A photo an hour: 17 June 2017

I know what you’re thinking… wasn’t it only just photo an hour day? (That’s what I was thinking when I saw Jane’s reminder anyway). Actually, it’s been almost a month since the last photo an hour link up! To be precise, May’s photo an hour was precisely a month ago tomorrow. 2017 is definitely going too fast!

Anyway, for those of you who didn’t follow along on Twitter, here’s what I got up to on Saturday.

10 a.m. Obviously I started my day with a cuppa. I could just reuse the photos from previous months for this! (But I didn’t. Last month’s was different – see.)

11 a.m. Time for a shower. In an effort to make things different, I took a photo of the shower curtain this time.

12 noon. Off to the post box with this pile of happy mail.

1 p.m. Finishing off a birthday card to be sent to a Post Pals sibling.

2 p.m. Finally quiet time is over and I’m allowed to take away the recycling! (I feel like I should point out that this wasn’t all drunk at once!)

3 p.m. Back from recycling and the supermarket. Time for a tea on the balcony.

4 p.m. Housework – boring but necessary. Emptying the dishwasher.

5 p.m. Once you start it’s never ending! After sorting the dishes I hoovered and now I’m sorting clean laundry.

6 p.m. Off into town.

7 p.m. A choir Jan sings with was having a CD launch party and I was on my way there. Crossing the Rhine.

8 p.m. Beer in a fountain. How else are you supposed to keep it cool?

9 p.m. Drinking beer! They’re not both mine…

10 p.m. Still at the launch party. Candles on a table.

11 p.m. Waiting for pizza and it was too dark to photograph anything but this lantern!

Midnight. Waiting for a tram home. The building is part of the art museum.

1 a.m. Finally bedtime! Eeyore says goodnight 🙂

And that was that. A long day! How was your Saturday?

Linking up with Jane and Louisa, as always.

Friday letters

How is it Friday again people? This week has gone way too fast, again. I had another public holiday yesterday (the last one until October!) and I was hoping to get lots done, but I didn’t even manage half of it. *Sigh* Anyway, on with the letters.

Letters

Dear kettle. I’m sorry I have to boil you so many times before I actually get round to making a cup of tea. You can blame your being overworked on all my work, okay?

Dear parsley. It was very exciting to put some of you in my salad last night having grown you from a seed!

Dear WordPress. What happened to the media space upgrade option? Apparently the only way I can get more space for photos now is by purchasing a domain. I don’t want a domain, just more space!

Dear weather. I’m glad you’ve cooled down a little bit – over 30°C is just too much for me!

Right, that’s all for today. Lunch break over… back to work! Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

The books I read in May 2017

Oh my goodness you guys… I had so much on my mind yesterday that I completely forgot about the Show Us Your Books link up! Me. Forget about books. How mad is that? Luckily it’s still open today. (Not that I actually read much in May, but it’s the principle!)

show-us-your-books-2016-300by300

I read a grand total of three books in May. Wow. I’m not sure I’ve read so few books in a month since I learned to read! I was busy with cross stitch, but also I was attempting to read Sophie’s World, which took forever. So I eventually decided to take a break from it and read some quick books. And here they are:

Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent. I absolutely adored this book. There just aren’t words to express my adoration! It has all my favourite ingredients: a mysterious benefactor, a surprise inheritance, good friendships, magic, intrigue and a sprinkling of myths and legends. The parents are not absent/oblivious to what their kids are up to (there is a lot of sneaking around and comments like “if our parents knew we were going to do X, they wouldn’t let us go where we’re going!). And, the cherry on the top for me, partway through the book I found out that the fictional village of Hexbridge is located in the north-east of England (they mention Newcastle being half an hour away). A little piece of home – yay! I am dying to read book 2, but I’m reserving it for Erin’s next challenge. 5 stars for this one. Highly, highly recommended for anyone aged 10 years and up.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Die by Sara Shepard – Book 5 in the Lying Game series. By this stage the series was starting to drag. It was nice to find out more about Becky in this book, but other than that it wasn’t as good as book 4. In this book, it became entirely obvious who the murderer was (no spoilers here though!). 3 stars.

Seven Minutes in Heaven by Sara Shepard – Book 6 in the Lying Game series. I read this book immediately after the last one because I wanted to finally get to the end! I actually really enjoyed this one, despite being annoyed by the solution (again, no spoilers here!). I felt really sad for Sutton in this one, having to watch her family find out she was dead and then attend her own funeral. I am not ashamed to admit I cried at the funeral and the Christmas scene at the end. Poor Sutton, poor Mercer family. *Sniff* 5 stars for this book. As for the series, all in all it was okay but it really didn’t need to be a whole six books long! I’ll give it 3.5 stars because, while a few of the books were excellent, others were not.

And that was it. I also continued reading Sophie’s World and The Sense of Style in May, and finally finished them earlier this month, so I will be able to review them in the next link up 🙂

Linking up with Jana and Steph. Check out their blogs to see what everyone else read in May.

35 before 35: Champagne in Champagne

Champagne

WordPress congratulated me on my anniversary this morning… apparently this blog has existed for a whole nine years today! So even though I didn’t intend to blog, I didn’t feel like I could let such a momentous occasion pass without a post. And what better way to celebrate than with champagne (albeit champagne that has already been drunk).

Whit Monday is a public holiday in Germany and Switzerland (or at least the parts that are relevant to us), which meant a long weekend. We didn’t want to let it go to waste, so with the Champagne region a mere four and a half hours’ drive from here, I decided it was time to check something else off my 35 before 35 list.

We were staying in Reims, but after arriving there on Saturday evening we decided to spend some time exploring other place and save Reims itself for the next day. First of all, we drove to a village called Avizes, where there’s a champagne company that one of Jan’s colleagues recommended (the one in the photo at the top of this post). Unfortunately they had already closed for the weekend so we couldn’t book a tour. We stopped in a little park just outside the village where even the landscaping featured champagne!

The next stop was Epernay… home of the (apparently) world-famous “Champagne street”. All the big names have headquarters there.

As you can see, it had started to rain by this point, so we were glad to head off and find some food (and actual champagne to drink!). We each chose the evening three course meal. Jan was driving, so he drank some delicious apricot juice, but I chose the version of the meal that came with three types of champagne. Sadly I don’t remember what they were, except that the first one did come from where it says on the glass. How’s that for a wine list though!

After breakfast the next day, we headed into Reims for a look around. I’m going to tell you about that in a separate post though, since there was no champagne drinking involved and this post is for the 35 before 35 item 😉 Instead let’s skip ahead to that afternoon, when we had a G. H. Mumm cellar tour booked.

We saw some of the barrels they originally used, each with the name of the village the grapes came from, learned about the villages where Mumm grow their grapes, saw all the different sizes of champagne bottle that exist (Mumm only has about 4 of them available!) and visited the museum.

Obviously the tour ended with a glass of champagne!

And that’s item 34 crossed off my list: Drink Champagne in Champagne.

 

Friday letters

Hello! It seems like forever since I last wrote Friday letters. Or much of anything really. I’m not sure how many I can even think of today, to be honest, but I’ll give it a go anyway…

Mail box

Dear UK. Well, you’ve managed not to completely mess it up this time. I guess that’s something? Whether there is any hope for the next few years still remains to be seen though…

Dear chilli plants. I’m loving your pretty flowers, but when do we get chillies?

Dear unread books. I am aware that you’re piling up on the shelves again faster than I can actually read you. I will get round to you all eventually though, promise!

Dear bathroom floor. I would like to track down whoever chose you and have words with them! You are exactly the right colour to show every single strand of hair that falls on you, usually immediately after I’ve hoovered. Aargh!

Dear fellow bloggers. If I haven’t been to see you in a while I apologise! I still care about what you’re up to, but other things keep getting in the way.

Right, that’s enough for today. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Book Challenge by Erin 7.0 – Preliminary list

After radio silence for so long, you’re now getting two whole posts in row. Wooo! There’s only one thing that could possibly bring me out of hiding, and that’s books of course 😉

BCBE7

The categories are out for Erin’s next book challenge and I am so excited! There are some really cool categories this time. However, I do have to say I am disappointed that there is no book with a seven word title. I was convinced there would be so when I realised the title of a book I had bought actually contained seven words I saved it up specially. How could you, Erin? I feel betrayed! 😉 Luckily I managed to fit the book into a category anyway so all is forgiven. Anywaaaay… without further ado, I give you my preliminary list.

But first, a brief recap of the rules: Although the categories are out now, the actual challenge doesn’t start until 1 July. All books read between then and 31 October count, provided they fit into a category and have 200 or more pages. You can only read one book per category, but you can go through the categories in any order.

5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages

There are a few I could go with, but for now I’m saying A Seven Letter Word by Kim Slater.

10 points:  Read a book that starts with the letter “B”

Broken Silence by Danielle Ramsay. I can’t wait to read this one! It’s set in Whitley Bay, which is near where my family is from.

10 points:  Read a book that has a (mostly) yellow cover

Alfie Bloom and the Talisman Thief by Gabrielle Kent just arrived, and the cover looks pretty yellow to me! The only difficulty here will be forcing myself to wait until July to read it. Eeep!

15 points:  Read a book that has a picture of an animal on the cover (submitted by Mattie)

How to Look for a Lost Dog by Ann M. Martin has a picture of a dog on the front. Count the words people. Count them! Notice how there are seven!

20 points:  Read a book that was published in 2017 (submitted by Olya)

Aaah… I hate reading new books – I like to get cheap second.hand copies when everyone else is done. *Sigh*. I have chosen The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. New copy very reluctantly ordered.

20 points:  Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title (submitted by Mary)

Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida. I’ve never read anything by this author before but this sounds intriguing.

25 points:  The ALA’s “Banned Books Week” occurs while our challenge is happening.  Read a book from this list of the most commonly banned books in America: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_commonly_challenged_books_in_the_United_States (submitted by Christina)

I have chosen Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson purely because I already own it. And I’m only a million years behind the rest of the world with reading this one 😉

I’m thinking of Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher  because I really want to read this one, but I’m not sure whether elective mutism counts as a mental illness? I also have All the Things We Didn’t Say by Sara Shepard (the blurb says the dad “descends into mental illness”) and Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford as back ups.

Hey, I picked this one! I will read either Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach- the protagonist is a seagull – or Seraphina by Rachel Hartmann – the main characters are dragons!

35 points:  Read a book a Disney movie was based on OR a book based on a Disney movie (submitted by Kirsten); Don’t forget to check that the book is at least 200 pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Category:Novels_first_published_in_serial_form&pageuntil=Dune+Messiah#mw-pages; https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/11716.Books_Turned_Into_Disney_Movies
I’ve wanted to read Bambi by Felix Salten for ages, so that is my choice. I also want to read The Fox and the Hound by Daniel P. Mannix, so if I get through all the categories I might read that for the bonus round.
If you want to participate, you can join the Facebook group (I haven’t because I prefer my full name not to be directly linked to my blog), the Goodreads group or just check in via your blog. As long as you somehow let Erin know how many books you’ve read each month she will include you in the scores list.
And now to cross stitch as much as possible for the whole of June so I have plenty of time for reading once the challenge starts…
If you’re joining in and you have a list of your choices, feel free to let me know in the comments so I can drop by and add even more books to my ridiculously long to-read list 😉

Recent doings #18

Oh, hi! It’s been forever, hasn’t it? One post at the beginning of last week and then… nothing. Sorry about that. 95% of my non-working time during the week has been spent cross stitching. (And the other 5% was taken up by shopping for food, cooking said food, emptying the dishwasher, laundry and other general chores. So now you know, whether you cared or not ;-)). Anyway, I can’t believe another whole month is over! June already. Soon we’ll be half way through 2017. *Sigh*

Well, today is the first Thursday of the month, which means it’s time to link up with Kristin and Gretch and tell you what’s new with me. Shall we get started? Here’s what I have been doing in May.

whats-new

Eating. Since discovering that you can only count one portion of any vegetable no matter how much you eat, I’ve been trying to vary our meals even more. So a lot of avocado, cherry tomatoes, peas and sweet potatoes have been consumed. Sometimes the same vegetables three days in a row – well, nobody said I couldn’t eat the same ones every day! Also, it’s been hot so we’ve barbecued a few times. Many sausages have been consumed in May!

Drinking. Smoothies because see above. I found a dragon fruit and ginger one that’s amazing – you can actually taste the ginger! Sadly my local supermarket doesn’t actually have it so I can only get it if I go to the one in town. And yes I know home-made smoothies would be way better for me, but I only have a stick blender and those are annoying for smoothies!

Watching. A film called Kajaki: The True Story (renamed Kilo Two Bravo in the US) about a group of soldiers in Afghanistan. Recommended by my dad, who is ex-army and said “In my top three of military films and by far the most accurately played by actors.” It’s a pretty intense film but recommended if you want to see a realistic portrayal of a real-life event. Oh, and the regiment concerned just happens to be the one my dad was in!

Reading. Nowhere near as much as usual! I managed to finish the Lying Game series and also read Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle – book one in another series (I adored it. Reviews to follow – hopefully soon). Apart from that I continued reading Sophie’s World but still haven’t finished. Not long to go now though.

Seeing. An exhibition about robots in everyday life at the Vitra Design Museum. It was interesting and very well done. Lots of information! Jan enjoyed it too, so it wasn’t too boring for experts 🙂

Cross stitching. Lots more cards for post pals, and also a door hanging for an auction they’re running to raise money for their upcoming party. Here, have a picture of a card to liven this post up:

fairytale castle card

Buying. FAR too much stuff… I need to cut way down on my spending in June! Surprisingly few books though. Mostly I’ve been buying crafting materials and stickers. Most of the stickers are to send out with the cards for post pals, but some are for me to make cards with or to prettify envelopes.

Receiving. A dress that I bought last month. It’s got bees on it and it’s amazing! I’ve already worn it twice.

Laughing. At Ross Noble. We went to see his show Brain Dump last night so it just manages to sneak into May’s doings 😉

Making. Toblerone cheesecake – twice! Once for a friend who invited us to come round for a drink in his new flat and then for another friend for her birthday.

Going. To a sculpture path in Reinach. It’s fairytale themed and pretty cool!

Booking. A flight to the UK and accommodation for the first two nights of our stay there. Loads more to sort, but at least we’ll be able to get there 😉

I can’t think of anything else, so I’ll end here. If you want to know what’s new with everyone else or join the link up, click here.

How was your May?