were married for 65 years and, for much of that time, lived in the same apartment in Buenos Aires. In 2007, aged 84, Monica was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Marcos looked after her himself, coping with the emotional and physical stress of being a caregiver.

A young Wagenya girl catches fish using an age-old method, diving into rapids on the Congo River with a net, and holding her catch in her mouth, as that is most certain to prevent its escape. 

Sunday Snapshots

June 10, 2012

1. Orange is still everywhere for the football, despite our loss to Denmark yesterday | 2. Watching the best in Dutch beach volleyball play in a pop up game in the Dam Square - blazing sunshine and all! | 3. Kitty sitting in the window of a naughty shop | 4. Chilling on our rooftop in the sunshine | 5. Sushi Sunday dinner

Wednesday's Window to the World: New York, New York!

June 6, 2012
View from my Window in New York.
Matthew Tulip, 2011.

Manic Monday: Cuz Cutters

June 4, 2012

As the video suggests, Cuz is a bit of a legend on my island. This business was started by David's father 'Cuz' who made fresh buns daily and sold them from his wooden hut planted in a car park; years later, business is still booming. David and his sister now run Cuz, whipping up fish, egg and cheese 'cutters' {a Bajan word for buns with something inside}, preferably served with an ice cold Ju-C {a bright red soda}. There's almost always a queue outside; customers range from businessmen in suits to barefoot surfers, the reasonable price attracting everyone for a quick bite. David is also nicknamed 'Cuz' and he has a photo of my mum stuck on his wall inside the hut. Theirs is a mutual friendship/fanship which began when my mum started recommending him to the flight crews she works with. The crew love him, his food and his chatty nature; he's befriended so many people and goes to visit them about twice a year all over the world. I've spent many summers herding about 30 children from my sailing camps over to Cuz for a yummy lunch; nothing like a cutter, an ice cold drink and good tunes from his radio to keep the kids happy.

Pizza Pilgrims | London

June 2, 2012
After a heavy night blurred by copious amounts of rumpunch the last thing I wanted to do was trek out to Soho to get some food. But Luke guaranteed the best pizza of my life made by one of his best friends - those of you who know me well know that pizza is one of my all time favourite foods so the pressure was on. 

The adorable dark-green Piaggio Ape parked in one of the stallholders' spots in Soho's Berwick Street market is pretty unique. It has a custom-built pizza oven in the back in which the boys cook the best pizzas in Soho. Before it became a portable pizza oven, the Ape was used by the James and his brother to drive around Italy for six weeks learning how to make the perfect Neapolitan pizza and which ingredients make a pizza authentic. The knowledge they built up from visits to restaurants, such as the renowned Pizzeria Da Michele, in Naples, has subsequently been brought back to the UK and used for the launch of the brothers' first food venture, Pizza Pilgrims. James and Louis are the heart, soul and smiley faces of the Pizza Pilgrims brand and keep the crowds coming with their friendly service and delicious smelling pizza.

The boys left their office jobs and managed to set off across Italy to sample the creme de la creme of pizza ingredients with some of the top chefs in the restaurant industry. This was backed by the prospect of a documentary and a book on their unique journey - perfect for convincing top chefs to let these English boys have a peek into their worlds.

They brought the idea of simple Neopolitan pizza back with them and added in some subtle ingredients of their own - like the amazing barbecue sauce we sampled. The first, and most important, ingredient is the flour. They use Caputo 00 "pizzeria" flour, which is milled in Italy, but uses grains from around the world. The high gluten content adds the stretchy property that allows the bases to be pulled into shape by hand. The cheese is fior de latte – cow's milk mozzarella from Latteria Sorrentina – and the sauce is from San Marzano plum tomatoes from Campania. 

Let me tell ya, this pizza was a.m.a.z.i.n.g! It tasted honest and simple, you could make out each ingredient and the crust was just perfect with the right amount of crunch.
Make sure to stop by Berwick Street next time you're in the area around lunch time {And if you're not in London, check out their Facebook Page to read more  about them} They sold 125 pizzas within 2 hours today! With pizza this yummy and a TV documentary on its way, who knows how long it'll be before the Pizza Pilgrims become the next big thing to hit London.