Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Fifty Shades Darker

Fifty Shades Darker
By: E. L. James

Outer back cover: Daunted by the dark secrets of the tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Ana Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a US publishing house.
But desire for Grey still dominated her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, she cannot resist. Soon she is learning more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shade than she ever thought possible.
But while Grey wrestles with his inner demons, Ana must make the most important decision of her life.
A decision she can only make on her own...

I really liked this book, it was nice to learn more about Christian's background and why he is the way he is. I actually like Christian and Ana much more as a couple after this book. I think I might like this book better than the first one.

It was also exciting as there was some extra drama: One of Christian's "Exes" turned a bit psycho....
Like the first one, this is still erotica, but there's a nice balance between the detailed sex scenes and the ones that are just kind of insinuated.

Judging by this books ending, the last book in the trilogy is going to be really exciting, I'm looking forward to starting it!

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Blue Light

A few weeks ago I bought a TV for my bedroom (Grundig 32" LCD for those that care). I paid for it with the money I was going to give my Dad for rent, that way he can keep the TV when I leave, it just seemed a bit silly to buy a TV when I'm hopefully moving abroad in a year's time. It's nice to be able to watch TV in my room, to have a screen larger then my laptop to watch movies on, and that my room is now a bit more of a refuge.

Downside: the dust... The TV is all black and shiny so the dust shows really easy! And of course, it being a bedroom doesn't really make it any better!

Another downside, one that is much worse (in my eyes anyway), I can't turn it properly off! It only has a stand-by mode! It's terrible! What kind of modern (which usually means environmentally friendly) bullshit is this?! Surely if it's always on stand-by it must be guzzling up electricity? And I don't feel good about unplugging it all the time either, I feel like that can't be very good for the TV, but I just have to sometimes at night, there is an annoying blue light that is just far to bright sometimes when I try to sleep.
The light is just there... Staring at me... Keeping me awake...
It does say in the manual that it uses very little electricity in stand-by mode, but it's still using some! ...Couldn't the light at least be smaller if not non-existent? Like the tiny one next to the line!

Oh well, you learn something new every day, at least now I know to check for that the next time I buy a TV. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey
By: E. L. James

Outer back cover: When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind - until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out.
Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more.
But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view...

A friend wrote about reading this book and enjoying it so I decided I wanted to read it as well to see if I felt the same way...

I didn't like Ana at all in the first few chapters, she was just a bit over-the-top, but after a few chapters I got into the story and her, she became a character I could imagine being for most of the time, which is what I think anybody that's reading a book needs to be able to do to properly enjoy a book.

The book is REALLY detailed in the sex bits, I had heard about it being very detailed, but I didn't really think there would be SO MUCH of it!! I've heard Hollywood is currently making a film of the book, I think it's just Hollywood's excuse to make a storyline porn movie!

I still liked the book though, it was really interesting to see Ana kind of explore her limits and to think about whether or not I would be willing to stretch them as far as she did as well, I like getting "moral dilemmas" and something to think about when reading a book, even if it's just fiction.

I liked the end of the book, it's really making me curious about how the next book in the trilogy is going to start!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday Meme

Another meme from Sunday Stealing.
1. You have been awarded the time off from work and an all-expense paid week anywhere in the United States. The catch is that it must be somewhere you have not been before. Where do you choose to visit? Since I've not been anywhere in the States yet it's kind of hard to choose, but since I'm doing the East Coast next year and I would love to see California as well, I guess I would go to California, and go to one of Ellen's shows while I was there.
2. What do you value most in other people? Honesty, manners and hard work (when they're co-workers)
3. Be honest. Do you sneak some raw cookie dough when you're baking cookies? Who doesn't?
4. What is the most beautiful place you've ever visited? Possibly Uluru, it was by far the most beautiful sunrise I've seen. I think it might be a shared first place between Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.
5. Are you more of a thinker or a feeler? A thinker
6. Have you ever participated in a three-legged race? Yes, at school
7. When you are at an event playing the National Anthem, do you place your hand over your heart? Other than the National Day they don't really play the National Anthem very often in Norway, but I don't normally put my hand on my heart unless everybody around me is.
8. What kind of work do you do? I work in a store putting out merchandise in the mornings before opening, and back in the storage tidying, handling deliveries etc.
9. During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favourite or most fulfilling? I am quite enjoying my current job, especially the office part of it.
10. Do you think it's necessary in your life to have a day-to-day "career" that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in "just a job" with a steady paycheck? I don't necessarily want something service-oriented, but I think it would be fun to have a proper "career", but at the same time it would be easier in a way to have "just a job", that way I don't have to think too much about the future etc.
11. Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, eve if it meant less money in the household? I don't have any kids, but I think that if I chose to have any in the future, then I would like to stay at home with them at least until they start school.
12. Have you ever been the boss? Not really, but I've had managerial shifts in jobs, part of me likes it, but at the same time I'm worried about being too "bossy", although I do try to just act the same no matter what position I've got in a job.
13. What is your dream occupation? I'm not entirely sure, but maybe something office-based since I'm enjoying that in my current job.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A stressful few days

So far this week I've been on my own in the "office part" of the warehouse. The three other guys were sick, on holiday and at a course.

It's been a little bit scary, I feel there is still quite a bit I don't know, but at the same time I learn quicker when I'm just thrown into things. In a way it's been super stressful, everything has happened at once and it feels like every time I feel like I've managed to start clearing out the delivery reception area, twice as much has come and there is no room for it!

Despite the stress and nervousness I've really enjoyed it! I do like filling in merchandise as well, but I like the "office" work even more, at least then I get to use a bit more of my brain as well as getting some exercise. I think it's also because I don't like to not have anything to do when I'm at work so it's better to have 50 things to do at once than having to try and find something that needs doing.

I also feel like I've been well looked after while I've been on my own! The guys have all been calling me to ask how I'm getting on and telling me to just call them if I need help of anything, which is really nice. I'll be happy tomorrow when the manager is back from his holiday though, I hope he won't think I've done a rubbish job.

I can't have done too bad a job though, everybody has been bragging about me and to me the last week, I have to say it feels nice to know that someone actually notices that I try to work hard. I hate people that doesn't do anything when they're at work, especially when there are things that needs to be done, work is for working, you can relax and do nothing when you're at home.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Paris - Day 4. The Statue of Liberty

On Sunday I had an afternoon flight back home and I didn't need to check out of the hostel before noon. J had caught an early train to Switzerland. To kill some time I went for a little walk around Paris. I also wanted to check if they had stocked up the stamp machine at the Eiffel tower so that I could send some postcards, but no such luck.
I would love to come back to Paris. It's such a beautiful city and there is so much left to see and do. Like Rome it has loads of old buildings, but unlike Rome the streets are really wide and open. Except for Montmartre and at the big tourist attractions I didn't feel like the streets were crowded with tourists at all. Paris is a great city to walk everywhere in, there is so much to look at, but the public transpot system is great as well. Even when one line of the metro was closed I could always get where I wanted just by hopping on another one.
When I was on the Metro to get back to the hostel to get my luggage and check out, I saw the Statue of Liberty while the Metro was on a bridge over the Seine!! I had totally forgot that France of course had it's own statue of Liberty. It's much much smaller than the one in New York, but it's the first one I've seen with my own eyes. I just had to get off the Metro and see it up close.

The statue is on a cute narrow man-made pedestrian island in the middle of the Seine, Île aux Cygnes. Unfortunately I had to rush to the other end of it to see the statue, but I wish I had had some time to just leisurely stroll down it, it was lovely and there was hardly any people there. I think the few people that were walking were locals, nobody looked like a typical tourist anyway.
The very end where the statue was standing was closed off, it looked like there was some work going on there, so it will probably be possible to walk there in the future, but I still managed to get quite close to it. It was really cool to see it up close, it was almost more special because it's not the one everybody talks about, but it's also not the original one that apparently stands in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The one I saw is from 1889, and it's been used in the movie National treasure; Book of Secrets (isn't Google great?! Apparently there is heaps of Replicas of the Statue all over the world).
I am really looking forward to seeing the big one in New York next year though!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Potato Leek Soup

I decided to try something new for dinner today. I found a recipe for potato leek soup on Peta.org, I've not found many soups that has been blended that I like, I normally like to have something to chew even in soups, but this one was actually really nice. I did cut down on the ingredients since I was making it only for myself, I ended up getting two big bowls of soup, since it has potatoes in it it was really filling, one bowl would have been enough, but it was really tasty so it didn't really matter.

Click here for the original recipe. Below is the amounts I used.

1 big leek, white part only, sliced (I chopped some of the green part as well since the white part was so short)
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 vegetable stock cube
Salt and pepper to taste

- Place the leeks and potatoes in a pot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Add the stock cube and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until thick and smooth.
- Put in bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Paris - Day 3. Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Notre Dame

J and I went to the Eiffel tower Saturday. We got there about 10 minutes after it opened and the line was crazy long! There was one really long line and one short line, but we thought the short line was for people that had pre booked their tickets or something, although thinking about it afterwards I think it might just have been for the people that took the stairs up to the second floor. We did take the stairs down from the second floor though, and I have to say I'm glad I didn't take them up! I would have needed at least one bottle of water for the walk!

We went all the way up to the third floor. The view was great, from all three floors. Although, of course you see more the higher up you get.

After the Eiffel tower we headed to Montmartre. D had told us yesterday that there was a walking tour at 2pm, starting near Moulin Rouge and ending at the Cafe from the movie Amelie. The people leading the tour was supposed to be wearing red shirt and "we couldn't miss them". Well.... You know how when you're looking for someone is wearing red, EVERYBODY is wearing red?! Well that was the case with J and I while we were waiting outside the Moulin Rouge. We waited outside the Moulin Rouge for a while without seeing anyone looking like they were doing a tour, so in the end we got a map from the mini-train-tour and we did our own walking tour of Montmartre.
The cafe from Amelie, Cafe des 2 Moulins, turned out to be right around the corner from the Moulin Rouge. I couldn't remember the name of the cafe from the movie, we just headed inside to see what they had to eat and I recognised it immediately. We didn't eat there though, J and I are both vegetarian and they didn't have any options for us.
I loved the feel of Montmartre, it's really chilled and Bohemian even though it's really busy and touristy at the same time. There were loads of people doing caricatures, and loads of cosy little shops and patisseries.
We also went to Sacre Cœur, it was amazing to see from the outside, we were going to go inside but we weren't really dressed appropriately and, although we did see other people in short shorts going in and out, we didn't want to be disrespectful.
While J was having a rest after out busy day I headed to Notre Dame. It's one of those things I just HAD TO see in Paris. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined from the outside. There was a park outside it which was beautiful and just perfect for hanging out in, and there was a playground for the kids, there was even free WiFi there! 

The line to get in was long, but it moved quickly and since the Cathedral is so big it didn't see crowded once I got inside. It was free to get into the Cathedral, You only have to pay to go upstairs, which is a different entrance, which I didn't do as it was closing in a short time.

Notre Dame was beautiful inside as well, and so BIG! There was a mass or something going on inside, it was pretty amazing to walk around this really old Cathedral and actually listening to something going on even though I couldn't understand it.
When I got back from the Notre Dame we decided to head out for dinner and to maybe sit down by the Eiffel Tower again with some wine. We decided to start out with taking a few pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower again. We saw a bunny sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower, I don't know who it belonged to, didn't look like many people except tourists were keeping an eye on it. Maybe it was on holiday.
There was a guy performing as Michael Jackson in front of the Tower as well. He was actually really good.
It was a good idea we wet to take some pictures before food as it started raining while we were there so that ended our plan of sitting there with some wine. It was kind of funny seeing the very full lawn suddenly empty in 10 seconds as soon as the rain started.
\We found a restaurant close to the Eiffel Tower for dinner, I had some extra money left and decided I wanted to treat myself, but as it turned out the prices wasn't actually that bad! 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Paris - Day 2. Versailles!!

Friday J and I got up early and met up with a guy, D, staying at the hostel that J had met a few days ago and we all went to Versailles for the day!
View from the hostel room in the morning.
First look at Versailles
Since it's in the middle of the busiest tourist season Versailles was crazy busy, we got there when it opened so the line wasn't too long when we got there, but after a little while inside the Château it just got busier and busier until we were basically just herded along like sheep. So just like the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel I kind of felt like I didn't get to see and appreciate everything. J's guide book had said that Friday was one of the best days to come since it wouldn't be as busy then, just so that all of you know if you're planning to go there, but outside the main tourist season would probably be best. I would love to go back when it's quieter.

Even though it was busy, the Château was absolutely beautiful. There was some strange modern art things in there, but I loved seeing all the old rooms, pictures and furniture.

The hall of mirrors was beautiful, although it would have been more amazing if there were less people there. I can imagine it would look magical in there at night, and I would like to learn some more ballroom dancing so that maybe I can go to a ball there one time, not very likely but a girl has to dream. I don't even know if they do balls there, but it would be truly incredible if they do!
After being a sheep in the Château it was nice to get out into the gardens. The gardens is REALLY beautiful, and incredibly big, we probably only saw about half of it, but we saw the parts that we mostly wanted to see.

We hired a boat and went on the "lake" for half an hour as well. D started with the rowing, but I just couldn't deal with how rubbish he was so I took over after a few minutes, I used to row a lot on the fjords at home when I was younger.

We also went into Marie Antoinette's little house. It was really cute. In a way I think I liked that more than the Château. But that might be because it wasn't as busy. But I did like that it was just the size of a normal house and not as lavishly decorated, it was fairly "normal" (royalty normal).
If you ever visit France you should definitely pay Versailles a visit, there is so much to see, and just a perfect day out if the weather is nice. I even got a little sunburnt!

I have noticed that tourist attractions in Paris (maybe all of France) isn't too badly priced. In many countries you have to pay out of your ears and nose to get into attractions, but it was only 18 for the passport to Versailles, which pretty much included everything there, and if you're an EU citizen under the age of 26 you get in for free (Curse Norway and the EEA!). It's nice to finally be in a place where it's actually affordable to go to the tourist attractions even for people with little money.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Paris - Day 1

I took my first Ryanair flight on Thursday. It was fine, it was kind of nice to be able to sit wherever I wanted, so that as long as I managed to get in line fairly early I am pretty much guaranteed a window-seat. The flight I got had about 20 or 30 teenage girls on it that was heading to Disneyland that were all really noisy... Which is annoying it itself, but at 6am it's REALLY annoying! They did get told off by the flight attendants a few times though, which I though was good, especially when they were too noisy during the safety procedures and stood up in their seat while the plane was taxiing during landing.

When I got to Paris I landed at Beauvais, I got in line to get the bus ticket to the city when I realized I didn't have any Euros yet and I had to change terminals to get some (I had emptied my card so there was no point in bringing it with me anyway), luckily the terminals are really small and close together so it was okay.

My friend J met me by the metro stop close to the hostel we were staying at, Mije. It was really nice to see her again, we met on our first day in Sydney, we were staying in the same hostel dorm. Since I got there so early we couldn't check in yet, but we could store our luggage there for free, so we did that and headed out. J had already been in Paris for a few days so she was nice to have to avoid getting lost.
First we headed to the Louvre as I wanted to see the glass pyramids. I would like to go inside one day as well and see the Mona Lisa and all the other beautiful paintings, but I prefer to go to museums and art galleries on my own as I always get a bit stressed when walking with someone because I get worried that they're bored.
We then walked to Galeries Lafayette, which is a famous department store in Paris. We wandered around and then went up to the roof terrace and got a nice view of Paris.
After Galeries Lafayette we walked back to the St. Paul metro stop and met up with a couple of people that's starting Harvard with J in a few weeks. we all had some lunch together.

A few hours later J, one of the Harvard people and I bought a bottle of wine, some bread and cheese and walked to the Eiffel tower. We sat down amongst all the other people that had the same idea as us and watched the Eiffel tower lights being turned on. I thought the twinkles was nice as well, but I'm glad they were only on for a few minutes as I think it could be "tacky" if they're on too long.

J and I decided to walk back to the hostel, Paris by night was really lovely, it's nice to see people out drinking in parks and not getting rowdy and destructive. We stopped by the glass pyramids again so that I could see them lit up as well.

It was nice to finally get to check in at the hostel when we got back and be able to go right to bed, since we got a room for two it was also nice not having to be quiet and do unpack and find everything with the lights off.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Paris here I come!

I'm heading to Paris in the morning!!

I booked the ticket right after my friend's wedding in London. A friend, J, from Canada, that I met on my first day in Australia, is in Paris so we decided to meet up. I'm really looking forward to seeing her again, it's been over a year since last time I saw her, and who knows when we'll see each other next?

I'm really looking forward to seeing Paris as well of course. I have been there once before, over 10 years ago and I can't really remember much. I'm only going for a long weekend, and the plan is to go up the Eiffel tower and go to Versailles. I also just looked at the map to see where we are staying and we are really close to the Notre Dame! I have wanted to see the Notre Dame since I first saw the Hunchback of Notre Dame!

There are some downsides of going. One is that I'm not getting paid until Tuesday, so I'm getting short on money, but I've done some calculations and I should be all right, I usually always need less than I think anyway (touch wood). Another downside is that I have to get up at 02.45 tomorrow morning! That's too early! Even for me! I also booked the ticket with Ryanair and from an airport that's not the easiest to get to in the middle of the night, just because it was cheaper than getting it from Gardermoen. But after all of Ryanair's fees, the taxi to get the airport shuttle etc, it would just have been cheaper and heaps easier to just leave from Gardermoen. Oh well. You live and learn, at least now I know for next time. It will also be interesting to fly with Ryanair for the first time! I've not heard a single good thing about them!

But it's my friend J and PARIS!!! I don't care what I have to go through to get there, I'm going!! 


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