Cologne at Christmas Time

  
Being able to go to Cologne for the night is quite the novelty I never thought I’d have. George and I went to +6 Christmas markets, drank lots of mulled wine, ate lots of food and took part in that well known Christmas tradition of 3D mini golf…

Ok so maybe not quite a traditional activity, but it took us 1.5hours to get to The Glowing Rooms (because we are really good at getting lost) and I was not disappointed. The whole room glowed in the dark and we were given an iPod to keep score and 3D glasses that made the floor come to life. Definitely worth a visit!

For dinner we went to Paffgen – it was like a really informal wagamamas style seating arrangement and they sold the standard German restaurant dishes. George had a pork knuckle and I had some sort of beef dish with potato dumplings. The only thing that disappointed us was the baby beers…steins don’t seem to be a thing in Cologne but it was good beer nonetheless.

After the whistle stop tour we went back to Haarlem and spent the rest of our time chilling. On Monday Niels and Maarten came round for a Christmas dinner, kudos to chef Ellie for doing most of the work…

Having just arrived back in England I’m now looking forward to spending some time with the fam over the holiday period and heading up to Barnsley for New Years!

Merry Christmas everyone ūüėä

xo

Maastricht

Gradblog_MaastrichtLast weekend a couple of our fellow BGL graduates, Meg and Helen, came to visit for a trip away to Maastricht with some of our Dutch colleagues (the South of Holland). The whole of Holland just seems to be particularly beautiful and Maastricht was not an exception.

On Friday we arrived after a long train ride down and visited the¬†Christmas market, drank gluhwein (mulled wine) and checked in to our hotel. It cost 50 Euros for the train ticket, hotel and breakfast which I thought was a great bargain! In the eve we went to a Tapas Restaurant ‘Los Amigos’. After ordering the sharing selection for 8 people I got to try almost everything on the menu and it was the best tapas I’ve ever eaten; the dates wrapped in bacon were a particular favourite.

Then on Saturday we woke up early(ish) and took a bus to Valkenburg with the intention of visiting the underground Christmas markets in the caves. Unfortunately the queues looked close to an hour long and we didn’t think anything in the cave would be worth the wait. So we stuck to the outdoor stalls instead, drank more gluhwein and then headed back to Haarlem for dinner time.

Back in Haarlem we had been holding out for Meg’s visit to¬†finally visit the famous Thai restaurant Erawan that she had been recommending since we moved to Holland. The selection of restaurants in Haarlem is just amazing and the food did not disappoint so I will definitely visit again if I get the chance.

Sunday was all about relaxing, drinking luxury hot chocolate from The Chocolate Company and introducing the girls to The Secret Life of 4,5 and 6 year olds. It’s a documentary series on All4 where they have recorded and analysed a ‘day in the life of’ a few groups of children and it’s fascinating and hilarious to see how they interact with each other at the different life stages. I’m not going to go into detail but if you get a chance at least watch an episode of the 4 year olds and you will not be disappointed.

After Meg and Helen had left Ellie and I went out to wander the shops and found that Haarlem actually had a pretty awesome Christmas market on for the weekend that we missed. The stalls stretched across most of the centre ring of canals and there were hundreds of people getting into the festive spirit! This was too many people for our liking so we stuck to the side streets, did a bit of shopping and then went home to watch¬†Love Actually. It’s almost Christmas!!

xo

Advice, reviews and tours of Dam

Graduate_Blog_December2016Work has been a bit of a whirlwind this week and I’ve been focusing on additional learning. For those of you that are interested in Marketing there are some great online courses on Udemy, Future Learn and Google (Analytics & Adwords) to help improve your knowledge and to add to your CV. For those of you that aren’t interested in Marketing, Future Learn still has some great stuff if you filter by category¬†for every topic you can think of, and I’ve even branched out to look at some coding on w3school and code.org. Why am I telling you this? It’s interesting! I’ve completed an SEO for beginner’s course and the Google Analytics Academy Ecommerce Analytics course in 2 days. I know how difficult it is to get a graduate job, and if you are still struggling, being able to reference this information in your CV, a cover letter or an interview might help you get hired – so I thought I’d share.

As well as geeking out online, I had Becky over to visit this weekend just gone! We started our activities with dinner at the Jopenkerk in Haarlem (which loosely translates to the Booby-church). The Jopenkerk has an amazing interior as they brew the Jopen beer in-house at the former church and I was very surprised at how good the food was! Highly recommend it to anyone that does visit Haarlem.

Then on Saturday we woke up early, and after telling Becky not to drink too much Friday eve, I was the one with a hangover…feeling a little bit worse for wear I manned up and we headed into Amsterdam to visit Anne Frank’s house though as Becky had requested it on the agenda! That was my third and¬†final visit as after an hour long queue in the cold I can safely say I think I have covered every aspect of the museum.

Our next stop was The Pancake Bakery (Pannenkoekenhuis) and I had a child’s portion Nutella and Banana pancake for breakfast/lunch. There was nothing child sized about this portion though and after 3/4 I was well and truly stuffed!

After food we went straight to the Centraal Station¬†to hop on a Canal Tour. For 9 euros they took us around the city for an hour and we spied all of the Amsterdam Light Festival features we wanted to revisit once it was dark. It was a cheaper tour so not the most amazing route but it did what it said on the tin/board and I felt¬†I got my money’s worth.

The Light Festival itself was less a festival, and more a display of LED art sculptures in the canals. It was interesting and colourful to walk around but I think I could’ve done with an official tour to fully appreciate the pieces to their full extent.

That was Saturday¬†and¬†on Sunday we went back to Dam having decided we wanted to do the Heineken Experience! I took Becky for a whistle-stop tour beforehand, mimicking the route I have taken on walking tours to show her the Weigh House, The Old Church, Dam Square and we even popped into the Erotic Museum (because Dam). It was an overpriced version of The Sex Museum and a little crappier/tackier so I probably wouldn’t recommend but these things are always good for a giggle if you’re playing tourist.

Then we went on to the Heineken Brewery and for 16 euros the¬†tour included 2.5 drinks, a canal taxi back to the edge of the centre and a free Heineken glass (which will be wrapped up and given to someone for Christmas)! We were taught about the history, the ingredients, how the beer is made, bottled and even went on a mini-ride as ‘a day in the life of a Heineken beer’. As a Marketer I really appreciate a good brand and as a tourist I really enjoyed the beer and the fact that there is a PS4, Fifa, a Rugby simulator and other games for guests to experience. Basically it was awesome, so go.

xo

Cold Arms, CIM and a fabulous cookie pizza

Last weekend I had Friday and Monday off to revise and treated myself to Mumford and Sons in between. They played Cold Arms so my relationship with Mumf is complete and then spent the rest of my time chilling with George in Barnsley/preparing for the big CIM exam! We went to our beloved spoons and played top trumps which I really enjoyed because we rarely do normal couple stuff (that’s our normal). Plus spoons is ridiculously cheap compared to Haarlem so we splashed out on dinner and George lost his Five Guys virginity. It was magical.

Tuesday morning I felt prepared and ready, but come 5pm post the three hour exam, my CIM fate is no more clear ha. Ethical Marketing is officially my new arch nemesis and I never want to see a framework ever again. I’m going to try and forget about it until March when the results come out as there’s not a lot I can do now…I can cross that bridge when it comes to it.Back in Peterborough I met with Ellie and Alex (who I used to live with) for dinner at Wildwood after the exam. It was really nice to catch up but I wasn’t amazed by the food. As a result we had to travel across town to get a cookie pizza and this soon made me completely forget about Ethical Marketing and remember to instead focus on how amazing desserts are.

Also it’s December now so I got a Marvel advent calendar and can have chocolate for breakfast EVERYDAY ūüí™ūüŹľ¬†

xo