50 questions you’ve never been asked

Posting twice within a matter of days? Oh my! The world must have gone mad! (Actually Jan’s still asleep and I’m taking a break from cross stitch ;-))

I found this on Kezzie‘s blog, and she borrowed it from Emmamereta who got it from someone else. And so the world of blogging goes. I’m not sure these are all questions I’ve never been asked – I think I’ve been asked about the countries I’ve visited and favourite childhood TV shows before – but there were enough interesting ones in the mix for me to want to give it a go.

What’s your favourite candle scent?
I like apple and cinnamon around Christmas and I like fresh linen scents, but not always. Some brands smell nothing like fresh linen

Which female celebrity do you wish was your sister?
Do authors count as celebrities? If so I would love Joanne Harris! Oh, and Mara Wilson (who played Matilda but is now all grown up and voices a character in Welcome to Night Vale)

Which male celebrity do you wish was your brother?
Eddie Izzard, even though he’s the same age as my mum so that would be weird! I think we would have fascinating conversations though.

Do you know a hoarder?
My dad keeps a looot of stuff but he’s not an actual hoarder (like surfaces piled so high you can’t enter the house and refusing to even throw away literal rubbish hoarder). I probably keep too many things that have sentimental value, although I’m pretty good at getting rid of clothes (and replacing them with way too many more…)

Can you do the splits?
Nope. I’m the least flexible person in the world. Can’t touch my toes either!

How old were you when you learnt to ride a bike?
6 I think? I know it was in Northern Ireland anyway. I remember my little blue bike 🙂

How many oceans have you swam in?
The North Sea definitely (is that an ocean?). And the Mediterranean in Spain. Ooh, and the Irish Sea in Wales.

How many countries have you visited?
Well, I have lived in England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, so there’s five to start with 😉 Plus: Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the USA, Taiwan, New Zealand, Dubai. I think that’s everything. So 24?

Feldkirch
Let’s split this up with a picture… Feldkirch, Austria, where I lived for 10 months

Is anyone in your family in the army?Not any more. My dad was (as was my step-dad).

What would you name your daughter if you had one?
There are a lot of girl’s names I like. I think we’ve maybe narrowed it down to one we would call our daughter, but I’m not going to tell you here because if we do have a child I will not be using his or her real name on my blog for the entire world to see! I will tell you that I love the name Beatrix because that’s one we definitely won’t be using.

What would you name your son if you had one?
I find male names a lot harder, and we have the added difficulty that whatever name we use has to be pronounceable in German and English (which seems to be easier with female names!). I always loved the name Tristan, but I don’t think we’ll use that.

What’s the worst grade you got on a test?
I got all Ds for my A-levels. That’s pretty bad.

What was your favourite TV show as a kid?
Button Moon when I was really little. Later I loved The Raggy Dolls, Byker Grove, SuperTed, Dangermouse, Sabrina the Teenage Witch (although I guess I was a teenager when I watched that).

What did you dress up as on Halloween, when you were 8?
I don’t think I did? I only remember dressing up for Halloween once as a child, for a party in Northern Ireland and we moved back to England before I turned 8. I know I never went trick or treating.

Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight books?/em>
All the Harry Potter books (the actual series, not Fantastic Beasts or whatever other spin-offs are out there), none of the others. I’ve been advised not to bother with Twilight.

Would you rather have an American accent or English accent?
Definitely English! Sorry Americans, but I find a lot of your accents annoying

Did your mother go to university?
She did, in her 40s! To become a nurse (you go to university for that in the UK – I know in other countries it’s not a degree). So proud of her.

Are your grandparents still married?
Both my grandfathers are dead now, but they would have been I’m sure.

Have you ever taken Karate lessons?
No.

Do you know who Kermit the frog is?
Are there people that don’t?

What’s the first amusement park you went to?
Not sure, but I was fairly young when I went to Thorpe Park and Chessington so maybe one of those?

What language, besides your native language would you like to be fluent in?
Ukrainian! My granddad was from there and I would love to be able to speak his language. Other than that Spanish. And I would like to achieve native-speaker fluency in German but that won’t happen (my German is pretty fluent but not enough to be mistaken for a native speaker).

Do you spell the colour grey or gray?
We have to translate into both British and American English and I’m forever getting confused over which spelling to use in which language! But grey is the British spelling, so in everyday life I use that one.

Is your father bald?
No, far from it.

Do you know triplets?
Yes. My grandma used to child-mind them.

Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook?
I don’t think I’ve seen The Notebook.

Have you ever had Indian food?
Yes!  LOVE it!

What’s the name of your favourite restaurant?
I don’t have one. I like to try different places.

Have you ever been to Nando’s?
Once, because I met a friend at The Gate in Newcastle and it was chucking it down so we didn’t want to leave the building! It was okay but not amazing enough for me to understand all the fuss.

Do you belong to any warehouse stores?
No.

What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?
I have a vague memory of being told I would have been a Philip if I was a boy, but I may have imagined that. (Mam, am I right?)

If you have a nickname, what is it?
Bev. Fairly boring. Sometimes Bee.

Who’s your favourite person in the world?
Jan. Is that really soppy? Other than that my friend K and my godson.

Would you rather live in the countryside or city?
I’m not a fan of big cities, but I’m not sure I would like to live right out in the countryside – unless I learned to drive. But even then being forced to drive everywhere would be a pain. I like where we live now – it’s within walking distance of the city, but also within walking distance of a farm, the woods, etc. Best of both worlds.

Can you whistle?
No.

Do you sleep with a night light?
No.

Do you eat breakfast every morning?
Umm, no. (Sorry mam!)

Do you take any pills or medication daily?
Yes. No, I’m not going to elaborate.

What medical condition do you have?
None that I know of.

How many times have you been to the hospital?
I was taken to A&A for stitches when I fell down the loft ladder as a teen. Other than that never as a patient (except for being born in hospital).

Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?
Yes.

Where do you buy your jeans?
I don’t actually own jeans any more, but the last pair I had came from C&A.

What’s the last compliment you got?
Umm… about two weeks ago someone said they liked the dress I was wearing. Huh, I had to think about that one.

Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?
I remember quite a few, especially if I wake up in the middle of the, I tend to have vivid dreams.

What flavour tea do you enjoy?
Tesco chocolate flavoured black tea. I also like Orange and ginger, spearmint and Alnatura’s Sunshine Tea, but technically those are all infusions 😉

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Between 10 and 15, I think.

What religion will you raise your children to be?
None. They will be allowed to choose for themselves once they are old enough to make a decision. They will also be able to choose for themselves whether to formally enter any church and thus have to pay church tax if they end up living in Germany or Switzerland. I highly object to people having to pay church tax because their parents made the decision to have them christened as babies!

How old where you when you found out Santa wasn’t real?
7 or 8 I think?

Why do you have a blog?
My very first ever blog was on MSN spaces and I can’t remember why I originally started it, but I kept it up while I lived in Austria to update people on what I was doing over there. I started this blog because MSN Spaces (which by then had become Live Spaces) had closed down, I had hardly any friends and a lot of free time and I needed a place to get me thoughts out of my head – hence the tag line of my blog. Of course, I could have just written them in my diary, but I had always liked the interactive element of my old blog so I decided to send my thoughts out into the world, although my blog has always been primarily for myself. These days it also serves as a record of things I’ve done. I like to look back on places I’ve been and also remind myself of how far I’ve come over the past however many years (I don’t even what to think about the actual number… when did I get this old?)

If anyone plans to do this, please let me know. I would love to read your answers!

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No time to post – I’m off to New Zealand!

I think the title says it all really. I have three more hours left to work, then I’ll throw the last few bits into my suitcase, do a last minute tidy up, then catch a train to Zurich airport. From there it’s a 6-and-a-bit hour flight to Dubai, and then onwards to Kiwi-a-gogo-land (Georgia Nicholson, anyone?).

I don’t have any posts scheduled for while I’m away, so I’ll catch up with you in about 2 weeks. Dn’t do anything I wouldn’t while I’m away 😉

Gotta love the Liebster Award

I wanted to finally catch up on my final few weeks in Germany and share some photos from a day out that I arranged as part of my 35 before 35, but although the card reader is sitting here on the computer desk I can’t find the cable for it so no photo uploading for me! Instead I’ll go with another post that I’ve been needing to write for a while…

I was nominated for the Liebster Award again… this time by Holly from Full of Beans and Sausages. She nominated me weeks ago, but I’ve been putting off answering because her questions are haaaard! Thank you Holly. I’m happy that you think I’m worthy of this award.
And now the questions:

1) What is your favourite room in your house?

Since I’ve literally just moved it’s probably a little early to tell. But I’m going to go with the dining/living/kitchen area (it’s all one big space) because that’s where the balcony is, and also where my books live. Of course the books’ home is my favourite!

2) What is your life plan for the next 5 years?

See what I mean? Haaaard questions! Well, I am very much hoping that Jan will continue to enjoy his job and things will go well enough that we’ll still be in Basel in five years. However, it is a fairly small company so it may be that at some point he wants to move on to something a bit bigger? It’s difficult to judge right now, although so far things are going well. In the meantime, I’ll continue working at my company for now, then hopefully within the next 1-2 years we’ll have our first child (Dear family members who are reading: do not hold me to that!! I have no idea whether it will work out. And no, I’m not currently pregnant!). Obviously my plan involves Jan and I staying together for the next 5 years. Oh, and a puppy. Beyond that I honestly have no idea, and thinking about it kind of scares me so I’m stopping now!

3) Describe a typical day from when you were a child.

Wow, again a question that’s surprisingly difficult. Typical days are hard to remember! I suppose it would have to be a week day, since weekends/holidays were never typical, so I’ll do a school day. It would start with my mum shouting to my sister and I to get up for school. We’d take turns in the bathroom, then dress in our school uniforms before heading downstairs. Breakfast was always cereal – usually something like Frosties or Coco Pops. Then it was back upstairs, teeth brushed, downstairs again for our shoes and coats and we’d head off to school. When we were really little my mum took us, but by the time I was 9 we walked together with some friends from our estate (when we lived in Northern Ireland, my mum always walked me to and fom school – my sister was still in nursery then). School consisted of morning lessons followed by first break, where everybody had to eat fruit. Us girls would skip or play clapping rhymes, then it was back into school for more lessons. I was on packed lunches for most of my time at primary school, which meant second sittings, so at lunch time I would go out to play first then come in for my lunch when the first bell went. If we ate quickly enough we would then have more time to play after lunch. This was followed by afternoon lessons then home time. The ice cream van always stopped on a road close to the school right around home time and anyone who had money would buy something. Usually I did not have money,but sometimes a friend would take pity and lend me ten pence for a WHAM bar (who remembers those?). Back home, we had to immediately change out of our school uniforms and do any homework we had. Then, if it was a nice day, we would go outside to play until my mum called us in for tea. On rainy days, we watched children’s TV… back in the days when there was only half an hour of children’s TV after school and not entire channels for it! Tea would be something like sausages, beans and chips or fish fingers and vegetables. There was hardly ever dessert, but the fruit bowl was always full and if we were still hungry after tea we could help ourselves. Then it was time to get our bags ready for school the next day and get into our night clothes. Sometimes we would watch TV again, but usually we just played in our rooms. At bed time, I always begged to be allowed to read for a bit and the answer was almost always yes. Then, after half an hour, it was lights out and no more talking (I shared a room with my sister). Then it all began again the next day. That’s how I remember it anyway. The details may be off.

4) Tell us about the most unforgettable moment from your life.

Hogmany in Edinburgh. Not really a moment, but the whole trip was fabulous. From the torch-lit procession from the Royal Mile to the top of Calton Hill (proceeds from those who bought a torch went to charity) to the candle-light carol service in St. Giles Cathedral on New Year’s Eve to seeing KT Tunstall live in Princes Gardens on 1 January for a mere 11 pounds. So far, no new year’s trip has beaten it – although Brussels comes close (Madeira was fantastic, but Edinburgh wins on actual New Year celebrations)

5) Tell us about the worst idea you ever had.

Numbing the top of my ear with ice cubes before letting my friend attempt to pierce it with a safety pin (that we had “disinfected” using bleach). Luckily it hurt too much and I made her stop, otherwise I’m sure the end of the story would have involved an infected ear and antibiotics. As it is, it’s fairly boring. Sorry! (The time I got drunk at 17 and threw up all over myself in the toilets of a pub was also a close contender, but smuggling in a bottle of vodka wasn’t actually my idea so…)

6) What can you see out of the window you are sat at right now?

I’m not at a window! Hold on, let me just go to one…. okay, I see part of the outside wall of our spare bedroom (which is currently full of boxes waiting to be unpacked and a bed that hasn’t been put together yet), the building opposite and some trees. If I look a bit to the right, beyond that building, I can see some of the houses on the hill.

7) What qualities do you like to have in a best friend?

Honesty (if I’m being stupid I want them to tell me!), loyalty and a good sense of humour! Also, they need to be slightly weird because normal people don’t like me.

8) If you could live in any era of history which would it be and why?

50s so I could wear clothing that actually suits my body shape! Although the whole not working and being expected to be a perfect housewife thing would get old fast! Actually, I wouldn’t mind living in a few eras for a while just to experience first-hand what it was like. Maybe a year in the 20s, then some time in the 60s with the hippies before popping back to the time of the industrial revolution and experiencing for myself what it was like when the very first steam train appeared…

9) How would you spend $100 right now?

I would buy something new for our flat. We still need quite a bit but it has to be a gradual process because Switzerland is expensive! If someone randomly gave me $100, I’d probably buy balcony furniture (not the highest priority item but the most fun!)

10) Today is the first day of the rest of your life – what will you do differently today?

Well, first of all I would like to say that I now have the Green Day song “Church on Sunday” in my head (it starts with “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives!, okay? YouTube it!).
What would I do differently? The same thing I plan to do differently every day – be positive, enjoy the little moments, greet Jan properly when he comes home (instead of just chucking a “hi” over my shoulder while attempting to cook and do multiple other things all at once), keep on top of stuff throughout the day so I wouldn’t need to be multitasking as Jan walked in the door. Hopefully this will also all actually happen now that I’m not commuting for an hour every day. (I’m not counting this week because I’ve been on holiday which is never the same as normal life).

And now for my questions.

1. What is one thing you’re really good at?
2. What is one of your favourite memories?
3. What was your first pet? (If you’ve never had a pet, what pet would have liked to have?)
4. What’s the weirdest search term that’s ever found your blog?
5. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
6. Which is your favourite blog post you’ve written? And which is your least favourite?
6. Who is your favourite singer/band?
7. Where do you want to travel to next?
8. What was your favourite book as a child?
9. What is your favourite flower?
10. If you could have any name other than your actual one, what would you choose?

That’s it! Sorry I’m so boring 😉 And now I nominate:

Kaelene from Unlocking Kiki
Diana from Life in German
Briony from Fear of the Reaper
Allane from Packing my Suitcase

Have fun, guys!

The Daydreamer Award

Briony from Fear of the Reaper nominated me for this award ages ago, but then  got caught up in moving stuff and never actually managed to write my post. I know.. excuses, right? Well, I’m getting round to it now, okay?

the-daydreamer-awardApparently, this is an award for blogs that are inspiring, creative or funny. Wow, I had no idea my blog was those things!

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Complete the challenge they set you.
3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to.
4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.
(Please include the rules in your post).

1. Thanks for the nomination, Briony. It’s nice to be acknowledged! Now all my readers should go and read her blog because it never fails to make me laugh!

2. I was given the challenge to describe my perfect rainy day.

Obviously I’m going to assume that this day is taking place on a weekend, because no day that I have to spend at work could be perfect. I love my job, but there are limits!

I would start my perfect rainy day by waking up late. Then I would lie in bed for a while listening to the rain on the windows while I stayed under the warm covers with a cup of tea (brought to me by my boyfriend, of course… there would be no getting up to switch on the kettle on my perfect day!). Once I’d finished my tea, I would finally drag myself out of bed and head of to the kitchen, where Jan and I would work together to make pancakes for breakfast (or actually brunch. On my perfect day the first meal would not happen at breakfast time!). We would eat them with hot raspberries, Nutella, orange juice and of course more tea! After breakfast, the dishes would all go into the dishwasher (we have one in the new flat) while I took myself off for a nice long bath (we have one of those in the new flat as well). I would take whichever book I was reading into the bathroom with me. And of course I would not drop it into the water (something my mother is fond of doing!).

A rainbow over Karlsruhe
A rainbow over Karlsruhe

Once I was all clean, I would get dressed in my most comfortable lounging around the house clothes and head over to the sofa with some cross stitch and – yes – more tea. I would stay there for a few hours, stitching and watching the rain, then, on my perfect day, I’m assuming the rain would let up just a little bit, the sun would come out somewhere, and a rainbow would appear. I would then abandon my cross stitch and go for a walk, preferably to somewhere with ducks for me to say hello to. The rain would hold off until I got back from my walk, at which point it would start bucketing down again. Meanwhile, nice and dry in the house, Jan and I would make dinner together and settle down to eat it while watching a film. Again, the dishwasher would do the hard work (woohoo!) Jan and I would then head off to bed, at the same time for once. And what we would do there is none of your business 😉

3. Phew. Moving on… here are the bloggers I would like to nominate:

Kerri from Crumbs in the Bed

Holly from Full of Beans and Sausages

Becster from her blog of the same name

Laura from Live, Love Laugh with Laura Jade

4. The challenge I would like to set my nominees is to describe your dream dinner party, including the guests (dead or alive), the decorations, any background music you might have…. use your imagination. But, most importantly, don’t forget to tell me about the food! (Can you tell I like to eat? 😉 )

Over to you guys. Have fun!

2014 on Confuzzledom

I’m fascinated by blog stats, particularly search terms, which are often hilarious. So here’s a look at my top search terms and most-viewed posts for 2014:

My top posts in 2014:

  1. Chicken, leek and bacon mashed potato topped pie. This post from last year randomly started getting loads of views in October and has featured in my stats every single day since then. It was viewed a total of 365 times from 28 December 2013 to 28 December 2014.
  2. I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine. Usually this is my most viewed post, but this year it lagged behind with a mere 247 views. I wonder if that means teachers have stopped assigning it for GCSE?
  3. German Foods I Love and Loathe came third with 171 views, proving that you can never go wrong with sausages and potatoes 😉
  4. Sukie’s Cake Shop, Karlsruhe. A relatively recent post this one – I only wrote it in September. But it still managed a whole 164 views between then and now. Which just goes to show how few people are blogging about things to do in Karlsruhe!
  5. So You Want to Learn German? This post got 137 views. I just hope it was useful to someone…

And now my top search terms for the year

  • The mysterious woods of whistle root pennell
  • confuzzledom
  • give me something to do
  • rewe cafeteria frankfurt airport
  • nagold old church

Nothing particularly exciting there – the good search terms are usually the ones that only come up once. But it’s still interesting to see what most people who end up on my blog are looking for.

And now, in no particular order, my five favourite search terms that have found me this year. None are quite as fun as last year’s, but luckily I’m easily amused 😉

  • marketing xmas cards from ex colleagues
  • playmobile wino
  • linda the giant sausage
  • mmm stinky foot
  • xxx girl bum

Now it’s your turn… tell me about 2014 on your blog! Or alternatively tell me what your favourite search term is that’s led someone to you.

The Liebster Award (again)

Dubliner in Deutschland nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you my dear! 🙂

liebster-award 1

I’ve been given the Liebster award before, but usually the rules say to list some number of facts about myself and that’s haaaard 😉 With this version, I’m supposed to answer some questions set by the person who nominated me and then make up some questions of my own before passing on the award. Here are the questions from Dubliner and my answers:

  1. What do you mostly blog about?
    Everything! Although I suppose books, travel and food are my top three themes.
  2. What do you love about blogging?
    The community. I love reading/responding to comments and seeing what my favoruite bloggers have been up to. But I also like that it gives me an outlet for my thoughts. Even if I didn’t have a single reader I would keep blogging to save myself from insanity.
  3. What is your favourite movie?
    I have to pick just one? That’s impossible!I can narrow it down to three for you, but no further (and please don’t ask me to put these three in order!). 1. The Princess Bride, 2. Clue, 3 The Crow
  4. What makes you happy?
    many things! Sunshine (as long as it’s not toooo hot), spending time with my boyfriend, spending time with friends (and also actually having people to call friends!), good food, dogs, seeing the red pandas when I walk past the zoo…
  5. Tea or coffee?
    Tea! I am British after all 😉 When I drink coffee it has to be drowned in milk and preferably flavoured.
  6. Do you have a favourite song?
    That’s even harder than the films! There are so many good songs. I’ll give you four, okay? 1. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler, 2. No Time to Sleep by Tina Dico, 3. Quick Fade by Feeder, 4. Belgium by Bowling for Soup.
  7. What’s the last book you read?
    The Surgeon of Crawthorne by Simon Winchester It’s the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and one of its main contributers, an American who was imprisoned in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Very interesting. I can recommend it.
  8. Name three places you would love to travel to, if money were no object.
    Canada, Japan and Denmark
  9. Why did you start blogging?
    My first blog was an MSN space (later MSN Live Space) that came with my e-mail address. I started using it out of curiosity, having no real idea what it was. Later, I used it to blog about my time in Austria. I started this blog shortly after I moved back to Germany. I was bored, basically friendless and my boyfriend was busy writing his Diplom (German version a Master’s) thesis, so I started a new blog to keep myself occupied and get my thoughts out of my brain – hence my tagline.
  10. What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)
    You Know You’re Turning German When… is the first one that comes to mind.

I nominate:

Beth from Ami in Schwabenland
Marianne from Californienne
Becster
Sophie from Sophie in Clogs
Molly from The Move to America

And now here are my questions (only 5 because I’m not imaginative enough to think of a whole 10!):

  1. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2014?
  2. What is your favourite food to eat in autumn/winter?
  3. Where was the last place you travelled to?
  4. What is your favoruite snack food?
  5. If you could learn any language (and were guaranteed to actually manage it!), which would it be?

Friday letters and links

Can you believe it’s Friday again? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my last Friday letters post. I’m very pleased it’s the weekend though. This week has consisted of a tonne of train delays and more work than I would have ever expected to be able to handle. It was actually a struggle not to groan out loud every time I saw something new in my tray! Only two more weeks to go though, then I’m on HOLIDAY for a week!

Eye'm watching you...

Dear work. Please stop with the craziness. I need to breathe occasionally!

Dear birthday. You’ve crept up on my this year so I’ve planned absolutely nothing for you. Also, I’m working. never mind… I’m probably a little old to be making a big deal out of my birthday anyway.

Dear sleep. Sorry I’ve been neglecting you lately. Let’s catch up soon!

Dear weather. I’m invited to a graden party tomorrow, so please stop your nonsense and settle on one thing for a change (preferably sun).

Dear weekend. Please don’t go too fast. I really need a break!

Okay, a bit pathetic on the letters front this week. I can’t think of anything! Never mind, here are some links: