Everyday purchases

Delft blauw in The Hague (Or: Mini statues)

The Delft blauw craze will never quite go away. Recently I was visiting Frederik Hendriklaan or the Fred, as the locals call it. I stepped inside Kaatje aan de Rein (Facebook page), a gift shop.

I had to think of my mother-in-law when I spotted these tiny creatures, made in the style of Delft blauw:

They are similar to the two playing cats she purchased at the Gemeentemuseum, a local museum here in The Hague. You can see a picture of the two cats here.

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Categories: Everyday purchases, Shopping | Tags: | 2 Comments

Pizza dough (Or: Is it really pancakes…?)

Here’s an example of things that can be very confusing for non-native speakers:

So the top blue arrow points to the description Mix voor Pizzabodem or Mix for pizza dough in English. So we’re making pizza…

…but the second blue arrow says that the prepared product will make about 20 pancakes. What? It’s just logical enough that it could work – here’s a Dutch recipe for pizzas made with pancake batter. But still, it doesn’t seem right…

I’ve asked a few Dutchies and they all think it is a typo. What do you think?

Categories: Everyday purchases, Food, Reading | 3 Comments

Improvements by Albert Heijn (Or: Shorter receipts)

One of the better improvements for Albert Heijn, a local grocery store, is the option for self-scan. And not the version I’ve seen in the United States where you need to weigh each item as you scan it to make sure there’s no thievery going on. Here it is simply scan each item and then pay at the end. Though I do understand the need for the US system.

Self-scan at Albert Heijn is wonderful. It’s no longer horrible to go right after work, when its crowded and the lines are 5 to 7 customers long. Seriously – before self-scan I would always swear a bit if Marco asked me to pick up something after work, it was that bad. Those days are long gone, as I can count on one hand the times I’ve had to wait for an available self-scan register, and even that was never longer than 30 seconds.

The only problem with self-scan: You are required to print out a receipt, since you need to scan the receipt to allow the exit gates to open. I almost always said no to a receipt previously, when going through a “manned” line with a checkout worker. Why waste paper?

That is also now a thing of the past!

Longer, full receipt (for ONE item!) on the left, versus the short receipt on the right.

This week after paying I was greeted with the question “Would you like a full receipt, or only a short receipt to open the gates?” Very nice. You can see the difference above, with the bar code removed. A great improvement, Albert Heijn!

Oh, and for the people who read small font really well, yes, the receipt says “1 insecten”. I did not win or buy an insect, rather, Albert Heijn has a promotion where you can receive insect stickers and fake insect tattoos for every 10 euros spent. The receipt lets the worker know that I can receive 1 set because I’ve spent more than 10 euros.

Categories: Daily Dutch living, Everyday purchases | Tags: | 2 Comments

Amsterdam, where Prinsenhof and Brouwersgracht meet (Or: Puzzle time)

I recently finished a 1000-piece puzzle of Amsterdam — a present last year from Roger. And indeed, the puzzle sat in the ‘puzzle holder‘ for a good 5 months before I was able to finish it. The puzzle itself shows the corner of Amsterdam’s Prinsenhof where it meets Brouwersgracht, on King’s Day – hence all of the orange-clad characters.

Here is a close up look of the detail:

In the meantime, I’ve already started the next one. That would be a puzzle of The Hague’s Hofvijver which Marco bought for me as a Christmas present.

Categories: Everyday purchases, Friends&Family | Tags: | 2 Comments

New York City – Dutchified (Or: Ravensburger puzzle, 1000 pieces)

For Christmas I was gifted a Ravensburger puzzle from Roger. It was made from a good quality – even using “soft lock technology” apparently. I found it interesting that the puzzle used a dark blue backing instead of the light gray backing that most puzzles use.

Ravensburger puzzle - New York Cities of the World 1000 piecesThere were two minor weird things with this puzzle:

  1. There is a part of the actual puzzle that doesn’t match the box it came in. Look in the lower left with the lady in green – in the actual puzzle she leans over to the right, worried because the man behind her is choking on a herring. On the box, she panics a bit and falls backward because the seller is shoving a herring in her face.
  2. There was an extra puzzle piece that did not fit anywhere. The puzzle itself is done, and has no gaps. You can see it in the photo below, to the left of the actual puzzle.

Ravensburger Cities of the World New York close up

If you’re looking closely, you’ll notice that the puzzle itself is within a flat case. The exact model I have is Jumbo luxe puzzelkoffer – 1000 stukjes. It makes for really easy storage. There are two additional panels which are shown in the link which you can also use to store pieces on top of. When you are ready to store everything, you put the panels on top of the puzzle to create a tight fit so that none of the pieces move. You could even store the work-in-progress horizontally. I have successfully tested this but normally store it vertically.

I am of course already working on my next puzzle

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Halloween gets more popular (Or: SoLow in The Hague)

Marco and I visited SoLow a few times this month to look for Halloween supplies. The name of the store refers to their prices: they are, well, “so low”. But the best time to visit is in late September and in October, as they always have a good selection for Halloween costumes and decorations.

Clown Halloween decoration at SoLow, The Hague

This evil clown definitely looks like he jumped right out of the set of Stephen King’s It…

Dog halloween decoration at SoLow, The Hague

Or the undead dog. Oddly enough, this was the only thing a little kid wanted to go near. She was deathly afraid of the other decorations that made noise and moved around, but nope. This one she just HAD to pet. Briefly…

Halloween masks at SoLow, The Hague

Masks for every occasion. 

Skeleton Halloween decoration at SoLow, The Hague

Or a happy go lucky skeleton, if that is what you are looking for.

I’ve been pleased with how Halloween has grown as a holiday over here. It is still not nearly as popular as in the States, but there are more parties and opportunities for kids to get candy if they know where to go.

I think this year I might resurrect the blue fairy costume again. With a few pieces I bought this year from SoLow, of course!

Categories: Everyday purchases, Holidays | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Smoked meats (Or: At the local grocery store)

A few random photos from an Albert Heijn in The Hague:

smoked-meats-at-albert-heijn

It is smoked meats (meat covered in spices like paprika, black pepper, and similar).

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Just a random thing that caught my eye – “Hmm, this would make a good photo for the blog.” 🙂

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Pans by Vivo (Or: Albert Heijn promotion)

Albert Heijn’s latest promotion is saving up for pans designed by Vivo. The last promotion Vivo did for Albert Heijn was kitchen knives. That promotion was kind of funny because people ended up complaining that the knives were too sharp. (Seriously? What did you expect?)

But this time we have luxury pans. Cool.

albert-heijn-promotion-pans-by-vivo

Actually, Marco and I don’t really need anything, so we’ve been saving up for Roger to use them if he wants.

albert-heijn-promotion-stamp-card-pans-by-vivo

Since this photo was taken we’ve collected more stamps – at this point we have exactly enough.

Definitely “luxury” pans – one pan requires 60 stamps. In theory you receive one stamp for every 10 euros you spend, though there are ways to get additional stamps if you buy certain items and sometimes you get more stamps than you should.

We’ll probably keep collecting stamps on the off chance someone else needs them, but I don’t think we’ll attempt to fill another card. However, we have until mid-February so you never know.

Categories: Everyday purchases | Tags: | 3 Comments

Remnants of theater (Or: Dr. Anton Philipszaal)

Back in December I showed a picture of the tearing down of the Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague. Remarkably, there’s still a small piece of the building left:

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Marco and I were on the way to Lebkov by Centraal Station for some coffee. We ended up with iced cappuccinos – yum! Since it’s a nice summer day (but not THAT nice of a summer, the Dutch meteologists say…)

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And a look at their logo:

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Oh, and one final fun fact – as usual, Sinterklaas candy is already popping up in stores. It’s only August people! 🙂

Categories: Everyday purchases, The Hague | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Frozen deliciousness (Or: A new addition at Pathé Spui)

A few weeks back Marco, Roger and I went to Pathé Spuimarkt (the local movie theater) to see X-Men: Apocalypse. Marco was pleasantly surprised to see a newly installed frozen Fanta machine.

Fanta machine at Pathe Spui The Hague

One of his favorite treats when visiting America is ICEEs (a type of frozen slushie). Of course ICEEs are even better than Fanta’s frozen drinks, but when you’re not in America you take what you can get!

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